BlackBerry ‘Mercury’ to be unveiled February 25th, according to teaser


We now know the date and time when BlackBerry is going to introduce the BlackBerry Mercury, according to a teaser that allegedly came from the company. Actually, the teaser itself looks legit especially because the BlackBerry Mercury name was not mentioned on it. While everyone has called the phone by that name, even BlackBerry, it is just a code name. The real name for the device should be announced when the phone becomes official.

So when will that be? The teaser shows that the last in-house phone to be designed by BlackBerry will see the light of day on February 25th, 2017. Mark the …

Alcatel Idol 5S spotted with Helio P20 processor and 3GB of RAM

The 2017 Mobile World Congress is quickly approaching, and as such, we’re anticipating a heap of new smartphone announcements. Gadgets such as the BlackBerry Mercury and LG G6 will undoubtedly steal a large portion of the limelight, but we’re also expecting a ton of other gadgets to get announced and shown off. One such smartphone that could be present at the show is that of the Alcatel Idol 5S.

Alcatel’s Idol 4 and 4S were two affordable handsets that launched last year in 2016, and the Idol 5S is more than likely a followup to last year’s 4S. The unannounced device was recently …

WhatsApp enables two-step verification for added security

Looking for a little more security in your digital life? If you're a WhatsApp user, you're in luck.

The messaging service has just turned on two-step verification for all its billion-plus users. Once you activate the optional feature, anytime you (or anyone else) tries to verify your phone number, a six-digit passcode created by yourself must also be entered.

To activate two-step verification, open WhatsApp, click on the Settings icon, then select Account. You'll see a "Two-step verification" option – click on this, and press Enable if you wish to turn it on.

Once you've activated two-step verification, you'll also have the chance to enter an email address. This is useful if you forget your passcode and need to disable two-step verification – just make sure it's an active email address, or you could get locked out.

Safety first

WhatsApp warns that you can't reverify your phone number within seven days of using the service without a passcode, and any pending messages will be lost once you get back into your account. 

Long story short  - do your best to remember those six digits. WhatsApp will help by asking you to enter your passcode every once in a while, a task you can't turn off until you disable two-step verification. 

With hacks an ever-growing occurrence, this is just another step you can take to keep your private chats and information that much safer. Now, about WhatsApp's incoming live location tracking feature

  • Wondering what's the best phone around? Let us help

Download of the day: Picasa

Picasa

Here’s an odd thing: Picasa shouldn’t exist. Google announced its retirement last year, but like a detective who can’t retire while his nemeses are still doing crimes, Picasa is still around to tame your photo libraries.

Although it won’t be updated now that Google has turned its attention to its newer Google Photos product, Picasa is still a superb tool for enhancing and organizing your snaps – and you don't need an internet connection to use it.

Why you need it

Picasa is fast, offers useful facial recognition, and includes a whole host of decent camera effects to make your pictures shine. There's also geotagging and text overlays, an excellent Fill Light tool to improve darker shots and its effective blemish removal tool.

Once you've finished refining your pictures, Picasa makes it easy to edit their metadata, rename them, and store them in a logical location. If you've got loads of photos sitting around gathering virtual dust on an SD card, it's ideal.

Download here: Picasa

After months of waiting, you can now purchase BeatsX for $149.95

After delay upon delay, the day has finally come – you can now purchase the all-new BeatsX Earphones. In case you’ve been living under a rock as of late, BeatsX are the latest W1-equipped headphones to hit the scene, and just like the PowerBeats 3 and AirPods before them, they bring a lot of added functionality and convenience to the table that you simply cannot get with a traditional pair of Bluetooth headphones.

When used with an iOS-powered device, pairing the BeatsX for use is incredibly simple. All you have to do is ensure that Bluetooth is turned on on your iPhone or iPad, …

Xiaomi will supposedly ditch Qualcomm and MediaTek for its own Pinecone processors soon

The debate between Android and iOS is one of the most heated ones in all of the tech industry, and whatever your opinion is on the matter, there’s one advantage that you have to give to Apple – it’s tight-nit integration between both hardware and software. Android’s open source nature does allow for a much wider array of choice in regards to hardware availability, but it also means that the operating system is running on tons of different processing configurations. Qualcomm and MediaTek are two of the most popular smartphone CPU makers that exist right now, and while their processing packages continue …

The best Xbox One deals in February 2017

Looking for the best Xbox One deals? You're in the right place for the cheapest Xbox One deals from around the web. Every day we're looking for the best standalone prices or Xbox One bundles.

Looking to buy in the UK? You'll want to take a look at our UK Xbox One deals page then.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One consoles are already cheaper than their predecessors were this early into the console cycle. So take a look at these Xbox One console deals and money saving bundles. The Xbox One S has generally replaced the original model now, but we still see the odd cheap deal, so keep an eye out on both comparison charts and bundle lists below.

The best Xbox One console deals

cheap xbox one s deals

The best Xbox One S deals

Before you look at the older Xbox One bundles, you may want to consider the new Xbox One S. The slimmed-down design looks much better than the original chunky box and the power brick has been absorbed. The main draw though is 4K visual support meaning you’ll be able to watch specialized 4K Blu-Ray and Netflix content in 4K on your new 4K TV. The new version’s 2TB, 1TB and 500GB models launched recently and have been selling very well.

cheap game preorders

The best Xbox One bundle deals this week…

Xbox One bundle deal of the week

500GB Xbox One S Minecraft Favourites bundle | $249.99 @ Amazon
This is the cheapest way to get a hold of a brand new Xbox One S console this week and you're getting a few Minecraft-related goodies with it too including both the Xbox One version and early access to the Windows 10 version. There are a batch of content packs to give you a head start too.

View this deal: Xbox One S with Minecraft Favourites $249.99 @ Amazon

cheap xbox one s deals

Blue 500GB Xbox One S | Gears of War 4 | $299 @ Microsoft
The 500GB hard drive isn't ideal for the keen gamer, but it's certainly manageable. We'd try to make it work too in order to get one of these gorgeous Deep Blue Xbox One consoles under the TV. Gears of War 4 is a fine addition to the series from a fresh studio studio. If you're quick, you can add a free Ubisoft game to this bundle too.

View this deal: Blue 500GB Xbox One S with Gears 4 $299 @ Microsoft

Cheap Xbox One deals

1TB Xbox One S | Halo Wars 2 and Season Pass | $349.99 @ Amazon
Given the high prices of the 1TB Xbox One S right now, this could be the bundle to go for if you were planning on picking up Halo Wars 2 and the season pass.

View this deal: 1TB Xbox One S with Halo Wars 2 and Season Pass $349 @ Amazon 

500GB Xbox One S | Battlefield 1 | $273 @ Amazon
Battlefield 1 gets in on the action for the Storm Grey 500GB Xbox One S bundles this week. You're only getting a digital copy, but it's still way cheaper than buying a physical copy separately. 

View this deal: Xbox One S with Battlefield 1 $273 @ Amazon 

Crimson Red 2TB Xbox One S | Gears of War 4 | $449 @ Microsoft
500GB hard drives are hard work this-gen, 1TB is much more doable. But 2TB, that's where the real carefree gaming lives. With some games taking up to 70GB (what the hell, Quantum Break!) this is the one for the hardcore gamers with a large collection of games.

View this deal: 2TB Xbox One S $449 @ Microsoft

xbox one s bundles

1TB Xbox One S | Gears of War 4 | + FREE game | $305 @ Microsoft
Gears of War 4 should be high on the must-buy list of any new Xbox One S owner. So this is an ideal bundle, especially if some of the other bundled games like FIFA 17 or Battlefield 1 don't take your fancy. This offer is $40 cheaper than the next best 1TB deal.

View this deal: 1TB Xbox One S with Gears of War 4 $305 @ Amazon

Cheap Xbox One deals

1TB Xbox One S | Madden NFL 17 | $345 @ Amazon
The 1TB Xbox One bundle with Madden NFL 17 is now available for just $345. 500GB hard drives on the XO can fill up fast, so this 1TB option is better for regular gamers.

View this deal: Xbox One S with Madden NFL 17 $345 @ Amazon

cheap xbox one s deals

Military Green 1TB Xbox One S | Battlefield 1 | $310 @ Microsoft
This new bundle from Microsoft sees the new Xbox One S console and controller given a Military Green makeover to celebrate the release of Battlefield 1. Better yet, this Xbox One S deal includes a digital copy of Battlefield 1: Early Enlister Deluxe Edition, which has loads of bonus DLC. With this version of the game costing close to $80 when bought separately, this really is a great deal.

View this deal: 1TB Xbox One S and Battlefield 1: Early Enlister Deluxe Edition $310 @ Amazon

Cheap Xbox One deals

Still considering a PS4 instead? Then you'll want to take a look at our cheap PS4 deals guide

Cheap Xbox One deals

Xbox Live deals

Xbox Live sub: Need to top up your Xbox Live Gold membership? Don’t pay the default automatic renewal price, head on over to CD Keys, where you can usually get a great 12 month Xbox Live Gold deal for cheaper than anywhere else.

Cheap Xbox One deals

Xbox One controller deals

Here's our roundup of the best Xbox One controller deals around. We've listed the best prices for all the officially available colours and the Elite controller.

Ocean Shadow Xbox One controller – $54.99 @ Amazon

Winter Forces Xbox One controller – $54.99 @ Amazon

Red Xbox One controller – $54.99 @ Microsoft

Black Xbox One controller – $46 @ Amazon

White Xbox One controller only $48 @ Amazon

Green and Orange Xbox One controller – $51 @ Walmart

Xbox Wireless Controller – Gears of War 4 Crimson Omen Limited Edition – $55.99

Dawn Shadow (magenta) Xbox One controller – $57.99 @ Amazon

Dusk Shadow (blue) Xbox One controller – $62.99 (refurbished) @ Walmart

Blue Xbox One controller – $52.99 @ eBay

Special Edition Armed Forces Xbox One controller – $58 @ Amazon

Design your own Xbox One controller with Design Lab – $79.99

Xbox One Elite controller deals

price hawk download

Pricehawk


Pricehawk

Try our new Google Chrome add-on and never pay more than the cheapest prices ever again!

Pricehawk is a Chrome extension that will automatically find you the cheapest deals for the tech and games items you’re shopping for online. It’ll also let you know if there are voucher codes you can use to save even more money!

Visit Pricehawk: in the Google Chrome Store

price hawk download

PS4 Pro vs PS4: What’s the difference?

Update: PS4 firmware 4.50 is a pretty big deal for the PS4 Pro. It adds 'boost mode', which provides a performance boost to all PS4 games, whether or not they've received an official PS4 Pro patch. Games will still need the patch to see a resolution increase, but its a great addition to see all the same. Check out the full details below. 

Article continues below…

Just how different are the PS4 Pro and PS4? Both play exactly the same library of games, but under the hood there are a fair few differences between the two consoles. 

The PS4 Pro is the next big console from Sony, but don't mistake it for a PS5. In fact, one developer has even been caught on a gaming forum calling the console a 'half-assed upgrade'

But don't let that fool you, there's a lot more going on with the new console than that quote would suggest. 

The main difference is resolution. Whereas the original PS4 is limited to a maximum for 1080p, the new PS4 Pro can go up as high as 2160p, or 4K as it's more commonly known. 

The catch (because there's always a catch isn't there?) is that games will need to receive a PS4 Pro patch to enable these more detailed resolutions. 

These patches are unfortunate, because as yet only a fraction of the console's library have them. 

Going forward, all PS4 games will need to include a "Pro Mode", which will allow them to make the most of the Pro's enhanced hardware. This pretty much guarantees that there'll be a lot of Pro content in the future, but right now it's slim pickings. 

We've now had some time to digest what the new console is capable of – highly detailed 4K/HDR gameplay, Ultra-HD media streaming from apps like Netflix and the new Pro Mode – but now it's time to work out how it shapes up to the existing PS4 hardware. 

PS4 Pro

Appearance

  • PS4 Pro is bigger, but not by much
  • Sleeker finish on top of the Pro console

The most obvious difference between the original PS4 and the PS4 Pro is the addition of an extra layer onto the console.

While the original PS4 had two layers separated by a gap for the disc drive and two USB ports, the PS4 Pro has three layers.

Thankfully this hasn’t lead to too much of an increase in its dimensions. The original PS4 measured 275.1 x 305.1 x 53.1mm, while the Pro measures 295 x 327 x 55mm. That means it’s slightly bigger, it’s 2cm deeper and 2cm wider, but interestingly it’s more or less the same height.

It’s also half a kilogram heavier, or just over a pound.

Connections

  • PS4 Pro has an extra USB port
  • PS4 Pro also has an optical audio port
  • Original PS4 uses HDMI 1.4, Pro uses HDMI 2.0a

In terms of rear connectors, the PS4 Pro is nearly identical to the standard PS4, aside from the addition of an extra USB 3.0 port – which should be pretty useful if you’re planning on hooking up a PlayStation VR, since the headset takes up a USB port when it’s plugged in. 

An extra USB port is an excellent inclusion, since the PSVR brings back the Move Controllers which each need a USB port to charge. 

PS4 Pro vs PS4 rear

Unlike the new slimmer PS4, the PS4 Pro does include an optical audio output on its rear like the original launch PS4.

The final difference between the ports on the back of the console is the HDMI port. While the original PS4 had an HDMI 1.4 port, the PS4 Pro has an HDMI 2.0 port to allow it to output at 4K resolutions (more on that later).

Important to note is that you don’t need to upgrade your HDMI cable to take advantage of 4K, despite what Sony is claiming on its official FAQ. Any HDMI cable that can handle 1080p can do 4K just fine. 

Optical drive

  • Both systems have Blu-ray drives
  • Neither are capable of 4K Blu-ray playback

This is a particularly sore spot for Sony’s new system. Despite speculation to the contrary, the PS4 Pro does not include an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It can play Full HD 1080p Blu-ray discs just the same as the original PS4.

Sony’s decision to omit a Ultra-HD Blu-ray drive from the system is puzzling, considering that Blu-ray support was one of the major boons of the PS3. Now, Sony might be saving that for another console down the road, however, considering that Microsoft’s Xbox One S already has the high-end disc drive, it would’ve benefitted Sony to launch the Pro with one as well.

Internals

  • PS4 Pro has better GPU performance (4.2 TFLOP vs 1.84)
  • PS4 Pro has 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna and Bluetooth 4.0
  • PS4 Pro has an additional 1GB of DDR3 RAM

The internals are where we see our first major difference from the original PS4.

Both consoles share an AMD Jaguar x86-64 8-core CPU, which has seen a 30% boost in clock-speed from 1.6GHz to 2.1GHz. 

Meanwhile the GPU has seen a much bigger performance increase. Its power has been doubled, and its clock-speed has been boosted from 800MHz to 911MHz.

In total the GPU has jumped from 1.84 TFLOP in the launch PS4 to 4.2 TFLOP in the Pro. This bump is in order to accommodate the new 4K functionality.

The Wi-Fi of the Pro has also seen an upgrade to include 802.11ac and a Bluetooth bump to v2.1 to v4.0. Both of these upgrades were also seen in the new slim PS4.

The Pro also has an additional 1GB of DDR3 RAM, which will be used for non-gaming apps to free up the faster GDDR5 RAM for gaming performance. 

4K TV Performance

  • PS4 Pro supports 4K/HDR
  • Original PS4 just supports HDR
  • Developers decide how to use the extra power

This is the big one – the main reason it's worth making the jump from the original hardware to the PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro supports 4K output, as opposed to the standard PS4's Full HD 1080p resolution.

When it comes to streaming services such as Netflix this means that the console will be able to play movies and TV shows in their maximum resolution, but unfortunately the lack of an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive means that the console will not be able to play physical 4K media.

The PS4 Pro supports 4K output, as opposed to the standard PS4’s Full HD 1080p resolution

Games are slightly more complicated because it will be up to developers to decide how they want to use the PS4 Pro's extra muscle.

For example, EuroGamer reports that the Pro version of The Last of Us will have two options, one that runs at 30fps with a native 4K resolution, and one that runs at 60fps at a lower resolution (that has yet to be revealed).

Last of US

Other games such as Days Gone will be upscaled to achieve a 4K output, but reports indicate that the upscaling process used is more clever than simply stretching the image over a larger number of pixels.

A final game shown to the press, Deux Ex: Mankind Divided, reportedly did not handle its upscaling well at all.

The takeaway seems to be that achieving good 4K performance will need developers to be clever about the balance they strike between native rendering resolution and upscaling technologies used.

Developers to be clever about the balance they strike between native rendering resolution and upscaling technologies used

The PS4 Pro is not powerful enough to run a game at 4K with all the graphical bells and whistles turned on, but with some compromises the results are reportedly impressive.

Although HDR support is new with the PS4 Pro, this same functionality is set to come to launch PS4s via a firmware update. Check out our full guide to HDR for exactly what that means for how games will look.

In terms of loading times, the PS4 Pro offers a small improvement over the stock PS4, but if you're looking for a boost in loading times, then you'll see more of an improvement if you upgrade your launch PS4 with an SSD

1080p TV Performance

  • Some games play at higher framerates on PS4 Pro

Although the PS4 Pro is meant mainly as an accompaniment to 4K televisions, the console will also give a graphical boost if you're playing on a 1080p screen. 

But while some of these enhancements are intentional, such as using supersampling to enhance the amount of detail in a given scene, others are not. 

PS4 Pro will also give a graphical boost if you’re playing on a 1080p screen

The Last Guardian, the recently released game from Team Ico, has launched with some framerate issues that are present on both the PS4 at 1080p, and the PS4 Pro at 4K. 

But a performance analysis has revealed that these issues almost completely disappear if you force the game to run in 1080p mode on a PS4 Pro by changing the system settings. 

We don't think this is an intentional feature of the Pro, but if this trend continues in the future it might make the Pro a much more necessary upgrade for 1080p TV owners. 

'Boost mode'

  • Frame-rate increases can now also be seen in games that haven't received a Pro patch.

Introduced in PS4 firmware 4.50, 'boost mode' is a feature that allows PS4 games that haven't received a PS4 Pro patch to receive a performance boost from being played on the new console. 

So far the exact extent of the benefits aren't fully understood, but a Digital Foundry analysis has unearthed performance boosts of as much as 38%. 

Titles tested included Assassin's Creed: Unity, Battlefield 4, and Project Cars, all of which saw substantial performance increases when running on the Pro, despite not having a Pro patch available. 

Check out the video below for a more in-depth outline of the benefits. 

PlayStation VR performance

  • PS4 Pro offers improved PSVR experience
  • …but it's not a major difference

Although prior to the PlayStation VR's release there were rumors circulating that the headset's performance on launch consoles was going to be 'terrible', now that the hardware is out the distinction appears to be much more subtle. 

In fact a recent analysis by Digital Foundry suggests that in some games the difference between PS4 and the PS4 Pro can be a struggle to find.  

Other games appear sharper on the Pro because of how the developers have enabled super-sampling techniques, effectively rendering games at a higher resolution in order to enhance detail levels. 

The differences between the two consoles are too slight to conclusively recommend the Pro on the basis of VR performance alone

In Robinson: The Journey for example details are much crisper, and textures benefit from a higher level of texture filtering. 

The bottom line with the PlayStation VR is that the differences between the two consoles are too slight to conclusively recommend the Pro on the basis of VR performance alone. 

If this changes in the future as developers get better acquainted with the PS4 Pro then this may change, and we'll update our thoughts accordingly. 

Conclusion: A substantial upgrade short of a generational leap

The PS4 Pro is undoubtedly a substantial step up from the PS4, but ‘true’ 4K gaming is difficult for it to achieve without compromise.

The biggest physical difference between it and the standard PS4 visually is the addition of an extra layer, but the internals have also been beefed up considerably. The GPU is a great deal faster, and although the CPU is architecturally similar it’s been clocked at a faster speed.

So should you make the upgrade from your existing PS4? The answer largely depends on if you have a 4K TV or plan on upgrading to one in the coming months. If you are, then the PS4 Pro will present numerous visual benefits. If you aren’t, well, there’s likely anything on the PS4 Pro that will be worth the extra money, at least not yet.

That said, without having a system in front of us this is all just conjecture – we’ll wait for our full review when the console is released in November to make that decision with any finality.

HTC 10 at $150 off, One A9 at $200 off, and more during the company’s Seven Days of Sappiness sale

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and while some of you may stick with the traditional gift of chocolates and roses, your tech-loving partner would likely appreciate a shiny new phone over a box of stale candy. Whether you’re getting something nice for someone you love or want to treat yourself this coming Tuesday, HTC is offering some pretty solid savings on a  wide array of various smartphones and accessories just in time for the upcoming holiday.

All of the deals and savings are part of HTC’s “Seven Days of Sappiness” sale, and the …

Samsung’s new Bixby assistant might not be based on Viv Labs technology

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship is said to host a plethora of innovative features. There have been a lot of rumors about the device, many of them revolving around Bixby – the new AI assistant that is said to be a major selling point of the upcoming smartphone.

A lot of reports have also surfaced, but some of them have been very contradicting. In November, Injong Rhee, Samsung’s mobile division chief technology officer stated that Bixby would significantly differentiate from other voice assistants thanks to a new technology from Viv Labs – a company which has several …