Why it matters to you
Gamers now have a THX-certified option with stellar audio and video performance — and GTX 1080 — all packed into a relatively svelte laptop you won’t mind carrying around.
Razer is best known for making high-end gaming systems that also manage to look good and avoid weighing a ton. The Razer Blade Pro is the company’s top-end gaming machine, and it promises to elevate the company’s reputation even more.
The 2017 version of the Razer Blade Pro does nothing to mitigate the company’s focus on gaming prowess, but it does add some new features and functionality that should do nothing but enhance the machine’s drool-worthy status among hardcore gamers.
More: Razer takes a big step beyond gaming with acquisition of audio tech icon THX
First up are the specs. The Razer Blade Pro includes the usual seventh-generation Core i7 quad-core processor and up to 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM running at 2667MHz. But Razer is also packing in the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU for the utmost in 4K and VR gaming — giving it bragging rights for producing the thinnest laptop equipped with the high-end chip.
“The Blade Pro was recently hailed as ‘the ultimate Windows laptop,’ and we’ve leveled up on our previous achievements with certification by THX,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer CEO and co-founder. “Each refinement of the Razer Blade Pro moves us closer to an ultimate desktop replacement.”
The new THX Mobile Certification, the first for a laptop and not a surprise given Razer’s acquisition of THX, is intended to ensure the highest-quality audio and video performance. As Ty Ahmad-Taylor, THX CEO, puts it, “The Razer Blade Pro is a top-level laptop providing an excellent THX viewing mode and audio experience. It can easily handle extreme gaming and content creation with exceptional mobile audio and visual performance.”
The video portion is provided by a 17.3-inch 4K IGZO monitor with Nvidia G-Sync technology ensuring smooth framerates and video playback. It’s not just good for gaming, either, as it also offers up 100 percent AdobeRGB color gamut support for creative professionals.
In terms of audio performance, the Razer Blade Pro has been designed to meet THX’s strict requirements for voltage output, frequency response, distortion, signal-to-noise ratio, and crosstalk for clear sound via headphones. Between its audio and video performance, the machine promises an exceptional experience whether watching an action-packed movie or playing an intense session of first-person-shooter gaming.
More: Razer Blade (2016) Review
Other specs include up to 2TB of PCIe M.2 SSD with RAID 0 support, a built-in SD card reader, a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3, and three USB 3.0 ports for solid legacy support. The keyboard uses Ultra-Low-Profile mechanical switches with true actuation and reset points, registering a full 65 grams of force to mimic full-size mechanical keyboards. Razer Chroma tricolor LED technology lends some pizzazz to the keyboard and touchpad.
At 0.88-inches thick and weighing eight pounds, the Razer Blade Pro is a substantial gaming notebook but well under the industry norm for a machine with its level of performance. It’s available now in the U.S. and Europe via Razerzone.com and select retailers, but you’ll pay for the privilege of picking one up — the machine starts at $4,000, or 4,400 euros.
Why it matters to you
Chris, the digital co-driver, is a versatile Alexa-like in-car companion that responds to your voice.
A digital co-driver voice assistant from German Autolabs, just went live with its Kickstarter campaign. German Autolabs’ hope is that “Chris” will become the “Alexa of the automotive world,” referring to Amazon Echo’s Alexa voice assistant.
The basic concept is that Chris will pair with your smartphone so you can use it for communication, entertainment, and navigation, all hands free. However, German Autolabs wants to go a lot further than most hands-free smartphone audio accessories. One difference is that you can interact with your digital co-driver with gestures as well as voice. For example, you can use hand gestures to raise or lower music volume. The greatest difference, however, is the company’s use of artificial intelligence to enhance speech recognition that can improve with experience with a specific driver.
More: Lose the remote: Open your garage door via phone, voice assistant, or IFTTT recipe
According to CEO Holder Weiss: “While automotive manufacturers like Tesla, Lexus, Audi, and BMW pursue building connected vehicles over the next several years, consumer demand for AI-enabled technology is rapidly on the rise today. Drivers and passengers can have this AI-powered technology at their disposal now, and with a low barrier to entry both in installation and cost. Chris works in every car, regardless of the age or model.”
The hardware module mounts on the windshield or dashboard. Chris has a full-color display so messages or statuses are available at a glance. The device has a lithium-ion battery with one week of standby battery life and one hour of operation time. A USB Type-C port on the back connects to recharge the battery and to run Chris while connected to a power source. The navigation feature works with or without a phone connection, which adds to its versatility.
According to German Autolabs, Chris is scheduled to ship to backers in December 2017. The device will be produced by ISO certified manufacturers and certified for use in all cars. Chris will retail for $300 when it launches at the end of the year, but special pricing discounts of up to 40 percent are available during the Kickstarter Campaign.
Why it matters to you
If you’re a Mac user, then MacOS Sierra 10.12.4’s Night Shift mode might help you get to sleep more easily.
It seems that every technology company lately is concerned about helping people get enough sleep. Today’s bright displays, or so the theory goes, disrupt sleep patterns by shining blue light in our eyes and disrupting our body’s production of the melatonin that’s key to our falling asleep.
A number of devices now offer night modes, which essentially tone down the blue light and emit warmer light that may help tackle sleep problems. Apple implemented the feature first in iOS, and now it has officially rolled out the functionality in the just-released MacOS Sierra 10.12.4 update.
More: Is blue light keeping you up at night? We ask the experts
Dubbed “Night Shift,” Apple’s version shifts display colors to the warmer end of the color spectrum. The feature can be scheduled based on user preference or kicked off manually. The color shift can also be adjusted to be warmer or less warm, to create a compromise between preferred colors and the propensity to induce sleep.
Otherwise, Sierra 10.12.4 is a relatively minor update. Here are some other improvements and fixes:
- Adds Siri support for cricket scores, schedules, and player rosters from the Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council.
- Adds Dictation support for Shanghainese.
- Improves right-to-left language support for the Touch Bar, toolbar, and visual tab picker in Safari.
- Resolves several PDF rendering and annotation issues in Preview.
- Improves the visibility of the subject line when using Conversation View in Mail.
- Fixes an issue that may prevent content from appearing in Mail messages.
- Adds support for more digital camera RAW formats.
A number of improvements under the heading “enterprise content” have also been implemented, including the ability to optimize iOS devices tethered via USB, privacy and security enhancements, and fixes to MacOS login. Finally, Apple also has a detailed list of security updates provided in MacOS Sierra 10.12.4.
To update your Mac, just open the App Store and then click Updates in the toolbar. The app should grab a refreshed list of available updates, and then you can simply click on “Update All” to kick them off. Note that the update will require a reboot, and the entire process takes a few minutes, so make sure you have sufficient time to complete it. Then, set your Night Shift preferences and get a good night’s sleep.
Why it matters to you
Ever wanted to be able to draw on AI to better remember things, or control machines with your mind? Elon Musk is backing a startup that may let you do just that.
Because reinventing cars and space travel for the 21st century isn’t enough to keep him occupied 25 hours a day, Elon Musk is reportedly backing a new “brain-computer interface venture,” which intends to develop the capability to implant AI-equipped devices into the human brain.
These neural enhancements could offer augmented improved memory for users, or allow them to more directly interface with devices. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, the company is called Neuralink, and was founded in California last July as a medical research startup.
Currently Neuralink is operating in stealth mode with nothing in the way of a public presence. While that is the case, however, Musk has made oblique references to similar technology in public. Recently he told a crowd in Dubai that, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He went on to say that, “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”
More: Gamers learn to control characters strictly through direct brain stimulation
He has also responded to Twitter queries about a “neural lace,” which refers to similar technology in a sci-fi setting. Previously, Musk has suggested technologies that let humans achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence and machines may stop humans from becoming a “house cat” to superintelligent AI.
Although there have been some astonishing advances in brainwave-reading technologies, including tools like deep brain stimulation for treating diseases such as Parkinson’s, currently only a tiny number of individuals have complex implants embedded in their skulls. Will Musk’s endorsement and investment help change that? We’ll have to wait and see to find out for certain, but one thing that’s for sure is that the man behind Tesla and SpaceX has continually demonstrated that he’s invested (both financially and intellectually) in tech’s biggest ideas for the long hau
Tesla has thus far declined to comment on the story.
Motorola could use dual rear cameras as the differentiator for the Moto X 2017.
Motorola moved away from the Moto X brand last year to focus on the Moto Z lineup, but it looks like the series could see a resurgence this year. A series of images leaked on Google+ of an alleged Moto X 2017 show off a metal chassis, a front fingerprint sensor that’s similar to what we’ve seen on the Moto G5, and a dual camera setup at the back.
The design of the Moto X 2017 feels like a continuation of the Moto G5, with the device in question sporting a curvier back and rounded corners. It certainly lacks the flair of the Moto Z and Z Force, but a quick look at the specs suggests Motorola is likely to position the Moto X 2017 as a successor to the Moto Z Play.
The images show that the Moto X 2017 will be powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage, and for now, the dual camera at the back looks like the most interesting feature about the handset. That’s all we know about the Moto X 2017, but we should hopefully learn more about Motorola’s plans for the mid-range segment in the coming weeks.
LG is back on the right track with the G6.
The Spring smartphone launch season is under way, and LG made a calculated decision to get out ahead of most phones with a late-February announcement of the G6. Coming in less than a year after the all-but-failed G5 and just a few months beyond the niche market V20, the G6 is what will be advertised as the phone from LG hoping to create a halo for its whole lineup.
Well time flies, and we’re no longer talking about our first impressions of the LG G6 or saying how much longer you’ll have to wait to buy it. I’ve been using the phone for a full month now, and it’s already on sale in many countries. There’s a certain bit of perspective that you get from using a phone for a long time that you don’t get from an initial review period, and that’s why we continue to use and revisit these great phones to see how they continue to perform.
Here are my thoughts on using the LG G6 for the past month.
LG G6 Hardware
If there’s one thing LG accomplishes yearly with its hero phone, it’s mixing it up to keep things fresh. Since the original Optimus G we haven’t seen an propensity for similar or iterative designs year after year, and the G6 coming from last year’s plasticky and modular G5 is a fantastic example of LG continuing its mixed strategy. But unlike last year, I’m quite impressed by the G6’s hardware — from a design, materials and execution standpoint.
The G6 signals a return to getting the basics right, kicking the gimmicks aside.
From first glance the G6 is indeed a bit more generic-looking than the often wacky designs LG usually goes with, but that’s totally fine with me — it signals a return to getting the basics right. Big claims of reliability aside, the G6 just feels solid with its thick metal frame, considerable heft and precisely inlaid pieces of glass. Yes I know that the back glass will get scratched over time, but that’s something I’ve lived with just fine on the Galaxy S7 and Pixel XL just fine.
And I shouldn’t gloss over the fact that LG finally chose to add in IP68 water resistance to its flagship, which is increasingly becoming a must-have feature for smartphone buyers — and one that Samsung constantly hangs its hat on. Of course that all-but-necessitated the move to a sealed battery compartment, but that’s a fine trade-off for me.
I’m still appreciating the “large screen in small body” form factor of the G6 as well, particularly after taking a short break to review the hefty HTC U Ultra. It’s great to have a relatively compact, narrow phone that I can reach across and manage in one hand when needed. Even with its small bezels it’s still a chore to reach that notification shade sometimes, though, but as it stands it hasn’t been a bit enough issue for me to resort to that garish notification shade navigation button.
LG fit everything inside that you’d expect — the only pain is regional hardware differences.
This is one of the better smartphone screens I’ve seen to date, and it’s worth reiterating that I’m thankful for the enhanced focus on max brightness from LG this time around. You can see the screen and use it in direct sunlight, even though it still feels a tad more reflective than the AMOLED competition — but of course LG loves its LCD and doesn’t seem to be keen on changing. The resolution and color reproduction are top notch as well. The only thing I’ve picked up about this display that’s a potential downside here is the touch response, which seems a bit weaker than phones like the Pixel XL — the first software update to this model did remedy it some, and it’s not enough of an issue to make me not want to use the G6, but the tuning still seems a bit off to my fingers.
Up to speed
LG G6 Software and experience
Despite LG offering one of the cleaner non-stock interfaces out there, I didn’t last long before switching over to my tried-and-true setup of Google Now Launcher, Google Calendar and Google Keyboard on the G6. It’s not that LG’s offerings are particularly bad in any way — and I’m sure millions will stick with what’s pre-installed — but I just have muscle memory that is best served by Google’s apps. Thankfully Android offers you this choice, and the G6 handles all of these apps as defaults with no issue.
The parts of the interface that aren’t easily changed, like the lock screen, notification shade and settings, get the job done and do it with a simple white-and-black layout punctuated by subtle pops of color I can appreciate. I like that LG has really reigned things in to follow Google’s design guidelines while still having its own feel — that’s what Android is all about.
LG has come a long way in software, and I like what I see now.
LG’s tweaks to the software don’t seem to bog down the system at all either, as performance is still strong on the G6, albeit short of spectacular. I don’t get the feeling that I’m using some sort of next-generation mind-blowing device that’s so fast it surprises me, but everything works as it should and does so without any crashes or issues — as it turns out, that isn’t always a given even on high-end phones. (Part of this may be that touch response I was talking about before as well.) LG has tweaked and tuned as much performance as possible out of the Snapdragon 821 processor, and I don’t feel like that’s a bottleneck in any way. And looking forward a year, I’m sure it’ll continue to work just fine then as well — there’s more than enough power for what we do today.
Battery life from the 3300mAh battery has been just fine for me, right in line with what I get out of my Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge. I can go through a full day of my typical use with roughly 25% left in the tank, or push it hard and get down to probably 10% at the end of the day. Aside from days when I’m traveling and absolutely hammering the G6, I can’t get the battery to die before bedtime — that’s a great sign. And again, I’m just not upset about the loss of a removable battery here considering the capacity you’re getting in this phone. 3300mAh in the G6 is 500mAh larger than the G5, and even 100mAh larger than the V20.
LG G6 Camera
The LG V20 was my first time really exploring LG’s dual camera setup, and I fell in love with it. I think it’s such an excellent idea, and I’m glad LG has doubled down (get it?) on the dual camera setup with the G6 by moving to using the same sensor behind both lenses. Beside not being the biggest fan of the V20 as a complete phone, the one really frustrating part about using the wide-angle camera was how much different the photos could look due to its lower resolution and lower-quality sensor. With that fixed, I’m absolutely loving having this wide-angle camera available with a single tap.
It just gives you a unique look that you usually only get from snapping on a cumbersome secondary lens to your phone, and it’s always ready to go without any extra accessory. I often find myself shooting with the wide-angle camera first, then tapping to take a standard shot second — it’s that good.
I’ve talked plenty about the surprisingly great quality of the main camera, and it absolutely continues to deserve praise for matching what the Google Pixel XL can do while also raising the bar in some areas. I very rarely take a photo with the LG G6 that isn’t up to par, and I’m regularly surprised by the shots I get out of it. It’s definitely a bit on the punchier side when it comes to colors, but it’s done in a tasteful way; and the HDR mode doesn’t go overboard, which I enjoy.
Combine the two experiences and you get a wonderful total camera package that can be a huge deciding factor in how many people buy this phone. It’s no wonder that LG was so convinced that it wanted to stick with this dual camera setup — it’s a real differentiator in the market, especially on a phone that in so many ways just matches what its biggest competition (Samsung) is offering.
One to consider
LG G6 One month on
With a full month of usage behind me, I’ve come to most of the same conclusions we found in our original review from back at MWC 2017. LG chose to ditch the gimmicks in 2017 and just make an all-around great phone, matching the competition in terms of hardware, specs, features and capabilities while delivering a top-notch camera as well. This isn’t just impressive from the standpoint of being LG’s best ever top-end phone, but by being a great overall phone to stand up against anything else out there today.
LG’s marketing power and ability to leverage current mind share just can’t stand up to the likes of Samsung, and it will rely heavily on carrier partnerships around the world to push the G6. That’s just a reality of where the market — and LG’s smartphone business — stands right now. But despite the fact that its sales will be far behind the Galaxy S8’s no matter what, the G6 is nothing short of a great phone. If LG keeps making G series phones like this, only good things can happen from here.
- LG G6 review!
- LG G6 specs
- LG G6 vs. Google Pixel: The two best cameras right now
- Everything you need to know about the G6’s cameras
- LG forums
If you’re going to wear a wrist computer, it may as well be the best!
Our phones are capable of an incredible level of computing, and most of us really enjoy using them for watching videos of hamsters interact with miniature versions of our favorite things. Some of us use these phones for so much, we buy little versions of our phones that we can wear on our wrists to avoid reaching for the phone every couple of minutes.
Snarky as that sounds, smartwatches have a lot of practical uses. These wrist computers are better suited for capturing sleep and activity data to better understand how healthy you are, and are a much safer way of getting turn-by-turn directions places.
There are tons of great uses for a quality smartwatch, but first you need to pick a quality smartwatch. Here are some of the best available today!
Looking for just the Android Wear watches? These are the best you can buy today!
LG Watch Style
Not only was this watch one of the first to be released with the latest version of Android Wear onboard, but it’s also one of the most compact Android Wear watches available today. The LG Watch Style is light enough that you don’t notice it on your wrist, but the metal body gives the watch a nice sturdy feel with just enough battery to get you through a whole day without issue.
Check out our LG Watch Style review!
Each Watch Style comes with Google’s easy to replace watchbands onboard, so you can quickly customize your watch to look just the way you want. Which is good, because the outer shell only comes in three very similar shades of metal. The real fun you’ll have here is when you start making sure your watch band matches whatever watch face you choose from the tens of thousands available in the Google Play Store!
See on Best Buy
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung’s smartwatches are basically phones in their own right. The Gear S3 can take its own SIM card and act entirely separate from a phone, instead of connecting via Bluetooth. This means you can make phone calls right from your wrist, or get your notifications while out jogging without the phone needing to be with you. You can also make payments at any card terminal with Samsung Pay baked right in.
Read our Gear S3 Review for more!
This is also a capable fitness wearable, with a heart-rate monitor for additional information for when you’re active and a sleep monitor that kicks in automatically. With the included wireless charger that sets the watch up almost like a bedside clock and a battery that will easily get you two full days of use, this watch is great for getting you to put your phone down without actually disconnecting you from the world.
See at Amazon
LG Watch Sport
The larger relative of the LG Watch Style crams as many features as possible into a larger body. This watch makes calls, can pay for things at many but not all terminals, and offers most of the fitness features you’d expect to find on something built to be taken out for a serious workout session. It’s a big watch with three large buttons and unless you are very lucky and find the limited edition this watch only comes in one color.
Check out the LG Watch Sport Review
What you won’t find on this watch is the ability to replace the strap if you don’t like the sporty rubber strap, because it actually has parts of the computer built into it. As long as you’re fine with that strap, this is the watch to get when you want Android Wear and every possible feature onboard.
See on Google Store
The closest thing to a household name when it comes to fitness tech made a smartwatch that puts fitness first before anything else. Fitbit’s watch doesn’t try to look like a watch, either. This oddly-shaped fitness band is just wide enough to put a nice display on it, and like every other Fitbit works to give you constant information on your daily workout progress. Since the battery will last you between three and five days on a single charge, it’s the kind of thing you’re likely to wear everywhere and anywhere, which is great.
One of the most impressive things about the design of this watch is the way the entire outer shell comes off when you replace the band. This means you can have multiple color options for the outer shell to go with all of the different watch strap options you can buy today!
See on Amazon
This isn’t a name you’re likely to have heard of before, but Ticwatch 2 is an Android-based watch that isn’t running Google’s Android Wear. Instead, this custom version of the OS focuses on a special natural language search system that competes directly with Google Assistant in a couple of very interesting places.
The big standout feature for this watch is the touch sensitive strip you use for scrolling. Instead of turning a knob or swiping on the screen, you can drag your finger across the bottom of the bezel and the interface will move to match.
Ticwatch 2 offers GPS, heart rate monitoring, and a microphone/speaker combo with plenty of apps onboard that work with both. While the battery is going to get you a little over a day, the included charger will be something you likely use each night.
See on Amazon
What if I have an iPhone?
To be perfectly honest, if you own an iPhone there’s really only one watch worth your time and that’s the one made by Apple. Our friends at iMore have everything you need to know about the Apple Watch and how it works with every kind of iPhone.
Read more about the Apple Watch
T-Mobile Tuesdays has something good for baseball fans starting April 4.
T-Mobile is into doing nice things for its customers recently. The company has announced that it is giving away a free year of MLB.tv baseball streaming to all of its users, including those on older plans and prepaid service.
A regular season costs $112.99 a year, with MLB at Bat, which includes mobile phone access, an additional $19.99, so Major League Baseball is likely hoping that this turns into some revenue-positive conversions in the 2018 season. At Bat is included in the promotion.
T-Mobile says that the promo is part of its T-Mobile Tuesdays campaign, where it gives something nice away every week. The promo begins April 4 to celebrate the official return of baseball in the U.S. (and Canada — don’t forget the Blue Jays!)
T-Mobile Tuesdays free stuff (including MLB.TV Premium) is available to all customers on a T-Mobile branded monthly rate plan, including consumer and business, postpaid and prepaid plans. Every line can participate.
Customers will only have over a day to sign up for the promotion; it ends at 4:59am ET on April 5. Once signed up, customers will need to sign into the MLB.tv app or website before 4:59am ET on April 11, so there isn’t much time to take advantage of the promo. And according to the rules, the free access will expire on February 28, 2018.
Additional T-Mobile Tuesday ‘Thank You’ gifts on April 4th include a free VUDU baseball movie rental, a $2 DUNKIN’ PROMO CARD, and 30% off Groupon Local (up to a $40 value).
See at T-Mobile
Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to save big on a new Kindle!
The summer is coming and there is no better way to read a book on the beach or at the pool than on a Kindle. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can score some pretty sweet savings, dropping the price of the e-readers down to as low as just $49.99. The whole line is discounted, from the most basic option to the newest, so you won’t want to miss out.
Don’t worry if you aren’t already a Prime member, Amazon offers a free 30-day trial of the service so you can take part in these low prices. In addition to being able to save on these, Prime members can also pick one of six different books to get for free, so you’ll always have something new to read.
- Kindle – $49.99 (normally $79.99)
- Kindle Paperwhite – $89.99 (normally $119.99)
- Kindle Voyage – $149.99 (normally $199.99)
- Kindle for Kids Bundle – $69.99 (normally $99.99)
- Kindle Paperwhite Essentials Bundle – $129.97 (normally $179.97)
Amazon also offers a great service, Kindle Unlimited, which gives you access to over 1 million books, thousands of audiobooks, and even current magazines on any of your devices for just $9.99 a month. With the money you are saving on the purchase, you can subscribe to a few months of the service, or grab yourself a nice case to keep your new e-reader safe.
See at Amazon
For other great deals on tech, gadgets and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!
Join us as Samsung unveils its next flagship phones.
The leaks are all over, and we know a lot about the upcoming Galaxy S8 and S8+, but there’s always more to learn at the official unveiling of any big phone. And when we’re talking about Samsung, there’s usually a good bit of pageantry involved in the process to keep it interesting as well.
We’ll be on hand to see and you everything that Samsung has to announce at its event in New York City on March 29. It all starts at 11:00 a.m. ET — that’s 8:00 a.m. in San Francisco and 4 p.m. in London — so join us then for all of the fun!
As soon as Samsung hosts its live stream feed, we’ll be embedding it in this page — and of course you can follow along with all of our photos and commentary in the liveblog above!
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
- Latest Galaxy S8 rumors!
- Galaxy S8 announcement coming March 29 in NYC
- Galaxy S8 release date set for April 28
- Join our Galaxy S8 forums