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BEST BUY LAPTOPS, TABLETS, WEARABLES

Ultimate guide to

Windows 10

AUGUST 2018

Everything Google revealed at I/O 2018

BEST PASSWORD MANAGERS

FROM IDG

APRIL 2018 UPDATE


CONTENTS

12

NEWS

4

Everything Google revealed at I/O 2018

GUIDE TO WINDOWS 10

12

Windows 10 April 2018 Update

REVIEWS

29 38 49 65

38 Asus ZenBook UX410UA OnePlus 6 LG G7 ThinQ Bitdefender Total Security 2018

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CONTENTS

87

72

HANDS-ON

Android P Public Beta

72 FEATURE

What to do after a data breach

81

GROUP TEST

Best password managers

87 HOW TO

Download the Android P Public Beta Use Windows 10’s Timeline feature

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Everything Google revealed at I/O 2018 Google leaned heavily into machine learning and personalization during its keynote. BRAD CHACOS reports

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oogle always pulls out the stops for the keynote at its annual I/O developer conference, and this year was no exception. I/O 2018 lacked the flashy flagship hardware that defined previous keynotes – nary a new Chromebook, Pixel, or Google Home could be found – but it still managed to shine, thanks

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to some serious improvements to the software and services underlying the entire Google ecosystem. Hardware is nothing without software that tells it what to do, after all. And at I/O 2018, Google’s software was focused squarely on making the Internet more about you through the power of machine learning. Let’s dig in.

Gmail Smart Compose Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked things off with Smart Compose, which is basically Gmail’s Smart Reply cranked to 11. Whereas Smart Reply would scan your emails and intelligently offer buttons with quick oneclick responses, Smart Compose uses AI to suggest complete sentences as you’re drafting an email. As you type, you’ll see suggestions appear in faded grey text; clicking Tab uses the suggestion. “Smart Compose helps save you time by cutting back on repetitive writing, while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors,” Google revealed. “It can even suggest relevant contextual phrases. For example, if it’s Friday it may suggest ‘Have a great weekend’ as a closing phrase.” Smart Compose sounds like a serious timesaver if it’s as effective in reality as it is in concept.

Google Photos Machine learning is making Google Photos more useful in the coming months, too. While you’re looking at an image in the coming weeks, you might see new prompts offering to fix the brightness of an image, or fade the background to black to make the star of the

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picture pop. Get this: Google’s AI smarts will even be able to add colour to old black-and-white pictures. Just as cool, if you take an image of a document, Photos will be able to create a PDF of it automatically – even if it’s taken at an awkward angle.

Google Assistant Google Assistant is evolving into your Google Assistant. A flurry of upgrades is coming to the AI helper, including the ability to choose from six different voices and, in the future, even a John Legend voice pack. New features let Assistant respond to natural conversations and parse complex multi-step queries. On phones, the app will be able to show you an overview snapshot of your day. Smaller upgrades are also on the way, and third-party smart devices with screens will start rolling out with Assistant in July.

Google Duplex

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Google Duplex Speaking of phones, Google Assistant will even be able to call local businesses to schedule reservations for you, conducting complex conversations in real time using Google’s AI smarts and new voices. The machine sounded eerily human in an on-stage demonstration, complete with ummms and ahhhs in the middle of sentences. The recipients seemingly had no idea they were conversing with a robot. Google didn’t reveal Android P’s final name at I/O, but it did launch the next-gen Android OS in developer preview beta form. A previous developer preview launched in March, but the beta version adds Android P features revealed at I/O 2018 – see page 72 for our hands-on. Android P is shaping up to be a substantial update for Google’s smartphone operating system, with new AI-powered features, a major navigation change, and a suite of tools aimed at curing smartphone addiction. Catch up on the newly announced features in our Android P beta coverage.

Google Maps Continuing the theme of the day, Google Maps is getting an overhaul that uses machine learning to infuse your experience with personalized recommendations. A redesigned Explore tab and new For You tab will highlight local events and restaurants, drawing not only from physical locations but also from what you’ve liked in the past, and trending activities in the area. This summer, Google Assistant will come to Maps as well.

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Google Maps Google also showed off a wild future for walking directions in maps. Tapping into computer vision and machine learning, Maps can create an augmentedreality Street View that overlays directions and business details on your screen in real time.

Google News Even Google News is getting in on the personalization action, with an overhauled News app and web presence that makes it easier to find the news that matters to you from the sources you trust. It’s emphasized most by a ‘For You’ tab that appears when you open the app, but Google’s AI touches every aspect of the service. That includes a ‘Full Coverage’ section that attempts to give you a cohesive and broad view of any particular story by mapping out relationships between people, places,

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and things in the story, then organizing it into story lines with frequently asked questions and highlighted tweets from a variety of sources. Google said Full Coverage is “by far the most powerful feature of the app”, but there’s a lot more that’s new.

Google Lens The entire point of Google Lens is to leverage the company’s strengths in machine learning and computer vision to provide you with more information about the world, but it’s getting even more useful soon. A new smart text selection tool lets you copy and paste text captured with your camera. Even more useful, selecting a text snippet brings up information about the subject. “Say you’re at a restaurant and see the name of a dish you don’t recognize – Lens will show you a picture to give you a better idea,” Google explained. “This requires not just recognizing shapes of letters, but also the meaning and context behind the words.” A fresh style match feature, on the other hand, can show you information about outfits or home décor you like, as well as products with a similar style. But perhaps most significantly, Lens is being freed from the shackles of Photos and Assistant. Google’s technology will now come baked directly into the Pixel’s camera app, and cameras in (unspecified) devices by LG, Motorola, Xiaomi, Sony Mobile, HMD/Nokia, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ, and Asus.

Linux on Chromebooks It didn’t make the I/O main stage, but in a followup post, Google revealed that Chromebooks are

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Linux on a Chromebook getting Linux support to help developers code on the browser-based laptops. A preview will be available for the Pixelbook soon. According to Google: “Support for Linux will enable you to create, test and run Android and web apps… Run popular editors, code in your favourite language and launch projects to Google Cloud with the command-line. Everything works directly on a Chromebook. Linux runs inside a virtual machine that was designed from scratch for Chromebooks. That means it starts in seconds and integrates completely with Chromebook features. Linux apps can start with a click of an icon, windows can be moved around, and files can be opened directly from apps.”

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Waymo

Waymo’s self-driving cars will take passengers for real Google’s Waymo self-driving car company sought to show its safer side at the keynote. No doubt its rival Uber’s self-driving technology failure, which led to the death of a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March, was top of mind. CEO John Krafcik said Waymo has used Google’s deep neural networks to reduce its pedestrian detection error rate by 100X. That sounds great, though by digging into the numbers, that error rate started at 1 in 4, and therefore improved to about 1 in 400. We’ll see how those numbers work out in real life when the company starts a driverless transportation service in another Arizona city, Phoenix, later this year.

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GUIDE TO WINDOWS 10

Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update Timeline and Near Sharing highlight an otherwise modest list of improvements within the update, writes MARK HACHMAN

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icrosoft’s Windows 10 April 2018 Update barely received a formal title, which understandably makes you wonder how much importance the company ascribed to it. But as our guide shows, what Microsoft internally referred to as the ‘Redstone 4’ release conceals numerous changes and improvements, with two – Timeline and Nearby Sharing – sharing the marquee.

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Really, though, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Version 1803) is an ensemble show, with a supporting cast of more minor enhancements. There’s Quiet Hours, now called Focus Assist; improved data usage management; and a ton of updates in Edge, some of which you’ve seen before within other browsers. Underneath it all, Microsoft may be building something new, as the Edge engine includes the underpinnings for Progressive Web Apps, a fresh way of supplying apps to the Microsoft Store. Unlike previous releases, Microsoft hasn’t really established a cohesive narrative around the April 2018 Update, though the company has argued that it will save you time. When will you get the April 2018 Update? You can download it now.

Fluent Design Your first impressions of the new version of Windows 10 will begin on the desktop, which looks nearly identical to earlier versions. Dive deeper, though, and more subtle changes reveal themselves. Expect to see more of Microsoft’s Fluent Design throughout Windows, with its semi-transparent ‘acrylic’ UI letting the colours of background apps bleed through like frosted glass. Under Settings > Ease of Access > Display, you’ll find a wealth of new settings to manage this experience. Do you want to add visible scroll bars within UWP apps? Turn off the background image? You can also adjust how long notifications remain on your screen, and even extinguish Fluent Design’s transparency effects.

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Elements of Fluent Design, Microsoft’s new aesthetic, now permeate farther and farther into Windows. You can see a tiny bit of this ‘frosted glass’ effect within the Start menu, but it’s shown off nicely here in Edge Functionally, there are a few small changes. Microsoft has now added shortcut icons for Documents and Pictures above the Start Menu icon in the lower left. Notifications once assigned to Cortana have now migrated to the Action Centre on the lower right. The Windows Defender Security Centre (Settings > Update & Security) is now just ‘Windows Security’. And if you haven’t turned on Windows Hello, you may see a prompt on the lock screen to set it up.

Timeline One of Windows 10’s strengths is supplying innovative ways to help users get things done. One of its weaknesses is how it peers over your shoulder to

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GUIDE TO WINDOWS GUIDE 10

Timeline replaces Task View within the Windows 10 taskbar

accomplish this. Timeline, arguably the marquee feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, incorporates elements of both. As you work, Timeline optionally records the pages you visited using Edge (but not Chrome, or any other browser) and keeps track of what documents you touch within Microsoft Office. (Timeline is on by default.) If you click the taskbar button once reserved for Task View, Timeline opens up to reveal your recent computing activity, going back over the past days and weeks. For Microsoft, Timeline is part of the ‘pick up where you left off’ experience, tracking your work from your smartphone and from desktop PC to desktop PC. Is it useful to know what you were working on a week ago? Possibly. Its selling point, though, is its ability to group documents and web pages together in collections called Activities. If you do see value in knowing which

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Timeline tracks your web surfing habits and document viewing, and further organizes it into Activities (not shown), which groups them on an hourly basis

budget spreadsheet you were working on a week ago, you’ll find even more in being able to quickly rediscover and launch any related web pages and PowerPoint presentations that you had open at the time. Timeline is a fine addition to Windows, similar to but worthier than your browser history. It’s a helpful way to reorient yourself while hopping from task to task. Like many features within Windows, though, it doesn’t thrust itself at you. What ultimately doomed Task View was a lack of attention, and the same fate could befall Timeline.

Near Share Near Share (also called ‘Nearby Sharing’ within the Settings menu) sounds great on paper. It’s a new

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Microsoft Edge and Windows 10’s File Explorer both include ‘Share’ options that can now share that data to nearby PCs

feature that allows Windows PCs to share files and URLs with nearby PCs, assuming both have authorized the exchange. (Apple’s similar AirDrop feature debuted several years ago.) The Edge browser and File Explorer already include ‘Share’ options, which would normally limit you to routing that data via Mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other apps. Now, directly connecting to nearby PCs is an additional option. Near Share has a small list of requirements: you’ll need a Windows PC (no phones, sorry) with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled. You’ll also need to turn on Nearby Sharing in Settings to share data with either your own devices or with strangers. Once set up, connecting is a

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If a nearby PC wants to share a file, you’ll see a notification that it’s available

cinch, though the way Windows assigns PCs names – with a seemingly random string of letters and numbers – can make identifying which PC you’re sharing to a bit more complicated than it could be. Unfortunately, Near Share offers Bluetooth-like (3Mbit/s) speeds for actually sharing files – most of the time, anyway. (I saw 30Mbit/s or so once or twice.) That makes sharing large files iffy. But if you need to quickly beam a complex URL to a neighbour, or zip a photo or a small file to a colleague in a conference room, Near Share avoids the necessity of digging out a USB stick. There are other, possibly even better ways of transferring files, but Near Share’s a decent addition to a Windows PC’s bag of tricks. Since we’re talking about sharing, there’s one additional footnote you should be aware of. Within the update, the legacy Homegroup feature has gone away.

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There’s a handy shortcut within the Action Centre notifications to toggle Focus Assist to either priority alerts or just alarms, but you can fine-tune it as much as you’d like. Note the summary option at the bottom

Focus Assist Email notifications sliding in from the side of your Action Centre can provide you the opportunity to respond quickly to a task at hand, but can quickly become distracting when you really need to buckle down. A feature called Quiet Hours has helped manage notifications since Windows 8.1. Within the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, Quiet Hours has been renamed Focus Assist, with substantially more powerful controls added to the

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feature. By far the most important are two: the ability to turn off all notifications while playing a DirectX game, as well as when you’re duplicating your screen during a presentation. Focus Assist isn’t perfect. You’ll still need to dive into the Settings and order Windows 10 not to interrupt your game or presentation. It might be nice, as one beta-tester suggested, to be able to actually prevent websites like Facebook or Twitter from loading during an intensive work session. Otherwise, Focus Assist does one thing – block distracting notifications – and does it well enough that you’ll barely notice.

Microsoft Edge I can’t escape from my love-hate relationship with Microsoft’s Edge browser. On some machines, it feels lean and fast, but when I used my test version of Edge to live stream Microsoft’s Developer Day, the feed stuttered and skipped. Microsoft continues to grind away at Edge, however. The Windows 10 April 2018 Update’s feature release belatedly provides some general improvements, enhances Edge’s e-book experience, and lays the foundation for what could be some interesting additions to the Windows app ecosystem. There’s also a key security improvement that has migrated to Windows 10 Pro. Two new features fall under the category of ‘I can’t believe Edge didn’t already have that’: the ability to mute tabs, and a feature which automatically fills out forms. The former works as expected, but the latter is disappointing. You’ll need to dig into Edge’s Settings

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The form fill feature within Edge is fairly basic > Advanced Settings > Manage form entries menu, then manually fill out the fields yourself. Rival browsers simply slurp up the information as you type it, and include the option to store financial information, too. Edge also received a nice facelift, with an updated flyout menu (Microsoft calls it the Edge Hub) that largely replaces the somewhat inscrutable icons of years past. The broad swath of white space also shows off the updated ‘Acrylic’ look of Windows 10, with its frosted-glass transparency effects. Effectively using the available space is part of Edge’s ‘clutter-free’ printing, which reduced a 13-page print job down to seven by eliminating ads and other unwanted material. The other noteworthy update is to Edge’s e-book reading experience, a unique feature among other browsers. When you click on the Books tab in the Edge Hub, it will open into a surprisingly attractive library of your e-books, with several suggestions at

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Clutter-free printing within Microsoft Edge eliminates ads and smooths out the layout of a web page. It’s a solid feature, although the formatting suffers a bit the bottom. While the reading experience hasn’t changed all that much, Edge has added much better note-taking, with a unified menu for bookmarks and an index to quickly find those notes. Edge also added the capability to break up words into syllables and identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives, an assistive technology for readers. I’ve never seen an EPUB book with audio narration, but Edge supports that, too. One key feature which has finally reached Windows is Windows Defender Application Guard, a sort of browser ‘super sandbox’, which was restricted to

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While you could attach notes to ebooks within the Fall Creators Update, the spring update actually provides an index of those notes. (They’re keyed to the word or words you highlighted) enterprise versions of Windows, but has now been added to Windows 10 Pro. WDAG creates a virtual sandbox for your Edge browser, although you’ll need to turn on the feature within the Control Panel (Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows Features On and Off). If you’re browsing the dark depths of the Web within Edge, do it with WDAG enabled. And there’s also one more thing. Under the hood, Edge’s new EdgeHTML underpinnings include Service Workers, Push and Cache APIs – developer-level improvements that will mean little to you, now. But

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The Fluent Designinfluenced e-book store within Edge is in sharp, vibrant contrast to the browser’s monochrome aesthetic Windows 10’s Microsoft Store has always had an app shortage, and these capabilities lay the foundation for what’s called Progressive Web Apps, one of the keys to the future of Windows. Think of PWAs as web apps on steroids, and within Windows, web apps don’t even require the Edge browser to run. Before you sneer at the idea, consider that there are already Microsoft Store, web, and traditional Win32 ‘desktop’ apps available for Spotify – and all of them basically look and feel the

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same. The updated Twitter app for Windows 10 is one of the first PWAs. While it feels too ‘big’, with too much wasted space, it’s still much more usable than the previous standalone app. Do Windows users really care that PWAs will increase the number of apps in the Microsoft Store? Probably not, especially if Microsoft’s mobile ambitions have been put on hold. But just as some users choose to use the Twitter Web page, others will prefer the app – just as some Windows users type with a keyboard, and others enter text with a stylus. And there’s another intriguing possibility, too: if Microsoft makes its own Windows 10 apps PWAs – like Mail and Calendar, say – then maybe we’ll see some of the aggressive features Microsoft brings to web apps and services quickly migrated to the apps within Windows 10, instead of being delayed for months.

Data usage management Two factors – ISPs like Comcast once again enforcing data caps, and the uncertainty surrounding net neutrality – have put data usage and its management into the spotlight once again. Here, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update offers a number of useful features. An updated Data usage setting (Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage) offers a much more comprehensive way of viewing how much data you’ve used over the past 30 days, setting limits on how much to use, and managing background data from the Store. But the feature inexplicably refused to show data usage via ethernet, which seems like an odd omission. Setting data limits will set your Wi-Fi or ethernet as

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While you can cap the data you use within Windows, doing so will set your connection as ‘metered’, which can have some annoying consequences

a metered connection, which will prevent automated OneDrive syncing, however. Perhaps Microsoft could adjust your connection to metered when there’s only 20 percent or so left on your cap. Way, way down in the Windows Update settings (Settings > Update & Security > Advanced options > Delivery Optimization > Advanced options) are a number of useful options for people with metered or low-bandwidth connections. Yes, you can graciously upload Windows patches to your neighbour’s PCs, but cap the data you’ll allow. You can also limit how much bandwidth you allocate to foreground updates (such as Store apps you click on) and background security and feature updates. Finally, if you own an ‘always connected’ PC with an active cellular connection, you’ll also have the option to favour cellular connections over Wi-Fi. (If you don’t

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Direct pen input into the Settings menu is a handy feature – and yet it doesn’t work within the Cortana search box, Edge’s URL bar, or within search fields within web pages such as Microsoft.com have a PC with this capability, the Settings > Network & Internet > Cellular option won’t appear.)

Windows Ink Windows 10, I sometimes tell people, isn’t necessarily their Windows. Microsoft’s Windows 10 development team optimizes for a variety of modalities, including speech, pen, touch, voice, and more, some of which some users will never use. For people invested in those modalities, though, further development is among their top priorities. Here, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update holds two small but significant improvements.

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First, if there’s a text field, you no longer have to open a separate handwriting panel. Simply click the field and you can write right within it. Microsoft also added a ‘commit’ gesture, a sort of backwards ‘L’, that helpfully clears out the handwriting panel. I’d still like an option to be able to ‘write’ in one fixed position, though, with the text automatically scrolling out of the way.

Verdict Rather than a cohesive whole, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update seems more like a service pack of old – simply a collection of improvements, many minor. Simply put, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update at least feels like the least important iteration of Windows 10 to date. What we haven’t heard about is what may be going on behind the scenes. Microsoft’s committed to making Windows 10 S a ‘mode’ of Windows 10, and executives have stated that the majority of users will experience Windows in this way. Does that mean that universal Windows apps from the Microsoft Store will command a more prominent role in the future despite years of struggles? It certainly seems so. Meanwhile, forthcoming Progressive Web Apps may help enrich Windows 10’s app catalogue, someday. Mark Hachman

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Asus ZenBook UX410UA Price: £799 inc VAT from fave.co/2IEu5QZ

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he Asus ZenBook UX410UA is a Windows alternative to the Apple MacBook Air. It has a fairly rich and practical display, a deep-action keyboard and a glass trackpad, a rarity at the price. Build quality could be slightly better, as a few parts flex a little. However, this is still a good all-purpose laptop if you need a laptop that is portable but still has enough power to run serious applications.

Price Be careful when buying an UX410UA. At the time of writing you’ll find as many last-generation models as

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current ones. For £549, you can buy a version with a Core i3-7100U CPU, 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM. It is a solid computer for those who don’t run anything too taxing. Our review unit has a 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM and the newer, more powerful Core i5-8250U CPU. It costs £799, a big leap in price to match the difference in performance. The model to avoid is the one with an Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, unless it’s sold at a good price. That’s the previous-generation option.

Design The UX410UA has an all-aluminium shell, aside from parts of its hinge and the screen surround. Both are plastic. This is a ‘premium’ laptop, but there’s a much greater variance in finish here than in a MacBook. The lid has a very fine, smooth finish of concentric circles that fan out from its centre. This is a mainstay of the ZenBook series, and looks good. Inside, the Asus has a much simpler anodized aluminium keyboard surround. It feels smooth and looks good. The underside is the main sign that this is not a £1,000-plus laptop. It’s a little rougher than the aluminium of the inside. This may even increase friction, though, helping it stay on your knees if you’re using it away from a desk. The UX410UA is also significantly chunkier than a top-end stylish alternative. It’s 18.95mm thick, and doesn’t taper as much as some towards the end. However, let’s get real. A sub-20mm, 1.35kg laptop like this is still a superb solution if you want a computer you can take wherever you go. It is just not quite as flashy as some more expensive laptops.

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There’s also a tiny bit more flex to the panels than ideal. The keyboard dips under finger pressure around the right-side keys and the screen part is not entirely rigid. There’s an obvious reason why it doesn’t need to be: the display is not covered by a big sheet of glass.

Keyboard and trackpad For the most part, the UX410UA is a solid, somewhat predictable mid-range laptop. However, you do get one very tasty surprise. It has a textured glass trackpad, which is significantly nicer than the plastic pads you usually get in a sub-£1,000 laptop. The difference is hard to appreciate until you use it, as they look identical, but it’s real. Textured glass feels smoother, less tacky when you change the direction of a swipe. This is perhaps the highest-end part of the entire machine. Its click response is solid, too.

The textured glass trackpad feels smoother to use than its plastic cousins

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The keyboard is like the connections: pleasantly old-fashioned. Key action is deeper than most new slim laptops, for a much meatier feel. The bottom of the key’s movement is slightly less well-defined than a world-class keyboard, which initially makes it feel slightly less crisp. This one is at least reasonable, though. It’s backlit, too. All the features we’re after are here, although there’s no fingerprint scanner.

Display The 14in display positions this as a good laptop for working in all conditions: in the office, out in the park, or on the train. This is a non-touch, anti-glare display, making it able to deal with ambient light better than most. It only diffuses reflections rather than evaporating them completely, but does mean you don’t end up looking at a mirror image of yourself on a sunny day. The anti-glare display deals with ambient light better than most

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Maximum brightness of 320cd/m2 is respectable too, although you will probably notice that a matte screen like this doesn’t tend to look as bright as a glossy display when indoors. The colour performance is also respectable for a laptop at the price, if not a standard-setter. It covers 80.8 percent of sRGB. This is enough to make the display look well-saturated to the naked eye, but doesn’t provide the ultra-rich colour of a laptop with a true high-end display. Will you find such a display at the price in a laptop with a full 8th Gen Core-series processor? No. Similarly, 1080p resolution across a 14in screen does result in fairly clear pixellation. But while Asus used to make laptops at this price with higher-than-1080p screens, this is no longer the case. The Lenovo IdeaPad 320s and Acer Swift 3 both have 1080p displays too. There are no viewing angle or contrast shift concerns either, as the UX410UA has an IPS panel.

Performance Our review UX410UA has an Intel Core i5-8520U CPU with 8GB RAM. This is precisely the specification we would recommend for anyone looking for a sensiblypriced laptop that can handle more or less any application. Intel doubled the number of cores in its power-efficient laptop processors with this generation. The Intel Core i5-8520U has four cores, clocked at 1.6GHz with a 3.4GHz Turbo mode. Windows 10 runs very well, and there’s enough power and memory for more demanding tasks such as video editing.

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The Asus scores 3,456 in PCMark 10, more than you’d see from a laptop with a last-generation Core i7 CPU. Intel’s 8th-generation performance increases are substantial, and very welcome. It also scores 12,347 in Geekbench 4, similar to the results of an older desktop-replacement laptop. Gaming has not improved, though. The UX410UA can only run games about as well as a laptop with integrated graphics from the past couple of years: not that well. It earns 4281 in 3DMark’s Skydiver test. A laptop like this can play games released five years or so ago if you drop down the graphics settings, but simply is not meant primarily for gaming. You do have some other choices at the price. HP’s Pavilion Pro 14 has Nvidia 940MX graphics and Acer sells a version of the Swift 3 with a more powerful Nvidia MX150 chipset. Neither turns a laptop into a true gaming computer, but you will get far better results than from the integrated graphics used here. You get a 256GB SSD with this higher-end specification of the UX410UA, which lets you comfortably store a good amount of data before needing to tidy up your files.

Connectivity and audio Asus tries to cover all the usual bases with its connections. Unlike a lot of top-end laptops, it has not switched to using miniature connectors. There are three full-size USBs, although only one is a higher-speed USB 3.0. The others are USB 2.0, which seems a budget cut too far at this point. However, the most obvious use for USB 3.0 is copying or accessing files from an external

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The UX410UA offers a range of connectivity options, including USB 2.0 and an SD slot

hard drive, and you probably only need to connect one of those at a time. A mouse won’t mind whether it’s plugged into a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port. The USB-C connector can also act as another highspeed connector, although again it’s not as fast as the sockets on a more expensive laptop. This is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, not a Thunderbolt 3 compatible one. There’s also a full-size HDMI and a full-size SD card slot. You don’t get super-speedy connectors, but many of you will make more use of these extras anyway, which some laptops have dumped as ‘legacy’ sockets. We wouldn’t class this as a big hit as a portable movie player. There are Harman/Kardon speakers to each end of the UX410UA’s underside, but they aren’t that loud. Indeed, they sound relatively small and polite compared to other laptops. Their tone is perfectly fine, but won’t stand up to much ambient noise or do justice to much more than a podcast.

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Battery life The 48Wh battery is solid rather than eye-opening capacity. However, when playing a looped movie at 120cd/m2 brightness it still lasts 11 hours, 25 minutes.

Verdict The Asus ZenBook UX410UA is a great laptop if you want something that will let you work and check emails, wherever you are. It’s portable, the screen has a matte finish and the battery life is very good. It also has a glass trackpad, matching the lovely Lenovo IdeaPad 720S, which is also this laptop’s biggest rival. Which should you buy? Right now, the Asus. It has 8th-generation processors. At the time of writing the Lenovo does not. Andrew Williams

Specifications • 14in Full HD (1,920x1,080) 157ppi IPS LCD matte • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (3.8GHz boost) 4 cores, 8 threads • Windows 10 Home 64-bit • Intel HD 620 GPU • 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 RAM • 256GB SSD • 802.11b/g/n/ac single-band 2x2 MIMO • Bluetooth 4.1 • 1x USB-C 3.1 • 1x USB 3.0 • 2x USB 2.0 • HDMI • Kensington Security Slot • SDXC card slot

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The UX410UA is a great option if you are looking for a laptop for work

• Stereo speakers • HD webcam • Single mic • 3.5mm headset jack • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad • Two-button trackpad • 48Wh lithium-ion battery, non-removable • 323x223x18.95mm • 1.35kg • 1-year limited warranty

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OnePlus 6 Price: £469 inc VAT from fave.co/2x12Z4Z

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t’s four years since OnePlus released its first phone, and the firm is already on its eighth handset. The OnePlus 6 arrives a point where notches are all the rage and while it might not have every feature a phone can have, it’s still an amazing deal.

Design If you’re familiar with the OnePlus 6’s predecessor, the 5T, then this isn’t a huge departure in terms of design and build. It’s largely that phone with a collection of tweaks and improvements.

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The headline news is that the phone is made from Gorilla Glass 5, but has a metal border with glass on the front and back. Three different finishes are available: Midnight Black, which has the classic OnePlus look; Mirror Black is heavily polished and has that quintessential glass look and feel; while Silk White, has both white and pink tones thanks to crushed pearl along with a soft powder finish to the touch similar to the original OnePlus. Despite rumours of wireless charging – which requires glass to work – this is not a feature of the OnePlus 6. The glass is there for a premium look and feel only, and there’s a silicone case in the box to help protect it. The phone certainly looks and feels like a premium device (and the antennas are more hidden now), but there are downsides. The device is, for example, more slippery in the hand and, particularly with the Mirror Black model, the glass shows up fingerprints. We were hoping that this would be the first waterproof OnePlus phone, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. It does offer improved water resistance, so no IP rating, but it will cope better in the rain or an accidental drop into a puddle. Some smaller things to note before we move on include the fact there’s still a headphone jack and that the camera array, which still sticks out, has moved to the middle of the phone above the fingerprint scanner – which is a slightly different shape. Finally, the Alert Slider has moved to the right side of the phone above the power button, so you can use it with your thumb – sorry left handers.

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The OnePlus 6 is the same size as the 5T (156.1x75mm), but slightly thicker and heavier – 7.75mm and 177g aren’t bad, though.

Display Despite having the same footprint as the 5T, the OnePlus 6 offers a larger screen thanks to much smaller bezels – it’s now 6.28in rather than 6.01in. The phone uses with the same Optic AMOLED technology, so the main difference is the notch at the top. The resolution is slightly higher at 2,280x1,080 due to that extra bit of screen and the new 19:9 aspect ratio. That might be lower than the Quad HD resolutions on more expensive phones, but for most people this is plenty good enough. Opinions on phones with notches are split, but we’ve found that you do get used to it and OnePlus OnePlus gives you the option to hide the display’s notch

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gives you the option to hide it if you prefer. This makes the background black, while still displaying icons that are dimmed, so it provides a different style. The main goal here is to offer as much screen as possible and an 84 percent screen-to-body ratio is a decent effort. It just means that such a large screen can be tricky to use one-handed seeing as our hands aren’t getting bigger to match the trend. Luckily, you can do things like pull the notification pane down by swiping down in the middle of the display rather than having to reach right to the top.

Processor, memory and storage The OnePlus 6 comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 flagship processor. The firm is known for packing in a serious amount of memory and this Geekbench 4

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GFXBench Manhattan

GFXBench T-Rex

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JetStream

handset is no different as you get either 6- or 8GB. There’s no microSD card slot,but you get at least 64GB of storage as standard. There are also models offering 128- or 256GB. OnePlus’s tag line for the phone “The Speed You Need”, and there’s no denying how fast it is. It’s noticeably quicker in operation than many other phones and benchmark results are up there with (in some cases better) phones a lot more expensive.

Connectivity, audio and biometrics The OnePlus 6 comes with dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, GPS and NFC. It’s still a dual-SIM phone and the only change is that it’s now 4G Cat 16, which means it’s the first OnePlus to get Gigabit

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speeds – you won’t see that in real life, though. Once again there’s a USB-C port, a headphone jack and a single down-facing speaker. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner has a slightly different shape to that found on the 5T, but it’s basically the same and works quickly. Most of the time, though, you’ll probably end up using Face Unlock, which is extremely quick, and even works well in low light.

Cameras The cameras might have moved position on the back of the phone, but they’re not hugely different to the ones on the 5T. The OnePlus 6 still has dual cameras, one at 16Mp and the other at 20Mp. They are both Sony sensors and have an impressive aperture of f/1.7. The main addition this year is that the main 16Mp sensor now has optical image stabilization (OIS) and the sensor is slightly larger to take in more light. There’s a telephoto option in the camera app for 2x zoom, though this doesn’t switch to the higher resolution sensor, it just crops the image. Instead, the 20Mp lens is mainly used for the depth effect of portrait mode. You can take photos in 4:3, 1:1 or even 19:9 to fill the screen, but it’s worth noting that aspect ratio will look odd elsewhere. The front camera is still 16Mp with an f/2.0 aperture and is able to record video at up to 1080p at 30fps. We like how simple and easy the app is to use, including changing modes and settings. As you can see in our gallery of samples, the OnePlus 6 performs very well. The camera offers excellent detail, colour, exposure and white balance – in

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Landscape shot a range of conditions, even low light. It’s certainly not the best phone camera but at the price, you’re getting much better quality than you would normally expect. In terms of video, you can shoot at up to 4K at 60fps and results are impressive with the OIS doing a decent job of smoothing things out. We’d recommend shooting in 1080p at 60fps for the best combination of quality and file size, though.

Low light shot

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Slow motion is all the rage right now and although the OnePlus 6 offers 720p at 480fps or 1080p at 240fps, which is half the frame rate of rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ2, you can shoot for up to a minute in one go making it easier to capture the moment you’re after.

Battery life Like the 5T, the OnePlus 6 has a 3,300mAh battery. We’ve been fans of Dash Charge since it was first introduced and it makes an appearance here. In our tests, it enabled our test unit to reach whopping 55 percent from a 30-minute charge from a dead phone. That’s seriously impressive and for some users that could be a whole day of usage as promised, if you’re not a heavy user that is.

Software The phone comes with the firm’s own OxygenOS, which is a stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo. OnePlus hasn’t messed around with the interface and importantly you don’t get loads of bloatware. It does, however, come with lots of little tweaks and additions that have been around for a while, namely the Shelf which is a swipe away from the home screen. This provides quick access to recent contacts and apps, as well as providing useful information such as data usage and available storage. Customization is good, so you can really use the phone how you like. This means you can, for example, hide the notch, or change the font. The OnePlus 6 also gives you the option to hide or even switch off the navigation bar at the bottom

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The OnePlus 6’s OS is a stock version of Android Oreo of the screen. The latter means you’ll use gestures that are available already on the 5T via a software update. They’re similar to those used on the iPhone X and the ones coming in Android P, so you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home, swipe and hold to open recent apps and swipe from the right side to go back.

Verdict The OnePlus 6 might not have everything on the ultimate phone tick list, but that doesn’t really matter. There are more expensive phones on the market with additional features like waterproofing and wireless charging, but those are luxury items which a lot of people won’t actually use very often. What OnePlus has done is nailed all the most important stuff and made a phone that offers excellent design, specs and

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performance at a frankly ridiculous price. So for most people, the 6 is an absolute bargain. Chris Martin

Specifications • 6.28in Full HD+ (2,280x1,080, 402ppi) AMOLED display • Android 8.1 Oreo with OxygenOS • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor • Adreno 630 graphics • 6/8GB RAM • 64/128/256GB storage • 16- and 20Mp rear cameras, f/1.7, support for 4K video at 60fps • 16Mp front camera, f/2.0 • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 5.0 • 4G LTE (Cat 16) • Dual nano-SIM • NFC • Headphone jack • Fingerprint sensor (rear) • USB-C • 3,300mAh non-removable battery with Dash Charge • 156.1x75x7.75mm • 177g

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LG G7 ThinQ Price: £599 inc VAT from fave.co/2s0wNKa

H

ot on the heels of the V30S ThinQ is the G7 ThinQ, LG’s other flagship phone for 2018. There are many similarities between these two, but also a couple of significant differences. First, the G7 has an IPS screen rather than OLED, and it benefits from the newer, faster Snapdragon 845 processor. It also gains the ability to take portrait photos with blurry backgrounds (which the G6 lacked) and has a traditional headphone socket, yet is waterproof. LG has also beefed up the audio with a bigger, louder speaker and used some nifty screen

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technology to make the screen one of the brightest around. With a sensible price, the G7 could be the Android flagship you’ve been waiting for – though the OnePlus 6 (see page 38) is a good chunk cheaper if you can live with its compromises. Don’t worry about that ThinQ branding: it’s a suffix LG is now using for all of its products that have ‘artificial intelligence’. We’ll get to the AI later.

Design LG has clearly stuck with the G6’s design and refined it for the G7. It’s a Gorilla Glass 5 sandwich: a curved glass back is order of the day for 2018 flagships, and unlike the Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6, the G7 supports QI wireless charging, so the glass isn’t simply there to look pretty. (But you can keep it looking prettier for longer with these cases). There’s IP68 water resistance, but when other manufacturers use this as an excuse to drop the

The dedicated Google Assistant button is located below the volume buttons

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headphone jack, not LG. Audio is one of the key features of the phone, so it’s great to see a 3.5mm jack on the bottom next to the USB-C port. Whereas previous LG phones have had their power button integrated with the fingerprint scanner, the G7 ThinQ has a normal sleep/wake button on the righthand side. Unusually for an Android phone, volume buttons are opposite, like an iPhone. Below the volume buttons is another that’s dedicated to the Google Assistant, a bit like Samsung’s Bixby button. If you find this annoying you can disable it, but it’s a much easier way of calling up the assistant than holding the on-screen home button. You can press and release, or press and hold to speak to the Assistant a little like you were using a walkie-talkie. A third mode lets you double-press the button to launch Google Lens. Plus, thanks to far-field mics, you can say “OK Google” from across the room just as you would with a Google Home. One of the most noticeable design features is the screen notch. It’s by no means the only Android phone with a notch: Huawei’s P20 series has one, as does the OnePlus 6 and Asus ZenFone 5. Here the notch is a little longer than the P20’s, but not as large as the iPhone X’s – we’ve compared the LG G7 and iPhone X separately. The notch houses an 8Mp selfie camera and the earpiece speaker, plus an ambient light sensor. LG calls the sections of screen either side of the notch a ‘second screen’ – a reference to the real second screen on the V-series phone from a couple of years ago. You’ll find options in the Settings app to hide the

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The ThinQ’s notch houses an 8Mp selfie camera and the earpiece speaker, plus an ambient light sensor notch by making the screen black, but you can also opt for different colours or some nifty gradient that make it blend differently. Some will be miffed that there’s both a notch and a small ‘chin’ at the bottom, but LG says that it’s difficult to make the bottom bezel as thin as the top one because of the electronics required for the IPS screen. Overall, the G7 ThinQ looks and feels every inch the flagship phone.

Display The screen has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and a resolution of 3,120x1,440 pixels. It’s tricky to measure its diagonal exactly because of the rounded corners, but LG quotes it as 6.1in. Rather than use the traditional sub-pixel arrangement of red, green and blue, the G7’s MLCD+

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To enable Super Bright mode, you need to move the slider to 100 percent display adds a white pixel to boost brightness without using more power. You might therefore argue that a quarter of the pixels don’t add anything to picture quality – and you’d be right – but resolution is higher than some competitors already and it looks nice and sharp. It offers a Super Bright mode, which raises brightness to 1,000 nits for a maximum of three minutes, aiding screen readability when outdoors in sunny conditions. To enable it, you have to move the brightness slider to 100 percent, then tap on the sun icon which appears to the left of it. We took the G7 outdoors in very bright conditions and it’s noticeably brighter than all its rivals. And it’s much easier to view a web page, read and reply to a text message or use the dialler to ring someone. It’s also useful when using the viewfinder to frame a photo, but it’s not meant to be used for long periods: it turns

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off after three minutes to preserve battery life and prevent overheating. It’s a shame that you have to enable it manually (the AI smarts clearly aren’t up to the job of making this process automatic for some reason) and it’s also slightly annoying that you won’t get the maximum of 1,000 nits unless it is absolutely dazzling outdoors. We used our Spyder 5 colorimeter to measure peak ‘Boosted’ brightness indoors and were baffled that it varied between around 630 and 750 nits. It was only when we took the setup outside and allowed the sun to shine on the G7 that we finally saw 971 nits. With Super Bright mode disabled, the brightest you’ll see is around 500 nits. Aside from the high brightness, colours looks vibrant and there isn’t a really noticeable colour shift when tilting the phone and viewing off axis. In the Settings app there’s a choice of six colour modes, similar to those you’d find on a TV: Eco, Cinema, Sports, and more. By default, the mode will be chosen automatically based on the app you’re using. There’s an Expert mode where you can fine-tune the settings manually, even down to adjusting the red, green and blue levels individually. Thanks to that high brightness, the screen supports HDR 10 content, and covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut, so it can display all the necessary colours. Unfortunately, refresh rate is fixed, so there’s no difference whether you pick Game mode or Cinema. The screen defaults to quad HD out of the box, but you can choose a lower resolution if you want to try and eke out more battery life.

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There are six colour modes to choose from in the Settings app

Processor, memory and storage As befits a flagship Android phone in 2018, the G7 has the latest Snapdragon 845 processor. Depending on region, it’s paired with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. The UK model will have the 4GB/64GB combo, but as there’s a microSD slot in the SIM tray, you can expand that storage easily. In Geekbench 4, the G7 scored 8979 in the multi-core test and 2312 in the single-core. So it’s certainly quick. In JetStream, it managed 86.5, another top-end score. We couldn’t run GFXBench on the G7 that LG sent us to review due to the way the operating system had been installed for test phones, but we know from other

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845-equipped phones that it should hit the screen’s 60Hz limit in T-Rex and Manhattan. In Manhattan 3.1, expect a little over 50fps, and around 30fps in the more demanding Car Chase test. As you’d expect, all the supporting hardware is the latest standard including 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5. There’s NFC too, which you can use for Google Pay.

Connectivity and audio Despite having a mono speaker in the bottom edge rather than stereo speakers, the G7’s sounds better than you’d expect from a phone. That’s because the ‘resonance chamber’ is 17 times larger than previous phones. Any empty space inside the phone is used, and the water-resistant tape forms a seal that effectively makes the whole phone a speaker cabinet. This means the back of the phone vibrates when sounds or music is played. Bass is certainly better than any other current phone, but it’s no Bluetooth speaker replacement. We listened to a variety of genres on it and found that piano and bassier stringed instruments such as cellos sound much more full-bodied than on any other current flagship. Because the phone itself vibrates, sound (and volume) improves if you place it on a surface. You’ll notice the most difference if you put it on something thin such as a cardboard box or – as LG did in demos – a guitar. This amplifies the sound much more than it does with other phones, but you’re unlikely to hear the benefit on a hardwood kitchen worktop, desk or a dining table as they’re generally too thick to vibrate. Putting the G7 in a case will dampen this

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‘boombox’ effect, especially if you pick a silicone case or anything that isn’t rigid. As with the V30S, a quad DAC is used. This hi-fi kit was missing from the UK version of the G6, so it’s good to see it in the G7 and – from our tests with various pairs of wired headphones, this is a greatsounding phone. There’s support for MQA files, which is used for hi-res audio (including streaming). The G7 is the first phone to have a DTS:X 3D system, which turns any headphones into a virtual 7.1 sound system. It’s currently exclusive to LG, which says you don’t need special video which has DTS:X 3D sound. Instead, it will work with any video, including YouTube and Netflix streams. In practice, we found it hard to notice any difference in most videos, even in action scenes when bullets are flying around.

The G7’s DTS:X 3D system turns any headphones into a virtual 7.1 sound system

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Cameras With most phones sharing similar internal components, manufacturers are increasingly trying to differentiate by adding more cameras. The G7 takes the same approach as its predecessors: one standard camera and one wide angle. The main camera is the same as the V30S’s with a 71-degree field of view. It has a 16Mp sensor and optical stabilization. The wide-angle camera has a 107-degree field of view and reduced distortion compared to older phones. There’s no OIS, partly because you don’t need it with such a wide angle. It’s also fixed focus, unlike the main camera which has auto-focus. There’s an ‘AI’ mode that can identify 19 different types of scene, which are automatically selected if one is recognised. In each, it will apply colour filters, brightness and recommends the wide-angle camera or Super Bright Camera (see page 60) when appropriate. Unlike the P20 Pro, the AI Camera is a completely separate shooting mode, and it isn’t on by default. Processing the scene is done on-device, but takes around 1.5 seconds. And after you take a photo there’s a one-second delay before you can take another photo. To be clear, with AI CAM turned off, there are no perceptible delays when shooting in good light. The Super Bright Camera is for use when it’s really dark. It uses a technique called pixel binning, which helps to get better results from the camera, but it means that you get 4Mp photos rather than 16Mp. If you’re taking video, having Super Bright enabled in the settings means the same method is used, so you get full HD quality rather than 4K in low light. You can

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Here, we used the AI Camera, which tends to oversaturate colours to a ridiculous level also use the wide-angle camera in Super Bright mode, and the AI CAM mode, too. Getting back to video, the G7 tops out at 30fps in 4K, but you can record video in HDR. There’s also a nifty ‘Cine Video’ mode which applies some Hollywoodstyle filters to make your footage look more cinematic. Whichever mode you choose, stabilization is available not just at 1080p but also 4K. Portrait mode is another key feature, as people expect their new phone to be able to blur out the background for a nice DLSR-style effect. The G7 keeps the same field of view as when shooting with the main camera, unlike most phones which use the zoom in and have a much narrower view.

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Super Bright mode is impressive, so long as you don’t look too closely Slo-mo is unimpressive for a 2018 flagship as the G7 ThinQ can record 240fps at 720p. We’d have expected this to be 1080p, and the option to record in short bursts at 960fps. Overall, image and video quality is good. The Super Bright mode produced some impressive looking shots, but only if you don’t look too closely. They are low resolution to start with – 4Mp – but when you zoom in certain areas look like an oil painting with no detail at all. The brightness is remarkable, though, as the above image was taken when there was very, very little light. Obviously, the main benefit of the G7 is the wideangle view that lets you capture more of the scene without using Panorama mode. But we can’t help

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feel that we’d prefer a telephoto camera: rivals that have a 2x or 3x zoom let you get closer to the action as well as giving you the option of taking a panorama when you can’t move further back.

Battery life The 3,000mAh battery is smaller than some rivals, but LG is confident this is enough because of the more power efficient screen. In general use, we found the G7 would just about last a day with normal use including taking lots of photos. If you’re a mobile gamer, prepare to carry a USB powerbank around with you as you’ll need to top up before too long. Using Geekbench 4’s battery rundown test, the G7 managed 5 hours, 46 minutes with the screen set to 120 nits. That’s not a terrible result considering the capacity, but it is noticeably less time than you’ll see from the OnePlus 6 and its 3,300mAh battery. The G7, though, support for QI wireless fast charging, and with the Quick Charge 3.0 adaptor included in the box it charges to just over 50 percent in 30 minutes.

Software LG’s tweaks to Android 8 are fairly extensive, but you’ll notice them most in the Settings app which looks quite different from stock Android. Usefully, they’re divided into Network, Sound, Display and General which means it’s easy to get to the commonly used settings. The notch isn’t an issue for apps, as nothing extends into that ‘second screen’ area when you rotate the phone to landscape mode. When watching videos full

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screen, for example, they have rounded corners on both sides, and the extra bits of screen act as a black border. In portrait mode, content does extend into the ‘ears’ but is overlaid with a grey bar and the usual Android notification icons over the top. In the settings you can enable LG’s Smart Bulletin which appears when you swipe left from the main home screen. This is a combination of alerts and reminders as well as automation, LG Health info and a music player widget. Pocket Briefing summarizes the stuff that’s important to you, and the idea is you can check it when you go to bed and / or get up in the morning. Pocket Adviser offers toggles for reminding you about various things you might have forgotten such as birthdays, people you haven’t called back after you declined their calls and even favourite contacts who haven’t been in touch for three months. Automation lets you choose settings based on location, so you can pick a preferred Wi-Fi network when you arrive home, a sound profile to use, and which app to open when you plug in some headphones. All of this is done without calling back to a server, so it could appeal to those who don’t like the privacy implications of using a more intrusive service such as Google Now. There are quite a few preloaded apps including LG Health, a file manager, LG’s own music and gallery apps, Smart cleaning – for optimizing memory use, LG Mobile Switch and SmartThinQ, LG’s app for controlling your ThinQ-compatible appliances. Thanks to the tall screen you can run two apps on

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Smart Bulletin appears when you swipe left from the main home screen screen together. To do this, you bring up the app switcher and press the screen-divide symbol to enable the multi-window mode.

Verdict The G7 is cheaper than most flagships, but the OnePlus 6 is even more affordable still. In terms of features, the G7’s highlights include the very bright screen, waterresistance, wireless charging and surprisingly good sound from the mono speaker. Cameras are solid, if unremarkable, and there’s uncommon wide-angle lens for better landscape photography. Ultimately, the G7 ThinQ is a perfectly good phone at a sensible price and is a good choice if the OnePlus 6’s lack of water-proofing and wireless charging are deal-breakers for you. Jim Martin

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Specifications • 6.1in (3,120x1,440, 564ppi) IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display • Android 8.0 Oreo • Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 processor • Octa-core (4x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4x 1.7GHz Kryo 385 Silver) CPU • Adreno 630 GPU • 4/6GB RAM • 64/128GB storage, microSD up to 400GB • Fingerprint scanner • Dual rear-facing cameras: 16Mp, (f/1.6), OIS, laser and PDAF; 16Mp, (f/1.9), laser and phase detection autofocus, LED flash • 8Mp front-facing camera: 1080p • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 5.0 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS • USB 3.1 Type-C • 153.2x71.9x7.9mm • 162g

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Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Price: £39 inc VAT from fave.co/2khS7q9

R

omania-based Bitdefender is increasingly one of the top antivirus choices these days. It’s also a company not content to sit on its laurels, as evidenced by Bitdefender Total Security 2018, its full security suite. The look of Total Security 2018 is reminiscent of many other antivirus suites. The colour scheme is dark grey and black, with essential information displayed in

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blue or green text to highlight it. The main navigation is in the left rail, where you can switch between the various menu options while viewing details in the main part of the window. One nice touch is how Bitdefender continually shows the status of your PC at the top of the main window for the first three options in the left rail. That does, however, make it a little hard to figure out what’s going on when you switch between them – each section has the same basic colour scheme. Each of these first three left rail menu options uses a tile-based interface in the main window. The top Protection option, for example, offers tiles for a Quick Scan or a Vulnerability scan. To dive into more thorough scans, click the blue View Features link in the main window. There are also three status tiles for Bitdefender’s app protection, file protection, and web protection features. These tiles tell you whether Bitdefender has taken any action on your PC. When I first saw the interface, I expected to be able to click on these tiles. In time you can, once they actually have something to report, but at first they’re just ‘dead’ tiles with no information. The next left rail menu option takes you to the Privacy section, where you can set up a file vault for encrypted files. There is also a wallet feature for saving credit card numbers, as well as Bitdefender’s Safepay, a sandboxed environment primarily for conducting online financial transactions. Safepay has a number of helpful features including the ability to block other apps from taking a screenshot, and a virtual keyboard that blocks keylogging. The Privacy section also houses Bitdefender’s parental control features.

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Bitdefender’s wallet/ password manager

The wallet is a password manager that can save website logins, as well as credit card numbers, address, phone number, birth date, application license keys, and so on. There are also sections for email login information, and router logins. This section lacks the ability to save notes or add attachments that need to be securely stored, however. You can save files in Bitdefender’s File Vault, but there are times when it’s helpful to keep file attachments with login data: secret questions for your bank, for example, or other sensitive information best stored as an image or text document. If you need to create a firewall between, say, work and home information, you can create multiple wallets. Next up in the left rail is the Tools section, which offers the usual sort of extras you’ll find in a security suite – like a startup optimizer, disk cleanup, a ‘find my device’ tool called Anti-Theft, and a ‘OneClick Optimizer’ that searches for useless files, Registry

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entries, and ‘privacy issues’ that can be safely deleted. These tools are, for the most part, available as builtin system utilities in Windows or as free third-party programs, but I suppose it’s still worthwhile to have it all in one spot. Watch out with the OneClick Optimizer, as those ‘privacy issues’ include your browser cookies by default. If those bits of data get nuked, you’ll be signed out of all your usual online haunts such as Facebook, Twitter, and the like. The rest of the Windows desktop program is pretty straightforward. The notifications section is nice, and you also get Bitdefender’s Autopilot feature, which is activated by default. It takes care of all your PC’s various maintenance tasks for you, like real-time antivirus protection, firewall protection, anti-phishing, anti-malware filtering, and automatic app updates. On paper, it’s a solid set of extras, but in practice it feels more like a marketing bullet point than anything else. In my experience, these are all tasks that any competent antivirus suite is supposed to carry out automatically anyway. Bitdefender also takes an active role in your web activity. When you’re searching online on Google, for example, it checks every link (presumably against a database of malicious ones). If the link is deemed safe a little green checkmark will appear next to it. If not, there’s a yellow warning label with an exclamation mark. Bitdefender also checks external links on websites and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, though sometimes not consistently. Those check marks are not bulletproof, however. First, verification only happens for mainstream

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Bitdefender checks every link against malicious ones

sites. Bitdefender completely ignored searches on DuckDuckGo and links on Techmeme, for example. Another time, I clicked on one of those Facebook quizzes in a moment of weakness (pre-Cambridge Analytica), and during my time on the external site, Bitdefender said it blocked four web-based attacks. I don’t recall seeing a warning on the link on Facebook, but later when I returned to the same post on Facebook, Bitdefender placed a yellow check mark next to the link warning me not to follow it. As for the four web-based attacks, it was good to have real-time protection, but Bitdefender didn’t explain what they were when I clicked on the warning. I did later get a slightly more detailed explanation in Notifications, but I didn’t learn much outside of Bitdefender’s belief that the website exhibited ‘suspicious behaviour’.

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Performance Bitdefender performed very well in recent third-party testing. A-V Test gave Bitdefender a 100 percent performance on its zero day and malware tests carried out in January and February 2018. Bitdefender did, however, flag legitimate software as malware eight times over two months from a sample size of more than 1.5 million. That’s still really good. A-V comparatives also rated Bitdefender very highly. In its March 2018 scoring for real-world protection, Bitdefender got 100 percent and 0 false positives among 216 test cases. The organization’s malware protection test, meanwhile, rated Bitdefender at 98.8 percent for both online and offline detection rates. SE Labs in its January-March 2018 ratings gave Bitdefender a AAA rating – its highest ranking – alongside AVG, Avira, Eset, Kaspersky, Norton, and Trend Micro. Bitdefender’s top rating comes after SE Labs’ October-December 2017 report that gave Bitdefender a surprisingly low B rating.

Bitdefender’s oneclick optimization

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In our performance tests, PCMark 8’s Work Conventional test scored 2541 after a full-disc scan with Bitdefender active. Without it, our test PC usually scores 2538. Since those two scores are within margin of error of each other, the takeaway is that Bitdefender has very minimal impact on system performance. Our Handbrake test also showed low to little impact. Our test PC takes one hour, 15 minutes, and 30 seconds to convert a 3.8GB MKV file to the Android tablet preset. With Bitdefender installed and running, the time was one hour, 14 minutes, 55 seconds. Again, the performance fell within normal margin of error.

Verdict Bitdefender gets high marks for its performance, and its impact on system resources were nominal in our tests. The overall app design is good and easy to understand. Pricing is typical at £44.99 for a year of protection on up to five devices. The app also stays out of your way, though you can’t miss those green check marks when clicking around the web. Ian Paul

System requirements Windows • Windows 7 (SP1) or later • Intel Core 2 Duo (2GHz) or equivalent processor • 2GB RAM • 2GB free hard disk space Mac OS • Mac OS X 10.9.5 or later • 1GB RAM • 600MB free hard disk space

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Android P Public Beta Free on compatible devices

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s expected Google released the open public beta of its new operating system, Android P, at its Google I/O event on 8 May 2018. It’s an update that brings noticeable visual change along with some quite dramatic gesture controls. For the first time you can download the beta on more than just the past few Pixel phones – see page 108. We’ve been using P (confectionary name TBC) for a few days by now, so here’s a rundown of what we think about the new look including new gestures, menus,

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Google has added a splash of colour to the settings menu settings and adaptive features. We downloaded it onto a Pixel 2 XL and it’s a bigger overhaul from Oreo than that OS was from Nougat and there’s a lot to unpack.

Design Google introduced what it calls Material Design into Android in 2014, and Android P is an evolution of that aesthetic. We vastly prefer this look over Nougat and even Oreo with more playfully rounded edges on menus, icons and settings. The settings menu gets a refreshing splash of colour in the icons and the whole UI features more of Google’s own fonts in headings, but keeps most text to the usual Android font, Roboto. The small tweaks are enough to be completely refreshing coming from Oreo, and there’s more rounded corners and white space in text boxes and the notification shade.

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Animations mean apps now pop up from their icon and are then dismissed with a sweep to the left when you press home, with the search bar (still not removable) and your five chosen apps springing back into place. It’s very clean, it’s very Google and it’s more playful than Oreo’s oddly austere look. But it’s not a huge redesign, and if you’re a Pixel user you won’t have trouble adapting. The volume control is a cool new design too, and appears at the left of the screen when you press one of the volume keys. You can tap the top icon to cycle through sound on, vibrate or silent, while the volume control is for media playback rather than tones, which makes much more sense.

Gestures One thing you can turn on that isn’t on by default is Swipe up on Home Button – hidden in Settings > System > Gestures. It replaces the three Android navigation buttons with one pill shaped one. You lose the Overview button altogether, and the back button only appears when you have an app open. This is more to get used to. The pill is a home button but is that shape to Swiping up on the Home Button replaces three Android navigation buttons

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indicate you can always swipe up on it. If you’re Home or in-app, a short swipe opens the brand new app switcher view, which is similar to Apple’s on iOS. You can swipe up on an app to dismiss it from the switcher (like iOS) or scroll through them to find the app you want. The pill at the bottom can also be dragged left or right to scroll through, but it’s a bit slow and we’d be surprised if Google doesn’t change how this works in the final build. It’s notable though that you can no longer clear all notification – perhaps a sign that Google knows your phone actually runs better if you don’t compulsively close every app all the time. When in app switcher mode, five app icons are at the foot of your screen as the last five apps you opened, for even quicker access. As ever, tap home and everything is back to normal. A longer held swipe on the home screen still opens the app draw but it’s easy to accidentally open the app switcher, which is annoying. There are far more swipes in P than prodding and tapping, and while Google no doubt sees this as more flowing and elegant, it’s a big jump to get used to, just as it was for some on iPhone X.

App switcher mode

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Notifications The notifications on P are improved from Oreo’s already excellent integration, but we find it odd that they are bigger with more white space. Oreo’s notifications are angled and compact to their advantage; dealing with them is easy and on the Pixel 2 XL, you can see absolutely loads of them at once to dismiss or action. Unfortunately, on Android P the notification boxes are plump and rounded, and fewer fit on the screen. This is a step backwards that we hope Google changes, but actioning the notifications themselves is improved. You can reply in-line to messages as before, but rather than auto-dismissing, the notification now

Android P’s notification boxes are plump and rounded, and fewer fit on the screen

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displays the message and your reply if you don’t open the app. There are also auto replies in some cases, but with only three replies so far. There’s also subtle little haptic additions, like a small buzz when you open the quick settings from the top of the screen. The clock has also moved over to the left, no doubt to accommodate the onslaught of notches on Android phones this year. You can still snooze notifications and granularly turn off particular types of notifications in apps if they allow it, which can be better than blanket turning them off for an app. If you want to go nuclear though, do not disturb has been updated. You can block them from

You can block notifications from appearing

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appearing when the screen is off if you don’t want the phone buzzing away, or select block when on too, so that only basic phone activity and status shows (time, battery, alarm, and so on). We quite like this. Phones are distracting, and Google is trying to wean you off the stuff that doesn’t matter. Delve further into the settings, and you can customize hiding notifications from the ambient display, disabling the blink light and other options. It’s a welcome addition that has already made us stop mindlessly picking up and unlocking our phone because we know it won’t be displaying anything until do not disturb is turned off.

Adaptive features Two new notable features on Android P are adaptive, and they make a ton of sense working silently (but optionally, of course) in the background. Adaptive brightness auto adjusts your brightness in unison with the light sensor as ever, but the slick addition is that if you disagree with its choices, it’ll learn your preferences as you manually adjust the brightness yourself. Adaptive battery is an evolution of Doze that limits the battery consumption of apps that you don’t use much. A prompt says your phone will ‘learn how you use apps over time’ and echoes a similar promise Huawei makes about its phones with a Kirin 970 processor. That this feature is now baked into Android P is far more pleasing. These adaptive features are there in part to help save battery life, but they will also play a part

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in performance too. A phone with apps pushed to the background taking up less battery will always perform better than one with no optimization at all. In the app drawer there’s also the small addition of app actions and AI predictions, where the OS will try and guess what you might want to do next, whether that’s text or call a certain contact, or open a certain app. It hasn’t popped up much yet as it’s designed to improve over time – adaptive, see. A final addition is Slices, which didn’t work for us on first go, but is designed to learn your behaviour. Google’s example is typing Lyft in Google search, and seeing a link to tap to take you to home or work.

Android P’s adaptive features will help save battery life

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Verdict Uptake worries aside though, Android P like O before it is now the best ever version of Android. The adaptive features are excellent, the design is more fun and the gestures, if tricky and iPhone X-like, are a welcome (and optional) shake up of an ageing user interface. Add to that the superb admission that you should use your phone less with features to help you do that, the P in Android P may end up standing for that little bit of peace you forgot you needed. Henry Burrell

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What to do after a data breach There’s little you can do to prevent a data breach, but you can minimize your exposure. IAN PAUL reveals what to do

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t happened again. Another major web service lost control of its database, and now you’re scrambling to stay ahead of the bad guys. As much as we hate them, data breaches are here to stay. The good news is they don’t have to elicit full-blown panic no matter how sensitive the pilfered data might be. There are usually

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some very simple steps you can take to minimize your exposure to the potential threat. Here’s how.

Determine the damage The first thing to figure out is what the hackers took. If they got your username and password, for example, there’s little point in alerting your credit card company. News articles and company statements should make it very clear what leaked. Was it just your email address, or was it your password data too? What about credit cards (if applicable) or personal data such as private messages? This is the first step in creating an effective recovery plan, but before you take any action there’s a critical follow-up question to ask.

Can your data be used? Hackers take data all the time, but many times the stolen data is unusable thanks to security practices that include terms like ‘hashed’, ‘salted’, and ‘encrypted’. If the data is in the form of ‘cleartext’, that means no cryptography has been used, and it’s just as easy to read and manipulate as a Word document or a regular email message. Hashed data, on the other hand, is data that has been scrambled in a such a way that you cannot decode it back to plain text. Hashing is often used for password databases, for example. Not all hashing methods are equal, however, and sometimes they are reversible. As a second line of defence, a company may add what’s called a salt – random data – to make decoding harder. The bottom line with hashing is that you’ll need to probe

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a bit further to see whether the company believes the data is usable or not. Finally, encryption is supposed to be a two-way scrambling process that only allows someone with the ‘key’ (usually a password or password file) capable of decoding the data. Even if hackers took data that is hashed or encrypted, sometimes companies will advise changing your password regardless, just to be safe.

Change that password If you need to change your password then be proactive. Change your password right away, and don’t wait for a warning email or message from the company, if possible. If you’ve been using that same password on other sites change it there as well. A single data breach can easily take down other accounts if you’re reusing passwords. Don’t do that.

LastPass is our favourite password manager

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Now is a great time to start using a password manager if you aren’t already. These programs can create new, hard-to-guess passwords and save them for every online account you have. They also protect your passwords with encryption, and (typically for a fee) make them available across all your devices. See our round-up on page 87. Passwords just aren’t enough anymore, which is why it’s also a good idea to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on any of your accounts that support it. Two-factor authentication means your web service will require a secondary, six-digit code before permitting access to your account – even with the right password. This is a great way to slow down the bad guys. Unfortunately, it also has the same effect on you. Most services only require a 2FA code every 30 days per device, or in some cases just once on a single browser from a single device. So it’s not too terrible. The best way to use two-factor authentication is with an app or device dedicated to generating these codes. Receiving SMS codes is not advised, because they are vulnerable to a variety of relatively trivial attacks. If you need help picking a two-factor authentication app check out our roundup of the best 2FA apps. Many websites allow you to set a specific recovery email address that is separate from your main account email. This is the email address where you get links to reset your password after clicking the ‘Forgot password?’ link on a website. It is best to have a specific email address that is only for account recovery emails and is not connected to your identity – if your Gmail is JAndrews don’t use

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JAndrews@outlook.com, for example. If you use your regular email for account recovery, hackers can target that email address, and, if they compromise it, take over your online life. As with any other email account, make sure your recovery mail is protected with a hard to guess password and two-factor authentication.

Contact your credit card provider If your credit card number was compromised then you need to alert your bank or credit card provider. If it was a particularly large breach, there’s a good chance your bank already knows about it, but it’s still a good idea to let them know you were hit. You want to make sure you talk to a representative, and tell them what’s happened. The company will likely cancel your card and issue a new one.

Notify your credit card provider right away to ensure to ensure you aren’t held responsible for fraudulent charges

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Don’t wait on this one. Notify your bank or credit card company right away to ensure you aren’t held responsible for any fraudulent charges. If a debit card number was stolen, this step is doubly important. Not only because that means cash will be leaving your account with every bad charge, but also because debit cards don’t have the same recovery protections as credit cards. Get a fraud alert on your credit record with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You might even want to get a credit freeze to prevent anyone from trying to open an account in your name if you’re at risk for identity theft. Take advantage of your right to an annual free credit report from each of the three reporting companies. By staggering the reports, doing one every four months, you can keep an eye on your credit rating throughout the year.

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Best password managers If you’re still using your dog’s name to log in to your bank, you are courting disaster. MICHAEL ANSALDO reveals why

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e are terrible at passwords. We’re rubbish at creating them (the top two most popular remain ‘123456’ and ‘password’), we share them too freely, and we forget them all the time. Indeed, the very thing that can ensure our online security has become out biggest obstacle to it. This is what makes a good password manager essential. A password manager relieves the burden of thinking up and remembering unique, complex logins – the hallmark of a secure password. It allows you to safely share those logins with others when necessary. And because these tools encrypt your login info in a virtual

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vault – either locally or in the cloud – and lock it with a single master password, they protect the passwords themselves. If you’re looking to up your security game in the wake of Twitter’s password fiasco, a password manager is the way to go. But password managers vary widely in their capabilities and cost, so we compared the most popular. All support Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as the major browsers. And all will let you sync your data across multiple devices, though you may have pay extra for the privilege.

What to look for At their most basic, password managers capture your username and password – usually via a browser plug-in – when you log in to a website, and then automatically fill in your credentials when you return to that site. They store all your passwords in an encrypted database, often referred to as a ‘vault’, which you protect with a single master password. Of course, most password managers do much more than this and many extend protection beyond your login credentials to other types of personal data. We narrowed it down to a few essential features that we looked for and you should too: Password generation: You’ve been reminded ad nauseam that the strongest passwords are long, random strings of characters, and that you should use a different one for each site you access. That’s a tall order. This is what makes password generation – the ability to create complex passwords out of letters, numbers, and special

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characters – an indispensable feature of any good password manager. The best password managers will also be able to analyse your existing passwords for weaknesses and upgrade them with a click. Autofill and auto-login: Most password managers can autofill your login credentials whenever you visit a site and even log you in automatically. Thus, the master password is the only one you ever have to enter. This is controversial, though, as browser autofill has long been a security concern, so the best managers will also let you toggle off this feature if you feel the risk outweighs the convenience. Secure sharing: Sometimes you need to share a password with a family member or co-worker. A password manager should let you do so without compromising your security. Two-factor authentication: To a cybercriminal, your password manager’s master password is as hackable as

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any other password. Increasingly, password managers support multi-factor authentication to mitigate this risk. Choose one that does. Protection for other personal data: Because of how frequently we use them online, credit card and bank account numbers, our addresses, and other personal data can be securely stored in many password managers and automatically filled into web forms when we’re shopping or registering an account. No online security measure is 100 percent foolproof, though, as we were reminded when LastPass, one of the most reputable password managers, recently scrambled to fix a pair of vulnerabilities that could have compromised users’ passwords and their computers. And just recently, OneLogin was victim of a breach that compromised customer data, including the ability to decrypt data. Still, most security experts agree that password managers are still the safest way for people to manage their myriad logins, and we agree that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Just choose your password manager carefully after researching all the options starting with the guide.

1Password URL: fave.co/2kkDZwo AgileBits’ 1Password was originally designed for the Mac way back in 2006. But today it also offers apps for Windows, Android, and iOS as well as extensions for all major browsers. It boasts some of the same features as top-tier managers LastPass and Dashlane, but lacks

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1Password’s vault stores your passwords as well as credit card info, personal profiles, and secure notes some key ones and overall feels a lot less polished. 1Password has a unique setup process. After entering your name, 1Password generates a 34-character ‘secret key’. Next you create your master password. Together, these two pieces create the full-encryption key used to encrypt your passwords and other data and you’ll need to enter them both each time you add a new device or browser extension. Given their importance, 1Password next offers to create an Emergency Kit that contains your secret key and a space to write in your master password. It saves it as a PDF, and you’re advised to store it on a USB key or in a safe deposit box. 1Password saves your login credentials when you first visit a site, but it won’t automatically display them when you return. Instead, you must click the browser button to see a list of available logins for that site and

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1Password can store credit cards, bank accounts, and other profile data for auto-filling web forms select the right one or press Ctrl + backslash to bring it up. All your login data is saved and displayed in a list in your vault. You can edit individual entries and organize them into groups using tags. 1Password will check your vault for weak passwords, but it doesn’t offer much detailed evaluation. The password generator, accessed from the browser extension, offers more customization options than most password managers. It defaults to 20-character passwords, but you can scale it anywhere from four to 54 characters using a slider. Passwords automatically use both upper- and lower-case letters, and you can include from one to 10 symbols and characters. Alternately, you can create a passphrase of three to 10 words with a choice of separators including hyphens, periods, or commas. Sadly, 1Password doesn’t let you

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automatically update passwords though. 1Password lets you store identity profiles and credit card information for filling in web forms. As with passwords, however, it doesn’t do this automatically. You have to right-click in a form field and choose the profile you want to use from a menu. 1Password also provides secure notes in which you can store sensitive documents and data like bank account and password numbers. Pricing starts at $35.88 (around £36.80) per annum for a single user and allows you to use 1Password across all your devices. A family plan, which is required to share passwords, is $59.88 (around £44.70) a year and covers up to five people. Both plans include a free 30-day trial. Verdict 1Password is a capable password manager, but it’s lack of automation, even if it’s for security reasons, is disappointing considering that’s one of the very features for which these tools are prized. If you’re new to password mangers, the involved installation can be daunting, too. 1Password is worth considering in your quest to find the right password manager for your needs, but we recommend trying something simpler like LastPass first.

Keeper URL: fave.co/2s4J803 Keeper is a no-nonsense password manager that puts the security of your login credentials above all else. However, it’s lack of some automated features may

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limit its appeal for some. When you sign up for Keeper, you’re prompted to create a master password and select a security question. The latter will be used, along with a verification code and – if enabled – two-factor authentication, to access your data if you forget your master password. Next, Keeper walks you through a four-step ‘quick start’ checklist: creating your first record, installing the browser extension, uploading your first file, and enabling two-factor authentication. As you complete each step, the checkmark next to the relevant items turns green. When I initially used Keeper with the Firefox browser, it didn’t automatically capture my login credentials when I signed into a website for the first time. Rather, I had to click the gold lock icons it places in the username and password fields to create a new record. Keeper prefilled the username field with my email address and the password field with a generated 12-character password as if I was creating a new account rather than just a new Keeper record. I had to delete these and enter the correct credentials. I later found out that Keeper does indeed automatically capture your login information when you visit a new site, but that feature hadn’t yet rolled out to the Firefox plug-in. Using the KeeperFill plugin with the Chrome browser, I was prompted to save my username and password and assign them to a folder in my vault. Although Keeper captures your credentials on your initial visit to a website, when you return, it won’t automatically fill the login fields. Instead you have to click the lock icons to access your credentials. When the

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record for that site opens, you must click an arrow icon next to your username and your password to fill each field. If you’re used to password managers that autofill these fields and autolog you in, these extra steps can feel laborious, even if it is for enhanced security. Keeper’s password manager surfaces in the password field as a dice icon any time you’re creating a new record, which you can do in the KeeperFill browser plug-in or right in your vault. You can generate anywhere from eight- to 51-character passwords using a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numerals, and symbols. Both Keeper’s web-based vault and the desktop app display your passwords in a list. You can audit your passwords – Keeper gives you a strength percentage rating and lets you know if the password has been used

Keeper’s interface isn’t fancy, but it’s easy to get around

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for more than one account. Credit cards and personal data can also be stored in your vault and autofilled into web forms when making payments. The software supports password sharing, but, as an added security layer, only with other Keeper users. If you share with a non-Keeper user, they’ll get an email with a link to set up an account. It also recently added emergency access, which allows you to grant access to up to five contacts, who can log in in the event you can’t for whatever reason. Keeper is free to use on a single device. To sync across multiple devices, you’ll need an Individual plan at $30 (around £22.40) a year. Family plans cover up to five users for $60 (around £44.80) per annum. Verdict Despite its bare-bones interface, Keeper offers robust password protection. However, it lacks some of the automation prized in most password managers, so it’s unlikely to compete with top tools LastPass and Dashlane. But if you’re merely looking for strong security and don’t mind being more hands-on with your password manager, Keeper won’t disappoint.

Sticky Password URL: fave.co/2knbe2n Sticky Password may not be as familiar as LastPass or 1Password, but it boasts features that rival both of them, albeit in a much less polished package. It doesn’t quite rise to the top tier of password managers, but it’s more than capable of getting the job done.

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When you download Sticky Password – there’s no web version of the app – it will prompt you to create a master password. Unlike some other password managers, Sticky Password doesn’t offer a way to recover or reset this password if you forget it, so commit it to memory. You’ll also be asked if you want Sticky Password to sync your data over its cloud network or your own Wi-Fi network. With this unique option, your devices sync only when they’re all connected to your wireless network, so your data never goes out over the Internet. After a brief tutorial and installing your preferred browser plug-in, you’re free to surf. Sticky Password automatically captures your login credentials when you

Sticky Password can manage app logins as well as website credentials

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visit a secure website for the first time and then autofills your credentials when you return. If you have more than one account for a given site, Sticky Password will prompt you to select one from a pop-up window. You can also opt to have it automatically log you in. Interestingly, Sticky Password will also store application logins. These can be added manually under a separate App Accounts tab in your vault. You can type the app name or browse to it on your hard drive, then enter your user name and password. The password generator, which surfaces whenever you’re creating a new account, defaults to a 15-character password using letters, numerals, and symbols. You can adjust the length, though, from four

Sticky Password provides templates for all kinds of personal data, though they look a little dated

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to 99 characters. Sticky Password immediately gives you a strength rating and percentage. You can audit all your stored passwords by going to the Quick Access tab in your vault and selecting the Security Dashboard. Like Dashlane, it will give you an overall rating for all your passwords, plus strength ratings for each individual one. It also lets you know how many of your passwords are weak, reused, or old, and you can edit any of the entries by clicking the pencil icon adjacent to it. Alas, Sticky Password doesn’t offer a secure way to share passwords. It offers two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator app, which sends you a verification code to enter along with your master password. The mobile apps can use biometric ID on supported devices. A Secure Memos tab allows you to add all manner of personal data to your vault. The memo entry fields look much like a note in Evernote: there’s a formatting toolbar across the top, and when you choose a template – credit card, software licence, passport, and so on – it populates the text area with relevant fields. Sticky Password is free to use on a single device. To unlock syncing – cloud or Wi-Fi – you need to upgrade to a Premium account for $30 (around £22.40) a year, or $150 (around £112) for a lifetime license. With every purchase, parent company Lamantine Software donates money to the Florida Save the Manatee Club. (Lamantine means ‘manatee’ in French.) Verdict At times Sticky Password’s interface looks downright dated, but don’t let that fool you. It supports some

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robust password-management features and its Wi-Fi sync is a great feature for anyone desiring an extra layer of protection in light of recent breaches. Its lack of secure password sharing can be a hindrance, but that shouldn’t hold you back from giving it a try.

True Key by Intel Security URL: fave.co/2s4MEYl One common pitfall of all password managers is that you have to remember a master password. If you forget it, you lose access to all the others. True Key offers an alternative to this burden by allowing you to log in to the app using something unique to you. Depending on your device, that could be your fingerprint, your face, or a second device. You can even combine authentication methods for stronger security. Once you’ve created an account and master password and installed the browser extension, True Key brings you up to speed with a helpful welcome wizard. The tour starts by displaying a couple dozen popular website logos. You pick one and it takes you that site, explaining that all you have to do is log in and True Key will capture your credentials and store them in your vault. When you return to a site, True Key logs you in automatically. True Key can tell when you’re creating a new account and presents the password generator in a pop-up. By default it creates a strong 16-character password, though you can use up to 30 characters. You access all your logins from a customizable launchpad, where they can be displayed as icons or in

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True Key displays your login accounts as tiles on a customizable launchpad a list. From a menu at the top, you can also access a digital wallet where you can enter your address, driver’s license, credit cards, memberships, passports, and social security number into individual ‘cards’ and colourcode them. This is just for safe keeping, though, as the data can’t be used to autofill web forms. The menu also includes a Secure Notes tab where you can store and colour-code free-form text data. True Key requires you to verify your identity using your face, fingerprint, or master password along with at least one other factor such as a trusted or second device. You can choose whether you want Basic (twofactor) or Advanced (three-factor) protection and which factors to use in your profile settings. You can also adjust other security settings such as how long True Key should wait before automatically signing you out and resetting your master password if you forget it. True Key is free to download and use on all your devices for up to 15 logins. Beyond that you need

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to upgrade to a Premium plan, which lets you store unlimited passwords for $20 (around £14.90) per year. Verdict Thanks to its emphasis on multi-factor authentication, True Key stands above all other password managers when it comes to protecting your passwords. However, it lacks advanced-but-essential features like one-click password changing, secure password sharing, and autoform filling. If you just want password peace of mind, True Key offers it at a nice price. For robust password management, though, look elsewhere.

Recommended: Dashlane URL: fave.co/2kjzH8G Of all the password managers we’ve reviewed, Dashlane has come closest to stealing LastPass’s crown. Easy to use and rich with features, it meets all our requirements for a top-tier password manager. But Dashlane goes beyond just managing your login credentials, providing insights for how to think smarter about security. Dashlane’s strength has long been its elegant interface, which displays your accounts as tiles – indeed, LastPass recently adopted this style – but version 4 adds the option of showing them as a list as well. Each tile has its own fly-out menu from which you can edit your account info, securely share your login credentials, and view your password history. As with LastPass, Dashlane includes a password changer, which you can open from the top of the

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Dashlane will evaluate and rate your passwords and tell you how to make them stronger

password list. Unlike LastPass, which requires you to open a specific website entry to auto-change its password, Dashlane’s tool lists all of your saved websites and you can change as many passwords as you want at once by selecting the checkbox next to each entry. Dashlane’s password changer also supports 500 sites, soundly trumping LastPass’s 80. One of Dashlane’s most attractive features is its security dashboard. At the top, it gives you an overall security rating based on the cumulative strength of your passwords, and offers suggestions for improving it by upgrading specific passwords. For example, I could get a total 6 percent rating bump by updating my Skype and LinkedIn passwords. A Detailed Password Analysis

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panel provides a closer look at each of your passwords, which you can sort by website, password, strength, or safety level. Clicking an info button reveals the reasons behind its rating so you can take action to improve it. Dashlane also supports auto-login, form autofill, secure notes, and secure sharing with emergency contacts. The desktop client is free to use on any single device, but to sync your password you’ll need Dashlane Premium for $40 (around £29.80) per year. (You’ll need to download the standard version and then upgrade.) The paid plan also gives you two-factor authentication and unlimited password sharing, among other perks. Verdict At this point Dashlane’s capabilities have caught up with LastPass, so the only significant differentiator is how much you have to spend to unlock each tool’s full capabilities. At more than three times the cost of LastPass, Dashlane’s premium may be the deciding factor for many. But if the extra expense isn’t a concern, Dashlane is a top-shelf password manager.

Editor’s Choice: LastPass URL: fave.co/2s32534 LastPass remains something of a gold standard for password managers. One of the first full-featured tools of its kind, this combination vault, form-filler, and password generator ticks off all the boxes in our password manager checklist. After you sign up and install the LastPass browser plug-in, it captures your login credentials when you visit

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LastPass displays all your login accounts as tiles in its virtual vault a website for the first time. When you return to a site, a small icon appears in its login fields showing how many accounts you have stored. Clicking it opens a dropdown menu revealing each account so you can select the appropriate one. You can also select an auto-login option for each account to have LastPass sign you in automatically whenever you visit that site. All the website accounts are managed from your ‘vault’. Websites associated with your passwords are displayed as tiles, or if you choose, in a list. On each tile are buttons for accessing your login details, securely sharing them with someone else, or deleting them. And to be honest, those are the only reasons to visit your vault; you can access individual accounts as well as LastPass’ main features right from the plug-in. Coming up with unique, complex passwords is one of the biggest obstacles to practicing good security. LastPass dramatically eases this burden with a powerful password generator that auto-creates up to

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12-character passwords using upper- and lower-case letters, numerals, and special characters. There’s also an option to make the password pronounceable for easier recall. The password generator icon appears in the login fields whenever you’re creating a new account or you can access it anytime from your vault or the browse plug-in. But passwords are not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Changing your passwords every so often as a precautionary measure can strengthen your security. LastPass offers two tools to simplify this. The first is auto password change. Instead of manually logging in to an account and changing the password manually, LastPass will do it with the click of a button for 80 popular sites including Facebook and Amazon. The second, Security Challenge, will audit your vault for weak, old, and duplicate passwords as well as any for sites known to have been compromised. These features alone make LastPass indispensable, but it protects more than your passwords. You can create and securely store form-fill profiles that include personal LastPass’ password generator auto-creates up to 12-character passwords using upper- and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters

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data to more easily complete online purchases, reservations, and site registrations. And its Secure Notes feature lets you safely store bank account and social security numbers, safe combinations, and other sensitive information. LastPass also recently added an Emergency Access feature that lets you designate trusted people to enter your vault when you can’t. LastPass’ robust free version gives you access to all these features plus two-factor authentication across all your desktop and mobile devices. For $12 (around £9) per year, an upgrade to LastPass Premium adds features including desktop fingerprint identification, YubiKey and Sesame multi-factor authentication options, and LastPass for your applications. Verdict Given the rich features you get, LastPass should the first password manager you try. And don’t be surprised if it’s the last. You can get plenty of mileage out of the free version, but given the added security an ultra-affordable upgrade brings, you shouldn’t be shy to open your wallet.

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How To: Download the Android P Public Beta Android P has a new Public Beta. MARIE BLACK shows how to install it and try out its latest features

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here’s a new Android P Public Beta that is available on more than just Pixel devices. You’ll also be able to install it on select devices from Nokia, Vivo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Sony, and Oppo, and can check which are compatible at fave.co/2jI53oW.

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Should you install Android P? If you’re curious, have a compatible device and are reasonably techy, then why not. You can get a good look at what’s in store for Android, and if you don’t like it or find it too buggy you can simply revert to your previous operating system. Before you begin you should take the necessary steps to ensure all your data is backed up.

Install Android P Public Beta Downloading Android P should be simple with Google’s Android Beta Program. Any devices enrolled to the programme will receive OTA updates to the latest Android operating systems where available. 1. Launch your web browser and visit g.co/androidbeta 2. Scroll down to Eligible devices and click the green ‘Enrol device’ button next to your phone. 3. Agree to the T&Cs, then tap ‘Join Beta’. 4. Click OK to the confirmation that your device has been enrolled and that an OTA update will be available soon. 5. The OTA update notification can take up to 24 hours to arrive (and it will never arrive if you have previously manually flashed Android on to the device). If you don’t get it, check your Internet connection and visit Settings > About phone > System Updates and check for any available updates. 6. When the notification arrives tap Download.

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7. In the next window you’ll be told this will install a preview version of Android on your device. Check you are connected to Wi-Fi, then tap Download. 8. You can now install the Android Public Beta. Tap Restart & Install to begin the process.

Uninstall Android Public Beta Removing or uninstalling an Android Beta is as easy as is installing it. Head to the Android Beta Program page at g.co/androidbeta, then tap the Unenrol device button next to your device. Do note, however, that doing so will wipe all data on your device.

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How To: Use Windows 10’s Timeline feature MARK HACHMAN show how to use the new organizational tool

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indows 10’s Timeline feature helps answer the question: what was I working on? This handy, optional feature can track what documents and web pages you’ve been working on over the past weeks and months, organizing them into a collection of documents you can quickly open to pick up where you left off. Timeline is part of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, also known as Redstone 4. Chances are you already know where it’s found, even if you’ve never

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used it: down in the taskbar, next to the Cortana search box, there’s a small icon called Task View within the Fall Creators Update. A slightly different icon identifies Timeline within the latest version. Part of the reason Timeline was added within Task View was because few users were using Task View. Task View hasn’t gone away; if you open Timeline, you’ll still see the gigantic icons representing the windows that you currently have open on your screen. But beneath these, you’ll likely see a new subheading: Earlier Today, which marks the beginning of your Timeline.

Enable and disable Timeline Windows assumes that you want Timeline turned on. If you don’t, or you’d like to manage how Microsoft uses your information, visit the Settings menu at Settings > Privacy > Activity History. There, you’ll have two options to check or uncheck: Let Windows collect my activities from this PC, and Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud. The first checkbox is simple enough: If it isn’t checked, Windows will essentially disable Timeline. Checking the first box, though, collects your activities from only this PC. If you check the first and the second, your activities, and Timeline, will sync across devices. If you sign in with the same account on another PC, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off no matter which PC you use.

How to use Timeline If you’ve ever checked your browser history, you’ll have a good idea of how Timeline works. But instead of just tracking which websites you visit, Timeline tracks

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Because it archives pretty much everything, Timeline can be a bit of a mess without some organization most of the applications you use, and the documents that you opened and edited. Timeline will also collect those documents you used at a given time into what Microsoft calls Activities. The assumption is that an Activity represents all of the documents you were working on at any one time: a budget spreadsheet, say, along with a few supplementary web pages and possibly a report authored within Word. The problem with Timeline, unfortunately, is that’s its unquestionably Microsoft-centric. Most of the productivity apps within Windows are owned by Microsoft, including Office. But I saw only one occasion where Microsoft tracked my browsing within Chrome or another browser. Otherwise, Activities cover the standard Office apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more) as well as Edge. If you opened a PDF, for example, you’d better hope you opened it within Edge. Timeline struggles when it can’t actually open the document it records, such as a photo within Photos that

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A better way of navigating Timeline is via Activities, which are organized by time of day. Within Activities, Timeline looks virtually identical to how it’s shown here, but groups of documents and web pages are grouped according to the hour or so in which you opened them

apparently hadn’t yet been backed up to OneDrive. In that case, you’ll see an obscure URL or string of characters, rather than the actual photo or object inn question. Theoretically, Timeline can go back weeks, months, or even years, but we’ll only be able to confirm that as the months go by. If you work on multiple projects at once, Timeline could be a valuable tool, allowing you to go back and forth between them. In this, it’s much like Task View, where various desktops of apps could be slid back and forth and exchanged for another workspace. I can see it offering peace of mind to the worker who can’t quite get everything accomplished before a business trip or illness, and must recreate their work environment. But Timeline could stand for improvement, too: better,

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Alternatively, you can also use the small search box and look for keywords intelligent archiving of third-party apps and documents; one-click opportunities to open all of the documents in an activity, maybe even organizing them using Snap. Microsoft originally designed Timeline in harmony with the new tabbed Spaces UI, after all. Timeline doesn’t reach out, shake you by the collar, and demand that you use it. Like many things in Windows, it hides shyly in your taskbar, waiting for you to take notice and introduce yourself. But expect facets of Timeline to show up in unexpected places: when you switch to another PC, check out a website on Edge using your phone, and more. Microsoft sees Timeline as a fundamental way to boost your productivity, as well as keep you nestled within its app ecosystem. It’s the marquee feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, and it’s worth a tryout to discover whether it works for you.

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