Update:The Google Pixel C has a new software update, and some new competition in the iPad Pro 9.7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. We’ve updated our Pixel C review to reflect these developments.
The Pixel C was launched a little half-heartedly by Google during its Nexus 5X and 6P event back in October 2015, and since then it’s seen some serious rivals show up in the form of the iPad Pro 9.7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
It may be starting to show its age, but a recent software update to Android 7 Nougat has managed to keep it relevant.
The Pixel C was a new venture for Google, being the first tablet designed and built by the search giant.
Previous ‘Google’ slates sporting the Nexus brand were been made by Asus and HTC; this time round, though, Google’s had total control over every aspect, shaping the device specifically for Android.
The 10.2-inch, 2560 x 1800 display and premium metal build means the Pixel C sits comfortably at the top end of the tablet market, bridging the gap between the Nexus slates and Google’s Chromebook Pixel laptop.
It attempts to bridge that gap with a clever keyboard dock which transforms the Pixel C from a standard Android tablet into a hybrid laptop.
Google Pixel C price
64GB model: £479 ($599, around AU$820)
Keyboard dock: £88 ($124, around AU$160)
At launch you could pick up the Google Pixel C in two storage sizes: 32GB and 64GB.
The 32GB version set you back £399, (US$499, around AU$680), while the larger storage size is available for £479 (US$599, around AU$820).
Now though, only the pricier 64GB model remains, but it’s still comfortably cheaper than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (£700, $930, AU$1,499) and (admittedly newer) iPad Pro 9.7 (£549, $599, AU$849).
If you want to make the most of the Google Pixel C you’ll want to pick up the Pixel C keyboard as well, which will set you back a further £88 ($124, around AU$160) – which is cheaper than the initial £119 ($149) launch price.
There’s no mistaking that the Pixel C is a premium tablet. Finished in Anodized Aluminum, the Pixel C looks and feels like an expensive piece of tech as soon as you lay eyes and hands on it.
That style isn’t light though, and at 517g it’s considerably heavier than the similarly proportioned iPad Pro 9.7, which tips the scales at 437g – although the Pro 9.7 is shorter, narrower and thinner than the 242 x 179 x 7mm Google Pixel C.
There’s a healthy amount of bezel surrounding the 10.2-inch display, and considering there’s no physical home key it feels like wasted space. We’d have liked a larger screen, or tighter dimensions – but the tech has to fit somewhere, which probably explains the extra bulk.
You don’t even get a fingerprint scanner, a feature that Google’s included in its latest duo of smartphones after providing dedicated support for the digit-reading tech with Android Marshmallow. It feels a little bit like a missed opportunity.
With the Pixel C held in landscape orientation, the power/lock key is located on the left of the top edge, while the volume rocker sits high up on the left, with a USB-C port at the bottom of the same side.
The USB-C port enables you to charge the Pixel C and transfer data to and from it, but it also has another use. Connect a phone or Pixel laptop to the Pixel C and the tablet can charge your other devices – handy if your phone is running low and there’s no power outlet in sight.
There are also dual stereo speakers on either side of the tablet, and a 3.5mm headphone jack completes the array of features on the right side of the Pixel C.
On the rear, the 8MP camera is joined by the iconic Chromebook light bar shining in Google’s four trademark colours. It’s Google’s answer to the illuminated Apple logo on the MacBook range, ensuring that even in dark environments people know the brand of your machine. Thank God.
It is rather attractive, and it actually serves a purpose other than blowing Google’s trumpet. Double-tap the light bar and it can display the Pixel C’s battery level, even when the device is turned off – that’s really useful if you want to see if it needs a quick charge.
The flat edges mean the Pixel C doesn’t sit particularly comfortably in the hand, and this isn’t a tablet you’ll want to be clinging to for extended periods of time.
The location of the various buttons, and the orientation of the light bar, signals that Google intends for you to use the Pixel C in landscape mode most of the time. But portrait mode is readily available, and is arguably better for activities such as web browsing.
The design then, is pleasing to the eye, but the Pixel C still can’t hold a candle to the iPads. Apple’s flagship tablets just feel nicer, look slicker and weigh less.
We really like the Pixel C’s design, but put it next to the iPad and Apple still wins the beauty contest.
The AOC I2476VW is a 16:9 widescreen monitor with IPS panel and a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It delivers a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2 with 170/160 viewing angle, a contrast ratio of 100M:1, and a response time of 1ms (gray-to-gray). Get it today for just £94.99 with free delivery in the UK.
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A Burger King TV advert which was designed to activate Google Home smart speakers and some Android phones to describe its Whopper burgers has been hijacked by members of the public.
The ad triggered the devices to read out information about the burgers from online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
However, somebody edited Wikipedia to describe the Whopper as the “worst hamburger product” and another added cyanide to the list of ingredients.
Reports say Google has blocked the ad.
Google did not confirm this, saying only that it had “no involvement” in the campaign.
In the 15-second advert, a Burger King employee asks “OK, Google. What is the Whopper burger?”
The stunt has put Wikipedia in the spotlight after reports that Burger King’s own marketing team edited the Whopper page shortly before the ad campaign.
The history of the page shows that changes were made on 4 April by Burger King Corporation. It edited the description of the product to include the lines “America’s favourite burger” and “100% beef with no preservatives”.
This change was quickly re-edited back to the original version.
Neither Wikipedia nor Burger King has responded to requests for comment.
Whether Burger King expected users to go on to make their own, less flattering edits is unclear but Emily Tan, a writer at marketing news website Campaign, thinks it might have been aware such a reaction was likely.
“Burger King has a reputation as quite a provocative brand and the idea that users are hijacking a brand can charm and amuse people. There is a chance that Burger King expected this to happen,” she said.
However, she thought it was less likely they expected the backlash from users about the intrusive nature of such adverts.
“People didn’t like this invading their living rooms. Studies suggest that people feel quite close to these smart speaker devices, they become a personality, and when something you regard as your friend pipes up with information that you didn’t ask for, that creeps people out.”
The stunt has also renewed concerns about voice-activated home speakers being used for advertising.
While Burger King said that it “saw an opportunity to do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices”, others feel it should have acted with more caution.
“Brands are always keen to jump on the newest technologies to engage their audience and sometimes this means mistakes are made.,” Justin Pearse, managing director of Drum Studios, an arm of marketing news website, The Drum told the BBC.
“While it’s crucial brands have the bravery to experiment with new ad models, such as voice-activated advertising, it’s also vital to do this with caution.”
Google and Amazon are currently engaged in a battle over who will dominate the new voice-activated AI-enabled smart assistant market.
Both rely on their products to help sell more products, with Amazon’s Alexa recommending discounts and offers to users.
Netflix is finally making it possible to watch shows offline on your Windows PC, but you won’t be using your browser to do it. The Netflix app in the Windows Store supports downloading select titles for offline viewing.
This is great news for PC users who want to watch titles on a laptop-sized screen during their next flight or an LTE coverage gap somewhere on the Great Plains. Even better, it gives you a reason to actually use Netflix’s Windows 10 app since it offers something the web app doesn’t.
If you haven’t fired up Netflix for Windows 10 in a while, make sure you’ve got the latest version by opening the Windows Store, clicking on your user profile picture, and selecting Downloads and Updates from the drop-down menu.
Here, you’ll be able to see whether the Netflix app requires an update. If it doesn’t, launch the Netflix app, and you should be greeted to a screen similar to what you see at the top of this post advertising the new feature.
The Netflix download button on Windows 10.
Using Netflix’s offline functionality is just the same as on a smartphone or tablet. Click on a title to see its dedicated page. If you see a download icon similar to the one pictured here then you’re good to go. Click that icon, it will turn blue and display the download progress.
This can take a while, so make sure you download titles well ahead of when you need them. To find your downloads again, click the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper-left corner, and select My Downloads from the slide-out menu.
That’s all there is to watching Netflix offline on your PC.
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Thermaltake launched itsTT Premium Concentrate Series and the C1000 Pure Clear Coolant, which allows consumers to create custom coolant colors without compromising thermal performance. The company stated that this new high performance coolant is virtually odorless, non-flammable, and made in Germany. Both C1000 series coolants feature anti-corrosion protection for copper, nickel, brass, and aluminum; has a boiling point of 165℃; a freezing point of -20℃; and a three-year shelf life when stored in airtight containers.
From the press release:
Specially designed to be used in all water cooling systems, the TT Premium Concentrate Series is a ready-to-mix, anti-corrosive and fully biodegradable concentrate with 8 colors that allows PC enthusiasts to customize the coolant color whilst protecting the cooling components and the environment. The TT Premium Concentrate Series is recommended for use with the C1000 Opaque White Coolant or the latest C1000 Pure Clear Coolant.
The TT Premium Concentrate Series features Blue, Green, Acid Green, Red, Orange, Yellow, Purple, and Black. It should be noted that the acid green is UV reactive. What’s that you say? Your favorite color isn’t on the list? No problem, you can just mix and match until you have just the right color. For example, if you’re upset that you can’t find pink coolant anywhere, mix a little red with the C1000 opaque white coolant until you have just the right hue of pink. It’s that simple.
Thermaltake has put together what looks like a user-friendly product that makes it simple to mix and match custom colors even as it simultaneously cools and protects your system. Believe it or not, back in the “old days,” water cooling enthusiast had to rely on homebrew mixtures of clear glycol-based solutions, distilled water, anti-corrosion agents, and food coloring just to achieve a desired color. Not only were some of those concoctions poisonous, they were flammable, as well.
While we’re on the subject, although Thermaltake’s TT Premium Concentrate Series is biodegradable and classified as “water hazard class 1 (low-rate endangering),” the proprietary mixture contains 50% Ethanediol (ethylene glycol) and should be handled with care. As with any ethylene glycol-based product, you should take appropriate safety measures when handling, keep out of reach of children, and avoid contact with skin and eyes.
According to the press release, product availability and pricing will vary by country and region. We reached out to Thermaltake for pricing and availability details. A company spokesperson responded (with information for the U.S. only) and informed us that the concentrated dyes will be sold individually, but also perhaps in packs of four. They’ll cost $7.99 per bottle, and theC1000 Pure Clear Coolant costs $19.99 per bottle.
The colors appear to already be listed on Performance PCs, although there’s no indication in the listings that these are four-packs, based on what Thermaltake told us and the price ($25), we presume that these are indeed four-packs. The C1000 Opaque Coolant White is listed for $30, and the C1000 Pure Clear Coolant is available there now, as well. According to Thermaltake, we should see listings on Amazon and Ttpremium.com within a week, and at that time you should be able to buy individual bottles instead of just four-packs.
It’s a battle that has raged across time and space. Two sides with sworn armies of loyalists, locked eternally in a struggle for dominance. We’ve seen it played out so many times: Android vs iOS, Xbox vs PlayStation, Canon vs Nikon, FIFA vs Pro Evo, ZX Spectrum vs Commodore 64, but today we look not upon those minor conflicts.
Instead, our eyes turn to the thunderous colossuses of Mac vs PC.
Which is the better platform? Is there even a true winner? Some of these questions cannot be answered, but in this feature we will put the two platforms to the test so you can see which one is the best for you.
This category might seem like a sure-thing for Apple, as its hardware is highly regarded across the industry, but things aren’t quite that simple. When Apple’s design guru Jony Ive first designed the iMac back in 1998, it came as a colourful and stylish alternative to the beige boxes that PCs favoured at the time.
Since then there have been innovative designs such as the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the various iterations of the original iMac – including an utterly beautiful angle-poise lamp style that remains one of the most gorgeous computers ever built. The current lineup though, leaves a lot to be desired.
Yes, they are still powerful, fast machines, but the aluminum unibody designs that once looked so modern (and launched a thousand PC clones) haven’t seen an update in a number of years and now look, well, rather dull.
Of course the ultra-slim MacBook does buck this trend somewhat – coming in a range of colours that include Gold and Rose Gold, or pink as most people would call it – but the lack of ports and a low profile keyboard that severely divides opinion among users means it’s something of an acquired taste.
There are rumours of Apple updating the Mac range before the end of the year, so things could improve quickly if the California company introduces new models.
By contrast, PCs are going through something of a renaissance at the moment. After the wild and wacky devices that accompanied the release of Windows 8, manufacturers have settled down and begun releasing some excellent machines.
At the premium end of the market, where Apple also plies its trade, Microsoft has developed the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book both of which are hugely desirable creations. HP, who almost left PC manufacturing entirely a few years ago, has stunned the market with its svelte, luxurious Spectre 13, while Lenovo, Sony, Dell, and others all have high-end models that give MacBooks a run for their money.
One of the best things about Windows devices at the moment is that they offer such variety to users. You can have traditional laptops and desktops (with the option of a touchscreen if you want), dedicated gaming rigs, ultra-thin models, or a device that converts between a tablet and PC. There’s even a Windows phone that can turn into a full blown Windows PC when you plug it into peripherals.
Of course the platform has always had devices available at a range of price points too and this is still the case. In fact HP’s Stream laptop is currently available for £189 and offers a very respectable entry point for those who need a cheap and cheerful device.
Yes, the Apple lineup is high quality, but Windows also offers that now, and much more besides.
While Apple’s shield may still be ringing from the surprising blows it took in hardware, this round finds it unleashing a few attacks of its own. There’s little argument really that when you take a Mac out of its box there is far more useful software onboard than on even the most premium Windows laptop.
No bloatware or trial software is to be found, instead Apple includes apps for basic photo editing, video production, audio production, plus the full office suite of Pages, Number, and Keynote. All are full versions that offer an impressive amount of capability for any new user.
On the Windows side of things it isn’t quite so rosy. There is a photo app, but it’s more for organisation than editing, and depending on where you bought your PC you might have a free year’s subscription to Office 365, but beyond that it’s a pretty barren landscape.
Of course when you move out to third party software Windows has an enormous amount of apps to buy, far exceeding that of Macs, but the truth is that Macs come equipped with nearly everything you need for normal, consumer-level computing.
Gaming has long been the province of PCs and with the arrival of Windows 10 the platform has only strengthened its dominance.
Aside from an embarrassingly huge advantage over Macs in terms of available titles, PCs now have the ability to stream games from both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (Mac supports PS4 only at the time of writing). This category isn’t even close. If you like gaming then a Windows PC is hands-down the better choice over a Mac.
Here’s where it gets interesting. For years OS X and Windows have fought over the same ground, that of a standard desktop based environment. But since Windows 8 Microsoft has been taking its platform into new realms, incorporating touch and speech as significant factors.
Cortana is now a resident feature on Windows 10, enabling users to create reminders, schedule appointments, conduct searches, and a range of other functions all through voice commands.
Apple wasn’t far behind though, as macOS Sierra features Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, and offers similar features to that of Cortana.
Where the two environments diverge the most is when it comes to touch. Windows has fully embraced the idea of tapping the screen, while Mac users have a wide range of multi-touch trackpad gestures available.
True, Windows also shares some of these, but the implementation on Macs – especially those with force-touch trackpads – remains the superior trackpad experience.
While Apple has staunchly avoided introducing a touch interface on macOS, it’s introduction on Windows has led to the creation of several interesting hybrid devices (2-in-1s that can act as laptops or tablets) with the Surface Pro 4 being the best example.
This opens up things such as the use of a stylus to highlight or annotate web-pages on Microsoft’s Edge browser, writing and drawing freehand in OneNote, plus general navigation through websites, applications, and the operating system itself.
Both platforms are exploring new ways to create, interact and manipulate data, which means that there is no clear winner here, except for users who now have a fascinating amount of choice.
This is usually the biggest stick that Mac users wield against their Windows counterparts, and it’s a fair point.
Statistically there is far more chance of contracting a virus or malware when you use a PC. This is mainly due to the fact that Macs make up such a small percentage of computers worldwide, so it’s not worth hackers targeting them. But this could be changing.
2016 saw the emergence of the Keyranger ransomware that attacked OS X and encrypted all files on a hard drive until users paid an extortion fee. Yes this pales in comparison to the likes of Cryptolocker, but it’s an indication that Macs are beginning to appear on the hacking radar.
Then there’s the fact that many attacks these days use social engineering or fear mongering to fool users into giving away their account details, rather than installing viruses to cause havoc.
It’s still hard to argue that Macs are not more secure than Windows machines, but complacency could mean that the users themselves might be equally vulnerable.
Value for money
When it comes to any buying decision, one of the most important factors is value for money. On the Windows side there are a wealth of devices that start, as mentioned above, with the likes of the HP Stream (£189) and move up through various price points until you reach the premium strata of Microsoft’s SurfaceBook which starts at £1299. This means that there is a Windows machine for everybody, no matter the budget.
Macs on the other hand start at £479 following a post-Brexit price hike, and this is for the Mac Mini which doesn’t have a keyboard, mouse, or display included. It’s no powerhouse either, with disappointing specs and slow performance, plus it hasn’t been updated since 2014.
On the laptop side of things the cheapest MacBook is the 11-inch MacBook Air which will set you back £749. At the moment this doesn’t seem to offer great value for money either, mainly due to it featuring a small screen with a lacklustre 1366×768 screen resolution which feels far from premium these days.
Moving up, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (£1249) beefs up the screen to a retina model and has internals more befitting of high-end device, and includes a new Touch Bar if you pay an extra £200.
If you’re willing to buy at the Pro level then Apple’s current products do offer excellent performance, build quality, and support, but dipping below that seems to offer less value and more compromises than those prices justify.
Which one should you buy?
As you may have surmised from our look at these two platforms there is no clear winner, and that’s good. After all, computers occupy such central parts of our lives these days, and our needs all differ wildly, so there will never be a one size fits all solution (no matter what Jony Ive says about Apple’s EarPods).
What is clear is the amount of choice now available for consumers. Windows devices have so much variation in design and capability, while Apple continues to refine its lineup, and the rumoured iMac refresh could see the company finally introduce new designs.
In the end it’s down to how much money you want to spend, what you want to do, and your preferred software platform. The good thing is that the market has matured to a point where it’s actually hard to buy a bad device now.
A solid rule of thumb is to save up and spend the most you can afford, as the higher end devices really are on another level at the moment, but the budget market for Windows machines is also in fine fettle.
Last December, Visbit revealed its View Optimized Streaming (VVOS) technology, and it launched a closed beta to test a 4K+ 360-degree and VR video streaming service based on the tech. After months of evaluation, Visbit is ready to offer the technology to a wider audience. The Visbit streaming service enters open beta today.
“Thanks to the feedback from our closed beta users and initial testing, we’ve made a number of tweaks and additions to make our all-in-one streaming service more robust and available for broader adoption,” said CY Zhou, Visbit co-founder and CEO. “We continue to push the limits of what is possible – evident in our recent industry-first 12K streaming breakthrough and support for live streaming – and are looking forward to integrating these features, and more, into our service in the near future.”
Visbit isn’t gunning to be the YouTube of VR video. Videos hosted on the service that are owned by one client aren’t visible to another client. The company’s streaming platform is a business to business (B2B) product that includes a publishing portal, real-time viewership analytics, cloud storage, and an SDK for integrating the Visbit VR player into apps and websites. The service allows companies to provide customized portals to access their high-resolution VR 360-degree content. Further, the company’s VVOS technology makes it possible to view 360-degree videos with up to 12K resolution over a simple WiFi or LTE connection.
The closed beta offered only on-demand streaming, but the open beta kicks it up a notch with support for livestreaming. Members of Visbit’s pilot partner program can hook up a live streaming 360-degree camera and broadcast through its streaming service. Livestreaming is currently limited to 6K because Visbit hasn’t yet found a higher-resolution camera that supports Advanced Streaming Format (ASF) video.
Visbit invited six content partners to test the streaming service during the closed beta period, and after a successful trial, the company is now accepting applications for an open beta test. But Visbit’s open beta isn’t open to just anyone, though. CY Zhou, Visbit’s founder and CEO, explained that the company would accept as many clients as it can for the open beta, but he doesn’t want to spread the company’s resources too thin. Visbit offers three different packages that cater to clients with varied skill levels and resources, so, Zhou said, the company must be selective about the clients it accepts for the beta period.
Visbit provides an SDK and sample code to its clients so they can embed the Visbit player into their app or website. If the client has a dedicated software engineer on the team, the Visbit player integration should be a simple task. For customers who don’t but wish to customize the video portal, Visbit offers an App Shell option, which allows you to change basic parameters such as the logo and color scheme. These two options don’t require much effort from Visbit, so the company should be able to accept many such applicants.
Visbit also offers a white label service, which is meant for clients who possess little to no coding knowledge, yet they desire a custom implementation of the VR player. The white label service is offered on a case by case basis, and in limited numbers.
The cost of each package varies. Visbit offers the SDK for free, but the hosting and streaming service comes with a monthly bill. Zhou said the fee is based on usage, and it applies to all three service packages. The App Shell option includes an additional monthly licensing fee to use the software. Clients who opt for white label service should expect a bill for building the application, but they wouldn’t be charged a monthly license fee.
The monthly subscription includes more than just video hosting and streaming. You also get access to an analytics page, which allows you to monitor the popularity of your videos. The page even includes a heatmap feature that shows you where your viewer’s eyes are focused in your 360-degree videos.
Zhou said the purpose of the open beta is to streamline and automate the installation process. The platform will leave the beta phase once Visbit refines the installation to the point that most clients don’t require any support. Zhou expects the open beta period to last about six months.
If you’re interested in participating in the Visbit Streaming Service open beta, you can sign up at the Visbit website.