The best portable SSD 2018: top external solid state drives

Welcome to our pick of the best portable SSDs of 2018. In this guide we look at the most dependable portable SSDs that combine speed, storage space and portability to ensure that you can safely keep all of your important files with you on your travels.

The best portable SSD for your needs will come with bags of capacity, so you won’t run out when storing your important files, such as photographs, while also making use of the inherent speed benefits of using solid state disks.

So, when looking to buy the best portable SSD, you’ll want to consider how much storage space it has. Around 500GB should be enough for many people, but if you want to store lots of large files, such as uncompressed videos, photos or music, then you should consider 1TB or higher of storage space.

You’ll also want to consider what type of connection the portable SSD has. Older connections, such as USB 2.0, will cause a bottleneck, as the connection cannot transfer files as fast as the SSD can read and write.

The best portable SSDs, then, will come with a more modern connection for faster SSDs. At least USB 3.1, or the newer USB Type-C connection. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your laptop or computer also supports these connections.

So, read on to find out what our picks are of the best portable SSDs money can buy in 2018.

1. Samsung T5 SSD

Our pick for the best portable SSD of 2018

Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB Type-C

Xero

Xero is a New Zealand cloud-based accounting solution. It was founded in 2006 and has offices in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Singapore and the US. 

The platform offers a wide-range of accounting features which are coveted by most business users. These include invoicing, payroll, expense management, projects, reporting and financial statements. Most tasks are automated, such as invoice reminders and recurring billing.

You can use the handy mobile app to access your account at any time.

Sole traders and freelancers may not need some of the more advanced features such as payroll but this is reflected in the pricing structure.

Pricing

Pricing

Xero accounting allows you to sample the solution with a 30-day free trial. There are three pricing plans available if you decide to continue.

The ‘Starter’ package is $9 (£6.91) per month. This includes access to five invoices, quotes, bills and reconcile twenty bank transactions. 

The ‘Standard’ plan is $30 (£23.05) per month which includes unlimited invoices, bills, quotes, bank transaction reconciliation and payroll for up to five people.

The ‘Premium 10’ package costs $70 (£53.77) per month. This includes everything the ‘Standard’ plan has to offer plus payroll for up to 10 people.

Setup

Setup

Once you have chosen your plan or if you have taken advantage of the 30-fay free trial, Xero will ask you to input your name, phone number and email address. After filling these in, you will need to verify your email. Once this has been completed you are ready to get started setting up your account.

Xero will ask you to choose a password. Once chosen, you will arrive at the main dashboard. the platform guides you through the setup process. You will just need to confirm a few details, such as your financial year, whether to accept Xero accountancy categories and to securely connect to your bank. You will also be asked to enter your bank balances and any invoices owed by you or to you.

While this is a simple process, it does take some time. Most of your time will be spent importing bank statements, contacts and any other necessary information business accounting.

Interface

Interface

The dashboard is easy on the eye and simply laid out. There a number of tabs across the top of the page. These include payroll, projects accounts, settings and contacts. The basic features are easy to locate but some of the more complex functions are harder to find.  However, once you get a feel for the software, navigation will no longer be an issue.

Each tab has a dropdown menu containing a variety of options. These are extremely simple to navigate.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, there is also a support button.

Xero walks you through each step of not only the setup process but also adding payroll, contacts and setting up reports. This is relatively effortless but will take time to input all the details necessary to get the payroll function working based upon your needs.

You can also add another business to Xero via the ‘My Xero’ tab.

The main dashboard displays your total cashflow, bills owed and invoices still outstanding. You can edit the dashboard if the layout isn’t to your liking.

Payroll

Features

Xero comes with its own integrated payroll software unlike its crisper looking cousin FreshBooks. 

Xero payroll is available in New Zealand, Australia, 37 US states and in the UK. It can be accessed by those who have purchased the two higher priced tiers. You can setup the bank account for paying employees, configure pay-dates through calendars, setup tax information, workplace pensions and add all employees into your system. Xero will walk you through each of these individually.

You can customize pay schedules, keep track of benefits, overtime, sick leave, requests for time-off and deductions.  

The payroll section is both straightforward to use and feature-rich. 

Projects

Xero has recently added a handy new feature called ‘Projects’. It is free to access during the 30-day trial period. 

This feature allows you to submit time and expenses relating to individual projects. Xero can also track project profitability.

You can track quotes, deposits paid and expenditure. 

The reporting feature is much more in-depth than similar accounting software like GoDaddy Bookkeeping

You can create reports relating to financial, sales, tax, purchases, accounting, inventory, payroll, fixed assets and projects under the ‘Reports’ tab 

You can also track your fixed assets. This is a feature which is not found in QuickBooks Online. Xero lets you import fixed assets or add them manually. It also calculates the depreciation on

Mobile apps

When you subscribe to Xero you can also download corresponding mobile apps. 

You can approve employee expenses and upload your own using the mobile app too.

Once you have completed a job for a customer, you can even send them an invoice immediately straight from your mobile. 

The app can also store all your relevant business information, such as addresses and contacts.

Final verdict

Xero is an excellent cloud-based accounting choice suitable for business who need a more in-depth package. If you want all your accountancy needs met by one platform, then Xero might be the best choice for you.

The sheer variety of functions available through the solution would have most users scrambling to subscribe. It might seem overwhelming to those who don’t need such complex accounting software. However, after using it for a while, some users will wonder how they ever survived without it.

It does take some time to get setup but this is just a once off, after which you will be able to use the software quickly and easily. 

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Anonymous Facebook ads urge voters ‘to bin Chequers’

An anonymous website has been using Facebook adverts to encourage British voters to email their MP and urge them “to bin Chequers” and back Brexit.

Evidence given to the government’s fake news inquiry found that a site called Mainstream Network has spent more than £250,000 on the pro-Brexit campaign.

No information is available to say who owns or funds Mainstream Network.

It comes as Facebook announced new rules around political advertising – and its funding – earlier this week.

The site now requires political advertisers to prove their identity and that they are based in the UK, before they can run political adverts.

It also requires them to publicly declare who paid for the adverts before they can run.

“Here we have an example of a clearly sophisticated organisation spending lots of money on a political campaign, and we have absolutely no idea who is behind it,” said Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons culture select committee.

“The only people who know who is paying for these adverts is Facebook,” said Mr Collins, whose committee has been investigating so-called fake news.

Mr Collins, and fellow committee member Paul Farrelly, are among many MPs whose constituents have been targeted by the Facebook ads.

Campaign group 89up, which uncovered the digital adverts and shared their analysis with the select committee, say the adverts are designed “to specifically influence MPs”.

When clicked on, the advert generates a pre-populated email encouraging users to lobby their MP on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Facebook faces its first test

Analysis by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

Last week, Facebook launched its new transparency code for political advertising in the UK.

Now that code, which is meant to show just how ads are targeted and who is paying for them, faces its first test. The system also requires any organisation wanting to place a political advert to provide proof of their identity and location.

But here’s the problem – the “chuck Chequers” ads were posted before the code came into effect. Search the new Facebook archive of UK political ads and you won’t find anything from the Mainstream Network.

But even in the future the identity of organisations paying for ads could remain murky to Facebook users – a label saying “Paid for by the Mainstream Network” will not reveal much about the origins of the money spent.

The “chuck Chequers” campaign could however be of interest to two regulators. The Electoral Commission may see this as further evidence that it needs more powers to force political advertisers to reveal their identities, and the Information Commissioner will want to examine any breach of the new GDPR data rules.

And for one man with a great interest in both politics and social media this all comes at a tricky time. Sir Nick Clegg starts his new job as Facebook’s global communications chief on Monday – instead of escaping the politics of Brexit he will find it on the top of his in-tray.

Researchers at 89up estimate that the Mainstream Network has spent up to £257,000 to promote posts across the social network, potentially reaching almost 11 million people in the process.

It also suggests the practice of copying in Mainstream Network to the campaign emails may result in a GDPR breach.

“While debate on one of the central issues facing our country is part of a thriving democracy, there is an important question of where campaigning stops and political advertising starts,” said Mr Collins.

“Facebook has recently announced a set of changes to increase transparency around political advertising on its platform.

“This example offers Facebook an opportunity to show it is committed to making that change happen – if you are targeted with a message or asked to lobby your MP, you should know exactly who is behind the organisation asking you to do it.”

Facebook’s Rob Leathern said “new requirements” would be coming into effect on 7 November, meaning political adverts on the site would be obliged to carry a message saying who paid for it.

“Advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location through an authorisations process and accurately represent the organization or person paying for the ad in a disclaimer.

“These steps must happen or the advertiser will be prevented from running ads related to politics on Facebook,” said Mr Leathern, director of product management.

“We know we can’t prevent election interference alone and offering more ad transparency allows journalists, researchers and other interested parties to raise important questions.”

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Core i9-9900K live review + benchmarks

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The best PC gaming headsets 2018

Now that the price of the best gaming PCs is coming down, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by picking up one of the best PC gaming headsets. The importance of high sound quality can’t be understated, and is one of the best ways to boost your gaming experience – not everything is about pretty, ray traced graphics.

Even the best gaming monitors don’t always come with speakers built-in, and the ones that are usually don’t feature pristine, high-fidelity audio. If you’re looking for great sound while playing the best PC games, then you need either the best computer speakers, or the best gaming headsets to hear all those immersive background noises, sound effects and dialog as clearly as possible.

The best gaming headsets are generally more affordable and take up less space than their louder cousins. They’ll let you have all the bells and whistles that speakers can offer, but with one difference: privacy. For anyone who doesn’t want to keep their roommates awake all night, here are the best PC gaming headsets on the market in 2018.

HyperX Cloud Revolver S

HyperX Cloud Revolver S

1. HyperX Cloud Revolver S

Elite feel and sound at a premium price

Interface: Wired (USB) | Features: 7.1-channel surround sound, 50mm drivers, Dolby DSP, 3.5mm jack

Intel 9th-gen Core i9-9900K Review: The ‘best gaming CPU’ is also the fastest

When Intel declared its new 9th gen Core i9-9900K the “world’s best gaming CPU,” it lied. After poking and prodding the CPU, we can say without a doubt that it is actually the fastest mainstream CPU around and—wait for it—the fastest gaming CPU too.

For those who watch every nuance of CPU movements like a degenerate gambler following the ponies, this news won’t exactly come as a shock. After all, take a 14nm++ (+?) CPU, throw on two more cores and crank the clock speed up to 5GHz almost all of the time, and it’s easy to see how the Core i9-9900K would top the charts.

The shocker to us wasn’t that it was fast, but just how fast, and how easy it was to make even faster.

9th gen LGA1151 lineup Intel

Intel has three new 9th-gen CPUs in the stable and now offers an 8-core option.

Just what does 9th-gen even mean?

With this launch, Intel has decided to notch up its processor series to the 9th generation. We actually asked the company what the generation denomination meant years ago when it clicked over to 6th gen. Back then, Intel said it was related to the graphics core generations on the CPUs. With the 7th generation, Intel said even though the graphics cores were exactly the same, the changes to the media processing engine (technically part of the graphics core) was enough to count. Umm, OK.

With the 8th generation of CPUs, we didn’t even bother to ask, because it was clear it didn’t really mean anything except maybe newer and faster.

So if you want the short answer, 9th gen doesn’t mean anything except that it’s better than trying to call it New CPU Number 42. As far as we can tell, the x86 cores are the same as on the 8th gen CPU, and the graphics core, too.

intel 9th gen core 4 Intel

STIM and More Cores!

There is one key change with this generation, though: more cores. Obviously stung by AMD’s wildly successful 8-core Ryzen CPUs, Intel has decided to match AMD on core counts. The top-end CPU reviewed here, the Core i9-9900K, features eight cores with Hyper-Threading. Intel didn’t just glue on two more cores and call it a day, either. It also brought back a soldered thermal interface material, or STIM. 

In the picture below, you’re not seeing the silicon chip itself, you’re seeing a metal heat spreader, which helps protect the delicate die from damage by, you guessed it, spreading the heat.

In-screen fingerprint reader? Samsung’s working on in-screen everything

The fact that Samsung is working on an in-screen fingerprint reader for the Galaxy S10 has been well documented, but it’s clear now that Samsung has a gamut of in-screen features in the works.

A photo posted to Twitter by user Ice Universe during Samsung Display’s ‘2018 Samsung OLED Forum’ event in China reveals the display division of Samsung’s entire 2019 product roadmap. Of course, the long-rumored in-screen fingerprint reader is shown clearly on the presentation slide, but so are three other exciting developments.

The slide briefly describes an Under Panel Sensor, or UPS, that will likely house a camera (i.e. image sensor) in addition to other sensors. There are also plans to implement haptics beneath the screen, or HoD, which we imagine would work similar to Apple’s 3D Touch on iOS devices. Finally, the slide reveals plans for sound on display technology, or SoD, as in front-facing speakers and earphones beneath the display.

This collection of features could be the key to truly bezel-less, 100% screen phones and tablets (perhaps even laptops). Up until now, these nearly all-screen smartphone designs have required ‘notches’ of various sizes.

Now, it’s well known that the in-screen fingerprint reader is already available in smartphones, but those phones are currently exclusive to China and surrounding regions. This expansion of in-screen technologies, from a global technology firm, could allow for all sorts of new device form factors, especially if Samsung Display licenses out the technology to prospective buyers.

As for when we can expect to see these developments in products on the shelves, it could be as early as 2019, especially the well-established fingerprint reader, but more likely to be 2020.

  • Everything you need to know about OLED displays

Via MSPowerUser

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