Best Australian deals: Cheap laptops to buy in October 2017

If you’re looking for a cheap laptop or a mammoth saving on a premium portable computer, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the web for savings – from the usual suspects to the niche deal sites – and rounded up all the genuine and worthwhile specials in one neat place. We’ve covered everything from budget browsing machines to high-performance powerhouses, so you’ll no doubt find something to match your needs.

Up the top, we’ve highlighted a selection of the latest deals that we’ve sniffed out, so you can reap the rewards of having your finger on the pulse. Below that we’ve covered some of the more popular laptops that often come up on special, and then included a quick list of the best prices on TechRadar’s pick of the latest best laptops.

If you’re from the US or the UK, check out our selections of the top laptop deals in the US or in the UK.

Best laptop deals this week

HP Spectre x360 ($1,359.20; usually $1,699): The latest version of this premium-looking device is sleeker, faster and longer-lasting than ever before. And it’s on sale on eBay until October 23. This particular configuration of the 13-inch HP Spectre x360 features an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. Apply the code PLUG20 at checkout and the HP Spectre x360 can be yours for $1,359.20.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 ($2,399, down from $2,999): We’re pretty big fans of the XPS 13 over at TechRadar, with the latest model scoring itself an elusive 5/5 in our Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review. This particular configuration boasts a 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for storage. You can get the Dell XPS 13 for only $2,399 on the company’s website, shaving off $600 on this powerhouse of a machine.

Asus ZenBook UX310UQ 13-inch laptop ($1,108; usually $1,699): It’s sleek, good-looking and comes with plenty of oomph under the hood. This 13-inch beauty comes packing an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, not to mention a 2GB Nvidia GT 940MX graphics card. It’s already discounted on eBay at the moment, but you can score an additional 20% off by using the code PLUG20 until October 23 to get the Asus ZenBook UX310UQ for just $1,108.

Asus ZenBook UX510 laptop ($1,278; usually $1,533): There’s plenty of power under the hood of this Asus ZenBook, with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Plus there’s a 2GB Nvidia GTX950 graphics card and a Full HD display for all your gaming needs. This 15.6-inch laptop is currently on sale at Harvey Norman, with 20% off the regular RRP. So grab the Asus ZenBook UX510 for just $1,278.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 series laptop ($1,124; usually $1,499): There’s plenty of power under the hood of this laptop from Dell’s Inspiron range, coming with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. Plus there’s a whopping 2TB of storage and a 4GB AMD Radeon R7 M445 graphics card. The 15.6-inch display features Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. What makes this laptop even better is the 25% off on the RRP currently being offered by Dell. Head over to the manufacturer’s website and get the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 series laptop for $1,124, saving $375 on the purchase.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series 2-in-1 laptop ($1,399; usually $2,199): If you’re not too enthused with a traditional laptop that only houses an HDD under the hood, there’s a 15-inch 2-in-1 option from Dell as well. Featuring a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, a massive 512GB SSD, a Full HD display and an infrared camera for facial recognition, this machine usually comes with a premium price tag of $2,199, but head on over to the manufacturer’s website and snag the Inspiron 15 7000 series 2-in-1 laptop for just $1,399 until October 19, or until stocks last.

We’ll keep on updating the list of deals as and when we find them. Below, you’ll find up to date prices on five of TechRadar’s favourite laptop, so keep an eye out for those savings.

laptop deals

The best deals on our favourite laptops

Over the years we’ve reviewed plenty of laptops and, as a result, we’ve seen what to avoid and what to jump on when there’s savings to be had. We’ll keep track of the prices of some of the best we’ve seen so that you can snatch up a bargain when they do show up. Check out the prices below and see if anything has dropped enough to tickle your fancy.

Best laptops

Saying that we’re very happy with Dell’s XPS 13 is a huge understatement. The slim profile, revolutionary design and small frame bely its powerful performance and gorgeous 13-inch screen. Typically you’d have to weigh up portability and performance, but the XPS 13 has managed to strike a fine balance between the two. With Intel’s latest Skylake processors plus lighting, quick storage and memory, the XPS 13’s starting price is certainly an impressive one. We’re so chuffed with it that it’s taken the top slot as the best Ultrabook, the best Windows laptop and the best overall laptop.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

There are some seriously expensive gaming laptops out there, once you get involved in the optimisation and the latest GPUs, things start get pricey. But if you’re after a capable machine on a budget, try out the Dell Inspiron 15-inch gaming laptop.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15-inch gaming laptop

cheap laptop deals

A seriously sleek all-aluminium chassis, a higher resolution than the discontinued Asus ZenBook UX305, and an impressive swath of ports, including the latest USB-C interface, the latest UX310UA ZenBook is a serious contender for the MacBook Air and, if you’re a Windows person, is much better value.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX310

Although the specs are modest, the forward-thinking design of Lenovo’s Yoga Book makes it a decent option for creative types and those that want a little more out of their laptops. Sacrificing a bit of raw power means you’ll get an innovative digital touchpad and drawing surface for a much more intuitive and precise approach to graphical art.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Book

cheap surface pro deals

We know this is technically not a laptop, but it does come close to being a 2-in-1 (if you get the Type Case) and, most importantly, it has the power to get in the ring with some of its non-tablet competitors. Running the full-blown version of Windows 10 and having the option for a powerful Intel Core processor, this is by far the laptoppiest tablet available, and the price certainly isn’t that bad.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4

If you’re after some more further info on the best laptops, check out some of our other dedicated articles:

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Facebook acquires tbh, the Samsung connected tag, Terminal offers international-office-as-a-service and IBM now has its own blockchain solution. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Fujifilm Australia’s knocking up to $1,300 on some of its best cameras and lenses

Fujifilm Australia is rolling out the Christmas discounts super-early this year, with the camera-maker announcing a cashback promotion that could save you up to $1,300, which runs until January 7, 2018. 

The offer includes up to $300 cashback on selected mirrorless cameras and X-series lenses, up to $700 on selected GF-series lenses and up to $1,300 cashback on one of Fujifilm’s best medium-format pro cameras when purchased together with a GF-series lens.

To claim the cashback, you’ll need to purchase the items from a participating Australian dealer, with a list provided on Fujifilm’s Cashback website

Once a purchase has been made, buyers can head to the website, fill in their details and add a scanned copy of the tax invoice, then choose how they’d like to receive the money. Fujifilm promises to pay back within 28 days of registration, with claims closing on January 31, 2018.

Go mirrorless

So which cameras are worth buying as part of this promo? Well, the X-T2, as far as we are concerned, is one of the best mirrorless cameras in 2017, with the more entry-level X-T20 ranking at number three in our list. Along with the not-bad X-Pro2, there’s up to $300 cashback available starting today.

You can get the X-T2 from CamBuy for $2,189 or from Digital Camera Warehouse for $2,198, then head over to Fujifilm’s website and register to get back up to $300 in cash.

For a cheaper option, the silver X-T20 is available at CamBuy for $1,119 and the black X-T20 is $1,129 at CameraPro

The X-Pro2 is available at CamBuy for $2,139.

If you’ve already got one of these Fujifilm cameras, but are jonesing for a new lens, there’s up to $700 available in cashback when buying one of the GF series lenses mentioned above, or up to $300 on selected XF series lenses.

For the pros

Professional photographers and the enthusiasts now have the opportunity to bag the Fujifilm GFX 50S plus a lens (choose from the GF23mm, GF45mm, GF63mm, GF110mm, GF120mm and GF32-64mm) in a single purchase to save up to $1,300 during this cashback promotion. Right now, the 51.4MP GFX 50S is $9,888 at CameraPro

The GFX 50S features a weather-sealed body, a sensor that’s about 1.7x larger than a full-frame camera and a removeable and replaceable EVF, not to mention picture quality that’s excellent.

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Asics is using microwave technology to create custom midsoles in as little as 15 seconds

 It’s been a fascinating couple of years for high tech sneaker heads, between self-lacing Nikes and Adidas’ experiments with 3D printed midsoles and biodegradable yarn. Asics isn’t generally uttered in the same breath as those sorts of bleeding edge offerings, but the running shoe company has just debuted a pretty compelling new take on the manufacturing process.
The new… Read More

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Best baby monitor: great baby cams and smart camera alternatives

Becoming a parent is a wonderful, exciting experience. It’s also an anxious time. Anything at all that can help relieve you of the anxiety that something might happen to your baby when they aren’t right by your side is welcomed and the baby cam is the ultimate device for this. 

Not only does a decent baby cam give you peace of mind, it also helps you understand your baby’s habits and gives you that little bit of freedom – so you can be away from your baby but also know they are within eye- and earshot. 

For years, however, the baby cam category was a tired one – filled with cameras that offered grainy footage of your baby that’s postage stamp size and, well, just not very good. 

Things have vastly improved, though. Thanks to the relatively new introduction of smart cams in the home, the choice of baby monitors has vastly expanded. While these aren’t dedicated baby cams, and you should always consider using them alongside – rather than instead of – a traditional baby monitor, they offer a viable solution rather than a substandard one. 

This buying guide is a mix of traditional baby cameras and smart camera solutions. Each camera in this guide has been tested on one of TR’s honorary babies both in the day and the night, at long and short distance in a house. 

Here’s our pick of cameras to keep a watchful eye of your bundle of joy. 

Philips has a long history of supplying monitors and the uGrow smart monitor is top of the quality pile. Both in the dark and in the day the picture was crisp and detailed. Unlike other monitors, though, the picture comes through a dedicated app on your smartphone. 

This was simple to install and does make sense considering that you are more likely to have a phone or tablet on you than remembering to take a separate monitor with you wherever you are in the house, The app also comes with some choice medical advice to help you with your baby. 

We didn’t find the medical information that enticing but it’s good to have it in one place. We did have the occasional issue of monitor dropout which was frustrating but certainly not limited to this device. Reconnecting didn’t take too long, however, and it was only a few times we experienced it – mainly when it thought our Wi-Fi signal wasn’t strong enough. 

It’s worth also noting that if the screen of your device goes off then you will have to log back into the app. It doesn’t take long but is an inconvenience. If you don’t have particularly strong Wi-Fi then don’t panic as the device will scale up or down the images to your broadband speed. 

Image quality was on the whole excellent as was sound – both were HD and some of the best we experienced on test. It is pricey, though, but you are getting a lot for your money – including things like temperature and humidity notifications, talkback functionality and medical advice. 

The BT Video Baby Monitor 6000 was the quickest to set up in our tests. Out of the box it’s simply a case of ‘plug and play’ which meant we had our device up and running  in a matter of minutes. This is a baby cam with a dedicated monitor – the screen is a large five inches – which is a little too chunky for our liking but does a decent job in the picture and sound stakes. 

We did find the footage a little grainy compared to others on test but it’s only really noticeable when you get close up. Battery life lasted around 10 hours in our tests after a full charge and the ability to tilt and zoom the camera from the monitor is a welcomed one. 

There are a few gimmicks on board that we would avoid. It does come programmed with lullabies but they’re not that soothing, coming across more like a phone ringtone than a sleep mechanism. 

There’s also a temperature gauge and talkback functionality, all of which worked fine in our tests. It’s not the best-looking device on test – dare we say it, it all looks a little baby like, but it’s price is good, especially for the tech you get. 

The Motorola MBP18 is by far the oldest model on test, and one of the more basic, but it’s the one that’s had the most use by us as it was the monitor we used when our child was very young. 

It’s a functional device that has no frills but does exactly what you want it to do: monitor your baby without any dropouts or too many gimmicks. The screen is small at 1.8 inches but that does mean the image is crisp, even at night when the infrared kicks in. 

There’s talkback functionality on board and you can also zoom in if you feel the need to. The monitor has about eight hours of charge and rarely drops out and set up is really easy – plug both the camera and the monitor in and they will pair in seconds. 

The camera is light and has a good base so can be placed pretty much anywhere and it’s small too so won’t stick out like a sore thumb in the baby room. 

The monitor itself has decent audio functions – any sounds from our baby came through loud and clear and even things such as turning over was picked up by the camera’s mic. The audio levels are represented by a small strip of LEDs. 

If the monitor isn’t plugged in then you’ll get around eight hours’ use out of it before it starts beeping at you which means it needs a charge. 

When it comes to other controls, things are kept extremely simple. There is volume control, a 2x zoom and an off button. Speaking of turning things off, the screen will go off after a few minutes of non use (when the monitor isn’t plugged into the mains) but the audio still remains – a simple press of the on/off button is needed to get the screen back up.

If you are looking for a solid, dependable baby monitoring option, then you need look no further than the Motorola MBP18.

The Tommee Tippee Digital Sound and Movement Monitor was something we paired with the Motorola MBP18 when our baby was very young. The reason for this is that there’s no camera with this model. That’s something you may want to consider before purchasing this one. But if you are happy without the visuals, then this is a fantastic device that monitors movement and sounds an alarm when no motion is detected. 

Because it is a motion sensor, it’s a little tricky to install. There can’t be any hanging wires as they have to be taut for the sensor to work properly. The device comes with plastic wire tracks that you can use to guide and tighten the wires. These go under any mattress you may have, alongside the rectangle pressure pad. We put this under a Sleepy Head in a side cot and it worked fine. Once everything is installed – it took a while on the first go but we were a dab hand by the end – the device does offer the ultimate in peace of mind.

There are a few caveats, though. The monitor clicks, seemingly in time to the heartbeat of the baby – and it’s quite loud. This can be turned off but as it’s kind of the point of having this monitor, we recommend you don’t do that. You do get used to the sound but it is quite audible. And when the clicks stop, which happens every so often, we did find ourselves anxiously waiting for them to start again. 

Then there’s the false alarm issue. Occasionally the alarm sounded, even though everything was absolutely fine. This was usually because one of the wires had come loose, so it may have been shoddy installation on our part but it is worth bearing in mind. When the alarm does sound, then it is simple to reset the device. 

A movement monitor isn’t for everybody, but they are very useful for first-time parents who are worried about leaving their baby alone in a room and want something more than visual reassurance. 

The Tommee Tippee Digital Sound and Movement Monitor also comes with a temperature gauge and the audio – which was crisp in our tests – is two way so you can communicate with your baby if you need to. 

Smart baby cam alternatives

The Nest Cam IQ is a sophisticated and well-made security camera that has built-in facial recognition technology. It’s not a dedicated baby cam but as it is one of the most advanced IP cameras we have ever seen, it can certainly be used as such.

Despite it being a Nest product, you don’t need any of the other Nest accessories for it to work. 

Using it as a baby cam also means that you don’t have to pay the high subscription fees – these are only really needed if you fancy recording footage of your baby sleeping. Footage from the Nest Cam IQ is superb, it’s 1080p and the best quality we found in our tests. 

All footage is viewed through a smartphone/tablet app so there’s (obviously) no dedicated monitor.

Yes, it’s pricey but this is a fantastic-looking, premium camera that works well as a baby cam but has the bonus of also being a security cam for when your little one grows up and no longer needs constant monitoring.

Again, the Hive Camera is not a dedicated baby monitoring system, but it does a decent job moonlighting as one. 

The two essentials for baby cams are decent video-streaming capabilities and two-way audio – the Hive Camera is brilliant at both of these. 

The streams is HD quality (and there is a night vision mode) and we didn’t notice any dropout in our tests and the two way audio worked well, the camera’s mic picking up many nuances of our baby trying to get to sleep. 

It’s solidly built, too, and has a fairly small footprint, so can be placed pretty much anywhere in a nursery. If you did want to save any footage for posterity, you can have up to 16GB of expandable memory, thanks to a microSD card slot.

And when your child gets order, this smart cam is also a great security device – offering such things as a barking dog and police car alarm that you can set off if you see that someone has entered your house.

The D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Camera is currently being sold in the Apple Store which gives you an idea of what kind of product this is: it’s a premium-looking device that’s packed with smart smarts. 

It works with Apple HomeKit, which means that it will seamlessly interact with your Apple products, and it also works with Siri. Its HD video feed can be watched on a smartphone or tablet, while the night vision the camera offers is superb – thanks to some hidden LEDs powering its nocturnal functionality. 

It’s so good that the camera can get five feet away from the baby and still pick their image up with no worries. The camera also has an 180-degree field of view which is one of the most expansive we tested. 

It’s a great-looking device, one you wouldn’t mind having on your mantelpiece. Its silver finish may not fit the decor of a brightly colored nursery but it’s discreet enough to be put on a shelf and a brilliant 5x zoom means it doesn’t have to be situated too close to the cot to work. 

Footage can be recorded on a microSD card but this doesn’t come in the package, while the accompanying Omna app is full of functionality. This isn’t a dedicated baby cam but it acts as a very good one, offering everything you need in one of the best-looking packages on test. 

It’s also got Apple’s seal of approval, which isn’t easy to get. If you are an Android user, though, you can still use the camera as D-Link has recently updated its software for Android compatibility, pinch to zoom functionality has also come to the app.

Of all the cameras on test here, the Somfy One is perhaps the one better suited to being a security cam. It’s packed with features that will catch intruders in the act – including smart sensing capabilities, video surveillance, intrusion detection and a rather loud alarm. A lot of these features can be used to help monitor your baby, though, just maybe not use the alarm. 

Everything is controlled by the Somfy Protect app, where you have the option to turn the camera completely off when not using it and can zoom in and out when necessary. The picture is crisp, HD (180p, 30fps) and wide angle so you can get most of the cot in the view and there is the option to record footage from the camera straight on to your smartphone and 4x zoom and clear two-way audio on board. 

There is a motion-detect feature too, which is great for those who no longer need constant monitoring of your baby. The camera jolts into action when any movement is detected – so if your baby is tossing and turning and getting a little restless, then you can check as to whether or not you got go up and tend to them. 

The camera is an all-in-one system so is a lot larger than the other cameras on test – it’s a great-looking device, however, and one that has won a Red Dot award for its looks. Again, this should only be a purchase if you want a camera system to last beyond monitoring your baby. The prime focus for the Somfy One is to protect your home. 

Disable that rather loud alarm, though, and what you have is a very capable but perhaps over specced baby cam.

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The Technological Singularity: Managing the Journey (The Frontiers Collection)

This volume contains a selection of authoritative essays exploring the central questions raised by the conjectured technological singularity. In informed yet jargon-free contributions written by active research scientists, philosophers and sociologists, it goes beyond philosophical discussion to provide a detailed account of the risks that the singularity poses to human society and, perhaps most usefully, the possible actions that society and technologists can take to manage the journey to any singularity in a way that ensures a positive rather than a negative impact on society. The discussions provide perspectives that cover technological, political and business issues. The aim is to bring clarity and rigor to the debate in a way that will inform and stimulate both experts and interested general readers.


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Using ‘cooperative perception’ between intelligent vehicles to reduce risks

Networked intelligent vehicles (credit: EPFL)

Researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have combined data from two autonomous cars to create a wider field of view, extended situational awareness, and greater safety.

Autonomous vehicles get their intelligence from cameras, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, and navigation and mapping systems. But there are ways to make them even smarter. Researchers at EPFL are working to improve the reliability and fault tolerance of these systems by sharing data between vehicles. For example, this can extend the field of view of a car that is behind another car.

Using simulators and road tests, the team has developed a flexible software framework for networking intelligent vehicles so that they can interact.

Cooperative perception

“Today, intelligent vehicle development is focused on two main issues: the level of autonomy and the level of cooperation,” says Alcherio Martinoli, who heads EPFL’s Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL). As part of his PhD thesis, Milos Vasic has developed cooperative perception algorithms, which extend an intelligent vehicle’s situational awareness by fusing data from onboard sensors with data provided by cooperative vehicles nearby.

Milos Vasic, PhD, and Alcherio Martinoli made two regular cars intelligent using off-the-shelf equipment. (credit: Alain Herzog/EPFL)

The researchers used  cooperative perception algorithms as the basis for the software framework. Cooperative perception means that an intelligent vehicle can combine its own data with that of another vehicle to help make driving decisions.

They developed an assistance system that assesses the risk of passing, for example. The risk assessment factors in the probability of an oncoming car in the opposite lane as well as kinematic conditions such as driving speeds, the distance required to overtake, and the distance to the oncoming car.

Difficulties in fusing data

The team retrofitted two Citroen C-Zero electric cars with a Mobileye camera, an accurate localization system, a router to enable Wi-Fi communication, a computer to run the software and an external battery to power everything. “These were not autonomous vehicles,” says Martinoli, “but we made them intelligent using off-the-shelf equipment.”

One of the difficulties in fusing data from the two vehicles involved relative localization. The cars needed to be able to know precisely where they are in relation to each other as well to objects in the vicinity.

For example, if a single pedestrian does not appear to both cars to be in the same exact spot, there is a risk that, together, they will see two figures instead of one. By using other signals, particularly those provided by the LIDAR sensors and cameras, the researchers were able to correct flaws in the navigation system and adjust their algorithms accordingly. This exercise was even more challenging because the data had to be processed in real time while the vehicles were in motion.

Although the tests involved only two vehicles, the longer-term goal is to create a network between multiple vehicles as well with the roadway infrastructure.

In addition to driving safety and comfort, cooperative networks of this sort could eventually be used to optimize a vehicle’s trajectory, save energy, and improve traffic flows.

Of course, determining liability in case of an accident becomes more complicated when vehicles cooperate. “The answers to these issues will play a key role in determining whether autonomous vehicles are accepted,” says Martinoli.

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) | Networked intelligent vehicles

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