We Got Served http://www.wegotserved.com Tue, 07 Jul 2015 16:53:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Introducing Windows 10: The Windows 10 Start Menu http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/07/introducing-windows-10-the-windows-10-start-menu/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/07/introducing-windows-10-the-windows-10-start-menu/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 16:53:50 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73373 If you’ve been tracking Windows releases over the last few years, you’ll know that Microsoft has experienced a somewhat torrid time defining a clear and balanced design direction for their operating system. But things are changing - the Windows 10 Start Menu is back and better than ever!

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If you’ve been tracking Windows releases over the last few years, you’ll know that Microsoft has experienced a somewhat torrid time defining a clear and balanced design direction for their operating system. But with Windows 10, the mists are starting to clear.

If you were a desktop user, you may have thought your needs were being forgotten as Microsoft frantically tried to “reimagine” Windows for touch-screen computing – making the PC relevant in the “post-PC era”.

There were two prongs to the strategy, kick off with Windows 8. First, Microsoft launched a major (and somewhat doomed) initiative to re-engineer Windows to support low-power ARM processors, via a specific version of the operating system known as “Windows RT”. Second was the development and integration of a new user interface design – initially called “Metro” and subsequently renamed Windows “Modern”.

Manifesting itself in a new Start screen, Charms bar, full-screen “Modern” apps and revised Settings menus, the new UX was designed to make Windows easier and more rewarding to use on touchscreen tablet devices – although it worked (somewhat clunkily) with a mouse and keyboard too.

The change was not popular with the vast majority of Windows users. The issue was not one of aesthetics – the Modern interface had been around for some time, from the days of Windows Media Center and Microsoft’s Zune devices, through numerous iterations of the Windows Phone platform. The issue was more about execution – Windows 8 attempted to bridge support for touchscreen and traditional mouse and pointer driven devices – desktops and laptops – by layering the Modern UX on top of the standard Windows desktop. One device, two user interfaces. Windows 8 would boot into the Modern Start screen, but you had to flip into the Desktop to access the folders on your Desktop. between the Modern Start screen, the Charms bar or the traditional Desktop to find apps, services and settings.

For long-time Windows users, Windows 8 felt unnecessarily different and clumsy on non-touch devices – switching between the Start screen and the Desktop was a jarring experience, forcing users to switch between interaction modes. Many refused to make the leap to Windows 8, the press roundly criticised the new direction and Microsoft was forced into a rethink.

Many of Windows 8’s rough edges were smoothed in Windows 8.1 and the subsequent Windows 8.1 Update. Clearly, the company listened carefully to user feedback and began the necessary work required to restore usability for desktop users. That was great news for people like you and me, but driven more by a desire to see a greater number of large corporate customers migrate to the latest edition of Windows.

The Windows Start button made a return, although this was more of a cosmetic change – clicking this “Start button” simply returned you to the Windows Start Screen – the Start menu had yet to make its return.

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Windows 8.1 also gained the ability to detect the type of device it was running on during startup, and could boot to the Start screen or Desktop automatically. Power and search buttons were relocated for easier access and desktop users were now able to see (and pin) any desktop or Modern app to the Windows Desktop taskbar, making it much more easy to navigate between applications across the two interfaces.

Meanwhile, mouse functionality started to creep into Modern apps – the Minimise button, Close button and taskbar were now available via the mouse and you could right-click an application tile in the Start screen to view more options. A unified search feature pulled in results from the web as well as local files, folders and apps for any query.

Windows 10 continues to refine and balance the Windows user experience, so it feels natural and intuitive on touch devices and desktops alike. It’s the first version of Windows for many years that truly works well in both interaction modes. Over time, as Windows 10 is continually enhanced with new features and functionality, the user interface will be continually fine tuned. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still much work to do to update every Control Panel applet and dialog box to the Modern style, for example, and you’ll still find it slightly jarring to switch between the two. But the important thing to note is that Microsoft is working hard to support both desktop and touch device users in Windows 10. I think, like me, you’ll love the result.

In this series, I’ll introduce some of the changes you’ll experience in the latest iteration of the Windows platform. It’s not designed to be an exhaustive run-through of every menu, applet and dialog box but rather an overview to help you get oriented and comfortable during your first few days with the platform. Today, we’ll start with the new log-in and lock screens and the return of that Start menu!

The Windows 10 Log-in and Lock Screen

The new Windows 10 log-in screen is big, bold and confident, heralding a new direction for the platform. The bright, edge-lit graphic replaces the flat, accent-colored screen of previous releases but functionality remains the same.

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Icons at the bottom of the screen allow you to switch Keyboard settings, connect to a Wi-Fi network, enable Accessibility settings or change the PC’s Power state.

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If you leave the log-in screen alone, it’ll switch to the Lock screen with your chosen background.

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If you wish to change the Lock screen’s appearance and functionality, head to Start > Settings Personalization > Lock screen. You can change the background to an alternative image or a slideshow of images from a folder, add applications that can display status messages in the lock screen (such as Calendar, Mail, Alarms & Clock) and more.

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Review: Synology DiskStation DS115 1 Bay NAS Server http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/07/review-synology-diskstation-ds115-1-bay-nas-server/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/07/review-synology-diskstation-ds115-1-bay-nas-server/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:10:34 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73323 The Synology DiskStation DS115 is a fabulous, budget-friendly entry into the world of NAS that delivers all the features and power of Synology’s proven DiskStation Manager software.

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There is an abundance of low-cost NAS devices entering the market. They promise anything from a convenient backup solution, to a powerful home server in a box. But are they any good? We recently reviewed the 2-bay NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 and found that it offered great value for money. The Synology DiskStation DS115 is a 1-bay unit that aims to offer all the power and flexibility of their great software in a compact, reliable and affordable NAS.

Synology has become one of the biggest names in the NAS world, providing a complete range of devices to suit every application and budget. From the palm-sized EDS14 to the 12-drive DS3615xs, all the devices run the powerful DiskStation Manager (DSM) OS that has recently seen an upgrade to version 5.2.

DSM 5.2

DSM 5.2

I must admit, it took me a little while to figure out how Synology named its devices. There is a general rule but this isn’t always reliable. For the main part the last two numbers denote the launch year and the number before is the number of drive bays (or sometimes the maximum number of bays supported with expansion units). So the DS115 was launched in 2015 and has one drive bay. The most similar 2-bay offering from Synology is their DS215j, that offers the same Marvel Armada 375 Dual Core 800MHz processor and 512 MB RAM, but lacks the eSATA port of the DS115. There is also a DS115j, but this is a slower device featuring a single core processor.

The 800MHz Dual Core processor has enough horsepower for Synology to classify this as a “Home to Business Workgroup” NAS. It should certainly offer a decent upgrade over the lesser offerings. The DS115 also offers DDR3 RAM, expansion through USB 3.0 and eSATA ports and speedy file transfers through Gigabit Ethernet all for a retail price of $179.99/ £135.99.

 

Synology DS115

Synology DS115

Synology claims this model delivers file transfer speeds of 111.5 MB/s read and 104.69 MB/s write, which would compete with the fastest NAS devices we’ve tested. We’ll put these claims to the test later in our review, first let’s check out the Synology DS115 hardware.

What’s in the Box?

The Synology DS115 is packaged in a branded outer box that gives the top-line features of the NAS and safely protects it during transit.

Synology DS115

Synology DS115

The package includes:

  • Synology DS115
  • 1 x CAT 5e Network Cable
  • Power Supply
  • Screws for mounting 3.5″ hard drives
  • Installation Guide
Synology DS115

Synology DS115

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Windows 10 Now Supports Windows Home Server Client Backup http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/06/windows-10-now-supports-windows-home-server-client-backup/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/06/windows-10-now-supports-windows-home-server-client-backup/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:43:40 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73363 Good news for Windows Home Server stalwarts who have been frustrated by the lack of support for Windows 10 client backup to date.

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Good news for Windows Home Server stalwarts who have been frustrated by the lack of support for Windows 10 client backup so far.

From what we’re hearing, the latest build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview (10162) works well with the Windows Home Server 2011 Connector, and can be backed up without any issues.

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This is the first Windows 10 build to offer Windows Home Server support and will come as a big relief to WHS owners who were concerned about upgrading their client machines to Windows 10.

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I’m hopeful we can expect to see similar support for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials enabled in this build, or one coming very soon.

Thanks to Graham Jones for the tip!

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Introducing Windows 10: Windows 10 Drivers http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/06/introducing-windows-10-windows-10-drivers/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/06/introducing-windows-10-windows-10-drivers/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:58:10 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73307 Whether you're upgrading or installing Microsoft's latest operating system on new hardware, but sure to grab the latest Windows 10 drivers to ensure your PC runs smoothly. Here's how.

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In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the Microsoft’s all-new Windows 10 and the features you’ll be playing with when you upgrade to the new platform. As we’re a little ahead of the final release of Windows 10 on July 29th, the screenshots you see are taken from a preview build. The final designs may be tweaked before release, but your experience should be the same.

Once you’ve installed Windows 10 and walked through the first run out of box experience (OOBE), you should check whether you’re missing any hardware drivers. If you’re performing a clean installation on new hardware, you may need to install additional Windows 10 drivers before you can access the Internet.

A few years ago, acquiring and installing Windows drivers (the software that makes your hardware work) was a mess. You’d have to rely on CDs (or, cripes, floppy disks!) shipped with the hardware, and if you lost those disks then you’d either have to contact the manufacturer to ship new ones out, or do a lot of digging online in obscure tech forums to hunt for the right drivers. Sure, Windows Update was available, but aside from a suite of reasonably basic, generic drivers, it was a lottery.

A few things happened to improve life dramatically. First, Microsoft realised that Windows drivers were indeed a mess and from Windows Vista onwards (where the company made some big architectural shifts under the hood) they got a lot better at ensuring drivers for major hardware components were available directly from Windows Update.

Second, the hardware manufacturers also got their act together online, and published exponentially better support websites, with up to date drivers available for download with a click. Sure, some still ship CDs and DVDs with drivers to accompany their hardware, but you’ll generally find drivers available online too.

Take the new ASUS Z97I-PLUS motherboard, which I’m using on my Windows 10 test rig, as an example. It ships with a software CD, which includes a host of drivers for the various components (audio, video, network and so on) that comprise the hardware. You’ll generally find that many of your drivers have been installed by Windows by default – but, they’ll not necessarily be the most up to date versions of those drivers and there may be the odd driver missing. Of course, if the network adapter driver isn’t available in Windows out of the box, you’ll need to install it from the CD to get an Internet connection up in the first place!

So, my advice when it comes to installing Windows drivers for a new Windows 10 build is to run Windows Update as soon as possible following installation, download all of the hardware drivers available, then “top up” any outstanding driver needs courtesy of your manufacturer’s CD/DVD/website. Obviously, if your network driver isn’t installed automatically during the Windows 10 installation or OOBE, then you’ll need to switch that order around. But just go for the Ethernet/Network driver, then hit up Windows Update for the rest.

The good news (for me at least) is that Windows 10 did a pretty good job nailing most of my hardware driver requirements out of the box. As you can see from Device Manager, there are just four alerts – for an Unknown device, the SM Bus Controller, the obscure-sounding BCM20702A0 (the Bluetooth Controller) and something called the PCI Simple Communications Controller.

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Both of these items are important elements of the motherboard’s chipset, so the first stop is Windows Update, to see if that has drivers for these components. Take your mouse and click the search bar near the Start button. Enter ‘Windows Update’ and you’ll see an option at the top of the search results offering to Check for Updates.

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You’ve already seen an example of how awesome Windows 10’s search feature is. Not only are you guided to the relevant areas of the Windows Settings menu, you’re also presented with relevant links from around the web.

Of course, if you want to go manual, just head to Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.

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Check Windows Update for available drivers and software, download and if necessary, reboot. As you can see from my list of update here, there’s a host of Windows 10 OS updates waiting for me, but no hardware driver updates. So, next we’ll try the motherboard manufacturer’s resources.

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You can choose to seek out any missing drivers on your motherboard manufacturer’s website – alternatively, slip in the Drivers CD/DVD into the drive (if your PC has one), then click the option to run the installer when requested.

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If you’re using an older motherboard, you may find the drivers CD checks the operating system before it runs – not recognizing the existence of Windows 10, it then throws an error. Fortunately, modern versions of Windows ship with a Compatibility Tool that convinces applications that they’re running on an older version of Windows.

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Introducing Windows 10: First Run http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/05/introducing-windows-10-first-run/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/05/introducing-windows-10-first-run/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 14:43:43 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73285 In this series, I'll be taking a look at the Microsoft's all-new Windows 10 and the features you'll be playing with when you upgrade to the new platform. First up, let's look at the new "first run" out of box experience.

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In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the Microsoft’s all-new Windows 10 and the features you’ll be playing with when you upgrade to the new platform. As we’re a little ahead of the final release of Windows 10 on July 29th, the screenshots you see are taken from a preview build. The final designs may be tweaked before release, but your experience should be the same.

Once you’ve installed Windows 10 on your PC (I’ve performed a clean install here) you’ll be greeted with the following screen:

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It’s time to run through your configuration options – often known as the OOBE – or “Out of Box Experience”. If you buy a new PC with Windows 10, it’s likely that your Windows 10 experience will start here, but your OOBE may be slightly different to that explored here – PC manufacturers often take the opportunity to load your PC up with a wide range of branded cruft during configuration.

If you are thinking of buying a new Windows 10 PC from a manufacturer, and you are offered a host of “value added software”, then think very carefully about whether you really need it. In years of computing, I’ve yet to discover one of those start-up apps that I haven’t uninstalled very quickly. Or at least tried to – some of those pre-installed apps misbehave and can stick around like a bad smell. My advice is to try to get your PC cleaned up and as back to a “vanilla” state as quickly as possible once you’ve completed the OOBE.

Talking of which, let’s get our installation configured.

To save time working through all of the available configuration options, Microsoft includes a handy Express settings button which configures Windows on your behalf. It’s worth taking a couple of minutes to read through these settings on-screen, as they affect your Privacy settings in particular.

With Express settings selected, various personal data can be shared with Microsoft, including calendar and contacts information, your location and location history. You’ll be protected from malicious web content and Windows will preload certain web pages to predict your browsing behavior and speed up web access. You’ll also be automatically connected to suggested open hotspots (if you’re on the road with a mobile device, that is) and shared networks. Finally, problem reports (pertaining to crashes and other issues requiring diagnostic logs) will automatically be sent to Microsoft.

Clearly, different users will have a varying appetite to share diagnostic and personal information with applications, developers and Microsoft themselves so be sure to read through the accompanying Help file (using the Learn more link) to understand what data is shared.

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If you’re comfortable sharing everything requested, then click Use Express settings. Otherwise, the (tiny) Customize settings button allows you to step through each setting in turn, allowing more granular control over the information you wish to share with Microsoft and what features are configured up front. Let’s quickly walk through them.

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Personalization Settings

The first screen, Personalization, focuses on the information you are comfortable sharing with Microsoft to be used to personalize your Windows experience. A variety of information is requested to be shared and you’re able to grant or deny access to this data by using the On/Off toggle switches under each category.

Data requested includes:

  • Sending contact and calendar details alongside the vague-sounding “other associated input data”.
  • Sending typing and inking data (the latter if you’re using a pen device for input)
  • Allowing apps to use your advertising ID (a Microsoft invention used to identify you among their billions of other users)
  • Allowing Windows and third-party apps to request your current location, location history and “other location data” to improve location services.

By default, Microsoft would like all of this data to be shared to improve your Windows experience – that may be fine with you, but in a time of increasing concern around data privacy you have the power to share only the data you wish. Configure as necessary and click Next.

Browser and Protection Settings

Next up, it’s Browser and protection. Your choices here will be steered by how comfortable you are telling Microsoft (and others) what websites, downloads, files and applications you’re using.

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Microsoft Edge (Windows’ new web browser) Internet Explorer 11 and Windows’ SmartScreen feature offer an additional, automated layer of protection from malware that’s a great option for most users – but if it’s not for you, then you can ensure it’s disabled here.

Windows browsers also include a page prediction feature that will preload web pages the browser believes you may check out soon. This feature requires your web browser history to be sent to Microsoft, which can speed up your web experience, at the cost of privacy. Again, it’s your choice.

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Review: Garmin Nuvi 68LM GPS Navigator http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/02/review-garmin-nuvi-68lm-gps-navigator/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/02/review-garmin-nuvi-68lm-gps-navigator/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:46:51 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72912 With fewer features than some of their higher-end models, the Garmin Nuvi 68LM still packs a decent punch for an entry-level model.

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Garmin nüvi 67LM and 68LM - face on (1)

The Garmin Nuvi range has been augmented with the release of the four new 2015 budget devices – the 57LM, 58LM, 67LM and 68LM. All of these devices come with lifetime maps (hence the LM) for either the UK and Ireland (57LM/67LM) or Europe (58LM/68LM). For this reason alone I think the devices are very good value for money.

Garmin nüvi 67LM and 68LM - device and mount

What’s in the Box?

The Garmin Nuvi 68LM comes packed with a standard 12V car charger, a regular mini-USB cable, a suction mount and some instructions. Setting up the device is really easy – it starts with with clicking the two pieces of the mount together, sticking the mount with the suction cup and slotting the in the device itself. The mount feels very secure and, unlike many other windscreen mounts I’ve used, this didn’t show signs of spontaneously falling off.

The 68LM features a 6″ display with a resolution of 800 x 480. The colours and sharpness of the display are great and show a crisp image.

Once unpacked I set the Nuvi 68LM up in my car to see how long it would take me to get directions if I’d just bought it from a store. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in less than one minute I was able to pull off with the 68LM guiding me.

For Garmin regulars you will be aware of the abundance of customisation options available to you. The guiding persona has hundreds of voices and the vehicle avatar can be swapped for hundreds of objects ranging from a burrito to a tie-fighter.

Garmin nüvi 67LM and 68LM - face on (1)

Features

Some of the main features available include Real Directions which allows the sat nav to read directions to you like a passenger would – i.e. “turn left at the traffic lights”. The device sports a dual-orientation display so it can be positioned in landscape or portrait depending on preference. This isn’t toggled with a gyroscope but rather by a software toggle in the Settings menu.

When using the 68LM for guidance it will split the screen when you approach exits on motorways or where motorways split, allowing for clear lane guidance. During my time with the sat nav I noticed that this feature was usually accurate, however with at least one exit coming off the M3 it showed an incorrect number of lanes which I imagine would be confusing for people unfamiliar with the roads.

The points of interest – provided by Foursquare – are really useful, in my opinion. Either for people driving around an area they’ve never been to before looking for a good place to eat or as a way to explore somewhere more familiar it’s a great way to find new places.

One other feature I really like is the economic driving app. After entering details like fuel type and MPG for motorway/city driving it determines your fuel consumption for each journey. It also allows you update your car’s mileage after you fill up to keep track of how your driving is affecting your wallet.

The main feature I find to be lacking on this budget device is some sort of traffic monitoring. Without any form of live traffic updates it’s impossible to get a close estimate on travel duration. Garmin do offer devices with lifetime maps and traffic updates so if this is a must-have make sure you look out for LMT in the product name.

Lastly, for those of you with an extra £134.99 available the Garmin Nuvi 68LM is compatible with Garmin’s BC 30 wireless backup camera. This allows you to use the satnav as a display for a reversing camera. A fantastic feature for cars without a camera that will require a little legwork to setup; though Garmin recommend a professional installation as it does require connecting it to the car’s power.

Summary

All-in-all this is a great sat nav if you’re on a budget. With lifetime European map updates, points-of-interest integration, a crisp and vibrant screen all in a snappy easy-to-use box the Garmin Nuvi 68LM is definitely a device worth keeping an eye on. It’s available now for £149.99.

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Will the Microsoft Lumia 535 or the Lumia 640 XL Be Your First Windows 10 Mobile? http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/01/will-the-microsoft-lumia-535-and-the-lumia-640-xl-be-your-first-windows-10-mobile/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/07/01/will-the-microsoft-lumia-535-and-the-lumia-640-xl-be-your-first-windows-10-mobile/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:49:33 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73269 Budget friendly Lumia 535 and Lumia 640 XL are designed for those looking for a high-quality smartphone experience without the need to check in with the bank manager.

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This month, Microsoft took the wraps off two new devices in the Lumia stable. The Microsoft Lumia 535 and Lumia 640 XL are designed for those looking for a high-quality smartphone experience without the need to check in with the bank manager first.

The $179 Lumia 535 features a 5” IPS LCD display (960 x 540) and ships in a range of colours, including bright blue, green and orange alongside matte grey, black and white. It’s 5MP main camera is reasonably humble but is good enough for quick shots when you’re out and about. It’s accompanied with a wide angle 5MP front facing camera for selfie-lovers and Skype users.

A quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 has been chosen by Microsoft to power the Lumia 535, which includes 8GB of storage and is expandable up to 128GB with a microSD card. As it’s a new Microsoft phone, 30GB of free OneDrive cloud storage is also bundled to hold photos, documents and videos.

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Meanwhile, the $339 Lumia 640 XL offers a more powerful specification. With up to 24 hours talk time, the new device has a high-definiton 5.7″ (1280 x 720) IPS LCD display, with a 13MP ZEISS optics main camera and front 5MP wide angle snapper with a bright LED flash. Both cameras are able to shoot 1080p video.

Powered by the quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, the Lumia 640 XL includes the same 8 GB storage as its little brother, and is also expandable to 128 GB. It comes preinstalled with the Office suite so you can easily access, edit and share Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on the road. It’s shipping in white here in Canada with additional options available globally.

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Both devices ship with Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim and will be upgradable to Windows 10 Mobile when released later in the year.

You can pick up the Lumia 535 and Lumia 640 unlocked from the Microsoft Store. We’ll be getting hands on with the larger Lumia 640 XL very soon. Stay tuned for a full review.

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The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Promises Great Looks and Long Life http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/30/the-sony-xperia-m4-aqua-promises-great-looks-and-long-life/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/30/the-sony-xperia-m4-aqua-promises-great-looks-and-long-life/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:51:47 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73256 Sleek, mid-range handset combines a wide array of features with a two-day battery life and won't break the bank.

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The new mid-range Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Smartphone has just been unveiled by Sony, boasting a massive two-day battery life, a powerful processor  and waterproof protection. 

Available in a choice of three colours (white, black plus coral in some territories) the new Android 5.0 (Lollipop) smartphone comes packed with features without the bulk we come to associate with modern handsets. Indeed, the sleek Xperia M4 could be easily mistaken for its top-end sibling, the Sony Xperia Z3.

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The new device weighs in at just 136g and includes a bright, 5″ high-definition IPS screen with 720p resolution, a 13 MP rear auto-focusing camera plus a 5 MP front camera with 720p video recording. The handset’s svelte dimensions (145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm) mean that it’s slim enough to slide easily into a pocket or a bag.

Inside, the Sony Xperia M4 is powered by the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa Core processor with 2 GB of RAM in support – that’s a decent engine for a mid-range smartphone. In terms of storage, you’ll find 8 GB and 16 GB options available which isn’t the most generous out of the box – however, the handset supports microSD cards up to 128 GB, so if you need to expand you’ll find it easy to do so.

Sony highlights a battery life of up to two-days with regular use (779 hours of standby time, and over 13 hours talk time), which is a massive boast in today’s marketplace. An accompanying battery STAMINA Mode is designed to maximize standby and usage time by disabling pre-selected apps while the screen is off, extending battery life. Obviously, much depends on how you use the phone, but if you need a handset that’s going to last on a charge, then the Xperia M4 promises to be a power sipper.

Of course, the Sony Xperia’s waterproofing is one of the big features that owners love and the new Sony Xperia M4 Aqua shouldn’t disappoint. The handset is IP65 and IP68 rated, so is waterproof and dust-tight, freeing you up to use the phone where and when you need it – in the shower, on the beach, in the lake. It’s up to you! The re-engineered chassis design includes capless USB charging so you don’t have the hassle of opening and closing the charging port to keep the device waterproof – a first for Sony’s waterproof smartphone range. 

For music and video lovers, you’ll find the handset is DLNA certified and supports Bluetooth 4.1 (and ANT+) connections, Miracast streaming and reasonable file format support including MP3, MP4, WAV and lossless OGG. Sadly there’s no room for FLAC, ALAC, AIFF or other high-resolution audio formats.

You’ll find the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Smartphone available from Bell, Fido, Videotron, Virgin Mobile and WIND Mobile in Canada and other networks worldwide. We’ll be getting a review handset through from Sony very soon – stay tuned for our thoughts. 

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Review: TabletTV Freeview Tuner for iPad and Android http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/30/review-tablettv-freeview-tuner-ipad-android/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/30/review-tablettv-freeview-tuner-ipad-android/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:30:32 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73165 Don’t get rid of that big-screen TV just yet! TabletTV brings you over the air programming on your tablet, as long as you have reception… and a TV licence of course.

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tablet-tv

Today I’m taking a look at TabletTV, a portable Freeview tuner for your iPad or Android Tablet. Now if you’ve ever felt the need to watch TV while out and about, this little gadget sounds ideal. The proposition is simple: using its own Wi-Fi connection, the device will beam a Freeview TV signal directly to your tablet allowing you to watch and record live or previously recorded programs.

There are actually two versions of the TabletTV – our review model is the battery powered version which retails at £69.99. A mains powered version, which I assume is aimed at caravan owners and others that have a power source available when mobile, is also available for £64.99.

Box Front

What’s in the Box?

This battery-powered adaptor is small! Its footprint is about the same as a credit card and at just 1 cm thick, it will easily fit into a bag or pocket. It has that glossy plastic finish that shows up fingerprints and scratches easily so a small storage pouch would have been a handy inclusion. The TabletTV has a rechargeable 1050 mAh battery which is charged via a mini-USB cable that can connect to any existing 5V USB charger – the sort you’d use for either a phone or tablet would be fine.

Aerial Up

Conveniently, the battery is also replaceable, which is handy if you aren’t going to be near a mains plug to charge the device. It’s a BL-5C battery that is available for around £5 and has been used in many Nokia phones in the past (the one from my old Nokia 6230 worked perfectly). An extendable aerial brings the box contents line-up to a close.   So not a lot in the box, just the unit, battery and its charging cable…nice and simple.

Whats in the box

 

Setting Up the TabletTV

It’s only fair to begin by saying that you NEED to be in a Freeview reception area to use the TabletTV (you can check coverage at www.freeview.co.uk/availability). I’ve tried out the device in a couple of locations in my area and the TabletTV worked fine, but I know of some people living not too far away that are unable to receive Freeview programming, even with a rooftop or loft-mounted aerial. The local topography will have a big effect on whether the TabletTV works for you but once you are past this hurdle, you should be good to go.

TabletTV offers a dedicated app, available from either the App Store or Google Play depending on your tablet’s OS. The good news is that the app appears to be really well put together. Once you have app installed on your tablet, there are a couple of very simple steps to get yourself up and running. First (once you’ve charged the TabletTV’s battery), you turn it on and extend the small, built-in aerial. You’ll notice a number of indicator lights on the unit itself – the top one is the power indicator, the middle is a status indicator and finally you have a Wi-Fi indicator at the bottom of the collection.

Icons

Next, go to your tablet and search for the TabletTV’s wireless network and connect to it (there is no security built-in here), and then you can start up the app. You’ll be greeted with a welcome screen and will be asked if you hold a UK TV licence. A simple slide to the right will confirm this.   You are then asked to select which version of TabletTV you are using. You’ll be given an option to connect to a Wi-Fi network, so you can access the Internet on your tablet via a pass-through connection on your TabletTV (this option can be skipped if you’re out and about). Once this has been confirmed, the app will start searching for channels – just like your TV would on its first run.

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Review: QNAP TVS-871 8 Bay NAS Server http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/29/review-qnap-tvs-871-8-bay-nas-server/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/29/review-qnap-tvs-871-8-bay-nas-server/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:06:57 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73137 The QNAP TVS-871 is a premium network attached storage server for the true enthusiast, prosumer or small business IT Pro. This year's best NAS to date, by some way.

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qnap-tvs-871

Over the past two years, NAS specialist QNAP has been leading a charge, driving innovation in the network attached storage category with new form factors and ever more powerful devices. On paper, the $2199 QNAP TVS-871 is the most powerful NAS server we’ve tested here at We Got Served – an eight-bay beast, powered by an Intel Core i7-4790S 3.2 GHz quad-core processor with a massive 16 GB RAM in support.

At this price point, the device is targeted predominately at business users – indeed, this kind of specification would give many traditional small business servers a run for their money. But, packed with features for both corporate users and consumers alike, this is a NAS server that will also interest prosumers, audiophiles, media enthusiasts and creative professionals seeking a premium, powerful storage solution.

Specifications

Our review model is the range-topping TVS-871-i7-16G, with the aforementioned Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM. However, if that sounds a little extreme for your tastes then it’s actually just one of four specs available under the TVS-871 umbrella. Also on offer (from top to bottom) is the $1799 TVS-871-i5-8G, powered by a 3.0 GHz Intel Core i5-4590S with 8 GB RAM; the $1449 TVS-871-i3-4G with the Intel Core i3-4150 3.5 GHz dual-core processor and 4 GB RAM and finally the $1349 TVS-871-PT-4G with an engine room comprising the Intel Pentium G3250 3.2 GHz dual-core processor and 4 GB RAM. While you couldn’t call any these models inexpensive, there are at least a range of options available if you don’t the extreme performance of the Intel Core i7 variant.

Note that the two most powerful devices in the range are built with S-class Intel 4th generation (Haswell) processors. These are what Intel calls “performance-optimized” processors, blending high clock speeds with reasonably low power requirements. A Thermal Design Power (TDP) figure of 65W (on both the Intel Core i7 and i5 variants) isn’t the most frugal, but shouldn’t break the bank when it comes to power consumption.

From a connectivity perspective, you’d expect such a high-end NAS server to be well stocked and the TVS-871 won’t disappoint. You’ll find four Gigabit Ethernet ports fitted to the rear of the device, supporting network failover, multi-IP settings, port trunking/NIC teaming. The TVS-871 is expandable to eight Gigabit network ports or a combination of four 10GbE and four Gigabit ports by installing an optional dual-port 10 Gb or 1 Gb network card. Three USB 3.0 ports (one front, two rear) and twin rear USB 2.0 ports are available for hard drive and printer sharing or connection of an uninterrupible power supply. For media fans, there’s also an all-important HDMI out for direct connection to a big screen TV, monitor or projector.

In short, the TVS-871 offers high-end components and – for a NAS – supreme flexibility, allowing you to tailor its configuration pre and post sale for optimum performance, no matter how your needs and network evolves.

What’s in the Box?

While the TVS-871 is a premium NAS, it ships in the same high-quality, branded packaging that you’ll find across the QNAP range.

qnap-tvs-871-box-1

 

qnap-tvs-871-box-3 qnap-tvs-871-box-2

Inside, you’ll find:

  • QNAP TVS-871 NAS Server
  • Ethernet cable x 4
  • Power cord
  • Hard disk tray key
  • Flat head screw x 32 (for 3.5″ HDD)
  • Flat head screw x 24 (for 2.5″ HDD)
  • Quick installation guide

qnap-tvs-871-1

qnap-tvs-871-3 qnap-tvs-871-4 qnap-tvs-871-2

The outer chassis is QNAP’s usual high-quality, understated design. As you’d anticipate on a high-end business-class device, the TVS-871 includes a front-facing display, with simple monitoring controls via an adjacent rocker switch. Other buttons to the front control power and QNAP’s handy one-touch copy setting which lifts files and folders from any USB drive connected to the front USB 3.0 socket positioned on the left of the device. Naturally, the eight drive bays are lockable with a key and include indicator lights above each to easily denote population. Other than that, you’ll find additional status, USB and LAN indicators on the front face of the QNAP TVS-871.

qnap-tvs-871-4

Switch the device around and the rear is dominated by two huge fans which pull air across the eight drive bays and a third, smaller fan to extract heat from the power supply. Noise output varies depending on how hard you push the device, but QNAP rates it at 23.1 dB. In more real-world terms, this is in no way a silent NAS, but the TVS-871 isn’t particularly noisy unless it’s positioned in a hot room or you’re really taxing the device. It sounds like a standard desktop PC.

Given the amount of configuration flexibility on offer, you’d expect the rear of the device to be reasonably busy. Alongside the Kensington security slot and power input, you’ll find the twin PCIe expansion slots, device reset button, the four Gigabit LAN ports, twin USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports and the HDMI port at the bottom of the unit.

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Setting Up the QNAP TVS-871

Unlike a business-class server which requires a good degree of technical knowledge to get up and running, configuring the QNAP TVS-871 is a much simpler task. Of course, if you’ve bought the device diskless, you’ll need to fit one or more 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives into the drive bays. As ever with QNAP devices, the metal drive trays are well-built and robust, sliding easily into the bay slots with no risk of jamming or cut fingers from sharp edges.

qnap-tvs-871-6

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Review: Ultimate Ears UE Roll http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/29/review-ultimate-ears-ue-roll/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/29/review-ultimate-ears-ue-roll/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:05:36 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73147 Ultimate Ears are expanding their range again with a replacement for the UE Mini Boom. Are they going to continue their roll with the UE Roll?

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ue-roll

Ultimate Ears are expanding their range again with a replacement for the UE Mini Boom.  Are they going to continue their roll with the UE Roll?

It’s summer – the time to be outside. Well that’s what my mum always said and that’s what I tell my kids too. Being out in the warm weather is great – when the sun is shining, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the swathes of music that we have on our phones and tablets nowadays.

But sometimes, enjoying your tunes outdoors – especially away from home – isn’t as easy as we’d like. What you need is an ultra-portable, go anywhere speaker that looks good, sounds great and that loves being outdoors in the elements. That’s where Ultimate Ears’ latest speaker rolls in. Introducing the UE Roll.

Produced by Ultimate Ears (an audio specialist acquired by Logitech in August 2008), the £99/$99 UE Roll is the smallest and newest of the company’s range of portable, rechargeable Bluetooth speakers.  It arrives beautifully packaged and with details on the box showing you exactly what you are getting.

UE Roll Contents

 

UE Roll Packaging Front UE Roll Packaging Rear IMG_5366

Once opened, you are confronted with the UE Roll itself, and a really funky, coloured 50cm USB to Micro USB charging cable (I’d challenge anyone to lose it). On the back of the packaging are the four simple steps you need to get up and running. Turn it on, push the Bluetooth button to put the speaker into pairing mode, connect to it with your phone or tablet and install the accompanying app. That’s it; you’re ready to rock and roll.

UE Roll Quick start

The UE Roll is shaped like a flying saucer (it actually reminds me of throwing discus) which makes it easy to stow in a rucksack, and attach to your body or your bike, using the attached marine-grade bungee cord. This mounting system also means that you can listen to the UE Roll on the go while it’s strapped to your person.

The speaker is 135mm in diameter, 40mm deep and weighs in at just 330 g (just less than a can of fizzy drink). So it’s light and easy to transport whether it’s tucked away or out on display.  The UE Roll comes in a variety of colours, and while I personally prefer the black one (Henry Ford knew his stuff), there is a style to suit most people’s tastes.

UE Roll Colour Range

Audio output from the speaker is rated at 85 dBA in a frequency range of 108Hz – 20 kHz and this is coming from a 2” driver and two ¾” tweeters. What does that equate to in the real world? Well it’s loud – it may not fill the Royal Albert Hall but it packs the necessary punch to get the party started outdoors at a BBQ or family gathering.

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How to: Upgrade to Windows 10 From Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/25/how-to-upgrade-to-windows-10-from-windows-7-or-windows-8-1/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/06/25/how-to-upgrade-to-windows-10-from-windows-7-or-windows-8-1/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:33:38 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=73119 With Microsoft eager to persuade as many Windows users on to the latest version of the operating system, huge advances have been made in the Windows upgrade process. Forget about disks and drives - they're old school. Find out how to upgrade to Windows 10 today!

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upgrade-to-windows-10

With Microsoft handing out (mostly) free upgrades to the upcoming Windows 10, it’s financially imperative for the company to get as many PC users on to the new platform as possible. Why? Windows Store app sales, Bing search revenue – you’re not only a Windows 10 user, you’re a post-upgrade revenue opportunity! As a result, huge improvements have been made to the Windows operating system upgrade process. In years gone by, you’d have to rush out to the shops, purchase a box with multiple CDs or DVDs (or, heavens, floppy disks!) and spend hours feeding them to your PC as it chugged through the upgrade process.

With Windows 7 and Windows 8, while you could download an ISO file online with the new edition of Windows, you’d still need to create a bootable USB drive or burn a DVD and mess around with your BIOS settings before you could get your upgrade going.

Now, it’s all done in-place and you can test out the upgrade procedure right now with the Windows 10 Insider Preview.  Let’s check it out as we upgrade to Windows 10!

On your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC, head to the Windows Insider Program website. If you haven’t yet registered to become an Insider, sign-up or log-in with your program credentials. On the Windows Insider home page, look for the Get Started – PC button, and hit it up.

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You’ll now be able to read all about the testing requirements for the Windows 10 Insider Preview. At the bottom of the page, click the button marked Get the Preview and in the page that follows, click Start upgrade now.

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A file will be downloaded to your PC, which configures Windows Update for downloading and installing the Windows 10 Insider Preview. Let your PC churn away for a little while and you’ll see the following:

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While the upgrade process is a little different, some things never change. You’ll have a license agreement to review and approve before the upgrade begins.

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Your PC hardware will be checked to ensure compatibility, before the upgrade commences.

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When everything has been checked and prepared, you’ll receive a notification telling you that Windows 10 is ready to install. Handily you can choose to schedule the upgrade to a more convenient time, or kick off the update immediately.

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