Archive for 2014

By March 16, 2014 Read More →

Chromecast here on Wednesday?

Chromecast-peeking-630x348Sundar Pichai recently mentioned the Chromecast would come to other markets within weeks. The Chromecast app was updated with new languages and we even had a nice leak of the Chromecast being prepared for launch here in the UK. We just needed one more detail – when?.

The latest leak comes from Android Police. It’s an internal document that states a “new Google product” will be released this Wednesday, March 19th. This document is said to come from Dixons. It’s also labeled as “one of the biggest products this year from Google.”

Now, this document doesn’t specify it’s talking about the Chromecast, but we have been seeing many rumours and news about the HDMI dongle lately. We can’t imagine this being about any other product.

Price continues to be unspecified. The only details we know came from the last rumour, which suggests the price will be £30. Regardless, we will learn all this information very soon. Circle this coming Wednesday in your calendars, guys! March 19th is looking like the day we see the Chromecast arriving!

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By March 15, 2014 Read More →

Google Drive slashes prices

google-drop-priceMany have discussed what might happen the day your 100gb of free online storage runs out after purchasing a shiny Chromebook. Thankfully there is a nice answer. It looked like the end user was going to have to clear everything out and say “bye bye” and manage with 15gb or shell out some green to keep it.

Today Google announced some great news, lower the prices on all its paid subscriptions for Google Drive storage.

100GB of space now costs $1.99/m (down from $4.99/m); a gargantuan 1TB will now cost $9.99/m (down from $49/m) and if you’re really in need of cloud storage you can rent out 10TB+ for a monthly for starting from $99.99. The new pricing plans come into effect today. More details can be found at google.com/settings/storage. And if you already have a subscription Google say not to worry; anyone already signed up to a monthly plan will be automatically switched to the cheaper option, no input needed.

By March 14, 2014 Read More →

Mobile Tech Addicts Podcast 222: Louder than before

Podcast-Logo_thumb.jpgGareth and Dan are here with another UK update on the mobile front. Dan gives his thoughts on Mobile World Congress 2014.

This week Dan tells us what it was like to be on the ground at MWC, the most leaked phone of the decade, the HTC One (M8) and several of the new devices from Archos get discussed.

Featuring Gareth, Dan and Phil

 

Direct Download 

iTunes

Download the iPhone App

Download the Android App

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Posted in: News, Podcast
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By March 13, 2014 Read More →

Vodafone Ranked as Worst UK Mobile Network

resultsIn a report published by RootMetrics, Vodafone comes out at the worst of the UK Mobile Networks with EE taking an almost cleansweep at the top of virtually all of the metrics measured in the report. 

The report claims to be “the most comprehensive study of UK mobile network performance,” aiming to highlight the best carrier in the country.

Broadly speaking these results are pretty consistent with our experience here at tracyandmatt. We on the team all have SIM cards and contracts with the top 4 UK carriers and we all rate EE the highest in terms of coverage, speed and reliablility while there’s no argument from us that Vodafone’s position at the bottom is well deserved. We’re not on the fence!

Vodafone have just hit out at the report from RootMetrics and s Vodafone spokesman has gone so far as to say:

“We cannot take the results of this report seriously and neither should our customers,”

Vodafone said the network tests were not fully impartial, nor did they follow standard industry practices. In addition, some of the data included could be more than six months old, it suggested.

“The evidence we have seen of how Root Metrics conducted some of its tests leads us to believe that they were carried out in an inconsistent manner,” the spokesperson added, advising interested parties to use more established, independent researchers, “such as Ookla”.

 

 

Posted in: News, Phones
By March 12, 2014 Read More →

Google Nexus 8 rumours

Nexus7-9530We have a Google Nexus 8 Android tablet rumour to today. Apparently a new report sheds additional light on some of the hardware details of this potential device. Whilst there isn’t too much information there is enough to start dreaming and getting excited. Here are the proposed specs:

Google Nexus 8 Tablet Specification:

  • 8-Inch Display
  • Intel Atom “Moorefield” 64-bit 2.3GHz quad-core processor with enhanced performance memory
  • PowerVR G6430 GPU
  • Android 4.5

Supposedly, Google will announce the tablet later this year and it will be one of the first devices running their next iteration of Android, which will supposedly be 4.5. Using Intel hardware would be a substantial departure from the norm for Google, but we wouldn’t put it past them. The Nexus 10 is due a refresh first and with any luck we might just see version 4.5 on that and a version 5 arriving with a Nexus 8. One can only hope.

Posted in: News, Rumours, Tablets
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By March 11, 2014 Read More →

Asus Chromebox knock the ball out of the park, Stateside

61Q4AURMIvL._SL1500_It would seem the Asus Chromebox is a hit. Currently sitting at No. 1 on Amazon.com’s best seller list the Asus Chromebox makes a desktop companion of the ChromeOS similar to what the Chromebook has been doing for notebooks and laptops.  The Chromebox comes in three different flavours, the first featuring a 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U Processor with 2GB of Ram for $179, a Intel Core i3-4010U with 4GB of Ram for $409 and an Intel Core i7-4600U with 4GB of Ram for $590. Each unit also features a 16 GB SSD HDD, Intel HD graphics, Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x 3.5mm headphone / microphone port, 2-in-1 SD/MMC port and the ever evolving Google Chrome OS.

  • Amazon — $179 with free shipping, ships March 14th
  • Newegg — $179, ships March 14th
  • Tiger Direct — $179 with free shipping

The i3 and i5 variants do not appear to be as easy to track down however the reports are these ship on the same dates. At this price is it impossible not to at least be tempted by the box for $179, even just to plug into a TV or unused screen. No news of when this is to appear on the UK shores, right now Amazon.co.uk offer the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox running Intel 1.9GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD for £279. A nice alternative however likely to be superseded in the near future.

 

Posted in: Desktop Computing, News
By March 11, 2014 Read More →

What is the Best eReader?

ebooks-664x442In 2007, we all found out about eReaders that grabbed our attention. We saw the invention of the first major eBooks that was sold to the masses across the US and internationally markets.

7 years on, there is a wide variety of different types of eReaders available on the market, from a variety of brands on a variety of platforms. Originally, the benefits of the eReader included the ability to store thousands of books digitally, without the need to have a large space in your home, or in your suitcase, to store or transport a variety of books. Now, however, with the variety of different models and brands available, the features and benefits of each eReader continues to dazzle us. But how do you choose which eReader is best?

Here, we will look at the different features, their benefits and finally the problem or need they solve, to empower you to choose the best eReader for you.

 

Kindle

  • Major features

The Kindle is the original popular eReader and is the cheapest on this list. Developed by Amazon, the Kindle provides you with the ability to store thousands of books available from the Amazon eBook collections. It is light at 5.98 oz. meaning the Kindle is a good, no-nonsense, and economical reader.

  • Benefits and Drawbacks

As we have said, the Kindle is the cheapest available on this list, and so its major benefit is its simplicity and price. However, it is not possible to do a lot more other than read, and the appearance is basic. You can’t use this Kindle in the dark, particularly on the go.

  • Problem Solved

Bookworms no longer have to carry around heavy paper books, and books are sold at a much cheaper price in electronic form on Amazon than they are as hardbacks or paperbacks.

 

Kindle PaperWhite

  • Features

The majorly different feature of the Kindle PaperWhite is in the screen. Mainly, the lightness, and paper-like white screen that you read the words on, as the name suggests, could be considered by many as an improvement in appearance and functionality.

  • Benefits and Drawback

The main reason why the Kindle PaperWhite gets a mention on this list is it addresses the issue of reading in the dark and on the go that its older brother the 5th generation original Kindle model doesn’t. As a result, however, the price increases, and there is little more to do with the eReader other than shop for and read a library of books. However, you’ll need to be able to logon to Wi-Fi, as 3G is not possible with this model.

  • Problem Solved

For loyal Kindle users, who already have a wide collection of Amazon eBooks and still want to access them will find the PaperWhite helps to solve the issue of usability in the dark. It may also be more attractive for many readers, depending on taste.

Nook SimpleTouch

  • Features

The eReader from Barnes and Noble is most affordable to read, ultra-light as well as comfortable to hold. It’s battery lasts over 2 months and you can access over 3 million books. You can also have access to free Wi-Fi if you purchase at a B&N Store, which you can use to buy new books, access Free Sample Books, and borrow and lend books to and from others.

  • Benefits and Drawbacks

For the bookworm, or just book lovers of all kinds, looking to focus on the pure enjoyment of reading, rather than having an all-singing gadget. Its lower price also makes it the best value option on this list for reading thousands of books. Much like the Kindle, it does not offer any light, so it can be tricky to read this in the dark and on the go during long travel.

  • Problem Solved

Simplicity is the key, allowing any type of reader to get access to the wonderful world of books at the cheapest price. If you are happy to venture from Amazon, this is a fantastic option.

Nook GlowLight

  • Features

The Nook GlowLight provides readers with a truly unique feature – its innovative lit-screen feature. Unlike the Kindle PaperWhite, you have the option to adjust the level of brightness the screen emits. Along with the variety of features available with all of the above eReaders, it is the added feature that makes the Nook GlowLight stand out.

  • Benefits and Drawbacks

For nighttime reading, this is a fantastic option. With the versatility of the light brightness, and the power of the reader to change this according to their needs, it is a convenient and pleasurable option for nighttime and travelling readers.

  • Problem Solved

The Mayo Clinic suggests reading as an optimal evening activity to promote a good night’s sleep. They suggest being wary of using bright screens, however, as this can trigger your mind to wake up and be out of sync with your body clock. This feature therefore makes your evening time reading practical and healthier. At an expected higher price, it’s for reader’s to see for themselves the illuminating value of this eReader.

Posted in: Editorial
By March 10, 2014 Read More →

HP 8 at a price to make you think twice

hp-8-leadHP is back in the Android tablet game with a new budget tablet. They have announced the HP 8, shockingly featuring an 8″ display size on the device. What’s really surprising is the affordable price of the HP 8. At only $170, this is easily the least expensive 8-inch tablet on the market. Of course, with that price you don’t expect that the specs will be anything spectacular to write home about and you would be right. We hope to get this in for a test as soon as possible.

 

Here are the HP 8 Specs:

  • 7.85-Inch (1,024 x 768) display
  • Android 4.2.2
  • A quad-core ARM chip made by the Chinese company Allwinner
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of expandable storage
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3,800mAh battery

hp-8-lead

Posted in: News, Tablets
By March 10, 2014 Read More →

The All New HTC One leaked again

m8_001The All New HTC One has had another leak, this time coming from China. Several picture of the device appeared on the local social network Weibo. The All New HTC One (Anho) will be officially revealed this month, on March 25 and has been referred to by many names over the last few month like the HTC Two, HTC One 2. Keeping the device a secret has proved difficult for HTC, or possibly all of these leaks are staged to remind folks dazzled by the Samsung Galaxy S5 to hang on in there as there is an alternative round the corner.

The photos of the Anho don’t really show anything we haven’t seen before, or reveal any new information only the size of the unit compared to the HTC One Max.

 

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By March 9, 2014 Read More →

eBay launches new Collections feature

eBay CollectionseBay announced that it would introduce a new ‘Collections’ feature last year and since then we at tracyandmatt.co.uk have been working with eBay to create our own curated Collections via our eBay account.

The Collections feature, which can be likened to Pintrest for eBay items, is now live on the UK eBay site and members can now start their own collections by going to ‘My Collections’ in their user account or by clicking the ‘Add To Collection’ link when looking at specific eBay items.

The great thing about the new eBay Collections feature is that you can create as many Collections as you want, they can have any number of items in them and not only can the Collection itself be annotated but individual items can be too.

Another cool feature of Collections is that you can promote all of your collections, just one collection or a single item with the sharing feature. Other eBay members can then choose to follow all, some or just one of your collections and can also re-share what you have there.

This new feature could be a real boon for eBay members with popular shops or for those that want to show others what new and hot…

In our Collections right now you can find our selection of the best phones from each mainstream manufacturer, top tablet choices, and all the items we use in MBED, Arduino and Raspberry Pi development. Check out our Collections on eBay.co.uk and follow to see what else we do with them going forward.

 

Posted in: Editorial, News
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