Ac­cess all ar­eas

With a NAS drive you’ll have your own ‘cloud’ stor­age

Tech Advisor - - Welcome - JIM MARTIN

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.

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