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Honor View20 review: top phone at half the cost of an iPhone XS
Posted on Friday February 01, 2019

A big screen with a hole-punch notch, a cracking 48MP camera, great performance and battery

The Honor View20 made by Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer at the centre of a political storm, offers a top-notch experience including a great camera for £500 – less than half the price of an iPhone XS.

The company is at the centre of allegations of violating sanctions and theft of trade secrets, but it’s undeniable that it has produced some excellent phones at affordable prices over the last year. The View20 is Honor’s attempt to show that is has the beans to step out from the shadow of just being Huawei’s cheaper sub-brand with a top-flight phone of its own.

Screen: 6.4in FHD+ LCD (398ppi)

Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 980

RAM: 6GB or 8GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 256GB

Operating system: Magic UI 2 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: rear 48MP camera + 3D sensor, 25MP selfie-camera

Connectivity: headphone socket, LTE, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS (dual-sim available in some regions)

Dimensions: 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight: 180g

The notch obscures the time in the left corner when using Android Auto on the phone

There’s a tiny amount of uneven backlighting at the very bottom of the screen, which almost looks like shadow from the bezel

Sometimes the three navigation buttons were shunted slightly off to the left of the centre when held in portrait orientation

Honor has included a very useful button on the navigation bar to rotate the screen when you have auto-rotation disabled (as I have all the time)

The View20 is one of the first three Android phones to support Fornite at 60fps

Pros: hole-punch notch, snappy performance, good battery life, brilliant camera, good screen, dual-sim, headphone socket

Cons: Magic UI not to everyone’s taste, no expandable storage, no water resistance, no wireless charging

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

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Continue reading...

Super Bowl: experimental radar aims to stop drone drama at game
Posted on Monday January 28, 2019

After rogue drone sightings halt flights, startup seeks permission to test tracking system at Sunday’s game

A Bill Gates-funded startup is seeking permission to test a new kind of drone detector at Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta.

Echodyne, a Seattle-based company, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Sunday to operate two experimental radars “in the immediate vicinity” of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to “alert security personnel, including federal officers, of any unidentified drone activity during Super Bowl LIII”.

Related: First Gatwick. Now a film about a serial killer drone. We have been warned

This story has been updated to correct the cost of Echodyne’s system.

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Amazon Echo Show (2nd gen) review: Alexa's bigger, brighter smart display
Posted on Tuesday January 15, 2019

The latest smart speaker with screen looks better, sounds great and has built-in smart hub

The new second generation Echo Show is bigger with a better display, but is size enough to keep Amazon ahead of stiff competition from Google?

Since the original Echo Show launched last year the software has been refined, but the experience is broadly the same. The Show is a voice-first Alexa speaker, with touch interactivity as an additional input rather than the core experience. If you never wanted to touch the screen beyond the initial set-up ,you wouldn’t have to.

It routinely got stuck on one particular photo in my library, showing it for hours on end.

If you’re listening to music while cooking, the Show will just display recipes and steps without interrupting via voice.

You can’t turn off the tips of things to try through Alexa that show at the bottom of the screen when just showing photos, which is very annoying.

You can disable the camera entirely if you want to, but if you don’t trust Amazon with your data you shouldn’t be buying an Alexa device.

You can use the Echo Show as a Bluetooth speaker or connect it to a Bluetooth speaker.

Despite the screen, shopping on the Echo Show is still tedious and better done via a phone or tablet.

Pros: good, big screen, sounds great, good for recipes, Amazon Prime Video, Alexa, YouTube and BBC iPlayer (in a browser), good smart home control, integrated Zigbee hub, Bluetooth

Cons: no 3.5mm socket, expensive, big and hard to blend in with furnishings, annoying “Try Alexa” tips you can’t turn off, using a browser to get to video sites is irritating, no Netflix or most TV catch-up services

Amazon Echo second-generation review: smaller, cheaper and better

Amazon Echo Spot review: cute smart speaker with a screen

Google Home Hub review: the smart display to buy

Sonos One review: the best smart speaker for audiophiles

Apple HomePod review: Siri lets down best sounding smart speaker

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CES 2019: from beer tech to a banned sex toy – 10 standout gadgets
Posted on Friday January 11, 2019

Also unveiled in Las Vegas: the world’s first rollable TV and Alexa for your toilet

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas revealed what the tech world has in store for us this year. From the spectacular to the controversial – as well as some total tosh – here are 10 of the most memorable products unveiled at CES 2019 last week.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) review: better all round
Posted on Thursday January 10, 2019

Latest small smart speaker has improved looks, sound and still has everything good about Alexa

Amazon’s latest low-cost Alexa-powered smart speaker, the third-generation Echo Dot, looks better, sounds better, but still costs the same budget-friendly £50.

When the second-generation Echo Dot launched in the UK it had very little in the way of competition. Having everything that was good about Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant squeezed into a smaller package half the price of the bigger Echo, it was a no-brainer.

Related: How do I get the best from Alexa?

Alexa can finally recognise different voice profiles for different users in one home in the UK as of November

The blue light ring around the top is easy to see from across the room

You can buy things on Amazon via voice if you want, but it can be a laborious process unless you know the precise name of the item and variant. I turned it off.

Pros: can always hear you, small but loud enough, great device support, clear when muted, activity can been seen from across the room, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio socket

Cons: music distorts at max volume, no real bass, general knowledge not quite as good as Google Assistant

Amazon Echo second-generation review: smaller, cheaper and better

Google Home review: the smart speaker that answers almost any question

Google Home Mini review: a brilliant little £50 voice assistant speaker

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Gadgets: the hardest thing to make now is a profit
Posted on Tuesday January 01, 2019

Be it smartwatches or smart speakers, it’s never been easier to make gadgets. But only the big players have the muscle to survive

Imagine a shopper in an electronics store. Look, there’s a Fitbit display, with its “activity bands” which measure your steps and show details. Or, more pricey, its Versa smartwatch. Perhaps to save money, just buy the activity band? But wait … just over there are some generic activity bands, and they’re cheaper. Maybe save some money with those.

Move along a bit, and there are GoPro cameras. But once again, there are some slightly cheaper models beside them; not well-known brands, but a camera is a camera, surely? Further along, there’s a Parrot drone. Next to those is a Sonos speaker, which works with Amazon’s Alexa. But beside it is a cheaper Amazon Echo, and a voice-controlled Google Home, and a Siri-enabled Apple HomePod. Why would you go with the smaller brand, faced with those offerings from tech’s behemoths? Or, at the previous displays, why not just buy the cheaper models?

Related: The 20 best gadgets of 2018

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Tech gift guide: 10 ideas for last-minute presents
Posted on Friday December 21, 2018

From Apple AirPods to Amazon tablets, here are suggestions for all budgets

Stuck for a gift for Christmas with the clock steadily ticking on? Here are some tech suggestions for all range of budgets.

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Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Pricey Bluetooth headphones have excellent controls but only good, not great sound quality, noise cancelling and battery life

Surface Headphones are Microsoft’s high-price, premium noise-cancelling cans aimed squarely at toppling the current kings, Bose and Sony.

Headphones seem like an odd choice for the Xbox, Office and Windows maker, but the are being produced by Microsoft’s burgeoning consumer electronics arm responsible for its line of Surface computers and accessories.

You can pair them with up to 10 Bluetooth devices from any brand, but only connect to two at a time

A female voice announces battery life when you turn on the headphones

The text-to-speech sounds a little like a depressed robot and makes a right hash of some Bluetooth device names, pronouncing iPad as “eee-pad” for instance

It can take up to five minutes for the headphones to realise they’ve lost connection to a device

They come with an analogue 3.5mm cable with a mic built in, which turns the headphones on and off when plugged in

They don’t work any better with Windows 10 or a Surface Pro 6 than any other Bluetooth headphones

Pros: comfortable, well made, great controls, solid connectivity, USB-C, adjustable noise cancelling/ambient sound

Cons: no Cortana support in the UK, battery life, sound and noise cancelling not quite as good as rivals, fairly big, no support for AAC/apt

Hushed tones: six of the best noise-cancelling headphones

Bose QC35 wireless headphones (2016): simply unrivalled noise cancelling

Marshall Mid Bluetooth headphones review: sound that will rock you

Marshall Major III Bluetooth review: rocking wireless headphones

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The 20 best gadgets of 2018
Posted on Sunday December 09, 2018

From electric bikes and fold-up drones to combat robots and digital skipping ropes… the year’s most desirable technology

Instead of relying on heat, this innovative device employs the Coanda jet-flow effect (which helps keep planes airborne) to wrap and style hair. It requires relearning how to coax your locks, but you can say goodbye to heat damage and singed foreheads.

Continue reading...

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2018 review: the new standard
Posted on Thursday December 06, 2018

Refined design, water resistance and good screen makes latest e-reader about as good as a single-use device gets

The new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is thinner, lighter and now water resistant, setting a new standard for what an e-reader should be.

There’s only so far you can push a single-use device. Technically the Kindle Paperwhite is more than just an e-reader, as it now has Bluetooth for playing back audiobooks too. But it’s still a book reader, plain and simple.

Screen: 6in e-paper (300ppi)

Dimensions: 167 x 116 x 8.2 mm

Weight: 182g (4G version 191g)

Connectivity: Wi-Fi (3G optional), Bluetooth

Storage: 8 or 32GB

Battery life: rated for approximately 21 hours of reading

Amazon’s optional cases are excellent, but add bulk and weight and aren’t that easy to get on and off

The Paperwhite is the first Kindle with 4G, which I got noticeably better signal with when traveling but given ebooks are tiny in size they download in about the same time

There’s no USB-C, so you might need a dedicated micro-USB cable just for the Kindle

Pros: great screen, easy to use and buy books, X-ray, audiobooks, even backlight, good battery life, light and easy to handle, water resistance

Cons: microUSB, no page turn buttons, no automatic brightness adjustment, more or less locked into Amazon’s ecosystem

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

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Which electric bike should I get? And are they safe?
Posted on Saturday December 01, 2018

I’m thinking about giving it to my 80-year-old dad, but I’m not sure if he’ll cope with the extra speed

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.

My cycling-mad father is 80 this year and considering getting an electric bike to allow him to stay in the saddle. Can anyone suggest a good one that isn’t £3,000? Will he be able to cope with the extra speed – any other octogenarians made the same move?

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Amazon Echo or Google Home: which should I buy?
Posted on Saturday November 24, 2018

I’m thinking of getting a smart speaker for a present, but wonder if the novelty will wear off

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.

I’m thinking about buying one of those Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers as a gift for my partner at Christmas. My worry is that it might be fun at first but then you stop using it. How have other readers got on with them? And which is best, the Amazon or the Google one?

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Where to get the best UK Black Friday deals and offers
Posted on Friday November 23, 2018

Preparation is key to getting the best Black Friday deals, so try this handy guide to what’s on offer in the UK

Black Friday, Britain’s biggest shopping event, is nearly upon us, and with many high street retailers struggling, shoppers can expect to bag some good bargains.

It originated in the US, where stores mark the start of the festive shopping season the day after the Thanksgiving public holiday with big price cuts and promotions.

Related: Amazon and high street chains kick off Black Friday early

Related: Black Friday: stay out of the red with our smart shopping guide

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OnePlus 6T review: you'd have to spend double to get better than this
Posted on Friday November 02, 2018

With in-display fingerprint scanner and speedy performance, this is the smartphone that brings all-screen design up a notch

The OnePlus 6T proves that cutting-edge technology doesn’t have to cost the Earth, bringing an in-display fingerprint scanner and a tiny notch for just £500.

OnePlus has kept things simple for years, offering top specifications for budget prices. The price has slowly crept up to not-quite-so budget, but the level of refinement and technology has also improved.

Screen: 6.41in full HD AMOLED (402ppi)

Processor: octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

RAM: 6 or 8GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 256GB

Operating system: OxygenOS based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: 16MP + 20MP rear dual camera, 16MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: LTE, dual sim, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS

Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm

Weight: 185g

When you use the fingerprint sensor the night mode for the display is disabled temporarily and then fades back in once you’ve unlocked the phone

The phone comes with a screen protector already on it

The single bottom-firing speaker is loud and has a relatively large amount of bass for the phone, but is easily blocked while playing a game

OnePlus’s alert slider switches between silent, vibrate and ring and is still brilliant

Pros: good battery life, great screen, excellent performance, dual-sim, good camera, Bluetooth 5, great software, tiny notch, in-screen fingerprint sensor, alert slider

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

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Honor Play review: great all-round smartphone for under £300

Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

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iPhone XR review: Apple's cheaper battery king
Posted on Wednesday October 31, 2018

With Face ID and a decent screen, this phone attempts a happy medium between quality and price – but £750 still isn’t a bargain

The iPhone XR looks to offer most of what made the iPhone XS a knockout for £250 less – but with a colourful body and a slightly larger screen is this the iPhone to buy?

With the iPhone XS and XS Max starting at £999 and £1,099 respectively, Apple has room to shoehorn a slightly lower cost, but still expensive, model in underneath.

Screen: 6.1in Liquid Retina HD (LCD) (326ppi)

Processor: Apple A12 Bionic

RAM: 3GB of RAM

Storage: 64, 128 or 256GB

Operating system: iOS 12

Camera: Dual 12MP rear cameras with OIS, 7MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5, Lightning and GPS

Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight: 194g

Face ID is excellent, working just as well on the iPhone XR as it does on the iPhone XS

You need a USB-C to Lightning cable to fast charge the phone, but neither it nor a compatible charger are included in the box

The iPhone XR is water resistant to IP67 standards, which is the same as the iPhone X but worse than the iPhone XS

Wireless charging is great, but the iPhone heats up quite a lot while charging, more so than competitor phones

Pros: good camera, water resistant, wireless charging, Face ID, good battery life, good screen

Cons: no headphone socket, no fingerprint scanner, glass will break if dropped, expensive, no fast charger or USB-C cable in the box, no headphones adapter in the box

Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: the best big-screen smartphone by miles

OnePlus 6 review: top-end smartphone for half cost of iPhone X

Continue reading...

OnePlus 6T: cut-price flagship launches with in-screen fingerprint sensor
Posted on Monday October 29, 2018

Updated Android smartphone shrinks screen notch, offering cutting-edge technology for less

OnePlus is putting a stake in the ground with its latest smartphone, saying cutting-edge technology doesn’t need to cost the best part of £1,000.

The new OnePlus 6T, which starts at £499, has an all-screen design and large 6.41in FHD+ OLED display, but this time shrinks the notch at the top to a more bearable tiny teardrop shape, slims the chin at the bottom of the screen and fits a fingerprint scanner directly into the screen.

OnePlus 6 review: top-end smartphone for half cost of iPhone X

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance
Posted on Monday October 29, 2018

With in-display fingerprint and 3D face scanning, triple camera and long battery life, Huawei has pulled off something special

Huawei has made really good phones for years, but the Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese firm’s first truly cutting-edge device with a triple camera, 3D face unlock and an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

The Mate series of phones has always delivered one thing above all else – battery life. This year Huawei has gone out of its way to deliver even more.

Screen: 6.39in QHD+ OLED (538ppi)

Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 980

RAM: 6 or 8GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 256GB plus nano memory card

Operating system: EMUI 9 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: Triple rear camera 40MP, 20MP ultra-wide angle, 8MP telephoto, 24MP front-facing camera + 3D depth sensing camera

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

Water resistance: IP68

Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm

Weight: 189g

Bluetooth connectivity to a set of wireless earbuds was excellent

4G performance was far better than some rivals, holding onto usable signal in more places without draining the battery

The twilight colour does not have the hyper optical pattern on the glass back

The phone supports new nano memory cards, not microSD cards, which might prove difficult to buy

Huawei’s haptics are greatly improved, although not quite on a par with Apple’s

It is not available to buy in the US following Huawei’s effective ban by the Trump administration

Pros: long battery life, 3D face recognition, in-display fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, brilliant camera, fantastic screen, good processor

Cons: EMUI not to everyone’s taste, nano memory not microSD, expensive, no headphone socket, Master AI can be overbearing at times

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: the do-everything phone

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

Huawei P20 Pro review – the three-camera iPhone killer

OnePlus 6 review: top-end smartphone for half cost of iPhone X

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Surface Laptop 2 review: Microsoft's sleeker answer to the MacBook Air
Posted on Tuesday October 23, 2018

This slim, powerful machine is the finest example of what a Windows laptop should be. If only it came with USB-C

The Surface Laptop 2 is Microsoft’s ultimate vision of what a Windows 10 laptop should be – simple, sleek and sophisticated, but still a little different.

The look, feel and operation hasn’t changed since last year, save for a slick new black paint job, which joins the default Microsoft silver, burgundy and blue.

Screen: 13.5in LCD 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI)

Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 (8th generation)

RAM: 8 or 16GB

Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB

Graphics: Intel UHD 620

Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Camera: 720P front-facing, Windows Hello

Connectivity: Wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, headphones, TPM

Dimensions: 308.1 x 223.3 x 14.5mm

Weight: 1,252 or 1,283g

The Fn key can lock to either media or F keys with a little LED to show when active

Due to the angle of the side of the machine it can be difficult to plug the magnetic power cable in without lifting the side up for more leverage

The speakers are hidden beneath the deck of the keys and sound pretty good for a laptop

Pros: great keyboard, good trackpad, Alcantara, sleek design, USB-A port, great screen, great battery life, Windows Hello, powerful processor

Cons: no USB-C, no SD card reader, no fingerprint scanner, limited configuration options, Windows 10 Home not Pro, only Intel UHD 620

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: the slim, do-it-all MacBook Pro rival

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

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet review: as good as Surface Pro but with USB-C

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

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

Apple 13in MacBook Pro (2017) review: battery life to get through a working day

Continue reading...

Google Home Hub review: the smart display to buy
Posted on Monday October 22, 2018

This gadget is your Google Assistant, smart-home dashboard and digital photo frame in one – and it’s good for cooking, too

The Home Hub is Google’s first own-brand smart display, combining Google Assistant, advanced smart-home control and a digital photo frame into a neat and tidy package.

Google isn’t the first to market with smart displays. Amazon’s Echo Show put the company’s Alexa on a screen a year ago, while Google Assistant smart displays made by Harman, Lenovo and LG were released a few months ago.

The screen can be set to turn off or go very dim in darkness

Swipe from the left edge to go back one screen

Some answers are accompanied by sound effects, such as birds tweeting for sunny weather predictions

Manual tweaking of brightness, low-light mode and display settings are buried in a menu on the Google Home app

There’s a night mode you can schedule to reduce the volume of responses and block notifications apart from alarms and timers

You can use it as a Bluetooth speaker

The Home Hub can show you the video from any linked smart cameras

Pros: great touchscreen, minimalist design, Bluetooth, Google Assistant, can hear you well, excellent smart home control, great recipes, cheaper than the competition

Cons: no 3.5mm socket, fabric could get dirty in a kitchen, need to dig into the Google Home app to change almost any setting, only Google services

Google Home review: the smart speaker that answers almost any question

Google Home Mini review: a brilliant little voice assistant speaker

Google Home Max review: bigger and smarter sound

Amazon Echo Show review: smart speaker with a screen has great potential

Amazon Echo Spot review: cute smart speaker with a screen

Apple HomePod review: Siri lets down best sounding smart speaker

Continue reading...

Huawei Mate 20 Pro launches with in-screen fingerprint sensor
Posted on Tuesday October 16, 2018

Feature-packed Android phone is first widely available with scanner embedded in screen alongside 3D face unlocking

Huawei’s new Mate 20 Pro has a massive screen, three cameras on the back and a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display.

The new top-end phone from the Chinese firm aims to secure its place at the top of the market alongside Samsung, having recently beaten Apple to become the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in August.

Continue reading...

Oppo's phone tech goes futuristic with 5G and a 10X lossless zoom camera
Posted on Saturday February 23, 2019

While Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Nokia are all launching new phones leading up to Mobile World Congress, Oppo is looking a little further down the road. It didn’t bring any new phones to Barcelona, but it is showing off some new features that will make their debut in 2019 handsets.

Like all the major manufacturers, upstart Oppo announced it will be launching a 5G phone this year, and it touted a new cloud gaming platform with low latency and AAA mobile titles to go along with it. As expected, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip and X50 modem will be the brains and brawn behind the phone, which is merely called, “Oppo’s First 5G Smartphone.” U.S. customers need not apply, however, since Oppo doesn’t have much of a footprint in the states, and isn’t partnering with any carriers in America.

To read this article in full, please click here

This week in games: Free copies of Thimbleweed Park, major overhauls for Fallout 76 and The Bard's Tale IV
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

We made it, everyone. The busiest February in recent memory is now essentially over, with Anthem’s “official” release today. Hopefully you found a new game to love. Me? I’ll be abandoning my PC for a few days to play Tetris 99. It’s really, really good, so congrats to Nintendo for locking that down.

But before I go, time to recap the news. This week we have free copies of Thimbleweed Park, major changes coming to The Bard’s Tale IV and Fallout 76, Wadjet Eye publishing its first 3D game, and (unfortunately) more layoffs.

To read this article in full, please click here

Best DVR for cord cutters
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

TiVo vs. Tablo vs. Channel Master vs. Plex: None are ideal, but one might work for you.

Best home security camera: Keep an eye on the home front
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.

Learn to build robots and drones with Humble's cheap Raspberry Pi and Arduino ebook bundle
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

Arduino boards and the Raspberry Pi have taken the DIY computing world by storm, allowing users to create wildly inventive projects while learning programming and electronic building skills. If you’re just looking to get into the world of microcontroller boards, though, it can be a little daunting to know where to start. And even if you’ve been on the DIY scene for a while, there’s always more to learn.

Today, you can get a Humble Bundle of Raspberry Pi and Arduino guide ebooks from Make magazine on a pay-what-you-want deal. The total list value of the bundle is $318, but you can get a healthy selection of books from the first tier for just $1. From there, you can get more content at each price tier: $8, $15, and $18. And, as is typical with Humble bundles, a portion of your purchase price will go to charity.

To read this article in full, please click here

Anthem review: A great first impression and not much else
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

Anthem is a striking example of how familiarity breeds contempt. It makes, without a doubt, one of the best first impressions I’ve ever seen. It looks stunning as you delve into the Heart of Rage for the first time, wind kicking up sand and ash, heat roiling off rivers of lava. And that sense of awe continues for the first hour or two. I mean, come on, you can fly. It’s amazing. You’re bootleg Iron Man, rocketing through a lush jungle filled with crumbling temples and alien wildlife.

Then Anthem runs out of things to show you, and it all falls apart.

To read this article in full, please click here

Get fast speeds and big capacity with this 480GB SanDisk SSD for a ridiculous $50 today
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

If you’re still rocking a spinning hard drive, today is your day to finally embrace the blisteringly fast life of solid-state drives. Newegg is selling a 480GB SanDisk SSD Plus for $50 with the checkout code EMCXTVVU3. It appears the sale price will expire on Friday evening just before midnight. This checkout code requires you to sign-up for Newegg’s marketing mailers, which will alert you to Newegg’s best deals.

To read this article in full, please click here

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti review: GTX is back with a vengeance
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

GTX is back, baby. After being kicked to the curb in favor of a new “RTX” brand that signifies the inclusion of dedicated RT and tensor cores that enable real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced gaming, Nvidia’s tried-and-true mainstay returns for the release of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. Yes, that means this $280-plus GPU lacks the cutting-edge capabilities of its bigger siblings, like the GeForce RTX 2060. But by ditching all the extra hardware, Nvidia was able to focus the GTX 1660 Ti’s efforts on just plain kicking ass in games.

And it succeeds, friends.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti delivers outstanding 1080p and solid 1440p gaming performance on a par with last-gen’s $380 GTX 1070, without the massive price increase witnessed in its RTX-laden cousins—it's only $20 more than what the GTX 1060 launched at. This card beats the snot out of AMD’s Radeon RX 590, even though its starting price is $10 lower. It’s a winner. Let’s take a look at the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti, a custom-cooled, heavily overclocked version of the GPU that costs $330.

To read this article in full, please click here

Microsoft HoloLens retro review: What made it great, and what a new HoloLens needs to succeed
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

Unearthing Microsoft’s HoloLens feels a little like walking the decks of the Titanic. Four years ago, Microsoft’s augmented-reality headset ignited the imaginations of consumers and developers alike with its promise of lifelike animated sprites that could perch on real-world objects. Then... it sank.

It’s almost criminal that Microsoft’s original HoloLens demos never saw the light of day. Bending down to peer “inside” a coffee table into the Minecraft underworld was an utterly transformative experience. But at least Microsoft’s vision of using the HoloLens as a business tool apparently is alive and well.

To read this article in full, please click here

Momentum Aria LED Floodlight with Wi-Fi Camera review: Cheap, but far from the best value
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

This camera/floodlight combo will save you a few bucks, but you’ll give up a lot.

Save up to 30% on your power bill with Arcadia Power
Posted on Friday February 22, 2019

Given the chance, most of us would jump at the opportunity to bring down our power bills. But, there’s a prevailing assumption that doing so involves dealing with steep upfront costs before the savings actually come in. Arcadia Power presents a different solution, however, and it’s willing to give new users $20 off their first utility bill for trying out the platform.

At its core, Arcadia Power is a free platform that connects homeowners and renters to clean, low-cost energy solutions. Users who sign up become part of a community of more than 150,000 members, driving the platform’s purchasing power and allowing Arcadia Power to negotiate for lower monthly payments for green energy.

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Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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Logitech brings back its MX518 gaming mouse with an updated version for 2019
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

More than a dozen years after Logitech’s MX518 gaming mouse debuted, Logitech is bringing it back.

The MX518 wired gaming mouse boasted dpi improvements over the iconic Logitech MX510. According to Logitech, the MX518 became one of its most beloeved gaming mice of all time, enough to spark a revival. Now, the “reborn” MX518 is available for preorder for $59.99, direct from Logitech. 

Of course, it’s been upgraded with Logitech’s latest hardware: a HERO 16K sensor inside, with resolution from 100 to 16,000 dpi and 400+ ips (inches per second) across that range. There’s zero smoothing or acceleration, Logitech said. Users can either customize their own dpi settings, or scroll through one of five pre-selected dpi settings (400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400) using buttons above and below the mouse wheel.

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HP's President's Day Sale Continues With up to 56% off Select Products - Deal Alert
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

In honor of President's Day, HP's online store has slashed prices up to 56% on various items, with free shipping included. On the list is the HP Pavilion Laptop - 15T which has been discounted $420 down to $579.99.  The budget-friendly 14z laptop is even budget-friendlier at just $189.99, down from $329.99. The HP Probook 640 G4 Notebook PC is slashed 53% from $1310 to just $609. There are many more discounts as well, so browse the full list of deals at HP's online store right here.

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You can get a 32-inch Toshiba HD Fire TV Edition today for less than the price of an Echo Spot
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

Whether or not you've decided to cut the cord, a smart TV can open up your entertainment world, with internet connectivity capabilities and streaming channels built right in. And today you can get a 32-inch Toshiba HD Fire TV on Amazon for $100, down from a list price of $180 and the lowest we've ever seen it by a wide margin.

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Grab our favorite RTX 2070 graphics card with a free game for less than $500 today on Newegg
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

The Full Nerd ep. 85: Is it RTX's time finally? Intel to KFC chips and Ryzen 3000 here by July
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

With Direct Ray Tracing now enabled in Metro Exodus and DLSS support pushed out for Battlefield V, is Nvidia's GeForce RTX series of GPUs finally "winning?" That's just the first thing the Full Nerd crew talks about.

Next order of business was Intel's leaked 9th gen KFC chip, leaked laptop 9th-gen chips, and a Core i9 so hard to get—even OEMs have to enter an auction to get one.

You can witness it all in the video embedded above. You can also watch The Full Nerd episode 85 on YouTube (subscribe to the channel while you’re there!) or listen to it on Soundcloud if you prefer the audio alone.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold: Will it have an ugly display seam? (And 3 other unanswered questions)
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

I attended Samsung Unpacked with a singular mission: to go hands-on with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. With a 4.6-inch display on the front, and a 7.3-inch display tucked inside, it looks to be a revolutionary smartphone—assuming the phone is as elegant in the hand as it was during Samsung’s scripted dog-and-pony show.

But, alas, while Samsung’s demo space was packed silly with Galaxy S10s, the Galaxy Fold wasn’t available. There wasn’t even a Galaxy Fold entombed in a glass display case. So I’m left with only unanswered questions—like whether the $1,980 Fold will have a visible seam running down its unfolded display like the seam I spied during the live Unpacked demo. Check out the seam at the 42:59 mark in Samsung’s official demo video, or just look below.

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Four ways Samsung’s Galaxy S10e blows away the iPhone XR (and four ways it doesn’t)
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

Samsung’s Galaxy S10e is clearly a response to the iPhone XR, Apple’s new lower-cost handset. But how does it stack up?

Can Excel show the column headers on every screen? How to freeze panes and split screens
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

Can Excel show column headers on every screen? Yes, in Excel it’s called Freezing Panes, which can be applied to columns or rows (or both), and it’s super-simple. We’ll also show you how to split screens, a similar feature. Both options make it easier to navigate big spreadsheets without losing track of basic data.

Freeze and Unfreeze Panes in Excel

The Freeze feature in Excel allows you to scroll down through hundreds of rows and still see the original headers or field names in row 1, or scroll over hundreds of columns and still see the data such as a product or person’s name in column A. 

1. Open your spreadsheet and select View > Window (group) > Freeze Panes > Freeze First Column, and it’s done. Now you can see the company or product names beyond the first screen; that is, column A remains stationary at left while you move your cursor to the right as far as needed (even to the very last column XFD).

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