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25
Oct

Apple Says Claims Face ID Was Downgraded to Speed Up Production Are ‘Completely False’


Bloomberg this morning alleged that Apple allowed its suppliers to make Face ID less accurate in order to speed up production on the device, a claim that Apple now says is “completely false” in a statement shared with TechCrunch.

According to Apple, the quality and the accuracy of Face ID have not changed, and Face ID will be the new “gold standard” for facial authentication.

Customer excitement for iPhone X and Face ID has been incredible, and we can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it starting Friday, November 3. Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed. It continues to be 1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.

Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication.

The report from Bloomberg, which went into detail about some of the components used in the TrueDepth camera, suggested Apple had “relaxed some of the specifications for Face ID” to boost the number of usable dot projectors, a component that Apple suppliers were said to be struggling with. From Bloomberg:

It’s not clear how much the new specs will reduce the technology’s efficacy. At the phone’s official unveiling in September, executives boasted that there was a one in a million chance that an interloper could defeat Face ID to unlock a phone. Even downgraded, it will probably still be far more accurate than Touch ID, where the odds of someone other than the owner of a phone being able to unlock it are one in 50,000.

In addition to Apple’s statement suggesting no changes have been made to Face ID, Apple has shared specific accuracy numbers and details on the feature, so it would be difficult for the company to make changes in production that would alter the way that Face ID works.

Apple reportedly struggled with production for several of the components for the iPhone X, given that it’s a new device using many new technologies. As a result of those issues, supply of the iPhone X is expected to be extremely limited at launch, with Apple likely unable to reach supply-demand balance until 2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Caution)
Discuss this article in our forums

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25
Oct

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


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

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

Data Monitor Pro

Data Monitor Pro will monitor both Cellular (4G/LTE/3G/Edge/GPRS) and Wi-Fi data usage in real time from your device. This app will let you be in control of your data usage to avoid costly overage charges.

Available on:

iOS

Smart PDF Scanner

Just snap a photo of your document, and get a PDF file you can instantly send to your colleagues, all from your iPhone or Apple device.

Available on:

iOS

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect is a fun and simple way to make beautiful photos in seconds. The app also brings in features such as ‘ToneCurve,’ which allows you to modify simply by clicking and dragging on the areas you wish to change.

Available on:

iOS

RadioApp

Easily tune in to local radio stations and to radio stations from all over the world, using a unique analog-like tuner.

Available on:

iOS

Plug & Ride

This carpooling app can help you reduce your driving commute to one day per week, by riding with trusted co-workers and car owners for free.

Available on:

iOS

Stacheify

It’s a mustache mirror! Just hold up the app and go mustache crazy trying tons of different “follicle-accurate” stache styles.

Available on:

iOS

Editor’s Recommendations

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




25
Oct

Nokia 6 vs Moto G5 Plus: Can Nokia’s looks outweigh a powerful performance?


While the name Nokia evokes nostalgia for many, the latest line of smartphones is actually under HMD Global — the company licensing Nokia’s name. Among the list of devices debuted is the Nokia 6 which was unveiled in China last year, but is now available in the U.S. It comes packed with upgraded specs, far different than the ones you may remember Nokia offering. It does still have plenty of competition on the smartphone market though, and that includes the king of budget phones, the Lenovo Moto G5 Plus.

When comparing the devices based on physicality, the Moto G5 Plus looks a little dated next to the glossy finish of the Nokia 6. Nokia’s phone also boasts a higher megapixel camera both on the front and rear, but in comparing these two smartphones you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The Moto G5 Plus still packs a strong processor, fast charging technology, and more. In a battle between the Nokia 6 vs. Moto G5 Plus, we find out which smartphone has the more impressive specs and features when it comes to long-term use.

Specs

Nokia 6

Lenovo Moto G5 Plus

Size
154 x 75.8 x 7.85mm (6.06 x 2.98 x 0.31-inches)
150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.30-inches)
Weight
5.96oz
5.47oz
Screen
5.5-inch IPS LCD
5.2-inch LCD
Resolution
1,080 x 1920 (403ppi)
1,080 x 1,920 (424ppi)
OS
Android 7.1.1
Android 7.0
Storage
 32GB
64GB
MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 256GB
Yes, up to 256GB
NFC support
 Yes
No
Processor
 Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
RAM
 3GB
4GB
Connectivity
 GSM / WCDMA / LTE
GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE
Camera
 16MP rear, 8MP front
12MP rear, 5MP front
Video
 1,080p
2,160p
Bluetooth
 Yes, version 4.2
Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor
 Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Water resistant
 No
No
Battery
 3,000mAh
3,000mAh
Ports
 MicroUSB
MicroUSB
Marketplace
 Google Play
Google Play
Color offerings
Arte Black (limited edition), Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper
Lunar Grey, Fine Gold
Availability
 Amazon

Amazon
Price
 $229
$300
DT review
Coming soon
3.5 Stars

While the Nokia 6 and the Moto G5 Plus do share certain similarities, there are some important differences on the spec sheet. For starters, the Moto G5 Plus carries a far more powerful processor the Snapdragon 625 — in comparison to Nokia’s Snapdragon 430. Lenovo’s phone also packs in 4GB of RAM, whereas the Nokia 6 makes do with 3GB of RAM. The Moto G5 Plus is speedier and smoother in performance and capable of coping with more open apps and games simultaneously.

There’s also a big difference in the storage stakes. The Nokia 6 includes 32 GB of storage, with the Moto G5 Plus offering double that at 64GB. If you’re already set on the Nokia 6, there is the option of getting your hands on the limited edition Arte Black model with the exact same storage as the Moto G5 Plus. You can extend the storage of both devices with a MicroSD card up to 256GB in size. But even with a MicroSD card, the Moto G5 Plus still pulls ahead.

Overall, the Moto G5 Plus comes out as the winner. If you’re looking for a phone that’s quick, capable of multitasking, and with enough storage space, then the Moto G5 Plus is best in class at this price point.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Design, display, and durability

The Nokia 6 includes a 5.5-inch display with a full HD 1080p resolution– which is bigger than the 5.2-inch display the G5 Plus offers. The smaller screen in the Moto G5 Plus does mean a higher pixel density for a touch more sharpness. As for the frame, the shiny plastic backing on the Nokia 6 makes it look sleek alongside the metal frame and minimal side bezels. The Moto G5 Plus on the other hand, has a rounder frame with thicker side bezels, a plastic body, and a removable metal cover — all of which make the device look dated. As for color options, the Moto G5 Plus is available in a Fine Gold and Lunar Gray while the Nokia 6 comes in Matte Black or Silver.

Both feature an indented fingerprint sensor embedded on the front, below the screen, but the G5 Plus scanner is a bit more rounded in comparison to the Nokia 6 which is flatter. For the Moto G5 Plus, bulky is a pattern when it comes to the buttons in general — even the camera juts out slightly and dominates the back of the phone.

Neither the G5 Plus or the Nokia 6 are water resistant, and with similar physical hardware can most likely handle the same amount of abuse. The Nokia 6 does have a metal frame that should protect it more from drops. Still, you should check out the best Moto G5 Plus cases or the best Nokia 6 cases to make sure your phone is properly protected. Due to a much smoother, updated design we’re calling the Nokia 6 a winner.

Winner: Nokia 6

Battery life and charging

Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends

Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 625 is one of the most power-efficient processors so far, and the Moto G5 Plus boasts a 3,000mAh removable battery. We’ve had some time to test out the device ourselves in our Moto G5 Plus review, and it was able to withstand a busy afternoon with heavy usage — bringing it to 30 percent by the evening. A less hectic day brought it down to 50 percent, meaning you’ll most likely be able to get about a day and a half out of the phone before it dies.

If you do use up the battery and need to power up quickly, the G5 Plus won’t take long to charge. With Motorola’s TurboPower technology, the company claims it can supply up to 80 percent battery within 35 minutes of charging. Rapid charging isn’t completely revolutionary with support featured on LG’s G6 and HTC’s U Ultra, but it’s still considered rare on budget phones.

The Nokia 6 also includes a 3,000mAh battery, so we expect it will get through an average day with change. We’ll have to test it out further to see what difference the Snapdragon 430 processor and slightly larger screen makes. Sadly, the Nokia 6 lacks fast charging capability.

Even though the Moto G5 Plus includes the same sized battery as the Nokia 6, its fast charging capabilities definitely crown it as the winner in this category.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Camera

The rear camera on the Nokia 6 features a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and a dual-tone flash. There’s also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, along with phase detection, autofocus, and dual-LED flash. The G5 Plus has a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. As for features, it also includes phase detection autofocus, dual-LED tone flash, and laser autofocus. For shooting video, the Nokia 6 can only shoot up to 1,080p while the Moto G5 Plus can record at 2k resolution.

Cameras have become an essential part of any smartphone, and the quality of your photos is vitally important to consider when purchasing a smartphone. In our testing, the Nokia 6 output has been subpar, despite its high megapixel count. The Moto G5 Plus easily wins this round because it features a much faster camera app and produces good photos.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Software

Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends

Both devices come equipped with Nougat — the Nokia 6 comes with Android 7.1.1 and the Moto G5 Plus has Android 7.0. Don’t forget — with a Moto-branded phone you also get Moto Actions. When enabled, it lets you use gestures instead of the navigation keys to swipe around on the home screen or to silence notifications and calls. With Moto Voice, you can also request certain actions via voice commands through the device.

Other than having the second latest Android OS — since Android O has been released — the Nokia 6 doesn’t come with any additional fancy software features. The Nokia does come with the Google Assistant functionality, but so does the Moto G5 Plus. HMD said it will keep up with security updates from Google, so if that’s important to you then the Nokia 6 is the way to go. For us, the handy Moto apps make the G5 Plus the winner in terms of software.

Winner: Moto G5 Plus

Price and availability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

In the U.S., the Moto G5 Plus is available in two different variants. There’s 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM for $230 and a $280 model with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. You can also save money on the U.S. version by purchasing an Amazon-subsidized phone for $185 — meaning you’ll get ads and personalized offers. As for color configurations, the G5 Plus comes in gray and gold. For those in Europe, the Moto G5 Plus is available from local carriers in a range of different markets and will cost you 280 euros ($297).

The Nokia 6 is available exclusively through Amazon for $230 or as an-supported phone for $180. The ad-supported matte black and silver models will be AT&T and T-Mobile compatible. In Europe, the device starts at 230 euros ($242) with the special addition Arte Black going for 270 euros ($316).

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to price and availability for both phones. Basically, they’re both around the same full retail price unless you purchase them from Amazon. At which point, you’ll still have to settle for ads, along with Amazon apps integrated into the device.

Winner: Tie 

Overall Winner: Moto G5 Plus

It’s clear the Moto G5 Plus takes the win in more categories than the Nokia 6. With a far more powerful processor, more RAM, and greater storage capacity, it’s a solid all-rounder. Although it does have the same size battery as the Nokia 6, its fast charging technology will have you at full battery in barely any time at all. You might be dazzled by Nokia’s sleek, high-end looking device with a large display, but it’s important to consider performance and camera as well. With the power and capabilities the Moto G5 Plus offers, it’s worth shelling out a bit more money for.

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Everything you need to know about Nokia’s return to smartphones
  • These are the 5 best Nokia 6 cases and covers
  • Nokia 8 hands-on review
  • Nokia 3310 3G review
  • Nokia 8 vs. iPhone 7: Can HMD’s Android flagship beat Apple’s aging iPhone?




25
Oct

Nik Collection isn’t dead after all with acquisition by DxO


Why it matters to you

The Nik Collection will gain compatibility with current versions of Photoshop and Lightroom in 2018, while DxO PhotoLab now allows for non-destructive local adjustments.

Nik Collection photographers, take a deep breath — the popular image editing plug-ins aren’t going anywhere after all. On October 25, DxO, the company behind the DxO One camera and the DxOMark sensor and lens ratings, announced the acquisition of the Nik Collection from Google, with plans to update the collection in 2018. The announcement comes with the company’s latest update to DxO OpticsPro RAW converter, which has been re-named to DxO PhotoLab and adds local retouching tools thanks to Nik U Point technology.

DxO acquires the Nik Collection

Google essentially killed off the Nik Collection, a popular set of plugins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, earlier this year when the company announced it had no plans for updating the plugins to make them compatible with new versions of Adobe software. The change came after the company made the add-ons free to download in 2016.

Now, DxO has stepped in to save the collection. Fans of the tools will have to wait until next year before the software is up-to-date and compatible with the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic and the latest desktop operating systems, however. The tools are still available as a free download from DxO until that update. The company did not clarify whether the collection will still be free after the update next year.

“We are very excited to welcome the Nik Collection to the DxO family,” Jérôme Ménière, CEO and founder of DxO, said in a press release. “DxO revolutionized the image processing market many times over the years with its innovative solutions, and we will continue to do so with Nik’s tools, which offer new creative opportunities to millions of photographers.”

The Nik Collection includes seven plugins that offer a range of effects from film simulations to high dynamic range processing.

DxO OpticsPro becomes DxO PhotoLab

While the updated plugins are not yet available, the U Point technology pioneered by Nik, which allows users to easily select specific regions of an image without complex masking techniques, has already been integrated into DxO PhotoLab. This brings  local adjustments to DxO’s RAW photo editor, and is the only solution on the market that offers U Point in a non-destructive, RAW environment.

Beyond U Point, PhotoLab also now includes an automatic mask retouching brush for precise selections. A new graduated filter tool joins the options for local edits, with both new additions working non-destructively. Unlike using local selections after an image is already converted, accessing these tools inside of a RAW editor means that users can use all of the RAW data when making adjustments, leading to better results.

To enhance the experience of making those specific adjustments, DxOMark includes the tools in a Local Equalizer toolbox right next to the area getting those adjustments. Multiple adjustments can also be applied without re-selecting the area.

DxO PhotoLab’s previous repair tool was also re-built from the ground-up using a new algorithm that creates more accurate — and faster — adjustments. The company says the tool remains just as simple to use.

The update also fine-tunes lens corrections, the software’s stand-out feature. The tool can now be optimized for the photograph’s ISO level, for sharper results while controlling noise.

DxO PhotoLab Essentials retails for $129, with the Elite edition at $199. Through the end of November, the Essentials version is discounted by $30 and the Elite version by $50 as part of a launch promotion. Current customers can also get a discounted upgrade.

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Adobe’s new Lightroom leverages the cloud for cross-platform photo editing
  • What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?
  • Corel PaintShop Pro 2018 Review
  • Photoshop 2018 now supports 360-degree photos, adds new design tools
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 camera tips that will make you a better photographer




25
Oct

What color Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL should you buy: Black, White, or Kinda Blue?


google-pixel-2-all-three-colors-3.jpg?it

Which Pixel 2 color will you pick?

Before you buy a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, you need to make a very important decision — what color should you get? With options for both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, there are definitely a few things to consider before you make your final decision. We aren’t here to make that decision for you, but we have laid out the details of each of these colors.

There are three colors to choose from with the Pixel 2, and two choices if you opt for the Pixel 2 XL, and we’ve got the details on all of them for you here!

Pixel 2 in Clearly White

The Pixel 2 is going back to the color scheme of the original Pixel with its Clearly White coloring. It’s a gorgeous white, with a slightly darker top third on the back. The white color catches the light and makes for a gorgeous color for your phone. It should be noted that the Clearly White model does have a black front, which can be less distracting when using the AMOLED display — definitely a bonus.

Who is it for?

The Pixel 2 in Clearly White is definitely for those who like to make a statement when they pull their phone out, and like a classier look for their pocket computer. It does pick up scratches and buffs more noticeably, which is something to remember, but it also looks great in transparent cases.

Pixel 2 in Just Black

When it comes to colors for your phone, it’s hard to go wrong with black — clean, and simple. Just like the Pixel, the Pixel 2 comes in a black variant that gives the phone a sleek profile. While the upper third is glossy and noticeably darker than the rest of the phone, which is a lighter matte, the entire design blends together in a gorgeous finish.

Who is it for?

If you’re clumsy, or you aren’t particularly attached to a specific color, then black is definitely a solid choice. Black means that minor scuffs or scratches won’t show up quite so easily, and matching your case to your phone is a simple process. This also means that this is the best color to go for if you don’t plan on snagging a case at all.

Pixel 2 in Kinda Blue

The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is a toned-down version of last year’s Very Blue Pixel. It’s a nice mellow pale blue that also has hints of grey and silver in it. It’s also the most color you’ll see on a Pixel 2 at release — especially with its very cool light blue power button.

Who is it for?

If you like to make a statement with your phone, but you prefer something a bit more toned down, then this is definitely the right choice. The pale grey-blue color isn’t you other folks are going to be used to seeing, although any scratches or buffs are definitely going to be noticeable. It lets you stand out in a world filled with black or white phones, but it’s also subtle enough that you can keep it from drawing attention at all by throwing a case onto it.

Pixel 2 XL in Just Black

The Pixel 2 XL in Just Black is sleek, simple, and utilitarian. Black is always a solid color, and it works well for the Pixel 2 XL giving it a low profile that won’t look too flashy, especially since the front bezels are smaller than that of the Pixel 2.

Who is it for?

The Pixel 2 XL is definitely for those who like a professional look when they pull out their phones, or for those who know that they don’t plan to get a case. Just Black is definitely best color for hiding scuffs and scratches on your phone and is easily the most understated color available.

Pixel 2 XL in Black and White

The Pixel 2 XL in Black and White takes the best of both black and white worlds and brings them together. It’s got a black front, stretched around to the top third of the back of the phone, and the rest of the phone is white — a “dunk of chocolate”. It offers a great contrast and color that you aren’t likely to see elsewhere. Oh, and that orange power button is going to be very divisive.

Who is it for?

The Black and White Pixel 2 XL is going to be a very popular option, mainly because of that orange power button and its two-toned color scheme. It’s for people who want to stand out without shouting that fact, and is going to appeal to anyone who can’t decide whether black or white is the right way to go.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

Google Store
Project Fi
Verizon
Best Buy

25
Oct

Do you have a ticking sound on your Pixel 2?


Time to touch base.

Although not quite as serious as the Pixel 2 XL’s potential screen burn-in, it’s recently been discovered that the smaller Pixel 2 is exhibiting clicking and hissing sounds for a number of users.

Although the hissing is still something of a mystery, the clicking/ticking appears to be somehow related to the Pixel 2’s NFC chip.

google-pixel-2-front-top-half.jpg?itok=A

One Google representative has said that a fix for the clicking will be released within the “upcoming week”, and while we wait to see whether or not this actually happens, we wanted to check in with our forum users to see if they’ve experienced this problem on their units.

Here’s what you had to say.

avatar529943_2.gifCherenkov
10-24-2017 07:58 AM

*Mods please delete if there’s already a thread for this that I didn’t find*

So there appears to be an issue with the Pixel 2 (not the XL) wherein if NFC is on, you can hear a faint ticking sound. It sounds like a watch ticking, but not quite on time, most audible near the top speaker. Turn off NFC and it goes away.

Google recommends contacting them for an RMA if your phone is doing this….

Reply

default.jpgjlp0209
10-24-2017 11:03 AM

I have the same issue. Man, there are so many little issues with this phone (Pixel 2 non-XL) that when combined will probably prevent me from keeping it.

Reply

avatar2691476_1.gifmattsican
10-24-2017 04:12 PM

yeah I don’t usually use NFC but I turned it on to check and you can hear a soft ticking sound if you put it up to your ear. turned NFC off and it went away.

Reply

default.jpgpnicho
10-24-2017 07:56 PM

I have this issue as well. I have the kinda blue 64 gb. I bought mine from Verizon, but I’m going to return it before the window is up and hopefully get another one from Google instead. This really sucks! I just sent my 2xl back today because it even though it was just a tad bigger than my xl, I couldn’t deal with it. Now I gotta give up this pixel and wait several weeks for a new one to arrive.

Reply

default.jpgopenwheelracing
10-25-2017 12:23 AM

Happy to report. Mine Pixel 2 does not have any clicking sound or any sound at all with NFC on. Dead quiet.

Reply

If you already managed to get your hands on Google’s latest, we’d like to know – Do you hear a clicking sound on your Pixel 2?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

Google Store
Project Fi
Verizon
Best Buy

25
Oct

These are the best smart home products to use with Google Home Mini


google-home-mini-accessories-1.jpg?itok=

Now that you’ve got a Google Home Mini, it’s time to connected it to some things. Need some things? Here’s where to start.

So you’ve got a new Google Home Mini. Good for you. That’s a good call. It’s like a Google Home, only less expensive and smaller, without the emphasis on the speaker. It’s like an Amazon Echo, only, erm, not and Echo, and with Google Assistant instead of Alexa.

It is, in brief, a perfectly good purchase. But now you need to do something with it. If you’re already a user of such a product, you’re probably in the know. You’ve got your stuff, it’s connected and working.

If today’s your first day with a Google Mini, though, there’s a little more setup to do.

Here are a few prime choices when it comes to connected products to use with your Google Home Mini.

Philips Hue — or other connected lights

philips-hue-phil.jpg?itok=0tbfMgri

Philips Hue is the top name in connected bulbs, but they’re by no means the only ones available today. If you’ve got connected bulbs of any sort (or if you have some connected through another hub like Samsung Smart Things), you’ll definitely want to tie them in to Google Home Mini. Start with a $70 starter pack.

Attach the bulbs, assign them rooms, then just control them with your voice.

And remember that once you can control something in Google Assistant, you can control it form Google Home, or Android Auto, or your phone — wherever.

See Philips Hue at Amazon

Connected thermostat

nest-thermostat-e-15.jpg?itok=ZxLD1SCn

If you have a connected thermostat — I’m a big fan of Nest — especially the new $190 Nest E — and secondarily Ecobee — then you have got to hook it up to Google Home. There’s literally nothing in the world better than turning the heat up without having to get out of bed.

OK, there are lots of things better than that. But being able to control the temperature with your voice is a killer feature. Don’t think. Just do it.

See Nest at Amazon

Logitech Harmony

I’ve long recommended a Logitech Harmony remote over pretty much anything else. What comes with your TV probably is bad. What comes with your cable box probably isn’t great. What comes with the Apple TV is awful.

Logitech Harmony is much, much better, and it has the added bonus of being able to control lots of connected things.

And Google Assistant is able to control Logitech Harmony. So you can tell your new Google Home Mini to turn the TV off or on. (I usually default to the former as I’m headed out the door, or when my kids just aren’t listening.) Start with a $144 Harmony Companion, and eye the $250+ Harmony Elite for an upgrade.

It’s a great time-save — and a way to be so lazy that you don’t even have to look for the remote control.

See Harmony Companion at Amazon

Connected sprinklers

Here’s a great one if you’ve got a lawn you need to water. I’ve been using the Rachio connected sprinkler system for a long time. It works with my phone, and it works with Google Assistant.

If you’re using a $199 Rachio right, you probably won’t need to turn the sprinklers on or off manually too often.

But … this is just a great option to have. And it’s one of those things that really is easier to do with your voice than having to pull our your phone.

Your kids wanna run through the sprinklers? “OK, Google — tell Rachio to water the front yard.”

Neighborhood hooligans hanging out on your property? “OK, Google — tell Rachio to water the front yard.”

See Rachio at Amazon

Wemo Plugs

Don’t wanna do connected lights? Give a plug a shot instead. Wemo makes it really easy to turn just a dumb plug into something a good bit smarter for just $35. And it’s flexible. Anything you plug into one of the Wemo plugs becomes smart — not just a lamp.

This is one of those things that’s perfect for, say, a Christmas tree or outdoor decorations and lights.

You can set timers, and you can control via your voice.

And trust me (I know from experience) that’ll save you a few cold trips onto the front porch in your underwear.

See Wemo at Amazon

Google Hardware

home-family.jpg?itok=iUP4ApSp

  • Google Wifi review
  • Google Home review
  • Everything you need to know about the Chromecast Ultra
  • Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra: Which should you buy?

Google Wifi:

Google
Amazon

Google Home:

Google
Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google
Best Buy

25
Oct

Step up your home security with a 6-pack of Arlo cameras for $480


This is the largest camera package Arlo has going for a price of a much smaller kit.

Is this deal for me?

Home security is super important, and something you should take very seriously. Arlo’s security cameras are a very popular option, and right now you can pick up a 6-pack for just $479.99, which is $150 less than it normally sells for. These cameras can be use both indoors and outdoors, which makes them extremely versatile.

This is a temporary deal as part of Amazon’s Gold Box deals. The price is good today only. Compare it to other kits in the series to see just how good the price is. The 5-pack, which is the exact same kit with one less camera, is currently $570. Even the 4-pack is $470, so you’re getting two free cameras with this deal. That’s great if you have a lot more ground to cover.

arlo-home-security-camera.jpg?itok=64gvm

  • Works with Amazon Alexa/Echo Show/(Fire TV coming soon!) – View your live video with a simple voice command.
  • See in stunning clarity and sharper details with HD cameras and watch live streamed or recorded videos from your computer, smartphone or tablet using Arlo’s free App
  • Patented 100% wire-free design and magnetic mounts let you discreetly place cameras where you want and monitor your home from every possible angle
  • Night vision cameras with HD clarity even in the dark
  • Motion activated cameras and customizable activity alerts provide real-time email or app notifications while home or away
  • Indoor/Outdoor weatherproof cameras install easily for DIY security so you can even monitor the exterior of your home

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? – This 6-camera kit is selling at almost the same price as the 4-camera kit. It’s the lowest price we’ve ever seen for a kit this large.
  • Things to know before you buy! – I don’t think you’ll need it, but if you want to add additional cameras to this kit, you can buy them individually. Also, you can get these security mounts for $11 to allow some more flexibility where you place your cameras.

See at Amazon

Happy thrifting!

25
Oct

Amazon announces Cloud Cam security camera and Key in-home delivery


Amazon’s connected future continues to grow.

Ever since the original Echo first debuted in late 2014, Amazon’s push into the world of the connected home has been more aggressive with every passing year. The Echo Dot allows everyone to bring Alexa into their Home, the Echo Plus packs Alexa and a smart home hub into one single gadget, and the company even offers fashion advice with the Echo Look.

Today, Amazon announced two new additions to its lineup – the Amazo Cloud Cam and Amazon Key for Prime subscribers.

Amazon Cloud Cam

Starting off first with the Cloud Cam, this is Amazon’s first step into the market of home security. Connected security cameras aren’t anything new these days, but Amazon’s hoping the Cloud Cam and its integration with Alexa and other services will be reason enough to pick one up over its many competitors.

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Looking first at its hardware, the Cloud Cam can capture 1080p Full HD video, supports night-vision recording, and offers two-way audio so you can hear what it picks up and also speak to those near the camera using your phone. A wide-angle lens promises to capture a large area of your home, and the camera will connect to the Amazon Cloud Cam app where you’ll be able to see clips of activity the camera’s picked up over the past 24 hours.

The Cloud Cam is competitively priced at just $119.99

As you’d expect, Cloud Cam work seamlessly with all of your other Amazon devices. Whether you’re talking to your Echo Spot, Show, or Fire TV, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, show me the [camera name]” to instantly get a live video feed of what the Cloud Cam is currently seeing.

Amazon is selling the Cloud Cam for just $119.99, but it’ll also offer a two-pack for $199.99 and three-pack for $289.99. You can also choose from three subscription plans for the Cloud Cam that allow you to keep recordings for multiple days worth of activity for up to 30 days on 10 different cameras.

Amazon Key

Based on what we’ve already gone over, Cloud Cam sounds like a solid (if not familiar) product for keeping tabs on your home while you’re away. However, the real draw to it is the all-new Amazon Key service that will be available on November 8 (the same date that the Cloud Cam will start shipping to customers).

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When shopping on Amazon, you’ll soon see an option to get free in-home delivery. By using the Cloud Cam and a smart door lock, couriers delivering your orders will be able to scan the barcode of your package, send this data to Amazon, and the Cloud Cam will then start recording. Once the delivery is authorized, the courier will get a prompt on their phone that allows them to unlock your door, go into your house, deliver your package, and lock it back up.

The Cloud Cam will record the delivery process so you can ensure that everything was done properly, and in order for Amazon Key to work, you’ll need both the Cloud Cam and a smart door lock from either Yale or Kwikset. Amazon Key will initially be available in 37 different cities across the U.S., and along with deliveries, Amazon says that Key will also be able to provide access to its array of professional service providers from Amazon Home Services within the coming months.

Amazon’s connected future

Not everyone will immediately jump on board with trusting Amazon to let the delivery guy or gal into your house while recording the whole process, but don’t expect these sort of gadgets and gizmos to go away anytime soon. This is just the next step for Amazon to be as prevalent in your daily life as possible, and while the concept may be freaky at first, it’s undeniably cool, too.

See at Amazon

25
Oct

Should you upgrade to the Google Pixel 2 from the Nexus 5X?


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Has the time to make the jump from Nexus to Pixel?

The Nexus 5x turns two years old this week. Developed in partnership between LG and Google, it was one of the last devices released under the Nexus brand as a cheaper option to the Nexus 6P.

The Nexus 5X offered a great value to Android enthusiasts looking for a reliable phone running stock Android. With the Pixel line, that budget option doesn’t really exist anymore, but there’s still a ton of similarities between the overall design of the Nexus 5X and the Google Pixel 2 making it a natural choice for those Google fans who loved the feel of the Nexus 5X.

Should you be considering an upgrade? Let’s compare.

Hardware and specs

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If you really love the form factor of the Nexus 5X, you’ll find lots to love about the Google Pixel 2 — it’s almost identical in size except you’ll notice a significant upgrade in both build materials and internal specs.

Looking at them side by side, you can see that the Pixel 2 has slightly smaller bezels while maintaining the front-facing speakers. It’s a design that some may scoff at when you compare it to other 2017 flagships like the [Galaxy S8], LG V30, and even the Pixel 2 XL, which has significantly smaller but it does let you hold the phone in landscape mode without obstructing the screen. It’s ultimately a matter of personal tastes.

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On the back, the camera has been shifted to the top left corner and the camera bump is also gone. There’s no plastic shell to be found here, just premium aluminum and ceramic. It has quickly become an iconic look for the latest Google phones and a sign that you’re rocking one of the best Android phones of the past few years.

The only hardware downgrade you could point to is the headphone jack. After throwing shade at Apple in 2016, Google has decided to do away with the headphone jack on the newest Pixel phones. In exchange, you get the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology along with a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle included with every phone.

Here’s a full specs comparison between the two devices:

Operating System Android 8.0 with Google UI Android 8.0
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
RAM 4GB 2GB
Display 5-inch 2880x1440AMOLEDGorilla Glass 52.5D glass, 441ppi95% DCI-P3 color space 5.2-inch 1920x1080FHD LCDGorilla Glass 3423 ppi
Rear Camera 12.2MP f/1.81.4μm pixelsOIS, EISPDAF, LDAF 12.3MP, f/2.01.55-micron pixels
Front camera 8MP, 1.4μm pixelsf/2.4, fixed focus 5MP, 1.4μm pixelsf/2.2
Battery 2700 mAhNon-removable 2700 mAhNon-removable
Charging USB-PD, 18W rapid Charging Rapid Charging
Connectivity USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0 USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Storage 64/128GBNon-expandable 16/32Non-expandable
Dimensions 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm 147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
Weight 143 g 136 g

The time is right to upgrade

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Back when it was released in 2015 alongside the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 5X was the budget option starting at around $400 for the 16GB model. With the move from Nexus to Pixel, it seems that Google is now exclusively focused on creating high-end phones to compete with the other major flagships. But looking at the premium materials and spec comparison and it’s pretty easy to justify the jump-up in price here. You’ll once again get the best Android experience straight from the source, with all the benefits of a brand new phone.

One area in which you’re sure to see better performance is battery life. A lithium-ion battery has a standard usage life of about two to three years, which means that if you haven’t noticed your Nexus 5X battery performance slipping, it’s likely just a matter of time. While the 5X received the Android O update, there’s a number of users reporting issues after upgrading to 8.0 including some major battery drain — just another good excuse to upgrade to a new phone if you’re running into issues.

You’ll once again get the best Android experience straight from the source, with all the benefits of a brand new phone.

The Pixel 2 has the same sized battery as the Nexus 5X, but you should notice significantly better performance thanks in part to the Snapdragon 835 chipset along with Google’s focus on improving the rapid-charging performance.

But we all know that hardware specs only count for so much — software is equally important. The Pixel 2 comes with the updated Pixel launcher and Google has confirmed that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will receive three years of software updates and security patches (that should mean Android P, Android Q, and Android R!), meaning you’ll be able to rock the latest version of on the phone you buy today well into the year 2020. If your the type who likes to commits to a phone for multiple years rather than upgrading yearly, that’s great news.

By comparison, Google’s support documents show that Android O will be the last major software update for the Nexus 5X, and the devices will stop receiving crucial security updates after November 2018.

Should you upgrade?

The Nexus brand catered toward hardcore Android enthusiasts, and you’ll still run into folks proudly rocking the Nexus 6P or 5X because they’re still good phones. The Nexus 5X was — and still is in many regards — a great phone, but if the battery or performance issues haven’t already started popping up, the clock is ticking — and the timing may be right to upgrade to the Pixel 2.

If you love rocking stock Android and can afford the cost of a 2017 flagship phone, you can upgrade to the Pixel 2 with confidence knowing you’re getting one of the best Android phones of 2017 and a phone that will serve you well for three years if you take care of it.

Do you think you’ll upgrade?

Let us know in the comments below!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

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