Dell XPS 13

Dell has done it all over again. The latest and greatest Dell XPS 13 recently arrived, and it’s frankly already been our favorite laptop for the last two years.

This time coming equipped with the latest, 7th generation (Kaby Lake) Intel processors behind that same eye-dropping display and punchy keyboard we’ve come to enjoy typing on – now all within an optional rose gold frame – the new XPS 13 has wowed us all over again.

And, much of that isn’t thanks to crazy innovations or fresh additions, but a few key refinements that help the XPS 13 stand out amongst a sea of laptops that are perhaps trying to change a bit too quickly. The XPS 13 is a tortoise surrounded by hares … only it’s got a rocket strapped to its back. 

Dell XPS 13 review

Price and availability

Available now through its website and several retailers, Dell begins the bidding for the standard XPS 13 at $799 (£999, AU$1,899) to start. In the US, that gets you a Kaby Lake, dual-core Intel Core i3 processor with Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state storage behind an FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), non-touch InfinityEdge display. (The UK and Australian versions come starting with an Intel Core i5.)

If you want the touchscreen at QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) resolution – and the two screen features only come as a pair – you’ll need to cough up at least $1,299 (£1,249, AU$2,499). That also nets you a dual-core Intel Core i5 chip, but sadly doesn’t up the storage or RAM capacity. Of course, you can choose to upgrade both of those components for extra cash. 

Dell XPS 13 review

Weight-wise, the XPS 13 is a totable 2.7 pounds (1.2kg). It’s something you could toss in a bag between classes or take with you on your next business trip and barely notice it’s there. (That said, it’s probably for the best if you cover your new investment with a case just to be safe.)

The screen itself is Dell’s new InfinityEdge Display. Images go nearly to the edge of the screen with only a thin strip of plastic separating the glass from the edge. The distance separating the two, for the record, is a measly 5.2mm.

Latest news

The Dell XPS 13 may be hellbent on style, what with its Rose Gold finish and power-savvy Kaby Lake processor, but the developments haven’t stopped there. 

In fact, there are several new configuration options being marketed by Dell, most notably a Windows Hello-ready fingerprint scanner add-on that costs only 25 bucks more. Additionally, you can now buy the Dell XPS 13 9360 Developer Edition, complete with Ubuntu (Linux) 14.04 and the same specs as the Windows 10 version.

Speaking of which, in an article provided to us by Linux Format, it was revealed that Dell nearly gave up on the idea of “Developer Edition” laptops. Senior Principle Engineer Barton George claimed that the company initially “misread the market,” resulting in an onslaught of misinformed purchases from Dell customers.

Spec Sheet

Here is the Dell XPS 13 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.5GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 (1,866MHz)
Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) InfinityEdge touch display
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 w/PowerShare, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), SD card reader, headset jack
Connectivity: Killer 1535 802.11ac (2.4 & 5GHz); Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: 720p widescreen HD webcam with dual array digital microphones
Weight: 2.9 pounds (1.29kg)
Size: 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33 – 0.6 inches (W x D x H) (304 x 200 x 9 – 15mm)

Design

Frankly, there isn’t a ton to be said of the XPS 13’s design this time around, as very little, if anything, has changed. You still have the 13.3-inch display as sharp as QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800 pixels) with optional touch controls squeezed inside an 11-inch-wide frame. 

And, you still have the gorgeous, machined aluminum lid and base that beset a comfy, carbon fiber keyboard deck coated in soft-touch paint. Only this time, the lid and base come in rose gold – the salmon shade that’s all the rage in tech products these days – as well as the traditional silver option.

The machine somehow measures even thinner than the previous generation, though only by a hair: 0.33 inches (9mm) at its thinnest point to 0.6 inches (15mm) at its thickest. For those keeping score, the previous model came in at two hundredths of an inch thicker at the nose.

Dell has also reduced the weight of its leading laptop, but by such a small degree it would be impossible to notice: from 2.93 pounds (1.32kg) to now just 2.9 pounds (1.29kg) even for the touchscreen model. Short of a major breakthrough in the materials used to construct the XPS 13, we’re likely looking at the thinnest and lightest Ultrabook from Dell for a while. (Please, prove us wrong.)

All told, we’re still smitten by the XPS 13 design, and frankly we’re happy it hasn’t changed much, because it doesn’t have to. One small request: if Dell could at least center that bottom bezel-oriented webcam like it has on the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, that would be clutch. 

Dell XPS 13 review

More ‘pro’ than the MacBook Pro?

During our time with the new XPS 13, we realized an important point: this laptop can match and even surpass the new, entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro part-for-part. For 100 bucks less than Apple’s latest laptop, the XPS 13 offers a sharper screen, a stronger processor and the same amount of RAM and storage.

Oh, and this guy has a full-size SD card slot. 

The MacBook Pro? You’ll get one more Thunderbolt 3 port – one of which needs to be used for charging – and little else for its starting price. On paper, it seems like the XPS 13 will give you a better time editing photos and video than its archnemesis. Well played, Dell.

Nick Pino has also contributed to this review.

First reviewed January 2017

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How to fix Joy-Con connection issues

How to fix Joy-Con connection issues

Nintendo Switch gamers are starting to notice connection issues with the left Joy-Con, but not the right Joy-Con. Why would this be the case? While it was initially thought that it was a software issue, it now looks like it could be hardware-related.

Could Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers be recalled over a connectivity issue?


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Following the biggest Nintendo console release ever, excited Nintendo Switch gamers are starting to notice connection issues with the left Joy-Con, but not the right Joy-Con. Why would this be the case? Both Joy-Cons feature the same Broadcom Bluetooth transceiver, after all. While it was initially thought that it was a software issue, it now looks like it could be hardware-related. Here, we explain why the left Joy-Con connection issues are occurring, and how you can fix it. Read next: Nintendo Switch review

Joy-Con connectivity issues: Why do I have connection issues with my left Joy-Con?

While users initially thought that the Nintendo Switch left Joy-Con connection issue was software-related and that Nintendo would fix it with a patch shortly after release, iFixit’s recent teardown of the modular console suggests that it could in fact be a hardware issue that could trigger a recall of the handheld controllers. Take a look at the below photo from iFixit:

It seems that in addition to the slightly different button layouts, the right Joy-Con has both an IR sensor and NFC sensor, making the internals pretty cramped compared to the spacious left Joy-Con. The lack of space in the right Joy-Con is why Nintendo decided to include a dedicated antenna, with the aim of boosting the Bluetooth signal (this is the grey cable you can see above the circuit board in the above photo).

However, as you can see above, the left Joy-Con doesn’t feature an IR or NFC sensor, so there’s much more room to play with. So much room, in fact, that Nintendo decided to put the antenna directly on the main circuit board. Per Ars Technica and YouTube channel Spawn Wave, “the circuit board peninsula that you can see right next to the stick acts as the antenna”. But what does that mean to everybody at home?

Essentially, it means that the left Joy-Con sometimes has issues with sending commands to the console, hence the connectivity issue. Could this trigger a quick redesign and a full recall of the Joy-Cons? With Nintendo issuing advice on combatting the issue, which we come to below, it suggests not – for now, anyway.

Read next: Best power banks for Nintendo Switch

How to fix Joy-Con connection issues

So, what can you do to negate the effects of the left Joy-Con connection issue? While home repair kits for consoles are nothing new, we don’t recommend taking your Joy-Con apart and soldering on a makeshift antenna. Even Spawn Wave, the YouTuber that performs the repair in the below video, warns against viewers trying it at home.

So, apart from taking the Joy-Con apart and fixing it yourself, what is there to do? Nintendo has released guidelines that should help negate the effects. What does it include? Apart from the rather standard instructions of making sure the system software is up to date and that the controllers are charged, Nintendo advises users keep the Switch away from Aquariums and WiFi-enabled devices.

Yes, you heard that right, Nintendo advises that you keep the Switch at least three or four feet away from a WiFi-enabled device. Now, that’s pretty much impossible: most modern TVs have built-in WiFi, as do media streamers and other game consoles, and all are in incredibly close proximity to one another. It’s a similar story with wireless headphones, speakers and even USB 3.0-compatible devices like memory sticks. So, what else should you try? Don’t keep the Switch behind the TV, in or under a metal object or pressed against large amounts of cords.

Of course, the simplest piece of advice is just to move the Nintendo Switch closer to the sofa, or wherever you’re sitting while playing the Nintendo Switch on TV. It may be an annoying workaround, but hopefully Nintendo will correct the issues somehow, sooner rather than later.

Read next: Best Nintendo Switch games | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

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Qualcomm Enters Server Market With 10nm Centriq 2400 Chips, Wins Microsoft As First Big Customer

Microsoft will begin to use Qualcomm’s recently announced 10nm 48-core Centriq 2400 server chips in its data centers. The move solidifies the partnership between the two companies, after Microsoft had already announced that Qualcomm’s chips will be able to run the full Windows 10 OS later this year.

ARM-Powered Cloud

There have been several attempts at bringing ARM server chips to the cloud so far. One of the first was Calxeda, which was purchased by AMD, but then the company’s ARM plans for the server market got cancelled. Samsung and Broadcom had also started working on their own ARM-based server chips, but they eventually decided to stay out of the market.

Right now, only Cavium and Applied Micro seem to have persisted as the more important players in the market, but their chips have suffered from coming out on last-generation processes, which made it difficult for them to compete with Intel’s Xeon.

Things could soon change with Qualcomm entering the server market with its own ARM-based chips. Qualcomm has deep experience with ARM chips, and it’s a natural progression for the company to go from the consumer market to the server market. However, that experience is not the only thing Qualcomm will bring to the ARM server market–its utilization of a cutting-edge 10nm process is key, too.

This will enable Qualcomm’s Centriq 2400 to be significantly more competitive than other ARM chips against Intel’s Xeon chips. Whether the chip design itself will prove to be competitive remains to be seen, as the company hasn’t revealed too many details about it yet. However, it seems that Microsoft is impressed enough to give it a try.

The Microsoft Partnership

Qualcomm said that it has worked with Microsoft on an ARM-based server chip for the past few years, in order to optimize it for the Windows Server software stack. The fact that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will be able to run all Windows programs starting this fall is likely not a coincidence, either. The two companies must have worked together to ensure that Windows programs work across the board on Qualcomm’s chips, which include both the consumer and the server versions.

Qualcomm’s Centriq 2400 server chip fits into a standard 1U system, and it can be paired with compute accelerators, multi-host NICs, and NVMe SSD drives. Qualcomm has also submitted its server specifications to the Open Compute Project (OCP), an organization whose purpose is to enable the sharing of data center product designs between its members. The company is now a Gold Member of the OCP organization, as well.

According to Qualcomm, the Centriq 2400 Open Computer Motherboard server specification is based on Microsoft’s Project Olympus, an open source hyperscale cloud hardware design.

“Microsoft and Qualcomm are collaborating with an eye to the future addressing server acceleration and memory technologies that have the potential to shape the data center of tomorrow,” said Qualcomm.

“Our joint work on Microsoft Windows Server and the board design compatible with Microsoft’s Project Olympus is an important step toward enabling Microsoft’s cloud services to run on Qualcomm-based server platforms,” added the company.

Qualcomm said that the Centriq 2400 Open Compute Motherboard will be on display at Microsoft’s booth A4 at the 2017 Open Computer Platform U.S. Summit in Santa Clara, on March 8 and 9.

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'Twisted Arrow' Makes You Wish You Were Marvel’s Hawkeye (Hands On)

Phaser Lock Interactive was one of the first developers to jump into development for the HTC Vive. Final Approach, the studio’s first VR game, came out alongside the Vive and was later adapted to Oculus Rift. Final Approach explored the concept of creating VR games with a “god perspective” instead of first-person, and it proved that a top-down third person view can work well in VR. Now the company is preparing to release Twisted Arrow, its second VR title in less than a year, and it’s a big departure from the third-person gameplay Phaser Lock Interactive handled so well in Final Approach.

Shortly after Final Approach shipped, John Nagle, one of Phaser Lock Interactive’s co-founders, departed the company and launched a smaller studio called Gyoza Games with John Sommer. It’s unclear why Nagle left the studio he helped create not long before, but maybe it had something to do with the direction the studio took following Final Approach. Nagle and Sommer went on to create Inbound, which is another “god-perspective” VR game, whereas Phaser Lock Interactive departed from “god-perspective” for its next game; the developer turned to first-person.

“We’re excited to bring fast-paced, arcade-style action to players in VR with Twisted Arrow,” says Michael Daubert, CEO of Phaser Lock Interactive. “From the beginning of the game, we drop you in the center of the action that really gets your heart pumping as you leave a path of destruction and carnage. You’re in for the fight of your life! You will work up a sweat in Twisted Arrow, dodging and weaving your way through enemy forces with over the top action that will test your stamina and overall combat skills in VR.”

Who Brings A Bow To A Gun Fight?

Twisted Arrow is a first-person bow and arrow shooter. Instead of an arsenal of guns, you get the Manticore, a top-secret military combat bow with high-tech abilities and a selection of arrows with a variety of special powers.

Your primary ammo is the steel-reinforced carbon Maxflight 3000 arrow, which is a one-shot kill against the most common enemies. You get an unlimited supply of the Maxflight arrows, and they don’t cost you anything to fire them off. But the basic ammo isn’t sufficient to get you through a group of baddies or destroy some of the larger targets. For those, you need one of the specialty arrows.

The Manticore arsenal includes five arrow classes with special powers, which you can select with the thumbpad or thumbstick on the controller in your arrow hand. The specialty arrows help you get through certain tasks, but each one requires energy from your bow, which is a limited resource. The Manticore’s energy capacity is 100 units; the charge regenerates automatically, but the specialty shots drain energy much faster than it regenerates.

The Hydra Arrow MBG-5 costs 35 energy and fires five arrowheads that lock onto targets. If you fire at a cluster of paramilitary soldiers, the MBG-5 will kill up to five of them, guaranteed. The arrowheads from the MBG-5 will even seek out scouts and snipers hiding on perches above your head. The Cryo-Shot 1-O-9, which allows you to freeze a small cluster of enemies and take them out one by one with the Maxflight arrows, is slightly more affordable at 25 energy units.

The quiver of specialty ammo also offers Mine Arrow T-E-480 shots, which feature proximity charges that you can place near unsuspecting enemies. You can place mines on any surface, and when someone moves within their detection field, they explode and send everyone around iflying. Mine Arrows cost 45 energy.

If you find yourself needing something stronger than the Hydra Arrow or Cryo-Shot, and a Mine Arrow won’t do, you could pull out an Exploding Arrow C-E-7-10, which packs an anti-tank warhead that knocks out enemies in a 10-yard radius. The exploding arrows are perfect for taking out aircraft overhead. They also come in handy when you encounter a giant “kaiju-scale” monster. Each exploding arrow costs 65 energy units, though, so you must be strategic with their use.

Aside from shooting magical arrows, the Manticore bow features a retractable shield that you can pull out at any time to deflect incoming bullets. The shield draws power from the bow like the specialty arrows, so you must use it sparingly. Though, it draws from its own dedicated energy reservoir and doesn’t detract you from using your weaponry. To use the shield, press the trigger button on the bow controller.

The Manticore is also your ticket into any secure system. The bow features a remote hacking ability that can override consoles that control security gates and enemy turret systems. Simply place your bow in the proximity of the device you wish to control, and the bow will take care of the rest.

Not Another Wave Shooter

Twisted Arrow is an arcade-style FPS game, but it’s not another stationary wave shooter. The game features a locomotion system reminiscent of the platform-hopping mechanic Insomniac Games used for The Unspoken. It also reminds me of Epic Games’ Robo Recall. Twisted Arrow uses a teleport locomotion system to move around, but you don’t get the freedom of choosing where to place the marker. Phaser Lock’s developers set predefined locations for you to hop to and from. To move, you must press the menu button on the arrow controller. The menu button reveals all the spots that are within range to hop to. Point at the space you wish to move to, and let go of the menu button to teleport there.

Once you become familiar with the controls, it becomes second nature to switch locations in the middle of a fight to get the drop on a group of enemies. We found ourselves switching from spot to spot quickly, and taking out nearby enemies at every stop.

We also noticed that the more risks we took, the more often we seemed to be getting drops. Every so often you’ll find a power up box which contains energy or health. As far as we can tell, the drops come at random times, but if you put yourself in harm’s way and live to tell the tale, the game appears to reward you with health and energy so you can continue at the same pace.

Phaser Lock Interactive said Twisted Arrow features six missions and three difficulty levels, and it will take you approximately 4-6 hours to complete the game. So far. we’ve completed the first mission and failed at completing the second mission, and we would agree with the developer about the length of the game. Though, eventually, the game will receive more missions and deeper gameplay: Phaser Lock Interactive said it would follow up with DLC for the game after evaluating player feedback to cater to the fans’ desires.

It’s Not Perfect Yet

Phaser Lock Interactive is putting the final touches on Twisted Arrow in preparation for a mid-March launch, but the game is not without its bugs. We were given access to a pre-release copy of the game, which is close to completion, but we ran into a game-breaking bug in the first mission. We could slip through an armed gate before destroying the generator that powers the electric fence. Once we slipped past it, we were no longer able to destroy the generator, which prevented a triggered event from occurring. Which effectively killed our run and forced us to restart the mission.

Keep in mind; we’re running incomplete software, so bugs are par for the course. Phaser Lock Interactive has time to correct the problem before the game ships later this month.

Twisted Arrow will be available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on Steam and Oculus Home for $25. Phaser Lock Interactive said the game would launch with a temporary 25% discount.

Twisted Arrow

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Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop Review

Laptops in general, but especially gaming laptops, are inherently more expensive than their desk-confined counterparts. Portability comes at a price. And yet even among gaming laptop seekers, the hunt for value is typically a primary consideration, which subsequently narrows the search to less powerful systems. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. When Nvidia announced the availability of mobile GTX 1050s and GTX 1050 Tis back in January, that triggered the release of a number of value-oriented gaming laptops that still pack a punch.

Today we’re testing the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, the first laptop we’ve tested with a GTX 1050 Ti.

Specifications

Packaging

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 arrives in a standard shipping box with the company’s logo stamped in the middle. The laptop, warranty information, and user manual are secured with two pieces of cardboard padding. A separate compartment is squared off in the shipping box for the power adapter. A rubber strap is attached to the adapter for easy cable management. The adapter’s DC power connector glows blue when connected to a power source.

Exterior

Dell wrapped the top of the Inspiron 15 7000’s chassis with a red rubberized plastic surface. The company’s logo is engraved dead-center with a glossy black finish. The design is simple and unobtrusive, which is rare for a gaming laptop, while the vibrant red gives it some character. The rubberized finish prevents smudges and fingerprints from appearing, a problem we find often on laptops with metal finishes. The rubberized plastic wraps around the sides of the Inspiron, creating red accents on the corners of the laptop when the lid is open. If you find the red to be too ostentatious, Dell also offers models with a black rubberized finish and a red logo.

The inner workspace features a normal black plastic finish with a smooth surface. The plastic surface will attract blemishes over time, albeit not at the same rate as a metal finish would. There are subtle red accents, such as the keyboard’s lettering and the trackpad’s left/right click divider, and these decorate the otherwise minimalist interior. The Inspiron 15 7000’s power button is located at the top right and is illuminated in white when the system is powered. Finally, the Dell logo is stamped just below the display in matte silver.

The rear lip adopts a bit more character, departing from the simple and minimalist design of the lid and interior. It consists of a gray plastic shroud covering the two rear exhaust fins. The exhaust grilles have a criss-cross design which, while bolder than the rest of the Inspiron’s aesthetics, aren’t as extravagant as designs we’ve seen in the past. Just past the grilles you can see the heat fins painted in red.

The bottom end of the Inspiron 15 7000 reverts back to a simple design. There are two air intake grilles with elaborate triangular cutouts. An additional grille for the subwoofer can be found on the top left corner of the panel. Two long rubber feet span the length of the bottom panel and on the exhaust shroud at the back. Inspiron branding is engraved in the center of the bottom panel. Overall, the Inspiron 15 7000 has an incredibly sturdy build. There are few, if any, flex points, which is impressive for a completely plastic chassis, and a $900 one at that.

Dell hides the Inspiron’s speakers very inconspicuously behind the front lip. You’ll notice a triangular cutout design with a layer of red mesh under it. The mesh hides two holes through which sound can escape the chassis. This is an admittedly clever way of masking the speakers, but an upward-firing placement would have much better served the audio experience.

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 has a standard hinge range of about 135°. The hinge is a bit stiff, but you can rest assured that the display won’t swing or shake with slight bumps.

The Inspiron’s I/O consists only of the absolute essentials. Starting from the right you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port, an HDMI 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a combo headphone/microphone jack. On the left you’ll find an SD card reader, another USB 3.0 port, the DC power jack, and a Noble lock slot.

Display


The Inspiron 15 7000 features a 1920×1080 display with a matte finish. Unfortunately, this particular model doesn’t have an IPS display, so viewing angles aren’t on par with the laptops we’ve tested in the past. Dell offers models with FHD IPS touch displays as well as UHD IPS displays for an additional cost. The HDMI 2.0 port allows users to connect an additional display.

Input Devices

The Inspiron features a scissor-switch keyboard with a number pad. Everyone’s hands are different, so key spacing and actuation distance preferences will be subjective. We found the spacing between the keys a little too wide and the actuation distance a bit shallow. The keys feature red backlighting, adding some gamer flare to the Dell’s simple design. At $900, expect no extravagant RGB lights and typing effects.

We’re glad to find that the Inspiron 15’s trackpad has a nice, uniform actuation. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we are, considering that a good trackpad is hard to come by on gaming laptops. The matte surface is comfortable to use and multi-touch functions work seamlessly. Our only gripe with this trackpad is that fine movements can be jerky. It’s still advisable to use your own mouse, especially while gaming, but for situations where a mouse isn’t necessary, the trackpad will serve you just fine.  

Interior

Accessing the internal components couldn’t be easier on the Inspiron. The bottom panel is secured to the chassis with just one screw. Removing the bottom panel reveals a streamlined internal layout giving easy access to the upgradeable components. The two DDR4 memory slots are located in the middle, the 2.5″ SATA slot is located on the top right corner, and the M.2 SSD slot is located just below it. Left of the M.2 slot is an Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC 3165 for wireless networking. Finally, the 74Wh battery is located at the top. A gray plastic skeleton covers the cooling solution, which consists of two larger heat pipes, the CPU and GPU heatsinks, and two exhaust fans on the left and right.

Software

The Inspiron 15 7000 is relatively barebones as far as software goes. You won’t find a comprehensive software suite with advanced overclocking options or keyboard backlighting controls. Instead, Dell pre-loads SupportAssist, which will perform system checkup scans and download drivers.

MORE: Best Gaming Laptops

MORE: Gaming Laptop Previews

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Samsung SmartCam SNH-P6410NB

Samsung’s indoor IP camera is often used in conjunction with the company’s SmartThings smart home system, where it can be triggered by a window lock for example, but it also serves very well as a standalone security camera for an office or commercial premises. 

Offering Full HD resolution images, two-way audio and a fully articulated mounting bracket, the SmartCam SNH-P6410NB – which retails at £130 (around $160, AU$210) – can be instantly installed to remotely monitor your house or office, sending alerts to your phone when it senses any sound or motion.

Using a decent CMOS sensor, this camera is able to record fairly smooth, clear and natural-looking images in 1080p, or two lower resolutions if you’re worried about your bandwidth. We found that our heavily loaded home network did drop out a few times during testing when in Full HD mode.

Motion sensors will trigger a recording, if you specify that, storing them locally on a microSD card, or storing your footage in the cloud for a fee.

The companion app, called SmartCam, allows you to set up push notifications and gives you a live view of your room (which you can zoom into).

A built-in speaker and microphone enable communication, in case you need to scare off any actual burglars. Alternatively, you can play them one of three tunes, including a lullaby. Okay, this last one isn’t a security feature, it’s in case you want to use the camera as a baby monitor.

Spec Sheet

Here are the full specs of the SmartCam SNH-P6410NB:

Type: IP camera

Location: Indoor 

Mounting: Wall/ceiling bracket included  

Connectivity: Wi-Fi/Ethernet 

Resolution: 1080p

Night Vision: IR LED 

Motion sensor: Yes

Audio: Two-way sound

Battery: No

Local video storage: microSD (up to 64GB)

App support: Android/iOS 

Subscription: Free 

Size/Weight: 90 x 135 x 40mm (W x H x D); 117g 

Design

The simple circular design and glossy white finish makes this compact security camera blend into the background, especially when mounted on a white ceiling. 

It feels rather lightweight and plasticky, as though it wouldn’t take much to snap the stand, so we’d recommend installing it out of harm’s way. You will only need to accommodate the power cable if you choose to connect via Wi-Fi instead of the bundled Ethernet cable. 

The twisting and rotating bracket means you can have every angle covered, while the wide angle of the camera lens generally puts the whole room in view anyway.

Installation and use

This camera is especially easy to set up, thanks to the inclusion of an Ethernet port and cable, which means you don’t need to establish a Wi-Fi connection. However, connecting wirelessly is also made simple by Samsung’s SmartCam app. Download this free app onto your Apple or Android device, sign up to Samsung’s free service and it will walk you through the process of connecting the camera to your Wi-Fi network.

We found that the camera quite often lost its connection with the wireless router, even though they were in the same room, which of course means you lose the feed and the recording, so we would advise making a hardwired Ethernet connection if possible. 

The app will also let you specify when you want to be alerted by phone to either movement or noise at the camera’s location. You can also connect it to your Google account to receive emails, or to Picasa if you want to have images automatically uploaded there.

The software isn’t quite as slick and intuitive as the Nest or Netatmo apps, and there’s no ‘timeline view’, but it is fairly easy to navigate. Instead of a scrollable timeline of events, recordings appear in a basic list, or a calendar view for checking back on monthly happenings.

The hardest thing to achieve, via the settings, is how to set up recording schedules and zones of motion activity, which are buried deep in the menu system.

More annoying is the camera’s tendency to lose its wireless connection, as mentioned, and also the constant demand for passwords. You need a password to adjust the app and another to address the camera every time you view it. If you’re signed into your phone, we think that should be enough to check your own camera.

Performance

The video quality available here is quite impressive. Set to 1080p resolution, both live view and recorded clips are clear and bright. The quality drops as you zoom in of course, but it’s still good enough to recognise faces as they pass below the camera. There’s no actual face recognition software here, mind you. That remains the preserve of more sophisticated cameras like the Netatmo Welcome.

What is useful is the way your recordings can be saved onto your phone, or directly onto a microSD card. So instead of paying a monthly fee for storage on Samsung’s cloud servers, footage is held locally, which also feels more secure. The slot can take a 64GB microSD card, although you don’t get a card bundled. 

The integration of two-way audio adds some useful functionality, especially if you happen to need a baby monitor, but don’t expect hi-fi quality from the speaker. What you can do, rather surprisingly, is add your own speaker to boost the sound output by using the available mini-jack port. This is a bonus feature that we think few people will actually use.

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[Daily Deal] Save 56% on the ShowTop 10000mAh Power Bank

The ShowTop Power Bank can charge any smartphone, tablet or USB powered device. It packs a 10000mAh Li-ion battery with dual-port USB charger. This power bank also supports over-charging, over-voltage, over-current, and short circuit. It can charge an Apple iPhone 6 almost 4 times, an iPad mini or a Samsung Galaxy S6 almost 3 times. Featuring an ultra-slim design and a hard plastic and aluminium alloy construction, the ShowTop Power Bank is on offer today. Save 56% and get it for £11.89. You can also qualify for free delivery in the UK when your order is over £20. This lightning deal is only valid for 3 hours.

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Revive any computer with this SSD by Goldendisk. With 240GB of storage space, it’s 10 times faster than a standard 7200RPM hard drive. It’s also totally silent and more reliable as the SSD has no moving components. Get the 240GB Goldendisk SSD for just £62.88.

Get the EFOSHM Fitness Bracelet for £29.99
The EFOSHM Fitness Bracelet can track your daily activities and monitor the quality of your sleep. It counts steps, calories burned as well as distances. The built-in screen displays time and alerts, and vibrations let you know when it’s time so get out your sit. The tracker is compatible with Andoid and iOS smartphones. Get it today for just £29.99 with free delivery in the UK.


45% off the the Mpow Universal Bike Mount Holder.

This smartphone holder can be fitted on any bike, motorcycle or scooter with a handlebar of 1.1″. No tools are required with just a screw on the flipper and it’s designed with a one-button released function. It’s suitable for any smartphone of up to 5.7″. For extra security the clamp automatically adjusts to grip the device that holds in place firmly thanks to a strong adjustable non-slip clamp with silicone band straps. Get the Mpow Universal Bike Mount Holder for just £8.29.

Save 71% and get the Rampow MFI Lightning Cable for £6.29.

Charge and sync your Apple devices with this Rampow MFI (Made For iPhone) Lightning Cable. It’s compatible with all 8 Pin Apple devices including the iPhone 5, 5C, 6, and later, but also iPod Nano 7, iPad mini 2, mini 3, mini 4, iPad Air, iPad Pro and later. The nylon cable provides additional protection against bent damage and the USB and Lightning casings are protected by an aluminium shell.

46% off the Mpow Smart Fitness tracker

The Mpow Smart Fitness tracker can track your daily activities and monitor the quality of your sleep. It counts steps, calories burned as well as distances. It has a built-in screen and connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth to display caller ID and messages. It can also display messages from Facebook, Titter, Whatsapp, and more. The Mpow Smart Fitness Bracelet can also track sleep and wake you up with silent alarms. Get it today for just £21.69 with free delivery in the UK.

Get the Veho M7 Bluetooth speaker for £69.99

With its retro design, the Veho M7 is a Bluetooth speaker to stream music from your smartphone or your computer. The dual acoustic drivers are coupled with two 10W speakers and the rechargeable battery delivers 10 hours of music. The Veho M7 is IPX4 rated meaning that it’s protected against dust and water. It also features a USB port to serve as a powerbank to charge your smartphone. Get the Veho M7 Wireless Speaker for £69.99 on eBay.

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