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25/12/2016

Acer Aspire 7551G-5821 Battery

I also like the way the presentation box it comes in doubles as the ring’s wireless charging plate. It’s one of the cleverest pieces of packaging I’ve ever seen.And, to give it its due, the ring works. I paired it with a MacBook Pro 13in, and an iPhone 6 (and Android app is in the works), and it worked as advertised. I was able to swipe back and forth in Keynote (it also works out of the box with PowerPoint and Prezi), adjust the volume up and down and use it to skip and pause tracks in iTunes and Spotify on both devices. Actually, the latter feature is pretty handy when driving the car and playing music over Bluetooth.It’s also possible to use the ring to control the shutter on your smartphone’s camera, or a GoPro, and link the ring to your Roku for basic navigation and play/pause/skip controls. And, yes, it will buzz you – but only for calls and text messages. Useful if your phone is buried in your handbag and you’re constantly missing important communications.

It isn’t particularly comfortable to wear or use, however. Now, call me fussy, but I’d expect a wearable that purports to make my life easier to do it without causing thumb ache as I contort my opposable digit around to swipe and tap.Of course, it’s only useful as long as the battery lasts – that's around three days of normal use. And some might take exception to the fact that the black shiny cap is made of plastic. It picks up greasy fingerprints quickly and won’t look shiny for long.The Neyya smart ring is exciting only so much as in it signals what the future might be like for wearable tech. The world in a few years’ time will be a place where cheap, connected circuitry is built into even the most humdrum of everyday items.

A wooden spoon with a Bluetooth thermometer built in? Yes please. A coffee machine that pings your smartphone when your brew’s ready? I’ll have one of those. A sensor in your sofa that tells the smart thermostat to boost the temperature in the living room? Why on earth not?Around a month ago, an innocuous Slack message appeared. It was my Editor David asking if I wanted to take part in Run in the Dark - a five or ten kilometre jaunt around Battersea Park, which - as the name suggests - is done at night. Being a pretty regular 5k runner, and still taking on the advice from my Science of Running piece, I agreed. Then I was signed up for 10km, despite my protests. Anyway, between us, we ran 45km (one of us, who will remain nameless, stuck to 5km), and immediately the question became whether we should cover it on the site, or take our inevitable uninspired, sweaty performance to our graves. In the end, we decided it was a great opportunity to test fitness trackers, but given we’d be traveling at different speeds, it made sense to stick them all on one person.

We dug around our drawers, cupboards, homes and wrists to dig deep and pile as many fitness trackers onto my arm as possible. What you’re looking at there is (from left to right) is a Misfit Flash, a Jawbone UP3, an Apple Watch, a Fitbit Flex, a first generation Moto 360 and a Sony Smartband 2, all talking to a HTC One M8 (and David’s iPhone 6s). My arm has never been this valuable, with a recommended retail price of £895 on wearables alone - though over half of that is on Apple. There was talk of including a Google Glass as well, but perhaps taking pity on me, it was overruled.For the race itself, I divided them up a bit more neatly than that. Watches on the left wrist, step counters on the right, with the exception of the Misfit which - appropriately given its name - was worn on my shoe.

In the fifth century BC, Herodotus compiled the world’s first listicle, "The seven wonders of the world". Nowadays, this would probably come under the headline "You won't believe these man-made structures exist" or something, but the point is that the shortlist included the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s the only one of the seven still standing, and it's still impressive enough to get an honourary mention in the New7Wonders shortlist from 2007. Yet, despite having been studied for thousands of years, the pyramids may still hold a few secrets. Thermal imaging from the ScanPyramids project has revealed some unexplained hot spots that could change our understanding of the structures completely. Take a look at the picture below. Okay, some bits are hotter than others. So what? Well, because we know that different materials hold heat in different ways, these anomalies suggest the presence of several building materials, cracks or – most excitingly of all – an absence of rock.

Egypt’s antiquities minister (why don’t we have one of those?) Mamdouh el-Damaty told Phys.org: “There is something like a small passage in the ground that you can see, leading up to the pyramids ground, reaching an area with a different temperature. What will be behind it?”For el-Damaty to draw such a strong conclusion, the temperature disprepancy must have been clear. And it was. The difference between the majority of adjacent limestone blocks was less than 0.5C, but the Great Pyramid’s strangest section was a whopping 6C warmer.One slightly wacky explanation for this disprepancy comes from Republican presidential favourite Ben Carson, who is currently under fire for suggesting the pyramids were built by Joseph (yes, he of the Bible fame) to store grain.

Overlook the fact that Joseph would have been around -500 years old when he decided to knock together his first pyramid, and that the Egyptians actually wrote down the structures’ purposes – even Donald Trump (who has an uneasy relationship with science) is giving him a kicking on this. His Republican rival said: “The pyramids are solid structures. You can’t put grain in the pyramid because they’re solid structures, other than a little thing for the pharaohs at the bottom.”Polling from Public Policy Report suggests that even the majority of Carson’s supporters think he’s a bit mad on this one:

The Surface Pro 4 is close to a year old, but remains an exceptionally good product. It's one of those products that proves the best route to success is to take an already great recipe and tweak it very slightly, year on year. Using this method, Microsoft turned an average product into a very good one in three years flat, and this latest model builds yet again on that accumulated achievement.The improvements evident in the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 are mostly small and incremental, then, but don’t, whatever you do, make the mistake of thinking they’re “only” iterative. As Apple has proved time and time again, constant iteration leads to products that end up head and shoulders above the competition. That’s where the Surface Pro 4 finds itself, and it's why its stablemate the Microsoft Surface Book – though quite, quite lovely – isn’t at the same level just yet.

In case you haven’t seen a Surface Pro, or you've been hiding from the multi-million-dollar advertising campaign Microsoft has run since the first one launched, it is designed to be the tablet that can replace a laptop. It runs Microsoft’s desktop OS software, Windows 10, and as such allows you to run any Windows application on the planet, as well as apps from the Windows Store.That makes it a very different proposition to the Apple iPad Pro, which only runs iOS apps. It’s all at once a powerful laptop replacement that you can use in a business environment to run legacy Windows apps, browse networks and copy and paste files, and a consumer tablet you can use to run casual games and watch Netflix. It’s truly a one-size-fits-all machine.

It's also built around an Intel processor – in our case, the latest Skylake Core i5-6300U – although you can go up to an i7 or even step down to a Core m3. Prices start at £749 inc VAT for the model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD and rise to £1,799 for an i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. As usual, you’ll have to add on £110 for the (pretty much essential) Type Cover, which means a top-of-the-line Surface Pro 4 won’t leave you much change from £2,000. Microsoft is truly following the Apple model with this one.That’s not to say, though, that you’re not getting value for money – you’re definitely getting a design and build quality that’s at least as good as Apple’s. Although the design of the Surface Pro 4 doesn’t stray too far from that of the Surface Pro 3, there are little touches that improve it.

There’s still the same beautiful kickstand, which you can adjust to almost any angle, so it’s close to being a laptop-like experience. You can even angle it all the way back, which makes the Surface Pro very usable without your keyboard attached in a lap – think the iPad with a Smart Cover on it, folded back, and you have an idea of the angle at which it sits.How does it compare with the competition, though? Well, it’s a sight better than the iPad Pro’s keyboard stand. Although I don’t mind typing on that keyboard, the lack of adjustability – it’s set at one angle – backlight and touchpad set it at a significant disadvantage.And, while Google has made a much better attempt with the Google Pixel C’s magnificent magnetically attachable keyboard, which allows you to adjust the keyboard at any angle and has a stiff, solid base, it suffers from similar shortcomings. It also lacks a touchpad and backlighting, and its small size means it isn’t as comfortable to use as the Surface Pro 4’s Type Cover.

The body is the same as its predecessor, as is the array of ports: USB 3, mini-DisplayPort, and a microSD slot hidden under the stand. Microsoft hasn’t taken the opportunity to shift to USB Type-C, which I think is a shame. This means we’re also stuck with the weird proprietary power connector, rather than being able to charge from USB Type-C. Oh well, perhaps next time.One small design tweak that's welcome, though, is the addition of a few magnets on the left-hand side. These hold the Surface Pen – which is included with the device – firmly to the side of the device. How firmly? Firmly enough that, on a flat desk, I can drag the Surface Pro 4 along just by holding the pen and pulling. It isn't quite as secure as an internal docking slot, but it comes close enough for me to stop complaining about not having a place to put the pen.Overall, though, the design and build quality remain the gold standard for this kind of convertible. The Surface Pro 4 looks, and feels, like an expensive, high-quality product. And that’s because it is – on both counts.

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