All of Roku’s content in a tiny, tiny package.
Roku’s media streaming device normally sells around $47, and $40 is a match for its all-time low. It’s a deal we’ve seen a couple times, we haven’t seen it drop to this price in more than a month now.
This is one of Roku’s newest streaming devices, a refresh of previous models. It just released in early October. Roku claims the processor in the new stick is 50% faster than last year’s model. The remote is also updated with voice control and a few extra buttons, including power and volume control.
It comes with two AA batteries, but you might consider adding some rechargeable batteries so you can just power them back up and keep on streaming when they get low.
If you want to upgrade to a 4K streaming device, DirecTV Now has a pretty easy way to save money on the 4K Apple TV or 4K Amazon Fire TV.
See on Amazon
Just don’t ask her to laugh.
Right now the Amazon Echo 2nd generation smart speaker is down to $84.99. That’s a drop from $100 and only the second deal we’ve seen this year. You can get this discount on a few color variations, including Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone.
The Echo Dot is also on sale for $39.99 from a street price of $50. Again, after Amazon went ham during the Black Friday shopping season we didn’t see a lot of Echo deals for a while. This price is a match for its lowest in 2018, and it’s good in Black or White.
These prices will disappear after March 17.
Both of these devices work with Alexa. Amazon has been working to make Alexa smarter each week by adding new features, skills, and functionality to it. From being able to control smart home accessories to being able to answer your questions, complete your searches, set reminders, and even make calls for you, these things do a whole lot for how little they cost.
See on Amazon
We don’t know what the P stands for just yet, but it means goodbye to the last Nexus phones.
We got our first look at Android P this past week. As expected, it’s an evolution of the formula Google is happy with and we won’t have our socks rocked off or anything when it shows in its final form because that’s what happens with all software; once it gets to the place the creators wanted it to be, it stops being “different” from version to version.
Sometimes it’s fun to have a phone that’s a mess just waiting for us to make better. Or worse.
That doesn’t mean it’s not some good stuff, though. Small changes up front have little to do with big changes in the back and Android P should do the things Android O does even better and give people who develop the software we love to use more and better tools to work magic with. That’s also how any software project works. Good software, anyways. But this is only a first peek, so there may be something to come that surprises us all.
But while I’m looking forward to what P has to bring us (besides the inevitable crude jokes that come with the “P” branding until we get a real name), I’m also a little sad because seeing Android P means it’s time to say goodbye to the Nexus program.
Pringles. Let it be Pringles.
It’s not like this was a surprise. The Nexus 6P and 5X are past the freshness date on the bottom of the carton. Unfortunately, phones don’t get the life we would like unless they come from Apple and the last two Nexus phones are soon to be officially end-of-life’d and sent to the place in the sky where the Wi-Fi is always free and fast. They may not have been the best phones ever, or even the best Nexus phones ever (everyone knows that was the Nexus S) but I think everyone who has or had one is sad to see them go. It means the end of a good thing and chances are we’ll never see another Nexus branded phone from Google.
We’ll still have the Pixel line, and here’s hoping the third one is great and has an awesome display and doesn’t have some stupid notch that serves as a tool for developers who need a solid phone with a stupid notch so they can write apps that work around a stupid notch. We all will never agree on bezels or aspect ratios, but a notch falls into the same category as a headphone jack and unifies us all. Stupid notch. But anyway, back to the Pixel line.
They’re good phones. Ignore the people who love them and the people who hate them, realize that a small percentage of them are bum units like every other model of phone ever made, and that’s what you’ll find. They are good, solid phones that also serve as a baseline for developers who need everything that’s supposed to work in a particular version of Android. Google has to make sure that’s provided every year if they want to keep developers happy and writing apps. It’s just that Pixel phones aren’t the same in plenty of ways, and I’ll miss being able to know I can have a phone that’s going to be cheap and easy to break and just as easy to fix. I like having a phone that’s polished and feels “finished” to use every day, but I also like having one to fiddle with. I don’t think I’m alone there.
I’m not sure that anyone misses the Nexus 9 or Nexus Player.
It’s also telling that I didn’t have any of these same thoughts when the Nexus 9 or Nexus Player reached their respective end of life. There’s a place for a good tablet or media box and I don’t think either type of product is destined to fail, but Google just wasn’t very good at either. Better products were available from partners, and the NVIDIA Shield TV or a Galaxy Tab was a smarter buy. I expect we’ll see future versions of both. I hope so because they’re both damn great products.
I’m probably going to fire the Nexus 6P back up and use it for a while, and my wife still uses her 5X no matter how many other phones I try and get her to use. And both will still keep working once Android P is released and they are left behind, even with security patches for a few more months afterward. But I know eventually they’ll both have to go back into their box over on the shelf and that I’ll probably not have to make room for another Nexus phone on it ever again.
Hashtag420rootit YOLO Nexus line. I’ll miss you.
Here’s what we know about how women are portrayed in Hollywood cinema: Male characters speak far more often than female ones. Men talk more about achievement, whereas women tend towards positive and emotional language. The majority of best picture winners at the Oscars since 1929 fail to pass the Bechdel test.
AI analysis of characters’ personalities from StoryFit tells us more: Women are portrayed as very agreeable — compassionate but not strong-willed. They’re low on neuroticism (making them cool-headed but not expressive) and openness (guarded and not a rule-breaker). And their personalities onscreen demonstrate less range than men.
The Austin-based company revealed research at SXSW that analyzed over 2,000 film scripts and 25,000 characters from between 1930 and 2018. Using machine learning, sentiment analysis and natural language processing, StoryFit’s approach demonstrates new ways to break apart narratives and character personality. The company says they ask over 10,000 queries of every script, focusing on what characters say and how they say it.
Analyzing the “Big 5” personality traits, they found that 80 percent of female characters measured scored over 85 percent on agreeableness, while only 27 percent of men scored that highly. Characters like Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who score low on agreeableness, are outliers among female characters. Only six percent of women scored above 60 percent in openness compared to 54 percent of men.
StoryFit also analyzed the 2018 Oscar nominees. In only 4 percent of female-only scenes did women talk about something other than men. Women also ask more questions than men, apparently to set up men to take charge of the situation.
It’s a valuable analysis for SXSW. The festival is a center of gravity for media and entertainment worlds — both of which have been rocked by sexual assault scandals. In the shadow of #MeToo and #TimesUp, over 50 panels and events are about harassment or gender equality. It’s clear that gender biases — conscious or unconscious — exist in film and TV, and StoryFit hopes to increasingly bring their quantified analysis to consultations with the movie and publishing industries.
Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.
By Kevin Purdy
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. 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 sorting through hundreds of reviews for dozens of look-alike models, interviewing a doctor, a safety expert, and a journalist obsessed with back pain, and then testing seven top contenders, we recommend Pure Enrichment’s Pure Relief XL King Size Heating Pad for people who want rapid, reliable heat—dry or moist. It warms up quickly and has twice as many granular heat settings as other pads we researched and tested. Its controller has a backlit display and is easier to grasp and operate, and its power cord is easier to pop out when you need to wash the pad’s cover. Its two-hour auto shut-off function can be disabled too, and testers preferred the overall feel of this pad to all others we assessed.
Who this is for
People use electric heating pads to relieve muscle pain associated with menstrual cramps, arthritis, injuries, and other ailments. Heat increases blood flow where applied, helping to dilate blood vessels, improving circulation. The increased blood flow to a treated area can help soothe muscular cramping, spasms, aches, and soreness. However, frequent use or use on a new injury can cause problems. You should consult a doctor before treating yourself with cold or heat.
How we picked and tested
They’re very similar in looks, size, and price, but small differences between heating pads can add up to a significantly better experience. Photo: Michael Hession
In conducting expert interviews, reading hundreds of reviews, and talking to people who regularly use heating pads, we determined our criteria for picking out electric heating pads worth testing. (For this guide, we did not consider microwavable pads or hot-water-bottle-type devices.) We considered top-rated, UL-certified or ETL-certified heating pads that offered the following features:
- Three or more heat levels
- Quick heat-up
- Dry and moist heat options
- Easy machine washing of the covering
- An automatic shut-off timer
- An intuitive controller (one you could operate in the dark) with a long power cord
These criteria left us with seven models to test. We assessed each heating pad as follows:
- Applying each pad to gauge its overall feel and ease of use, and any noise it made when adjusted
- Evaluating the heat-up speed, heat dispersion, and average temperatures of each pad at given heat settings
- Testing the auto-off functions of each pad
- Washing and drying each pad cover
- Folding and storing each pad
- Monitoring each pad using a thermal-imaging camera as they heated up
Our pick: Pure Enrichment Pure Relief XL King Size Heating Pad
Photo: Michael Hession
The Pure Relief XL King Size Heating Pad was the consensus-favorite pad among our testers and offers features not found in similarly priced heating pads. The smooth and plush sides of the cover made it our testers’ overall favorite cover, and while it made a bit more crinkling noise when bending than some others, it was reasonably quiet. The Pure Relief’s six levels of heating (between 105 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit) fell within the same general range as other pads’ minimum and maximum levels, but offered the smallest gaps between temperatures. This addresses a common complaint among our panel of heating pad owners that “medium is too low, but high is too hot,” and makes it easier to find the right temperature and adjust it than pads with a narrower range of options and larger jumps between settings.
The Pure Relief’s controller is simple to use: You turn the heat up or down, turn the auto-off timer on or off, and turn the pad on or off. Other pads require you to cycle through settings (such as off/low/medium/high), a design that makes it more likely you’ll accidentally leave the pad on or have to click multiple times to simply go down one level. The Pure Relief’s LCD screen has big numbers and backlighting, a change from the tiny red lights and lettering on most controllers. Its cord stays firmly plugged into the pad and will not come loose, unlike with some pads we tested. Its cover dried faster than those of most other pads after washing, it comes with a storage bag, and it is warrantied for five years—though we will be watching this model for long-term reliability.
Runner-up: Sunbeam King Size XpressHeat
Photo: Michael Hession
If the Pure Relief pad is unavailable or becomes more expensive than Sunbeam’s King Size XpressHeat heating pad, we recommend the latter model. It is nearly the same pad: The XpressHeat has six heating settings, a very similar texture on both sides, a controller with a backlit LCD screen, and an identical button layout to the Pure Relief, plus the same warranty coverage. (The Pure Relief is likely a less-expensive “clone” of the more-established Sunbeam pad.) We like the clip-in cord plug on the Pure Relief better than the plugs on models that make you apply significant force to separate the pad from its cord, or those that come loose too easily. We also found the rounded controller easier to hold in our hand than the square-edged models of other pads. The Pure Relief’s carrying tote, while nothing special, at least provides a properly sized means of storage. One tester thought the XpressHeat was notably louder when crunched or folded than the Pure Relief. Sunbeam claims this pad heats up “three times faster” than other models, but that isn’t something we noticed in testing.
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.
I wasn’t expecting to break a sweat when I visited Sony’s Wow Studio here at SXSW, despite the sweltering 90-degree weather. The tech giant is showing off about a dozen interactive demos at an air-conditioned warehouse here in Austin, and the event sounded like it would be really chill. But Sony wanted to make its visitors feel connected to its technology, and what better way to engage than through physical exertion?
Although the company has been attending SXSW since the show’s music festival days, this is only Sony’s second time bringing a warehouse full of quirky mini adventures to SXSW, and it’s expanded a bit beyond last year’s VR-heavy affair. Walking into the Wow Studio this year, you’re confronted with robots, photobooths and dark little rooms hiding mysterious demos with names like “Ghostly Whisper” and “Acoustic Vessel ‘Odyssey’.” You can stop to play with adorable new Aibos (that now understand English) if you wish, but the fun lies beyond the foyer.
Some of them have obvious sports themes. Things like “VR Soccer” and “A(i)r Hockey” showed off creative implementations of existing tech. For example, the soccer demo had me firing penalty kicks at a menacing goalkeeper character from the popular Captain Tsubasa manga series. This would probably have been more meaningful for a fan of the franchise, but for me it was simply amusing.
I was more impressed by the Air Hockey demo. Using a pair of Sony’s high-speed vision sensors, the system is able to track the puck and paddles on the table, and not only project colors onto each projectile, but also create virtual pucks. These come at you in later stages of the game, creating more challenging rounds.
Each paddle also housed vibration engines that buzzed when you touched a virtual puck, making the impact feel more realistic. There was barely any lag between the haptic feedback and me making contact with one of these faux pucks. At the height of drama during the game, things got so crazy that I had a hard time differentiating between the physical puck and the digital ones.
What’s intriguing about this particular demo is that the sensors are actually being used in self-driving cars to study moving objects at speeds of up to 1,000 frames per second. But instead of explaining how all of that works in a boring slideshow, Sony encouraged its engineers to come up with creative ways to engage the SXSW audience.
Shigeki Mori, head of brand strategy at Sony Japan, told Engadget that the mandate for employees when pitching SXSW concepts was to “please make it very experential.” The goal was to make people “feel something about the output,” and for the experiences to feel like “magic.” Mori believes that encouraging creative ideas and engaging with the SXSW audience is a “great way to get input,” which could eventually translate into something the company could use in the future.
Few of the projects shown at the Wow Studio will ever actually be launched as products for consumers, but they do show off creative implementations of existing tech. At “Interactive CUBE,” for example, Kinects, cameras and vibrating motors combined to facilitate games that let you use your body as a controller. In the “Rolling Rover” mini game, I had to swing my arms wildly to get the giant ball to move forward, and step side to side to make it go right or left. Nothing groundbreaking, but like any festival activation worth its salt, Interactive CUBE was extremely selfie- and photo-friendly (after you wipe off the sweat).
Being a horror buff, I was most excited to check out “Ghostly Whisper” — an installation borne from a collaboration between Sony and Universal Parks & Resorts. Billed as a “conceptual haunted experience,” this simulated series of paranormal incidents uses Sony’s Sonic Surf VR tech to play atmospheric sound, as well as send noises that seem to be coming from specific directions.
I was pleased with the quality of the tech setup — the eerie music and sudden flickers of sound were indeed realistic and felt like they came from where they were meant to. I only wish the experience had been more engaging, or that the plot moved along faster. Thanks to the long-drawn-out theatrics served by the tired-looking man in search of his daughter’s spirit, I almost felt relieved when things started to shake and lights began to flicker. Before long, the otherworldly noises gave way to an unsatisfying resolution, and I was left wanting (so much) more. The chills I expected to feel never showed up, unfortunately.
My disappointment at “Ghostly Whisper” was made up for at “Hero Generator,” which used Sony’s “Free-Viewpoint Visual Technology” to capture 360-degree footage of attendees to plop them in a superhero movie trailer. After being directed by a company rep, I made the appropriate faces and jumping actions while the room’s 16 cameras recorded. I still haven’t received my own superhero trailer just yet, as reps said it could take days to receive the file via the Sony Events app, but I’m excited to see how it turned out.
Ultimately, Sony has the right idea for tech demos at a show like SXSW. Focus less on explaining the tech or convincing people why you’re here — just wow your audience with magical experiences. On the whole, even if the components used at the Wow Studio weren’t necessarily the latest or most effective, I was still convinced that the stuff Sony is working on could be put to good use.
Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia just around the corner, right holders to the event are starting to share more details about their coverage plans. And, to no surprise to anyone, social media will play a major role in that. Fox Sports, FIFA’s English-language broadcast partner in the US, is going all out on Twitter this year with a partnership that includes a daily, 30-minute live show from Russia and bringing near-live highlights to the platform. Twitter, which has around 330 million active users, has been ramping up its sports efforts in recent years, and it plans to use the upcoming World Cup to showcase the power (and potential) of its platform. Just yesterday, the company announced a three-year deal with Major League Soccer to stream 24 games per season.
Fox Sports says that the show created alongside Twitter, called FIFA World Cup Now, will have 27 episodes — all of which are going to be streamed from a studio on Moscow’s Red Square. It’ll feature match previews, recaps, guest appearances from the likes of US football legend Landon Donovan and, of course, reactions from the world of Twitter. The network also plans to produce original content on the ground in Russia. Most importantly, perhaps, the partnership will let Twitter users watch highlights for each game almost in real time. Fox Sports says it can deliver cut-downs of notable moments, like goals scored, to the site in about two minutes. That’s impressive considering that, during the 2014 World Cup, it used to take ESPN 15 minutes to deliver highlights to the internet.
In addition to that, Twitter is also getting access to videos featuring player and coaches interviews, as well as pre- and post-match press conferences. It’s worth noting that Fox Sports’ daily live show and the other content it’s making for Twitter will only be available for users in the US, as the network only holds the rights to the 2018 World Cup here.
The show will stream live to Twitter from Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
“When you think of something as seminal as the World Cup,” said Kay Madati, Twitter’s vice president and global head of content partnerships, “it just presents this opportunity to marry the conversation that’s happening around the sport, and amplify it on our platform.” He said that, through efforts like the 2018 World Cup live show, Twitter is able to connect fans to the sport in a new, creative way — especially those who won’t be attending the event in Russia. Madati said that during the 2014 World Cup, which took place in Brazil, there were nearly 700 million tweets about it, noting that to this day the Brazil-Germany semifinal match is still the most-tweeted event in Twitter’s history. “I’m hoping to see that we break some of the records that we set before,” he said.
Madati pointed to these type of partnerships as being core to Twitter’s business strategy. The company also teamed up with People TV recently on an Oscars show, and it now also has a live NFL news and analysis program. Not surprisingly, Twitter isn’t the only one ramping up its video efforts, other industry giants like Facebook and Amazon are investing billions of dollars in the space.
But regardless of the competition, Madati believes Twitter continues to be the best place for interactive commentary, as it lets people have conversations with one another around something they love (or hate) in real time. “For us,” he said, “I think that we present a unique value proposition for users, and our business partners to actually extend reach, engagement and visibility, and fandom around sports or any other kind of activity in general.”
Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.
I want my phone to do everything, but that doesn’t mean I only want to use my phone.
There isn’t much your average phone can’t do these days. From communication to entertainment, research to shopping, it has never been easier for my phone to be my only computer. This week alone I have used my phone to write an article while on the exercise bike, finish Stargate Origins while waiting for my daughter to finish gymnastics practice, and do all of next week’s grocery shopping during a meeting I probably should have been paying closer
attention to (Sorry Phil). Being able to do all of these things is awesome, but Netflix reminded me this week that access does not mean utilization when it revealed a vast majority of people prefer the TV to the phone when watching.
When I want to disappear into a game for a while, I usually pick up my controller instead of my phone.
Granted, just because you’re watching Netflix on your television doesn’t mean your phone isn’t involved. The sheer volume of Chromecast sticks in the wild suggests more than a few of us are still using our phone in some capacity when watching TV these days, to say nothing of folks who surf Twitter while binging. That’s kind of the point though, it’s nice to have access to Netflix on my phone if I really want it, but having access doesn’t mean I’m going to use only that.
The same is true of gaming. Mobile games have improved a great deal over the last couple of years, leading to major console titles like Tomb Raider and Fortnite heading to the smaller screen. But when I want to disappear into a game for a while, I usually pick up my PlayStation 4 controller instead of my phone. Sony has seen the writing on the wall here, which is why things like PlayLink encourage you to use your phone as a controller for the console. Like the Jackbox games before it, PlayLink is all about meeting you where you are. It gives the people who are perfectly happy with playing on just their phones a reason to interact with a PlayStation 4. And it works, those games are ridiculously fun.
All of this makes me think about Razer and Samsung. The Razer Phone laptop dock and the Samsung Dex Pad are efforts to make it possible to use your phone to do more, but it’s unlikely either are going to fully replace my trusty desktop. Not just because I’m a big VR nerd, either. I like having my phone as an accessory to my PC in much the same way people like having their phones as an accessory to watching TV. As silly as it seems, I can use the small screen to give me a break from the bigger screen. Maybe it’s to clear my head for a moment and focus my thoughts, but that physical disconnect from one action to the next is more helpful to me than opening a tab on my PC.
Some other thoughts to close out your week:
- Andrew and Alex did an incredible job on the Galaxy S9+ review and video. It’s so cool to see them push themselves to deliver something even better each time.
- So far no sign of any gesture-based navigation in Android P, but tons of great new things are on the way.
- I’m not sure I buy into the OMG Pixel 3 will have a notch but it wouldn’t exactly surprise me.
- Quick reminder that Apple did not invent the notch, nor are these other manufacturers copying Apple. Phone life cycles are a lot longer than that, these phones were deep into the concept phase long before Apple made any announcements.
- We’re going to keep talking about PlayStation 4 stuff. We just are. This team is doing a great job so far, and those who have offered a warm welcome to the new information are deeply appreciated on this side of the screen.
That’s it for now — almost time to do it all again next week!
Wherein we help you pick a great Micro-USB cable.
I understand. USB-C is the new hotness. But for all your legacy devices (and to charge tons of peripherals still), a good Micro-USB cable can go a long way. These are the best of the best around.
- EZOPower Micro-USB cable
- ReTrak Premier Series Retractable Micro-USB cable
- Anker 10-foot Nylon Braided Micro-USB cable
- Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable
- iXCC Micro-USB cable
- Rampow braided nylon Micro-USB cable
- Ailkin 6-foot braided nylon Micro-USB cable
- iSeekerKit 1-foot Micro-USB cable
EZOPower Micro-USB cable
If you need a longer yet inexpensive Micro-USB cable, the EZOPower Micro-USB cable works very well.
It’s six feet long, so you have plenty of length to play with, whether you’re charging your phone in your car or at home. With charging speeds of 2.1A, you’ll top up your battery in no time at all.
Additionally, with its data transfer rate of 480Mbps, you can sync music or other files from your computer to your phone in seconds. Grab it in white, green, or orange, starting around $5.
See at Amazon
ReTrak Premier Series Retractable Micro-USB cable
If you’re tired of dealing with messy cables while traveling, the ReTrak Retractable Micro-USB cable may be the one for you.
Available in black in addition to seven bright colors, this Micro-USB cable retracts neatly into a small case — forget about wasting time winding and unwinding cables — a light tug pulls the cable into its casing. When expanded, this Micro-USB cable reaches a length of 3.2 feet in total.
Also, it has a transfer speed of 480Mbps, so you can sync music, pictures, or anything else from your computer to your phone in no time at all. Pricing starts around $8.
See at Amazon
Anker 10-foot Nylon Braided Micro-USB cable
Anker’s 10-foot Nylon Braided Micro-USB cable is a good choice if you have limited power outlets in a large room and you need the reach.
Constructed of braided nylon, this cable is strong, durable, and resists tangling. Anker claims that this cable has a lifespan of more than 4,000 bends, and customer reviews seem to back this up. Its gold-plated connectors aid in resisting corrosion as well.
Another benefit of this cable is that it gives you a 480Mbps data transfer speed, as well as fast charging.
If you want a durable, extra-long Micro-USB cable that’s fast, the Anker 10-foot Nylon Braided Micro-USB cable is the one for you. And it’s only $8.
See at Amazon
Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable
The Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable is rated highly by consumers, as well as The Wirecutter, because it is very durable and performs its job well. It’s also rather inexpensive at only $5.
Made of Kevlar — the same stuff that bulletproof vests are made from — this cable isn’t going to fray or otherwise break down any time soon. In fact, Anker boasts that it has a 10,000 bend lifespan, which customer reviews appear to confirm.
Additionally, its heavier-gauge wires are able to charge your device fast.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive Micro-USB cable that will last for years without fraying and coming apart at the ends, the Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable might be your best choice.
See at Amazon
iXCC Micro-USB cable
iXCC’s Micro-USB cable is the best-selling one on Amazon, with 75% of its 10,461 reviews being 5-star. It comes in 3, 6, and 10 feet, and you can get a 3-pack with all 3 sizes, so you have a cable for all occasions. iXCC claims a lifespan of over 20 thousand bends, and it has a reinforced boot so that you have added strength where it matters most.
If you’re concerned with value and want some durable, reliable Micro-USB cables, then check out a three-pack from iXCC for around $12. Single cables start around $5.
See at Amazon
Rampow braided nylon Micro-USB cable
If you’re looking for a durable option, then braided nylon is the best way to go. It holds up better to bending than rubber cables, and Rampow’s cables feature stainless steel connectors. Braided nylon cables also resist tangling better than other cables, so toss a Rampow cable in your bag as is and don’t worry about pulling out a rat’s nest.
The best part of Rampow’s Micro-USB cable is Rampow’s unconditional lifetime warranty. If anything at all goes wrong with your cable (aside from you cutting it up with scissors), give Rampow a shout and it’ll replace it for you. Comes in space gray or red starting at $8.
See at Amazon
Ailkin 6-foot braided nylon Micro-USB cable
Braided nylon is a fantastic solution to the tangled cable problem, and Ailkin’s 6-foot cables are the perfect option for anyone who’s looking for major bang for their buck. You get a five-pack of colorful cables for only $12 on Amazon. They come in blue, pink, silver, orange, and green, making this one the perfect option for a family — everyone gets their own color!
There’s also a pack that subs in purple and red instead of pink and orange if you prefer.
See at Amazon
iSeekerKit 1-foot Micro-USB cable
If you’re at your desk, on your laptop, or somewhere you really don’t need 6 feet of cable, then check out iSeekerKit’s three-pack of 1-foot cables. They’re wrapped in braided nylon and come in eight colors to suit your style. Each three-pack is only about $8 and makes for a perfect travel cable. If you’re someone who likes to carry around a phone and a battery bank, this is also a great option to help cut down on long cords in your pockets.
See at Amazon
We’ve laid out our picks for best Micro-USB cables, but how about you? Which Micro-USB cables are you using and why are they awesome? Let us know in the comments below.
Updated March 2018: Updated pricing and added Ailkin’s colorful five-pack for anyone looking for big-time value, as well as iSeekerKit’s three-pack of 1-foot cables.
It’s turning out to be a great week for falling objects. China’s first space station is set to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, IBM’s 50-qubit processor record was felled by Google’s latest invention, the FBI and Geek Squad’s cozy narc relationship has been revealed and the White House has decided it wants to be able to shoot civilian drones out of the skies. Numbers, because how else will you gauge how fast you’re falling?
Twice: Since being launched in September of 2011, China’s Tiangong-1 space station has only hosted a pair of crewed missions. There won’t be a third because that big ole’ hunk of space metal will come crashing down into the Earth’s atmosphere sometime between now and the middle of April. Thanks a lot, gravity.
“Months”: That’s how long the Trump administration has reportedly been working on plans to allow federal agencies to track and shoot down civilian drones. And like most of the policies set forth by this administration, the drone ruling could be implemented tomorrow, next week, four months from now or not at all, depending exclusively on the whims of the President. Because that’s how good governance is supposed to work.
10 years: That’s how long the FBI has been using Geek Squad to surreptitiously spy on computers brought in for repair, the EFF has discovered. The Feds leveraged the repair center in its fight against child porn, at least that’s the story they’re sticking with.
Extremely: That’s how screwed Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is. His company forged documents and lied to investors to raise $26 million while leaving festival goers to fend for themselves on an uninhabited Bahaman island. McFarland is facing 40 years in the clink for his role in the scam (aka a pair of wire fraud counts).
$954 million: That’s how much the FCC plans to spend to rebuild Puerto Rico’s devastated telecom system. Can’t wait to see how badly the administration bungles this task given the bang-up job they did restoring the island’s water and power.
22: That’s how many more qubits Google manages to wrangle in its fancy new Bristlecone quantum chip than former record holder IBM is able to. This should help make the new few years of AI research very interesting.
25kHz and 180Hz: Those are the ultrasonic frequencies that Cuban spies might have used in order to eavesdrop on (and potentially deafen) US and Canadian Embassy workers last year, according to a study from the University of Michigan. However, the study is not conclusive and doesn’t alternative causes, so internet conspiracy theorists, do your thing.