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With a NAS drive you’ll have your own ‘cloud’ storage
Welcome to another packed issue of PC Advisor. Just six months after the OnePlus 3 launched, we now have the 3T. This is a relatively minor upgrade, as you’ll read on page 28, but the latest CPU, more storage, a better front camera and a few other tweaks make this one of the very best phones you can buy right now, and it still costs less than £400. With many flagship phones costing upwards of £600, it’s great value even if it’s more expensive than its predecessor.
But there’s even better value to be had if you’re willing to go for a less well-known brand. Xiaomi is one of the most popular phone makers in China and uses many of the same components you’ll find in a big-brand flagship, but at an unbelievably low price. Find out whether it’s right for you on page 37. There’s almost too much choice, with Google’s new Pixel (page 31), Lenovo’s modular Moto Z (page 34) and a budget offering from Vernee (page 42).
If you use OneDrive in Windows or any other cloud storage service, you’ll appreciate the ability to access your files from any internet-connected computer (or phone). The cloud is great for small files, or even large files if you have fast broadband, but there are times when you want a collection of videos, music, photos and documents instantly available locally.
That’s when a NAS drive is useful. These mini PCs connect to your router and offer a place to store everyone’s files. They can have separate accounts, and many NAS drives now have phone and tablet apps that make it really easy to listen to music, watch videos, browse photos, and more. Smart TVs can see these files too, so you can watch the same videos on the big screen, and at least one NAS in our group test on page 68 can connect directly to your TV’s HDMI input. Some NAS come with hard disks already installed, while others are ‘bare’ and you have to slide in disks of your own. With the latest disks offering capacities up to 10TB each, you can store a whole lot more than you can in the cloud.
In our Windows tips feature on page 78, we explain how to use Windows’ built-in troubleshooting tools to fix any problems your PC might be having. From the Task Manager to the Event Viewer, you can use these utilities to diagnose and – hopefully – solve issues yourself instead of paying someone else to. And with many new PCs and laptops arriving stuffed with unwanted software, we also show you on page 102 how to reinstall Windows without this bloatware. Those new PCs come with Windows 10, of course, but one of its unique features is Cortana.
Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant and is similar to Siri on the iPhone and Amazon Alexa, but it’s even more capable in the latest update on Windows 10. Find out how to get the most from Cortana on page 82, and don’t forget that she is now available on iOS and Android and so can assist you on the move even if you don’t have a Windows phone.