At long last, Google’s answer to Amazon Echo is here.
Whether you pre-ordered yours the instant you saw it during Google’s presentation or just grabbed one at Best Buy or Walmart on a curious whim, Google Home is in your home, which now begs the question: how do you make this little white air freshener work? Without a screen, Google Home is reliant on a smartphone to set up, just like a Chromecast. In fact, you’ll use the same app you set up your Chromecast with, the recently renamed Google Home app.
Plug the power adapter cord into the base of your Google Home.
Plug the power adapter into an outlet. The unit will automatically boot up, introducing itself and directing you to the Google Home app to finish setup.
Open the Google Home app.
Tap Devices, the TV and speaker icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Tap Set up in the card for your new Google Home.
Once the app has found your Google Home, tap Continue to set it up.
The app will connect your phone to Google Home’s temporary hotspot to continue setup.
Once connected, Play test sound to ensure its connected and connected to the right unit.
If you hear the tone made by your Google Home, tap I heard it.
Select a name for your Google Home. The Home has a selection of rooms to pick from for your unit’s name.
If you want to name your Google Home something besides a room name, select Other and type in the desired name.
Once you have a name you’re happy with, tap Continue.
Choose a Wi-Fi network to connect your Google Home to. It will default to the network your phone is currently connected to, and if you want Google Home to get the Wi-Fi password from your phone rather than typing it in, tap OK.
Once your Wi-Fi password is inputted, either by the app itself or manually, tap Continue.
Google Home will take the Wi-Fi credentials you just gave it and attempt to log in.
Once it connects, tap Continue.
Google Home will now fetch and install an update.
Once the update is installed, tap Sign in to add your Google account to the device for Google Assistant to use.
Select a Google Account to use with Google Home. You can only have one account associated with the device at the moment, so make sure the account you select is the one you want everyone in your household to use. Tap Continue as (Your Name).
On order for Google Assistant to be more useful as a personal assistant, it needs access to your personal information, such as your calendar and to-do list in Google Keep. Tap Allow.
In order to provide local weather and traffic, Google Home asks for its home location. If the address it brings up is correct, tap Set Location. Otherwise, Edit the location by tapping the pencil icon.
You can sign up for email updates on new Google Home and Google Assistant features by swiping right on the toggle next to Get email notifications. When you’re satisfied with your answer, tap Continue.
In order for Google’s music functions to work properly, link up your services. If you subscribe to Google Play Music and YouTube Red, those will already be linked to your Google Account. Tap Link to connect Pandora or Spotify to Google Home. You can also select the service you want as a default, putting a blue dot next to it before tapping Continue.
Google Home can cast music and YouTube to other Google Cast devices if it can see other devices that are attached to your account. Make sure your Cast devices are turned on and that they show up, then tap Connect.
Once your updates and preferences are set, you can start using Google Home. Tap Continue.
Google Home offers a tutorial on using the new device, which you can start by tapping Continue.
Speak the sample command to your Google Home and see the response. Once you’re done with each command, tap Continue.
Your setup is complete. Enjoy your new Google Home!
As a reminder, the top of your Google Home is a touchpad. You can tap the center to pause the current music or readout, you can long-press the center to get Google Assistant’s attention, and you can run your finger in a circle around the top of the device to turn Google Home’s volume up and down.
- Google Home review
- These services work with Google Home
- Google Home vs. Amazon Echo
- Join our Google Home forums!
Google Store Best Buy Target
The Good The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless offers an improved fit, very good sound for Bluetooth sports headphone, reliable operation, and strong battery life (12 hours), thanks to Apple’s W1 chip. Pairing is dead-simple for iOS users and the headphones also work just fine with Android phones.
The Bad Competing models are just as good or better and cost less; not a major upgrade over Powerbeats2 Wireless.
The Bottom Line The PowerBeats3 Wireless is a decent step up over its predecessor, but it’s no bargain in an increasingly crowded market for wireless sports headphones.
When you have one of the best-selling wireless earphones in the world, what do you do for an encore?
Well, the safest choice would be to make some small but not insignificant changes — tweak around the edges so to speak — but mainly leave what got you to the top alone. And that’s exactly what Beats has done with the Powerbeats3 Wireless, the latest iteration of its uberpopular Bluetooth sports headphone.
As you can see from looking at it, the core Powerbeats design has remained intact, and the Powerbeats3 Wireless looks a lot like the Powerbeats2 Wireless — and not surprisingly its list price is the same ($200/£170/AU$260). It’s available in black, white, siren red, shock yellow and flash blue. And like the previous model, they’ll still hold up to sweat and rain — just don’t expect them to survive a full-on dunking in water.
Beats has slightly lengthened the earbud post (the Powerbeats3 Wireless is on right) and changed its angle to enable a better fit for more people.
You have to look closely to find the design tweaks but they’re there. For starters, Beats has slightly altered the design of the earbud post, lengthening it a bit and slightly altering its angle in an effort to improve the fit of the headphones and allow more people to get a tight seal.
This new model did fit me a little better, but I still couldn’t get a tight seal from one of the four included eartips, so I tried a few I had lying around from other headphones I’ve been testing and ending up with a foam Comply tip that maximized sound quality. (If Beats had extended the earbud post a few more millimeters, one of the supplied tips probably would have gotten me that elusive tight seal).
The earhook design is one of the headphone’s signature design traits and part of the reason people find it appealing.
It’s important to get that seal, because if you do, this is one of the better-sounding Bluetooth sports headphones out there, with good detail, strong bass, and pretty open sound. However, if you don’t, it will sound thin and mediocre and you’ll be disappointed, particularly since it costs $200. To be clear: The sound is the same as that of the Powerbeats2 Wireless; Beats has not upgraded the sound, only the fit.
As for other changes, you get a new protective carrying case (it reminded me of a coin purse), which I liked, and the Remote Talk inline remote has been redesigned and significantly improved. The remote’s slimmer and the buttons are more response — you can adjust volume, skip tracks forward and back and answer and end calls.
The Good The Plextor S2C is significantly faster than any regular hard drive, and it has a low price.
The Bad Compared with other SSDs, the drive is slow when performing heavy tasks.
The Bottom Line The Plextor S2C is an inexpensive replacement SSD drive for an aging computer, but is slow compared to top SSDs.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
The Plextor S2C wasn’t made to impress. It’s a 6Gbps SATA standard solid-state drive (SSD) that aims to do its job on the cheap. And its job is straightforward: replace the traditional hard drive on a computer.
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The S2C SSD (left) and a traditional hard drive it aims to replace.
While the S2C’s speed can’t compare to most SSD drives I’ve reviewed, it’s still so much faster than any regular hard drive that’s it’s worth getting — especially given its relatively bargain-level price. The 512GB version has an MSRP of just under $134 in the US, or about 25 cents per gigabyte. The price roughly converts to £110 in the UK and AU$175 in Australia. And like all SSDs, you can expect the street price to be even lower.
So how well does it perform and how exactly does it stack up against other SSDs? In copy tests the S2C had one of the fastest real-world read speeds I’ve ever seen, delivering 433 megabytes per second. However, its write speed was terrible, topping out at just 148MBps. That’s the lowest write speed of any SSD I’ve tested.
The Good Haiku’s smart ceiling lights look terrific and work reliably well — especially the built-in motion detectors. A native integration with Alexa lets Amazon Echo owners control the lights using simple voice commands.
The Bad The Haiku lights aren’t as well-connected as some other options — there’s no SmartThings support, no IFTTT channel, and no integration with Apple HomeKit.
The Bottom Line Haiku’s high-fashion smart lights are priced like a luxury, but they look and act the part.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
There are plenty of smart lighting options that you can control with an app or even with your voice, but you’ll find few perfect solutions for smartening up an all-in-one, built-in recessed fixture. In many cases, there might not be any bulb at all to swap out, and most smart switches won’t let you dim the lights.
Enter Haiku Home, the smart home division of Lexington Kentucky’s Big Ass Solutions (known best for its eponymous Big Ass Fans). In addition to smart ceiling fans, the brand offers high-end indoor/outdoor recessed lighting fixtures with connected smarts. Along with flipping the switch like normal, you can control them using the Haiku app, using the same remotes and smart switches that control Haiku fans, or by connecting them with Amazon’s Alexa for voice-activated lighting changes. They’ll also change between warm and cool color temperatures, and turn on and off automatically based on motion below.
The Haiku Lights don’t come cheap, starting at $149 a pop. But they look terrific and work exceptionally well, offering seamless smarts for high-end smart homes. If you’re looking for something luxurious, or if you’ve already bought into the Haiku ecosystem with a ceiling fan or two, then they deserve some consideration.
We installed several Haiku Lights in the CNET Smart Home to test out their connected capabilities. And, by and large, they’re some of our favorite things in the place. The motion sensors are swift and responsive — whenever one of us walks in through the garage, a light in the entryway “sees” us and lights up the entire hallway for us. After two minutes of inactivity (you can customize this length in the Haiku app on your Android or iOS device), they dim back down, ready to light up again whenever someone passes through.
That sort of “set-and-forget” approach is the Haiku Light’s strongest asset. It’s been months since I programmed these things, and they’ve worked perfectly ever since. None of us have needed to use the app for anything. They just work.
Of course, you can still turn the lights on and off at the switch like normal — doing so won’t reset any of your settings. There’s also a handy little remote that’ll let you control any individual light you point it at. And, if you’re an Amazon Echo user, you can ask Alexa to turn the lights on and off, or dim them up and down. They’re compatible with the Nest Learning Thermostat — though Haiku’s integration is obviously geared more towards its ceiling fans.
They’re also nice and bright. Haiku pegs them at a healthy 1,348 lumens each, which is roughly halfway between a 75 and 100W bulb. Couple that brightness with the circular overhead design, and you get a nice, even dispersion of light from each one, and more than enough brightness for most needs (we typically keep the ones in the CNET Smart Home dialed down to about 50 or 60 percent).
The Haiku Light lineup
Haiku’s lights come in five different finishes, and prices vary depending on which style you choose. Standard white and black “Select” models come cheapest at $149 if you’re willing to pass on color tunability and stick instead with a single, yellowy tone of light. For fifty dollars more, you can go with a “Premier” model — that’ll add in the cool, bluish white, daylight end of the spectrum, and let you dial in on your exact white light shade of choice.
With how much of our life is online these days security is something that you need to be focused on. Ensuring that your connection is secure when you are entering your banking details or composing those private emails should be something that you think about each time you connect to the internet. Unfortunately, you can’t always connect to your home Wi-Fi, but using a VPN can get you a much safer connection, but that comes at a cost.
VPN subscriptions can get pricey, but not all of them have to be. There are a number of great options out there, some of which you can pay for by the year, but there are also some that come with a one-time lifetime fee. If you are looking to take advantage of a lifetime license, you can do some pretty afforadably right now. Here are some of the best deals you can get on a lifetime VPN subscription.
- Regular Price: $99.95
- Deal Price & Savings: $49.99 (49% off)
- Key feature: Best Connection Speeds
Of the variety of VPN services that are out there, HotSpot Shield offers some of the best connection speeds available. You can connect to 20 different virtual networks around the world to keep your browsing secure, bypass local censorship to view additional content and much more with it. You can take your public Wi-Fi sessions private in just one click and much more with HotSpot Shield VPN.
See at Android Central Offers
- Regular Price: $900
- Deal Price & Savings: $49.99 (94% off)
- Key feature: Browser Extension
Ease of use is definitely one of the strong points for Windscribe VPN, and the browser extension is a big part of that. In just a few clicks you can be connected to a secure network on which you can block most ads and not leave a trace of what you’ve been up to. You can use Windscribe VPN on all your devices at the same time, so you never have to sacrifice your security to browse on a different device.
See at Android Central Offers
- Regular Price: $499.99
- Deal Price & Savings: $20 (94% off)
- Key feature: The Price
You simply can not go wrong with the price of VPN Unlimited at just $20. With servers in 53 different locations, which span accross 39 countries, you’ll be able to quickly and easily switch between servers while on the go. Securing your browsing sessions is super simple, and you have unlimited bandwith and unlimited high speed connectivity. For less than a nice dinner out on the town you could have a lifetime of access to a great VPN service.
See at Android Central Offers
VPNSecure: Lifetime Subscription
- Regular Price: $450
- Deal Price & Savings: $39 (91% off)
- Key feature: Anti-Logging Policy
One of the biggest things that sets VPNSecure apart from the competition is its anti-logging policy, meaning that nothing you do will be logged and tracked. You can connect up to five devices at the same time, so you don’t have to worry about ending a session on one device to start on another, and you also have unlimited bandwith. You’ll also have access to servers in more than 46 countries, a hidden IP address and more with VPNSecure.
See at Android Central Offers
Extra, Extra, read all about it with these great Android apps.
Keeping informed on the go is one of the many things that our smartphones are incredible tools for. During the everyday hustle and bustle it’s easy to ignore the world around you, but the news is everywhere. Including on your phone.
Android has a plethora of great apps to choose from thanks to the massive selection in the Google Play Store. But if you’re looking to get your daily news fix, we recommend you check out this little lot.
- The Guardian
- USA Today
- BBC News
- Google News and Weather
- MSN News
- AP Mobile
- News Republic
For many, Flipboard is the default news app for Android. It’s been around for a while and was one of the first apps to make reading the news less boring with its image-heavy, magazine-style layout.
One of the other merits to Flipboard is its customization. It’s your news, your way. So beyond selecting topic areas of interest, you can also add in your own feeds so you’re missing out on nothing.
Flipboard to this day makes reading the news a pleasure.
The Guardian is one of the most respected brands in journalism, delivering international news as well as a fresh perspective on American politics from across the pond.
Their Android app is simple to navigate and robust, filled with investigative deep dives, commentary, and videos to keep you informed on the latest breaking news around the world. Sign in via your Google or Facebook account to customize your homepage and follow your favorite critics and columnists so you’re always in the loop on the news and stories you care most about.
Download: The Guardian
Just as the name implies, the SmartNews app is designed in a very clever way so that you can quickly read all the latest headlines from around the world. News categories are displayed as tabs (referred to in app as “channels”) at the top of the screen, giving you the option to swipe through them one by one, or jump straight to the sports section with a tap. When you tap a story, swipe over to SmartView and the whole story loads almost instantaneously.
The news here is curated from both newspapers and online news sources, giving you a well-rounded view on the day’s events. You’re also able to customize and tweak your experience by adding and reordering channels to suit your needs. There’s even a Late Night TV channel for those interested on a humorous take on the news, featuring, monologues, comedy bits, and other highlights from the network’s late night programming.
It’s a one-stop shop for all your news needs.
If you like your daily news with an American flavor, then the USA Today app should be right up your street. It’s bright and colorful to look at and packed with large images. It grabs your attention, visually, and doesn’t let go.
And it’s packed with just about everything you could want. News, sports, weather, celebrity gossip, photo galleries, even offline support so you can download your articles before heading out of cellular range. You can even keep up with the day’s news without reaching for your phone with Android Wear support.
Download: USA Today
Britain’s national broadcaster delivers the news around the globe through round-the-clock TV broadcasts, but it also has itself a pretty nice Android app to deliver what’s going on in the world today.
It’ll also deliver that round-the-clock video coverage, though that might be dependent on location. Otherwise you’re looking at breaking news, a wide range of topics to follow and an offline mode so you can catch up on a plane or on the morning commute on the London Underground.
Download: BBC News
Google News and Weather
If all you want is a simple app to show you the headlines and maybe the daily weather, check out Google News and Weather. It pulls in sources from Google’s vast network that includes aggregated 65,000 publications.
It lacks some of the customization available elsewhere but it’s a more ‘no-frills’ approach to serving you the headlines. And it has a nifty looking dark theme, too, if you like those.
Download: Google News and Weather
Microsoft’s news app is actually pretty good, though it may also have slipped your attention so far. If you have a Microsoft account you can sign in and keep your customizations in sync across devices, which includes your Windows 10 PC.
It’s got a vast library of sources to pull content from and allows you to follow topics you’re most interested in. Whether that’s a sports team, a celebrity, a particular subject area of interest, the MSN News app will take good care of you.
Download: MSN News
If you want breaking news from one of the most highly-regarded organizations in the business — the Associated Press — then this is the one for you. Real-time updates of breaking events around the globe and a decent looking app and widget await inside. AP Mobile as very few little frills, just the news you want, when you want it.
And it’s available in English and Spanish, which is a nice touch.
Download: AP Mobile
If you prefer to get your news delivered in RSS form, Feedly is pretty much the default choice these days. Rising from the ashes of the Google Reader shut down, Feedly has evolved and refined its service and app, and it’s a pretty good choice all round.
Feedly also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Buffer, OneNote, Pinterest and LinkedIn for social sharing of all the things and the app itself is a pretty good reading experience. It’s pretty light and snappy these days and it doesn’t try to cram too much in.
The developers behind Nuzzel believe that in our social media dominated world, the best news aggregators are actually your friends and other influencers. Nuzzel lets you discover the best news stories shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter without the rest of the noise that goes along with social media feeds. Another key differentiator for Nuzzel is their belief in the power of the email newsletter. You can sign up for newsletters from your favourite influencers or topics, or use Nuzzel to create your own and share the top 5 stories from your Nuzzel feed along with your own personal commentary
It’s easy to scroll through the discover page and find topic feeds that interest you organized by topic. Add topics of interest to your favorite and sign up to receive daily email newsletters with the top stories of the day. Nuzzel believes this is a better way to engage with trending news than scrolling through cluttered social media feeds. If you agree, you’ll definitely want to check out Nuzzel.
One of News Republic’s best features is its ‘smart’ capabilities, meaning it learns your preferences as you use it. Then, in turn, caters more to your individual tastes without you having to set your own preferences.
Apart from that it delivers breaking news headlines in a well-designed, easy-to-use application and can also be used to create your own daily news digest. There’s a lot crammed in, like RSS support, and with so much going on it’s definitely one for the news junkies out there.
Download: News Republic
Where do you get your news?
So, those are our best picks, but what about yours? If you’ve got a particular favorite not mentioned on this list be sure to drop it into the comments below!
This article was originally published in February 2015. It was recently published in November 2016 with the addition of Nuzzel, SmartNews and The Guardian.
Facebook is preparing to make (more) money by selling ads that will be shown on TV — connected TV, that is. According to Recode, the social network will start showing video ads on apps that run on set-top boxes, including Apple TV and Roku. The company hasn’t figured out the best format and length yet, but it will begin running tests as soon as next week. A spokesperson told Recode that these tests will help the team determine the best way to “deliver (over the top) video ads through Audience Network,” which is Menlo Park’s ads platform.
Facebook aims to serve the most targeted ads possible by taking note of both IP addresses and the FB account that’s currently logged into the set-top box. Clearly, the company hopes to have an up-and-running prominent ads platform as video-on-demand and streaming services become more common. Even if you’re chosen to be one of the testers, though, you won’t be seeing those targeted ads just yet. It will test the waters by promoting its own services, such as Facebook Live, and its non-profit partners.
Xiaomi has unveiled the latest in its entry-level Redmi series, the Redmi 4, in China. The phone will be offered in three variants — a base model Redmi 4A, the standard Redmi 4, and a version called the Redmi 4 Pro with double the storage and a Full HD display.
All three models in the Redmi 4 series feature a metallic chassis, which gives you an idea as to how far budget phones have come in recent times. The back looks identical to what we’ve seen with the Redmi Note 3, and the specs on offer reveal similarities with the Redmi Note series.
Let’s kick things off with the Redmi 4A. The phone offers a 5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, microSD slot, 13MP camera, 5MP front shooter, and a 3120mAh battery. The Redmi 4A will be sold in gold and rose gold color options.
The Redmi 4 and Redmi 4 Pro feature a fingerprint sensor at the back, and 2.5D curved glass at the front. With the Redmi 4, you get a 5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 430, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, microSD slot, 13MP camera, 5MP front camera, and a 4100mAh battery. The phone will be available in gold, silver, or dark gray.
Finally, the Redmi 4 Pro is the most interesting phone in the series, offering a 5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 625, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB storage. Everything else is similar to that of the Redmi 4, including the color options. All three phones run MIUI 8 atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
And now for the pricing. The Redmi 4A will retail for ¥499 ($74) starting November 11, the Redmi 4 will cost ¥699 ($104) and will go on sale from November 7, and the Redmi 4 Pro will be available for ¥899 ($134) from November 7.
Apple will not refresh the iPhone SE in the first half of 2017, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The lack of refresh comes as Apple attempts to maintain high margins on its high-end iPhone models, Kuo said in a new research note.
Kuo forecasts that total shipment volume of iPhones will decline in the first half of 2017 due to tepid demand in China, slow shipment volume of 4.7-inch iPhones and the lack of an iPhone SE refresh in the second quarter of the year. Kuo argues that shipment volume came in higher in the first half of 2016 due to “upbeat demand for the iPhone SE.”
Instead, Kuo believes Apple will exert pressure on its iPhone component makers to drop prices in an effort to maintain its margins. He expects suppliers to begin price reductions on components in either November or December of this year.
However, Kuo notes that not all suppliers will cut prices. Most iPhone component makers, like those that make the device’s panels, have weak bargaining positions with Apple due to fierce competition amongst suppliers. Some suppliers, like Samsung, are the main supplier of certain components for iPhones and have stronger bargaining positions than Apple. Kuo believes Samsung may even raise its prices. And finally, Kuo says there are a few suppliers like TSMC that are unlikely to be affected by Apple’s attempt to maintain its margins.
Overall, Kuo forecasts that iPhone shipment volume will drop year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, sitting between 35 to 40 million, less than last year’s 40.4 million in the second quarter of 2016.
Apple introduced the iPhone SE in March 2016, packing in many of the iPhone 6s’ features and component into a 4-inch frame similar to that of the iPhone 5s. It’s unclear what kind of upgrade schedule Apple will adopt for the device, but it’s internals are powerful enough to remain a capable phone for a couple of years.
Related Roundup: iPhone SE
Tag: Ming-Chi Kuo
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While Samsung continues its quest to retrieve every Galaxy Note 7, a software update that reduces how much the phone’s battery can be charged is finally rolling out in the US. Even though it’s still apparently unclear exactly what caused so many of the phones to overheat, smoke and/or start fires, the idea is that this will increase participation in the recall. Another “feature” of the update is a system of pop-up notifications about the recall anytime an owner reboots, charges or turns on the screen of the device
The update itself first appeared in Korea back in September, while in the US T-Mobile is the first carrier we’ve seen listing its availability. Samsung says that so far, “nearly 85 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices have been replaced through the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program.” Most owners have apparently opted for a replacement Samsung device, which, thanks to a few other software tweaks, may work a little more like the phone they’re leaving behind.
Anyone who still has a Galaxy Note 7 is asked to return it by contacting Samsung or their carrier for a replacement device.