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26
Mar

Lexus Debuts First CarPlay Vehicle in All-New 2019 UX Crossover


Lexus today announced that CarPlay will be a standard feature in the all-new 2019 UX crossover in the United States, marking its first confirmed vehicle with support for Apple’s in-car software platform.

CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, but not Android Auto, will be available through the vehicle’s Enform 2.0 system. Lexus said the CarPlay implementation will be wired, so the iPhone must be connected via USB cable, but it hasn’t specified how large the touchscreen will be or provided other details about the system.


Lexus and its parent company Toyota are among the last of the major automakers to support CarPlay, after having initially chosen the open source platform SmartDeviceLink in partnership with Ford and Livio.

Toyota reversed course in January, starting with the 2019 Avalon, and CarPlay will be a standard feature in the 2019 Corolla Hatchback as well. The forthcoming 2019 Camry and 2019 Sienna will also likely feature CarPlay given the 2018 models of those vehicles are already equipped with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 system.

Toyota and Lexus plan to expand CarPlay availability to several other 2019 model year vehicles. A spokesperson for Toyota told MacRumors that it doesn’t have plans to support the platform in pre-2019 vehicles at this time.

Lexus is debuting the 2019 UX at the New York International Auto Show later this week. The vehicle is expected to go on sale at dealerships across the United States in December. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

Related Roundup: CarPlayTag: Lexus
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26
Mar

HQ Trivia Will Have Surprise $100,000 Prize Today and $250,000 Prize on Wednesday as Game Gets First Sponsors


HQ Trivia prize pots are about to get a lot bigger as the live trivia show brings on its first corporate sponsors and advertisers.

To celebrate Nike’s Air Max Day today, for example, HQ will be hosting a surprise 15-question game with a shared $100,000 prize. It appears this will be a bonus round in addition to the regular games at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, so players will need to keep an eye on their iPhones for a notification at any time.

A spokesperson for HQ told MacRumors that the game will also feature “a prize that money can’t buy” for 100 winners. Based on promotional tweets from HQ and Nike, the prize could be limited edition pairs of Air Max shoes.

Airing 3.26 pic.twitter.com/e3OpLdrrlr

— HQ Trivia (@hqtrivia) March 26, 2018

Then, on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, HQ will be hosting its biggest game yet — a $250,000 prize pot — sponsored by the upcoming Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One. Over the weekend, Ad Age reported that HQ inked a $3 million deal with studio Warner Bros. to promote three films in total.

This Wednesday, Ready Player One and HQ Trivia invite you to join the leaderboard! Download the HQ Trivia App to play: https://t.co/FsnefCe3T9 pic.twitter.com/xLwhxvhNM4

— Ready Player One (@readyplayerone) March 26, 2018

HQ’s largest jackpot to date has been $50,000, won by a single player on Sunday night. The game’s record high for players is nearly 2.2 million, set on the evening of Sunday, March 4, during the 90th Academy Awards.

HQ’s standard prize amount was recently raised to $5,000, which is often split by tens if not hundreds of players, in which cases each winner ends up with a small prize like $5 or $10. It’s unclear if every round of HQ will eventually be sponsored, or if the larger jackpots will only take place periodically.

For those unaware, HQ is a live trivia show that launched on iPhone in August, and on Android around New Year’s Day. In a standard game, players attempt to answer a series of 12 questions correctly to win a cash prize. To reduce cheating, players have less than 10 seconds to choose one of three answers.

The show is hosted every day at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and at 3:00 p.m. every weekday, most often by comedian Scott Rogowsky. A valuable tip: you can swipe right on the chat to hide the endless flow of comments.

If you haven’t played HQ yet, you can download the game from the App Store and sign up for free. The app is also available on Google Play.

Tag: HQ Trivia
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26
Mar

New iTunes Gift Card Sales Debut at Best Buy, Target, and Costco


A few retailers have kicked off the week with new discounts on App Store and iTunes gift cards, offering either straight percentage discounts on the cards or BOGO sales. Below we’ve rounded up each retailer that has offers going on this week, so if you’re interested be sure to visit the sites and place your order before they end.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Costco – Ends March 31

If you’re a Costco member the company has some of the best iTunes gift card sales this week, with discounts of up to 18 percent off. These will be delivered via e-mail and Costco places a limit of two card codes per member.

  • $200 iTunes gift card – $164.99
  • $100 iTunes gift card – $84.49
  • $25 iTunes gift card – $21.49

Target – Ends March 31

Target has again launched its usual buy one, get one iTunes card promo, allowing users to purchase one card for full price and get another for 20 percent off. The offer is valid on $15, $25, $50, and $100 iTunes cards and will be delivered via email.

The 20 percent discount will be applied to the lower priced item, so multiple price tiers can be added at once, and after two cards are placed in your cart you’ll notice the discount. A few examples of BOGO discounts available from Target are listed below (note that REDcard holders can get an additional 5 percent off their total order price):

  • 2x $15 iTunes cards – $27, down from $30
  • 2x $25 iTunes cards – $45, down from $50
  • 2x $50 iTunes cards – $90, down from $100
  • 2x $100 iTunes cards – $180, down from $200

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering simple 10 percent discounts on a variety of iTunes gift card tiers, the best being $10 off $100. Note that Best Buy’s sale is covering both physical cards as well as those delivered via e-mail.

  • $50 iTunes gift card physical / e-mail delivery – $45
  • $100 iTunes gift card physical / e-mail delivery – $90

For more sales information, head over to our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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26
Mar

OPPO F5 review: Great selfies come at a premium


The OPPO F5 continues the company’s ‘Selfie Expert’ pitch with AI smarts to enhance your selfies. It also keeps up with the latest trend of tall displays with 18:9 aspect ratio, a trend that became mainstream in 2017, trickling down to even budget smartphones.

The OPPO F5 doesn’t pack in top-of-the-line specifications for the price it comes at, but aims to impress customers with its camera prowess wrapped in an attractive chassis.

Read: The best phones in India under Rs. 20,000

Does the OPPO F5 manage to offer a nice package where the sum of whole is greater than the parts? I spent two weeks with the device, and here’s my detailed OPPO F5 review.

For this Oppo F5 review, I took the recently launched Indian variant of the OPPO F5 – OPPO F5 Sidharth Edition – for a spin. This variant, available in Dashing Blue color, is in partnership with the company’s brand ambassador, the film actor, Sidharth Malhotra. This one packs in 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage while there’s another higher spec’d variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.Show More

Design

From a distant glance, the finish on the rear makes the OPPO F5 look like a metal unibody smartphone, but in fact, it’s all plastic when observed up close. That does make it lightweight though, and, at 152 grams with just 7.5mm in thickness, it is fairly manageable to use and handle despite the tall display. The rounded edges also make the OPPO F5 quite ergonomic for one-handed usage.

The rear camera does protrude a little but it’s not a showstopper, since the phone doesn’t wobble when it rests on the back.

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On the front, there’s not much hunky-dory. The display rests on a plastic trim and does not merge seamlessly into the body which obfuscates the design. Also, while OPPO claims the phone sports an edge-to-edge display, there are still enough bezels on the top and bottom and an annoying black border around the display.

The F5 comes with a plastic screen protector affixed, which is good enough for most people who prefer screen protection, but I removed it as soon as I took the smartphone out of the box. The edge of the screen protector forms another line on the display, which is distracting and also picks up scuffs and smudges.

The blue color variant of the OPPO F5 clearly dazzles and looks really slick, and I’d really recommend you pick this one over the black or gold ones. There’s also a fancy red edition but it’s only available for the 6GB + 64GB memory variant.

Display

The OPPO F5 sports a bright 6-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The taller display works well with the ergonomics of the phone and offers an immersive experience especially while watching videos or playing games.

The display is crisp and boasts punchy colors. The bright display makes for pretty good sunlight legibility and the viewing angles are great too.

Performance

Moving on with our OPPO F5 review, the phone is powered by the MediaTek MT6763T octa-core processor paired with 4GB of RAM. This setup is definitely not for those who want raw performance. In its price segment, the F5 wouldn’t impress you with its specifications sheet, and that’s not what OPPO is going for anyway.

The F5 was launched with the 4GB variant that packs in 32GB of storage, but there’s another variant now with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. While the extra storage never hurts, the premium one pays for that extra bit of RAM doesn’t make much sense, considering the modest processor.

Overall, the OPPO F5 is a capable performer if you don’t stretch it too much.

The F5 performs quite well for everyday tasks. Multitasking is smooth, and the UI does not feel sluggish at any time, even with multiple apps open in the background. That said, as is expected, it struggles with graphic-intensive games at higher graphic settings. Overall, the OPPO F5 is a capable performer if you don’t stretch it too much.

OPPO F5 comes with a 3,200-mAh battery which lasts for a full work day on heavy usage, which is good enough for a phone with a 6-inch display. The lack of fast charging is disappointing though, and it takes about two hours to charge the phone from zero to 100%.

Hardware

For a smartphone at this price, the microUSB port you get on the OPPO F5 is disappointing. I would’ve preferred USB Type-C along with the support for fast charging.

The fingerprint sensor at the back is slightly elongated and placed well. The authentication is quick, and seamless almost every time.

Camera

That brings us to the marquee feature of the phone and a core part of our OPPO F5 review. OPPO was one of the first brands to validate the growing trend of selfies and has offered multiple capabilities in their selfie-focused smartphones, from beautification features to AI-backed enhancements.

Read: The best Android camera phones

The OPPO F5 boasts a 20MP front camera with an f/2.0 aperture. The highlight of the front camera is the AI-based facial recognition technology. OPPO claims that the technology scans about 200 positioning points on your face and then accentuates the facial landmarks. Crisper jawline and well-defined cheekbones, for example. It also automatically judges the background lighting conditions, so that your portraits have the appropriate luminance.

Technical specifics aside, the front camera on the F5 does take some great selfies. The portraits taken in good lighting conditions are crisp, color reproduction is great, and the captured shots are rich in details. In low light, there’s a definite dip in the image quality, but still most selfies turn up good enough for sharing on Facebook or Instagram and garnering likes. In some shots, though, the objects in the background aren’t reproduced quite well, which looks odd.

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The front camera also attempts to emulate the bokeh effect via some software wizardry, similar to the Google Pixel 2. In my experience, several shots had blurry edges, but were still good enough for the usual social media sharing. The artificial depth effect is a gimmick, but one that a lot of people would lap up.

While the front camera gets all the attention, the 16MP rear camera with f/1.8 sensor is no slouch. In good daylight conditions, the photos come out great, with good amount of details and vivid colors. In low light though, it struggles quite a bit and considerable noise creeps in. Yet there’s enough amount of details and the low-light pics are passable.

One of the biggest issues with the rear camera is that it either takes a while to focus on the subject or the autofocus messes up while taking a quick picture.

Software

OPPO F5 runs ColorOS, the company’s proprietary UI layer on top of Android 7.1 Nougat. ColorOS is a heavily themed, yet quite polished skin that takes liberal inspiration from iOS. It’s jarring for someone coming from stock Android, but, like most Android customizations, it grows on you.

Android Nougat is disappointing, more so since there’s no clear information about an upgrade to Android Oreo.

The F5 comes preloaded with OPPO’s versions of primary apps like Photos, Music, Videos, et al, and a handful of third-party apps like Facebook WPS Office, Amazon, and Prime Video. There’s also OPPO’s own app store and an app to pick themes and wallpapers.

OPPO F5 also supports unlocking the phone using facial recognition, but it’s a pain to set up and face recognition is patchy. It fails often in diverse lighting conditions (and not just in low light) at different locations. Even when it works, it’s slower than fingerprint authentication, so in just a few days, I got back to the faster and more natural way of using the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone.

Specifications

Operating System ColorOS 3.2, based on Android 7.1
Display 15.24cm (6-inch) LTPS TFT
Full HD+ (2160 x 1080)18:9 aspect ratio
Processor MT6763T octa-core
Mali G71 MP2 GPU
RAM 4GB/6GB
Storage 32GB/64GB
Expandable up to 256GB with microSD card
Front Camera 20MP
LED flash
f/2.0 aperture
1/2.8” sensor
Rear Camera 16MP
LED flash
f/1.8 aperture
Battery 3,200mAh
Dimensions 156.5 x 76 x 7.5mm
Weight 152g

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

To wrap up our OPPO F5 review, the phone doesn’t fail in its claim of being a ‘Selfie Expert’. Most people would buy an OPPO smartphone for camera quality, and in most cases, the F5 doesn’t disappoint. Honestly, a power-user looking for performance wouldn’t bet on an OPPO anyway, and that aside, the F5 should serve most people quite well in terms of performance. There’s also a wonderful display to boot.

OPPO F5 is for those who don’t mind paying a premium for some great selfies.

But, as our OPPO F5 review shows, there are a fair bit of compromises, like the plastic build, the design oddities, and the use of Android Nougat instead of Oreo.

Read next: The best flagship phones in India

OPPO F5 is for those who don’t mind paying a premium for some great selfies, even if there are more well-rounded options at a lesser price in the market.

26
Mar

YouTube plans to ‘frustrate’ music fans into paying for its ad-free service


If a music streaming service started serving up more ads between tracks, would it persuade you to fork out for a subscription that eliminates those ads, or would it drive you to search out a rival service instead?

YouTube’s global head of music said in recent days the company plans to “frustrate” users into paying a monthly fee for its soon-to-launch music streaming service by serving up more ads with the free version. Lyor Cohen revealed the strategy during an interview at South by Southwest, Bloomberg reported.

The plan, the executive said, is to “smoke out” people who have the money to pay for the service and gently nudge them toward it. YouTube’s new subscription service, which is expected to launch this year after completion of final testing with thousands of its employees, will feature exclusive content such as music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and playlists, with no ads interrupting the service.

Cohen said the idea would be to “frustrate and seduce” YouTube users to become subscribers, saying, “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”

Offering an example, he said, “You’re not going to be happy after you’re jamming Stairway to Heaven and you get an ad right after that.”

Keen to clarify Cohen’s comments, YouTube insisted the company’s top priority is to “deliver a great user experience, and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads. For a specific subset of users who use YouTube like a paid music service today, and would benefit most from additional features, we may show more ads or promotional prompts to upsell to our paid service.” In other words, more ads for some users. Which may or may not annoy them.

YouTube hopes its subscription service will help to reassure record-industry executives who for a long time have complained of a lack of revenue from the streaming giant considering the number of people that use it to listen to music for free.

The Google-owned company has revealed few details about its forthcoming subscription service, which looks set to unite its paid Google Play Music offering with YouTube Music, a free app that landed three years ago offering music with ads.

Google launched Google Play Music in 2011, but it hasn’t fared well against the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. It followed up with Music Key in 2014, offering subscribers ad-free music videos, but a lack of interest saw Music Key succeeded by YouTube Red in 2015. Red eliminates ads and includes original programming, offline viewing, and background playback for $10 a month.

No subscription fees have been mentioned for YouTube’s upcoming service, but with both Spotify and Apple Music charging $10 a month for basic streaming plans, YouTube is expected to charge a similar amount.

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  • Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?
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26
Mar

After leaving China and Russia, Uber also exits Southeast Asia rideshare market


Having already exited the Chinese and Russian markets due to the strength of local competitors, ridesharing service Uber says it’s pulling out of the Southeast Asian market, too.

Announced on Monday morning, March 26, Uber has agreed to sell its ridesharing business in Southeast Asia to its main competitor in the region, Grab, which is backed by Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank and Didi Chuxing, the leading ridesharing firm in China. Its UberEATS meal-delivery operation is also part of the deal.

Founded in Singapore in 2012, Grab operates across eight countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The Uber app will work for two more weeks, giving drivers a chance to sign up to Grab.

In a deal similar in many ways to those inked with rivals in China and Russia over the last two years, Uber will get a 27.5 percent stake in Grab. The value of this stake hasn’t been identified but it is believed to be worth several billion dollars. Five hundred Uber employees will also be offered positions with Grab, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will get a seat on Grab’s board.

In an email to staff seen by Recode, Khosrowshahi insisted the move allowed the San Francisco-based company to concentrate its efforts on its main markets while retaining the opprtunity to make money in the places that it has left behind.

“It is fair to ask whether consolidation is now the strategy of the day, given this is the third deal of its kind, from China to Russia and now Southeast Asia,” Khosrowshahi said in the email. “The answer is no. One of the potential dangers of our global strategy is that we take on too many battles across too many fronts and with too many competitors.” Uber’s CEO said this latest deal “now puts us in a position to compete with real focus and weight in the core markets where we operate, while giving us valuable and growing equity stakes in a number of big and important markets where we don’t.”

Uber ended its operations in China in August 2016 in the face of stiff competition from Didi, and almost a year later did the same in Russia when local operator Yandex proved too strong.

The company was known to be losing huge amounts of money in these markets, prompting it to strike deals with powerful local operators that cost it its operation in those places but at the same time gave it a stake in each of the businesses. After SoftBank invested in Uber last year to become its biggest backer, the Japanese company had reportedly been pushing for further consolidation to help boost revenues. Monday’s news indicates it has gotten its wish.

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  • Boxy Toyota e-Palette concept is designed to transport both people and pizzas


26
Mar

Are you still using the stock launcher on your Galaxy S9?


Samsung’s TouchWiz launcher isn’t the monster it’s made out to be.

While most everyone can agree that Samsung makes some of the best smartphone hardware around, the same isn’t true when talking about the software experience found on these devices. Some people love the Samsung Experience / TouchWiz interface, but on the other hand, there are folks that can’t stand it.

samsung-galaxy-s9-plus-rhinoshield-case-

Now that the Galaxy S9’s been out for a hot minute, we decided to check in with our forum users to see if they’re still rocking the phone’s default launcher or if they’ve moved to something like Nova or Action Launcher.

Here’s what they had to say.

avatar2577216_9.gifZOMMBIE1
03-19-2018 08:51 PM

I haven’t used nova since the S8+ The stock launcher is a lot smoother and uses less ram and battery life. (not including that second app Tesla for notifications) I like that it added the landscape mode for the home screen now also. It just keeps getting better and better. And it feels good not having all those hundreds of icon packs updating every day lol

Reply

avatar1065439_2.gifbhatech
03-19-2018 09:29 PM

Currently running touchwiz launcher which is fine, only thing I miss is the integrated Google page on the left of the home screen. For now I’ll keep TouchWiz launcher but most likely will eventually switch to Nova.

Reply

avatar2059354_1.gifL0n3N1nja
03-19-2018 10:55 PM

Honestly I’ve used Nova, I’ve had the paid version for a few years, haven’t used it since I got my Note 5. I see no reason to download it and have it run in place of Samsungs when it adds nothing I need. I don’t use the gestures or most of the customization features.

Reply

avatar75366_8.gifmissmotta
03-20-2018 01:10 AM

I instantly started with Nova Launcher Prime but I’m going to give the stock launcher a go. I’ll still be using Gboard and Textra so I can keep the dark themes I like there… Hopefully I’ll enjoy using all the new Oreo features that my s7 didn’t have with N.

Reply

Now, we want to hear from you – Are you still rocking the Galaxy S9’s default launcher?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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26
Mar

Fitbit Versa and Android: Top 10 things you need to know


Fitbit’s got a winner on its hands.

I’m a big fan of 2017’s Fitbit Ionic, but as it turns out, a lot of people aren’t. Not pleased at all with the Ionic’s sales performance, Fitbit went back to the drawing board to create something that’d appeal to a larger audience. Five months later, we have the Fitbit Versa.

Where the Ionic is a smartwatch that’s really meant for sports and fitness enthusiasts, the Versa is supposed to be Fitbit’s truly mass appeal option. There’s a lot the Versa has going for it, and if you’ve been thinking about picking one up for yourself, these are the top 10 things you need to know before doing so.

See at Fitbit

It’s incredibly small and lightweight

fitbit-versa-review-16.jpg?itok=VfCC8lRS

Fitbit Versa (left) and Fitbit Ionic (right)

The Fitbit Versa looks like the love-child of a Pebble Time and Apple Watch, and that honestly works towards its benefit. The watch feels great on my wrist, and when Fitbit says it’s the “lightest metal smartwatch you can buy in the U.S. today”, it’s not joking around. The Versa practically disappears once you strap it on, and this makes wearing it for hours on end a joy.

Practicality isn’t the only thing the Versa gets right, however. Not only does the Versa feel good, it also looks good. Fitbit went with a squircle design for Versa’s body, and it’s available in Black, Graphite, Silver, and Rose Gold colors with a variety of different bands.

Versa looks right at home when worn at the gym with a sports band, but throwing on something leather or metal dresses it up nicely for a night out on the town. This flexibility with its design is really what wins me over, and it’s something I think Fitbit knocked out of the park.

Proprietary bands

fitbit-versa-review-11.jpg?itok=9z2wLK0a

Speaking of watch bands, it’s worth mentioning that Fitbit decided to go with proprietary ones. The watch bands here are different than the Ionic’s, and you can swap them out by moving a small metal nub that’s on each one. They’re not as easy to take on and off compared to the Ionic’s bands, but they often feel more secure thanks to the new mechanism.

Fitbit sells a number of bands in different colors and materials directly on its website, but you can also find a good selection of third-party ones on Amazon that cost considerably less.

Battery life is decent

fitbit-versa-review-18.jpg?itok=44zaYT-z

Battery life on the Fitbit Ionic is easily one of its best features, and despite the smaller size of the Versa, Fitbit’s touting that it can still get 4+ days of use on a single charge. Unfortunately, in my personal use, I found this to be a bit generous.

When using the Versa, I have notifications coming in all day long, use the Starbucks app to pay for my coffee, occasionally check the weather, use it hard for about one-hour at the gym, and track my sleep. With this sort of use, I saw around 2 to 2 1/2 days of use.

That’s not nearly on the same level as the Ionic’s 4-5 days of juice, but it’s also better than the vast majority of other smartwatches on the market.

There’s no GPS

Although the Versa has most of the same features that the Ionic does, one thing you won’t find is built-in GPS. As such, if you want to go for a run/walk and see a path of where you go, you’ll need to bring your phone with you.

The lack of GPS is not a big deal.

I personally prefer to have GPS on my smartwatches, but that’s also because I’m a huge running nut. This likely won’t be a huge deal for most people, and anyone that needs built-in GPS that badly likely won’t blink an eye before picking up the Ionic.

NFC is only available with the Special Edition

Fitbit introduced Fitbit Pay with the Ionic last October, and this allows you to use the watch to pay for things at grocery stores, vending machines, and other places that accept NFC as a form of payment. Fitbit Pay makes a return to the Versa, but only for certain models.

In the U.S., only the Special Edition Versa comes with NFC to support Fitbit Pay. The Special Edition also comes with an exclusive fabric band in two color options, and this will set you back $30 more compared to the standard variant. However, if you live in Asia or Europe, NFC/Fitbit Pay will be available on all models.

The Versa is an excellent fitness-tracker

fitbit-versa-review-10_0.jpg?itok=UxHfI2

This should go without saying, but the Fitbit Versa is a superb fitness-tracker. It can do basic things like track your steps, calories burned, distance, stairs, and active minutes, but the Versa also goes far beyond that. Wearing the watch to bed will track how long you sleep and the quality of your rest, and Fitbit’s PurePulse heart-rate tracking keeps tabs on how fast or slow your heart is pumping 24/7.

The Exercise app can record a variety of workouts, such as Run, Walk, Treadmill, Weights, and more, and you can even use Versa to log your swims thanks to 50M water-resistance. If you want to take things a step further, there’s also the Fitbit Coach app.

Fitbit Coach offers guided workout routines directly on Versa’s screen, and there are three included out of the box. If you decide to pay $39.99/year for Fitbit Coach, however, you’ll get up to six that often change based on your performance and fitness level.

Fitbit OS 2.0 is polished and fast

fitbit-versa-review-1_0.jpg?itok=Dl6M8b1

Fitbit OS powers the Versa, and this is the same operating system that shipped with the Ionic. Fitbit has since updated the platform to v2.0, and it offers a lot of welcome improvements.

The Fitbit Today app now shows more information than ever, including your three most recent workouts, a 7-day graph for your primary goal (such as steps, calories, etc.), and your resting heart-rate for the past week. Apps open faster, animations are considerably smoother, and you can now use Deezer to store music right on the Versa (in addition to Pandora and any local music you already own).

Quick Replies are coming in May (Android only)

When paired with your phone, the Versa will notify you of any incoming calls, text messages, calendar appointments, and notifications from any other apps you’ve granted permission to. Being alerted of these things is great, but as it stands, there’s no way to interact with these things. Thankfully, this will soon be changing.

You’ll be able to use five customizable responses.

This coming May, Fitbit will add Quick Replies to the Versa and Ionic, allowing you to reply to texts, WhatsApp messages, and more right from your wrist. There will be five pre-loaded responses that you can send, and you’ll be able to customize what these say in the Fitbit app (up to 60 characters per response).

Quick Replies are currently an Android-only feature, meaning that they won’t work if you pair the Versa with an iPhone or (shudder) Windows Phone.

Pricing starts at just $199

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If you’re interested in buying the Versa, it’ll cost you $199.95 for the standard version and $229.95 for the Special Edition. The standard option comes in Black, Rose Gold, and Silver colors for the body, each being accompanied by a matching silicon band.

The Special Edition offers a woven fabric band in favor of silicon, and it’s available with a Graphite and Rose Gold body.

Pre-orders are live now!

Pre-orders for the Fitbit Versa are live now, with shipments expected to go out in the next three to four weeks. If you’re in the market for a solid wearable that performs admirably as both a fitness tracker and smartwatch without breaking the bank, the Versa is absolutely worth a look.

See at Fitbit

26
Mar

Today only, get huge discounts on monitors, keyboards, hard drives, and more on Amazon


Some seriously good options today.

If you’re looking for new PC hardware, today’s Amazon Gold Box sale is one you don’t want to miss. This selection includes everything from Acer 4K monitors for less than $300 to new gaming laptops, portable hard drives, and more.

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The brands in this sale are some of the top names in computer accessories, including Acer, Razer, Logitech, and HyperX. There are pre-built desktops, headsets, routers, and tons of other gear on sale. This is one day only, so get it while you can. Here’s a few of the better deals we found:

  • WD My Passport X 2TB portable drive for Xbox One – $62.99 (from $90)
  • Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum surround sound gaming headset – $69.99 (from $100)
  • Razer BlackWidow X Chroma Mercury Edition mechanical keyboard – $119.99 (from $150)
  • Acer 4K FreeSync gaming monitor – $279.99 (from $305)
  • Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop – $949 (from $1,050)

Check out the full sale on Amazon.

See on Amazon

26
Mar

Pokémon Go updated with research challenges to discover Mew


Professor Willow needs your help.

Just like a fine wine, Pokémon Go keeps getting better and better with age. In the latest update to the game, developer Niantic is adding two new research challenges that players can compete in – Field Research and Special Research.

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Field Research tasks can be completed by visiting PokéStops, and upon doing so, players will be given special objectives to find and catch certain types of Pokémon, engage in special battles, and a host of other challenges. As for Special Research assignments, these are given to you directly by Professor Willow through which you’ll make “important discoveries.”

Players can complete as many of these Research challenges as they want each day, and each one comes with its own difficulty level. As you finish more challenging ones, you’ll be rewarded with more valuable items. Along with this, you can also get one Stamp each day if you finish a minimum of one Field Research. Once you get seven Stamps, players get a Research Breakthrough that offers even better items and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a Legendary Pokémon.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Niantic also notes that –

A series of mysterious happenings is occurring all over the world, and Professor Willow is seeking Trainers to help him find out if this is connected to the Mythical Pokémon Mew.

Research tasks will be made available “later this week”, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!

Pokémon Go gains 50 more monsters and real-time weather mechanic

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