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21
Mar

Gentle Wakeup Alarm Clock uses light to wake you, might prove useless for deep sleepers (Sponsored Review)


If you are like me, you also have a problem waking up in the morning. By nature I am not an early riser and, most of the time, I have trouble leaving the comfort of my bed in the morning. Or even worse – I tend not hear the alarm go off at all.

I’ve been researching the topic of how I might facilitate the process of waking up and I’ve stumbled upon some apps which promise interesting things. Gentle Wakeup Alarm Clock – which theorizes that sleepers can wake up naturally by light. According to the creators of the app – light leads to biological process in the body leaving the deep sleep phase and preparing to wake up. So in theory the app should help me to wake up gently and refreshed every day. So naturally I had to give it a try.

This idea is actually based on a scientific theory which states that a very beneficial way to wake up refreshed is to rise during a period of your lightest sleep. Being woken in a light stage has proven to make people more energetic and alert upon awakening.

Setup

You can download the app for free from the Google Play Store. However, a Premium version is also available. You can upgrade to Premium from within the app for $5 a pop (which unlocks more Sound options). Once the app is installed all you need to get started is to access it. When you open the app for the first time, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to watch a video tutorial. If you think you can find your way around the app without watching it, then go ahead and skip it.

App Experience

When you open the app – all you will be able to see is the date and time, as all the other features are hidden on purpose. With a single tap on the display you can make additional options visible.

The whole purpose of the app is to let you configure your alarm clock in a way that suits you. So go on to Settings which is located in the lower right corner and tap it. From there you can click the Add button to add the time you want to be woken up. From the same panel, you can customize what you see on the main screen.

You can ask the app to display the date, day of the week, time, seconds, 24 hours mode, time for next wake up and more. You also have Brightness Settings at your disposal. You can choose the transparency of text, app brightness for light on and app brightness for light off. You should start playing with these features and see which one suits you best. What’s more the app can deliver Weather information as well (once you set your location)

Tapping on the Alarm you just set up, will reveal a bunch of options that help you customize your wake up process. The app is built on the idea that light can wake you up. That’s why the alarm will start weaving its magic with 20 minutes earlier than the intended wake-up hour, in order to prepare your body for wakeup.

However, the app offers other wakeup methods too like Sound and Vibration. And yes, you can combine all of them into a more powerful alarm system. Wake up by Sound allows you to choose the type of sound you want to hear (frogs, rooster, and train – whatever floats your boat). You can also choose the time after which the sound should reach its final intensity.

Add vibration to this equation and your phone will light up, buzz and produce animal sounds – all at the same time. Which should guarantee you’ll be jumping out of bed.

After setting/saving the alarm, you can go back to the main screen. You’ll see your next alarm which is set to start 20 minutes before the actual desired waking time.

I like the fact that there are a lot of options available and you can experiment with different combinations to see which suits your particular wake-sleep cycle. On the down side, the interface is quite boring and outdated. I would have liked to see a more modern interface.

Results

When it comes to results – don’t expect something spectacular. As I told you before, I’m a pretty deep sleeper that usually has to be up by 7.30 AM. Well given that we’re in spring now and the sun rises by 6.30 AM, the alarm’s light signal becomes almost useless. Only when the frogs started making noises (sound alarm) and the vibrations started was I bothered to open my eyes.

Also, if you want to rely only on the lighting scheme to wake, you will need to place your device in your immediate vicinity – which is not something I tend to be down for.  I like to leave my phone on a night stand beside my bed which is not super close to my bed. Another inconvenience is that you absolutely need to leave your device charged in overnight – as the alarm starts 20 minutes earlier, you risk waking up to a drained phone.

But once the alarm gets going, it’s pretty difficult to make it stop. In theory all you need to do is move the slider showing on the screen to the right. But that proves to be more complicated than it needs to be. I had to slide my finger numerous times before the noise finally stopped and instead of waking up refreshed, I woke up really annoyed. The snooze option (tapping on the screen) also proved glitchy at times.

On top of that, I noticed there’s no way you can set an alarm for the current day – an option that might come in handy for those who like taking naps.

Overall

Gentle Wakeup Alarm Clock is built around a great idea – deliver an app that can help you wake up gently. However, the implementation leaves a little to be desired. It would be nice if the team would upgrade the interface and give it a 2017 look and squish the bugs that need to be neutralized. Also unlocking the “premium” features is a bit more expensive than it needs to be.  However, if you’d like to try out the whole wake up by light scheme, you can try the app for free. Still, I’d recommend to test the app out in winter when the sun rises later during the day (unless you live in a Norse country).

For me, Gentle Wakeup proved to be more of a glorified Alarm Clock, but maybe it will work differently for you – given that everyone’s sleep/wake cycle is different.

Post-Review Update:

We reached out to the author about some of the issues that we experienced and he had some encouraging responses. Material design is coming in the next update, which is proposed for some time in April. He also intends to fix the slider to make it more functional.

He also states that the light may not need to be directly in your line of sight but just near you so that your subconscious mind can recognize the change in light levels.

We look forward to seeing what improvements are in store for Gentle Wakeup.

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21
Mar

Best app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time


Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers make paid apps free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money, and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

More: 200 Awesome iPhone Apps | The best Android apps for almost any occasion

Protect Your SMS

Your private messages will never be seen again thanks to this app. Use a pattern lockscreen to secure messages.

Available on:

iOS

Phyzseek

Burn calories and fat, build muscle with daily, doctor-developed, short-duration, high intensity workouts that are fun but challenging.

Available on:

iOS

Awesome Wallpaper

This Wallpaper app has an endless collection of high quality images that rotate with your iOS device. With graphics hand picked by professional designers, this app has all you need to make your iOS device uniquely yours.

Available on:

iOS

Musemage

Musemage opens up your mobile device’s camera like nothing else, allowing you to use different filters and effects all in real time. So edit as you shoot!

Available on:

iOS

Willio


Willio lets you split bills between friends and keep track of who owes what. It even lets you handle uneven shares and multiple currencies.

Available on:

iOS

air radio tune

Air Radio Tune provides a quick and easy way to listen to thousands of streaming internet radio stations and free music on your iPhone. Listen to a large range of music, news, and sports stations worldwide.

Available on:

iOS

21
Mar

Apple’s new Clips app is taking the fight to Instagram and Snapchat


Why it matters to you

There is no shortage of apps out there that can handle basic video editing and sharing, but Clips’ Live Titles feature and iMessage integration make it a unique option for Apple’s customers.

We’re living in the golden age of short-form video. Between Instagram, Snapchat and, up until recently, Vine, it’s never been easier to create and share customized video. For iPhone and iPad owners, however, there will soon be yet another way: Apple is calling it Clips.

The company announced the new app on Tuesday, and has pitched it as a fun way to craft great-looking video “without timelines, tracks, or complicated editing tools.” Users will be able to stitch together video clips and photos already on their device, or record new media with a bevy of real-time filters. The app offers a selection of soundtracks, too, as well as the ability to overlay your creations with emojis, stickers, and text to your heart’s content.

More: Want to keep that live video around? Instagram now lets you do just that

All of that is really par for the course when it comes to social-minded video and photo apps, but what really sets Clips apart is a feature Apple has dubbed Live Titles. Users can adorn their videos with animated title cards or captions just by speaking. Clips will convert your recorded voice to text, and the result will appear on screen dynamically in tandem with the recording.


Apple

This is a feature that differentiates Apple’s product from the competition, and it should be a hit with those who produce short-form video for platforms like Facebook that are designed to play automatically and discreetly, without sound. Or, you can avoid the short-form thing altogether, as Clips allows you to produce videos that are up to an hour long.

Interestingly, although Clips exists to foster video sharing, it isn’t a social platform in its own right. Users can send their creations to friends via iMessage, of course — an action made easier by Apple’s Smart Suggestions facial recognition, which will recommend people to share with based on the folks that appear in your video or image.

You can also post to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. But there’s no centralized feed or hub where you’ll see the clips your friends make, or a profile where you can post your own. Apple is sticking strictly to the creative aspect here, and letting other platforms do the heavy lifting of distribution.

The app is still lacking some features. The Snapchat faithful will be dismayed to find they can’t scribble on their videos or photos just yet, for example. Clips is set to release in April for iOS devices running version 10.3. The iPhone 5s, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and sixth-generation iPod Touch and onward will all be supported.

21
Mar

Cloud coverage: Adobe debuts its system of cloud software for marketing


Why it matters to you

Accessing analytics and collaborating as a team is getting simpler with Adobe’s system of clouds designed specifically for marketing and enhancing customer experience.

If cloud storage was actual clouds in the sky, Adobe would be brewing up a storm. On Tuesday, the company announced Adobe Experience Cloud and Advertising Cloud as well as enhancements to the existing Adobe Cloud Platform during the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Together, the cloud network works as integrated business tools for streamlining advertising and customer experience efforts. Of course, the latest cloud system works with Adobe’s Creative Cloud too, pulling assets from Photoshop into the Marketing Cloud and accessing analytics and social data right from Premiere Pro, for example.

Adobe Experience Cloud is designed specifically for businesses by putting multiple customer experience tools into one platform. Experience Cloud actually isn’t a single cloud storage system but a big collection of smaller clouds. The system includes Adobe Marketing Cloud, Advertising Cloud, and Analytics Cloud, with all three systems working together as a sort of multi-software hierarchy to help businesses enhance customer experience overall.

More: After a record-breaking year, Adobe officially axes the old Creative Suite

Adobe Marketing Cloud is designed for managing, personalizing, optimizing and orchestrating advertising campaigns, the company says. The system uses five individual software programs but integrates information between them using the cloud, including Adobe Experience Manager, Target, Campaign, Social, and Prime.

That marketing platform joins the Adobe Advertising Cloud, a system designed for managing traditional TV advertising as well as modern digital campaigns. Adobe says this cloud system helps to simplify the delivery of video display and search ads across multiple channels as well as optimizing for different screen sizes. This cloud-within-a-cloud system includes capabilities from TubeMogul, a video advertising platform Adobe acquired late last year, and Adobe Media Optimizer.

The third smaller cloud within Adobe’s big advertising storm is for analytics. The artificially intelligent Analytics Cloud pulls together insight and data into how ads perform across multiple channels and pulls information from the other clouds.

The new cloud system also comes with a number of improvements to the existing Adobe Cloud Platform, the system that manages all those smaller cloud systems. Thanks to Sensei, the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning framework, the cloud system has a number of new tools as well as more seamless integration between the separate software.

“At Adobe, we believe experience is the great differentiator, the make-or-break attribute to ignite life-long customer advocacy and growth,” said Brad Rencher, the executive vice president and general manager of digital marketing at Adobe. “Leveraging deep customer intelligence, Adobe Experience Cloud gives businesses everything they need to deliver a well-designed, personal and consistent experience that delights customers at every touchpoint.”

Adobe says both the top 10 retailers and top 10 media companies are Creative Cloud subscribers and the latest cloud system allows more seamless integration between popular CC software and marketing tools and data.

21
Mar

Someone made a Game Boy emulator for the Apple Watch


Why it matters to you

This project demonstrates how far portable gaming has come over the past two decades, from dedicated hardware to an emulator running on a wristwatch.

In the 1990s, the Game Boy was the height of portable gaming, but today it’s easier than ever to cram hardware into a tiny form factor. To demonstrate that fact, a developer has set about creating a Game Boy emulator for the Apple Watch, allowing users to play the handheld’s library from their wrist.

Gabriel O’Flaherty-Chan named his emulator Giovanni, after the villainous leader of Team Rocket from Pokemon Red and Blue. The software gives the Apple Watch Series 2 the ability to play most Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, according to a report from Ars Technica.

Admittedly, the hardware isn’t a perfect fit for the extended Game Boy library. Some title aren’t compatible, and those that are rely on a slightly uncomfortable control scheme intended to make up for the Apple Watch’s lack of physical buttons.

More: Japan’s Kei Studio modifies an NES Classic Edition to fit inside a Game Boy

Users manipulate a virtual control pad with the left hand side of the screen, while tapping the right hand side of the screen registers as a press of the A button. A row of on-screen buttons allow users to press Start, Select, and the B button, and the Digital Crown can also be used to enter up and down directional input for menus and the like.

Giovanni is based on an existing Game Boy emulator called Gambatte, but producing a version that worked with the Apple Watch wasn’t easy. As well as the revamped control scheme, O’Flaherty-Chan had to work around the fact that the hardware doesn’t support the graphics APIs utilized by iOS and MacOS.

Apple is not a fan of emulators, so don’t expect to see Giovanni hitting the App Store any time soon. However, if you want to try loading Game Boy games onto your Apple Watch the hard way, O’Flaherty-Chan has uploaded the source code to GitHub.

21
Mar

Smaller iPhone SE packs the same power as a 6S, for less


The iPhone SE has long been offered as a low-cost iOS alternative for those that don’t want to shell out the cash for Apple’s flagship iPhone models. The device is basically a miniature version of the iPhone 6S when it comes to specs and features, and it shares the design of the iPhone 5 and 5S.

Why did Apple update the old 4-inch iPhone model? Because, the company says, a lot of people are introduced to the iPhone via the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 5C. In China, the majority of iPhone users’ first iOS experience is on a 4-inch phone. Plus, a lot of people just don’t want a giant screen. Therefore, Apple has squeezed the same cool tech from the iPhone 6S into a smaller body.

More: Read our review of the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus right here

Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone SE.

Same specs as the iPhone 6S and an old-school design

The latest news related to the iPhone SE comes in the form of a storage bump. While at launch the device was only available in 16GB and 64GB versions, now the options are 32GB and 128GB — for the same price. So, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.

The Apple A9 processor powers the iPhone SE, and it’s joined by the M9 co-processor for motion tracking and other tasks including the always-on Siri. The 12-megapixel iSight camera is on the rear, complete with the true tone flash unit, the new image signal processor, and Live Photo support. It’ll also shoot 4K video, and take massive 63-megapixel panorama photos. On the front, the selfie cam uses the display as a flash unit.

Mobile payments are supported using an older Touch ID sensor, and payments are made using the NFC as well as the secure element hidden inside the phone. Additionally, there’s the same 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi calling, and VoIP features, plus the battery has been tweaked for enhanced usage and standby time.

In terms of design, it looks just like an iPhone 5S with the white glass section at the top for the antennas and good reception. It’s less rounded and more chunky than the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, which gives it a retro vibe. It’ll be available in silver, rose gold, gold, and space gray.

Here’s how to get yours

The Apple iPhone SE has been around for some time now, and it’ll cost you $400 for the 32GB model, or $16.63 per month on Apple’s 24-month installment plan. You can get it sdirect from Apple’s website.

Related Offer: The iPhone SE. A big step for small.

Of course, you can also get the device through your preferred carrier. Currently, carriers seem to be selling the older, 16GB and 64GB versions. T-Mobile offers the 16 GB iPhone SE for $16.67 a month for 24 months with $0 upfront, and the 64GB model will be just a few dollars more at $20.84 a month for 24 months. You can get it on T-Mobile’s website.

If you’ve got an AT&T Next plan, you’ll pay $0 up front and $13.30 a month for 30 months, $16.63 a month for 24 months, or $19.95 a month for 20 months, assuming you buy the 16GB version. The 64GB model will cost you $16.67 a month for 30 months, $20.84 a month for 24 months, or $25 a month for 20 months. You can get it on AT&T’s website.

At Sprint, you’ll pay $0 down and $16.67 a month for 24 months, if you buy the 16GB version or $100 down and $16.67 a month for 24 months. You can get it on Sprint’s website.

Verizon also has the iPhone SE available on its website. The 16GB model will cost you $16.66 a month for 24 months, while the 64GB model runs $20.83 a month for 24 months. You can get it on Verizon’s website.

Updated on 03-21-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news of updated storage options.

21
Mar

Ridin’ nerdy: 12 drool-worthy gadgets for your daily drive


In the years of yore, a casual Sunday cruise may have been enough to adequately assuage the average driver. However, in our digital age, there are hundreds of gadgets to enhance our daily driving experience and help us streamline our day-to-day tasks. While there are plenty of practical devices designed to assist us during an emergency, there are also several rather unnecessary — albeit, enjoyable — gizmos to choose from. From a self-powered jump starter to a coffeemaker for your car, here are 12 of our favorite gadgets for your daily driving pleasure.

More: Broken down but not out: What to pack in a car emergency kit

Bestek Jump Starter ($50)

Jumper cables are great if you have another vehicle to give you a friendly jolt. However, if you’re in a more isolated area, jumper cables are essentially useless. The self-powered Bestek Jump Starter is ideal for this exact scenario, and it features two USB ports for your mobile devices as well as a flashlight.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Ztylus Stinger ($22)

The Stinger is a handy device to have at your disposal after an accident. If your car windows or doors are jammed, the Stinger is designed to shatter the dashboard or car window, thus allowing you to quickly exit your vehicle. The device also incorporates a slim blade on the backside, which allows you to slice through a jammed seat belt.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Fobo Tire Plus ($195)

Properly inflated tires wear more evenly, thus increasing the lifespan of your rubber as well as fuel efficiency. Rather than using a handheld pressure gauge to ensure your tires are properly inflated, the Fobo Tire Plus system uses a series of Bluetooth gauges that relay this information directly to your smartphone. Fobo can monitor up to 19 cars, too, which should be adequate for most mortals — other than Birdman, that is.

Buy one now from:

Fobo Amazon

Scosche USB Charger ($13)

As you begin to accumulate car gadgets, you’ll also need more space to charge many of these devices. Thankfully, Scosche’s charger allows you to charge two devices at once. The unit also emits a subtle, blue glow much to your chagrin, enjoyment, or apathy. While there are USB hubs with more ports, this unit is one of the best given its low profile and price tag.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Tile Mate ($25)

Our forgetfulness costs us thousands of dollars over the course of our lifetimes. Unsurprisingly, one of the most commonly misplaced items are our car keys. Thankfully, the Bluetooth-equipped Tile Mate easily slides onto a keychain, allowing you to track the whereabouts of your keys using an accompanying mobile app — even if they’re locked inside your car.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Vantrue R2 ($120)

A dash cam is an exceptional tool for determining fault after a car accident, and the Vantrue R2 is our top pick. The device captures a 170-degree field of view in crystal-clear, 1080p video. To conserve energy and maximize storage space, the unit even powers on and off alongside your vehicles.

Buy one now from:

Walmart

Escort Max 360 ($535)

Like Sammy Hagar — renowned musician, philanthropist, and notorious restaurateur — many of us simply cannot drive 55. Unfortunately, this unlawful (albeit ubiquitous behavior) will eventual lead to hefty fines. Thankfully, there are an array of radar detectors on the market to notify us when The Fuzz is using radar in the vicinity, including the lauded Escort Max 360. The device is one of the most accurate on the market, loaded with dual antennas and robust smartphone compatibility that allows you to network with other nearby speedsters.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Park-Zone PZ-1600 ($20)

It can be difficult to know just how far to pull up when parking in smaller garages. Luckily, parking assistants are an easy way to help maximize space and prevent us from continually tapping our front bumpers. The simple traffic signal display on the PZ-1600 lets you know when you’ve pulled up far enough, without any ill-fated guesswork.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Handpresso ($189)

Most of us simply shudder at the thought of starting our workday without a cup of coffee. It’s easy to forget to set the coffeemaker, or, if we’re running behind, we may simply lack the time to swing by our preferential coffeeshop on the way to work. Designed for the flibbertigibbet — or those with a soft spot for unnecessary gadgets — the Handpresso is a coffeemaker tailor-made for your car. The unit works with your own preferred grounds or ESE espresso pods, and plugs directly into the cigarette lighter or 12-volt port in your car.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Automatic Car Adapter ($52)

The second-gen Automatic Car Adapter plugs into the diagnostic (OBD-II) port on most cars. This allows the device to pull data directly from your vehicle’s onboard computer. The paired mobile app also has many convenient features, including a vehicle locator, mileage log, and the ability to notify emergency services after an accident. The car adapter also works with a host of third-party apps, such as IFTTT, Nest, and Expensify.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Ion Audio Cassette Bluetooth Adapter ($20)

bluetooth-casette-adapter-720x720.jpg

A Bluetooth cassette adapter is a great way to stream all of your favorite playlists directly from your smartphone (without any unsightly cord clutter). Ion Audio’s offering is one of our favorites, too. It offers roughly four hours of playback on a single charge, which is more than enough juice to play all of your favorite — or embarrassing — tunes, much to the dismay of your friends. It even allows for hands-free calling via a built-in microphone.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

High Road Car Seat Organizer ($13)

car-organzier-2-720x720.jpg

Now that you’ve amassed an arsenal of useful gadgets, you’ll need a place to stow them. The High Road Car Seat Organizer is a solid storage option for families and hoarders alike. The unit is made of durable mesh and polyester, and comes with an array of compartments and flexible pockets. The adjustable headrest strap also easily fastens to virtually any seat back, allowing you to keep all of your belongings within arm’s reach.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

21
Mar

Microsoft Bookings rolls out, making it easier to manage business appointments


Why it matters to you

Running a small business involves so many moving parts, but Microsoft Bookings wants to help with one of the most important aspects — your appointments.

Small businesses in North America have the option of managing their customers’ appointments and schedules through Microsoft’s Bookings, and now the Seattle-based tech giant announced the service is being rolled out to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers.

“Bookings is designed to delight your customers, simplify scheduling and free time for you to be on top of your business wherever you are,” Microsoft said in a blog post announcement. Along with the global release, Microsoft has also introduced a number of new features to their handy app, which will hopefully make it easier still for you to run your business like a well-oiled machine.

Per user feedback, Microsoft has added your Office 365 calendar to Bookings, creating a seamless integration that blocks off times in your public Bookings page when your calendar says you’re busy and vice versa. Simply click on the Staff tab on the left navigation panel to enable this new feature and select the Events on Office 365 calendar affect availability checkbox.

More: Latest Windows 10 Insider preview build fixes Microsoft Edge bugs and others

Microsoft Bookings also now allows you to add buffer time before and after your appointments, so you don’t have to worry about having back-to-back-to-back meetings scheduled with no time to breathe, so if you need some time to travel, prep, or set up before or after an appointment, you don’t need to feel rushed.

And because we live in a mobile world, Microsoft also made it possible for you to book an appointment, contact a customer, or check a staff member’s appointment from your iOS or Android device. You will also be able to get directions to your next appointment and directly access your customer list on the go. Finally, you now have the ability to customize your Bookings page, because as Microsoft notes, “Your Booking page should look and feel like an extension of your business, and it needs to positively reflect your brand.” You can now set a new main color for your page, display a business logo, and more.

21
Mar

Google adds shortcuts to app and mobile web to bring your interests to you faster


Why it matters to you

Although just a minor change, the addition of shortcuts right underneath the search bar will make it even easier to find the information you’re looking for with Google.

Google has started rolling out a small but useful change to its app on Android and iOS, as well as mobile web. The latest update, going live now for users in the United States, takes the form of tappable shortcuts that live underneath the search bar, and can connect you with everything from nearby areas of interest to entertainment news, translation and currency conversion, and, of course, weather forecasts.

Basically, these shortcuts serve as a portal to everything Google offers, from simple queries to more personalized information, like your emails, calendar events, and any travel bookings you might have recently made. If you’re familiar with Google Now, you’ve seen this all before, as such information would pop up dynamically in your feed. To those unaware of the search giant’s myriad services, however, the recent update will put everything in closer reach.

More: You can now find your Google Drive files directly through the Android Google app

Google is even taking the opportunity to throw in some fun time-wasters. There’s tic-tac-toe, solitaire, a catalog of animal sounds, a shortcut to I’m Feeling Curious, and even coin flipping — which is sure to come in handy as you and your friends decide on which local attraction to hit up. Of course, you could probably ask Google Assistant to handle many of those tasks, but it’s easy to forget that if you don’t often use voice dictation.

Seeing all the shortcuts evenly laid out into categories on Google search feels vaguely reminiscent of the internet home pages of yesteryear. In a sense, Google is becoming the modern AOL or MSN, in that it represents many users’ first point of contact with the internet.

Of course, artificial intelligence, location tracking, and integrated accounts have made the simple tasks of pulling up scores for your favorite teams or finding a spot for lunch much easier today than they were 20 or even 10 years ago. But, as a hub for everything you might want to know at once, Google still carries that timeless appeal.

21
Mar

BenQ’s E-Series line has a new display for PC gamers and one for graphic designers


Why it matters to you

BenQ’s new monitors should be good news for PC gamers and digital graphic artists looking for an affordable solution packed with lots of features.

BenQ America has expanded its E-series lineup of desktop monitors with the launch of the EX3200R and the EW2770QZ. The EX3200R is a 31.5-inch curved solution with a curvature of 1800R and a 144Hz refresh rate, while the EW2770QZ is a flat 27-inch panel packing a QHD resolution and an ultra-slim bezel. Both are available now for $450 in the United States.

For starters, below is a graphic provided by BenQ showing how a curvature of 1800R appears to the person seated in front of the EX3200R:

And here are the hardware details for both:

EX3200R
EW2770QZ
Screen size:
31.5 inches
27 inches
Screen resolution:
1,920 x 1,080 @ 144Hz
2,560 x 1,440
Panel Type:
VA
IPS
Curvature size:
1800R
N/A
Aspect ratio:
16:9
16:9
Pixel pitch:
0.121mm x 0.364mm
0.233mm x 0.233mm
Brightness:
300 nits
350 nits
Native contrast:
3,000:1
1,000:1
Dynamic contrast:
20,000,000:1
Unknown
Response time:
4ms gray to gray
5ms gray to gray
Color amount:
16.7 million
16.7 million
Color space:
72 percent NTSC
100 percent sRGB, Rec. 709
Color bit:
8-bits
8-bits
Speakers:
N/A
2x two-watt speakers
AMD FreeSync Support:
Yes
Yes
Ports:
1x HDMI 1.4
1x DisplayPort 1.2
1x Ethernet
1x headphone jack
1x HDMI 1.4
1x DisplayPort 1.2
1x Ethernet
1x headphone jack

Notice the difference in panel types. IPS means In-Plane Switching, which is a type of panel technology that provides brilliant colors and wide viewing angles. Vertical Alignment technology, or VA, is essentially the next step down, but provides a better contrast ratio and response time than IPS. Thus, BenQ’s curved monitor would be better at PC gaming than the flat model, which would serve the graphic designer crowd best.

The curved EX3200R unit includes seven different preconfigured display modes including three for gaming, one for watching movies (Cinema), one for viewing photos, and two additional slots for users to create custom modes. The curved panel also supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, which should be good news for PC gamers looking for a new desktop monitor for their Radeon-branded graphics card.

More: BenQ’s new 27-inch and 28-inch monitors protect your eyes and your budget

In the PC gaming space, AMD FreeSync eliminates screen tearing, stutter, and the illusion of input lag associated with bad synchronization between the display and PC. Graphics cards and discrete GPUs output a huge number of frames per second that are flashed on the display multiple times per second (refresh rate). The visual artifacts occur when the display’s refresh rate isn’t synchronized with the GPU’s output. Thus, FreeSync dynamically adjusts the refresh rate to keep the display synchronized with Radeon graphics cards and discrete GPUs.

Of course, BenQ is concerned about its customer’s eyes too. Both units include BenQ-specific technologies such as Low Blue Light and ZeroFlicker while the flat EW2770QZ packs Brightness Intelligence Plus technology. That means the display relies on an ambient light sensor to detect the surrounding ambient light levels and adjust the screen’s brightness accordingly. Both also have a Super Resolution feature that boosts the pixel density of video.

The EX3200R and the EW2770QZ can be purchased directly from BenQ or through participating retailers right now.

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