Gadget news
Aura review: a new standard for securing your digital security
5:30 pm | June 20, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Are you concerned about your online safety and unsure of what to do? Do you desire a single solution that addresses various protection types and levels? The next step is to think about Aura, a holistic solution that combines personal digital security and identity theft protection. Here is more information on Aura and the reasons it could be the ideal digital security system for you and your family.

Aura: Plans and pricing

Aura provides programs for singles, married couples, and families like many of its rivals. For new clients, each plan offers a free 14-day trial, and when you buy a yearly subscription, you have a 60-day money-back guarantee. No matter the plan, Aura's fundamental characteristics remain the same. Security for devices and the internet, protection against identity theft, and defense against financial fraud are important elements. Additionally, each plan includes identity theft insurance for each user worth at least $1 million.

Aura Inc subscription options:

Individual Aura plans cost $15 per month when paid monthly and $12 per month when paid annually. The couple's plan is $22 per month per year or $29 per month taken month to month. The cost of the family plan, which provides coverage for up to five children or adults, is $50 per month when paid monthly, or discounted to $37 per month when paid annually.

Aura offers fairly generous protection under each plan in terms of the number of devices. Aura can be installed on up to 10 devices under the individual plan, up to 20 under the family plan, and up to 50 with the family plan.

Aura is accessible on a variety of platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Cyber security

(Image credit: Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay )

Aura: Features

The capabilities offered by Aura's online and device security solutions range from anti-virus and VPN protection, a password manager, and a secure browsing tool. The greatest Aura feature, Identity Theft Protection, covers a wide range of services, including online account monitoring, Social Security Number protection, junk mail removal, spam call blocking, persons search site elimination, and identity verification monitoring. Additionally, it offers monitoring for court and criminal records, home title and address, and lost wallet recovery. Additionally, child Social Security monitoring feature is part of the family plan. anti-virus

Credit monitoring across the three major US-based agencies, namely Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, is one of Aura's financial fraud protection solutions, and directly from the Aura app, you may also lock your credit account. Other money-related services include 401(k) and investment account monitoring, bank account monitoring, tracking of financial transactions, a monthly VantageScore credit score report, and annual credit reports from all three bureaus. These features work together to make it far more difficult for identity thieves to steal your identity. It also will alert you if your identity is stolen.

As you can see, Aura has a large list of features. Whether or not you intend to use all of Aura's capabilities will primarily influence whether or not it is the appropriate choice for you and your family. Aura might not be right for you if you like to pick and choose and want a less expensive plan with only certain features. To help users decide, we appreciate the offer off a risk-free 14-day trial to experience Aura directly. 

Aura support options

(Image credit: Aura)

Aura: Support

For direct support, Aura provides 24/7/365 phone support with an easy to find toll free number; you can also send an email. There is no support portal, and our interaction on chat was with a chatbot that even a simple query ended with the toll free number to call for help.

On the self help side, we find now that Aura has a Help Center. It has articles and FAQ’s to help users, but we did not find any video or webinar content. 

identity theft scanning

(Image credit: Tumisu from Pixabay)

Aura: Final verdict

Aura, in our opinion, offers one of the better identity theft protection solutions available currently. Highlights include the upfront cost, the round-the-clock assistance, the user-friendly interface, the VPN, password manager, and antivirus that are all included. The options for credit and financial monitoring are likewise impressive. The company has even improved the support alternatives over the last few years with the Help Center. Overall, for those looking for ID protection solutions, Aura is a solid choice.

We've listed the best free antivirus.

Xreal Air and Xreal Beam review: impressive AR tech but still not perfect
12:00 pm | June 5, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Xreal Air AR Glasses: Two-minute review

The Xreal Air AR glasses aren't the first smart specs to hit the market, but thanks to their simple plug-and-play design and their great image quality they could be one of the first to achieve mainstream appeal.

Plug them into a compatible device – which includes a selection of the best Android smartphones, the Steam Deck, and now the best iPhones (via an adapter) – and you’ll be transported to your own virtual movie theater. Your gadget’s screen will be virtually projected in front of you by the glasses, allowing you to enjoy Netflix or Xbox Game Pass as if you were using a 130-inch HD TV.

Plus, thanks to the surprisingly decent internal speakers hidden in the glasses’ stems you can enjoy whatever you’re watching with immersive audio too. That said, I’d strongly recommend you couple the Xreal Air glasses with a good pair of wireless headphones – not only will you get much better audio performance, but the experience will be more private.

Considering that the Xreal Air AR specs look like a pretty normal pair of glasses – with a sleek yet comfy and fairly lightweight design – the performance they deliver is pretty impressive. Even though the glasses boast micro-OLED panels, the image is much more akin to what you’d expect from a projector in terms of contrast and colors (don’t expect Xreal’s specs to be an LG C2 OLED TV you can wear).

One noticeable feature the glasses lack is a camera. On the positive end, this means you don’t have to fret about your steps being tracked – or creeping out the people around you while you’re wearing the glasses. But this also means that the AR functionality of the Xreal Air glasses is extremely limited. They’re great for creating a cinema-like extension of your smartphone, but that’s about it.

Additionally, there are many devices out there that don't support the Xreal Air glasses because of hardware incompatibility. Xreal has launched the Beam adapter to combat this, but the $119 add-on isn't the perfect solution I hoped it would be (and is a hard sell considering the glasses themselves aren't cheap).

Because of this limited functionality, the price for a pair of the Xreal Air AR glasses can be a tough pill to swallow – they cost $379. While I had a blast trying this gadget out I feel like they don’t offer the most bang for your buck; those of you looking to improve your home entertainment setup would get more out of a solid 4K TV at this price, and commuters amongst you looking to liven up your travel would be better off with a great pair of headphones.

Xreal Air AR glasses: price and availability

The Xreal Air AR glasses are currently available to buy in the US for $379. They were previously available through EE in the UK for £400 (when they were known as Nreal Air), however, this partnership seems to have ended.

Our reviewer trying out the Xreal Air AR Glasses while sat on a bench in front of an old-looking stone building

Our reviewer trying out the Xreal Air AR Glasses while out on the go (Image credit: Future)

This price puts the Xreal Air glasses on par with other AR smart glasses, if not slightly cheaper than the competition. That said, while the AR smart glasses are impressive for a portable cinema the price will be tough for some people to justify. For the same money, you could a budget 4K TV, or buy a pair of the best wireless headphones (an upgrade that you may feel is a better investment if you want these glasses to keep you entertained on your daily commute).

The Xreal Beam adapter is also available in the US, and comes in at $119.

  • Price score: 3/5

Xreal Air AR glasses: design

  • No in-built cameras
  • Lightweight
  • Require a wired connection to a smartphone

Unlike some previous iterations of AR glasses, the Xreal Air look a lot more like a standard pair of specs. An eagle-eyed onlooker might spot a few key differences, but there aren’t any cameras so the AR aspect is not that obvious.

The decision to go camera-less instantly solves many of the privacy concerns that plagued previous devices, such as Ray-Ban Stories and Google Glass. You don’t have to worry about your vision being tracked, and those around you can rest easy knowing they aren’t being recorded without their consent.

Still, there are some signs that these aren’t regular glasses. In order for the Xreal Air to function, they need to be plugged into your phone. Using the USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, you can easily hook up your devices through a port hidden at the end of one of the glasses’ arms.

While not as free as a completely wireless device – like a pair of Bluetooth earbuds – I never had any issues moving my head around while plugged in. It caused so few issues while I was wearing the glasses that I actually completely forgot about the cable – until I went to take them off and it would snag on my ear.

The reliance on your phone's power means these glasses are pretty light, just 90g (0.2lbs) – they don't have an internal battery. But in exchange, they will drain your phone's battery fairly quickly, particularly if you're using them for an extended period of time.

The other dead giveaway that the Xreal Air aren't a normal pair of glasses is the inner lenses. These are what give the glasses their AR capabilities, reflecting an image of your phone’s screen in such a way that it appears to be floating in front of you.

Xreal Air AR Glasses' inner lenses are facing the camera, the stems are in view too

The Xreal Air AR Glasses' inner lenses (Image credit: Future)

There are also two small speakers on either arm of the glasses, as well as brightness controls and an on/off button on the right arm. We never had much reason to dim the screen, so we definitely would have preferred the brightness controls on the arm be replaced by managed audio; to change the sound levels, you have to rely on your phone’s – or headphones’ – controls.

In addition to its power cable, every pair of Xreal Air glasses comes with a carry case that can be used to store it; additional nose pieces that you can use to help the glasses fit better; and an optional attachment that can be fitted with prescription lenses. You’ll also get a plastic lens cover. This cover will give your glasses some added protection as well as privacy and clarity, serving as a backdrop for what you’re watching to help make the image clearer.

I'd have preferred a reflective cover more like the one that comes with the TCL Nxtwear S glasses because while both options work just as well TCL's version looks more normal.

  • Design score: 4/5

Xreal Air AR glasses: performance

  • Solid HD image
  • Mimics a 130-inch display that's 4m from the user's face
  • For better sound try using headphones

The Xreal Air AR glasses are more like a portable personal projector than a TV that fits in your pocket.

By this, I mean that the image through the glasses is best when you’re looking at an opaque, plain background in a room that isn’t filled with bright light. If you’re outside or facing a light source, you’ll need to attach the optional visor to have any chance of seeing what’s being displayed.

The Xreal Air AR Glasses with the black opaque visor clipped on

The Xreal Air AR Glasses with the visor clipped on (Image credit: Future)

That being said, the glasses’ HD image is pretty impressive. The colors aren’t as vibrant as we’d like and the lack of 4K resolution is a little disappointing but the device’s relative screen size more than makes up for it. It’s roughly the same size as having a 130-inch TV 4m away from you – while not completely vision-filling, it is certainly more immersive than staring at your phone screen.

The audio performance is, in a word, fine. It’s certainly less dynamic than a great pair of headphones but is more than passable if you don’t mind those around you overhearing what you’re listening to. Thankfully, if you decide to use headphones, the AR glasses’ speakers will automatically mute themselves, just like your phone does.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Xreal Air AR glasses: Compatibility

  • Not all devices are compatible
  • Beam can help, but it isn't perfect

It’s not just the glasses’ specs you need to think about though, as the Xreal Air are only compatible with certain smartphones. This includes the Sony Xperia 5 III, the Samsung Galaxy S22, and Oppo Find X5, in addition to several others you can find on the full official list. You can also hook it up to a few other handhelds like the Steam Deck and even Apple's M1 and M2-powered MacBooks.

And thanks to an Xreal Adapter you can connect them to one of the best iPhones out there and a Nintendo Switch now too, but it'll cost you $59. You'll also need to buy the $49 official Apple Lightning Digital AV adapter, effectively making the total cost of the glasses $487 for Apple fans.

The Xreal Beam in our reviwer's hand, it's smaller than a phone but has a similar shape, has two USB-C ports on the bottom, control buttons on type and volume buttons on one side.

(Image credit: Future)

Alternatively, you can pick up the Xreal Beam, a new adapter for the Air glasses with a few extra benefits. For a start, the Beam makes it much simpler to connect non-compatible devices. For the Nintendo Switch, I just needed a USB-C to USB-C cable and then I could lie back in bed and enjoy playing Tears of the Kingdom on a massive virtual screen projected above me. This experience couldn’t have been better frankly. If you don't want a tangle of wires you can also connect your phone (including iPhones) to the Beam wirelessly. 

The Beam not only expands the range of compatible products but helps to alleviate some of the battery drain problems – as the Air glasses will drain the Beam's power instead of your smartphone's.

Unfortunately, the Beam isn't quite perfect. Some devices – like the Google Pixel 7 and my Google Pixel 6 – aren't compatible. That's because the Pixel phones not only lack DisplayPort support but also use Google's proprietary Chromecast tech for casting (so they don't support third-party options like the Beam). As such, we'd recommend checking your phone is compatible before picking up the Air glasses or the Beam.

  • Compatibility score: 3.5/5

Xreal Air AR glasses: features

  • Limited feature set
  • Clunky controls

The glasses aren’t just portable projectors though; they also open up access to exclusive AR features through the Nebula app.

The first is a virtual multi-monitor setup, allowing you to project multiple screens in front of you at once. While watching a YouTube live-streamed event on one screen, you can have an expert liveblog on another, a group chat with your friends on a third, and a store page opened up on a fourth so you can order everything you’re watching, reading, or chatting about on those other screens.

On the glasses’ massive-sized display, you’re able to have all this going on without having to shrink any windows down – everything is easy to see even when you have several open at once. Unfortunately, this feature is severely limited by the lack of cameras in the Xreal Air glasses.

To move these windows around and open them up in the first place, you have to use your phone. Unfortunately, the controls are a bit too clunky to make this an enjoyable experience and make me wish the glasses had cameras. Rather than blindly swiping on your phone screen, you could pinch your fingers together and type on a floating keyboard, giving you a true Tony Stark-like experience.

A person watching a show on their Xreal Air glasses, we can see the screen projected in front of them as they relax on their couch

(Image credit: Xreal)

Then there’s the cycling app. Borrowing from services like Peloton, this feature transports you from your gym to a cycle path by playing a video of a fellow cyclist out there making the journey themselves. It’s fine, but nothing to write home about. If you’re after an immersive workout, you’d be better off grabbing a VR headset and trying out some of the best VR fitness games.

Once again, the glasses could offer much better experiences by being able to capture the world around you with cameras. They could digitally map realistic virtual objects into the world that you could interact with, but instead, these glasses go no further than pasting images at a set distance in front of your face.

  • Features score: 2/5

Xreal Air AR glasses: battery life

  • No internal battery
  • Can really drain your phone's charge with prolonged use

Because the Xreal Air AR glasses plug straight into your smartphone without the ability to operate wirelessly, they don’t have or need an internal battery. But without their own battery, these glasses will significantly drain the battery life of the device to which you connect them.

The Oppo Find X5 face up on a chair

We tested these glasses out using an Oppo Find X5 (Image credit: Future)

Using the Xreal glasses with a pair of Bose 700 Bluetooth headphones to stream Netflix over 5G on an Oppo Find X5 was enough to drain the phone’s charge by about 50% over my hour-long commute. 

If you find this to be an issue we'd recommend picking up the Beam adapter as this can spare your phone, though we wish we didn't need a $119 to solve this issue. In the next iteration, I'd love to see the glasses or their cable offer a second USB-C port so that I can connect my glasses, phone, and power source together simultaneously.

  • Battery life score: 3/5

Should I buy the Xreal Air AR glasses?

Buy these if… 

Don’t buy these if… 

Also consider

Xreal Air AR Glasses scorecard

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2022 

TeraBox cloud storage review
8:58 am | June 2, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

As the name suggests, TeraBox offers 1TB storage - and unlike even the best free cloud storage competitors it’s entirely free. There are drawbacks, though, including adverts, file size and number limits, and bandwidth throttling, which stops it from truly being one of the best cloud storage services on the market. 

Paid plans improve on each of these and offer 2TB of cloud storage. Pricing is on the affordable end of the scale, however there have been concerns raised over TeraBox’s privacy and security. Use it safely and sensibly, and it is unmatched at this price point.

TeraBox: Pricing & plans 

When it comes to cloud storage capacity, TeraBox’s free offering is unmatched. 1TB of space at no cost - it’s a bold pitch. However, there are a few catches, including a fairly ungenerous 4GB file size limit. Users can only store up to 500 files in a free TeraBox account, and once they’re deleted, they are permanently removed after 10 days. The biggest drawback of the free account, though, is the reduced upload and download speeds, designed to push users towards the unthrottled Premium account.

There are small increases in storage available for free in the app. We were able to add 2GB for watching an advert, and up to 61GB can be claimed for users who open the app every day for seven days, though the small print says that this storage has a validity period of 180 days.

Premium subscribers get 2TB of storage for $3.49 a month or $35.99 a year, which is significantly cheaper than iCloud Drive and Google Drive, both of which cost $9.99 a month. As ever, there are savings to be had when committing longer-term, 

There is a seven-day free trial period, however card details are required and auto-renew is enabled. Along with additional storage, the benefits of Premium accounts include a 20GB file size limit (using the mobile apps or Windows client only), the ability to store up to 50,000 files, and a 30-day recycle bin retention period. The most notable of all, though, are the "ultra fast" upload and download speeds that are unlocked.

TeraBox 1

(Image credit: TeraBox)

TeraBox: Interface 

Signing up was the first hurdle we had to overcome with Terabox. Our StartMail address was rejected and the website provided a list of acceptable email domains. In fairness these included major players like Gmail, iCloud and Outlook. One AOL registration later and we were in. 

The web interface will be familiar to most users, with typical drag-and-drop support for file uploads and for moving files within the browser itself. In fact, most users will end up settling with browser access only, as the downloadable windows client is virtually identical.  

There's a clear, visual representation of your data and your remaining storage in the left-hand sidebar. The tile and list views add an extra layer of welcome customization. 

TeraBox promises faster downloads through its desktop client. However, this is a Windows-only software, leaving macOS users left out. There are iOS and Android apps too, but only the Android version supports automatic folder backup.

Automatic mobile video backup is completed using the app, and the Premium plan’s 20GB maximum file size limit applies to the desktop client and mobile apps only - not for browser users (and, as such, Mac users). 

The mobile app looks a little busy in comparison with the browser interface, with distracting dynamic advert blocks. At least its layout is simple, with specific tabs for files, photo albums, videos and sharing tools. 

The safe - which is seemingly not available in the browser although there is no mention of this - provides a password-protected space to store important files. It’s great to see support for biometric (face and fingerprint) protection, however you will still need to remember your safe’s password. By default, this is a 4-digit passcode. We had a little trouble setting this up at first, as the software told us there was a 'network error' but the vault was created on the second attempt. 

TeraBox cannot help you to recover a forgotten password, and files inside the safe are deleted after too many incorrect attempts. Strangely TeraBox's pricing page doesn't list this 'Encrypted space' as an option for free plans, which begs the question if the 'Personal Vault' is encrypted at all. 

TeraBox: Features 

When it comes to cloud storage, there are two approaches. Most people think of an online storage space for their files, while some companies offer automatic backups of users’ machines (or a combination of both). TeraBox is a storage solution only, so is best compared to companies like Google Drive, Box, and Internxt.

Like Google Drive, it’s most likely that TeraBox users will access their files - whether that’s to upload, download or view - using the browser portal. Here, there are clear folders running down the left-hand side for file types, like documents, photos, videos and music. The recycle bin is also accessed here - files that are deleted sit here for 10 days before they are permanently deleted, though this can be upgraded to 30 days with paid Premium accounts.

To share files, users can choose between items already in their cloud drives or from their computer or other device. While some other cloud storage solutions offer greater control over sharing permissions, we like what’s on offer here. As well as choosing how to share a file (via email or with a unique link), TeraBox users can select the period for which it will be available (7 days, 30 days or permanently), and add an access code to somewhat boost security. Terabox warns that some 'objectionable' content won't be shared, which suggests they may be monitoring files in users' drives..

The company - Flextech Inc. - also offers a way to share big files without requiring users to make an account. Controls for this TeraTransfer service are a little more limited, with links only available for 24 hours, and a 50GB file size limit (unlimited for TeraBox free or Premium users). 

It’s worth mentioning that this file transfer software is currently in beta testing, which is said to be for a “limited time”. This means that in the future, users may need a TeraBox account to continue.  

TeraBox 2

(Image credit: TeraBox)

TeraBox: Security 

Spend any time digging through forums and reviews and you will find concerns over TeraBox’s security. The website claims to store metadata and file data separately, and to encrypt files during the upload and download processes via HTTPS and SFTP. 

The cloud provider claims not to be able to see files inside the Personal Vault. But once data has been uploaded to the cloud, in theory there's nothing to stop them from examining it. The company’s warning that it won't allow sharing of 'objectionable' content suggests some kind of scanning or filtering. 

This in contrast to other cloud storage software like Nextcloud, which offer zero-knowledge "end to end encryption". This means that even the providers don't know what data is held by customers on their servers. 

Digging into the company’s past reveals further security concerns. TeraBox was previously known as Dubox before it was purchased by FlexTech Inc. Chinese-owned Dubox made it explicit that data was stored in Chinese data centers, which are sometimes seen as less secure than their American or European counterparts. Again, this would be less of a concern if TeraBox provided client-side encryption, securing data before upload, so even their employees couldn't read it. 

As we are unable to confirm the current situation with data storage and security, we recommend using TeraBox cautiously. This means that you should avoid storing sensitive and personal information in its cloud space. If you truly have no choice, consider using the best encryption software to protect your files before upload.  

Terabox: Our tests

Across three key tests, we measured Terabox’s sync speed, file recovery and versioning. This was done on a Windows 11 virtual machine connected to the internet via VPN server, that showed a consistent average upload speed of 70 Mbps  

TeraBox cloud storage during our test and review process

(Image credit: TeraBox)
  • Test 1 - Sync speed

For our first test, we copied a 650 MB folder to the application directory, measuring how quickly the desktop client was able to sync the files to the cloud. The folder contained 22 files including MP3s, images, metadata files and a PDF. 

We didn't have much joy syncing data with the TeraBox cloud in our original tests in 2022. It took us several attempts to upload our 1GB test file, with progress coming to a halt on all but our ninth attempt. This final, successful upload was complete in under four minutes, which is very respectable when compared with other cloud drives, although we do have concerns over the service’s stability.

We would typically expect a download to complete significantly quicker than an upload with our typical Internet connections, however this is where TeraBox’s speed throttling comes into play. 

Using our free account, the same 1GB was re-downloaded in under nine minutes. This would have been reasonable before the introduction of high-speed Internet connections; most other competitors manage the same download in less than half the time, with several sub-one-minute times.

Our most recent tests in 2023 performed much better. Our data uploaded in just under 105 seconds. Our upload speed averaged 70Mbps but as before we were victims of TeraBox's throttling which slowed the upload below cloud storage competitors like Dropbox and OneDrive.

TeraBox cloud storage during our test and review process

(Image credit: TeraBox)
  • Test 2 - File recovery

In this test, we deleted the folder from the application directory, removing it from the device. After seeing whether the files were gone from the cloud drive, we looked to see if it was possible to recover them. 

As TeraBox only offers a cloud drive rather than local sync of files we decided to delete our test folder from the Files section of the client itself. 

As soon as we did a helpful pop up appeared informing us that deleted files would be stored for 10 days in the Recycle Bin but this could be extended to 30 days with a Premium subscription.

Once we confirmed deletion, another pop up appeared pointing to the Recycle Bin where we were able to recover all files intact. 

TeraBox cloud storage during our test and review process

(Image credit: TeraBox)
  • Test 3 - Versioning 

In our third and final test, we checked the versioning options. This lets you open an older version of the document - useful if unnecessary changes have been made to a file. 

TeraBox allowed us to upload our test document to the cloud drive. However we were unable to edit it online. When we uploaded the modified version, TeraBox simply appended a '(1)' to the new file. Clearly this isn't a good cloud storage solution if you want to store multiple versions of the same file and revert to them with a few mouse clicks. 

TeraBox: Verdict 

TeraBox’s unique selling point is its 1TB free cloud storage. While there are trade-offs to be had in terms of bandwidth throttling and file size limits, these are all reasonable compromises to make, and the affordable Premium plan is always there if users need greater control. 

The bulk of its competition comes from other cloud storage drives, like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive, all of which are more expensive and offer nowhere near TeraBox’s 1TB of free storage. 

None of TeraBox's competitors also seek to throttle users' bandwidth to control upload and download speeds. Admittedly, you can sidestep this issue by signing up for a Premium plan but we would have liked to see an unrestricted upload/download quota, for example 10GB per day instead of a blanket restriction.

While there have been questions raised around the company’s privacy, users of any Internet-based service should maintain reasonable levels of privacy and security themselves, and it’s best practice not to store any confidential documents online unless you've properly encrypted them first.

With this in mind, if used sensibly and with a reliable encryption utility, TeraBox is at the top of its game for this price point. We hope to see the rollout of a macOS client as well as even more features to give it the same clout as more seasoned rivals, though.