[Daily Deal] Unlocked SIM Free refurbished Apple iPhone 6 starting at £159.99

eBay has an offer on a selection of refurbished SIM free iPhone 6. Fully tested the phone is restored to factory settings and shows little to no sign of use. Thought this offer doesn’t include the original box you still get the USB charging cable, the SIM opening tool, plus a screen protector and a cleaning cloth. The phone also comes with a 12 months warranty. Prices star at £159.99.

You may also be interested in the following offers

Get the Netgear Mini N300 EX2700 WiFi Extender for £14.99

WiFi extenders are useful to get rid of wireless dead zones in your home network. The Netgear Mini N300 EX2700 WiFi Extender is discreet and convenient with its wall-plug design and two external antennas for high performance. It also features a Fast Ethernet Port to connect a wired device. Save 25% today and get it for £14.99.

Get the DOSHIn 12000mAh Power Bank for £11.96

With a 12000mAh capacity the DOSHIn is a slim and light Power Bank can charge an iPhone 6 4 times. Featuring Dual USB port (5V 1A & 5V 2.1A) you can even charge your devices simultaneously and quickly. Compatible devices can charge up to 75% faster than standard chargers and a 4 LED indicator keeps you informed of the remaining capacity. It also protects your devices from power surge and short circuit. Get the DOSHIn 12000mAh Power Bank for only £11.96.

44% off the Devolo dLAN 500 Powerline Adapter

This dLAN adapter connects and integrates with your existing power line for maximum flexibility. Installation is easy, Just plug it, connect and set up your expanded home network. Forget the cables and enjoy Wi-Fi everywhere in your home. An additional device such as a Smart TV or game console, can be connected using the additional fast Ethernet connection. Get the Devolo dLAN 500 Powerline Adapter starter kit today for just £44.99 with free delivery in the UK.

Go to Source

Future Microsoft Surface stylus could also act as a password replacement

Microsoft may support a different type of secure login for Windows Hello in the future, allowing users to verify their identity by using a stylus, according to a recent patent.

The patent application from Microsoft, which describes a ‘method for authentication with a computer stylus’ (spotted by V3.co.uk), involves the stylus having a unique ‘identity code’ which it transmits to the PC for one piece of the verification puzzle, with the second factor being a pre-defined gesture the user scribbles on the touchscreen.

This could be used to log in to the device, of course, or according to the text of the patent, to “selectively lock access to documents, files, emails, games, entries in a table, applications … responsive to a gesture performed by a stylus”.

Apparently Microsoft would use its N-Trig technology already employed in the Surface Pen for the new security-focused styluses.

Third way

This would be an alternative to the login methods which Windows Hello already uses on Windows 10 machines, namely facial recognition (via a webcam with infrared tech) and fingerprint scanning.

Of course, many patents never see the light of day, so while this certainly looks like an interesting peripheral, whether this stylus will ever be produced beyond prototyping is another question.

As you probably saw, Microsoft has had a busy week, what with its major press event which witnessed the launch of Windows 10 S, a new lightweight version of its desktop operating system, along with the Surface Laptop which we’ve already taken for a spin.

Go to Source


MusicBee is a brilliant free music player and organizer to help you enjoy your music collection – no matter how huge and sprawling.

MusicBee searches your PC for music and enables you to add tracks from iTunes or Windows Media Player. Once everything has been added to your MusicBee library, the app’s intelligent tagging system makes it easy to complete missing metadata using industry-standard formats, locate album art and find lyrics, which are displayed while a song plays.

MusicBee is designed to make the most of your PC’s hardware, with support for high-end soundcards and 5.1 surround sound.

MusicBee also supports streaming, is compatible with Last.fm and SoundCloud, and is a great choice for enjoying your favorite podcasts.

User experience

Many free media players will happily tackle both video and audio, but MusicBee is designed specifically for managing your tunes – and it does a superb job, even if your collection is currently a mess of duplicates, missing metadata, and jumbled albums.

Importing your music library to MusicBee is easy, and if you currently use either iTunes or Windows Media Player there’s a simple wizard to automate the process. The files will be indexed, but won’t actually be moved unless you select that option manually.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to start tagging to complete missing metadata and get them all properly organized. MusicBee’s automatic tagging system is superb, withr industry-standard templates for all kinds of audio files, but you can also dive in and edit tags manually.

Speaking of file formats, MusicBee can also convert audio files if you’d like to keep them consistent or encode them in a format suitable for other devices.

Playing music in MusicBee is a real joy; not only does it search for album artwork to display while you’re listening, it also tracks down pictures of the artist  and song lyrics, which it rotates during playback.

MusicBee also makes the most of your audio hardware, including high-end soundcards and surround sound stetups. There are various playback options to explore as well, including the ability to eliminate breaks between tracks and normalize volume (a notorious problem with iTunes).

Support for streaming services and optional plugins round off this superb free music player, which has become a firm favorite for getting the most from our tracks. If you love music, you need MusicBee.

You might also like

Go to Source

FAQ: 3D XPoint memory – NAND flash killer or DRAM replacement?

As the first new non-volatile, mass-marketed storage technology since NAND flash, 3D XPoint made a huge splash when it was first announced in 2015 by development partners Intel and Micron. It was touted as being 1,000 times faster than NAND flash with up to 1,000 times the endurance.

In reality, the performance claims were only true on paper; 3D XPoint turned out to be about 10 times faster than NAND, which requires existing data to be erased before new data is written.

The new solid-state memory, however, is likely to find a place in the data center since it is about half the price of DRAM (though still costlier than NAND). That’s because it works with conventional memory technologies to boost performance.

intel optane memory 1 Intel

Intel’s PC module acts as a type of cache to accelerate the performance of computers with SATA-attacked storage.

With the growth of transactional data, cloud computing, data analytics and  next-generation workloads will require higher performance storage.

Enter, 3D XPoint.

“This is an important technology that is going to have big implications for data center usage and to a lesser degree on the PC side,” said Joseph Unsworth, Gartner’s research vice president for semiconductors and NAND flash. “Whether it’s your hyperscale data center, cloud service provider or traditional enterprise storage customers, they’re all very interested in the technology.”

While 3D XPoint won’t convince companies to rip and replace all of their server DRAM, it will allow IT managers to cut costs by replacing some of it — while also augmenting the performance of their NAND flash-based SSDs.

What is 3D XPoint? Simply put, it’s a new form of non-volatile, solid-state storage with vastly greater performance and endurance than NAND flash. Price-wise, it lies between DRAM and NAND.

DRAM currently costs a little north of $5 per gigabyte; NAND comes in around 25 cents per gig. 3D XPoint is expected to land at around $2.40 per gig for large volume purchases, according to Gartner. And it’s expected to be much more costly than NAND through at least 2021.

While neither Intel nor Micron have detailed what 3D XPoint is, they have said it’s not based on the storage of electrons, as is the case for flash memory and DRAM, and it doesn’t use transistors. They’ve also said it’s not resistive RAM (ReRAM) or memristor — two emerging non-volatile memory technologies considered possible future rivals to NAND.

The process of elimination (backed by storage experts) leaves 3D XPoint as a type of phase-change memory, as Micron previously developed the technology and its properties closely resemble it.

3D XPoint Intel

Experts have postulated 3D XPoint is a type of phase-change memory, as Micron previously developed the technology and its properties closely resemble it.

PCM is a form of nonvolatile memory based on using electrical charges to change areas on a glassy material — called chalcogenide — back and forth from a crystalline to a random state. That description matches up with what Russ Meyer, Micron’s director of process integration, has said publicly: “The memory element itself is simply moving between two different resistence states.”

In PCM, the amorphous state’s high resistance is read as a binary 0; the lower-resistance crystalline state is a 1.

3D XPoint’s architecture is akin to a stack of submicroscopic window screens, and where wires cross there are pillars of chalcogenide material that includes a switch allowing access to stored bits of data.

“Unlike traditional DRAM that stores its information in electrons on a capacitor or NAND memory that stores electrons trapped on a floating gate, this uses a bulk material property change of the material itself to store whether [a bit] is a zero or a one,” said Rob Crook, GM of Intel’s non-volatile memory solutions group. “That enables us to scale to small dimensions and that enables a new class of memory.”

Why is 3D XPoint getting so much attention? Because 3D XPoint technology delivers up to 10x more performance of NAND flash across a PCIe/NVMe interface, and has up to 1,000 times the endurance. One thousand times the endurance of NAND flash would be more than a million write cycles, meaning the new memory would last, well, pretty much forever.

By comparison, today’s NAND flash lasts for between 3,000 and 10,000 erase-write cycles. With wear-leveling and error correction software, those cycles can be improved, but they still don’t get anywhere near one million write cycles.

It’s 3D XPoint’s low latency — 1,000th that of NAND flash and ten times the latency of DRAM — that makes it shine, particularly for its ability to deliver on high input/output operations, such as those required by transactional data.

The combo allows 3D XPoint to fill a gap in the data center storage hierarchy that includes SRAM on the processor, DRAM, NAND flash (SSDs), hard disk drives and magnetic tape or optical discs. It would fit between volatile DRAM and non-volatile NAND flash solid state storage.

intel ssd 4800 standardangle1 onwhite rgb small 100713996 largeIntel

Intel’s first enterprise-class SSD based on 3D XPoint technology, the DC P4800X uses a PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 (four-lane) interface.

So why is it good for some data centers? James Myers, director of NVM Solutions Architecture for the Non-volatile Memory Solutions Group at Intel, said 3D XPoint is aimed at servicing random, transactional data sets not optimized for in-memory processing. (Intel calls its version of the technology Optane memory.)

“Optane is going to be servicing the highest end of warm and part of the hot tier in terms of storage for architectures that aren’t optimized [for in-memory processing]…or even to extend the memory size or space within that hottest tier,” Myers said. “Those are very much random transactions.”

For example, it could be used to perform limited real-time analytics on current data sets or store and update records in real time.

Conversely, NAND flash will grow in its use for storing near-line data for batch-based, overnight processing — performing analytics with column-oriented database management systems. That will require queue depths of 32 outstanding read/write operations or greater.

“Not a lot of people are willing to pay a lot of extra money for higher sequential throughput. A lot of those analytics … can get done between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. when no one is transacting much business,” Myers said.

Intel’s first 3D XPoint SSD – the P4800X — can perform up to 550,000 read input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 500,000 write IOPS at queue depths of 16 or fewer. While Intel’s top-tier NAND-flash based SSDs can achieve 400,000 IOPS or better, they only do so with deeper queue depths.

Like DRAM, 3D XPoint can be byte addressable, meaning each memory cell has a unique location. Unlike block-level NAND, there’s no overhead when an application goes searching for data.

“This isn’t flash and it’s not DRAM, it’s something in between, and that’s where the ecosystem support’s going to be important to be able to exploit the technology,” Unsworth said. “We’ve not seen any [non-volatile] DIMM deployed yet. So it’s still an area being worked on.”

The introduction of 3D XPoint as a new storage tier, according to IDC, is also one of the first major technology transitions to occur since the emergence of large cloud and hyperscale data centers as dominating forces in technology.

When will 3D XPoint be available? Intel has carved out its own path separate from that of Micron for 3D XPoint technology. Intel describes its Optane brand as suited for both data centers and desktops, saying it strikes the perfect balance of accelerating access to data while affordably maintaining mega storage capacities.

Optane memory PC acceleratorIntel

The Optane memory PC accelerator module uses a PCIe/NVMe interface, getting Intel’s 3D XPoint memory closer to the processor and with less overhead than a SATA-attached device.

Micron sees its QuantX SSDs as best suited for data centers. But at least one executive alluded to the possibility of a consumer-class SSD down the road.

In 2015, limited production of 3D XPoint wafers began at IM Flash Technologies, Intel and Micron’s joint fabrication venture based in Lehi, Utah. Mass production began last year.

Last month, Intel started shipping its first products with the new technology: the Intel Optane memory PC accelerator module for PCs (16GB/MSRP $44) and (32GB/$77); and the data center-class 375GB Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X, ($1,520) expansion card. The DC P4800X uses a PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 (four-lane) interface.

The Optane memory PC accelerator module can be used to accelerate any SATA-attached storage device installed in a 7th-generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core processor-based platform designated as “Intel Optane memory ready.” The Optane add-in memory module acts as a type of cache to increase performance in laptops and desktops.

While the DC P4800 is the first 3D XPoint-based data center SSD to be made available, Intel has said more will be coming soon, including an enterprise Optane SSD with 750GB in the second quarter of this year, as well as a 1.5TB SSD that’s expected to ship in the second half of this year.

Those SSDs will also be modules usable in PCI-Express/NVMe and U.2 slots, which means they could be used in some workstations and servers based on AMD’s 32-core Naples processors.

Intel is also planning to ship Optane in the form of DRAM-style DIMM modules next year.

Currently, Micron expects its first sales of a QuantX product in the second half of 2017, with 2018 being a “bigger year,” and 2019 being the “break-out” revenue year.

How will 3D XPoint impact computer performance? Intel claims its Optane add-in module cuts PC boot-up time in half, boosts overall system performance by 28% and loads games 65% faster.

The DC P4800 performs best in random read/write environments where it can augment server DRAM. Optane lights up when running random reads and writes, which are common in servers and high-end PCs. Optane’s random writes are up to 10 times the speed of conventional SSDs, with reads around three times faster. (For sequential operations, Intel still recommends NAND flash-based SSDs.)

For example, the 375GB DC P4800 SSD retails for about $4.05/GB of capacity, with a random read rate of up to 550,000 IOPS using 4K blocks at a queue depth of 16. It has a sequential read/write rate of up to 2.4GB/s and 2GB/s, respectively.

By comparison, an Intel NAND flash-based data center SSD such as the 400GB DC P3700 retails for $645 or about $1.61/GB. From a performance perspective, the  P3700 SSD delivers 4K random read rate of up to 450,000 IOPS at higher queue depth — up to 128 — with sequential reads/writes topping out at up to 2.8GB/s and 1.9GB/s, respectively.

3D XPoint Intel

How Intel’s 3D XPoint Optane SSD compares with its data center-class NAND flash-based SSD.

In addition, the new DC P4800 SSD is specified with read/write latency of under 10 microseconds, which is a lot lower than many NAND flash-based SSDs that sport read/write latency in the 30 to 100 microsecond range, according to IDC. The DC 3700, for example, has an average latency of 20 microseconds, twice that of the DC P4800.

“The read and write latency of the P4800X is approximately the same, unlike flash memory-based SSDs, which feature faster writes versus reads,” IDC stated in a research paper.

Will 3D XPoint eventually kill NAND flash? Probably not. Both Intel and Micron have said that 3D XPoint-based SSDs are complimentary to NAND, filling the gap between it and DRAM. However, as sales of new 3D XPoint SSDs pick up and economies of scale grow, analysts believe it could eventually challenge existing memory technology — not NAND, but DRAM.

Gartner predicts that 3D XPoint technology will start seeing significant uptake in data centers in the late 2018.

“It’s gotten a lot of attention from a lot of key customers — and not just servers, storage, hyperscale data centers or cloud customers, but also software customers,” Unsworth said. “Because if you’re able to cost effectively analyze databases, data warehouses, data lakes far faster and cost effectively, that becomes very appealing for the end user to be able analyze more data and do that in real time.

“So we do believe this is a transformational technology,” he added.

That transformation, however, will take time. The data center ecosystem will have to adjust to adopt the new memory, including the new processor chipsets and third-party applications that support it.

Additionally, there are currently only two providers: Intel and Micron. Longer term, the technology may be produced by others, Unsworth said.

But there are other kinds of memory coming? There are —  namely, competing technologies such as Resistive RAM (ReRAM) and memrisor. But neither one has been produced in high capacities or shipped in large volume.

Last fall, Samsung debuted its new Z-NAND memory, an obvious competitor to 3D XPoint. The yet-to-be released Z-NAND SSDs were purported to sport four times faster latency and 1.6 times better sequential reading than 3D NAND flash. Samsung expects its Z-NAND to be released this year.

OK, so does this mean NAND is dead? Not by a long shot. While other non-volatile technologies may eventually challenge 3D XPoint, conventional NAND flash still has a long development road map ahead of it. It’s likely to see at least another three rev cycles that will take it through at least 2025, according to Gartner.

While the latest versions of 3D or vertical NAND stacks up to 64 layers of flash cells atop one another for more dense memory than traditional planar NAND, makers already see stacks exceeding 96 layers beginning next year and more than 128 layers in years to come.

Additionally, current 3-bit per cell triple-level cell (TLC) NAND is expected to move to 4-bit per cell quadruple level cell (QLC) technology, further increasing density and driving down manufacturing costs.

“This is a very resilient industry in which we have some of the biggest semiconductor vendors in the world…and China. China wouldn’t be getting into the NAND flash industry with billions of dollars if they thought it wouldn’t last more than three or four or five years,” Unsworth said. “I see 3D NAND slowing down, but I don’t see it hitting a wall.”

Go to Source

Here's how to use FreeTime, Amazon's answer to Google's Family Link parental control app

Earlier this year, Google launched an app called Family Link, a tool that lets parents remotely control the amount of time they spend and type of content they access on their Android phones. But while Family Link is still in invitation-only beta, a new Android app from Amazon can give help you keep tabs on your kids right now.

Previously only available on Fire and Kindle devices, FreeTime lets you control which books, videos, games, and apps that your kids can see by way of a special in-app launcher that locks them out of the rest of your phone. The new app is an extension of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service, but the $2.99 monthly subscription fee is not required to use the app.

Using FreeTime is pretty simple. When you launch it, you’ll be asked to enter your child’s name and birth date (and select a kid-friendly avatar), before heading into the content picker. The app will take you through any books, movies, and apps you have in your Google or Amazon accounts, and you’ll be able to select which ones they are able to view, as well as grant access to an age-appropriate in-app browser.

You’ll also need to allow two permissions for the app to operate. One is Usage Data Access, so it can report on how much time your kids are spending with FreeTime, and the other is a FreeTime launcher that restricts your child from leaving the app until a passcode is entered. Inside the settings you can set time limits for each activity and bedtime restrictions, as well educational goals (like requiring 30 minutes of reading before a game can be played). You can also set smart filters, limit web content, view your child’s history, and of course, subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited.

Then they only need to select their name to begin using it. The app’s home screen will force itself into landscape mode, though books and apps will allow it to return to portrait as needed. Streaming and browsing is just as fast as it is outside the app, and the interface is simplistic enough for non-readers to understand it.

You can download the FreeTime app in the Google Play Store for free.

Watchful eye: While it’s not as powerful as Google’s remote Family Link app, FreeTime is a fantastic tool for parents looking to keep tabs on how much time their kids spend on their phones without needing to hover over them at all times. With time and content limits, as well as an easy-to-use and safe in-app browser, it’s a good alternative for parents still waiting for a Family Link invite.

This story, “Here’s how to use FreeTime, Amazon’s answer to Google’s Family Link parental control app” was originally published by Greenbot.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

Go to Source

Google Docs users hit by phishing scam

Google says it has stopped a phishing email that reached about a million of its customers.

The scam claimed to come from Google Docs – a service that allows people to share and edit documents online.

Users who clicked a link and followed instructions, risked giving the hackers access to their email accounts.

Google said it had stopped the attack “within approximately one hour”, including through “removing fake pages and applications”.

“While contact information was accessed and used by the campaign, our investigations show that no other data was exposed,” Google said in an updated statement.

“There’s no further action users need to take regarding this event; users who want to review third party apps connected to their account can visit Google Security Checkup.”

During the attack, users were sent a deceptive invitation to edit a Google Doc, with a subject line stating a contact “has shared a document on Google Docs with you”.

The email address hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator[.]com was also copied in to the message; Mailinator, a free email service provider has denied any involvement.

If users clicked on the “Open in Docs” button in the email, they were then taken to a real Google-hosted page and asked to allow a seemingly real service, called “Google Docs”, to access their email account data.

By granting permission, users unwittingly allowed hackers to potentially access to their email account, contacts and online documents.

The malware then e-mailed everyone in the victim’s contacts list in order to spread itself.

“This is a very serious situation for anybody who is infected because the victims have their accounts controlled by a malicious party,” Justin Cappos, a cyber security professor at NYU, told Reuters.

‘Too widespread’

According to PC World magazine, the scam was more sophisticated than typical phishing attacks, whereby people trick people into handing over their personal information by posing as a reputable company.

This is because the hackers bypassed the need to steal people’s login credentials and instead built a third-party app that leveraged Google processes to gain account access.

The Russian hacking group Fancy Bear has been accused of using similar attack methods, but one security expert doubted their involvement.

“I don’t believe they are behind this… because this is way too widespread,” Jaime Blasco, chief scientist at security provider AlienVault, told PC World.

Google said the spam campaign affected “fewer than 0.1%” of Gmail users. That works out to about one million people affected.

Last year, an American man plead guilty to stealing celebrities’ nude pictures by using a phishing scam to hack their iCloud and Gmail accounts.

And in 2013, Google said it had detected thousands of phishing attacks targeting email accounts of Iranian users ahead of the country’s presidential election.

Go to Source

LG Watch Sport review

Android Wear has been kicking about for a while, but it has taken some hardware and software mistakes for us to get to the LG Watch Sport. Google handpicked LG to release it, the first smartwatch to ship with Android Wear 2.0 along with the cheaper, less featured LG Watch Style

It does so much right. It’s circular, it’s fast, build quality is brilliant, it looks the business (if you’re into grey) and the interface is an uncluttered pleasure to use. It is more intuitive than an Apple Watch.

But it’s large, and the battery lets it down big time. If you’re planning on a day of GPS navigation or hardcore run tracking, the Watch Sport might just let you down. For everyone else, it’s the very best of the frustrating charge-it-every-night smartwatch brigade.

Then again, we charge our phones every night, right?

Where can you buy it in the UK?

Here’s the catch – there is till no UK release date for the Watch Sport despite the fact we’ve got our hands on one. It’s still US only, and retails for $349, though at the time of writing is available from $249.99 from AT&T on contract.

You should be careful if ordering from the US though. Because the watch can take a SIM, you need to get it on contract in the States. It’s a tad confusing and this review goes into more depth on that.

Design and build

There’s no doubt that the LG Watch Sport is a premium thing. The heft is evident as soon as you pick it up, housed as the main unit is in a metal chassis. The attractive circular screen is a 1.38in P-OLED that brings Android Wear 2.0 to colour poppin’ life. More on that in a bit, but it’s good news. It’s also great to see no ugly flat tyre at the bottom of the screen. 

If the Watch Style is breezy-take-it-easy in terms of design, then the Watch Sport is the no-nonsense version. It’s very different and these are two devices for two quite different consumers.

I like the design but it is unquestionably masculine, the whole thing coloured titanium (though there’s also a blue version), paired with the mostly dark OS makes for something you might expect to see on the wrist of someone in a sci-fi epic.

It’s big and fairly heavy too. That’s because it’s got LTE tech, NFC, GPS and a heart rate sensor crammed into its tiny body. You control everything via the touchscreen and the three buttons on the right edge; the middle one is an excellently tactile crown that you can use to scroll through menus.

The strap is rubberised and sits circular, following the natural curve of your wrist. The whole thing might well dwarf that wrist though – I recommend trying one on in store if possible before taking the purchase plunge, but yes, you’ll have to be in the US.

The underside has a bit more chunk than you might expect, and this is to allow for a nano-SIM tray. A proprietary tool in the box allows you to take off the underside of the case to get at it. This cover also protects the heart rate sensor.

On my wrist I found it less intrusive and bulky than the initial impression gives. It catches on stiff cuffed coats a bit, and it won’t add to a dainty look, but I found it more comfortable to wear all day than the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

The buttons are wonderfully tactile, and the crown is just as good (and easier to turn) as the one on the Apple Watch.

Features and specifications

The Sport’s spec sheet makes for good reading. It has everything you could possibly cram into a smartwatch in 2017. Google worked with LG to make sure it was the Watch Sport (and Style) that introduced the world to Android Wear 2.0, so we have a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 with 4G LTE powering the 1.38in P-OLED display. It looks great, with a 480×480 resolution and 348ppi.

The unit measures 45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2mm and is watertight to IP68 standards, so you can swim with it on. There’s 4GB of on board storage for music on the go without your phone, and a healthy 768MB RAM.

Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to test the LTE aspect of the Watch Sport as its functionality only works in the US. US networks AT&T and Verizon allows the linking of your phone’s SIM to a second SIM in the watch, allowing you to saunter off without your phone but still make and receive all your calls and messages.

UK networks don’t yet have the ability to offer this to consumers over their networks, and even when I put a nano-SIM in the Watch Sport just to test, nothing happened. At the time of writing, a UK price and release date is still unconfirmed, and the fact LG hasn’t produced a non-LTE model is probably why.

If you decide to import one though, I didn’t miss the LTE functionality, and it worked very well for me without it.

LTE for all regions is surely the next logical step in the evolution of smartwatches. Much like Samsung’s Gear S2 and Gear S3 though, any potential UK release is likely to remain Wi-Fi only on these shores.

GPS is also included on the Watch Sport, meaning you can go off on a run without your phone and the Watch Sport will track exactly where you’ve been. Oddly though for a watch called Sport, it doesn’t feel like a runner’s gadget such is its uniform design, but it performs well enough to earn its name.

Also crammed into it is Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, an accelerometer, barometer, microphone, speaker, NFC for mobile payments and an ambient light sensor that’s joyously hidden in the display, not in a black window at the bottom of the screen like on the Moto 360 2

More annoying is the wirelessly charged 430mAh battery. Not that you can fit a larger one in this form factor, but with so much for a small power pack like that to run, I didn’t expect much. I was unfortunately right – the watch barely makes it through a day.

Taken off the bundled wireless charger at 7am, and without a workout that would need GPS, the watch limped towards 20% by about 6pm. 11 hours of continuous use maybe, but it bugged me. Sure, most charge an Apple Watch every day but even the first-gen Apple Watch can do a day comfortably.

It’s a poison chalice with smartwatches – if you want to use all the bells and whistles (and you do, that’s why you bought it) then the tiny cells in these things just aren’t enough for more than a day tops. That’s OK because you’re probably going to go home every night and stick it on the dock, but if you travel then this thing, like most, is going to die on you.

I got round the poor battery life by turning off the always-on display, turning down brightness, turning off NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS. It works, but it stunts the function and experience. It’s something all decent smartwatches suffer from.

We put up with it on our phones, but even though the simple fact that you can’t fit a larger battery in the Watch Sport, it’s still unacceptably bad battery life. I can’t help but feel LG could have worked closer with Google to optimise the noticeably quick drain.

Software and everyday use

Android Wear 2.0

Google made Android Wear 2.0 the headline act when the Watch Sport was announced, and rightly so as it’s a brilliant OS. Google Assistant makes its debut here on a wearable, and it works pretty well. It also only knows English and German at the moment though, the lazy rotter. Still, chatting into a watch almost makes more sense that barking commands at a smartphone, but it remains an unnatural thing to do.

Android Wear 2.0 is a visual improvement, with menus clearer and easier to navigate. The Sport’s rotating crown is excellent and makes it simple and intuitive to scroll through menus, though if you’re used to other smartwatch operating systems it might be a bit confusing.

You need to tap the screen to enter apps and swipe right to go back in a menu, but once learned it’s a breeze. I particularly enjoyed the Google Keep integration; it’s easy to assign a complication to your favourite watch face and view or add a note. It’s great for shopping lists for example, as you don’t have to clutch your phone, keeping your hands free.

Google’s apps

In fact much like the Samsung apps on Samsung’s Tizen watch OS, the experience with the Watch Sport is best when you stick to Google’s own apps. The integration is brilliant, evidenced in my use of the Fit and Android Pay apps. Decent third party apps are the usual suspects such as Citymapper with its excellent turn-by-turn alerts.

I ran and cycled at the gym, recording both sessions with the watch (you can pick between outdoor and indoor for both of these). It gives you a live read-out of time, calories and distance but you can swap these for other metrics if you want (hard to do on a treadmill, so do it before you start).

This all works through the Google Fit app on the watch, syncing with the same app on an Android phone, but it also works with iOS. You also obviously need the Android Wear app to keep things ticking over from the start, but it’s an OS that allows you to do most of it on the watch itself, which I like. You have the Play Store is on your wrist, though limited to fewer apps of course.

Google Assistant

The watch also has Google Assistant right there on your wrist. I had trouble pairing it with a BlackBerry KEYone though, so you may have the same trouble. It worked with an LG G6 and Google Pixel (two phones that have the Assistant built in, as opposed to the older Google Now).

On first test with the Pixel, the Watch Sport reacted to ‘set alarm for 7:45am’ very quickly, doing just that. Then it struggled.

It recorded me asking ‘When is the Monaco match?’ but took at least fifteen seconds to give me a Google search result. Worse was when I said ‘email Chris Martin’; rather than open an email to my colleague it sent another Chris in my contacts the word ‘Martin’. Not only is this tech evidently still flawed, I now look like a weirdo.

The limits of the Assistant on a watch are more than on the phone. It has a way to go, and the fact it just doesn’t work sometimes isn’t good enough.

Home screen, Agenda, music controls and Google Assistant on the LG Watch Sport

Does it work with an iPhone?

Use with an iPhone is limited too. You can’t interact with iMessage; you only get incoming notifications. Calendar syncing is also dodgy and you have to pick between Google or Apple. You will probably want both, but you can’t. Also you can only use one Google account at a time, and you need to connect to Wi-Fi to access the Play Store directly from the watch as you don’t have the Play Store on an iPhone.

Supposedly there is some Google Assistant functionality, but when I tried to set it all up on an iPhone 7, it left me with a spinning wheel telling me to ‘check your phone’. Nothing happened. I gave up.

Basically, don’t get the LG Watch Sport if you use an iPhone. There are far too many compromises, the integration is buggy and the experience is terrible. Get an Apple Watch

Everything else

On the bright side, when paired with an Android phone I used the Android Pay function with ease and the experience is seamless. It’s so handy once you start using it, and the LG Watch Sport makes it easy, as long as it hasn’t died on you by the time you need a pint after work.

There’s a ton of new things stuffed into the OS, like handwriting recognition for quick replies to messages, a surprisingly not fiddly thing to do well first time. Presentation is everything on wearables because of the limited size of display, and the combination of hardware and software here works well. You can tell LG and Google worked closely to achieve it.

Google has been smart to just clean up Android Wear with vibrant app icons and largely dark backgrounds to save battery life (whites use more power). The update makes the watch feel like a tiny Android phone, notification tray and all, even more so than the original version of the OS.

But as ever, you’re buying into the innate simplicity of a smartwatch. Simple is the most useful; Google’s charmingly uncluttered calendar interface, the ease of notification management, the music control widget. It’s all here, and it flows excellently and intuitively in day-to-day use.

Go to Source