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Sep
18
Microsoft October Event 2019: will this be the Surface showing for this year?
Posted by Joe Osborne on 18 September 2019 02:06 PM

Microsoft has officially issued invitations to the press for an October 2 event held in New York City. While the company has made no allusions as to what it plans to show off during the event, there have been plenty of leaks and rumors in the past few months that all but confirm the imminent debut of some major Surface products.

With the Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3 and an entirely new product – ‘Centaurus’ – showing up in all kinds of leaks and rumors from anonymous sources, we’re expecting a potentially star-studded showing.

Then, there are the incumbent product lines that we would like to see updated, such as the hopeful Surface Book 3 and Surface Studio 3. However, we haven’t heard much of anything about those devices in particular.

With that, here are the highlights on each of the Surface products that we hope to see during Microsoft’s October 2 event, in order of how likely they are to make an appearance.

Surface Pro 6

The Surface Pro 6 of 2018.

What we’re likely to see: Surface Pro 7

Now with leaks and rumors detailing the possible exact configurations of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, it’s almost certainly a shoo-in for the October 2 event. We now expect to see an even more affordable option for the tablet in the form of one containing an Intel Core i3 processor (CPU).

What we don’t know is whether Microsoft has finally adopted USB-C – particularly Thunderbolt 3 – in lieu of the proprietary Surface Connect port. We also hope to see Intel Ice Lake CPUs and an improved Type Cover. Both of which have been rumored.


Surface Laptop 2

The Surface Laptop 2 of 2018.

What we’re likely to see: Surface Laptop 3

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is just about the only other incumbent Surface device to be discussed in rumors and leaks, with not one but two configurations becoming available. That’s right, it’s rumored that a 15-inch version will join the 13-inch model.

But, that’s not all: European retail listings have suggested that the Surface Laptop 3 will use AMD processors inside rather than Intel. However, we’re more concerned with whether Microsoft adopts Thunderbolt 3 ports here as well – plus, the design could be updated a bit. 

Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 of 2017.

What we hope to see: Surface Book 3

The computing world has changed a lot since the release of Surface Book 2, making the release of a Microsoft Surface Book 3 that much more important in 2019. Both versions of the 2-in-1 laptop could benefit from Nvidia’s new RTX graphics, for a start.

While we haven’t heard much in the way of rumors or leaks regarding a Surface Book threequel, an update is well overdue amid massive gains by its ‘prosumer’ laptop competition. Of course, we’d like to see Thunderbolt 3 included, as well as stronger power management with those enhanced RTX graphics.

Surface Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 of 2018.

What we hope to see: Surface Studio 3

Again, we’ve heard next to nothing regarding a Microsoft Surface Studio 3 release, but it’s another long overdue update that we hope to see on October 2. That said, we’re quite fine with the all-in-one artist desktop’s design.

What we would like to see change is for the product to launch with up-to-date internals, particularly the latest Nvidia graphics and Intel processors. In years past, this has not been the case at launch. Finally, just give us Thunderbolt 3 already and up the resolution?

Surface Centaurus

A patent image of the would-be 'Centaurus' device.

What we hope to see: Surface ‘Centaurus’

There has been quite a bit of patent application releases and other rumors surrounding a new Microsoft Surface product with either dual screens or a single folding display. The various patent images and rumors conjure up thoughts of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 foldable tablet.

Of course, there’s very little known about how this device will fit into Microsoft’s larger portfolio, and what specific or unique use cases it will serve. Will it be a folding phone-meets-tablet? We can’t wait to see whether we find out on October 2.


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Sep
18
Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa is now ready for India, adds Hindi support
Posted by Sudhanshu Singh on 18 September 2019 01:39 PM

Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa now speaks Hindi. After the new update, Echo smart speaker users can head over to the Alexa app and change language settings to Hindi and “make Alexa Indian”.

Like most tech companies, India is a key growth market for Amazon and Hindi being the fourth most spoken language in the world was highly anticipated on the platform. In fact, Amazon had been speaking about its plan for India since its entry and now it is ready to target the non-English speaking consumers of its products using Alexa.

During the announcement at an event in Delhi, a company executive said that Hindi support was in the works for more than a year. The feature is now officially rolling our through an OTA update starting today. Additionally, in the coming months, Amazon plans to add support for multilingual households. It will allow users to interact with Alexa using English, Hindi and Hinglish.

A huge step

Hindi language support on Alexa will give a huge push to Amazon in India in many ways. As per a report from IDC, Amazon Echo led the Indian smart speakers market with 59% share in 2018, followed by Google Home with 39% unit share. Adding Hindi support is going to help Amazon retain the lead as Google rolled out Hindi support in March 2018.

Only about 10% of India's population speaks English, whereas there are over half a billion Hindi speakers in the country.

While smart speaker is still a young product category in India, growth in voice queries have also increased by 270% (YoY). Additionally, research by KPMG and Google reveals nine out of every 10 new internet users in India will likely be an Indian language speaker by 2021. Increase in the number of voice queries and rise in the use of local language will also help Amazon in tapping the 500 million users it’s targeting.

Is Alexa ready for Hindi speaking Indians?

Will Alexa’s Hindi is as good as its English? Well, it’s too early to comment on that, but it’s certainly well trained to do the basics right. You can now interact with Alexa in Hindi to play music, ask questions, set timers and alarms, control IoT devices and much more. To understand better, you can now simply say “Alexa, tum kya kar sakti ho?” to get a list of tasks it can do. 

Alexa now understands India specific questions and references in conversations. Even for commands like “tell me a joke”, Alexa now tells you jokes in Hindi. Basically, everything that you could ask Alexa in English can now be asked in Hindi.

Amazon has also added over 500 third party skills with a Hindi touch. The support for Hindi is also added on Alexa in-built devices from various brands.


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Sep
18
About us
Posted by TechStaff on 18 September 2019 01:34 PM

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We're able to promise this because TechRadar is the largest UK-based consumer technology news and reviews site (and now rapidly growing in the US and Australia), our editorial independence backed by the weight of technology publisher Future plus objective test data from the TechRadar Labs.

Our experienced writers who operate from our offices in London, Bath, San Francisco, New York and Sydney operate under Future's 20 year old policy of a cast-iron guarantee of editorial independence.

TechRadar will tell you about the coolest new stuff. We'll work hard to bring you original quotes and exclusive access. We'll review it thoroughly and carefully. We'll explain how it works and why you buy it (or not). Then it's up to you. Add your own comments and opinions. Review gear for yourself. 

There's no monopoly on the truth here - tell us what you think.

Find out more

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If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact news@techradar.com. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk.


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Sep
18
Amazon Echo in your wishlist? Amazon's dropping prices before Black Friday
Posted by Olivia Tambini on 18 September 2019 01:18 PM

Amazon has slashed the price of its Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Plus (first generation), and Amazon Echo Dot speakers – some of which are 'Certified Refurbed' by the tech giant. 

That means these deals are for Amazon Echo speakers that have been pre-owned and then "refurbished and tested to look and work like new", according to Amazon. 

Once they've been thoroughly tested, refurbished Amazon devices are certified and given a new one-year warranty, just like a new Echo speaker would be.

Buying refurbished products is a great way to get your hands on cutting edge tech at a discount, and these Amazon Echo deals certainly look attractive – however, with Black Friday 2019 coming up in late November, you may find that brand new Echo speakers get even better discounts during the massive sales event.

There's also a mysterious Amazon launch event coming up on September 25, where we could be in for some new generation Amazon Echo devices – if we do get a new Echo, we could well see the price of the original model come crashing down. 

That's not to say these are bad deals – the refurbished first generation Amazon Echo Plus has a particularly attractive discount of £70, slashing the price by over 50%. 

There's also one deal for a brand-new Amazon Echo Dot, which sees the puck-shaped smart speaker reduced by 30%.

So, if you can't wait for Black Friday and don't want to risk missing out on a discount, check out the deals below.

Today's best new Amazon Echo deals

Today's best refurbished Amazon Echo deals


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Sep
18
Apple AirPod alternatives: These are the best true wireless earbuds around
Posted by Nick Pino,Henry St Leger on 18 September 2019 01:09 PM

If you haven't noticed, headphone cables are no longer in fashion. That's because wireless audio sounds better than ever, compression formats for Bluetooth 5.0 are more reliable, flagship smartphones are shipping without headphone jacks, and listeners of all kinds are starting to see the benefits of cordless audio - including no more annoying cables. True wireless earbuds are the next step in audio.

True wireless means there aren't any cables between earbuds at all, so there's no wire or neck band to contend with. Nothing to get tangled in your pocket or caught on your zipper, nothing to whack around your neck in the middle of that run, and also nothing to keep your singular earbuds together. 

True wireless earbuds may be more expensive than simple wireless earbuds and tend not to offer noise-canceling - with the notable exception of the Sony WF-1000XM3 - but that additional upfront cost pays for the convenience of living cable-free. We'd also argue that it's worth spending a bit more to go true wireless, too, as they offer more freedom of movement and tend to be more comfortable over longer periods (see: the Beats Powerbeats Pro).

We have our picks of the best true wireless earbuds out there – but first, let's address the elephant in the room: Apple AirPods. These are the true wireless headphones that all others are compared to, and as such are worth knowing about before we dive into the other better options out there.

[Update: Check out our House of Marley Liberate Air review – they haven't quite made our list of the best true wireless earbuds, but they're still a good option for eco-friendly music lovers.]

Best true wireless earbuds

Image credit: TechRadar

The second generation Apple AirPods, the AirPods (2019), aren't quite the AirPods 2 we were hoping for, but they still some cool features. 

They still feature the iconic design of the original AirPods (a good or bad thing depending on your point of view), and sound quality hasn't changed at all. The bulk of the upgrade comes from the new H1 headphone chip, which improves connectivity and battery life, and allows for a new ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation feature.

The AirPods (2019) also come with an optional wireless charging case means you can use a Qi-compatible charging mat to power the case, rather than sticking a cable into the Lightning charging port in the bottom of the case. 

Like their predecessors, they are super easy to pair, but they are very much optimized for using with iPhones. 

The best true wireless earbuds give you more flexibility when it comes to your device of choice, and can offer superior sound quality – as well as sleeker designs. 

There’s also no getting away from the fact that these are an expensive pair of headphones, and for that kind of money we think that you can find better products elsewhere – especially if you're looking to pair with anything other than an iPhone. 

We're still waiting for the AirPods 2, which will hopefully address some of the issues we've found with the original Pods. In the meantime, read on for our favorite alternatives...


Sony WF-1000XM3

Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

The Sony WF-1000X manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's very good for a pair of earbuds – it won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is worth it. 

That being said, in spite of a few minor problems we feel that Sony has knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3: Not only are these hands down the best-looking True Wireless headphones out there, but they combine serious noise cancelling tech with fist-pumping musicality. If you don’t want the inconvenience of carrying full-size cans, they’re a persuasive alternative.

Battery life is above average, and that compact charging case is pretty slick too. On-ear volume controls similar to the PowerBeats Pro would've been nice, but again, that's really not a deal-breaker in our books.

We reckon the True Wireless jungle has found a new king.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

cambridge audio melomania 1


Cambridge Audio is known for its high-end audio equipment, but until now, hasn’t ventured into the world of true wireless earbuds. Enter the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s: with an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, they combine the brand’s award-winning engineering with the convenience of truly wireless listening. 

For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational. In fact, it rivals some of the best over-ear headphones, which is all but unheard of for buds of this size. 

They may not have the noise cancelation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds, but they are $100 (around £80) cheaper – and have a superior battery life. 

They certainly outperform the Apple AirPods, in all respects apart from the lack of wireless charging case. This is a small price to pay for that exceptional audio quality, though, and we think they represent much better value for money, too.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

They're not cheap, but the T5 holds their own against the top of the line true wireless headphones - in fact, we'd argue that they're one of the best models on the market right now. We think that because they offer stellar sound, build quality, long-lasting battery life and one of the coolest cases we've ever seen.

Of course, you're buying a Klipsch product because it features the signature Klipsch sound, which is warm, detailed, and never harsh. Acoustic music is lush and detailed, and the detail extends to the highs as well, allowing the headphones to sing in the higher registers without ever being sibilant. 

Battery life is rated at 8 hours per charge with the case giving an additional 24 hours. Our testing playing music at 50% volume found 7 hours per charge and the case giving three additional charges no problem. This is a headphone that can last you an entire flight from New York to San Francisco. 

Read the full review: Klipsch T5 True Wireless 

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: RHA

Although the TrueConnect is RHAs first true wireless headphone, the company showed they did their research and development by making it one of the best true wireless headphones on the market today. The combination of sound quality, battery life, and wireless reliability means these are a pair of headphones you can rely on everyday. 

The Jabra Elite 65t set the standard for what true wireless headphones should be and, regardless of what RHA has done here with the TrueConnect, they’re still great headphones. Compared to the RHA TrueConnect, the Jabra has more features with its useful ambient noise mode to help with situational awareness and an app that lets you tailor sound. 

The RHA doesn’t have either of those features but we didn’t miss them, thanks to better sound quality and wireless reliability. The RHA also feels more like a premium product than the all-plastic Jabra. 

All said, if you’re shopping for a pair of true wireless headphones, the $170 (£150, about AU$265) RHA TrueConnect should be at the very top of your list.  

[Looking for a more stylish design? It comes at a price, but the Earin M-2 true wireless earbuds look as good as they sound.]

Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: Jabra

If you want a pair of high quality truly wireless earbuds that aren’t the Apple AirPods, then the Jabra Elite 65t should be at the top of your list. 

After spending over a month with them, we came away impressed with the well-rounded package that Jabra managed to create: The earbuds offer a subtle, mature look and a reliable wireless connection, which isn’t always the case with truly wireless earbuds. Plus, they sound great compared to the competition. 

If you only have the budget for one of these, go for the Elite 65t. 

Read the full review: Jabra Elite 65t

Best true wireless earbuds

 Image credit: TechRadar 

The new PowerBeats Pro true wireless Beats headphones aren't exactly the earbuds analysts have been predicting, sure, but they are something special – they’re supremely comfortable, sound decent and seem to never, ever fall out. 

That said, they are - in our opinion - Apple’s best true wireless earbuds to date thanks to small additions like the pressure-reducing micro-laser barometric venting hole, their longer battery life and their superior sound quality. If we had to choose between wearing these and the AirPods around the house or office, these are what we’d wear.   

Read the full review: Beats PowerBeats Pro

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: Jabra

If you're more the athletic type, the Jabra Elite Sport are currently the ultimate true wireless earphones for runners and other kinds of athletes. There’s a heart rate sensor on the right earpiece, letting it monitor your exertion level as you exercise. 

A Jabra companion app lets you track your exercise, and you can kick off a workout by pressing a button on one earpiece, and the heart rate tracker is more reliable than most wrist-worn models... as long as you fit the Elite Sport buds properly. 

The Jabra Elite Sport don't perch in your ears, they fill them rather like a custom molded earphone. As a result, sound isolation is excellent and the fit is very secure. 

To sweeten the deal, Jabra recently updated the Elite Sport to boost stamina to a better-than-average four-and-a-half hours per charge – more than enough to get you through your weekly workouts – before hanging up the towel. 

Read the full review: Jabra Elite Sport

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: Sennheiser

Sennheiser enters the race with its Momentum True Wireless earbuds. An extension of its reputable Momentum range, these cordless buds offer Sennheiser's trademark high-fidelity audio in a gorgeously sleek package.

You only get four hours of charge in the earbuds, but the carry case will be able to charge them two times over on top of that, giving you 12 hours in total when on the go.

The main thing holding these back is the price: at £259 / $299 (about AU$400) they're almost double the cost of the Apple AirPods. You do get a range of touch-based controls to stop you reaching for your phone every time you want to skip or pause a track, but the act of prodding things in your ear could be more comfortable – while the volume control is oddly imprecise.

Overall though, Sennheiser's first true wireless earbuds combine style and sound like few others.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: Sony

Sony’s first pair of true wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000X, were divisive. Some thought they didn’t offer enough bass. Others said they had too much. Some said they cut out or unpaired periodically. Others simply never had that problem. Criticisms came hard and fast from all corners of the internet and the only reasonable conclusion one could make after sifting through all of the noise was that  the Sony headphones just couldn’t please everyone.

Now, Sony’s second-generation true-wireless headphones – the Sony WF-SP700N – are here to try it again. These true wireless headphones are better tuned for the low-end and they’re stable in almost every situation. They still offer very modest active noise-cancellation tech and a sweat-resistant PX4 rating, and the new charging case is aesthetically pleasing if not radically different in functionality from before. 

Read the full review: Sony WF-SP700N

Best true wireless earbuds

Image Credit: Bang & Olufsen

Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are one of the nicest-looking and most expensive wireless earphones you can buy. 

At $299 (£259, AU$449, AED 1,199) you can throw in a bit more cash and splurge for one of our favorite noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 $349 (£259, AU$499, AED 1,449), which give you better battery life and a richer sound. But if you’re looking for a something to take to the gym and have the cash to burn, then the Beoplay E8 might be just what you’re looking for.   

While you won't find noise-cancellation here, you will find a longer-lasting battery life of around four hours alongside Bluetooth 4.2. The E8 come with a stylish carrying case, and you can tweak the sound to your liking using the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS.

Even without tinkering around with ToneTouch, the E8 sounds crisp and clear. Bass feedback will depend on how snug you’re wearing the E8s, but was acceptable for earphones of this size. If you’re able to look past the price point, then then Beoplay E8 is a great investment. It’s super compact, offers great audio, and looks great – what more could you ask for?  

Read the full review: B&O Beoplay E8 Wireless Earphones

Best true wireless earbuds

Image credit: TechRadar

It feels as though Samsung has finally got it right with the Galaxy Buds, and they represent serious competition for the Apple AirPods in terms of design, sound, and ease of use. 

We loved the pearlescent effect on the buds outer housing and the sleek design of the case, and we found they felt comfortable and secure. 

The sound quality offered by these true wireless buds is also very good indeed, with deep bass, and a wide open soundstage; although, audiophiles may want to look elsewhere for a more natural sound treatment, as the Galaxy Buds do sound very warm.

The downside here is that other features that are available on the app like ambient noise and the equalizer presets are useful to have, but didn’t always work as effectively as we hoped. These features are also pretty much out of bounds for iOS users, as you can only download the app on devices running Android 5.0 or later. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Buds


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