Chip May 2014
Editor’s Letter Maria Warnes, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org @ChipTechMag
Welcome So what is Chip magazine? I designed Chip magazine because I felt that gadget magazines are not up to scratch these days. When you look at the technology section in a magazine shop you will see two types of gadget/technology magazine; what I like to call the “bikini model” type and the “introduction to brand” type. The “bikini model” type of technology magazine will often feature a scantily clad lady on the front, posing with a gadget that is featured in the magazine. This type of magazine is obviously aimed exclusively at adult, straight men. The “introduction to brand” type magazine will often feature a single brand on the front like Windows 8 or Android. This type of magazine focuses on one brand or operating system exclusively and is aimed at the beginner or novice user of that particular technology, most commonly senior citizens. What I think is missing from the magazine market at the moment is a gender-neutral, age-neutral gadget/ technology magazine that covers all types of gadgets, aiming to include a female and senior audience who are hardly ever addressed in a technology environment.
I hope to do this by removing as much jargon as possible, and if it is needed, explaining it. I also want reviews to reflect a wider variety of people, not just the one opinion of the one person reviewing it. So in this magazine you will find reviews from three people from different generations, backgrounds and countries, this way you can make a more informed decision about the gadget that is being reviewed. In the Best Buys section you will find that the products are listed by best of ‘Budget’, ‘Midrange’ and ‘Luxury’ in each category. After all, everyone has different income and priorities with their money, so what’s the point of a top 10 list when everything has a really expensive price tag? Gadgets and technology are interesting and wonderful things that I think should be available to anyone who wants to learn more about them. So I hope that you enjoy this magazine and find it helpful and interesting, especially if you’re the type of person who looks at all of the gadget magazines out there today, like me, and thinks “not for me”.
Buy the Print Edition at chipmag.businesscatalyst.com/buy.html © 2014, Chip Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers. Liability: while every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot can’t be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequences arising from it. In the case of all product reviews, judgements have been mane in the context of ware based on the UK prices at the time of the review, which are subject to fluctuation and only applicable to the UK market.
Chip May 2014
Tech News 7–10 8 9 9 10
First ‘Heartbleed’ bug related arrest in London, Ontario, Canada Microsoft announce Apple ‘CarPlay’ rival concept ‘Microsoft in Car’. Google’s picks up viral video ‘Phoneblokks’ modular phone project ‘Ara’. Sony struggles to keep up with demand for their new console the PlayStation 4.
Quick Looks 11–14 12 13
FitBit One: The little fitness tracker that packs a big punch. Samsung Galaxy S5: The latest is the galaxy line up, how does it fare compared to it’s predecessors and it’s competition? Leap Motion: An intuitive yet innovative way of using your computer, look ma, no hands!
Reviews 15–20 16 18 20
Bowers & Wilkins P3: A beautiful balance of design, inside and out, an introduction. The reviewers spend a day with the the Bowers & Wilkins P3 Headphones. What did the reviewers think? Their scores, verdicts and thoughts.
Chip May 2014
Features 21–34 22
The Apple iMac: Looking like nothing that has come before it. 26 Microsoft Xbox One: Microsoft’s entry in the ongoing battle of the consoles is a strong one. 30 Sony PlayStation 4: Sony’s latest console puts emphasis on “Games without barriers”.
Learning 35–40 36
Cloud Computing; What is it? A description and brief history. 38 How does Cloud Computing work? An explanation of the types of services and the types of clouds available. 40 Which service is best for me? An explanation of Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud and Google Drive,
Best Buys 41–50 42
Smartphones: Motorola’s Moto G, LG’s G2 and Apple’s iPhone 5S. 43 Tablets: Asus’s FonePad, Google’s Nexus 7, and Apple’s iPad Mini. 44 Desktop Computers: Lenovo’s C365, Asus’ ET2220IUTI-B010K, and Apple’s iMac.
Chip May 2014
Images: News: pcmag.com. Quick Looks: Maria Warnes. Review: ibtimes.co.uk. Features: daily-i.com. Learning: underconsideration.com, blog.apterainc. com, npr.org play.google.com. Best Buys: theverge.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: pcmag.com, bbc.co.uk, sfgate.com, gizmodo.co.uk, google.com, geeky-gadgets.com, fresh.amazon.com, guardian.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: Samsung Galaxy S5: technabob.com, trustedreviews.com. FitBit One: Maria Warnes. Leap Motion: createddigitalmusic.com, edge-online.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: themachinenetwork.com, ibtimes.co.uk, bestavdeals.co.uk, gadgetmac.com, corbisimages.com, Strauss/Curtis/Corbis, Eric Audras/Onoky/Corbis, Rick Gomez/Corbis. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: Mac Pro: wired.com. pcadvisor.co.uk, pursuitist.com, stagesoundservices.co.uk, 521pixels.net, extremetech.com. Xbox One: mystatesman.com, www.last.fm, imgarcade.com, eggplante.com, hostingkartinok.com. PS4: Maria Warnes, community.us.playstation.com, hobbyconsolas.com, roznice.com. Accessories: macrumors.com, uk.hardware.info, amazon.co.jp, xbox.com, nextgengamingblog.com, pensardevelopment.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: Cloud, Illustrations: Maria Warnes. Map: vecteezy.com. Dropbox logo: underconsideration.com. OneDrive Logo: blog.apterainc.com. iCloud logo: apple.com. Google Drive Logo: play.google.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Images: Smartphones: techradar.net, Maria Warnes. Tablets: asus.com, nbcnews.com, Maria Warnes. Computers: amazon.com, asus.com, Maria Warnes. Laptops: amazon.com, uk.hardware.info, theregister.com. Music Players: techspot.com, slashgear.com, datasplice.com. Headphones: techspot.com, whathifi.com, johnlewis.com Gaming: amazon.com, wikipedia.com, Maria Warnes. SLRs: ephotozine.com. Compact Cameras: trustedreviews.com, photographyblog.com, amatuerphotographer.co.uk. eReaders: ebouquin.fr, malaprops.com, amazon.com. TVs: trustedreviews.com, esgroup.platforma.ab.pl, 365electrical.com. Content: Maria Warnes.
Chip May 2014
First ‘Heartbleed’ related arrest in Canada Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, a 19 year old from London, Ontario has been accused of hacking into the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website. On the 11th May, he used the ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability to gain access, and stole 900 social security numbers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated Mr Solis-Reyes’ case for four days and have since charged him with “unauthorised use of a computer” and “mischief in relation to data”. Mr Solis-Reyes is expected to appear in court in July. Solis-Reyes’ lawyer Faisal Joseph is saying that Solis-Reyes’ actions have done the Canadian government a favour; by highlighting the lack of real protection of people’s sensitive information. Learn more about the ‘Heartbleed’ bug and how to protect yourself and your devices at heartbleed.com.
Facebook buys Oculus VR for £1.2 billion
Google Glass wearer attacked in San Francisco
Facebook announced this month that it had acquired the California based start-up company Oculus VR for $2 billion. In a statement released by Facebook they stated that they were looking to expand upon current Oculus technologies to include “communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas”. Oculus VR’s flagship technology, the Oculus Rift headset, (seen above) has been greatly anticipated by the public with more than 75,000 pre-orders, but Facebook’s acquisition has led to a drop in shares. A number of the original funders have taken to the Oculus Rift’s Kickstarter page to voice their complaints, with some even demanding a refund.
Kyle Russell, 20, from Berkeley states that a woman ran up to him, took the glasses forcibly from his face, ran off with them and then proceeded to smash the £900 device. Russell was unharmed. Russell is unsure about replacing the device saying that if “I’m someone giving off the appearance that I’m flaunting it or flaunting wealth” he doesn’t want to replace it. Russell added that he is a gadget lover but sympathises with his attacker and agrees that there are some concerning aspects to privacy of other individuals when someone is wearing Glass.
Chip May 2014
Microsoft announce Apple ‘CarPlay’ rival concept
Google’s picks up modular phone project ‘Ara’
Currently named “Microsoft in Car”, the concept plans to connect a screen in your car to your Windows Phone using “Mirrorlink”, the current leading technology in car/phone connectivity. Apple’s CarPlay will soon be available in Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes and Volvo cars.
After the viral hit video ‘Phonebloks’by Dave Hakkens introduced the concept of modular phones to the public, there has been a surge of interest in the concept. Google have now picked up the idea and are now starting to look into the possibility of bringing the concept into reality.
Amazon introduce Dash, home shopping assistant
UK government pays Microsoft £5.5m to extend Windows XP support
Dash is a hand-held barcode scanner with voice recognition, designed to help customers of Amazon Fresh keep up-to-date on their food shop. Scan or say what you need to order and Dash will save it to your Amazon Fresh account ready to be delivered to your doorstep.
Microsoft has made separate agreements with both the UK and Dutch governments to extend important security updates to public sector users of Windows XP like the NHS.
Land Rover introduce ‘Transparent Bonnet’ concept technology The team at Jaguar Land Rover developed the idea of having a camera at the front of the bonnet that would send an image of underneath the car to the windscreen which would display the image. The concept is hoped to help driving in difficult terrain.
New ‘.london’ domain launched London is the second city in the world to have it’s own domain, after New York City’s ‘.nyc’. The domain launch hopes to promote London based businesses in an effort to boost the brand of London.
Chip May 2014
Sony struggles to keep up with demand for PlayStation 4 Sony has, so far, sold around 7 million of the new PlayStation 4 console. Andrew House, President of Sony Computer Entertainment stated that: “We are still facing difficulties keeping up with the strong demand worldwide. The response from the global gaming community has been overwhelming.” The PS4 has currently sold more than double the units of it’s competitor the Xbox One which has sold around 3.5 million units.
Top digital comic site acquired by Amazon Comixology sells content from 4 of the 5 biggest US comic publishers; Marvel, DC, Image and IDW. With publishers Dark Horse using their own app. A statement from Comixology said that: “Amazon has a long history with subsidiaries like Goodreads, Zappos, Audible and IMDb, of helping them grow and, over time, learning from each other and improving together.” The firm was sold for an undisclosed sum.
Sony warns of battery fire risk in new PCs
Blackberry may quit making phones says CEO
National Australia Bank dubs Bitcoin “too risky”
Sony has told owners of the Vaio Fit 11A that some of the battery packs used in the computer are faulty and can overheat causing them to catch on fire. Sony has sold over 25,000 Vaios worldwide.
John Chen, CEO of Blackberry has stated that “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business.” In March Blackberry reported a 64% loss in income.
The NAB has sent letters to customers using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies saying that their accounts will be closed in May as they “pose an unacceptable level of risk to NAB’s business.”
Chip May 2014
FITBIT ONE The little fitness tracker that packs a big punch. No doubt you’ve seen some of these fitness trackers about, lots of them are loud and proud and meant to be shown off. The FitBit One is different, available in black or burgundy, weighing only 18g and measuring in at just under 6 x 2cm (2.4” x 0.8”) it is subtle. You can wear it on your belt, bra or pocket (as FitBit reccomends) and it will be virtually invisible. However, small does not mean lacking in the case of the One, it is full of features: a pedometer, calorie counter, altimeter (for stairs climbed), sleep tracker, clock and alarm. It also had bluetooth connectivity compatible with the majority of smartphones models including iPhone, Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola and Nexus which display the various pieces of information on the free FitBit app. FitBit have cleverly added a feature that allows you to use the One with other popular Fitness apps like MapMyRun, and Endomondo, further expanding your fitness tracking experience. FitBit also claim that the battery life of the One will last 5–7 days before it needs recharging and is “rain, splash and sweat-proof”. The sleep experience has been well thought out too, the One vibrates to wake you or to inform you of a target you have reached, allowing a subtle notification system that lends itself to such a subtle device.
Out now for £80 Visit fitbit.com/uk/one for more information
(Above) The FitBit One can be easily clipped onto any clothing.
• Small and discreet. • No wires due to bluetooth connectivity. • Long battery life.
The Bad • Not a very big community at the moment. • Size makes it easier to lose or leave on clothes.
If you need a community of friends or strangers to encourage you to get fit, this is not for you, but if you are self-motivated type, go for it.
Chip May 2014
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 The latest in the Galaxy line up, how does it fare compared to it’s predecessors and it’s competition? The first thing you will probably notice about the Galaxy S5 is it’s screen size. It’s 5.1” screen is the largest of the Galaxys yet and it has astonishing resolution too, it’s 1920 x 1080 screen will display 1080p HD pictures and videos with ease, it’s Super AMOLED technology also gives great contrast. The next thing you will probably notice about the S5 is it’s rubberised, perforated back, reminiscent of the 1st generation of Google Nexus 7 tablets, giving the S5 a great feel in your hands. The S5 is full of new tech too, including a fingerprint scanner. One thing that the S5 has that stands out from the crowd though, is it’s heart rate monitor. It’s certainly good at what it does, taking less than 10 seconds to get your bpm, but the majority of people are going to use this once and then never again. If you are a fitness type or someone with health problems then this will probably be a very helpful tool for you, but the rest of us are going to find it’s just added weight. Another feature of the S5 is it’s dust and water resistance, however a lot of phones out there at the moment have full water proofing, meaning the S5 isn’t really keeping up in this area. Some of the S5’s sins can be forgiven however when we look at it’s camera. It has HDR and fast auto-focus while bumping the camera up to 16MP giving some seriously stunning pictures. Out 24th June 2014 from £500 Visit samsung.co.uk for more information
(Above) The S5’s 5.1” screen is the biggest Galaxy screen yet.
The Good • • • •
Amazing quality screen. Great camera. Feels great to hold, very comfy. Removable cover makes for easier repairs.
The Bad • Some of the tech is gimicky, fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor will rarely be used. • Apart from the back, the build quality could be better.
The Verdict The screen and camera is brilliant, but Samsung needs to stop trying to sell the phone for the gimicks and focus on better build quality.
Chip May 2014
LEAP MOTION An intuitive yet innovative way of using your computer, look ma, no hands! Since the Wii introduced it’s Wiimote, motion control has been bigger than ever. Then Microsoft came out with the Kinect, showing us that they don’t even need a controller to sense your motions. Motion control has been a hit in gaming, but it hasn’t really found it’s market yet, could the Leap Motion be the answer? Designed to be used in conjunction with the keyboard and mouse, the Leap Motion plugs into the USB of your Mac or PC and instantly senses your hand movements. The device is tiny, at only 3” long, but it is powerful, and according to their website, Leap Motion “tracks all 10 fingers up to 1/100th of a millimeter”, which is a lot more precise than any motion sensing device out there at the moment. So what can you use it for? At the moment Leap Motion has it’s own app store called ‘Airspace’, which as with most app stores is mostly full of games, but considering a lot of games at the moment are touch screen operated the Leap Motion is actually a great alternative to the oft-unused desktop touchscreen, giving you the space you want to play ‘Angry Birds’. Where the Leap Motion looks like it will really develop though is it’s use in 3D modelling, allowing users to manipulate a 3D model as if they were holding it in their hands.
Out now from £74 Visit leapmotion.com for more information
(Above) The Leap Motion tracking all eight fingers and both thumbs.
• Uncomplicated setup. • Very precise sensing. • Doesn’t take up a lot of space.
The Bad • Limited use at the moment. • Could improve mobility with bluetooth connectivity.
At the moment Leap Motion is for 3D modellers or those who want a new gaming experience, but at the price it’s not a bad buy for the rest.
Chip May 2014
BOWERS & WILKINS P3 A beautiful balance of design, inside and out.
(Above) Every P3 comes with a matching protective carry case.
The fabric covering the earpads is made from specialised acoustic fabric that allows more sound to travel through. The actual earpads are made from heat sensitive memoryfoam that mould to your ears.
Out now from ÂŁ170 Visit bowers-wilkins.co.uk for more information
Chip May 2014
Bowers & Wilkins P3s are making waves in the headphone industry, they have managed to impress with their audio quality and have hit a tricky compromise between in-ear and on-ear headphones. The P3s have taken a leaf from Beats book; people like to have really good sound combined with really good design. However Bowers & Wilkins are taking a
more subtle approach to their headphones, you don’t need great big cans for great big sound. The P3s are beautifully designed outside and in, with ear-pads that mould to your ears and a strong Mylar frame that flexes but keeps it’s shape. The interior of the headphones also channels as much of the your music as possible towards your ears.
(Left) Included in the P3’s design is the ability to remove the earpads so that you can swap out specific cables like an iPhone microphone cable.
Chip May 2014
The bass on these sounds really well balanced.
1:37 pm 12:04 am Much better than my iPod earbuds.
They feel like theyâ€™re squashing my ears, starting to get uncomfortable.
I keep looking at them, theyâ€™re certainly beautiful headphones.
6:05 am 7:01 am Just plugged them in to my computer, underwhelmed by the sound quality.
12:63 pm My music sounds even better through these. Taking my phone calls with these is so easy and the voices are so clear.
Positive thought 18
Chip May 2014
Swapped the earpads over, they’re a Just tried swapping the bit more comfortable now. cables around, quick and easy.
They feel so well made, the build quality is superb.
They feel great on my ears. Folded them away for the night, they don’t take up much space at all.
5:35 pm 8:29 pm My colleague sat next to me told me to turn my music down, they do let a lot of sound out.
They even feel comfortable with my reading glasses on.
2:54 pm 10:33 pm Took them off for a minute with the sound going, might be annoying to anyone sat near me; lots of sound leaking out.
Still comfy and I’ve had them on for hours.
Long thought 19
Chip May 2014
Jayden Courtney, 19, France Overall I felt that the sound quality of the P3s were excellent, a definite step up from the standard ear-buds you get with the iPod. They looked great and I felt really good wearing them around my neck when I was on the way to university. The cable length is just right, as a tall guy I find that headphone cables can be a bit too short for me, but these were just the right length. When I was handling them they felt really sturdy and looked like they wouldn’t break very easily.
The only downside I found is that they are slightly too rigid for me, they stretched to fit my head width but felt like they were squashing my ears a lot of the time. I don’t know if this is something that goes away with use, but for me it was a turn off. + Great sound. + Great build quality. – Too tight for my head, uncomfortable after a while.
Ruby Clarke, 43, Peru As someone who usually uses inear headphones I was cautious of the P3s over-ear style, but they are a lot smaller than I imagined they would be, and yet they fit really well, covering my ears well without feeling like they would fall off. When I went out with them to the gym they stayed on my head really well and they kept a fair amount of ambient noise out. What I found a problem with the P3s was that they let a lot of the sound out. I don’t listen to anything with a lot of bass or drums so I was surprised that my
coworkers told me they could tell what song I was listening to from half a meter away! I would say that these headphones are great for personal use, but if you plan to use them at work or on a commute you might want to look for alternatives. + Stayed on my head well even when exercising. + Not too big. – Let a lot of sound out.
Tod Jacobson, 60, Australia Considering the price and size of these compared to high-end headphones I have previously owned I wasn’t expecting a lot from the sound quality in comparison. Boy was I wrong, these have excellent sound, it has smooth deep bass and the higher notes are just right. They feel and look like they could be worth £50 more than what they actually cost, so I was really impressed with that. I was really pleased that they felt comfortable after a few hours of wearing them and pleasantly surprised that even with my glasses on they continued to be nice
and comfortable on my ears. I did find that there was some sound leaking out, but it is a small downside compared to the overall pleasant experience I had with the P3s. + Comfortable even after a few hours. + Very good value for money. + Brilliant sound. + Loved being able to fold them away. – Some sound leakage.
Chip May 2014
Apple Mac Pro The latest in the Mac line-up has certainly caused quite a stir, looking like nothing that has come before it, as seems to be a common occurrence for Apple nowadays. However, the Mac Pro has a lot going on underneath itâ€™s extraordinarily unassuming exterior.
Chip May 2014
Case Lock Headphones Socket Speakers Socket 4x USB Ports
6x Thunderbolt Ports
2x Ethernet Ports HDMI Input Power Button Power Cable Socket
Chip May 2014
The new Mac Pro is less than a 1/3 of the weight of the 2012 model at 5kg (11lbs) compared to the 18kg (40lbs) of it’s predecessor.
25cm (9.9”) 19.5cm (7.7”)
Mac Mini (2012)
Mac Pro (2013)
Apple have always been onef for innovation, but the new Mac Pro could be their most innovative bit of Apple technology yet. The shape of the Mac Pro is one of the most noticeable parts of it’s appearance, but the shape was borne out of the need to reduce excess space and keep the high-end electronics inside cool. The Mac Pro has a lot more power than any of it’s predecessors, therefore it produces a lot more heat. This problem was solved by having all of the inside components come together in a triangular shape, meaning that most of the space in the middle of the triangle can be used to aerate and cool the device down. Not only is there extra airflow naturally, but the new fan design also helps cooling at a greater rate and a quieter volume than ever before. The Mac Pro might seem small, but it packs a lot of tech inside it’s shiny case. It can fit up to 12 new
Mac Pro (2012) generation Intel Xeon E5 processing cores, making it twice as fast as the previous Mac Pro. It also has a 64GB memory which is twice as big as the previous Mac Pro, so it can handle a lot of big programmes and tasks running at the same time. The GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) has also seen a big improvement, with 7 teraflops of power, compared to the 2.7 of it’s predecessor, this means that the Mac Pro can handle a lot of graphical demands, like big video files and running three 4K monitors at the same time. Storage on the Mac Pro has been enlarged up to a 1TB on a PCIe flash drive. The terabyte of storage means you could have up to 35 blu-ray films on your computer if you wanted, and the PCIe storage that the new Mac Pro uses enables the computer to import, open, rewrite or copy those films, or other files and apps at an almost unprecedented speed, over twice that
Chip May 2014
(Left) If it is sufficiently dark enough, when you rotate the Mac Pro to the expansion ports it will light up the symbols to make it easier to find the port you need. (Below) The Mac Pro has a unique method of cooling it’s components, all of the boards share a single ‘Thermal Core’, a gap that allows hot air to escape and cool air to come in. The Apple team also designed a new fan that is quieter than ever.
of a standard desktop computer. The Mac Pro uses Bluetooth 4.0, the lowest powerconsuming Bluetooth generation yet, therefore you can have up to 10 Bluetooth peripherals, like your keyboard and mouse connected, with their batteries needing replacing/recharging a lot less frequently. The Mac Pro is available in two models currently, one with a quad-core processor, 12GB of memory, and an AMD FirePro D300 graphics card costing £1,800 and the other with a 6-core processor, 16GB of memory, and an AMD FirePro D500 graphics card costing £2,400. Both models come standard with 256GB of storage but can be configured to 512GB or 1TB storage at purchase.
1 digital photo = 3MB
341 photos = 1GB (Standard USB size)
349,525 photos = 1TB (Maximum Mac Pro capacity)
Chip May 2014
1080p Kinect Camera Motion Sensor Voice Sensor
Microsoft’s latest entry in the ongoing battle of the consoles is a strong one, with a home screen and navigation system that people are starting to get used to due to it’s similarity to Windows 8, and it’s focus on personalising your gaming experience, the Xbox One is a strong contender.
Chip May 2014
500Gb Storage HDMI In & Out 2x USB WiFi
One Wireless Batteries Inside Case Expansion Port
Chip May 2014
While the Xbox One is larger than it’s predecessor it weighs in at 3kg (7lbs), compared to the 3.5kgs (7.5lbs) of the 360.
Xbox 360 E (2013)
Xbox 360 Slim (2010)
Microsoft’s Xbox team have put an emphasis on personalisation with the One, with the ability to control it with your voice and to customise your home screen with whatever games, movies, music or apps that you like and use the most. A great addition to the ports on the back of the Xbox One is it’s ‘HDMI pass-thru’, allowing your TV box to be plugged into the HDMI port of your Xbox One rather than your TV, meaning that you can watch TV from your Xbox’s home screen, removing the need to unplug and swap around HDMI cables. Another handy feature is the Xbox One’s ability to keep tasks running in the background, so you can pause a game, start watching a TV show and swap back to your game and start straight where you left off. You can even have your game on one half of your
34cm (13.5”) 30cm (12”)
Xbox 360 (2007)
Xbox One (2013)
screen and the TV show on the other if you want. The online Xbox community is big, and full of people that will be frustratingly better or worse than you at each game you play. To tackle this problem Microsoft have developed a new matchmaking system called “Smart Match” which finds players with similar skill level, who speak the same language and have the same reputation as you. Reputation on the Xbox One is a new feature that allows users to report other players for undesirable behaviour such as cheating or abusive language. The feedback on your reputation will result in one of three titles: “Good Player”, “Needs Work”, and “Avoid Me”, allowing good players to play with similar people and for people who need avoiding with other undesirables.
Chip May 2014
The Xbox One’s controller has seen an overhaul too, the dual thumb-sticks have a new grip texture to stop them slipping. The D-Pad has been redesigned too with increased sensitivity to sweeping movements, and the battery pack that used to jut out of the 360’s controller body has been redesigned so that it fits inside the One’s controller. The new Kinect 2 camera has seen some changes too, the main camera has been improved from the standard definition 480p camera to a 1080p HD camera, it has a larger field of view, and there’s an added Infra-red camera too, to enable the Kinect to see in low-light/ darkness. The microphone system inside the Kinect includes several microphones to remove game and ambient noise from the voice input.
(Above) The Xbox One’s home screen has been designed alongside the home screen for Windows 8 to give them a uniform look. (Below) The improved Kinect 2 bundled with the Xbox One picks up a stunning amount of detail.
Chip May 2014
Wireless 2 x USB
Coloured light bar Touch-pad Headphone jack
Chip May 2014
500Gb Storage HDMI Out WiFi
Sony’s PlayStation 4 puts emphasis on “Games without barriers”, with it’s updates taking place in the background and the ability to play as a game is being downloaded. With it’s completely overhauled touch-pad controller and Project Morpheus on the way, Sony are pushing the envelope.
Chip May 2014
The PS4 weighs in at 2.8kg (6lbs) which is almost half the weight of the PS3 at 5kg (11lbs).
PS3 Super Slim (2012)
PS3 Slim (2009)
The most significant difference between the previous generation of PlayStation and the PlayStation 4 is it’s controller. The Dualshock 4 sports a new touch-pad system that provides a whole load of extra customisable buttons that game developers can utilise. Also new is the ‘Share’ button, designed to be used for sharing screenshots or gameplay footage with friends or online. The light-bar on the top of the controller allows for the PlayStation camera to track the controllers whereabouts, allowing it to be used for motion inputs, such as a steering wheel. The Cross-Play and Cross-Buy systems introduced with the PSVita allows for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 owners to play with or against each other on the same supported games. You can also
play your PlayStation 4 games through the screen on your PlayStation Vita. Once you own a PS4, you can access all the entertainment that Sony has to offer, this includes the latest Movies and TV Shows in the PlayStation Store, Sony’s Music Unlimited service and access to catch-up TV services like iPlayer and Demand 5. As well as having plenty of exclusive titles, the PlayStation’s Store also allows unprecedented console access to independently developed games like ‘Don’t Starve’ and ‘Contrast’. Due to the popularity of the Virtual Reality headset Oculus Rift, Sony are developing their own VR headset entitled “Project Morpheus”, which plans to track head orientation and movement and display the
Chip May 2014
results on two individual head-mounted 1080p screens in front of each eye. The headset would also feature headphones with Sony’s new 3D audio technology which would allow for precise location-based sound. The biggest improvement from the PlayStation 3 has been the speed performance of the PS4, loading up a game takes less than thirty seconds and the system suffers no loss in speed from player-heavy online matches, like a 64 player game in Battlefield 4. The new menus and interface make the whole experience of using the PlayStation 4 a lot quicker too, with an intuitive layout and with updates and downloads taking place instantly and in the background so you can get on with what you’re doing.
(Above) The new touch-pad on the DualShock 4 takes up a fair amount of space but doesn’t get in the way. (Below) The PlayStation Camera doesn’t come bundled with the PlayStation 4 but is a great addition to any PlayStation 4 setup.
Accessories Apple Mac Pro - Asus PQ321QE The Mac Pro doesn’t come with a monitor, so you’ll want to get your hands on one pretty sharpish so that you can get going. We think the best match for the Mac Pro is the Asus PQ321QE, allowing the Mac Pro’s 4K HD quality picture to be displayed in it’s best light in a full 31.5”. It has a big price tag, but if you can afford to spend £1,800 on a Mac Pro we’re guessing you might be able to splash a bit of cash in the direction of your monitor too. £1,800
Xbox One - Dead Rising 3 Dead Rising 3 is the product of Capcom Vancouver, who have been at the helm of the Dead Rising franchise since 2010. DR3 sees a new main character in the form of Nick Ramos, a young mechanic who must survive an outbreak of zombies in California. Like it’s predecessor DR3 has multiple endings, DR3 has some new tricks though; like using the Kinect to gauge your stealthiness, the game itself is more lighthearted too with more comedy and fun items. £37 (18+)
PlayStation 4 - inFAMOUS Second Son Infamous Second Son takes place in 2016 Seattle where an unknown force has given people powers. These people are known as Conduits and as Delsin Rowe your task is to help them escape the government D.U.P. forces. However you can go about it in an “Evil” or a “Good” way, as the game provides you with choices. Delsin has the unique talent of absorbing other Conduit’s powers, this makes for a continually changing game experience as you play. £43 (16+)
Chip May 2014
Chip May 2014
The Cloud What is it, how does it work and which service is best for me?
Chip May 2014
What is it? Cloud Computing in it’s most basic form is a metaphor for using services through the internet. These services can be anything computer-based, the most common for personal users being that of file storage and the use of programmes. The process of cloud computing can be likened to people using electricity from the power grid; everyone shares access to the main source and each control their own piece. The idea of Cloud Computing is much older than most think, in fact the idea of the Cloud was what the internet was intended to be since it’s origins in “ARPANET” in the sixties. J.C.R. Licklider’s introduction of interconnected computers in the ARPANET meant that information could be shared between them, but Licklider’s vision was for any computer to access any file or programme from anywhere, much like Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing’s most significant step forward since then was the introduction of ‘Salesforce.com’ in 1999, who began hosting a programme which users could input information about their business and see their sales/profits reports and marketing feedback. There are advantages and disadvantages of using Cloud Computing. The advantages of storing files via the cloud is that they are easily available; you can access them from any computer with an internet connection. If you’re computer breaks for any reason your files are unaffected. This also means that your files are not taking up space on your computer and they are not on a disc or USB which can be lost or destroyed. Advantages of using cloud-based programming include not needing any dedicated software installed or a powerful computer, as it is all processed on the server’s end. However there are disadvantages to cloud computing; if you store your files with a cloud service, they aren’t as safe from hacking as if they were being stored on your computer. As you access the internet to store your files on the Cloud it means there is a chance they could be intercepted, also if your internet connection is down there is no way of accessing your files. As Cloud Computing is a shared service, you will only get access to a certain amount of file storage, this is likely to be lower than the storage on your computer, although in most cases you can pay for more storage.
Many think that the name ‘Cloud’ originated from how the internet was often represented with a cloud symbol on charts and graphs.
Chip May 2014
How does it work? When you open up an account with a cloud-based company, you are granted access to a part of their web servers, where you can access, change and save your files. No one else’s computer has access to this part of the server, unless you specify that you would like other people to share it. This sometimes happens with filesharing on the cloud, for example a teacher might want to put their classes homework in a cloud folder and then allow students to access that folder. There are multiple types of cloud computing services. The three most popular are IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. The most basic form of cloud computing is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), this involves the provider of the cloud service owning the IT infrastructure, such as server space for storing files or software, which the user can access remotely. Another type is of cloud computing is PaaS (Platform as a Service), this means that the cloud service hosts tools that the user can utilise to create software. SaaS (Software as a Service) means that the cloud service hosts software that the user can access remotely, an example of this is Google Drive’s ‘Docs’, ‘Sheets’
and ‘Slides’ which provides a cloud ‘Office’. The final type of cloud computing is SECaaS (Security as a Service), this involves the cloud service integrating their security services into the infrastructure of the users computer/s, this is rising in popularity for business owners, as the overall cost of SECaaS is lower than installing and using anti-virus and intruder-detection software on the premises. Not only are there different types of services, there are also different types of cloud. A ‘controlled cloud’ is a type of cloud that can only be accessed by invitation from the cloud service provider and all internet access to it is encrypted. A ‘private cloud’ is one held by one person or organisation and is maintained by them. A ‘public cloud’ is one held by a company or organisation who allow the general public to access it. A ‘hybrid cloud’ is comprised of two types of cloud, this is mst commonly ‘private’ and ‘public’ types of cloud.
Chip May 2014
So what is a Web server? Web servers are essentially groups of computers that are dedicated to responding to requests for data from a user who is accessing something on the internet. Web servers don’t have any monitors as they are always accessed from another computer. They don’t have a graphical interface, audio or any connectivity like USB, like a regular computer would do, as they are not needed in the server’s tasks. Web servers are used by anyone who needs to put information on the internet, this is most commonly in the form of a website, the more traffic (people visiting) a website has, the more Web servers it needs to respond to requests for information from the user’s computers. Websites like Google, for example, have a huge amount of web servers, they will often have stacks of several ‘server computers’ in a cabinet and then multiple cabinets of more, these are often called
‘data centers’ and are often located on large areas of uninhabited land. Data centers need a lot of maintenance as any of the individual server computers in a server stack can overheat at any time. There are also large, elaborate cooling systems inside most data centers, under the floors which keep all of the electronics cool as the large amount of computers generate a lot of heat. Google has several data centers located all over the world, as they have to accommodate 40% of all web traffic in the world. Their locations are (from left on map) The Dalles, Oregon, USA; Mayes County, Oklahoma, USA; Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA; Douglas County, Georgia, USA; Lenoir, North Carolina, USA, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA; St. Ghislain, Belgium; Hamina, Finland.
(Below) Google has six data centers in the USA, one in Finland and one in Belgium.
Chip May 2014
Which service is best for me?
Dropbox Dropbox is a cloud file-sharing service. You can open up a free ‘Basic’ account for 2GB of space, or pay £6 a month for a ‘Pro’ account with 100GB of space. You can also get a ‘Business’ account for £9 a month which allows unlimited space and 5 or more users.
Dropbox is ideal for those who are constantly swapping between different operating system and devices. This is because Dropbox is in the lead at the moment with integration, being available for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Kindle Fire.
Google Drive Google Drive is a cloud file-sharing and office service. Google Drive is currently the market leader on free space, with a free account you get 15GB, but you can upgrade to 100GB for $2 (roughly £1.18) a month or 1TB of storage for $10 (roughly £5.90) a month.
Google Drive is ideal for those who are always using Office and need to edit their Word document, spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation. Drive is also great for those who use Gmail all the time as Drive integrates with Gmail to send large attachments.
iCloud Apple’s iCloud is a cloud file-sharing service. With iCloud’s free account you get 5GB of storage free, 10GB for £14 a year (roughly £1.17 a month), 20GB for £28 a year (roughly £2.33 a month) and 60GB for £70 a year (roughly £5.83 a month).
iCloud is ideal for those who own mostly Apple devices, other cloud services allow file-sharing between Apple devices but the ability to sync your mail, calendar, apps, photos, films, music and books between devices make it a no-brainer for Apple users.
Microsoft OneDrive Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud file-sharing and office service. With OneDrive you can get 7GB of storage for free, 50GB for £16 a year (roughly £1.33 a month), 100GB for £32 a year (roughly £2.66 a month) and 200GB for £64 a year (roughly £5.33 a month).
Microsoft OneDrive is ideal for those, like with Google Drive, who use Office a lot. However OneDrive comes as standard with the latest version of Office and also gives you 20GB of storage, it is also the only Cloud service that is compatible with Windows Phones.
Chip May 2014
Smartphones Whether it’s for calling, texting, or having fun on the Internet, the smartphone is the essential gadget.
Budget Motorola Moto G Google’s Motorola have done a great job with this smartphone. Considering how cheap it is compared to the rest of the market it’s hard to expect much from the Moto G, but it holds it’s own and more with it’s quick processors, intuitive operating system and truly impressive screen. + Speedy quad-cores, high quality screen. – No expandable memory. £130 motorola.com
Midrange LG G2 The G2 is unlike any phone you will have held before, with all of it’s physical navigation buttons on the back, but this is intuitive and quick to get used to. It has a 5.2” HD display, is only 9mm (0.35”) thick and weighs only 140g (5oz). It has a stunning 13MP camera with a quick shutter speed and built-in image stabilisation and a 2MP front camera. + Long battery life, great display. – No expandable memory, camera is not great in low light. £350 lg.com/uk
Luxury Apple iPhone 5S The iPhone 5S is undeniably beautiful, available in gold, silver or “space grey” aluminium. The main difference between the 5 and the 5S is the addition of the fingerprint scanner replacing the familiar ‘Home’ button. The iPhone 5S is also one of the thinnest and lightest smartphones on the market at only 7.6 mm (0.3”) and 112g (4oz). + Great build quality, high-quality camera, plenty of apps. – No expandable memory, battery cannot be replaced. £550 apple.com/uk
Chip May 2014
Tablets When your smartphone screen is too small but you don’t want the added weight of a laptop, tablets are great for playing and surfing.
Budget Asus FonePad The Asus FonePad is a great stepping stone between a phone and a tablet, true no one would be seen dead putting a tablet to their ear, but with speaker-phone and texting that can easily be avoided. With access to Asus Cloud Office the FonePad is a great all-rounder for a first time tablet user. + Good screen, expandable memory, 3G phone capabilities. – Not very powerful. £160 asus.com/uk
Midrange Google Nexus 7 The Nexus 7 (2013) is much improved on it’s predecessor, it has a rearfacing camera and increased pixel-density screen, and is a whole 50g (1.8oz) lighter. The battery life of the Nexus is extensive too, with 9 hours of HD video time or 10 hours of web-browsing battery life the Nexus will last for even the longest of browsing sessions. + Great screen, sharp picture, light-weight. – No expandable memory. £200 google.co.uk/nexus
Luxury Apple iPad Mini The iPad Mini undoubtedly has the edge with it’s screen, it is noticeably wider than the FonePad or the Nexus 7 and has a higher pixel density, giving it a better quality picture than a HD TV. Apple have cleverly given the iPad Mini two wireless antennas, solving some problems Apple has had with finger placement causing a disruption in wireless access. + Amazing screen, lots of power. – No options to customise home screen. £320 apple.com/uk
Chip May 2014
Desktop Computers For when real work and real play needs to be done, a desktop computer is a must for power.
Budget Lenovo C365 The Lenovo is the perfect computer for those who don’t need anything particularly powerful, if you just want to browse the web and use word documents then the Lenovo will suit you down to the ground. The best part that if you fancy putting in a bigger hard drive later, it’s easy to do so. + LED Screen, 6-in-1 card reader, easy to upgrade. – Slow to use, Windows 8 takes some getting used to. £350 lenovo.com/uk/en
Midrange Asus ET2220IUTI-B010K The succinctly titled Asus ET2220IUTI-B010K has a slim and flat design with a flip-out kick stand. It’s shape also makes it easy to wall mount, and with a touchscreen it would make a perfect kitchen computer. However where the Asus really excels is entertainment; it has a built-in blu-ray player and a TV tuner so you can watch all your favourite film or shows. + Multi-touch screen, TV tuner, LED screen, blu-ray player. – Windows 8 takes some getting used to. £740 asus.com/uk
Luxury Apple iMac The Apple iMac is undoubtedly beautiful, with 40% less volume than the 2012 generation of the iMac and with a 5mm edge it is remarkably thin, which may be due to the loss of the CD drive. The iMac may have lost some weight from 2012, but it is more powerful than ever, it has faster processors, faster graphics and faster Wi-Fi. + Very slim, incredible screen. – No CD drive. £1,150 apple.com/uk
Chip May 2014
Laptops When you need power but need to be on the go, a laptop is essential, providing you with the capability of a desktop in a small package.
Budget HP Chromebook 11 HP’s laptop is part of the new series of Chromebooks, laptops designed to work entirely from the cloud. You can’t install anything on it, but there’s plenty of software available as online version now. HP’s Chromebook 11 is ideal as a first computer, or as a casual web surfer for the sofa. + Lightweight, great keyboard, easy to maintain. – Slow, can’t install any software. £200 hp.com/uk/en
Midrange Dell Inspiron 15R Dell’s Inspiron 15R is all about a balance of work and play. The touchscreen offers a fun way of playing games while also speeding up tasks like reading and writing. Unlike most keyboards the Inspiron 15R has numerical keys, making spreadsheets and budgets quicker and easier. The Inpsiron also features a great 8-in-1 card reader. + Touchscreen, comfortable keyboard, 8-in-1 card reader. – Audio isn’t great, Windows 8 takes some getting used to. £500 dell.co.uk
Luxury Apple MacBook Pro Apple’s MacBook Pro has the new retina display, which has, in the 13inch size, 4-million pixels, so the MacBook Pro’s screen in a no-brainer for designers and photographers alike. Apple’s latest generation of the MacBook Pro has also shaved off nearly a third of the thickness of it’s predecessor and is almost a full pound lighter. + Powerful, amazing screen, mag-safe connector. – No CD drive £1,100 apple.com/uk
Chip May 2014
Music Players Everyone likes to take their music on the go with them, whether you’re on a long train commute or you’re just doing the housework.
Budget SanDisk Sansa Clip+ The SanDisk Sansa Clip+ is a great music player for someone who has a lot of music that they want to store as back up from their computer and don’t want to fuss around with branded media syncing systems, just simply drag-and-drop your music over, clip it on and go. + Expandable memory, easy drag-and-drop system, small. – Low volume, no bluetooth. £40 sandisk.co.uk
Midrange Walkman NWZE585 Sony’s Walkman is a solid media playing device, with a bright 5cm display for viewing videos or pictures. The Walkman also has noise-cancelling technology which takes out 98% of the background noise, and with a music playback battery life of 77 hours on a full charge, you can listen to 16GB worth of music for days on end without needing to recharge. + Amazing battery life, noise-cancelling. – No bluetooth. £95 sony.co.uk
Luxury Apple iPod Touch The iPod Touch from Apple can be bought in 16, 32 or 64GB models, which will hold plenty of music. The iPod Touch is also packed full of features, you have access to all the App Store has to offer, along with Apple’s standards like Email and Maps, and also a 5 mega-pixel camera, the only thing the iPod Touch can’t do is take phone calls! + Apple’s apps, WiFi, bluetooth. – Closed system media management. £200 apple.com/uk
Chip May 2014
Headphones With every music player you need headphones, but most are basic and boring and don’t do your music any justice, not these guys.
Budget SoundMagic E10 The SoundMagic E10’s have been designed with a great balance of sound, the bass is rich, the vocals are clear and the treble isn’t tinny. They also have good balance in the weight; the weight is more in your ears rather than on the cable so they are less likely to fall out of your ears. + Lots of tips to swap out, great sound, sturdy cable design. – Cable is a bit short, ear-buds aren’t long-lasting. £30 soundmagic.com.cn/en
Midrange Bowers & Wilkins P3 The Bowers & Wilkins P3 have great sound, and they are a comfortable size, they sit on your ear rather than around them. They aren’t huge, they are lightweight and they fold up, making them great travel companions. For more in-depth information on the Bowers & Wilkins P3 take a look at our Review on pages 16–20. + Beautiful, well-built, fold-up. – Can leak quite a bit of sound. £170 bowers-wilkins.co.uk
Luxury Sennheiser Momentum Sennheiser’s Momentum have a really impressive sound and are extremely comfortable, the ear cups are made from a breathable leather that lets air in to make your ears more comfortable. Not only is the sound good but the Momentums have a great build quality, with a leather headband and an aluminium frame, these headphones look super stylish. + Pivoting audio-jack, in-line microphone, volume control. – Comfortable ear cups, breathable material. £260 en-uk.sennheiser.com
Chip May 2014
Gaming When you need some time to relax, or to beat your friends at that latest game, gaming devices are a must-have.
Budget Nintendo 3DS Nintendo’s 3DS is packed full of fun. The 3DS isn’t trying to be a serious gaming console and we wouldn’t want it to be either. With games like Zelda, Mario Kart and Pokemon there’s plenty to get stuck into. Nintendo also has the ‘eShop’ where you can digitally download even more games. + 3D depth adjuster, touchscreen, 3D camera, backwards compatible. – 3D has been known to cause headaches and nausea. £100 nintendo.co.uk
Midrange Microsoft Xbox 360 Slim There may be a new generation of consoles now but the Xbox 360 Slim is far from out of fashion. With games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Battlefield, Halo, and new titles still coming, the 360 is definitely still a great console contender. This is made even better by the fact that the new generation of consoles will keep dropping the 360’s price tag. + Loads of great games, price is dropping. – A matter of time before games are discontinued. £160 xbox.com/eu-gb
Luxury Sony PlayStation 4 It’s a tough choice between the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but we think that the PS4 edges ahead. The PS4’s camera is not as good as the Kinect, and the Xbox One has better connectivity, but the PS4 is smaller, faster and cheaper. It also has more games in 1080p as apposed to their Xbox One counterparts running at the lower quality of 720p or 900p. + Quick, highly detailed graphics, good games. – No backwards compatibility. £350 sony.co.uk
Chip May 2014
DSLRs For when a compact camera really isn’t enough and you want to start getting more professional shots a DSLR is what you need.
Budget Sony A58 Sony’s A58 is a great first step into the DSLR market, it is lightweight and has an easy to navigate system. The A58 achieves it’s lightweight feel by replacing some of the metal components usually found in cameras with plastic, this does make the camera less durable but it is also cheaper. + Flip-out screen, electronic viewfinder, easy navigation. – Video quality isn’t great, tends to overexpose on auto settings. £340 sony.co.uk
Midrange Canon EOS 700D If you are thinking about a career in photography in whatever field, the two brands that really lead the field are Canon and Nikon. Canon’s EOS 700D is not a “professional” camera as it has a smaller image sensor. However it is a great lead into the more high end Canon cameras as the body can be sold and you can keep the lenses for a new Canon. + Great quality for a smaller sensor. – Slow to process photos. £580 canon.co.uk
Luxury Canon EOS-1D X When it comes to professional photography the Canon EOS-1D X is the marker leader. This is because it has an enormous amount of customisable settings so that photographers can really get the best image out of the situation. The EOS-1D X can also shoot up to 14 fps, one of the highest rates in commercial cameras, so you can catch even the fastest of subjects. + Fast image capture, hundreds of customisable settings. – Price tag is really steep. £5,000 canon.co.uk
Chip May 2014
Compact Cameras For those of us who are casual shooters and want something to use to take photos for a birthday party or holiday.
Budget Canon IXUS 125 HS For anyone who wants to take pictures on holiday and their phone isn’t quite going to cut it the Canon IXUS 125 HS is a great deal. It’s small and lightweight design makes it easy to cart around in a bag or backpack and it has a 5x optical zoom. For the price the image quality is great. + Lightweight, compact. – Slow continuous shooting, short battery life. £175 canon.co.uk
Midrange Sony DSC-HX50 One part of the DSC-HX50 that really excells is it’s zoom, with a 30x optical zoom lens you can really get into distant detail. It also has automatic stabilising built-in so your zoomed in photos won’t come out all blurry. The body of the Sony is nice to hold too and the grip keeps it snug in your hands. Overall a great point and shoot camera with zoom bonuses. + In-house skin smoothing effects, easy to use, WiFi transfer. – Not great at shooting indoor low-light situations. £350 sony.co.uk
Luxury Fujifilm FinePix X100S If you’re not quite ready to step into the confusing world of SLRs but really enjoy taking photos, the Fujifilm FinePix X100S is a great choice for you. It has a beautiful design that echoes the stylish design of 60’s and 70’s vintage cameras like Leicas and Dianas, it also has a ‘Film Simulation Mode’ that simulates the colour and tones of shooting on film. + Stylish vintage design, great quality picture, electronic viewfinder. – No zoom, can’t shoot in RAW. £870 fujifilm.eu/uk
Chip May 2014
eReaders When it comes to serious reading, tablets just don’t cut it, you need something with serious battery life that doesn’t give you eye strain.
Budget Nook Simple Touch GlowLight The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight is a brilliant eReader for those who aren’t keen on Kindle’s more closed system, as the Nook supports 16 document types and 21 other media types compared to the Kindle’s 6 document types. The screen is also evenly lit and gets no glare in sunlight. + No glare, even LED lighting, lightweight. – Nook book’s are more expensive than it’s competitors. £50 nook.com/gb
Midrange Kobo Glo The Kobo Glo is king of control when it comes to eReaders, you can choose from 10 font styles and 24 sizes and adjust their weights and sharpness as well as the brightness of the screen light. The Kobo Glo also offers you options to add your own in-text annotations, dictionary lookup, bookmarks and notes for a truly personalised experience. + Expandable memory, very sharp text, plenty of font choices and sizes. – Uneven lighting, slow loading. £80 whsmiths.co.uk
Luxury Kindle Paperwhite Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is their latest offering and it doesn’t fail to impress, it has an incredibly paper-like screen. It’s also packed with features like ‘Smart Lookup’ where it looks up more detailed definitions of words, it also has ‘X-Ray’ which looks up background information on people, places and authors to give you the whole story. + Fast load times, useful and easy to use extra features. – Small amount of on-board storage. £110 amazon.co.uk
Chip May 2014
TVs Whether it’s for watching the latest films, your favourite TV shows, or for gaming, you need a great TV.
Budget Panasonic TX-L32E6B If you want a TV for the bedroom or kitchen that doesn’t need to be huge the LED TX-L32E6B is a great choice, it has a brilliant picture for a 32” display and comes with added extras like iPlayer and Netflix. It also has a homescreen that you can personalise with apps and favourite shows. + Personalisation, easy-to-use interface, lots of inputs. – Poor audio quality. £370 panasonic.com/uk
Midrange Samsung PS51F5500 Samsung’s PS51F5500 is a 51” plasma screen TV with amazing picture quality. As it’s a plasma the blacks are really dark. The PS51F5500 comes with 2 pairs of “active” 3D glasses for viewing films or 3D TV. With Samsung SmartPlay features you also have access to TV catch-up services like iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. + 3D playback options, dark blacks. – Not the brightest picture, some glare, difficult to wall-mount. £680 samsung.com/uk
Luxury Panasonic TX-P55VT65B The Panasonic TX-P55VT65B is an incredible 55” TV with really smooth motion and natural colours. The TX-P55VT65B is packed with smart features, like catch-up TV, browsing the internet and a personalised homescreen where you can add all sorts of apps. The remote control also has a touch-pad, microphone and pen, who needs buttons?! + 3D playback options, great sound, smooth motion, built-in camera. – Some people prefer “passive” 3D. £1,850 panasonic.com/uk