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3
Jul

Review: Ring Alarm is a $199 Do-It-Yourself Home Security System That Keeps Things Simple


Last month, Ring began taking pre-orders for its Ring Alarm home security system, and today it begins shipping. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with Ring Alarm, and I’ve found it’s an easy-to-use security system that’s useful with or without professional monitoring.

Priced at $199 for the base kit, the Ring Alarm comes with a base station, a separate keypad, one motion detector, one contact sensor for a door or window, and a range extender to help make sure all of your Ring accessories remain connected to your network.

Additional contact sensors ($20), motion detectors ($30), keypads ($50), and range extenders ($25) can be purchased separately to expand your system. Other Ring Alarm accessories including a flood and freeze sensor as well as a smoke and CO listener to integrate your existing detectors into the Ring ecosystem are coming later.

I’m a Ring user, with a Video Doorbell 2 and a Floodlight Cam already installed at my house, but I don’t have any prior experience with home security systems. That made for a bit of a learning curve just in terms of figuring out how I wanted to set things up and remembering to arm/disarm the system at the appropriate times. But Ring Alarm is intended as a simple do-it-yourself system that makes it easy for even novice users to get up and running, so perhaps I’m an ideal candidate for testing things out.

Setup

Setup of Ring Alarm is quite simple, and the whole process only took me about half an hour, although I used the included adhesive strips to mount sensors and didn’t mount the base station and keypad to my walls, so it would have taken a bit longer if I’d gone all-in with hardware mounting options. I may yet do that once I’ve decided for sure where I want to put the various components.

Regardless of whether you go the adhesive or hardware route, Ring provides everything you need right in the box, with installation kits for each component of the system conveniently boxed and labeled to make it easy to find what you need. All you’ll need if you want to use the included screws and anchors for hardware mounting are a screwdriver and a drill.

Ring Alarm base station
The first step of installation involves simply plugging in the base station and hitting a pairing button on the back to start configuring the system via Bluetooth. The Ring app, which is getting a significant redesign to provide quick access to Ring Alarm and improve functionality for other Ring products, walks you through the entire setup process step-by-step, so it’s hard to mess things up. Once the base station starts up, you can connect to your home network via either Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and I elected to use Wi-Fi to minimize wires.

Rear of base station
With the base station up and running, I was able to verify the address associated with my Ring account, enter my closest cross street to assist emergency responders, and add emergency contacts to be notified if the alarm trips. Adding a verbal password to authenticate my account when Ring calls due to an alarm event was the last step, and I was good to go with the 30-day free trial of professional monitoring. After the free trial, professional monitoring costs $10 per month or $100 per year, and it also includes cloud video storage for any other Ring camera and doorbell products you have in your home.


Once the base station is online and your account set up for monitoring, the rest of the devices in your starter kit are automatically identified in the Ring app and you can set them up one by one. With each one, you can provide a name and room location to help identify the accessories in notifications and the app. With the keypad, you’ll set up an access code that lets you arm and disarm the alarm, and you can set up different codes for different people. As you set up each motion detector and contact sensor, the app will have you test each one to ensure that they’re probably detecting events.

Ring Alarm keypad
The keypad includes a reversible mount that can be attached to a wall as a bracket or flipped over and used as a tabletop stand at a slight incline. Ring includes a micro-USB cable and an adapter to power the keypad, but it also has an internal rechargeable battery that can last up to a year depending on your settings, so it’s handy to be able to set it up wirelessly on a table or mounted to the wall, only recharging periodically as needed.

Motion detector mounted in corner
Ring suggests that the motion detector should be placed in a location with a good view of a high-traffic area likely to be passed by any intruders, with the detector placed about seven feet off the floor. Motion detection sensitivity can be adjusted in the app if you find you’re getting too many false alerts such as from a pet. The detector can be mounted using either adhesive or included screws that attach a bracket to the wall for easy removal of the detector itself.

Contact sensor mounted to door
Contact sensors come in two pieces, a large sensor part and a smaller magnet part, and both pieces must be aligned within 1/4 inch of each other when the door or window is closed. One piece goes on the door or window while the second part goes on the frame, but it doesn’t matter which part goes on which side. When the door or window is opened, the two parts are separated, and the sensor triggers.

The Ring Alarm also includes a Z-Wave range extender that helps make sure everything in your alarm system is able to reach your network, but I found I did not need the extender.


Standalone accessories can be added to your setup in a similar manner to those included in the base kit, although you’ll have to scan a QR code on the back of them using the Ring app in order to get them to appear. From there, it’s the same process of choosing the sensor type, naming it, assigning it to a room, and testing to make sure it’s registering properly.

Operation

With everything up and running, you’re ready to go. Ring Alarm supports three modes: disarmed, home, and away. Disarmed mode, unsurprisingly, will not activate the alarm if any of your sensors are tripped. The base station will chirp by default when a door is opened in disarmed mode, for example, but these chirps can also be turned off.


In home mode, the default setup is for motion sensors to be ignored while door/window sensors will trigger the alarm to activate. This mode is obviously intended for when you’re moving around inside your home but want to be protected if someone enters the house through a monitored door or window. Finally, away mode arms all sensors so that any opened monitored door or window or movement within the house will set off the alarm.


With home and away modes, you’re able to customize entry and exit delays up to two minutes before the alarm goes off, giving you enough time to leave the house after arming and enter the access code on the keypad upon returning home. When an event is detected, you’ll get a notification on your phone, and the Ring app will display a countdown giving you the configured period of time to disarm the system before the alarm goes off. If you fail to enter the keypad code or disarm from the Ring app within the allowed time, the base station will emit a very loud beeping sound, and if you are signed up for professional monitoring, authorities will be notified.

Ring Alarm supports a sensor bypass mode, which allows you to arm the system even if one of the sensors is currently tripped. For example, if you want to arm the alarm but leave a monitored window open, the system will notify you upon arming that one of the sensors is currently faulted. You can choose to close the window to clear the sensor or bypass it, which will arm the system but not monitor that sensor until the next disarm/arm cycle.

Monitoring

As part of the Ring Protect Plus plan priced at $10 per month or $100 per year, you’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring on your Ring Alarm. When your sensors trip and the base station sounds an alarm, after 30 seconds it also sends a signal to Ring’s central monitoring system. A support agent will attempt to call you to see if everything is okay, and then tries your emergency contacts if you can’t be reached.

Either you or one of your emergency contacts must give the correct verbal password in order to confirm authorization to deal with the alarm situation. Emergency responders will be dispatched if you give the incorrect password, request a response after giving the correct password, or if you and your emergency contacts can not be reached.


Ring does include a practice mode with its professional monitoring, and by default for the first seven days after activating your account authorities will not be contacted if the alarm is triggered. This gives you time to learn how your system works without burdening authorities with false alarms. If you wish to exit practice mode before the seven-day period is up, you can do that, but Ring will warn you in the app about the importance of making sure everything is working properly before you do that.

Some jurisdictions require permits for monitored alarm systems, and Ring will guide you based on the address where you’re using Ring Alarm. In some areas, Ring can obtain the permit on your behalf once you pay required fees, but in other jurisdictions you’ll need to handle it on your own. Either way, once you have your permit, you can enter the permit number and expiration date in the Ring app to make all parties aware that your system is properly registered. My town does not require permits, so I did not need to go through this step.

As part of professional monitoring, the Ring Protect Plus plan also includes cellular backup connectivity, allowing your base station to contact the monitoring center even if your internet goes down. The base station itself also includes a battery backup that lasts up to 24 hours, so you’re even protected if the power goes out.

Beyond monitoring, Ring Protect Plus includes cloud video recording for an unlimited number of Ring cameras and doorbells at your home, an extended warranty for as long as you’re on the plan, and a 10 percent discount on Ring doorbells and cameras.

If you don’t want professional monitoring, you can forego the Protect Plus plan. You’ll still get notifications of alarm events and the base station can sound an alarm, but there will be no connection to a monitoring center and thus no automatic deployment of emergency responders.

Wrap-up

Ring’s entire philosophy revolves around making technologically advanced home security simple to install and use without being intimidating, and Ring Alarm certainly achieves that.

What’s also important about Ring Alarm is that it sets the stage for future products and integration. The Ring app already serves as the hub to integrate the alarm system with the company’s existing cameras and doorbells, but it’s easy to see how the alarm can also become the hardware hub for new capabilities and products from Ring and eventually third-party vendors.

Many alarm systems integrate base station and keypad functionalities into a single unit, but Ring has made an interesting decision to separate the two, recognizing that these don’t always need to be colocated. The base station serves best located centrally in the home in order to optimize wireless connections to all sensors and to centralize the alarm sound, while the keypad is likely to be placed close to the main point of entry for easy access.

At $199, the Ring Alarm base kit is a relatively low-cost, do-it-yourself way to get into home security, although you’ll likely want to spring for a few additional sensors to fill out coverage of your home. Ring’s professional monitoring plan is also quite competitive, and overall Ring Alarm looks like a well thought out system.

The one thing Apple fans might miss is HomeKit support, which isn’t included in Ring Alarm and still has yet to come several other Ring products for which HomeKit support was promised long ago. Ring declined to offer any new details on its HomeKit plans, but acknowledged that customers continue to request it and promised the company is still working on it.

Note: Ring provided the Ring Alarm base kit and two additional contact sensors to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tag: Ring
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3
Jul

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 60 With Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements


Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced over two years ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 60 includes bug fixes and feature improvements for Web Animations, Dark Mode, Web Inspector, Media, CSS, WebRTC, Security, Plug-ins, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, WebDriver, and Accessibility.

The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS High Sierra and macOS Mojave, the newest version of the Mac operating system that’s currently being beta tested by developers.

Of note, Apple says Safari Technology Preview 60 will crash on launch with the first macOS Mojave developer beta. To avoid crashes, users should upgrade to the second beta. Also, after updating to release 60, the homepage preference and the Develop menu preference will be lost.

Safari Technology Preview 59, the prior update, introduced support for Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0, which prevents social widgets from tracking you without your permission and introduces other tracking prevention updates.

The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS High Sierra and macOS Mojave, the newest version of the Mac operating system that’s currently being beta tested by developers.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple’s aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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3
Jul

Third Beta of tvOS 12 Now Available for Registered Developers


Apple today seeded the third beta of a new tvOS 12 operating system to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second beta and a month after introducing the new software at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV, the tvOS 12 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that’s installed using Xcode. Subsequent betas can be downloaded via the software update mechanism on the Apple TV.

tvOS 12 brings support for Dolby Atmos sound, which was activated in beta 2. Apple says that iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies anywhere, with Apple upgrading titles customers have purchased for free.

Building on single sign-on, a new zero sign-on feature will further simplify the cable authentication process. With zero sign-on, the Apple TV can detect a user’s broadband network and automatically sign them into supported apps they receive through their cable subscription.

Aerial screensavers include location information and there are new screensavers captured in collaboration with the International Space Station.

Other improvements to Apple TV in tvOS 12 include AutoFill passwords from iPhone, an Apple TV Remote automatically added to Control Center on the iPhone or iPad, and Apple TV support on Home control systems like Control4, Crestron, and Savant.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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3
Jul

Apple Releases Third Beta of New watchOS 5 Operating System to Developers


Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 5 update to developers, two weeks after releasing the second beta and a month after introducing the software at the Worldwide Developers Conference. watchOS 5 is the newest version of the software that runs on the Apple Watch.

To install the beta, you’ll need the proper configuration profile, which can be obtained through the Apple Developer Center. Once the profile is in place, the watchOS 5 beta can be downloaded using the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update.

To update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on an Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone. It would be wise to install the beta on a secondary device instead of a primary device given that this is an early version of the watchOS 5 software that still has bugs to be worked out.

watchOS 5 is a major update to watchOS, introducing Activity Competitions so you can compete on workouts with friends, Walkie-Talkie with push-to-talk functionality for quickly communicating with the people you talk to most, and auto workout detection to make it easier than ever to start and stop workouts.

Other new features include an improved Siri watch face with support for third-party apps, a dedicated Apple Podcasts app, new Workout types that include Yoga and Hiking, new features for runners, WebKit support for viewing some web content on Apple Watch, and enhanced notifications, which will make notifications on the Apple Watch interactive.

Early software betas often introduce new functionality, so we’ll update this post if anything new is found in the third beta of watchOS 5. The second beta brought full support for the Walkie-Talkie feature, which was unavailable in the first beta.

watchOS 5 is only available to developers and will not be provided to public beta testers (because there’s no way to downgrade Apple Watch software), so non-developers will need to wait until the software is officially released in the fall to try it out.

The watchOS 5 update runs on all Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 Apple Watch models, but it is not available for the first-generation “Series 0” Apple Watch models.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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3
Jul

Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 12 to Developers


Apple today seeded the third beta of the upcoming iOS 12 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second beta and a month after introducing the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12 beta from Apple’s Developer Center or over-the-air after installing the proper certificate.

The iOS 12 update introduces significant changes to the iOS operating system, with Apple working from top to bottom to make iPhones and iPads, especially older models, faster and more responsive. In beta 3 specifically, Apple is adding an entirely revamped and rebuilt Maps app for the San Francisco Bay Area with a slight design change that will display foliage, pools, buildings, pedestrian pathways, and other map elements more accurately, along with improvements to traffic, real-time road conditions, construction, and more.

Image via TechCrunch
Though limited to the San Francisco area during beta testing, the new Maps features will roll out to all of California when iOS 12 launches, followed by additional locations across the United States.

On the iPhone X, there are new Animoji characters along with “Memoji” customizable, personalized Animoji that can be used both in Messages and in FaceTime. Messages and FaceTime have also gained fun new camera effects, and Group FaceTime support allows for calls with up to 32 people.

Siri is smarter in iOS 12 with a new Shortcuts feature that lets you create custom automations using first and third-party apps that can be activated with Siri, with Apple planning to introduce a dedicated Shortcuts app in the future.

Apple also built a comprehensive set of time management and monitoring tools into iOS 12 with Screen Time, allowing you to keep track of just how much time you’re spending on your iPhone and iPad.


Updated Do Not Disturb options make turning off notifications and distractions easier than ever, with a new Do Not Disturb at Bedtime feature cutting down on nighttime interruptions.


Group Notifications make incoming notifications easier to view and manage, while a new Instant Tuning feature lets you tweak your notification settings on a notification-by-notification basis.


Apple News has a new Browse feature, the Stocks app has been redesigned, iBooks has been overhauled with a new look and a new name – Apple Books – and Voice Memos has been revamped with iCloud support and an iPad app. There’s also a new ARKit-based Measure app.

ARKit 2.0 introduces new capabilities like shared experiences that let two people see the same AR environment on separate devices, and persistence, which allows AR experiences to be saved across multiple sessions.

Tons of other small tweaks and features have been added to iOS 12, so make sure to check out our dedicated roundup for additional detail on what’s new in iOS 12.

Early betas of new operating system updates always introduce tweaked features and new functionality, and we’ll be outlining what’s new in the third beta below. We also rounded up all of the changes that were introduced in the previous beta, beta 2.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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3
Jul

Exposure compensation: What it is and how to master it


Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

It’s never been easier to take a great picture, as even the cameras inside today’s smartphones are incredibly capable and easy to use. But that doesn’t mean we always get perfect results. You’ve probably been in a situation where you tried to take a picture of your friend, dog, or pet rock in front of something like a window or other bright background, only to have your subject appear as a silhouette. This is a simple problem of the camera not knowing which area of the frame to expose for — the bright window, or the shadowed pet rock on the sill?

Fortunately, the issue of images coming out too dark or too bright is quite easy to prevent thanks to a tool called exposure compensation. Exposure compensation may sound complicated, but it’s actually the easiest way to adjust a camera’s exposure and is a setting you will find on virtually any camera, from professional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to, you guessed it, your phone.

What is Exposure Compensation?

Simply put, exposure compensation is an easy way to adjust the exposure value (EV) of your camera’s metering system. When you increase the EV value, you are making an image brighter; decreasing it will make an image darker. Exposure compensation doesn’t tell you how it chooses to make the image brighter or darker, but that’s the whole point: You don’t have to worry about shutter speeds and f-stops, or ISO settings.

For cameras that offer manual controls, note that exposure compensation doesn’t actually affect your images if you are already shooting in manual mode — but it will work in both shutter and aperture priority.

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It’s important to understand that exposure compensation isn’t the same as setting exposure manually or using exposure lock — your exposure is still automatic and the camera may make adjustments from shot to shot as the light changes. But if you are in a situation where you know your camera is prone to underexpose — like the aforementioned backlit scene — setting an exposure compensation of, say, +1 EV will tell the camera to allow in one additional stop of light compared to what it thinks it needs, and you should get consistently accurate exposures from then on.

Where Is the Exposure compensation Setting?

Can’t track down the exposure comp menu or settings? On a phone, the location depends on the specific app you are using, but you can generally find exposure compensation in the default camera app simply by holding your finger down on the screen. This will lock focus and exposure on that area of the frame and allow you turn the brightness up or down simply by dragging your finger. You may have done this already, even without realizing it was called exposure compensation.

An example of an exposure valuation scale.

On dedicated cameras, exposure compensation is always represented by a sliding scale with a 0 in the middle. Some cameras may have dedicated dials for exposure compensation, while others will have a button or menu option. Both in a camera’s menu and on a button, exposure compensation is identified by a universal “plus/minus” symbol (phone apps with advanced controls may use this symbol, too).

Depending on the camera, you can adjust your exposure in 1/2 or 1/3 stops. Going to +1 or +2 means you’re making your exposure one or two full stops brighter. Negative numbers indicate that you’re making the exposure darker. Note: One stop represents a doubling or halving of exposure; an image shot at +1 EV will have twice the light as one shot at the base exposure value, while setting exposure compensation to -1 EV will result in half that amount of light.

When Can I Use Exposure Compensation?

Modern cameras have the ability to meter perfectly fine exposures most of the time. There are instances where you want to have the exposure control in your own hands, however. For beginners, exposure compensation is a very easy way to make your photos darker or lighter in challenging lighting situations without worrying about what’s actually going on under the hood.

Like the initial example of photographing a subject in front of a bright background, the opposite is also true. A subject in front of a dark background could trick your camera’s meter, which will see all that darkness and try to brighten it up, only to result in overexposing your subject. In this situation, move your exposure compensation meter to the minus side to make the photo darker. The end result is that the main subject of your photo will be properly exposed. You may have to experiment with varying levels of compensation to find the perfect exposure.

On live-view cameras like smartphones, point-and-shoots, and mirrorless cameras, you can see the effect of exposure compensation on the screen as you make adjustments. When using the optical viewfinder on a DSLR, you obviously won’t be able to see the effect until you play back the picture. Particularly in this case, it is important to remember to turn exposure compensation off before you move to a new setting. Otherwise, you may accidentally shoot your kid’s entire soccer game at +3 EV and end up with a set of hopelessly overexposed photos.

Exposure compensation also can’t fix every type of exposure problem. If you’re trying to expose properly for a dark subject and a bright background, it can’t help you — but other techniques, like high dynamic range compositing or fill flash, come into play. Especially for beginners or phone photographers, however, exposure compensation is the easiest way to take exposure into your own hands. Your pictures will thank you for it.

Editors’ Recommendations

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3
Jul

High-speed sync: What it is and how to master it


Flash photography can be a mystery, but when done correctly, it can also add character and depth to an image that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. One of the more mysterious flash technologies is called high-speed sync (HSS), which may as well be magic — but this is one trick you can master.

HSS enables the use of flash at very high shutter speeds (up to whatever a camera’s fastest setting is). This comes in handy for outdoor portraits, when a shallow depth of field is desired, thus necessitating a fast shutter speed.

The effect is nicely demonstrated in the above video by Chicago-based photographer Manuel Ortiz (via PetaPixel). This demonstration works well because Ortiz focuses not on the usual difference of flash versus no flash, but specifically on HSS flash versus non-HSS flash. Without HSS, his shutter speed is limited to 1/250 of a second, so he compensates by stopping down the aperture which has the effect of increasing depth of field (his ISO is already at the lowest setting). With HSS, however, there is no such shutter speed limitation, and thus Ortiz is able to shoot at 1/4,000 of a second to enable the maximum aperture of f/1.4.

The indirect effect of HSS, therefore, is a shallow depth of field, which pulls the subject out from the background. But you may be wondering: Why is shooting above 1/250 of a second intrinsically different than shooting at a slower speed when it comes to flash? To understand that, one first has to understand how a focal plane shutter works (that’s the type of shutter used in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras).

A focal plane shutter has two parts: a front (or first) curtain and a rear (or second) curtain. The front curtain drops to begin the exposure, and the rear curtain follows it to end the exposure. Every camera has what’s called a “maximum sync speed” (usually either 1/200 or 1/250 of a second) that is the fastest shutter speed available to use with a non-HSS flash. Above this speed, the rear curtain begins closing before the front curtain has exposed the entire sensor, so the shutter becomes more like a scanner, passing a bar of light over the sensor. (If it helps to have a visual, this process is illustrated very well on Fstoppers.)

That’s a problem for a standard flash, which shines a burst of light that often lasts 1/1,000 of a second or less. At a high shutter speed, that won’t be enough to light the entire frame, as at any given moment, the shutter curtains are blocking part of the sensor. HSS gets around this problem by pulsing the flash extremely quickly over the entire duration of the shutter movement. In essence, a flash in HSS mode behaves more like a constant light.

The downside of HSS is that extending the duration of a flash reduces its maximum output power, which can be a problem if you’re trying to overpower the sun or use a large light modifier. HSS is a standard feature of most first-party external flashes, like those from Sony, Canon, and Nikon, but is also included in some high-end studio lights. The Flashpoint Xplor 600 TTL that Ortiz uses in the video offers significantly more power than a Sony flash, and thus is more flexible when it comes to high-speed sync.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Hasselblad X1D review
  • The Leica SF 60 is both a flash and a video light with off-camera possibilities
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review
  • Photography 101: exposure, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
  • Your phone’s flash has nothing on the powerful, pocketable Lume Cube



3
Jul

This is the OnePlus 6 Red


After the launch of the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Limited Edition a few months ago, OnePlus has introduced a new variant of the OnePlus 6 — OnePlus 6 Red — which will be available across all OnePlus global markets.

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Aside from the cosmetic changes in the design, the OnePlus 6 Red edition is of course a OnePlus 6 at heart with the same internals, and that isn’t a bad thing. The OnePlus 6 is a solid smartphone and has a well-rounded appeal for a broad audience.

This is not the first time OnePlus has offered a red color variant. Last year, OnePlus had offered a OnePlus 5T Lava Red Edition, a limited-edition variant built to celebrate OnePlus’ four-year anniversary and was inspired by the color of cooling lava. The color on the OnePlus 6 Red though is quite different from the Lava Red.

OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 6 Red sports a stunning reflective finish achieved by layering sheets of glass for a beautiful amber-like effect that supposedly took several months to refine and perfect. In order to achieve the amber-like depth and clarity, it used a new film coating process that’s never been attempted before in the smartphone industry. There’s also silver metal highlights around the camera lens and rear fingerprint scanner for a touch of sophistication.

OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 Red is available in the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration and is priced at the same level as other OnePlus 6 variants — ₹39,999 ($583) in India, that is. Essentially, there’s no premium on the red color variant — except the limited availability of course.

The OnePlus 6 Red will go on sale in India on July 16 (12 noon IST), in China on July 9, and other regions in North America and Europe on July 10.

OnePlus 6

I wasn’t a big fan of the Lava Red edition, but OnePlus 6 Red is totally rad, and looks stunning. What are your thoughts on the new color variant of the OnePlus 6, and are you looking to pick one up? Let us know in the comments!

3
Jul

Huawei’s got a free way of turning your phone into a monster gaming machine


Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei has seen gaming-centric phones from Razer and Asus, and has its own ideas about what will make the new generation of mobile gamers flock to its smartphones, and for a change, it doesn’t involve buying a new model. Games rely on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to perform well, and Huawei has a software update coming that will boost the efficiency of the GPU by 60 percent and cut down battery consumption by 30 percent. The cost to you, Huawei phone owner? Zero. Excellent news.

It’s called GPU Turbo, and boosting the GPU’s ability means even mid-range phones will be able to run complex mobile games at a higher frame rate, and with all those flashy HDR+ visual effects switched on. Huawei even believes some of the Honor phones with simple GPUs will be able to outperform phones with stronger GPUs. What’s more, the GPU Turbo will also support augmented and virtual reality applications in the future, presumably if they’re specifically coded for compatible devices.

How does this magic work? Huawei’s not giving away many of its trade secrets, but it uses hardware-software acceleration in the GPU, in a similar way to how Google fine-tuned the software ahead of activating the Visual Core chip in the Pixel 2. Huawei has long spoken about how much it spends on research and development, plus how tweaks inside its EMUI user interface keep Android running faster for longer. That it has found a way to make the gaming experience better on many phones through software alone shouldn’t be a surprise.

Software updates

The GPU Turbo update is free and makes your phone better at playing games, so is there a downside? No, because Huawei’s committed to delivering the software update to a wide range of current phones from both it and sub-brand Honor. In August, the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, and Mate RS are scheduled to receive the GPU Turbo update. In September, the P20 Lite will join them, along with the Mate 9, Mate 9 Pro, the P10, and the P10 Plus.

The Honor 10 should also see the update arrive in August. In China, a special edition of the Honor 10 called the Honor 10 GT has been released with the software already in place. In September the Honor 9, Honor 7X, and the Honor View 10 should benefit from the GPU Turbo software. Other phones for September include the Honor 8 Pro, the Honor 9 Lite, the Huawei Y9, Huawei P Smart, and the Mate 10 Lite.

Software update schedules are notorious for last-minute changes, so take all these dates as very approximate. Just because it says August, don’t expect it to be August 1, as it may be more like August 31. We also expect some future Huawei and Honor phones to have the GPU Turbo software installed on release. We’ll keep you updated with news of the update’s progress here.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei P20
  • Honor 10: Everything you need to know
  • Huawei P20 Pro review
  • When is your phone getting Android P? We asked every major manufacturer
  • When is your phone getting Android 8.0 Oreo? We asked every major manufacturer



3
Jul

How are you liking the LG G7 ThinQ?


Turns out the G7 is a pretty darn good phone.

The LG G7 has been out in the wild for a hot minute at this point, but unless you’ve been actively following the phone, chances are you might not have known that.

lg-g7-review-2.jpg?itok=GNeuqzF9

LG put together a really solid gadget with the G7, but even so, it continues to be overshadowed by competitors like the Galaxy S9, Pixel 2, and OnePlus 6.

For the folks that waded through that sea of competition and decided to give the G7 a shot, the feedback has been mostly positive among the Android Central forum community. When asked how they’ve liked the phone so far, this is what they had to say:

avatar2835084_2.gifNubwy
06-28-2018 05:16 PM

It’s been about two weeks with my G7 ThinQ. I love it so far. The only gripe I have is battery life but it’s still easily getting me through a whole day. I had a G6 I regretted trading for a Pixel that ended up burning me in the long run. Glad I made the choice to stick with LG. Solid phones and a great UI. Love it! How’s everyone else’s holding up?

Reply

default.jpgbiswasd
06-28-2018 08:21 PM

Ditto for me…..selling my iphone X……love this g7….used to have a G6 as well, but night day in terms of performance / speed and the g-damn screen is incredible, sharp, and bright A-F.

🙂

P.S. works great with the $70 Verizon Wear 24 LTE watch that I bought from dailysteals….

Reply

avatar2411_1.gifpastafarian
06-29-2018 08:21 AM

Compared to the 2 Samsung s7e’s our g7’s replaced, this phone has been a revelation. Far less frustrating with no black screen of death issues. It works perfectly with android auto, something that couldn’t say about the S7. My wife no longer having the all too common pink vertical stripe on her screen is also nice (damn you Samsung!). On the negative side, a few too meany app crash…

Reply

avatar256638_4.gifphillymade
06-29-2018 07:58 AM

I am super happy with my G7. Infact, we bought an LG Thinq TV and it promted me to get the G7. I have had LG devices before and loved them, so thought this would be a good time to come back. Battery life is good and gets better every week but am also not a slave to it, I just use my device and don’t think too much about it. I am happy that I have this device and am sick of hearing all the…

Reply

Now, we want to pass the mic over to you — How’s your experience with the LG G7 been?

Join the conversation in the forums!

LG G7

  • LG G7 hands-on preview: All about that bass
  • LG G7 Specifications: Everything you need to know
  • Join the LG G7 forums

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