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REVIEW: Google Nexus 7 (Version 2)

Now thinner, lighter and faster than 2012’s model, Google’s Nexus 7 brings an exemplary mix of power and portability in a 7-inch tablet format. It’s not an all-encompassing multimedia powerhouse, but the Nexus 7 really can’t be beaten on value if you’re after a compact and robust Android-powered tablet. 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GOOGLE NEXUS 7 Google currently offers two different Android-powered tablets, both of which can be purchased from your favourite retailer or directly from the Google Play Store. The 7-inch Nexus 7 (£199/16GB, £239/32GB) and the 10-inch Nexus 10 (£319/16GB, £389/32GB) look similar, but are made by different manufacturers – ASUS and Samsung, respectively. All come with Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi, but 4G LTE i......

REVIEW: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Early 2014)

Apple products are often criticised for being over-priced, but while this modest update of its popular MacBook Air is virtually identical to last year’s model it does at least come with a welcome £100 price cut. And while the MacBook Air is one of the few Apple products that hasn’t received a major redesign in recent years, it remains one of the slimmest and lightest ultra-portable laptops currently available. Price & Performance We tested the updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Air, which now costs £707.50 (ex. VAT) with a dual-core Intel Haswell i5 processor running at 1.4GHz, along with 4GB of memory and 128GB solid-state drive. You can double the storage to 256GB for another £150 (ex. VAT), or choose a more powerful i7 processor for £130 (ex. VAT). Alternatively, you can save £1......

REVIEW: Dell XPS 15

These days there’s a bewildering amount of computing choice – almost too much in fact. There is an army of desktops, all-in-ones, tablets, Ultrabooks, laptops, phablets… Most of us opt for a type of device that suits our lifestyle and budget, but businesses generally have to be more pragmatic to accommodate software choices and manageability. Dell’s latest machine is a top-of-the line ‘traditional’ laptop with a significant added feature – a Full HD touchscreen display. If you want cutting edge without compromising on power and features, you’re going to love the XPS 15. Impressive From The Outset Let’s not beat around the bush. The Dell XPS 15 is a fantastic machine that’ll bust most people’s budget. But it’s value is ......

REVIEW: Cloudview

In spite of its advantages, IP technology remains the poor relation when it comes CCTV which is widely seen as cheaper, easier to install and simpler to operate. Cloudview addresses this by enabling analogue systems to be brought into the digital IP world without the need to either rip out and replace existing hardware or install a whole new IP infrastructure to handle digital recording and monitoring. Moreover, it offers customers something analogue systems struggle to deliver – secure remote access to both manage their setups and view surveillance footage. The Hardware Cloudview is made up of two components, starting with a cute little box called a Visual Network Adapter (VNA) used to connect analogue video cameras to an IP network. Priced at around £100 (ex. VAT), one VNA is neede......

REVIEW: FileMaker 13

With over 50 new features on top of the usual fixes and enhancements, FileMaker 13 looks set to make the popular FileMaker database application of even more interest to small and medium-sized businesses. New design tools and beefed up security head the list of added options, but what really catches the eye are advances in mobile support plus so-called ‘breakthrough’ technology to run FileMaker applications in a browser without the need for Web development skills. A Bit Of Background As with earlier implementations, FileMaker 13 is available in three editions starting with FileMaker Pro (£239 ex. VAT), which provides everything needed to create, manage and run databases on an individual Apple Mac or Windows PC. Next up is FileMaker Pro Advanced (£379 ex. VAT), aimed more at prof......

REVIEW: Apple Mac Pro (2014)

Apple is well-known for the secrecy that surrounds its product launches, so it was something of a surprise when it gave the world a sneak preview of its striking new Mac Pro model last summer – a full six months ahead of its (slightly delayed) launch this January. There was a good reason for this uncharacteristic display of openness. The existing Mac Pro – with its relatively conventional tower PC design – had not received a significant update for some years, and when Apple ended sales of the Mac Pro in Europe last March it seemed as though the future of Apple’s professional product line was in doubt. The decision to preview the new Mac Pro months in advance was therefore a calculated move, intended to reassure Apple’s professional users that it was still very much focussed on the professi......

REVIEW: Dell PowerEdge VRTX

Blade servers are expensive and complicated, right? Plus you have to add storage and networking on top and management can be an issue, too, can’t it? Well maybe, but not if you opt for Dell’s new PowerEdge VRTX (pronounced “vertex”), an innovative all-in-one solution that delivers blades, storage, networking and management in a compact and ready to use format that can be used to host a wide range of workloads. A Different Take On Blades Available as either a free-standing tower on wheels or a 5U rack unit, the PowerEdge VRTX is, in effect, a self-contained datacentre with slots to take four Dell M520 or M620 blades. A variety of configurations are available, the review system shipping with two M620 blades each equipped with twin Xeon E5-2650 processors (8 cores and 16 threads per processor......

REVIEW: TeamViewer 9

In an increasingly crowded marketplace for desktop remote control applications success can be hard to find. But not, it seems, for TeamViewer, which leads the field by virtue of continuous product development and innovation. New releases come along with almost monotonous regularity, the latest TeamViewer 9 implementation benefiting from both usability enhancements and the addition of a number of useful new features designed to keep TeamViewer well ahead of its rivals. Headline Enhancements A number of changes have been made to the user interface in TeamViewer 9 including enhanced touchscreen support to, for example, automatically display optimised buttons on touch compatible devices. Support for Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks is also added in this release plus you can now open remote sessi......

REVIEW: Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks

There was a time when a new version of Apple’s OS X operating system was a major event for Mac users around the world. However, the recent arrival of Mavericks – or OS X 10.9 as it is officially known – went almost unnoticed amid the furore surrounding the release of the latest iPhone and iPad models. Mavericks is also an unusual upgrade in that it doesn’t boast the user-interface enhancements and eye-catching graphics that Apple is known for. But while it may not be the most glamorous OS X update of recent years, Mavericks is still a worthwhile update for business users – especially those who use Apple’s MacBook range of laptops. Free Upgrade The most unusual aspect of Mavericks is simply that it’s free. Apple hardware is notoriously expensive, but the compan......

REVIEW: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display (Late 2013)

The 15-inch version of Apple’s MacBook Pro With Retina Display is an undeniably impressive laptop. However, its large, high-resolution screen, powerful i7 processor and, of course, its £1,699 (inc. VAT) price tag, make it something of a niche product. Its 13-inch counterpart isn’t exactly cheap (£1,099 inc. VAT), but this year’s model does come with a welcome price cut that makes it considerably more affordable, along with a new Haswell processor that provides improved battery life. Display Quality The basic design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display hasn’t changed for this year’s update, with the focus remaining firmly on its impressive IPS display and 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. The display really is in a league of its own, producing a bright, colourful and sharply detailed imag......

REVIEW: DrayTek Vigor 2860n

Subscribe to one of the many broadband Internet services now available and, chances are, you’ll receive a free router as part of the deal. In which case a router you have to pay for has to offer quite a lot more to make it worth buying. But then that’s exactly what DrayTek’s Vigor 2860n (£175 ex. VAT) does, enabling business buyers to both boost throughput and secure their Internet connectivity in ways simply not possible using the free kit supplied by most ISPs. More Of Everything The latest in a long and well respected line of broadband routers, the Vigor 2860n is simply awash with connectivity, starting with the ability to connect it to either an ADSL/ADSL2 line or VDSL Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) service, such as BT Infinity, and do so without the need for an external modem. More than ......

REVIEW: Apple iPad Air

Ever since the iPad was first launched, Microsoft and other PC manufacturers have dismissed it as a little more than a toy for entertainment, arguing that it simply isn’t capable of running productivity software such as Microsoft Office. Despite this – and with a little help from BYOD – the iPad has proved popular with many business users, while Windows tablets such as Microsoft’s own Surface struggle to catch up. The new fifth-generation iPad Air may not be quite as revolutionary as Apple claims, but it does refine the device’s already attractive design and should ensure its continued popularity with consumers and businesses alike. Walking On Thin Air The most obvious feature of the iPad Air is, of course, its new slimline design. The iPad Air measures just 7.5mm thick, compared to 9.4mm ......

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