Google is primed to go big at CES again – CNET

Last year at CES, Google set up a three-story Wonka factory of smart home devices. In a massive booth near the Las Vegas Convention Center, the search giant showed off how its Google Assistant could work with everything from washing machines to miniature train sets.

Last year at CES, Google set up a three-story Wonka factory of smart home devices. In a massive booth near the Las Vegas Convention Center, the search giant showed off how its Google Assistant could work with everything from washing machines to miniature train sets. There was a giant, voice-controlled gumball machine full of giveaway devices. A big, blue slide spiraled to the ground.

Elsewhere at the conference, white-suited Google workers greeted people in booths across the show floor, and the company plastered the words “Hey Google” — one of the trigger phrases for the Google Assistant — over the Las Vegas Monorail.

The message was clear: After years of laying low at the world’s largest tech show, Google had finally arrived at CES. The company is primed to go even bigger at this year’s show, which starts next week.

Before last year’s CES, the company had happily stayed on the sidelines and let its manufacturing partners, including Samsung and LG, grab all the attention. Now Google is using the trade show to trumpet its software and hardware, complete with an official stage.

That’s because CES has become an important staging ground for the tech giant as it pushes devices to consumers that compete against the likes of Amazon, Apple and Samsung. In the next three years, Google’s hardware division — which includes its Google Home smart speakers, Nest thermostats and Chromecast streaming devices — could hit $20 billion in revenue, RBC Capital Markets said last month.

Google has staked its future outside of its iconic search homepage. CEO Sundar Pichai has repeatedly said the company is going all out on artificial intelligence — specifically the Google Assistant, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Because the market is still so young, Google is hoping it can attract people to its platforms before they get locked into Amazon’s popular Alexa ecosystem.

“This is the Wild West,” said Brian Solis, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. “Google has to move aggressively and swiftly.”

Google still has a lot of catching up to do. Amazon’s Echo devices still dominate the world of smart speakers, with 73 percent of the market. Google’s Home devices come in second with 24 percent, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, though the research firm notes Google is “making strides.”

It’s why CES is so important, providing the ideal venue for drumming up enthusiasm for its voice assistant. Last year, Google used CES to unveil four new Assistant-enabled video devices made by Sony, Samsung-owned JBL, LG and Lenovo. This year, Google is also expected to showcase devices made by third-party partners that have the Assistant built in.

And here’s another bit of evidence that Google wants to make an even bigger splash at CES this year: The company’s presence at CES this year will be triple the size it was last year, a Google spokesman said. A glance at a map provided by the Consumer Technology Association, which oversees CES, shows Google’s booth this year dwarfs the one from last year.

Stepping it up

Google took several steps to up its hardware game last year.

In February, Google brought the smart home device maker Nest back under its purview, after it had spent two years as a semi-independent unit under Google’s parent company Alphabet. That allowed Google to integrate the maker of smart thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras into its overall product line.

The company has also been steadily expanding its line of Google Home products. In October, Google released the Home Hub — a smart display that can show people recipes or videos. They’re similar to the smart displays the company showed off last CES with vendors like Lenovo and Sony, except with Google-branded hardware this time. Also that month, Google unveiled the latest version of its flagship phone, the Pixel 3. CNET called it “the best Android phone of 2018.”

It wasn’t always that way. Previously, Google’s biggest hardware projects included flops like the Nexus Q streaming device and the controversial Google Glass eyewear. But in 2016, Google hired Rick Osterloh, a former Motorola executive, to lead a new division that took all of Google’s disparate hardware projects and created a cohesive line of products. Now the suite of products includes everything from virtual-reality headsets to Wi-Fi routers.

For Google, the push at CES isn’t just about getting more people to use the Google Assistant, said Avi Greengart, an analyst at GlobalData. It’s part of a larger plan in trying to make Google services and devices central to every aspect of people’s lives, from driving to work in the morning to preparing dinner at home.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive vision,” he said. “They’re not there yet. But no one is.”

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

Special Reports: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.

Google Home
Review
Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it
Preview
For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robot
How To
How to change the voice on your Google Home
News
Google Assistant learns how to speak Australian

Share your voice

Post a comment

Tags
CES 2019Tech IndustryGoogleAlphabet Inc.

Best camera for vlogging 2019: 10 perfect choices tested

Picking the best camera for vlogging is a bit more involved than looking at the video specs of a range of cameras, as there are a number of other considerations to take into account.

Picking the best camera for vlogging is a bit more involved than looking at the video specs of a range of cameras, as there are a number of other considerations to take into account.

For a basic head shot, all you really need is the camera that’s built into your smartphone, tablet or laptop. But if you want the world to sit up and take notice of your vlog and attract a wider audience, you’ll need to put in a bit more effort and get the right tools for the job. So what makes for a good vlogging camera?

If you want to publish a record of your life experiences, you’ll need a camera that’s small enough to carry around with you. That rules out big, clunky DSLRs with a barrowload of lenses, but there are a couple of relatively lightweight DSLRs on the market that are ideal for vlogging.

For greater go-anywhere convenience, a mirrorless camera can shoehorn the quality and versatility of a DSLR into a much smaller package. And if you don’t feel the need to swap lenses to suit different shooting scenarios, a regular compact camera typically takes up even less room. For all-action heroes, a specialist action camera is the best fit.

Video quality

Whatever type of camera you go for, you’ll need one that can deliver good quality video, preferably in Full HD (1080p) or even 4k Ultra High Definition, both formats now being supported by the likes of YouTube. Built-in Wi-Fi can be a big bonus, while a tilting or fully articulating LCD monitor screen can be extremely helpful for putting yourself in the picture.

We’ve picked out 10 top cameras of various shapes, sizes and attributes to suit different styles of vlogging

We’ve picked out 10 top cameras of various shapes, sizes and attributes to suit different styles of vlogging, and to fit into the bigger picture of your all-round stills and video shooting requirements. Some will suit your exact needs better than others, so we’ve listed them alphabetically, rather than recommending one overall winner.

Best vlogging cameras in 2019

Smaller and lighter than many DSLR bodies even without a lens fitted, this compact camera is from Canon’s up-market PowerShot range. Despite its conveniently compact build, it has a fast f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens with a powerful 24-100mm effective range, feeding a 1.0-inch sensor that’s relatively large for a compact camera.

As well as delivering excellent stills quality, the PowerShot G7 X Mark II boasts clever features for vlogging. While not fully articulated, the PowerShot G7 X Mark II edition adds a flip-up facility to its tilting touchscreen, making it easy to frame yourself when talking to camera. The 5-axis stabilization is also particularly good for counteracting camera-shake when shooting movies, even when panning or moving around, and comes complete with an auto-level function to keep your horizons straight.

Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

DSLRs are notoriously poor for autofocusing in Live View and when shooting movies. Like many of Canon’s current DSLRs, the EOS 77D solves the problem with Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus. This enables much faster and more effective autofocus in movie capture, especially when tracking moving subjects. It also works a treat with the touchscreen, enabling you to simply point to any part of the scene on which you want to focus. Better still, the screen in fully articulated, so you can ensure you’re positioned correctly when talking to camera.

More unusually for a Canon DSLR, the EOS 77D features 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization. The camera still relies on in-lens, optical stabilization for stills capture, but the ‘Digital IS’ is highly effective when shooting movies.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS 77D review

Wonderfully compact, this mirrorless system camera body is just 40mm deep, and remains very slim when fitted with the optional 15-45mm kit lens, which has a retractable design and a power zoom facility, ideal for video capture. Great for putting yourself in the shot, the LCD screen flips up through a full 180 degrees, automatically activating eye-detection autofocus in the process. The fact that it’s a touchscreen also helps with literally pointing out moving subjects on which you want to focus.

Advanced video features include ‘high-speed movies’ with slow-motion playback, and 4K ultra-high-definition capture. There’s a catch, however, in that 4K movies have a maximum frame rate of just 15fps. The result can be very detailed but jerky video, somewhat defeating the object.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-A5 review

GoPro’s Hero 6 Black already made this list previously, but now that we’ve had a chance to put the newer Hero 7 Black model to the test we know that it very much deserves its own place on this list.

Why’s that? Much of this is down to the newer device’s headline feature, namely HyperSmooth, which does a remarkable job of steadying footage, something that’s particularly evident when you’re vlogging whilst shooting from a moving vehicle or jogging, or moving in any other way through bumpy terrain. The company has also redesigned the microphone membrane for better audio capture and thrown in the very fun TimeWarp feature. Want to Live Stream to Facebook or YouTube? Yep, you can do that too.

As if that wasn’t enough, the company chose to release the Hero 7 Black at the same price point as the Hero 6 Black, which makes it a no-brainer. Sure, if you can find a secondhand Hero 6 Black at a knockdown price then it’s still well worth considering, but if you fancy something newer and more powerful, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more capable action camera.

Read our in-depth GoPro Hero7 Black review

Particularly small and lightweight for a DSLR, the D5600 is easy to take along for the ride, especially with its retractable 18-55mm VR kit lens. With a ‘Pulse’ autofocus motor, the kit lens also gives the advantage of silent, smooth focus transitions when shooting movies. However, unlike most recent Canon DSLRs, the lack of phase-detection autofocus via the image sensor makes for sluggish performance and relatively poor tracking of moving subjects.

The 3.2-inch, fully articulated LCD screen looks good from any angle and can be a massive help when filming yourself, or for shooting just about anything else from tricky angles. As with most DSLRs at this price point, the maximum video resolution is 1080 60p, but that’s currently good enough for most of us.

Read our in-depth Nikon D5600 review

Simple to use yet stylish and effective, the Pen E-PL9 shoehorns a lot of camera into a very slimline package. It remains very compact when adding the 14-42mm EZ Pancake kit lens, which features movie-friendly motorized zoom. The camera has a three-axis sensor-shift image stabilizer which enables stabilization with any attached lens, for capturing movies as well as stills. Movies themselves can be shot at resolutions of up to 4K at 30fps, and there’s also an option for high-speed capture in 720p at 120fps.

Taking selfies and capturing yourself in movies benefits from a tilting LCD screen with a 180-degree flip-over facility, and the autofocus system comes complete with face-detection and eye-detection options. As well as Wi-Fi, the camera has built-in Bluetooth, for easy paring with other mobile devices.

Read our in-depth Olympus PEN E-PL9 review

Despite being very small and lightweight, this action camera has a stylish design that’s more reminiscent of a miniature camcorder than a digital matchbox. A tough cookie, the Olympus is waterproof down to 30m, freezeproof to -10C, crushproof to 100kg, and can withstand being dropped from 2.1m. Other adventurous features include GPS, an electronic compass, an accelerometer, a thermometer and even a manometer, plus a ‘headlight’ for taking a shot in the dark.

There’s no need to worry about focusing, as the built-in ultra-wide prime lens enables a fixed focus setting that keeps everything sharp from 20cm away to infinity. Even so, putting yourself in the frame can be a bit hit and miss, as the flip-out LCD doesn’t rotate and can’t be viewed from in front of the camera.

Read our in-depth Olympus Tough TG-Tracker review

Panasonic’s cheapest G-series camera to sport a flip-out LCD screen also happens to packs whole heap of extras for the budding videographer. 4K video capture to 30p; an input for a microphone; autofocus during recording and a scattering of extras such as focus peaking and zebra. Sure, you may not use all these for vlogging per se, but if you want complement self-facing footage with additional clips, the G7 is happy to help.

4K footage is well exposed and nicely coloured, but is subject to a slight crop. With the Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5 -5.6 II ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. kit lens this still leaves you with a reasonable angle of view at the wide-angle end, but if you opt for the kit with the superior Lumix G Vario 12- 60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens, you’ll have both a slightly wider angle of view and better image quality.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix G7 review

Disarmingly small and simple in its appearance, the RX100 Mk IV is nevertheless a powerhouse of a compact camera, complete with a built-in zoom lens that has an effective zoom range of 24-70mm and fast f/1.8-2.8 aperture rating. It’s not just the lens that’s fast either. Thanks to a remarkable ‘stacked’ CMOS image sensor with an onboard DRAM chip, it’s capable of super-speed shooting. Incredibly quick shutter speeds of up to 1/32,000th of a second are available, complete with an anti-distortion function to avoid rolling shutter effects when shooting video. The Sony also enables high-frame-rate video at up to 960fps, resulting in a 40x super slow-motion facility. Even stills shooting is rapid, at up to 16fps utilizing the full 20.1MP resolution of the 1.0-type image sensor.

Stills and video can be composed using the pop-up electronic viewfinder, or via a tilting LCD that can be flipped upwards through 180 degrees for viewing from in front of the camera. You can capture video at resolutions of up to 4k 25p, although UHD video clips are limited to a maximum duration of just five minutes. The same limitation applies to the newer RX100 V edition, which has a more advanced autofocus system but is more expensive to buy.

Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV review

Canon’s latest EOS M series model might not be an fancy as the even more recent full-frame EOS R, whose vari-angle screen also makes it a viable candidate for this list, but there’s lots to recommend it if vlogging is your main focus.

It’s significantly smaller, cheaper and lighter than that camera, and packs the desirable combination of 4K video recording with a screen that spins out to face the front. There’s even a microphone port for external mics and a hotshoe to house these.

As we found in our review, the touchscreen is has been excellently implemented, and image quality is great. On the downside, you can’t use the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system at this resolution and 4K footage is subject to a 1.6x crop, meaning that you end up with a 38.4-115.2mm equivalent focal range with the standard kit lens. Is this an issue? If you just want the focus to be on your face, then possibly not at all. And if you switch to Full HD, neither of these restrictions applies.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS M50 review

Also consider…

DJI’s Osmo gimbal technology has impressed us in the past, with dedicated devices to help deliver super-smooth footage on both smartphones and high-end cameras. Now though, DJI is bringing this tech to an even wider audience with the launch of the Osmo Pocket. The DJI Osmo Pocket is a compact three-axis stabilized camera that’s been designed to help users capture creative videos and photos in a portable form factor. The Osmo Pocket features a 1/2.3-inch sensor that’s capable of recording 12MP still images and 4K video footage up to 60fps at 100Mbps. There are built-in dual microphones that use advanced noise-canceling algorithms, while you can connect your iPhone of Android device if you want a larger display than the 1.0-inch touchscreen.

Read our hands onDJI Osmo Pocket review

Best cameraBest DSLRBest mirrorless cameraBest 4K cameraBest full-frame cameraBest compact cameraWhat camera should I buy?Mirrorless vs DSLR: 10 key differences

Best DSLR for beginners 2019: 10 cheap DSLRs perfect for new users

If you’re ready to make the step-up from your smartphone or point-and-shot, then these are the best beginner DSLRs you can buy right now in 2019.

An entry-level, beginner DSLR is the natural progression when you feel like you’ve outgrown your point-and-shoot compact camera or are no longer satisfied with the snaps you get from your smartphone.

If you’re ready to make the step-up from your smartphone or point-and-shot, then these are the best beginner DSLRs you can buy right now in 2019.

An entry-level, beginner DSLR is the natural progression when you feel like you’ve outgrown your point-and-shoot compact camera or are no longer satisfied with the snaps you get from your smartphone. If that’s that case, you’ve come to the right place to find out what the the best entry-level DSLR is to help you take your photography to the next level.

DSLRs for beginners deliver a big step up in image quality over a compact camera or smartphone. They may share the same amount of megapixels, but the size of an entry-level DSLR’s sensor is physically much larger in most cases, allowing for superior results with more detail and better low-light performance. That’s not forgetting that entry-level DSLRs offer far more manual control and the ability to change lenses to tackle a huge variety of projects. Don’t worry though – there are also a host of auto modes to help you out until you’re comfortable with the more creative controls that a DSLR offers.

Obviously, the more features you want on your entry-level DSLR, the more you’ll pay, but do you actually need them? Our top camera is one of the cheapest on the market, but still offers impressive performance and image quality, plus enough features to handle most photographic assignments, especially if you’re still learning.

You may also want to consider a mirrorless camera as an alternative. If so, you’ll find our video above or Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences guide very useful. Or, if you’re not sure what kind of camera you need at all, then read our easy-to-follow guide to camera types: What camera should I buy?

Should you buy a mirrorless camera over a DSLR? Watch our guide video below to learn more:

Entry-level DSLR bundles

If you’re buying your first DSLR, it makes sense to buy it as a kit, which generally includes the camera body along with an 18-55mm lens. Often referred to as a ‘kit’ lens, this covers a pretty broad zoom range, perfect for everything from landscapes to portraits, but that’s just the start.

Look closely though and manufacturers will often offer two type of kit lens – one with image stabilization and one without. There’s not much difference in price normally, so go for the kit with the image stabilised lens as it’ll make it easier to sharper shoot images at slower shutter speeds.

They’re more than adequate to get started, but the key advantage of DSLRs over compact cameras is that you can add to your kit with additional lenses. For example, wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses, a flashgun, and other accessories, to make the most of whatever types of photography you’re into.

Before we take a look at the best DSLRs for beginners, we wanted to highlight a great mirrorless alternative. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is styled like a DSLR, with a viewfinder mounted on the top, but this camera is so small it scarcely takes up more space than mirrorless cameras with no viewfinder at all. It has a Micro Four Thirds sensor a little smaller than the APS-C sensors used by DSLRs, and 16 megapixels rather than the usual 24, but the smaller sensor means smaller lenses, and you’re not likely to notice the difference in megapixels in real-world shooting, provided you’re not expecting to print too large. What you will notice is this camera’s great build quality and finish, its responsiveness, its excellent built in Art Filters and the rather clever shooting options in its Advanced Photo mode. Olympus offers a good range of lenses, too.

Read our in-depthOlympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III review

Best DSLRs for beginners in 2019

2018 saw a handful of beginner DSLRs launched, including the Canon EOS Rebel T7 (known as the EOS 2000D outside the US) and the Nikon D3500. In 2019, we expect to see replacements for Canon’s EOS Rebel T7i (known as the EOS 800D outside the US) and Nikon’s D5600, but these are likely to be minor upgrades rather than sweeping changes, so don’t let that put you off buying either of these great entry-level DSLRs. For now, this is our pick of the best DSLRs for beginners in 2019.

Nikon’s latest entry-level DSLR replaces the D3400 below, and while its shares a very similar specification on the inside, it benefits from a comfier handgrip and revised control layout at the rear. The new 24.2MP sensor delivers excellent levels of detail, while the D3500 is easy to get to grips with. This is helped by Nikon’s clever Guide mode, that gives real-time explanations of key shooting features. If you’re looking to get more creative with your photography, and looking for your first DSLR, the Nikon D3500 is hard to beat.

Read our in-depthNikon D3500 review

It’s just been replaced by the D3500, but don’t discount the D3400. Sporting a range of features perfect for the novice user, this is still a great camera to get started on the road to more creative photography. Sharing many of the same internal specs as the D3500, the battery life is brilliant, while the images won’t disappoint. If you don’t mind having the latest model and you can pick the D3400 for less than the D3500, then this is still a great buy.

Read our in-depth Nikon D3400 review

The EOS Rebel T7i (known as the EOS 800D outside) sits at the top of Canon’s entry-level EOS DSLR range. Sporting a newly designed 24.2MP sensor that delivers an improved high ISO performance over older models, the Rebel T7i’s autofocus also gets a boost, now with a 45-point arrangement that’s backed up by excellent live view AF system. There’s also newly designed graphical interface that will certainly make this camera even more appealing to new users, but the absence of 4K video and the quality of the exterior materials disappoint. Perhaps the most expensive option out there, but definitely one of the best.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D review

The D5600 competes directly with Canon’s EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D at the upper end of the entry-level DSLR market. Where Nikon’s D3000-series cameras are designed as cost-conscious introductory DSLRs, the D5000-series is preferable if you want to get more creative. The D5600 sports a large 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, and while the live view focusing speed could be quicker, the 39-point AF system is the best you’ll find in a entry-level DSLR. There isn’t much wrong with the D5600’s 24.2MP sensor either, delivering excellent results, while the logical control layout of the D5600 makes it easy to use.

Read our in-depth Nikon D5600 review

The EOS Rebel T6i (Called the EOS 750D outside the US) may have just been by the EOS Rebel T7i / 800D last year, but is still a great option if the price of the newer model puts you off. While the sensor isn’t quite as good as the one in the newer T7i despite sharing the same resolution, it’s still very good, while the vari-angle touchscreen is still one of the best around. AF performance could be better though, but overall this is still a very capable entry-level DSLR.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T6i / EOS 750D review

The D5300 was around for little more than a year before the D5500 technically replaced it (which has in turn be replaced by the D5600). It shares the same 24.2MP sensor with an identical maximum ISO25,600 sensitivity as the D5500, whilst the D5300’s EXPEED 4 image processor and 39-point autofocus system have also been carried over to its replacement. The D5300 doesn’t sporta fancy touchscreen control, you do get GPS instead, while the D5300’s 600-shot battery life will still outlast a Canon EOS Rebel T6i / EOS 750D. All in all, it may not be the latest entry-level DSLR, but the D5300 is still a smart buy.

Read our in-depth Nikon D5300 review

Canon introduced the EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D outside the US) to compete with the influx of mirrorless cameras and it was the smallest DSLR available when it was introduced in March 2013. Now replaced by the EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D), its slightly bulkier proportions make it feel more like a slightly pared-down Rebel T7i / 800D than anything unique. It’s not a bad option for new users, but there are better-value alternatives available at the moment.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D review

The EOS Rebel T7 (known as the EOS 2000D outside the US) is Canon’s cheap and cheerful entry-level DSLR. While not featuring quite the same impressive spec as pricier models up the Canon range, you still get a pretty solid set of features for the beginner including Wi-Fi and NFC technology built-in. This means you can transfer images to your smartphone for super-quick sharing. Images from the 24.1MP sensor are more and adequate, but not quite a match for those from the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D. The 9-point autofocus system, as well as the Live View AF system is disappointing, while there’s no touchscreen either.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D review

Replaced by the D3400 last year, the D3300 and D3400 share a very similar set of features (and design for that matter). The biggest difference between the two though is the D3300’s lack of connectivity – if you want to transfer your images to your smartphone or tablet, you’ll need to invest in Nikon’s cheap plug-in Wi-Fi adapter that plugs into one of the ports on the D3300. With stocks running down as the D3400 takes hold, the D3300 is becoming less easy to come by, but if you do track one down at a good price, then you’ll get yourself a great beginner DSLR.

Read our in-depthNikon D3300 review

It’s just been replaced by the EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D (above), but that does mean that the EOS Rebel T6 (known as the EOS 1300D outside the US) should now be even cheaper. In many ways the specification is very similar to the newer camera, with the key difference being the Rebel T6 features a 18MP sensor, which compared to rivals, is starting to show its age against rivals with higher pixel counts. Canon’s just announced its replacement, the EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D, so you might be able to track this down at an even more tempting price before it disappears for good.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D review

Best cameraBest DSLRBest mirrorless cameraBest 4K cameraBest full-frame cameraBest compact cameraWhat camera should I buy?Mirrorless vs DSLR: 10 key differencesCamera rumors

Android through the ages: the history of Google’s smartphone OS

In the beginning there was Cupcake

2008, when pinch-to-zoom was a right reserved for iPhones and BlackBerrys were still the business, a new kind of smartphone hit the scene: the Android smartphone.

In the beginning there was Cupcake

2008, when pinch-to-zoom was a right reserved for iPhones and BlackBerrys were still the business, a new kind of smartphone hit the scene: the Android smartphone.

Starting at version 1.5 for public consumption, Android was launched on the HTC Dream (known as the T-Mobile G1 in the US), a QWERTY keyboard-packing slider phone. Based on a modified version of Linux, Android offered something very different to the iPhone: freedom.

An open source Cupcake

Unlike iOS’s heavily policed, locked-down operating system, Android arrived with the promise of open source everything. Google made access to the Android Market (now called the Google Play Store) freely available, and users could even customize their home screens with widgets, offering in-app functionality from said home screen, no app opening needed.

With Android 1.5, codenamed Cupcake, a new way was born.

Android 1.6: Donut

Is it an albatross? Is it a jumbo jet? No! It’s the Dell Streak!

Version 1.6 of Android, Doughnut was announced in 2009, and it’s the update we have to blame for today’s giant phones that don’t quite fit in normal-sized pockets.

While Android tablets hadn’t quite taken off by this point, Donut was a step ahead, laying the foundations for the ‘phablet’, and introducing support for more screen sizes than Cupcake.

Big screens ahoy!

The aforementioned 5-inch Dell Streak, for example, despite being small by today’s standards, was a veritable beast when it was launched, and it owed its big screen to advances Donut introduced.

Other innovative features introduced in Android 1.6 included a text-to-speech engine, universal search and a more complete battery usage screen, so you knew which apps were draining your smartphone dry.

Android 2.0: Eclair

Who knew there was ever a time when you couldn’t have multiple Google accounts on your Android smartphone? We did!

Eclair, named for the choux pastry French patisserie staple, remedied account limitations and more.

Multi-touch me

But multiple accounts wasn’t the highlight feature of Android 2.0 – oh no. Eclair finally introduced multi-touch to smartphones that weren’t made by Apple (although that created something of a hoo-ha in itself.)

Take a picture, open it up, pinch to zoom… Android and iOS were in a two-horse race now, and Android was catching up.

Eclair also introduced Google Maps navigation, as well as additional camera modes, live wallpapers and Bluetooth 2.1 support.

Android 2.2: Froyo

Froyo, aka frozen yoghurt, is confectionary number four, and Android version 2.2. Loaded up on classic phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the HTC Incredible S, it marked the point at which Android hardware started to feel more premium, finally doing justice to the OS inside – from Super AMOLED screens bettering the LCDs of iPhones through to excellent industrial design from the likes of HTC.

Get some Froyo on that hotspot

Version 2.2 also introduced a feature that could make Android phones more attractive than iPhones for the everyday user – Froyo’s most practical highlight was most definitely mobile Wi-Fi hotspotting.

While Windows phones had Bluetooth and USB hotspot tools before, the idea of using high-speed Wi-Fi tethering to share your phone’s (then blazingly fast) 3G data with a laptop or even another smartphone was vindication for Android fans the world over.

Apple would take a full year to get the feature onto iPhones, with many carriers still blocking iPhone tethering for some time to come.

Android 2.3: Gingerbread

Android Gingerbread didn’t get a new look or feel compared to Froyo, but it did get a host of new features, including support for new sensors, including NFC. Other highlights included internet calling and a new download manager – but none of those were our highlights.

Copy, paste, catch up with Apple

Oh no – our highlight was the seemingly rudimentary and long-overdue copy and paste feature that was giving iPhones the text-editing edge over Androids for over a year: single word selection.

Before Gingerbread, Android copying was clumsy, given the fact that only entire text boxes could be selected. 2010 saw Google closing the gap, with a long press over a word selecting just that word, and displaying a pop-up menu that included copy and paste options, just like we have on Android phones today.

Android 3.0: Honeycomb

Remember the Motorola Xoom? No, not the Microsoft Zune – we’re talking about the Motorola tablet that introduced Google’s tablet version of Android, codenamed Honeycomb.

The most striking difference between it and any version of Android we’d seen before was the interface. Introducing ‘Holographic’ UI elements, Google went a bit Tron here – all illuminated lines, gradient halo highlights around objects – and while it didn’t look timeless, it did look cool.

On-screen navigation, the shape of things to come…

Android phones today seldom sport hardware navigation buttons; that’s to say, the back, home and recent apps buttons are in a navigation bar at the bottom of the screen on the biggest phones out now – the Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei Mate 20 for example.

Funnily enough, we don’t have a mobile OS to thank for this – it was first introduced in Honeycomb, with the back, home and recent apps buttons displayed in the bottom-left of the home screen.

Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich

So long physical buttons, hello unified Android typeface!

Ice Cream Sandwich was probably one of the richest updates Android has seen. Available on the Galaxy Nexus and HTC One X, it brought an excellent in-gallery photo editor to the table, as well as a data limiter within the settings.

The whole look and feel was refined, in line with Honeycomb’s design direction, and it delivered a much richer experience than Android 2.3..

Swipe to dismiss

In hindsight, probably the most pervasive feature introduced in this version was the swipe to dismiss gesture.

While it had been used by other smartphone manufacturers before, getting Android users comfortable with this little swipe gesture ensured its rise to ubiquity.

Swipe to dismiss interaction has since, for example, shaped email and text message handling, influenced Windows 10’s touchscreen notification management, and is a fundamental component of everyone’s favorite dating app, Tinder.

Android 4.1: Jelly Bean

Jelly Bean was a tale of three parts: 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3.

4.1 was all about refinements. It took Ice Cream Sandwich and made it smoother, introduced improved support for multiple languages, and automatically resized widgets to fit your home screen.

Android 4.2 was a further refinement, this time polishing the look and feel, making for an excellent-looking tablet UI, showcased well on the Nexus 10, complete with Miracast wireless display projection support.

The final episode – Return of the Jelly Bean, if you will – was a corker for developers, giving them tools to improve UI smoothness, use the latest version of Bluetooth and restrict profiles on devices with multiple user accounts – handy for parents and businesses alike.

Expandable notifications

Our Jelly Bean highlight? Dragging down with two fingers for expanded notifications. This feature gave users a peak into the details of their most recent updates. So, if your notification read ‘3 new tweets’, a two-finger drag down would expand the notification and showcase who those tweets were from, with a snippet of the message itself.

Simple, and still in Android today.

Android 4.4: KitKat

Emojis on the Google Keyboard, lower RAM requirements paving the way for budget Android phones, and NFC security being bumped up to help make mobile payments a reality – all this and more was loaded inside the Android 4.4 KitKat update.

‘Okay Google, will this ever catch on?’

But it was Google Now becoming a voice assistant that blazed the trail for today’s world of talkative phone assistants and smart speakers.

The always-on microphone and ‘OK Google’ command were introduced alongside KitKat in October 2013, harnessing the power of Google Search.

It paved the way for Apple’s Siri, set to follow in June 2014, and the two-horse mobile OS race was about to splinter into separate smartphone and a voice assistant contests, with Google making the early running.

Android 5.0: Lollipop

Material Design, Google’s flatter interface that features fewer gradients and a cleaner look than Jelly Bean, debuted on Android 5.0.

Support for 64-bit architecture was also introduced, helping Android achieve near-parity with desktop operating systems when it came to power potential, as was improved notification handling on lock screens.

Setting the scene for wearables

But the hidden gem within Android Lollipop was support for Bluetooth LE, or low energy.

This feature meant that wearable technology could finally exist without draining your phone’s battery dry. With lower battery demands, Bluetooth LE also enabled manufacturers to create smartwatches and fitness trackers with low-capacity batteries, small enough to fit inside a device that looked good and which could be worn comfortably.

Android 6.0: Marshmallow

Launching on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, these Marshmallow devices introduced USB-C ports and fingerprint scanners to the Nexus line.

As for the software, app security was tightened up with element-specific permissions prompting users to grant access to apps that needed to use things like their camera, phone etc.

Android 6.0 also supported MicroSD card integration into internal storage – handy for phones with under 16GB storage, though this feature has since been removed.

Doze mode

For a second time in a row, a battery saving feature is our Android highlight.

If you left your Marshmallow phone unplugged and stationary for a period of time with the screen off, apps go into standby and Doze mode is activated

This saved battery power and cemented Android as the operating system to go for if you wanted the battery edge, with Android hardware packing higher capacity batteries than iPhones, and its software optimised to take advantage of them.

Android 7.0: Nougat

Quick app switching by double-tapping the recent apps key, gender and race-specific emojis, separate home and lock screen wallpapers… Android Nougat made things both more functional and more attractive, but it also borrowed something from Samsung.

Split-screen multitasking

Having introduced split-screen multitasking on its Note line, Samsung was ahead of the curve. Google lifted the experience, and made it part of stock Android 7 over a year later, allowing one half of the screen to be used for one app, and the other half for another.

Google did do some cool stuff with the feature – Android 7 offered split-screen handling of two Chrome tabs for example, and even supported dragging and dropping of an image file across tabs.

Android 8.0: Oreo

Shiny new battery menus and notification dots on app icons – Android Oreo brought with it a slew of refinements to the UI, not to mention better storage management, with a new file browser and more granular storage control within the settings.

Floating videos are cool, right?

But the highlight feature everybody wanted, and never ended up using when it launched, was picture-in-picture, another feature introduced by Samsung and later adopted by Google for stock Android.

This little floating video window showcases a video in your UI, so you can get on with Twitter scrolling without having to stop watching your favorite show.

While initially it was awkward to activate and, frankly, a bit useless, now it’s reaching fruition, with apps like Netflix, WhatsApp and YouTube having adopted support for it.

Android 9.0: Pie

We’re finally all caught up. Google’s 2018/19 build of Android, Android 9.0, aka Pie, is the freshest version shipping on the latest and greatest hardware, including the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

Loaded up with notch support, improved battery smarts and a revamped UI, complete with iPhone X-esque navigations, Android Pie is gearing Google smartphones up for their impending all-screen, bezel-free futures.

A side serving of social responsibility

Digital Wellbeing is a suite of services available in Beta right now as part of the Android P update. Including elements like a dashboard to help you better understand your app usage, it’s all about using your phone a bit less, or at least a bit more mindfully.

Additional tools range from app limiters through to a grayscale mode to give your eyes a break, as well as a wind-down feature, to help you disconnect at the end of a working day.

With Google having iterated over 14 versions of Android, servicing more than two billion users, it’s a fitting conclusion to the current chapter that the big G has shifted focus to Digital Wellbeing, given the operating system’s vast reach.

Q is for… ?

But what about the shape of things to come? Android 10 will likely drop in the second half of 2019, and we already know it’s coming to the new Essential Phone.

As for its name, the distinct lack of confectionaries beginning with the letter ‘Q’ is keeping everyone guessing. Keep checking in with TechRadar throughout 2019 for the latest updates on Android Q, and to find out more about Pie, read our Android 9.0 overview.

Brought to you in association with Nokia and Android One, helping you to make more of your smartphone. You can learn more about the new Nokia 7.1here, and you’ll find more great advice on getting the most from your phonehere.

The best motherboard 2019: the top Intel and AMD motherboards we’ve seen

While they’re not as exciting as the best processors or graphics cards, the best motherboards are probably the most important part of your new PC build. With all the latest PC technology, the best motherboards are the backbone of the best PCs.

While they’re not as exciting as the best processors or graphics cards, the best motherboards are probably the most important part of your new PC build. With all the latest PC technology, the best motherboards are the backbone of the best PCs. The best motherboards will help your PC hardware reach its full potential by fully utilizing and optimizing it. They can even beef up your processor – by giving it more overclocking headroom.

Because they’re so critically important to your PC build, you should only consider the best motherboards. If you cheap out and get a crummy motherboard, and it dies on you, you’ll have no recourse but to rebuild your entire PC from scratch – and trust us, that sucks. You should just do yourself a favor, and buy the best motherboard the first time, so you won’t have to go through the chore of replacing a bad one.

There are dozens of motherboards out there, and the marketplace can get confusing. That’s why we went ahead and created this list of the best motherboards on the market. So, let us help you find the best motherboards that we’ve tested ourselves. Not only will they do everything you need them to and more, the best motherboards are built to last.

When Intel launched its Coffee Lake Refresh platform, and promised that they’d be the best processors for gaming, we knew we were going to get some kitted out motherboards that put that theory to the test. And, lo and behold, the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wifi – one of the best motherboards on the market today. Packed to the brim with gamer-centric features like reinforced PCIe slots and enough RGB lighting to blind you – this is the best Intel motherboard on the market right now.

Sometimes, when building a new PC, you’re just want to throw your hands up and say “just give me everything.” In times like this, you’ll want the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming. Packed with every feature that Intel’s new Coffee Lake Refresh processors support and then some with a RGB-lit shroud covering every inch of circuitry on this motherboard.

If you want to take advantage of everything Coffee Lake Refresh is capable of, but you can’t afford more exotic motherboards, you might want to look at the Gigabyte Z390 UD. This motherboard doesn’t have the same level of RGB bells and built-in Wi-Fi, but what it does have is a solid price to performance ratio. For a much lower cost, you’re getting all of the essential features that Z390 has to offer, while sacrificing some of the unnecessary features like SLI or extra M.2 slots. If you’re a budget gamer, the Gigabyte Z390 UD might be the best motherboard for you.

If you’re looking for an edge on the competition, and you don’t have a lot of extra room on your desk, you’re going to want a Micro-ATX motherboard – you’re going to want the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. What you’re getting here is a Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features a full-sized ATX part, but a fraction of the price. Despite it’s reduced size, you still get getting dual M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support and all the scalding performance that Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you’re looking for a smaller motherboard, you can’t afford not to get the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge MC.

If you need the smallest motherboard that you can get, without compromising on key features of your CPU, you should consider the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming. With this motherboard you don’t have to compromise on features or power. You don’t even need to settle for a measly 32GB of RAM, thanks to Asus’ double capacity memory compatibility – you can have up to 64GB of memory in the tiniest motherboard you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, like most Z390 boards, it’s a bit pricey, so prepare yourself for that.

With the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi, Gigabyte further illustrates is mastery of motherboard design. Rocking the new AMD X470 chipset, allowing full support of the new AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, this is the best motherboard if you’re looking to side with Team Red. What’s more, it supports Quad-GPU SLi and extremely fast RAM (up to 3,600 MHz) for peerless expandability, and thanks to its multi-zone RGB lighting, it looks good while kicking butt.

For the longest time, AMD has been the reigning champion of budget builds, and in 2018 that doesn’t seem to be changing. Marketed exclusively to gamers, the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is loaded front to back with features like two PCIe M.2 slots and quick performance tweaking buttons to make sure you’re on the top of the leaderboards at all times. And, since it’s a gamer-focused motherboard, it comes with all kinds of flashy RGB lighting that you can even customize it from your smartphone.

These days, small form-factor PCs are all the rage and with motherboards like the ASRock B450M-HDV, we think they’re going to stay that way. Now, while this motherboard doesn’t do SLI and supports only up to 32GB of RAM– it is a B450 unit, after all – it is still compelling due to its low price. Outside of these omissions, you still get a slot for a NVMe SSD and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports around back. If you’re looking to build a solid budget gaming PC, this is going to be the best motherboard for you.

Asus aims to prove that big things can come in small packages with the ROG Strix X470-I. Featuring the latest and greatest AMD chipset, everything in this tiny board is designed with performance in mind. Even down to the BIOS, where you can find a stress test for overclocks before you even boot into Windows. This board even elevates beyond the constraints of the Mnii-ITX form factor by including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so that you can install your M.2 NVMe SSD without getting in the way of other components.

The X-series processors are here and they’re spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz(!!!) and 8 different slots for memory modules. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and a good graphics card (or 3…) this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you throw at it.

If you’re the type of builder with lots of cash to burn and an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ build method, the Ryzen Thredripper X399 Professional Gaming board is for you. Not only does it support 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, but you can also pack this thing with up to 128GB DDR4 memory. It even features a ton of flashy RGB lighting, so that people can’t help but stare at your rig when they walk in the room. And, if you upgrade to Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, you can use this board, but keep in mind you may have to update your BIOS.

Coming to terms

If you’re unfamiliar about what makes the best motherboards, well, better than the rest, we’d like to include a primer for anyone who might not know that much about them. Motherboards are available in a broad range of different form factors, the most common of which being ATX and Micro ATX. However, there are plenty of more less common form factors including mini ITX and E-ATX. Don’t worry though, most of the best PC cases will support multiple form factors.

Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. For those not in the know, the socket is the part on the motherboard that the CPU locks into. Typically, newer Intel processors use either LGA 1151 or 2066 while the latest AMD Ryzen architecture is designed for the AM4 chipset.

Next up, these are the best gaming monitors you can buy this year

The 10 best 3D printers of 2019

Welcome to our list of the best 3D printers of 2019. In this guide we’ve collected the best 3D printers money can buy for a variety of different uses.

From home 3D printers for hobbyists, to professional 3D printers, this list has excellent choices for everyone.

Welcome to our list of the best 3D printers of 2019. In this guide we’ve collected the best 3D printers money can buy for a variety of different uses.

From home 3D printers for hobbyists, to professional 3D printers, this list has excellent choices for everyone. Because these 3D printers are so different from each other, we’ve not listed these in any order.

So, read our roundup carefully to see which 3D printer is best for your needs. There are small, affordable 3D printers that can sit on your desk, as well as expensive 3D printers that can handle huge volumes.

No one wants to spend all their time researching all the best 3D printers – not to mention spending a ton of cash – so our list of the best 3D printers contains clear and concise information on all kinds of 3D printers, so you can find the best 3D printer for your needs.

And, our exclusive price comparison tool will pinpoint the best deals on 3D printers, so when you’ve found the best 3D printer for your needs, you can simply buy it, confident that you’re paying the best price.

Check out what printers made it into our top 10 best business printer roundup

MakerBot Replicator+

The MakerBot Replicator+ is the successor to the popular MakerBot Replicator 3D printer, and the new version has brought improvements to nearly every part of the Replicator. This means the Replicator+ is faster and quieter than the previous version, while maintaining its excellent design and safety features. This desktop 3D printer is expensive, but it offers excellent print quality, and uses 1.75mm polylactic acid (PLA) filament. It’s also user-friendly enough for home users and hobbyists to use – as long as your budget can stretch to the high asking price.

XYZprinting da Vinci Mini

If you’re looking for a budget 3D printer, then there really is no better option than the XYZprinting da Vinci Mini. It remains one of the most affordable ways to get into 3D printing, and also the easiest, thanks to an easy-to-use interface. Just because it’s a budget model, doesn’t mean it doesn’t produce good results, and the 3D printed objects it creates are very impressive considering the price – and size – of this 3D printer. Speaking of size, the XYZprinting da Vinci Mini is an impressively compact printer that makes it easy to store in an office or on a desk.

Ultimaker 2+

The Ultimaker 2+ is a 3D printer that offers amazing print quality, making it one of the best 3D printers for professional use. It is incredibly reliable when it comes to producing 3D models, and the accuracy of the 3D replications is incredibly impressive. If you need a 3D printer that can reliably reproduce many 3D objects accurately, this is a fantastic choice. However, it is expensive, and the fact that it is aimed at professional environments means it’s less beginner-friendly than some of the other 3D printers here. Home users are better off looking elsewhere.

Formlabs Form 2

The Formlabs Form 2 is an excellent 3D printer for enthusiasts who don’t mind paying extra to get the very best print quality. It’s a beautifully-designed 3D printer, and can be connected to PCs via USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet. It doesn’t quite have the print reliability of the Ultimaker 2+, but the print quality more than makes up for a few errors.

M3D Micro 3D Printer

The M3D Micro 3D Printer is an excellent 3D printer for beginners. Its low price means you’re not investing lots of money if you’re not entirely sure 3D printing is for you, while the compact, cube, design means it can be easily placed within the home or office. It looks good, and is impressively quiet when in use. The print quality isn’t the best, however, and it is only able to make small models (not too surprising, considering the diminutive size). However, if you’re looking for your first 3D printer, this is an excellent choice.

FlashForge Creator Pro 2017

The FlashForge Creator Pro 2017 is the best 3D printer that sits between budget 3D printers and expensive professional models. It’s a lot cheaper than pro models, though it maintains the build quality and reliability that you’d come to expect from a professional 3D printer. It’s not quite as cheap as the budget and beginner models in this list, but it offers greater accuracy when printing 3D models. It is a tad noisy in use, however.

LulzBot Mini

If you’re looking for a first 3D printer to learn the ropes with, then the LulzBot Mini is another excellent choice. It’s got a decent price, and is easy to use, though the print speed is quite slow. The hardware is open source, which means it has a flexibility that propitiatory hardware lacks, as a committed community of makers can work together to create add-ons for the printer.

CubePro Trio

The bulk of home 3D printers are limited to one- or two-colour printing, but the CubePro Trio has the capability to print three different materials in one session. This can be especially useful if you want to create an enclosed mechanism: nylon can be used for the gears, ABS for the surround and PLA for the support structure that can then be dissolved with caustic soda. The CubePro is an ideal solution for modellers and engineers who need to create 3D prints with moving parts.

BEEVERYCREATIVE – BEETHEFIRST+

In general terms 3D printers are designed as boxes with purpose, however BeeTheFirst has created a printer with both quality of print and actual design in mind – this is a machine that really wouldn’t look out of place in a modern living room. BeeTheFirst has also thought about how and where people will be wanting to use their printers – at work, home or both – and has incorporated a thin design with a handle that enables the printer to be easily transported.

Lulzbot Taz 6

Initially you might be hard pressed to see the differences between the Taz 5 and 6; both feature a solid open frame build, large print base and ease of use.

However take a closer look at the refinements in design and improvements in usability and the upgrades quickly stand out. Features such as the auto leveling base has evolved from the one featured on the Luzbot Mini and works just as well on this larger scale, and the slight changes to frame layout and control panel are all welcome.

The Taz 6 is a big machine with an impressive print area of 280mm x 280mm x 250mm, with a 0.5mm nozzle capable of a minimum layer height of 75 microns and takes 2.85mm filament.

Here’s our pick of the best traditional 2D printers

The best portable projectors of 2018: top mini projectors for work and play

The best portable projectors allow you to easily carry around the device in a bag, or even in your hands, letting you quickly and easily set it up while you’re travelling.

The best portable projectors allow you to easily carry around the device in a bag, or even in your hands, letting you quickly and easily set it up while you’re travelling.

This makes them excellent devices for professionals who travel a lot, and ideal for presentations. Of course, they can also be used for entertainment as well, giving you an impressively large screen to watch movies or play games on.

When buying the best portable projector for your needs, there are certain things you should look out for. First of all is connectivity. Most should have HDMI, which will let you plug in almost any device into it, though some will have a mini HDMI port, so you’ll need a special cable.

Others have USB, and some are wireless, which makes broadcasting from your smartphone or tablet easy. Some of the best portable projectors also have batteries, which makes them easy to place for optimum image quality.

You should also check to see if a portable projector has built-in speakers. If it does, it means that’s one less thing to carry around with you, but don’t go expecting cinema-like sound quality from those small speakers.

Also, make a note of maximum screen size and resolution. Many portable projectors can project large images, especially considering their small size.

As well as listing the best portable projectors, we also have our very own price comparison tool that will help you find the best prices as well.

Best home cinema projectors

The Philips PicoPix PPX4010 is impressively small, even by portable projector standards. It’s so small, that you wonder what use case demands it be that small, aside from it being able to easily fit into a your briefcase, or even a jacket pocket. It features an easy setup and is able to project content only drawing power via USB. The Philips PicoPix PPX4010 has a 100 lumens brightness, which means it doesn’t have to be used in pitch black conditions to see.

The ML750e by Optoma is a lot more powerful than the pocket-sized PicoPix from Phillips, but it’s not quite as small. Still, it weighs just 380g with a small footprint that makes this easy to carry around. The differences in size between this and the PicoPix are negligible for the power you get in return: a 700 Lumens lamp that lets you present in rooms that aren’t completely darkened. The Optoma ML750e is one of the best portable projectors in the world thanks to its impressive range of ports. It comes with one MHL-ready HDMI input, a USB 2.0 slot for thumbdrives, a universal I/O slot, and a microSD card slot. The ML550 handled our 90-inch test screen with impressive results, and peaked at a 60-inch-or-so size. However, you need to buy a dongle for Wi-Fi access.

Usually when you choose a portable business projector you have to make a few sacrifices in order to have such a small device – but that’s not the case with the Epson EB-S41. Its 3,300 lumen brightness is much brighter than many other portable projectors, and means you have more flexibility when setting up the EB-S31 in environments where there is still ambient light. The EB-S41 is small and light enough to carry around with you on business trips, but it also has a very large projection size – up to 300 inches – which makes this an incredibly versatile portable business projector.

The LG Minibeam PH550G is a brilliant portable projector that’s ideal people who often work on the road thanks to its compact size. It’s also wireless as well, allowing you to connect a smartphone or tablet to it, and showcase your presentations or media quickly and easily. This is great for impromptu meetings, and despite its small stature, it offers brilliant image and sound quality.

The Asus ZenBeam E1 is a beautifully designed pocket projector that’s small and light enough to carry around with you if you often make presentations on the road – or if you like to watch movies while travelling. Despite its small size, it can project images up to 120 inches in size, and it has a built-in 6,000mAh battery that can power the projector for up to 5 hours, which makes it rather flexible, as you don’t have to worry about finding a plug socket to power the device. In a rather nice touch, the projector can also double as a power bank for other mobile devices. The Asus ZenBeam E1 isn’t the most powerful portable projector, but its versatility, ease of setup and eye catching design gives it a place on our list of best business projectors.

The ViewSonic PLED-W800 is an excellent performer and one of the best portable projectors money can buy, weighing in at 830g and measuring 175 x 138 x 51.5mm (W x D x H). With a lamp that can reach up to 800 lumens, you can still run a presentation in whatever room you can bring it to, provided you can shade the windows and lower the lighting. It comes with an SD Card slot, a USB slot, an MHL-ready HDMI input (for connecting DVD/Blu-ray players and also smartphones/tablets) and a VGA input for laptops.

Want something more cinema-focussed? Check out the best home projectors for 2018

Where to Travel for Wellness in the New Year

NEW YORK, Dec. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Now that the holidays have passed it’s the perfect time to return to wellness. Set a New Year’s resolution to make time to escape for a wellness-infused vacation.

NEW YORK, Dec. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Now that the holidays have passed it’s the perfect time to return to wellness. Set a New Year’s resolution to make time to escape for a wellness-infused vacation. Gone are the days when vacations meant over-indulging. Now a new crop of wellness properties and amenities means you can get away for a break and come back recharged and ready to take on 2019.

“Wellness is the new luxury,” said Tzell Travel Co-president Cindy Schlansky. “Our increasingly hectic and over-scheduled lives mean that often those looking to disconnect must schedule time away to focus on health and wellness. And we find that rather than traveling for total relaxation, travelers want to be active and plug into new wellness learnings and practices.”

We asked Tzell Travel advisors to suggest hot wellness properties for 2019. Each of the following hotels and resorts are a part of the Tzell SELECT Hotels & Resorts network which allows Tzell advisors to offer complimentary amenities such as room upgrades, breakfast included, early check-in and late check-out upon availability, Wi-Fi and food and beverage credits at hotel restaurants, to name a few.

Hot wellness resorts according to Tzell Travel advisors, that are a part of the Tzell SELECT collection include:

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa – Settled in the middle of 200 lavishly landscaped acres along the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, guests can immerse themselves in as much or as little as they like at Belmond Maroma. Guests can enjoy the magnificent colors of the flowers in the jungle or stroll along the white sand beaches just before a yoga class or spa treatment at the Kinan Spa. The treatments come from ancient rituals and a holistic healing approach, such as the traditional Temazcal ceremonies that will help visitors detox and purify their bodies. In many of its treatments, the spa incorporates honey that is known for its strong antimicrobial properties, from stingless Melipona bees.

Tzell Perks: Two, 30-minute relaxing massages per room, per stay and a special bed decoration on arrival; complimentary full breakfast; early check-in and late check-out upon availability; and upgrade upon availability.

Park Hyatt Mallorca – At Spain’sPark Hyatt Mallorca, guests will have the chance to enjoy an exceptional spa day at Serenitas Spa. Drawing on Mallorca’s rich history and cultural heritage, and inspired by the local culture and tranquility of the beautiful island, the spa is a true oasis of relaxation and serenity for those who understand the importance of self-care. Serenitas Spa offers everything imaginable for a relaxing and energizing experience with personally tailored treatments, including facials, pain and tension alleviating massages, Himalayan salt saunas, sensory showers, an outdoor vitality pool, and salon services. Also popular are the alpha quartz sand bed as well as the single or couple treatment suites with relaxing bed, terrace, and bath.

Tzell Perk: Tzell Travel clients enjoy added amenities including a 100 Euro food and beverage credit; complimentary buffet breakfast; early check-in and late check-out upon availability; room upgrade upon availability; and high-speed wi-fi.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach – Fontainebleau Miami Beach is one of the most famous resort hotels in the world. This glamorous Miami icon features eye-catching design and high-tech touches throughout its elegantly extensive property. Its Lapis Spa is a luxurious retreat overlooking the Atlantic Ocean that embraces the beauty and energy of its setting to create a transformative experience for body, mind and spirit. Lapis offers complementary thermal heat therapies of water. These invigorating therapies call on the timeless power of water to restore your energy flow, clear the mind and open the heart.

Tzell Perk: Tzell Travel clients enjoy added amenities including a $100 resort credit; complimentary buffet breakfast; early check-in and late check-out upon availability; and room upgrade upon availability.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa – Blessed by natural mineral hot springs, locally sourced products and engaging service, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, offers an unforgettable retreat. The Watsu Pool features natural mineral waters. The hotel also offers guided morning hikes taking guests around to scenic local parks and look out areas, which helps to further immerse them in their stay and experience in Sonoma County.

Tzell Perk: Tzell Travel clients enjoy added amenities including a $100 resort credit; complimentary full breakfast; early check-in and late check-out upon availability; room upgrade upon availability; and basic wi-fi.

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda – At Lefay they strive to help guests feel better in every way, from physical strength to mental balance. The Spa not only has an array of usual massage offerings but also offers treatment packages like the World of Water and Fire. Water is in abundance with four indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools. The exclusive Lefay Spa Method combines traditional Chinese medicine with Western science, helping spa guests attain that peak physical and mental state of relaxation and good health. Also the Lefay Spa Menu is a light and healthy detoxifying take on Mediterranean cuisine.

Tzell Perk: Tzell Travel clients enjoy added amenities including a $100 resort credit; complimentary buffet breakfast; early check-in and late check-out upon availability; room upgrade upon availability; and high-speed wi-fi.

Since 1966, Tzell Travel Group has been providing its clients with the highest quality, most personalized travel experience integrated with today’s technology – whether it be corporate, entertainment or leisure travel. Tzell maintains its headquarters in New York City and has offices in 20 states. In everything it does, Tzell Travel Group places the highest priority on both its clients and its agents. For the individual traveler, Tzell addresses value, convenience, comfort and safety, with its customized quality traveler services. For the corporation, Tzell Travel clients also have access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a portfolio of select travel offers including discounts on international and domestic flights, value-added benefits at lodging establishments, shipboard credits on cruises and savings on escorted and vacation packages. Membership to The Travel Collection is offered at no additional cost to U.S. American Express Gold Card, Business Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Card® and Business Platinum Card® Members. For more information visit www.TheTravelCollection.com.

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients through our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With over 7,000 agency locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest traditional travel agency companies.

Contact: Carrie Culpepper
212-944-2121 x2809
cculpepper@travelleaders.com

SOURCE Tzell Travel Group

The best printers of 2019: inkjet, color, mono and laser printers

Welcome to our list of the best printers of 2019. Whether you’re looking for a new printer for your home or your office (or both), then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the very best printers right here.

Welcome to our list of the best printers of 2019. Whether you’re looking for a new printer for your home or your office (or both), then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the very best printers right here.

From all-in-one printers that can handle scanning and photocopying as well as printing, to specialised photo printers that can produce lab-quality printouts of your photographs, we’ve put together this list of the best printers of 2019 so that you can spend less time shopping and more time getting some work done.

The best printers come in every shape and size these days, which means there’s a lot to choose from when you’re shopping for a new printer – we’re here to help.

We went ahead and discarded the jargon to make buying your new printer as simple as possible. We’ve also split this list into the best inkjet printers and the best laser printers, and we include standard printers alongside more complicated units. Regardless of the kind of printer you’re looking for, you’ll find it right here, and our exclusive price comparison tool will help you get the best printers for a bargain.

Check out what printers made it into our top 10 best business printers roundupBest inkjet printer

The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is a solid printer for small businesses and workgroups given its fast print speeds, solid print qualities and remote printing and scanning capabilities. Using the larger XL print cartridges, the WF-4630 delivers economical print costs that rival laser printers.

Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630

Best cheap printer

The Deskjet 3630 is a decent printer for the price, offering reasonable print speeds and the ability to connect to mobile devices without breaking the bank. Just be wary as its ink cartridges can be priced when picked up from shops. It doesn’t quite have the build quality of HP’s more expensive Envy models, but if you’re looking for an initially cheap model that catches the eye when sat on a shelf, the Deskjet 3630 is a great option.

Read the full review: HP Deskjet 3630

Best laser printer

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.

Best printer for home

Great for the traveling professional or someone who needs a small printer for occasional use, printing photos or using the scanner function. It’s a bit pricey to buy – and to run – but the flexibility and quality of the printouts is excellent.

Best printer for the office

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.

Best all-in-one printer

Consumables are usually expensive when it comes to printers. So it is quite surprising that one vendor, Epson, single-handedly decided to challenge that status quo by allowing users to refill their printer using ink bottles. What’s even more surprising is that Epson includes two years of ink with the package; no more expensive cartridges and instead, you have enough material to deliver 11,000 pages worth of black and colour inks (that’s 700ml worth of liquid). Oh and there’s even a three-year warranty making this a great choice for bean counters fixing the TCO of their printers. The ET-4550 lacks the features found on cheaper competitors – it is relatively slower (although it has a higher printing resolution) and has a small paper input tray.

Best 3D printer

The MakerBot Replicator+ is the successor to the popular MakerBot Replicator 3D printer, and the new version has brought improvements to nearly every part of the Replicator. This means the Replicator+ is faster and quieter than the previous version, while maintaining its excellent design and safety features. This desktop 3D printer is expensive, but it offers excellent print quality, and uses 1.75mm polylactic acid (PLA) filament. It’s also user-friendly enough for home users and hobbyists to use – as long as your budget can stretch to the high asking price.


Best wireless printer

If you’re looking for a great all-round printer which doesn’t skimp on print quality for your photographs, then we don’t think you will be disappointed by what the PIXMA TS9150, Canon’s flagship printer, has to offer.

While it’s certainly more expensive than some of the cheap two in one printers you can pick up, it’s not a bad price for something which produces high quality prints, especially if you only need to print at A4 or below.

Best of all, the print quality here is stunning, and it also has an attractive design. While the looks of your printer may not seem that important, it does mean you don’t feel the need to try and hide it away out of sight if you’re using it at home.

Best portable printer

This handy portable printer allows you to print full page A4 documents while on the go, and is small enough to easily fit in a briefcase or shoulder bag. It supports the MFI Bluetooth protocol, so it’s a great choice for printing wirelessly from your smartphone or Apple iOS device. There’s also USB 2.0 support for hooking up to your PC, and you can buy an additional rechargeable high-capacity battery, which gives you around 600 pages from a single charge.

Best budget laser printer

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.

What about the best 3D printers?

The best small business printers of 2019

Welcome to our list of the best small business printers of 2019, where we pick the top printers that best suit the needs of small companies.

This means that these printers can cope with the demands of a small office, while being flexible enough that it can keep up if your business expands.

Welcome to our list of the best small business printers of 2019, where we pick the top printers that best suit the needs of small companies.

This means that these printers can cope with the demands of a small office, while being flexible enough that it can keep up if your business expands. The best small business printers are affordable and reliable devices that can grow with your company.

That means that these printers are fast and accurate, while keeping the initial investment low. The best small business printers are also economical to run, both in terms of power consumption and consumables such as ink.

The brilliant small business printers in this list are also robust enough to handle several people sending documents to it throughout the day, and if it can also handle photocopying and scanning as well, then that’s even better. All-in-one printers that offer photocopying and scanning (and even fax) not only can save your small business money compared to buying the devices individually, having them all in one compact device will save space as well.

So, without further ado, here is our list of the 10 best small business printers on the market today. If you’re not sure about what type of business printer you need, head to the bottom of our guide, where we explain the best ways to find and buy the best small business printer that suits your needs.

Check out our list of best laser and inkjet printers for all audiences

So where do you need to start? Even the most modest office will likely be networked, and sharing a resource as useful as a printer is an essential. So you should only be looking at printers that are capable of networked use. Wired offers speed and robust function for a fixed office. Wireless is flexible, cheap to deploy but not as fast in use.

Here are the best 10 printers for businesses – as chosen by the Techradar Pro team – large and small, from a basic monochrome lasers suitable for a small business and a home office through to a small departmental multifunction printer.

The notion of the large, expensive laser printer should have long been dispelled and if nothing else can do that then the Ricoh SP-213w will. This small-footprint mono printer costs less than many inkjets but has the capability to provide basic wireless-based print services to a home office or smaller office. With a monthly duty cycle of 20,000 pages per month, a 1200 x 600dpi print resolution and a print speed of up to 22 pages per minute, its small size shouldn’t hide the fact that this could be a little workhorse. Beyond these basics, the Ricoh SP-213w offers manual duplex, a Print and Scan mobile app, support for PCL and a two-year pan-European warranty.

If you want an affordable printer for your business that excels in black and white print quality – and is a speedy performer to boot – then you really can’t go wrong with the Samsung Xpress M2835DW. Its small and compact body contains a huge host of features, and its easy to use and understand buttons makes quickly firing off prints a piece of cake.

It supports both wired and Wi-Fi connectivity, runs quietly and can even be controlled via smartphone. Its Eco mode allows you to control the amount of power and ink it consumes while printing, and overall this is an absolutely fantastic business printer.

The Brother HL-L8360CDW is an excellent all-round printer for the office. Thanks to its large capacity and fast print speeds, this is a printer that won’t grind to a halt in a busy environment.

It’s not just fast either – the print quality is also very good as well. It prints in both black and white and colour, and it has low running costs as well, making this an economical choice in the long run.

There was a time, not so long ago, when colour laser printing was exorbitant. That has fortunately changed with the likes of the Ricoh SPC-240DN doing their best to bring prices down. This is a massive printer at nearly 24kg so you will need to have a strong back and enough desk space to take it on board. Its starter toner kit will produce around 1000 pages and probably better than inkjet ones which dry out with time. It can print up to 16 pages per minute (colour or mono) and has a duty cycle of 30,000 pages per month. It offers both Ethernet and USB ports and, with a 250-page input paper tray, has enough to make a small office pleased. However, at 600 x 600dpi, its print resolution may leave some wanting for more.

The HP PageWide Pro 477dw isn’t going to win any design awards but what it lacks in aesthetics it really does make up for in functionality and speed. This entry-level office multi-function inkjet printer offers all the standard print, copy, scan and fax features you’d want to see in an office workhorse. Add to that wired Ethernet alongside wireless networking and it has all the connectivity, too (including Wi-Fi Direct and NFC). Suited to the home and smaller small office, it has a conveniently compact footprint, until you open its paper trays to print. A top speed of 55ppm is stunning for this class of printer, particularly considering its asking price. The inclusion of a 50-sheet automatic document feeder adds to an all-round excellent paper handling capability. Its ability to multitask with print and copy jobs nicely complements the large touch-capable LCD screen.

Consumables are usually expensive when it comes to printers. So it is quite surprising that one vendor, Epson, single-handedly decided to challenge that status quo by allowing users to refill their printer using ink bottles. What’s even more surprising is that Epson includes two years of ink with the package; no more expensive cartridges and instead, you have enough material to deliver 11,000 pages worth of black and colour inks (that’s 700ml worth of liquid). Oh and there’s even a three-year warranty making this a great choice for bean counters fixing the TCO of their printers. The ET-4550 lacks the features found on cheaper competitors – it is relatively slower (although it has a higher printing resolution) and has a small paper input tray.

Ricoh makes it four in our shortlist with the SG-2100N, a bargain basement printer that brings together the best of inkjet and laser technology. It delivers the sort of performance usually associated with devices costing three times its price. A water insoluble, viscous ink combined with a higher-than-average print resolution and a print speed – 29ppm – that surpasses anything at this price range (albeit in draft) make this Ricoh printer one of the best on the market for very small offices. Other features worth noting are manual duplex capabilities, a two-year onsite warranty (parts and labour), a well thought out design, affordable consumables, an Ethernet port and a generous input paper tray.

Read the full review: Ricoh SG-2100N

The HP Officejet Pro 8720 All-in-One is a practical and affordable business printer that also comes with copy and fax capabilities, and it can connect to your network wirelessly as well. It’s an excellent fit for small to medium-sized businesses, but for larger organisations it may struggle to keep up. It’s got excellent printing speeds, however, and the touch screen makes it simple to use. However, it lacks a few business-orientated features that its more expensive brethren boast,and it’s not quite the best when it comes to print quality, either. However, this is an excellent business printer if you’re conscious of your budget.

This is a heavyweight colour laser multifunction device intended for small business or workgroup use. Its slabby black and white design is functional and includes a large touchscreen for control, though the printer is only rated up to a recommended 3,000 pages per month. The MFC-L8650CDW includes a 50-sheet automatic document feeder which handles duplex scans and the printer offers duplex copying and printing as well; a welcome surprise! It’s rated at 28ppm for both black and colour prints dropping to about seven sheets when printing in duplex. It can handle input from USB, Ethernet or via wireless hook-up, with support for iOS and Android mobiles. A USB port offers scanning to and printing from USB drives.

If only the fastest printer will do, then consider the HL-S7000DN. Surprisingly enough, it is an inkjet printer rather than a laser one. It’s fast enough to print out the entire contents of the Bible (Old and New Testaments) in about 20 minutes at the speed of 100 pages per minute (that’s roughly 500 words per second). If your needs are less ambitious, then the 500-sheet capacity of its input and output tray should suffice. There’s also a 100-sheet multipurpose tray to accommodate other media types. As expected, it prints at a resolution of 600 x 600dpi, has a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port. Its maximum monthly duty cycle, 275,000 pages or 16 A4 reams printed every day, should satisfy even the busiest offices.

How to buy a business printer

Multi-function features can be found across the board and at all cost scales. Basic features start with USB Key and card readers for PC-free printing, moving to scanner and copier functions. At the higher end, automatic document feeders (ADF) can manage 50 copies in a single go and produce booklets including duplex printing, stapling and folding. Often the basic ADF features will accommodate most medium-sized offices.

In the past there has been a marked difference in Cost Per Page (CPP) between lasers and inkjets but in recent years, inkjets have managed to drop their prices to compete. Either way it’s important you carefully assess the CPP of each device.

Manufacturers measure the toner or cartridge yields with an industry standard ISO rating. So you can safely assess the total price of replacing all the cartridges or toners divided by the print yield across all the potential models.

The total volume of prints you’re going to make also needs to be taken into account. Devices often quote a “duty cycle” monthly maximum and recommended figures. These are the total number of prints it’s designed to handle per month. If possible assess the number of prints per employee for the office and ensure the device is capable of meeting your current and future demands.

Finally in the past colour especially for laser printers has demanded a premium, that’s not so much the case these days. However these models are still more expensive due to the additional materials required for the toners and printer manufacture. There’s still a big enough differential that if you don’t need regular colour you should opt for a mono model, perhaps using a cheaper inkjet or even out-of-house printing for occasional colour requirements.