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12
Jul

TicWatch Pro review: A best-of-both-worlds hybrid


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Mobvoi isn’t the first smartwatch to put out a hybrid smartwatch, but this one works out almost too well.

Many have questioned the future — and the present — of smartwatches in the Android ecosystem. Wear OS as a category has felt dead for months now, and if there’s any watch I’d trust to help give it a shot in the arm while we wait for the long-rumored/dreamed-of Pixel Watch, it’s going to be the newest smartwatch in the TicWatch line.

The TicWatch Pro is launching as an Amazon Prime exclusive ahead of Prime Day, and it’s got a dual-layer screen that goes old-school in just the right way while allowing the watch to sip its battery for day and weeks rather than the hours or two days most current watches struggle to survive.

TicWatch Pro



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Price: $249.99 (Amazon Prime Day launch exclusive)

Bottom line: A smartwatch that ticks all the boxes from NFC-based Google Pay to multi-week battery life in Essential mode. It’s a large watch, but one with a large feature set to match.

The Good

  • Good response time and handoff between the LCD and OLED display modes
  • Large display makes navigation a breeze, even without a rotating bezel
  • User-programmable button gives easy access to a favorite app

The Bad

  • It’s huge, especially on slimmer wrists
  • No SIM option, so it can do everything except make calls on its own
  • Going from Essential Mode back to Wear OS takes a long time

See at Amazon

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Double the display, double the functionality

TicWatch Pro What I like

The TicWatch Pro sets itself apart from other smartwatches the second you see its face. Because of its dual-layer screen, the watch isn’t an abyss of black when the screen is off. Instead, it’s the familiar graphite of the see-through LCD display. These two displays allow users to overcome two of the greater pitfalls of Wear OS’s screen and battery woes: the LCD display is far easier to read in harsh summer sunlight or at awkward angles, and the LCD watch face sips battery compared to even the most minimal of always-on watch faces.

You can glance down at your watch as you type, cook, drive, or go about your day and instantly, easily read the LCD display, and with tilt-to-wake, you can still see your flashy, fabulous custom watch face and notifications when you pull your wrist up to engage it. The handoff between the two modes is just as quick as the normal tilt-to-wake on any other watch, but it saves so much more battery. In short, I freaking love it.

The TicWatch has all the goodies for us to play with inside its sizable smartwatch frame: NFC is here for Google Pay on your wrist, we have GPS, activity monitors, and a heart rate sensor for long workouts or short sprints from the studio to the newsroom, and we have Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi if you need to connect the watch to headphones or your gym’s Wi-Fi while your phone sits safely in your locker.

A quick note about battery: I’ve only had the TicWatch Pro for a few days, but it took two days of pretty heavy usage to run the battery down, including hours of always-on display and lots of downloading and configuring apps. I’ll update this review in a few weeks once I’ve actually had time to challenge Mobvoi’s 30-day claim, but 5 days between Essential Mode at night and light-to-average daily usage sounds easily attainable.

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A tic too big

TicWatch Pro What I’m not sold on

There’s no escaping just how big the TicWatch Pro is, but it’s hardly the first bulky smartwatch to grace the market; the ZTE Quartz in my closet is still thicker and fatter than the 45mm TicWatch Pro, but not by much. Even most of the men in my life think the Pro is a bit big for their wrists, and it feels more manacle than modern timepiece on my limp, lanky wrist. I’m small, and I knew this was going to be a big watch for me well before it arrived, but it’s still a bit of a turn-off.

The only other issue relates to the battery-saving Essential Mode. Essential Mode is a great feature, and allowing me to keep track of my steps, heart rate and time without burning through my battery is a godsend. However, since Essential Mode shuts off the Wear OS side of the watch completely, if you turn it on, be prepared to wait a full minute when you long-press the power button to re-engage it. The watch also shuts off Bluetooth while in Essential Mode, meaning that even though your TicWatch Pro is technically on, it’s not going to buzz with notifications or keep your phone unlocked via Smart Lock.

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TicWatch Pro Should you buy it?

This is one of the first Wear OS watches to come so close to ‘tic’ing all the boxes in a long time. It’s the first Wear OS watch I’ve had since the original Huawei Watch that I can walk out of the house and have absolutely zero worries about the battery dying on me, and using Google Pay on your wrist is worlds easier than digging it out on your phone.

The TicWatch Pro is a big watch at a relatively small price, especially for how adaptable it is. As an Amazon Prime Day Launch exclusive, you’ll need Amazon Prime to buy the watch, which may be the biggest drawback for some penny-pinching users to this hybrid smartwatch.

4.5
out of 5


This is the most complete Wear OS experience I’ve seen yet, and if there was a more size-appropriate version for us slim-wristed ladies, I’d be rocking a TicWatch Pro for the foreseeable future. As is it, I’m willing to put up with the bulk for a smartwatch that I know will last a full weekend and then some and gives me the best of Wear OS that I’ve been missing on my LG Watch Style.

See at Amazon

12
Jul

CARROT Weather is finally available for Android


The app’s free and comes with an optional paid subscription.

There are already plenty of weather apps on Google Play, but today marks the launch of one we’ve been anticipating for some time — CARROT Weather.

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CARROT Weather first debuted on iOS back in 2015, and since then, has become one of the most popular weather apps in the App Store. As such, we’re excited to see it finally come over to team Android.

You’ll find all the typical weather info you’ve come to expect from competing apps such as a week-long forecast, the expected highs and lows, humidity percentages, etc.

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However, CARROT Weather presents all of this info with a dark, twisted sense of humor. The app’s bot will read aloud a quick overview of what’s going on in your area, and you can customize both its personality and political stance to fine-tune the humor just the way you want it. By default, CARROT’s bot is set to Homicidal for the personality and Centrist for its political view, but you can change these to your heart’s content.

In addition to the humor that’s injected into CARROT Weather, you’ll also find more powerful features such as weather data from Dark Sky, a time machine that lets you view the weather up to 70 years in the past, and a highly customizable widget.

CARROT Weather is free to download, but you can join the optional Premium Club for $3.99/year or $0.99/month to remove ads and access some exclusive features.

Download: CARROT Weather (free + optional $3.99/year or $0.99/month subscription)

12
Jul

NVIDIA Shield TV vs. Roku Ultra


nvidia-shield-roku-ultra-4.jpg?itok=DBX7 NVIDIA Shield TV has been around since 2015. Roku Ultra was born in 2017. Sometimes, age ain’t nothing but a number.

How Android TV’s best goes up against a newer (and more expensive) streaming favorite.

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There’s no denying the popularity of Roku. Its low cost and simplicity has made it a favorite of cord cutters and casual streamers alike. And so it’s almost a little unfair to put it up against the likes of NVIDIA Shield TV. Because we’re talking greater hardware on just about every level, never mind the fact that Shield TV is a good two years older.

Still, though, we have to make a choice when it comes to spending our money. So we Shield TV up against Roku Ultra.

The verdict? Roku Ultra still surprises in some places, while definitely lacking in others. The real decision, though, may reside in your wallet.

Read: NVIDIA Shield TV vs. Roku Ultra

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12
Jul

Best Amazon Prime Day Deals 2018


The celebrations have already begun!

Amazon Prime Day doesn’t officially begin until July 16 at 3pm ET, but that hasn’t stopped the company from beginning the deals a little bit early. Alongside the announcement, Amazon stated that a few deals would be available instantly for Prime members, and there are a few that you definitely won’t want to miss. In the coming days, we expect to see more deals leak, and our continuously updated tracker will highlight all the best Amazon Prime Day deals.

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Be sure to check back often, as this page will be constantly adding fresh new deals. If you’re looking for deals on Amazon’s Echo hardware, Kindle Unlimited, Prime Pantry and more, we’ve got you covered.

Prime Exclusive Deals of the Day

In the lead-up to Prime Day, Amazon has switched over its Gold Box deals of the day to be all Prime member exclusive deals. Unlike some of the offers below, these prices expire at the end of the day, so you won’t have much time to think about them.

Today’s deals include:

  • GrowlerWerks uKeg & Tumblers – Starting at $16
  • Nectar Sleep’s Gel Memory Foam Mattress – Starting at $329
  • RAVPower Wireless Chargers – Starting at $27
  • Avantree Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones – Starting at $15
  • Air Mattresses – Starting at $11
  • Audio Equipment, Studio Equipment and more – Up to 30% off

Echo Hardware

To kick things off, the company slashed $100 on the price of the Echo Show, dropping it down to just $129.99. This is the lowest we’ve ever seen it go and makes it the same price as the smaller screened Echo Spot. We’ve seen Amazon offer Voice Shopping exclusive deals in the past during Prime Day, so if you don’t have an Alexa device, or want another, this is a no-brainer purchase.

The Echo Dot is also down to $34.99, which is the lowest we’ve seen it hit this year.

Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Music Unlimited

If you’ve yet to try out Amazon’s Music Unlimited service, you can get a four-month membership for just $0.99. That’s right, all four months of unlimited access to all the music in the company’s library (which is rather extensive) for just one dollar. Prefer to read books instead of listening to music? No worries, Amazon has three months of Kindle Unlimited available for $0.99 as well. This gets you access to over a million book titles, and you can read as many of them as your heart desires during that time frame.

You can also go all-in on a Kindle Unlimited subscription and save 40% when you checkout with the coupon code PDKU18. This drops the one-year subscription down to $80.32 and the two-year subscription to $143.86. If you want to just buy a few books, you can get $10 towards any Kindle, print, or Audible book purchase when you buy any Kindle book for $5 or more before July 15.

Audible

Through the end of July, Amazon is offering Audible subscriptions at just $5 per month to new and returning members. The deal will remain active for three months, after which the service will begin billing you at its regular monthly price of $14.95. You can also choose to cancel the service at any time if you decide it’s not for you.

Amazon’s In-house brands

Amazon has a bunch of its own brands, and right now it’s offering 20% off home, kitchen, and other AmazonBasics gear, 30% off Amazon Elements multivitamins, and up to 25% off Stone & Beam furniture. There are a bunch of other Amazon brands from AmazonFresh to Mama Bear and Goodthreads that will also have discounted items available.

Twitch Prime Games and Gear

For the gamers out there, Amazon is offering a free PC game each day through July 18 via Twitch Prime. There are popular titles like Pillars of Eternity, Q.U.B.E, Hue, and more. You’ll also get exclusive in-game look for Warframe and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and if you’re looking to load up on Twitch apparel, the merch is 50% off right now.

Prime Credit Cardholder Offers

Normally, the Amazon Prime Store Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card extend shoppers 5% cash back on all Amazon.com orders. You can put the cash back rewards towards your monthly statements or a future Amazon purchase.

Last year during Prime Day, Amazon upped its cash back offer from the standard 5% to 20% on thousands of items exclusively for cardholders. That means smart deal hunters with an Amazon Prime Store Card or Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card were essentially saving an additional 15% on Prime Day. Eligible items included GoPro action cameras and Garmin fitness trackers. In fact, Amazon’s already running some bonus cash back offers for cardholders including 10% back on LG 4K OLED TVs and 20% back on the GoPro Hero action camera.

What’s more, Amazon is sweetening the pot by throwing in a free gift card upon approval. New Prime Store cardholders will receive a $20 gift card, while Prime Rewards Visa cardholders will get a $70 gift card. Both the credit card and gift card are automatically loaded into your Amazon account following the approval process, meaning if you apply now both will be ready to use during the big event.

America Express Rewards points

We already know that we will see millions of deals across the world on Prime Day, but did you know that you could drop the prices even lower by just shopping with your American Express points? Amazon frequently offers an additional percentage off select purchases when you checkout and pay for part of the transaction using your Rewards points, and come Prime Day, the company is offering 20% off on a variety of items.

When it comes to saving money, this may be one of the easiest ways you’ll be able to do it on Prime Day. The first step is to head to this page and click to activate the offer. Once the offer is activated, you’ll want to make sure that your American Express card is one of the payment methods in your account, and that you have linked your accounts successfully. The last, and easiest part, is to find an eligible item, add it to your cart, and pay using at least one American Express Reward point.

This discount can be redeemed on any item physical goods that are sold and shipped by Amazon. You won’t be able to redeem it on items sold by third parties, digital goods, or Amazon gift cards. It can only be redeemed once and has a maximum benefit of $100. The offer is currently live, so if there is something you want to buy now, you can save 20%. The promotion can end at any time, so be sure to activate the offer now and link your accounts to avoid missing out.

Of course, to take advantage of any of these offers you need to be an Amazon Prime member. If you aren’t already, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial so you can access all these deals and save during the big event.

The Thrifter team is going to be covering ALL things Prime Day, and you won’t want to miss out. Sign up now to have tips, tricks, deals, and more delivered right to your inbox.

12
Jul

Grab 12 eneloop AAA rechargeable batteries for less than $18


No more battery shopping!

This 12-pack of Panasonic eneloop AAA rechargeable batteries is only $17.45 on Amazon. This is a daily deal that is exclusive to Prime members. These batteries normally sell for around $25 or more and have gone as high as $30. The lowest they have gone in the last year is $22, so this is the best drop we’ve ever seen.

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Each battery has 800mAh and a 2100 cycle, which means they can be recharged up to 2100 times. They will maintain their charge for a long time (up to 10 years) when not in use. Users give these batteries 4.7 stars based on 2,883 reviews.

If you don’t already have one, you might want to add this $23 battery charger since it will help keep your batteries fully powered.

See on Amazon

12
Jul

TicWatch Pro Review: Two screens, one watch


A dual-screen smartwatch sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever … until you stop picturing the screens side by side, and instead stack them one atop the other. That’s a trick that Mobvoi borrows from Casio for its new TicWatch Pro, and the result is a smartwatch with unparalleled outdoor readability. It also makes for the longest-lasting smartwatch you’ve ever seen – you’ve just got to turn off all the smart features to make it happen.

All that’s well and good, but with Samsung getting ready to cannonball into the WearOS waters, and the platform itself also approaching some sort of crossroads, how much innovation will it take to convince people to buy an Android-powered smartwatch in 2018? And how many of those people will find the TicWatch Pro’s aesthetic appealing, given its peculiar mix of chunky sporty casing and sleek leather bands?

Get the full scoop in MrMobile’s TicWatch Pro review above, and if you find yourself wanting one for yourself, keep in mind the TicWatch Pro is an Amazon Prime exclusive through August 15th. If you’re a Prime member and you’re tempted, it can be snapped up right here.

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12
Jul

Apple Begins Exclusively Selling ‘Blackmagic eGPU’ for $699, Aimed at New MacBook Pros


Apple.com today gained a new and exclusive external GPU aimed at the MacBook Pro, called the Blackmagic eGPU. According to TechCrunch, the unit’s appearance exclusively on Apple’s website comes in the wake of a partnership between the two companies as Apple aims to widen the eGPU market after launching support for eGPUs this past spring.

Running for $699.00, the Blackmagic eGPU provides desktop-class graphics performance on a MacBook Pro, through a Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. The accessory connects via Thunderbolt 3, includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, and 85W power delivery. A Thunderbolt 3 cable also comes in the box.

With external GPUs, users can take advantage of smoother gaming experiences, boost graphics-intensive app workflows, enable virtual reality experiences, and even build VR content. Apple leaned into virtual reality as a selling point of eGPUs following the announcement of eGPU support at WWDC 2017, offering eGPU enclosures to developers who want to work on graphically intensive VR applications and games that run on macOS.

Those interested can purchase the Blackmagic eGPU today for $699.00, and the first units are expected to arrive in two days, on Saturday, July 14. Order pickup is also available at nearby Apple retail stores.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProTag: BlackmagicBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
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12
Jul

Apple Stops Selling 2015 MacBook Pro, Lineup Now Limited to Thunderbolt 3 Models [Updated]


Alongside the release of 2018 MacBook Pro models today, Apple has stopped selling the sole 2015 MacBook Pro that remained available for purchase on its online store, marking the end of an era for the notebook.

Until now, Apple continued to sell one 15-inch configuration of the 2015 MacBook Pro for customers who preferred the notebook’s wide range of connectivity options, including a pair of Thunderbolt 2 and USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and Apple’s break-away MagSafe power connector.

Apple no longer sells a MacBook Pro like this
By comparison, the 2016 and later MacBook Pro is equipped solely with two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports, depending on the model, that can deliver power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single connection. All of Apple’s notebooks continue to have 3.5mm headphone jacks as well.

The overall design of the 2015 MacBook Pro was first introduced in 2012, when Apple released its first MacBook Pro models with Retina displays. The notebook had a much slimmer design compared to pre-2012 models, after Apple removed the built-in Ethernet port and CD/DVD optical drive.

With the removal of the 2015 model, the new MacBook Pro lineup is now exclusively Thunderbolt 3 models. Those looking for expanded connectivity without adapters are now limited to the outdated MacBook Air, equipped with Thunderbolt 2, two USB-A ports, an SD card reader, and MagSafe 2.

The 2015 model was also the last MacBook Pro to feature a scissor mechanism keyboard. The lower-profile butterfly mechanism keyboard introduced on the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro has proven problematic for some customers, resulting in Apple launching a service program offering free repairs.

Updated: While supplies last, Apple is still selling the 2015 MacBook Pro on clearance. These remain brand new, unopened models — not refurbished. Thanks to eagled-eyed MacRumors reader Christopher.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
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12
Jul

Apple Launches 2018 Back to School Promotion: Free Beats With Select Mac or iPad Pro Models


Apple today launched its annual Back to School promotion in the United States and Canada, and unlike in previous years, the promotion has also gone live simultaneously in European countries like the United Kingdom.

For a limited time, qualifying higher-education students, parents purchasing on behalf of higher-education students, and faculty and staff at both higher-education and K-12 institutions can receive a free or discounted pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad Pro.

Apple is offering the choice of free BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, or Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones with the purchase of any new MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, or Mac Pro. As usual, the Mac mini is excluded.

Apple is also offering free BeatsX or Powerbeats3 Wireless with the purchase of any new 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the option to pay $100 extra for Solo3 Wireless headphones. Like last year, Apple’s sixth-generation iPad and iPad mini 4 models do not qualify for the offer.

The promotion is available through Apple’s online store, retail stores, and authorized campus stores, or by calling 1-800-MY-APPLE. We’ll update this article when full terms and conditions are available.

In select countries, student verification via UNiDAYS is required.

Tag: Back to School promotion
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12
Jul

PSA: Apple’s 2018 Back to School Promotion is Live in Europe Today


Apple today launched its annual Back to School promotion in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and unlike the multi-week delay in past years, the 2018 edition has also gone live simultaneously in many European and Asian countries.

Participating countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

For a limited time, qualifying higher-education students, parents purchasing on behalf of higher-education students, and faculty and staff at both higher-education and K-12 institutions can receive a free or discounted pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad Pro.

Apple is offering the choice of free BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, or Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones with the purchase of any new MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, or Mac Pro. As usual, the Mac mini is excluded.

Apple is also offering free BeatsX or Powerbeats3 Wireless with the purchase of any new 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the option to pay an extra amount that varies by country for Solo3 Wireless headphones. Like last year, Apple’s sixth-generation iPad and iPad mini 4 models do not qualify for the offer.

The promotion is available through Apple’s online store, retail stores, and authorized campus stores where available. In select countries, student verification via UNiDAYS is required. Terms and conditions vary by region.

Tags: Europe, Back to School promotion
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