Remaining vigilant will help keep your tech safe
It may be 2016 – a time beyond the incredible future envisioned in Back to the Future Part II – but despite some of the great tech and life-enhancing gadgets we can now buy, the reality is that we still have to worry about mundane things such as installing antivirus software. In fact, as criminals focus more on scamming people online, everyone needs to be even more vigilant to remain safe and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, having your data encrypted and held to ransom or another equally despicable crime.
Follow our nine tips on keeping your PC safe (page 92) and you stand a far better chance of doing so, and remember that you should also apply many of the same principles to your tablet and phone too, including installing antivirus on Android devices (page 102).
One of the great new technologies is USB-C, and we’re now starting to see laptops, as well as tablets and phones, with the new port. It solves the problem USB has always suffered from: you never know which way to plug it in unless you look at the port and the cable. It is especially frustrating with Micro-USB cables, which never seem to want to attach even when you have the correct orientation.
With USB-C, such as Apple’s Lightning connector, you can plug the cable in either way up and it will work. And alongside data transfer, it can deliver enough power to charge. We’re a way from being able to use USB-C chargers as interchangeably as traditional USB though, as our tests on page 105 show.
One new gadget with USB C is Google’s Pixel C tablet, reviewed on page 24. It’s interesting because Google is positioning it as a productivity device so – in theory – you can use it like a Chromebook but also benefit from all the apps available for Android.
We’ve also tested out the new Lumia 950 XL, a phone that has aspirations of being your only PC by virtue of a Display Dock that lets you use it like a PC. You can find out how we got on with it on page 38. With fewer than 3 percent of smartphone buyers opting for Windows phones, its future is far from certain, though.
Most people choose an Android phone or an iPhone. Our reviews explain all you need to know, but this month we’ve taken all the popular flagships and gone into significantly more depth with their cameras and audio capabilities. So if you’re choosing a phone because you want a great camera, check out our test starting on page 64, but don’t miss our review of the DxO One (page 50) if you have an iPhone. Those who care about how their phone sounds will find in-depth analysis of both their speakers and the quality of their headphone outputs on page 78 onwards.