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6
Sep

T-Mobile ONE Family Plans Will Include Free Netflix Subscriptions Starting September 12


T-Mobile today announced that its T-Mobile ONE family plans will come with free Netflix subscriptions beginning September 12, allowing plan members to stream Netflix content at no additional monthly charge. To qualify, users will need two or more paid voice lines on a T-Mobile ONE family plan, and if customers already pay for a Netflix subscription, the un-carrier will cover the cost of the standard price: “meaning you’ll save nearly $120 every year.”

This means that users who take advantage of the offer will get Netflix’s $9.99/month, 2-screen subscription plan at no additional cost.

The company is calling the new addition “Netflix On Us,” and described it as a way for T-Mobile to tackle “one of the biggest customer pain points” in mobile networking contracts, which is bigger bundles at increased prices. T-Mobile said that while other carrier bundles are about including some features users want and some they don’t, with the end goal of increased monthly prices, Netflix On Us adds a service that most T-Mobile customers already use at no extra cost.

“The future of mobile entertainment is not about bolting a satellite dish to the side of your house or resuscitating faded 90s dotcoms. The future is mobile, over-the-top and unlimited,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “While the carriers spend billions on their franken-strategies to cobble together carrier–cable–content mashups, the Un-carrier just leapfrogged them all by partnering with the best and giving it to customers at no extra charge. Because that’s what we always do. Give more to you without asking more from you.”

“This is the right move at the right time — for all the right reasons,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “More and more fans are bingeing on mobile, so we’re bringing together Netflix’s award-winning TV shows and movies with T-Mobile’s award-winning, unlimited network.”

T-Mobile ONE customers with unlimited everything can also now add Netflix On Us, as well as customers with free lines from T-Mobile’s recent “line-on-us” deals. To celebrate the new partnership, T-Mobile is launching a Twitter “meme-a-thon” tomorrow, September 7, where users will be able to enter to win smartphones, Netflix and T-Mobile swag, and BingeBoxes filled with “bingeing essentials” by responding to the company’s Twitter account with Netflix show quotes, GIFs, and memes.


For more information about Netflix On Us, visit T-Mobile’s website right here.

Tags: T-Mobile, Netflix
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6
Sep

Phil Schiller and Kim Gassett-Schiller Donate $10M to Bowdoin College’s Coastal Studies Center in Maine


Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller and his wife Kim have donated $10 million to Bowdoin College’s Coastal Studies Center on Harpswell Sound in Harpswell, Maine, as a user on Reddit pointed out today. In a press release, Bowdoin explained that the gift will allow it to “substantially expand” the facilities in which students perform ocean research and study environmental education.

Image via Bowdoin.edu
Specifically, Bowdoin said that thanks to the gift from the Schillers, the college will be able to add a state-of-the art dry laboratory, convening center, modern classrooms, and housing and dining facilities.

“This extraordinary act of generosity and vision by Phil and Kim Schiller will transform the Coastal Studies Center into a facility where students and faculty from Bowdoin and from other institutions can gather together for concentrated periods to learn from each other and to advance knowledge and understanding about the ocean, marine science and the impact of climate change on marine life.”

Phil Schiller explained the family’s donation in a video shared recently by Bowdoin, citing the college’s efforts in developing new methods to research and fight against pollution, climate change, and other environmental issues. Schiller himself was born on the east coast in Natick, Massachusetts and graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Boston College. One of his sons, Mark, graduated from Bowdoin earlier in 2017.

In response to the $10 million donation, Bowdoin has named the center the “Schiller Coastal Studies Center (SCSC).” The SCSC is located on 118 acres of land that occupies 2.5 miles of the Maine coastline, and is situated on Orr’s Island, about 12 miles outside of Bowdoin’s main campus. For more information about the center, and the Schillers’ donation to Bowdoin, check out the college’s website here.

Tag: Phil Schiller
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6
Sep

Samsung’s OLED Display Monopoly May Explain iPhone 8’s Rumored $1,000 Price


Samsung is one of the only companies able to reliably mass produce OLED displays suitable for Apple’s smartphone needs, giving Samsung a monopoly over OLED panel display and allowing the South Korean company to charge high prices.

In a new research note shared with investors this morning, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chu Kuo says OLED iPhone panel supply is “controlled wholly by Samsung,” with Samsung likely charging Apple $120 to $130 per OLED panel module, which is approximately $75 more than the 5.5-inch LCD module price of $45 to $55 for “Plus” sized iPhones.

The high price Apple is currently shelling out for OLED displays explain in part why we’re hearing rumors suggesting pricing on the upcoming OLED-equipped “iPhone 8” could start at somewhere right around $1,000 for the entry-level model. Along with an OLED panel, it also uses 3D sensor camera components for facial recognition and many other advanced components that could also add a premium to the price.

OLED displays being provided by a single manufacturer may also explains some of the rumors we’ve heard about manufacturing difficulties and supply constraints. We’re still expecting the new OLED iPhone to be available in limited quantities for several months after its launch.

Kuo says Apple urgently needs to find another company that can supply OLED displays, and Apple is making an effort to do so. Apple is said to be investing billions in LG’s OLED smartphone production with the goal of eventually securing 45,000 panels per month for future iPhones starting in 2019.

Apple is also rumored to have purchased OLED display production machinery from a company in Taiwan to research OLED technology in order to cut down on its reliance on Samsung, and there have been rumors pointing towards a partnership with Japan Display.

Until Apple is able to diversify its OLED supply chain, it will be difficult for the company to secure enough inventory at a reasonable enough price to build a full iPhone lineup with OLED panels, which is its ultimate goal for 2018 or 2019. This year, Apple will introduce one OLED iPhone and two iPhones that use standard LCD panels.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
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6
Sep

Apple Seeds Tenth Beta of iOS 11 to Developers and Public Beta Testers


Apple today seeded the tenth beta of iOS 11 to developers for testing purposes, just under one week after releasing the ninth beta and three months after introducing the new update at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed. A new beta has also been made available for Apple’s public beta testing group.

iOS 11 brings several new design changes like a customizable Control Center and a new Lock screen that’s been merged with the Notification Center. Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments are coming in the Messages app, which is also gaining a new App Drawer, and there’s a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that’s meant to help drivers stay focused on the road. Siri, Photos, the Camera app, and more are also gaining new features and refinements.

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ARKit for developers will bring a range of new augmented reality apps and games to iOS devices, and a new Core ML SDK will let developers build smarter apps. iOS 11 is also the biggest update ever for the iPad, with a new Dock that introduces much improved multitasking, a Files app for better managing files, improved Apple Pencil support, a revamped App Switcher, and a system-wide drag and drop feature.


iOS 11 is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and will be released to the public in September alongside new iPhones. We are getting closer to the end of the beta testing process and should see a golden master release candidate soon.

For complete details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our extensive iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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6
Sep

The Xiaomi Mi 6 review: A true budget flagship phone


If you’re subscribed to any of the big tech YouTube channels or pay attention to phone reviews, you probably already know how good the Xiaomi Mi 6 is. It’s been the darling of the tech community since its release earlier this year. But, if you’re a casual consumer, do you even know it exists? The Mi 6 isn’t officially sold in the US (thanks to Gearbest for sending over our review unit!) and importing it can be costly depending on which site you buy it from.

Given those hurdles, why would any regular person consider the Xiaomi Mi 6? This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the last three weeks while testing the device. Is the phone so impressive that I’d order it from a third-party website and hope for the best? I know what my answer is, but let’s take a full look at the phone so you can decide for yourself.

Build and Internals

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 quad-core clocked at 2.45GHz
  • Display: 5.15-inch 1080p IPS LCD
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, no microSD card support
  • Camera: dual 12MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing
  • Battery: 3350mAh, supports Quick Charge 3.0

The Xiaomi Mi 6 has class-leading specifications.

While it doesn’t have a 2:1 display that seems to be all the rage today, it does have one of the better displays I’ve ever seen. I’m partial to AMOLED displays and despite that, I’m still blown away by the quality here. The 5.15-inch screen is small, but that’s a bit of a relief after using monster phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus for a few months. One-handed operation is something I’ve certainly missed. The colors are vibrant and the screen gets both very bright and very dark. This is great for usage outside and while laying in bed at night.

I’ve never once been bothered by the resolution. Some have stated that phones in 2017 should always have 1440p displays, but I couldn’t disagree more. The pixel density is still very high at 428 ppi (pixels per inch) and I’ve never been able to pick out individual pixels no matter how hard I try. I think a higher resolution display would’ve done nothing but consume more battery and done so needlessly.

Below the display is three hardware buttons for back, home, and multitasking. The home button houses a lightning quick fingerprint scanner. Fingerprint scanners have become pretty standard these days but the Mi6’s scanner is among the best I’ve tried for speed and accuracy.

Above the display sits the 8MP front-facing camera, some sensors, and an earpiece that doubles as a loud speaker. The earpiece actually teams up with the bottom-firing speaker for stereo sound. It could be louder and add more bass, but we do appreciate the inclusion of dual speakers nonetheless.

The rest of the phone is made up of a glass back and aluminum sides. There’s a ceramic version available too that’s said to be gorgeous but we don’t have one of those in house. Our version has the slipperiest back on a device I’ve ever seen. I can’t put this thing down without it ending on up on the floor. It’s also a fingerprint magnet so I like to keep the case Xiaomi included in the box on the phone at all times.

Before we venture inside the device, we’ll take a quick pit stop to the bottom where the USB Type-C port and speaker are. What you won’t find here, or anywhere else, is a headphone jack. It’s becoming all too common these days to leave the headphone jack out to add a bigger battery or taptic engine, but it just sucks. I don’t want to have to rely on a dongle or Bluetooth connectivity.

At least the battery is pretty big. At 3350mAh, it’s one of the biggest batteries in a small device out there. In fact, it’s bigger than the batteries in the HTC U 11, Moto Z2 Force, Samsung Galaxy S8, and OnePlus 5– all larger devices. We’ll get into how long the battery lasts in the performance section but so far, we’ve been pretty pleased.

The rest of the internals are as pleasing as the battery life. We’ve got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU clocked at 2.45GHz, an Adreno 540 GPU, 6GB of RAM and either 64 or 128GB of storage. Only the OnePlus 5 offers better specs on a flagship smartphone today.

Software

Believe it or not, but the Xiaomi Mi 6 is one of the only devices on the market with the most up-to-date version of Android. According to GSMArena, 77 devices currently have Android 7.1 or 7.1.1. 77 might sound like a lot but there are thousands of devices on the market right now and We can’t find one you can walk into a physical carrier store and buy in the United States besides the Pixel.

While it’s great that it features the newest version of Android, you’d never know it. Xiaomi features the famously heavy MIUI 8.0 skin and completely removes any semblance of Stock Android. While there are some nice features in MIUI, it feels much more like a college grad’s take on iOS rather than a fully fleshed out OS.

The colors are bright, but all over the place. Options that gimp the phone’s usability are turned on by default. Apps crash and occasionally, the entire phone locks up. When things are running smoothly, it’s fantastic. I can’t remember any dropped frames in the few weeks I’ve been using the phone, but when things go bad, it’s extremely frustrating.

Sadly, there’s no app drawer.

It’s not all bad, though. Xiaomi gets points for including creative features and apps that other Android OEMs would be smart to steal, I mean develop for their own. My favorite among these features is called Second Space.

Second Space feels like running Boot Camp on your phone. No, I don’t mean making it climb rope ladders and go on runs while Drill Seargents are yelling at it. Boot Camp is a MacOS application that allows you to run a virtual version of Windows. This allows you to have one entirely contained environment and run the apps you need. I use a Second Space for work and have all of my useful applications right on my homescreen. When I’m done for the day, I switch back over to my first space where Facebook, Kik, and Reddit all are. It’s fantastic for keeping me focused and off my phone when I should be working.

I can see parents creating a separate space for their child to use their phone, but there is a dedicated Child Mode built in too. Child Mode is a tighter control on your phone rather than Second Space which gives you free roam. In Child Mode you can restrict sending messages and which applications can be opened. It’s great to turn it on, hand my kid the phone with games already running and let her enjoy.

The final feature I want to point out is App Lock. There are certain apps that I don’t want anyone else to have access to. I tend to have sensitive work emails sitting in my Inbox so I restrict the access to that app in particular so someone can’t pick up my phone and rifle through my emails. I do have a fingerprint and passcode set up on my phone, but this just adds another layer of protection.

There are other things to love like a really powerful and plentiful Theme Store, but we’re going to turn to one of the most frustrating aspects of the Mi 6 and that’s how it manages background apps. For a pretty long time, I had no idea why emails were showing up on my Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, but not the Mi 6 depsite the accounts being synced on both devices.

Then I found it.

Within the battery menu, you can manage apps battery usage. The Power Saving Mode was turned on and that was limiting the ability for anything to refresh in the background. It’s a smart idea to limit these apps, but when the rules are so strict that I can’t get emails or messages on Facebook Messenger, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

If you’re looking for something completely different, the Xiaomi Mi 6 might not be for you. While MIUI is a heavy skin, it doesn’t stand out to me as something you should lust after. It feels like every other skin on a Chinese phone I’ve ever used. It’s heavy and bright and doesn’t perform that well. Unfortunately, the software is just something you have to deal with when you buy this phone for it’s amazing hardware and specs rather than being an asset to the overall package.

Performance

I metioned in the software section that when things were bad, they were really bad but when things were good, they were really good. I might not like the software but on a day-to-day basis, it performed pretty well.

I’m still frustrated by my Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus dropping frames or lagging so using the Mi 6 was a bit of fresh air for me. Apps opened quickly and stayed in memory forever due to the 6GB of RAM. Games, even more demanding ones, ran fine without dropping frames and scrolling through long lists like on Reddit was perfect.

Another stand-out performer was the GPS chip in the Mi 6. Normally I wouldn’t point out how the GPS did unless it failed hard, but I was very impressed at how fast GPS locked on and nothing could shake it. There were several times that we missed an off-ramp on the highway and it kept up with us instead of assuming we were continuing on the desired path. I was very impressed.

Not as impressive but still good was call quality. Both the other caller and I thought voices sounded clear and crips during voice calls. Going back to the speakers we were talking about earlier, the speakerphone could be a little louder but it’s a minor complaint considering.

Battery life is as good on the Xiaomi Mi 6 as any phone I’ve ever used, although there is a caveat. I’m a heavy user and the Mi 6 got me through every day no matter what, normally with about 40-50% of the battery left at the end of the day. Usage ranged anywhere between 7 to 10 hours on a single charge with a ton of idle time.

The caveat, unfortunately, is that the Mi 6 doesn’t support any LTE bands on T-Mobile‘s network. Since it wasn’t using those radios, battery life was better than it would’ve been otherwise. I still think that the Mi 6 will get you through the day even if you are connected to LTE on another network outside the US.

While not having LTE is great for battery life, it sucks for daily usage. I was confined to HSPA+ speeds which got me by, but you can certainly feel the difference when you’re trying to load something in a pinch. Going from 100+ Mbps speeds on my Galaxy S8 to 3 – 5 on the Mi 6 was rough. I tried to stay connected to WiFi hotspots at all times and occasionally asked my wife to tether to her phone so I could speed up my downloads.

Camera

Like pretty much every flagship device, the Xiaomi Mi 6 features a dual-camera setup on the rear of the phone. The 12MP shooters come with f/1.8 and f/2.6 aperatures respectively and allow the Mi 6 to have a 2x optical zoom. Optical zoom on phones is, in theory, better than digital zooming because it allows the camera to pick up more detail when zoomed in.

In practice, I was never really blown away by the Mi 6’s camera. Sure, there are a ton of modes including Pro, Beautify, Tiltshift, and Group Shot among others, but the end result was always just average for me. Perhaps my expectations are a bit askew because I’m used to Samsung’s excellent cameras, but the Mi 6 never did anything that stood up to my Galaxy S8 Plus.

In great lighting conditions, the camera did very well but I think that’s probably the case for any phone in 2017. While you can find some budget devices that take bad pictures regardless of lighting conditions, the Mi 6 is a flagship device and should be expected to output great pictures. The colors look nice but it quickly falls apart when you try to edit them at all because the dynamic range is just lacking. Raising the exposure at all left pictures blown out so keep that in mind if you’re a shutterbug.

Low light pictures were also a bit of a mess. There always seemed to be some sort of artifacting or ghosting in the pictures. Sure, they were passable for social media purposes, but they left a lot to be desired. Again, the lack of great dynamic range hurts here too if you try to raise the brightness or contrast in a photo editing application.

The Mi 6 can record in up to 4K at 30 fps which is pretty standard on flagships, but what the Mi 6 lacks is support at recording at higher frame rates. While most other devices can record in either 720 or 1080p at 60 fps, the Mi 6 never gives you an option to do so. This is disappointing, to say the least.

The four-point optical image stabilization that helps keep pictures crips also helps with video but the lack of any electronic image stabilization means jerky movements or video while walking is still pretty messy and jarring. This is something I believe that can be added in a software update so let’s hope the next version of MIUI has it included because it can make a massive difference. Hopefully, Xiaomi can also add support for the 2x zoom in video recording as well since there’s currently no way to use it.

While I’ve mentioned some points of contention with the camera in this section, don’t let those criticisms fool you into thinking that this is a bad camera. It certainly is not. While I don’t think it stands up to other flagship devices, it still does take good pictures that are worthy of sharing through SMS or on social media. One thing I really love is how fast the shutter is even with HDR on. Also, the Pro Mode is pretty good. It doesn’t top LG for the best on the market, but I did enjoy using it.

Click here to check out our Xiaomi Mi 6 photo samples

Final Thoughts

While my review may sound pretty critical, I have really enjoyed my time with the Xiaomi Mi 6. I think Xiaomi has figured out a really nice balance of excellent hardware specs, cool software tricks, and excellent battery life that will keep customers coming back. The build quality is something that really stands out to me. Almost every phone these days are made out of “premium” materials but the Mi 6 feels better than most at almost half the cost.

A lot of the issues I had with the phone can be solved by throwing a third-party launcher like Nova on it and finding a nice theme. There are certainly innovative software features in here but the OS can bit a bit of a mess. Some Stock goodness would surely help out. The XDA community for the Mi 6 is rather active so I think I might try to put Lineage OS on it and see what happens.

Unfortunately, Lineage won’t fix the lack of LTE coverage in the US. If you can live without it, I think that the Mi 6 is a nice option to get the best hardware on the market for a decent price but I found during my testing that it was really hard to leave LTE in the past once I became used to it. This won’t be much of an issue for our international fans since they should get better LTE coverage, but it definitely hurts the Mi 6’s case for the states.

And that’s a good example of the sacrifice you’ll have to make with the Mi 6. It comes in at a price that no other flagship can beat, but you are going to have to make some big sacrifices. If you don’t mind them, snap one up while you can!

Gearbest was nice enough to send over some coupon codes to save you some dough if you do decide to buy one. Here they are:

  • Xiaomi Mi 6 (64GB model) – Normal price: $419.29 – Coupon code: MI6CH – Final price: $406.99
  • Xiaomi Mi 6 (128GB model) – Normal price: $506.99 – Coupon code: MI6BE – Final price: $459.99
  • All phones: Take 8% off coupon code: GBMBP
6
Sep

Hard drives of the future will be faster and larger thanks to new glass platters


Why it matters to you

We haven’t seen the end of hard drives yet. Thanks to new manufacturing practices and materials, they may remain competitive into the next decade.

Even if many modern systems eschew classic hard drive storage designs in favor of solid state alternatives, there are still a number of companies working on improving the technology. One of those is Hoya, which is currently prototyping glass substrates for hard drive platters of the future which could enable the production of drives with as much as 20TB of storage space.

Hard drive platters are traditionally produced using aluminum substrates. While these substrates have enabled many modern advances in hard drive technology, glass substrates can be made with similar densities, but can be much thinner, leading to higher capacity storage drives. Hoya has already managed the creation of substrates as thin as 0.381mm, which is close to half the thickness of existing high-density drives.

In one cited example, an existing 12-terabyte drive from Western Digital was made up of eight platters. Hoya believes that by decreasing the thickness of the platters through its glass technology, it could fit as many as 12 inside a 3.5 inch hard drive casing. That would enable up to 18TB of storage space in a single drive (thanks Nikkei).

When that is blended with a technology known as “shingled magnetic recording,” 20TB should be perfectly achievable. While doing so would lead to an increased cost of the drive, Hoya doesn’t see that as problematic, suggesting that these sorts of mass-storage drives would be best used in data centers and other server settings, though some consumers may utilize them as backup drives.

Another advantage of utilizing glass over aluminum is its ability to handle high temperatures. Although hard drives are typically one of the cooler elements in a PC, heat-assisted magnetic recording could change that. With this process, minute areas are heated to as much as 700 degrees Celsius before writing, as that has a positive effect on write speed. Current aluminum substrates are only capable of standing up to 200 degrees.

These developments could go a long way toward keeping hard drives relevant in an industry that is increasingly dominated by solid state storage in its various form factors. While the newer, flash standard will retain its performance crown over its mechanical competition, it does seem likely that for mass storage, hard drives will retain their edge for the next few years at least.




6
Sep

Five of the best Nokia 8 cases to protect your device


While it isn’t officially available in the US yet, the Nokia 8 is Nokia’s newest foray into the smartphone marketplace, and their biggest flagship model (though Nokia may not end there, according to rumors of the Nokia 9). Loaded with top-of-the-range specs, the spectacular new “Bothie” camera, Zeiss-enhanced cameras, and a flawless aluminum body, the Nokia 8 is a serious contender for your pocket-space. But can it take a blow? The Gorilla Glass 5 on the 5.3-inch screen and the aluminum unibody can only go so far, so make sure you invest in a good case to keep your new smartphone scratch-free and protected against everyday life. Here’s our pick of the best Nokia 8 cases currently available.

Official Nokia 8 Leather Flip Wallet Case ($44)

Where better to start this list than with Nokia’s own official offerings? Made from 100 percent genuine leather, the Official Nokia 8 Leather Flip Wallet Case lends an air of luxury to your already gorgeous smartphone, making this case the perfect choice for anyone who dresses to impress — and includes their smartphone. The front cover folds around the front of the device when not in use, protecting the Nokia 8’s display from scratches and scrapes, while also giving you room to store your cards in the inside pockets. Since this is an official Nokia product, you can be sure it won’t impede your use of the phone, with ample cut-outs for all the buttons, ports, and functions. Not a fan of the blue shade above? It also comes in black and tan brown, so you can find your perfect style.

Buy one now from:

Mobile Fun

Mustaner Carbon Fiber Flexible TPU Case ($8)

If you’re after a middle ground between protection and utility, you could do a lot worse than this case from Mustaner. Despite being made from a flexible TPU, this case affords a good level of drop protection thanks to the absorbent qualities of the soft material. It’s also slim for a protective case, adding relatively little bulk while still affording good protection. With premium smartphones incorporating more sleek materials like glass and metal, they’re also increasingly slippery — and while the Nokia 8 is made from unibody aluminum, the soft but firm TPU gives a marked increase in grip on the phone. Couple the protective qualities with the stylish carbon fiber-stylings on the top and bottom of the case, as well as the raised edges to help prevent scratches on the screen, buttons, and lenses, and you have a great case for a great price.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Love Ying Ultra-Thin Clear Case ($8)

The Nokia 8 is a gorgeous phone, and Nokia has gone out of its way to give the new range of phones a unique look to grab gazes. So why cover it up? This ultra-thin clear case from Love Ying adds next to no bulk, and provides a clear TPU window, so you can appreciate your smartphone’s good looks. While it doesn’t have much in the way of drop protection, it’s better than nothing, and will still provide great protection against scratches to the main body of the phone. A raised edge along the front of the phone also makes sure that the screen won’t rest against the ground when placed face-down, helping to avoid screen scratches, and the set of covers for the side buttons ensures that your phone stays dirt-free.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

ARMOR-X Nokia 8 Ultimate Protective Case, Belt Clip, & Carabiner ($30)

Always one of the the best choices for pure utility, Armor-X has delivered yet again with this great bundle for the Nokia 8. Created from a rigid plastic core and shock-absorbent TPU edges, the Armor-X case combines all the usual features you’d expect in a protective case — a raised edge to guard the screen, drop protection, and tactile buttons that protect the sides of the phone — with a transparent back to show the Nokia 8’s style, while keeping it protected from scratches and scrapes. But those aren’t even the key features here — this case also includes Armor-X’s X-mount system, so this case can be secured with the included belt-clip and carabiner, and can even be used with Armor-X’s massive range of mounts for bikes, boats, cars, and more.

Buy one now from:

Armor-X

TUDIA Slim-Fit Heavy Duty Dual Layer Case ($13)

Another good choice for a protective case — especially for the budget conscious — this case brings a combination of tough polycarbonate layered over absorbent TPU to provide bump, drop, and scratch protection within a slim profile. Raised edges around the screen and the camera protect those precious areas, while the TPU button covers protect the power and volume keys. Precise cut-outs around the features and ports of the phone ensure easy full operation of the device while covered, and the polycarbonate shell can be swapped out to each of the four available colors — Matte Black, Metallic Slate, Mint, and Rose Gold. A great choice for anyone worried about their device, but also mindful of their bottom line.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

In one of those lucky countries that got the Nokia 8, and itching to fill it up with apps? Check out our list of the best Android apps of the moment. Disappointed that the Nokia 8 hasn’t come to the US yet? You’re not alone there. But if you absolutely need to get a cell phone right now, check out our list of the best smartphones in the world.




6
Sep

FTC won’t stop Lenovo and others from selling adware-infected hardware


Why it matters to you

Lenovo has been given a slap on the wrist for its preinstalled adware, but it does at least have to make some changes to its third-party software choices.

In a court settlement, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear that it won’t stop Lenovo and other tech companies from shipping electronics with preinstalled adware. It will enforce a new measure of transparency, however, which will require any companies that do so to make it clear to customers what is being installed and that it needs their consent to continue.

This settlement stems from a 2015 incident in which Lenovo laptops were found to contain a piece of adware called VisualDiscovery, developed by Superfish. The adware would hijack encrypted web sessions to serve adverts and gather user data. While that was problematic in its own right, it also made users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

Although Lenovo has since stopped preinstalling VisualDiscovery, the eventual result of the FTC complaint won’t stop it from doing so in the future. What it will do is force the Chinese manufacturer to submit to audits of its preinstalled software. It will also need to help customers understand in a “clear and conspicuous” manner, so they can opt out of installing any such software. Giving consent for its installation must be easy to do and understandable for “ordinary consumers.”

Lenovo has disagreed with the allegations from the start and denies all wrongdoing as part of the settlement. It also highlighted that it removed VisualDiscovery after “learning of the issues, in early 2015” and announced a policy of reducing the number of third party programs preinstalled on its systems after this incident.

While there are some concerns that the ruling doesn’t prevent Lenovo from requiring installation for full use of its hardware, it does at least mean that everyone who buys from the company will know what they’re getting into. Likewise, Lenovo will find it much harder to install anything nefarious or malicious if its third-party software is subject to audits on occasion too.

Even if the company’s statement doesn’t reflect much wrongdoing in this instance, shortly after the initial incident, the CTO of Lenovo publicly apologized and made it clear that the company had made a mistake. Whether it learns from it now that it’s had its wrist slapped is anyone’s guess.




6
Sep

Score up to 30% in savings on select tech accessories at Amazon today


Our friends at Thrifter are back again with another one-day deal on awesome tech accessories!

Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day today offers a savings of up to 30% on a variety of popular tech accessories. Whether you need a new keyboard, mouse, monitor or something else, you won’t want to pass this up. With popular brands like SanDisk, HP, Corsair and more being included, there is likely something here for just about everyone.

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  • HP Wired USB Keyboard – $6 (Was $9.99)
  • Kensington Portable Combination Lock Cable – $11.99 (Was $17.75)
  • SanDisk 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive – $29.50 (Was $37.13)
  • SanDisk Wireless 256GB Connect Stick – $99.99 (Was $199.99)
  • Corsair Gaming M65 Pro Mouse – $39.99 (Was $59.99)
  • ASUS DOCSIS 16×4 Cable Modem – $59.99 (Was $79.99)
  • ViewSonic 23-inch Frameless 1080p Monitor – $109.99 (Was $149.99)
  • Thule Crossover 32L Backpack – $84.99 (Was $116.67)

This is just a small sample of the deals available today, so be sure to check out the full list at the link below.

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter:

  • How to save money when driving
  • Skip the expensive pet store options and make your own pet bed

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

6
Sep

Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat E: What’s the difference?


Trying to decide between the Nest Learning Thermostat and the company’s new Nest Thermostat E? Here’s how the two compare!

Nest recently announced the brand new Nest Thermostat E, a less-expensive smart thermostat with many of the same features as its more expensive sibling. The subtle, all-white design and simplified display of the Thermostat E stand in stark contrast to the flashier, heavier look of the Learning Thermostat. But look and feel are only part of the picture. If you’re trying to decide between Nest’s thermostats, this guide will give you an idea of what each brings to the table.

Design

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Other than pricing, the design is arguably the biggest difference between the Learning Thermostat and the new Thermostat E. Where the Learning Thermostat is meant to be a bold bit of industrial art for your wall, the Thermostat E is meant to blend in, almost disappearing into its surroundings.

The Nest Learning Thermostat comes in four colors — white, copper, black, and stainless steel — and the adjustment ring around the outside of the device is made of metal. The Thermostat E comes in one color — white — and its adjustment ring is made of polycarbonate, though Nest says it’s made to feel like ceramic.

The Nest Learning Thermostat’s 2.08-inch, 480 x 480 resolution display is sharp (229 pixels per inch) and bright. The Thermostat E’s 1.76-inch, 320 x 320 resolution display is layered under a polarized covering that dulls the display, helping it to fade into the background and blurring the display’s resolution (182 pixels per inch).

Functionality

You could be forgiven for thinking the Thermostat E doesn’t pack in all of the same “learning” features present in the Nest Learning Thermostat — the new name seems to suggest one “learns” and the other doesn’t. Luckily, that’s not the case!

Both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Thermostat E pack in all the same functionality, save for one special feature: Farsight. Farsight uses the far-field sensor built into the Nest Learning Thermostat to detect when you walk by, lighting up to display the temperature, time, or weather.

If the Farsight feature is important to you, you’ll want to get the Learning Thermostat. The Thermostat E — like the Learning Thermostat — has temperature, humidity, occupancy, and ambient light sensors, but it doesn’t have those far-field “Farsight” sensors.

As for the rest of the feature set, both thermostats learn as you use them, both can be controlled using the Nest app, both can adjust the temperature based on your location (i.e. turning down when you leave your home), and both offer scheduling.

Compatibility with furnaces

Nest Thermostats work with a whole bunch of heating and cooling systems, but the Thermostat E can’t boast the impressive compatibility rating of its more expensive sibling. Nest says the Learning Thermostat will work with 95% of heating and cooling systems. The Thermostat E, on the other hand, will work with “most” heating and cooling systems. What does that mean, exactly? It means most folks can expect the Thermostat E to work just fine with their setup. Still, if you’ve got a complicated setup with multiple humidifiers, dehumidifiers, fans, and other accessories, it’s worth running a compatibility check before you decided to buy one of these models.

You can use Nest’s Compatibility Checker to see which model(s) will work in your home.

Price

At long last, the largest differentiator between two otherwise similar products: price!

  • The Nest Learning Thermostat is available in four colors for $249.
  • The Nest Thermostat E, which comes in white, is available for $169.

So what’s the takeaway here? If you can skip the far-field sensing feature and would rather have a thermostat that blends in instead of standing out, you can save about $80 by choosing the Nest Thermostat E. That said, premium materials, multiple color options, and Farsight might be worth the extra money for some. Whichever model you choose, you can count on Nest’s nifty learning features that help you save on energy costs over time.

See Nest Learning Thermostat at Amazon

See Next Thermostat E at Amazon

Which will you choose?

Now that you have a better idea of how the two thermostats compare, which one do you think you’ll choose? If you already own Nest’s current Learning Thermostat, is there anything about the Thermostat E that interests you? Give us a shout in the comments!

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