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25
Sep

Airbnb offers Sarah Jessica Parker as your shoe shopping partner


Tomorrow morning, Sex and the City fans will have the opportunity to grab one of four Airbnb Experiences that will take them on a shopping trip with Sarah Jessica Parker. Airbnb is expanding its offerings of Experiences in New York City, which will include Parker’s listing among a number of others. The proceeds of the Airbnb booking will go to the New York City Ballet. Parker, a NYC Ballet board member, told the Associated Press that the ballet is “one of the great cultural experiences anybody can have.”

Other celebrity-hosted charity experiences include a golfing trip with Michael Strahan, which will raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and a Brooklyn wander with Ansel Elgort that will benefit Americares’ hurricane relief efforts. Parker’s listing, which includes a trip to Bloomingdale’s, a pair of shoes from her line, frozen yogurt with her at Forty Carrots and tickets to the ballet, is priced at $400.

Airbnb launched Experiences last year as part of its efforts to expand beyond just renting rooms. At the time, Experiences were only available in 12 cities, but the company has been expanding what it offers and where. The service is now available in 40 cities and this week will see New York’s small selection widened to 150 Experiences, reports the Associated Press.

If you’re interested, you can try your hand at snagging one of Parker’s four listings here on Tuesday. The Experience itself will take place on October 6th.

Via: Business Insider

25
Sep

macOS High Sierra Automatically Performs Security Check on EFI Firmware Each Week


Mac users who upgrade to macOS High Sierra will benefit from a significant new security feature that works in the background.

macOS High Sierra automatically checks a Mac’s EFI firmware against Apple’s database of “known good” data to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with, according to a series of tweets from an Apple engineer.

The tweets have since been deleted, but a summary remains available on the Mac blog The Eclectic Light Company.

The new utility eficheck, located in /usr/libexec/firmwarecheckers/eficheck, runs automatically once a week. It checks that Mac’s firmware against Apple’s database of what is known to be good. If it passes, you will see nothing of this, but if there are discrepancies, you will be invited to send a report to Apple.

If the check fails, a prompt will appear with options to “Send to Apple” or “Don’t Send.” The selection is remembered in subsequent weeks.


The “eficheck” tool sends the binary data from the EFI firmware, and preserves user privacy by excluding data which is stored in NVRAM, according to The Eclectic Light Company. Apple will then be able to analyze the data to determine whether it has been altered by malware or anything else.

The database’s library will be automatically and silently updated so long as security updates are turned on.

macOS High Sierra will be publicly released on the Mac App Store later today.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
Tag: security
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25
Sep

Google and Levi’s ‘Commuter Trucker Jacket’ Lets You Control Your iPhone’s Calls, Texts, and Music


Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group today unveiled its first consumer product, called the “Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket” and going on sale this Wednesday, September 27, for $350 (via TechCrunch). The jacket is powered by Jacquard, a connected apparel platform that ATAP developed for fashion designers and apparel manufacturers to integrate technology directly into clothing lines.

The technology in the jacket is housed in the cuff of its sleeve, with gesture sensing Jacquard Threads woven into this area of the jacket that wirelessly connect to your iPhone 6 or later (running iOS 10 or later) “using tiny electronics embedded inside the sleeve and a flexible snap tag.” The snap tag includes lights and haptic feedback so you can be notified of texts and phone calls, and gestures on the cuff can be customized to your own preferences using the Jacquard app on iOS and Android.

The first thing to know about the Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket with Jacquard is just that: it’s a jacket. Like any regular denim jacket, you can wash it (just remove the snap tag), it’s durable, designed to be comfortable for cycling and it’ll keep you warm on and off the bike. With Jacquard technology, you can perform common digital tasks—like starting or stopping music, getting directions or reading incoming text messages—by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve.

Designed for cyclists and other people on-the-go, the jacket’s gesture controls include music playback, GPS directions, ETA, current time, text-to-speech for messages, and more. Google said that the jacket is durable and can be washed as long as the snap tag is removed.


The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket will be available in “select shops” this Wednesday, and then online at Levi’s website on October 2. While the jacket connects to both iOS and Android, Google said that “features vary” between the two operating systems, but didn’t specify what features that may be in reference to. The jacket will be compatible with Apple Music as well as Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and more.

Tag: Google
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25
Sep

Sketchy Rumor: Amazon Prime Video May Launch on Apple TV Alongside Thursday Night Football This Week


Amazon Prime Video may launch on Apple TV alongside the debut of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games on the streaming video service this week, according to a sketchy rumor shared by Apple TV blog BestAppleTV.com.

The report isn’t very definitive, and it comes from a blog we’ve never heard about until today, but its author Brad Gibson says he has previously worked for publications such as MacUser, MacFormat, MacNN, The Mac Observer, MacCentral, and Macworld, some of which have shut down. We’ve confirmed some of the bylines.

Here’s the lowdown:

Multiple sources could not confirm an exact release date for the new app, but feel based on their knowledge of the situation that Amazon would likely release it before the first National Football League game streaming on Amazon Prime Video this Thursday, September 28th at 8:25 p.m. EDT between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

Amazon has secured the rights to live stream Thursday Night Football games on Prime Video, starting with this week’s showdown between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers on September 28. A full schedule of games that will be streamed through Week 16 is available on Amazon’s website.

At its iPhone X event, Apple said Amazon Prime Video will be available for Apple TV at some point “later this year.”

We’ll keep our eyes glued to the tvOS App Store and let you know as soon as the Amazon Prime Video app launches.

(Thanks, Eric!)

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tags: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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25
Sep

Apple Drops Bing Search Engine Results for Siri and Spotlight in Favor of Google


Starting today, Apple search results from Siri and Spotlight on Mac and iOS will be provided by Google rather than Microsoft’s Bing. Apple announced the news in a statement that was given to TechCrunch this morning, claiming consistency across iOS and Mac devices is the reason behind the switch.

“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” reads an Apple statement sent this morning. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”

Prior to this morning, all results from a search conducted on Spotlight using Finder on Mac or the swipe down search bar on iOS were Bing search results, as was all search information provided by Siri. Now, when you search using Spotlight or when you ask Siri a question that ends up involving a web search, info will come from Google.

According to TechCrunch, the swap will include both web links and video results from YouTube, but web image results in Siri and Spotlight searches will continue to be provided by Bing for the time being. Google searches will use the standard search API and will provide the same search results you’d get from a Google.com search.

While Apple has used Bing for search results for things like Siri and Spotlight, Google has remained the default search engine on iOS and Mac devices. Earlier this year, reports suggested Google paid Apple nearly $3 billion to maintain its position as the default search engine on iOS devices.

The search engine swap began rolling out to users at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Tags: Spotlight, Siri, Google, Microsoft, Bing
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25
Sep

Apple Releases macOS High Sierra With Apple File System, Safari Autoplay Blocking and Privacy Tools, Metal 2, and More


Apple today released the newest version of its operating system for Macs, macOS High Sierra, to the public. macOS High Sierra is a free download that’s available today for everyone who has a compatible Mac.

macOS High Sierra can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store or through the Software Update function in the Mac App Store. Some users are seeing an error that prevents installation, so the update may still be propagating. macOS High Sierra is compatible with all Macs able to run Sierra, with a full list below:

2009 and Later
– iMac (Late 2009)
– MacBook (Late 2009)

2010 and Later
– MacBook Air (Late 2010)
– MacBook Pro (Mid 2010)
– Mac mini (Mid 2010)
– Mac Pro (Mid 2010)

macOS High Sierra is designed to improve on the previous macOS Sierra operating system with some major under-the-hood upgrades and a handful of outward-facing changes.

Apple File System (APFS), a file system designed for solid state drives, is the new default for these drives in macOS High Sierra. APFS is safe, secure, and optimized for modern storage systems. It features native encryption, safe document saves, stable snapshots, and crash protection, plus it brings performance improvements.


APFS is available for all Macs with solid state storage, but it is not available for Fusion drives or standard hard drives.

macOS High Sierra introduces support for High Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC) for better compression without loss of quality, and HEIF for smaller photo sizes.

Metal 2, Apple’s next-generation Metal graphics API, is included in High Sierra, offering a range of improvements to games, apps, and overall animations on the Mac. Metal 2 brings support for machine learning, external GPUs (coming in Spring 2018), and VR content creation for the first time.

Along with these invisible upgrades, several apps have been updated with new features. Photos has a new look and new editing tools for Curves, Selective Color, and Live Photos, and the Memories feature in Photos has been expanded.


Safari now blocks autoplay videos and includes Intelligent Tracking Prevention to protect your privacy, and there’s also a new always-on option for Safari Reader. Mail search is better than ever, Mail storage has been optimized to take up 35 percent less space, and iCloud Drive file sharing and iCloud storage family plans have been added.


As with iOS, Siri has a much more natural voice with changes in expression and intonation, and Siri has gotten smarter with cross-device syncing. There are also tweaks to FaceTime (you can snap live photos), Notes (tables and pinning), and Spotlight (improved search), along with dozens of other tiny changes and tweaks.

Additional information on macOS High Sierra can be found in our macOS High Sierra roundup, which includes details on all of the new features found in the update.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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25
Sep

Happy birthday Lenovo! 25th-anniversary Thinkpad leaks early


Why it matters to you

Anniversary editions are rarely that special, but with the Thinkpad’s professional pedigree, this one could be great.

Lenovo’s surprise birthday present for us all, a special edition, 25th-anniversary Thinkpad, has leaked ahead of its release, giving us a look at it both inside and out. The commemorative Thinkpad embodies all of the professional style of its predecessors while packing powerful hardware under the hood to make it a speedy little system.

The Thinkpad range is one of the longest-running laptop brands in existence. Originally debuted in 1992 under its then-owner, IBM, the range has always embodied smart professionalism in a small form factor. Said to be based on the Japanese Bento by its original designer, the Thinkpad range eventually became part of the Lenovo family when the Chinese electronics manufacturer purchased the brand and its developmental division in 2005.

The special edition Thinkpad has a T470 look to it, with the same black paint job with minor red styling choices throughout the design. Its display is a 14-inch 1080P IPS panel that’s powered by an onboard Nvidia 940MX graphics chip. That’s paired up with an Intel Core i7-7500U which turbos up to 3.5GHz, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD).

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Leak: Das Retro-ThinkPad zum 25. Geburtstag der "besten Notebooks der Welt" – Details & Bilder https://t.co/9nUznjucRF

— WinFuture.de (@WinFuture) September 22, 2017

Originally revealed in a tweet and exposé by German site WinFuture (via Gizmodo), the laptop comes with a full array of contemporary connectivity options. It includes a USB Type-C connector, Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI connector, Gigabit Ethernet support and an SD card reader. It also supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity.

Additional features include a 720P built-in webcam with support for Windows Hello biometric login and Dolby Premium speakers for decent audio (for a laptop).

The anniversary Thinkpad cuts a pretty low profile with a maximum width of just 19.95 millimetres and an overall weight of just 3.5 pounds.

Details on pricing and availability are still scarce. The original WinFuture release has little information about it and Lenovo itself is still tight-lipped on the subject, last referencing the Thinkpad range with its curved design concept. Still, 2017 is the 25th anniversary year of the Thinkpad, so we would expect a launch this year, which doesn’t leave much time left for it to hit store shelves.

Considering October itself is the anniversary release month for the notebook range, we’d be surprised if at the very least we didn’t learn a lot more about the anniversary edition then, if not see its final release.




25
Sep

Sharp shooters: The best camera phones you can buy


It’s never been easier to take great photos on the fly. Everyone has a smartphone now, and the camera technology inside these pocketable devices has improved tremendously in the last few years. We share more than two billion photos every day on Facebook alone.

The ability to quickly capture and share precious memories is important. The smartphone is usually the camera we have on hand, so it has to perform well. If you’re wondering what the best camera phones are, then wonder no longer, because here are our top picks.

Our pick

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It’s the best smartphone camera we’ve used.

Our Score

The best

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

A great dual-camera setup that captures pleasing, natural-looking shots.

$669.00 from Apple

$877.98 from Amazon

Who’s it for: Apple fans who want the best smartphone camera.

How much will it cost: $800+

Why we picked the iPhone 8 Plus:

Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus sports the best camera performance we’ve ever seen in an iPhone. It’s a great all-rounder that you can just point and shoot with, but it also boasts powerful optical and digital zoom, thanks to that dual camera. If you find yourself wishing you could zoom in on distant subjects and still get a decent shot, then this is the phone for you.

It has a dual main camera, both rated at 12-megapixels with f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures. There’s also optical image stabilization (OIS), phase detection autofocus, and support for HDR. It can record 4K video at up to 60 frames-per-second, or full HD at up to 240 frames-per-second. The front-facing camera is rated at 7-megapixels and it takes great selfies.

The camera in the 8 Plus offers all the same benefits as the iPhone 7 Plus. The natural color reproduction is excellent, though colors with the 8 Plus camera are a touch more saturated than they were on the 7 Plus.

The DSLR-like bokeh effect is the best we’ve seen from a smartphone so far. The 8 Plus also adds Portrait Lighting, which offers different lighting effects for your subjects, making it the perfect phone for capturing stunning shots of your loved ones. Apple has also improved low light performance, and turned HDR mode on permanently for maximum detail and perfect exposure.

The camera app is really accessible, but anyone seeking in-depth control will be disappointed. There’s a lack of options for pro photographers, but you can always utilize an app from the App Store.

Regardless, the iPhone 8 Plus produces the most natural-looking photos of any smartphone camera. It also offers the best 2x zoom and bokeh effect of any phone on the market.

Our full review

The best Android phone camera

Why should you buy this: It’s the best Android smartphone camera we’ve used.

Our Score

The best Android phone camera

Google Pixel XL

A superb camera that outperforms most of the competition and comes with free cloud storage.

$769.99 from Verizon

$649.00 from Google Store

Who’s it for: Google fans who want the best smartphone.

How much will it cost: $650+

Why we picked the Pixel/Pixel XL:

Google put enormous effort into rebuilding the camera experience for its Pixel smartphones and it shows. The main camera is lightning fast to focus and it produces sharp, detailed photos. The HDR+ processing cuts out the noise and boosts the colors and saturation just a touch. Point and shoot with the automatic settings and you’ll enjoy great results most of the time.

The main camera in the Pixel and Pixel XL is the same and it’s rated at 12.3-megapixels, but these are some of the biggest megapixels we’ve seen with a rating of 1.55 µm, compared to the 1.4 µm pixels in the Galaxy S8. The aperture is f/2.0 and there is support for phase detection and laser autofocus, as well as HDR.

It also matches the video capability of the iPhone 7 Plus, supporting 4K video at 30 frames-per-second, or full HD at 120 frames-per-second. The front-facing camera is rated at 8-megapixels and it will serve selfie fans well.

As mentioned, the automatic settings are great, but you can also tweak the exposure, focus lock, white balance, and more if you want to. The lens blur effect works on both the front and rear camera, but it’s created with software. Sometimes the blur effect won’t be as precise as you might like with finer details.

Another major advantage for the Pixel is that Google is offering free full resolution storage for all the photos and videos you shoot in Google Photos (without digging into the free 15GB Google offers everyone).

Low-light performance is good, but there’s no OIS in the Pixel phones, which is a somewhat surprising omission. We also found that photos generally look a little oversaturated, falling somewhere in between the S8 and the iPhone 8 Plus in terms of realism.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are two great camera phones that come close to dethroning the iPhone.

Our full review

The best low-light camera phone

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It gets excellent results and offers great low-light performance.

Our Score

The best low-light camera phone

Samsung Galaxy S7

An accessible camera with plenty of options that offers the best low-light performance around.

$491.99 from Amazon

Who’s it for: Samsung fans who want the best smartphone camera.

How much will it cost: $930+

Why we picked the Galaxy Note 8:

It was a surprise that Samsung didn’t really update the camera in the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but it has finally jumped on the dual-lens bandwagon with the Galaxy Note 8 and the results are impressive. The Note 8 boasts two 12-megapixel cameras, both with OIS. The first is a wide-angle lens with an f/1.7 aperture and that’s bolstered by a telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture.

Samsung has its own bokeh effect, called Live Focus, which is great for capturing people and blurring the background. The difference with Live Focus, compared to something like Portrait Mode on the iPhone 8 Plus, is that you can adjust the amount of blur before and after you take the photo.

You’ll also find 2x optical zoom in the Note 8 and it works really well. The OIS kicks in to ensure that your shaky hands don’t cause any blurring and you can get great shots from afar. The shutter speed is fast, the colors are accurate, and it’s an all-round great camera.

What really shines with the Note 8, is the low-light performance. Whether you’re indoors or outside at night, the Note 8 camera manages to capture an impressive amount of detail.

The front-facing camera is rated at 8-megapixels and it comes with a bunch of fun, Snapchat-style masks, so you can disguise yourself. Some of the camera software is a bit gimmicky, but the camera performance overall is excellent.

Our full review

The best budget camera phone

Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It offers great performance at a low price.

The best budget camera phone

Moto G5 Plus

This is an unbeatable camera for the price.

$229.99 from Motorola

$299.99 from Newegg

Who’s it for: The budget-conscious.

How much will it cost: $230+

Why we picked the Moto G5 Plus:

Trying to find a decent camera at the budget end of the smartphone market is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so the Moto G5 Plus is worthy of praise. Although it’s not as fast as some of the top-range camera phones, the camera app in the G5 Plus could not be easier to use and in decent lighting, the automatic settings get good results most of the time.

The main camera is rated at 12-megapixels, so it can capture a lot of detail. There’s an f/1.7 aperture and it supports phase detection and laser autofocus. HDR is a little slow, but it boosts picture quality dramatically. Video capture goes up to 4K at 30fps and the auto-stabilization works well to eradicate shaking. There’s also a standard 5-megapixel selfie camera that offers a wider angle that’s ideal for group shots.

Surprisingly, there is also a professional mode on the Moto G5 Plus that lets you dig into settings and play with a series of sliders to improve your photos. It’s a good all-round package at this price.

While low-light performance is good for a budget phone, you’re still going to see a bit of noise creeping in. The lack of OIS and the time it takes to process HDR shots, means you’ll want a steady hand. Rushed, spontaneous shots won’t turn out so well on the G5 Plus.

Still, it’s the best camera on a phone in this low price range. Most budget phones have absolutely terrible cameras, but the Moto G5 Plus doesn’t disappoint; it excels.

Our full review

The best wide-angle camera phone

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Great wide angle support, video modes, and solid all-round performance.

Our Score

The best wide-angle camera phone

LG V20

You can cram more into every photo with the wide-angle support.

$829.99 from AT&T

$672.00 from Verizon Wireless

Who’s it for: People who like to shoot video and wide-angle photos.

How much will it cost: $750+ (estimated)

Why we picked the LG V30:

The dual-camera setup in the LG V30 bolsters the regular camera with a second lens that gives an expanded 120-degree wide-angle view, giving you more creative options for your photography. General performance is excellent and the camera is speedy to load and shoot. It offers solid color accuracy, plenty of detail, and good low-light performance.

The dual main camera comprises a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.6 aperture (the biggest on a smartphone so far) and a 13-megapixel camera with a wide f/1.9 aperture. You’ll find support for OIS, laser autofocus, and HDR. The V30 has a 5-megapixel shooter on the front which also features a wider angle lens, which is ideal for group selfies. The automatic settings are pretty good, but LG also offers a user-friendly manual mode that gives amateurs the chance to hone their skills and should still satisfy pros looking for something a bit more in-depth than your average camera phone.

The V in V30 stands for video and LG offers something called Cine Video mode on the V30, which offers you a range of cinematic filters to help you shoot memorable home movies. There’s also a Point Zoom function that enables you to choose a focus point anywhere in your frame and then zoom in on it.

Although detail levels are good, wide-angle low-light photos tend to have some noise, probably because of the lack of OIS on the wide-angle lens. There is also still some distortion in the corners, but it’s much reduced compared to last year’s LG V20.

Wide-angle camera lenses are still rare on smartphones, so the V30 is a great buy if you’re into those kinds of shots. It’s also the perfect choice for anyone who likes to shoot a lot of video.

Our full review

How we test

We are constantly glued to our smartphones here at Digital Trends. Every phone we test serves as our daily driver for at least a week, often a lot longer. That means we use the cameras in the smartphones we test for everything, from capturing social events in our lives to capturing video at trade shows or shooting photos for articles. We know how important the camera in your smartphone is, so we always test them thoroughly, snapping shots in as many different environments as we can to get a good comparative picture of how they stack up.

We’re constantly debating the best and it’s not unusual for conversations to spill into impromptu camera tests where we shoot the same landmarks with different phones and then analyze the results and argue about them some more.

How to decipher camera phone specs

There are a lot of technical specifications related to the cameras in our smartphones, so here’s a quick crash course to explain the basics.

The megapixel rating relates to detail. In simple terms: the higher the megapixel count, the more detail you’ll see in the picture. For a long time, the smartphone camera specs race focused on megapixel count, but there’s more to capturing a great photo than detail. It’s also worth noting that many cameras do not capture at the maximum megapixel settings by default, because it’s often more detail than you need. Most manufacturers are now working to improve other aspects of their cameras.

Sensor size is another thing to consider, as it turns out that all megapixels are not created equal. HTC coined the term “ultrapixel” to draw attention to the fact that it had bigger megapixels than some competing camera phones, so even with a 4-megapixel camera it could potentially get better results than an 8-megapixel camera with smaller pixels. They’re measured in micrometers and bigger is theoretically better at capturing light. For example, the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge camera has a 1.4 µm pixel size.

The aperture is the hole that light travels through to hit the sensor and it’s important for low-light performance. The smaller the number is, the larger the aperture. So, the f/1.7 aperture in the Galaxy S8 camera is slightly bigger than the f/1.8 aperture in the iPhone 7 Plus. Changing the amount of light that gets in by fiddling with the aperture also enables photographers to tweak the depth of field. It helps you to capture shots where the subject is in focus and the background is blurred.

Optical image stabilization (OIS) helps to keep the camera steady, so if your hands are shaking, it will be less noticeable on a camera phone that has OIS support. It’s compensating for the movement in your hands.

High dynamic range (HDR) is a technique whereby the camera takes multiple shots of the same subject in different exposures and then combines them in post-processing to create one single shot, which is usually brighter and more detailed than a non-HDR shot. It requires some processing power, so you’ll find it might be a bit slow on budget devices like the Moto G4 Plus, but it’s always desirable if you want the best possible photos.

For video recording you want to look at two things: the resolution and the frames-per-second (fps).

The resolution is simply how much detail is captured. For 4K video it’s 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. For Full HD it’s 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Phones will not record 4K by default because the files are huge, but there are some special moments you might want to capture in maximum resolution – bear in mind that higher resolutions in TVs and other devices will increasingly become the standard in the next few years.

When you see a high frame rate, such as the iPhone 7 Plus’ ability to shoot Full HD at 120fps, that means you can create slow-motion movies. You can slow the footage down to show detailed moments that would be a blur at a lower frame rate.




25
Sep

The state of 4K across Google Play and YouTube


google-4k-youtube-yule-log.jpg?itok=faFV

In the pursuit of cutting-edge video content, we have graduated from Blu-ray to 4K.

In our quest for seeing all the pixels we can for our favorite movies and TV shows, the standard we aim for right now is 4K, which is twice as high and twice as wide as 1080p. It’ll still be years before a large portion of the populace has 4K TVs, and content providers are still getting the ball rolling on distributing 4K content. As 4K continues to permeate the digital entertainment space, let’s take a look at how Google is handling 4K on its platforms.

Best 4K TVs under $700

Google Play Movies

buy-uhd-films-screen-google-play.jpg?ito

As of the writing of this article, there are about 150 movies available for purchase in 4K, listed as UHD on Google Play. These movies are from a few different studios, though mostly Warner Brothers films. Even if you buy the film in UHD, you’ll only be able to play it back in sweet 4K resolution on Chromecast Ultra and UHD-compatible Android TVs, along with set-top boxes like the NVIDIA Shield. Everywhere else, including on all phones, you play the 1080p version.

UHD films are usually $10-15 more expensive than HD copies of films, usually selling at $30, but there’s no way to upgrade a purchase after you buy it, so if you think you’re going to want that glorious UHD version once you buy that new 4K TV, buy it now. While Apple made waves with its promise to upgrade purchased films to UHD for free, Google has not made any such overtures yet. It’s also worth remembering at the moment that there aren’t a whole lot of UHD films out to upgrade you to right now.

youtube-purchases-quality-1080p.jpg?itok

More UHD films will be coming to Google Play, but the real drawback here right now is that UHD copies are only available to watch on 4K Android TVs and Chromecast Ultra. What if you have a computer with a 4K screen? You’ll have to look elsewhere, because Google won’t play UHD on the Google Play website, and UHD purchases will play at up to 1080p on YouTube, whether on the desktop or on your phone. If you want to watch a purchased video in UHD on YouTube, you’ll have to cast it to a Chromecast Ultra.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the easiest places to find 4K video, and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it. YouTube supports 4K video on computers as well as on Chromecast Ultra, Android TV, and some higher resolution phones and tablets. From nature scenes to tech reviews to movie trailers, YouTube has content in almost every category that’s 4K and ready for your screen except paid movies.

youtube-4k-desktop-ac-intro.jpg?itok=0xe Android Central’s videos are available in 4K on YouTube.

On Chromecast Ultra and UHD Android TVs, YouTube will default to 4K resolution if available. Elsewhere, you will often have to go into Settings on the video you’re playing and select 4K. While there are currently settings to limit HD and UHD playback while on mobile data, there are no settings to have YouTube default to the highest resolution available. YouTube Red members can download videos for offline playback, but you cannot save YouTube videos for offline playback at 4K, only 720p and below. This may be out of consideration of how large 4K videos can get, even with optimized codecs.

Your turn

Do you have a 4K TV? Do you watch UHD videos on it, from Google Play or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!

25
Sep

You’ll want one of these $7 dual-USB chargers in every car you own


Whether you are in your car for just a few minutes a day or spend a large portion of your day in it, you should definitely have a charger in it. We’ve seen tons of advancements in smartphone and tablet batteries lately, but we demand a lot from our phones and can’t afford to have it die during the day.

Since you probably carry more than one gadget with you while on the go, you’ll want to check out Anker’s 24W dual-USB car charger. Right now you can pick one up for $6.99 at Amazon with coupon code BEST2311. Each USB port offers a 2.4A output, which is enough to easily charge a tablet at full-speed while on the go.

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  • Advanced Charging Technology: PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to provide the fastest possible charge up to 4.8 amps or 2.4 amps per port. (Does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge).
  • Certified Safe: Anker’s MultiProtect safety system ensures complete protection for you and your devices.
  • Compact Design: One of the industry’s smallest ever USB car chargers, featuring two USB ports and an LED light for after dark.

Anker offers an 18-month warranty on the charger.

See at Amazon

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