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Kindle 2019 review: Amazon's cheapest e-reader gets adjustable frontlight
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

Amazon’s basic Kindle lights up with a better screen to close the gap with the Paperwhite

Amazon’s cheapest, most basic Kindle now has a light and a better screen, which makes it very nearly the new default ebook reader. The new Kindle 9 – which is, confusingly, one of the new 10th generation of Kindles alongside the fourth-generation Paperwhite and third-generation Oasis – looks very similar to the previous version.

The sides of the reader feel as though they have been softened slightly. It has been made 2mm narrower and 0.4mm thinner but 13g heavier than the previous version. The Kindle 9 is easy to hold for extended periods and feels fairly robust.

Screen: 6in e-paper (167ppi)

Dimensions: 160 x 113 x 8.7 mm

Weight: 174g

Connectivity: wifi, Bluetooth, microUSB

Storage: 4GB

Battery life: rated for approximately 14 hours of reading

The textured plastic back is fairly easy to mark, but hides those marks relatively well.

It’s still hard to list books by the author’s order, such as Ian Rankin’s numerous Rebus detective novels by chronology, as you might on a bookshelf.

A single button on the bottom turns the screen on and off, but you can set a pin to protect it.

The Kindle 9 is not water-resistant, and there’s a seam around the sides of the device in which dust can get stuck.

Pros: higher contrast screen, easy to use and buy books, X-Ray, audiobooks, frontlight, good battery life, light and easy to handle

Cons: microUSB, no page-turn buttons, no automatic brightness adjustment, not water-resistant, only 4GB storage, no 4G option, more or less locked into Amazon’s ecosystem

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2018 review: the new standard

Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 review: the Rolls-Royce of e-readers

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Bose Frames review: smart audio sunglasses are a blast
Posted on Monday July 08, 2019

Music without earbuds looks and sounds surprisingly good, making these smart glasses the antithesis of Google Glass

The Bose Frames are the answer to the question: what if your sunglasses were also a set of smart, hidden headphones with no earbuds or no bone-conduction system, just a set of personal speakers?

As a wearer of true wireless earbuds, that’s not a question I ever thought I would ask. But the Bose Frames are delightful and leaving your ears free of buds or headphones has a clear and obvious case.

The USB cable comes in a small microfibre bag lose in the case with the Frames, which makes getting them out a bit clumsy

There’s no microfibre bag for the Frames included, which would make using them and keeping them clean while out and about a bit easier

Apple’s Face ID works through both the black and mirrored silver polarised lenses

Google Assistant/Siri is really good through the Frames

Polarised lenses have an odd tendency to distort the pavement, making it look less flat than it really is

Pros: music without blocking your ears or making a racket for others, look good, choice of lenses and frames, comfortable, sound good, solid Bluetooth connection, excellent call quality

Cons: no battery in the case and only 3.5 hours between charges, will never be your only set of earphones, can’t protect from noise of the outside world, AR potential unrealised

Best true wireless earbuds 2019: AirPods, Samsung, Jabra and Anker compared and ranked

Five of the best noise-cancelling headphones

SubPack S2 review: portable mega-club experience, without the hearing loss

Google Glass review: useful – but overpriced and socially awkward

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The best travel tech for a stress-free holiday
Posted on Friday July 05, 2019

How to keep your mobile, tablet, Kindle and headphones charged and connected abroad

It’s July, the sun’s out and the summer break is almost upon us, which can mean only one thing: it’s holiday time.

But holidays no longer mean leaving all your worldly possessions behind. Your phone, your tablet, your e-reader, headphones and even your smartwatch come along for the ride, which means you need to keep them charged, organised and connected.

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, OnePlus and Huawei compared and ranked

Best true wireless earbuds 2019: AirPods, Samsung, Jabra and Anker compared and ranked

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What’s the best cheap tablet or e-reader for PDF files?
Posted on Thursday June 27, 2019

Thomas needs a device to read A4 PDFs of technical papers that is cheaper than a good laptop

I am looking for an e-reader for technical papers. These are usually only available in fixed, non-reflowable, PDF format and sized for printing on A4 paper. They cannot be read on a typical e-reader such as a Kindle because the text is too small. I don’t need the fancy note-taking capabilities of options such as the Remarkable PDF reader. Can you recommend something that doesn’t cost as much as a decent laptop? Thomas

The main attraction of Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) is that people can read the files on almost any kind of device. The corollary is that almost any device will work as a PDF reader, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops running almost any operating system. Indeed, so many people need to read PDF files for business and educational research purposes, there are e-readers designed for the task.

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Sixteen of the world's greatest kitchen gadgets – chosen by chefs
Posted on Thursday June 27, 2019

From rice hacks to a 100-year-old rolling pin, cooks and food writers reveal the gizmos they could never do without

Given an unlimited budget, a keen cook could drop tens of thousands of pounds on the kitchen of their dreams. Yet often, even in the most smoothly finished set-up, it is tried-and-trusted, bashed-up equipment that we rely on the most. We asked some of our leading chefs and cookery writers to share which old gizmos and gadgets they cherish.

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The best gadgets under £30
Posted on Sunday June 16, 2019

Whether you’re making a call or a smoothie, our pick of gizmos at giveaway prices shows hi-tech needn’t mean high price

Gilobaby smart robot, £24
Feeling anxious about robots taking over the world? For 24 quid, allay your anxieties by barking simple commands at this gaudy plastic bot and experiencing triumph as it bends to your every command, from: “Go back” to: “Can you dance?”

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A side-by-side comparison of the Bondi-to-Manly hyperlapse – video
Posted on Thursday June 13, 2019

A side-by-side comparison of the first and final versions of Guardian Australia's Bondi-to-Manly hyperlapse shows the amount of stabilising, animating, blurring and colour correcting that was needed to convert raw 360º footage into a smooth final result

• Bondi-to-Many: experience Sydney's spectacular coastal walk 

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Bluetooth your bladder: the hi-tech way to beat incontinence
Posted on Sunday June 02, 2019

Urinary leakage affects millions of women, who have often suffered in silence. That may change with Elvie, a new way to strengthen the pelvic floor – involving an app

There are nappies in my wardrobe, but I have no children nor a sexual fetish. Instead, I have a problem shared by millions of women (and some men): I cannot always control my bladder as well as I want to, no matter how many toilet visits I have made beforehand. I have incontinence, and I am not alone: in the UK, up to 40% of women have incontinence at some point, either because they have given birth or are menopausal, because of genetics, or simply because of age. Up to 70% of expectant and new mothers experience incontinence, and a quarter of men over 40 – though, given how shameful it is thought to be, the figures are likely to be conservative. We mask, we hide, we cope.

The pelvic floor – a sling of muscles stretching from the tailbone to the pubic bone – supports the bladder, bowel and womb. These muscles are meant to contract to stopper any flow of urine. (The muscles are also sometimes referred to as a “trampoline” – a sour joke for women who know trampolining is a sure way to wet pants.)

Though it is less common than in women, men get incontinent, too – often later in life

Related: Five ways to strengthen your pelvic floor

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OnePlus 7 Pro review: an absolute beast in every way
Posted on Friday May 31, 2019

Fantastic screen, the fastest performance, a good camera and brilliant software in a massive phone that still undercuts the competition

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the firm’s largest, most expensive and most premium phone yet. While not that cheap, it still undercuts the competition by some margin, while offering sheer speed and a stunning notchless display that even its most expensive rivals can’t touch.

Starting at £649, the OnePlus 7 Pro is £150 more expensive than last year’s 6T or its 2019 refresh the 7 (non-Pro). It’s also significantly bigger.

Screen: 6.67in 90Hz QHD+ AMOLED (516ppi)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM: 6, 8 or 12GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 256GB (UFS 3.0)

Operating system: Oxygen OS 9.5 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: triple rear camera 48MP, 16MP ultra-wide angle, 8MP telephoto, 16MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: LTE, dual sim, wifiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS

Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm

Weight: 206g

It looks really good in blue, but even better in the limited edition almond

There’s a sharp edge in the bottom corners of the phone where the glass meets the metal

Auto-brightness often went too dim in normal indoor lighting requiring manual correction

It was too easy to invoke the pin code entry screen when shooting photos while the phone was locked

The new motion wallpapers are gorgeous

OnePlus’s alert slider, toggling between silent, vibrate and ring, continues to be excellent

The stereo speakers are some of the best

There’s a 5G version available too

Pros: stunning screen, super-fast performance, fast in-screen fingerprint reader, good battery life, dual-sim, really good camera, great software, alert slider

Cons: glass back but no wireless charging, no IP water resistance rating, no expandable storage, no headphone socket, too big

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked

Huawei P30 Pro review: game-changing camera, stellar battery life

Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: a simply stunning screen

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

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Five of the best wireless earbuds: a guide for all budgets
Posted on Saturday May 11, 2019

Our pick of the Bluetooth earbuds out there, from Apple Airpods to Samsung Galaxy Buds and more

Earbuds are great for some personal listening in the office, on the commute or at the gym, but wires are a pain, and headphone sockets are disappearing from our smartphones.

Bluetooth earbuds have long been available with a wire between them that runs round the back of your neck, but that can be frustrating as it often gets caught on clothing. The next generation of truly wireless earbuds solves the problem by getting rid of the wires entirely.

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My satnav is out of date – should I update it, or use my phone?
Posted on Saturday May 11, 2019

I often find myself in areas where there are no maps, resulting in a confusing trip home

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

The satnav in my car is out of date. I often find myself in areas where there are no maps and even leaving a shopping centre can result in a confusing trip home. Can I update it? Or should I just use Google Maps on my phone?

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The Bewater bottle – pretty, but requires you to swallow too much
Posted on Tuesday May 07, 2019

These gorgeous drinking vessels come pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones intended to energise your water with positive properties. Sounds a bit wishy-washy

A warning: crystal talk is incoming, which is always a sign you have stayed at the party too long and things are about to all get a bit patchouli. I’m testing a high-end drinking bottle pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones, which supposedly energise water with positive properties. Bewater sell a range of these bottles, each stacked with an internal column of different gems, targeted at delivering love and peace, or wonder and balance. Why are the powers of crystals always so noble? Are there gems that make you restless, or hungry for lasagne, or stop you needing the toilet? If so, they have not been curated here.

The thinking behind energised water is a hodgepodge of discredited notions. First, that gemstones release special energies, quartz watches being cited as proof of this general effect. (In fact, it is the piezoelectric ability specific to quartz that makes the watches work.) Second, and more terrifying, the theory that promoted by Bewater that “water has memory and picks up information from its surroundings”. Ideas like this, derived from thinkers such as Masaru Emoto and Jacques Benveniste, hold that water is susceptible to the directed energies of positive thinking and crystals, retaining those energies by changing its molecular structure, and perhaps even possessing consciousness. The scientific community does not think this. While I hope there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, I draw the line at imagining a glass of Perrier can bear a grudge.

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Still boiling rice rather than steaming it? How old-fashioned
Posted on Thursday May 02, 2019

Joyoung’s slick, advanced, gigantic S5 rice cooker promises perfect fluffy rice. But is it worth the – gulp – £310 pricetag?

In the great war between kitchen gadget fanciers and kitchen gadget cynics, one thing rarely comes up: the rice cooker. I’ve heard more domestic arguments about Brevilles than I have about these wonders, even though the toastie is a much less aspirational foodstuff than perfect, fluffy rice. Rice cookers don’t have to be expensive, and you can do plenty of things in them that aren’t rice, such as vegetables and even meat. But still, they are pretty niche.

In supermarkets, however, the ready-cooked rice market is going strong, which suggests that while no one wants help from a machine, a lot of us don’t really trust ourselves to cook rice.

Related: The miracle method for sustainable rice – and bigger harvests | John Vidal

Related: How to eat: risotto

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Huawei P30 Pro review: game-changing camera, stellar battery life
Posted on Wednesday April 24, 2019

New smartphone with Leica quad camera has 5x optical zoom, super low-light performance and fun features

Huawei’s latest top-end phone, the P30 Pro, has a genuinely groundbreaking new quad camera system on the back with amazing low-light performance and the first 5x optical zoom enabling a practically spycam-like 50x digital zoom.

The new £900 phone, from the firm that continues to be at the centre of a political storm, has the familiar metal frame, curved glass and all-screen design of 2018-19. New for the P30 Pro are some stunning colour options, including the pearlescent oil slick-like “breathing crystal” and the eye-popping amber sunrise. If you want a phone that gloriously embraces colour, this is it.

Screen: 6.47in FHD+ OLED (398ppi)

Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 980


Storage: 128 or 512GB plus nano memory card

Operating system: EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: quadruple rear camera 40MP, 20MP ultra-wide angle, 8MP telephoto, ToF depth, 32MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS (dual-sim available in some regions)

Water resistance: IP68

Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.41 mm

Weight: 192g

Huawei P30 Pro zoom: 0.6, 1, 5, 10, 24 and 50x Optical to 5x, hybrid to 10x and digital after that

With gesture navigation enabled, sometimes I activated Google Assistant when reaching for the punctuation slider in Gboard while typing quickly

There’s a mic hole right next to the sim tray - do not poke the sim ejector in there by accident or risk ruining the mic

The vibrating haptic feedback is nice and staccato, although not quite as sharp as Google’s or Apple’s phones

It has a single speaker in the bottom, which is fairly loud and clear

There’s no headphone socket, just a USB-C socket in the bottom

Dual-sim support is available in some regions plus a nano memory card slot

Pros: incredible low-light camera, amazing zoom, fun ultra-wide angle camera, long battery life, in-display fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, good processor, stunning colour options

Cons: EMUI not to everyone’s taste, nano memory not microSD, expensive, no headphone socket, no stereo speakers, HDR not as good as Google’s

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked

Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: a simply stunning screen

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Honor View20 review: top phone at half the cost of an iPhone XS

OnePlus 6T review: you’d have to spend double to get better than this

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Can a bed of nails really relieve stress and insomnia - or just make me squeal?
Posted on Monday April 22, 2019

This small mat’s 8,820 plastic points are said to be able to address the negative symptoms of being alive in 2019. So I put on a thin T-shirt and braced myself

I love a bed of anything. Bed of lettuce? Here for it. Raised beds for boosted drainage? Take me there. You made your bed, so lie in it? Thank you, I will. Today, though, I’m wondering if I’ve found my limit. Because the word “nails” gives one pause, doesn’t it? Most wellness words are soft, even misty: spirulina, bioavailable, Gwyneth. “Nails” is different. Nails are unsensual, uncalming items that get hammered into chipboard. Or clawed into your back, if you get into bed with this week’s trend.

Sleeping on a bed of nails is historically associated with ascetic Hindu holy men, who sleep up poles and walk on coals. Easy to dismiss, but given my own antisocial tendencies, and the property market, my last online search was “pole, good location” on Zoopla, so I’m not above giving the nails a go. The maker of the Bed of Nails (£70) claims that, among other things, the mats may alleviate chronic pain, insomnia, headaches and daily stress. All of the symptoms of being alive in 2019, basically.

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Galaxy Fold: Samsung investigates as screens break in first days
Posted on Thursday April 18, 2019

Flexible screen failed on several £1,800 tester devices in run-up to public release

The screen at the heart of Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold phone, which literally folds in half, has been failing in testers’ hands within days, prompting concerns about the durability of the £1,800 device.

The company distributed the device to publications across the US on Monday before its release to the public on 26 April. But within two days testers were reporting that the all-important central flexible screen started to break under normal use.

My colleague opened the Galaxy Fold and it started doing this. So, long answer to your question @WilfredFrost, the hinge doesn’t seem very rugged after all. After two days:

After one day of use...

SUPER YIKES: something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m waiting to hear back from Samsung. It’s broken.

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked

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Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review: in a class of its own
Posted on Thursday April 18, 2019

Stunning all-in-one PC that slides to become drawing tablet is held back by high price and old chips

The Surface Studio 2 is Microsoft’s beautiful all-singing, all-dancing, all-in-one desktop computer that is quite unlike anything else on the market. But then it should be with prices starting at more than £3,500.

Straight out of the box it’s obvious that the Surface Studio 2 is no ordinary computer. Its gorgeous, pixel-dense 28in screen appears to float, held effortlessly by two chrome articulated arms that are invisible when you’re sitting directly in front of it. The small grey pedestal below looks like a weighted stand, but contains the full workings of the PC.

Screen: 28in LCD 4500 x 3000 (192 ppi)

Processor: Intel Core i7-7820HQ (7th generation)

RAM: 16 or 32GB

Storage: 1 or 2TB

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070

Operating system: Windows 10 Pro

Camera: 5MP front-facing with Windows Hello

Connectivity: wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB-C, SD, Ethernet, 3.5mm headphones

Display dimensions: 637.4 x 438.9 x 12.5 mm

Base dimensions: 50 x 220 x 32.2 mm

Weight: 9.6kg

All the ports are on the back of the machine, which make them harder than it needs to be to reach them

Heat is ejected out of the right-side of the base, which can cook anything you place next to it when the computer is pushed hard

The 2.1 stereo speakers pack a fairly powerful punch given they’re hidden away

Xbox wireless connectivity is built in so you don’t need a dongle or Bluetooth to connect an Xbox controller

Pros: beautiful industrial design, huge and gorgeous screen, Surface Pen and Dial support, snappy performance, full-size SD card slot, USB-C, Windows Hello

Cons: super expensive, only seventh gen Intel mobile chips, older graphics processor, no Thunderbolt 3, no HDR support, not upgradable

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: a powerful yet pricey laptop-tablet combo

Microsoft Surface Pro review: very nearly almost the future of Windows PCs

Surface Laptop 2 review: Microsoft’s sleeker answer to the MacBook Air

Microsoft Surface Go review: tablet that’s better for work than play

Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar

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Apple launches second generation AirPods with wireless charging
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Bluetooth earbuds have longer battery life, hands-free Siri and new wireless charging case

Apple has launched a new version of its hugely popular wireless earbuds, the AirPods, with long-anticipated wireless charging and longer battery life.

The second-generation AirPods look identical to the previous version, complete with a white stalk that looks like a set of earphones with the cables cut off. But now the earbuds last longer when used for phone calls between charges and support hands-free access to Apple’s Siri voice assistant.

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Amazon's cheapest Kindle now has a better screen and a front light
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Higher contrast, better touchscreen and Paperwhite-like light among improvements

Amazon has released a new version of its cheapest Kindle e-reader with an improved screen and a reading light, a feature previously held back for its more expensive devices.

Costing £10 more than the previous generation, at £69.99, the new Kindle has a 6in e-ink display with an adjustable front light that projects from the sides to make the screen readable in the dark.

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Major study suggests Apple Watch can detect irregular heartbeat
Posted on Saturday March 16, 2019

More work needed to see if wearables can help screen for heart problems, but researchers call study encouraging

A huge study suggests the Apple Watch can detect a worrisome irregular heartbeat – but experts say more work is needed to tell if using wearable technology to screen for heart problems really helps.

More than 419,000 Apple Watch users signed up for the study, which was funded by Apple and the largest ever to explore screening seemingly healthy people for atrial fibrillation (A-fib), a condition that if untreated eventually can trigger strokes.

Related: Blow to low carb diet as landmark study finds high fibre cuts heart disease risk

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Samsung's next-gen RAM will make your phone way faster, but the Galaxy Note 10 won't get it
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

Samsung on Thursday announced a major breakthrough in the future of smartphones: mass production has begun on the industry’s first 12GB LPDDR5 mobile DRAM chip, so it should start showing up in smartphones pretty soon. But don't get your hopes up about it showing up on the Galaxy Note 10's spec sheet next month.

As Samsung explains in its press release, the 10nm LPDDR5 chip (Lower Power Double Data Rate) has been "optimized for enabling 5G and AI features in future smartphones." That mainly boils down to speed. The new chips have a data rate of 5,500MB/s, about 1.3 times faster than the 4,266MB/s LPDDR4X DRAM used in the Galaxy S10 5G and the 20nm LPDDR4 in the Galaxy S10+. That's not quite as big of a leap as the 2x increase from LPDDR3 to LPDDR4 (2,133MB/s to 4,266MB/s) but it's still significant.

To read this article in full, please click here

Denon AH-D9200 headphone review: Superb sound quality in a luxurious, closed-back, over-ear headphone
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

The build quality is exceptional, and it's super comfortable, which befits its high price tag.

Best headphones: Our top picks for personal listening
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

Whether you're looking for an over-the-ear, on-ear, or in-ear model, we'll help you find the perfect pair.

5 Windows display tricks to help you focus
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

When you’re trying to focus on a specific task, the right display settings can make a big difference. Dimming or disabling secondary monitors, cutting down on harsh screen lighting, or even eliminating color altogether can help draw your eyes to the job at hand and reduce eyestrain.

With the right tools, Windows can make managing these display settings practically effortless. Here are five screen manipulation tools and tricks to help you concentrate:

Automatic dark mode

With the May 2019 update for Windows 10, Microsoft added a “light” mode to complement its existing dark theme, rendering the taskbar, Start menu, and certain app menus in a bright shade of gray. Unfortunately, Microsoft provides no way to switch automatically between light and dark modes, so your display vibes might be too mellow by day and too harsh at night.

To read this article in full, please click here

Dash cam reviews 2019: Catch the maniacs and meteors of daily driving
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

Z-Edge F1 dash cam: Great image quality and versatile GPS outweigh the baffling buttons
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019

The $170 Z-Edge F1 ticks nearly all the boxes a front/interior dash cam should tick, especially for professional and rideshare drivers. Boasting 1440p front video, 1080p front/interior video, good night and low-light captures, and GPS, it’s almost the total package—once you figure out how the heck to use it.

Features and specs

The F1 is a wide-body camera, measuring approximately 4.25x1.75x1.35 inches. It’s handsome as dash cams go, with a suction mount that also incorporates the GPS module. Nicely, the GPS module serves as a handle that rotates to aid the removal mechanism. If you’ve used a high-suction model that relies on only a rotary dial, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is.

To read this article in full, please click here

The best Amazon Echo add-ons and accessories
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

A few are goofy, but many are great: These mostly inexpensive gadgets can make Amazon’s smart speakers even better.

Best phone mounts and holders for cars
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

If you’re using your smartphone for GPS directions but leaving it in your lap or cupholder, it’s time to get a phone holder for your car. These mounts allow you to position a smartphone within line of sight—and keep it out of your hands, thus avoiding a ticket in some states.

The best phone holder isn’t the same for everyone, however. Car manufacturers not only use different types of vents, but they mix up the positions of both CD players and vents too. States also have different laws for what can be attached to a windshield (and where).

Accordingly, our list of the best phone mounts doesn’t single out just one or two picks. Instead, we’re sharing the most convenient and reliable models as a group after putting them to the test in a variety of cars.

To read this article in full, please click here

How to build a killer PC for cheap with Amazon Prime Day deals
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

My, how far we’ve come in half a year. RAM and SSD prices have dropped so much that in combination with Amazon Prime Day’s PC component sales (and Newegg’s thunderous response), you can build a budget gaming PC that’s FreeSync-ready and includes Windows for $300.

This upgraded version of my $272 Black Friday gaming PC has a better motherboard, faster RAM, and double the amount of RAM and storage. Not shabby for an extra $40, and us being in the middle of the year. You don’t even need to live near a Micro Center to get this price, either—nor are you limited to this one budget build. A plethora of CPU deals and a handful of GPU deals are available for folks with larger pockets.

To read this article in full, please click here

Emoji are getting more inclusive on your iPhone and Android phone—even if you're a vampire
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

In case you forgot to buy your phone a present, it’s World Emoji Day today. And to celebrate, Apple and Google have unveiled a slew of new emoji based on the approved characters in Unicode 12 that will be arriving in iOS 13 and Android Q later this year. And the theme this year is inclusion for everyone. Even vampires.

Whatever your race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, you’ll be able to find an emoji to express yourself. On both iPhones and Android phones, the Holding Hands emoji has been greatly expanded to include more than 70 combinations and sex, gender, and race, so you’ll be able to properly represent your relationship no matter who your significant other may be.

To read this article in full, please click here

Scout’s $99 video doorbell promises to detect people rather than cars
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

The makers of a new, bargain-priced smart doorbell claims it's found a better way of detecting people on your doorstep, as opposed to cars or critters.

Google Pixel 3a review: A budget phone that acts like a premium flagship
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

The Google Pixel 3a makes a strong case for tossing out the spec sheet. On paper, it looks like yet another boring budget smartphone, with a middling processor, single front and rear cameras, and a bare-minimum 1080p screen. But in your pocket, you might just mistake it for a premium phone.

Part of the reason why is because, well, it’s a Pixel. Specifically, it looks a lot like the notchless Pixel 3 and the rumored design for the Pixel 4, and of course, it runs the latest version of Android. But while the high-priced G-stamped phones always left something to be desired when it came to design, the $399 Pixel 3a looks like a budget phone but acts like a premium one. It’s almost like Google has been setting us up for this all along.

To read this article in full, please click here

V-Moda M-100 Crossfade Master headphone review: The best headphone V-Moda has ever made
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

The first real collaboration between V-Moda and majority stakeholder Roland delivers sonic refinements and performance improvements in just about every area.

Ryzen 3000 Review: AMD's 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X conquers its past
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

Update: We've since added 3D viewport and Synegy's Cinescore performance results and have updated our gaming benchmarks to include scores for the older Ryzen chip in Far Cry 5 and Deus Ex: Mankind United.

Our review of AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, in five words:

Damn, this CPU is fast.

But keep reading, because the Ryzen 9 3900X is likely as significant, and likely as game-changing, as AMD’s original K7 Athlon-series of CPUs that crossed the 1GHz line first, or its Athlon 64 CPU that ushered in 64-bit computing in a desktop PC.

You’d think the Ryzen 9 3900X would have a hard time achieving the same greatness. It's true that it doesn't quite shake all the gaming-performance bugaboos of past generations. But we think when the dust settles, the CPU series will easily be a first-ballot, CPU hall of fame entry.

To read this article in full, please click here

Nextbase 422GW dash cam review: Superior video and versatile design, telephoto rear-view
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

Nextbase’s new GW modular series, including the $230 422GW reviewed here, have raised the bar for dual-channel dash cams. They’re pricey, but feature an HDMI port that, besides outputting video, accepts any one of three $100 rear cameras: a cabin view (interior) module, a traditional rear-window mounted unit, and a unique telephoto rear module that captures what’s behind you without the hassle of wiring, or obscuring your view.

Beyond that, there’s phone connectivity, Alexa, GPS, and a touchscreen. If it weren’t for the lack of infrared lighting for interior night captures, the 422GW would be hands-down the best dash cam I’ve ever tested. For my purposes it still is, but if you’re driving a taxi or patrol car at night, the unit’s interior captures aren’t going to cut it. 

To read this article in full, please click here

How to make voice and video calls using Alexa and your Amazon Echo
Posted on Tuesday July 16, 2019

You can use Alexa on your Amazon Echo to make calls without a mobile number or landline? Here's how.

How to play music you own on an Amazon Echo
Posted on Tuesday July 16, 2019

Play your own MP3 collection on an Amazon Echo or other Alexa devices using Plex or My Media.

AMD has a loaner program for third-gen Ryzen PCs that won't boot
Posted on Tuesday July 16, 2019

Because of limitations in a motherboard's BIOS, third-generation Ryzen chips may not boot with older AM4 motherboards. The solution? An exchange program that can solve what's essentially a chicken-and-egg problem for users building their first Ryzen PC.

The problem can be traced back to the motherboard's UEFI/BIOS. AMD pledged to make the AM4 socket backward-compatible all the way to the original Ryzen. Unfortunately, the amount of code necessary to accommodate all of the various microprocessor permutations has stretched the limits of what AM4 motherboards can handle.

That's presented two issues. First, the latest X570 boards have dropped support for older chips like the first-generation Ryzen because of these limitations. But the opposite is also true: Consumers who buy the latest third-generation Ryzen processor may find themselves unable to boot their new chip when it's paired with a cheap, legacy motherboard, including those powered by an X370 and B350 chipset. 

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Yamaha YAS-207 soundbar review: A taste of immersive audio in a spouse-friendly footprint
Posted on Tuesday July 16, 2019

The first soundbar with DTS Virtual:X technology is impressive, but it's not perfect.

Eero Home WiFi System 2 review: Beacons make this system even easier to install
Posted on Tuesday July 16, 2019

The second-generation Eero Home WiFi System is even easier to set up than the first, thanks to wireless access points called Beacons that plug straight into AC outlets. It’s also more powerful, thanks to a new Qualcomm mesh Wi-Fi router chipset and a tri-band Wi-Fi radio. Eero says the $399 kit reviewed here is suitable for a three- to four-bedroom home, and I agree. The router delivered triple-digit throughput in every room of my 2800-square-foot home—more than enough bandwidth to support several HD video streams simultaneously.

A mid-range performer

But when you look at the benchmark charts below, you’ll see that while the new Eero (I’ll call it Eero 2 from here) is much faster than the first-generation product, it was the fastest mesh router in the field of eight that I’ve tested to date in only one location in my home, and that was with a MacBook Pro as the client. Interestingly, that location was my home theater, a spot that most wireless devices have difficulty penetrating because of the thickness of its walls and ceiling and the presence of acoustic caulk sandwiched between its multiple layers of drywall.

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