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Control front door security from your phone with the Nest x Yale Lock

Nest is proving that it is anything but a one-trick pony, now that it expanded its portfolio to not only contain smart thermostats but a new smart lock, too. At CES 2018, the Alphabet-owned company announced a new smart deadbolt developed in conjunction with Yale Locks and Hardware. Meet the Nest x Yale Lock, heralded as the first Works with Nest product controlled using the Nest app.

The keyless touchscreen deadbolt allows users to lock and unlock a door from just about anywhere, and create passcodes to manage access for family members, friends, and guests. Keycode access can be revoked at any time to ensure security, and homeowners can even create schedules for certain guests, so that certain passcodes only work at certain times. Of course, all of this functionality can be controlled by the Nest app, which also displays a history of who has entered through a Nest x Yale Lock-protected door, and when.

“Yale and Nest collaborated closely to develop a lock that brings a new level of security, convenience, and insight to the front door,” said Jason Williams, president, ASSA ABLOY U.S. Residential Group, which includes Yale Residential. “With this product, we are bringing to market a lock that takes full advantage of Nest’s leading ecosystem and extends its capabilities with useful product integrations.”

Integrated with other members of the Nest family, the Nest x Yale lock can be paired with Nest Secure to disarm Nest’s alarm system. Alternatively, pairing the lock with the Nest Hello video doorbell will allow you to see who’s at the door, and remotely grant them access (or not).

Claiming easy installation that requires only a screwdriver, bringing the Nest x Yale lock into your home should be pretty straightforward. As far as security is concerned, Nest says that remote access is secured via layers of bank-level encryption technology. And if your power or Wi-Fi fails or your app malfunctions, you will still be able to open the Nest x Yale Lock using the touchscreen. And if lock batteries drain, the deadbolt can be opened by touching a nine-volt battery to the terminals at the bottom of the lock.

The Nest x Yale lock will be available for pre-order in February, and delivery is slated for March.

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PC power level under 9,000? You can still run ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’

Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball FighterZ releases later this month, and it’s shaping up to be one of the best games to ever use the license. It will be coming to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but it is also releasing on PC, and publisher Bandai Namco has revealed just what kind of a rig you’ll need to run it. Luckily, you’ll be just fine even if your power level is less than 9,000.

Bandai Namco shared a full specifications list on Twitter, revealing the minimum and recommended CPU, GPU, and RAM you’ll need to run the game — it’s compatible on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

You’ll have to have at least an AMD FX-4350 or Intel Core i5-3470 in order to run Dragon Ball FighterZ, and it’s recommended you have at least an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 or Intel Core i7-3770. The Ryzen 5 1400 isn’t an expensive processor, only costing about $160.

For your GPU, you also shouldn’t need to make an upgrade. It’s recommended that you have a Radeon HD 7870 or GeForce GTX 660 installed. Both are several years old and have just 2GB of VRAM, and the game is playable with 1GB of VRAM.

As long as your PC isn’t old enough to drink, you’re going to be fine on RAM, as well. Dragon Ball FighterZ only requires 4GB of RAM, with 8GB recommended. The game also requires DirectX 11 as well as a DirectX-compatible sound card.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the first Dragon Ball game we’ve seen to truly match the visual style of the manga and anime series. It’s a three-on-three tag-team fighting game developed by the studio responsible for Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, so you can expect high-level competitive play once the game releases. The game features its own story mode, and its roster of characters covers just about everyone you’d ever want to fight in the universe, from Vegeta and Piccolo to Android 18 and Dragon Ball Super‘s Beerus. Stages include Planet Namek, the Sacred World of the Kai, and the Cell Games Arena — with several attacks lifted straight from the anime, you’ll be able to re-create your favorite moments.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 26.

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LG updates its thin and light gram 15 notebook with 8th-gen Core, Thunderbolt 3

We applauded LG’s gram 15Z970 notebook for its incredibly thin and light chassis that still managed to pack in strong performance and an excellent display. Now that Intel’s excellent eighth-generation Core processors are hitting the mainstream, LG has taken the opportunity to update its flagship 15-inch notebook with both better performance and some nice design touches.

LG gram 15Z980

Key Specs

Intel 8th-gen Core CPUs

Up to 19 hours of battery life

2.42 pounds

USB-C with Thunderbolt 3

Nano-carbon magnesum alloy

MIL-STD 810G certification

While LG hasn’t provided too many details about the machine, we can tell from the pictures that the notebook maintains its basic design but with some notable changes. It utilizes a nano-carbon magnesium alloy material that’s allowed LG to meet the MIL-STD 810G certification for durability and use in harsh environments. The webcam that was uncomfortably placed under the display for an up-the-nose view has been relocated to above the display where it belongs.

The LG gram 15Z980 retains the former model’s very light 2.42 pound chassis, which we found extremely comfortable to carry around for a notebook with such a large 15.6-inch display. By packing in Intel’s very efficient and high-performance quad-core eighth-generation CPUs, LG can now boast significantly faster performance along with greater efficiency. The company is promising up to 19 hours of battery life, which is in line with some other newly introduced systems.

LG has also managed to squeeze in a second solid state drive {SSD) slot for increased storage space. The details aren’t specified, but LG does give hope that the slower SATA SSDs in the previous generation have been replaced with the faster PCIe SSD specification, which would provide a nice boost in performance to go with the newer, faster CPUs.

Finally, the LG gram 15Z980 fixes one of our complaints with the earlier model. While its predecessor was limited to a USB-C 3.1 port, the updated machine offers Thunderbolt 3, which greatly improves the notebook’s peripheral support and long-term viability. It can also charge external devices such as smartphones.

LG hasn’t yet provided pricing or availability information for the gram 15Z980. When it does arrive, it will maintain LG’s distinction of offering one of the thinnest and lightest full-size notebooks you can buy.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • HP Spectre 13 (2017) review


Jabra’s Elite earphones give you a direct line to Alexa while you’re on the go

Listening to your tunes while on the go is great, but we’re increasingly becoming accustomed to being listened to — usually by a voice assistant. So it makes sense that Jabra has moved to includen oice assistant compatibility in its expanded Elite line of wireless earphones.

The company has announced three new models: The $170 Jabra Elite 65t, the $190 Jabra Elite Active 65t, and the $100 Jabra Elite 45e. The “t” designation indicates a “true wireless” model, i.e. no cords at all, while the “e” designation stands for “earbud,” even though that description would seem applicable to all three models.

The Elite range are designed to give you easy access to Alexa‘s on-the-go capabilities, but they’ll work with “all major voice services,” according to a company press release, including Google Assistant and Siri. They’re also intended to be used with the Jabra Sound+ app (iOS/Android), which lets you customize the way the earphones sound.

Jabra is backing the Elite lineup with a two-year warranty against water and dust ingress, while the Elite Active 65t gets additional coverage for sweat ingress. At only $10 more that Apple’s AirPods, the Elite 65t might be just the ticket for those who want a fully wireless experience but don’t want to be tied to Siri, while the Elite Active 65t makes for an interesting option for fitness-tracking buffs, thanks to its built-in accelerometer.

We came away from our time with the company’s Elite Sport earbuds very impressed, so we’re excited to see how Jabra has moved things forward with these new Elite products. The Elite 65t will be up for sale sometime in the first quarter of 2018, while the Elite Active 65t and Elite 45e won’t hit shelves until April.


Uber, Volkswagen enlist Nvidia’s powerful Xavier chip for autonomous cars

Nvidia kicked off CES 2018 on a high note by introducing an autonomous machine processor named Xavier. Designed to help self-driving cars merge into the mainstream, Xavier is billed as the world’s most complex and advanced system on a chip (SoC).

“In the future, every car will be self-driving. There will be 100 million cars built each year, millions of robotaxies, and several hundred thousand trucks. All of it will be autonomous. On top of this, what will define the driving experience is the artificial intelligence (AI),” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang promised during a press conference in Las Vegas.

He pointed out Xavier is, by far, the most complex project Nvidia has ever embarked on. Without getting too technical, the processor relies on nine billion transistors to monitor information sent by the numerous sensors required to make a car drive itself safely and smoothly. “It can never fail because lives are at stake. And it has to make the right decision, running software the world has never known how to write,” Huang explained.

Nvidia will place Xavier at the center of Pegasus, an AI computing platform built to power level five (fully autonomous) vehicles. It’s built on two Xavier processors and a pair of next-generation GPUs. It handles 320 trillion operations per second; in simpler terms, it delivers the performance of a trunk full of PCs in an apparatus no bigger than a license plate.

Xavier will reach the market this quarter, a little over a year after it was announced, and Nvidia has already received numerous orders. Aurora, the start-up company founded by former Google engineer Chris Urmson, will leverage Xavier’s capacities to develop the level four and five self-driving platforms it will supply to car companies. Volkswagen and Hyundai are currently working with Aurora, and we expect more companies will announce a partnership in the coming months.

“Nvidia Xavier is a key element of Aurora’s computer, delivering the performance needed to power self-driving system,” Urmson said in a statement.

Xavier will help Volkswagen bring the production version of the I.D. Buzz concept to the market. Expected to arrive in 2022, the retro-inspired electric van will offer a high level of autonomy. It’s safe to assume the technology will trickle down to other upcoming members of the German company’s lineup, including more electric cars. AI tech from Nvidia will also continue to power Uber’s ever-growing fleet of self-driving cars and trucks in the coming years.

Nvidia’s venture into the automotive industry doesn’t end there. The company also announced it has teamed up with German components manufacturer ZF and Chinese tech giant Baidu to develop a mass production-ready autonomous vehicle platform specifically for the Chinese market. That involves dealing with the chaotic traffic on Chinese roads, a task that’s easier said than done. Designed for mass production, the platform uses Nvidia’s Xavier chip, ZF’s ProAI car computer, and Baidu’s Apollo Pilot.


Plug-in program expands Ricoh Theta V capabilities for new 360 tools

Ricoh’s flagship 360 camera could soon see expanded features beyond what even Ricoh can imagine — on Monday, January 8, Ricoh announced the Ricoh Theta V Partner Program, which opens up the camera to third-party add-ons for expanded features. The company shared the expansion during the Consumer Electronics Show.

The new program allows other companies to develop their own add-ons for the 360 camera by allowing access to the application program interface and software development kit. A new Ricoh Theta V marketplace will allow users to download those expansions. The company is also opening up tools and support for developers.

The kind of extra features the camera gains will depend on those developers. One example of expanding the camera’s capabilities is the plug-in developed by Ricoh and pre-installed that allows a smart device to control that 360 view when viewing footage on a standard TV screen.

“By opening the platform for application development, we are enabling the Ricoh Theta V to be a constantly evolving product. For this reason, we are very excited about the new partner program,” Wataru Ohtani, corporate associate vice president and general manager of Ricoh’s Smart Vision Business Group, said in a press release. “The Ricoh Theta V Plug-in Partner Program will enable third-party companies and developers to create custom features and services. Our goal is for consumers and businesses alike to benefit from Ricoh Theta V and to become a standard platform for the 360-degree imagery.”

Ricoh was one of the first companies to launch a consumer 360 camera in 2013, but the Theta V brings 4K and surround-sound compatibility to the line as well as low-energy Bluetooth. Using a similar design that’s shaped more like a TV remote than a camera, the V added advanced features to the line and enhanced the image quality over the company’s less expensive options such as the Theta SC. The Theta V is the first 360 camera that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a feature that Ricoh said at the launch would open up possibilities for third-party apps along with options directly from Ricoh. With today’s launch, that capability is now available for developers.

The Ricoh Theta V retails for $430.

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Make 360 video calls via chat with the iPhone-compatible Insta360 Nano S camera

The company that launched the first smartphone 360 camera is opening up a new type of recording using one of the most used functions of a smartphone: chat. Insta360’s Nano S, an iPhone-compatible 4K 360 camera, allows users to share via chat without an app download.

The Insta360 Nano S allows users to make 360 video calls — and the recipient doesn’t even need to download an app. Inside the Insta360 app, users can generate a URL for the 360 video chat and send the link through any messaging platform. All the recipient needs to do is open the link in a web browser to join the call (provided they are using a device that meets the minimum system requirements). Similar to viewing other 360 videos, swiping around shows the 360 view.

For pre-recorded videos, the Nano S has a new shooting mode with MultiView, a setting that allows the user to choose two different viewpoints to record in a split screen on a standard aspect ratio. The feature, Insta360 explains, is helpful for tasks like simultaneously recording an event and the user’s reactions in the same shot. By splitting the screen, viewers can see both simultaneously without scrolling. Users can also choose to split screens with the tiny planet view on one side and a standard view on the other.

Another new mode, FreeCapture, allows 360 videos to be cropped later into a standard aspect ratio, a helpful tool for following the motion in a scene without actually having someone to direct the camera’s movements. The idea of capturing everything in 360 and editing it down later is a growing concept for 360, including the GoPro Fusion’s Overcapture mode.

As a successor to the earlier Insta360 Nano, the Nano S has several similar features, including connecting via the lightening port rather than relying on a wireless connection. The update also brings stabilization, but rather than making the device larger to build in a gyroscope, the Nano S accessed the iPhone’s own gyroscope to stabilize the footage. The Nano S also offers 4K, a bump up from the 3K on the original Nano.

The Insta360 Nano S is available now directly from Insta360’s website with a $239 list price and two color options, silver and matte black.

Editors’ Recommendations

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Bad Karma: GoPro will exit the drone market, cut more than 250 jobs

GoPro just can’t catch a break. On Monday, January 8, the action camera company announced it will stop manufacturing the Karma drone and exit the aerial market entirely in 2018. As a result of the move, GoPro will cut more than 250 jobs. The company has also lowered the price of the Hero6 Black to $400.

The price drop follows the December 10 holiday price reduction on the Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session. “Despite significant marketing support, we found consumers were reluctant to purchase HERO5 Black at the same price it launched at one year earlier,” CEO Nick Woodman said in a statement. “Our December 10 holiday price reduction provided a sharp increase in sell-through.”

As noted in our GoPro Hero6 Black review, introducing the camera at $500 while the Hero5 Black remained on at its launch price of $400 seemed perhaps a bit overconfident. Both cameras are now selling for $100 less, while the smaller Hero5 Session has also been reduced to $200. The older Hero Session has been removed from the lineup. While GoPro said sales of the Hero6 met expectations last year, the company noted Hero5 Black sell-through doubled after the price reduction, while Hero5 Session sell-through tripled. A lower price on the Hero6 Black will hopefully spur a similar increase in demand.

As for the Karma drone, GoPro said it was unable to overcome the challenges of a competitive market. It will continue to sell the drone while stock remains and is offering $200 off when bundled with a Hero6 Black. The company will still support Karma customers for the foreseeable future. The Karma drone got off to a rocky start after customers reported midair battery failures, causing the quadcopter to fall out of the sky. Although the problem proved easy to fix, a safety recall delayed sales and GoPro simply couldn’t keep up as rival DJI continued to pump out new models.

In addition to reducing its workforce from 1,254 global employees to “fewer than 1,000,” Woodman’s cash compensation for 2018 will be cut to $1. In all, GoPro is aiming for an $80 million reduction in operating expenses in 2018.

There was at least one tidbit of good news in the statement, however. Sales of the Fusion, GoPro’s 360-degree action camera, were better than expected.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Hero6 was the hero GoPro needed as company posts first profit in two years


Android Pay and Google Wallet are consolidating under Google Pay brand

Google is taking the first step to unifying its disparate payment brands.

Since it was announced back in 2015, Android Pay has overshadowed another legacy Google payment brand, Google Wallet, which, though it once offered in-store payments, has since been relegated to a cross-platform peer-to-peer money exchange system.


Today, that all changes as Android Pay and Google Wallet are combining to form a single payment brand under the Big G: Google Pay. For existing users of both services, the move is mainly just a logo refresh, but down the line Google says it will take considerable advantage of these new synergies. The branding will also encompass other ways users pay for, and with, Google services, such as on the Play Store and when automatically filling out credit card details in Chrome.

With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind. Over the coming weeks, you’ll see Google Pay online, in store, and across Google products, as well as when you’re paying friends.

To entice people to sign up, Google is working with a number of retailers on promotional items, such as $10 off any $50+ order at B&H or $5 off a Fandango ticket. Google also says that some apps, such as Airbnb, Dice, and Fandango, have already updated their branding, while more will come in the next little while.

So no new features or countries supported with this announcement, but it’s nice to know that Wallet is sunsetting properly and Google is taking payments more seriously than ever.


Verizon Wireless is making international roaming free for Winter Olympics attendees

Verizon Up members headed to the Winter Olympics just got good news.


Travelling internationally comes with all kinds of expenses you don’t usually associate with travel, and your phone is one of the big ones. International roaming is never not expensive, but it looks like Verizon Wireless is giving all of their customers headed to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang a break by making it free for all of February. Well, mostly. There’s a catch — you have to be a part of Verizon’s rewards program and TravelPass service before January 28th.

Verizon’s rewards program, called Verizon Up, offers free movie rentals and gift cards to various places for every $300 you spend with Verizon. The good news is this includes anything you spend at Verizon, which means those of us with big family plans see the results of those rewards frequently. This special Winter Olympics bonus makes the TravelPass service you would usually pay extra for cost nothing for the month of February, but only for qualifying plans.

TravelPass pricing, and the free Winter Olympics offer along with it, are available to any Verizon Wireless subscriber with More Everything Verizon plans and any Unlimited plans. That covers a healthy number of users, but it’s also important that your phone be a WorldPhone. Fortunately all modern phones are considered WorldPhones by Verizon, but if you haven’t upgraded in a while you’re going to want to check with Verizon before you leave the country.


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