Asus ZenWatch 3 preview: Android Wear marches on
Asus has unveiled its latest ZenWatch model, following two watches that have tried to be a little different in the original ZenWatch and ZenWatch 2.
It’s perhaps a little worrying, then, that the latest ZenWatch doesn’t so much strive to be different, preferring to step towards the mainstay of Android Wear devices out there.
We got the chance to see the Asus ZenWatch 3 soon after the reveal at IFA 2016 in Berlin.
Asus ZenWatch 3: Design
The smartwatch script is now becoming rather familiar. Crafted from luxury materials, designed to exhibit craftsmanship and suit all styles, in all situations, the result is that the ZenWatch 3 isn’t so much a statement of individuality, but the latest in a line of round Android Wear devices.
Measuring 45mm in diameter, the ZenWatch 3 is a large device, but that’s in part necessitated by the 1.39-inch display that sits within it. Whether you think it’s too big or not comes down to personal taste: for those of us who wear a larger watch, the size is perfectly acceptable.
The shift to a round device will find favour with those who found the previous rectangular model a little too formal. The ZenWatch 3 adds chunk, at about 10mm thick, a more masculine design, although the pairing of light leather with the rose gold model might be slightly more effeminate than the silver and gunmetal (pictured) alternatives.
The overall build feels solid enough once it’s on the wrist, although the weight feels a little on the light side. It takes you a little by surprise as it looks like it should have more heft. These things are important in the world of watches, where many associate heft with substance. That said, the Tag Heuer Connected is very light, so the ZenWatch is in good company.
The biggest point of differentiation, however, falls into two camps. Firstly, this is the first Android Wear device to feature three buttons and that adds interest and adds a sort of chronograph chic to the affair.
The second point of differentiation is the lugs. These hold the strap in place, offering the same quick releases sliding tab that Asus has used before for easy removal of straps. But the top detailing of the lugs strikes us as a little too finicky. The cut in next to the bezel narrows them before they expand to accommodate the width of the strap. It’s more exciting than the straight lines of the Moto 360 watches and more practically executed than the overly extended lugs of the LG Watch Urbane.
The major win for Asus is in the feel of the rear. Where some devices have felt too cheap on the wrist, the ZenWatch has a more sophisticated feel where it touches skin. It also offers IP67 water protection, so it won’t mind the odd splash.
Asus ZenWatch 3: Hardware and display
Packed into the heart of this stainless steel wearable is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 chipset. This is one of a new breed of smartwatches with a core that’s designed with wearables in mind – and more power efficient than the Snapdragon 400 of previous generation devices.
There’s 512GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which makes for a picture that’s pretty typical. We didn’t have the chance to fully test the ZenWatch in our brief hands-on period, but we’d expect the performance to match that of other devices of its ilk.
As we mentioned, there’s a 1.39-inch 400 x 400 pixel resolution AMOLED display on the front. This looked as though it offered vibrant colours, with plenty of detail on this small window into your world. The display is topped with Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.
The ZenWatch 3 is packed with the sensors you expect, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and the whole thing is powered by a 340mAh battery. It’s not the highest capacity out there, but there’s an extended battery option, which gives at 40 per cent boost if you clip it on the back.
We didn’t see the optional battery pack, and we have no idea about the practicality of wearing this extra battery at the same time as the watch.
What is more appealing is Asus’ HyperCharge offering. This will charge the battery to 60 per cent in just 15 minutes, via the charger that magnetically snaps to the back. Smartwatches have all so far struggled to deliver a healthy battery life, but at least Asus looks to be doing something about that.
Asus ZenWatch: Software and features
Just as Android Wear device design is becoming a little uniform, so too is the experience. Although Android is accepting of adaption and change, the experience of living with an AW watch is pretty similar.
Asus has tried to tackle this slightly stale position with the inclusion of a programmable button. This can be set to launch your app of choice, so you can always get to your most important app on your wrist.
Another area that Asus wants to make a difference is in customisation. There are six themes and 50 custom watch faces. You can even design your own watch face using the accompanying smartphone app. That said, there’s no shortage of watch faces available on Google Play, if you’re struggling to find something you like.
Perhaps the strangest offering is a full ZenFit suite. This fitness app wants to assist you on your activities, but we can’t say that a metal watch and leather strap really suits physical exercise. As much as Asus wants to jump on the fitness bandwagon, there is no heart rate sensor and there is no GPS. We can’t say we’ll really miss that, but at the same time, we’ll likely leave our fitness tracking to a specialised device. That said, Asus has stated that the measurements you get from the ZenWatch 3 are 95 per cent accurate.
The Asus ZenWatch 3 is a welcome addition to the Android Wear portfolio and for the €229 asking price, you get a pretty good quality device with reasonable looks and hopefully performance that will keep other devices at bay.
There’s only so much you can tell about a smartwatch from a brief period of time with it, but first impressions are pretty good. There haven’t been many smartwatch launches in 2016, so if you’re looking for something up to date, the Asus might be your smartwatch of choice.
There’s no word on when the ZenWatch 3 will be available, but we’ll be sure to bring you a full review as soon as we can.
Asus ZenPad 3S 10: Hello iPad lookalike
The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is a 9.7-inch tablet that could easily be mistaken for an iPad, certainly on first glance. The device, which was on display at the company’s event in Berlin in the run up to IFA, offers a lightweight design, with a premium, compact build.
Featuring an all metallic body, the ZenPad 3S 10 claims to offer the world’s thinnest bezel at 5.3mm, along with a “class-leading” screen-to-body ratio at 78 per cent and the result is a lovely looking device that is feels much lighter than it’s finish would suggest.
It offers a thickness of just 5.8mm, making it nice and slim, while the 0.8mm diamond-cut chamfers make for some great detailing. The rear, which has a smooth matte texture features a subtle Asus logo in the centre, while the edges are rounded, making it a delight to hold.
At the bottom of the ZenPad 3S 10, you’ll find a USB Type-C port, along with five-magnet stereo speakers. The tablet features smart amplifier technology that is said to allow the speakers to be driven at higher volumes without causing distortion, and it also supports Hi-Res Audio.
Additionally, Asus has included DTS Headphone:X that will automatically optimise and tune headphones to provide the effect of a 7.1-channel surround-sound home theatre system. We didn’t get a chance to test the sound out during our short amount of time with it, but we will do when we get it in for review.
The display on the ZenPad 3S 10 is 9.7-inches as we mentioned, and it sports a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. The slim bezel looks lovely and the colours appeared to be nice and vibrant, though the screen did pick up some serious fingerprints.
When it comes to watching video, Asus has included what it calls Tru2Life video-enhancement technology to the device. This is said to increase sharpness and contrast of videos, supporting the company’s aim to make the new tablet good for entertainment. Again, we weren’t able to test this during our hands on but we will look at that feature in more detail when it comes to our review.
Beneath the display is an oblong home button that features a built-in fingerprint sensor, the first tablet from Asus to do so. It allows users to lock and unlock the device, as you would expect, and it will also work with supported apps for authentication.
Under the hood, the ZenPad 3S 10 has a hexa-core MediaTek 8176 processor that is supported by 4GB of RAM. From our brief experience, everything seemed nice and smooth to operate, with no lag switching between various apps. There is 64GB of onboard storage with a microSD slot allowing for expansion up to 128GB.
A 5900mAh battery keeps the tablet ticking along for up to 10 hours when watching a film, or u to 12 hours when surfing the internet on Wi-Fi. The ZenPad 3S 10 also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology however, which means if you do run out of juice, it will be back to full in around three hours.
In terms of software, the ZenPad 3S 10 features a fully customised version of Android Marshmallow. Everything looks quite cartoony, but it’s nice and colourful and easy enough to navigate around.
The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 will be priced at €379, but availability details have yet to be announced.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs S3 Classic: What’s the difference?
It was hardly a secret that Samsung was going to unveil the Gear S3 smartwatch at its Berin Unpacked event on 31 August. But two watches? It was rumoured, and now it’s official: the Gear S3 will arrive in Frontier and Classic variants. How, then, do they differ?
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs Gear S3 Classic: Design differences
On paper the Frontier and Classic don’t sound very different: they both measure the same (46.1 x 49.1 x 12.9mm), while the Frontier is a shade weightier at 62g to the Classic’s 57g.
The real difference is who these watches are pitched at: the Frontier is the more rugged looking and comes with a rubberised strap as standard, while the more classic looking Classic (clue’s in the name, eh?) comes with a black leather strap as standard. However, both models can accept any 22mm standard watch strap – not just those provided by Samsung.
Small details in the finish help define one watch from the other too: the Frontier has larger, textured buttons, which resemble more the sportswatch-like design compared to the more protruding metal buttons of the Classic.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs S3 Classic: Features are a near mirror
But just because the Frontier looks the sportier model, doesn’t mean it comes with a sportier feature set. Indeed both Gear S3 models are IP68 dust-proof and water-resistant, and both feature built-in gyro, accelerometer, barometer, GPS and optical heart-rate monitor.
So both Frontier and Classic are capable of fitness and tracking – a feature Samsung is keen to push with its S Health app.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs Gear S3 Classic: To LTE or not LTE?
In some territories a second version of the Frontier will come equipped with LTE/3G for on-the-go connectivity.
But that’s not the case in the UK. “Samsung are not planning to launch the LTE variant in Europe at this time”, the company told us, when quizzing the appearance of the “LTE/3G” mention of the official product spreadsheet.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs Gear S3 Classic: Battery life
Both Frontier and Classic have a 380mAh capacity battery, which is a jump over the previous Gear S2, said to deliver three to four days of use per charge. That’s yet to be seen in the real-world, but here’s hoping.
The LTE model, however, is unlikely to last nearly as long. Not that we need to worry about that in the UK.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs Gear S3 Classic: Tizen OS
Core to the Gear S3 is its Tizen operating system. Both the Frontier and Classic models shun Android Wear, just as the earlier Gear S2 did – which will also remain in the line-up.
Both Gear S3 models are controlled by a combination of rotational bezel, twin buttons and touchscreen – we actually find it more intuitive and neater to use than Android Wear, which isn’t something we would have said of Tizen a couple of years ago.
In its latest form there are more apps then ever before too, including Spotify. So whether you want health, music, social, notifications and other content – or just for the Gear S3 to be your main watch – then both models will have you covered.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs S3 Classic: Always-on screen
Taken as a standalone watch and, despite a 1.3-inch circular digital screen, the Gear S3 Frontier and S3 Classic each offer an always-on display capable of displaying animations and a full array of 16-million colours. That means, even when not active, the watch face is always visible to read the time.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier vs Gear S3 Classic: Wrap-up
In summary, then, the Frontier and Classic aren’t hugely different. Their feature set only differs by the Frontier’s addition of 5g weight, its different strap and the more rugged looking, sportier design.
Price point and release date are currently unknown. We’ll update as and when the official info is released.
Samsung Gear S3 preview: The final Frontier for smartwatches?
The Samsung Gear S smartwatch is back for round three and it’s bigger, bulkier and better than ever before. It’s also available in two varieties: the Gear S3 Frontier and the Gear S3 Classic.
So what’s the deal with Frontier and Classic choices? Not a great deal, really. The Frontier weighs 62g, compared to the Classic’s 57g, comes with the rubberised rather than leather strap by default and has different button finishes for a more rugged look and feel. Otherwise both models measure the same size and have identical specs.
Whichever you may choose the Gear S3 is pitched as a watch first and foremost. Both models mimic the earlier S2 Classic, complete with rotational dial control and Tizen operating system, albeit on a much larger scale given the new devices’ 1.3in screen size. And it’s that physical size that makes the Gear S3 very “Huawei Watch” and, therefore, probably not to everyone’s tastes.
Saying that, having spent some time with both devices, they are of a formidable build. And that extra size pays dividends to battery capacity: it’s 380mAh this time around, delivering what Samsung claims is a three to four day battery life on one charge. When it has run low, pop it onto the magnetic charger and it’ll wirelessly recoup. If you want even longer battery life then a Power Saving mode limits the device’s functionality to a watch with messages and calls.
The S3’s new, larger screen, which has a 360 x 360 pixel resolution, has seen an upgrade in its dormant state too: the always-on display can display a full range of 16-million colours, even when the device is not actively in use. That means you’ll always be able to see the watch face and tell the time, even when not drawing on battery life as heavily. New faces even include the second hand, which displays in real-time even via the always-on display. A great touch – although it can’t quite beat a genuine analogue watch design in our view.
Keeping with the true watch theme, gone are the Gear’s days of fussy watch straps. Instead, in addition to the standard rubberised/leather options from Samsung (in small or large sizes), you can attach any standard 22mm watch strap to the Gear S3. Mix and match, do as you will, the choice is yours.
Of course the Gear S3 Frontier and S3 Classic are so much more than just watches. Core to their feature sets are a gyro, accelerometer, barometer, GPS and optical heart-rate monitor. Which sounds all very “sportswatch”. Because it is: Samsung wants these features to be available to all, in both S3 models, to provide a window into its S Health app for step-tracking, running, cycling, climbing and all manner of other fitness tracking. Anyone with S Health can even compete against one another to achieve the most activity – which, as it’s an Android app, doesn’t lock people into the Tizen OS watch system only.
It could be easy to try and speak foul of Tizen as an operating system, given its infancy, but Samsung has persevered in the area and now offers a legitimate alternative to Android Wear. One that many will prefer (it splits the Pocket-lint team, for example). Having pushed the OS onto the original Galaxy Gear back in 2014, there have been refinements plus, crucially, a lot more apps are now available to get your teeth into – from messaging, to emails, even to Spotify and beyond.
Yep, Spotify. The new Gear S3 even has a speaker output so you can listen to your favourite tunes, albeit via a Bluetooth connection with your phone, which renders that Spotify feature effectively pointless because you might as well just stick with the phone. Only a Gear S3 Frontier LTE will work around that problem, but that third phone iteration won’t be available in the UK or Europe, according to Samsung.
The Samsung Gear S3, in both Frontier and Classic models, looks to be a step forward for the Gear smartwatch range. And a good looking one at that. But the step-up in size means this chunky slice of wristwear won’t suit all.
Still, the boost in battery life associated with the size gain ought to make a big impression, if its three-to-four days per charge rings true. The “watch first” approach – with features such as the always-on display and solid build quality – will also help give Samsung a fighting chance to keep the high-end watch makers with an eye on this market, such as Fossil, at a distance too.
As feature set goes, the Gear S3’s Tizen OS makes a point of difference over current Android Wear devices – and we think it’s actually more intuitive to use with its rotational dial bezel and button controls, rather than constant screen-jabbing (although the S3 does have a touchscreen too). And with features that encompass sportswatch, smartwatch and, well, just plain ol’ watch, Samsung is certainly taking no chances.
The last piece of the puzzle, however, is price. And without a pound-sign associated to this wearable we can’t yet make a final judgement call on just how much of an impact it will make. With the Gear S2 remaining in the line-up, we suspect the premium S3 options will come bearing a more significant price tag – up there and beyond that of even the Huawei Watch, we suspect.
Dropbox hack includes 70 million stolen passwords: How to find out if you were affected
Dropbox has announced that it was hacked in 2012 and that the personal data of nearly 70 millions users was stolen.
The breach includes the passwords and email addresses of 68.7 million account holders. Dropbox confirmed the credentials were stolen years ago when hackers used stolen employee login details to access a document that contained the email address and passwords of users. There is no indication that Dropbox user accounts have been improperly accessed, according to the cloud storage service’s head of trust and security.
Still, in response, Dropbox is asking users who may have been affected by the hack to reset their passwords. If you signed up to Dropbox before mid 2012 and have not changed your password since then, you should do so now. Here’s everything you need to know.
Were you affected by the breach?
It’s hard to tell. The quickest way to determine if you were affected is to sign into Dropbox and see if the service prompts you to update your credentials. Dropbox said it had “hashed” and “salted” the stolen details, meaning they were scrambled and had a random string added so hackers would need a cryptographic key to decipher them. It’s also updated how it stores passwords.
However, Dropbox recommended on Wednesday that all users reset their passwords, because if their stolen password is somehow cracked, a password reset would still prevent any hacker from accessing their Dropbox accounts. But that doesn’t mean the cracked password can’t be used to access other online accounts with the same login details. You should therefore reset any account that uses your Dropbox password.
How do you reset your Dropbox password?
It’s simple. This Dropbox support page explains how to reset your password. You have to sign into your account from the web, click your name at the top of the screen, then click Settings, and click the Security tab. From there, click Forgot password, and then enter the email address you used to create the account. From there, check your email inbox, and click the link in the email you received to reset your password.
Should you use two-step verification?
Yes. After changing your passwords, turn on two-step verification for any online account that offers the security measure. This Dropbox support page explains how to sign up for two-step verification. You basically have to sign into your account from the web, click your name in the upper-right, then click Settings, and click enable under the Two-step verification. From there, click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions.
Two-factor authentication adds a second step to your basic log-in process (that’s when you enter your username and password). The password is your single factor of authentication, and adding a second factor simply makes your account a bit more secure or harder to hack.
So, with a second factor, you must have two types of credentials. The second credential can be your fingerprint, phone, or a variety of other things. If it’s a phone, you will get code sent to your phone via SMS, and then you’ll need enter that code with your login credential when logging in.
Is there anything else you should know?
The breach also includes usernames – not just passwords. Hackers could use this data in spam and phishing attacks, so you should pay attention to any suspicious emails (emails with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, for instance). Don’t click on any links, call any phone numbers, respond, or provide the sender with any sensitive information in these emails. And always type in Dropbox’s site manually into your browser.
If you click a link, you may be directed to a fake version of the site, where you’ll ultimately enter your login credentials, and then your password – which now doesn’t need to be cracked – can easily be stolen. You should also never use the same password more than once, and passwords should contain both letters and numbers to make it harder for hackers to crack your passwords.
MIT gives pesticides an electric charge to improve stickiness
There are plenty of problems with pesticides — making bees dumb, anyone? — but the biggest is probably how much is wasted while it’s being sprayed onto crops. Because of how certain leaves naturally repel water, it means that hardly any anti-bug treatments actually, you know, stick to them. In fact, only two percent of the spray stays in place, according to MIT News. So, to change that, a team of researchers have devised a way to increase the amount of liquid a leaf’s surface retains.
It involves dividing a given spray into two portions and adding a different polymer to each. One polymer gives one half of the spray a positive electric charge, while another gives the opposite half a negative electric charge. When they meet on the surface of a leaf, they form what MIT calls a “water attracting defect” that causes the spray to collect and stick to the plant.
The resulting bump in efficiency could be massive. Researchers say this method could reduce overall pesticide use by 90 percent. Benefits of that include lower pesticide costs (naturally), a decrease in ground-water pollution and the amount of chemicals farmers are exposed to during application. What’s more, MIT says that the polymers are “extracted from low-cost materials that could be produced locally.”
Apparently, this wouldn’t require much in terms of investment for farmers, nor would it change their workflow. From here, the team will carry out tests on small farms in India over the next year to see how the experiment works outside of the lab. MIT News says that the same approach could be used to prevent frost damage to citrus crops in Florida as well.
Source: MIT News
NVIDIA’s ‘Vault 1080’ is a gloomy ‘Fallout 4’ mod
NVIDIA and LightSpeed Studio have teamed up to create Vault 1080, a special add-on level mod for Fallout 4.
The mod, which is free to download and play, will add on a side quest that offers an extra hour of gameplay within the confines of Vault 1080, sending players through an area described as a “foggy, murky marsh” to the ruins of an old church where previously the congregation embraced “darkness and sickness” to survive.
There’s no telling what kind of twisted goings-on happened within, but it’s up to you to uncover it in this horror-based mod that took over 6 months to develop. It’ll require the same system requirements as Fallout 4 and utilizes the same NVIDIA GameWorks tech like volumetric lighting and FleX-powered weapon debris. Sounds perfect for the gloomy Vault 1080, doesn’t it?
If you’re interested in trying it out, you can grab the mod via Bethesda or read about it further at the official NVIDIA blog.
Live from Samsung’s IFA 2016 press conference!
Samsung’s already announced the Note 7, so there’s clearly nothing else for the company to reveal, right? Nope, since the Korean conglomerate is here at IFA with a glitzy pre-show press conference that’s got something to do with time. Given that it was around this period last year that the firm unveiled the Gear S2, it’s reasonable to assume a follow-up is coming. If you’re curious for what’s ahead, join us here live at 12:00pm ET and we’ll take you by the hand and lead you through the quagmire.
Samsung’s Gear S3 watches are more elegant (and rugged) than ever
Samsung’s Gear S2 was far from perfect, but it was still a big step forward for the company’s smartwatch ambitions. At last: a Tizen-powered wearable with a decent selection of apps and a control scheme focused on a rotating bezel that bordered on brilliant. Samsung couldn’t just let that progress go untouched, so it just pulled back the curtain on two new neat-looking wearables: the Gear S3 Classic and the Gear S3 Frontier.
As you might have guessed by their names, the Classic and the Frontier are two nearly identical watches separated mostly by their styles. The former sports a clean, unmarked rotating bezel — there’s just a little texture around the bezel’s edge to help you hang on while you’re spinning it. Beyond that, it’s all clean, elegant lines swirling around a 316L stainless steel body. The Frontier, meanwhile, has hour and minute marks etched into its bezel, and its Back and Home buttons are nicely knurled for both utility and look. It’s definitely the more masculine of the two, the sort of smartwatch you could imagine on the wrist of a technologically obsessed lumberjack.
You’d think the Frontier would be dramatically more resilient, but it’s not really. Both versions of the S3 are IP68 rated for water resistance and their 1.3-inch screens are covered with panes of super scratch resistant Gorilla Glass SR+. The list of similarities just go on from there: they share the same dual-core Exynos chipsets, 786MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, standalone GPS radios and 380mAh batteries. Speaking of batteries, Samsung claims both S3 versions should last between three and four days on a single charge, but we’ll see about that.
Not every similarity will be celebrated, though. Here’s the rub: both S3s have bodies that are 46mm wide (like the big 2015 Moto 360), meaning they’ll just be too big for some people’s wrists. In fairness, neither was heavy enough to strain my wimpy arms and neither felt too big either, but that won’t fly for everyone. Motorola got around this by offering a smaller version of the Moto 360 — not to mention one specifically for women. Not so with Samsung. You’ll be able to attach a standard 22mm band to the Frontier or Classic but there aren’t any (publicly acknowledged) plans to make a smaller S3. As a result, Samsung won’t discontinue the existing S2 and S2 Classic. In fact, it plans to issue a software update that will bring them up to date in terms of features shortly.
Design aside, there’s only one area where the Classic and Frontier differ: connectivity. The Frontier has a built-in LTE radio to accompany its Bluetooth and WiFi transmitters; the Classic only has Bluetooth and WiFi. The move makes sense and all — a mobile SOS sent from a Frontier watch in the wilderness could save lives — but it’s a little odd to see the Classic model get skipped like this. The Frontier also has a microphone and speaker to make HD voice calls over whatever LTE network they’re connected to. Lumberjacks get all the cool stuff.
This time around, Samsung paid more attention to building stronger software partnerships. Team-ups with Spotify (for streaming over LTE or WiFi), Nest (to control thermostats via the watch), Western Union (for payments) and BMW (for… well, it’s a secret) could be game-changers for some, and at least the first two examples worked pretty well. The biggest addition, though, has to be Samsung Pay. Once it’s all set up, the Classic and the Frontier can use that MST tech Samsung acquired to pay for coffees and corned beef sandwiches just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, the S3s have picked up a few tricks from the Gear Fit 2 like automatically tracking workouts, and Samsung has tuned the watches to use that sweet, sweet rotating bezel more intelligently. Turning it can now pick up a phone call or silence an alarm, for example — you had to paw at the S2’s screen if you wanted to do the same.
The Classic and the Frontier won’t launch until later this year, so there’s plenty that could change between now and then. Still, the two Gear S3s come off as handsome timepieces that fix some of the issues that made their predecessor feel a little lacking. Who knows? This might be the year Samsung make a must-have smartwatch (or two). I’m still pretty skeptical, but with any luck, these things could exceed expectations just like the S2 did.
We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.
Google’s OnHub routers can now control Phillips Hue lighting
It’s been just about a year since Google launched OnHub, a series of routers designed to make setting up and dealing with WiFi a lot easier. Our experience with OnHub found that it did exactly that, and Google has added a handful of features over the last year to make its routers even more unique. Today, Google’s announcing its latest OnHub integration: support for the Phillips Hue series of smart LED lighting.
Google says its the first connected home device that connects with OnHub, and it works as follows: once you have your Hue lights connected to your OnHub’s WiFi network and go through a basic setup process, any other device that’s connected to the OnHub can control the lights without needing to use the Hue app. You just type “on.here” into any web browser and you’ll see the option to tweak out the Hue lights to your heart’s content. On.here already worked as a portal to see what devices were connected to your OnHub’s guest network; this is just the latest feature.
The one downside to the OnHub routers is that they aren’t cheap, but Google’s giving potential buyers some cash back right now — from now until September 30th, you can get $20 off either the TP-Link or Asus OnHub. The deal is available on both Google’s own store as well as Amazon. Given Google’s commitment to its routers over the last year, there’s a good chance they’ll continue to gain features in the coming months. They might not always be game-changers, but there’s a good chance they’ll be things other router manufacturers aren’t doing.