Skip to content

Archive for

28
Jan

What is a hybrid smartwatch? The ideal wearable for watch fans


You’ve heard of a watch, right? And you’re likely fully aware of smartwatches, and how the two differ. But you may have also read about hybrid smartwatches. Confused as to what a hybrid watch does? We’re here to explain everything, from what a hybrid smartwatch is and what they can do, to a few examples of the best out there.

What is a hybrid smartwatch?

A hybrid smartwatch is a fusion between a regular mechanical watch and a smartwatch, in that it combines some connected features with traditional watch mechanics. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, doesn’t usually require charging up every day, and doesn’t look like a piece of technology. It looks like a normal watch. If the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear Sport, or touchscreen Android Wear watches like the Emporio Armani Connected, don’t appeal because they don’t really look like watches, then the hybrid is your gateway to the smartwatch world.

Show, don’t tell

The best way to understand what a hybrid smartwatch does is to see and play around with one. The above photo shows off the Fossil Q Crewmaster. We chose it as our example because the design is based closely on an existing Fossil watch, which the company chose to augment with smart connected features. You can see it has an analog dial, traditional watch styling, and it’s slim and stylish.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s smart because it has Bluetooth connectivity built-in, and it pairs with your smartphone through an app. The app is available for iOS and Android, which means there’s a high chance whatever phone you have works with the watch. It’s not like the Apple Watch, which only works with the iPhone.

What does a hybrid smartwatch do?

The vast majority of hybrid smartwatches share similar functionality. A hybrid watch will track your steps, while the app works out calorie burn and activity time. Some watches will also track your sleep, but it’s not as common considering most people are unlikely to wear the watch 24-hours a day. The watch will alert you of notifications on your phone with vibrations, and some kind of visual hint about which app is alerting you.

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The method for notification alerts varies. Fossil, for example, makes the watch hands zip around to point at a single number, which you designate to a certain app or contact when you first set up the watch.

For example, if email notifications are linked to the number 3, the hands will move to 3 o’clock on the watch and will linger there long enough for you to take a glance. Other watches do it it different, such as the NYSW GTS Activity Tracker, which has a dedicated sub-dial for notification alerts. Hybrid watches from Guess and Martian have a small LCD screen for alerts.

You can also expect features like alarms, world time zones, and a programmable button that can be configured for different functions. This can include working as a remote shutter for your phone’s camera, for music control, or to make your phone ring in case you can’t find it.

Don’t expect most hybrid smartwatches to run apps, have watch faces you can change, or include more complex features like a heart rate sensor (though there are some like the Nokia Steel HR).

No charging?

Because most hybrid smartwatches don’t have a touchscreen, they don’t consume anywhere near the same degree of energy as one that does. Paired with Bluetooth Low Energy, a hybrid smartwatch can usually survive on a coin-cell battery, and therefore doesn’t require nightly charging.

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

The battery can last up to six months before it needs replacing, which can be done at home, and for a very low price. This makes hybrid smartwatches perfect for anyone that wants to avoid owning yet another device to recharge every day.

Anything else?

Because a hybrid smartwatch doesn’t deviate very far from traditional watch styling and design, you get many of the benefits associated with mechanical watches. Almost all are water resistant, and usually down to at least 5ATM (underwater up to 50 meters), not just a simple IP68 rating (limited to about 1.5 meters), and the standard size lugs mean you can pick and choose your own straps. Also, because the designs are more watch-like, there’s greater choice for women in the hybrid smartwatch world.

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Finally, because hybrid smartwatches aren’t as technically complex as a full smartwatch, they’re often much cheaper.

Where to start?

Now that you’re completely familiar with the term hybrid smartwatch, where should you start? The Fossil Group, which produces watches for a wide range of fashion brands, has an extensive catalog of hybrid watches. These range from its own models, such as the Q Crewmaster seen above and the new Q Commuter. Their portfolio includes watches from brands like Skagen, Kate Spade, Michele, Misfit, and Emporio Armani. The benefit of choosing a Fossil-produced hybrid watch is that the app is suitably polished, connectivity is simple and reliable, and you’re getting a design from a proper watch maker.

There’s no need to limit yourself to Fossil though. Nokia, after it acquired Withings, sells the stylish Steel HR hybrid smartwatch, which is similar to the Garmin Vivomove HR. Hybrid smartwatches are also produced by watch brands not looking to make a full smartwatch. Kronaby and New York Standard Watches are watchmakers dabbling in tech with their hybrid models, for example. The Timex IQ+ Move is another stylish alternative from a known watch maker.

If you’re happy to spend more on your hybrid watch, then Mondaine, Alpina, and Frederique Constant all make hybrids. The Alpina Seastrong is a great example of a hybrid, because it looks like a diver watch — a very popular design — but still manages to deliver notifications, activity tracking, sleep monitoring, and world time zones. Its face is also covered in sapphire glass, and it has a Swiss quartz movement inside. It’s a smartwatch for people that love watches, and don’t want to compromise on design.

The choice of hybrid is greater than that of full touchscreen smartwatches, and there is likely a design that will suit your taste

Casio sets itself apart from others by making Bluetooth watches that provide smartwatch connectivity, without the notifications. The G Shock Gravitymaster GPW-2000-1A uses an app for tracking flights, GPS positioning, and world time. The newly announced GBA-800 G Shock watches track your fitness, and sync the data with an app on your phone. Despite the lack of notifications, these are still hybrid watches, but may also be referred to as connected watches.

As you can tell, the choice of hybrid smartwatches is greater than that of full touchscreen smartwatches, and there is likely a design that will suit your taste out there, whether you like a subtle, minimalist look, a classic style, or something more sporty.

That’s it, consider yourself properly introduced to the hybrid smartwatch. We love them because we love watches, and think you will too.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review
  • MyKronoz ZeTime review
  • Fossil Q Commuter hybrid smartwatch review
  • Skagen Signatur T-Bar review
  • DKNY Minute hybrid smartwatch merges tech and fashion for a neglected audience


Advertisements
28
Jan

How to locate and fix tracking issues for your PlayStation VR


light.jpg?itok=_M89TbRc

Typically, it all comes down to lighting.

You’ve probably experienced issues with tracking while using your PlayStation Move and the first thing you always check is the light sources in your play space. If the light sources are too bright it could interfere with the bulbs on the end of your Move Controllers. Here we’ll go over the best possible lighting we’ve tested and approved for the best tracking!

First, check your current light sources

Select “Settings” from your PlayStation menu.
Select “Devices.”
Select “Adjust Tracking Lights.”

From there you wanna make sure all your lights and controllers are in the designated areas they are supposed to be. If you see a dark blob on the screen, that’s a light that is too bright.

Amending your current lighting issues

black%20light.jpg?itok=SOkDv8L9

If you found any dark blobs on the screen while checking for the light sources in your play space then it’s time to make some room arrangements. Here are some helpful tips to eliminate lighting issues.

  • Blackout blinds or curtains on windows.

  • Covering reflective furniture like leather couches with a sheet.

  • Put down a floor mat on your play space to cover reflective floors. (This also helps your playspace be safer and more comfortable.)

  • Removing reflective nicknacks and decorations that might be shining light on your camera.

So, while a lot of options require a few dollars to be spent, most can be fixed with spare blankets and sheets! Just do be careful when using floormats. If they don’t have a textured bottom to prevent slipping, order some double sided tape!

Camera Position

Have you noticed when you take a picture of a person with the sun behind them the camera makes them a dark shadow? The exact problem occurs on the PSVR too. Try moving the camera so it points away from any direct sources if possible. Obviously, this is not possible all the time if you want it near your TV but remember, you don’t need your TV to play VR, so it is possible to move the camera to accommodate that.

Changing the color hue of your room

green-light-tracking-psvr.jpg?itok=XYvc0

Recently we’ve seen a bit of commotion on Reddit regarding changing color hues of your VR rooms to help with the tracking on your PSVR. We decided to test this out and found that it actually works pretty well! See our results here, and get your own green lights on Amazon!

See on the Amazon

Thoughts and Construction

By building a dedicated VR Room, one with only artificial light sources, you can control every aspect of your VR experience. If you have any tips or pictures of your VR layouts we would love to see them. Leave a comment below and show off your handiwork!

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

28
Jan

KGI Shares Latest on 6.1-Inch iPhone, Next iPhone X and iPhone X Plus to Have 4GB of RAM and Two-Cell Batteries


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often relays information gathered from sources within Apple’s supply chain in Asia, today shared a trio of new research notes that recap both new and existing predictions about the new iPhone X, iPhone X Plus, and lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone expected later this year.

iPhone X Plus dummy model versus current iPhone X via Ben Geskin
MacRumors obtained a copy of each research note, and we’ve rounded up the key points. More details are available in our 2018 iPhones roundup.

All-New 6.1-inch iPhone with LCD

New:• Taiwanese manufacturers Pegatron, Foxconn, and Wistron will be the key assemblers of the 6.1-inch iPhone, with 60 percent, 30 percent, and 10 percent allocation of EMS respectively
• Japan Display will supply around 70 percent of LCD panels for the 6.1-inch iPhone. Rumors suggest Apple will use Japan Display’s six-inch Full Active LCDs that only require ultra-slim 0.5mm bezels on all four sides
Reiterated:• Nearly full screen design with no home button and notch for TrueDepth sensors
• 3D sensing for Face ID and Animoji
• Rectangular-shaped, one-cell battery with 2,850-2,950 mAh, up to 8.5 percent larger than current iPhone X. The increased capacity will be the result of a smaller logic board given manufacturing advancements
• Lower price point: starting at between $700 and $800 in the United States
The rumored 6.1-inch iPhone is shaping up to be a lower-priced iPhone X with some design compromises, which Kuo previously said will include an aluminum frame, a lack of 3D Touch, a single rather than dual lens rear camera, and 3GB of RAM, which will be less memory than other new 2018 iPhones have.

Next-Generation iPhone X and iPhone X Plus

Kuo reiterated that the second-generation iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch version we’re calling iPhone X Plus will each have an increased 4GB of RAM. Unsurprisingly, given its larger physical size, the iPhone X Plus is also expected to have up to a 25 percent larger battery capacity of 3,300-3,400 mAh vs. iPhone X.

Kuo adds that Apple has settled on a two-cell, L-shaped design for the second-generation iPhone X and iPhone X Plus, compared to a single-cell, L-shaped design that could have yielded up to 10 percent additional capacity.

By the sounds of it, the new iPhone X and iPhone X Plus, beyond the latter’s larger screen size, won’t be significant upgrades. Kuo doesn’t expect improvements to be made to the TrueDepth camera system until 2019. Nevertheless, he expects the devices to sell well, especially the lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
Discuss this article in our forums

MacRumors-All?d=6W8y8wAjSf4 MacRumors-All?d=qj6IDK7rITs

28
Jan

The best indoor HDTV antenna


By Grant Clauser

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending more than 20 hours attaching many antennas to multiple TVs in two different testing locations (one suburban and one urban), watching way too much daytime programming, and compiling objective data from a signal-strength meter, we think the new 35-mile-range Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse is the indoor HD antenna with the best combination of features for most users. It matched or outperformed larger models in pulling in TV signals, required less (basically zero) assembly, and was easy to hide. The omnidirectional antenna is double-sided (black on one side, white on the other), equipped with a detachable 12-foot coaxial cable, and designed to stick to your wall without any hardware or tape, so finding the right mounting location is simpler than with the other antennas we tested.

Who should buy an indoor antenna?

Cable, satellite, and FiOS TV subscriptions can be expensive, but often we forget that broadcast TV is still free and features some of the most popular programs from major networks like CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, The CW, Univision, Telemundo, and PBS. Anyone who wants a cheap and easy way to get HD programming from major and local networks should give an indoor TV antenna a try. They’re also a good fit for people who can’t or won’t install a roof or attic antenna. The models we looked at can be placed in your window, on a wall, or behind your TV; they’re designed for a simple, unobtrusive setup.

How we picked and tested

Today, most indoor TV antennas are flat wall-huggers that copy the original Mohu Leaf design. Photo: Michael Berk

We started by assembling an extensive list of indoor antennas based on the top recommendations from various editorial and customer reviews. There are literally hundreds of indoor TV antennas available, so we narrowed our search to only popular, well-reviewed, and easy-to-find models. We prioritized antennas that came with their own coax cable, though it wasn’t a necessity. For the most part, the antennas we tested used flat, omnidirectional designs, though we did try two larger antennas to see if the extra bulk equated to higher quality.

We tested indoor antennas in two locations: Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn, New York. To read in detail about the broadcasting conditions of each location, please see our full guide to indoor TV antennas.

We assessed each antenna by evaluating the signal strength and quality of eight major networks, as well as some local broadcasters. We scanned for channels multiple times with each antenna, and recorded the total number (which was often higher than 40). We also used a Silicon Dust HD HomeRun external tuner to objectively test each channel’s signal strength using software.

For good measure, we also built our own antenna using aluminum foil, cardboard, and coax cable. Our “Trashtenna” performed surprisingly well in New York, but fared less favorably in Pennsylvania. It also ripped the first time we tried to move it, proving to be the least durable of the antennas we tested.

Our pick

The Antennas Direct Eclipse attaches easily to most surfaces, without any hardware or tape. Photo: Grant Clauser

In our tests, the 35-mile-range Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse proved to be the best-performing antenna in both locations. Its design and extra features, alongside its overall strong performance, made it our pick.

The Eclipse takes the flat-antenna concept in a slightly different direction by eliminating much of the plastic casing. It’s essentially a flat, circular piece of plastic with the antenna element inside. Thanks to its tacky Sure Grip substance, you can easily attach and remove the Eclipse from the wall. We love this feature because proper placement of an indoor antenna is almost as important as its design. The Eclipse also includes a 12-foot removable cord.

The sample antenna we tested came with a plug-in amp, and our results with the amp varied depending on where we used it. The amped version costs a little more, and in our tests the unamped antenna worked well enough that we suggest you try that model first, especially if you’re within 15 miles of a broadcast station. If you’re farther away than that, or separated by mountains or other obstructions, give the amped version a try, and be sure to move the antenna around to find the best location.

A budget option

The Channel Master Flatenna worked pretty well in our tests, but it’s cheaply made (you can see the crease in the photo that occurred in shipping). Photo: Michael Berk

If the Eclipse is sold out or otherwise unavailable, or if you just don’t want to spend that much money on an antenna, the Channel Master Flatenna is a good alternate.

In our initial tests in Pennsylvania, the Flatenna pulled in 49 channels. All the target channels came through, although NBC had some slight breakup (but not enough to make it unwatchable). The Flatenna performed slightly better when placed behind the TV, except that then it couldn’t pull in The CW. In New York, the Flatenna pulled in all channels in decent quality, and nine channels in exceptionally high quality.

However, the Flatenna is very basic, with the antenna wire embedded in a flimsy plastic case that’s easy to damage. Another knock against it is the short, nonremovable cord. If you plan to mount it behind your TV, the length won’t matter, but if you need to move it any farther than six feet from your TV, you’ll need to add cable with a coupler.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

28
Jan

Looking to build some serious muscle? These weightlifting apps will pump you up


Do you find that most fitness apps are a little too casual for your workout goals? Check out these serious downloads with a focus on realizing gains and putting on more muscle the right way. Here are the best weightlifting apps around for iOS and Android devices!

Note: Most of these apps are updated to work with smart watches too, but their capacity is limited and unless you are primarily interested in logging results, you tend to get better content on your phone.

Fitness Point (Free)

When it comes to a hardcore, down-to-details workout app, few are as complete as Fitness Point. This app is primarily a collection of workout instructions that go exercise by exercise, breaking each down into images, descriptions, and the muscle group affected. You can then build your own workout based on the muscle groups you want to target, and log each exercise that you do with notes for weight changes, calories burned, and so on. Common workouts also include animations to help you keep your form, although full video training is a little lacking — this app is primarily for experienced gym rats who want a good app to build their own regimens.

The biggest downside is that the selection of workouts is limited to basic options. There’s still quite a few, but for very specific exercises or for rarer moves, you may need to purchase more workouts, so some cost may be involved. There’s also a Pro version with no ads for $5.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

Fitted Lifts ($3)

Fitted Lifts is an iOS fitness app designed to track your performance over time by making it easy to log your sets and reps while you do them. The layout is based on simple sliders that let you update your record while you work out. You can customize workouts and see what specific exercises you are doing (and how long it’s been since you did that move). You can also view charts to track your weight and performance over time. It’s a great app for dedicated muscle builders who know just what they want to track, and don’t mind using an app for a bit during their workouts.

Download now from:

iTunes

Jefit (Free)

Jefit is similar to Fitness Points, but with a greater focus on photos and real images, which is excellent if you aren’t sure how to do some of the exercises and would like a more in-depth look at the moves. In addition to the exercise library, there’s also a full workout tracker, timer, and shortcut workout routines for those who don’t want to customize. Jefit also dives heavily into analytics, with a workout profile that allows you to look at your progress, share workouts with others, view your progress picture, and more. It can get a little data intensive, but maybe you’re into that — in which case, you should also check out these fitness trackers.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

Stronglifts 5×5 (Free)

If the complexity of apps like Jefit does nothing for you, this Stronglifts app, called 5×5, should be much more your style. It’s a personal trainer and logger, but one that’s pared down, with a minimalist interface focused on 5×5 workouts. Plug in your starting weights and sets, and the app will tell you how long to rest between sets, and what weights and sets you should use next time. There’s a lot less thinking and profile management, and a lot more weightlifting, so what’s not to like?

Download now from:

iTunes Google

Workout Trainer by Skimble (Free)

Skimble’s app is more suited toward fitness newcomers who want to build muscle and get into shape, but need some guidance on how. You can choose categories like weightlifting or body weight, explore different workout routines that are premade for you, and pick the one that you want to try (they are rated by time, intensity, body part, and so on). The workouts are created by verified trainers, and there’s an option to link up with an online trainer and explore your fitness progress together — f you’re willing to pay a subscription fee.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

Gym Workout Tracker & Trainer by Fitness22 (Free)

This Fitness22 app is more hands off, with fewer tracking features and more options for watching training videos to learn new workouts and expand your exercise options. There are more than 3,000 exercise options (including variations), and videos of each. You can search them by muscle group, equipment type, or keyword, which is particularly gym-friendly. There are also beginner, intermediate, and expert routines you can jump right into.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

You Are Your Own Gym ($5)

Maybe you want to build muscle, but you hate using weights. This is the app for you! It focuses on more than 200 body weight exercises for you to get the gains you want without weights. There’s also a free video pack that you can download for exercise demonstrations if you aren’t sure how to do a particular move.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

BodySpace (Free)

BodySpace is a “personal fitness platform” that offers professionally created programs and a “BodyCalendar” for you to follow. The daily reminders for workouts help you keep a schedule, and the stats support frequent logging and checking. There are also tips, videos, and other resources for you to use to perfect your workout or find the right advice. The social aspects are largely optional.

Download now from:

iTunes Google

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Put your health first and get into shape with the best iPhone fitness apps
  • Best fitness apps for the Apple Watch
  • Find your fitness with our favorite health and fitness apps for Android
  • Cultivate a healthy mind, body, and soul with the five best yoga apps
  • Run your way to better health with the 10 best running apps


28
Jan

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro 13 (non-Touch Bar)


With the MacBook Air rumored to be on its last legs, would it still be a good buy? Let’s look at how it stacks up to the low-end MacBook Pro and see if you should get in on what could be the very last MacBook Air — before it vanishes into the ether for all time.

The relevant question then is, how exactly do these two Macs compare, and which should get your hard-earned money? Read on to find out.

MacBook Air 13-inch

MacBook Pro 13-inch

Dimensions
 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11 – 0.68 (in)
11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59 (in)

Weight
 2.96 pounds
3.02 pounds

Processor
 5th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7
7th Generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

RAM
 8GB LPDDR3 1600MHz
8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz

Display
 13.3-inch LED-backlit display
13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display

Resolution
 1,400 x 900
2,560 x 1,600

Storage
 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, PCIe SSD
256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe SSD

Networking
 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2

Ports
 2 x USB 3, 1 x Thunderbolt 2, SDXC card slot
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3

Webcam
 720p FaceTime HD
720p FaceTime HD

Operating System
 MacOS High Sierra
MacOS High Sierra

Battery
 54 watt-hours, up to 12 hours
54.5 watt-hours, up to 10 hours

Price
$1,000
$1,300+

Availability
Available now
Available now

DT review
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

The new thin versus the old thin

There was a time when the MacBook Air was the Apple product that most deserved its name. Compared to other models in the line, and for a time most Windows notebooks as well, the MacBook Air really was the most air-like. At least, it was the lightest model to go along with being the thinnest, and that let the MacBook Air carve out a special place in Apple’s MacOS lineup.

Enter the new MacBook Pro. The latest model is also seriously thin and light, almost equal to the MacBook Air. In fact, while the MacBook Air has its wedge-shaped taper down to 0.11 inch, it’s still thicker at its thicker point than the new MacBook Pro, at 0.68 inch versus 0.59 inch. The new MacBook Pro is also 3.02 pounds, pretty much a rounding error compared to the MacBook Air’s 2.96 pounds.

In the end, it would be hard to justify the MacBook Air over the new MacBook Pro in terms of thickness and weight alone, and given everything else that’s better on the MacBook Pro, we have to give it the nod here.

Winner: MacBook Pro

Retina display for the win

The MacBook Air never received a Retina display, meaning it’s stuck with its old-school 1,440 by 900 resolution compared to the MacBook Pro’s 2,560 by 1,600 resolution. That’s 128 pixels per inch compared to 227 pixels per inch. In addition, the MacBook Air’s display maxes out at 300 nits of brightness and it’s limited to the standard sRGB color gamut. The new MacBook Pro, on the other hand, offers 500 nits of brightness and a wider P3 color gamut.

Digital Trends

What all that translates into is that the MacBook Air’s display is going to look pixelated and dated compared to the MacBook Pro. Both are LED-backlit screens, but the MacBook Pro is going to be brighter in terms of both the amount of light it produces to combat ambient lighting and the splashes of color you’ll enjoy. Both screens are identically sized, but the MacBook Air has much larger and more unsightly bezels than the new MacBook Pro.

The bottom line is that the MacBook Air’s display is antiquated, and seriously lower in quality. There’s no contest, really.

Winner: MacBook Pro

Generations matter when it comes to performance

The MacBook Air uses fifth-generation Broadwell Intel Core i5 and i7 processors rated at 1.6GHz and 2.2GHz, respectively. The new MacBook Pro, on the other hand, offers up 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors running at 2.3GHz for the Core i5 and 2.5Ghz for the Core i7. Graphics are provided by Intel HD Graphics 6000 in the MacBook Air versus Intel Iris Graphics 640 or 650 in the new MacBook Pro.

Simply put, the MacBook Air is seriously outgunned. While it’s a decent enough performer on its own, and would likely continue working well for most mainstream Mac users, the MacBook Air simply won’t be able to compete with the new MacBook Pro. Maximum RAM is the same on both models at 8GB, but the MacBook Pro offers a 1TB SSD versus the MacBook Air’s limit of 512GB.

The only area where the MacBook Air exceeds the new MacBook Pro is battery life. The MacBook Air has a 54-watt battery versus the roughly equivalent 54.5-watt battery in the new MacBook Pro, but the latter’s more power-efficient Skylake processor doesn’t overcome its power-gulping Retina display. Thus, the MacBook Air is rated at up to 12 hours of battery life versus the new MacBook Pro’s 10 hours.

Here, once more, the new MacBook Pro is leaps and bounds ahead. Unless you need more battery life, that is, in which case the MacBook Air is the better of the two.

Winner: MacBook Pro

How’s the keyboard and touchpad?

The new MacBook Pro has received an even larger version of the Force Touch trackpad technology introduced in previous generations. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing compared to the MacBook Air’s standard mechanical multi-touch trackpad is purely subjective, and it’s likely worth a visit to an Apple Store to try them both out side by side.

Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

The MacBook Air also retains the old style of Apple’s island keyboard with chicklet keys, which remains a favorite for many people. The new MacBook Pro has a second-generation version of the MacBook’s keyboard, offering the same mechanical feel but with more apparent key travel. Again, which is better will likely come down to each user’s preference.

The MacBook Pro’s keyboard is a bit polarizing. Some people love how clicky and tactile it is, some people hate how short the key travel is. Here, there’s no right answer, so it’s really up to your preferences. The MacBook Air features an earlier, less tactile version of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, but the differences are very subtle.

Winner: It’s up to you

Which is more connected?

The MacBook Air is probably one of the last Apple machines that will offer the old-style USB-A ports, and it’s limited to a single Thunderbolt 2 port. The new MacBook Air, on the other hand, eschews the thicker USB connector in favor of the increasingly in-vogue USB-C ports. The MacBook Pro also offers the newer and faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.

In terms of wireless, both have 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The MacBook Air has Bluetooth 4.0 versus the Bluetooth 4.2 offered by the new MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air does include an SDXC card slot, whereas the new MacBook Pro has none, and so that’s a plus in the MacBook Air’s column.

Overall, which is better connected comes down to your willingness to use dongles to support all of your old USB devices and cables or whether you’re ready to move ahead to USB-C. Also, if you just have to have an SD card slot without using an external adapter, then the MacBook Air is your choice.

We have to give a nod to the future here, however, and anoint the more flexible MacBook Pro as the better option going forward.

Winner: MacBook Pro

But the MacBook Air costs less!

Yes, that’s right — the MacBook Air costs significantly less than the new MacBook Pro, even the version we’re comparing with here that doesn’t include the new Touch ID support and OLED Touch Bar. The MacBook Air starts out at $1,000, $300 less than the entry-level MacBook Pro, which comes in at $1,300.

Now, look back over the specs and analysis above. Look at what you get for just an extra $300. A quicker processor, a much better display, a newer overall design. If you’re on a budget and want a simple, well-performing, thin and light notebook to carry around for basic computing tasks? Then you’d probably be better off buying a Dell XPS 13, but if you want to buy into MacOS, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers the most bang for your buck.

Winner: MacBook Pro

Final answer? The new Macbook Pro

When we tally up the score using our unscientific methodology, we have to say that the MacBook Air has enjoyed its time in the sun. It was the first truly thin and light PC on the market and arguably cemented thickness and weight as important metrics when selecting a new notebook. It was a trailblazer, it forged new paths, it was ahead of its time. Pick the platitude. Today, though, it’s just old news, and we’re surprised that Apple hasn’t done away with it completely — but it’s probably on its way out.

The new MacBook Pro is a svelte, futuristic-looking notebook with almost up-to-date components and it maintains that excellent Retina display. It has the new, larger Force Touch trackpad, and a second-gen butterfly mechanical keyboard, so it’s likely to provide an excellent experience in terms of interacting with the machine. And its connectivity options are equally new and future-proof.

In the end, we’re sad to be the ones to say it, but the MacBook Air is no longer a viable choice. Unless you’re really strapped for cash, then you should pick up a new MacBook Pro and let the MacBook Air sidle off into the sunset. The MacBook Pro is the new thin and light MacOS device of choice.

Buy from Apple:

MacBook 13-inch Air MacBook Pro 13-inch

Updated 1/25/18 to reflect the latest hardware. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • MacBook Pro 13 vs. MacBook Pro 15
  • Dell XPS 13 vs. MacBook Pro 13
  • Apple could be ditching the MacBook Air as early as this year
  • Want the best MacBook for your money? You can forget the Touch Bar
  • Battle of the beautiful: How does the Pixelbook stack up to the MacBook Pro?


28
Jan

PlayStation VR accessory guide


psvr-headphone.jpg?itok=MSVGd6fe

There’s more to owning a PlayStation VR than you may realize.

As gaming VR systems go, PlayStation VR has been a hit so far. The initial launch gave us a decent slate of games, but in the months since we’ve seen plenty of new titles arrive, and with triple AAA titles like Fallout 4 in VR coming it’s time to take a look at what you need to enjoy this headset long term. Outside of a fresh controller and the new PlayStation Camera, this is what you need to fully enjoy your PlayStation VR!

All-in-one stand

power-a-psvr-dock-back-press-01.jpg?itok

By the time you have the headset, camera, Move controllers, and regular DualShock 4 controller set up, it dawns on you that there are not enough USB ports on your PS4 to charge everything. This sucks if your goal is to let everything charge overnight, especially if the other outlets in your living room aren’t easily accessible. There are several solutions to this particular dilemma, but the Power A charge and display stand is one of the better options out here at about $50.

It’s a simple stand for the headset itself, but also charges the three controllers used to fully enjoy PSVR. The controller dock lets you press down to release from the dock, and looks nice in the process. It’s a solid solution all around, especially if room on your entertainment center is limited.

See on Amazon

BD&A Travel Case

81tarebi6ml._ac_sl1500_.jpg?itok=Zn0io52

You aren’t always going to be playing PSVR at home, especially if you have friends who also have PS4s and want you to come convince them to grab one of these headsets for themselves. Your PlayStation VR is more than light enough for quick travel, but the lenses and display in the headset are fragile and need to be treated as such.

Carrying cases are a simple solution to your portability problem. All you really need is a nice sturdy body to keep from basic bumps and something to keep the lenses safe when you’re moving around. At $20The BD&A travel case offers a great deal for keeping your headset safe and secure when you’re on the move.

See on Amazon

Hyperkin Sanitary Mask

61gwrhnot1l._ac_sl1000_.jpg?itok=xyN53ib

This isn’t always something people think about, but passing germs from person to person through a VR headset is a possibility. There’s plenty of ways to deal with this, but if you’re planning on showing off your PlayStation VR to a huge group of people, you might consider upgrading from small alcohol wipes to a full sanitary mask. Hyperkin Sanitary Masks gives you a full sanitary mask that makes cleanliness while sharing a concern you don’t need to worry about. For only $10 for a 10 pack of masks, you’ll feel great sharing this experience with your closest friends and family while still being sanitary.

PlayStation VR is already one of the better headsets for multi-user VR because the headset is never pressed firmly against your face, but a sanitary mask removes any potential by creating a temporary barrier on your skin. Yes, this is basically a condom for your VR headset. Stop giggling and put it on.

See on Amazon

Stationary Bike

psvr%20stationary%20bike.jpg?itok=9kbwz-

Wandering around your living room in PlayStation VR is fun, but there are other ways to enjoy this headset, namely on a stationary bike. VirZoom’s VR exercise bike, coming at $400, lets you really immerse yourself in the feeling of being in VR making it excellent for a virtual bike ride.

This stationary bike is a full fitness monitoring system, and it works by putting you in VR and making it feel like you’re really going for a bike ride around town. There are several experiences included with the bike itself, but the mechanics may one day also translate to motorcycle experiences or other racing games. The bottom line is full immersion, and we’ve yet to see what the limits are for that in the home!

See at Amazon

Thrustmaster VG T300RS racing wheel

psvr%20driving%20wheel.jpg?itok=EANSzvqy

While there aren’t many available just yet, racing games in VR deliver a whole new kind of awesome. Since VR is all about immersion, having the ability to feel a steering wheel in your hands as you take a curve at breathtaking speed, or being able to ghost the break just enough to drift between your rivals makes the already awesome racing games that are available even better.

Although it comes in at a hefty price tage, $390 for the Thrustmaster VG T300RS racing wheel is worth the experience. It has a solid sturdy feel in your hands, mostly because of the brushed steel and rubber grips that make the 11-inch wheel feel strong enough to take you through every race. With haptic feedback, you’ll feel it as you take turns way too fast and burn out as a result, and you’ll feel it if you get tagged by another car mid race. In terms of immersion, this adds layers and layers of new experiences for the racing genre of games, and this is still only the beginning.

See at Amazon

Kinsal Ergonomic Leather High-back Swivel Chair

psvr%20gaming%20chair.jpg?itok=KJYzNomF

Needing somewhere comfortable to sit down is especially true when playing PlayStation VR since several games are made to be played this way. Since you could be hanging out in the same place for several hours, a swivel chair can be a serious boon. It will help you to manage your cables and allows you to keep your balance while you spin and interact with your game.

The Kinsal Ergonomic chair has a high back, which also gives you adjustable lumbar and neck support. This makes it easier than ever to get comfortable in your chair and settle in for the long haul, and at $170, you’ll feel great getting the most out of your chair and games. It’s also a larger chair to give you plenty of room to settle in and enjoy yourself. This chair can also lean all the way back, and its height is adjustable. All in all, it delivers a super comfortable, and highly adjustable experience to help elevate your experiences in VR.

See at Amazon

Amazon Basics Microfiber cleaning cloths

microfiber-cleaning-cloth.jpg?itok=ktxg0

The time will come when no matter how carefully you take care of your PlayStation VR, it’s going to need to be cleaned. When that happens, having a small stock of Amazon Basic’s microfiber cleaning cloths is a solid plan.

The biggest problem with cleaning a VR unit is ensuring that there isn’t any dust hiding near the lenses, or in the nooks and crannies of the headset. These cloths help to be sure that wiping your headset down doesn’t take more than a few moments, and that no debris is left inside to aggravate you at an inopportune time. At $15 for 24 of these cloths, you won’t be breaking the bank to keep your VR headset clean.

See at Amazon

Hyperkin VR Lens Protector

psvr%20lens%20protection.jpg?itok=YsUYU_

If simply cleaning your lens before and after play doesn’t seem like enough to keep your lens intact, purchasing these lens protectors would be the best thing to do.

These protectors will keep your VR lenses from getting any scratches on them while playing the VR headset. To insure no damage to your headset, these are the best way to keep it safe. Make sure to put them on as instructed, as these are a bit tricky and can make a different to your VR experience if put on incorrectly.

See at Amazon

PlayStation Aim Controller

psvr-ps-aim-controller-press-01.jpg?itok

When Farpoint came out, it came with an awesome new accessory built specifically for shooting things in VR. The PlayStation Aim controller works as its own controller complete with all of the buttons that you are used to with your DualShock 4 controller. It looks a bit like the gun that it is emulating, but the important part is that when you are in VR it feels like you are carrying a rifle around. It uses the same technology as PlayStation Move controllers, which means there is a globe that glows when the controller is turned on.

It never hurts to have an extra controller around, however, if yours should get busted or lost. Although they come in at a hefty $60, it never hurts to be safe, and you feel pretty cool holding one while killing aliens.

See at Amazon

Mantis Headphones

bionik-mantis-vr.png?itok=h26dB9xz

While your PlayStation VR does come with a pair of decent earbuds that get the job done, the Mantis Headphones offer a great clip on alternative. These headphones deliver great sound, and since they clip onto your headset it’s easy to customize where, and how, they sit against your ears. They’re also far more solid when you’re playing games that require a lot of movement.

These headphones are available for $50 from Mantis, and it’s a solid investment. They even match the color scheme of your PlayStation VR so that they don’t look out of place when your headset isn’t in use.

See at Mantis

Updated January 24th, 2018: We’ve updated this list with new accessories to maximize your PlayStation VR experience.

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

28
Jan

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Everything you need to know!


This is everything you need to know about the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro!

For the past few years, Huawei’s Mate series has been its flagship chock full of high-end hardware, a beefy battery and the latest and greatest cameras. That tradition continued in 2017, with a slight twist: in addition to the Mate 10, Huawei also released an even better Mate 10 Pro.

huawei-mate-10-pro-second-9.jpg?itok=KDf

This is everything you need to know about the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro!

Check out our review

We’ve had our hands on the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro since their announcement, and we have two full reviews for the Mate 10 Pro. The standard Mate 10 is mostly the same, missing water resistance and gaining a headphone jack, as well as some differences in the internal specifications.

More: Huawei Mate 10 Pro review: Best Android flagship for battery life

More: With the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei comes close to greatness

The specs

huawei-mate-10-pro-6.jpg?itok=tPbEjJxL

The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are two of the few phones released in late 2017 that launch with Android Oreo, rather than Nougat. Elsewhere, both pack a Kirin 970 chipset, dual-SIM slots and a 4,000 mAh battery. There are some notable differences, so give the spec sheet below a close read:

Operating System Android 8.0EMUI 8 Android 8.0EMUI 8
CPU Huawei Kirin 970 10nm, 4X Cortex-A73 + 4X Cortex-A53, ARM Mali G72-MP12 GPU, Neural Processing Unit (NPU) Huawei Kirin 970 10nm, 4X Cortex-A73 + 4X Cortex-A53, ARM Mali G72-MP12 GPU, Neural Processing Unit (NPU)
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB + SD 128GB + SD
Dual SIM Dual 4G/VoLTEHybrid slot Dual 4G/VoLTEHybrid slot
Display 5.9-inch 16:9 Quad HD (2560×1440) LCD RGBW, 730 nits 6-inch 18:9 Full HD+ (2160×1080) OLED, FullView Display
Fingerprint Front Back
Camera 12MP (color) + 20MP (monochrome), OIS, f/1.6 lenses 12MP (color) + 20MP (monochrome), OIS, f/1.6 lenses
Front camera 8MP f/2.0 8MP f/2.0
Battery 4,000mAh Huawei SuperCharge 4,000mAh Huawei SuperCharge
Water resistance No IP67
Headphone jack Yes No

More: How to make the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s OLED display looks its best

There’s a Porsche Design for those with fat wallets

mate10pd-5.jpg?itok=NnC_MLty

Got some money burning a hole in your pocket? Want to spend the same price as two flagship phones but only carry one around? Good news: there’s a Porsche Design version of the Mate 10 just for you! There are some objective improvements: a bump from 4GB of RAM to 6GB (the same amount found on the Mate 10 Pro), and an increase from 64GB of storage to 256GB. There’s also an exclusive paint job and theme to let people know you can drop $1,500 on a phone willy-nilly.

More: Behold, the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10!

The cameras are no joke

huawei-mate-10-pro-second-5.jpg?itok=RK1

Huawei has included great cameras on its phone for a while now, and the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are no exception. Both use the same 12-megapixel main lens paired with a 20-megapixel monochrome lens for the rear assembly, with an 8-megapixel front camera. Even more important — at least when it comes to processing — is Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit. Huawei claims the NPU can automatically detect 13 different shooting scenarios and adjust the camera settings accordingly. The pictures our reviewers took with the phone look stunning, so Huawei definitely did something right.

More: Mate 10 Pro scores one point less than Pixel 2 in DxOMark test

EMUI is back and better than ever

huawei-mate-10-emui8-5.jpg?itok=jwhE3pdh

Huawei’s version of Android — EMUI — is…divisive, to say the least. With iOS inspired aesthetics, the skin just doesn’t mesh well with applications that conform to Android’s design standards. Having said that, Huawei has come a long way over the last few years: things may be quirky, but they aren’t straight up broken as in previous versions of EMUI. A launcher and an icon pack will go a long way towards making the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro look like standard Android phones, and there are plenty of themes to choose from as well. And EMUI 8 runs on Oreo, which is great.

More: Top 5 tips and tricks for getting the most out of EMUI 8

The Mate 10 Pro is coming to the US, but…

huawei-mate-10-pro-second-12.jpg?itok=rU

One inescapable truth of the U.S. cell phone market is that a vast majority of consumers buy their phones from their wireless carrier. Any companies that want to sell a significant amount of phones in the US needs to cuddle up to the carriers. It looked like 2018 would finally be the year Huawei found a friend in AT&T.

At CES 2018, that agreement came crashing down. AT&T scrapped the deal over political concerns, but the Mate 10 Pro will still be available through Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, Microsoft and B&H Photos starting in February, 2018.

More: Huawei Mate 10 Pro coming to the US in Feb, but carrier deal is dead

Check out our forums

Do you have more questions about the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro? Be sure to stop by the excellent Android Central forums and ask away!

Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro forums

Huawei Mate 10

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
  • Huawei Mate 10 series specs
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro U.S. review: Close to greatness
  • Join the discussion in the forums
  • More on 2016’s Mate 9

28
Jan

After Math: If I had no loot


It was a week of lost and found fortunes in the tech world. The Feds charged My Big Coin Pay over its $6 million cryptocurrency scam, Netflix is poised to take home as many a four golden statues for Mudbound, Bungie’s in hot water again over tweaking its Faction token payouts and Google will be holding onto its $20 million XPrize payout thankyouverymuch. Numbers, because how else would you evenly divvy up the spoils?

Golden coins on metal floor with cpu logo as example for bitcoin, online banking or fin-tech$6 million: That’s how much real money the Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleges that My Big Coin Pay, purveyors of the My Big Coin cryptocurrency, managed to bilk from its victims in a brazen Ponzi scheme before getting caught by the Feds.

$0: That’s how much cryptocurrency trading site Robinhood will charge its users to trade bitcoin and etherium between themselves. What’s more, the service will enable users to transfer up to $1000 from their bank accounts to buy new units of their preferred cryptocurrency.

2: That’s how many cloned baby Rhesus macaques Chinese researchers managed to create using the same genetic techniques that gave us Dolly the sheep. It wasn’t easy, however, and required 127 eggs and 79 embryos to even get to this point. So don’t expect us to be cloning humans anytime soon.

2 days: That’s how long you’ll have to get your hands on one of these sweet KFC quadcopters that transform out of a used fried chicken bucket. They’re only available at select locations throughout India on January 25th and 26th. Eat your heart out, Michael Bay.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08:  A view of the Oscars logo at the 88th Annual Academy Awards nominee luncheon on February 8, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

4: That’s how many Oscar nods Netflix’s original movie, MudBound, received this year. Mary J. Blige was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Rachel Morrison is the first woman (like ever) to be nominated for Best Achievement in Cinematography, and the movie itself is up for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song.

500: That’s how many Faction Rally tokens some Destiny 2 players were farming every hour before Bungie stepped in and tweaked the loot drop mechanism — much to the chagrin of the community. Bungie should change its slogan to “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” given the perpetual outrage its players constantly exhibit towards the company.

$20 million: That’s how much money will be remaining in Google’s coffers after its latest XPrize contest, which sought to place rovers and other robotic explorers on the Lunar surface, finished without any of the competing teams actually launching their payloads.

28
Jan

Ben Heck’s automated, Alexa-based workbench


Bob Baddeley visits The Ben Heck Show team to bring voice control to the Raspberry Pi. Bob and Ben take us through setting up communication between an Amazon Echo Dot and the Raspberry Pi, with Amazon doing the legwork in the cloud. What other interesting projects could this inspire? And what have you made that uses Amazon’s Alexa? Let us know over on the element14 Community.

%d bloggers like this: