Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 vs iPad Pro 10.5

The iPad has become synonymous with the term tablet as many Android manufacturers have backed out of the large screen market, but there’s a new top-end Samsung slate that may be designed just for you.

The iPad has become synonymous with the term tablet as many Android manufacturers have backed out of the large screen market, but there’s a new top-end Samsung slate that may be designed just for you.

Newly announced, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a remarkably similar device to the popular iPad Pro (the 10.5-inch edition) that came out at the in the middle of 2017.

Below we’re going to run through the specs and features you can get on each of these tablets, and give you a first look versus to the two different tablets.

Design and display

Both the iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 come with 10.5-inch screens on their devices, which seems to be the optimum size for tablets at the moment with two of the biggest manufacturers embracing the size.

The Galaxy Tab S4 is the company’s own Super AMOLED tech that should allow it to look nice and bright with a resolution of 1600 x 2560. It has a higher viewing area than on the Tab S3, too.

That’s mostly as the tablet has dropped its home key from the front of the tablet. To unlock it you’ll find an Iris scanner on the front of the screen rather than a fingerprint scanner.

The iPad Pro 10.5 still has a button at the bottom (that houses the Touch ID fingerprint scanner) and a thicker bezel along the bottom than the Samsung to house that. Again, it’s a 10.5-inch display with a resolution of 1668 x 2224.

It’s an LED-backlit IPS LCD that probably won’t give you the same popping colors as you’ll get on the Samsung, but it’s still an impressive screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

The size of the Galaxy Tab S4 is 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm and weighs between 482g (for the Wi-Fi-only model) and 483g (for the Wi-Fi + LTE model). That means it’ heavier, taller and thicker than the last Samsung model.

The iPad Pro 10.5 is a bit thinner and lighter coming in at 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm with the weights at 469g for the Wi-Fi only and 477g for the LTE version of the tablet.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t get the keyboards pictured for both of these tablets above – both cost extra, and neither are cheap with Samsung’s costing around $150 / £120 and Apple’s around $160 / £160.

OS and power

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset inside, which is already quite out of date considering a lot of the top-end smartphones being announced – including Samsung’s Galaxy S9 – feature the newer Snapdragon 845.

That probably won’t make for a significant slowdown, but it does mean the tablet isn’t as futureproof as it would be if it had the newer chipset. There’s 4GB of RAM powering the tablet with the choice of either 64GB or 256GB of storage, depending on how much you want to spend.

Samsung also offers up to 400GB of microSD storage as well, but you’ll have to buy a separate card for that.

As for the iPad Pro, you’ll find it packing the Apple A10X Fusion chipset, which is a variation of what we saw running in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That’s largely because the tablet was announced in June last year, but again it should be powerful enough to do everything you need it to do on a tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

There’s also 4GB of RAM onboard, and your storage choices are 64GB / 256GB or 512GB. You may want to opt for the larger one if you want to fill it full of media as there isn’t microSD support on iPads.

Software wise the Tab S4 comes with the latest version of Android Oreo onboard, which is 8.1. Android isn’t perfect to use on tablets, but it has improved a lot on slates in recent years.

The iPad Pro 10.5 comes with iOS 10.3.2 right out of the box, but you’ll be able to upgrade it to iOS 11 right away and iOS 12 is set to come to the tablet when it’s released later this year.

Camera and battery

iPad Pro 10.5

It’s unlikely you’re going to buy either of these tablets for their camera prowess, so neither Apple or Samsung have put particular attention into the shooters on the rear. The Tab S4 has an 13MP while the iPad Pro 10.5 opts for a lower 12MP sensor.

You’ll probably make more use of the selfie camera for video calls and more, which is an 8MP on the Samsung and a 7MP on the Apple-made device.

We haven’t had time to test the battery on the Galaxy Tab S4 but it’s impressive in terms of spec with a 7,300mAh cell alongside fast-charging tech too.

The iPad Pro 10.5 has an even bigger cell at 8134mAh, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the battery life will be better on the iPad. It’s usually down to a lot of how the chipsets and OS are optimized, so we won’t be able to give our full verdict on battery until we’ve tested it on the Tab S4.

Both of these devices have large batterys, and we’d expect both to last hours from a single charge.


The pricing for the Tab S4 is set at $649.99 / £599 (about AU$880) for the Wi-Fi model and the LTE one is £649 (about $850, AU$1150). That’s an expensive tablet, but it comes with the S Pen stylus inside the box.

The iPad Pro 10.5 doesn’t come with the stylus in the box, instead the Apple Pencil costs you an extra $99 / £99 on top of the price of the tablet.

The base model of the iPad costs £619 / $649 / AU$979, while the most expensive 512GB version has price tags of £889 / $949 / AU$1429. That’s a big price jump compared to 2016’s iPads, but it’s a similar price to what we’d expect for Samsung’s next tablet.

Also bear in mind you may also need to spend some money on the keyboard cases as well, which are $150 / £119 (about AU$200) for the Tab S4 and $160 / £160 / AU$235 for the iPad.


These are remarkably similar devices, and a lot of what will make your decision is whether you want to have a tablet that embraces either iOS or Android. Each has top-end specs – apart from the older chipset in both – and offer what looks to be a fully rounded tablet experience.

One of the biggest benefits for the Samsung is its S Pen stylus support straight out of the box, while if you’re looking for a stylus on your iPad it’s going to cost you extra on top.

These are two of the top tablets on the market though, so it’s likely each will suit most of what you’ll want them to do.

Our hands on Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a $649 2-in-1 Android tablet for multitaskers – CNET

Consider this the appetizer before the main course of the Galaxy Note 9 launch on Aug. 9.

The rumored Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is now a reality, and much of what was leaked was correct.

Consider this the appetizer before the main course of the Galaxy Note 9 launch on Aug. 9.

The rumored Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is now a reality, and much of what was leaked was correct. Moving up in size from the the 9.7-inch Tab S3, the S4 has a 10.5-inch WQXGA (2,560×1,600 pixels) Super AMOLED display — 32 percent larger. With its narrower bezels, though, it’s similar in size to its predecessor. Samsung paired the screen with AKG-tuned speakers — four of them — with Dolby Atmos sound so whatever you’re watching or listening to will be as immersive as possible.

Like Microsoft’s Surface line and Apple’siPad Pro, though, this premium Android tablet is for more than entertainment. Like the DeX dock and pad Samsung makes for its Galaxy phones, the Tab S4 has DeX support that changes the tablet’s Android interface into a desktop-style experience.

Attach the $150 Book Cover keyboard (no, it’s not included) and the interface changes, letting you run multiple apps side by side and resize their windows, and even drag-and-drop content between them. If you’re thinking a 10.5-inch screen doesn’t give you much room to do that sort of work, Samsung will offer an HDMI-to-USB-C multiport adapter for a secondary display (also not included).

Connect to an external monitor and you can use the Tab S4 as a giant trackpad, or grab the included Samsung S Pen and use the S4 like a Wacom tablet. You can also continue to use it as an Android tablet, so you could keep a video playing on the tablet while you continue to work on a PowerPoint presentation on another display. There’s Bluetooth mouse support, too, so you don’t have to rely on the touchscreen for navigation.

While there is plenty here for mixed use of home and office, Samsung is also pitching this as a tablet to be used strictly for enterprise use such as retail or healthcare. This is also where Samsung’s Knox security platform comes in handy for keeping data safe for these applications.

Key SpecsSnapdragon 835 processor
4GB of memory
64 or 256GB built-in storage; support for up to 400GB microSD cards
13-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front cameras
802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
LTE version available
Android 8.1 (update to Android 9.0 at a later date)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung is promising up to 16 hours of video playback from the Galaxy Tab S4’s 7,300mAh battery and it supports fast charging via its USB-C port. The S Pen, however, does not need charging and, among other S Pen tools, there’s support for screen-off note-taking, meaning you can write on the screen without opening an app or even unlocking it.

The Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab S4 will be available in the US starting at $650 on Aug. 10 from Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung’s website. (That converts to approximately £495 and AU$875.) The LTE version is a Verizon exclusive to start, but will come to other major carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular later in Q3 2018.

You can preorder starting today, and you can also get half off the Book Cover keyboard through Sept. 8 when you buy it with the Galaxy Tab S4.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a 10.5-inch iPad Pro rival

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is official and it arrives with Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro firmly in its sights.

It boasts a 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage (plus microSD slot), 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, Android 8.1 and a 7,300mAh battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is official and it arrives with Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro firmly in its sights.

It boasts a 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage (plus microSD slot), 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, Android 8.1 and a 7,300mAh battery.

You’ll also get the S Pen stylus included in the box, a one-up on Apple which charges you extra for its Pencil.

There are four, AKG-tuned speakers which support Dolby Atmos for a surround sound experience. The Tab S4 measures 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm and weighs between 482g (for the Wi-Fi-only model) and 483g (for the Wi-Fi + LTE model).

That makes it taller, thicker and heavier than the Galaxy Tab S3 (which has a smaller 9.7-inch display), and also thicker and heavier (but not as tall or wide) as the iPad Pro 10.5.

So how much is it? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 price is $649 (around £500, AU$880), which is identical to the 64GB variant of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. There’s really no mistaking the competition here.

Read our hands on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 reviewProductivity, but old power

Samsung is pushing being able to “get things done” with the Galaxy Tab S4, but there’s no keyboard cover/stand in the box to help covert it into a hybrid laptop.

It is launching a separate Book Cover Keyboard though, which integrates a keyboard into the case, and it also provides Samsung Dex support, allowing you to use a traditional Bluetooth computer mouse with the Tab S4 – the first time Samsung has brought its DeX experience to a tablet.

There is a cost though, and the Book Cover Keyboard price is $149.99 (around £110, AU$200).

However, as much as Samsung is highlighting the computing-like functionality of its new slate, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s chipset isn’t the latest. In fact, the Snapdragon 835 was launched at the end of 2016, and has since been replaced by the Snapdragon 845.

It’s a strange choice for a premium tablet that’s going up against the well-established market leader in the iPad to not sport the latest power under the hood. That said, paired with 4GB of RAM, the Android interface should still run well.

There’s also no fingerprint scanner or physical home button on the front, but the Tab S4 does come with an Iris Scanner to ensure there is a level of biometric tech on offer.

In the US, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date is set for August 10 with availability at Amazon, Best Buy and Pre-orders open on August 9 – conveniently the same day as the Galaxy Note 9 launch.

At the moment it’s not clear what the release date, price and availability of the Galaxy Tab S4 will be around the rest of the world, but we’ll update this article as soon as we know.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launches soon

The best cheap soundbar deals and sales in August 2018

There are some pieces of tech that never get a huge reduction in price. But in the same way we recommend you shouldn’t doubt the huge amounts of power and high quality audio a soundbar can pump out, we also recommend you don’t doubt the huge amounts of power of a good soundbar deal.

There are some pieces of tech that never get a huge reduction in price. But in the same way we recommend you shouldn’t doubt the huge amounts of power and high quality audio a soundbar can pump out, we also recommend you don’t doubt the huge amounts of power of a good soundbar deal.

Finding a decent saving on a unibody speaker isn’t hard. What’s more, even some of the cheapest soundbars on the market can still add a decent level of clarity and audio oomph to your living room on a level that your regular TV can’t.

Once you’ve got your hands on a new soundbar, the results speak for themselves. But trying to dig around and find the best soundbar deal right now can be a long slog. That’s because the world of soundbars, and audio products more generally, are filled with a random series of numbers, Vizio SB-3830-D0 38-inch soundbar, anyone?

There are also a lot of drastic differences in price that can be overwhelming even to the most seasoned of audiophiles. But don’t worry, that’s where we come in.

On a bigger budget? Check out our guide to the best soundbars overallWhat’s the best soundbar deal?

As you’d expect, the answer to that question is going to be different for everyone.

Some people are fine with a standard soundbar, that means no subwoofer and no streaming capabilities. Others might want the sub, but no streaming. Others might want all of the above, plus two satellite speakers. It’s a your-miles-may-vary situation.

That said, we can give you some good ideas of what to look for and where to find those great deals when they pop up.

For most folks, you really just want the basic package: a soundbar with a digital audio cable input that should connect to most modern TVs. You can get a bit tricky with HDMI passthroughs, RCA inputs and 3.5mm jacks, but sometimes basic is better. Of course, we also recommend looking for soundbars with a subwoofer included, that way you’ll get the full audio range from your favorite TV shows and movies, not just the highs and the mids.

There’s plenty of soundbars to pick from, and more coming out every week, so without further ado here are the best soundbar deals we’ve found this month.

Samsung’s HW-J355 is one of the best-selling soundbars, and for good reason. Not only does it offer good sound quality from its four combined-120W tweeters, but also comes with a wired subwoofer to add some meat to the sound. It’s a bit on the trim side at 37.13 x 2.28 x 2.56 inches, but it only weighs 3.5 lbs. The accompanying subwoofer is wired, so that might be one hang-up, and you won’t find a ton of ports here. On the plus side, though, it comes with 3D Sound Plus, which tries to simulate a surround sound effect using some clever sonic tricks. If you don’t mind something basic, this is your guy.

Read the review:Samsung HW-J355

Don’t want to be tied to a subwoofer? We don’t blame you. If you want the same robust quality of sound without the extra black box, check out the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System. The bar measures in at a fair 2.6 x 21.6 x 3.4 inches (H x W x D) and 3.73 lbs, making it easy to wall-mount. As far as inputs and outputs are concerned it takes optical audio, coaxial audio and 3.5mm auxiliary. It comes with a remote control, which we appreciate, and has built-in Bluetooth.

The M3 soundbar is easy to love. It might not be the most glamorous to look at, stubbornly only supports 2.1 channels of sound, and has never heard of Wi-Fi, but if there’s a better sounding soundbar on the market for less than £300/$300, we haven’t heard it. Unfortunately, there’s no subwoofer here or shot at simulated surround sound, but that’s because Q Acoustics has very deliberately kept things simple by not attempting to ‘muddy the waters’ by trying to apply (often ugly) psycho-acoustic processing.

Read the review:Q Acoustics M3 Soundbar

If you’re looking for a soundbar that strikes the balance between feature set, performance and price, LG’s SH7B is it. That said, it might cost a bit more than you were looking to spend. Thankfully, it’s very often on sale. This soundbar measures in at 41.73 x 2.09 x 3.35 inches, making it perfect for 49-inch and up TVs. The soundbar excels in the movie department – lasers, explosions and crushing bodily impacts in football hit home with impactful blasts of sound –that said, it’s probably not the best soundbar for the music lover out there.

Read the review:LG SH7B

Not content with dominating the TV world, Samsung now seems to have its sights set on becoming the number one brand for home entertainment audio, too. To that end, the Samsung HW-MS650 Sound+ Soundbar is one of our favorite pieces of AV equipment made this year – which is why we gave it our coveted Editor’s Choice award when it came out last year.

Samsung has rewritten the rulebook with the HW-MS650. No other one-body soundbar has combined so much raw power with so much clarity, scale and, especially, bass, or excelled so consistently with both films and music. It’s the sort of performance that only genuine audio innovation can deliver.

If you can afford it, this is the soundbar you need in your living room.

Read the review: Samsung HW-MS650 Sound+ Soundbar

One of the best deals on high-end soundbars comes in the form of Sony’s HT-NT5. This 6.1 soundbar offers 400 watts of power and, for the audiophiles out there, supports 24-bit/96KHz Hi-Res Audio. The main bar is 42.51 x 2.28 x 5.00 inches (W x H x D) while the accompanying wireless subwoofer sits at a portly 7.48 × 15.0 × 15.2 inches. As far as inputs and outputs are concerned, it has Analog Audio In, Bluetooth Reception, Bluetooth Transmission, Ethernet, USB, three HDMI-Ins and one HDMI-Out. Beyond traditional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth the HT-NT5 also supports multi-room listening through Sony’s SongPal app, and works with Google Home.

Read the review: Sony HT-NT5

Just when you think you really know a company, it goes and releases something completely out of left-field. Take Razer: historically, it’s been a peddler of pointers and the king of keyboards. Then they release the Razer Leviathan, a really smart soundbar that costs less than most TVs. Razer’s audio monster might not have the most power-per-inch at only 30 watts, but we really liked how low it could go with the accompanying subwoofer. Plus, while other speakers on this list might not even attempt surround sound, Razer gives it the ol’ college try and actually does a decent job with it. It might not be as good as a true 7.1 system, but try finding one of those for under $199/£159.

Read the review:Razer Leviathan

With four HDMI inputs and 4K passthrough, myriad other connections and Bluetooth streaming, it’s tempting to call the Arcam Solo Bar as much of a home cinema hub as a soundbar. It also adds Bluetooth aptX for good measure, rendering your streamed tunes listenable at last. Well connected it may be, but this 1,000 x 130 x 110mm unit offers more than one-cable nirvana, with its two speakers offering a lot more meat than the average flat TV. Want more welly? Just add Arcam’s wireless Solo Sub. Want it for a steal? We’ve got you covered.

These are the best soundbars of 2017

The best laser printer 2018: top picks for quick and quiet printing

Welcome to our list of the best laser printers of 2018. If you’re looking for a new laser printer to handle heavy workloads, or you’re sick of your inkjet printer guzzling ink cartridges like there’s no tomorrow, then you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to our list of the best laser printers of 2018. If you’re looking for a new laser printer to handle heavy workloads, or you’re sick of your inkjet printer guzzling ink cartridges like there’s no tomorrow, then you’ve come to the right place.

The best laser printers offer a number of advantages over inkjet printers. For a start, their running costs are lower, as you’ll spend less money replacing the toner of a laser printer compared to refilling and replacing ink cartridges.

Laser printers are also faster and quieter than inkjets. This makes them ideal for busy offices that require a lot of printouts, without annoying employees with noise. The best laser printers also produce excellent results with text documents.

While laser printers used to be mainly found in offices, they are now more affordable – and flexible – which means they make great printers for home use as well. There’s a huge variety of laser printers to choose from, and our list of the best laser printers of 2018 can help you choose the right laser printer for your needs.

This temptingly priced printer offers 28ppm printing at up to 4,800 x 600 dpi (effective, rather than optical, resolution). With wired (Ethernet/USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi/NFC) connectivity, duplex printing, decent eco settings and support for a wide range of media, the Samsung is an excellent all-rounder, although the multi-purpose tray can only handle one sheet of media at a time. The main cassette has a more useful capacity of 250 sheets.

The M2070W delivers a lot of bang for your business buck – there’s NFC printing from compatible smartphones, online document sharing, and a clever Eco system that supplements the usual toner saving mode with a feature to remove images from documents by replacing bitmaps with sketches.

Factor in claimed speeds of 20ppm, a clever scan to mobile feature and an effective print resolution of up to 1200dpi and you’ve got a multifunction printer that’s well worth considering.

The DCP-9020CDW is a baby Brother – it’s an entry-level all-in-one aimed at small offices, and with claimed speeds of 18ppm and a resolution of up to 2,400 dpi (effective) it has a decent spec for the price. It can upload to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneNote, it’s wireless with WPS authentication and wireless direct printing, and its running costs are competitive. It also offers automatic duplex printing and its colour screen makes it easy to install and operate. This device is a solid all-rounder for PCs and mobile devices alike.

This is a colour laser printer, plain and simple. It has a relatively small footprint on the desk thanks to a surprisingly compact design. The printer is fitted with a 150-sheet main paper tray and a 100-sheet output tray, with an integrated drum/fuser unit and manual duplexing capabilities. Controls are adequate, with a two-line LCD display and a number of buttons for basic menu navigation. The C1760NW also offers an Ethernet connector, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port; although there is no USB host connectivity. The printer is aimed at office or small workgroups and has a high-rated speed of 15ppm for black and colour. This is a good workhorse for everyday printing, where colour isn’t a major part of the mix.

At the time of writing, this Brother was Amazon’s best-selling laser, and with good reason – for very little cash you’re getting a superb wireless colour laser. However, at this price don’t expect rock-bottom running costs – it’s a printer for livening up documents with the occasional flash of colour, not constant photo printing.

It doesn’t have automatic duplexing or an Ethernet port, but the HL-3140CW delivers superb print quality, reasonable mono running costs and good wireless features for a very low price.

The Xerox WorkCentre 6515/DNI is an excellent laser printer for office use. It can handle a huge variety of paper sizes and types, and it excels at printing text documents. As an all-in-one printer, it’s a great addition to any busy office, and it’s also very fast and quiet. However, if you need to print out lots of graphics, or photos, then you’ll find better laser printers for the price.

If you’re looking for a color laser printer that also does a good job of scanning and photocopying, then the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw is well worth considering. It’s a great laser printer that provides very good print quality, and its output speed is impressive. It comes with plenty of features, including Wi-Fi capabilities. However, it is very large, so you may struggle to fit it into smaller offices and rooms. Also, it’s output tray only handles 100 pages, which could prove annoying if you’re printing large documents.

The HP T6B82A Color LaserJet Pro is a decent entry-level laser printer that’s best suited to small business or home use. This is because while it’s quite quite a low initial price tag, this isn’t the fastest laser printer. It also isn’t the most economical when printing large volumes. If you don’t need a laser printer that can quickly and cheaply print out large documents 24/7, and instead want a decent laser printer that can also scan and photo copy for a low initial cost, then this is a worthwhile investment.

Check out our list of the best printers, no matter if they are ink jet or laser

SIM only deals: the best plans in August 2018

Let’s face it, SIM only deals aren’t the hidden gem that they once were. The popularity of the mobile phone plans that offer calls, texts and data in return for a monthly fee – but bundled with a handset – has gone through the roof in the last year or two.

Let’s face it, SIM only deals aren’t the hidden gem that they once were. The popularity of the mobile phone plans that offer calls, texts and data in return for a monthly fee – but bundled with a handset – has gone through the roof in the last year or two. Leaving the phone out of the equation gives you more flexibility (especially if you go for a 30-day rolling contract) or is ideal if you’re eyeing up a new SIM-free phone. And our interactive comparison chart above makes your perfect SIM plan really easy to narrow down.

July has seen some fantastic SIMO deals hit the UK market, although if you were hoping to take advantage of the incredible Vodafone with Amazon Gift Card exclusive we managed to wrangle, we’re afraid that’s now come to an end. Don’t worry though, as below you’ll see our handpicked favourite SIM only deals you can still get, including the return of the awesome 30GB for £18 SIM only plan that took home prize for Best Phone Deal at last year’s Mobile Choice Consumer Awards is back!

And if big data isn’t necessarily your thing, SIM only deals remain a really cheap way of running your phone, with the most affordable deals starting at way less than a fiver a month. So if you’ve come to the end of your phone contract, you don’t necessarily have to speak to your network for an upgrade or start your hunt for a new mobile phone deal on contract. Instead, you can go SIMO (to give in to the common parlance) and use our handy SIM only deal comparison chart above.

If you’re still unsure whether SIM-only is the route for you, our expert advice will help you decide – our all knowing FAQ includes tips on switching your number, the networks that offer free gifts and answers to a host of other questions.

Top 10 best SIM only deals of the week are:

We’ve run the figures and plucked out the very best sim only deals available this month. Whether you’re after the cheapest plan possible, want to dig out the best value big data SIM plan or just want an all-round great deal but don’t know how much to spend, you’ll find a recommendation just for you.

1. The absolute cheapest SIM only deal out there
2. The best 1GB SIM only deal
3. The best 3GB+ SIM only deal
4. The best 10GB+ SIM only deal
5. The best 12GB+ SIM only deal
6. The best SIM only deal for unlimited dataCheck out today’s best unlimited data SIM only deals7. Best EE SIM only deal
8. Best value Three SIM only deal
9. Best Vodafone SIM only deal
10. Best data only SIM deal

Should I go SIM only?

If you a) want to save some money; b) don’t want to be tied into a lengthy contract; or c) both of the above, then SIM only is well worth considering. In fact, you’re probably one of two people if your thoughts are indeed turning to SIM only:

You’re coming to the end of your contract and your network is calling you a million times a day to get you to upgrade. Well if your phone is dying a death or you just fancy a change, head to our best mobile phones deal page to see what bargains are lurking, but otherwise going SIM only on your current phone is a no-brainer. You’ll wind up paying much less than you are under contract, and you can stick to a rolling 30 day contract so that if your circumstances change, you can get out of the arrangement tout suite.

It’s time for a shiny new smartphone and you want to get the best value humanly possible. You’ll have to find a few hundred quid up front for the handset (be sure to check our SIM free comparison chart) but box clever and you’ll end up paying less over the next 24 months (see below). Plus, if you’re a commitment-phobe, most SIM-only plans don’t require you to sign up for two years like you would with a normal contract.

Is SIM only cheaper than contract?

It can be. Teaming a SIM only plan with a standalone SIM-free handset could save you a few quid. It’s usually the case when a flagship phone hits the market and contracts are made deliberately expensive. Take the Samsung Galaxy S9 as a prime example, where you could have saved over £100 over two years by splashing the £800-odd for the handset and slipping in a cheap SIM card.

Not all the savings you can make are as extravagant, and on big data it’s frequently more cost effective to dive into a contract instead. But if you can afford to splash a few hundred pounds up front then the savings over the next couple of years could well be worth it.

Is my phone unlocked – can I use a new SIM in it?

The times have passed since most phones were locked to a network and you had to pay a dodgy backstreet ‘engineer’ to unlock it. Nowadays, it’s standard practice for networks to let you use whatever SIM you want in the phone as soon as you’ve paid up the original contract (or earlier if you pay them a fee) – and Three ships all its handsets unlocked from the outset.

The exception, alas, is Apple iPhones. They’re generally sold locked to the original network that you purchase them with for the life of the handset. Very frustrating if you’re looking for a tasty SIM only deal once your 24 month sentence is up.

The good news is that your iPhone (or any other mobile before the end of your contract) can be unlocked – the bad news is that most networks make you pay for the privilege. Insert a friend or family member’s SIM into your phone to see whether it’s already unlocked and, if it isn’t, look for your network below to see how to cut ties with them:

EE Once six months have gone by on your contract, you can call EE on 0800 956 6000 and pay them £8.99 to unlock your phone. It says it will take around 10 days to complete. PAYG phones can be unlocked for free.O2 As long as you don’t own an iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus (they can’t be unlocked until you’ve paid off your contract), you can unlock any O2 phone – including iPhones – for free if you’re on a pay monthly contract. PAYG customers have to pay £15.Three Fear not, all phones on Three are unlocked as standard. Shove whatever SIM you like in there, it will work a treat.Vodafone The red network doesn’t quite get the same marks as Three, as your phone will be locked to them on arrival. But they have made unlocking handsets absolutely free within 10 days of your request.

What SIM card size do I need?

There are three sizes of SIM card that you can get for your phone, and the one you need will depend on your handset. It’s been a while since the traditional, so-called standard SIM (15x25mm) has genuinely been the staple in new phones. Instead, any phone you’ve bought within the last five or so years is much more likely to require a micro (12x15mm) or nano (8.8×12.3mm) SIM – the iPhone 5 was Apple’s first mobile with a nano SIM, while Samsung began using the smallest size in its Galaxy S6.

Before you purchase your new SIM, double-check the manufacturer’s website to see what size you require. And if you’re simply not sure, most networks now simply send out a triple SIM, so you’ll get one of each size.

How do I keep my old number?

Ever heard of PAC codes and wondered what a classic 80s arcade game had to do with telephone numbers? It actually stands for Porting Authorisation Code, and it’s the set of digits that you need to grab from your old network to let you transfer over your existing mobile number. If you’re on one of the major networks, you can see what phone number you can contact them on here:

EE 07953 966 250O2 0344 8090202Vodafone 03333 040 191Three 0333 300 3333ID 0333 003 7777GiffGaff 43431 from your handsetVirgin 0345 6000 789BT 0800 800 150Tesco 0345 301 4455Sky 03300 412 524Asda 0800 079 2732

If you want to grab a bargain SIM only plan above, but it’s on your existing network then your network won’t release a PAC code and you’ll be forced to take a new phone number.

At least you would have, if it wasn’t for this clever (if convoluted) work-around. You have to order a free pay-as-you-go SIM from another network. Once you have it, you can tell your old network that you’re moving and they’ll give you that precious PAC code. Then, once your number is registered to the substitute network, simply get another PAC code from them. Take that to your old network, and they’ll move your number to your new contract. Simple – kind of!

What contract length should I get?

Unlike with a contract, there’s a lot more flexibility available when it comes to how long your SIM only plan will last. Two year commitments are virtually unheard of, with the norm being either one year or rolling one month contracts for ultimate flexibility. You can often get better prices if you tie yourself in for 12 months, especially on larger data tariffs. But sticking to one month at a time means that you can effectively hand pick a new plan to suit you every 30 days or so.

How much data do I need?

Because you can change your plan up more regularly than a normal, lengthier contract, it’s less crucial to get this nailed from the start. But if you’re thinking of grabbing a 12-monther or just put a personal pride on getting things right first time, then we’ll help you pick out the sweet spot of data for you.

Firstly, check your phone to see how much data you’ve been using to date, and whether you have the tendency to use more than your current allowance every month. Then, if you’re still unsure, check out our guidance:

0-1GB Tiny amounts of data on SIM only deals could be a blessing or a curse. If you’re putting it in a rarely used phone that will scarcely be away from wi-fi then you’re quids in. But if you end up with one because your head’s turned by the incredible price, then you could end up paying more if you continually go over your allowance.2-3GB For anybody who needs data for little more than the occasional Google Maps route planning, 2GB and 3GB plans come cheap and give you much more freedom to check the football scores and scroll Facebook away from the wi-fi without danger.4-8GB If you can’t leave the house without having a music streaming service like Spotify pouring into your ears, then it might be worth paying for some extra GBs of data.10-16GB This is a significant amount of data and some networks offer it for a very appetising price. Whether streaming music, downloading podcasts, watching social media videos, or all three is your thing – you should be covered.20-30GB Only smartphone junkies that need regular (and hefty) data fixes need bother with this avalanche of GBs. You’ll be able to rinse Netflix, Spotify and online games without too much fear of topping out.Unlimited Maybe it’s because you use remarkable amounts of data. Maybe it’s because you simply don’t want to keep checking how much data you’ve used every month. Whatever your reason to go unlimited, you have only two choices when it comes to network: Three or GiffGaff.

Do I need unlimited calls and texts?

Call it practicality, call it greediness, call it what you want – it’s human nature to want ‘unlimited’ anything if offered. But you should think genuinely about whether you really need it in a world where the likes of WhatsApp and Skype let you call and text for free over wi-fi or 4G. If you decide that a few thousand monthly minutes and texts should do you, then you could shave off some cash from your bill.

What’s the best mobile network for SIM only?

While EE, O2, Vodafone and Three are generally considered the major four networks for contract plans, when it comes to SIM only there are some other key players are well worth a look. See what we think of them below, and whether you’ll get any free perks to help persuade you to sign up. Plus, we’ll tell you about a couple of other SIM sellers that might be able to wrangle you an even better deal.

EE SIM only deals

If you want fast and furious 4G, then your choice has to be an EE SIM only deal. Its speeds are around 50% faster than the other major networks, which is really noticeable if you like watching films or football on the move. And EE gives you three free months of BT Sport, as well as six months of Apple Music.

View all:EE SIM only deals

O2 SIM only deals

O2’s best claim for your contract is with its Priority rewards – from cheap lunch deals and pre-order privileges on gig tickets, to ad-hoc discounts and competitions. Plus, they have 1000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to for free and save your precious data.

View allO2 SIM only deals

Vodafone SIM only deals

Vodafone seems to have been around since mobile phones were cumbersome bricks, but they remain a major player. Look out for a Red Entertainment tariff, which gives you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription.

View allVodafone SIM only deals

Three SIM only deals

Three is still the only network to offer unlimited data and it often features unbeatable deals on other big data plans – that makes them a natural choice of many a data hungry smartphone addict. And it has has just started getting generous with perks – you can get cheap dinners and free coffees through its Wuntu app.

View all3 mobile SIM only deals

BT SIM only deals

That familiar old stalwart of telecommunications BT is so-so when it comes to SIM only tariff prices. That’s unless you’re already a BT broadband customer, in which case you get some really favourable prices – a fiver less than the rest of the hoi polloi. Plus, you usually get a BT Reward Card with the majority of plans that can be spent anywhere that accepts Mastercard, the value of which depends on how much data you’re in for.

Check below to see the current prices plans and what value Reward Card you can claim when you sign up.

For existing BT Broadband customers
(click the customer option at the top if the prices are more expensive)

12 months | 500MB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £15 BT Reward Card –£8 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £30 BT Reward Card – £12 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £14 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £30 BT Reward Card – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 20GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £70 BT Reward Card – £20 per month at BT

12 months | 40GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £80 BT Reward Card – £30 per month at BT

For non-BT Broadband customers:

12 months | 500MB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £15 BT Reward Card –£13 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £30 BT Reward Card – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £19 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £30 BT Reward Card – £22 per month at BT

12 months | 20GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £70 BT Reward Card – £25 per month at BT

12 months | 40GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £80 BT Reward Card – £35 per month at BT

iD SIM only deals

iD is a good option if bargain basement prices are what you covet most. This is a network run and owned by Carphone Warehouse – it piggybacks on the Three network. It’s an excellent option if you want great value on a rolling monthly contract.

View all iD SIM only deals

giffgaff SIM only deals

GiffGaff regularly offers some of the cheapest SIMO deals out there. They don’t give you much of a data allowance to play with, but if you just want to keep your phone going and available to use for calls and texts with the occasional bit of internet use outside of your home Wi-Fi, GiffGaff is a strong offering. Look out for the T&Cs though as some of the big data deals throttle the speed after a few gig.

View all giffgaff SIM only deals

Virgin Mobile SIM only deals

Virgin Mobile has been going for a long time, and some of its SIM only deals are particularly attractive. They’re all one-month rolling contracts, so you can stop paying at any time if you so wish, giving you flexibility if you want to change your plan or go for a phone-inclusive deal down the line.

View all Virgin Mobile SIM only deals

Tesco Mobile SIM only deals

The UK’s biggest supermarket has been known to offer competitive – if not stellar – SIM only deals, with low data prices starting at not much more than a fiver a month. Where it get’s really interesting is if you download the Xtras app to an Android phone: you’ll save £3 on your monthly bill, but you will have to see adverts every time you unlock your handset.

View all Tesco Mobile SIM only deals

Plusnet SIM only deals

Plusnet might be more well known for its broadband deals these days. but it’s also keen to push some very cheap 30-day SIM only deals. You don’t have to worry about signal either as Plusnet uses EE’s network that covers 99% of the UK. Plusnet’s latest cheap SIM only deals start at around £5 a month, check them out via the link below.

View allPlusnet SIM only deals

Freedom Pop SIM only deals

Freedom Pop is trying something new – offering contracts for FREE. The catch being that you only pay if you do over the allowances of your bundle or opt for a larger deal. The prices for doing so vary, so be sure to take a look at the small print. It seems that they feature a different offer each week, but seeing as you can cancel at any time, they may be worth a look.

View allFreedom Pop SIM only deals SIM only deals

It’s always worth checking out before settling on your SIM – its aggressive price cuts are often unmatched by anyone else. While the online retailer is known more for its handset contracts, it also offers a wide range of SIM only deals from all your favourite networks.

View: SIM only deals at

Carphone Warehouse SIM only deals

Carphone Warehouse doesn’t just sell handset contracts. It also has a wide range of SIM only deals for Vodafone, O2, EE and ID. The online store is also known to include additional incentives such as half price fees for six months, free Beats by Dre headphones or Currys vouchers – so check out what’s available right now.

View allCarphone Warehouse SIM only deals

Which networks have coverage in my area?

It’s one of life’s (many) little frustrations – you sign up with a network, get your SIM up and running and then discover that you get no coverage at all in your house. Well this little pain in the neck can be avoided by using the dedicated coverage checker that most networks provide. Enter your postcode and you’ll see whether your address has 2G (calls, texts and email), 3G (the basics plus picture messaging and faster web browsing) and 4G (all the powers of 3G, plus faster downloads, online gaming and media streaming) coverage.

We’ve provided links below to all the available coverage checkers on multiple networks. We’d advise not only checking coverage in your home, but also work, school, uni, favourite pubs and so on. Anywhere where you spend time on a regular basis really.

EE coverage checkerO2 coverage checkerVodafone coverage checker3 mobile coverage checkerBT mobile coverage checkeriD coverage checkerGiffGaff coverage checkerVirgin mobile coverage checkerTesco mobile coverage checkerPlusnet coverage checkerFreedom Pop coverage checker

How does TechRadar make money from SIM only deals?

If you buy a phone after visiting this page, TechRadar will be paid a small commission by the network or reseller you buy from. This money is paid by the site you buy from and thus does not affect the amount you pay for your phone contract. If you go direct to the site you buy from, you would pay the same amount.

While some sites out there will be paid larger fees for pushing people to specific deals that aren’t necessarily the cheapest, TechRadar will always find you the absolute best value. Trust and integrity is important to us, so if you ever think we’re not displaying the very best deals let us know.

The SIM only deals on this page are checked every day to make sure they’re still available and up to date! If you’re ready to go SIM only, then head back to the top of this page and use our tool to find the perfect plan…

The best mobile phone deals in August 2018

Compare and filter today’s best mobile phone deals in the UK:

Sit back, relax and prepare to bag a bargain. We’ve rooted out today’s best mobile phone deals on the best premium and budget handsets from the major UK networks and retailers.

Compare and filter today’s best mobile phone deals in the UK:

Sit back, relax and prepare to bag a bargain. We’ve rooted out today’s best mobile phone deals on the best premium and budget handsets from the major UK networks and retailers. Use TechRadar’s custom made smartphone price comparison chart above to find your ideal mobile and contract – simply pick your desired handset, budget and allowances and we’ll tell you the very cheapest phone deal around.

So that means the cheapest way to get the Samsung Galaxy S9, for example. The Korean giant’s latest flagship phone has fallen dramatically in price since launch a few months ago, with a total two year price of less than £700 – that’s almost as cheap as the S8! And although the iPhone X and iPhone 8 deals are refusing to budge from their lofty tariffs, the Huawei P20, P20 Pro and Google Pixel 2 have all proved very popular Android alternatives.

Below, you can browse through our individual handset guides for all of the best mobile phone deals out there, whether you’re after the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 or something a little older (and cheaper!). Want a free phone? Lots of data? The lowest possible monthly cost? We’ll help you find the perfect deal. We’ve even picked out the best SIM only deals, in case you’re not quite ready to part with your current handset.

Get £10 off the upfront cost of any mobile phone deal (except the iPhone X) at with our exclusive 10OFF discount codeBuying a mobile phone – what you need to know

Of course you want to find the cheapest price for your new smartphone – and our comparison chart at the top of the page will narrow that down for you – but we know there are likely to be dozens more questions you’ll want answering. Keep reading below, where we answer some of the key commonly asked questions about buying a new mobile.

Can I keep my old number?

You can indeed, and it’s really easy – so no need to send one of those texts to everybody in your phone book telling them your new digits.

What you need to do is grab a PAC – or Porting Authorisation Code – from your old network. We’ve listed the direct numbers you need for the four major networks below. As soon as they’ve sent it to you, which should be within a day or two, you just need to give it to your new network. Voila – brand new phone with the same old number. Easy.

It becomes slightly less easy if the deal you pick out above is on the same network as your current one. They won’t let you keep your number, so you have to use this workaround. Buy a free pay-as-you-go SIM from any other network and tell your network that you’re moving. They’ll release the PAC code, which you then give to the substitute network. Then, you immediately get another PAC code from them. Take that to your old network, and they’ll move your number to your new contract. Long winded, but worth it.

EE 07953 966 250O2 0344 8090202Vodafone 03333 040 191Three 0333 300 3333ID 0333 003 7777GiffGaff 43431 from your handsetVirgin 0345 6000 789BT 0800 800 150Tesco 0345 301 4455Sky 03300 412 524Asda 0800 079 2732

Which phone network is best?

Loyalty is an admirable trait, but could end up costing you money when it comes to the perfect phone deal. If you don’t mind leaving your comfort zone, you may find that heading to one of the other major networks may well be worth it…

Nobody else can come close to EE’s 4G speeds in the UK. So if you rely on fast internet while away from WI-Fi, then EE is the obvious choice. Plus, EE gives you three free months of BT Sport (or more if you get a Max plan) when you sign up, as well as six months of Apple Music. The EE coverage checker will confirm how strong it is where you live.

The biggest lure to O2 is the network’s Priority rewards (well, that and Sean Bean’s mellifluous tones). From 2-4-1 dinners and free coffees to first refusal on big gig tickets, O2 is the network for regular goodies. Plus, they have 1,000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to. Use the O2 coverage checker to see whether you’ll be able to access 4G.

Good news for jet-setters – Vodafone lets you use your data, calls and texts allowances in 50 countries around the world without charge (except on its Basics tariffs). But things really start to get good when you splash out on its bigger Red Entertainment data plans, as Vodafone will give you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription. Click to check if Vodafone covers your home.

3 remains the king of the big data deals, and still the only one of the big four networks to offer unlimited, uncapped, all-you-can-eat delicious data. We also like that you can use 4G to make calls and texts via the dedicated Three inTouch app, and you can connect to Wi-Fi in the London Underground if you ever find yourself in the capital. Its Wuntu app gives weekly perks, too. But 4G coverage isn’t as strong as the other networks – check whether your postcode is covered with the Three coverage checker.

What phone contract length should I get?

Well if you’re buying a new phone plan with a contract, you haven’t got much choice. It’s 24 months or nothing, these days. If you don’t want to be tied down to that kind of commitment, then you’ll have to go down the SIM only route and buy the handset separately – we’ve rounded up the best SIM free phone deals to help you make your chocie.

How much phone data do I need?

The answer to this one will be different for everybody. If you only really carry your phone for emergencies, then go for the minimum amount of data and save a packet. If you like to scroll through Facebook on the bus and stream Spotify, you’ll need a bit more. And if you frequently stream videos and download masses of files, then 30GB or even unlimited may be worth paying extra for.

As well as checking your phone to see how much you tend to use a month at the moment, the below guidelines will also help you pick out the perfect plan:

1GB Some networks offer 500MB plans, but realistically we think you should get at least 1GB. It won’t be much more expensive (if at all) and will afford you a little bit of Google Mapping, WhatsApping and emailing when you need them.2-3GB If you like to scroll through your social media feeds and emails while out and about without fear of extra cash to pay on your monthly bill, then up your data.4-8GB The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have promised us all our favourite tunes wherever we roam. Kit yourself out with a bit more data and you’ll have plenty for music streaming and the occasional video, too.
10-16GB This should be more than enough for most users. Loads of data for streaming music, downloading podcasts and enjoying social media videos. Because there’s no such thing as too many cats falling into bins.20-30GB Big data for the big phone user. Perfect for watching Netflix videos, downloading content and streaming loads of music. And these plans often have extra freebies thrown in, too.Unlimited The Three network is still the only one of the ‘Big 4’ to offer unlimited data. It can be really pricey though, so think long and hard whether you really need it.

Should I get unlimited calls and texts?

Actually these days, the vast majority of phone contracts feature unlimited calls and texts. We do see some of the cheaper plans sometimes limit them, but even if they do, you can use your data allowance on popular apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Hangouts to make calls and texts if your minutes run dry.

How much phone memory do I need?

You’re likely to be one of two kinds of person:

Person 1: You like all your photos, music, downloads and other media to be saved directly on to your phone. If that sounds like you, 16GB or 32GB handsets may not be enough and you should use our comparison chart to find the most affordable 64GB, 128GB or 256GB models.

Person 2: You’re a stream demon. You’ve got subscriptions to Spotify and Netflix and you save all your Word docs and snaps into the cloud. Save your money and go for a cheaper, lower memory handset.

OK person 3, calm down – you fall somewhere between the two, right? If you can afford to get a smartphone with more memory, that is probably safest. But don’t forget that most phones do allow you to insert an additional SD card if you run out of space – most phones apart from iPhones, that is.

Are refurbished phones good to buy?

Refurbished phones can provide a alternative to a new handset if you’re budget is a shoestring. ‘Refurbished’ often means that the previous owner simply changed their mind about the phone soon after buying it, so it’s still practically brand new – and the potential savings can be substantial.

If you do spy an unbelievable deal on a refurbed phone, the main thing to make sure of is the warranty. Double check that you are properly covered for a decent length of time. A year’s warranty is preferable.

How do the mobile phone deals comparison tools work?

The comparison tools you find on the page above will hopefully be very easy to use. You can select what your budget is, whether it be upfront cost or monthly fee or both. And you can say how much data you need or how many minutes and texts. You can even filter by network if you really want to be on a specific carrier. The deals will automatically update as you drill down in your search, always favouring the cheapest options over the more expensive ones. If you ever want to refresh and start your search again, simply select the ‘CLEAR ALL FILTERS’ option to begin again from scratch.

How do we order these mobile phone deals?

Our mobile phone deal comparison tools sift through millions of different deals and surfaces the ones we think are the very best. Essentially that means finding deals that work out the cheapest over a 24 month contract while still supplying at least 1GB of data, as you’ve told us that 1GB is your absolute minimum. If you need more data, use the filters and we’ll display the cheapest prices for your increased amount.

On this specific page, we have many mobile phone options displaying in one comparison table. In this case, we try and find you a balance between paying the cheapest price and getting the best phone for your money.

How do we select which networks and resellers to display?

TechRadar strives to include all mobile phone deals from all UK networks and resellers so that you can search through all the available deals in the UK without having to look on all the websites separately. However, for sites to be included they need to supply us with a feed of their deals. This is the only reason why a phone reseller or network wouldn’t appear in our system – but the vast majority do.

Best value mobile phone deals of the month:

Our editors look at all of the available deals for all of the best smartphones every week of every month of every year – not just when the going is good around Black Friday. In this section, we’ve picked out the best deal available right now for each phone, as well as a link through to the ‘best deals’ guide for each individual handset.

iPhone X deals

We know it’s a word that bugs a lot of people, but please let us use it this once – GAMECHANGER. After years of incremental gains and upgrades, Apple finally unveiled a radically improved handset to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone.

We’ve found the best iPhone X deals

iPhone 8 deals

It’s really the iPhone 7S by another name, as it’s little more than an incremental upgrade on the iPhone 7. And it has had its thunder stolen by the iPhone X somewhat. Wireless charging is the big new feature – the first time we’ve seen it on an Apple phone.

Here are the best iPhone 8 dealsand iPhone 8 Plus deals

Samsung Galaxy S9 deals

We really loved the Galaxy S8, so we probably shouldn’t be that disappointed that its successor only offers a relatively minor improvement. But to be fair to the latest Samsung handset, the Galaxy S9’s cameras are nothing short of extraordinary and it’s definitely among the best Android phones on the market.

See more Samsung Galaxy S9 deals and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus deals

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals

Big in stature and price tag, this 6.3-inch monster will only appeal to people who use their phone as a multimedia hub. It has a QHD+ display and 6GB Ram – phones like the Note 8 don’t come around too often.

See more Samsung Note 8 deals

iPhone 7 deals

Prices on Apple’s recently surpassed flagship phone are now finally starting to fall to more palatable levels. We’ve seen prices as low as £22.99 a month on the UK’s fastest 4G network EE!

Discover moreiPhone 7 deals and iPhone 7 Plus deals

Samsung Galaxy S8 deals

We were a little surprised by how expensive Samsung’s latest flagship was on release, but prices have fallen significantly since then. If you need something bigger and can’t stretch to the Note 8, the even larger Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is closer to a phablet.

See more Samsung Galaxy S8 deals and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals

LG G6 deals

LG’s new flagship phone has a longer screen with a rather fetching rounded-corner design. A fine alternative to the Galaxy’s Edge screen and for a lower price.

Discover more greatLG G6 deals

iPhone SE deals

By far, the cheapest way to get an Apple smartphone, you’ll find the iPhone SE for £17.99 (and sometimes even lower!). It has all the power of iPhone 6S with the design of iPhone 5S. A brilliant bargain.

Read our guide:iPhone SE deals

Samsung Galaxy S7 deals

It may now have been superseded, but the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still a brilliant phone. And now it’s a year old, it means you can get big data deals for a reasonable price.

Get more greatSamsung Galaxy S7 deals and Galaxy S7 Edge deals

Google Pixel and Pixel XL deals

The Google Pixel replaces the Nexus 5X, comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, 12 megapixel camera and we’ve seen prices for less than £17.99 a month. The Google Pixel XL is larger and more premium but dearer.

Read our guide toGoogle Pixel and Pixel XL deals

iPhone 6S deals

Grab the best possible deal on the still excellent iPhone 6S with our dedicated page. You can get very attractive plans for well under £30 per month.

See our otheriPhone 6S deals and iPhone 6S Plus deals

iPhone 6 deals

Prices just absolutely dived on the iPhone 6. Great news, considering it remains an excellent way to own an awesome Apple phone for meagre amounts of money.

See more ace prices with ourbest iPhone 6 deals and iPhone 6 Plus deals

Nokia 8 deals

If the Nokia 3310 is a fun bit of nostalgia, then the Nokia 8 means business. It’s The Finnish brand’s first rue flagship for a few years and it’s well worth a look if you’re on a budget.

Learn more about thebest Nokia 8 deals

Nokia 3310 deals

Had you told us last year whether we’d be featuring Nokia 3310 deals on these pages, we would have laughed you right out of the building. But it’s back and it costs an unfeasibly reasonable £39 from Vodafone.

Learn more about thebest Nokia 3310 deals

Nokia 8 deals

We’re big fans of the Honor 9. It’s a genuinely good, new Android mobile at a price you’d expect to pay for a Samsung Galaxy a few generations old. The design is a treat and the 20MP main camera is better than we could have dreamed of.

Learn more about thebest Honor 9 deals

HTC U11 deals

Much has been made of the new HTC U11’s Edge Sense technology, but some of the tariffs available are also newsworthy. Click the link below to find the best deals.

For more deals and free handset offers, head to ourHTC U11 deals

Sony Xperia XZ deals

The Sony Xperia XZ is a great handset offering everything you’d expect from a brand new flagship phone. Want something more powerful? Then you can pay extra for the XZ Premium.

Pick your ownSony Xperia XZ deals or Sony Xperia XZ Premium deals

BlackBerry KeyONE deals

Blackberry spent many years in the wilderness, but its return with the BlackBerry KeyOne is a massive return to form.

Click for more brilliantBlackBerry KeyONE deals

Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

Like the older iPhones above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 presents an ideal way to get a superb mobile for a much lower tariff. use our dedicated deal pages to see tariffs for less than £600 over two years.

More Samsung Galaxy S6 deals, Galaxy S6 Edge deals and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus deals

iPhone 5S deals

All it takes to get this classic iPhone 5S is around £17 a month. Other than that, it’s completely free, with no upfront costs. You can upgrade it to Apple’s latest iOS 10.3.2, so you’ll have the latest software on your cheap, cheap iPhone.

Read our guide to thebest iPhone 5S deals

Sony Xperia X deals

Sony worked hard to strike a balance between top-of-the-range premium features and affordable prices – it hit gold with the Xperia X and smaller Xperia X Compact.

Follow the link for moreSony Xperia X deals and Xperia X Compact deals.

HTC 10 deals

HTC’s follow up to the One M9 was a worthy upgrade. In fact, we still think it’s brilliant, and a genuine alternative to the newer, pricier U11.

Read our guide to thebest HTC 10 deals for more cheap prices

LG G5 deals

Get modular with LG’s innovative former flagship phone. And if you just want to pick up a cheap handset that runs Android, these LG G4 deals are still worth a look, too.

Get stuck in to the best LG G5 deals

HTC One A9 deals

The HTC One A9 is a brilliant budget smartphone that could well do the job if you don’t want to spend the earth.

Discover even more cheapHTC One A9 deals

Moto X Style deals

If you want a 20MP camera and 2K display without busting your bank balance, then the Moto X Style is worth considering.

All thebest Moto X Style deals in one convenient place

Sony Xperia Z5 deals

Sony’s Z5 range put the iconic Japanese tech company back on the mobile phones map. You can’t get them on contract any longer, so you’ll have to team your Z5, Z5 Compact or Z5 Premium handset with a cracking SIM only deal.

Cheapest prices on the Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia XZ Compact and Xperia XZ Premium

SIM only deals

If you need to plug the gap between iPhone launches or are simply happy with the phone you already have, grabbing a free SIM card may be the best option. If you have the cash, you may even find that teaming up a cheap SIM only deal with a new handset is a cheaper way of getting your new smartphone, with tariffs for less than a fiver a month.

Visit our dedicated round-up of thebest SIM only deals

Still wondering what phone to choose?

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Ammbr presenta tecnología de conexión inalámbrica de largo alcance que abarca hasta 8 Km

La tecnología TVWS puede funcionar en condiciones en las que no es posible contar con una línea, por obstáculos causados por vegetación o muros, por ejemplo. Cálculos teóricos muestran que una señal de espacio en blanco de la TV de 600-megahercios puede dar cobertura a 16 veces más superficie que una señal WiFi de 2,4-gigahercios.

La tecnología TVWS puede funcionar en condiciones en las que no es posible contar con una línea, por obstáculos causados por vegetación o muros, por ejemplo. Cálculos teóricos muestran que una señal de espacio en blanco de la TV de 600-megahercios puede dar cobertura a 16 veces más superficie que una señal WiFi de 2,4-gigahercios. Con esta tecnología, los enrutadores de Ammbr podrán aumentar su alcance hasta los 8 km, con lo que abarcarán una zona de cobertura mucho más amplia y los dispositivos podrán alcanzar enrutadores cercanos en zonas donde antes de la tecnología TVWS no era posible hacerlo.

Los espacios en blanco de la TV (TVWS) existen porque no se usa todo el conjunto de canales televisivos terrestres disponibles y para proteger a los medios televisivos de interferencias provocadas por transmisores de TV analógicos adyacentes que usen los mismos canales. A medida que las estaciones televisivas avanzan hacia una televisión digital más eficiente en términos de espectro, muchas de estas bandas de difusión quedarán vacantes y se podrán usar como banda ancha. En muchas zonas rurales de África, casi el 100% del espectro TVWS está disponible, lo que las convierte en candidatas ideales para la tecnología TVWS.

TVWS forma parte de un movimiento más amplio de tecnologías de acceso dinámico al espectro, que persigue emplear de forma más eficiente el espectro, cuyas licencias solo se conceden a nivel nacional a usuarios primarios, permitiendo el acceso de usuarios secundarios al espectro primario cuando no se use en ciertas regiones o en momentos determinados. El acceso al espectro TVWS es posible gracias al uso de una base de datos de espectro geolocacional, que comprueba qué canales puede usar una estación base de TVWS en su ubicación GPS concreta, sin provocar interferencias en receptores de televisión cercanos.

La banda UHF que emplea TVWS es el punto idóneo del espectro de radiofrecuencia que ha copado la televisión terrestre durante más de 60 años. Gracias a TVWS, por fin se ha dado con la solución para acceder a este espectro crucial de alto valor con vistas al acceso a la banda ancha. Si bien se han venido realizando pruebas de TVWS en 20 países desde 2008, actualmente solo se ha completado normativa sobre el TVWS en los Estados Unidos, Reino Unido, Singapur y Sudáfrica. Se espera que la reciente aprobación de TVWS en Sudáfrica servirá de catalizador para su aprobación a nivel regional en el África Austral, incluso posiblemente creando una base de datos de espectro de geolocalización TVWS regional.

El espectro TVWS hace posible que los propietarios de Ammbr instalen enrutadores para conectarse a la red Ammbr en diferentes tipos de terreno, desde vegetación densa hasta regiones montañosas, y a una distancia de hasta 8 km de otros enrutadores Ammbr. Se trata de algo fundamental en comunidades rurales con baja densidad de población, factores demográficos que hacen que la última milla sea a menudo demasiado cara para los operadores que usan tecnología celular.

La semana pasada, Ammbr presentó la versión demo de routers totalmente integrados con blockchain, espacios en blanco de la TV (TVWS) y WiFi, pioneros en su clase. Estos enrutadores se emplearán en una serie de pruebas que van a realizarse en todo el mundo, en lugares como Ciudad del Cabo, en Sudáfrica, donde se promulgó un marco normativo el pasado mes de abril, así como en otros lugares de Estados Unidos y Europa.

David Johnson, de los laboratorios de investigación Ammbr Research Labs’ (ARL), quien ha participado en la redacción de esta normativa y que ha llevado a cabo I+D y pruebas a lo largo de los últimos seis años, junto con el comprometido equipo de CSIR TVWS, se refiere a TVWS como «la elusiva promesa de colmar la brecha mundial en conectividad».

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5 features coming to the iPad in iOS 12 – CNET

Beyond the basic iOS 12 features coming to all iOS devices when the update is released this fall, Apple’siPad ($318 at Sam’s Club) gains a few new features.

Beyond the basic iOS 12 features coming to all iOS devices when the update is released this fall, Apple’siPad ($318 at Sam’s Club) gains a few new features.

While the lack of major productivity improvements to the iPad may be disappointing, you still get Apple’s new Screen Time tool, better notifications, group FaceTime calls, and Siri improvements — just to name a few.

Now Playing:Watch this: Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad with Pencil

Outside of the core iOS 12 features, below are five features specific to the iPad you will see once iOS 12 is officially released this fall. Keep in mind, iOS 12 is currently in beta and not finalized. Features can — and often do — change by the time it’s released. If that should happen, we will update this post to reflect the changes.

Status bar gets a new look

The status bar, where items such as the time, Wi-Fi indicator, battery meter and the like are displayed has been rearranged. With the iPad unlocked, you’ll now find the date and time on the left side of the status bar. On the right side is where you will find Wi-Fi, DND indicator, battery life and cellular signal (if applicable).

Multitasking looks different, works the same

There’s not a whole lot new here. You still use the same swipe up from the bottom of the screen to show the app dock, and a longer swipe up opens the multitasking view. The biggest change is the lack of Control Center in the multitasking view.

Control Center’s new home

The lack of Control Center in multitasking view is because Control Center now behaves just like it does on the iPhone X ($1,000 at Cricket Wireless). This means that you need to swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to access it.

Voice Memos app

Apple has added its Voice Memos app to the iPad, starting with iOS 12. The app itself has a lot of features, like the ability to trim, replace audio, recover the original clip and iCloud sync between iOS devices and your Mac.

Stocks app

Also joining in on the iPad party is Apple’s Stocks app. The Stocks app on iPad is redesigned to include news and information about companies you keep tabs on. The news included in the Stocks app comes courtesy of the Apple News app, of course.

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Inside Ecobee’s plans to outsmart Nest

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Inside Ecobee’s plans to outsmart Nest – CNET

When Rohit Sriram shows me around the audio lab he’s bootstrapped in a back corner of Ecobee’s headquarters in Toronto, I sense a heavy vibe of basement man cave — sans the Pearl Jam poster, bar and mini-fridge.

When Rohit Sriram shows me around the audio lab he’s bootstrapped in a back corner of Ecobee’s headquarters in Toronto, I sense a heavy vibe of basement man cave — sans the Pearl Jam poster, bar and mini-fridge.

Jumbles of wires snake around the floor. A simple, comfy gray couch is in the corner by a 39-inch flat-screen TV. Dark gray sound-absorbing panels line the middle of the windowless walls. There’s also a wooden easel on wheels holding an Ecobee4 smart thermostat and two Ecobee Switch+ smart light switches.

Ecobee, a smart-thermostat maker, has big dreams beyond controlling the temperature in your house. Sriram is part of the team working to achieve those dreams and beat their biggest rival, Nest — the device maker helping drive Google’s smart-home ambitions.

Based on what I’m seeing, it’s going to be a messy fight. There’s a huge opportunity for the winners in this market, with Google, Amazon and Samsung already investing billions to own parts of the new smart home. Analysts predict we’re going to spend a staggering $277 billion on smart home gear — including smart TVs, connected thermostats, lightbulbs and speakers — by 2022.

Sriram, a lanky and enthusiastic 34-year-old product management director, taps a few commands on a keyboard and fires up an audio test. Suddenly, one of the five speakers mounted on stands around the room starts blaring out Happy by Pharrell Williams. Another speaker chimes in with a rotating cast of voices saying, one at a time, “Alexa, add buy Panasonic earbud headphones to my to-do list” and “Alexa, what time is it in Hong Kong?” He’s blasting the Ecobee devices with noise — lots of noise — to make sure the gadgets can pick up voice commands.

Competing against Google — not an easy lifestyle, that’s for sure.
Stephen Baker

Sriram stress-tested the thermostat’s built-in speaker last year by playing a snippet of Adele’s Hello over and over again for a full day. “Our previous audio lab wasn’t soundproof, so engineers and others sitting outside would just go insane,” he says with a big laugh.

An audio lab, even a bare-bones one, at a thermostat company might’ve seemed out of place a few years ago. But the thermostat — a device you probably never even thought about unless it broke — has gotten a major makeover. Smart thermostats from Ecobee, Nest and others now adjust temperatures using artificial intelligence and real-time weather reports. You can also use apps on your smartphones and even your smartwatch to dial up the heat or air conditioning while you’re on your way home.

And, yes, Ecobee’s thermostats now have built-in smart speakers that will play music whenever you like.

It all ties into the plan by Ecobee co-founder and CEO Stuart Lombard to build the “helpful home,” a house that will do more for you by predicting what you might want and help you save on heating and cooling bills.

“Our vision is of this helpful home that listens, learns and responds to your every need,” Lombard tells me during my visit to Ecobee in late May.

Imagine your house almost becoming like a honey bee colony. But instead of bees buzzing around in unison to keep things running, the home’s hive mind is made up of a smart thermostat, temperature sensors, light switches and reams of data.

“These technologies will become a part of home living,” Sotirios Kotsopoulos, a research associate at MIT Design Lab, tells me. “It’s an inevitability.”

While that technological shift may be inevitable, Ecobee’s place in that transformation isn’t a sure thing. For the 370-person company to compete against tech behemoths like Amazon, Apple and Google’s parent, Alphabet — which bought Nest in 2014 — it has to know more about our likes, dislikes and habits than its rivals do.

To do that, Ecobee has figured out more ways for its gadgets to track how we heat, cool and move inside our homes, which it says can make us more comfortable, help the environment and save us money. But company execs know it may be a hard sell to privacy-minded consumers not keen on the idea of sensors, speakers and cameras keeping tabs on us throughout the day to make that “helpful home” happen.

“The key for us is not to try and out-Google Google,” Lombard tells me during my two-day visit to hear Ecobee’s pitch. “Our strategy is really built around focus and innovation. And I think if you look at the thermostat specifically, we’re delivering more innovations to the market faster.”

Check out the extended YouTube cut of CNET’s Ecobee video here.

The Hive

When I arrive at Ecobee’s headquarters, Lombard gives me a quick tour of the place, which is on the sixth floor of an office building overlooking Lake Ontario. The 11-year-old privately held company, which has raised about $150 million in funding to date from Amazon and other investors, just moved into the new space in September.

We walk past clusters of desks sitting on green or blue carpets spread out on the bare concrete floors. Most of the walls are covered with floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, scrawled with fragments of ideas and bits of code. There’s also a ping-pong table, a casual dress code, cleverly named conference rooms and plenty of telltale signs of a Silicon Valley office even though we’re in Toronto.

Ecobee’s name is an homage to honey bees’ ability to regulate their hives’ temperature, so wherever I look, I see references to the insects, like the company’s logo at the front desk and honeycomb-shaped designs on the walls. The headquarters is even nicknamed “The Hive.”

Lombard comes across as an easy-going, approachable 53-year-old who would have fit comfortably in a supportive dad role in a 1990s sitcom. He has short brown hair that’s graying at the temples, wears brown glasses and speaks softly, like we’re in a library.

We chat in a corner of the office’s main lobby and meeting space. It’s when I ask about his family history that I get a sense of what drives him. He tells me about the harrowing early life of his German-born mother during World War II.

I don’t think we’re under any illusions that anyone’s going to do us any favors.
Stuart Lombard

After their house was bombed at the end of the war, his then 13-year-old mother and his grandmother tried to flee Germany. To avoid capture by the quickly approaching Russians, who were known to mistreat Germans, his grandmother pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot herself and her daughter if a British colonel didn’t agree to rescue them. The colonel agreed. His mother eventually managed to get to a refugee camp, then the UK and on to New York, where she met Lombard’s American father.

That story instilled in him — perhaps counterintuitively — a sense of optimism, to not be bowed by challenges. “She had a childhood where she lost everything,” Lombard says about his mother. “It stuck with me, from the perspective of how lucky we are to live in the world that we live in, the society that we live in, and have the opportunities we have.”

Lombard, a Virginia native whose family later settled in Canada, in 1994 co-founded his first startup, the internet service provider InfoRamp, which he took public. In 1996, he became co-CEO of the encryption company Isolation Systems, which he later sold.

He then spent eight years as a venture capitalist But he quit the VC world because he longed to work on his own projects. In between jobs, he’d gotten interested in the environment and set out to reduce his own carbon footprint, spending thousands to buy a Prius and to install solar panels on his roof. He thought consumers needed more ways to help the planet that didn’t cost as much as a new car. So in 2007, Lombard co-founded Ecobee with the goal of inventing a Wi-Fi-connected thermostat that could help people reduce their energy consumption.

A connected thermostat might not seem an obvious place to start, but it made sense to Lombard since practically every house, apartment and office in the world has a thermostat. But despite their names, programmable thermostats can be infuriating to program, so plenty of people don’t do it. Without realizing it, many of us are allowing our thermostats to excessively heat or cool our homes, even when we’re away.

“Heating and cooling represents 40 to 50 percent of your home’s [energy consumption],” said Fatima Crerar, Ecobee’s director of social impact and sustainability. “It’s a significant part of the impact that each one of us is having as a homeowner every single day.”

Though none of Ecobee’s founders had any experience with heating and cooling systems, they figured they could do better. Ecobee started selling what it claims was the first ever Wi-Fi-connected thermostat in 2009. It had a touchscreen and could be controlled using a smartphone, but it also cost $385 and its beige, rectangular housings didn’t look much different than far cheaper programmable thermostats.

In 2010, Apple executive Tony Fadell, considered the father of the iPod, started Nest. Though Ecobee got a head start, Fadell and his team jumped way ahead of Ecobee when they introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011. The Nest featured a sleek, round design and the ability to learn users’ preferences — like automatically lowering the heat at night. And, at $250, it cost a lot less, too. Ecobee responded in 2014 with the Ecobee3. The device matched Nest’s price and caught up in design, thanks to larger display and rounded edges that made it look more like a smartphone than thermostat.

That same year, Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion.


For now, Nest remains the leader in smart thermostats in the US, taking 73 percent of dollars spent on the gadgets versus Ecobee’s 17 percent, according to market research firm NPD. Honeywell is in third with less than 10 percent.

The interest in these devices is growing thanks to their promise of saving on energy costs, a potentially significant impact since heating and cooling in some states can account for a third or more of a home’s monthly expenses. Ecobee says its thermostats can save customers up to 23 percent on those energy costs. Nest says its device saves 10 percent to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling, representing an average of $131 to $145 a year. Studies from the Energy Trust of Oregon and some utility companies agree that smart thermostats can cut energy usage.

While Nest has expanded its product line to include smart locks, doorbells, alarm systems and cameras, Ecobee has largely stayed focused on its thermostat, hoping its innovations will help it stand out.

The Ecobee4, which came out last year, doubles as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker, something Nest devices don’t do. In March, Ecobee added a $99 smart light switch that also works as an Alexa speaker, which Nest doesn’t offer either (at least, not yet). Plus, since 2014, Ecobee has sold wireless motion and temperature sensors to adjust temperatures in each room in the house. Nest this year started selling similar sensors.

“It looks like that is a core piece of how people manage a smart home of the future,” Stephen Baker, a tech business analyst for NPD, says about voice controls. “If you don’t have that piece you’re going to be left behind.”

But Baker says emphatically that voice controls alone — or even thermostats and sensors — won’t save Ecobee. The company will have to bulk up its product portfolio if it hopes to survive.

“Competing against Google — not an easy lifestyle, that’s for sure,” he adds.

Still, Ecobee’s focus has helped it so far. Its revenue doubled last year, and CNET reviewer Megan Wollerton wrote that the Ecobee4 is “the smartest thermostat we’ve ever reviewed.” Nest, meanwhile, is facing leadership struggles and restructuring that may be slowing it down.

As another innovation, Lombard tells me Ecobee is piloting an opt-in program called Peak Relief that will automatically turn up the heat or air conditioning when electricity rates are lower, and use less energy when rates are high. The program, which essentially lets you use your home as a “thermal battery,” officially launched Monday to selected Ecobee users in California, Arizona and Ontario, Canada. Using the new feature, people can save up to an additional 10 percent on their energy costs, he says.

Ecobee also has a powerful ally in its battle to win more customers. It’s one of the over 1,200 brands using Amazon’s Alexa, which dominates the market for voice assistants. Amazon has also invested an undisclosed amount in Ecobee over three rounds since 2016. But working with the e-commerce giant can be a double-edged sword: Amazon has a reputation for turning on its friends. CEO Jeff Bezos and his team invested in startup Nucleus, which created an Alexa-powered home intercom, then hobbled the company’s prospects by coming out with a competing device called the Echo Show.

Despite the challenges, Lombard emphasizes his plans to build a major, lasting and independent company that could someday rival the biggest names in tech.

“I don’t think we’re under any illusions that anyone’s going to do us any favors,” Lombard says when asked about Nucleus, adding that Ecobee thermostats work with many smart-home platforms like Apple’s HomeKit and IFTTT, not just Alexa. “We have to chart our own course.”

Google and Amazon declined to comment for this story.

Suffice it to say, it ain’t easy being a little guy.

Ecobee’s future of the connected home


I’m inside Ecobee’s hardware lab with Casey McKinnon, vice president of product, and Sahaj Cheema, a product management director. The space has been designed to look like a garage — with pegboards on the walls, workbenches, a soldering station, tool shelves and a garage door entrance — to encourage experimentation.

Employees stroll in and out to tinker, solder or fix things. Toward the back, past the whirring 3D printers, a cramped closet houses a boxy temperature chamber, which operates as either a fridge or oven. There’s also a lifesize cutout of Leonardo DiCaprio that’s being used in an image-recognition experiment.

The lab is where Ecobee cooks up its next big ideas, set to arrive in the next 18 months to five years. It’s here where workers pulled together the Ecobee5 — still under development — and are already working on the Ecobee6, McKinnon says. He won’t tell me any details about what those devices will offer.

Outside the lab, I see a “museum” of Ecobee products and prototypes staged along one wall. Cheema fans out in her hands several early versions of the new light switch, which includes a front-facing speaker and sensor. It took a lot of tries to get the device to pass the “guest test,” she says. That’s when homeowners and visitors know intuitively where they need to press.

“We did pretty much hundreds of these tests to see where people were gravitating towards,” she says.

Such small steps from Ecobee and others may eventually add up to big changes for our homes.

I later meet with Sina Shahandeh, director of data science and analytics. He shows me a picture on his laptop of characters from Beauty and the Beast, including Lumière the candlestick and Cogsworth the clock.

He likens these talking, anthropomorphic objects to a potential, though far-off, future of the smart home, when the stuff surrounding us will come with cognition, decision-making and emotional awareness. Your home would know to lower the temperature when you return from the gym, for instance, or even avoid playing loud music when you’re sad.

Shahandeh, who talks in quick bursts and waves his hands when discussing such a future, admits it will be incredibly difficult to pull off some of these ideas. After all, people don’t always know what they want. “Smart home is much more complicated, because there’s no goal for it,” he says, comparing smart homes to self-driving cars. “Like, there’s no point A to B. The idea here is that you have this symbiotic relationship between the people living in a house and the house.”

To get a little closer to these ideas, Ecobee is working on devices and sensors that are more aware of their surroundings, taking in data from inside and outside homes to operate more effectively. Ecobee thermostats already use real-time weather data to adjust their temperature, but that’s just an early first step.

The challenges are considerable for Lombard to fulfill his vision of a “helpful home” — as well as ensuring a company like Ecobee will achieve it. Lombard, ever the optimist, sounds more enthusiastic than worried.

“I’m more excited about our product roadmap and where we’re going and the opportunities that lie ahead than I’ve ever been,” he says.

For Ecobee’s sake, let’s hope he’s right.

First published at 5 a.m. PT. on July 30, 2018.
Updated at 12 p.m. PT on July 30 and 8 a.m. PT on July 31: Adds more details from Ecobee’s CEO and sustainability director.

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