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28
Mar

Stack: how tall is your tower? [Review]


Overview – Stack is an enjoyable, timing-based, tower building game. Developer: Ketchapp Highlights: Beautiful graphics Fast-paced fun Google Play Games integration No in-app purchases Setup – Setup is as simple as possible. Install the game from the Google Play store and launch the application. The Google Play Games integration is automatic and it takes you directly

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28
Mar

Oculus now letting developers sell Rift games in other digital stores


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With the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset now beginning to ship out to the first pre-order customers, Oculus is updating its SDK for developers so they can build apps and games for the new hardware. At the same time, the company is also allowing those developers to sell their games made for the Oculus Rift outside its own digital store.

In a blog post, Oculus stated:

“As a developer, you don’t have to be in the Oculus Store — you can sell outside, and when you do that you can you use your own IAP if you prefer, and we don’t take a cut. You can also request keys (royalty free) to sell your Oculus PC app on other stores, while making it available to the community through the Oculus platform.”

Oculus also said that the consumer version of the Rift can also be turned into a development kit. The previous hardware dev kit can still be used until the end of 2016. It added:

We’re also releasing the Oculus Platform SDK 1.0, which lets you add features like leaderboards, multiplayer matchmaking, and peer-to-peer networking to your games and apps.

New orders for the Oculus Rift are being taken right now for $599, but they won’t be shipped until sometime in July.

See at Oculus

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28
Mar

Oculus Rift reviews are in, and not exactly what you’d imagine


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It’s Oculus Rift Day, and that means you have some reading to do if VR is your thing.

If you’ve been following the development of the now Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, today is a big day. The Kickstarter project that gained over 9,000 backers back in 2012 and in many ways resurrected virtual reality has turned into a significant industry force and has started shipping a consumer-ready headset that can be used in any home with a PC capable of driving it. Among many other things, that means today is review day for blogs that have been following VR for a while no.

We’re just starting to ramp up our VR coverage, and will have plenty to say about the Oculus Rift and its competitors over the next month and beyond. In the mean time, there are three reviews in particular that are well worth your time today.

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You first stop for a thorough review of how the Oculus Rift hardware performs, particularly when it comes to comfort and the quality of the included hardware, is UploadVR. These folks live and breathe VR right now, and their coverage of all the things you strap to your face and enjoy has been exceptional to date. Take a look at their thoughts on this first major step into PC-based consumer-grade VR.

Read more: The UploadVR Review

If you want more information about the games available for the Oculus Rift at launch and how the experience out the box pulls together to create this “first generation” VR product, Polygon should be your next stop. Ben Kuchera has everything you’ll want to know about the experience out of the box, as well as some insight on the quality of the games built for the Rift and with the Rift in mind. The biggest thing to note here is that Oculus is clearly preparing for a more complete experience once the Oculus Touch controllers are available, but for now the trusty Xbox One controller is driving the things we all already enjoy.

Read more: The Polygon Review

If you’re looking for a review that encapsulates the energy and excitement found in trying a headset like this when you’re already excited about VR, the folks at CNET have assembled something truly unique. The review is broken out into two halves, and as the story unfolds the reader is left with no choice but to drift between “dream” and “reality” to get a complete sense of what the Oculus Rift experience is like right now. Scott Stein and Sean Hollister tell the story in a uniquel and fun way, and you actually learn about the Rift in the process. It’s far from perfect, but it’s not all that far from magic if you’re new to the technology.

Read more: The CNET Review

There’s so much more to this tech than the early reviews, and with competing hardware shipping in less than a week and Sony’s offering finally showing signs of life there’s going to be so many questions to answer. We’ve got both arms outstretched and are ready to dive in to all of these experiences, and we’re looking forward to taking you with us down this particular rabbit hole.

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28
Mar

WhatsApp tips and tricks: Amazing features you never knew about


There’s always a bit of a learning curve when it comes to mastering new apps and WhatsApp is no different. It’s wickedly popular (it recently hit a billion users) and extremely easy to get started using right away, but the messenger does have a few quirks that aren’t immediately obvious at first. There are also a few hidden features that aren’t the simplest to enable.

If you have some patience and the willingness to tinker however, we’re sure that anybody can figure out WhatsApp in no time but we thought we’d make it a little easier.

We’ve gone over everything you could possibly want to know about WhatsApp, from how exactly the app works to tips and tricks every user should keep at their disposal.

What is WhatsApp and how does it work?

WhatsApp is an instant messaging app that Facebook acquired in 2014. You’d typically use the app to send things like text messages, images, video, audio messages – or even to place a Wi-Fi call to a friend.

It’s recently taken the crown for the world’s most popular messaging app after hitting one billion active users, handling a whopping 42 billion messages a day and 250 million videos. 

Setup

The first thing you need to know is that WhatsApp has no adverts and it is now entirely free after a recent scrap of the £0.79 yearly subscription charge. The app is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows devices.

Once installed, you’ll be asked to enter your mobile phone number. WhatsApp needs your actual number because it routes files and messages between you and your contacts similar to how an SMS system would.

Navigation

WhatsApp has a menu bar that runs along the bottom of all the screens within the app. It has the following five tabs: Favourites, Recents, Contacts, Chats, and Settings. Tap on any tab in order to access a new screen and its related features and settings.

The Favourites screen should pre-load any of your phone contacts who have installed WhatsApp, but you can tap the “+” symbol in the upper right-hand corner to add more contacts. Alternatively, you can tap “Edit” in the left corner to begin deleting contacts from Favourites.

The Recents tab displays all your placed and missed WhatsApp calls, as well as allow you to clear them. The next tab on the menu bar is for Contacts, and it’s where you should go to browse through your phone contacts and maybe invite them to join WhatsApp.

The fourth tab is for Chats. This is a running log of all your active messages. Tap the draft symbol in the upper right-hand corner to start a new chat with a single friend, or you can tap “New Group” to start a group chat with up to 100 people at once. Every group has one or more admins.

You might also notice a feature called Broadcast Lists under Chats. Broadcasting messaging lets you send a message to many people at once, without revealing the recipients. It’s kinda like bcc (blind carbon copy) from email, and each recipient can respond to you individually.

The ability to create Broadcast Lists enables you to preserve a saved list of contacts to whom you send Broadcast Messages. To send a Broadcast Message to a specific contact, that person must have your phone number saved in their address book.

The fifth and final tab is Settings. Under this screen, you’ll find privacy options, ways to change your notification alerts, network usage stats, a tool for archiving chats, and a place to connect your Facebook account, among many other things.

Messaging

While in a chat window with a friend or group, you can send anything from photos to audio files. Tap in the text field at the bottom of the chat to bring up a keyboard and enter a message, or tap the arrow symbol on the left for more options.

The arrow should bring up options to take a photo/video or send one from your library, as well as share a location or a contact. You can also send or take a photo by tapping the camera symbol found on the right side of the text field in chat.

There is also a mic symbol on the right side of the text field that you can tap in order to record and send an audio message.

Wi-Fi Calling

Finally, in the top right-hand corner of any chat window, you’ll see a dialer symbol. Simply click it to phone the contact you’re chatting with, or don’t. WhatsApp Calling uses your phone’s internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes (so data charges may apply).

WhatsApp tips and tricks

There are of course plenty of tips and tricks on WhatsApp that are definitely worth checking out. Whether it is simply deleting a chat, which is not as obvious as you might think, to stopping the ticks turning blue even if you’ve read a message, here are a few WhatsApp tips and tricks worth checking out.

Use WhatsApp on the web

WhatsApp isn’t limited to your mobile phone. There’s a web app that syncs everything from your phone. If you have the Chrome browser installed on your computer, go to the WhatsApp Web page, scan the QR code, and follow the instructions for your phone.

It’ll serve up chats and alerts on your computer, allowing you to reply quickly and easily. Your phone will need to be connected for it to work though so if you lose your connection, the web app will stop syncing until you get your phone connection back.

Protect your chats with a passcode

WhatsApp doesn’t let you protect chats from snoopers, but third-party apps on Android will let you enable a password or PIN.

Try Messenger and Chat Block, AppLock, or Smart AppLock if you are an Android user. On Windows Phone, there’s WhatsApp Locker, and on BlackBerry, you can try Lock for Whats Messenger.

Hide timestamps, read receipts, and more

When you look at a chat window or even a contact within WhatsApp, you’ll often see a “Last Seen” timestamp under his or her name. It’s a handy little indicator for when the contact last checked WhatsApp. If you don’t want people to see when exactly you’re using WhatsApp, you can hide your Last Seen timestamp. Just go to Settings, then Account, and Privacy.

Be sure to toggle Last Seen to “Nobody”, but doing so will also prevent you from being able to see everybody’s last seen time. Under this section, you will also see that you can hide your profile photo, status, and read receipts. You can even manage your list of blocked contacts.

Trick of the blue ticks

If you want to keep read receipts on but stop the someone seeing when you have actually read a message, there is a trick for that too. Before you open the specific message, put your smartphone into airplane mode. Open the message when airplane mode is still on and then come out of it and turn it off.

The ticks shouldn’t turn blue so the sender won’t know you’ve read it.

Archive your chats

Archive Chat allows you to hide a conversation from your Chats screen. It does not delete the chat nor does it back up the chat to your SD card. It simply organises your conversations. You can archive groups or individual chats, and they will disappear until you pull down from the top of the Chats display and tap the Archived Chats tab.

To archive all chats, go to Settings, then scroll down, and select Archive All Chats. You can also clear all chats from this same section.

Determine when your sent message was read

Check marks appear next to each message you send. One grey check mark indicates to you that the message was successfully sent to the recipient, while two grey check marks indicatex when the message was successfully delivered to the recipient’s phone. Two blue check marks alerts you when the recipient has read your message.

You can find out a little extra detail about your sent messages too though. Just tap and hold on the message, and then tap the Info option in order to get message details like the precise time it was delivered and read. In iOS, you can also just tap and drag the message to the left. 

Stop incoming media from automatically saving

By default, for whatever reason, WhatsApp automatically saves images and videos from recipients to the Camera Roll on iOS devices or in Gallery or Photos app on Android. You can stop this by going to Settings and then Chat Settings. From there, toggle off “Saving Incoming Media”.

Mute group notifications

Group conversations can be the worst. You might not be able to leave the conversation, but you can mute notifications so you aren’t awakened every time someone throws in their two cents. If you’re using an iPhone, just open the group chat, tap the subject to get the Group Info screen, and then tap Mute. In Android, open the chat, then tap the Menu button, and tap Mute.

You can specify a time period or turn off notifications permanently.

Backup your chats

When you switch to a new phone, you can take your WhatsApp chat history with you. Just go to Settings within the iPhone app, then tap Chat Settings, and select Chat Backup. From there, back up the chat now or turn on Auto Backup to iCloud. You can restore your chats when you reinstall WhatsApp on the new phone.

If you use a microSD card with an Android, go to Menu, then Settings, and Chat Settings. From there, select Backup conversations, and then be sure to move the microSD card over to the new phone. You’ll also need to reinstall WhatsApp and Restore when prompted.

If the backup is on internal storage, you can use a file explorer to find and manually move contents in the /sdcard/WhatsApp/ folder. Simples.

28
Mar

Review Roundup: 9.7″ iPad Pro is a ‘Powerful’ Laptop Replacement for Casual Users


Apple last week announced the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which marketing chief Phil Schiller described as the “ultimate upgrade” for both existing iPad and Windows PC users. Nearly one week later, a number of in-depth reviews have surfaced that offer a closer look at the new tablet beyond last week’s first impressions and hands-on articles.

Apple’s new 9.7″ iPad Pro, right, next to the 12.9″ version (Image: Ars Technica)
The general consensus among early reviews is that the smaller iPad Pro has powerful hardware, but like its 12.9-inch sibling, opinions were mixed about whether the tablet can truly replace your laptop. From $599, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is certainly a more affordable Mac or PC alternative over the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which starts at $799.

Andrew Cunningham for Ars Technica:

When I reviewed the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I said that I was having trouble envisioning the type of user who would choose it over a “real” computer like a MacBook Air or Pro. I still feel the same way today. The full-size Pro is large enough and expensive enough that you could buy any number of high-end Macs or Windows PCs for the same price, and you wouldn’t have to put up with the potentially frustrating limitations of iOS. […]

The equation is a little different for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which is both smaller and cheaper. […] At $599 (plus the cost of accessories), this tablet is competing more against midrange Windows PCs, and it’s substantially cheaper than any MacBook that Apple offers. For many active but less-demanding users, the strength of the hardware and the relative simplicity of the software could be enough to recommend it, though for the time being there are things that regular old Windows PCs are just better at than iOS is (including running legacy apps and connecting to just about anything that needs a standard USB port). It really depends on how you work and what you need to do. […]

If you’ve already got an iPad and are looking for a newer one, the math is a little simpler. If you have an iPad 2, the third- or fourth-generation Retina iPads, or the original iPad Air and you find yourself using your iPad more often than whatever other computer you have in your house, the iPad Pro is a no-brainer upgrade.


Lance Ulanoff for Mashable:

The best flagship iPad you can buy is now the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. […]

It’s kind of mind-blowing how much power there is in this lightweight tablet.

Benchmark numbers are just as good as the ones I saw on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, despite the fact that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has half as much RAM (2GB versus 4 GB on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro). […]

Did Apple just raise the price of the best iPad? Yes, it did. Is it worth it? When you consider the components and storage in the $599, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, absolutely.

David Phelan for The Independent:

The new Pro also has a keyboard to go with it, attached by the Smart Connector buttons on the tablet’s edge. […]

And it turns the iPad Pro into an extremely effective laptop alternative, complete with touchscreen, unlike Apple’s own laptops. In fact, the touchscreen works so well with the iPad Pro and keyboard, it’s hard to think Apple isn’t considering making a MacBook with touch-sensitive display. We’ll see. […]

But the real reason this is the best iPad yet built is because it combines a stunning display, stonking audio and relentless processing power into a tablet that’s supremely portable.


Rene Ritchie for iMore:

This can still be your everyday iPad, and better so than ever, but it can also be your ultra-mobile productivity machine, with little in the way of compromises. Sure, you lose some display and keyboard real estate, but you gain portability and an excellent camera system.

For people who’ve had a 9.7-inch iPad for a while but haven’t seen a need to upgrade, and for those with aging Windows system looking for a modern alternative, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be compelling.

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro has been available to order since March 24, with shipments beginning on March 31.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: reviews
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)
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28
Mar

Apple Releases New Version of iOS 9.3 for Older Devices Affected by Activation Lock Bug


Just a few days after releasing the iOS 9.3 update, Apple stopped offering it to a selection of older devices including the iPad Air and earlier and the iPhone 5s and earlier due to an activation issue. When the update was pulled, Apple promised to release a new version of iOS 9.3 shortly.

Apple today made good on that promise and has released a new version of iOS 9.3, build 13E237, which is now available for all iOS 9 users with older devices as an over-the-air update or through iTunes. Customers with older devices who had not yet updated to iOS 9.3 will be able to do so now.

With the first version of iOS 9.3, people with older iOS devices were required to input the Apple ID and password used when originally setting up the device. If the account information could not be recalled, the activation process could stall, rendering the devices inaccessible. To prevent users from installing iOS 9.3, Apple stopped signing the update for several older devices.

Following the release of the new build, Apple has resumed signing iOS 9.3 and the update now asks for current the Apple ID and password linked to the device instead of the original information.

On Thursday night, Apple issued an updated version of iOS 9.3 specifically for the GSM iPad 2, which was afflicted with a separate activation bug that prevented the device from communicating with Apple’s activation servers.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
Discuss this article in our forums

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28
Mar

How to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your Apple TV – CNET


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Jason Cipriani/CNET

Entering text on the newest Apple TV got much easier with the recent release of tvOS 9.2 Users can now use their voice, with Siri Dictation to spell out usernames and passwords, or tell Siri what to search for.

Additionally, Apple added the ability to pair a Bluetooth keyboard to the fourth-generation Apple TV. With a keyboard paired, users can enter text and navigate the TV’s interface. If the following instructions aren’t working for you, make sure you’ve updated your Apple TV to the latest version of tvOS by following these instructions.

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Apple TV Bluetooth settings.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Start by placing the keyboard in pairing mode. The process will vary by manufacturer, but typically involves holding in the pairing button for a few seconds. Next, open the Settings app on your Apple TV, then scroll down and select Remotes and Devices. Under the “Other Devices” section, select Bluetooth.

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Apple TV Bluetooth pairing screen.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Apple TV will begin searching for visible Bluetooth devices. A list of nearby devices will be displayed; scroll down and select the keyboard from the list of nearby devices. If prompted, enter the pairing code. If you don’t know it, try 0000 or 1234; if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to reference your keyboard’s manual.

With they keyboard paired, you can now control your Apple TV and enter text. Use the arrow keys to navigate, Return to select items, and Escape. An Apple knowledge base article doesn’t go into too much detail about keys and their purpose, but in my experience if you pair an iPad keyboard to the Apple TV the shortcut buttons more or less mimic the same functionality you’d expect on an iPad. For example, the home button takes you home, while the music controls will pause, play or skip songs. Experiment with the controls and buttons on your keyboard to learn what, if anything, they do when connected to your Apple TV.

Otherwise, you can type in any text field to speed up searches or entering log-in credentials, as well as start typing the name of a movie of music artist to jump to the respective section when viewing your personal library.

28
Mar

August Doorbell Cam review – CNET


The Good The $199 August Doorbell Cam has on-demand live streaming and a 1280×960 HD resolution — two features we haven’t found on many other first-gen Wi-Fi buzzers. The video feed and push alerts are responsive and the app is easy to navigate.

The Bad This smart buzzer has to be hardwired and it isn’t compatible with digital chimes or intercom systems (only mechanical chimes). Its square shape won’t fit on every doorframe and its motion sensor and video storage features haven’t launched yet.

The Bottom Line August’s Doorbell Cam is the best model we’ve reviewed to-date and is especially appealing if you have a Smart Lock or are planning to get one. Just keep in mind that it may not fit in the same spot as your old doorbell.

A square gizmo that looks nothing like your standard door buzzer (and may even confuse people expecting a regular doorbell), August’s $199 Wi-Fi Doorbell Cam can alert you to visitors via your existing mechanical chime (it doesn’t work with digital chimes or intercom systems), but it’s also equipped with a lot of smart functionality. With a built-in 140-degree camera, 1280×960 live streaming video resolution, integration with the brand’s own Smart Lock, clear two-way talk, and responsive push alerts, this doorbell is definitely smarter than the model you have at home today.

But it isn’t perfect. The square design didn’t fit on our doorframe (and might not fit on yours, either). Motion-related alerts and video storage features are supposed to be added soon, but aren’t ready yet and the Doorbell Cam doesn’t integrate with IFTTT, SmartThings or any other major smart home platforms.

Even so, its performance and Smart Lock integration set it apart, making August’s new Doorbell Cam a product worthy of your consideration — especially compared to the other smart doorbells we’ve reviewed so far.

August’s Doorbell Cam is your portal to the…
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August, you’re such a square

There’s one really obvious (potential) problem with August’s Doorbell Cams — something that could make DIY install much more complicated. Yes, these buzzers look nice. Really nice, in fact. They even come in four colors — silver, gray, copper and red — to suit all sorts of aesthetic tastes.

But they measure 2.9 inches tall by 2.9 inches wide. That isn’t that big, but it’s significantly bigger than a regular ol’ doorbell, measuring less than an inch wide.

And since these units have to be hardwired to a traditional mechanical chime, you don’t have a lot of leeway in terms of the install location (unless you’re comfortable rerouting your wiring, and possibly having to tear into brick or another surface that requires a special drill bit). Also, many wired doorbells are installed on doorframes — and while doorframe width can vary, 2.9 inches is definitely pushing it.

That begs the question, why did August opt for this square design? To support the built-in camera and all of the other tech packed into this thing? Maybe.

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How’s it hanging? The Doorbell Cam didn’t exactly fit on the doorframe.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

August definitely isn’t the only smart doorbell maker that went this route. The circular SkyBell 2.0 is roughly the same size as August’s Doorbell Cam at 2.75 inches tall. The now-defunct Doorbot was 5.7 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide, and its successor, Ring, is about the same at 4.98 inches by 2.43 inches.

Be sure to measure your space before you settle on the Doorbell Cam, because its size/shape could rule it out automatically if you’re dealing with a small install space — maybe even more than the other models out there, as it’s the widest.

Otherwise, the install went smoothly, with a couple of small exceptions. August provides plastic wire connectors that aren’t especially easy to use, so we used electrical tape instead. And, when you’re attaching the baseplate, there’s a small security screw in the bottom that helps the baseplate and the faceplate connect and power the doorbell — this wasn’t that easy to line up, so it might take a little extra effort, but it’s an important step that helps ensure solid contact between the two pieces of hardware.

Configuring Doorbell Cam

More smart doorbell coverage:
  • Second-gen SkyBell is one stealthy door buzzer
  • Is Ring a better buzzer for your buck?
  • Delve into DIY security with these 35 connected cameras

After the install, download the Android or iOS August app. This is the same app that you’d use for August’s first- and second-gen Smart Locks, its Wi-Fi-enabled Connect lock accessory and its new keypad lock accessory, which makes things simple.

If you don’t already have an account, the app will walk you through the setup, including configuring your doorbell. August sent me a beta version of the app and this part of the process wasn’t particularly seamless, though this may have been partly due to some local Wi-Fi network spottiness. Here’s how it’s supposed to go:

  • If the LED indicator on your doorbell is flashing green (meaning you’ve installed everything correctly), select ‘Start Setup’ in the app
  • Name your house and the door where the buzzer is installed
  • Make sure your phone is connected to your Wi-Fi network and it will search for the doorbell
  • It will then connect to the doorbell over Wi-Fi

That’s it. It should take just a few minutes, but I got a handful of error messages during the connection step that slowed things down a bit. It did work eventually, though — after five or six tries.

28
Mar

Kuvée Bottle review – CNET


The Good Kuvée Smart Wine Bottle’s concept is creative and clever, and the device is polished. The wine also oxidizes more slowly.

The Bad It doesn’t preserve flavors and aroma as consistently as I’d hoped, and the character of the wine is oddly affected. Plus the selection is too limited for those serious about wine.

The Bottom Line Kuvée has a cool concept, but until the wine selection grows significantly and the valve system improves, it won’t add enough lifespan to your wine to justify itself. For anyone serious about wine, even slightly altered flavor after a few days is a non-starter.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

What if, when you opened a bottle of wine, you didn’t have to worry about finishing it within a few days? What if you could have a glass from five different bottles throughout the week, and not waste any of the excess wine? Using a dual-valve system that supposedly lets into the bottle .01 milligrams of air per glass poured, Kuvée’s smart wine bottle — now available on Indiegogo for pre-order at $179 for the device plus four bottles — claims to extend the life of the opened bottle of wine considerably.

I had reservations about the system right away simply because the bottles of wine themselves must be purchased through Kuvée, which provides specific cartridge-like bottles that fit into the Kuvée device. But the bottles were just under market price, had competitive shipping rates (free for four or more bottles), and using the device was slick. The only remaining question: does it work? The answer: not well enough.

Right now, I can’t recommend the Kuvée Bottle — especially given the planned, decidedly less appealing retail price of $250 for the device alone. But if Kuvée’s wine selection expands and the valve system on the cartridges improves, it could become a cool product for intermittent wine-drinkers and those interested in household wine technology.

Smarter wine snobbery with this touchscreen…
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How does it work?

The central mechanic of the Kuvée Bottle has a simple underlying concept: use valves to block air from entering the bottle as you pour a glass of wine. That way, oxidation doesn’t set the bottle’s quality on a slow path toward spoiled wine. Instead, the bottle should last for weeks.

Kuvée isn’t the first developer to combat oxidation. For less than 10 bucks, you can easily get a canister of argon or another inert gas. Spraying one of these into a bottle before re-corking it will slow the oxidation process, lending the wine a few more days of freshness. On the other hand, you can buy a device like a Coravin for $350. The Coravin uses a hollow needle to pump argon through the cork, pressurizing the bottle of wine. Then you can pour the wine out through the needle. And when you’re done, the naturally elastic cork reseals.

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Inside the neck of each cartridge is a set of valves that block air from contacting the wine. On the outside of each cartridge is a small chip that tells the Kuvée Bottle which particular wine’s information should be displayed on the touchscreen.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Kuvée doesn’t concern itself with replacing the displaced wine with anything. Instead, each canister contains a collapsible bladder — a similar approach to box wine, only with higher quality components. Kuvée surrounds this basic mechanism with some clever technology.

The bottle that houses each cartridge has a slick touch screen, on which you can peruse information about the plugged-in cartridge’s winery, tasting notes, and suggested food pairings. You also order new cartridges from this touch screen, since the Bottle is Wi-Fi connected.

The Kuvée Bottle is a sleek device, no question. I like the information it offers for each wine, and I like how easy it is to snap a cartridge in and out of the sleeve while serving people with different tastes. But a couple big questions gave me pause, even with such a clever device. First off, how’s the wine selection?

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On the Kuvée Bottle’s touchscreen, you can scroll through each of the wines available for order, examine their prices and details about them.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

For serious aficionados, a limited library of wine curated and brokered solely by Kuvée should raise some eyebrows. I found the prices of every bottle to be equal to or less than market price for the wine. But the competitive prices don’t make up for a current selection of 14 wines, and a planned selection of forty-something wines from fewer than twenty California wineries. Of course, Kuvée says those numbers will rise over time, but I would need some old world wineries before even considering a product like this.

Such limited selection doesn’t preclude the product from everyone, though. In fact, I could see a lot of younger adults like me who casually want to get into wine, and for whom a slick device like this could make learning about wine fun and easy. Plus, entertaining a crowd with varied tastes won’t leave you with too much excess wine to handle.

28
Mar

Samsung’s own app confirms the existence of the Galaxy S7 Active


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The Galaxy S6 Active was introduced alongside the two previous flagship smartphones as an alternative high-end mobile device for those seeking a more rugged product to take on the road. Interestingly, Samsung opted to add both water and dust proofing to the S7 and S7 edge this year, but that seemingly isn’t halting it from working on an S7 Active.

As noted by SamMobile, the official Samsung Level app has the Galaxy S7 Active listed in the changelog, confirming that a device exists and could be in the pipeline for active souls. Unfortunately, it’s not known just what Samsung would do to differentiate the Active from the S7 and S7 edge, though we imagine more advanced protection and durability would be on the tablet.

Would you be interested in a Samsung Galaxy S7 Active? Sound off your thoughts in the comments.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • Galaxy S7 edge with Exynos: A Canadian perspective
  • Here are all four Galaxy S7 colors
  • Details on the Galaxy S7’s camera
  • The SD card is back on the GS7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

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