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Galaxy Note 20 rumour may prove Samsung was wrong about the Galaxy S20

If Samsung sticks with its typical launch cycle, we should expect to see the Galaxy Note 20 launch very soon. The South Korean firm usually unveils its next generation of Galaxy Note smartphones in August – so a grand unveiling could be imminent.

With a release not far away the usual rumours are beginning to swirl, there is one whisper that – if accurate – proves Samsung is backtracking on a headline feature found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

According to a post on Twitter by serial leaker Ice Universe, the Note 20 series won’t get the 100X Space Zoom packed into its rear case. This big camera upgrade for 2020 got its fair amount of stick with many reviewers, including express.co.uk, of the opinion that it’s a bit of gimmick.

As you can read in our S20 Ultra review, one of the biggest issues with this camera is trying to hold it steady enough when zooming to the max.

The images we snapped with this mega zoom often ended up looking blurry and pixelated. Although it’s clearly fun feature we really couldn’t imagine many people actually using it and the trade-off is a horribly big camera bump that pokes out of the rear case.

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It’s unclear why – or if – Samsung has decided to ditch the 100X Space Zoom on the next generation of Galaxy Note devices but it could simply be the fact they’ve decided to invest in more useful features.

We’ll have to wait and see just how true the camera rumours are but along with that rear snapper there’s plenty of other new features expected to arrive on this phone. It’s likely the Note 20 will get the latest processor and offer users instant access to the latest 5G data speeds.

As revealed in a post on SamMobile, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants has also given an early insight into Samsung’s Note 20 plans.

Earlier this month Ross Young, the founder and CEO of DSCC, tweeted: “No Galaxy Note Ultra model, but the Galaxy Fold 2 will be your Ultra. #GalaxyNote”.

“Note 20+ will grow from 6.8″ to 6.87″, resolution will increase to 3096 x 1444 resulting in a 497 PPI, 19.3:9 aspect ratio. It will also have 120Hz refresh with LTPO, lowest power implementation of 120Hz due to variable refresh. #GalaxyNote20+”.

With the current health crisis meaning people-packed global keynotes are off the agenda Samsung looks likely to reveal its new Note via a live stream. A date is yet to be announced by expected more news on this soon.

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Amazon Fire TV upgrade could save you money while searching for your next binge-watch

Amazon is rolling out a change designed to make it easier to find your next binge-watch on Fire TV set-top boxes and streaming sticks without spending a fortune. Until now, the Fire TV interface hasn’t offered an easy way to sort content based on price. Instead, television shows and movies are grouped together based on genres and viewers’ video history.

These groupings often feature shows included for free as part of a Prime membership as well as paid rentals and digital purchases too. The new “Free” tab does what it says on the tin. Available right now in the United States, everything included in the section will be free to watch.

The tab points viewers towards ad-supported services like IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Crackle and The CW, as well as Twitch, Red Bull, PBS and PBS Kids. These free-to-watch services will be displayed in a row at the top of the new tab.

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Below that, Amazon will group individual shows and movies in categories – just like the other tabs – including the likes of new, trending and popular. Of course, many of the same ad-supported shows and movies will appear in other tabs, like TV Shows and Movies, for example.

As more and more streaming services launch, clever ways of curating the content to sift through the drivel and find the shows you want to want will become more and more important. 

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It’s one of the reasons Google looks to be pivoting away from its menu-less Chromecast HDMI dongle in favour of a more elaborate curated menu and Apple is rumoured to be looking to upgrade its Apple TV hardware.

According to Amazon, Fire TV boasts more than 20,000 free movies and TV episodes. So, there’s plenty of content to recommend to viewers.

This could become an invaluable feature for people who don’t want to shell out for new episodes or films – but don’t have the time to trawl through the other tabs to find the free titles amongst the rest of the content.

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The P30 Pro just became even more appealing as Huawei is dealt another devastating blow

Huawei might be releasing some of the best phones it’s ever made, but they all come with one huge issue baked in – the ongoing US trade ban against the Chinese firm means none of its new devices can run Google’s popular apps or services. That includes Google Photos, Gmail, Google Maps and most importantly the Play Store – which offers access to millions of third-party apps, movies, TV shows, eBooks and music.

The brilliant new P40 Pro and Mate 30 Pro both arrived without these vital services and it seems this issue isn’t going to change anytime soon. According to news from Reuters, President Donald Trump has just extended the ban on telecommunication companies deemed to produce equipment that poses a national security risk for another 12 months.

Although Huawei isn’t directly mentioned it’s sure to mean the firm won’t be able to use Google until at least May 2021.

Huawei is doing its best to beat this ban with it recently launching its own App Gallery store and offering an option called Phone Clone which attempts to transfer everything from an old device to its latest smartphones.

However, as you’ll see from our recent P40 Pro review, these options have a long way to go until they can compete with the might of Google. Luckily, there is still a way of owning a new Huawei phone and get access to Google.

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  • Huawei is doing it all can to get P30 Pro owners to switch to the P40

The P30 Pro remains on sale and because it launched before the block, Huawei can still sell it with Google apps and services. And things have just got better for this device with Huawei announcing the launch of its P30 Pro New Edition which goes on sale next month.

This reboot gets a new Silver colour scheme and more internal memory plus you’ll find those all-important Google apps pre-loaded out of the box.

Most of the main specs stay the same with the New Edition getting the P30 Pro’s 6.47-inch OLED Dewdrop screen, impressive Leica-powered quad rear camera and fast Kirin 980 processor.

If you want one then the Huawei P30 Pro New Edition also comes with a free Huawei Watch GT2e, when purchased up to and including the 30th June 2020. It’s worth noting that many retailers are selling the 2019 P30 Pro for £599 which is £100 cheaper than this new model so you need to decide if that shiny new colour and boost in storage is worth paying that extra money.

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Apple fans might want to hold off buying that new MacBook Pro

Ever since Apple discontinued the 15-inch MacBook Pro in favour of a redesigned model with smaller bezels, a bigger display and bombastic new speakers – fans have been day-dreaming about Apple giving the same makeover to its 13-inch MacBook Pro. And when a new refresh of that machine was announced earlier this month, it seemed like those dreams would come true.

But alas, that’s not what we got.

Instead, Apple doubled the amount of solid state storage included in its configurations and included a faster, more efficient processor in some of the costlier models, while leaving the entry-level option with the same chipset as the previous model.

Almost everything else – the speakers, the screen, the bezels – remain the same as before.

Thankfully, Apple did replace the Butterfly mechanism keyboard in favour of its new Magic Keyboard set-up. The former was notoriously unreliable – despite numerous revisions from Apple in a bid to solve the issue – and forced the company to include each new laptop in an extended warranty scheme to fix problematic keys after the standard one-year hardware warranty expired.

The minor revision to the 13-inch MacBook Pro means there are no longer any devices sold in the Apple Store with the troublesome Butterfly Keyboard some six months after the new Magic Keyboard design was introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

However, those hoping for a more substantial rethink of the MacBook Pro might want to hold on a little longer to upgrade their machine. That’s because sources claim Apple is working on a redesign to the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the same vein as the 16-inch MacBook Pro. According to whispers, the new notebook will have smaller bezels – enabling Apple to squeeze a 14.1-inch display into the same physical footprint used for the current 13.3-inch one.

Not only that, but an upgraded speaker system is also likely in the works. The 16-inch MacBook Pro used expertise that Apple teams gained building the unrivalled quad-speaker set-up from the iPad Pro to dramatically boost the audio performance of the MacBook.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – who has an unbelievably solid track record when it comes to forecasting unannounced products – claims that Apple is planning to use a Mini-LED display technology for the move to a 14.1-inch display on the MacBook. The pricier 16-inch MacBook Pro will also make the switch to Mini-LED, which offers the same cavernous blacks usually only found with OLED panels.

Unfortunately, Ming-Chi Kuo believes the 14.1-inch MacBook Pro won’t hit store shelves until next year at the earliest.

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An anonymously-run Twitter account known as “L0vetodream” also posted about a 2021 release for the new MacBook Pro. No further details were provided by the account. Despite the mystery around the social media account, it has a pretty good track record.

The same Twitter account revealed a number of key details about the new iPhone SE before any other analysts or Apple watchers, including that the handset would launch in the second week of April 2020 and ship in three storage capacities. The L0vetodream social media account also accurately claimed new iPad Pro models would launch in March.

As exciting as this is – it’s important to remember that nothing is official until Apple shares the press release, or announces the new MacBook Pro model on-stage.

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Windows 10 users dealt good and bad news about next Microsoft update

Windows 10 users are getting ready for the release of Windows 10 2004 – otherwise known as the May 2020 update. The major Microsoft patch will bring with it a raft of new features to Windows 10 such as enhancements to Task Manager, Cortana changes and new download options. However, it looks like those looking forward to the Windows 10 May 2020 update are in for a longer than anticipated wait.

It’s believed the Windows 10 May 2020 update was originally pencilled in for a release on Patch Tuesday next week.

However, as spotted by the team at Windows Latest it seems Microsoft may have let slip the official release date and don’t expect things to land on your PC anytime soon.

In fact, the date that has appeared in Microsoft’s Driver Shiproom Schedule states May 26 – May 28 is when the firm will release things.

This news comes after ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley previously reported that the May 2020 update was seen its release date be shifted to Thursday May 28.

The caveat to this though is “Microsoft has not announced this officially and these dates may change yet again”.

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Elsewhere, earlier this week Windows 10 users found about a great new feature coming to the world’s most popular operating system with version 2004.

The Windows 10 May 2020 update has already been released for Windows Insiders on the Slow Ring to preview and test ahead of its imminent launch.

And ahead of the full Microsoft rollout, Windows 10 users have been teased about one major feature the update will be bringing.

In a post online, Windows Latest revealed one functionality the May 2020 update will boast that will be a huge boost to PC fans running older hardware.

The site’s tests revealed that Microsoft is implementing changes with the upcoming patch that will make Windows 10 run faster on some hardware.

Specifically, Microsoft has tweaked how indexing for Windows Search works, which will reduce high disk usage on machines running traditional HDD hard drives.

So, if you don’t have a faster solid-state drive installed on your laptop or desktop then you should find the next Windows 10 update helps to speed up your machine.

The May 2020 update will also add new sign-in options for a password free experience with fingerprint, Windows Hello and pin authentication available.

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Sonos One (Gen 2) review: a smart speaker you’d be stupid not to buy

If you’re short on time, here’s what you need to know: if you’re looking to buy a smart speaker, you should probably buy the second-generation Sonos One. It sounds phenomenal considering its compact size, you can add additional speakers at a later date to create a home cinema or multi-room set-up, and most importantly of all, Sonos doesn’t make you permanently pick between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri as the AI voice assistant that will dictate every other smart home gadget or speaker that you buy for the next five years.

If you’ve got the time to read a little more, we have some more thoughts about this brilliant wireless smart speaker. Read on…

Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Design

Sonos One is a pretty nifty looking speaker. It has elegantly rounded corners and a truly minimalist design – there’s only one physical button on the entire thing. For our money, it looks better in black than the White version, but your mileage may vary depending on the decor you’re trying to match at home.

That minimalism can work to its detriment. While there are touch-sensitive buttons at the top of the Sonos One to play or pause, change volume and more – these aren’t as tactile as physical buttons. Although, admittedly, they do look cooler.

Quickly brushing dust from the top of the speaker will accidentally pause music or drop the volume. Thankfully, you can switch off the touch-sensitive buttons in the Sonos app.

The design of the Sonos One – not to mention the success of the brand – means there are a swathe of third-party wall mounts and stands available for the speaker. Compared to other similarly-priced speakers, like the Amazon Echo Studio, Sonos One owners will find a much wider choice of brackets to mount onto your walls, or have freestanding in the living room.

Alternatives to the Sonos One

  • Amazon Echo Studio review
  • Google Home Max review
  • Sonos Beam review

Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Sound

The second-generation Sonos One delivers where it counts: sound.

Sonos One can really crank out the bass without drowning out anything else in the mix. Everything sounds clear and finely-balanced whether you’re listening to acoustic singer-songwriters, heavy metal, or talk radio. Despite the compact footprint – the Sonos One can really deliver a punch when it comes to volume. Although you can add a number of additional speakers to your set-up – you won’t need to.

But the real genius of the Sonos One is the flexibility to build a connected set-up over time. While most other smart speakers, like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, let you add extra speakers to bring stereo sound, or wireless audio across different rooms – Sonos One simply has more options. You can have multiple Sonos speakers playing the same audio in different rooms, or you can use the Sonos One to start building a 5.0 surround sound system for your television for a true home cinema experience.

Sonos One (Gen 2) review: App And Connectivity

One of the biggest benefits of picking Sonos over its rivals is that it won’t make you pick between one of the many competing voice assistants on the market – Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. That might not seem like a big deal, but if you invest £189.99 in an Amazon Echo Studio, you’re unlikely to buy a Google Home Hub as a smart bedside clock as it won’t be able to sync with your Amazon-powered sound system. Likewise, buying a rare album on iTunes might feel like a poor investment if you’ve got multiple Google Home smart speakers dotted around the house.

Sonos One works with Google Assistant or Alexa, so you can switch based on the other connected devices you buy further down the line. And it’s not just voice-activated assistants that Sonos One is agnostic about.

Sonos’ app lets you bring in songs from a plethora of different music services – from Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, a good ol” fashioned iTunes library, Audible, Deezer, Global Radio Player, Google Play Music, Plex, SoundCloud, TIDAL, TuneIn, YouTube Music, and many, many more.

With tracks, playlists and radio stations from all of these services at your disposal – there’s no way you won’t be able to build the ideal queue of songs. Sonos recently launched its own Sonos Radio service that curates songs around a theme – from dinner parties, to quiet nights-in.

Sonos’ app is a little dated, especially on macOS. But that criticism is a little moot as the company has already announced an overhauled app with a more modern user interface.

Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Final Verdict

  • Pros: Great Sound, Nice Design, Works With Your Existing Smart Home Kit, Can Be Expanded In Future With Extra Speakers, Great App
  • Cons: Always-listening Microphone Array Isn’t As Accurate As Some Rivals, Touch-Sensitive Buttons Can Be Accidentally Triggered

The second-generation Sonos One sounds great. It has real oomph in the bass, while keeping everything else perfectly clear. Whatever genre makes up the majority of your playlists, Sonos One will be able to handle it with aplomb.

The ability to summon either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant with your voice, or beam from an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac using Apple’s AirPlay 2 technology – means it will always fit into your smart home set-up regardless of whether you switch from an iPhone to an Android, MacBook to ChromeBook, or decide to ditch your Amazon Echo in favour for a Google Home.

And that’s simply not true for every voice-activated smart speaker in this price range.

Coupled with a solid range of mounts and accessories to ensure it fits into your home and the ability to pair extra speakers down the line to create a whole-home audio solution, Sonos One is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a new smart speaker. That’s because it’s the smartest smart speaker out there.

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Windows 10: Microsoft’s next update has a bug and it won’t be fixed before release date

Microsoft is due to launch its next blockbuster update to Windows 10 this month. However, the Redmond-based company is waiting until the last possible moment to roll out the so-called May 2020 Update in order to fix a zero-day vulnerability in the operating system.

For those who don’t know, a zero-day exploit is one already known to hackers and other cyber crooks. That means Microsoft needs to put its foot down to get a fix out to Windows 10 users worldwide – so it makes sense the company would want to hold off an update due to launch in the coming weeks to include the requisite patch.

But unfortunately, despite taking the extra time to bundle the fix, the next Windows 10 update still won’t be perfect.

The company has conceded that there are still problems in the update that will not be rectified before it pushes out the new software to users worldwide. Microsoft has confirmed there will need to be another patch in the pipeline to address the known issues.

Microsoft explains: “We are aware of an issue where using the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool to repair corruption on systems running the May 2020 Update does not always report the correct status. This will be fixed in an upcoming servicing release.”

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Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say when Microsoft will have its fix ready for the one billion users running Windows 10 worldwide.

However, that could take a while. Especially as Microsoft clearly doesn’t see it as important enough to fix the primary May 2020 Update when that launches later this month.

As well as the fix for the zero-day vulnerability, the next Windows 10 update comes with some new features and tweaks. Cortana sees some of the biggest changes in the May 2020 Update.

No longer cooped-up in the taskbar – like in the earliest versions of Windows 10, Cortana can now be moved and resized like any other windowed application. And it’s not just the way Cortana is accessed that has changed. Microsoft has also bestowed the chatty AI assistant with a number of other features.

With the upgraded Cortana, you’re now able to ask the assistant to search your inbox by asking to “show me emails from [name]”. You can also ask the assistant to send a message by asking: “Send an email to [name] letting them know I’m running late”. If you use Microsoft Teams, Cortana can also help you drop into a meeting with a simple “Join my meeting” command.

Unfortunately, it’s not all shiny new features. Microsoft has dropped some features in order to streamline the chatty assistant, including Bing Instant Answers, jokes and other assistant conversations, as well as timer support.

Windows Search has also been improved. The system-wide search feature can now correct your spelling mistakes – so typos won’t stop you from finding the right Word document or email. Not only that, but the Quick Search feature can also help you find information from the web like the latest weather forecast in a new user interface.

Microsoft has also boosted Virtual Desktops so they’ll keep settings between reboots. You can also now rename individual desktops to make them easier to sort as you work. Microsoft has also added more options to the Settings panel. That means you won’t have to dive into the Control Panel as frequently, something Microsoft is keen to transition away from as Windows 10 continues to evolve.

There are also a few other useful tweaks, including the ability to monitor the temperature of your graphics card from Task Manager, as well as a streamlined Swift Pair feature that makes it quicker to connect and disconnect Bluetooth devices like mice, keyboards, and headphones.

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Samsung 4K and 8K TVs get three new channels for FREE, but there’s a catch

Samsung Smart TV owners looking for something to watch while in lockdown will be able to tune into three new channels for free thanks to an update to the built-in Samsung TV Plus feature. For those who don’t know, Samsung TV Plus is a completely free on-demand video streaming service that ships on the latest sets from the South Korean firm.

It’s one of a number of bundled features Samsung includes in its Smart TVs in a bid to stand out from rivals in a very competitive market. Another is Samsung’s Universal Guide which attempts to bring together shows and movies you’re watching from a range of different streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other platforms in a single catch-all menu.

The Seoul-based company has continuously added new channels and free content to its TV series over the last two years since TV Plus was introduced.

And today Samsung has announced three new channels that are coming to TV Plus. However, not everyone will be able to tune in to these new channels.

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Although TV Plus is available in a wide range of countries worldwide, these free-to-view channels are not. British-Dutch production company Endemol Shine Group confirmed plans to bring three new channels to TV Plus. Two of these – Deal or No Deal, and Sterling Drama – will only be available to TV Plus viewers in the United States.

The third new channel from Endemol Shine Group is dedicated to scripted dramas. It’s called Der Serienkanal and will only be available in Germany at the moment. It will include Peaky Blinders, Real Humans, and Gracepoint, to name a few.

Sterling Drama is already available on TV Plus in the United States following an earlier update pushed out last week. It includes a number of UK shows like Hamish Macbeth, The Hour, and The Mill.

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As the name suggests, Deal or No Deal will bring the US version of the gameshow made famous by Chris Tarrant, which is hosted by Howie Mandel, to US viewers with a Samsung-branded TV. It is not available in the UK at the moment.

But while UK viewers have missed out on the latest range of channels, production company Endemol Shine Group rolled out a number of channels specifically for British viewers back in November 2019. This update included All Drama, Masters of Food, and Reel Truth.

Endemol Shine Group Head of Digital Distribution and Monetisation Kasia Jablonska said: “We are very pleased to expand this strategic partnership with Samsung TV into new markets, which is a testament to both strength of Endemol Shine’s catalog and Samsung TV’s position in OTT market.”

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Virgin Media update brings MORE TV channels without costing YOU a penny on your bill

Virgin Media has rolled out another free bundle of television channels to its TV V6 customers at no extra cost. They have already gifted paid-for children’s channels to keep families entertained during the lockdown, this was followed by a batch of Sky channels to ensure the adults at home have enough comedy and drama to binge too. Like with these previous promotions, the latest round of free channels will be available for a limited time.

Virgin Media TV V6 subscribers will be able to tune-in until May 16, 2020 without costing them an extra penny on their monthly bill.

This time around, Virgin Media has focused on bringing some of the best documentary, nature and historical content to its viewers. Customers can now enjoy popular programmes from Alibi, Animal Planet, Eden, History, National Geographic, as well as others.

Across these channels, Virgin TV V6 customers will be able to enjoy a range of shows including Shakespeare & Hathaway and Death in Paradise (Alibi), Cosmos: Possible Worlds and Wicked Tuna (National Geographic), Vikings and Forged in Fire (History). 

And that’s not all. Virgin Media will also start bring customers free access to its Get Fit Today app until April 30, 2020 which has a range of workouts from Andreia Brazier – four times Fitness Model World Champion. Also available are hours of mindfulness and wellbeing content from Linda Hall Medication and The Honest Guys which provides a variety of meditation, deep relaxation and stress management exercises.

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With the latest batch of free channels, Virgin Media has now rolled out more than 50 paid-for channels to TV subscribers throughout the lockdown. The paid-for television provider also boasts a thousand episodes on-demand to catch-up.

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The full line up of extra documentary and entertainment channels now available for families to enjoy includes:

  • Alibi
  • Animal Planet
  • Comedy Central Extra
  • Crime + Investigation
  • Discovery History
  • Discovery Science
  • Discovery Shed
  • Discovery Turbo
  • Eden
  • Eurosport 1
  • Eurosport 2
  • H2
  • History
  • Home and Health
  • Love Nature
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Wild

Virgin Media remains one of the few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) still taking orders from new customers.

Their big rival Sky TV will not be sending out engineers to new customers to set-up the dish and other required kit until June 1 2020. Although new customers can still take advantage of the deals and bundles available – they will be forced to tune-in to Sky channels and content from their iPad, smartphone, or with catch-up apps.

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Samsung and Sony 4K TVs rivalled by this cheaper and feature-packed alternative

Samsung and Sony design some of the most popular Smart TVs on the planet, however telly addicts now have a range of more affordable options with the same features from Chinese firm TCL. The company has just announced two new 4K TVs coming to the UK that offer plenty of features at a price that won’t break the bank.

The cheaper of the range, imaginatively known as the EP65, arrives with a pixel-packed 4K HDR display and built-in Google Assistant which allows users to control features and find information via voice search.

This television also packs Dolby Audio surround sound into its slimline design and is powered by Android TV.

This Google software has numerous benefits, including access to a swathe popular applications such a Netflix and offering users the option to cast content to the big screen via their phone or tablet without needing any other accessories – like a Chromecast.

The EP65 range comes in four sizes with pricing as follows: 43-inch £329 • 50-inch £379 • 55-inch model £479 • 65-inch £599.

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Along with this cheaper range, TCL has also revealed its more premium EC78 Series which arrives with an almost frameless ultra-slim metal design and a 4K display that includes eye-pleasing features such as Wide Colour Gamut, Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

TCL says this model also includes sound by Onkyo, which delivers an incredibly immersive sound for your movies, music, and video games. As above, you’ll get full access to the Google Assistant and Android TV operating system plus there’s the option to summon Amazon’s Alexa assistant as well.

The EC78 Series arrives in two sizes with the smaller 55-inch version costing £549 and the 65-inch costing £749. If any of these TVs take your fancy then all will be available from tcl.com/uk, Amazon UK and AO, plus other retailers.

TCL also says it will be launching additional QLED Android models in May 2020 although further details have been revealed. If you’ve never heard of TCL then you’re probably not alone. However this now a fast-growing consumer electronics company and leading player in the global TV industry.

Founded in 1981 in China, it now operates in over 160 markets globally. According to research by Sigmaintell, TCL now ranks 2nd in the global TV market in terms of sales volume in Q1-Q3 2019.

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