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Christmas calories – should you trust your fitness tracker?

The average Briton will consume more than 5,000 calories on Christmas day alone, according to research by Wren Kitchens. So when you’re trying to burn off that festive excess, you’ll want to know that your fitness watch or tracker is giving you the right information. The research by Wren Kitchens surveyed 2,000 people about their typical Christmas dinner, and found that the average person eats as many as 5,240 calories in just one day.

With such indulgence, it’s understandable that some people want to begin a health kick to start the new year – and a fitness watch or tracker could provide the perfect motivational tool to help you get fit.

If you want to keep an eye on how many calories you’ve burned, which a lot of people do after the festive period, then most trackers will provide you with this information. Or if distance is the way you’d like to track your fitness, there are plenty of trackers that can do that, too. But we’ve found some fitness watches and activity trackers that greatly overstate or understate your data.

Here we reveal the dramatic differences between actual calories burned and what your tracker tells you. And we’ve worked this out based on your favourite festive treats. Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers[1] – find out which models aced our accuracy tests

Calories burned – what we’ve found

Some trackers simply aren’t accurate enough when it comes to tracking calories burned.

One device overstated this by a whopping 105% during our testing, so you’ll think you’ve burned more than twice the number of calories that you actually have. This means that instead of killing enough calories for four glasses of Christmas prosecco[2], you’d only have burned off enough for two.

Another device understated calories burned by 28%, which means you’re actually burning off more than it says you have. If you want to indulge in our Best Buy mince pies[3], this tracker would tell you that you’d worked off enough for less than three, when you could actually scoff four (it is Christmas, after all).

It’s not all bad news, though, as we’ve found some trackers that measured calories burned with almost no error.

To find out more about the way we test fitness watches and trackers for accuracy, head over to the how we test page[4].

Distance tracking – what we’ve found

According to the Wren Kitchens research, you’d need to run two marathons to burn off that 5,000-calorie festive feast, but we’ve found trackers that failed to track distance accurately, too.

While we don’t recommend running two marathons, and certainly won’t be trying this ourselves, the graph below shows how far you would have run before the most inaccurate trackers from our tests tell you that you’ve reached the two-marathon mark.

If you want to track distance while out running, then built-in GPS is a good feature to look for, as it means you can leave your phone at home and still track your route.

See our pick of the top five fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS[5].

References

  1. ^ Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Christmas prosecco (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Best Buy mince pies (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ how we test page (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ top five fitness watches and activity trackers with built-in GPS (www.which.co.uk)

The Best Shredders for Tax Time and Beyond

Safe, Secure, and Shredded

For every tax document you need to file or save, you’ll probably be left with a half-dozen or so that should be junked, some of them containing sensitive financial information. Fortunately, shredders have come a long way since the days depicted in the movie Argo, in which the failure of government shredders to destroy sensitive photos played an important role. With most of today’s shredders you can be reasonably sure that your documents will be chopped up finely enough to be in no danger of being pieced together.

Shredding Basics

One way of classifying shredders is by the way they cut paper.

Strip-cut shredders cut sheets of paper into long strips. They are fast, but don’t provide much security, as the strips are usually large enough that they could be reassembled. Cross-cut shredders chop the paper into short, thin strips.

Micro-cut shredders dice paper into tiny diamonds or bits of confetti, and are suitable for shredding confidential–and in some cases secret–documents. Shredder security, measured by the smallness of the paper shreds, is determined by the internationally accepted DIN 66399 standard[1],[2] ranging from P-1 (insecure) to P-7 (suitable for shredding top-secret documents). A P-4 security level is fine for most offices, while ones needing to dispose of particularly sensitive documents may want to up it to P5.

Modern shredders can handle more than sheets of paper. Many of today’s models can chop through CDs, credit and ID cards, paper clips, and/or staples. Some can make quick work even of thick envelopes full of junk mail.

Speed, based on the number of sheets you can feed through the shredder, one after another, is important. So is the feeder capacity (how many sheets you can shred at once) and the size of the basket where the shredded paper ends up. Run time–the length of time you can continuously feed paper through the shredder before it needs to cool down–and the length of the cooling-down period are other factors.

What to Look For

The best shredder for you depends on your particular needs: Consider its speed, capacity, run time, and security (or the size of its shred).

For example, a smaller office may want a fast shredder to run through a modest amount of paper quickly, while a larger office with more paper to dispose of may want a higher capacity or longer run time. Offices that handle very sensitive documents will want a micro-cut shredder to dice the paper into fine confetti. Note also that the smaller the shred size, the more paper can fit in the waste bin before you need to empty it.

Compact shredders can fit in small spaces, and may be best for home office use, or as personal shredders in either a home or an office. Some offer safety features such as automatic shutoff if one’s hand touches the feeder slot. Others offer jam protection.

Shredders as a group are not known for their elegance, but some compact shredders are stylish enough to be an integral part of an office’s decor.

The Kindest Cut

Don’t put a price on security–a shredder can be a terrific investment.

And though you may find it most useful in the spring, after you’ve prepared and submitted your taxes[3], it can help you protect your finances and your identity throughout the whole year, all with just a few minutes of work.

The shredders featured here run the gamut from personal and home-office models to ones suitable for heavy-duty shredding in a large office.

References

  1. ^ internationally accepted DIN 66399 standard (www.din-66399.com)
  2. ^ , (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ prepared and submitted your taxes (www.pcmag.com)

Y-Cam now charging for previously free cloud storage

The UK-based home security company Y-Cam Solutions has changed its free unlimited cloud storage service. Previously, if you purchased a Y-Cam smart security camera, you received unlimited storage in the cloud for a rolling seven-day period. Under the new terms, existing users will have the seven-day cloud storage limited to one year with effect from the date of activation.

To continue using the storage after that they will have to pay a monthly subscription fee of GBP2.99 per camera. Y-Cam customers can’t use alternative options for storing their recorded footage, such as third-party cloud storage (DropBox, Google Drive, or OneDrive) or their own networked hard drive. Existing camera owners were sent an email on behalf of Y-Cam giving them 14 days’ notice of the changes coming into force.

Essentially, important features are being rescinded unless people are willing to pay. New customers will also get free cloud storage for a year before they have to pay. Best Buy wireless security cameras[1] – find out which models topped our tests.

As you can expect, Y-cam customers are not happy with this development, and have voiced their criticisms via Twitter:

@ycamsolutions[2] very disappointed that you’re charging for all camera storage. I feel like I’ve been suckered in with little option and very little time to decide. You always promoted yourselves on the free 7 days storage and now you’ve taken that away.

— Stewart Bamford (@camcanary) November 30, 2017[3]

.@ycamsolutions I bought two y-cam Evo cameras based on your promise of *free forever* 7 day cloud storage.You CAN NOT yourself change the original terms of sale for existing customers, either refund or grandfather existing customers! pic.twitter.com/qzcEs6yf6H[4][5] — Jean-Pierre Deckers (@JPDeckers) December 1, 2017[6]

@ycamsolutions said…”when purchasing a home security camera that cloud storage is an essential, otherwise you are just buying a live streaming machine, so basically a web cam! Because of this, at Y-cam, we believe Cloud storage should be provided to customers free of charge” pic.twitter.com/uabPwDDMPk[7][8]

— Graham J Phillips (@phillipsjgraham) November 30, 2017[9]

The tweet above shows older marketing material used by Y-Cam highlighting the differences in ongoing costs between its camera and those of its competitors. Some customers say they have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards about Y-Cam’s marketing material promoting lifetime storage at the time they bought their security camera. Y-Cam has responded to complaints from customers by releasing additional information:

We have received lots of feedback following our recent announcement and we feel it necessary to address some of the reaction we have seen https://t.co/d95g7Jn5BI[10]

— Y-cam (@ycamsolutions) December 4, 2017[11]

Since Y-cam announced its decision to limit Y-cam’s free cloud recording service to 1 year we have been very aware of the disappointment and frustration that this decision has caused. So without any reservation we want to say sorry. https://t.co/7f8VGNkyOF[12] — Y-cam (@ycamsolutions) December 7, 2017[13]

Devin Chawda, co-founder and CEO of Y-Cam told us: ‘Y-Cam has been a trusted British security brand since 2007 and apologises to all customers that feel let down by its decision.

Whilst regrettable, the move was necessary due to the increasing cost of providing the infrastructure and remaining compliant with the ever-increasing burden of data security. ‘Unlike cheaper IP and CCTV cameras, the Y-Cam system operates through a central cloud-based technology platform that requires hundreds of servers processing over three million videos for its customers every day. It is a fully managed system with highly qualified engineers looking after it 24×7 to ensure customer accounts remain online and secure, which is more important now than ever before as internet security threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated.’

Y-Cam has also said it will honour a separate three-year free cloud storage offer that was available to customers who activated their cameras between 15 June and 15 December 2017. The three-year deal was originally due to expire on 30 November but Y-Cam chose to extend it to 15 December to provide extra time to customers.

What to do if your Y-Cam is affected

Existing Y-Cam customers now have three options once their period of free cloud storage ends:

  1. Subscribe to the Y-cam Plus service, which offers 30-day storage and a number of alarm benefits for GBP9.99 a month or GBP99.99 a year (discounted to GBP4.99 and GBP49.99 for the first year).
  2. Subscribe to the seven-day storage plan for GBP2.99 per camera.
  3. Take no action and still receive notifications and be able to access live video and audio footage. However, the camera will no longer record.

As a comparison, the Netgear Arlo Q Premier plan, which supports up to 10 cameras and gives you 30 days of recordings, costs GBP6.49 a month or GBP64 a year.

The Nest Indoor Cam Standard plan, which gives you 10 days of recordings, costs GBP8 a month or GBP80 a year. So, while some customers might be unhappy that they have to pay for a service that was previously free, it is significantly cheaper than other popular camera plans.

Is this a one-off case?

Y-Cam is not the only smart security company to recently fall foul of customer backlash regarding free and paid-for services. Canary also changed the features that are included in its free and paid-for subscription packages, removing camera abilities that were once free and placing them behind a paywall.

We’ve updated our first-look Y-Cam Evo review[14] and Canary Flex review[15] to reflect the changes.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy wireless security cameras (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  3. ^ November 30, 2017 (twitter.com)
  4. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  5. ^ pic.twitter.com/qzcEs6yf6H (t.co)
  6. ^ December 1, 2017 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  8. ^ pic.twitter.com/uabPwDDMPk (t.co)
  9. ^ November 30, 2017 (twitter.com)
  10. ^ https://t.co/d95g7Jn5BI (t.co)
  11. ^ December 4, 2017 (twitter.com)
  12. ^ https://t.co/7f8VGNkyOF (t.co)
  13. ^ December 7, 2017 (twitter.com)
  14. ^ Y-Cam Evo review (www.which.co.uk)
  15. ^ Canary Flex review (www.which.co.uk)

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