Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Loewe Connect 55

Loewe Connect 55

After a period stuck in buy-out hell, can the German brand's first ever 4K TV persuade John Archer that it hasn’t lost any of its premium edge?

There have been moments over the past couple of years where things have looked decidedly dodgy for German brand Loewe. It's always claimed, though, that it knew where it was going – it’s just taken longer than expected to get there.

Now, Loewe's finally ready to emerge – or rather, explode – back into the AV sunlight by becoming the first brand to only sell 4K/UHD TVs. Yep, every size of every TV in Loewe’s new four-series-strong TV range features a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution screen. For a brand with a luxury ethos, it's a sensible step.

Arcam Solo Bar/Sub

Arcam Solo Bar

Adrian Justins auditions a soundbar and subwoofer duo from Arcam. Is the UK brand's first foray into the market a big hit?

Arcam has been synonymous with quality home cinema for two decades, so it's no surprise that its debut soundbar product – the Solo Bar – is a premium model sporting an £800 price tag. Add in the Solo Sub and the ticket rises to £1,300. Bargain-basement AV, this isn't.

Now, probably no one other than me is going to be troubled by the notion of two products named 'Solo' that work best together, and they are so called because they are additions to Arcam's Solo range of hardware, which also includes the Muso loudspeaker and – soon – the new Solo Movie amp/disc player unit.

When movies went wide


Long before IMAX, audiences were astounded by a film tech called Cinerama. Richard Holliss looks back at the pioneering widescreen format... that you can now enjoy on Blu-ray

At the end of this year, movie fans across the country will pile into their local state-of-the-art IMAX cinema to watch the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga, hoping to be blown away by the sound and image as well as the return of Han, Luke, RD-D2 et al. Cinema is about spectacle – but that's not a new idea...

Take Back Your Privacy

Take Back Your Privacy

The internet is a dream for snoopers. Almost every action of our daily lives flow through it at some point or another: emailed appointments, streamed TV shows, web purchases, photos shared with friends. Much of this is completely unencrypted and can be read by any of the various companies who own the tubes the data flows through. Even the bits that are encrypted are usually only encrypted between the end user and the company running the website. Once the data is uploaded, it's often mined, and the data is then sold off to the highest bidder.



Ben Everard reclaims his privacy with a web-based office suite he controls

OnlyOffice is a web-based office suite similar to Google Docs or Microsoft's Office 365. However, unlike its competitors, OnlyOffice is open source (under AGPL) so you can run it on your own server (there's a hosted version available as well).

OnlyOffice is a rebranded version of TeamLab Office, which has been around in one form or another since 2009, so it's had time to mature to a featureful, stable platform. However, it was closed source and Windows-only until the end of 2014, so is still fairly unknown in the Linux world.

Track price drops and rises online

Track price drops and rises online

Never miss a bargain again by using the web to pinpoint the best times to buy specific products. Robert Irvine reveals how to make the waiting game pay off

Track price changes on Amazon

Prices on Amazon are constantly fluctuating, which means a product you buy today may be several pounds cheaper tomorrow. The best way to keep on top of these changes is to track price drops using CamelCamelCamel ( - the odd name refers to the hump-shaped graphs the site uses to depict price rises and drops. Search for an item you’d like to buy, or copy and paste its Amazon URL, and CamelCamelCamel will produce a price-history chart that lets you see if the current cost is cheaper or dearer than one month, six months or one year ago. Tell the site how much you’re willing to pay for the item, and CamelCamelCamel will monitor its price and alert you via email or tweet as soon as it drops to or below your desired amount. CamelCamelCamel also lets you import your Amazon wishlist to create automatic price watches for products you’d like to buy, and also lists the biggest price drops in each Amazon department over the last week, so you never miss out on a bargain.

Stop Your Phone Spying On You

Stop Your Phone Spying On You

Why should your mobile apps know everything you do and everywhere you go? Rob Beattie explains how to turn off default options that leak your personal info

Android and iOS apps have never been more useful. They can tell you how long it will take you to get home, find you a good place to eat, watch where you go online to make helpful recommendations, integrate with other apps to make sharing photos easier - heck, a lost device can even tell you where it is and let you lock it remotely. But this convenience comes at a price. To take advantage of these fancy features, you have to lay open your life to app developers and service providers, and that’s not always a good thing.

In this feature, we turn the spotlight on the snoops and show you how to stop your devices spying on you. We’ll kick off with the easiest ways to limit what companies can find out about you when you use your phone or tablet, then take a look at some advanced privacy controls.

Beat Google's Restrictions

Googles software

Wayne Williams explains how to remove constraints from Google’s software, websites, apps and hardware, so you can tweak them to suit your needs

Google has always supported freedom on the web, and has spoken out against those who try to curb those freedoms, but many of its own products and services aren’t as open and unrestricted as they seem (or as we would like them to be). There are good reasons for some of the limits it imposes - Google is a business, after all - but there are ways to get around the restrictions if you know how. In this feature, we reveal the best new ways to hack your favourite Google tools to make them work exactly how you want them to.

We’ll show you how to speed up Android, play music directly from Google Drive, save maps to your phone for offline viewing, watch geographically restricted videos on YouTube, install ‘incompatible’ Android apps, expand your Chromecast’s capabilities and much more.

Our guide to Apple Music

Apple Music

Apple has launched its long-awaited music-streaming service, and announced improvements to iOS and Mac OS X. David Crookes takes a closer look at what’s new

What's Apple done now?

Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) which, if you've never seen one, typically involves its CEO Tim Cook taking to the stage in front of an excited audience to gush about the company’s new products and services. This year’s conference was particularly noteworthy for confirming some long-standing rumours, chief among them the launch of a new music streaming service called Apple Music.