TRIUMPH BOBBER ROADTEST – A BOBBER EACH WAY

The concept of buying an old sports bike and turning it into a streetfighter is probably within the ken of any motorcycle enthusiast. Just rip all the superfluous bits off and replace the others with blingy aftermarket items. It’s not rocket science, and there’s a sense of achievement without breaking the bank. But try turning a standard bike into a bobber and chances are you’re quickly in over your head.

Moreover, the expense will likely be more than you’d budgeted. Plus you’ve no guarantee of success, and it may take forever. That’s why existing motorcycle companies are doing all the hard R&D yards for you, producing all sorts of retro-inspired stuff, and then adding catalogues of aftermarket items that allow you to personalise to your heart’s content and wallet’s extent. Take, for example, Yamaha with its XSRs. A mate who rides R1s just turned around and bought a Yamaha XSR700, a LAMS bike for heaven’s sake. Why? Because he liked the look of it. Bike purchases are often heart over head. And he knew that he could derestrict it back to around 65hp, making it quick enough.

Moreover, with a few suspension tweaks he ends up with retro stunter that looks and handles great, won’t land him in the slammer, and didn’t cost the earth. Other bike makers have hit upon the same formula, and Triumph is the latest to roll out something a bit left field in its Bobber. Just like Ducati laid claim to the Streetfighter title, now Triumph has decided to take ownership of the Bobber tag. Bobber is what? Originally, almost a century ago, it related to a ‘bob-job’, which was another term for a ‘cut-down’, meaning stripping excess bodywork, right down to fenders – the rear was shortened or ‘bob-tailed’ – all to make the machine lighter and quicker. A cut-down often involved modifying the chassis, lowering the rear subframe and seat so there was one long sweeping line from the steering head to the swingarm.

THIS BIKE IS AWFUL PURTY. EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT IT. GOT NO FRIENDS? YOU’LL BE MORE POPULAR WITH A BOBBER.

In the 30s, the AMA introduced a new racing class involving bikes like these, so road-based derivatives became popular, and the bobber class was born. Back then and right into the fifties and sixties, bobbers were handbuilt but that changed over time. Triumph’s 2017 Bobber looks like it might have been produced back in the sixties, as it’s based on the latest Bonneville T120, itself a retro machine.

But apparently every aspect is different. It even has its own frame, though the front half of the bike still resembles the T120. However, there’s only a single disc and the forks wear gaiters, and there’s a different main instrument and smaller headlight and tank. Otherwise, they’re identical. Things get way dissimilar at the rear though, where there’s a gorgeous bespoke single seat that could have easily been borrowed from a 30s or 40s bike, only it sits on an adjustable aluminium pan, secured by torx fixings and they didn’t happen along until 1967.

Moreover, the seat sits on a ‘swing cage swingarm’ mounted to a monoshock absorber mainly hidden from view. The engineer responsible reckons it “gives the hardtail look but with suspension that is comfortable and gives good wheel control, offering 76mm of travel”. The idea behind the adjustable seat is that it slides backwards or forwards, ideal for cruising with the seat back but you tend to ride in more spirited fashion with it forward, so the choice is yours.

Travel is limited to 50mm. The 1200cc engine is similar to that of the T120, high torque, but with its own airbox and intake tract it produces slightly more grunt, 106Nm at 4000rpm, and will lug lower, right down to 1500rpm. Peak power of 57kW also arrives early at 6100rpm, but it’s well onto it by 4500rpm. There’s really not much point heading beyond about 5500rpm unless you’re chasing numbers, and it’s all over by 6500rpm anyway.

This bike is awful purty. Everyone wants to know about it. Got no friends? You’ll be more popular with a Bobber, not that there’s seating for pals; it’s a solo mount only. That seat is a bit thin and while it’s okay at town speeds and ride quality is passable on smooth surfaces the short sharp shocks you do notice at highway speeds. Lack of padding aside, the riding position is wizard for a cruiser, the pegs and flat bars positioned with just a slight forward bias. Kick ‘er in the guts, figuratively speaking, and the almost unbaffled pipes speak with a lilt few will dislike. At times there’s almost the sound of a flat-four, but mostly it’s a characteristic parallel twin bark, not too loud or underdone. The slash-cut pipes are sweet looking too. Our machine had optional leather panniers, not that sizeable but easily removed. I prefer the pared-to-the-bone look.

As mentioned, this is the T120 motor, but beefed up for basement torque. Of which there’s plenty, though there needs to be as it runs moonshot gearing. Come 100km/h it’s waffling along at 2600rpm, so fuel use on the open road in the mid-fours is possible. We saw 4.7 after a stint that included performance testing.

Because it runs such tall gearing it isn’t quite as quick as Thruxton R, but nor is it backward in coming forwards, hitting 100 in 4.4sec, only 0.4sec behind the cafe racer. And it’s the same for an overtake, down a gear or two and you’re on the wrong side of the road for only 76m. We’re not sure why but upshifts on the Bobber seem smoother than those of Thruxton, and they share the same gearbox. Perhaps it’s because you’re hooking the next gear at around 2000rpm in town, 3000 or so out in the boonies.

We really liked how this felt in our launch ride around town; it seemed to change direction in playful manner, thanks to the skinny front 19-inch wheel and the wide-set drag bars. Out in cow country its handling is a delight, but then it’s a Triumph and that’s a given. These guys are chassis maestros. With a raked out front end, it shouts stability holding a line beautifully, even with the pegs grinding away. And with a rear tyre that’s not overly wide, and decent bar leverage, it drops into turns happily as well. The limiting factor is ground clearance in tighter going. Helping make this a delight is a kerb weight of just 250kg. And that makes moving it around a bit of a doddle, especially as you’re not on tippy toes and the C of G is low.

Is this the ultimate cruiser then? Probably not, the ride precluding that. And some might not come to grips with its brakes either. A single disc up front is a much better look than a pair, and it keeps unsprung weight to a minimum but in a panic stop mauling the brake lever doesn’t have that much effect. If you need to stop in a hurry you have to also stand on the brake pedal.

Do that and it pulls up from 100km/h in 3m less distance than the Thruxton. The other issue is its 9L fuel tank, but we managed 170km easily from brimmed and by that time your bum will be wanting a break anyhow. The Bobber is my fave from the new Bonneville family. It looks fantastic, does the important things well, and can be customised further if you want. Good luck securing one though; the first shipment of 25 sold out just like that.

Blogging for bliss – part II

US TALKBlogging for bliss - part II

Sadaf Zarrar

Fashion | Lifestyle

Blogging was self-expression for us. We had a point of view and wanted to share it. Every comment and like that we receive is rewarding. We put our heart and soul in the content. It’s very personal to us which is why appreciation from people means everything.

I was on a career break in 2011 with a lot of time at hand and thought I should channelize that time to do something productive. The result was SiddySays.

Blogging is a labour of love. Write about something you love and feel passionate about if you truly want to stay for a long time. Take time to understand why you want to blog, what makes you different, how your point of view will impact others, etc. Be mindful of what you do as a blogger.

Only good content could guarantee success. If you write things that people want to read, you’re in business. Find your beat, and then create a uniform social media footprint.

www.siddysays.com

Rabeeyah TungekarBlogging for bliss - part II

Beauty | Food | Lifestyle  

Blogging is very close to my heart and there is no ulterior motive behind it. I write in my own comfort zone, and that’s when I enjoy writing the most. For me, it’s like painting; you need space and temperament.

I had always wanted to share my knowledge of beauty and makeup so I decided to start a blog. I was passionate about helping others select right products. It was then and it’s now, I still love helping people.

I don’t believe in catchy names. If you can’t come up with something, just start with your own name, it is the best thing. If you want something catchy, always go for what describes you and what you will be writing about.

When it comes to the content, keep it simple and original. You want your readers to read the entire post and come back next time. Keep a little drama in the writing, but don’t go overboard with it. Take good quality pictures to supplement your writings.

To get recognized, do not run after brands and PR. Shine with your work and let that get the attention.

www.rabeeeyah.com

Omayer EmghadBlogging for bliss - part II

Entertainment | Lifestyle | Travel

Blogging is a way of reaching out to more and more people with your opinions on what’s happening around. It allows us to tell them what we truly feel about a certain issue and why we feel that.

The reward comes when your voice reaches to a mass audience and makes a difference. In terms of money, it is quite rewarding given the increasing demand but that only comes after a lot of hard work and a good amount of time. Since we’ve started it recently, it will take some time before we reach to that position. However, we’re delighted and consider it an achievement when readers appreciate our work and support us. This encourages us to stay true to them and keep entertaining them.

To those who are starting out, make your presence strong on as many social media sites as possible and don’t forget to insert relevant hashtags as they allow you to reach to a wider audience.

@Hawwsips

Hawwsips.wordpress.com

SherinaBlogging for bliss - part II

Lifestyle | Beauty | Entertainement 

On my blog, there is something for everyone. I never wanted my blog to be limited to any one specific category; instead, I wanted to have a variety and discuss topics which I feel get neglected, such as comic books and gardening, for example. An experimental aspect of my blog is that even though it is an informatory forum with factual reviews and discussions, my posts are kept as reader-friendly as possible, so that the readers can personally relate to them and feel as if they are hearing from a friend rather than just reading an article.

Blogging in itself is therapeutic for me. The entire process of thinking what to blog about, writing and perfecting a post, is comforting and a fun activity, really.

It thrills me to hear back from my readers – their suggestions, their feedback, their queries, etc. There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction every time a reader expresses their gratitude towards my work and/or how it has helped them. Acknowledgement also comes in the form of brands or individuals from various sectors contacting and extending out opportunities for me and my blog, which come with their own respective rewards.

Through blogging, I got a chance to meet amazing people and make good friends. This, essentially, is what blogging is all about – people coming together on a common platform and sharing ideas and experiences.

The inspiration for my blog traces back to 2008 when beauty-related content opened up on YouTube. I used to watch videos of some of the pioneer beauty gurus of the time, all day long, and they used to make video content as well as blog on their respective websites. That is when I developed my love for blogging and aspired to be a blogger someday. Unfortunately, at that time, I was too young to start so I had to wait.

To all the aspiring bloggers: just do it! Start today and don’t over-think and over plan for your blog. Had I not procrastinated and taken so long to plan the details of my blog, I would have started a lot earlier too,. Have a general framework in mind regarding what your blog will be about, whether it will be specific to one category or several, who will the target audience be, which primary social media platform your blog will operate on, etc.

Your blog’s name is your identity; picking a good name requires careful thinking. Play with the language: use puns and metaphors, try quirky names to seek attention. Still, don’t dwell too much on it and focus more on the execution of your blog.

Bloggers start from scratch and eventually make their way up, so don’t get discouraged and focus on delivering unique content which will interest and attract long-term readers. With a secure following, engagement will grow and it will definitely be noticed. I do not discourage posting content that is for PR/advertising purposes, in fact I think it may even be essential for beginners to do that in order to establish their online presence and also derive motivation. But you have to balance the promotional stuff with your own unique content. There is no fixed formula for blogging; it is all trial and error. You just have to find your personal style which works best for you.

New Nissan Qashqai 2017 – Veteran crossover returns better than ever

Nissan Qashqai 2017 UK price and specs have been revealed
The latest iteration of the Nissan Qashqai will go on sale in the UK from July 2017 and features an upgraded list of specs.

Qashqai is the best-selling urban crossover in Europe and recentyl celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

Philippe Saillard, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Nissan Europe, commented: “The second-generation Nissan Qashqai has been an outstanding ambassador for our innovative crossover range and the Nissan brand since its launch in 2014.

“It has been a sales phenomenon, keeping us at the number one position in the segment.

“With these premium enhancements to its design, quality, technology and driving dynamics, we are confident this will continue.”

One thing you could’ve criticised the current Qashqai for was its relatively safe design.

The latest iteration of the car looks to have been given the same treatment the brand-new Micra was given earlier this year.

This Qashqai features an integrated new front bumper, glossy contrasting cladding, new air vents flanking the front bumper.

Nissan Qashqai UK 2017PH

It features bold new styling to help it compete with the burgeoning market

At the heart of redesigned front face of the Qashqai is the latest incarnation of Nissan’s iconic ‘V-motion’ grille, which frames the Nissan badge.

There are two versions of the badge, a standard contoured version or the N-Connecta.

N-Connecta has a completely flat finish because the upgraded radar, which is used by the Intelligent Emergency Braking system, is located behind it.

The front camera is now housed in the chrome surrounds and are used for the 360 parking camera system and Around View Monitor.

New front-headlights and LED daytime running lights are now a feature of the new car with certain trim levels.

Nissan Qashqai 2017PH

Qashqai is the best-selling urban crossover in Europe

The clam-shell bonnet is an evolution of the last and helps the car look bolder and more dominant.

Two new exterior colours are now available – Vivid Blue and Chestnut Bronze.

N-Connecta grade and above seats have been completely redesigned claiming to offer superior comfort compared to previous generations.

Boot space is a decent 430 litres which increases to 860 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.

Every new Nissan Qashqai comes with six airbags as standard, plus driver assistance systems including anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and stability control.

Nissan reveal BRAND NEW enhanced Qashqai

Other standard equipment includes manual air-conditioning, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, DAB digital radio (in most markets), Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter, and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.
Depending on the grade chosen, available features include dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, folding door mirrors and privacy glass. Many of the higher-grade features are available as optional extras on lower grades.

Additional options include the full-length panoramic glass roof with one-touch shade, exterior styling plates and side styling bars. Genuine Nissan accessories include a dog guard, roof bars and a fixed towbar with electric hook-up.

The infotainments systems have been upgraded based on customer feedback. DAB radio will now comes as standard and the NissanConnect touch-screen satellite navigation unit features a more app-like appearance, to make it more user-friendly.

Nissan Qashqai 2017PH

ProPilot semi-autonomous functionality is also available on the new crossover

One of the most talked about features is the Nissan Intelligent Mobility ProPILOT function which offers autonomous driving The system controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways during heavy traffic congestion and high-speed cruising and is based on three technologies – Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Traffic Jam Pilot (TJP).

The Qashqai continues to be offered with Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Intelligent Park Assist, Intelligent Around View Monitor and Lane Departure Warning and Stand Still Assist (SSA), which supplements Hill Start Assist (HSA).

On top of this the Intelligent Emergency Braking has been upgraded with Pedestrian Recognition using a combination of forward-facing radar and a camera.

The Qashqai’s range of engines has been carried over form the previous generation, offering the choice of petrol or diesel, six-speed manual or CVT XTronic automatic transmissions, and two or four-wheel drive.

This line-up includes the 1.5-litre 110PS diesel which, with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel economy of only 3.8 litres/100km, is the segment leader.

Qashqai is Nissan’s most successful model in Europe with over 2.3million sold since the original version went on sale in 2007. Since then it has racked up our 80 awards including 19 Car of the Year titles.

The car will be built at Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Sunderland, UK.

 

CES 2017 – Top Trends: From Drones to AI

CES is one of the world’s largest trade shows and is the forum for many tech companies and startups to unveil their plans for the year. Its influence has waned over the years, given that many leading companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft hold their own events. But the CES show still draws a lot of attention.

The event starts Tuesday with two days of company announcements on new products and services. The show floor itself opens on Thursday.

Top trends expected to emerge at CES this year include an explosion of voice-controlled interfaces, subtle integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life and increasing digitisation in areas like health and wellness.

The 50th annual CES this week in Las Vegas is expected to draw 165,000 attendees. In the past, it has been a showcase for stunning new gadgets, but in recent years it has evolved into an event where more incremental steps forward are revealed.

Gadgets expected include TVs with new capabilities and better picture quality, as well as all sorts of household products with Internet connections, including refrigerators, doors and security cameras.

CES 2017 - Top Trends: From Drones to AI

Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said in a panel Tuesday that voice control will be far more prevalent this year than it has been in the past. Voice-activated systems are expected to double to 10 million in 2017, he said.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is finding its way into more products, such as a refrigerator that can self-adjust its temperature for optimal humidity.

“The broader theme is how we’re increasingly allowing these small things to be automated,” he said. “It started with changing the temperature in the room, and now it’s changing the temperature in your refrigerator.”

Elsewhere, look for a surplus of new drones, personal robots and connected and self-driving cars on display, as well new wearable devices that give insight into specific health and wellness categories like preventing concussions or measuring vitamin D deficiency.

Neither the holiday season nor New Year’s fitness resolutions seem to be helping wearable gadgets break into the mainstream.

 

Research firm eMarketer has lowered its outlook for smartwatches and fitness trackers such as the Apple Watch and Fitbits. It’s not that the craze has died down – it’s more like there never was one to begin with.

The research comes as gadget makers large and small prepare to unveil new wearable devices at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week.

In October 2015, eMarketer expected wearable gadget to grow more than 60 percent among US adults in 2016. That’s now down to less than 25 percent. While fitness trackers are relatively cheap and straightforward to use, eMarketer says smartwatches haven’t caught on because they are expensive and lack a well-defined purpose.

(Also see: Xiaomi-Backed Yi Technology to Showcase New Action Camera, Drone at CES 2017)

But multinational corporations – no, really – could save the day. Gartner predicts that by 2019, nearly all big employers will encourage the use of fitness trackers to “improve corporate performance.” Big Brother, apparently, won’t just be watching, but tracking your steps.

Technology may soon change the way you shop in brick-and-mortar stores, not just online.

Last month, Amazon unveiled a test store that lets shoppers fill their bags and walk out without seeing a cashier or scanning any items.

Many other stores have been experimenting with digital enhancements aimed at luring shoppers back from online sites. Many of these technologies will be unveiled or demonstrated at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which begins Tuesday with media previews.

Robots, for instance, could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room – or how you might look in a pair of jeans.

But plenty of retailers have learned through trial – and error – that technology can’t get too far ahead of shoppers. It has to be easy to use and beneficial to shoppers in some way.

New Year 2017 Wishlist: What Gadgets 360 Staff Are Looking to Buy for Themselves – and Why

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Predictably, there’s a couple of new iPhones in there
  • VR gets a couple of shouts too
  • Gaming seems to be the most in-demand category for 2017

Now that 2017 is upon us, the talk inside the Gadgets 360 lab has shifted to things such as CES, MWC, and of course, iPhone 8 rumours. And, since we spend too much time shopping for tech, we’re also predictably talking about all the gadgets we want to buy.

For many of us, this is also a bit of a break from reality – we’ve had people in our team dream of buying an Xbox One for a couple of years before taking the plunge – but who doesn’t enjoy planning that next big tech buy?

If you’re curious about the gadgets that will be filling the Gadgets 360 office in the coming months – hopefully – then read on to see everyone’s top pick for buying in 2017.

Abhinav Lal: HTC Vive – While this will also entail a PC upgrade for me, I want to enter the world of PC gaming VR, and the HTC Vive looks like the best bet so far.

Akhil Arora: 4K HDR TV – Good 4K HDR TVs are way too expensive right now. I was lucky enough to witness the capabilities of one such TV when it landed in our office, and when Netflix showed off the high-end version. Despite the lack of content heading into 2017, I’m sold on the idea of buying one – if money was no barrier – more so because of how much TV I tend to watch.

Sony Z9D

Devika Chitnis: JBL GO – I am in dire need of a portable speaker. JBL Go has a clean design which is awesome and comes in different pop colours that make the speaker look alive. I am eyeing the orange one. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an affordable portable speaker.

Gagan Gupta: Bose QC35 – Now that I’ve said goodbye to the 3.5mm jack thanks to my iPhone 7 Plus, I need a good pair of over the ear headphones that can keep out noise, expecially on flights and cabs. While the Bose QC35 may not be every audiophile’s headphones of choice, it’s still the best when it comes to active noise cancellation, and it sounds just right with my classic rock collection.

Gopal Sathe: Zotac VR GO Backpack – I’ve been interested in VR since the Oculus Kickstarter first got off the ground. That we are finally “there” is hard to believe. That you can now put on a backpack and enjoy a (largely) mobile yet high quality VR experience is nothing short of magical. If I have the money, I’d absolutely be getting the Zotac VR GO Backpack.

zotac vr go box contents

Jamshed Avari: Geforce GTX 1070 – It really is time to get serious about tackling my Steam backlog. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but looking at the kind of performance that both Nvidia and AMD have both brought to the table this year, it’s finally time. I’m leaning towards the GTX 1070 because I want enough performance headroom to drive top-tier games at 1920×1200 pixels for at least a few years. The specific graphics card will depend on prices and availability at the time of purchase.

Ketan Pratap: Next iPhone – I have been an Android user all of my life but I guess it’s about time to go for my first iPhone. Considering this year is the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone launch, I expect the next one to come with decent changes both in terms of innards as well as design.

Kunal Dua: What Gagan said.

Naina Gupta: Next iPhone – I have heard too much about iPhone around me but never used it. I want to take experience of 3D Touch, Live Photos, and other unique features of iPhone.

Pranay Parab: Board/ Card games – I’ve been meaning to reduce screen time and spend more time with my friends and family. Card games and board games sound like a way to accomplish this, without spending obscene amounts of money at cinemas and restaurants.

We’ve all played and hated Monopoly (aka Business), but there are great alternatives such as Pandemic, Resistance, Catan, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Rebellion. I’m also planning to play funny card games such as Exploding Kittens with my friends.

Ravi Sharma: Nintendo Switch – I am not much of a gamer, but the Nintendo Switch (and its hybrid form factor) may finally be the device that pulls me into the fold. The rumoured price tag of $250-300 makes the Switch cheap enough for me to afford it, without sacrificing my budget for a mid-range laptop that I am also planning to buy in 2017.

And games such new Sonic, Mario, Dragon Quest X, Legend of Zelda titles that are expected to be released for Nintendo Switch are enough to satiate my appetite for nostalgia, while the exclusives will hopefully be engaging enough to retain me on the platform.

switch

Rishi Alwani: Project Scorpio – The PS4 Pro has a one year headstart over Microsoft’s next iteration on the Xbox One, that will remain a highly competent piece of kit in 2017. However I’m extremely curious to see how Microsoft leverages its fantastic first-party franchises, such as Forza and Halo to make full use of Project Scorpio, more so with the likes of Scalebound and Crackdown 3 on the way.

Rohan Naravane: Google Pixel 2 – It was great to see Google finally taking hardware into its own hands, and launch the Pixel phones. Since there’s been only one Pixel phone till now, there’s no guarantee if, or when, we’ll see another one. If Google does release a ‘Pixel 2’, which I’m hoping will happen around the end of 2017, then I would certainly want to buy one.

Roydon Cerejo: Manfrotto Advanced Camera and Laptop backpack – I’ve been looking to replace my Lowepro Photo Hatchback (which is still serving me brillliantly) with something that can accommodate a laptop too. This particular Manfrotto backpack seem like the prefect combination of size, versitality and price, for me anyways.

manfrotto bag backpack

Sandeep Kumar Sinha: Sony Smart TV – I need to synchronise my playlists and other streamable content on the devices I own, and, in 2017, my television should have this feature. A Sony Smart TV is a likeable product that I am looking to buy in 2017 as most of the apps I use could be mirrored and projected easily.

Sanket Vijayasarathy: PlayStation 4 – I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the PlayStation 4 for a while now. I’ve played a bunch of PS4 titles at friends’ places, but seeing as how the console is now available for around Rs. 26,000 (for the 500GB model, whenever there’s a sale on), I think the time has come for me to move on to a current-gen console.

ps4 black white

Shekhar Thakran: Tekken 7 – I still have fond memories of playing Tekken 3 as well as Tekken 5 on my Playstation 2 from several years ago. As the game franchise is finally coming to PC with Tekken 7 next year, it is a no-brainer for me. With much-improved graphics and the same old characters, nothing that can go wrong.

Shubham Verma: Microsoft Surface Studio with the Microsoft Dial – The beautiful, large-screen monitor is worth swooning over, and the Microsoft Dial takes things to another level. I keep making different art designs on my laptop, and the Microsoft Dial and Surface pen would make this so much easier. While the price will probably keep me from ever actually buying this gadget, if I had the money, the considering the features and the advanced actions enabled by them, this would be the must-buy package of 2017.

Windows 10 UPDATE – Microsoft planning BIG new patch full of great features

Windows 10 users will get a new Creators Update, available to download in September
Testing has begun for the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, ahead of a planned September 2017 release date for the big patch.

Fast Ring Insider testers received the update to download in the past few days and have been trying out the new features of Microsoft’s flagship OS.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings with it changes to the Action Centre notification area, which now has a separate section for apps.

The Windows Phone keyboard will also be coming to PCs, with enhanced text prediction to the touch keyboard in Windows 10.

Windows 10 users will get a new Creators Update

There will also be a new touch keyboard layout, similar to the phone keyboard, for one handed use and Windows 10 users will be able to use dictation to input English or Chinese text on the desktop with the microphone button.

Voice commands can also be used for basic editing and punctuation as part of the new experience.

Users of the Edge browser are getting a brand new Full Screen Option (by hitting F11) and will be able to pin websites to the Taskbar.

While Microsoft have also added in new Cortana features, such as giving you reminders of upcoming events if you’ve taken a picture of the event’s poster and the voice assistant gets a new Lasso tool to circle relevant information on screen using a pen that supports Press and Hold.

Microsoft will also be adding in a brand new Emoji Panel to Windows 10.

By pressing the Windows and the full stop buttons, it will bring up the Emoji panel and you can quickly scroll through and pic the emoji you want.

The latest Windows 10 update, due out in a few months time, follows on from the most recent Creators Update in April.

It brought with major improvements to 3D modelling, virtual reality support and a new Game Mode for Windows 10 PCs that prioritised resources for games.

Windows 10 Creators Update is FINALLY here

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet and are wishing you had signed up during the official free upgrade period, you may still be in luck.

Express.co.uk recently revealed that despite the Windows 10 free upgrade offer ending last year, you could STILL download it for free.

The official end for the free upgrade was July 29 2016.

However, if you are currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, you may still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for nothing by following a few simple steps.

Windows 10 Fall Creators UpdateMICROSOFT

The Action Center will get a new look with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Windows 10 Fall Creators UpdateMICROSOFT

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will let you pin websites to the taskbar from Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 Fall Creators UpdateMICROSOFT

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will also feature a new Emoji panel

Users need to go to the Download Windows 10 webpage and click the ‘Download tool now’ button.

After that has downloaded, people need to run the Media Creation Tool.

You can then choose ‘Upgrade this PC now’ if you have downloaded the Media Creation Tool onto the PC you want to upgrade and if you’re only upgrading one machine.

Consumer Reports smartphone rankings puts the Galaxy S8+ at the top of the table – and the iPhone 7 plus can only manage FIFTH

In the battle of the smartphones, Samsung reigns supreme.

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ is the best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8.

The report cited the devices’ ‘stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display’ as what brought them to the top and beating its rival Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which placed fifth.

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Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

TOP 5 SMARTPHONES

1. Samsung Galaxy S8+

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

3. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

4.  LG G6

5. iPhone 7 Plus

The findings from Consumer Reports shows the Samsung Galaxy S8+ ranked as the top smartphone, closely followed by the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G6.

Samsung had released its long-awaited Galaxy S8 family a few months following its unforgettable Note 7 fiasco – hoping the smartphones would repair its tarnished name.

And it seems that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were in fact the South Korean firm’s saving grace, as the release from Consumer Reports deemed them ‘top dog’ in the industry.

‘If you want a stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display in a water-resistant package, one of these could be the right phone for you,’ Jerry Beilinson withConsumer Reports shared.

‘You just have to be willing to spend the rent money on it: The S8+ starts at about $840, and the S8 at around $720.’

Although it may be hard for some users to believe Samsung was able to take the top spot, Beilinson has attributed the victory to the smartphone’s overhauled design.

The Galaxy S8 duo are without bezels on the side – the each have thin ones located at the top and bottom.

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

And although Samsung has been able to create a minimalist look, it is believed to still support a modern and elegant feel.

Another important addition was increasing the size of the screen, but keeping sticking with the same-size device as previous models.

The S8 and S8+ were also designed to be taller and narrower when held in portrait than previous variants – allowing for an easier hold when snapping a selfie.

While typical smartphones have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the new Samsung handsets have an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.