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3 Best Drone Launch Pads in 2018


Ensure every take off and landing is clean and safe with a durable drone launchpad.

At first glance, a drone launchpad might seem like a somewhat frivolous accessory. However, there’s a number of valid reasons why a drone launchpad can really improve your flight sessions out in the wilderness.

For starters, they’re big and colorful with high-contrasting colors (and sometimes even glow in the dark) which makes it easier to find your launch point when flying manually. Pinning down a launch mat in a grassy field can help clear away any tall grass which might affect your takeoff or landing, and it will also cut down on your drone kicking up dust which can dirty up your camera lens or gunk up your motors. This is a great option, too, if you’re apprehensive about hand launching or catching your drone. Realistically, this would be overkill if you’re still flying a cheap beginner drone but if you’re flying a high-end camera drone such as the DJI Mavic Air or Phantom 4 it’s a handy tool to add to your drone kit.

  • SunfyreTek XL Drone Landing Pad
  • InnoGiz Luminous Landing Pad
  • PGYTECH Foldable Landing Pad

SunfyreTek XL Drone Landing Pad


We’ll start out with this heavy duty landing pad made out of a thick rubber which means it will help absorb impact from landing and doesn’t need to be staked to the ground. Featuring a high-contrast black and yellow pattern, you’ll be able to find your launch site from the sky easily.

This pad is 22 inches by 22 inches and is capable of accommodating even the larger DJI Phantom drones while offering good protection against dust and debris getting at your drone. Its waterproof with a non-slip backing so you can use it practically anywhere. When it’s time to pack up and head home, the pad rolls up easily or can also be folded without leaving ugly creases.

Get this heavy duty landing pad for just $30 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

InnoGiz Luminous Landing Pad


This is the ideal drone launching pad for those who enjoy nighttime flights. Made At 33 inches in diameter, this is a large and lightweight launch pad made of nylon that folds down to just 13 inches with a convenient carrying bag.

This launch pad is double-sided, with the orange and white side doubling as a luminous pattern for flying in low-light scenarios. The pad also features compass directions that, if set up properly of course, can help you keep your orientation while flying your drone. You’ll need to stake this landing pad down with the four included pegs.

Get this portable launch pad kit for just $22 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

PGYTECH Foldable Landing Pad


Lastly, we’ve got this most basic landing pad for those who don’t need anything flashy but also want to keep their drones free from debris.

This double-sided launch pad features two high-contrast sides to choose from — blue or orange — and is durably made of a waterproof nylon material. This pad is 30 inches wide and folds down to just 12 inches for storage. The kit includes eight reflective strips that you can attach to your pad to help with visibility in low light situations and includes three pegs for staking it down in the ground.

If you’re simply after a basic pad to protect your drone from dust and debris, this is your best value at just $15.

See at Amazon


Apple No Longer Offering Free Out-of-Warranty Repairs of iPhone 7 Models With Grayed-Out Speaker Button

A few months ago, in an internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple acknowledged that some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users may experience a grayed-out speaker button during phone calls, or not be heard during phone calls or FaceTime chats. Apple didn’t identify a cause for the issues.

If an affected iPhone is no longer covered by warranty, Apple’s document said Genius Bars or Apple Authorized Service Providers could escalate the case to Apple, and the company would grant an exception, resulting in a free repair for the customer. Of note, this was never a full-out service program.

“I just had my wife’s iPhone 7 replaced this morning,” said one MacRumors forum member, in a discussion thread about these issues. “Out of warranty and Apple took care of the bill. The mic on the device had failed.”

As of last week, however, Apple appears to have stopped offering that exception. Reliable sources at multiple Apple Authorized Service Providers informed MacRumors that Apple has now deleted its internal document related to these issues, and they are no longer able to put through free repairs via Apple’s system.

Instead, if an affected iPhone is past its warranty period, Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers must charge a standard out-of-warranty fee for the repair to be completed, according to the sources we spoke with.

While only a limited number of customers are affected, one source told us that the microphone issues are still prevalent, and do not appear to have been resolved, so it’s unclear why Apple chose to stop offering exceptions. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the matter — we’ll update if we hear back.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices still within Apple’s limited one-year warranty period or covered by AppleCare+ should remain eligible for a free repair.

Repairs can be initiated by booking an appointment at a Genius Bar, or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider, via the Contact Apple Support page: iPhone → Repairs & Physical Damage → Unable to Hear Through Receiver or Speakers → Built-in Speaker → Bring In For Repair and select a location and time.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Leaked Glass Panels Provide Sneak Peek at Rumored 2018 iPhones

Well-known leaker Ben Geskin today tweeted a photo of what he claims are front glass panels for Apple’s widely rumored trio of new iPhones, all of which are expected to be announced in September as usual.

2018 Apple iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone X Plus front panels

— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) July 17, 2018

The lineup is expected to include a second-generation iPhone X, a so-called iPhone X Plus, and what will essentially be a budget iPhone X, with 5.8-inch, 6.5-inch, and 6.1-inch screen sizes respectively.

Geskin tweeted a second photo of the front glass panels with wallpapers, providing a realistic visualization of the 2018 iPhones.

Great 2018 iPhone Lineup 👌

— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) July 17, 2018

As he depicted in mockups last month, Geskin says the 6.1-inch model with an LCD panel will have slightly thicker bezels compared to the iPhone X and iPhone X Plus, which are expected to have OLED displays.

All three devices are expected to feature edge-to-edge displays with a notch for the TrueDepth sensors that enable Face ID.

The new lineup of iPhones should be unveiled in just a few months, likely alongside larger-display Apple Watch Series 4 models, new AirPods, Apple’s multi-device charging mat AirPower, and other announcements.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTag: Ben Geskin
Discuss this article in our forums

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Pilot’s sneaky puff on his e-cigarette causes chaos on passenger plane

A copilot’s decision to enjoy a puff on his e-cigarette caused chaos during the flight and ended up costing him his job.

The incident happened last week during an Air China flight from Hong Kong to Dalian, a city about 300 miles east of Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported.

To prevent the e-cigarette’s vapor from reaching the cabin, the co-pilot thought it would be a good idea to switch off the ventilation fan. But he accidentally shut off the air-conditioning system instead.

The mistake caused oxygen levels in the cabin to drop, prompting an altitude warning that forced the Boeing 737 to embark on an emergency descent. The 153 passengers realized something was up when their oxygen masks dropped down from the ceiling. Meanwhile, the aircraft made a rapid descent from more than 32,000 feet to around 13,000 feet in less than nine minutes, according to CNN.

Once the crew managed to figure out what had happened, the plane later returned to its regular altitude and landed safely at its intended destination. The aircraft escaped any damage and there were no reports of injuries among passengers.

After the plane landed in Dalian, passenger Hoby Sun told CNN, “We didn’t know what was going on, nor did the flight attendants, it seemed,” adding, “I’m not physically hurt, but the psychological impact lingers. When I close my eyes, I see the oxygen masks dangling in front of me.”

Air China said in a statement that after conducting an internal investigation, it had decided to terminate the contracts of both the copilot and the captain of the aircraft. It also promised to put measures in place to prevent such an incident from happening again.

The airline also recommended that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) revoke the pilots’ licenses once it had finished its own investigation into the matter. The CAAC is now examining the aircraft’s flight data recorder and voice data recorder to piece together everything that happened during the chaotic flight.

Chinese aviation regulators banned the use of e-cigarettes on passenger planes in 2006. But it seems that Air China’s copilot thought he could get away with a sneaky puff on his device during the flight from Hong Kong to Dalian.

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Your 5G Samsung phone will have a massive amount of RAM

Samsung has developed a new RAM module for use in future smartphones, and it’s designed to help make phones with 5G technology and more powerful artificial intelligence a reality. If that wasn’t enough, Samsung promises the RAM will operate in a way that reduces power consumption by 30 percent compared to its existing RAM modules, resulting in more battery life and greater efficiency.

The LPDDR5 module, for the technically interested, is the first 10-nanometer-class 8GB RAM we’ve seen, and it joins two 16GB RAM modules Samsung already produces in its premium 10nm class, although these are not designed for mobile devices. Currently, the RAM modules have been tested at prototype stage, and will be mass produced at its Pyeongtaek factory in South Korea.

What benefits will it bring, outside of the lower power consumption? Data transfer runs at a higher rate, and is 1.5 times faster than the LPDDR4X RAM chips used in current range-topping smartphones. Samsung gives an example of the speed, claiming the RAM can send 51.2GB of data in a second. There will be two versions of the RAM available to Samsung and its partners, one with a 6,400Mb/s transfer rate — to which the above performance figure relates — and the other with a 5,500Mb/s rate.

The RAM will be used to power Samsung’s 5G phones, and new artificial intelligence and machine learning apps and services. Samsung also adds it will be compatible with UHD resolution screens, generally accepted to mean a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution, and will potentially be used in automotive systems as well.

Despite Samsung raving about its new 8GB RAM stick, and that number being impressive; we shouldn’t forget we can go out and buy a smartphone with 8GB of RAM right now — the OnePlus 6 and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 are just two examples. Samsung itself built an 8GB RAM module in 2016, based on the LPDDR4 class at the time. So why should you care about this announcement?

It’s the speed, efficiency, and optimization for next-generation technology that makes it exciting. 5G will arrive in the not too distant future, and A.I. is only going to increase in popularity and general use. For us to really enjoy the benefits, the underlying technology also has to improve, and this is one of the crucial steps involved. There’s also the chance the Galaxy S10 may be one of the first Samsung phones with this new, high performance RAM module, whether it has 5G support or not.

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Get a new washer and dryer with this Prime Day sale on Kenmore appliances

Upgrade with your Prime membership.

Got some empty washer and dryer hookups? Or old machines that need replacing? Time to invest in some new appliances. This Prime Day sale features Kenmore gas and electric washers and dryers going for low prices. The prices start as low as $770 and all of them are discounted with your Prime membership. You can choose between gas or electric versions as well.

The Kenmore Elite front-load washer is the least expensive item in the sale. It’s going for $769.99. It normally sells for around $1,100, and this deal includes both free delivery and free hookup.

Pair it with the Kenmore Smart electric dryer for $839.93. That’s down from a street price around $1,100 as well. This deal also comes with free delivery and hookup. Plus, this dryer is smart enough to work with Amazon Alexa.

You can also get a good deal on an oven in this sale. The Kenmore Elite self-cleaning electric double oven range is down to $1,119.99. It normally sells for as much as $1,600, so that’s a nice chunk off the price.

See on Amazon


Vivo NEX vs. OPPO Find X: Which futuristic phone is better?

These are two of the best options if you’re looking for a truly bezel-less phone.


The Vivo NEX and the Find X are two of the hottest phones right now. Both devices rely on motorized sliders as a way of hiding the camera module. In the case of the Find X, both the rear and front cameras are hidden behind the slider, whereas the NEX has a pop-up front camera that kicks in whenever needed.

Great hardware is table stakes considering these devices cost well over $700, and in this regard, they’re right up there with the best that Google and Samsung have to offer. Both devices are powered by the Snapdragon 845, and come with FHD+ AMOLED displays, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage, and dual rear cameras. Although the internal hardware is identical, each device offers unique features that sets it apart. Here’s what you need to know about the latest from OPPO and Vivo.

What the OPPO Find X does better


Image courtesy: The Verge

The Find X forgoes the usual fingerprint sensor for facial recognition — so the default way of unlocking the phone involves using the front camera to authenticate your features. To do so, you’ll have to wake the display and swipe up, which activates the camera. The entire process takes under a half-second, so there isn’t too great a delay between OPPO’s solution and a standard fingerprint sensor.

The Find X is the closest you can get to a bezel-less phone right now.

The Find X wins the battle for shrinking bezels. The Vivo NEX has a 91% screen-to-body ratio, and the Find X outdoes that with a 93.2%. That may not seem like a lot, but right now the Find X is the closest you can get to a bezel-less phone.

Because the camera module is hidden away behind the slider, you don’t have to worry about a notch marring the look up front. The Find X has a glass back with an interesting color-shift pattern that has bold colors near the edges of the frame that gradually fades to a duller hue closer to the middle of the device.

What the Vivo NEX does better


With both phones featuring mechanical sliders, long-term durability becomes a legitimate worry as there are a lot of moving parts involved in retracting the camera module. In this area, the Vivo NEX is likely to be more durable as the retractable motor doesn’t need to engage every time you unlock the phone. Instead, it only kicks in whenever you need to use the front camera, making it a more elegant implementation.

The Vivo NEX has an in-display fingerprint sensor that is faster than what we’ve seen so far.

The primary biometric authentication method on the Vivo NEX is an in-display fingerprint sensor, with the manufacturer using a third-gen module that is claimed to be faster and more reliable over its predecessors.

I used the Vivo X21 for a few weeks earlier this year, and the in-display sensor in that device was slower than the standard fingerprint sensors — but not by a huge margin. With the NEX using a newer module, it is just as speedy as a regular fingerprint sensor. The Find X has a bold design at the back, and the NEX is no different: it has a geometric pattern at the back that shifts color based on light reflecting off its surface.

Which should you buy?

If you’re in the market for a truly bezel-less phone, the Vivo NEX is a better idea right now. You’ll be able to use it with a case — the bundled case has a wide cutout up top to accommodate the front camera module — and it has a traditional fingerprint sensor, albeit one that’s embedded in the panel itself.

For now, India is the only global market where both of these devices are confirmed to go on sale. The Find X will be up for grabs from the first week of August for ₹59,990 ($875), and the Vivo NEX is set to launch in the country later this week for ₹48,990 ($730).

The Find X will not be making its way to the U.S., but it should be launching in other North American markets. Similarly, the Vivo NEX will debut in Asian markets, but as of now there’s no information regarding the device’s availability in Western countries.


What’s new in August 2018 on Amazon Prime Video


You read that right. It’s almost August. Here’s what’s new on Prime Video.

Let us just put things like this: There are so many great old movies available on Amazon Prime Video in August — that is, for free with your Prime Membership — that we can’t list them all here. (We can, however, list them at, so hit that link below.)

But, really, August means we’re finally going to get to see John Krasinski as Jack Ryan. OK, at the end of August, but still in August. It can’t come soon enough.

Read at What’s new on Prime Video for August 2018

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Best tricks to fix YouTube’s most annoying features


YouTube is a simple service with a lot of not-so-simple problems to it.

It’s easy for YouTube to frustrate users because beneath the challenge videos and endless comment sections are a lot of features that can really make or break your experience. You thought you turned off Autoplay, but it still seems to be turned on when you’re showing your family videos on the TV. You get notifications when people across the house are casting. Why? And more importantly, how do you end these annoyances? Here’s how.

  • How to control and stop someone casting from YouTube
  • How to keep YouTube from Autoplaying when casting
  • How to quickly skip forward or backward in a YouTube video
  • How to change how far your double-tap to seek goes
  • How to disable picture-in-picture

How to control and stop someone casting from YouTube

By default, when someone casts content from YouTube (or most other apps) to a Chromecast, everyone else connected to the same router as at that Chromecast will receive a notification that allows them to control that content as its being cast. This can be useful if you need to pause or stop someone casting YouTube to a TV, as when a family member leaves the room without stopping their cast or when a family member gets a call and needs to pause the video while their phone is already in use.

Open your notification shade by swiping down from the top of your screen.
Tap the down arrow next to Chromecast name to reveal the full controls if the notification is not already expanded.
There are five controls available on this notification:

  • To pause the video, tap Pause.
  • To turn off the volume tap Mute.
  • To stop the video, tap Stop.
  • To open the Google Home app and rewind or fast forward within the song, tap a blank space in the Google Cast notification.

To stop these notifications from popping up again, tap the settings gear.

Tap Media controls for Cast devices to toggle these notifications off on this device.


It’s worth noting that this toggle does not apply to all devices on your account. You have to turn it off on every device you don’t want them showing up on.

How to keep YouTube from Autoplaying when casting

You’d think that if you don’t want Autoplay while you’re watching on your phone, you wouldn’t want it while you’re casting, either, right? Well, apparently YouTube doesn’t see it that way, because toggling off everything in the Autoplay section of YouTube’s settings doesn’t turn off Autoplay while casting. In fact, the only way to change this setting is to change it while you’re casting something, so let’s go ahead and cast something and turn it off now so it doesn’t bite us while we’re watching something later on!

Open YouTube.
Tap the Google Cast icon in the top bar.
If there is more than one Chromecast on your current Wi-Fi, tap the Chromecast you want to cast to.

Tap a video.


Tap Play.
Tap Queue at the bottom of the video playback screen.

Tap Autoplay is on to toggle it off.


You can now stop casting your video and go about your business, content that YouTube won’t run rampant on you while cast.

How to quickly skip forward or backward in a YouTube video

Ever watch a video, then someone walks in and makes you miss the best part? Well, we can’t stop the intrusions, but we can quickly rewind and skip ahead in a YouTube video.

  • To rewind a few seconds, double-tap the left side of the video screen away from the visible controls.
  • To skip ahead a few seconds, double-tap the right side of the video screen away from the visible controls.


You can compound the initial double-tap to skip further and further. If you want to, you can also shift the amount of time a single double-tap will skip.

How to change how far your double-tap to seek goes

Some people want a double-tap to skip longer periods so that they don’t have to double-tap quite so many times, while some people want to double-tap to skip shorter periods to allow for more precision seeking. Luckily, YouTube caters to both crowds, and here’s how to set your double-tap to seek value:

Open YouTube.
Tap your avatar in the top right corner.

Tap Settings.


Tap General.
Tap Double-tap to seek.

Select the increment you prefer to seek at.


How to disable picture-in-picture


Picture-in-picture used to be reserved for YouTube Premium subscribers, but the feature has since rolled out to free users as well, and while it is a useful feature for many, picture-in-picture can be a downright pain sometimes. Thankfully, it can be disabled quite easily, as can background playback if that’s a YouTube Premium feature you’d like to turn off.

How to disable picture-in-picture in YouTube


Let us know in the comments below!

Updated July 2018: We’ve expanded this guide to include how to turn off picture-in picture since it’s been added to non-Premium accounts.


These Prime Day discounts make Philips Hue lights far more affordable

Light up your room with some colorful lights.


Philips Hue is one of the most well-known smart light makers, and people tend to fall in love with the bulbs once they try them out. Amazon currently has a whole bunch of Philips Hue products on sale, from single bulbs to multipacks, and even bundles.

Whether you’re looking to kickstart an obsession or scratch an itch and add a few more bulbs, you’re going to want to check out these great offers before they sell out.

The deals you won’t want to miss include:

  • 2-Bulb White Starter Kit – $54.99 (Was $70)
  • 2-Bulb Starter Kit with Echo Dot Bundle – $119.99 (Was $200)
  • 2-Pack White Dimmable LED Bulbs – $34.99 (Was $50)
  • 4-Pack White Dimmable LED Bulbs – $39.99 (Was $50)
  • White & Color Ambiance Bulbs – $36.99 (Was $50)
  • White Candle LED Lights – $22.99 (Was $30)
  • Color Candle LED Lights – $34.99 (Was $50)
  • White & Color Ambiance LightStrip+ – $64.99 (Was $90)
  • Hue Go White & Color Portable Table Lamp – $62.99 (Was $80)

There are a few other discounts available as well, so be sure to check them out. You can also check out more smart home-related deals here.

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