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05 Jan 2022

There will soon be no escape from Microsoft Teams, even in the office

Microsoft is doubling down on efforts to drive the adoption of collaboration platform Teams in conference room settings.

As per two new entries to the company’s product roadmap, users will soon be able to perform a wider range of actions via Microsoft Teams panels, the touchscreen devices mounted outside of meeting rooms.

For example, Microsoft Teams users will be able to “check out” of conference rooms if their meetings end earlier than expected, as a courtesy to colleagues who might need the space. In a similar vein, it will also be possible to extend existing reservations via Microsoft Teams panels, provided doing so does not create a clash.

Microsoft Teams in the office

Both updates are still currently under development, but should roll out to all Microsoft Teams panel users by the end of May.

With the majority of experts predicting a widespread transition to hybrid working once the pandemic recedes, Microsoft is eager to position its collaboration and video conferencing platform as the go-to choice for in-office deployments too.

The company faces stiff competition from the likes of Zoom, which has its own range of conference room solutions, but Microsoft is putting in the legwork with a series of updates of its own.

In addition to the new functionality set to land in the spring, Microsoft recently announced a feature to help companies monitor and limit the capacity of meeting rooms, to facilitate social distancing (if it’s still required in future). 

The desired room capacity is set by the administrator and overcrowding is detected using cameras with people-counting functionality. If a room is over capacity, an alert will appear on the in-room display and Microsoft Teams panel outside.

Microsoft will hope that features such as these, in addition to a roster of intelligent meeting room hardware (displays, webcams, microphones etc.), will help build on the strong foundation established during the pandemic.

05 Jan 2022

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 photos show the whole range in the flesh

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 range is expected to launch very soon, and there's now more evidence of that, as it's appeared on the SafetyKorea certification website, complete with actual photos of the range. 

The listing was spotted by MySmartPrice and leaker @Sudhanshu1414, and includes model numbers that seemingly correspond to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 (SM-X706N), Galaxy Tab S8 Plus (SM-X806N), and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (SM-X906N). There's also mention of a SM-T270, which might be the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Lite. 

You can see images of all four of these below. They don't reveal much and aren't great quality, but they do include some measurements, showing that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra for example is almost 13 inches tall.

See more

Screen measurements use the diagonal, which we don't have here, but previous leaks suggest it will be 14.6 inches.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8 meanwhile are shown as being a little smaller, as expected, with their screens rumored to be 12.4 inches and 11 inches across respectively. Finally, the slate believed to be the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Lite (the one that you can see from both the front and back) is smaller still.

The attached images also reveal that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 has thick bezels around the screen, with a front camera positioned to the right edge of the tablet, when held vertically.

The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus has the front camera in the same position, as seemingly does the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (though it's not very clear in this image). However, previous leaks indicate that its selfie camera is housed in a notch, rather than the bezel.

While we'd take these images with a slight side of salt, they come from a fairly official source, so there's a good chance they're accurate. It's just a shame they don't show us more.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

They could be big improvements on the Galaxy Tab S7 range (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: what else we know

Leaked information indicates that the base model of the Galaxy Tab S8 comes with an 11-inch LCD screen and packs either a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or a Snapdragon 888 chipset, with a dual camera setup at the back. It apparently has a 13MP primary camera and a 5MP secondary sensor.

There's said to be a 5MP selfie camera on the device, and it's apparently powered by an 8,000mAh battery with 45W fast charging. 

The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus could feature the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset with at least 8GB of RAM, according to listings on Geekbench. The tablet could have a larger 12.4-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a big 10,090mAh battery, plus the same cameras as the standard model.

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is thought to have a 14.6-inch 2960 x 1848 screen, either an Exynos 2200 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset (both of which are top end), a 12,000mAh battery, and up to 16GB of RAM, along with a similar camera setup to the other two.

We expect at least the two top-end tablets here to compete with Apple's top iPad Pro slates, given their rumored large screens, top-notch processors and massive batteries. 

05 Jan 2022

Microsoft Edge’s half-baked password manager might now be worth a look

Microsoft is preparing to roll out a new version of the in-built password manager for its Edge web browser.

Currently under development, the new-look password management feature will allow users to add credentials to their roster manually for the first time.

At the moment, Microsoft Edge requires users to visit a website, log in and wait for a prompt from the browser. By introducing a manual option, Microsoft will minimize the friction associated with adding passwords en masse.

The ability to add account credentials manually first featured in an early-access build of Google Chrome, which is based on the same Chromium engine as Edge. Microsoft appears to have built upon this foundation to port the functionality over to its own service.

It’s unclear precisely when the feature will make its way into a full public build, but it is currently available to members of the Edge Canary channel under the Profile menu.

Microsoft Edge password manager

Microsoft first introduced password management functionality to its flagship browser in January last year, offering users a simple alternative to fully-featured services like LastPass and Dashlane, which cost in the region of $40/year.

The idea was to give users a cost-effective way to limit the risk of credential stuffing, brute force attacks and identity theft.

However, recent reports suggest it may still be ill-advised to store your account credentials in your web browser, as opposed to using a dedicated service.

According to security company AhnLab, info-stealing Redline malware is capable of both evading antivirus software and stealing passwords and other sensitive data from its victim’s browser.

In a recent incident, an infection resulted in the compromise of a corporate network, after VPN credentials were stolen from a remote employee’s web browser.

From a cybersecurity perspective, although storing unique passwords in Microsoft Edge is better than deploying an identical password across multiple accounts, it shouldn’t be considered the perfect solution.

Via WindowsLatest

05 Jan 2022

New and improved Windows Media Player is rolling out to Windows 11 users

After being shown off in the Insider channels since November, Microsoft’s rebooted Windows Media Player is slowly being made available on the new Microsoft Store in Windows 11.

While it was first shown off by accident during a live podcast stream, an update in the Dev Channel in November revealed the existence of this new and improved media player.

It’s replacing Groove Music, the app that’s been Microsoft’s default media player for a while now, but the company seemingly wants to make a sequel to the iconic Windows Media Player from the early-noughties, when it was one of the most popular apps of its time.

But is there a place in 2022 for a new media app in Windows 11?

How to download Media Player in Windows 11

The new app requires you to update your device to Windows 11 build 22000.346 or later, where you can then head over to the Microsoft Store, and download the new media player for your device.

If you have Groove Music, Microsoft’s previous media app that’s been available since 2012, the new Windows Media Player will replace it. In our testing, we spotted that the new media player was available on some, but not all, of our Windows 11 devices.

But you can still download the original version of Windows Media Player, which has been available since 2012 if you want a nostalgic kick for your PC. But you won’t be able to take advantage of what the new media player brings.

Alongside HDR support when playing videos, the app has seen a redesign to match the Fluent design language of Windows 11 and Office 2021. The color scheme will also match whichever theme you have set for your PC, so Media Player won’t look out of place.

Analysis: Is there room for Windows Media Player in 2022?

The world is a different place since we were using MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player 9 back in 2002. It was before a time where Netflix existed, and ‘streaming’ was what rivers did, rather than being a way of watching media.

Windows Media Player 8 in Windows XP

(Image credit: Microsoft)

But now we’re spoilt for choice with the apps we can use to play our videos. While you can play videos on your Mac through QuickTime Player, or through third-party means such as IINA, Windows 11 has a wide variety to choose from.

From VLC Player to iTunes, it may require an extra push from Microsoft to make users aware of what was around during Windows 98, and why Windows Media Player is still worth using in 2022.

With Xbox, Surface, and other devices from the company, we may see variants of this new Windows Media Player start to appear on these products. But time will tell if users want to use a brand-new media player when there’s already a great catalog of media apps to choose from.

Via Windows Latest

05 Jan 2022

What is Microsoft Teams? How it works, best features, and other resources

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and video conferencing platform that helps people communicate effectively across a number of different mediums. 

The service allows users to communicate via text chat, voice or video call and also benefits from synergies with various other Microsoft 365 services, such as OneDrive and PowerPoint.

Although Teams started out as a business application, Microsoft has recently pushed the platform as a consumer service too and, accordingly, has built it into the heart of its new Windows 11 OS.

The free version of Microsoft Teams offers a generous feature set that will be sufficient for many individuals and small businesses, while a paid version is available for larger organizations after a more comprehensive solution.

Microsoft Teams clients are available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, so employees can communicate using pretty much any device.

Cut to the chase

What is it? A collaboration and video conferencing service
What platforms is it on? All major operating systems
How much does it cost? Depends on the plan, but a free version is available
Who is the target audience? Predominantly business users, but regular consumers too

Free version or paid?

The free version of Microsoft Teams boasts all the features employees will need to collaborate remotely and could be a perfectly suitable option for smaller businesses.

Unlimited text chat and search, group video conferencing, one-on-one video calls, 2GB of cloud storage per person (or 10GB across the entire team) and access to web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote all come free of charge.

However, the free version of Microsoft Teams lacks a few important security and administration facilities - such as enforced multi-factor authentication, single sign-on and user management - that most businesses are likely to need.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Microsoft Teams subscription, there are three options available: Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic is available for $5.00 per user per month (£3.80/AU$6.90), and includes the ability to schedule and record Microsoft Teams meetings, boosts the file storage capacity to 1TB per user and includes the additional security features mentioned above.

Office 365 Business Standard, meanwhile, costs $12.50 per user per month (£9.40/AU$17.20). It features all the benefits of the cheaper package, but also includes desktop versions of Microsoft’s famous productivity applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) and business apps such as Bookings, Invoicing and MileIQ.

Finally, Office 365 Premium adds advanced security and privacy features, as well as a greater range of device management options. This package will run your business $20.00 per user per month (£15.10/AU$27.50).

(Image credit: Shutterstock / dennizn)

Download Microsoft Teams

To download Microsoft Teams to your device, simply follow this link to the Microsoft Teams download page.

From here, you can download the Microsoft Teams app for desktop or mobile, or you can enter your email address in the relevant field and Microsoft will deliver a download link directly.

Those looking to download Microsoft Teams mobile app can also navigate to the relevant app store on their device, be that Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Microsoft Teams features

Microsoft Teams offers all the core collaboration features, from high-quality video conferencing to phone calls, text chat and group messaging.

When it comes to the in-meeting experience, the service provides users with a variety of tools, such as custom and blurred backgrounds, different viewing modes, breakout rooms and text chat. Users can also share their screen during presentations, making it easier for audience members to follow along.

Teams allows meetings to be recorded, which means people unable to attend can catch up on anything they missed. And since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft has introduced a few important accessibility features too, such as live captions and transcription.

What sets Teams apart from its competitors, however, is its position within the wider Microsoft 365 suite of apps and services. For example, Teams is intertwined closely with OneDrive and SharePoint, making file-sharing easy and intuitive. An upcoming PowerPoint integration, meanwhile, is set to make managing notes during presentations and engaging with the audience less challenging.

Microsoft Teams

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ink Drop)


When it comes to video conferencing security, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) is considered the holy grail.

Under this system, communication between meeting participants is encrypted using cryptographic keys held only on users’ devices. This means no third party, including the service provider, has access to the keys to decrypt private meeting data.

Microsoft Teams was relatively slow on the uptake where E2EE is concerned. Only recently has E2EE entered general availability for Teams calls, and even then it requires a number of features to be disabled.

That said, Microsoft has taken strong steps to prevent a practice known as “Zoombombing”, whereby an uninvited individual invades and disrupts a meeting. And the company has also added a handy disable video function that should help limit disruptions caused by legitimate attendees.

According to the Microsoft website, Teams also enforces two-factor authentication and encryption of data in transit and at rest. To ensure customers remain compliant with relevant regulations, meanwhile, Microsoft lets users make choices about the location of the data centers used to process their data in transit.


As for customer service, Microsoft offers pretty much all avenues of support you might expect - with the exception of a live chat service.

The first port of call should be the extensive knowledge base, but otherwise users can seek further help via Microsoft 365 support channels, which include an online form, phone support and a dedicated Get Help app.

Microsoft Teams has native clients for all the major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Attendees can also join sessions via web browser if they please.

Other resources

05 Jan 2022

WhatsApp is making iOS notifications much more helpful

WhatsApp is making a small but signification change to message notifications for iOS users. The change is currently only visible to beta testers, but will be rolling out to more users in due course.

In the latest iOS beta version, WhatsApp is making it easier to see who a message is from. The change relates to app notifications, and it brings the iOS version of the app in line with the Android version.

The change means that it's now possible for iOS users to see profile pictures next to messages in notifications. This is something that has been available to Android users for quite some time now, and is an easy and obvious way to make it easier to tell who a notification relates to at a glance.

Profile pictures can be seen next to notifications not only for chats with individuals, but also those that relate to group chats.

As the new feature makes use of APIs included as part of iOS 15, profile pictures in notifications are only available to beta testers who are running this version of iOS.

Info at a glance

Unfortunately, simply being part of the WhatsApp beta program for iOS is not enough to gain access to this updated feature. Even if you have the latest beta version of the app installed, it is no guarantee that you will see profile pictures in notifications as WhatsApp appears to be enabling this server-side for groups of users.

All you can do for the time being is sit back and wait. If you're not a beta tester, you could have a lengthy wait ahead of you, but WhatsApp   has not given any indication of timescale for rollout, making it impossible to say just when non-beta users will fell the benefits of this update.

Via WABetaInfo

05 Jan 2022

TCL's first-ever laptop has a competitive price point, but it's no bargain

TCL is certainly making waves at CES 2022, announcing new phones, new tablets, new TV motion processing tech, and even a pair of wearable display smart glasses.

Of course, there was one TCL product that managed to slip under the radar for many, with the Chinese manufacturer also announcing its first-ever laptop, dubbed the TCL Book 14 Go, which will arrive at some point in 2022.

Based on its name, we've deduced that TCL is likely positioning the Book 14 Go as a budget offering that brings consumers an even cheaper alternative to the Microsoft Surface Go 3.

At $349 (around £257 / AU$482), the TCL Book 14 Go is certainly priced competitively, though its meager specs suggest it won't quite be a bargain, unlike the company's excellent TVs.

Analysis: it's cheap, but at what cost?

In terms of specs, the ARM-based (Snapdragon 7c CPU) Windows 11 laptop sports a 14.1-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1366 x 768 resolution, which is underwhelming to say the least. Regardless of the Book 14 Go's low price point, 720p would be a disappointing resolution on a phone, let alone a laptop in 2022.

We also wouldn't expect much in terms of graphics processing, as the TCL Book 14 Go is burdened with an Adreno 618, which is the same GPU featured in a wide number of mid-range Chinese handsets from manufacturers like Realme, Vivo, Xiaomi, Oppo and more.

Thankfully, the TCL Book 14 Go does provide a decent offering in the storage department, with 128GB of the onboard variety along with an SD card slot for optional storage expansion. It also offers 4G LTE functionality and up to 12 hours of battery life, which seems about right at this price. 

While some commenters have pointed out that there are cheaper Chromebooks on the market with better specs, larger displays and higher 1080p resolutions, those options obviously lack Windows 11, which is easily the TCL Book 14 Go's biggest selling point – it will be interesting to see whether consumers opt for Windows 11 over decent specs when the TCL Book 14 Go eventually launches later this year.

04 Jan 2022

Are we all just ignoring that LG's releasing an album with a virtual influencer?

I was live-blogging LG's CES 2022 keynote today, and there was a lot of stuff to unpack. A new concept car, random robots and a huge 97-inch TV... but something stuck around in the back of my head, niggling away.

'Wait... did LG just announce its virtual influencer was going to release a music album this year...?' came the fully-formed thought a few hours later.

And now, while I need desperately to go to bed, I've confirmed that yes, indeed - that is happening. Reah Keem, the digital character LG unveiled as a 'virtual influencer' at CES 2021, is indeed going to be unveiling her first album in 2022:

"Reah attended last year's CES as our virtual influencer, but this year, she's collaborating with Mystic Story as an artist. She's composing her own songs now, so keep an eye out for her first debut album, which will release later this year," said an LG spokesperson.

That Mystic Story is a South Korean record and entertainment label, and it'll be the thing that helps Reah live her dream... or whatever virtual influencers have as dreams.

Oh no, here comes a rabbit hole

Suddenly, an hour later and well after I'm supposed to be clocking off, I'm lost in a world of virtual influencers, my mind blowing further with every click.

It starts with Reah Keem's Instagram account, learning she has nearly 14,000 followers. Not a lot by Insta standards, but it feels like a lot for something that's ficitious.

She's been spending a lot of time trying to 'find her voice', which includes the delightful hashtag #pissedoffatdeveloper, and a recent post 'unveiled' it.

So the start of her music career began with coding her a voice - I guess that's a necessary step, right?

Then comes the dawning understanding that this is the tip of the iceberg, and Reah is far from the first virtual influencer, and we're far from being able to tell real from digitally-created humans.

Some have been created to masquerade as real initially, such as Shudu Gram, before being outed as a virtual creation. However, this fictitious star has appeared in the Korean version of Vogue with Rozy Oh, another virtual influencer from South Korea with 112,000 followers.

But I've realized the point at which I must exit this rabbit hole, and shelve this notion for another day and feature (as I have a team to lead covering the whole of CES), is when I look into Miquela, AKA LilMiquela, who has amassed 3,100,000 followers and can reportedly charge $8,000 for a single Insta post - and is on course to rack up $10,000,000 in a year for her 'makers', Los Angeles-based startup Brud.

So while the idea that LG is making a music album with a completely made-up person was something ludicrous and inexplicable just a few hours ago... I'm now left feeling that the brand kicked its heels too long - why has it taken all this time to get Reah a music deal, folks?

04 Jan 2022

This eagerly-awaited Microsoft Teams update has been delayed

Fluent Design is Microsoft's design language that the company is rolling out to Windows 11 and other apps throughout the year. But Microsoft Teams is going to have to wait slightly longer for its own update for Fluent emojis.

The update was scheduled for November 2021, but it looks as though emoji, and other features, will be coming soon in a significant update for Teams users.

Its online collaboration platform is reaching its fifth year in 2022, with the pandemic being a significant part of its growth of 250 million users so far. However, with Skype still being maintained by Microsoft as well, the new features for Teams need to differentiate itself from being a good platform for businesses to an essential one.

A fluent delay of features

While Fluent design has been available for Windows 11 and Office 2022, it's also expanded to other apps, such as Paint, Calendar, and other apps by Microsoft.

However, Teams is scheduled to reap the benefits of Fluent design in February, alongside live transcripts of calls, better meeting options, and other features that are coming to the app in 2022.

Video filters were also delayed from August to March this year, where you can customize your appearance before joining a conference call.

Many of these features should prove useful to many, but it depends if some of these are further delayed so that the Fluent design can be finished for Teams in March.

Via MSPowerUser

04 Jan 2022

Apple's 10.2-inch iPad crashes to record-low price at Walmart

If you didn't snag an iPad deal over the holidays - have no fear. We've just spotted Apple's 10.2-inch iPad in stock and on sale for just $299 (was $329) at Walmart. That's the lowest price we've seen and a fantastic deal for the 64GB tablet.

While we've seen Apple's 2021 iPad drop to this price before, the tablet has been difficult to find in stock as of late and is currently sold out at Amazon. We don't know how long until Amazon will have the 10.2-inch iPad in stock and on sale, so it's highly recommended you pick this one up at Walmart before it's too late.

Today's best iPad deal

Apple 10.2-inch iPad (2021), 64GB: $329 $299 at Walmart
Save $30 -
Walmart now has the 2021 iPad in stock and on sale for just $299. That's the best deal we've seen and a fantastic price for the 10.2-inch iPad that packs Apple's new A13 Bionic chip and a 12-megapixel front camera. This deal is for the 64GB model in Silver and Space Grey.

The 2021 iPad includes Apple's powerful A13 Bionic chip and starts off with 64GB of storage, which allows you to store plenty of movies and download apps and games. The 9th generation tablet also received an upgraded 12-megapixel front camera and includes Apple's Center Stage feature to help you stay in frame. You're also getting a 10.2-inch Retina display, support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and an impressive all-day battery life.

More iPad deals

You can see more of the best cheap iPad deals and if you're interested in Amazon devices you can see the best cheap Amazon Fire tablet deals.

04 Jan 2022

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti laptop GPUs – everything we know so far

CES 2022 is now underway, and Nvidia has taken to the virtual stage to announce its latest additions to the Ampere mobile graphics card family, with the long-rumored GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti finally being unveiled, alongside the 4th generation of MAX-Q technology.

Gaming laptops have become pretty formidable over the last few years, and with the ongoing chip shortage making desktop GPUs difficult to source for a reasonable price, we expect that an increased number of PC gamers will be interested in snapping up a powerful, portable alternative. 

Some gaming laptops also have the additional advantage of being suitable for hybrid environments, with toned-down designs being used as everyday work and study devices alongside gaming or streaming.

With that, it's little wonder that we're seeing the addition of two new mobile graphics cards for gaming laptops to better allow consumers to buy a device that's optimized for your exact needs – be that creative work, demanding AAA games or a full streaming-ready setup.

The RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti join the current lineup of RTX 3000 series Ampere gaming laptops, providing amazing features such as raytracing for incredibly realistic global illumination and light effects, and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) for an AI-powered boost to your framerate.

Cut to the chase

  • What are they? Nvidia's new powerful laptop graphics cards
  • When are they out? February 1 2022
  • What will they cost?  RTX 3070 Ti laptop prices start from around $1,499 (£1,100, AU$2,100), RTX 3080 Ti laptop prices start from around $2,499 (£1,850, AU$3,500)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti & 3080 Ti Mobile release date

Nvidia CES 2022

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Both the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti laptops will be released on February 1 2022. The launch dates across different laptop brands and models are varied, but some manufacturers will have laptops containing the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3070 Ti mobile GPUs available to preorder by late January 2022, with the ability to purchase directly from retailers estimated for Q1 2022.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti & 3080 Ti Mobile Specs

The new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU will reportedly be rocking 7,424 CUDA cores alongside the confirmed 16GB of super speedy GDDR6 memory (the fastest ever shipped in a laptop GPU) over the 6,144 featured in the standard mobile RTX 3080, which is pretty darn impressive when you consider the full desktop RTX 3080 graphics card has 8,704 cores and 10GB GDDR6X.

Another comparison is the desktop GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the flagship of the previous generation of Nvidia gaming hardware that has 11GB of GDDR6 VRAM and 4,352 CUDA cores, which looks pretty meager when stacked against what can now be achieved in a slim gaming laptop.

While only the vRAM was confirmed on the RTX 3080 Ti Mobile, we got even less information regarding specifications for the RTX 3070 Ti, with Nvidia simply stating that we can expect laptops equipped with the GPU to be up to 1.7x faster than the RTX 2070 Super.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti & 3080 Ti Mobile performance

Nvidia CES 2022

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia claims that the RTX 3080 Ti Mobile delivers higher performance than the desktop TITAN RTX, and can achieve over 120+ FPS at 1440p. It also estimates that the less powerful RTX 3070 Ti Mobile will be 70% faster than current RTX 2070 Super laptop GPUs, capable of delivering 100+ FPS at 1440p. Given gaming laptops with RTX 2070 Super hardware achieve impressive results even with the current generation of AAA games, this is an impressive step-up in regards to performance.

What is Max-Q technology?

Max-Q takes its name from the aeronautics industry, where it refers to the maximum amount of aerodynamic stress an aircraft can handle. In the computing world though, Nvidia has borrowed this and taken it to represent the idea of pushing maximum efficiency, as well as maximum performance to find a sweet spot for both while maintaining reasonable levels of heat.

Originally unveiled at Computex 2017, this means that thinner, lighter gamer laptops are within reach with every passing generation of the Max-Q technology. This 4th incarnation promises the ability to control your laptop’s CPU in order to carefully balance or redistribute performance, power, and temperature as required to maximize the optimization of the Nvidia GPU.

As with the GPUs, not much was actually revealed alongside the announcement, though Nvidia included claims for features like “Rapid Core Scaling” which can allegedly provide up to a 3x boost to performance by turning off some GPU cores while overclocking others, and a “Battery Boost 2.0” that might extend the battery life of your laptop by up to 70%. 

We won't know the accuracy of these claims until the laptops start appearing in the wild and benchmarks are published, but if these promised boosts do prove true then  Nvidia-powered gaming laptops are going to be capable of some seriously impressive performance in the coming few years.

04 Jan 2022

Browser wars: Apple's M1 chips help Safari close the gap on Google Chrome

The success of Apple’s M1 range of silicon could have inadvertently helped drive up the market share of web browser Safari, new data suggests.

The first M1-powered MacBooks were launched in 2020, followed by a series of mobile workstations powered by the M1 Max and M1 Ultra in October, 2021. Both launches were met with critical acclaim.

All Apple devices, of course, come with Safari pre-installed. And according to the latest figures from Statcounter, the company’s browser now accounts for 19.6% of internet activity, up 1.2% in the last three months alone.

While the increase may sound relatively insignificant as a percentage, the raw numbers are much more compelling; data on the total number of web users from Statista suggests Safari has attracted roughly 58 million additional users since the start of October.

A big year for Safari?

The ubiquity of Apple products (iPhones and iPads, as well as Mac devices) means Safari is comfortably the world’s second largest browser, streets ahead of the likes of Microsoft Edge and Firefox.

However, Safari is still nowhere near as widely used as Google Chrome (with 64% market share), which currently has somewhat of a stranglehold on the sector.

That said, the ever-growing popularity of Apple devices and the company’s reputation for high levels of security and data privacy could see Safari begin to close the gap on Chrome this year.

Apple has also been transparent about its efforts to accelerate the adoption of business Macs, which may have a knock-on effect on the size of the Safari user base. Last month, Apple announced it is preparing a device subscription offering whereby businesses will be able to lease MacBooks for as little as $30/month.

Although Google executives won’t lose any sleep over the threat posed by Safari just yet, the browser wars appear set to rage on in 2022.

  • Protect your online privacy with the best VPN services around

04 Jan 2022

Twitter just sold its mobile ad business for more than a billion dollars

Twitter has officially completed the sale of its mobile ads platform MoPub to AppLovin, netting the company a cool $1.05 billion.

MoPub helped Twitter generate around $190 million in revenue during 2020, but the company felt that having the platform was impacting its ability to execute in other areas, such as catering to SMBs and e-commerce, both of which are areas of strength for Meta (formerly Facebook). 

The deal was originally announced in October 2021.

Out with the old

"With the sale of MoPub completed, we continue to concentrate our efforts on enhancing ads across our platform," Twitter GM of Revenue Products Bruce Falck said. "Our goal is to deliver faster growth in key areas and accelerate our product development." 

At the time of the deal, AppLovin said that MoPub was being used by 45,000 apps to monetize, reaching 1.5 billion addressable users around the world. 

"Developers benefit from more features to help drive higher monetization opportunities and streamline workflows, leading to increased revenue for their businesses. We believe the power of this unified platform will be unparalleled in today’s market,” said AppLovin CEO Adam Foroughi. 

“We are excited to execute on this strategic acquisition with our sights set on operating the largest and most robust in-app advertising platform that enhances the growth of the broader mobile app ecosystem.”

According to Twitter, many MoPub features will sunset on March 31, 2022, although the MoPub Dashboard and Reporting will remain live until April 8, 2022. 

While Twitter has outsized influence, its finances are generally much weaker than its rivals, leading to an ambitious plan to double revenues to $7.5 billion per year (or more) by 2023. 

04 Jan 2022

Cloud giant Blackbaud acquires social SaaS company Everfi for $750 million

Cloud software giant Blackbaud has announced its intent to acquire "impact-as-a-service" company Everfi for $750 million. 

Based in Washington, DC, Everfi offers cloud-based online learning tools to private, public, and social sector organisations. Alongside this, Everfi works with a range of groups on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental goals. 

The synergies between the two businesses are clear: Blackbaud, working with everyone from non-profits to K-12 schools to faith communities and arts organisations, gains another feather in its cap, one that will generate around $120 million in revenue during 2022, rising 20% over 2021, and reaches 45 million learners globally. 

Fiscally smart, socially good

The deal makes a lot of sense. Both companies offer each other extra reach and generate revenue that will help them grow symbiotically. 

“As companies continue to invest further in ESG and CSR programs to both give back and meet regulatory demands, they need a partner who can help connect their philanthropic goals to meaningful social impact opportunities,” said Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni. “Blackbaud and Everfi will work together to realize a shared vision of measurable social impact through world-class technology.” 

Under the terms, Blackbaud will pay $450 million in cash and a further $300 million in common stock. According to Crunchbase, Everfi has raised over $250 million. 

03 Jan 2022

Microsoft’s making Windows 11 faster – and getting inspiration from Vista

Microsoft appears to be making some much-needed changes to Windows 11 to help its new operating system run faster.

As Windows Latest reports, Microsoft is actually undoing one of the changes it made back in 2019, when it added a feature to the Windows File Explorer search box that allowed you to search your OneDrive cloud storage alongside local files. The ‘Recent files’ section of Explorer also got support for online files.

While this addition may have been useful for people who store (or create) a lot of files using Microsoft’s online services, if you don’t use them (or you use alternatives like Google Drive), then this feature is pretty pointless. Even worse, however, is that it made File Explorer run more slowly in both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Righting wrongs

Because the File Explorer is such an integral part of Windows, it means that if it starts to perform poorly, it can cause your entire PC to feel sluggish.

It’s good news, then, that it looks like Microsoft is looking to address this issue in an upcoming version of Windows 11. An early build that some people have been testing have now got the ability to turn off integration in File Explorer.

While the option to turn it off is hidden away in the rather obscure Group Policy editor tool, it will allow you to stop Explorer from including online files. This option will also stop the Windows 11 Start menu from searching for and displaying online Office documents.

By turning it off, Windows 11 won’t try to connect to and search for online Office files, which should make the operating system as a whole feel faster to use.

Of course, if you do find this feature useful, you’ll still be able to use it, as it’ll remain turned on by default.

Windows Vista-like gadgets to return

Microsoft isn’t just looking at its past to fix mistakes – it seems it’s also taking inspiration from them, as Windows Latest also reports that Windows 11 could see the return of Windows Vista-like gadgets.

It’s no secret that Windows Vista was one of the more unpopular versions of the operating system, so it seems slightly surprising that Microsoft would take any of its features for inspiration for Windows 11.

That’s especially true of gadgets. These were basic apps that you could pin to the desktop and display various information, such as your email inbox. Third party companies were also encouraged to create their own gadgets, which some of them did at first.

However, not only did Windows Vista prove to be unpopular, but its gadgets feature was even more unloved, leading to many companies to abandon support for them.

However, sources have indicated to Windows Latest that Microsoft is planning to return to this idea – but with some key changes. Apparently, they will now be called widgets, and will only be shown in Windows 11’s widget board, and won’t be added to the desktop.

At the moment, the widget board only contains Microsoft-made widgets, so allowing third party support could see widgets become more useful.

There is a risk, however, of history repeating itself. Microsoft needs to ensure that users find widgets useful. If they don’t use them, then third party companies won’t bother making them.

While keeping widgets to the widget board will mean user’s desktops don’t become cluttered, it could also just mean widgets are hidden out of sight. If you don’t use the widget board regularly (and we’d guess most users currently don’t), then you may forget they are even there, limiting how useful they actually are.

What Microsoft doesn’t want to do is add yet another feature to Windows 11 that no one uses. Let’s hope this isn’t the case.

01 Jan 2022

The best cheap laptop deals in January 2022

Hoping to bag one of the best cheap laptop deals to start the year? Thankfully, retailers have a number of New Year's sales available to kickstart 2022 with offers across inexpensive Chromebooks, budget-friendly mid-range machines or powerful ultrabooks. We've scoured through many of the offers that are now live to bring you just the very best deals available right now.

While there may be some reductions that aren't as large as we saw back in November, there are still some terrific laptop deals to be found - especially at the budget end of the scale. Those with under $200 to spend will be very happy with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 for $189.99 - it's our favourite deal of the week in this price bracket.

Those with a little more to spend will want to check out this incredible value Lenovo IdeaPad 3i for $449 at Walmart. Nothing else within that price range comes close to beating it if you need a powerful and high-performance all-around machine. There's also a huge discount of over $200 on this Surface Pro 7+ and Type Cover bundle at the Microsoft Store. It's the best price today for Microsoft's hybrid machine.

We are expecting the discounts to fade away as the month goes on as the biggest sales events of the year are now behind us. With that in mind, you might want to take advantage of one of these great offers today. Of course, there will still be laptop deals in the months ahead - they just might not be as good as these ones.

For now, many of this week's top picks feature laptops and Chromebooks at excellent prices. We've got a few that are available from major retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. Going direct to a manufacturer like HP or Dell can also get you a better deal, with the added bonus of some extra discounts on accessories, too.

If you're after more web-based machines, check out even more Chromebook deals. If you're a gamer, you'd be better suited to check out our selection of gaming laptop deals as the models on this page are not usually built with gaming in mind.

This week's best cheap laptop deals

Cheap laptop deal of the week

Lenovo Ideapad 3i: $709.99 $449 at Walmart
Save $260
– This Lenovo Ideapad 3i is excellent value for money at Walmart this week - so much so we haven't found another device that can beat it. You can save $260 on a machine that comes with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a huge 512GB SSD. We rarely see a laptop deal this cheap featuring all of these components, so it's suitable for anyone after a capable device that's also features a more portable 14-inch screen.

More cheap laptop deals

Cheap laptop deals under $200

Lenovo Chromebook 3: $219 $119 at Best Buy
Save $100
– This is the cheapest laptop deal available right now. The Lenovo Chromebook 3 is a basic machine with an Intel processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage but that's fine for work and school tasks on a budget.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3: $219.99 $189.99 at Amazon
Save $31
– This Lenovo IdeaPad 3 was down to an all-time low price at Amazon over the holiday sales period. But while it's now only $31 off, it's still a decent price for a machine with an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB RAM that make it best suited to the simplest work or school tasks. The jump to 64GB of storage is a welcome boost if you don't want to rely too much on the cloud for your files.

Asus 14-inch laptop: $259.99 $199.99 at Best Buy
Save $60
– Now this is a rare find: a laptop for under $200 that comes with 128GB of storage. Practically all devices below this price max out at 64GB, so you're getting double the usual capacity here for a great price. It's ideal if you think you will need to store a lot of files or applications on the laptop for work or school.

Samsung Chromebook 4: $199.99 $179 at Amazon
Save $70
 – The usually more expensive Samsung Chromebook has been given a decent discount this week. It's very similar to the Lenovo above, but you do get an Intel processor and double the amount of storage at 64GB instead. The longer battery life of up to 12.5 hours may also suit those who are more on the go.

Cheap laptop deals from $200 to $400

Acer Chromebook Spin 311: $289.99 $236 at Amazon
Save $54
– The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 was down to $210 at Amazon over Black Friday but even at this price it's still one of the cheapest 2-in-laptop deals this week. This hybrid machine comes with an Intel processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is all you really need in a basic device for browsing the net, media streaming and maybe even some light work.

HP 14-inch X360 Chromebook Touch: $299 $249 at Walmart
Save $50
– There aren't many spectacular 2-in-1 laptop deals this week, but here's the cheapest one we've found at Walmart. It's still a good price for an entry-level hybrid machine that's best-suited to basic tasks such as web browsing, streaming and light work.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop: $394.98 $249.99 at Dell
Save $135
– For a reasonably powerful and good value machine with a larger screen for added readability, this Dell is worth a look. It's now even cheaper than last year and a great price for a solid all-purpose device that features an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. You can use it for general home or work tasks without compromising too much on any components.

HP Laptop 14z: $429.99 $349.99 at HP
Save $70
– This HP laptop with a Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD has just been discounted by an extra $30. All are good value at this price and ideal in a general-purpose machine for more involving work and everyday tasks. We especially like to see that amount of RAM at this price for an affordable boost to the machine's performance.

Cheap laptop deals from $400 to $600

Lenovo Ideapad 3i: $709.99 $449 at Walmart
Save $260
– This Lenovo Ideapad 3i is excellent value for money at Walmart this week - so much so we haven't found another device in this price bracket that can beat it. You can save $260 on a machine that comes with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a huge 512GB SSD. We rarely see a laptop deal this cheap featuring all of these components, so it's suitable for anyone after a capable device that's also features a more portable 14-inch screen.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3: $619.99 $529.99 at Best Buy
Save $90
– This laptop is perhaps not as good overall value as the Lenovo above but it comes with a 12GB of RAM to give you that little extra performance boost. It's a bit of a strange specification choice given a laptop would usually feature 8GB or 16GB, but a welcome one all the same.

HP 15t laptop: $749.99 $569.99 at HP
Save $180
– If you need a bit more power than the Lenovo laptop in this price bracket then you can spend a little extra here to come away with a big performance boost. For those who want to do more demanding jobs or multitask with even more ease then you'll appreciate the jump to an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM here. The Lenovo is such good value for money though that you shouldn't need to upgrade for general use.

HP Pavilion x360: $699 $599 at Walmart
Save $100
– Here's the best value 2-in-1 laptop we've found this week. With an i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD this HP Pavilion x360 packs in a lot of power. If you want the flexibility of a hybrid machine but still need strong performance for all tasks such as work, browsing and media streaming then this will suit your needs.

Best laptop deals over $600

Microsoft Surface Pro 7: $928.98 from $699.99 at Microsoft
Save $230
– This Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ deal is even better value than it looks at first glance because it includes the pricey Type Cover accessory as part of the bundle for just $50. We suggest choosing the model featuring an i5 processor along with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. That's a very strong specification for work and everyday browsing - especially if you want the added portability and flexibility of a Surface device.

Dell XPS 13 laptop: $949.99 $649.99 at Dell
Save $300
– Hold tight for this Dell XPS 13 Black Friday laptop deal which starts on November 17 at 11am EST. This will be the cheapest we've seen an XPS 13 all year. It's a versatile machine with a 13.3-inch Full HD InfinityEdge display, Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256 SSD. Basically, it's everything you could want from a high-performance laptop for work, school or just general use.

MacBook Air M1 (256GB): $999 $949 at Amazon
Save $50 -
After a big drop to $799 over Black Friday, the 256GB M1 MacBook Air is sadly no longer at its lowest ever price this week at Amazon. There's now only a $50 saving on the new machine featuring Apple's powerful M1 chip and premium chassis. It's unlikely we'll see such a big discount again for some time, so this is the best price today.

New Dell XPS 13 laptop: $1,219 $979.99 at Dell
Save $240 -
This isn't as big a price cut on the latest Dell XPS 13 that we saw last week, but it's still the cheapest way to get that stunning edge-to-edge display. This $240 saving at Dell brings this Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM model down to $979.99. It's still pricey, but if you're looking for a superb premium ultrabook then you won't find a better buy.

This week's best store-wide laptop sales

HP: Save up to 45% on laptops, all-in-one PCs, monitors and more
You'll find savings across a range of HP Pavilion and Envy laptops this week, as well as HP's budget entry level models as well. Not only that, but desktop towers, all-in-one bundles and other accessories are also discounted right now.

Dell: cyber sale with limited-time Black Friday prices
Dell is offering some major savings across its range of XPS and Inspiron laptops this week, with up to $700 off some of its more premium machines. You'll find plenty of discounts across the price range, though.

Best Buy: massive range of laptops now under $500
Best Buy has a strong selection of cheap laptop deals under $500 this week, with everything from HP to Dell, Acer to Asus either taking a price cut to fit or already available for less.

Which stores have cheap laptop sales?

If you're looking for the best budget laptop to see you through everyday browsing, we'd recommend heading over to the generalist retailers - Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon, for example. If you're after something a little more specialist, Dell, Lenovo and HP will offer far more configuration options with their own discounts as well.

The best cheap laptops

The best cheap laptops of 2021

The best budget laptops are usually the ones offering decent entry level specs (32 or 64GB of storage in a Chromebook or a 4GB / 8GB RAM, i3 processor, 128GB  storage in a Windows machine) at a reduced price. However, you'll sometimes find mid-range specs offering a step up at similar prices on cheaper machines. Below you'll find our top picks of cheap laptops that do exactly that during busy sales periods. 

cheap laptop deals

(Image credit: Lenovo)

1. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

A cheap grab and go 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T | Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS touchscreen | Storage: 64 - 128GB

Incredibly versatile
High value 
Performs well for the price
Older components

If you're shopping for cheap laptops, chances are you're not going to be spending too long poring over spec sheets or looking forward to splashing out on the latest processors and graphics. You might be looking for a simple every day web browsing machine light enough to throw into a backpack and flexible enough for comfortable streaming. That's where the Lenovo Duet comes in - a Chromebook that's technically a tablet, but far more powerful than you'd expect it to be. 

best budget laptop deals

2. Acer Chromebook 14

Meet the anti-MacBook Air

CPU: Intel Celeron N3160 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) display | Storage: 32GB SSD

Top-notch build quality
Solid keyboard and touchpad
Full HD display
Flaky HD video playback

With its slick lines and a slim silhouette, the Acer Chromebook 14 makes for a subtle, snazzy laptop. Although its display isn't the most attractive we've seen, it’s still acceptable for full HD. On top of that, the keyboard and trackpad adhere to the principle of ‘it just works.’ The battery life is satisfactory as well despite falling a bit south of Acer's 12-hour claim in real-world use. 

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 14

cheap laptop deals

(Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus Vivobook 15

Mid-range specs for entry level prices

CPU: Up to Intel i7 | Graphics: Nvidia | RAM: Up to 16GB | Screen: FHD (1920x1080) | Storage: 128GB SSD – 1TB HDD

Versatile and powerful
Full HD screen
Regularly discounted

You're shopping in the $399 - $599 range when looking at an Asus Vivobook, with entry level specs outperforming the vast majority of Chromebooks you'd usually find at this price. Plus, you're getting some pretty premium features in this cheap laptop. A Nano-Edge display keeps everything looking sharp, the option for Intel Optane memory makes sure all your most-used programs and files are well within reach, and a 1.6kg weight on a full sized 15.6-inch laptop is nothing to sniff at either. 

cheap laptops deals sales

4. Acer Swift 3

The bigger, better value proposition

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD

Powerful for the price
Stellar battery life
Boring looks
Down-firing speakers

Here we have one of the few budget laptops with a processor nearly equivalent to a MacBook Pro from a couple of years back, that is if you opt for the Intel Core i5 configuration. The best part? Among the best Acer laptops right now, it's roughly half the cost of its Apple-branded rival. Now given that it sells at a range of different prices, the Acer Swift 3 can be an obtuse purchase, but lucky for you, the midrange model will get you by just fine. There are often plenty of cheap laptop deals on Acer products so you'll always be in a good position to grab a discount. 

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

Cheap laptops: Spotting the best laptop deals under $200

One of the first things we often check when shopping for cheap laptops is the amount of storage on offer. As shoppers, we've become accustomed to comparing prices and models based on the number of gigabytes next to the model name. However, there may be more to it than that, especially when you're browsing the cheaper shelves. You may also need to pay attention to your operating system when picking up a budget laptop deal under $200. 

Some cheap laptops are more worthy of your cash than others, and many simply need to be avoided. For example, you'll easily find a Windows machine that offers just 16 or 32GB of storage, but with update file and software sizes increasing, you may quickly find that insufficient. However, finding a Chromebook with 16 or 32GB of storage for under $200 makes for a great cheap laptop deal. That's because these machines run on Chrome OS which doesn't require updates and operates largely through your browser. 

Similarly, a lot of laptops hold incredibly low price tags because they are labelled as 'FreeDOS'. This means they don't have an operating system on them already, so you will need to buy Windows 10 to get them set up. 

How much are the best laptop deals? 

Shopping for the best budget laptop deals between $50 and $200 will usually have you looking at the excellent range of Chromebooks on sale right now. Running Chrome OS, these budget laptop deals will see you through everyday web browsing, emails, and some light streaming for eye wateringly low prices. You'll be picking up anything from a 16GB SSD to a 64GB hard drive, but you'll also be looking to utilize the cloud for more storage.

If you're punting a bit higher than $200, you'll be opening yourself up to more RAM, moving from 4GB to 8GB in most models, meaning your cheap laptop will be able to open programs faster, generally retrieving information and multi-task in a more streamlined manner. You'll also be picking up far more storage for your cash, with prices this week including either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. This SSD further streamlines your storage, acting as a lightning-fast drive to keep everything you need instantly attainable.

Once you search for laptop deals above $400, you may well start to find 16GB of RAM on offer as well as a few models with a 512GB SSD. Along with improved processors, that means exceedingly fast storage potential, keeping your cheap laptop zippy however many programs you have open. Laptops above this price range are also better suited to media editing than cheaper models.

Not quite what you're looking for? Maybe our other laptop articles will have what you need:

01 Jan 2022

The best Dell XPS 13 and 15 deals and prices for January 2022

If you're wondering what the best Dell XPS deals are or where to find the cheapest prices you've come to the right place. No matter what size or configuration you're after, you'll find options here from all the big retailers as well as our top tips for scoring a good deal right here.

Thanks to the latest 2021 releases in the XPS range it's also a great time to be looking right now. Not only have you got the option of these gorgeous new bezel-less ultrabooks, but prices on the older models are now lower than ever. We're close to the yearly Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events (when prices tend to be the cheapest) so things are really starting to heat up now.

If you're undecided on which Dell XPS deal is for you, don't worry, we've got a direct comparison just down below. Scroll down to see a full list of available specs, as well as a price comparison.

Dell XPS 13 deals: 2021 model

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell XPS 13 (2021) deals

The flagship XPS model for 2021

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 (11th gen) | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Now with Thunderbolt 4
Iterative upgrade

The very latest model in the range is the 'Dell XPS 13 9310' - an essentially refreshed version of the excellent early 2020 Dell XPS 13 model. In a sensible move, Dell has kept the absolutely stunning near bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display and overall design while focusing on packing these gorgeous machines with the latest components from Intel.

All 2021 models feature 11th generation Intel Core chips with Thunderbolt 4 compatibility, 8 to 16GB of RAM, and between 256GB to 2TB of SSD capacity. These are right in line with what you'd expect from an up-to-date Windows ultrabook and will have no problem with any task you throw at them - save intensive gaming applications.

As with most brand new XPS 13 models upon release, the latest 2021 XPS 13 debuts at around $1,000 to £1,000 on the baseline Core i3 / 8GB RAM model. It is, however, well worth waiting for big sales events like Dell's July sale, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday as we've seen prices drop dramatically - especially in the US where the record is around $799. 

Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

2. Dell XPS 13 (2020) deals

Same design, slightly older spec

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 (10th gen) | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Gorgeous design
Excellent battery life
Lackluster audio

Debuting in early 2020 was the refreshed new-look Dell XPS 13 for that year - the first model to feature the new (at the time) brand new bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which remains pretty much untouched on subsequent models.

As you'd expect, this one looks still looks stunning in 2021, with the only main differences being internal specifications. So, if you don't mind getting your hands on a machine with a slightly older 10th generation Intel processor, or perhaps smaller SSD capacities, then this slightly older model is still a fantastic choice.

You may find these particular machines a little hard to get a hold of now Dell has mostly discontinued them or repurposed the chassis for 2021 models with updated components. If you do spot one, however, then you can expect them to be a good £100 to $100 cheaper than the 2021 entries, with savings even reaching the £200 to $300 mark on big sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 2020

3. Dell XPS 13 (2019) deals

Older design, but refreshed internals

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 (11th gen) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Impressive battery life
Up to date processors
HD webcam on top of the display
Thicker bezels on screen

Interestingly, Dell didn't simply retire its older pre-2020 design, it actually turned it into a slightly more budget-orientated model alongside the flagships you see above. We've designated this the '2019' model, but it's technically an older design with upgraded internals. It's not uncommon to see this older chassis with 11th gen Intel Core i5 chips and other up-to-date components in fact.

While it's still sporting the thicker bottom bevels, the 2019 Dell XPS 13's screen is essentially the same quality as the new entry, making it more of an aesthetic upgrade rather than a purely functional one. You're still getting 10th to 11th generation Intel Core i5 / i7 processors here as well and often for around $100 / £100 cheaper than a similarly equipped 2020 model. 

Altogether you can pick up a 2019 XPS 13 deal for as little as $700 / £800 if you're lucky and we definitely recommend checking out this great ultrabook - especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you can often pick up a steal.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 15 (2020) deals

Bigger, and still bezel-less

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 (10th gen) | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Fast performance
Eye-catching design
GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
15-inch screen might be too large for some

The new 2020 Dell XPS 15 debuted as TechRadar's best laptop of 2020 when it launched and it's easy to see why. Not only is it now sporting the same beautiful bezel-less design as its smaller 13-inch sibling, but it stands tall amongst the competition in regards to outright performance and premium design appointments.

Unfortunately being the best comes with a hefty asking price - $1,200 / £1,200 on the base models in this case, which very much puts them above the XPS 13 in the price leagues.

That said, we're sure that these beautiful 15-inch ultrabooks will be receiving some tasty price cuts in the near future, possibly over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November. Make sure you bookmark this page for the latest, as we'll be updating it with the best Dell XPS prices daily.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 (2020)

5. Dell XPS 15 (2019) deals

A great value ultrabook

CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 (9th gen) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 - Geforce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch | Storage: 256GB - 512GB PCIe SSD

Vivid 4K display
Long-lasting battery
Chunky bottom bezel

The 2019 XPS 15 is essentially just an upscaled XPS 13 variant, so subsequently you can expect the same design appointments - and in this case that chunkier bottom bezel. 

As such the 2019 XPS 15 very much looks like 'last years model' but don't let that put you off this awesome ultrabook - it's still packing some seriously powerful up-to-date processors from Intel.

What's more, these 2019 models start at an asking price of $1,050 / £1,050 - much cheaper than the brand new entries. Being the older model as well means that Dell is much more likely to throw in the odd discount, which means you can sometimes pick these up for well under a grand - especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

(Image credit: Dell)

7. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019) deals

Versatile, and surprisingly cheap

CPU: Intel Core i3 - i7 (10th gen) | Graphics: Intel UHD - Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 4 - 32GB | Screen: 13.3-inch | Storage: 256GB

Vibrant InfinityEdge display
Impressive keyboard
A sleek, thin design

Another fantastic option for those looking for the versatility of a 2-in-1 notebook, the newest Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 manages to not only boast a gorgeous display, but also still packs in some of the latest components from Intel.

Interestingly enough, right now it's also one of the cheapest Dell XPS laptops you can buy, coming in at around $900 / £900 - albeit for a stripped-down Core i3 / 4GB RAM variant. 

For plenty of users, those specs will still do the business so it's a great buy for those who want a premium ultrabook but can't afford the heady heights of the XPS 15. What's more, it's one of the older XPS's in the range so Dell is also willing to serve up some great XPS deals - especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which we expect could be up to $150 / £150 off the standard asking price.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

01 Jan 2022

Best cheap laptop deals and sales for January 2022

If you're looking for a cheap laptop deal this week then we've got a number of top options to choose from in our roundup. A number of retailers are now live with their January sales with many opportunities to bag a bargain machine. We've got a range of options below that will suit any budget or needs.

Whether you've got around £200 set aside for a budget Chromebook for light use, or have a bit more cash to splash on a high-end ultrabook then we've got some killer deals below.

To ensure we've picked out the best of the best, we've checked everywhere from Amazon, Currys and Laptops Direct to Box, Ebuyer and more to find big savings on premium ultrabooks and some excellent budget laptops. You'll find devices with the latest generation Intel processors, spacious SSDs, performance-boosting RAM upgrades and high-quality displays all discounted below.

Simply read on for all the best cheap laptop deals available this week. We're rounding them up here so you can save some serious cash on everything from budget laptops to powerful machines sporting the latest specs. We'll be keeping an eye out for more especially good offers over the next two months in our guide to the best Boxing Day laptop sales.

Cheap laptop deals by budget

If you're shopping for cheap laptops, it can be difficult to know whether you're actually getting a good deal or just paying a low price for underperforming tech. It can be the difference between buying an excellent machine and saving some cash in the process and wasting money on an old computer that can barely run its own operating system. We've weeded out all the offers that won't be worth your time, so you can be sure you're picking up the best laptop deals out there this week.

All your favourite retailers have been brought together for the very best cheap laptop deals available right now. We've broken down each machine by price so you can be sure to find the right laptop for your budget. Do keep checking in, too, as we’ll update this guide whenever a great laptop reaches our desk. 

For you Apple fans, you might be interested in our MacBook deals page too. Or, if you're just looking for the cheapest web surfer you can find, check out the best cheap Chromebook deals going on right now. After something with a bit more heft? You'll want to check out all the best gaming laptop deals.

Cheap laptop deal of the week

Asus C523NA Chromebook: £229.99 £199.99 at Amazon
Save £50
– It's not always easy to find a laptop with a 15.6-inch screen for under £200 but this Asus C523NA Chromebook just slips under that price range at Amazon. Along with the larger screen size, you get an Intel processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage - all components you'd expect for this price and enough to power a machine for general browsing or basic office work.

Cheap laptop deals under £200

Asus C202 11.6-inch Chromebook: £199 £129 at Currys
Save £70 – If you're simply looking for the cheapest laptop deal this week then you can find the Asus C202 for only £139 right now at Currys. With a MediaTek processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage this is a very basic machine for light browsing and schoolwork.

Asus 11.6-inch Chromebook Flip C214MA: £329.99 £149 at Amazon
Save £191
Here's an excellent price for a 2-in-1 laptop this week at Amazon. These are rarely found below the £200 mark so this drop to £150 is even more spectacular. Definitely don't miss your chance to get a flexible machine for more than 50% off. The specification is reasonable for a basic budget laptop, with an Intel processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB storage that will be fine for basic tasks.

HP Stream 11 laptop: £219 £169 at Currys
Save £50
- For just £40 more than our cheapest pick, you can upgrade to this 11-inch HP Stream laptop which gives you access to Windows 11 and doubles your available storage to 64GB. It's the best price for a machine with a hard drive of this size this week, so one to go for if you need more room and don't want to rely as much on cloud storage. Plus, a 1-year subscription to Office 365 is included in the price if you need Word, Powerpoint and Excel.

Asus C523NA Chromebook: £229.99 £199.99 at Amazon
Save £50
– It's not always easy to find a laptop with a 15.6-inch screen for under £200 but this Asus C523NA Chromebook just slips under that price range at Amazon. Along with the larger screen size, you get an Intel processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage - all components you'd expect for this price and enough to power a machine for general browsing or basic office work.

Cheap laptop deals from £200 to £300

Asus E410MA laptop: £299 £219 at Currys
Save £80
– If you want the most storage for the least amount of money this week then you'll want this 14-inch Asus laptop from Currys. It comes with 128GB of fast storage, which you would usually only find in devices closer to £300. The spec is rounded out with an Intel processor and 4GB of RAM so it can comfortably handle most basic tasks.

Asus E510MA VivoBook: £279 £219 at Amazon
Save £60
– This Asus VivoBook sports a large 15.6-inch screen and is the most affordable option if you want to avoid the smaller 11-inch and 14-inch devices. Aside from that, you can expect a cheap laptop with a similar performance to our options under £200, so this is best suited to everyday browsing and some light work.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet: £299 £229.99 at Currys
Save £70 -
The small yet impressive Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is £70 off this week. The tiny 10.3-inch 2-in-1 laptop is designed with portability in mind thanks to its size and the mighty battery life that lasted almost a full 22 hours in our testing. This is the machine you want if you're always on the go.

Asus 12-inch Chromebook Flip: £349 £269 at Currys
Save £80
– This is a good discount on a 2-in-1 laptop from Currys. While it's a very basic machine, it does sport an impressive 16-hour battery life so if you need a convenient and portable device for general everyday use this will fit the bill.

Acer Aspire 3: £329.97 £299.97 at Box
Save £30
– Don't let the small saving mislead you - this is already a very well-priced laptop from specialist retailer Box. The highlights include a rich IPS screen and a full-blown 128GB SSD. This speedy storage will allow you to boot the laptop, load files and run programs faster. Perfect to eke out a little extra performance while still paying for a cheap laptop.

Cheap laptop deals from £300 to £400

Samsung Galaxy Book Go: £399 £319 at Amazon
Save £80
– This Samsung Galaxy Book Go is £50 off right now, but you can save another £30 by applying the voucher on the store page. At £319, it's a great price for a laptop that has an impressive 18-hour battery life. With a spec that features 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD, you're also getting a well-performing machine for your money that will handle everyday jobs, work and media streaming.

Acer 715 Chromebook: £399 £329 at Currys
Save £70
– Here's a good cheap laptop bundle from Currys this week. It includes an Acer 715 Chromebook, which comes with an Intel processor, 4GB of RAM and a healthy 128GB of storage - all great for a basic laptop. You also get a bag and mouse: useful extras if you're on the move a lot and prefer an actual pointer compared to a trackpad.

HP Pavilion 15.6-inch laptop: £399.99 £349.99 at Amazon
Save £50
– If you're after a slightly larger screen within this price range then Amazon has a 15.6-inch HP Pavilion laptop for £349 this week. Ideal for everyday browsing and general work tasks, it has an AMD Athlon processor, 4GB RAM and a speedy 128GB SSD. Plus, the B&O audio and micro-edge screen will give you a better experience when streaming on Netflix, YouTube and more.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000: £468.99 £386.14 at Dell (with code 'SAVE14')
Save £50
– Prices have shot up a little at Dell since the end of Black Friday but thanks to a new voucher code you can get an incredibly good deal on the Inspiron 15 3000. What really seals the deal is the inclusion of both 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD - two top components to get the best performance out of your device. Add to that a capable AMD Ryzen 3 processor and you'll find it makes more involving jobs and multitasking a lot smoother.

Asus VivoBook X705MA: £449.99 £399.99 at Amazon
Save £50
– If it's storage space you're after then this Asus VivoBook is well worth considering at Amazon. It comes with a huge 1TB hard drive, which is enough room for 250,000 photos or 250 films. Yeah, that'll do. It also sports a 17.3-inch screen and 8GB RAM so it'll give you an extra boost to performance when multitasking.

Asus VivoBook 14: £499.97 £399.97 at Box
Save £100
– There's an excellent saving on this Asus VivoBook at independent retailer Box this week. The well-priced mid-range machine comes with an Intel i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a speedy 256GB SSD. That's ideal for a capable all-purpose machine to handle everyday tasks and more involving work.

Cheap laptop deals between £400 and £600

MSI Modern 15: £599.97 £529.97 at Box
Save £70
– The discount is back up to £70 this week making this a good price for a high-end machine from the specialist retailer Box. It comes with a large 15.6 IPS display, which will give you a sharper and clearer image. This is a good choice, then, if you also want to use this laptop for media streaming after work or school.

Asus Zenbook UX425EA: £699.99 £599.99 at Amazon
Save £100
– Right at the upper end of this price bracket is an Asus Zenbook from Amazon at £100 off and down to its lowest ever price. You get a great spec for your money that matches the MSI above, including an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. However, the screen is a smaller 14-inches so, it's better suited for anyone looking for a powerful all-around portable machine for work, browsing and general use.

Asus VivoBook 15: £699.97 £599.97 at Box
Save £100
– You can pick up this powerful Asus VivoBook for the same price as the Zenbook above. Why would you want to? Well, this laptop comes with double the amount of RAM at 16GB. That gives it a huge performance boost, especially if you want to use it for more advanced photo and video editing or more involving tasks. You'll also appreciate the clear and detailed IPS display, speedy i5 processor and large 512GB SSD for fast access to files and applications.

Best laptop deals over £600

ASUS VivoBook OLED: £849.99 £699.99 at Amazon
Save £150
– Yep, you're getting an OLED display in this incredible creative workstation laptop. The VivoBook range has been designed with content creators in mind, so you're also getting a good range of ports, 16GB of RAM to run demanding applications a speedy 512GB SSD.

Apple MacBook Air (M1): £999 £889 at Amazon
Save £110 -
You're saving a healthy £110 on the latest MacBook Air here – and one with the powerful M1 chip at the helm no less. That's an excellent price - even if we have seen it around £20 cheaper in the past in a particularly speedy flash sale. This configuration offers 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+: £969 from £799 at Microsoft
Save £170
– There's a big saving on the previous Surface Pro 7+ from Microsoft, plus for a limited time you can also get a Type Cover included. This near-essential extra that doubles as a keyboard and case usually has to be bought separately and would otherwise set you back an extra £159. The one tablet option available comes with an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD - all decent components for an all-purpose device. Overall, it's the best deal on a Surface Pro this week.

We'll continue adding the best cheap laptop deals in the latest sales as we find them. Up next, you'll find the latest prices on some of the most popular laptops around along with a list of retailers who often have a great selection of laptop sales if nothing else takes your fancy here.

Which stores have decent cheap laptop sales?

  • Amazon: retail giant is often the cheapest in the UK.
  • John Lewis: models come with at least two-year guarantee.
  • Very: Often surprises with cheap prices on electronics.
  • Laptops Direct: specialist UK store has a huge selection of laptop deals.
  • ebuyer: the UK computing specialists have some great promotions.
  • Currys: the retailer that's seemingly always having a laptop sale.
  • AO: lots of cheap laptops at this growing electronics specialist.
  • Argos: home delivery or pick up a cheap laptop locally today.
  • Dell: get a great laptop deal direct from Dell.
  • Apple: MacBooks aren't exactly cheap, but they're excellent workstations

The best cheap laptops

The best cheap laptop deals are often to be found on lower priced machines that edge their way into the mid-range category with higher specs further up the scale. It's in this pocket of budget laptop shopping that you'll find some of the most compelling offers, bringing 8GB RAM / i5 processor / 256GB SSD configurations down to entry level prices during sales seasons. 

cheap laptops deals sales

(Image credit: Acer)

1. Acer Chromebook 314

A cheap and cheerful Chromebook regularly discounted

CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768) high definition | Storage: 32GB eMMC

Excellent value for money
Strong performance
Premium look and feel
No touchscreen

With a 12 hour battery life, bright 14-inch display and tactile keyboard, the Acer Chromebook 314 offers everything you could ask for in a cheap laptop. While this model doesn't quite stretch to 64GB, storage is easily expanded using a portable hard drive and there's a full array of ports to take advantage of as well (though limited display options). What's more, this is one of those rare cheap laptops that look and feel far more expensive than they actually are. Thin, light, and sturdy, this is an excellent machine to throw in a backpack and expect it to last all day.

Read the full Acer Chromebook 314 review.

cheap laptop deals

(Image credit: HP)

2. HP Pavilion 15

The de facto learning laptop lives on

CPU: AMD dual-core A9 APU – Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R5 – Nvidia GTX 1050 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768) – FHD (1,920 x 1,080); touch optional | Storage: 128GB SSD – 1TB HDD

Thinner and lighter
Tons of options
Regular discounts
Shallow, squishy keyboard

A sturdy choice for a study laptop for school/college/uni. The HP Pavilion 15 has plenty of power for the average student's needs while keeping the costs sensible. There are plenty of configurations available in this budget laptop as well. Some favour speedy SSDs, while others go for larger regular hard drives, so it all depends on what you're going to need more really. Faster loading or more space for storing media files and downloads.

Check out the best HP laptops 

best laptop deals

(Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus Vivobook 15

Mid-range specs for entry level prices

CPU: Up to Intel i7 | Graphics: Nvidia | RAM: Up to 16GB | Screen: FHD (1920x1080) | Storage: 128GB SSD – 1TB HDD

Versatile and powerful
Full HD screen
Regularly discounted

The Asus Vivobook 15 can usually be found from £399 upwards, offering baseline specs that vastly outperform many of the Chromebooks usually found at this price point and ranging all the way up to incredibly powerful configurations should you need them. With an expansive Nano-Edge display, you're even getting a full 15.6-inch sized laptop here, coming in at just 1.6kg, a fingerprint sensor and options for speedy Intel Optane memory as well. 

Cheap laptops: what to look out for

Cheap laptops can often lure shoppers in with a sub-£200 price tag, but unless you're picking up a Chromebook you're unlikely to get your money's worth with these particular models. Chromebooks largely run on Chrome OS, which means they rely less on more expensive components and more on cloud-based services provided by Google Chrome. That means you'll regularly find cheap laptops under £200 that are well worth your cash - provided they were built with this functioning in mind. 

These kinds of budget laptops are regularly found on sale, but every now and then we do spot savings that offer mid-range specs for entry level prices.

It's worth looking out for cheap laptop deals that offer a Windows 10 operating system, but only 16 or 32GB of storage space. You'll likely speed through those gigabites faster than you'd think, and storing those hefty Windows 10 updates often presents a new challenge in its own right. That means the smallest we would recommend on this page is a 64GB hard drive if you're running a Windows 10 or 10s operating system. 

Cheap laptops can also come with the caveat that they don't offer an operating system at all. These FreeDOS laptops can sometimes be appealing (and if you're up for installing your own copy of Windows or Linux, they often deserve to be), but it's important to check that spec and low price before you buy. We do feature the odd freeDOS budget laptop on this roundup, as they can prove cost effective, but we'll make sure you know when we do. 

01 Jan 2022

Microsoft Teams update will save you from this embarrassing meeting mistake

Having music or other audio playing during a video call can be distracting for attendees and embarrassing for users which is why Microsoft added a noise suppression feature to its video conferencing software earlier this year.

This feature is now enabled by default for most users and as a result, any background noise is automatically removed during meetings in Microsoft Teams.

While you may want music and other background noise to be removed from your speeches and presentations, this isn't always the case which is why Microsoft also created a high-fidelity music mode. When enabled, this mode streams the sound from your laptop or PC including all background sounds in high quality.

Enabling high-fidelity mode

According to a new post in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, the software giant has developed a new machine learning-based music detector that can let users know whenever music is detected.

Once this feature rolls out in January of 2022, Teams users will see a notification at the bottom of their screen which reads “Music is detected and may be suppressed. Enable High fidelity mode to make sure everyone clearly hears your music” alongside a button to enable high fidelity mode as well as another button to dismiss the notification altogether.

While you still may not want background music to be heard during important business meetings, this feature could be useful for those giving music or even dance lessons over Teams.

Also check out our roundups of the best business webcams, best video conferencing software and best headsets for conference calls

Via MSPoweruser

31 Dec 2021

Zomato, Swiggy to collect 5% GST: Will your online food bill get costlier?

If you are planning to ring in the New Year tomorrow by ordering food through platforms like Swiggy and Zomato, don't be surprised if you are asked to pay more. For, starting tomorrow, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) changes kick in, and food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato are mandated to collect and pay the GST on behalf of all restaurants.

As ever with tax changes in India, there is a bit of confusion in this one too. 

Currently, all cooked food orders sold by restaurants (via food aggregators) invites a 5% GST. That is over and above the 18% GST that all foods get levied at the restaurant.  The onus of paying the the 5% GST  was hitherto with the restaurants. Now that responsibility has changed to the food delivery platforms.

What is the real change? Has a new tax been levied?

The proposal to direct food delivery platforms to collect and pay 5% GST on food orders directly to the government was announced last September at the GST Council Meet. 

The decision was taken to bring online food deliveries on par with cooked food sold by restaurants. The government has made it clear that no new taxes have been introduced, and that it is simply a matter of the GST collection centre being transferred. 

To make things clearer: At present, if any customer orders from a restaurant using platforms like Swiggy or Zomato, the online food app is supposed to collect the 5% tax on the order from the customer and pass it on to the restaurant that will have to pay the government. From now on, the food delivery apps will collect the same tax from customers and deposit it to the government directly.

Why this change?

The decision was taken in order to prevent revenue leakage at unregistered restaurants. Many eateries are unregistered as they are below the threshold of Rs 40 lakh turnover per annum.

Further, restaurants charge GST from their customers on every order placed through the food delivery app but fail to pay the tax to the government. Delegating responsibility to food aggregators is meant to reduce this tax evasion. It is estimated that the government has so far lost revenue of around 2,000 crore due to revenue leakage.  

While Swiggy or Zomato cannot charge you a fee on the GST slab, they can charge a fee that justifies the extra work. And that is where this fear that your online food orders may get costly stems from.

Some clarity is expected to emerge based on the decision that food app companies take.

Check out our yearend stories around Tech, OTT, Fintech and Movies:

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