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New Computer and Technology Help and Tips - MalekTips.Com

New Computer and Technology Help and Tips – MalekTips.Com

New computer and technology tips from MalekTips. Topics include Windows (including Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP), DOS, Microsoft Office, anti-spyware, Internet Explorer, electronic mail, the Internet, and digital cameras and photography.
  • [MODIFIED] Cell Phone – Six Battery Conservation Tips
    Six ways to keep your cell phone’s battery running as long as possible.

    Is your cell phone battery losing power constantly? Have you ever had to stop using your cell phone in the middle of a call because the battery died? Here are a few tips you can use to conserve your cell phone battery’s power:

    * If you know you’re traveling to an area without coverage or with only spotty roaming coverage, consider turning off your cell phone. Your phone can use a lot of power trying to find a suitable network, although some phones may stop polling after a while to try to reduce this battery hoggishness. One other option if you need to use your calendar, notes, play Angry Birds, etc. is to put the phone in “airplane mode” where all communications are stopped yet local apps should still be usable….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Google Search Engine – What is My IP Address?
    Need to find your public IP address? It’s just a Google search away.

    For playing online games or accessing particular Internet services, it might prove useful to know your public IP address (the address that other computers / devices on the Internet can use to contact your machine and the address given out when contacting other computers / devices). If you are using an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that provides dynamic IP addresses, this may change every time you go online. And, if you use a proxy server or VPN (virtual private network), displaying your “public” IP address can help ensure you are actually accessing the Internet via the connected service.

    Instead of going through computer settings to display your public IP address, finding this information is just a Google search away:…

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Mozilla Firefox – Misc – Missing the Title Bar? Menu Bar?
    Two quick tips to add the title and menu bar back to Firefox.

    Those who have upgraded to Mozilla Firefox v29 may be in for a surprise with the new Australis interface, making the browser look more and more like other browsers such as Google Chrome.

    If you don’t like the changes, the following two tips can bring back the menu bar as well as a title bar to the application:…

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Windows 8 – Bring Back the Mouse Pointer Drop Shadow
    Make the Windows 8.1 mouse pointer stand out by adding a drop shadow.

    As Windows 8.1 has adopted a flatter interface, gradients and drop shadows have been removed from a variety of places including the mouse pointer. If you feel that the mouse pointer drop shadow helps make it easier to spot on the Desktop, do the following:

    1. Access the “Mouse” Control Panel. One way to do this is by pressing Windows + R, entering main.cpl and pressing Enter….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • [MODIFIED] Disk Usage Utility – Display a Directory Tree Representation of What is Taking Up Hard Drive Space
    Find out why your hard drive is running out of space by scanning it with TreeSize Free.

    TreeSize Free for Windows can help you determine what is taking all your hard drive space by displaying a directory tree. After selecting a drive or folder for scanning by running the application or selecting TreeSize Free from a folder’s right-click menu, you can change options such as displaying a folder’s size, allocated space, usage percent, or file count. File size can be reported in gigabytes, megabytes, kilobytes, or a combination (“automatic units”).

    Other features include sorting files and folders by name or size, showing details of each subdirectory inside a directory tree, and performing filters so only certain paths or files are visible. A report can be printed from the results. Options include forcing the application to only use one thread (if you are performing other CPU-intensive tasks simultaneously), displaying or not displaying compressed files and folders in blue, and choosing the gradient colors used in the background of each folder to represent disk usage….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Windows 8 – Make Two More Time Zones a Mouse Hover Away
    Communicate with people across time zones? Make two additional clocks available with a mouse hover over the Windows 8.1 Taskbar clock.

    Do you often need to communicate with co-workers, extended family, or friends that live across the country or world? Stop waking them up at odd hours of the night or sending them an electronic mail or Skype request by not knowing their local time zone.

    Two additional time zones can be added to the Windows 8.1 Desktop Taskbar, accessible by hovering over the clock. Clicking on the clock can display larger clocks of each configured time zone….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Sites to Browse – Humor – Pranks – When Online Reviews get Ridiculous
    UHPinions provides “real – ridiculous – reviews” found on sites such as Amazon and Yelp for your enjoyment.

    Do you want to enjoy loose-leaf tea that is the “best thing since the invention of fire”? Looking to buy a beard wash for a beard that has people thinking “that dude probably builds radical decks and sturdy fences to keep wolves and bears out”? Or are you looking for a new laptop that “can be used as [a] homeplate for a local little league baseball game provided the umpire has completed the proper training”?

    Reviews for these and other products are available at UHPinions, a website that grabs reviews from sites such as Amazon and Yelp, displaying them for your amusement. Reviews are divided into categories such as “cars and motorsports”, “electronics”, and “hotels and travel”, plus you can browse “best”, “favorite”, or random reviews. And if you find an interesting review not already online, you’re free (and encouraged) to submit it….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Windows 8 – Make it Easier to Differentiate Explorer Windows by Showing Full Paths
    Add the full paths to Explorer folders in Windows 8.1 to make it easier for you to navigate your system.

    Let’s say you are copying files between different folders on your Windows 8.1 system or networked drives, or perhaps you are performing basic file maintenance. The need comes to work with two different folders that end with the same name in the path. Another task distracts you, and now you need to get back to work on a particular folder. If you hover your mouse pointer over “File Explorer” in the Taskbar, only the ending parts of the paths are readable. You’ll have to manually click on each window to find out what path each thumbnail represents.

    What if you could make the folder windows contain the full paths, such as “C:\Windows.old\Windows\Cursors”, instead of just “Cursors”? This is an easy tweak….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • Google Chrome – Easily Share Content on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, More
    The “AddThis” extension for Google Chrome lets you easily share content on a variety of services.

    Do you frequently share content on a variety of blogs, bookmarking services, and social networks, as well as via web-based e-mail, using sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Twitter? Tired of installing extensions for each individual service to share content or relying on website share buttons?

    The “AddThis – Share & Bookmark” extension for Google Chrome adds a button to the Toolbar that lets you share content via, according to the author, over 300 services. These include the aforementioned as well as AOL Mail, Blogmarks, Digg, Evernote, LinkedIn, Plurk, Xing, and many, many more….

    Read more at MalekTips.

  • [MODIFIED] General Computers – Why Do Install Programs Ask Me to Close Everything or Restart?
    When installing software, here’s why you should close down all running applications – but think twice before shutting down security software.

    When you install software on your machine, you are usually asked near the beginning to close other running programs (a good practice to do even if you are not explicitly asked). Why should you consider doing so, and should you shut down everything?

    1) Some install programs require you to reboot your operating system when the install is done, so, you would have to close other programs down anyway or let the operating system do so (risking you losing work in such applications). This is especially true for software such as firewalls, virus scanners, some anti-spyware applications, backup utilities, etc….

    Read more at MalekTips.

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  • Updated: 90 best free iPhone games on the planet
    Updated: 90 best free iPhone games on the planet

    Best free iPhone games

    into the dead

    It’s safe to say that Apple’s given the gaming industry a square kick in the tender regions.

    Despite their bluster, dismissing Apple in every way possible, Sony and Nintendo are both clearly concerned by the meteoric rise of iPod touch and iPhone as handheld gaming devices.

    Although great games are the driving force behind the success of Apple gaming, low prices have also helped. Most ‘premium’ titles cost six quid or less, and many developers end up in a race to 69p, thereby providing games that’d cost 20 quid on a rival platform for the price of a Kit-Kat.

    But what if you’ve spent the last of your cash on your shiny Apple object of desire? Can you get great games for nothing at all, or is the ‘free’ section of the App Store best ignored?

    The answer is, of course, both, and the trick is finding the gems amongst the dross. What follows is our pick of the bunch – our top 90 free iPod touch and iPhone games. In fact – in our latest update we’ve even included a VR game.

    And before you tell us that the goggles are too expensive, we’ll point you in the direction of the cardboard ones that cost virtually nothing…

    1. Timberman

    Timberman

    Not so much an endless runner as an endless chopper, Timberman has your square-jawed (and, in fact, just plain square) lumberjack hacking away at a giant tree. You tap to move left or right, dodging deadly branches, and must chop at speed, lest your power meter run dry. Those in it for the long haul will find 30 Timbermen to unlock, including a certain large, angry, green superhero.

    2. Tiny Striker

    Tiny Striker

    We’ve seen quite a few spot-kick flick-based efforts on the iPhone, but Tiny Striker also brings to mind old-school arcade footie like SWOS. It’s all goalmouth action here, though, with you scoring from set-pieces, initially against an open goal, but eventually by deftly curling your ball past walls of defenders and a roaming ‘keeper.

    3. Run Sackboy! Run!

    Sackboy

    The wee knitted chap from LittleBigPlanet lands on iOS, in yet another endless runner. We should yawn and hit delete, really, but Run SackBoy! Run! is absolutely gorgeous, with stunning scenery based on the LittleBigPlanet titles. The gameplay’s intuitive and simple, but inventive level design will keep you coming back time and time again.

    4. Fallout Shelter

    Fallout Shelter

    You know that popular Fallout 4 game we’ve all been getting excited about? Why not get in the post apocalyptic mood with this Bethesda made spin-off game? Fallout Shelter sees you take control of a Vault from the game series as you try to keep all its dwellers happy whilst protecting them from the horrors of the outside world. It’s a funny little way to get excited about the upcoming game whilst also being great in its own right.

    5. Mr Crab

    Mr Crab

    Another iOS platform game that relies on your ability to use a single dextrous digit, Mr. Crab finds the eponymous hero rescuing his kind from levels wrapped around towering tubes. It’s all about timing, using scenery to double back and grab whatever you’ve missed, and, at certain points, figuring out how to defeat terrifying bosses. It looks fantastic, and there’s surprising depth behind this game’s stripped-back control system.

    6. Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed

    Sonic

    The first iOS Sonic kart game worked nicely on the platform (a rare thing for the genre), and this sequel doesn’t disappoint. You get plenty of dynamic, colourful tracks to speed around, grabbing power-ups and boosts along the way. Periodically, your kart will transform to become a boat or plane, adding further dimensions to the racing action. It’s a bit grindy now and again, but you won’t care when you’re drifting like a loon across an aircraft carrier, before plunging into the sea.

    7. InMind (VR)

    InMind

    Looking to VR now, with Nival inc’s offering: InMind, a free VR game for cardboard-based VR kits. Really it’s a glorified demo, as you zoom and whizz through a semi-educational brain, zapping neurons to cure depression.

    The one-look button press idea is a good way to navigate the lack of tethered controls although sometimes instructions aren’t always clear as to what to do next and the controls (at least on an iPhone 6) aren’t as sensitive as they could be. If this is your first experience of VR, you could do worse than to load this Inner Space/Fantastic Voyage movie vibe upon your mobile although gamers will be left feeling a little frustrated after the wow effect of the soaring visuals wears off.

    8. Winter Walk

    Winter Walk

    This sweet survival game is full of character, as you assist a Victorian gent, out for his evening constitutional. The problem is it’s a bit windy, and the gent’s hat is in danger of blowing away during a gust – press the screen and he holds it in place. Each step increases your score and also the chances of seeing thoughtful comments from the hatted chap.

    9. BaconBaconBacon

    Bacon

    BaconBaconBacon feels a bit like Bejeweled slipped through a time-warp and collided with oddball British gaming humour from the early 1980s. Instead of gems, you swap pigs, and must smite vegans guarding them for extra points. Bonus pigs can be matched for extra sausages, or to fill a ketchup bomb.

    10. Retry

    Retry

    In this insanely tough arcade test, you coax a finicky biplane through side-on levels of floating islands. The slightest touch on anything but a collectable coin or runway spells doom, and ghosts of previous crashes helpfully litter the way as you retry. IAP is available to buy coins for restart points, which in this case are tacit admission of your lack of gaming prowess.

    11. Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary

    Boulder Dash

    The Boulder Dash series has a long pedigree, but this is the first time its co-creators have teamed up since the classic 1984 original. It’s also the first time (in several attempts) the game has worked on iOS. The game itself is business as usual: dig through dirt; avoid boulders and enemies; grab gems. But it looks great, controls well, and even includes the original caves as an optional IAP.

    12. Zombie Highway 2

    Z

    The zombies in this title are surprisingly sprightly, leaping towards any oncoming vehicle and aiming to shake it until it flips, presumably whereupon they prise open the door and eat the occupant’s BRRAIIINNZZ. You must fend them off, by scraping your vehicle against wrecks littering the highway, or blow them away with your gun.

    13. Sky Force 2014

    Sky Force 2014

    Sky Force 2014 celebrates the mobile series’s 10th anniversary in style, with this stunning top-down arcade blaster. Your little red ship, as ever, is tasked with weaving its way through hostile enemy territory, annihilating everything in sight. The visuals are spectacular, the level design is smart, and the bosses are huge, spewing bullet-hell in your general direction.

    14. Crazy Taxi City Rush

    Crazy Taxi

    We imagine this Crazy Taxi rethink will alienate some fans of the original series, but plenty of the classic time-attack racer’s feel remains intact. You zoom through city streets, picking up and dropping off fares against the clock; only this time, everything’s largely on rails. It’s sort of Crazy Taxi meets Temple Run, with plenty of upgrades and mini-games to master.

    15. Asphalt 8: Airborne

    asphalt 8

    At some point, a total buffoon decreed that racing games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with grey controls. Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne dispenses with such foolish notions, along with quite a bit of reality. Here, then, you zoom along at ludicrous speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to perform stunts that absolutely aren’t acceptable according to the car manufacturer’s warrantee.

    16. Letterpress

    Letterpress

    What mad fool welds Boggle to tug o’ war Risk-style land-grabbing? The kind who doesn’t want anyone to get any work done again, ever, that’s who. Letterpress is, simply, the best word game on the App Store.

    You make words to win points and temporarily ‘lock’ letters from your opponent by surrounding them. The result is a tense asynchronous two-player game with plenty of last-move wins and general gnashing of teeth when you realise ‘qin’ is in fact an acceptable word.

    17. Jetpack Joyride

    Jetpack Joyride

    We’re pretty certain if there’s one thing you shouldn’t be using for a joyride, it’s a jetpack that’s kept aloft by firing bullets at the floor. But that’s the score in this endless survival game with decidedly tongue-in-cheek humour, not least the profit bird power-up, a rather unsubtle dig at certain App Store chart-toppers.

    18. Super Monsters Ate My Condo

    Super Monsters

    Logic? Pah! Sanity? Pfft! We care not for such things, yells Super Monsters Ate My Condo. It then gets on with turning the match-three genre and Jenga-style tower-building into a relentless time-attack cartoon fest of apartment-munching, explosions, giant tantrums and opera. No, really.

    19. Hero Academy

    Hero Academy

    Most developers create games from code, but we’re pretty sure Hero Academy‘s composed of the most addictive substances known to man all smushed together and shoved on to the App Store.

    The game’s sort-of chess with fantasy characters, but the flexibility within the rule-set provides limitless scope for asynchronous one-on-one encounters. For free, you have to put up with ads and only get the ‘human’ team, but that’ll be more than enough to get you hooked.

    20. Trainyard Express

    Trainyard

    Developer Matt Rix is bonkers. That’s the only explanation for Trainyard Express, which isn’t so much a demo version of the wonderful Trainyard as an entirely separate edition.

    The mechanics are great: draw tracks to lead trains to like-coloured stations, combining or crossing them on the way, as necessary. It starts out easy, but soon hurts your brain, and the 60 puzzles aren’t repeated in the paid-for version. Bargain.

    21. Triple Town

    Triple Town

    Three bushes make a tree! Three gravestones make a church! OK, so logic might not be Triple Town‘s strong suit, but the match-three gameplay is addictive. Match to build things and trap bears, rapidly run out of space, gaze in wonder at your town and start all over again. The free-to-play version has limited moves that are gradually replenished, but you can unlock unlimited moves via IAP.

    22. Real Racing 3

    Real racing gti

    While Asphalt 8 aims squarely at arcade racers, Real Racing 3 goes for the simulation jugular. Its stunning visuals drop you deep into high-quality racing action that sets new standards on mobile devices. Plenty of cars and tracks add longevity, although do be aware the game is a bit grindy and quick to hint you should buy some in-app cash with some of your real hard-earned.

    23. Pitfall!

    pitfall

    Fans of the ancient Pitfall series on the Atari might feel a bit short-changed, given that this comeback in the shape of a Temple Run clone diverges wildly from the platforming action of the originals. However, it’s one of the best-looking endless runners on iOS, and if you persevere there are exciting mine-cart and motorbike sections to master.

    24. MazeFinger Plus

    Maze Finger

    Again, the forced Plus+ account sign-up is hateful, but it’s worth persevering to get to this addictive game, where you “unleash the awesome power of your finger,” according to the App Store blurb.

    The aim is to drag your finger from the start to the finish of each simple maze. The problem is you’re against the clock and obstacles litter your path. Great graphics and 200 levels of compelling gameplay ensure you’ll be glued to your screen.

    25. Candy Crush Soda Saga

    CC

    It gets a bit of stick from time to time, but microtransactions aside, the Candy Crush saga is quite a lot of fun. Sandy Crush Soda Saga throws in some new dynamics, making the game even more addictive – and frustrating. You can do quite a lot without parting any money at all, but the game will limit your replays, meaning you’ll eventually hit a timer that demands you take a break for a little while – or pay up to keep playing.

    It’s a horribly arbitrary feature, but all things considered, probably a good way of stopping us from becoming forever lost in the colourful abyss.

    26. Trace

    Trace

    Trace is a sweet, inventive platform game which has you navigating hand-drawn obstacles to reach the star-shaped exit. The twist is that you can draw and erase your own platforms, to assist your progress.

    With an emphasis on time-based scores rather than lives and the ability to skip levels, Trace is very much a ‘casual’ platform game, but it’s none the worse because of it.

    27. Solomon’s Keep

    Solomon's Keep

    Reminiscent of a twin-stick shooter mashed into an RPG with a really big wand, Solomon’s Keep has your wizard battle endless hordes of supernatural foes, with the help of your thumbs and some in-game spells. It’s a bit like an overhead Diablo, or, if you’re getting on a bit, a powered-up Gauntlet.

    28. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

    Hearthstone

    Few free games are quite as polished as Hearthstone, but then this is a Blizzard game, so we hardly expected anything less.

    There are dozens of card games available for iPhone, but Hearthstone stands out with high production values and easy to learn, difficult to master mechanics, which can keep you playing, improving and collecting cards for months on end. Matches don’t generally take too long either so it’s great for playing in short bursts.

    29. Spider: Hornet Smash

    Hornet smash

    Tiger Style’s Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor is an App Store classic, combining arcade adventuring and platforming action, with you playing the role of a roaming arachnid.

    Hornet Smash includes a level from that game, but its main draw is the frenetic arcade minigame. Still controlling our eight-legged hero, the aim is to fend off attacks by swarms of angry hornets, while weaving webs and munching tasty lacewings for health boosts. Three environments are included in this compelling and innovative title.

    30. Bankshot

    Bankshot

    One for pool sharks, Bankshot tasks you with sending your orb to a goal by bouncing it off of at least one wall. A few different modes are on offer in this attractive neon-style game, but the best is Blitz, a high-octane time-attack affair.

    31. Spaceteam

    Spaceteam

    Think you know stress? You haven’t experienced stress until you’ve played Spaceteam, a cooperative multiplayer game that requires you to all work together as a crew (and bark orders at your friends). Sounds easier than it is; failure to cooperate will probably end with your ship getting sucked into a black hole.

    32. Lux Touch

    Lux touch

    Quickfire Risk clone Lux Touch isn’t exactly a champion in the smarts department – the AI’s pretty easy to outfox – but it’s perfect ten-minute fodder for Risk fanatics. The graphics are clear, the board is responsive, and the game’s also universal, for if you want to install it on your iPad.

    33. iCopter Classic

    Best free iphone games

    There are plenty of one-thumb copter games on the App Store, but iCopter Classic goes right back to the genre’s roots. You simply use your thumb to make your copter bob up and down, surviving for as long as possible without smashing into something; and there are plenty of unlockable themes if you prefer, say, a bee, submarine, spaceship or football to a helicopter!

    34. Cell Splat

    Cell Splat

    So you think you’re observant? Cell Splat will test that claim to the limit. The game distills ‘match’ games to their purest form. You get a target shape or colour, and, against the clock, must tap all matching items in the well. Quite why this frantic, great-looking, fun, addictive game is free, we don’t know; we just suggest you download it immediately.

    35. InvaderR

    Best free iphone games

    Like Cell Splat, InvaderR streamlines and hones a popular game, but this time it’s Space Invaders. Like Taito’s original, aliens are out to get you, but in InvaderR you have it tough. While the invaders are content to stay out of reach, it’s ‘game over’ the second you’re hit by a projectile. This turns InvaderR into a compelling and exciting score-attack game.

    36. Whacksy Taxi

    Best free iphone games

    Although it looks like a 1980s racer, Whacksy Taxi also has much in common with platform games. You belt along absurdly straight highways, avoiding traffic by dodging or leaping it. Variety’s added by power-ups, new background graphics when you reach a stage’s end, and several bonus zones that also provide extra challenge.

    37. Hoggy

    Hoggy

    Hoggy resembles VVVVVV smashed into Nintendo’s Kirby, combining platforming and puzzles. The game tasks you with grabbing fruit within jars that are peppered around a maze. Complete a jar and you get a key; with a certain number of keys, new maze areas open up. Although occasionally a mite frustrating, Hoggy’s a great-looking, fun and innovative freebie.

    38. Bam Bam Dash

    Bam bam dash

    Imagine Monster Dash with the cast of The Flintstones and you’ve got Bam Bam Dash. Your auto-running caveman has to avoid plummeting to his death and being eaten by things with sharp teeth. Nice graphics and helpful dinosaurs you can ride add extra flavour to the game.

    39. Alice in the Secret Castle

    Alice

    If brutally difficult old-school games are your thing, Alice in the Secret Castle will appeal. The game boasts 64 rooms of NES-style hell, with a curious game mechanic that hides walls when you hold the ‘A’ button. Progression therefore becomes a case of mastering taxing and relentless (but rewarding) puzzle-oriented platforming.

    40. Fairway Solitaire Blast

    Fairway Solitaire

    In this game, golf met solitaire and they decided to elope while leaving Mr. Puzzle Game to fill the void. What’s left is an entertaining bout of higher-or-lower, draped over a loose framework of golf scores, with a crazed gopher attempting to scupper everything. You get loads of courses for free with Fairway Solitaire Blast and can use IAP to buy more.

    41. PicoPicoGames

    PicoPicoGames

    It’s clear you’ll never see Nintendo games on iOS, but PicoPicoGames is the next best thing: a collection of tiny, addictive NES-like minigames. Frankly, we’d happily pay for scrolling shooter GunDiver and the Denki Blocks-like Puzzle; that they’re free and joined by several other great games is astonishing.

    42. Fun Run 2

    Fun Run 2

    Online multiplayer Sonic? What sounds better than that? Well sadly this isn’t with the traditional Sonic characters, it’s just other cuddly animals instead, but the concept is still the same. Fun Run 2 matches you up with four other players from around the world and throws you into a game where you sprint, dodge and fight your way to the end over a variety of obstacles. You can even add friends and play against them specifically as well as upgrading your character with new clothes and items.

    43. Froggy Jump

    Froggy Jump

    At first, Froggy Jump seems like Doodle Jump, starring a frog. That’s probably because Froggy Jump pretty much is Doodle Jump, starring a frog. However, its character, unique items, themes and lack of price-tag makes it worth a download, especially if you’re a fan of vertically scrolling platform games.

    44. StarDunk

    StarDunk

    Another game showing that simplicity often works wonders on mobile titles, SlamDunk is a straightforward side-on basketball game. The time-attack nature of the title gives it oomph, though, and there’s also the option for online competition against players worldwide.

    45. Solebon Solitaire

    Solebon

    Solitaire was the casual game on computers before the term ‘casual game’ was invented. On iOS, there are tons of free and paid solitaire titles, but Solebon is our favourite traditional take. You get 50 variations (including the well-known Klondike) entirely for free, with the game being supported by unobtrusive ads.

    46. Putt Golf

    Putt Golf

    Anyone can whack a ball with a stick – real skill comes from putting. (Cue: enraged golfers attacking TechRadar Towers with pimped-out golf carts.) In Putt Golf, you get an oscillating targeting system, prod to putt, and then use tilting to amend the ball’s path with digital Jedi-mind skills as it trundles towards the hole. Three game modes; hugely addictive.

    47. Into the Dead

    into the dead

    You know, if infinite zombies were running towards us, we’d leg it in the opposite direction. Not so in Into The Dead, where you battle on until your inevitable and bloody demise. The game’s oddly dream-like (well, nightmare-like), and perseverance rewards you with new weapons, such as a noisy chainsaw. VVRRRMMM! (Splutch!)

    48. Drop7

    Drop7

    What do you get if you cross Drop7 with Zynga? A free version of Drop7! Luckily, the game’s far more entertaining than that attempt at a joke: drop numbered discs into a grid and watch them explode when the number of discs in a column or row matches numbers on the discs. Drive yourself mad trying to boost your score by chaining! Forget to eat!

    49. Punch Quest

    punch quest

    The clue’s in the title – there’s a quest, and it involves quite a lot of punching. There’s hidden depth, though – the game might look like a screen-masher, but Punch Quest is all about mastering combos, perfecting your timing, and making good use of special abilities. The in-game currency’s also very generous, so if you like the game reward the dev by grabbing some IAP.

    50. Galaga 30th Collection

    Galaga

    In the old days, invaders from space were strange, remaining in a holding pattern and slowly descending, enabling you to shoot them. By the time of Galaxian, the aliens realised they could swoop down and get you, and Galaga 30th Collection is the game you get here, with minor updates that improve its graphics and pace, albeit for a weighty 140+ MB footprint on your device. Galaga fanatics can unlock other remakes in the series via IAP.

    51. X-Baseball

    It’s a little-known fact that baseball mostly involves trying to hit colourful birds flying overhead and bananas lobbed in your direction by a mischievous fan. But X-Baseball provides a perfect, accurate one-thumb iOS recreation of America’s favourite banana-thwacking pastime. (What?)

    X baseball

    52. Rogue Runner

    Rogue runner

    Rogue Runner is another one of those endless games, where you leap over gaps and shoot things until you fall down a chasm and ponder why your in-game avatar doesn’t learn to stop once in a while. Rogue Runner stands out by offering a ton of skins and a smart overhead dodge-and-shoot variation, which is a bit like Spy Hunter if someone knocked the original arcade cabinet on its side – the vandal.

    53. Dumb Ways To Die

    Dumb Ways To Die

    Based on a Webby Award winning video, Dumb Ways to Die lets you try and save adorable characters from dying in dumb ways. There’s more than a hint of WarioWare when it comes to the game’s quickfire levels, which charge you in mere seconds with batting away wasps, saving private parts from underwater peril, stopping a head from exploding in outer space, and many more surreal rescue missions.

    54. Draw Something Free

    Draw Something

    “No drawing skills required!,” boasts the App Store description for Draw Something Free. You might argue otherwise when this app demands you draw something suitably tricky for your friends to guess, but can merely manage a red blob. Still, Pictionary plus iPhone plus social gaming equals ‘must have’ in gaming maths.

    55. Temple Run

    Temple Run

    Top tip for any budding Indiana Jones types reading this: do not steal shiny things from temples guarded by demon monkeys, otherwise you will die. Still, if you’re too stubborn to take our advice, use Temple Run for training, swiping and tilting your device until your on screen hero meets his inevitable demise.

    56. ElectroMaster

    Electro Master

    We’ve no idea what’s going on in ElectroMaster, beyond a bored girl trying to avoid responsibility by killing everything in sight with electro-blasts. The game’s sort of like a twin-stick shooter but you tap-hold to charge and then release to let rip, dragging your finger about to fry your foes.

    Games are short, but this is one of the most thrilling blasters on the system, despite it costing nothing at all.

    57. Grim Joggers Freestyle

    Grim Joggers Freestyle

    The original Grim Joggers was odd enough: 15 joggers jog for their lives in oddball environments, including a warzone, the Arctic, and an alien world. In the free Grim Joggers Freestyle, you get just one world, but it mashes up everything from the paid game into a surreal (but thoroughly enjoyable) endless survival game.

    58. Frisbee Forever

    Frisbee Forever

    Flinging a plastic disc can be dull in the real world, but in this whimsical game the classic toy gets to soar over desert canyons, through Ferris wheels and alongside pirate ships moored in sandy bays. Frisbee Forever is a flying disc game as Nintendo might have crafted it, with vibrant graphics, jolly music and simple but engaging gameplay.

    59. Wind-Up Knight

    Wind-up Knight

    Kings in fairytale lands have a screw lose, or perhaps just an odd desire to create the conditions for a tough videogame. In Wind-Up Knight, a princess has been kidnapped. Horrors! But rather than send an army, the king tasks a knight with rescuing her. Only he’s fragile. And clockwork. And can’t turn around.

    Really, it’s an excuse for puzzle-oriented swipe-based thrills, which demand near-perfect timing as the quest nears its end.

    60. Flood-It! 2

    Flood It

    Flood-It! 2 meets the rules of great puzzlers: keep things simple, but make the game so challenging that your brains start to dribble out of your ears. In Flood-It!, you tap colours to ‘flood’ the board from the top-left, aiming to make the entire board one colour using a limited number of taps.

    This release offers additional modes over the original Flood-It! (timers, obstacles, finishing with a defined colour), and offers schemes for colour-blind players.

    61. The Sims Freeplay

    Sims

    EA might not have a great reputation when it comes to free-to-play (*cough cough* Dungeon Keeper), but The Sims Freeplay is one of the games that’s closer to getting the balance “right”. Buying more Simoleons (the in-game currency) with real money will let you skip ahead, but you can also simply make your Sim earn them in the good old fashioned way by getting them a job. Lifestyle points will let you skip timers, but they can also be earned by levelling up. As for the game itself, this is the closest thing to a fully-fledged Sims experience you’ll get on your mobile.

    62. Tiny Tower

    Tiny Tower

    Social management games are big business, but are often stuffed full of cynical wallet-grabbing mechanics. While Tiny Tower does have the whiff of IAP to speed things along a bit, its tower-building and management remains enjoyable even if you pay nothing at all, and the pixel graphics are lovely.

    63. Cube Runner

    Cube Runner

    The accelerometers in Apple handhelds have driven development of myriad tilt-based racing games, but tilt controls can be finicky. Cube Runner, however, feels just right as you pilot your craft left and right through cube-littered landscapes, aiming to survive for as long as possible.

    The game doesn’t look like much, but it plays well, and longevity is extended by Cube Runner enabling you to create and download new levels.

    64. Letris 4

    Letris

    At first, Letris 4 looks like yet another bog-standard word game, albeit one that’s rather visually swish, but it regularly tries new things. The game’s based around creating words from falling tiles, but it keeps things fresh by adding hazards, such as debris, ice and various creatures lurking in the letter pile. If you’re feeling particularly brainy, you can even play in two languages at once.

    65. Bejeweled Blitz

    Bejeweled Blitz

    Before we played Bejeweled Blitz, we never knew precious gems were so ‘explodey’. Still, here’s the frantic member of the match-tree/gem-swap family, giving you one minute to obliterate as much shiny as possible, and then discover via online leaderboards that your chums are gem-smashing wizards.

    66. Cool Pizza

    Cool Pizza

    Cool Pizza isn’t so much endless running as endless weirdness. In a world of stark black, white and neon, a skateboarder catches air to hack oddball enemies (laser-spewing mini Cthulhus; rotating pyramids of doom) to death. The crunchy soundtrack adds to the sensory overload, resulting in one of the finest freebies on the platform.

    67. Frisbee Forever 2

    Frisbee Forever 2

    We already covered Frisbee Forever on this list, with its Nintendo-like fling-a-plastic-disc about larks. Frisbee Forever 2‘s essentially more of the same, but prettier, smoother and with wilder locations in which to fly through hoops and collect stars. It’s lovely and costs precisely zero pence, so download it.

    68. Gridrunner Free

    Grid Runner

    Jeff Minter is a shoot ’em up genius, and his Gridrunner series has a long history, starting out on the VIC-20, at the dawn of home gaming.

    This update riffs off classic Namco arcade machines but also shoves modern bullet-hell mechanics into a claustrophobic single screen, and in this version’s survival mode, you have just one life. Argh! The 69p ‘Oxtended Mode’ IAP adds the rest of the standard game.

    69. Subway Surfers

    Subway Surfers

    It looks a lot like Temple Run mashed into a children’s cartoon show, but Subway Surfers plays a lot more like Run!, with its primarily linear leaping and sliding action. There are also plenty of power-ups to keep your graffiti-spraying hoodlum away from the chasing lawman and his faithful mutt. Just don’t try this at home, kids, unless you want to redecorate a train with your innards.

    70. HungryMaster

    Hungry Master

    The hero from the insane ElectroMaster returns, but this time she appears to be tasked with feeding sentient houses roaring “HUNGRY!” in a fairly rude manner.

    Local monsters amble about, which can be snared by swiping over them with a surprisingly deadly pixie dust trail, whereupon they’re handily converted into food to be collected. Much like ElectroMaster, HungryMaster feels like someone found a lost classic arcade game and squirted it into your iPhone, but forgot to charge you for it.

    71. Temple Run 2

    Temple Run 2

    We have no sympathy for the heroes of Temple Run 2. Having presumably escaped from the demon monkeys in Temple Run, they steal more ancient and shiny goodies. This time, they’re pursued by only one undead ape – but it’s massive. Cue: more running/jumping/hopefully not falling over, and some new mine-cart and zip-line sections. Wheeee!

    72. Dropship

    Dropship

    This wonderful ngmoco title used to cost a few quid, but Dropship is now free and is one of the App Store’s biggest bargains. The game is a modern take on Gravitar or Thrust, with your ship battling gravity and shooting gun emplacements while searching complex vector-based cave formations for marooned allies.

    The ‘touch anywhere’ dual-thumb controls take some getting used to, but the game feels fluid and exciting once they’re mastered.

    73. Chip Chain

    Chip Chain

    This combo-oriented match game has a casino feel, and there is a certain amount of luck evident, not least in the way new chips are added to the table. But in carefully laying your own chips in Chip Chain, merging sets of three to increment their number, and wisely playing cards, you can amass high scores while simultaneously wondering why real casino games are rarely as much fun.

    74. Score! World Goals

    Score

    Take dozens of classic goals and introduce them to path-drawing and you’ve got the oddly addictive game of Score! World Goals. As you recreate stunning moments of soccer greatness, the game pauses for you to get the ball to its next spot. Accuracy rewards you with stars; failure presumably means you’re compelled to take an early bath.

    75. Groove Coaster Zero

    Groove Coaster

    Tap! Tap! Swipe! Rub! Argh! That’s the way this intoxicating rhythm action game plays out. Groove Coaster Zero is all on rails, and chock full of dizzying roller-coaster-style paths and exciting tunes. All the while, you aim for prodding perfection, chaining hits and other movements as symbols appear on the screen. Simple, stylish and brilliant.

    76. Snuggle Truck

    Snuggle Truck

    For reasons unknown, cuddly toys are making a break for it, trying to get away from… something. We dread to think what cuddly toys are scared of, but we’re willing to help them flee. The aim in Snuggle Truck, then: trials-like side-on hill-jumping with a truck, trying not to spill your cute chums along the way.

    77. Pac-Man 256

    Pac man

    This latest rethink of one of gaming’s oldest and most-loved series asks what lies beyond the infamous level 256 glitch. As it turns out, it’s endless mazey hell for the yellow dot-muncher. Pac-Man’s therefore charged with eating as many dots as possible, avoiding a seemingly infinite number of ghosts, while simultaneously outrunning the all-devouring glitch. Power-ups potentially extend Pac-Man’s life, enabling you to gleefully take out lines of ghosts with a laser or obliterate them with a wandering tornado.

    Although there’s an energy system in Pac-Man 256, it’s reasonably generous: one credit for a game with power-ups, and one for the single continue; one credit refreshes every ten minutes, to a maximum of six, and you can always play without power-ups for free. If you don’t like that, there’s an IAP-based £5.99/$7.99 permanent buy-out.

    78. Cubed Rally Redline

    Cubed Rally Redline

    The endless rally game Cubed Rally Redline is devious. On the surface, it looks simple: move left or right in five clearly-defined lanes, and use the ’emergency time brake’ to navigate tricky bits. But the brake needs time to recharge and the road soon becomes chock full of trees, cows, cruise liners and dinosaurs. And you thought your local motorway had problems!

    79. Whale Trail

    Whale Trail

    There’s something delightfully trippy and dreamy about Whale Trail, which features a giant mammal from the sea traversing the heavens, powered by rainbow bubbles, collecting stars with which to attack menacing angry clouds. The game’s sweet nature disguises a challenging edge, though – it takes plenty of practice before your whale stays aloft for any length of time.

    80. 1800

    eighteen hundred

    Games don’t come any simpler than 1800. You try to stop a cursor in the dead centre of the screen, which rewards you with the maximum score. Any deviation and you’ll be awarded with a lower number and have to try again… and again. This one might be insanely minimal but it’s absurdly addictive.

    81. Peggle Blast

    Peggle

    If you’ve never played Peggle before then get ready for a new addiction as shooting balls at pegs has never been this much fun. Actually, before Peggle shooting balls at pegs probably wasn’t even slightly fun, but with its colourful art style, crazy power-ups and high-score chasing Peggle Blast is very much a game where one more go turns into a dozen.

    In app purchases can give you an edge, but it’s playable without them and hearing Ode to Joy at the end of each level is all the sweeter for having earned your victory.

    82. Clowns in the Face

    Clowns in the Face

    Tennis in the Face had a racket-wielding hero saving a city from an evil energy drink corporation, mostly through smacking enemies in the face with tennis balls. This freebie version comes across like the protagonist’s fever dream, placing him in a clown-filled hell, with only his fuzzy balls to save him.

    83. Plants vs Zombies 2

    plants vs zombies

    This is more like Plants vs Zombies 2 vs freemium grinding. But if you can look past the forced repetition of stages and irksome IAP, there’s a lot to like in EA’s horticulture/zombie defence sequel, including loads of new stages, a bunch of new plants, plenty of unique features, and a smattering of time travel.

    84. Doctor Who: Legacy

    Doctor Who

    It’s a case of timey-wimey-puzzley-wuzzley as Doctor Who: Legacy aims to show you that your iPhone is bigger on the inside, able to house intergalactic warfare. The game itself is a gem-swapper not a million miles away from Puzzle Quest, but all the Doctor Who trappings will make it a must for fans of the show – or Daleks fine-tuning their tactics regarding how to finally beat their nemesis, mostly via the use of strategically placed coloured orbs.

    85. Rise of the Blobs

    rise of the blobs

    Poor Marsh Mal. He’s atop a cylindrical tower, about to be mauled to death by waves of hungry blobs. His only defence: a limitless supply of fruit, which he can use to blow up like-coloured blobs, thereby holding off death for a few precious extra moments.

    Yep, it’s Rise of the Blobs – another block-falling game (think: a simplified Dr. Mario wrapped around a tube), but this one has wonderful visuals, suitably squelchy sound, and strategic underpinnings for those willing to master the game mechanics.

    86. Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol

    Ace Patrol

    Nyeeeeooowww! Daggadaggadaggadagga! It’s biplane o’ clock in this Civ-like take on World War I dogfighting. You and the bally enemy take it in turns to climb, dive, roll and shoot, as you aim to turn the tide of the war and ensure it’ll all be over by Christmas.

    Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol is also one of the few games we’ve seen that understands the concept of micro-transactions, for example enabling you to spring POWs for 69p/$0.99 a pop.

    87. Tiny Thief

    Tiny Thief

    It’s hard not to have a smile glued to your face when playing Tiny Thief, with its colourful cartoon graphics, inventive levels and constant humour.

    It feels like a point and click game of old redesigned for the smartphone generation, with simple controls and bite-sized levels.

    While you get several level packs for free several more are hidden behind a paywall, but whether you stump up for them or not the game is likely to prove memorable and well worth your time.

    88. Pocket Planes

    pocket planes

    The Tiny Tower devs take to the air in game form. In, Pocket Planes, this management sim, you take command of a fleet of planes, aiming to not entirely annoy people as you ferry them around the world. Like Tiny Tower, this one’s a touch grindy, but it’s a similarly amusing time-waster.

    89. Dots

    dots

    Dots looks and feels like the sort of thing Jony Ive might play on his downtime (well, ignoring the festive theme, which is probably more Scott Forstall’s style). A stark regimented set of coloured dots awaits, and like-coloured ones can be joined, whereupon they disappear, enabling more to fall into the square well. The aim: clear as many as possible – with the largest combos you can muster – in 60 seconds.

    90. Smash Bandits

    smash bandits

    In Smash Cops, you got to be the good guy, bringing down perps, mostly by ramming them into oblivion. Now in Smash Bandits it’s your chance to be a dangerous crim, hopping between vehicles and leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. The game also amusingly includes the A-Team van and a gadget known only as the Jibba Jabba. We love it when a plan comes together!

    91. Sage Solitaire

    Solitaire

    If you’re of a certain vintage, you probably spent many hours playing Solitaire on a PC, success being rewarded by cards bouncing around the screen. Sage Solitaire‘s developer wondered why iOS solitaire games hadn’t moved on in the intervening years, and decided to reinvent the genre. Here, then, you get a three-by-three grid and remove cards by using poker hands.

    Additional strategy comes through limitations (hands must include cards from two rows; card piles are uneven) and potential aid (two ‘trashes’, one replenished after each successful hand; a starred multiplier suit). A few rounds in, you realise this game’s deeper than it first appears. Beyond that, you’ll be hooked. The single £2.29/$2.99 IAP adds extra modes and kills the ads.


  • iPad Pro rivals: 5 cheaper convertibles you can buy today
    iPad Pro rivals: 5 cheaper convertibles you can buy today

    Introduction

    iPad Pro

    Apple is ready for the enterprise. Since the announcement of the iPad Pro, Apple is talking up the tablet’s larger 12.9-inch high resolution display, support for a keyboard folio case and digital inking with the Apple Pencil as key components that will help users create content and stay productive. However, there are already tablets that offer all these capabilities, and the best part is that these slates are cheaper than the $799 (£520, AU$1,146) iPad Pro plus the added accessories.

    Another benefit of these five Windows-powered tablets is that they can be used as a replacement for your laptops. These convertible two-in-one notebooks can be used as your tablet for content consumption, as a laptop with the full power of Windows, and a few of them come with optional desktop docks that allow you to replace your desktop PC.

    These multi-form factor designs mean you can carry less gear when traveling and save cost. With the iPad Pro’s more limited iOS 9 OS, you’ll likely still need to have either a desktop PC or a laptop in addition to the tablet.

    Let’s take a look at these tablets options:

    1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

    Surface Pro 3

    The Surface Pro 3 is perhaps the closest competitor to the iPad Pro, but the Microsoft-brand slate edges ahead of the iPad Pro in several key areas. It runs a full desktop-class operating system, comes with expansion through a USB port and micro SD card slot and gives you a legacy display out port. Additionally, backed by Windows 10 and an Intel Core i series processor, the Surface Pro 3 offers more robust multitasking.

    Both slates start at $799 (£520, AU$1,146), but the Surface Pro 3 comes with a Surface Pen whereas the Apple Pencil is an optional $99 accessory. If you go with either tablet and want to convert them into a laptop form factor, be prepared to spend extra for a keyboard cover.

    2. Microsoft Surface 3

    Surface 3

    If size doesn’t matter and you’re okay with a slightly smaller screen, the compact Microsoft Surface 3 is an excellent contender in this space. With a 10.8-inch display, the Surface 3’s 3:2 aspect ratio makes it more productive, requiring less scrolling. It’s got an Intel Atom processor, rather than the Core i series, but that should give you enough horsepower for your computing tasks.

    Like the Surface Pro 3, the smaller Surface 3 supports a keyboard cover and the Surface Pen. The Surface 3 starts at $499 (£324, AU$716), but the Surface Pen and Type Cover are optional add-ons.

    3. Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2nd Generation

    ThinkPad Helix

    This tablet starts at $944 (£614, AU$1,354), and the price includes both the Wacom-powered stylus and a keyboard dock that gives it an Ultrabook-feel. You also get more storage with the Lenovo model with a 256GB solid state drive. For comparison, the 32GB iPad Pro equipped with a pen and keyboard comes to $1,067 (£694, AU$1,531).

    The solid ThinkPad construction is a plus, and the tablet comes with two batteries, one inside the tablet and a second in the keyboard dock to help you get through your work day.

    The ThinkPad has an 11.6-inch full HD display, and the same Intel Core M processor that’s powering Apple’s MacBook. The Core M means that the Helix’s performance is between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3.

    If you’re a touch typist, Lenovo’s keyboard dock offers responsive keys, and you’ll also get more expansion ports than on the iPad Pro.

    Lenovo also recently unveiled the ideapad MIIX 700, a tablet that’s seen as a close competitor to the Surface Pro 3 with Intel’s second generation Skylake-based Core M processor. Intel claims that this chip doubles the performance of today’s tablets.

    4. Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series

    Dell Venue 11 Pro

    Dell’s flagship tablet starts at just $699 (£455, AU$1,003) and comes with an Intel Core M processor. With a 10.8-inch display and a 16:9 aspect ratio, the biggest complaint about the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series is a cramped screen that’s not as conducive for multitasking, but the tablet should handle most tasks fine.

    keyboards

    Like the iPad Pro, the keyboard dock and the pen are optional extras, but at least the Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series has a lower starting price. You can choose from two different keyboard docks, and Dell also has a desktop dock that gives you more ports and the ability to connect an external display to use the tablet as a desktop PC replacement.

    5. Acer Aspire R13

    Aspire R13

    With a 13.3-inch display, the Acer Aspire R13 is a versatile tablet that allows you to flip and use your screen in a number of different orientations. You can use the device as a laptop, swivel the screen around and use it as a tablet, or use it as an easel for artistic creation.

    Aspire R13

    The Aspire R13’s display doesn’t detach from the keyboard, so its $999 (£650, AU$1,433) price means you’ll get the keyboard included. It comes with 256GB of storage, or double the storage capacity of the largest iPad Pro configuration, and the pen is included.


  • Siri will only work on the new Apple TV in 8 countries at launch
    Siri will only work on the new Apple TV in 8 countries at launchAfter years of rumors, the new Apple TV has officially been announced and as expected, Siri has wormed her digital presence into the new remote for voice control and search.

    But according to the Apple TV developers page, it appears that only those lucky enough to live in eight selected countries will get to enjoy the power of the digital assistant when the new Apple TV launches around the world.

    Users in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US will all get to control the new home entertainment hub with their voice, pressing the microphone button to enable Siri control.

    But for everyone else around the world, pressing the microphone button on the new controller will instead “open the onscreen search app”.

    Exactly what that entails is yet to be seen, although we’d expect it to resemble the current search function on the Apple TV, with a more integrated approach across the new range of Apple TV apps.

    That’s not to say that Siri support will never come to countries outside of those initial eight, but it’s definitely worth taking into account before you rush out to pre-order the device.


  • 5 reasons Surface Pro is a better tablet for businesses than iPad Pro
    5 reasons Surface Pro is a better tablet for businesses than iPad Pro

    Introduction

    iPad Pro

    After much hype, speculation and plenty of anticipation, Apple finally announced the iPad Pro. Yet, despite all of the slate’s pro features, and the slew of software and accessories that were highlighted during the keynote, the iPad Pro fails to live up to its Pro moniker.

    Instead, the tablet appears to be a super-sized and super-charged iPad Air that Apple is pushing into the enterprise. What Apple should have done is start from the ground up with an OS X-powered tablet that addresses the needs of mobile professionals, creative digital artists and power users everywhere.

    iPad Pro

    As it stands, the iOS 9-powered iPad Pro lacks a truly powerful multitasking interface, requires users to create a new workflow, lacks ports for expansion, doesn’t support mouse-based input and is an expensive additive to your existing laptop or desktop rather than a suitable PC replacement. Many of these concerns could have been addressed had Apple chosen to release a pro version of the iPad Pro with OS X instead.

    1. Small fish competing against bigger fishes

    iPad Pro

    An OS X-powered tablet is the stuff that unicorn dreams are made of, and despite years of endless hoping, Apple still has not delivered on this front. The lack of a high-powered, performance-packed slate opened the doors for Axiotron to retrofit existing Apple notebooks into tablets called the Modbook, but those devices are generally power-hungry and bulky.

    With Intel’s announcement of the sixth generation Skylake processor, Apple could have easily used a Core M processor and loaded a pro-targeted slate with OS X Yosemite. Apple has shown that it can use Intel’s Core M chip in a thin, fanless design with the 2015 MacBook, a laptop that weighs just 2.03 pounds (0.92kg). The iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch form factor weighs 1.57 pounds (0.71kg), a number that is obtainable if Apple sheds the keyboard portion of the MacBook.

    A pro iPad Pro with OS X and an Intel Core M processor could deliver similar performance numbers as the A9X processor on the iPad Pro. Apple says that its processor delivers 80% of the processing power and up to 90% of the graphics power of today’s PCs, and Intel claims that its newest Core M chips can deliver twice the computing performance of today’s tablets, 80% of the power of discrete GPUs and a similar 10-hour long battery life. Even though the iPad Pro has a pixel-packed display, Skylake can drive up to three 4K displays simultaneously, each at 60 frames per second.

    As it’s priced, the iPad Pro starts at the same price as the Surface Pro 3 ($799, £510, AU$1,141), which comes with more storage to start, a more powerful processor and more expandability. Add in the Apple Pencil $99 (£64, AU$141) and the keyboard cover ($169, £110, AU$240) and the total cost of ownership (TCO) rises quickly, but the iPad Pro can’t do everything that a laptop or Surface Pro can do.

    Going with a Core M architecture would allow Apple to use OS X instead of iOS 9, and this opens the doors up to more robust computing gains.

    2. A mouse trap

    iPad Pro

    If the iPad Pro is the future of convertible computing, allowing users to switch between laptop and tablet form factors, then did Apple just kill the mouse?

    The iPad Pro comes with better software keyboard support and has an optional keyboard cover. However, Apple made no mention of mouse support. In fact, the Apple-branded folio keyboard shown comes with a standard key arrangement, similar to third-party offerings available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 from partners like Zagg and Logitech, but no trackpad.

    The irony here is that even the iPhone 6S comes with mouse-like support. The 3D Touch display on the smartphone brings controls that are similar to right-clicking on a desktop, but this display was not mentioned for the iPad Pro.

    Without proper mouse support, users would have to reach out and touch the display, even while in laptop mode, or poke at the display with their pens. This makes it less ergonomic and more imprecise than having a mouse cursor. And without 3D Touch, you don’t have additional menu commands that a right-click would bring.

    3. Re-learning the basics

    iPad Pro

    To highlight the productivity potential of the iPad Pro, Apple brought partner Adobe on stage to demonstrate new software that’s designed specifically for iPad. The software demo is impressive, showing how you can touch up a photo, create a magazine layout and draw digital sketches.

    Adobe Com is a simple design tool that allows users to layout a design for a magazine. By drawing simple shapes, users add placeholders for the various content, and then the copy and style can be edited and applied later. Adobe showed that you can multitask and send an image from Com to Adobe Photoshop Fix for retouching. Once the retouching is finished, it is sent back to Com. Artists can also add sketches and drawing from Adobe Sketch.

    iPad Pro

    While these apps are powerful in their own right, creative professionals who work on the desktop are probably more familiar with Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, all sorely lacking on the iPad Pro. These software packages are available on desktop OSes, like OS X and Windows, and are available natively on the Surface Pro 3.

    On the iPad, you’ll need to readjust your workflow by finding comparable alternatives and suitable replacements to the familiar experiences you’ve grown accustomed to on your desktop or laptop.

    4. A tablet that wants to grow up

    iPad lineup

    If you buy an iPad Pro, you’re trapped. Even though it has a powerful A9X brain to deliver faster compute and graphics capabilities, it doesn’t address the needs of real-world computing. Without support for legacy ports, the iPad Pro’s potential in the enterprise space is severely limited, unless IT administrators fully commit to Apple’s ecosystem.

    The iPad Pro lacks a USB port, which means you can’t readily backup, transfer or share data via a USB flash drive. It also lacks a native DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort or HDMI port for video output, meaning you’ll need an Apple TV and Wi-Fi to mirror your tablet’s screen to a larger display to give presentations. And without a proper video output port, it also means you can’t use it as a desktop replacement by connecting an even larger monitor to your tablet.

    Surface Pro 3

    These are all basic capabilities that Microsoft has built into the Surface Pro 3.

    Beyond just legacy connectivity, Apple didn’t address enterprise security needs beyond the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, such as support for Smart Card readers or TPM.

    The good news is that there is a POGO port built into the side of the iPad Pro to connect the keyboard folio. Apple revealed that the POGO port can accommodate power and data transfer, so likely we’ll see some limited expansion capabilities, like a battery-powered cover. However, lacking a true file system, don’t expect to plug in a USB flash drive or external hard drive.

    5. Learning how to juggle

    iPad Pro

    As part of my workflow, I have multiple browser windows, each with multiple tabs, and multiple apps open in cascading windows spread across my display. I use a laptop with a 12.5-inch screen, so my screen size is roughly comparable to the 12.9-inch display on the iPad Pro.

    This isn’t possible on the iPad Pro. Multitasking on iOS 9 would only allow me to open two windows side-by-side.

    On the other hand, if Apple used OS X on the iPad Pro, I would be able to bring desktop-class multitasking to a tablet form factor. Because Apple is pitching the iPad Pro as a laptop alternative or replacement with the optional folio keyboard, it seems that that iOS 9’s limitations cripple the productivity potential of the iPad Pro in its current state.

    Microsoft delivers much better multitasking thanks to the new snap feature of Windows 10. With Windows 10, you can have a cluttered array of cascading windows, you can snap up to four windows together or you can have multiple desktops to help you keep focus. In this respect, the Surface Pro 3 still reigns king in productivity.

    Lacking these capabilities, Apple’s iPad Pro can’t come close to being a tablet that can replace your old iPad, MacBook and iMac. On the other hand, Microsoft has built its Surface Pro franchise on this very capability. The Surface Pro, and similar Windows tablets, can replace a laptop with a keyboard dock, and if you add a desktop dock you can also replace your desktop.


  • What does Microsoft’s special invite to Apple’s iPad Pro event mean for the Surface Pro?
    What does Microsoft's special invite to Apple's iPad Pro event mean for the Surface Pro?Microsoft was the surprise guest at today’s Apple event in San Francisco with Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for Office 365 Client Applications, extolling the virtues of Office and the Edge browser on the new iPad Pro tablet.

    What made that surreal is that both companies have had a chequered relationship over the past 30 years, often regarded as being archrival with competing products.

    Nearly 20 years ago, Microsoft bought $150 million worth of shares in Apple, a move that many said saved Steve Jobs’ job (although that has been being hotly debated).

    The deal was announced by Gates with the then-Microsoft CEO saying that it was “very exciting to renew our commitment to Apple”.

    YouTube : youtubeurlMore importantly perhaps, Microsoft promised to deliver Office for Mac and Internet Explorer for Mac for five years.

    Fast forward to 2015 and Apple has the upper hand and Microsoft is the one who has not been able to flawlessly execute its plans over the past decade.

    The company is now worth more than $640 billion, making it nearly twice as large as Microsoft; the iPad, iPhone, MacBook family and the iMac are the industry benchmark when it comes to profitability and sheer volume sold.

    With hundreds of millions of devices worldwide running in a tight, controlled operating system, Apple’s installed base simply cannot be ignored; likewise, while Apple has the likes of Pages and Numbers to rival Microsoft’s Office, they simply cannot compete, especially as Microsoft made these free for mobile devices.

    So what’s it all mean?

    So, the appearance of Microsoft at Apple’s event means that the frosty relationship between the two companies is starting to thaw. Microsoft is convincing itself that it is becoming more of a software/infrastructure vendor and leaving Apple to be the main driver for hardware.

    Could Microsoft be looking to dilute the value of the Surface Pro 4, accepting that the iPad is the superior product when it comes to market penetration? It seems that Microsoft and Apple have decided to settle on their consumer positions for now with B2B being the next battleground.

    Apple has already teamed up with Cisco and IBM to beef up its presence in the enterprise market and Microsoft announced yesterday that it has enrolled Dell and HP to become resellers for Surface Pro 3. Coincidence? Surely not.


  • Updated: iPad Pro release date, news and features
    Updated: iPad Pro release date, news and features

    Release date, design and specs

    With Apple’s thinner, lighter iPad Air (and now iPad Air 2) and Retina display-equipped iPad mini 3 out in the open, what’s left for Apple to do?

    That’s right: Apple just unveiled an even larger iPad, the iPad Pro. The slate will feature a 12.9-inch display with a 2,732 x 2,048 resolution capable of showing 5.6 million pixels.

    iPad Pro

    Why the iPad Pro then?

    Back in 2013, Apple did something interesting with the launch of its fifth generation iPad (aside from a total hardware revamp): gave it a new name.

    The iPad Air alluded to the Cupertino’s company adopting the naming convention of its laptop lines, the MacBook Air and Pro series, for its premiere range of tablets.

    Logic would have dictated, then, that if Apple were to release an even more sizable iPad, it would be with a professional bent and named the iPad Pro. So, at today’s event we were proven correct with a newer, bigger iPad.

    Cut to the chase
    What is it? A brand new, larger iPad with an enterprise slant
    When will it be released? November 2015
    What will it cost? From $799 (probably around £599 and AU$1199)

    iPad Pro specs

    iPad Pro

    The iPad Pro will feature the A9X chip, Apple’s third generation 64-bit chip, which is 1.5 times faster than the A8X chip. This speed makes the iPad Pro 80% faster than all portable PCs on the market, and 90% faster at rendering graphics than comparable portable PCs.

    It will feature a battery that can run on a single charge for 10 hours, according to Apple. It will weigh 1.57 pounds (712g) and it is available in gold, silver and space grey.

    iPad Pro

    An optional accessory, the Smart Keyboard, that connects to the tablet via a Smart Connector that carries power and data via a magnetic connection. Additionally, the Apple Pencil will feature Force Touch, which enables the tablet to pick up on pressure, angle, dimension and any other complex data entry positioning. The Apple Pencil will stay charged for an hour, but comes with a Lightning cable that can be charged via the tablet itself.

    The iPad Pro will feature four speakers, one at each corner, all of which are capable of producing three-times the audio of the iPad Air 2.

    iOS 9

    In iOS 9, you’ll be able to use Apple Pencil to mark up emails and attachments. The YouMake app will let you create complex designs with exact precision, down to a single pixel.

    Perhaps the biggest giveaway that the iPad Pro works with a larger on-screen keyboard, similar to the one found on Apple’s MacBook notebooks, which features an additional row of smaller keys for symbols in the main view and numbers in a secondary view.

    iPad Pro

    You’ll also be able to work in documents that run side-by-side in Portrait mode, a first for the iPad.

    Apple teaming with IBM & Cisco

    In order to further its lead in the enterprise space through BYOD, Apple partnered up with IBM to create new business-focused apps for iOS. This includes exclusive apps created by Apple and IBM in tandem ranging from data and analytics to device management and security.

    Also joining the Apple team is networking giant Cisco who, last week, announced that it will “optimise business networks running on Cisco Systems so that Apple devices are more useful for enterprises”.

    While this move is currently just to increase the amount of existing iOS devices in the office, is there a better way to grease the wheels for a pro-centric iOS device? Not without spending a ton more cash, that’s for sure.

    Sticking with the business slant, a report by AppleInsider claims that the over-sized iPad is set to come with NFC functionality which will be allow merchants to take payments using Apple Pay. That could make it a boon for the legions of retailers that have signed up to Apple’s tap-to-play platform in the countries where it has rolled out.

    The competition is already heating up

    Samsung beat Apple to the punch in unveiling its 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab Pro tablets during CES 2014. With that, DigiTimes expects Apple “to release its competitor by the end of the third quarter at the earliest.” That was last year and obviously nothing happened since.

    YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqdOPHjL34w#t=69The question is: will the iPad Pro help fend off the Galaxy Note Pro and other rumored monster 13-inch tablets? Analyst house KGI reckons the answer is no. As spotted by 9to5Mac, KGI noted that while it’s “confident that the expected 12.9-inch iPad model can create an improved user experience,” it doesn’t expect the device to “contribute meaningfully to shipments momentum anytime soon.”

    Coincidentally, Microsoft and Dell announced that they were teaming up to bring the Surface Pro to an enterprise audience, just 24 hours before the Apple event, perhaps to pre-empt the launch of the iPad Pro.

    Toshiba also unveiled a prototype of a Windows 10 tablet at IFA, days ago, that seems to be primed to be a potential competitor to the iPad Pro. It is still a prototype but looked almost like the finished product bar the oddly placed stylus.

    iPad Pro storage

    This is Apple’s chance to differentiate the iPad Pro from the iPad Air even further. Professionals expect lots of space from their computing platform of choice, and while the current 128GB iPad maximum is nice, it might not be enough.

    Unfortunately, the iPad Pro will start with 32GB (Wi-Fi only) and can be configured with up to 128GB.

    The top spec version of the iPad Pro will cost $1079 (around £702, AU$1536) and comes with 128GB and 4G LTE wireless.


  • 5 things business users should expect from Apple’s event
    5 things business users should expect from Apple's event

    Introduction

    Apple

    Apple’s next big event is right around the corner and while the iPhone will once again take center stage, there are sure to be plenty of other announcements to look forward to. From iOS 9 and watchOS 2 to a possible iPad Pro reveal, the hype is definitely starting to ramp up.

    While most of these announcements will almost certainly focus on the consumer market, there are a ton of things for business users to get excited about. With that in mind, we’ve taken the opportunity to build the hype a bit more and look at some of the more business-oriented aspects of what Apple is likely to announce at its September event.

    New iPhones

    Apple

    Let’s just go ahead and knock this one out right away. Every fall, Apple announces its latest iPhone hardware, and there’s absolutely no reason to expect otherwise in 2015. Rumors surrounding the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been swirling since as early as the debut of last year’s refresh, but the rumor mill has been winding up quite a bit over the past few months, and a couple of things seem almost certain.

    Since this year is a “minor refresh” year, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will likely carry over the same design as last year’s models, but with increased performance courtesy of an upgraded processor and, possibly, more RAM. Outside of design, the two models may see upgraded camera modules as well. However, there’s one rumored addition that could make the new iPhones pretty interesting: Force Touch.

    Force Touch, which made its way to the Apple Watch before being included on the latest MacBook refresh, essentially makes your device’s display pressure-sensitive. So far, the Apple Watch has only utilized Force Touch for easily accessing different menu options and functions – which is fine for a small screen – but it will be interesting to see how the function could be fleshed out to increase productivity on the iPhone. For example, with Force Touch built into the trackpad of the latest MacBooks, those working in video editing are able to easily scrub through footage faster or slower by applying more or less pressure in compatible apps. Similarly useful features could certainly make their way to the iPhone with Force Touch.

    iPad Pro?

    Apple

    Yes, the elusive iPad Pro has been rumored for a while, but we have yet to see Apple announce the sizable slate. With rumors swirling that we may get a peek at some new iPads on September 9, it certainly feels like an iPad Pro can’t be too far off.

    As a refresher, the iPad Pro is said to be a business-targeted tablet with a much larger screen than the current crop of iPads – coming in at somewhere between 12.2 and 12.9 inches. The device is also said to sport NFC, making it a go-to for use as a payment terminal. Other specs are in the air, but with the popularity of Microsoft’s Surface Pro line in business circles, there’s certainly a proven place carved out for larger tablets in the enterprise that Apple would be wise to capitalize on.

    While Apple may not be ready to put an iPad Pro up for sale, we could still get a sneak peek at the long-rumored tablet akin to the Apple Watch reveal, which came months ahead of its final release. Finally, with some of the features in store for iOS 9, it appears that Apple is definitely positioning itself for a larger, productivity-focused tablet.

    iOS 9

    Apple

    Of course, along with the annual iPhone refresh comes a new version of Apple’s mobile operating system. iOS 9 has been in developer preview since it was announced at WWDC, so we have a pretty good idea on what to expect – especially where it concerns business users.

    There’s no doubt that iOS 9 is much more of a spit and polish update than it is an overhaul, but there are still some cool minor features coming along that add up to making iOS more of a productivity powerhouse. For example, not only does iOS 9 include better integration with hardware keyboards with support for common shortcuts, but the the on-screen keyboard also allows for easier editing of big text chunks. Simply place two fingers on the keyboard, and it turns into a giant trackpad that allows you to quickly select large amounts of text.

    In addition to the keyboard changes, iOS 9 also packs a new split screen view and picture-in-picture for iPad users. For those familiar with Microsoft’s Snap windows, split screen will certainly be familiar, allowing you to easily jot down notes or work on a document on one side of the screen while checking email on the other. Picture-in-picture, on the other hand, will allow you to goof off a little by watching video while you’re working on your latest spreadsheet project.

    Of course, there is much more coming along in iOS 9, like improved Spotlight Search and a low power mode, but this should give you an idea of some of the productivity features to expect in Apple’s latest mobile OS.

    OS X El Capitan

    Apple

    Apple’s mobile offerings aren’t the only things set to get some operating system love. Mac users are also set to get an update to OS X in version 10.11 El Capitan. Last year, we saw a major visual refresh to OS X with Yosemite, so El Capitan is much more targeted towards polishing things up.

    For the business user, there are a few feature tweaks you can expect from El Capitan. Much like iOS 9, Apple’s latest desktop OS is picking up a split view feature. Again, this essentially works like Microsoft’s Snap feature in that it allows you to easily split the screen between two different apps.

    Spotlight Search is also getting much smarter in El Capitan, with the ability to surface more information from around the web like stocks and weather. Perhaps the biggest improvement, however, is support for natural language recognition. For example, typing “emails Juan sent me last month” will surface just that.

    El Capitan also contains a ton of other performance improvements and small tweaks to built-in apps that should result in greater performance, and should be a solid update. There’s a chance that Apple may not release El Capitan during its September event (we saw an October release for Yosemite, for example), but it’s definitely something to watch out for.

    watchOS 2

    Apple

    The last of Apple’s major OS updates, which was also announced at WWDC earlier this year, is watchOS 2 for the Apple Watch. The second version of the Apple Watch’s OS is largely expected to get a full release after its September event, and brings a number of improvements that should make an already intriguing device even better.

    watchOS 2 is finally opening up the Apple Watch’s sensors to third-party apps, which could have some potentially cool uses such as using the built-in microphone to quickly take voice memos. Additionally, watchOS 2 will add support for native apps – those that run completely on the watch itself – so you should start to see quicker launches and generally improved performance.

    Another feature on board is the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks without the aid of a connected iPhone, which will allow you to keep receiving important notifications even if you leave your phone behind. Additionally, you’ll now be able to reply to emails right from the watch, which could come in handy if you trust the Apple Watch’s dictation features.


  • Jawbone UP3 awakes from its slumber with new firmware
    Jawbone UP3 awakes from its slumber with new firmwareWhen Jawbone rolled out its latest generation of fitness trackers, the UP2 and UP3, they ditched the physical button of the UP24 and replaced it with a temperamental touch interface to switch between step and sleep tracking modes.

    It was a frustration, especially given the automatic sleep tracking of the Fitbit Charge HR.

    But now Jawbone has released a firmware update for the newer UP bands that does away with mode switching, allowing the band to automatically track sleep without any user input.

    The touch controls are still used to silence alarms and notifications, but are otherwise made redundant in this update.

    An update with heart

    UP3 owners also benefit from the update with the addition of passive heart rate monitoring. In addition to recording your resting heart rate at the moment you wake up, the UP3 will now also record your heart rate while you’re sitting down, not moving.

    The argument is that by including resting heart rate with passive heart rate, users will be able to start getting an insight into the effects of external things like stress or caffeine on their heart.

    The firmware update requires the latest version of the UP app on iOS or Android, and is available now.


  • Updated: Buying Guide: 10 best monitors and displays on the market 2015
    Updated: Buying Guide: 10 best monitors and displays on the market 2015

    Introduction

    Ten years ago, monitors were nothing more than necessary accessories. Today, they can be luxury items that dramatically improve all aspects of computing and content consumption. There are so many types of monitors that suit so many different needs.

    Screen resolution, response time, panel weight: everything should be considered when choosing a personal device or an enterprise fleet. Unfortunately, all of these specs can be confusing. We’ve compiled this roundup to help you sort through the abundance of options available.

    Update: The best news out of IFA 2015 for display lovers is that Intel’s sixth generation Skylake architecture can drive up to three 4K displays at 60 frames per second. This should lead to some serious desktop multitasking, which you can do on a 5K Philips monitor or even TV panels, like the Toshiba U Series 4K and Panasonic Viera.

    LG UltraWide 34UC97

    1. LG UltraWide 34UC97

    Great for work, games, and movies – but it’s costly

    Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440×1440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 19.8 pounds

    Good speakers with bass
    Great contrast and colour reproduction
    Expensive

    The LG’s curved design, high resolution and huge diagonal make it a high quality replacement for single 4K panels or a pair of 1080p screens, and the form factor means it’s tempting for work, games and movies.

    Read the full review: 34UC97

    Best monitor

    2. Acer S277HK

    A bezel-less beauty

    Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 11.9 pounds

    Bezel-less design
    Refresh rate
    No USB ports
    Height not adjustable

    A gorgeous IPS screen and bezel-free design make the S227HK a stunning display by itself or an even more impressive and immersive member of a multi-monitor setup.

    Read the full review: S277HK

    ViewSonic VP2772

    3. Viewsonic VP2772

    What this professional monitor lacks in style it makes up with exceptional picture quality

    Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 12ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 18.8 pounds

    Bezel-less design
    Refresh rate
    No USB ports
    Height not adjustable

    A rich set of features, great picture quality out of the box and hassle-free setup make the VP2772 an attractive monitor.

    Read the full review: VP2772

    Dell Ultrasharp UP2414Q

    4. Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q

    A superb display, but you’re paying through the nose for a mere 24-inches

    Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 8ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100%; Adobe RGB 99% | Weight: 10.58 pounds

    Super display
    Great features
    Very expensive
    Just 24-inches

    A fantastic monitor that’s a little ahead of its time in terms of GPU and operating system support.

    Read the full review: UltraSharp UP2414Q

    LG 34UM95

    5. LG 34UM95

    The first Thunderbolt 2-equipped 21:9 display is a cinematic sight to behold

    Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440×1440 | Brightness: 320 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 17 pounds

    Port selection
    Low input lag
    No adjustable height
    Speakers lack bass

    The 34UM95 finally does 21:9 justice, featuring a huge working area free of scaling issues, low input lag and high colour accuracy wrapped up in an attractive design. It’s not the cheapest of its kind, but it goes some way to justifying the cost.

    Read the full review: 34UM95

    BenQ BL2710PT

    6. BenQ BL2710PT

    Aimed at CAD/CAM professionals, this feature-packed 27-inch monitor delivers

    Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3440×1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 12ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 23.8 pounds

    Port selection
    Flicker-free backlight
    Design
    Touch controls

    A feature-packed and well-connected monitor that offers plenty for the asking price. It may not be exciting to look at and the menu controls suffer from a lack of labeling, but these are minor caveats that don’t detract from an overall worthy investment.

    Read the full review: BL2710PT

    Acer B276HUL

    7. Acer B326HUL

    Big, bold and accurate colours from a TV-sized monitor

    Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 15.35 pounds

    Colour accuracy
    Port selection
    No MHL
    Viewing angles

    Acer’s larger-than-life B326HUL comes with great colour accuracy out-of-the-box, easy-to-use menu controls and good build quality, but its above-average response time, lack of MHL and price point may make you want to look elsewhere.

    Read the full review: B326HUL

    Samsung UD590

    8. Samsung UD590

    An attractive, gaming-focused 4K monitor that’s well-suited for general tasks

    Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 370 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 12.43 pounds

    Easy to setup
    Image quality (once calibrated)
    No adjustable height
    TN panel

    A reasonably-priced 4K monitor with an attractive design, fast response time and decent image quality once you’ve calibrated it or fiddled with the settings.

    Read the full review: UD590

    Samsung UD970

    9. Samsung UD970

    Get ready for ultra high-def on your desktop

    Screen size: 31.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 280 cd/m2 | Response time: 8ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 30.14 pounds

    Colour accuracy
    Landscape/portrait rotation
    Hardware button menu navigation
    Cost

    A 4K display that’s factory-calibrated for great colour accuracy and image quality, which makes it ideal for digital designers, CAD/CAM engineers or videographers who aren’t put off by the high-price tag.

    Read the full review: UD970

    Asus PB287

    10. Asus PB287Q

    Get ready for ultra high-def on your desktop

    Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 87% | Weight: 21.1 pounds

    Stunning images
    Price
    Navigation
    Blindspots

    This machine isn’t perfect, but it produces perfect images, especially if you’re nowhere near sunlight. Photographers, designers and videographers will love this unit.

    Read the full review: PB287Q


  • Updated: Buying Guide: 7 best mobile workstations 2015: ideal laptops for business
    Updated: Buying Guide: 7 best mobile workstations 2015: ideal laptops for business

    Best mobile workstation 2015

    Few productivity decisions are more important and, in turn, nerve-racking than selecting the right mobile workstation for your employees.

    Making the wrong choice could mean saddling your employees with a bad computer. So what do business owners look for?

    A great display, computing power and exceptional battery life without breaking the bank. There are few mobile workstations that can do this and we’ve rounded them up here.

    Update: If you’re not working on large graphics or video files, Intel’s Skylake processor could make the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460 a light and versatile mobile workstation. For an even more compact offering, check out the ThinkPad Yoga 260. Intel claims that Skylake’s integrated processors could deliver up to 80% of the graphics power of today’s discrete graphics. Is this enough for you to ditch discrete GPUs?

    If you’d prefer a Best Desktop Workstation roundup or, if you’re interested in a business laptop that isn’t necessarily a workstation, we’ve got you covered.

    HP ZBook 14 G2

    1. HP ZBook 14 G2

    The belle of the mobile workstation ball

    CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-5600 | Graphics: AMD FirePro M4150 (1GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1920×1080 | Storage: 256GB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 3.77 pounds | Dimensions: 13.35 x 9.33 x 0.83 inches (W x D x H)

    Gorgeous build
    Lightweight, Intel Core i7 processor
    No touchscreen
    Battery life

    The HP ZBook 14 G2 balances style and performance in an lightweight package with a replaceable battery and removable bottom cover.

    Read the full review: ZBook 14 G2

    Best mobile workstation

    2. Lenovo ThinkPad W550s

    Workstation-grade performance with Ultrabook-class battery life

    CPU: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600U | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K2100M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.5-inch, 2,880 x 1,620 (3K), multi-touch display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.47 pounds (2.48kg) | Dimensions: 15 x 10.2 x 0.92 inches (38.1 x 25.9 x 2.34cm)

    Long battery life
    Strong performance
    No quad-core CPU option
    Bulky extended battery

    With more conservative CPU and GPU configurations than last year’s ThinkPad W540, the W550s provides impressive performance with the added bonus of longer battery life – all in a lighter, thinner body.

    Read the full review: ThinkPad W550s

    best mobile workstation

    3. Dell Precision M6800

    This monster laptop impresses with its power and versatility

    CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD FirePro M6100 Mobility Pro with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch HD+(1600×900) | Storage: 750GB HDD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 7.86 pounds (3.57kg) | Dimensions: 1.71 x 16.41 x 10.65 inches (43.4 x 416.7 x 270.6mm)

    Excellent performance
    Versatile, sensible and sturdy design
    Poor battery life
    Bulky, heavy chassis

    The M6800 is impressive, but it’s a niche product. If you can justify investing in such a powerful notebook, it excels in every important area, which makes it an excellent high-end workstation.

    Read the full review: Precision M6800

    Best mobile workstation

    4. HP ZBook 17 G2

    The best-testing mobile workstation

    CPU: 3.10 and 3.30 GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K5100M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD 1920×1080 | Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA, 256 PCIe SSD | Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 7.42 pounds | Dimensions: 16.37 x 10.7 x 1.33 inches

    Performance
    Speed
    Virus-prone
    Battery life

    With more conservative CPU and GPU configurations than last year’s ThinkPad W540, the W550s provides impressive performance with the added bonus of longer battery life – all in a lighter, thinner body.

    Read the full review: ZBook 17 G2

    best mobile workstation

    5. Dell Precision M3800

    Dell has produced one of the best Windows laptops available

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4702HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K1100M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD 1920×1080 | Storage: 500GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 1.86 kg | Dimensions: 18 x 372.1 x 254mm

    Superb CPU and graphics performance
    Thin-and-light design
    Poor battery life
    No ethernet port or optical drive

    If you can live with its quirks, the M3800 is still one of the best Windows laptops available and something we truly enjoyed using.

    Read the full review: Precision M3800

    Best mobile workstation

    6. Lenovo ThinkPad W540

    A top-notch 3K workstation with a top-shelf price tag

    CPU: 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4800MQ | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K2100M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 2880 x 1620 (3K) IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.57 pounds | Dimensions: 14.8 x 9.8 x 1.1 inches

    Immaculate 3K screen
    Great performance for any task
    Inconsistent build quality
    High-res screen hogs battery life

    The Lenovo ThinkPad W540 is a workstation powerhouse, but it’s too expensive for general office use.

    Read the full review: ThinkPad W540

    MSI

    7. MSI Prestige PE60 2QD

    A mobile workstation that has game

    CPU: 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB | RAM: 12GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD anti-glare | Storage: 1TB HDD, 7200RPM | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.29 pounds | Dimensions: 5.07″ x 10.23″ x 1.06″ (38.28 cm x 25.98 cm x 2.7 cm)

    Insane graphics
    Beautiful 15-inch LCD screen
    Clunky touchpad
    Poor performance on battery power

    The MSI Prestige is a laptop that can handle the newest games and tons of spreadsheets. It’s got a gorgeous screen, a dynamic build and it runs at a very nice clip.

    Read the full review: Prestige PE60 2QD