The 10 best phones for kids: the top phones meant for children

The best phone for kids come in all shapes and sizes, from one-button touch-to-call safety devices, to battle-tested Samsung phones with drop protection, to the cheapest iPhone if you want them on your iCloud family storage plan.

The best phone for kids come in all shapes and sizes, from one-button touch-to-call safety devices, to battle-tested Samsung phones with drop protection, to the cheapest iPhone if you want them on your iCloud family storage plan.

It’s still a hard pick when shopping for the most little person in your life. We’re here to help you find a phone for your young one, pre-teen, or teen – any age, really. We’re experts on picking phones for kids, just as much as we can aptly chose the best phones in the US and best phones in the UK for adults.

We’ve factored in important aspects, such as parental controls, durability, function restrictions, GPS tracking, and cost.

For the youngest kids, we’ve focused on very simple devices meant primarily to open a line of communication with parents. For pre-teens, we’ve aimed for low-cost, simple phones that enable calling and texting without too many features for your kids to get caught up in. For teens, we’ve included affordable smartphones that offer a good balance of value and function while retaining solid parental controls through Android and iOS.

Since newer iPhones and Android phones running the latest operating systems (like iOS 11.4 and iOS 12 beta) come with ample parental controls build in, parents should feel comfortable picking out these phones for teens and pre-teens at their discretion. All the details parents need for enabling parental controls on iPhones can be found here. Details on Android parental controls are available here.

For the young ones:

The Relay, by Republic Wireless, is an incredibly simple communication device meant just for kids. It functions much like a walkie-talkie, so your child won’t have to navigate any complex menus to get ahold of you.

The Relay connects over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, and it includes build-in GPS, so you can pinpoint your child’s location through the companion app on your own phone. The Relay’s design is sturdy and water resistant, so it can handle a day of play with your child.

The Relay is still in early stages, so new features like music and a voice assistant aren’t here yet, and shipping takes a while. Mobile network connectivity is also limited to the US, but Wi-Fi will work internationally.

For $149, the Relay comes in a bundle. It’s also available individually for $99 or in a pack of three for $199.

See the Relay here

Verizon users in the US have an enticing option for their kids in the LG GizmoPal 2. This is a wrist communicator that your kids can get into. It has a colorful design, simple controls, and handy water resistance. It also offers GPS tracking, so you can check in on your child’s location or find the watch if lost.

Parents can set up four authorized telephone numbers to call the GizmoPal 2, and the screen will display who’s calling. Parent’s can also set the GizmoPal 2 to automatically answer their calls, which can be handy in cases where their child might be playing and not notice the call.

The GizmoPal 2 is compatible with iOS and Android, and costs $79. For a newer model, Verizon also sells the LG Gizmo Gadget for $149.

See the LG GizmoPal 2 here

For pre-teens:

Nokia’s iconic 3310 is back, and with its combination of very long battery life, simple features, and durability, it’ll make a great pick for your pre-teens. The Nokia 3310 3G is made of plastic, so your kid doesn’t have to be too careful about dropping it. They also won’t need to remember to charge it every day, as the battery can last close to a month on standby.

The Nokia 3310 3G has everything your child needs to stay in touch, with calling and texting available. You won’t have to worry about them surfing the web on this one. Plus, they can take pictures to show you what they’re up to in school or with their friends.

The Nokia 3310 3G costs $59 in the US. A non-3G Nokia 3310 is also available in the UK for £49.99.

See the Nokia 3310 3G here
See the Nokia 3310 here

If your kid wants a phone that doesn’t look too childish, the BLU Tank Xtreme 2.4 is a good option. It’s incredibly affordable, and built rugged, so your pre-teen can stand to be a little careless with it. The plastic and rubber frame should be able to handle the occasional drop, and an IP65 rating means it can shrug off a splash of water now and then.

The BLU Tank Xtreme 2.4 has the basic talk and text your kid needs to stay in touch, and it has a long-lasting battery, so you won’t need to remind them to charge it all the time. Availability is limited to the US, though UK users may be able to use this phone on the 900 and 1800 GSM bands.

See the Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4 here

The same qualities that make the Jitterbug Flip a good choice for seniors make it a good pick for your kids. It is incredibly simple to use, with basic calling and texting functions as well as a simple camera. The user interface sticks to large, easy-to-read text, and the buttons are easy to press. The battery is long-lasting as well.

The Jitterbug Flip is only available in the US, and service is sold by GreatCall. At $74, the Jitterbug Flip is a bit more expensive than the others, but you can rest assured that it will be a simple phone for your child to get used to.

See the Jitterbug Flip here

For teens:

The Moto E5 is not just one phone but rather a family of affordable phones with varying features. Despite their difference, they all make great budget picks for your teen. While many budget Android devices can be running on outdated hardware or software, the Moto E5 is up-to-date with recent processors and Android 8.0 Oreo.

The Moto E5 Plus is available to Sprint customers in the US for $288, and boasts a large battery, 6-inch display, and dual-camera setup. The Moto E5 Play is toned down a little bit, making it more budget friendly at $99. In the UK, a standard Moto E5 and the Moto E5 Plus will be available in the near future. Aside from the basic Moto E5, all the others include a water-repellent coating that will help make sure your teens don’t ruin their phone.

See the Moto E5 here

If you want to get your teen a highly capable smartphone but worry they might destroy it and waste a lot of money, the Galaxy S8 Active is right up your alley. It has all of the performance a flagship Android phone calls for, but it’s built tough.

The Galaxy S8 Active screen is sharp, the camera is great, and the battery is forgiving if your teen forgets to charge it one night. All of that is packed into a chassis with an IP68 and MIL-STD-810G rating. In other words, it can handle a lot of carelessness. We dropped one screen-first onto a stone floor from five feet up, and the screen was fine.

The Galaxy S8 Active is available in the US on Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile for $850. Customers on other networks and in the UK can look instead at the Galaxy S8 and any of the best Galaxy S8 cases.

See the Galaxy S8 Active here

The iPhone SE may not be the latest iPhone, but it’s still supported by Apple with the latest iOS 11 updates. Despite its age, it still performs admirably with Apple’s A9 processor, and it will offer your child all the smartphone functionality they could need. The perk of its age is that it comes at a very low price for an Apple device.

One of the main drawbacks about giving your teen an iPhone SE is that it’s not built to be incredibly durable. Fortunately, this is an issue that can easily be fixed with an affordable iPhone SE case.

See the iPhone SE here

If price isn’t a big concern and you plan to buy a case (or your teen has proven themselves not too careless), the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 make for good options as well. Your teen shouldn’t feel held back by any lack of capabilities on these newer phones, while you can rest assured that the parental controls available through iOS will be enough to keep an eye on your teens use.

Though the upfront price will be higher, software support for these newer iPhones should last longer, so you won’t have to worry about upgrading any time soon. As an added bonus, the iPhone cameras are great, so you’ll get to see a lot of beautiful shots of what your teen is doing.

See the iPhone 7 here
See the iPhone 8 here

The Moto Z2 Play fits nicely in the middle as a pick for teens. It features mid-range hardware at a mid-range price. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass, and the internals are safe from splashed water with a water repellent nano-coating.

A 3,000mAh battery and quick charging will help ensure your teen’s phone has power when they need it. Moto Mods will also give your teen options for enhancing the features or their phone, such as adding a more advanced camera or doubling the size of the battery.

The Moto Z2 Play is available on most networks in the US with a retail price of $399, but deals will likely be available. In the UK is retails for £379.

See the Moto Z2 Play here

10 cheap ways to make your home smarter – CNET

Belkin WeMo Dimmer

Belkin’s $80 WeMo Dimmer is a hubless, Wi-Fi dimming light switch that works with Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, the Nest Learning Thermostat and other platforms via IFTTT.

Belkin WeMo Dimmer

Belkin’s $80 WeMo Dimmer is a hubless, Wi-Fi dimming light switch that works with Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, the Nest Learning Thermostat and other platforms via IFTTT.

Like the original WeMo Light Switch, the WeMo Dimmer won’t work in three-way switch setups, where more than one switch is wired to the same light, but it does include new features like night mode, away mode and fade timers.

Published:July 8, 2018Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This is the one thing every smart home needs – CNET

The ideal smart home has changed a lot over the last few years, from a few smart bulbs and a thermostat to video doorbells and robotic lawnmowers. With an ever-growing number of connected devices in your home, there is an obvious bottleneck that can occur: Wi-Fi reliability.

The ideal smart home has changed a lot over the last few years, from a few smart bulbs and a thermostat to video doorbells and robotic lawnmowers. With an ever-growing number of connected devices in your home, there is an obvious bottleneck that can occur: Wi-Fi reliability.

The more devices you pile onto your network and the more widespread throughout your home they are, the more you’ll notice holes in your Wi-Fi coverage.

That’s why if you are planning on making your home smart, you should have a mesh Wi-Fi system.

What is a mesh network, anyway?

It should first be noted that wireless routers are much better than they were just a few, short years ago. They support faster wireless speeds to better match the speeds your internet service provider delivers. They can also deliver enough range to fully cover a 3,000-square-foot (279-square-meter) house… assuming it’s located near the center of the house.

Before affordable, personal mesh networks came into play, if your router couldn’t reach a far corner of your home, you’d likely turn to powerline network adapters or convert an old router into a wireless bridge. While these are affordable solutions, they’re finicky and fairly complex to set up for a networking novice. And they don’t always play well with smart home gadgets anyway.

A mesh network, on the other hand, is a combination of two or more wireless access points that communicate with one another to blanket your entire home with stronger, more reliable coverage. Almost all of the mesh kits available are incredibly easy to set up and use, and they can be tailored to suit your needs.

That means you can add more access points at will, with minimal setup, to bring Wi-Fi into parts of your home that were unreachable before. As CNET’s own Dong Ngo put it, “If you can use a smartphone and have plugged something into a wall socket before, you then can set up a mesh Wi-Fi system.”

Of course, mesh networks aren’t perfect either. Despite prices falling gradually, they’re still prohibitively high for most. Your network speeds, especially at the far reaches of your home, will be noticeably slower than near the node that’s attached to your modem. And beware, not all mesh networks support simultaneous dual-band networks, so you may be relegated to a 2.4GHz network, just to support all the smart home devices in your home.

Still, the ease of use, customization and faster broadband speeds across the board help negate most of the negatives of mesh networks.

Now Playing:Watch this: The Google Wifi is the best home mesh system yet
2:52
How much does a mesh network cost?

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Mesh kits are still expensive. While you can get a stellar router for anywhere from $70 (£53 or AU$94) to upwards of $200 (£151 or AU$270), a starter mesh kit will set you back around $250 (£189 or AU$337).

If you have a home between 1,500 and 3,000 square feet (139 and 279 square meters), Google suggests at least two Google Wifi ($110 at Amazon.com) points. That alone will set you back $238 (£179 or AU$320) before tax. If your home is on the upper end of that squarefootage and has multiple levels, you may need a third node, which is another $119 (£90 or AU$160). The same three-point setup with eero will set you back $399 (£301 or AU$538).

If you’re prone to choose the most affordable router available, the price difference will feel significant. So, too, will the reliability of your wireless network. On the other hand, if you’re used to buying a higher-end router, the price will be more palpable, and you should see an improvement in the average performance of the network in the far reaches of your home.

Do I really need a mesh network?

The $300 question, of course, is do you really need a mesh network in your home? With the price of Wi-Fi systems still teetering between affordable and a bit pricey, it’s tough to recommend them for everyone.

However, if you have a smart home, it’s an entirely different scenario. You’re doing yourself a disservice with a smart home if you don’t have reliable coverage throughout the entire house and beyond.

Smart bulbs, for instance, are some of the most simple smart home gadgets you can install in your home. But without a reliable connection, they can quickly become one of the most frustrating products you’ll own, constantly going offline and becoming unreachable because of other devices on the network. And smart bulbs are one of the more common connected gadgets that you’ll be installing in those far nooks and crannies, because who wants to go down to the other end of the house and down into the basement to flip a switch anymore?

Want to take an Alexa speaker outside while you cook or work? You better hope you have a strong enough Wi-Fi signal in your backyard. Want to turn the basement into the ultimate home theater with game consoles and streaming devices? This is what a mesh network is built for. (Well, for streaming anyway. For gaming, your best bet is and will continue to be a hard-wired connection for the foreseeable future.) Need a security camera on your detached garage? A mesh network might be the best solution.

If you want your smart home to truly be cutting edge and work as intended, a mesh Wi-Fi system should be at the top of your list things to add first.

How many Google Home or Alexa speakers should you own? The answer depends.

Internet outdoors: Our guide to extending your Wi-Fi into your backyard.

Share your voice

Post a comment

Tags
Guide to Smart LivingSmart HomeWi-Fi

How to use Continuity Camera in MacOS Mojave – CNET

Given that the tool currently relies on not one but two betas, it does not come as a surprise that the new Continuity Camera feature of MacOS Mojave and iOS 12 is hit-or-miss at the moment.

Given that the tool currently relies on not one but two betas, it does not come as a surprise that the new Continuity Camera feature of MacOS Mojave and iOS 12 is hit-or-miss at the moment. Continuity Camera lets Mac users snap a photo or scan a document with their iPhone ($1,000 at Cricket Wireless) and then have the image or file immediately inserted on whatever it is they are doing on their Mac.

Continuity Camera requires both MacOS Mojave and iOS 12, both of which are in beta at the present. Final versions of each OS are expected this fall.

Now Playing:Watch this: We took a spin around MacOS Mojave public beta and here’s…
2:07
Getting started with Continuity Camera

To use Continuity Camera, you need to be signed into the same Apple ID on both your Mac and iPhone, and both need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network with Bluetooth enabled. And since third-party developers have yet to release updates for the still-in-beta Mojave, Continuity Camera currently works only with Apple’s own apps.

Or some of Apple’s own apps. I got it to work with Mail, Notes and Pages, but not with Finder, Keynote or Numbers. And it worked only when I had my iPhone unlocked before I initiated the photo-taking or document-scanning on my MacBook ($1,279 at Amazon.com).

So, with my iPhone unlocked, I right-clicked in a Notes or Pages document or in the body of an email in the compose window in Mail and selected either Take Photo or ScanDocuments.

The Take Photo option opened the Camera app on my iPhone. I snapped a photo and then could tap Retake to try again or Use Photo to insert it in my Note or Pages document or my email message in Mail. On your Mac, a placeholder appears in your document while you take a photo or scan a document.

The Scan Documents option opens the Camera app and will find the edges of a receipt or document and create a scan, which is saved as a PDF. You can scan multiple pages into a single PDF with Continuity Camera.

Getting stopped by Continuity Camera

I had no luck using Continuity Camera with Finder, Keynote or Numbers. With these apps, I could not find a right-click menu that included the Take Photo or Scan Documents options. There is, however, a way to use Continuity Camera from the Edit menu that I hope will work in the future. I went to Edit > Insert From iPhone and found the Take Photo and Scan Documents options, but both were grayed out no matter what cell or element or file I had selected in the app.

Other times with Mail, Note and Pages, I failed to get my iPhone to act and was told the service was not available.

Also, multipage scans worked with Mail but only the first page of a multipage scan showed up on Notes.

Continuity Camera promises to be a huge time-saver if you regularly email receipts for expense reports or frequently scan recipes into a folder on your Mac. I’ll update this post as Continuity Camera continues to develop, as we move closer to the official releases of MacOS Mojave and iOS 12.

Read more:Everything you need to know about MacOS Mojave


48
Here are the biggest iOS 12 features Apple announced at WWDC 2018

WWDC 2018
reading
How to use Continuity Camera in MacOS Mojave
Jul 2
How to create custom Quick Actions in MacOS Mojave
Jun 28
How to take screenshots in MacOS Mojave
Jun 27
How to use Stacks in MacOS Mojave

See All

Share your voice

Post a comment

Tags
WWDC 2018Apple EventLaptopsiOS 12BluetoothApple

Best smart plugs and switches: the best plugs and switches for your smart home

The smart home is getting smarter, but two areas that are often overlooked are the humble power outlet and light switch.

There are plenty of energy savings to be had by investing in a smart plug and/or smart switch.

The smart home is getting smarter, but two areas that are often overlooked are the humble power outlet and light switch.

There are plenty of energy savings to be had by investing in a smart plug and/or smart switch. By controlling your lights and other appliances with one of these babies, you’ll reap the savings of more efficient energy consumption.

But what are the plugs and switches that are worth flipping out over? We’ve gathered up a guide to show you the light to the best smart plugs and switches on the market.

All of the smart plugs and switches in this list have been tested by TechRadar, so you can rest assured that all have passed muster.

The Belkin WeMo Insight is a neat little device. Well, it’s not exactly “little” considering it’s bigger than it looks in the pictures, so be prepared for a bulkier plug that covers the top outlet if you place it on the bottom one (the same isn’t true if you reverse the order).

That said, we consider the Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug to be the best light switch on the market. We like that it gives insights into your energy usage, and it gives you estimates on how much you’re spending on energy, too. This is great if you’re looking to cut down on your monthly power bill and be a little greener at the same time.

The one big drawback is that you do most of your work with the WeMo Insight in the app, and the app leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, you can turn off and on devices from the app home screen, but once you start going deeper, you run into trouble. It’s difficult to remove devices from the app, which is annoying.

One redeeming quality of the app is that you can use it to integrate your plug with other services, such as IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and (unofficially) Samsung SmartThings.

The only one missing from this smart plug house party is Apple’s HomeKit, though you can connect using a HomeKit Bridge, which Belkin sells.

Read our Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug review

iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug is $29.45 on Amazon

There’s a reason this smart plug leads with an “i”; it’s built to work predominately with devices in the Apple ecosystem and with HomeKit. You can still use it with Android via an app, just know that HomeKit is clearly the favorite here.

The iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug does converse with Alexa, so your Amazon Echo devices are compatible with this plug, too.

All-in-all, this smart plug is well designed, easy to use (especially within Apple’s walls, naturally) and generally works like a charm. It’s super easy to set up with your iPhone, and the app is great; you can use it to monitor your energy usage, broken down by day, week, month and year. You’ll get an estimate of your energy costs as well.

Oh, and did we mention this plug has as nightlight? The colored strip around the front serves as one, perfect if you don’t want to blind yourself when you get up to use the loo in the middle of the night.

Read our iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug review

Sure, you’ve decked out your home in smart led bulbs, like the Philips Hue, but if these aren’t connected to a smart switch, you lose connectivity if the lights aren’t controlled with a smartphone.

That’s where smart switches like the TP-Link HS200 come in. This well-designed switch may be connected, but it also gives a satisfying click, just like old-fashioned models.

But the similarities with old-school switches end there. This switch taps into an app called Kasa, which is equally well-designed. From the app, you can create different scenes that turn on or off certain lights, or set lights to turn on when your home’s motions sensors detect movement, for example.

The switch does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask both to flight the TP-Link switches in your home on or off.

It may not be quite as good as the Belkin WeMo Smart Plug, but the TP-Link will make your home a more connected creature, which is great if you’re looking to take your home into the 21st century.

Read our TP-Link HS200 Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch review

It’s all about ease with the Elagto Eve Energy Smart Switch. Installing and updating the switch is a snap; all you have to do is plug it into an existing outlet, then plug your appliance in.

The switch is compatible with Apple HomeKit, and, uniquely, it connects over Bluetooth, not your home’s Wi-Fi. Despite this unconventional (in the smart plug/switch space) connection method, Bluetooth works perfectly well here.

Like most smart plugs and switches, Elgato’s design is on the bigger side, though you can still access the top switch if you plug it into the bottom one. The app is easy to use as well and keeps tabs on your energy consumption, plus estimated cost of the energy your appliance is sucking up.

This isn’t the most enthralling – or least expensive – smart switch on the market. However, it hits a number of the right boxes, and looks good in the home.

Read our Elgato Eve Energy Smart Switch review

9 reasons why you’ll want Android P – CNET

As we near the end of the Android P beta program, with the first release candidate build released in early July, we are getting closer to the official launch — and name reveal — of Android P.

As we near the end of the Android P beta program, with the first release candidate build released in early July, we are getting closer to the official launch — and name reveal — of Android P.

The latest preview release feels a lot more stable than previous builds, but we still don’t recommend installing it on your main phone. However, if you feel brave or are willing to put up with a few bugs here and there, you can install Android P in a matter of minutes.

There are a lot of new features in Android P, some of which you may think makes the latest flavor so appealing. Below are 9 reasons you’ll want Android P.

Now Playing:Watch this: See Android P’s new swiping controls up close
2:56
Fresh new look and notifications

With Android P, Google is using rounded corners everywhere it can. A swipe down to view the notification tray and quick settings give you a good idea of where Android is heading aesthetically. There’s also a lot more color in the Settings menu.

As for notifications, Android already leads the way in its handling of notifications when compared with iOS. With Android P, it widens that gap by adding more features in its notifications shade. Messaging apps, in particular, will suggest smart replies and show more information in each notification.

You also can’t expand the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings from the shade like you can in Oreo.

Official dark mode

With the latest beta release, Google has added an official dark mode option in the Settings app. Instead of relying on the wallpaper in order to trigger the dark mode, as had been the case up until this point, users can now decide whether to always use dark mode, light mode, or let the phone decide for itself. An official dark mode is something Android (and for that matter, iOS) users have been asking for for years. Thanks, Google.

No stopping the notch

As bezels get smaller, some Android phones are adopting a notch at the top of the screen to accommodate sensors, like on the iPhone X. The Essential Phone, the Huawei P20 and the Asus ZenFone 5 all have one and the upcoming OnePlus 6 is rumored to have it, too.

Anticipating this change, Android P gives you a preview of what this might look like after you enable Developer Mode. Scroll down to the Drawing section under developer options, tap “Simulate a display with a cutout,” then choose a size. Violà — you’re living the notched life.

Useful screenshot tools

Taking a screenshot is now as simple as pressing and holding the power button, then tap Screenshot. The old method of holding the power and volume-down in at the same time still works, of course.

In addition to the new screenshot shortcut, Android P gains a new edit feature. As soon as your screenshot is saved, the preview notification will display an Edit button. Selecting Edit will open a markup tool for you to draw, crop, or highlight the screenshot before sharing it.

Dashboard

Google’s plan to curb smartphone addiction is through its Wellbeing program. While not currently available in the Android P preview, a new Dashboard section will reveal how many times a phone is unlocked in a given day, the number of notifications, and how much time is spent in each app. Users will be able to set limits and restrictions based on the Dashboard.

Lockdown mode for extra security

Google is doing much to improve the overall security of your information in Android P, but most of that is done under the hood. There is a new feature, though, that locks down your device with the push of a button. When enabled, it lets you disable the fingerprint sensor or trusted voice unlock (reverting to your backup unlock method such as a PIN or pattern).

Go to Settings > Security and Location > Lock Screen Preferences and toggle the “Show lockdown” option. After you toggle that on, you can now just press the power button, then tap Lockdown.

Gesture navigation

With Android P, you now have the option to ditch Android’s traditional three-button navigation and go with gestures instead. A single home button, actually it looks more like a pill, is your thumb’s home base. Tap on the button to go home, swipe right to go back, swipe left to switch between recent apps, or swipe up to view recent apps or your app drawer. Enable gesture navigation and learn about more settings in Android P in this post.

Rotate only when you want

Instead of just locking down vertical or portrait mode on your phone, Android P will display a button to force the screen rotation if it detects your phone has changed orientation.

When you turn the screen to landscape, tap the icon that appears at the bottom to change the orientation. Now when you turn it back to portrait it will stay in landscape unless you tap on the same button again to rotate back.

Battery status on the ambient display

If you have a Google Pixel ($315 at Amazon.com), you’ll now see the battery percentage at the bottom of the ambient display. This is nothing new, and that feature is already on some Samsung, Motorola, LG and OnePlus phones. Still, it’s nice to have the extra info at a quick glance.

Read more:

Google’s Android P is all about notches and notifications
How to install Android P right now

With contribution from Lynn La.

Share your voice

Post a comment

Tags
Android UpdatePhonesOperating SystemsMobile AppsAndroid PGoogleLG

Should I buy the JVC LT-32C672 32-inch Smart LED TV?

The bottom line: The JVC LT-32C672 32-inch Smart LED TV might not take centre-stage in your living room, but with a medium-sized screen at an affordable price point, it’s more than good enough for your spare room or as the kids’ first TV – while popular apps such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Facebook come built in for ease of use.

The bottom line: The JVC LT-32C672 32-inch Smart LED TV might not take centre-stage in your living room, but with a medium-sized screen at an affordable price point, it’s more than good enough for your spare room or as the kids’ first TV – while popular apps such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Facebook come built in for ease of use.

If you’re looking for something more home cinema-oriented, however, you may want to consider investing in a 3D TV with OLED or QLED technology, but this JVC TV makes for a great entry-level smart TV.

Pros: Great value, wall-mountable

Cons: A bit basic compared to other smart TVs

JVC LT-32C672 Smart LED TV: everything you need to know

Although not the newest smart TV on the market right now, the JVC LT-32C672 is still a popular choice, and is now one of the cheapest smart TVs you can get in the Black Friday 2017 sales. In this day and age, 32 inches is considered relatively small, but for most of us 32 inches is still a sizeable TV that will fit comfortably in any room and provide an enjoyable viewing experience.

Whether it’s simply watching the newest Netflix series, your favourite movie, or even gaming, the JVC LT-32C672 32-inch Smart LED TV is surprisingly clear, and it’s wall-mountable, which makes it even more handy for smaller homes that don’t want a ridiculously large screen taking over their living area.

Viewing experience

Yes, it’s only HD-ready, but the 720p screen and DTS HD audio mean you get a crisp and clear viewing experience whatever you’re watching. LED technology promises colourful and vibrant pictures, and built-in Wi-Fi gives you access to all your favourite on-demand channels and streaming services at the touch of a button. It’s not the best picture quality around, but even cheap TVs offer a decent picture these days.

Simple set-up

With integrated Freeview this TV is great for technophobes or those who aren’t fussed about too many ‘techy’ features. All you need to do is plug and play – the auto HD tuner will programme your TV with over 70 subscription-free channels, and automatically connect to the app store if you wish to customise it with other apps and on-demand services.

Why is the JVC LT-32C672 32-inch Smart LED TV a best-seller?

This TV may not be the first choice for your new cinema room, but for the guest bedroom this TV is of comfortable size and quality. If you promised your kids you’d let them have a TV in their room this year, the JVC LT-32C672 is a good choice thanks to its parental lock settings, which mean the kids can’t use the internet to access anything they shouldn’t, and you can control their screen time.

It also features one SCART, one USB and two HDMI ports, so you can easily connect your other devices to the TV for gaming or streaming purposes. For eco-warriors, you’ll be pleased to know this TV has a surprisingly high energy-efficiency rating, of A+ making it one of the cheapest televisions to run compared to some of the bigger feature-packed screens available.

Decided this is what you want? You’ll find the cheapest Black Friday prices above.

How to get a good TV deal on Black Friday

And the Galaxy S9’s six best features are… – CNET

After using the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus almost every day for the last three months, it’s funny that the phones’ most enviable features — a fantastic OLED screen, great photos from the dual-aperture camera lens, elegantly curved sides — aren’t what I love most about Samsung’s top handsets for 2018.

After using the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus almost every day for the last three months, it’s funny that the phones’ most enviable features — a fantastic OLED screen, great photos from the dual-aperture camera lens, elegantly curved sides — aren’t what I love most about Samsung’s top handsets for 2018.

See, it’s the little things that connect a person to a device. The way it looks or feels in the hand. That one specific feature — Wi-Fi calling, an FM radio, perhaps — that compels someone to swear they’ll never give up their phone or brand.

And it’s these little things I notice most in my experience with the Galaxy S9 Plus, thoughtful touches that make my life easier, or at least more interesting. It’s not that I take the Galaxy S9’s speedy processor or waterproofing for granted. It’s that the S9 is so reliable I rarely have to think about connection speeds or the phone’s now-rare headphone jack. They’re already there.


33
21 hidden Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus features

So here are six of the Galaxy S9 features that bring something extra to my daily use. Not to say everything about the phone is great — I’ll have a list of the worst S9 features out soon. Feel free to jump into the comments with your favorite Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus tidbits.

6. That purple color

I’ve been using the Galaxy S9 Plus in lilac purple almost exclusively since early March. The color is deep, lustrous and changes in the light. It makes me like using the phone more. I’ve rejected almost every case because they don’t do the phone design justice (this one from Spigen is OK, but the color’s starting to scrape off the rims).

I’ve caught people staring at the purple S9 when it’s facedown on a table. Once I even noticed a woman in a restaurant awkwardly hold her phone to “slyly” take a picture of the phone. Maybe I sat a little taller.

5. Samsung Pay

Launched in 2015, Samsung Pay is now a fixture in the Galaxy firmament, but that doesn’t make it less special on the Galaxy S9. Apple Pay and Google Pay are great mobile payment options, but only Samsung Pay lets you make a payment at literally any terminal, even those that claim they don’t accept mobile payments.

That’s because Samsung Pay can work like the magnetic stripe on your credit card when you hold it near the mag-stripe reader.

The fact that Samsung now awards buyers cash back for using Samsung Pay with certain retailers (in the US for starters) gives you even more reason to use it.

4. Customizations galore

You could get lost in the Galaxy S9’s submenus of settings and advanced options. Sifting through your customization options can be an exhaustive pursuit, but a rewarding one if you stumble on some graphic or layout choice that really speaks to you.

For example, I spent a good 10 minutes customizing the shape, size and color of the clock icon on the lock screen and Always-On display. I’ll be the first to admit that it sounds like a simple, silly thing to do. But once I did, I suddenly felt more bonded to the S9: Here was one more telltale sign this phone belongs to me. (Well, it’s a loaner phone, but you get the idea.)

Android is already about customization, that being one part of the nature of the platform. And for better or for worse, no phonemaker embraces that philosophy quite like Samsung.

Read: Discover 21 hidden Galaxy S9 features

3. Quick-access to apps and people

A tab that lives on the edge of many Galaxy phones is called the Edge display. Swipe it open to get to a sort of shortcuts bar that you can access from any screen.

Although it isn’t unique to the Galaxy S9, I find myself using it at least once a day, usually to quickly open a weather app — because I’m obsessed with microclimates, aren’t you? — or Google Drive. The idea is that I don’t have to think about where the app icon lives. This tab makes it a constant no matter where in the phone I am.


16
Samsung Galaxy S9 brings the bling with new satiny gold color

Sometimes I swipe this open by accident, but I like that if it’s in the way, I can drag the tab to any other position (this is new for the Galaxy S9). My one piece of advice: Use the space wisely. Less is more or you wind up wasting time flipping through the Edge display.

2. Split-screen mode

I’ve tested split-screen mode on plenty of Galaxy phones, but it wasn’t until I began using the Galaxy S9 Plus full time that it all clicked. Now, instead of inventing reasons to try it out, I began to turn to split-screen reflexively.

Now Playing:Watch this: The 5 most interesting rumors about the Samsung Galaxy…
3:07

I’ll often call up a map, calendar appointment or email in one pane and a website or text message in another. Instead of flipping tabs to grab some information, split-screen lets me refer back to the same source a couple of times before closing it out.

When I take a break from the Galaxy S9 to use another phone, this is a feature I find myself missing.

1. Iris scan do-over

Samsung uses a different kind of technology than the iPhone X. In fact, its iris-scanning feature predates Apple’s most ambitious phone. Iris scanning is secure enough to work with Samsung Pay and Android Pay, too.

But my favorite part about it is that if the scan fails the first time, you get a do-over. There’s a semi-circular arrow that looks like a replay button, and it’ll trigger the scan again. I wish that the iPhone X did that, too. Instead, you have to lock and unlock the screen or wait a loooong pause to reset.

The Galaxy S9’s fingerprint reader on the back, now conveniently moved below the camera array, gives you another option for unlocking the phone, too. That’s the right approach in my book.

Honorable mention: Loud, rich speakers

These Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones mark the first time Samsung has given a phone a second speaker. The results largely blew us away with very loud, rich audio for voices, movies and games.

While speakerphone quality is rather deplorable and other phones, like the Razer Phone, had a more immersive effect, the Dolby Atmos audio software inside takes advantage of the second speaker, making music, videos and games boom when you play them aloud.

Tested: The Galaxy S9’s dual speakers are loud and rich

Read next: Galaxy Note 9: everything we know about the Galaxy S9’s sibling

Share your voice

Post a comment

Tags
PhonesApple PayGoogle DriveGoogleRazerSamsungApple

SIM only deals: the best plans in July 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.

June saw a month full of extreme cashback offers, which meant for some smashing value SIMO deals if you were prepared to claim back the money over the course of the contract. They’re gone now, but the good news is that Three has filled the void by reintroducing some if its very best prices. For example, that 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. And we’ve secured some SIMO plans exclusively for TechRadar readers as well, such as this iD Mobile 10GB for £12 SIM only deal.

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. 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 5GB+ 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 S8 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 | £20 BT Reward Card –£8 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £10 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 15GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £75 BT Reward Card – £18 per month at BT

12 months | 25GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £80 BT Reward Card – £27 per month at BT

12 months | 40GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £90 BT Reward Card – £35 per month at BT

For non-BT Broadband customers:

12 months | 500MB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £20 BT Reward Card –£13 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £15 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £22 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £22 per month at BT

12 months | 15GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £75 BT Reward Card – £23 per month at BT

12 months | 25GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £80 BT Reward Card – £32 per month at BT

12 months | 40GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £90 BT Reward Card – £40 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


Mobiles.co.uk SIM only deals

It’s always worth checking out Mobiles.co.uk 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 Mobiles.co.uk


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…

Linksys EA8100-AH Max-Stream AC2600 promises life in the fast internet lane – CNET

If you’re always moaning about how slow your Wi-Fi at home is, the problem may not actually be your ISP, especially if you live in an apartment complex.

If you’re always moaning about how slow your Wi-Fi at home is, the problem may not actually be your ISP, especially if you live in an apartment complex.

With countless other Wi-FI networks fighting for frequency space, your Wi-Fi signal isn’t getting through to you cleanly, resulting in a slower speed. With that in mind, the new Linksys EA8100-AH dual-band AC2600 should do the trick.

The router comes packing Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) certification, which lets it operate in six channels at 80MHz, which are typically not used by other routers in the market, and if it detects radar interference, will switch to a safer channel seamlessly.

If you don’t live near a military base or an airport, then the chances of the routers switching to a more conventional Wi-Fi channel will be rare, and you’ll be on the uncongested Wi-Fi channels for faster speeds.

Linksys showed off a demo where there seemed to be a definite improvement when the router was using a less congested channel. It was about twice as fast, though we’ll be putting this to the test later. Based on specs alone, the AC2600 router’s advertised speeds will get you up to 800Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1,733Mbps on 5GHz.

Depending on your home set up and where the router is placed and how many concrete steel walls lie between your device and the router, coverage may not be as good as a mesh network (especially one using a wired backhaul).

Luckily the EA8100-AH comes with Max-Stream technology, so you can use another Max-Stream router in access point (AP) mode and the handoff between networks should be seamless.

The S$329 (about $280, £180 and AU$325 converted) Linksys EA8100-AH will be debuting first in Singapore Thursday (which has lots of apartment complexes), and will roll out to the rest of the world soon. It will not be sold on store shelves for now — instead it’s only available (for a while) through a package deal with local carrier StarHub.

Quick specsDual-band AC2600
Dynamic Frequency Selection
Processor: 880MHz Dual-Core MIPS1004kc
Memory: 128MB Flash, 256MB DDR
Antenna: Four