The morning commute was a little rougher for iPhone users on Friday, June 15: Apple’s Maps app went down for users worldwide. As the default navigation app for both iOS and MacOS, the outage affected millions of users.
Apple first acknowledged the problem at 8:48 a.m. ET, after Twitter users started complaining of problems online. Apple’s Support Page listed issues with both “Maps & Routing Navigation” and “Map Search.” Details concerning the cause of the outage were not listed, though we contacted the Map app team and will update our coverage as we learn more.
Hey @AppleSupport how about some indication of when #apple #maps is going to come back. I had to download Google Maps. The one time in a month that I need the service and its down? Please search "apple maps" on Twitter for confirmation of the problem.
— Michael S. Manley (@michaelsmanley) June 15, 2018
While maps loaded in the Maps app on iOS and MacOS, users were unable to search for locations or use navigation features. For those who attempted to use Maps, they were greeted with either a “Directions not available,” or “Route information is not available at the moment” notification.
Originally created as a competitor to Google Maps, Maps provides multi-modal navigation assistance. Maps offers walking, driving, and public transit directions in many cities, as well as the ability to hail taxis and ridesharing apps. Last year, Apple began adding indoor maps for large buildings like airports and shopping malls.
The outage affected third-party apps that integrate with Maps as well. Users that attempted to hail an Uber or Lyft from the Maps app, received a notification stating the service was unavailable.
Apple first released Maps on iOS 6 as a Google Maps replacement. After a very rocky start, Apple made significant changes to the app before the release of iOS 7. Over the past several years the tech giant has continued to improve the app by adding additional features and integrations.
After nearly four hours, it looks like Maps service has been restored to all users. While it’s not common to see outages for Apple services, its still a good idea to have a backup should the problem occur again. Google Maps is available on the App Store and provides many of the same features as Maps. If you use ridesharing services, like Uber or Lyft, you can continue to use the native apps to request rides even when Maps is down.
- Bye to Apple Maps, hello to Waze: CarPlay to support third-party navigation apps
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While there are a number of similarities between proxy servers and VPN services offered online, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two. Here, both proxy and VPN services help you re-route your Internet traffic and change your IP address. Still, there are certain changes which help you understand how proxies and VPN function differently.
What is Proxy?
A proxy server also known as application-level gateway or proxy is a server (a computer or an application) that works as an intermediary between a local network and a large-scale network like the Internet. Here, the local network could be anything from computers at one place or in one building that requests resources from other servers. The proxy works as by intercepting connections between sender and receiver. During the process, a client or local server requests for a resource from a different server or connects to the proxy server requesting specific service like connection, web page, file, or other resources.
Proxy server working as an application-level gateway evaluates the request as a way to simplify and control its complexity. During the process, all incoming data enters via one port and later forwarded to rest network through another port. Once proxy servers block the direct access between two networks, it becomes really hard for cybercriminals to get sensitive information like internal addresses etc. of a private network.
Proxies were invented to add structure and encapsulation to distributed systems. Further, some proxies work as a group of servers or applications that block common internet services like SMTP proxy intercepts emails and HTTP proxy intercepts web access. Today, most proxies are found as web proxies where they help facilitate access to content on the Internet and offering anonymity. It could also be used for bypassing IP address blocking.
Types of Proxy Servers
Open Proxy: Being a forwarding proxy server, an open proxy can be accessible by any Internet user. On Internet there are hundreds of thousands of open proxies that can be used easily. These anonymous proxies can be used by users to conceal their IP address while surfing and browsing the Internet. Here, there could be a varying degree of anonymity and different methods where proxy could be revealed.
Reverse Proxy: A reverse proxy masquerade itself as an ordinary server where it forward requests to one or more ordinary servers that will further handle the request. Here, response will be returned as if it has come from original server directly. Thus, it will leave the client with no knowledge of which was the origin server. As reverse proxies are installed in neighborhood web servers all the traffic coming through internet route through the proxy server. There could be various reasons why installing reverse proxy is useful. It includes encryption/SSL acceleration, load balancing, server/cache static content, content compression, extranet publishing, security and more.
What is VPN?
A VPN or Virtual Private Network offers an additional layer of security & privacy to your Internet experience. Once you enable VPN on your system all your Internet traffic will route through an encrypted remote server. VPN functions at the network level thus it offers lot of additional features beyond your web browser experience. It offers a strong encryption for all your online activities for better security. It works automatically to secure your network thus you need not do anything once you establish a connection.
Here, VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between host server and guest computer. Once you establish the connection all the Internet traffic will be routed via the secured host server. Thus, nobody else will be able to see that you are connected to VPN except government authorities and your ISP. VPN services offer anonymity, speed, ability to choose geographic location, security and more.
Conclusion: Though there is not much difference between Proxy servers and VPN still there few we can mention. Here, VPNs work at the most basic level or at operating system level while proxy server could be used for a single application (for example your web browser) as well. Further, VPN offers strong encryption services while proxy is bit lenient. In addition to that, VPN offers more secure connection to keep your activities safe in comparison to proxy servers.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) give computer users a wide range of capabilities and benefits. For starters, VPNs allow you to securely connect to remote networks through the internet, grant secure connections of multiple networks, and help boost your online security and privacy.
There are multiple methods for setting up a VPN, but there simplest is to the tools provided by your operating system of choice. But take note: You may need to consult your VPN provider for specific settings, and you’ll need to know your username and password to authenticate. In addition, you’ll have to repeat these instructions for each new server you connect to, while your third-party VPN client will make this easier. Most people will just have one or two servers, but business people could potentially spend quite a bit of time building out a robust list of servers.
With all that all the way, we’ll be leading you through the instructions in both MacOS and Windows 10, step by step.
Setting up a virtual private network in Windows
Confusingly, Windows 10 ships with two different VPN configuration wizards. The newer wizard is found in Windows 10’s Settings menu, while the older way to configure a VPN can be accessed through the Windows Control Panel. If you want to see the newer Windows 10 wizard, just type “VPN” into the Cortana search bar. Although you can begin setting up an IKEv2 connection through the new Windows 10 wizard, you’ll likely still need to complete the configuration through Windows Control Panel. For this reason, and for greater compatibility for users across all versions of Windows, we’ll use the Control Panel method in our instructions below.
Step 1. Launch “Control Panel.” You can navigate to Control Panel in any number of ways, but the easiest way is to type in Control Panel into the Cortana search bar at the lower left hand corner of your screen.
Step 2. Click on “Network and Internet” and then “Network and Sharing Center.”
Step 3. Under the “Change your network settings header,” you’ll want to click on “Setup a new connection or network.”
Step 4. A wizard will appear to guide you through the setup. Click on the last option to “Connect to a workplace,” which will allow you to enter the settings from your VPN provider in the following steps. Then, click “Next” to continue, followed by “Use my internet connection (VPN)” in the next prompt.
Step 5: In this step, you’ll be able to enter in the VPN settings. In the “Internet address” field, you’ll want to consult with your VPN provider to get the server information. Generally, choose the server in your country or one that’s closest to you to get the fastest connection speeds. Alternatively, if you’re trying to mask your location when trying to access region-restricted content, like a foreign country’s Netflix catalog, you can also choose a server in the country where you want to access. Your VPN provider will have a list of available servers for you to choose from.
In this example, we’re going to choose a US server from NordVPN. NordVPN publishes their list of available servers, and we chose the United States #2093 server. The internet address for this server is located at “us2093.nordvpn.com,” and that’s what we’re going to type into the field.
In the “Destination name” field, you can name your VPN connection anything you want. This is where the limitation of setting up a VPN through the built-in Windows client comes into play. Whereas NordVPN’s app allows you to jump between servers, you’ll only be able to connect to a single server at a time with Windows. It’s recommended that the Destination name is specific to avoid confusion in the future. I’m calling this connection “NordVPN USA 2093.” If I want to connect to a NordVPN server in Australia or the UK in the future, for example, I’ll have to setup new VPN connections to servers in those countries, and giving the VPN connection a specific name will minimize confusion down the road when choosing which server to connect.
You’ll want to make sure that the box for “Remember my credentials” is checked if you don’t want to enter your login information every time you connect to the VPN. And depending on how you use and share your computer, you can also check the box “Allow other people to use this connection”. Click on the “Create” button when you’re done.
Step 6: With an IKEv2 connection, you’ll need to install a certificate. If this is supported, your VPN provider will tell you where to go to download and install the certificate. For NordVPN, you’ll want to download the file from its site. Save the certificate and then open it after the download is complete. A security warning will popup, and you’ll click Open.
Step 7: In the first tab of the certificate labeled “General,” you’ll click “Install Certificate” located near the bottom.
Step 8: The certificate wizard will appear asking you where you want to install the certificate. Make sure the bubble next to “Local machine” is selected. Click “Next” and then click “Yes” in the next security popup.
Step 9: In this step, you’ll want to choose the location where you want your certificate placed. Choose the bubble for “Place all certificates in the following store” and then click “Browse.”
Step 10: A pop up with a directory will appear. Choose “Trusted Root Certificates Authorities” and click “OK.”
Step 11: Click “Next” and then click “Finish.” Click “OK” and then click “OK” again to confirm that the certificate has been installed.
Step 12: Now, you’ll want to go back to the “Network and sharing center” again. Click on “Change adapter settings” on the left-hand column.
Step 13: Right-click on the VPN that you’ve just created and select “Properties.” Then click on the “Security” tab.
Step 14: Choose “IKEv2″ under the “Type of VPN.” Under “Data encryption,” make sure that “Require encryption (disconnect if server declines)” is chosen. Under “Authentication,” choose “Use Extensive Authentication Protocol (EAP)” and select “Microsoft: Secured password EAP-MSCHAPv2.” Click “OK” when done.
Step 15: Now, you’re ready to connect. Click on the Wi-Fi symbol on the right-hand side of the Windows taskbar. At the top, you should see your VPN name. Click on it, and then select “Connect.” You’ll be asked for your username and password, and then you’re on your way to a more secure internet experience.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
With considerable battery life, zippy performance, and continued support for Moto Mods, the Moto Z3 Play is a great way to get access to Motorola‘s Mod ecosphere without having to spend an awful lot of money. But with the return of the glass body, the Moto Z3 Play is more fragile than the Z2 Play before it. Unless you wrap it up in cotton wool every day, your phone is at risk of cracks, chips, and other damage from everyday use.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to make sure that your Moto Z3 Play makes it to your next upgrade, then a protective case is a great idea. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best Moto Z3 Play cases to keep your phone safe.
LK Clear Gel Case ($8)
If you want to get yourself some decent protection, but don’t want to hide your Moto Z3 Play’s style away from the world, then a clear gel case may be the best choice for you. This case from LK is made from TPU, a soft material that is easy to grip and shock-absorbent. While it won’t offer the same sort of protection as a larger, bulkier rugged case, the soft TPU will help absorb the energy from shocks and drops. A micro-dot pattern on the inside prevents the case clinging to the phone and creating unsightly bubbles, and the case comes with all the correct cutouts, but covers the Moto Mod magnetic connector.
Buy it now from:
Fincibo Nebula Galaxy Hard Case ($8)
What about a case that adds some additional flair to your Z3 Play? This hard case comes in a variety of styles — we chose the Nebula Galaxy variant, but there are also two different marble designs, as well as a dog paw-themed style as well. It’s made from hard polycarbonate plastic (PC), so while it’s not as absorbent as soft TPU, it will resist more direct threats against the phone, while also being extremely light. On the downside, it doesn’t cover the top and bottom edges of the device, which leaves them open to damage — and it also doesn’t cover the Moto Mod connector, which is odd, since you won’t be able to use a Moto Mod with a case on. Still, it looks great and it should protect your phone well.
Buy it now from:
Wellci Outback Rugged Case ($8)
If you need more protection than a standard case, but still want something slim and low-profile, the Outback case from Wellci is a great choice. The Outback is made from high-strength TPU, which provides shock-resistance and absorption, and comes with a raised edge to reduce the chances your device’s screen will be scratched by dirt or grit. The textured finish also helps add grip on the device and TPU covers keep the buttons safe. The Moto Mod connector is also protected underneath the case. It comes in a variety of different colors to match your personal style.
Buy it now from:
Suensan Carbon Fiber-Style Rugged Case ($8)
Carbon fiber is the material of the future. Super-strong and super-light, it’s a real sci-fi material, and having a case made out of it would be amazing. Sadly, that’s not what this is — but this case does mimic the look and impart a sci-fi, futuristic feel. This TPU case is light, flexible, and shock-absorbent, and comes in a variety of colors to match your style. Each corner of the case comes with an “air-cushioning” system to help protect against drops. Unfortunately, there’s no cover over the Moto Mod connector, so you run the risk of damaging that area — but otherwise, the case is of a decent quality and should protect your phone well.
Buy it now from:
Tudia Heavy-Duty Extreme Case ($9)
Sometimes you just need protection, and making sure your phone is safe and sound is paramount. That’s what Tudia specializes in, and that’s why it made this heavy-duty case. It uses two layers of protection to keep your phone safe, with an inner core of TPU to absorb shocks and provide grip around the phone, as well as an outer shell of hard PC that protects against more direct threats against your phone’s body. It’s a great combination, and it leads to some great protection. Raised edges protect the display and eliminate the large camera bump, while the dual-layer construction protects against most drops, bumps, and other hazards. It’s not the smallest case around, but it protects very well.
Buy it now from:
Poetic Karbon Shield Tough Case ($10)
Everyone knows of Spigen, UAG, and similar brands, but you might not have heard of Poetic. Poetic is something of a quiet player in the accessories world right now, but its star is on the rise, and it’s easy to see why with cases like the Karbon Shield. It’s another case with a carbon fiber texture, giving a cool futuristic feel that also provides grip — and it’s made from shock-absorbent TPU so it should protect well against drops and shocks. It’s slim and light, comes with button covers to keep those areas safe, and fully protects your Moto Mod connector. Best of all, Poetic offers a three-year warranty on manufacturer defects, so it should last your phone’s whole lifetime.
Buy it now from:
- Moto Z3 Play hands-on review
- Moto Z3 Play: Everything you need to know about Motorola’s modular phone
- Moto Z3 Play vs. Moto Z2 Play vs. Moto Z Play: Should you upgrade?
- The best Moto G6 Play cases to keep your budget phone protected
- Moto Z3 Play vs. OnePlus 6: Can Motorola’s latest beat our midrange pick?
Spider silk is a pretty darn versatile material. We previously covered research projects in which spider silk is used to help retrain nerves after major injuries, to improve the quality of microphones for use in hearing aids, and to form lightweight shields capable of absorbing enormous impacts. Now, researchers from Switzerland’s University of Geneva and other institutions have added one more innovative use case to the mix: Battling cancer.
In a new piece of work, they demonstrated how microcapsules made of artificial spider silk could be used to deliver potentially life-saving vaccines direct to your immune cells as a way of fighting cancerous tumors. When it comes to arachnid-themed entities fighting evildoers, you could think of them as your own personal tiny Spider-Man!
“Spider silk is light and very resistant,” professor Carole Bourquin, a specialist in anti-tumor immunotherapies who worked on the project, told Digital Trends. “It does not induce any inflammation or immune reaction in itself. We found that amazingly the microparticles can withstand high temperatures of more than 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for several hours. This suggests that they may protect vaccines in developing countries where refrigeration is frequently a problem for conventional vaccines.”
In their demonstration, the researchers used biotechnology to create the spider silk microcapsules. “It is basically a protein chain rolled up on itself like a ball of wool to form microparticles, into which we incorporated the vaccine,” Bourquin continued. “The microparticles protect the vaccine from being rapidly degraded in the body, and carry it to the immune cells where it is released and can induce an immune response. The immune response is much more effective with the transport system for the vaccine.”
They were able to successfully show that this spider silk-delivered vaccine generates strong T-lymphocyte responses, essential for protecting against cancer and certain infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis. While Bourquin noted that there is still more work to be done before the approach can be tested in patients, it appears extremely promising at this stage.
A paper describing the work, titled “Engineered hybrid spider silk particles as delivery system for peptide vaccines,” was recently published in the journal Biomaterials.
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Keep your new phone safe with a quality case.
The OnePlus 6 is the latest from the company that always delivers top-notch hardware and software at a reasonable price.
Their mantra is “Never Settle”, which also applies to buying accessories because you should never settle for a damaged device — especially with many great case options available right at launch. OnePlus offers some great cases made in-house, but we’ve also outlined a few quality third-party cases.
Let’s dive in!
- OnePlus Cases
- OtterBox Case for OnePlus 6
- Spigen Rugged Armor Case
- TopACE Leather Flip Case
- DAYJOY Genuine Wood Case
- Poetic Guardian Rugged Clear Case
- Ringke Fusion Clear Case
- TUDIA Heavy Duty Slim Fit Case
OnePlus is one company that does well to support its own phones with quality accessories. For the OnePlus 6, OnePlus has released four great case options at launch. Whether you’re looking for something slim or a folio case that offers substantial protection, OnePlus has got you (and your phone) covered.
- OnePlus 6 Bumper Case: A thin case that wraps around the edge of the phone to provide drop protection without compromising the sleek design of the phone. Available in Ebony, Karbon, or the new Nylon style for $30 direct from OnePlus.
- OnePlus 6 Protective Case: Even thinner than the bumper case and more lightweight, this case is designed to perfectly match the OnePlus 6 and offer reliable protection without adding any bulk to the phone. Available in both Karbon or Sandstone styles for just $25 direct from OnePlus.
- OnePlus 6 Silicone Protective Case: This vibrant red case is made of rugged silicone with a microfibre lining to keep your phone safe from both drop damage and scratches. Get yours for just $20 direct from OnePlus.
- OnePlus 6 Flip Cover: For those who love the look and design of a folio wallet case, OnePlus has you covered with this flip cover case in black. With smart features that unlock or lock the phone by opening or closing the cover and a card slot on the inside for a credit card or ID, this case is perfect for those looking for an elegant and classy case. Get yours for just $20 direct from OnePlus.
If you’re planning to buy a couple different accessories from OnePlus, be sure to check out the bundles section of their online store, where you’ll be able to find great deals that include a case, screen protector, and charging accessories.
OtterBox Commuter Case for OnePlus 6
Also available direct from OnePlus, OtterBox has stepped up with itss popular Commuter case for the OnePlus 6.
This dual-layer case is designed to be rugged and durable without impeding your ability to comfortably use your phone. Combining a soft inner layer with a hard outer shell, the OtterBox Commuter case for the OnePlus 6 will keep your phone well protected with port covers included to block out dirt and pocket lint.
You can get yours from the OnePlus website for just $30.
See at OnePlus
Spigen Rugged Armor case
Spigen’s Rugged Armor case is, at this point, an iconic smartphone case that’s offered for every major flagship phone — and for good reason! It’s precisely designed, doesn’t add too much bulk to your phone, and offers a surprising amount of protection for a thin one-piece case.
There’s a lot to love about this case, from the combination of the matte finish and the stylish carbon fibre finish at the top and bottom. On the inside is a shock-absorbing webbing along with Spigen’s air cushion technology in the corners that gives you the confidence when your phone takes a nasty drop.
It’s a great value at just $13. Get yours from Amazon!
See at Amazon
TopACE Leather Flip Case
Looking for a wallet case? This option from TopACE offers all the features you desire: three card slots and a cash pocket on the inside and stylish PU leather on the outside. The front flap is kept closed with a magnetic clasp to keep things closed to keep your display protected, too.
You’re also able to fold this case over to create a hands-free stand for watching Netflix or Youtube. It’s a classic design that is equal parts stylish and functional.
You can get yours in your choice of five colors for just $10.
See at Amazon
DAYJOY Wood case
Not all cases are made of plastics or rubber — this case is made with a combination of natural wood and carbon fiber, so not only does it look amazing but it also offers outstanding protection for your OnePlus 6.
OnePlus offers an Ebony wood finish for its bumper case and it looks great — but you’re also paying for that OnePlus branding.
With this case from DAYJOY, you can choose between four different wood grain finishes and know that you’re doing a small part to save the environment from more plastic waste… while also saving some money.
Get this case for just $25 on Amazon!
See at Amazon
Poetic Guardian Rugged Clear Case
Poetic has a number of case styles available for the OnePlus 6 that are available to browse through on Amazon
You get a quality product with the Poetic Guardian, a full-body case that offers supreme protection for your phone along with an included tempered glass screen protector as well. A polycarbonate frame is bolstered by a TPU bumper around the perimeter of the case which offers great protection from drops, while the clear back plate allows the phone’s design to shine through.
This case is available in four different color styles and can be yours for just $19.
See at Amazon
Ringke Fusion Clear Case
The Ringke Fusion case is one of those cases that’s available for practically any phone you can buy, and is a go-to style for millions of smartphone users around the world — and for good reason.
This reliably awesome case is sleek and minimalist offers the protection you need for your phone without impeding your ability to use the phone. There’s lifted bezels around the edge of the display as well as around the camera and fingerprint sensor to keep everything scratch-free, and they’ve also included an optional lanyard to add an extra layer of drop prevention.
You can get the crystal clear version of this case for $10, or a smoky black version for just $11.
See at Amazon
TUDIA Heavy Duty Slim Fit Case
For those looking for a heavy duty case with a minimalist look, this case from TUDIA will check your boxes.
This two-layer case will keep your phone protected with a form-fitted TPU sleeve that’s reinforced with a polycarbonate shell to keep your phone protected. Raised edges around the display and the camera keep those safe from scratches, too, and there are precise cutouts around the ports and speakers.
Available for $11, you can get this case in your choice of four color styles.
See at Amazon
Which case do you plan to get?
Let us know how you plan to keep your OnePlus 6 protected in the comments below!
Update June 2018: Added the Spigen Rugged Armor, TopACE wallet case, and DAYJOY wooden case to our list. Lots of great options to choose from!
- OnePlus 6 review
- OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: How much changes in six months?
- OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
- These are the official OnePlus 6 cases
- The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Verizon or Sprint
- Join the discussion in the forums
Prepare yourself for a story told across multiple consoles.
One of the biggest questions I saw after E3 this year was about the amount of work needed to prepare for Kingdom Hearts 3. If you think all you have to do is play the Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 remakes on your PlayStation 4, you have been misinformed. The Kingdom Hearts franchise sprawls across multiple consoles, including the Nintendo 3DS and even a mobile game with a global audience. Each of these games offer a piece of the puzzle being formed in Kingdom Hearts 3, and if you’ve never played any of those games you are going to be a little confused by some of the plot points in this new game.
Fortunately for you, there’s a YouTube channel dedicated to making sure you are up-to-date on all things Kingdom Hearts.
Pre-order at Amazon
The Kingdom Hearts Repertory has one goal — to live stream as many of the story cinematic scenes from every Kingdom Hearts games in order as possible, over and over again until the launch of Kingdom Hearts 3.
This is almost everything from the back story in Kingdom Hearts χ Unchained to the Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth be Sleep scenes leading up to the moments right before the start of Kingdom Hearts 3. The YouTube description has a list of scenes missing from the stream, but what is being streamed will offer a ton of backstory you will want before playing this new game.
Want to learn more about Kingdom Hearts 3? Check out the total guide to everything we’ve learned so far!
- PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
- PlayStation VR Review
- Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome
Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.
We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 computer processor, the Asus Chromebox 2 mini PC, the UE Boom 2 speaker, and more! Time’s running out to take advantage of these prices, so hurry!
View the rest of the deals
If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you’ll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!
Save on your summer energy costs with the right smart plugs that work with both Google Home and Alexa.
Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers are so popular these days that we’ve crossed over from the early adopters to each finding a place within the mainstream culture. Both are functional if you’re like me you might not be convinced which assistant is right for you — that’s why I’ve got both Alexa and Google Home speakers set up in my home.
If you’re also figuring out which is right for you, be sure to buy smart home accessories that are compatible with both AI assistants. One of the best places to start is with smart plugs that let you control the stuff already in your house, such as lamps, TVs, and air purifiers. We’ve rounded up the best options for smart plugs that work with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Samsung SmartThings
- TP-Link Smart Home Outlet
- D-Link Smart Plug
- AWAIR Air Filtration Smart Plug
Samsung’s SmartThings is a very capable and customizable home automation system that’s a great place to start for both Alexa and Google Assistant users. The starter kit includes a Hub for connecting different smart sensors for monitoring your home. The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit comes with a Hub, two Multipurpose Sensors, a Motion Sensor, and an Outlet. You can configure them however you like in your home, then get instant notifications if anything is out of the normal. You can also buy additional sensors, including an Arrival Sensor and a Water Leak Sensor, along with more smart plugs for controlling different lamps and devices around your home.
Since SmartThings works well with both Google Assistant and Alexa, it’s a great starting point for building out your wireless smart home system. The Hub starter kit is a good place to start, as many other smart devices are compatible with the SmartThings Hub, plus you’ll get some smart sensors to play around with, too. Samsung has also begun consolidating all of its smart home products under the SmartThings umbrella, so just another great reason to start with SmartThings when setting up your smart home. The whole kit is $170.
See at Amazon
TP-Link Smart Home
TP-Link offers a line of smart plugs and switches that allow you to convert the lamps and appliances you already own into smart devices you can automate to power on or control with your voice.
Their newest smart plug, the Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, is their most compact option yet, leaving the second outlet free. The outlets work with either Alexa or Google Assistant and thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi technology, no hub is required to get things connected. Pick up the Mini for just $30 or $45 for a two-pack, or get the Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring for just $30 or a 2-pack kit from Amazon for $45.
See at Amazon
D-Link Smart Plug
D-Link is another brand that offers a smart plug that doesn’t require a hub to connect to either Alexa or Google Assistant. You’re able to control devices plugged into the D-Link Smart Plug via the D-Link app on your phone from anywhere, but more importantly, you’ll be able to use and control things with your voice with your Amazon Echo or Google Home
While not as compact as the TP-Link mini plug, the D-Link is still a great option for any room in your house and starts at $27 on Amazon.
See at Amazon
AWAIR Air Filtration Smart Plug
Smart plugs are cool enough as it is, but AWAIR has combined the technology with its own air filtration technology to create an uber-functional smart plug. According to AWAIR, the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than outside, and that can end up aggravating allergies or asthma, affecting your concentration or sleep quality, and much more.
To combat this, AWAIR has developed a line of smart products that monitor the air quality in your home. Each device monitors five aspects that determine air quality — temperature, humidity, CO2, airborne chemicals, and dust. AWAIR monitors all these factors and churns out a quick guide that gives you a good idea of how clean the air is in your home at a glance and will also send tips to your smartphone offering tips and suggestions.
The AWAIR Glow is arguably the coolest device AWAIR sells — it plugs right into an outlet and can be set up to turn on an appliance such as a dehumidifier or air filtration system at a specific time or when levels get a bit high.
Once connected to Google Home or Alexa, you’re also able to use the AWAIR Glow to control whichever device you have plugged in using just your voice.
The Glow is currently available for just $99.
See at Amazon
Did we miss any?
Got a favorite smart plug that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check it out!
Updated June 2018: There are savings to be had with the AWAIR and D-Link plugs, while the SmartThings kit has gone up a kit but is still 32% off the regular price.
MacRumors Giveaway: Win a 7.5W Wireless iPhone Charger From Choetech, Or Save 50% With Discount Code
For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with Choetech to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Qi-enabled 7.5W Wireless Charging Pad for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.
Choetech’s Wireless Charging Pad is affordably priced at $17.99, and is cheaper than other 7.5W solutions on the market. Choetech says the Charging Pad will charge the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and future wireless iPhones at the faster 7.5W charging speeds.
For some Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy series, the Wireless Charging Pad can deliver up to 10W of power. For other devices, it will charge at 5W.
The Wireless Charging Pad is a slim, unassuming charger that fits into any decor with its simple design. It includes an anti-slip rubber design at the top to keep the iPhone in place when it’s charging, and it’s small enough to fit comfortably on any desktop or nightstand.
You’ll need a micro-USB cable to power the Wireless Charging Pad, which is included in the box, and a power adapter, not included, is also required. A green light on the charger lets you know when the iPhone is situated correctly and receiving power.
We have 30 of these chargers to give away to MacRumors readers, and Choetech has also provided us with a 50% discount code so you can purchase it on the cheap at Amazon if you don’t win. Just add the code MACHOE50 when checking out.
To enter to win the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.
Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.
a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (June 15) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 22. The winners will be chosen randomly on June 22 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.
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