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Author: Samuel Gibbs

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Amazon Echo Show (2nd gen) review: bigger and better smart display

The latest Alexa smart speaker with screen looks better, sounds great and has built-in smart hub

The new second generation Echo Show is bigger with a better display, but is size enough to keep Amazon ahead of stiff competition from Google?

Since the original Echo Show launched last year the software has been refined, but the experience is broadly the same. The Show is a voice-first Alexa speaker, with touch interactivity as an additional input rather than the core experience. If you never wanted to touch the screen beyond the initial set-up ,you wouldn’t have to.

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Intruder alert! The best smart home security cameras

A new generation of devices featuring a host of clever features will make conventional alarm systems obsolete. We review four of the best

The days of alarms and floodlights being the only choice for home security are behind us with the growing availability of more intelligent and flexible options, such as smart cameras.

Placed outside or within the home, these internet-connected cameras offer a live view of what’s happening from practically anywhere, send alerts when they detect motion – and some can even recognise friend from foe. They promise full control and piece of mind through your smartphone, tablet or smart display.

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CES 2019: from beer tech to a banned sex toy – 10 standout gadgets

Also unveiled in Las Vegas: the world’s first rollable TV and Alexa for your toilet

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas revealed what the tech world has in store for us this year. From the spectacular to the controversial – as well as some total tosh – here are 10 of the most memorable new products unveiled at CES 2019 last week.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) review: better all round

Latest small smart speaker has improved looks, sound and still has everything good about Alexa

Amazon’s latest low-cost Alexa-powered smart speaker, the third-generation Echo Dot, looks better, sounds better, but still costs the same budget-friendly £50.

When the second-generation Echo Dot launched in the UK it had very little in the way of competition. Having everything that was good about Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant squeezed into a smaller package half the price of the bigger Echo, it was a no-brainer.

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Apple’s woes go far beyond the slowdown in the Chinese economy

Higher price tags, competition, cultural differences and saturation in the west have led to longer replacement cycles

Apple’s cut in its sales forecast was blamed almost entirely on the economic slowdown in China, but the real picture is probably far more complex, with high prices, cultural differences, fierce competition and consumers keeping their phones for longer all causing problems.

Its chief executive, Tim Cook, said falling sales of iPhone, iPads and computers were primarily due to the “magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in greater China”.

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iPhone slump: the rivals taking a bite out of Apple

As firm’s stock falls over sales warnings, it has competition in bid to be the best smartphone

As Apple’s shares tumble after its cut in forecasts, the company is laying the blame squarely on the economic slowdown in China. But that is only part of the problem.

Never before has Apple faced such fierce competition from a multitude of rivals from around the globe, all vying for a slice of the lucrative premium smartphone market. Matching or exceeding Apple’s iPhone on hardware quality, these phones are arguably more capable, often cheaper and, perhaps crucially for China, made by local firms, not only those from the US and South Korea.

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Folding screens and 5G: what’s coming in smartphones in 2019?

After the notch, phone makers are turning to hole-punch selfie cams and bigger screens

From the launch of 5G to phones with large folding screens, more cameras and fingerprint scanners under the screens, 2019 looks set to transform the smartphone in more ways than one.

2018 produced phones with notches hiding selfie cameras and sensors in the top of the screen. While not quite the innovation most were likely seeking, notches allowed manufacturers to remove everything from the front that wasn’t screen.

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iPhone owners have less than two weeks to replace battery for £25

Cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements is due to jump to as much as £65

Owners of iPhones with failing batteries have only 12 days to take advantage of Apple’s out-of-warranty £25 battery swap offer before the price jumps to as much as £65.

The discounted battery replacement scheme, which applies to the iPhone 6 and newer models, was launched in the wake of revelations last year that Apple was intentionally slowing iPhones because of worn batteries.

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Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar

Pricey Bluetooth headphones have excellent controls but only good, not great sound quality, noise cancelling and battery life

Surface Headphones are Microsoft’s high-price, premium noise-cancelling cans aimed squarely at toppling the current kings, Bose and Sony.

Headphones seem like an odd choice for the Xbox, Office and Windows maker, but the are being produced by Microsoft’s burgeoning consumer electronics arm responsible for its line of Surface computers and accessories.

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