Black Friday is almost upon us, but are any of the upcoming deals actually any good? To help you make up your mind, we’ve sifted through all the best deals for each retailer who’s already published their deals ahead of time. Currys and PC World, for instance, will have a massive 323 items on sale this Friday, but we’ve sifted the wheat from the chaff, bringing you the best products along with the best prices.
If you’re looking for a brand-new TV, Black Friday is an excellent time to buy one, as Currys has slashed hundreds of pounds off several models this year, ranging from high-end 4K sets to entry-level smart TVs. This includes the Samsung UE50JU68002, a 50in 4K TV which costs just 698 (down from 999 at the end of last month). Even better, those with larger living rooms can save 600 on the 4K Samsung UE60JU60003, which now costs 899. If you fancy something a bit more eye-catching, the curved Samsung UE40JU67404 is also on sale for 748, down from 849 at the end of September. This is a great price for a curved 4K TV, although the size of just 40in might put some people off. The 55in version5 is also on sale, but here you’re only saving 50, as the sale price is 1,149 down from 1,999. However, you can also save a further 10% by entering a special code on Curry’s website, taking the final price down to 1,035. Alternatively, the 50in LG 50LF580V6 is on sale for just 429, down from 549. This is a 1,080p set that comes with several smart services, such as BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Now TV and BlinkBox.
Soundbars and Speakers
LG’s NB3540 soundbar7 and subwoofer combo was one of our favourite soundbars of 2014, and now the latest version, the NB45408 is also on sale for just 239. The design has changed since last year, but this is still a great soundbar for those who want to add a little more oomph to their TV speakers without breaking the bank. Alternatively, the UE Roll wireless speaker9 is another great sound system that you can take on the move. This is now down to 80, giving you a saving of 20. We loved it when we reviewed the UE Roll10 back in September, as it’s not only quite eye-catching, but it’s also very light and compact, making it a great travel companion.
The Toshiba Satellite P50-C-18K11 is a 15.6in laptop with a dedicated graphics card, and it can be yours for just 700 – bagging you a saving of 200 compared to its price earlier in the month. Here, you get one of Intel’s new Skylake Core i5 processors, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce 930M graphics chip, a Full HD screen and a 256GB SSD – making it a pretty good deal for those after a good all-round laptop.
The Acer Iconia One 812 was 150 when we reviewed it13 earlier in the year, but now you can get one for just 100. It’s not the best budget tablet you can buy, but now that the Tesco Hudl 2 has been discontinued, it is one of the better slates you can get for 100. It’s fast and has Acer’s Precision Plus screen technology, which lets you draw on the screen with an actual pencil, making it handy for note-taking and doodling alike.
Now that Carphone Warehouse is officially part of Currys and PC World, it means you can also get some great savings on some of this year’s best smartphones. One of the best is the Samsung Galaxy S614, which you can buy for 350 SIM-free – that’s a saving of 130 on one of this year’s top handsets. You can read more about the Galaxy S6 in our in-depth review15.
It’s not much of a saving, but Currys will be offering 25 off the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite16 this Friday, taking it down to 85 (see our Paperwhite review17 for full details), and 10 off the basic Kindle18 to just 50. Our Kindle review19 has more information about the product, but you might also want to check out our Kindle head-to-head article20 to make sure you buy the right eReader for you.
Samsung’s EcoBubble WF80F5E0W4W21 is up for grabs this Friday for just 299 – a saving of 201 compared to the price it was earlier in October. We really liked the 2013 model, the WF80F5E5U4W22, so we expect the WF80F5E0W4W will live up to the same high standards. That said, those after a slightly bigger washing machine will want to check out the Samsung EcoBubble WW10H9600EW23, which now costs just 1,149, down from 1,599. This is one of the best washing machines24 you can currently buy, but check out our review25 to get a better idea about its smart features and whether it’s the right washing machine for you.
- ^ What is Black Friday? We explain all in our handy guide (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Samsung UE50JU6800 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Samsung UE60JU6000 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Samsung UE40JU6740 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ 55in version (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ LG 50LF580V (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ NB3540 soundbar (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ NB4540 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ UE Roll wireless speaker (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ reviewed the UE Roll (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Toshiba Satellite P50-C-18K (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Acer Iconia One 8 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ reviewed it (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Samsung Galaxy S6 (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Galaxy S6 in our in-depth review (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Paperwhite review (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Kindle (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ Kindle review (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Kindle head-to-head article (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ EcoBubble WF80F5E0W4W (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ WF80F5E5U4W (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ Samsung EcoBubble WW10H9600EW (www.currys.co.uk)
- ^ best washing machines (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
- ^ review (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
A mobile phone mast in Telford will be upgraded to cater for 4G service demands after the plans were backed by councillors.
Members of Telford & Wrekin Council s planning committee approved proposals to replace the mast in Dawley Green Way, Dawley Bank. The phone mast would be used by Vodafone and O2 network providers. It comes after a decision on the plans was deferred at a meeting in October after concerns over the protected status of the land. Though a mast of the same height (17.5m), but with 10cm less width, already stands on the park since it was approved in 2006, the park was given Queen Elizabeth II Parks in Trust status.
Councillors previously deferred the decision on the mast until it could be discovered whether this would have any legal standing over the positioning of the mast. It has now been confirmed that the mast is outside of the boundary of the designated Fields in Trust and there was no legal designation preventing the development of the site, according to a report to the planning committee. Speaking against the proposals at a meeting this week, Councillor Shaun Davies, representing Malinslee & Dawley Bank, said there were concerns the mast was situated near two schools.
He added: There was a huge amount of opposition to this locally last time. This wasn t the first preference of the phone company. He said promises had been made at the time that there would not be any upgrading of the mast. But Councillor Nicola Lowery said it was a modest proposal. She said: We need to be providing better 4G coverage and I think this would be the best option to support it in this area.
Councillor Nigel Dugmore added: We need to embrace new technology. Thisparticular mast is only four inches taller.
Unless anyone has x-ray vision, they are really not going to notice any difference at all.
A report put before the committee at the meeting said: The existing structure, to be removed, has three antennas fitted to the top half of the structure and it is proposed to replace these with six new antennas enclosed within a shroud and these new antennas will have dual user capabilities which will allow for use by both Vodafone and O2 network providers.
The proposed upgrading of the base stations is required to retain the continued need for both coverage and capacity of the existing networks and will cater for future 4G coverage demands within the area.
We can’t hide it, we’re excited about BlackBerry’s Android revolution. Here at KYM, although we enjoy Apple devices too, we love a good Android handset. But in the past we’ve been big fans of BlackBerry and have, for a long time, wanted to see the firm get back into a good place. Adopting Android, we think, may be its best chance in a while at doing just that. BlackBerry hardware is great, but the big fight for any phone maker outside of Google’s or Apple’s content ecosystem is…well…accessing those content ecosystems; quite simply consumers are entrenched, these ecosystems have the most people using them, who have been doing so for long enough to have stacks of content, time, energy, and habit invested into them. You can’t rely on convincing consumers to switch from what they know and love, and so the best solution is to meet them halfway. People have been talking about BlackBerry’s doom for almost as long as I’ve been a tech journalist.
It’s no secret that in the face of the rise of Apple and Google BlackBerry’s golden era of success is now a distant memory, and it has been struggling to get ahead for a while. But with that said, the firm isn’t down for the count just yet – it has been able to keep itself alive for this long while proving all the naysayers wrong. Many proposed it would become a software and services business instead of a device maker. There was some talk of BlackBerry adopting a third party operating system instead, but plenty of people scoffed at the idea as a fantasy. Little wonder then that we could hardly believe our ears when word first emerged that BlackBerry was working on an Android powered phone called the Priv!
After much anticipation for BlackBerry’s heavily rumoured first foray into the Android space, the debut model, the BlackBerry Priv1, is now finally out in the wild for eager BlackBerry and Android fans to get to grips with. These are exciting times indeed. It’s fair to say that the Priv is an experimental move by BlackBerry, the firm’s own BB10 devices haven’t sold as well as it would have liked, so it is testing the waters of Android-powered BlackBerry hardware with some software and service tweaks. But so far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and that may have prompted BlackBerry to begin planning up some more Android handsets. According to a report from reputable source CrackBerry2, which received information and renders from an unnamed source, the new device is called the BlackBerry Vienna.
The Vienna differs from the Priv3 by offering a fixed keyboard design rather than being a slider. As with the Priv’s in-development name of Venice, Vienna is likely not what it’ll be called when it launches. There’s not much more information to go on for now – we don’t know when to expect this device to arrive, what the display size is, or any of the hardware. Meaning we also don’t know where it sits in BlackBerry’s Android portfolio, but it seems hard to imagine it’ll be another high-end, high-spec device like the Priv and will more likely be a cheaper, lower-spec device. BlackBerry has never really done SUPER cheap though so we’d expect it to be somewhere in the mid-range bracket in terms of pricing and specs.
Of course with this cat now out the bag we’re expecting a veritable torrent of leaks to spill forth in the next few weeks and months. Our best guess says that BlackBerry may line something like this up for a launch at either IFA 2016 in January or MWC 2016 in February/March. Naturally we’ll be sure to keep you posted with more details as they inevitably emerge.
“The PRIV isn t perfect, as noted throughout this review, but I have tried to be as diplomatic as possible, highlighting why certain things might not work quite as well as they should, commending its positives, and attempting to explain the presence of certain performance gremlins.
This is a new beginning of sorts for BlackBerry and the true test of the PRIV is not sales or this first batch of reviews, but how it develops in the coming months once BlackBerry has some user data to work with and can update the software accordingly.”
A few weeks ago, we told you that Tim Cook hinted that Apple Pay would soon launch in Canada and Australia1. On Tuesday, Apple Pay launched in Canada2, and on Thursday the mobile payment service came to Australia. The latter becomes the fourth market to offer the service after the U.S., U.K., and Canada. According to Tim Cook, we should see the service launch soon in Ireland3. Unlike other countries where multiple credit cards can work with Apple Pay, in Australia the feature is compatible only with American Express. That means that you have to be an AMEX member to use Apple Pay in the land down under.
According to a report issued by the Australian Financial Report, Apple might have a difficult time getting other banks to come on board. That’s because these financial institutions are not thrilled with the idea of giving Apple its small cut of each transaction paid for with Apple Pay. At least Apple was able to get AMEX to sign off in Australia. In China, a country that has become an important market for Apple, none of the banks will agree to give the tech titan a percentage of each sale.4
One disadvantage to only having support from American Express is that it is accepted by a smaller number of retailers than VISA.
Apple Pay might have to prove itself before other Australian banks and credit card companies feel that it is worth it to give Apple its small percentage in exchange for Apple Pay support.
- ^ Apple Pay to launch in Australia and Canada by the end of this year (www.phonearena.com)
- ^ Apple Pay launches in Canada; Dominos and Cinnabon to join the program (www.phonearena.com)
- ^ Tim Cook: Surface Book doesn’t succeed at being a tablet or a notebook (www.phonearena.com)
- ^ Apple Pay can’t get off the ground in China as iOS 8.3 fails to add support for China UnionPay (www.phonearena.com)
- ^ TechRadar (www.techradar.com)
Fortunately, Sony’s been listing to the complaints of its users and is now delivering a camera update to the Sony Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact and Z5 Premium which will dramatically improve the camera usability on all three devices. And to brag about their camera even more, the Japanese OEM has released their newest camera update, which was actually previewed a few months ago at IFA. A test build of the latest version of Android has reached the Xperia Z3 series; however, this only targets a select number of users, according to a Sony Mobile blog1. DxO, a bench marking site for Cameras and Smartphone cameras has ranked the Sony Xperia Z5 as the smartphone with the best camera. The update brings a new user interface to the camera app on the Sony Xperia Z5 range and also a new range of features.
The reviewer installs one of these called FXGuru: Movie FX Director, a special effects app. This will give you a brief idea of just one of the things on offer. Manually changing the brightness of white balance of a shot is as easy as tapping the on-screen settings button and adjusting two different sliders which appear. You’ll also get a look at what the new camera UI looks like when recording video, and generally a tour around the app. The changes to Sony’ camera app UI will be well-accepted.
The good news is that if you have an older flagship and you rooted to, then you’ll be able to root this update for your device.
Let us know with your comments.