Buying Guide: The 7 best PC cases: top cases for your next gaming machine

Buying Guide: The 7 best PC cases: top cases for your next gaming machine

Introduction

It's tempting to dismiss PC cases as big black boxes, but that's dismissing huge swathes of the market – and one of your system's most important components.

There's a huge amount of variety and quality in every corner of the market. At the top are the full-tower behemoths that can house the fastest components and the most extensive cooling setups, and normal-sized towers sit just below – and can also accommodate huge amounts of hardware.

The case market isn't just towers, either. Micro-ATX enclosures cut a fine balance between the size and versatility of towers and the svelter dimensions of smaller cases, and mini-ITX products can squeeze into the smallest gaps on a desk or beneath a TV.

The choice, understandably, can be daunting. That's why we've scythed through the hundreds of cases out there to pick six of the best in six different categories – so every kind of system is catered for.

Corsair Obsidian 900D

1. Corsair Obsidian 900D

Huge, versatile and well-made – it's a market-leader, but it's expensive

Type: Big Tower | Dimensions: 252 x 692 x 650mm | Weight: 18.6kg | Features: Colour: Black; Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 9 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 4 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 3 x 120mm front, 1 x 140mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 4 x USB 2, 2 x audio; Special Features: Total water-cooling support, dual-PSU support, hot-swap drive mounts, 15 fan locations

Huge amount of space
Room for bespoke cooling setups
Prohibitively high price

The largest product in Corsair's Obsidian range, the 900D, is a vast, uncompromising aluminium unit that caters for the world's most demanding hardware.

It supports the largest motherboards, and it's big enough to handle the chunkiest CPU coolers and graphics cards. It has a broad set of storage options, and it's just as accommodating with cooling – it can support any configuration of water-cooling hardware and a baffling array of fans.

The Obsidian pairs its versatile, high-end design with the brooding good looks associated with brushed aluminium.

The 900D has every feature a high-end builder needs, but it has caveats too. This case is very expensive, and it's overkill for anyone who isn't building a benchmark-busting, high-end rig. It'll also be heavy and take up a vast amount of room once it's constructed.

BitFenix Shinobi XL

2. BitFenix Shinobi XL

A case that handles powerful hardware without breaking the bank

Type: Full Tower | Dimensions: 245 x 557 x 570mm | Weight: 12.6kg | Features: Colour: Black/White; Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 8 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 5 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 230mm front, 1 x 120mm rear, 1 x 230mm top PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 5 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Total water-cooling support, moveable hard disk cage, soft-touch matt finish

Room for high-end components
Versatile storage array
A little louder than rivals
Still too large for modest builds

This chassis isn't as vast as the Corsair, but that's good – it'll be smaller, lighter and more manageable. It's still got the space to handle high-end hardware, from ATX motherboards to huge CPU coolers.

It can handle long graphics cards, too, and the hard disk cage can be removed to accommodate several extra-long GPUs. There's huge room for storage, oversized fans are included, and it can also handle most water-cooling configurations.

BitFenix uses soft-touch plastic to help the Shinobi XL stand out from rivals, but don't worry about build quality – the plastic is solid and the steel beneath doesn't budge. It has more front ports than rivals, too. As with the Corsair, a chassis this big isn't always necessary, especially for a modest build – but this is an impressive, feature-packed tower.

Fractal Design Define R5

3. Fractal Design Define R5

Smart and quiet, it's got the size to handle mid-range rigs

Type: Mid Tower | Dimensions: 232 x 521 x 421mm | Weight: 10.7kg | Features: Colour: Black/Titanium/White; Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 8 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 2 x 2.5-inch, 2 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 140mm front, 1 x 140mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, 2 x audio; Special Features: Noise-reduction material, supports 420mm water-cooling radiators, removable HDD and ODD cages, fan controller

Impressive noise-cancelling features
Smart, subtle exterior design
Less room for high-end cooling
Fewer fan mounts

This mid-tower case is ideal for building an ATX system that doesn't need extensive cooling or multiple graphics cards.

The metal used throughout is smart and minimal, and its side panels are coated with sound-absorbing material in order to reduce noise. The fans are also designed for low-noise, and their speed can be altered with a three-stage controller.

The hard disk cage is full of solid metal caddies, and it's removable in two stages – handy, as larger graphics cards may be blocked if the cage is left installed. This case supports water-cooling hardware, but there's not as much room as other models – the R5 is capable with pre-built liquid coolers, but proper bespoke loops with large radiators and reservoirs will be better accommodated elsewhere.

It doesn't quite have the chops for powerful high-end builds, but this is a smart, subtle and versatile tower for mid-range ATX rigs.

NZXT Manta

4. NZXT Manta

Its curved good looks impress, but this case isn't cheap

Type: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 245 x 450 x 426mm | Weight: 7.2kg | Features: Colour: Black; Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 2 x 3.5-inch, 3 x 2.5-inch; Fans Included: 2 x 120mm front, 1 x 120mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Curved steel panels, 280mm water-cooling radiator support

Stunning curved metal design
Surprisingly versatile for mini-ITX
Larger than most mini-ITX cases
Pricier than most, too

This mini-ITX enclosure stands apart from rivals thanks to its curved steel panels. The subtly arcing shape helps the Manta look different, but NZXT also says it has practical applications – chiefly, more room to store excess cables.

The Manta supports Mini-ITX motherboards, which come with pros and cons. They're able to handle the most powerful CPUs and graphics cards, but they can only accommodate one card and don't have the wealth of connectors found on ATX or micro-ATX boards. That makes them ideal for gaming or home machines that won't need many upgrades.

That said, the Manta does a fine job – it supports ATX power supplies and 280mm pre-built liquid-coolers, and has enough room for huge graphics cards and sizeable CPU heatsinks. It has ample room for storage, and includes several fans. It's not the smallest mini-ITX case, but it's one of the best-looking and most versatile.

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX

5. Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX

Stunning, strong and with features that punch above its weight

Type: Micro-ATX | Dimensions: 230 x 400 x 450mm | Weight: 9kg | Features: Colour: Black/Grey/White; Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 2 x 2.5-inch, 1 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 200mm front, 1 x 140mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Fan hub, replacement power LEDs

Sturdy aluminium throughout
Versatile features
Expensive for micro-ATX
Awkward for high-end cooling

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv marks the mid-way point between taller towers and tiny mini-ITX enclosures. It's a good bit of the market to occupy: its conventional tower design means it still has ample features and space, but it's still smaller than full-size cases.

The Evolv's doors swing open to reveal a smart interior. Full-size PSUs and cables sit beneath a shroud that keeps the system tidy, and storage slides into a metal cage at the front. Cable-routing is simple and many panels pull away with quick-release mechanisms.

The aluminium looks fantastic and offers rock-solid build quality, and it's capable on the cooling front – this case comes with a 200mm front fan, and can handle modest liquid-cooling units and more conventional air-cooling hardware. It can even be used for bespoke liquid cooling, although more disassembly is required.

There's little wrong with the Evolv. It's more expensive than other micro-ATX cases, but it justifies that price by balancing a great range of features and laudable versatility with sturdy, good-looking design.

Lian-Li PC-V355B

6. Lian-Li PC-V355B

A tiny aluminium chassis that offers surprisingly versatility

Type: Cube | Dimensions: 283 x 386 x 263mm | Weight: 3.7kg | Features: Colour: Black/Silver; Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5-inch, 1 x 2.5-inch, 1 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 120mm front PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Slide-out motherboard tray

Removeable motherboard tray
mATX and mini-ITX motherboards
Not as smart as some rivals
Modest cooling capabilities

Cube cases are ideal for several scenarios: modest office machines, media systems that sit next to a TV, or even gaming. Lian-Li's PC-V355B is a smart-looking cube with the versatility to handle all of these situations.

It accepts micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, which makes it surprisingly versatile considering its diminutive dimensions. It looks good, too – a subtle box of sturdy brushed aluminium available in black or silver – although some might not like its lines and corners.

The fans are mounted on anti-vibration screws to cut down noise, and the motherboard tray can slide out to aid installation – a boon when so many small cases are so fiddly. The Lian-Li can handle a single SSD and three hard disks and it'll also fit reasonably large graphics cards.

There's enough space here to build a machine with the grunt to handle work and play with equal competence – and the Lian-Li won't take up room while doing it.

best pc case

7. Aerocool X-Predator II

State-of-the-art expansion for when a standard ATX just doesn't cut it

Type: Full Tower | Dimensions: 232 x 559 x 595mm | Weight: 13.34kg | Features: Color: Black/White; Motherboard Support: E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 8 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 3 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 2 x 140mm top, 2 x 140mm front, 1 x 140mm rear, 1 x 140mm bottom; Support: ATX Ports: 4 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, 2 x audio; Special Features: HDD dock, external fan control, dual-water cooling support

Aerocool X-Predator II

Lots of expansion
Top-end airflow
Great value
Fairly standard otherwise

Comprising eight internal HDD trays, six USB ports, headphone and mic jacks as well as ten total expansion slots, the extended ATX X-Predator II lives up to the name with an intimidating demeanor that refuses to compromise on top-end airflow techniques.

Internally, the X-Predator II is fairly typical, but at a value that's hard to resist considering the sheer size and embedded functionality of the chassis. Most notable is the design choice to include two pre-installed 140mm fans at the top of the X-Predator II in addition to the nearly toolless barrier of entry.

On the outside, Aerocool has devised a premium feel to its convenience factors. For instance, if you need extra storage on the fly, you don't even have to open the unit up. Simply dock a 3.5- or 2.5-inch hard drive at the peak of the chassis and you're good to go.

Ultimately, the Aerocool X-Predator II is one of the best cases money can buy if you're lugging around a graphics card or two that, otherwise, just wouldn't fit in a regular ATX enclosure.

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The 20 best mobile productivity apps

The 20 best mobile productivity apps

Introduction

Productivity apps

Thanks to advances made in mobile technology over the last few years, more businesses are turning to devices like smartphones and tablets to help them in managing their operations. Generally speaking, the days of relying on a PC to do everything are over.

When you're running about in meetings all day, have hundreds of emails to read, and must meet tight deadlines, the attraction of mobile is undeniable. Apps, in particular, are changing the way we live and work in so many different ways.

And if you download the right apps to fit your business needs, then you can easily improve productivity. There's an app for almost every task and area, from accounting to product management. In this article, we've highlighted the very best business productivity apps – and in some cases web-based tools which you can use on your mobile – that are currently available.

Image Credit: ymgerman/iStock

1. Join.me

Join.me

There are a ton of web conferencing and collaboration apps out there, but they aren't always mobile-friendly. Enter Join.me, an online meeting tool that's easy to set up and can be used from any device – there's a web version which means you don't have to download anything if you don't want to. It provides free screen sharing and unlimited videoconferencing. There's a handy whiteboard feature as well, letting everyone contribute ideas virtually. The app is available on iPhone, iPad and Android.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

2. Gyst

Gyst

When you have so many things to do and not enough time to play with, you can easily become overwhelmed and fall behind. Gyst is the app that wants you to stay organised and get more done. It consolidates texts, contacts, calendars and to-do lists into one place. Because of this, you don't need to keep dipping into different apps and it will help you stay on top of things. You can also use the software to prioritise text messages, schedule meetings and communicate with your colleagues.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

3. Basecamp 3

Basecamp 3

Basecamp is a veteran piece of project management software in the business world, having been around for ten years. Features include the ability to keep and track client feedback, chat with your colleagues, set up work-related reminders, praise co-workers and give them tasks to complete, and share documents. Like Gyst, you're also able to create to-do lists, although you can easily pre-order them based on their priority and relevance.

An internal message board plays a big role in the app too. With it, you can post announcements, proposals and ideas. You can sign up and get your first outing for free, but beyond that you'll have to pay.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free/From $29 (around £20) per month

4. Doodle

Doodle

Diary clashes are annoying but pretty common in the business world. This is where Doodle comes into the picture. It's an app that helps you streamline meetings and stay productive. How does it work? You sign in, set up an event and suggest times to your colleagues. They then choose the times that work for them, and the app tries to find the best slot for everyone. What's great is that your colleagues don't even need to be signed up to the app in order to participate.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

5. Trello

Trello

Trello is another great app worth checking out if you have a busy life with your work or business commitments. Aimed at helping you to get things done and stay organised, the app lets you create boards for all the projects you're working on. You can work on these individually or add colleagues so they're kept up-to-date with the tasks they're undertaking. As well as this, you're able to add to-do lists on boards, assign tasks, comment on items, upload files and videos, and attach files. It's free to use, although you have the option to upgrade for added functionality.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

6. Google Drive

Google Drive

You could spend a good deal of cash on a package like Microsoft Office, or you could stick with Google Drive and pay nothing. Drive offers you a full suite of word processing, database and presentation applications. The great thing about them is that they're cloud-based, so you can work on documents and files from any device – be it a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Everything is saved as you left it, and you have the option to view revisions.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

7. Slack

Slack

The market for communication apps is quite fragmented, but when it comes to keeping up-to-date with your colleagues and in-work teams, Slack is a no-brainer. It offers real-time messaging, and you can share files in one-to-one and group conversations. The app is known for its powerful search and archiving functionalities, so you'll always be able to find past files and conversations easily.

And there are also integrations with apps and services such as Dropbox, Asana, Google Drive, Twitter, Zendesk and more. Slack syncs across all devices, from smartphones to computers, and it's free with certain limitations (which you can rid yourself of if you upgrade to a paid subscription).

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

8. Peakon

Peakon

Peakon is a new web platform with an iOS app dedicated to maximising productivity within companies. It provides automated employee feedback and measures engagement to help firms create happier, more sustainable working environments. Sounds good, right? But you're probably wondering how it actually works.

That's pretty simple to explain. Peakon constantly asks you questions to build a coherent, realistic analysis of how you're feeling at your company. While you have to pay for a basic subscription, you can have a free 30-day trial to test the service out (no credit card details needed).

Platforms: iOS

Price: From £2.60 ($3.50) per user per month

9. Omnifocus 2

Omnifocus 2

Omnifocus claims to be a PC-grade, in-depth task management solution that you can use on your iOS device. While it costs £30, the app offers flexible viewing options, location awareness and on-the-fly task entry features to help you get through a busy day. You can assign tasks based on location, people and energy level to accomplish jobs. Every task or piece of work you add to the app shows up in the iPhone's Notification Center, so you don't have to worry about missing deadlines.

Platforms: iOS

Price: £30 (around $40)

10. Nudjed

Nudjed

If you feel unmotivated, stressed or unwell, it's likely your work will suffer. And in an ideal world, that's something you'd like to avoid. Fortunately, online platform Nudjed is on a mission to boost employee health. It collects data across key areas of health to help employers build a picture of how their staff are feeling. Using this information, they can then step in and develop work-based health programmes so all employees are happy and thriving. The company was set up in 2013 by Welsh designer and entrepreneur Warren Fauvel.

Platforms: Web only

Price: Varies

11. Scoro

Scoro

Scoro is a worthy end-to-end work management solution. Soon to be launched in app form, it allows professionals and businesses to control their entire workflow from one place. The tool also aims to streamline work and eliminate unnecessary processes that may affect productivity. Scoro's features include calendars, task and project management, quoting and billing, enterprise-level reporting and a real-time dashboard. While it costs to subscribe to Scoro, there is a free 14-day trial available.

Platforms: Web only (app coming soon)

Price: From £8 ($11)

12. Pen and Paper

Pen and Paper

A simple pen and paper is always a great way to stay productive, and this aptly named app digitises the process. With Pen and Paper you can create handwritten notes and documents on your trusty iPhone or iPad. You draw with your finger or a stylus, and can doodle away if you wish and easily pull off tricks like resizing, adding text boxes or creating diagrams. The app works with Dropbox too, so you can import and annotate PDF documents and other files.

Platforms: iOS

Price: £2.29 ($2.99)

13. Buffer

Buffer

If you deal with a ton of social media feeds at work, then you ought to have a look at Buffer. It's one of the best tools you can get for scheduling posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform is easy to use, too. You simply link your company accounts to one email, and you'll be able to push out tweets and status updates in a matter of seconds. There are apps for iOS and Android, although you can use Buffer on the web too. An individual account with one social profile is free, but if you have multiple profiles or team members who want to use the service, you'll need to pay for a subscription.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

14. Evernote

Evernote

Evernote has been around for a good few years and is one of the safest bets when it comes to using apps to boost productivity. It offers a variety of note-taking tools so you can change the way you work on and organise your personal and professional projects. You can write, analyse and store ideas in the form of notes, notebooks, checklists and to-do lists. Notes can be taken in a plethora of formats, including text, sketches, photos, audio, web clippings, PDFs and more.

The app syncs across all your devices, so you never have to worry about losing your precious notes and documents. It's free to use, although there's the option to upgrade to a pro version with more features.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

15. DropTask

DropTask

When it comes to working on projects with a large team, things can get pretty hectic. Allocating tasks ends up taking forever, and soon everyone's confused. The solution? DropTask. It offers a vibrant, colourful interface that delivers an enjoyable but effective task management experience.

The main feature here is a customisable workflow board, where team members can allocate tasks and check what they're expected to do. You can invite up to five colleagues to work on tasks in real-time, and you can assign items under multiple categories. Like many of the other apps listed in this article, DropTask is cloud-based and syncs across devices.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

16. Be Focused Pro

Be Focused Pro

It's easy to fall behind when you have so much work to do, and it doesn't help when there are so many distractions to deal with. If you suffer with these sort of issues, Be Focused Pro could help you. This iOS app lets you focus on your work and get things done by splitting individual tasks into intervals, separated by small breaks. This, the creators claim, will help you retain motivation while you work. As well as being able to create and configure tasks, you can also track your progress throughout the week, month or year.

Platforms: iOS

Price: £1.49 ($1.99)

17. Harvest

Harvest

One of the banes of running a business is having to deal with time and expense sheets. Unless you're willing to shell out for an accountant, this is something you're going to have to tackle yourself. But Harvest makes the task a lot simpler. The app is a way for you to track time, log expenses and manage invoices on-the-go.

You can use the app to send invoices to clients and track when they've paid, add, view and edit time entries, take photos of receipts and upload them, monitor mileage, and much more besides. There is a basic free plan but it restricts the number of clients and projects available, so you'll need to fork out for a paid subscription if you want to unlock those limits.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

18. TinyPulse

TinyPulse

Are you a business owner? Then you'll understand the importance of knowing how your employees are feeling. After all, if they're not happy at your firm, then the chances are they're going to underperform – or go elsewhere. TinyPulse is an app that lets you get to know your staff, giving you the ability to set them questions and analyse their feedback. Using this data, you can then make changes if they're needed.

You can also share virtual suggestions with your team, ensuring they're always included in strategic decision-making. And hopefully the result of all this will be a happier, more democratic working environment. You can get a free trial to test the system out, although you'll need to contact the company for details of pricing plans when it comes to the full service.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Varies

19. Bria

Bria

Bria is a business-grade communication app available on iOS and Android as well as BlackBerry. It creates a SIP-based softphone client using Wi-Fi or a cellular data network that can make and receive calls over the net. The service uses the phone's existing contact list and has been designed to facilitate easy, effective communication management. There's an intuitive interface that accommodates multiple calls, and functionality includes the ability to swap, merge and split calls, plus you can perform attended and unattended transfers. You needn't worry about security either, as it boasts built-in audio encryption.

Platforms: Android, iOS and BlackBerry

Price: £6 ($7.99)

20. Wunderlist

Wunderlist

There's certainly no shortage of to-do list apps out there, but equally there's no denying that Wunderlist is one of the best. The app allows you to create as many task lists as you want and share them with your colleagues. They sync across devices, so you'll always have them to hand. Note that the app is free, but there's a pro version that'll cost you a few quid a year. You can delegate tasks, set deadlines, add notes, create reminders and split items into sub-tasks – and the interface is easy-to-use, and looks good, too.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

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Mac Week: Siri vs. Cortana: which virtual assistant is best on a desktop?

Mac Week: Siri vs. Cortana: which virtual assistant is best on a desktop?

Siri vs Cortana

On September 20, Apple released macOS Sierra to anyone sporting a compatible Apple computer. The new operating system's signature feature is – at long last – the addition of Siri, the company's signature, AI-powered personal assistant.

Almost five years after it arrived alongside the iPhone 4S with iOS 5, Siri is finally available for Mac users, and it's fully equipped with functionality that rivals Microsoft's Halo-derived Cortana.

In fact, the features exhibited by Siri and Cortana are similar enough that we decided to go hands-on and find out the answer to a simple question: which is better? To accomplish this, we've devised five different categories of tasks. In each category, we'll assign three different tests to examine how Siri and Cortana compare in real-life situations.

Siri vs. Cortana as file explorers

Our first series of tests demands that we have a few files (and one application) lying around on both the Mac and Windows 10 computers. We'll start with a pair of simple commands: "Show me my latest invoice for September," and, "Show me the screenshots I took today."

siri vs cortana

For Cortana (above), we are already off to a rough start – "no results found" for that invoice. Of course, favoring one over the other this early on would be unfair.

siri vs cortana

After all, Siri (above) doesn't precisely honor our first request either, providing us with a shortlist of files from our "Invoices" folder rather than opening the latest one.

siri vs cortana

To be fair, though, Siri (above) does show us our screenshots, as request. Another strike for Cortana, with yet another "no results found" reply.

For the third test, we asked Siri and Cortana to open an app: Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015. "Open Adobe Premiere Pro," we said.

siri vs cortana

Both (Cortana shown above) responded exactly as desired, booting up a launch window for the video editing application followed by the software itself.

Winner: Siri

Siri vs. Cortana as personal DJs

For our music-playing tests with Siri and Cortana, we'll use both Apple Music and Groove Music Pass to determine the quality of the interactions between Apple and Microsoft's virtual assistant AI and your own song collections.

siri vs cortana

Here, we simply ask both Siri (above) and Cortana to play three different songs: "Everything I Am" by Kanye West, "Someday" by The Strokes and "The Murder Mystery" by The Velvet Underground.

The only problem we encounter has nothing to do with Siri or Cortana and more to do with Groove Music.

siri vs cortana

Surprisingly, Kanye's best-selling album "Graduation" is completely absent from the service, which caused things to go awry even as we added our own copy of the album to OneDrive (above). While Cortana was quick to play "Everything I Am" by Kanye West, it incorrectly claimed to be playing a song of the same title by rapper Lowkey.

Winner: Tie

Siri vs. Cortana as secretaries

This is the test where we take a look at Siri and Cortana's interoperability with their native communication apps, getting them to call, text and email other people using FaceTime, Skype, iMessage and so forth. Once we ensure that all our accounts are lined up in the background, Siri and Cortana both handle texts and emails with ease.

siri vs cortana

Unfortunately, for calls – Skype or otherwise – Cortana (above) is only willing if you're on a mobile device.

siri vs cortana

Considering Siri's (above) ability to make FaceTime calls in addition to sending iMessages and emails, we were disgruntled to see Cortana fail to replicate that behavior.

siri vs cortana

Still, Cortana (above) totes SMS and email functionality that delivers without question. That's commendable for a virtual assistant that's been around half the time Siri has.

All told,, at least in this category, Siri emerges the winner.

Winner: Siri

Siri vs. Cortana as calendar assistants

Let's face it, scheduling meetings and setting reminders is mundane and, without the proper aid, cumbersome. Luckily, these days we can rely on Siri and Cortana to handle these things for us – if we ask politely.

In this area, Siri and Cortana were infinitely more reliable than in every other category.

siri vs cortana

In fact, aside from Cortana (above) mishearing the word "cyan" several times until we finally change it manually with a keyboard, Siri and Cortana both successfully pull their own weight when it comes to reminding us to do stuff.

Our first two requests – "Add to my calendar that I have a meeting next Wednesday at 5pm with Cyan Worlds" and "Remind me to message Joe in the morning about invoicing" are both executed flawlessly.

siri vs cortana

The only tangible problem we run into is with our third query. "Set a reminder for a podcast recording I have to attend this Sunday at three," we tell Siri (above). Unfortunately, Siri returned with an event titled "Podcast recording I have to attend at three" that was scheduled for 9 AM.

siri vs cortana

Meanwhile, Cortana understood that the podcast recording itself was scheduled for 3 PM – a win in the bucket for Cortana.

Winner: Cortana

Siri vs. Cortana as information sources

Our last test seems, for the most part, rather straightforward. We ask Siri and Cortana a question, they give us an answer. We start with what we think will be a softball question: "Who are the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates?"

siri vs cortana

Cortana (above) undoubtedly goes the extra mile and supplies us with an arrangement of headshots featuring secretary Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, their vice presidential picks and even the third-party candidates, like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.

siri vs cortana

For this query, Siri (above) simply points you to web search results rather than directly provide an answer.

That would have been impressive enough to win us over had it not been for the next two questions to both Siri and Cortana: "Show me the NFL schedule for next week," followed by, "How much did Nintendo's stock price go up last week?"

siri vs cortana

Unfortunately, Cortana (above) ends up presenting us with our own schedule for next week rather than that of American football.

siri vs cortana

As for Nintendo's stock price, well, Cortana (above) pulls a Siri and asks Bing.

siri vs cortana

Siri (above), on the other hand, has no problem showing us all the big football games of the next week along with the times that each team plays.

siri vs cortana

And, while she (above) couldn't get stock information from the week prior, she could at least tell us the latest closing price of Nintendo's stock.

Winner: Siri

Majority rules, and Siri packed a punch two out of three times in this category, giving Apple's virtual assistant not only the edge when it comes to delivering information, but overall as well.

Both Cortana and Siri are competent virtual assistants on the desktop, yet these tests prove that – while Siri's two year lead on Cortana is obvious – both still have a long way to go before becoming as vital to us as our, say, smartphones.

Until then, let's just keep re-watching "Her" and dream of what's to come – but, you know, without the sexual tension.

This article is part of TechRadar's Mac Week. This year marks not only the 10th anniversary of Apple's unibody MacBook, but the triumphant return of macOS. So, TechRadar looks to celebrate with a week's worth of original features delving back into the Mac's past, predicting the Mac's future and exploring the Mac as it is today.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14936 for PC & Mobile Released

Microsoft has released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14936 for PC and Mobile to Insiders on the fast ring. This build contains a preview of the Turn Off the Lights, Tampermonkey, and Microsoft Personal Shopping Assistant extensions for Edge, changes to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and information on issues caused by MS16-110. [...]
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Updated: 5 Best all-in-one PCs

Updated: 5 Best all-in-one PCs

All-in-ones aren't your father's PC. They're desktops with integrated displays, often complemented with laptop-grade parts. As such, they've inherited an unfair reputation for poor performance compared to their full-on desktop tower brethren.

However, all-in-ones do have their advantages. These self-contained PCs typically occupy less space than a giant full-size tower, and they also don't create a nest of USB and display cables for pets to gnaw at. What's more, some all-in-ones are rocking bezeless displays such as the HP Pavilion All-in-One with Micro-Edge Display, which also boasts a privacy-centric hidden webcam technology.

Thanks to the convergence of the display and the computer itself, PC makers are finally able to rethink their design strategies, which only benefits us in the end. So, without further ado, here are the best all-in-ones we've reviewed.

Best all-in-one PC: top PCs compared

Apple iMac with 4K Retina display

Bigger doesn't always mean better

Sure, the 5K iMac is tempting, but what if you don't need or have room for a 27-inch display? Enter the iMac with 4K Retina display, featuring similar specs as the 5K variant but at a lower cost. Sure, you won't get discrete graphics or the 3.2GHz Intel Core-i5, but surely less pixels makes up for the performance difference. Plus, the 4K iMac's Iris Pro graphics aren't the Intel HD graphics you remember. They're substantially more capable and come wrapped in a gorgeously compact form factor with a crisp P3 display. For the money, what more could you really ask for from an Apple computer?

Read the full review: Apple iMac with 4K Retina display

Dell XPS 18

Best all-in-one PC: top PCs compared

An 18-inch tablet-PC you can take on the go

The Dell XPS 18 blows away any notion that all-in-ones are hulking great machines tied to desks. Essentially a massive touch-operated tablet that turns into a monitor when slipped into its stand, the 18.5-inch device is designed to be used all around the house and is a great choice for online TV addicts. It's a capable PC too thanks to its Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel HD 4400 graphics and 8GB of RAM at the top end.

iMac with Retina 5K display

Best all-in-one PC: top PCs compared

An expensive luxury, that might just be worth it

While Apple's iMac with Retina 5K display is one of the most impressive all-in-ones around, its price places it out of the reach of most people. Apple's older 27-inch iMac possesses many of its best qualities without the wallet-intimidating price tag. Apple redesigned its iMac line in 2013 to give it an attractive slimline chassis that houses a sharp 27-inch IPS display with a respectable 2,560 x 1,440 pixel-resolution. Excellent build quality means it's a PC built to last, and a fine option for productivity work, watching movies or light gaming.

LG Chromebase

Best all-in-one PC: top PCs compared

A Chrome OS desktop with simplicity in mind

The LG Chromebase's biggest strength is its simplicity. Essentially a Chromebook crammed into a 21.5-inch 1080p IPS display, the Chromebase runs Google's ChromeOS that lets you do basic PC tasks using Chrome's growing list of web apps. If you have no need for the bells and whistles that come with Windows 8.1 and OS X and don't mind relying on the internet to get things done, the LG Chromebase is an attractive, affordable and convenient all-in-one.

MSI AG240 All-in-One

Best all-in-one PC: top PCs compared

Gaming performance in an all-in-one package

All-in-ones tend to be advertised as family-friendly alternatives to desktop PCs due to their suitability for the living room, but the MSI AG240 isn't interested in that. The 23.6-inch AG240 is a gnarly gaming PC in an all-in-one's chassis, combining an Intel Core i7 CPU with a powerful Nvidia GeForce GT860M GPU that's backed up by 16GB of RAM. If you're hankering for a large touchscreen display with the innards of a gaming PC, the dare-to-be-different AG240 fits the bill.

HP Envy 34-1090na

best all-in-ones

A tyrant in video production, a spectacle in everything else

One of the best in the business of making luxury entertainment monitors, HP's Envy 34-1090na combines the WQHD matte panel of the impressive HP Envy 32 display with a built-in computer toting some mighty impressive specs. Featuring a Skylake i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a discrete GeForce GTX 960A GPU and the marriage of a 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, the Envy 34-1090na takes the concept of an all-in-one and adds a curve. That's right, the Envy 34 packs a wide-angle curved display with all the inputs and outputs needed to put your creativity to the test – mouse, keyboard and speakers included.

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Updated: OS showdown: Windows 10 vs Linux

Introduction and market shareThis article was provided to TechRadar by Linux Format magazine. You can get the printed version here.So the latest iteration of Windows has now been unleashed, and as has become tradition at Linux Format, we pit the Redmon...
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Witness the new Raspberry Pi interface, shiny and Chrome

Witness the new Raspberry Pi interface, shiny and Chrome

There's some good news for the many millions of Raspberry Pi owners out there, and indeed those about to pull the trigger on a purchase, as they'll benefit from a fresh new interface which has been dubbed Pixel.

Pixel (which is an acronym for the rather clumsy full name: 'Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight') is the desktop that will ship with Raspbian by default going forward, and it adds some neat features including a nifty new web browser.

Of course, the first thing that will strike you is the redesigned interface – everything looks far better, starting from the new splash screen that appears during boot (and doesn't impact performance, we're assured).

UI elements have been rejigged such as the icons across the taskbar, file manager, and menus, with the design philosophy being to hit a comfortable balance between businesslike and pleasant aesthetics (with a touch of 'playfulness', according to the blog post from Simon Long, UX engineer).

And the introduction of wallpaper further jazzes up the appearance of the desktop, with a selection of some 16 images included (and rather smart looking pics they are, too).

Fonts have also been smoothed over, and the look of a window has been improved with subtle touches like rounded edges – basically, everything looks more modern and nicely streamlined.

Chromium for Pi

Better browsing

But possibly the most important change is to the web browser – Epiphany has been jettisoned in favor of a first version of Chromium for Raspberry Pi.

Long notes that the new browser makes use of hardware acceleration when it comes to playing streaming video, and he says that it is "much more demanding" in terms of resources than its predecessor Epiphany.

However, he's mainly underlining the point that it might not run very well on the original Raspberry Pi or the Pi Zero – it performs nicely on the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, though.

A couple of extensions are included by default, one of which ensures that YouTube serves up videos in a format that plays nice with the Pi's hardware acceleration, and the other is the uBlock Origin ad blocker.

Pixel VNC

Aside from the custom version of Chromium, other apps bundled with the desktop environment include RealVNC's server and viewer applications, allowing for remote operation of your Pi.

If you already own a Raspberry Pi, you can grab the new version of Raspbian with Pixel from the download page here.

Don't forget that earlier this month, we witnessed the launch of the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

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