Tech Insider: HP Envy Recline 23 and Sony Xperia Z2
Wonders of the week.
HP Envy Recline 23
10-point-touch functionality and 4GB of RAM
All-in-One computers were a novelty a few years ago. The uni-body got rid of the tower on the floor, but if one thing went wrong with the computer or the screen – the whole thing was a goner. But as with all technology, time has seen vast improvements in both design and durability of these devices. It's difficult to find an ugly all-in-one, they tend to be reminiscent of Apple's iMac.
HP's Envy Recline 23 is the latest addition to the all-in-one market and it is impressive. The 23 inch screen has laptop-eque hinges which allow the user to position the screen; moving 5 to 145 degrees.
23-inch may seem too big for a computer screen, but there are so many ways of partnering it up with mobile devices – making it more of an entertainment hub than a computer, similar to what the TV was a few years ago.
Behind the large HD screen there's a powerful Intel Core i7 2GHz processor along with 4GB of RAM, which can be boosted up to 16GB, if needed.
The Recline runs Windows 8.1 and it really shows off the best side of the operating system. Windows 8 is optimised for touch screen and the large screen on the Recline allows for precision when pointing. The screen allows users to use the device similar to a tablet with 10-point-touch functionality.
The neat device has all the ports needed: two USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports and a HDMI port too. Gamers will be happy to know the recline has a graphics cards too, so gaming is possible!
As with many of HP's devices the Recline comes loaded with Beats audio software on board. It doesn't make a noticeable difference to the quality of the audio output to me. Users are given options to play around with their audio output settings, but it's more of a gimmick than a useful tool.
The HP Envy 23 retails from €849
Home Entertainment Hub:
For those looking to turn their TV into a home entertainment hub, there are so many options for doing so, without having to buy a SmartTV
ChromeCast, the smart stick by Google is among the cheapest and most reliable options on the market at present. Plugging into the HDMI port of the TV, ChromeCast connects to mobile devices via WiFi.
This means content on Netflix and YouTube can be watched on the biggest screen in the house. A number of apps within the ChromeCast programme allow users to push photos and other content onto their TVs too.
Quick tip: Download the Avia app within ChromeCast, hit settings and purchase the full version of the app. It costs €2.31. This purchase gives users extra functionality; pushing Facebook, Dropbox, Music and movies downloaded on to the mobile device to the TV.
Sony Smartphone Xperia Z2
Sony's new flagship smartphone, Xperia Z2 went on sale last week on the Vodafone network. Vodafone have exclusivity on the device until June 1st this year.
The waterproof phone boasts a 20.7MP camera and the ability to capture 4K video. The 5.2 inch screen hosts the most stunning colour definition and internally – it's a powerhouse.
The thin phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.3GHz quad core KRAIT CPUs, alongside 3GB of RAM. In English? It's very zippy when jumping from app to app. Not too bad for 8.2 mm!
Sony have listened to feedback from Z1 users and have bumped up the battery to 3200 mAh.
Fans of the Z1 may not notice a massive difference between the two phones but users looking to upgrade from an older phone will appreciate the power and speed this phone hosts.
Sky - watch or record via Twitter
Sky customers should check out #WatchOnSky on Twitter. A new experiment by Sky allows customers to watch or record shows by clicking on an icon contained within a tweet.
This may sound too futuristic to comprehend, but actually it's not. Clicking the icon within a tweet then launches SkyGo, the mobile TV service. Alternatively users can tap the Sky+ 'R' to remotely set their Sky+HD box to record.
App of the week: RunKeeper
My week so far has involved recovering from the Samsung Night Run which took place on Sunday. After minimal training – the finish line was crossed!
One thing that was very noticeable was the number of people running with a companion device.
As a newbie to running I fell into the same trap as many others and parted with more money than necessary on a device. After trying a number of running watches and bracelets and so on, RunKeeper – a free app – did the job much better.
Using the phone's GPS, RunKeeper tracks and maps out the route and monitors times and distance. It gives the option of audio-ducking to inform the runner of their pace.
There are so many app options to chose from, I would recommend trying some of those before parting with cold hard cash.
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