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19
Jun

AMD one-ups Intel with free Threadripper upgrade for 8086 competition winners


Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Hot on the heels of Intel’s attempt to steal AMD’s thunder at Computex with its 28-core CPU announcement, AMD has responded in kind by offering a free CPU trade-in for the most powerful CPU it has on sale. Anyone who wins one of Intel’s “Anniversary Edition” Core i7-8086 CPUs in Intel’s sweepstakes has the chance to swap it with AMD for its Threadripper 1950X.

Intel’s latest competition offered 8,086 of its specially binned Core i7-8700K chips, rebranded as the Core i7-8086, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Intel debuting the world’s first x86 processor, the 8086. It’s a powerful chip and one that anyone who wins will be no doubt be delighted to own, but AMD’s offer for a straight swap to Threadripper could be hard to pass up. As much as the 8086 is a great CPU, the Threadripper 1950X is a whole other beast entirely.

“We appreciate the advancements they’ve helped drive with the x86 architecture over the last four decades,” AMD said in a statement. “But, we’re ready to take it from here. That’s why we’re giving 40 performance-hungry enthusiasts in the U.S. an opportunity to celebrate the next 40 years of high-performance computing by trading in their commemorative processor prize for our CPU that enables you to work, play, and create with heavy metal.”

Celebrating the past is neat, but here at AMD we are focused on the future and the next 40 years of high-performance computing. Exchange your prize for a Threadripper 1950X processor!

First 40 qualify. 18+ & 50 U.S./D.C. only. Learn more at: https://t.co/1Czuo4B4Zf pic.twitter.com/TSgImTwPeO

— AMD Ryzen (@AMDRyzen) June 18, 2018

With 16 cores and 32 threads, the 1950X is far more capable than the 8086 when it comes to multithreaded scenarios and it only falls a little behind in single threaded ones, too. While any Intel fan would need to buy a new motherboard to support the Threadripper chip, unless they were running one of the 300-series motherboards that supports Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs already, they’d need to upgrade for the 8086, too.

If you end up being one of the coveted 8,000-plus 8086 winners and fancy trading it in for a Threadripper CPU, you’ll need to be quick, as AMD is only offering 40 free upgrades. More details on how the trade-in will work will be released on June 25, though AMD suggests in its terms that you’ll need to send your Anniversary Edition CPU off to it, at which point you’ll receive the Threadripper CPU 4-6 weeks later.

This trade-in scheme is only applicable to the U.S. and to those ages 18 or over.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD vs. Intel
  • Intel Core i5 vs i7
  • Why Intel’s monopoly could soon end (and you should be stoked)
  • Razer’s Core X and V2 turn your tiny laptop into a monster gaming rig
  • Best Buy doubles down on sale offers with up to $400 off MacBook Pros



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19
Jun

Plug-and-play high-torque electric motors for every wheel on self-driving cars


Elaphe Propulsion Technologies recently introduced modular platforms for autonomous vehicles. The Slovenia-based company has manufactured electric in-wheel propulsion systems since 2003.

Maroš Šefčovič, vice president of the European Commission’s Energy Union, praised Elaphe’s propulsion design platform for its simplicity, efficiency, and high-torque performance.  Šefčovič called the Elaphe design the “platform for the next generation of mobility.”

Elaphe’s 15-year focus on highly efficient, ultra-low weight, electromagnetic in-wheel motors led to two developments significant today: creative torque-vectoring solutions and a modular, plug-and-play platform for autonomous vehicles.

Torque vectoring technology varies the amount of power between wheels in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles. Originally used in race cars, torque vectoring helps acceleration and handling by improving traction. Electronic controllers in each wheel work in concert to apply power where it does the most good. Unless you are intentionally drifting a car, for example, the goal with torque vectoring is to keep the car under control, on the road, and traveling in the desired direction with the least tire slippage possible.

Electric cars such as Tesla’s Model S accelerate extraordinarily quickly because electric motors produce maximum torque from a standstill. Internal combustion engines (ICEs) need to rev up to reach maximum torque. Because there’s no wait for torque buildup with EVs, electric car designers can take greater advantage of torque-vectoring than with ICE-powered vehicles.

Elaphe builds electric motors in each wheel, complete with independent cooling systems. With four motors, near-instant torque is available for each wheel. Each wheel also has a standard disc or drum brake plus a power electronics unit.

A vehicle propulsion control unit can interface with an autonomous driving controller unit or get input from a human driver, depending on vehicle design. A combined power distribution and management module coordinates the power sent to the motor in each wheel.

Elaphe manufactures each of the components in its modular autonomous vehicle platform and also develops and provides components for other manufacturers. Elaphe’s future focus is to provide vehicle designers some or all of the parts for mobility platforms with which designers can create a wide range of transportation products. Elaphe’s direct-drive in-wheel motors are adaptable for automotive manufacturers who plan to build self-driving cars with new powertrain design concepts, rather than by adding newer components to traditional vehicles.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • This self-balancing one-wheeled motorcycle looks extra terrifying
  • Audi RS3 gets an 1,180-horsepower electric makeover with Formula E racing tech
  • Acton BLINK QU4TRO review
  • 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid is powerful, yet easy on gas
  • With new cars and new allies, Mitsubishi prepares for an electric future



19
Jun

AT&T gives wireless customers free streaming TV, fueled by Time Warner purchase


On the heels of AT&T finalizing its $85.4 billion Time Warner purchase, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson announced the launch of a new product called “AT&T Watch TV” in an interview with CNBC. AT&T wireless customers with unlimited data plans will get the streaming service for free. Everyone else will pay $15 per month.

The significance of “everyone else” is that it extends beyond AT&T wireless customers. Stephenson told CNBC AT&T’s unlimited wireless customers will get the new service at no charge, “or you can buy it for $15 a month on any platform.”

So if your wireless carrier is Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or any other company, for 15 bucks a month you’ll be able to stream AT&T Watch TV. No hard news yet on content, but don’t expect live Olympics or World Cup coverage.

Stephenson described AT&T Watch TV as a “very, very skinny bundle” of free television programming with no sports. He also said more information about the streaming service and launch details will be available this week. We’ll cycle back with updates.

With the acquisition of Time Warner, which is now called WarnerMedia, AT&T owns Warner Bros., HBO, CNN, and Turner Broadcasting System, including their respective existing media content catalogs. Drawing on those media properties could fill broadcast calendars with proven content.

AT&T Watch TV will make money from ad sales. The company intends to announce a serious of additional acquisitions in the next few weeks that will enable it to build its advertising platform.

Stephenson also said the company will pursue previously unforeseen opportunities to distribute “premium video.”

After federal Judge Richard Leon ruled against the government’s effort to stop AT&T’s merger with Time Warner last week, Stephenson told CNBC “the system worked.”

Going forward, AT&T intends to emulate Netflix and Amazon to deliver original programming to online subscribers.

“There’s going to be opportunities to distribute premium video like we never imagined,” Stephenson said. “The tech companies are just demonstrating that to us. So we want to participate in this.”

As Digital Trends wrote last week following the merger approval, the precedent for additional content and carrier deals raises questions.

With net neutrality gone, at least for now, carriers can give preference to their own content by slowing or throttling programming supplied by others. For example, AT&T wireless internet could favor HBO content over Netflix programming with faster streaming.

Carrier and content mergers could also make competition much harder for small content production companies.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AT&T has a cheap streaming service on the way, but it’s not for sports fans
  • The massive AT&T-Time Warner merger could make it much harder to cut the cord
  • T-Mobile and Sprint are merging — here’s what it means for you
  • Verizon doesn’t care about Sprint and T-Mobile merger
  • Switching to AT&T? We break down the carrier’s new unlimited and prepaid plans



19
Jun

Miss Windows 7? It might look like this if Microsoft released it today


While the latest version of Windows 10 may be your best bet for a modern, secure, and fast Windows experience today, that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally miss its older versions. They had a certain charm and simplicity about them which isn’t necessarily present in Windows 10. What if it was though? That’s the question that YouTuber Avdan sought to answer with this Windows 7 2018 concept video.

“Almost 10 years ago, Microsoft announced Windows 7,” the video’s description reads. “Now it’s time to go back.”

And go back it does. The video showcases many of Windows 7’s most beloved features and gives them a 2018 makeover. There are transparencies and cleaner colors, as well as the introduction of a day and night mode with dynamic wallpapers, and a dark mode for low-light environments. And all of this is just a veneer for Windows 7’s classic start menu and window layout. Cortana even sneaks in, but it has a Windows 7 tint to its usual Start menu spot.

The Windows 7 concept has gone down rather well with fans of the classic operating system. They highlight how clean the reimagined OS is when compared with Windows 10’s very busy live tiles and file explorer navigation system. The fact that it maintains all of the most enjoyed features of Windows 10 whilst cutting out a lot of the clutter and promotional elements is something that a lot of Windows users would likely be interested in if given the chance.

The downside to it all though, as BetaNews suggests, is that it’s just a video. This isn’t some skin or Windows theme that can be loaded in and enjoyed right now. While it’s technically possible to create something like that with Rainmeter, it’s not something that’s readily available — though there is an option for a Windows 8 lookalike theme. MakeUseOf also has a great guide to making your Windows 10 install look like any of Windows more retro operating systems, though there are quite a few steps involved.

This isn’t the only imagined reskin of classic operating systems that Avdan has put together. Avdan recently debuted an idea of what a 2018 version of Windows 95 might look like, and its take on a 2018-edition of Windows XP went down very well, too.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Miss Windows XP? Watch this concept video that reimagines it for 2018
  • Insomniac’s ‘Spider-Man’ is out this September exclusively for PS4
  • Microsoft’s Windows 7 Meltdown update granted access to all data in memory
  • How to set up speech-to-text in Windows 10
  • Chrome OS notification center redesign borrows from Windows 10 Action Center



19
Jun

Fix upcoming for Google Home, Chromecast bug that can tattle on your location


Your trusty Google Home speaker may not be all that trustworthy after all — at least, not for now. Security researcher Craig Young from the firm Tripwire has discovered a bug that allows both the Google Home and the Google Chromecast TV stick to share user location, which needless to say is less than ideal. Apparently, the bug works by exploiting a loophole, and results in cross-checking the wireless networks in the vicinity with Google’s exacting geolocation services.

But don’t worry — this vulnerability won’t be present for long. On Monday, June 18, security expert Brian Krebs reported that Google will fix the location privacy leak “in the coming weeks.” And not a moment too soon — exploiting the bug is apparently quite straightforward, and requires attackers to simply run a script in the background in order to collect location data on anyone with a Google Home or Chromecast installed on their local network. The attacker wouldn’t even need to be connected to your network; they would only need to send you a malicious link, and for you to keep that link open for about a minute while they triangulated your position.

“I’ve only tested this in three environments so far, but in each case the location corresponds to the right street address,” Young told Krebs. “The Wi-Fi based geolocation works by triangulating a position based on signal strengths to Wi-Fi access points with known locations based on reporting from people’s phones.” Although IP-based geolocation is only accurate to about three miles around the compromised device, the method that Young has discovered actually delivers location data to an accuracy of about 30 feet. Young has even produced a demo of the bug in action, which you can check out in the above video.

Krebs notes that Google only agreed to address the issue after he contacted them and informed the team that he would be publishing a piece about the problem. In fact, Young had previously made contact with Google, but the tech giant refused to issue a patch, noting that the geolocation feature was “intended behavior.” Clearly, Google has changed its tune, and now, the fix should go live in mid-July.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google Home Mini review
  • Google Home vs. Google Home Mini vs. Google Home Max: It’s all about the sound
  • Polk Assist is the audio company’s next step into the smart speaker market
  • Google awards teenager $36,000 as part of its bug bounty program
  • Here’s everything we saw at the action-packed Google I/O 2018 keynote



19
Jun

These are Android Central’s favorite laptop bags


Carry me away.

hayato-gear-bag-peak-design.jpg?itok=uzU

Everyone carries a bag of some sort of bag, from tiny leather shoulder bags to massive 40L rucksacks that can carry everything one needs for a week-long getaway.

Being a remote company, we’re always ready to work, either with a laptop, a tablet, or just a phone and a prayer.

The bag one wears is important: it speaks a lot about a person’s lifestyle, and about their priorities. Given that we spend a lot of time reviewing gadgets, it’s really important that we have the right bag to carry all of our gadgets, cameras, and other accessories.

So without further ado, here are the Bags of Android Central.

Hayato Huseman, Associate Editor

hayato-peak-design-everyday-backpack-20lPeak Design Everyday Backpack 20L The bag that ended my bag addiction

What Hayato loves about this bag: Whenever I travel for work, I need to bring a few things that help me write, film, and edit videos. The Everyday Backpack has enough room to fit my 15-inch MacBook Pro, camera, and various accessories like spare batteries, an ND filter, a wireless mic kit, Bluetooth headphones, and even a portable slider. The side pockets expand out enough to hold my travel tripod, and there are plenty of hidden compartments to stow away keys, passports, or anything else.

What Hayato doesn’t love about this bag: The straps are pretty stiff and poorly padded, so if you tend to overstuff your bag, it’ll wear on your shoulders pretty quickly. There’s not much protecting your laptop from impact either, and while the bag’s side access design can be great, it also puts all of your things on display — expensive gadgets and dirty laundry alike.

The ideal user for this bag: Anyone can enjoy the Everyday Backpack, but it’s specially geared towards photographers. If you’re a frequent traveler who never goes anywhere without a camera and a spare lens or two, this bag is probably a good fit. If you need a bit more space, there’s also a larger 30L version available.

Price: $259.95

See at Amazon

Tom Westrick, Freelance Writer

whats-in-tom-westricks-bag-2.jpeg?itok=fTimbuk2 Uptown backpack All the space and compartments I need

What Tom loves about this bag: My favorite thing about this bag is how small it is when it’s relatively empty. Other bags I had were issued to me when I was in the Air Force, and they were gigantic and unwieldy even when they were completely empty. I can stuff this one to the brim with clothes, laptops, and other equipment and it all fits comfortably, but it shrinks back down when I just have one or two things inside. The most I’ve held inside has been six Dell Latitude 3330 laptops, and while my back didn’t enjoy that, this backpack held up with no issues.

Another thing I love is that despite all the abuse I’ve put this bag through for the past year and a half, it still looks like the day I bought it. This bag has been by my side through pouring rain, on the floor of a moving van, and countless day trips, and it still looks brand new. And if something ever does go wrong, the bag has a lifetime warranty.

What Tom doesn’t love about this bag: I do wish the compartments were designed a little better. The two big compartments are great for just piling laptops into, but I wish there was a bit more organization available within those pockets. The bag also doesn’t stand up on its own, meaning it always has to lean against a wall or just lay flat on the ground.

The ideal user for this bag: While this isn’t as expensive as the Peak Design bag, $120 is still a hefty chunk of change. If you’re willing to invest in a durable bag for day trips, and you need something that can grow with the amount of stuff you’re carrying, this bag is for you.

Price: $120

See at Amazon

Marc Lagace, Gaming Editor

laptop-bag-roundup-marc-pick-01.jpg?itokMATEIN Travel Laptop Backpack A great backpack when you’re on a tight budget

What Marc loves about this bag: Straight up, I bought this bag because it matched my grey gym bag and because it was among the cheapest options that was well-reviewed on Amazon.ca — and for just $30, it’s a heck of a deal. What I’ve come to love about it after using it is the plethora of zipper compartments and pockets for storing all my stuff, the built-in support for a portable battery pack that I actually make use of, and the overall look and feel of it. It’s comfortable to wear even when it’s jam-packed full of gear and compact enough to be stowed under an airplane seat for travel.

The branding for the Amazon.ca model is slightly different than the Amazon.com bag I’ve listed below, but it’s essentially the same look and style as the one I’m rocking.

What Marc doesn’t like about this bag: I’ve owned this backpack for just about a year and it’s held up fine… but I still can’t help but think of the old adage “you get what you pay for” and expect it to fail me at some point down the line. I’ve gone through a number of backpacks in my life — and gotten less use out of bags I’ve spent more money on — so there’s a side of me that still thinks this thing is going to let me down at some point. The surprising part is that it hasn’t, despite its “disposal” price point.

The ideal user for this bag: This is a great utilitarian bag for anyone who needs a functional backpack to store their laptop and other gear — whether you’re in University or work a job that has you travelling a lot. At just $30, frankly I don’t think you could find a better deal for a laptop backpack.

Price: $30 for grey / $36 for other color styles

See at Amazon

Ara Wagoner, Writer

20180614_105919.jpg?itok=O4RRdehOThinkGeek Handbag of Holding Darling, durable, and… Discontinued?!?

What Ara loves about this bag: Just like the Dungeons and Dragons item the bag is named for, the Handbag of Holding can fit an ungodly amount of things within its muted canvas covers. I can easily fit two Chromebooks, their chargers, their sleeves, a Bluetooth mouse, six Android phones, two portable batteries, six charging cables, my big noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, my smaller backup Bluetooth headphones, my backup backup wired earbuds, a journal, some pens, two pill bottles, and four different kinds of snacks in the lavender-lined tote-com-messenger bag.

I have stuffed this thing to the gills before severe weather shifts and cross-country flights, but it still maintains its shape and stability whether light or heavy. Four metal feet help keep the bag stable even on shag carpet, and so long as you’ve packed the bag relatively evenly, it should stay upright.

While the Handbag of Holding comes with a detachable shoulder strap, I find it far easier to carry day-to-day via its sturdy, heavily reinforced tote straps. Carrying it as a tote allows me to better handle the weight and doesn’t snag my shoulder holster the way messenger bags and backpacks do.

What Ara doesn’t love about this bag: While the Handbag of holding can easily fit a laptop — or three — it lacks a dedicated laptop sleeve, so I bent and shoved a quilted Rapha House laptop sleeve into one side of the main compartment to fill the role. It’s also quite easy to lose items in all of the pouches and pocket dimensions of the Handbag of Holding; I’ve forgotten items in here for months a time. It’s like a TARDIS with tote straps: you can fit everything in here somewhere, but things disappear in its space every now and then.

The biggest downside to the Handbag of Holding right now is that you can’t buy one anymore.

The Handbag of Holding is currently discontinued, but we’ll pass along your resurrection request to the Overlords!

— ThinkGeek (@thinkgeek) June 6, 2018

There are other bags in the Bag of Holding line available at ThinkGeek right now, but all versions of the Handbag of Holding are Out of Stock forever. I can only hope that there’s a new, improved model on the way, but there’s really no way to know. If you’re interested in buying one, tell ThinkGeek to bring it back!

The ideal user for this bag: This is a bag for tech-savvy women who want one bag for light days and heavy-duty work trips, nerdy to its d20 core but sophisticated enough to pass as a business bag — especially if you spring for the vegan leather Deluxe Handbag of Holding. It’s highly adaptable so long as you pack it properly, and over a year into its use I am still genuinely surprised at how much I can fit in my Handbag of Holding at a moment’s notice.

Price: When it was in stock, the Handbag of Holding ran from $50 for the standard canvas model to over $100 for some of the vegan leather models, but it’s priceless now. If you still want a Bag of Holding, there is a slightly smaller satchel-style Con Survival Edition available for $35, as well as a Convertible Fast Travel Bag of Holding that can switch from a messenger bag to a backpack and can everything for your weekend trip into a carry-on bag that will fit easily under your seat for a neat $30.

See at ThinkGeek

Harish Jonnalagadda, Regional Editor

xiaomi-mi-travel-bag-2.jpg?itok=fyDFUqcaXiaomi Mi Travel Backpack Enough pockets to store all my gear

What Harish loves about this bag: I picked up the Mi Travel Backpack for the amount of space it offers. The bag doesn’t look huge at first glance, but it fits all my gear with ease, and has space left over for a change of clothes — which comes in handy for overnight travel.

There’s a padded section that comfortably slots in a 15-inch MacBook, and you get a sleeve for a tablet as well. I particularly like the fact that it has more than enough compartments, which makes it convenient to store the plethora of accessories I carry around.

The shoulder straps and the back are adequately padded, and it’s comfortable to wear with a full loadout of gear. I’ve been using the bag for close to a year now, and it has held up very well to the usual wear and tear.

What I don’t love about this bag: The one quibble I have with the Mi Travel bag is that it doesn’t have a water bottle holder. There are lined pockets on either side of the bag, and the compact size means there’s no room to store a water bottle.

The ideal user for this bag: What I like about the Mi Travel Backpack is that there’s no branding anywhere, and it looks like a regular bag. If you want an affordable bag to store all your gear, then this is the one to get.

Price: $55

See at GearBest

Joe Maring, News Editor

00100dportrait_00100_burst20180612181046Ibagbar Vintage Canvas Backpack Cheap, boring, effective

What Joe loves about this bag: I initially picked up this Ibagbar backpack to get me through my last semester of college at the beginning of the year, but even after I graduated in May, it’s served me well for packing up my things and heading out to the nearest Starbucks to scope out news for the day.

What I love the most about this backpack is how it looks. It’s not flashy and isn’t as modern-looking as the famous Peak Design Everyday Carry, but I’m a sucker for this vintage aesthetic. It’s clean, simple, and the fabric it’s made out of has held up nicely after about 6 months of regular use.

Something else I’m a fan of is the interior. The main compartment is great for housing headphones and notebooks while a sectioned off area at the very back holds by Pixelbook like a glove. There are also two small pockets near the front that work great for stowing away a charging cable and AC adapter.

Lastly, it’s hard to argue with that price. $26.99 is a steal considering the quality and function this bag offers, and for a cheapskate like me, that’s what got me to pull the trigger on buying it in the first place.

What Joe doesn’t love about this bag: As well as this backpack has served me, I do have on minor complaint. Although I usually don’t carry a ton of stuff with me, I do wish this bag offered a better way to organize my belongings. The two zippered areas on the front work well in conjunction with the main part of the bag, but the lack of any extra compartments in these make it hard to sort smaller gadgets and gizmos.

The ideal user for this bag: If all you need is an affordable, simple backpack for lugging around a laptop, notebook, headphones, and more, Ibagbar has a great solution here for doing just that. The bag’s stylish, is comfortable to wear, and does a good job at holding all your junk. Plus, for under 30 bucks, it offers a tremendous value proposition for the budget-savvy out there.

Price: $26.99

See at Amazon

Daniel Bader, Managing Editor

booq-pack-pro-bader-1.jpg?itok=WTWQjcmnBooq Pack Pro The most comfortable traveler’s bag

What Daniel loves about the Pack Pro: The Booq Pack Pro is, according to the company that makes it, “a tank,” and that couldn’t be more accurate. I’ve taken this backpack to half a dozen countries, subjected it to every abuse imaginable — trade shows are not bag-friendly — and it still looks new. Like, brand new.

What I love is how versatile this bag is. There’s a place for everything inside the spacious interior, with a number of obvious and hidden compartments ready to stow the most valuable of possessions. Behind it, a dedicated padded laptop sleeve can carry up to a 17-inch MacBook Pro or larger Surface Book 2, and there’s even a tertiary tablet/ebook reader compartment around back.

The exterior is made of 1680 denier ballistic nylon, and the zippers are fully waterproof. I don’t think I could damage them even if I wanted to.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the shoulder straps are supremely comfortable; I wore the Pack Pro for upwards of 6-hours straight walking around CES this past January, and my back was perfectly fine. (My feet on the other hand…)

What Daniel doesn’t like about the Pack Pro: For all of its benefits, the Pack Pro is for a certain kind of traveler; this isn’t a weekend getaway bag (too small) or a hiker’s bag (too heavy). It’s for people who travel on airplanes and subject their stuff to the hardships of travel. It’s also not designed for camera equipment, as the single main pocket is a little tight for the average DSLR.

It’s also expensive, at $249, and may be a bit overkill for the average city slicker. It’s also a little plain-looking, opting for sparse branding and only a single color, black.

The ideal user for this bag: The average traveler doesn’t need a bag like this. Instead, the Pack Pro is for the workhorse, someone who stuffs backpacks under airplane seats and into trade show corners. It’s for people with valuables they don’t want crushed or broken.

Price: $249

See at Amazon

Quentyn Kennemer, Freelance Writer

thule-crossover-32-official.jpg?itok=C2ZThule Crossover 32L Backpack Tons of space, Tons of Durability

What Quentyn loves about this bag: Being one of the last holdouts to the messenger bag craze, I knew my options for a great tech backpack were slim. Thankfully, Thule’s Crossover 32L backpack fits my needs almost perfectly. Seeing as I have a glutton of camera equipment, a massive 17-inch gaming laptop, a smaller work laptop, a tablet, headphones, a portable battery pack, and my phone with me (and all the associated cables I need) on any given trip, the biggest thing I need is massive capacity.

And yes, the Crossover can hold all of that, and then some. It’s not just the sheer size of the thing, though. The innards are expertly crafted with multiple compartments, some of which are elevated by aluminum to ensure no one area of the bag becomes unusable.

There’s also a healthy amount of padding to protect all your stuff, including a crush-proof compartment to protect your phone or other small valuables. And while I’m no textile materials expert, I can say that the Crossover has held up far longer than any other ordinary bag I’ve owned. I haven’t seen a single rip or tear in the two years I’ve owned it. Oh, and it also looks really, really nice.

What Quentyn doesn’t love about this bag: I do wish the crush-proof compartment was a bit bigger. I’m the kind of guy who loves big headphones with massive drivers, and I’d love to be able to take them with me without having to bring a dedicated carrying case.

I’d have loved it more with a built-in roller for when my back needs a break, especially considering it can reach the size of a small carry-on when filled to the brim.

The ideal user for this bag: If you have tons of stuff you have to carry around on a regular basis or if your equipment is just more bulky than most ordinary bags can handle, this is for you. If you have a bad back, however, then you’ll want to look for something with wheels on it.

Price: $129

See at Amazon

Andrew Martonik, Executive Editor

peak-design-everyday-sling-bag-2.jpg?itoPeak Design Everyday Sling 10L Just enough space for what you need

What Andrew loves about the Everyday Sling: I enjoy the security of having necessary gear (think laptop, battery, cables, camera) everywhere I go, and I understand that that means I also have to deal with that gear — typically in a bag. Size, comfort, flexibility (physically and conceptually) and style are all factors when choosing one. I’ve tried a lot of different bags for this sort of “daily essentials” set of stuff I carry, and for this duty I love the the Peak Design Everyday Sling — particularly, the larger 10L size.

What I love about the Everyday Sling is that it isn’t a large multi-purpose oriented messenger bag — it’s small, structured and doesn’t have a ton of expandability. It’s just the right size for the things I need to carry every day, and nothing more.

To that point, the Everyday Sling snugly holds my 13-inch MacBook Pro, plus a small camera, a backup phone and a few extra accessories like cables and batteries. And that’s it. The movable divider system inside lets you tightly organize items to keep them from crashing around as you move, and small zipper areas on the inside and outside hold onto smaller items. There’s a tiny bit of expandability with the outside pouch, but not much.

It’s a small thing, but I love how the top of the bag both zips closed and hinges away from you — as compared to almost all messengers that hinge toward you. This makes it incredibly simple to pull the Sling around to your front, zip it open and have quick access to everything. And the full zipper gives the inside water resistance from all angles, unlike the fold-and-clip style open bags.

If you’ve ever seen or used a Peak Design product, you know the kind of fantastic quality you’ll get with the Everyday Sling. Zipper are firm and close snugly. The fabrics are extremely tough and well-stitched. It feels like you could pull a truck with the metal clasps. The fabric on the back provides just a little grip to keep it from sliding on your back. And there are two side mounting points for Peak Design’s Capture camera clip system, which I love to use.

What Andrew doesn’t love about the Everyday Sling: The main downside to this bag is the strap, which really isn’t as wide or comfortable as I’d like it to be, and doesn’t really compare well to my Timbuk2 messenger bag. To be fair to the Everyday Sling this isn’t intended to be a carry-everything-everywhere messenger, and is built for lighter duties, but the strap still disappoints in its padding. It also has the habit of loosening ever-so-slightly, but consistently, over time and needs shortened back up to the proper length.

Being compact and light cuts both ways, and that makes the Everyday Sling a poor choice for people who need to carry a lot with them. One of the biggest upsides for me is how small the Sling is because it means it won’t ever get too heavy, but that’s a big restriction for a lot of people. It can barely fit a 13-inch MacBook Pro, so larger laptop users are instantly ruled out.

The ideal user for this bag: If you’ve tried to find a small, compact bag to carry the essentials and nothing more, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L is for you. It’s built out of fantastic materials that won’t let you down, and is filled with genius little design touches that make it functional and practical for any sort of profession or adventure. The Everyday Sling isn’t for long trips or heavy gear, but if you don’t need that much space this bag is great.

Price: $149

See at Amazon

What’s your favorite bag?

Everyone needs to carry stuff, and whether that container is big, small, expensive or cheap-and-cheerful, we’d love to know what you carry with you on the go!

19
Jun

OPPO Find X is here with a pop-up slider for all three cameras


The Find X comes with a pop-up motor that hides the cameras when not in use.

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Image credit: The Verge

OPPO is reviving the Find series with its most ambitious device yet. The Find X is set to go live later today, but The Verge has an early look at the device.

The Find X comes with an innovative pop-up slider that contains all three cameras — the dual 16MP + 20MP rear camera and the 25MP front camera. Doing so has allowed OPPO to maximize screen space while eliminating the notch, with the Find X offering a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display with a 92.26% screen-to-body ratio.

That’s slightly more than that of the Vivo Nex, with Vivo’s handset also featuring a retractable front shooter. Unlike the Nex, the Find X doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint scanner, and instead relies solely on 3D facial recognition tech that’s hidden in the pop-up assembly. It works thusly: you switch on the display, swipe up on the lock screen, and the camera pops out to authenticate your face and unlock the device.

OPPO says the motorised mechanism takes just 0.5 seconds to pop up, so while it may not be quite as fast as using a standard fingerprint sensor, it is a novel way to unlock the phone.

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Image credit: The Verge

Under the hood, the Find X features the latest hardware available today in the form of a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, global LTE bands, dual SIM card slots, and a 3730mAh battery with OPPO’s VOOC fast charging tech. On the software front, the Find X comes with the latest iteration of Color OS running on Android 8.1 Oreo.

Crucially, the Find X will be the first OPPO phone sold in North America and Europe — that’s the reason for global LTE connectivity. For now, there’s no information on what markets the phone will be available in — or what it’ll cost — but we should know more in the coming weeks. The Find X is going on sale in China from today, and should make its way to other Asian markets shortly.

What do you guys make of the OPPO Find X?

19
Jun

Best Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9+ Deals and Promotions


Save the Galaxy — spend less money.

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The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are now available to purchase in many countries around the world. Carriers are falling over themselves to give you a good deal on an early purchase of Samsung’s latest phones. Here are all of the latest deals from the top carriers and retailers.

U.S.

Verizon

You can pick up the Galaxy S9 for $33.33 per month and the Galaxy S9+ for $38.75 per month. Both of those are the prices over 24 months, meaning you’ll ultimately pay $799 for the S9 and $929 for the S9+. Ouch. To help reduce those costs, you can trade-in an eligible phone on Verizon and take up to 50% off. The exact details are as follows:

  • Galaxy S9 for $16.66/month: Trade in iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6S Plus, Pixel 2/2 XL, Pixel/Pixel XL, LG V30, LG G6, Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z Force, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8/S8+, Galaxy S7 Edge.
  • Galaxy S9+ for $19.37/month: Trade in iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, Pixel 2/2 XL, LG V30, Moto Z2 Force, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8/S8+.
  • Galaxy S9 for $21.66/month: Trade in iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 6S, HTC 10, LG V20, LG G5, Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z Droid, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5.
  • Galaxy S9+ for $25.18: Trade in iPhone 6S/6S Plus, Pixel/Pixel XL, HTC 10, LG V20, LG G6, Moto Z Force, Moto Z2 Play, Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 5.
  • Galaxy S9 for $25.00/month: Trade in iPhone SE, HTC One M9/M9+, LG V10, LG G4, Moto Z Play, DROID Turbo 2, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge.
  • Galaxy S9+ for $29.06/month: Trade in iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone SE, HTC One M9/M9+, LG V10, LG G5, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Play, DROID Turbo 2, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 4.

See the Galaxy S9 at Verizon See the Galaxy S9+ at Verizon

AT&T

AT&T has upped the price for the phones beyond what you’d pay unlocked or from T-Mobile. The carrier is advertising $26.34 per month for the GS9 and $30.50 per month for the S9+ – but that’s over 30 months, so the full price comes out to $790 and $915, respectively.

For a limited time, though, AT&T is offering 50% off the S9 or $395 off the larger S9+. You must purchase the phones on AT&T Next, start a new line of service, and sign up for a DirecTV or Internet plan.

Those are a lot of hoops you need to jump through, but if you were already planning on getting the S9 or S9+ on AT&T, you might as well look into this.

See at AT&T

T-Mobile

T-Mobile is matching the unlocked pricing of $720 for the Galaxy S9 and $840 for the S9+. T-Mobile says that the S9 series plugs into its new 600MHz spectrum, which offers more coverage in rural areas.

The Un-Carrier is currently running a BOGO promotion where you can buy one Galaxy S9 and get another for free or $720 off the larger S9+.

Both phones must be purchased on monthly installment plans in order to be eligible, and you’ll need to either active two new lines for new customers or add at least one new one if you’re an existing subscriber.

See at T-Mobile

Sprint

On Sprint you’ll pay $792 for Galaxy S9 and $912 for Galaxy S9+, but they’re also available through Sprint’s Galaxy Forever lease program, which allows you to upgrade to the newest Galaxy after 12 months, for $33 per month for S9 and $38 per month for the S9+.

There aren’t any deals for buying the S9 series outright from Sprint, but you can save quite a bit with the Galaxy Forever program right now.

Instead of $33/month for the S9 and $38/month for the S9+, you’ll spend just $16.50/month for the S9 and $21.50/month for the S9 Plus. No trade-in is required for this promotion, but you will need to add a new line of service.

Once the order is made, you should see your monthly bill credit applied within two billing cycles.

See at Sprint

Amazon

Amazon matches every other retailer with U.S. unlocked pricing at $719 and $839, with all three colors of both sizes of the phone available. When shopping at Amazon, be sure to get the proper U.S. model rather than the international models that can also be found from third-party sellers — buying an international model may be a tad cheaper in some cases, but won’t come with a warranty.

See at Amazon

Best Buy

You can buy the carrier versions of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, plus the unlocked version (we recommend that one) at their usual prices. Best Buy runs its own trade-in program, and also typically matches whatever the carriers are offering directly in terms of incentives. Best Buy also offers 24-month no-interest financing if you have a Best Buy credit card.

See at Best Buy

Samsung

If you prefer buying your phones directly from the manufacturer (consider it!), without all the bloatware and potential SIM locking, Samsung is offering both the S9 and S9+ unlocked. In the U.S., you’ll pay $719 for the Galaxy S9 and $839 for the Galaxy S9+, but both are available with Samsung’s financing program if you’d prefer to pay over several months.

Samsung also sells the carrier variants of both phones, matching the pricing you’d find from the carriers but not necessarily any of the other incentives above and beyond that.

One big advantage Samsung has over everyone else is that it’s the exclusive place you can buy the 128GB and 256GB configurations for the S9 and S9+. You’ll pay $50 more per each storage upgrade, resulting in the following pricing:

  • Samsung Galaxy S9 w/ 128GB – $769.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 w/ 256GB – $819.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+ w/ 128GB – $889.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+ w/ 256GB – $939.99

Samsung’s got a couple killer deals right now, one of which gets you an instant $350 trade-in credit when you purchase an S9 through the Samsung Upgrade Program. Buying the S9 or S9+ through Samsung will also allow you to purchase the Power Bundle for $49 or the Upgrade Bundle for $99.

The Power Bundle comes with a fast wireless charger, 5,100 mAh battery pack, and adaptive fast charging car charger. On the other hand, the Upgrade Bundle inlcudes a fast wireless charger, Samsung Gear VR, and AKG Y50BT wireless headphones.

See at Samsung

Canada

Rogers

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Rogers has the Galaxy S9 and S9+. The amount you pay depends on which plan type you choose, with the pricing working out as follows:

  • Premium+ Tab: $249 for the Galaxy S9 / $379 for the Galaxy S9+
  • Premium Tab: $449 for the Galaxy S9 / $579 for the Galaxy S9+
  • Smart Tab: $599 for the Galaxy S9 / $729 for the Galaxy S9+
  • Talk & Text or No Tab: $999 for the Galaxy S9 / $1129 for the Galaxy S9+

If there’s a Rogers store near you, you can grab the Galaxy S9 for $0 (that’s right, $0) when you purchase it on one of the carrier’s Share Everything plans after completing an eligible trade-in.

For online shoppers, Rogers is giving out a coupon for 15% off select accessories when you actvate a device from its website and waiving its $30/line Connection Fee.

See at Rogers

TELUS

In addition to Rogers, you can also get the Galaxy S9 through TELUS. The regular S9 costs between $250 and $450 upfront depending on which plan you choose, with the same holding true for the S9+ that varies at $380 and $580.

See at TELUS

Bell

Bell is selling the S9 and S9+ for $250 on a 2-year term with an $80/month contract, or $450 for a $70/month contract. It’s $1019 outright. The S9+ costs $380 and $580 in the same configurations. As with all other carriers, the phone comes in either grey or purple.

If you’re interested in the smaller Galaxy S9, Bell’s letting you pick it up for $0 if you trade-in an eligible device and sign up for a 2-year Premium Plus plan with data.

For this offer, you’ll only be able to redeem it at one of Bell’s physical retail stores.

See at Bell

Unlocked

In Canada, Samsung is selling the Galaxy S9 and S9+ unlocked, starting at $960 for the smaller phone and moving up to $1100 for the larger one. Both phones remain unlocked once you put a SIM card into them, but they download (and keep) the carrier details from the first SIM that was inserted into them, much like their carrier counterparts. In Canada, Samsung is offering only the Lilac Purple and Titanium Grey models.

See at Samsung

UK

O2

O2 in the United Kingdom is selling the Galaxy S9 for £49.99 upfront and then £56 per month for 24 months. If you want the larger and more impressive Galaxy S9+, you’ll pay the same £49.99 upfront cost but a more expensive £61/month charge.

If you buy a Galaxy S9 or S9+ from O2 right now, the carrier will give you the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 absolutely free. This offer is good until July 11 and the tablet should ship out 14-40 days after your purchase is made.

See at O2

Vodafone

Vodafone is also offering the Galaxy S9 series in the UK, and for the regular S9 you’ll pay £29 upfront followed by £59/month. If you want to step up to the Galaxy S9+, you’ll pay a bit more ay £49 upfront and then £69 per month.

You won’t get any freebies when purchasing the S9+, but if you pick up the regular S9, Vodafone will give you an extra 10GB of monthly data.

See at Vodafone

EE Mobile

For EE Mobile customers, the Galaxy S9 regularly sells for £58 per month and the S9+ for £68 per month. The former comes with 64GB of storage while the latter has 128GB, but no matter which you choose, you’ll be able to get the phones in either Lilac Purple, Coral Blue, or Midnight Black.

If you act fast, however, EE Mobile’s offering its lowest price ever on the two phones — £43/month for the S9 and £53/month for the S9+.

Also, if you trade in a Galaxy S7, you can get the S9 for £28/month and the S9+ for £33/month.

See at EE Mobile

India

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are now available for purchase in India, with prices starting at ₹57,900 ($890). Both devices are on sale direct from Samsung India as well as Flipkart and Paytm Mall, and will be heading to thousands of retail stores across the country.

Both the 64GB and 256GB storage configurations are available in India, but if you’re interested in picking up the 256GB model, you’ll have to buy from Samsung India’s store. Samsung is rolling out a ₹6,000 ($90) cashback to those picking up the phone via Paytm, and HDFC credit and debit card users can also get ₹6,000 off on either device. Here’s how much the Galaxy S9 and S9+ cost in India:

  • 64GB Galaxy S9: ₹57,900 ($890)
  • 256GB Galaxy S9: ₹65,900 ($1,000)
  • 64GB Galaxy S9+: ₹64,900 ($1,015)
  • 256GB Galaxy S9+: ₹72,900 ($1,120)

See at Flipkart

Update, June 19, 2018: Added new deals for T-Mobile, Samsung’s online store, O2, Vodafone, and EE Mobile.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

Verizon
AT&T
T-Mobile
Sprint

19
Jun

Canada not addressing U.S. plea to cut ties with Huawei


Huawei’s actively developing its 5G technology in the country.

2018 has seen Huawei faced with a lot of heat from the United States’ government over national security concerns, and most recently in this never-ending crusade, the U.S. is now asking that Canada end its working relationship with the Chinese telecommunications company.

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According to The Globe and Mail, lawmakers from the U.S. began asking that Canada cut its ties with Huawei on Monday. Huawei is currently using Canada to develop its emerging 5G technologies, but the U.S. in insistent that Huawei poses a security threat to Canada as it does in the States.

Following this request, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said:

I do not discuss specific cases in the House or with the media. The security and police authorities of this country are charged with the responsibility of taking the steps that are necessary, within the law and the Constitution, to keep Canadians safe and to safeguard the national interests of Canada, and they do that job.

As you might expect, Huawei’s critics aren’t at all pleased with this response. Nathan Cullen, a member of the Candian House of Commons, believes there should be a vote to determine whether or not Huawei should be allowed to continue working on Canada’s 5G infrastructure. In responses to Goodale’s statement, Cullen said:

Simply shrugging and giving non-answers is not going to give Canadians or our security partners in Australia or the U.S., or others … any assurance that Canada takes security at all seriously.

Outside of Canada, the United States continues to throw just about everything it’s got at Huawei. The U.S. began criticizing Google for its relationship with Huawei in early-June, and before that, initiated a criminal investigation into the company over reported violations with Iran sanctions.

Huawei will stop focusing on the U.S. following security setbacks

19
Jun

Pixelbook 2: What Google can do to make the best Chromebook even better


The Pixelbook is already pretty damn great, but there’s always room for improvement.

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I’ve been the proud owner of a Google Pixelbook since February, and since then, not a moment’s gone by that I don’t regret replacing my 2016 MacBook Pro with it. The Pixelbook is one hell of a machine that’s proven to be perfect for my workload, and of all the laptops I’ve owned, has quickly become one of my favorites.

However, as much praise as it deserves, nothing is ever perfect. Google hit a home run with the Pixelbook, but there are a few things I’d like to see changed whenever gen-two is released.

Whether we see a Pixelbook 2 with the Pixel 3 this October or have to wait until 2019 for a successor, this is what Google can do to make its next Chromebook flagship even better.

Put those bezels on a diet

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The Pixelbook has a downright gorgeous display. The 3:2 aspect ratio is excellent for productivity, the Quad HD panel is sharp and crisp, and the 400 nits of brightness means you can always see exactly what you’re doing. However, as great as it is, I can’t help but cringe whenever I see those giant black bars surrounding all sides of it.

Google says it made the bezels the size they are so that you have a place to hold the Pixelbook when used it Tablet Mode, but I don’t think anyone would really complain if they went on a much-needed diet.

We don’t have to go quite as slim as what Huawei’s doing with the Matebook X, but some reduction here would be greatly appreciated.

I wouldn’t change a thing about the screen itself, but by reducing the picture frame around it, it can look even more impressive on the Pixelbook 2.

Give us better external speakers

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The Pixelbook’s speakers are hidden under the keyboard — smart 👍.

Slimmer bezels would allow the Pixelbook 2 to be a truly fantastic device for consuming TV shows, movies, and more, but in order for it to be a true media powerhouse, Google has to use better external speakers on it.

The speakers on the Pixelbook get plenty loud, but that’s about the only praise I can give them. They’re flat, boring, and a huge step-down from the speaker setup on my old MacBook Pro.

I think Google got the positioning of them right by hiding them underneath the keyboard, but I’d love to see higher-quality ones introduced next time around.

Add a fingerprint sensor, face unlock, or both

In day-to-day use, one of my biggest gripes with the Pixelbook is the lack of any biometric unlocking system. Your only options for unlocking are typing in your password or using the fingerprint sensor on your Android phone if waking the Pixelbook up from sleep/standby, and after a while, this can get awfully annoying.

It wouldn’t be hard at all for Google to slap a fingerprint sensor on the top or side of the Pixelbook 2, but I also wouldn’t say no to Google introducing a face-unlock system similar to what a lot of Windows 10 laptops have with Windows Hello.

Keep improving on the Pixelbook Pen

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I decided to pick up the Pixelbook Pen a few months after using the Pixelbook without it, and since then I’ve been addicted to using it. I’m about as far from an artist as you can get, but the Pen has been a great tool for jotting down notes for editorials, scrolling through web pages, and tapping small buttons/checkboxes my clumsy fingers struggle with.

The current implementation of the Pixelbook Pen works quite well, but I’ve noticed that there’s a fair bit of latency when using it. It’s nothing game-breaking and is still perfectly usable for note-taking, but it’s still an eyesore and something that should be addressed.

Also, while the 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity feel nice, Samsung’s recently announced Chromebook Plus V2 boasts more than double at 4,096 and costs $500 less. Couple increased sensitivity with decreased latency, and the Pixelbook 2 will make the Pixelbook Pen a no-brainer.

That’s it

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This is one of the shorter editorials I’ve written, but that’s because Google really did get almost everything right with the Pixelbook.

It’s incredibly fast, the keyboard and trackpad are both fantastic, and battery life is superb.

With those few changes and upgrades to the latest-available silicon, the Pixelbook 2 is going to be incredibly exciting. I probably won’t be upgrading as all the updates I want to see are fairly minor, but for folks that missed out the first time around, I’m excited for them to get their hands on the second iteration of Google’s vision for what laptops should be.

What about you? Whether or not you’ve got the first Pixelbook, what are you hoping to see in gen-two? Drop a line in the comments below!

Psssttt — The Pixelbook is still an awesome buy and is on sale right now for just $750 — an entire $250 off its normal MSRP.

See at Amazon

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Chromebooks in education: Everything you need to know
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

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