Mobile Banking increase scare

Mobile Banking transactions have doubled in the past year. It seems a mobile banking “revolution” is underway in the UK as 5.7 million transactions are made per day via mobile devices.Mobile banking is a system that allows customers of a bank to conduct a number of financial transactions through a mobile device such as a smart phone. These transactions include: checking your balance, asking for loans and paying the bills. Consequently this “revolution” has led to the closure of some branches as there is now a decline in the use of day-to-day banking.

But is mobile banking a good thing? Mobile banking is much more flexible than day-to-day banking and you can do it on the move. Mobile banking offers many advantages, such as easy access and plentiful applications for smart phones. It gives you more control over your money. However, since 1989, the UK has lost over 40% of its bank’s branches partly due to the increase of mobile phone banking. Furthermore, hackers mainly focus on stealing money from mobile bankers. Twice as many malicious programs were found to be targeting smartphones and other mobile devices with mobile banking apps installed on them in 2012.

LG 55EA980V review

Anyone who sees an OLED TV inside the flesh is wowed by its technology. It combines the brightness advantages of LED screens with the deep black levels and rich contrast of plasma displays. It then squeezes them into an unbelievably thin panel. The frustrating thing, however, is that OLED panels have proved tricky to fabricate on the larger screen sizes had to create big tellies.

LG’s 55EA980V won’t have a mainstream price — it costs a whopping £5,000 — however it does prove that it’s possible to provide real OLED TVs that may be sold within the shops instead of only one-off prototypes for showing off at tradeshows. So, when it’s actually sitting in an ordinary front room, does it look and perform in addition to we were expecting?

2D picture quality

It’s obvious immediately once you activate the EA980V that it’s something special. Its black levels are only so deep and rich that they surpass anything I’ve seen before on a TV. If you end up watching it with the lights off, the image actually seems to drift in front of you. The dark areas are so perfectly black which you can’t see where the black bars on a Blu-ray movie start and the sides of the screen ends.

It’s actually slightly disconcerting at the start, as even on exceptionally good plasma screens, corresponding to Panasonic’s ZT65, the black areas of the screen glow so that you can quite easily see the perimeters of the display. Here though, they simply blend into the encompassing darkness. The self illuminating nature of OLED screens mean that there is not one of the horrible blotchiness in backlighting you get on LED screens. In this display, each individual pixel is its own light source — there isn’t any backlight — so darker areas of the image really do look properly dark.

Also, since it doesn’t should dim the screen in blocks within the way that LEDs with local dimming do, you’ll have areas of utmost brightness right next to areas of total blackness. This implies it’s going to reproduce pictures with huge levels of contrast, making its images look exceptionally punchy. It was also a good performer in the case of colour, because it delivers an extremely natural colour balance with beautifully vivid hues when called for and more subtle tones where needed.

The 55EA980V produces perfect black levels, but does be afflicted by some motion blur.

The display isn’t totally perfect though, as unfortunately it does be afflicted by motion blur and a few judder. Basically, with all processing turned off it has pretty similar levels of blur to most LED displays. On our video motion blur test it had native motion resolution of 300 to 400 lines. While you activate processing you may improve things substantially to around 600 to 700 lines. Within the real world this reduces the blur on quick movement in video. As an instance, it gives a cleaner looking image on camera pans in footy matches.

Thankfully, it was possible to put off lots of the worst of the blur and judder as a result of less aggressive motion-processing settings. Inside the motion-processing menu, adjusting both the deblur and dejudder settings to one gave the impression to work quite well. Really, though, i assumed these issues were relatively minor in comparison to the total performance of the television.

What’s also interesting about this TV is its curved screen. LG has decided to bend the screen mainly since it can. I wasn’t initially a tremendous fan of the curve, however the arc is extremely gentle and consequently reasonably subtle when you are watching the television. After an afternoon I’d grown quite used to it. My main problem with it was that I just didn’t see much benefit to it. It didn’t make me feel just like the picture was any longer enveloping or engaging, it just makes the set harder to place comfortably in a room if there are various people watching it, or to wall mount it.

But let’s not get hung up at the negatives, because this TV really is incredibly engaging to monitor. Movies just look mind-blowingly good way to its excellent colour and contrast performance. Last year saw the discharge of a few really great plasma screens, reminiscent of Panasonic’s ZT65 and Samsung’s F8500, but I’d take the EA980V over either one of them any day of the week.

3D picture quality

LG invented passive 3D so it’s no surprise that this set uses the passive instead of active system. It comes with two pairs of designer glasses in addition to two pairs of clip-ons should you already wear specs. As with every passive glasses these will not be powered, so they’re very light to wear — just like putting on a couple of sun shades.

The disadvantage to using passive 3D on a 1080p set is that it halves the horizontal resolution of 3D pictures. Still, as a result of way our brains process visual information it looks more just like the image has around two thirds the resolution instead of half. Up close you’ll discover horizontal black lines within the image at the EA980V, but from a regular viewing distance they beautiful much disappear and the one time you may tell the picture isn’t Full HD is on circles or diagonal sharp lines, which may show about a jaggies.

The 55EA980V uses passive 3D technology, so it’s less tiring in your eyes than active systems.

Other than that, the EA980V is a pleasure to look at for 3D viewing. The shortcoming of flicker form the passive glasses makes for a miles less tiring 3D experience and helps the 3D images to feel that bit more solid and real. Plus the panel’s high brightness levels and deep black levels made even Prometheus look pretty special in 3D. i discovered that there has been marginally an excessive amount of judder in 3D with Motion Flow turned off, so it was best to make use of it on its lower settings to smooth a number of this out.

Samsung UE46F6500 review

Samsung’s UE46F6500 sits in the midst of its mid-range telly line up, slightly above the very similar F6400. The F6500 has a Freesat HD tuner alongside its Freeview HD tuner. It also has Clear Motion Rate (CMR) 400 motion processing in comparison to the F6400′s CMR 200, so theoretically should produce slightly smoother motion. The UE46F6500 can be purchased online for around £649, making it around £110 costlier than the UE46F6400, so is it well worth the extra outlay?


Voice control

Unlike Samsung’s F7000 and F8000 high-end models, the F6500 doesn’t have a camera built-in to its chassis, so it doesn’t support the motion-control features you get on those TVs. The motion controls don’t work all that well on those models though so it’s not something I missed on this set.

What the F6500 does have is a microphone built-in to its touchpad remote. You can use this to issue commands such as Channel Up or Volume Up, but as you already have the remote in your hand it’s not much of a benefit. Samsung reckons the voice-recognition system is most useful for searching for movies or TV shows to watch in online services.

The fact that it only works with Samsung’s own video on demand service and not others such as Netflix and Lovefilm means that even here it’s not particularly useful. The long and short of it is that you’re likely to try the voice features once or twice, find them frustrating to use and never bother with them again.


TV guide

The menu system on this set is excellent. The layout is clean and uncluttered and it feels fast and responsive to use. Along with the standard brightness, contrast and colour controls, you can also easily tweak settings for the motion processing and there’s even a Colour Management System hidden away in the Advanced Settings menu.

The TV guide is excellent and you now also get recommendations via the smart TV system.

Samsung’s EPG is also top-notch. Its colourful presentation makes it look inviting; it’s nippy to browse around, and includes a handy video thumbnail of the channel you’re currently tuned to. The guide also integrates with the smart TV system, so it offers TiVo-style suggestions of upcoming shows you might want to check out.

Design and connections

Apart from the added tuners and faster motion processing, the F6500 looks slightly different to the F6400. It has a thinner bezel around the screen — the bezel on the F6400 isn’t exactly chunky at only 15mm wide, but the F6500′s bezel is narrower still at a mere 10mm. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s enough to make the F6500 look marginally more desirable when you view them next to each other.

The stand is also finished in chrome, which looks better than the plasticky, dull metallic paint job on the F6400′s stand. We’re not huge fans of the crow-feet stand on either model, as it’s slightly showy.

Samsung supplies two remotes with this TV. There’s a standard Infrared zapper that’s small and comfy to use and a secondary touchpad remote that communicates with the TV via Bluetooth. I’m actually quite fond of the touchpad remote and especially like the way it speeds up navigation of the smart TV systems. You can use it to swipe between screens for example, rather than plodding over and back through lists of apps.

The F6500 has a total of four HDMI ports, with three mounted on the side and one found on the rear.

With a total of four HDMI ports and three USB ports, I’ve got no complaints about the connection options on offer here. There’s also a full-sized Scart socket as well as component connectors and an optical digital audio output. The rear is home to an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi is inbuilt. The Wi-Fi chip supports screen mirroring from compatible Android devices too.

Smart TV

If you’re a Netflix or BBC iPlayer addict, the good news is that the F6500 benefits from Samsung’s excellent smart TV system, which is currently the best in the business. It looks great, is divided up into different screens for different categories of content and feels very responsive to use.

The first screen, called ‘On TV’, shows suggestions for upcoming shows and movies you might want to watch. It learns your viewing habits over time, so its suggestions become smarter the more you use the TV. 

The F6500 supports a broad range of on demand apps including Netflix, Lovefilm and 4oD.

From here if you move right with the remote, you land on the Film and TV Shows page, which gives you access to the catalogue of movies in Samsung’s own Video On-Demand service. Shift right again and you’ll find yourself at the Photos, Videos and Music screen, which is essentially the TV’s media player.

You’ll either stream files over a network from a PC or NAS drive or play them back locally via the set’s USB ports. Format support is good — it plays MP4, Divx and MKV files, for example — but there are a few annoying quirks, which includes the proven fact that the fast-forward and rewind controls don’t work when you’re streaming MKV files.

Moving right again takes you to the Social page, which is essentially a feed of videos that your friends have shared via Twitter or Facebook. The final screen shows you all the apps that are installed on the TV and also allows you to access Samsung’s Apps Store where you can download lots of extra ones. The range of apps is very good as Samsung’s smart TV system is the only one that supports the entire main terrestrial TV catch up services — iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player and insist 5. 

Finlux 40F8073-T review

Finlux is the patron brand name for Vestel, Europe’s largest TV manufacturer, which makes a large number of the TVs supermarkets sell under their very own brand names. Finlux’s TVs are just available via the Finluxdirect.com website, because the aim of the corporate is to chop out the middleman so it may sell direct to the general public at more competitive prices. At £350, the 40F8073-T is definitely cheap for a 40-inch set, especially because it includes smart TV features. So is the set worth considering over rivals from bigger brand names? 

TV guide

Finlux has kept the menu system nice and basic. Once you hit the menu button it calls up a banner of huge icons around the middle of the screen for stuff like Picture, Sound and Settings and in the event you select this type of you’re dropped right into a more traditional list menu with various buttons and sliders for tweaking settings.

The menus are speedy to navigate around and the gold and black colour scheme is amazingly attractive to the attention. The image controls are relatively basic. There isn’t any colour management system, as an instance, although you will adjust the gain for the red, green and blue colour channels. Naturally there’s also  basic contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour sliders in addition to a dynamic contrast mode that tries to assist the set deliver richer black levels.

One quirk, however, is that once you power at the TV it takes quite a very long time to come back out of standby and there didn’t look any fast starting option inside the menu to assist speed this up.

The EPG doesn’t have a video window and prevents all background audio whenever you open it.

Finlux’s programming guide is quite basic too. It doesn’t include a video thumbnail view of the channel you’re tuned to and should you call it up you furthermore may lose all background audio, so it’s quite intrusive to make use of while you just desire to quickly check what’s arising in a while another channel.

At the plus side, the EPG does use an analogous attractive gold and black colour scheme because the menus and it does no less than scroll backward and forward through programming data at a respectable speed. You can too zoom out and in to regulate what number of upcoming shows it displays per page at anyone time.

Smart TV

Finlux has done some work on its smart TV system and it is all the simpler for it. The large difference is that it now contains a Netflix app, in order to be excellent news in the event you don’t need to take a subscription package from pay TV providers like Sky and Virgin Media, but want more TV shows and films than you get on Freeview.

The iPlayer app has also been improved, so the quick-forward and rewind controls work better than they used to, although they still skip backward and forward in quite large chunks of time. You furthermore may get apps for ITN, YouTube and Facebook, but it’s missing the likes of Lovefilm, 4oD, ITV Player and Demand5, so it is not exactly up there within the premier league of smart TV systems.

There are still a couple of bugs because the Netflix app crashed on me once or twice and that i needed to make multiple attempts to get the (very basic) Facebook app to work. The system feels faster than the likes of Toshiba’s Cloud TV system though, as Finlux has managed to inject a far needed lick of speed into proceedings.

The set’s smart TV system includes support for Netflix.

This model also features a media player that may play files either from drives plugged into one in all its two USB ports, or streamed across a network from a computer or Nas drive. The media player interface is comparatively basic, however the file support is nice. For instance, it played a diffusion of MP4, Xvid and MKV HD files with none problems.

What’s more, the short forward and rewind controls work properly if you find yourself streaming files — something that many giant brands TVs can’t take care of.

The set may also record shows from the Freeview HD tuner to a USB drive and you’ll even schedule recordings via the EPG. It only has a single tuner though, so that you can’t record one channel while watching another.

Motorola Moto X review

As it launched within the US back in August last year, Motorola’s Moto X might well be considered old news, but it is only just made its way here to good old blighty. Motorola has rather fallen behind the contest lately, however it made a storming comeback with the Moto G, which paired great specs with a rock-bottom price.

The Moto X has an analogous design, a bigger, 4.7-inch display, a 1.7GHz dual core processor, the most recent version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, a ten-megapixel camera and 4G connectivity — something that wasn’t available at the Moto G. You could pick it up SIM free on Amazon now for £315, or at no cost on contracts starting at £19 monthly.

There are a number of things to keep in mind though. The Moto X won praise inside the US as it could be customised with all kinds of colors. That option isn’t available within the UK and the score have been adjusted accordingly.

More importantly, however, is that Motorola has recently been bought by Lenovo. Lenovo has yet to assert what plans it has for Motorola, but there isn’t any be sure that the Motorola name can even exist this time next year. It is also worth considering whether future software updates will arrive for Motorola’s phones. In case you crave the newest Android updates once they’re available, Motorola may not be the greatest company to plump for without delay.


Design and build quality

If you’ve already had a go at the Moto G, the Moto X will seem quite familiar. It has an extremely similar design with the identical curving back panel. The X is slimmer though, making it very comfortable to carry in a single hand, and its 4.7-inch display makes it marginally longer and wider than the G.

Unfortunately the Moto X only is available in black and white within the UK.

One of the right things concerning the Moto X when it first launched was the wide customisation options using the Moto Maker website. You could select a number of alternative colours for the back panel, with different accents for the camera lens, the phone’s edge and buttons. It’s also possible to have it made out of wood. It is a good way of putting a private touch on a phone, but sadly those options aren’t available at the Moto X here in Europe.

Instead, your choice is just between black and white. There is a diamond pattern at the back that keeps it from being too dull, besides , it’s nowhere near as fun as choosing your individual vibrant set of hues. On the launch, Moto suggested that the Moto Maker service can make its solution to Europe sooner or later. 

The Moto X is easily prepare, and not using a creaking from the case and no loose, rattling parts. The rubberised back did a respectable job of resisting scratches from my keys too. The back panel isn’t removable so that you can’t swap the battery out and there is no microSD card slot. The telephone comes with 16GB of storage though, that’s a respectable amount greater than the humble 8GB of the Moto G, and also you get an additional 50GB of cloud storage with Google Drive thrown in for 2 years.


Display

The Moto X’s 4.7-inch display packs a 720p resolution, that is the same quantity of pixels you can find at the Moto G. Because the Moto G has a smaller display, it means its pixels are packed in tighter, leading to a marginally higher pixel density. While the display looks perfectly crisp enough for many tasks (and also you probably won’t notice any difference between it and the Moto G), it’s disappointing to not see a push for a better resolution, due to the fact the Moto G is a 3rd of the cost.

It has the identical 720p resolution because the Moto G.

The display at the least makes up for its lower resolution by being very bright and satisfyingly bold. Colours look rich and punchy, making visually stunning Netflix shows like Breaking Bad or Power Rangers look great. It has good viewing angles too, meaning in the event you examine the telephone from the side you’ll still get a great image — handy when you’ve got friends crowding around the screen to observe Vine compilations on YouTube.


Android 4.4.2 software

The phone comes as standard with the most recent version of Google’s mobile operating system referred to as 4.4.2 KitKat. KitKat packs various new features, including full-screen media, a combined Google Hangouts and SMS app and the flexibility to go looking for businesses on your contacts. Visually, the Android interface hasn’t changed from previous versions so in case you are already a ‘droider, you’ll feel right at home.

There are a couple of extra tweaks on board which you will need to hear about. The Moto X boasts what Moto calls Touchless Control. After an initial setup, you’re able to activate the telephone even if it’s in standby by just saying “okay, Google Now”. That you could then ask it to name or text a contact, ask for directions and weather reports and even play a song.

The Moto X comes with the newest version of Android, 4.4.2 KitKat.

You do for sure need to have your whole contacts saved correctly on the way to contact them — and when you have multiple numbers, you will need to pick out which one to exploit. Playing songs with third party services like Spotify doesn’t work, but despite that, it is usually quite handy. i used to be ready to quickly ask for directions to an event i used to be already late for, with no need to prevent typing an email apologising for being late, so it’s never been easier to be poorly organised.

Another handy little feature is the notifications and clock that pop up at the screen when it’s in standby. Other than having a random notification light which may mean anything, the Moto X makes it easy to peer who’s been attempting to get in contact and whether it’s well worth the effort of picking your phone as much as say “No, i do not like to buy you a dog, Luke.”

Samsung UE40F6800 review

Samsung’s F8000 and F7000 LED models are essentially the show ponies of its current TV line-up and so are too pricey for everyday telly buyers. As a result of the, it’s Samsung’s 6 series TVs so that it will be the intense contenders for many people’s cash. The UE40F6800 sits on the top of the series 6 line-up and fees around £670, nevertheless it includes 400Hz motion processing, active 3D support and Samsung’s truly excellent smart TV system.

Voice control

The F6800 doesn’t include the camera and motion controls found on Samsung’s F7000 and F8000 sets. Unless you need to make video Skype calls out of your TV, it is not a major loss as I’ve never found the motion controls reliable enough to be useful. The television does support voice control, however the mic is built-in to the Bluetooth touch remote, so you’ll already be holding a remote on your hand in case you are looking to use voice commands. Because the voice recognition system continues to be slightly hit or miss you’re often using the remote to do the commands you’d otherwise call out.

The voice recognition feature is not useful.

Samsung says the voice recognition is superior for in search of shows and films in online services. This will be true if voice search worked across all apps, but it surely doesn’t. In truth, it only works with Samsung’s own movie rental service — not with Netflix or Lovefilm.


TV guide

The F6800 uses the identical menu system and smart TV system because the company’s high-end models, that is great news as it is the best within the business. It looks very slick and engaging and since it’s powered by a dual-core processor, everything moves along at a fulfilling pace.

The image controls are pretty comprehensive. In addition to including the fundamental Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour controls, there’s also a color Management System accessible via the Advanced Settings menu. If you find yourself tweaking the image it also includes handy that Samsung permits you to isolate the 3 primary colours within the image via the RGB Only Mode.

The TV guide is great and also you now also get recommendations via the smart TV system.

This model also benefits from Samsung’s excellent EPG. It looks attractive and feels speedy to navigate around using the remote. It also has an integrated video thumbnail window within the top left hand corner of the guide. Samsung’s smart TV system includes TiVo-like suggestions of upcoming shows or movies it’s worthwhile to watch, that is neat.


Design and connections

The F6800 looks quite different to many of the other models in Samsung’s current range. It has more of an easel design, where the set is propped up on two legs that sit on the extreme edges of the set. It also has quite a thick Perspex edge that runs round the periphery of the television extending beyond what’s otherwise a narrow bezel. i believe it can have looked better without the added Perspex, with a cleaner and more modern design. Overall, though, it is a fairy handsome TV.

The set comes with two remote controls. The primary is a conventional InfraRed zapper with significant buttons and a snug feel, while the second one is Samsung’s touchpad remote. The latter includes the mic for the voice control features, and likewise supports a number of gestures to hurry up navigation of the smart TV systems. For instance, you may swipe to quickly skip between the smart TV category screens.

The F6800 has a complete of 4 HDMI ports, with three mounted at the side and one found at the rear.

Samsung have been pretty generous with the connections in this TV. It has four HDMI ports, as an instance, with three of those side mounted and the forth tucked away at the rear of the set. There also are three USB ports, in addition to a Scart socket and component video inputs.

Unlike the upper-end models in Samsung’s range, the F6800 only has one Freeview HD tuner, so although you are able to record shows to drives plugged into its USB ports, you can not watch another channel while a recording is in progress. That isn’t really a feature I’d expect to work out at this price though. Naturally there’s also an Ethernet port at the rear and Wi-Fi is built-in. It supports screen mirroring from compatible Android devices too.

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