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19
Jul

Elevation Lab Debuts New NightPad 7.5W Wireless Charger


Elevation Lab, known for its range of popular iPhone docks, today announced the launch of its latest product, the NightPad wireless charging pad designed for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and future iPhones with wireless charging capabilities.

The NightPad features a minimal design and it looks like a simple black puck, with a matte finish over the body of the accessory. A raised ring is included at the edge of the charger to keep the iPhone securely in place while it’s charging, and it uses a 6-foot braided cord for power.

A subtle black logo is included at the top of the NightPad, and while many wireless chargers use an LED to indicate that an iPhone is charging, Elevation Lab has designed its version with no LEDs. This is to keep it from being noticeable in a dark room.

An LED isn’t technically needed since a charging logo is displayed on the iPhone when a successful connection has been established.


Elevation Lab is an Apple MFi member and the NightPad supports the faster 7.5W charging capabilities. It can charge an iPhone 50 percent faster than standard Qi wireless chargers, according to Elevation Lab, and the 7.5W engineering lessens radio interference.

While created for iPhone, NightPad also works with all Qi-based devices and supports Samsung’s 10W charging.


The NightPad has been engineered to work with cases up to 3mm thick, but in tests, Elevation Lab has seen successful charging with cases up to 6mm thick. Automatic metallic rejection is included to prevent charging when metal is detected, and vents on the underside are included alongside “intelligent electronics” for thermal management purposes.


Elevation Lab is selling the NightPad for $39.95 standalone and for $49.95 with a 15W QC 3.0 power supply included. Higher power adapters are required for Apple’s faster 7.5W charging, so people without a QC 3.0 power adapter will want to purchase the version that includes it.

MacRumors readers can get a special 25 percent discount off of the NightPad when entering the promo code MACNP25. Make sure to order soon, as this deal will only be live for a week.

Tags: wireless charging, Elevation Lab
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19
Jul

Apple Offers Technicians Additional Training on MacBook Keyboards With Series of Web Broadcasts


It has been an eventful few weeks for MacBook Pro keyboards.

Last month, Apple finally acknowledged that a “small percentage” of MacBook and MacBook Pro models with butterfly switch keyboards may experience issues with “sticky” or inconsistently functioning keys, and launched a worldwide service program offering free repairs of affected keyboards for up to four years.

The issues are widely believed to be caused by dust or other particulates, like crumbs from a sandwich, getting lodged in the butterfly mechanism underneath the keycaps, which are shallower than those on previous-generation MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards with traditional scissor switch mechanisms.

Then, last week, Apple surprised us with the release of new 2018 MacBook Pro models, which feature an “improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing,” according to Apple’s press release. Apple never publicly confirmed if the third-generation keyboard addresses the issues that prompted its service program.

It didn’t take long for the repair experts at iFixit to open up the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and discover a thin silicone membrane underneath each key, which they said is clearly to prevent “contaminant ingress,” or, in other words, to prevent dust and crumbs from getting stuck under keys.

Then, just hours ago, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple, distributed to its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers, that clearly acknowledges that “the keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism,” as many people suspected.

Now, in another internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple has announced that it will be hosting a series of 60-minute web broadcast events focused on servicing Mac notebook keyboards and keycaps.

In the broadcasts, which service providers are instructed to watch “in private in an environment away from customers,” Apple says it will discuss the anatomy of the current keycaps, focus on troubleshooting and isolating keyboard issues, and demonstrate how to clean keyboards and replace keycaps.

These training sessions are routine for Apple Authorized Service Providers, but given all of the issues surrounding the MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards as of late, they will likely be very helpful for technicians.

Customers can initiate a repair by reading: How to Get a MacBook or MacBook Pro Keyboard Repaired Free Under Apple’s Service Program.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, MacBookBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now), MacBook (Don’t Buy)
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19
Jul

New Legislation Suggests Implementing Emergency Alerts Into Streaming Services Like Netflix and Spotify


Currently, when users in a certain area face potentially bad weather, threats of danger, or a nearby AMBER alert, their iPhone or other smartphone sounds off and displays a message explaining the emergency.

In new legislation shared today, United States senators Brian Schatz and John Thune hope to “explore” ways this system could improve to enhance reliability, including implementing these alerts into audio and video online streaming services (via TechCrunch)

According to the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act, more people would be successfully alerted to and aware of potential emergencies if these alerts played on services like Netflix and Spotify. In these situations, the legislation argues, users might have left their smartphone behind in another part of the house while streaming on a TV or computer, missing an alert in the process.

Senator Schatz explained that the mishap with the false missile alert in Hawaii earlier this year “exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts,” inspiring change and the new legislation.

“When a missile alert went out across Hawai‘i in January, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios. Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. “Our bill fixes a number of important problems with the system responsible for delivering emergency alerts. In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right.”

“Emergency alerts save lives but management mistakes can erode their credibility and effectiveness. The READI Act implements lessons learned from past incidents and recognizes that emergency protocols must change along with communication technology,” said Senator Thune, Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Other aspects of the READI Act also propose eliminating the option for users to opt out of receiving “certain” federal alerts, like missile alerts, on smartphones. For iPhone, users can toggle off AMBER Alerts and Emergency Alerts completely under the “Government Alerts” section in Notifications settings.


Otherwise, the legislation would encourage State Emergency Communications Committees to “periodically review and update” their own alert system plans to keep them more up-to-date, as well as compel FEMA “to create best practices” for state, tribal, and local governments for issuing alerts, avoiding false alerts, and retracting false alerts if they happen. This false alert system would also see a reporting system implemented under the READI Act so the FCC can track when they occur and “examine their causes.”

Tags: Spotify, Netflix, United States
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19
Jul

Wemo Mini Smart Plug Gains HomeKit Support Through Software Update


Belkin’s Wemo Mini smart plug has gained HomeKit support through a software update, as reported today by CNET. This means that owners of Wemo Mini plugs can simply open the Wemo iOS app, update the device’s software, and immediately gain the ability to add the plug into the Home app, add it into existing scenes, and use Siri to control it without the need for a Wemo Bridge.

Apple first announced that it would update its HomeKit specification during WWDC 2017, so that compatible smart products no longer have to include a hardware authentication chip. For products like the Wemo Mini, this means that authentication goes through software instead and greatly streamlines how developers integrate with HomeKit.

Although announced at last year’s WWDC, the change eventually launched in iOS 11.3 in March 2018, and the Wemo Mini is now the first HomeKit product to connect to Apple’s platform using the software protocol, a Wemo spokesperson said.

The team at Wemo also tells us that the Mini is the first HomeKit device to connect with the platform using Apple’s software protocol instead of the MFi chipset that was initially required at HomeKit’s launch. “No other non-chipped product has the ability to do the HomeKit authentication via a software update as of yet,” a company spokesperson tells CNET.

In that sense, the ability to connect with HomeKit via software instead of hardware represents a fairly significant step forward for the platform, and one that could make it easier for other existing devices to jump on board. That’d be a win for Apple, which has thus far struggled to keep up with Amazon and Google in terms of the quantity of devices that work with its smart home platform. Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

The $34.99 Wemo Mini is a smart plug that lets users add smart home control to normal products, like a bedside fan, lamp, coffee pot, and more. Smart plugs are a popular HomeKit accessory given their compatibility with a wide range of devices and cheap price tag. Other companies that make HomeKit smart plugs include iHome, iDevices, Koogeek, and Elgato.

Belkin initially introduced HomeKit support for its Wemo products with the Wemo Bridge, and although the Wemo Mini will no longer require a Wemo Bridge for HomeKit compatibility, other Wemo products will still need the Bridge to connect to Apple’s platform. The team is working on updating other products similar to Wemo Mini, and says the Wemo Dimmer accessory is next on the roadmap for a HomeKit software update later this year.

For the Wemo Mini, users will see the HomeKit software update beginning today, and a rollout to all customers is expected to be finished as soon as next week.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Belkin. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tags: Belkin, WeMo
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19
Jul

Mad Huawei TalkBand is a Bluetooth earpiece worn in the ear, and on your wrist


Huawei has announced the TalkBand B5, the latest in a surprisingly long line of unusual wearables, which combines a wrist band and fitness tracking features with … a Bluetooth earpiece. Yes, that technology beloved by taxi drivers and those stuck in time somewhere around the new millennium, is back and this time you wear it in your ear and on your arm.

Flippancy aside, the TalkBand series serves a keen niche, and although it’s unlikely to get a wide global release, previous versions have clearly proved popular enough to continue making new models. Huawei describes the TalkBand B5 as a hybrid device that combines a smart Bluetooth headset with a health tracker. The earpiece fits snugly into the wristband’s body, and can be removed to answer an incoming call.

There’s plenty of new tech inside the earpiece. Huawei says it contains the industry’s first triple-core audio chip, along with a dual microphone set up for reducing noise. The fitness band has a heart rate sensor on the back, and it supports continuous monitoring when doing specific exercises. Huawei’s TruSleep technology, which monitors all aspects of sleep and has also been seen on the Huawei Band 2, is included for 24-hour wearability.

Data and other information is displayed on the earpiece’s 1.13-inch AMOLED screen, which has a 160 x 300 pixel resolution and is hidden under a 2.5D piece of curved glass. The screen is 2.4 times larger than the last TalkBand’s screen, making it considerably easier to read when on the wrist. Other TalkBand B5 features include a displaying notifications from your phone, a remote camera shutter, and a phone finder.

The entire wearable is IP67 rated to resist dust and water, so it’s fine for the rain and in the gym, but not for swimming. Huawei will produce a Sports Edition with silicone straps in different colors, along with a Business Edition with a metal or leather strap.

Rumors of the TalkBand B5 spread before the announcement, and some wondered if the device might store Bluetooth earbuds for music, rather than an earpiece for calls. However, the TalkBand B5 is a business tool and not really one for leisure, so it sticks rigidly with tradition. The TalkBand B5 will go on sale in China on July 20, with a release in parts of the Middle East coming after in August. It will cost 1,000 yuan in China, or about $150, for the Sports Edition, or 1,200 for the Business Edition, which is around $180. No U.S. and European launch details have been provided.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Sennheiser’s CX Sport in-ears are tough enough to keep up with your daily run
  • Your phone’s flash has nothing on the powerful, pocketable Lume Cube
  • Amazon’s having a hush-hush sale on select Bose audio products



19
Jul

The Nokia X5 is a budget phone with a premium glass body and a notch


You really have to hand it to Nokia. After being “the” phone company for years, the introduction of the iPhone really put the kibosh on its supremacy — despite the Lumia line. But after breaking away from Microsoft and Windows Mobile, Nokia is back in the game, releasing great phone after great phone for a variety of markets.

The Nokia X5 is Nokia’s budget handset with a glass body, dual-lens camera, and a notched display, and while it’s not going to be available outside of China as the X5, it’s expected that it will come to other markets as the Nokia 5.1 Plus. Here’s everything you need to know about the potentially strong budget handset, the Nokia X5.

Design and display

The Nokia X5 may be an entry into Nokia’s budget roster, but you’d be hard pressed to tell that just from looking at it. The X5 follows the design trends started by the iPhone X with a premium-feeling glass body on a plastic frame, and notched display. There’s a headphone jack at the top, and — surprisingly for a budget phone — it also includes a USB-C port at the bottom. You’ll find a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, underneath the dual-lens camera.

The display itself is a huge 5.9-inch IPS LCD running a 1,520 x 720-pixel resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio. That’s really long, but expect the screen to not be the sharpest you’ve ever seen, due to the low 720p resolution.

Specs and battery

Key Specs


CPU: Mediatek Helio P60 & octa-core processor


Memory: 3/4GB


Storage: 32/64GB


MicroSD storage: Up to 256GB


Screen size: 5.9 inches


Resolution: 1,520 x 720


Connectivity: GSM/CDMA/LTE


Battery: 3,060mAh


Size: 149.5 x 72 x 8.1 mm


Weight: 160 grams (5.64 ounces)


Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo (as Android One)

As you might expect from a low-cost, budget handset, the Nokia X5 has some modest specs. It’s powered by a Mediatek Helio P60 chipset and octa-core processor, and equipped with either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. While it’s unlikely to be the most powerful handset around, it should be capable of a decent level of performance, having similar specs to the Unihertz Atom.

The whole package is powered by a 3,060mAh battery that should provide at least a day of power when paired with the modest specs and the 720p resolution. Despite the glass body there’s no wireless charging, and no specific fast charging method either — but both of these are par for the course for cheaper handsets.

Software and special features

The Nokia X5 comes with the latest version of Android 8.1 Oreo, running as Google’s lightweight Android One OS. Android One ensures that Google can deliver updates directly to the device without having to go through Nokia — meaning the Nokia X5 should stay up to date with security patches as Google pushes them out. Android One also comes with a time-based update guarantee for users, too, and the Nokia 5.1 Plus will be supported with OS updates for two years, and security patches for three years — so you can be sure the Nokia 5.1 Plus will be kept up to date.

Camera

Happily for a budget phone, the Nokia X5 is coming with a decent suite of cameras. There’s a dual-lens camera system on the back of the phone, sporting a 13-megapixel and a depth-sensing 5-megapixel lens, with an f/2.0 aperture and PDAF capabilities. There’s a decent 8-megapixel selfie camera around the front, and it’s probably fair to expect Nokia’s fun “bothie” feature to return, which will allow users to take pictures using both the front and back cameras at once.

Release date and price

The Nokia X5 is currently up for pre-order in China for just 999 yuan (roughly $150) for the 32GB model and 1,399 yuan (roughly $210) for the 64GB model.The X5 is available in black, blue, and white.

While nothing has been announced, it’s currently expected that the Nokia X5 will be coming to other markets as the Nokia 5.1 Plus.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Everything we know about the Nokia 6.1 Plus
  • HMD Global is releasing the $159 Nokia 3.1 in the U.S. in early July
  • New Nokia 5.1, 3.1, and 2.1 boast updated chipsets and bigger displays
  • Everything you need to know about the HMD Global 2018 Nokia X
  • Nokia 6.1 review



19
Jul

How to improve your Android privacy


The value of your data is difficult to quantify, but you can be sure that there are plenty of companies, government agencies, and yes, even criminals trying to get a hold of it. Google is built upon data, and it offers some of the best software services around to gain access to your data and then analyze it for valuable insights.

Read more about Android security


Android security guide


Best Android security apps


Best VPN for Android


Is Android really insecure?

It’s not easy to opt out of this deal completely and still use Android, so if you’re really concerned about your privacy you might want to consider switching to iOS or ditching your smartphone altogether.

While you may have to accept that you’re surrendering some privacy to use Android, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and to limit the data that is being collected and potentially harvested and sold on to others.

Secure your phone

First and foremost, it’s important to set up security to block people from picking up your phone and gaining access to everything that’s on there. If you go into Settings > Security & Location > Screen lock on a Pixel, or Settings > Lock screen and security on a Samsung Galaxy, then you can set up a pattern, password, PIN, or a fingerprint to unlock your phone.

A strong alphanumeric password might be your best bet for security, but it’s not very convenient. For most of us a fingerprint is the best balance between security and convenience, but if you’re concerned about law enforcement compelling you to unlock your phone, then you might want to avoid using your fingerprint.

Hide notifications and sensitive content

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

If you don’t like people looking over your shoulder while you read, spotting parts of messages in notifications that pop up on the lock screen, or peeping at private photos, then you can act to protect them.

Start by looking in Settings > Notifications and tweak which apps can send notifications and precisely where they should appear. Specifically, you’ll want to turn off Lock screen notifications or choose to hide sensitive content.

Sometimes you’ll want to hand your phone to a friend to show them a photo, but you don’t want them browsing through your gallery. Check out how to hide photos on your Android for advice on locking away private photos and videos from prying eyes.

If you want to guard against snoopers peeking at your phone screen while you read, then you might be interested in BlackBerry’s Privacy Shade. It does, unfortunately, require a subscription fee as part of BlackBerry’s Hub+, but that also nets you the Password Keeper and some other handy services.

Restrict app permissions

A lot of apps ask for permissions that they don’t really need unless they’re collecting data on you and selling it. Look in Settings > Apps and tap the gear icon or three vertical dots at the top right then App permissions. If it seems fishy to you, then revoke the permission and investigate.

Apps that request a lot of permissions that seem unrelated to their core functionality should be uninstalled. If in doubt, do some research online by Googling the app name and “privacy” or “security” and see if anyone has raised concerns.

Encrypt your data

The vast majority of Android phones are encrypted by default now, but you can always check by going into Settings > Security, Settings > Security & Location, or Settings > Lock screen and security to look for an encryption option. If you use a MicroSD card then there might be an option to encrypt that, too.

Use Find My Device, or don’t

Google’s Find My Device service tracks the location of your Android phone or tablet and allows you to trigger a remote wipe. This might be a good way to protect your data if your phone is stolen. When it’s turned on you can just type “find my device” into Google, if you’re signed into your account, and it will show the location on Google Maps.

Of course, you may not want Google tracking your movements, in which case you can turn it off. It should be turned on by default, but you can check via Settings > Google > Security > Find My Device.

Run Google’s Security Check-up

It’s a good idea to take a look at Google’s Security Check-up and see if you have any old devices still associated with your account. If you do, then remove them immediately. Google will also highlight strange sign-ins and apps with access to your data.

Turn off Google activity tracking

By default, Google tracks your usage of its services and keeps a record of all sorts of things, from your movement on Google Maps to every video you watch on YouTube. It’s possible to toggle this activity tracking off by going to the activity controls page of your Google account. Bear in mind that this might hobble some services.

Turn off automatic backups

It can be a good idea to have automatic backups if you want to ensure you don’t lose precious files, but you may not want to share data with Google and other companies. Turning off Google backups is easy, simply go to Settings > Google > Backup and toggle off Back up to Google Drive or finetune your backup settings.

Many phone manufacturers also offer backup services that you may have set up when you first set up your phone. With a Samsung phone, for example, you’ll want to look in Settings > Cloud and accounts > Samsung Cloud.

If you do decide to turn off automatic backups, then make sure that you regularly back up your photos and other precious files manually or you run the risk of losing them.

Disable ad tracking

If you find targeted ads based on what you browse to be creepy or you just don’t like the idea of Google building a profile for ads based on your activity online, then go to Settings > Google > Ads and toggle Opt out of Ads Personalization on.

Use a VPN

Chances are good that when you connect to the internet through mobile data your carrier is collecting data on every website you visit. When you connect through your home Wi-Fi you can bet your ISP is doing the same thing. Many Android devices are also configured to connect to Google’s DNS servers, so Google can see every website you request.

You can hide your IP address and encrypt your web browsing by using a VPN service. Check out our top VPNs for Android to get some ideas.

Change your browser and search engine

Even if you disable tracking and use a VPN, Google can still track your activity in Chrome or when you use it for search. If you switch to something like Firefox as your default browser and use a search engine that doesn’t track users, like DuckDuckGo, then you can prevent the collection and sale of your browsing data.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Selling your phone or tablet? Here’s how to wipe your Android phone
  • How to use BlackBerry’s Privacy Shade
  • Galaxy S7 tips and tricks
  • Switching from an iPhone to an Android device
  • You can now set Amazon Alexa as the default home assistant on your Android



19
Jul

Get your moon boots ready: Samsung’s new VR experience launches you into space



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Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

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Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Joel Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind

Joel Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Forty-nine years ago, two men walked on the moon for the first time in history. NASA is preparing a wide-range of celebrations for the 50th anniversary next year, but Samsung can’t wait to get started. The South Korean company is kicking off a year-long 4-dimensional virtual reality experience to simulate a moon-like environment, so everyone can step into the shoes of the dozen humans who have walked on the moon.

It’s largely a way to show off Samsung’s technology, as the experience utilizes a Gear VR headset and a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, but Samsung also worked with the NASA Johnson Space Center to develop a system similar to the space agency’s Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS), a rig that astronauts train with to experience low-gravity environments. The rig — paired with a flight suit, the Gear VR, and the Galaxy S9 Plus — allow people to visualize the moon’s surface from a new perspective, and also experience low gravity.

This is an opportunity to excite the astronauts of tomorrow.”

“[NASA] is really excited about reigniting the public discussion around space exploration — specifically around the moon — as we lead up to the 50th anniversary of the moonwalk next year, but also because the moon plays a critical role in the first manned mission to Mars,” Zach Overton, Samsung’s vice president of brand experience and general manager of Samsung 837, told Digital Trends. “For them, this is an opportunity to excite the astronauts of tomorrow around the mission. For us, on the one hand it was democratizing an experience that only 12 men have done before, and we think that should be something for everybody … But it’s also a way of exciting youth and adults alike in science and math and engineering, and of course, technology.”

Digital Trends got a sneak peek of the VR experience before it opens on July 20 — here’s what it’s like.

This is Mission Control

From the beginning to the end, the staff managing the VR experience will affirm they truly are Mission Control. “Welcome, astronaut!” will be the first words you hear as you enter the bay doors, designed to look like the interior of the spaceship in every sci-fi movie. We had to put our belongings away in a locker, and then watch a short video describing the experience, and what we shouldn’t do. Then comes suiting up.

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With the help of two people, we donned a flight suit designed with the help of NASA. It feels quite tight, and there are sensors on the suit to help track movements in VR. Next is the helmet, which is built around a Gear VR headset. After it was snug around our head, we were taken to the ARGOS-like rig. A technician hooked us up to the harness, and we had to comply with a few quick tests to confirm everything was good to go. We had to pull the Gear VR headset down in front of our eyes for the show to start.

We started in the Lunar Module, and we had to press the primary button on the Gear VR controller to open the bay door. That’s when we had to start hopping. Essentially, you’re jumping in real life, but the harness will pull you higher into the air (not too high), and it will then gradually lower you until your legs hit the ground. Each jump in real life will move you forward as a low-gravity hop in the VR experience. We followed a rover to the edge of a crater where we could see earth, but the crater’s edge started to crumble, and we quickly had to jump out of the way.

We then got a chance to plant our flag anywhere, but soon after things started to get dangerous. There’s a meteor shower, with meteors striking the ground all over — we were commanded to race back to the Lunar Module. The last 20 seconds involves us hopping as fast as we can to get inside, and there really is a sense of urgency as a crack appeared on our visor. Thankfully, we made it safely. Mission Control says the mission was a success.

We were steered back into the suit-up bay, where we were awarded two patches and a pin for completing the mission. We stripped the flight suit off, and the magic kind of wears off.

Samsung A Moon For All Mankind Joel Chokkattu/Digital Trends

This is easily the most immersive Gear VR experience we’ve ever tried, and it’s all thanks to the ARGOS-like rig. We’ve never experienced low or zero gravity, but we imagine it feels extremely similar to what Samsung’s offering here. That being said, this is a souped up Gear VR experience — the sensors mounted on the flight suit allowed us to look at our hands in VR, which you can’t do with your Gear VR at home. You’ll want to keep hopping all around on the moon.

A Moon For All Mankind, which is what Samsung’s calling the experience, lasts about 20 minutes or so, and more types of content will be added throughout the year so you can always come back another time to try something new. It’s free, but sadly it’s only available at Samsung 837 in New York City, the company’s product experience hub that’s open to the public. It will be running through July 2019, right in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

You can simply walk in and get in line, though the wait may be long, or you can reserve a time on the Samsung 837 website.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier
  • NASA reveals its plans to have astronauts orbiting the moon by 2025
  • Blackberry Key2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: Is it a contender?
  • SpaceX says it won’t send space tourists around the moon just yet
  • Best Gear VR apps and games



19
Jul

Are screen protectors for your phone worth it?


A little protection never hurt anyone.

When it comes to protecting your phone, the two go-to accessories are often cases and screen protectors.

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There are a variety of cases ranging from super-slim ones to heavy-duty options, and with screen protectors, you have your choice between a plastic film or tempered glass.

Using both of these at once is the ultimate way to protect your device, but if you’re already using a case that comes up over the screen, is it really necessary to use a screen protector, too?

Here’s what some of our forum users have to say on that matter.

avatar2388884_1.gifankit_khandelwal
07-17-2018 09:11 PM

No. Just get a good case with screen bumbs to provide resistance when phone drops on the ground.

Reply

avatar2773165_43.gifPachecoCorporationCeo
07-18-2018 02:59 AM

Like this person said screen protectors aren’t necessary but cases vary. I regret not putting one on my pixel 2 it has a lot of micro scratches now.

Reply

avatar710602_5.gifMorty2264
07-18-2018 03:21 PM

I definitely see the need for one – but moreso based on my usage patterns and my paranoia about breaking my sensitive technology. I’m always afraid to drop my phone or that the screen will crack or get scratches; so a tempered glass screen protector that has a “like glass” look and feel is the only way to go for me.

Reply

avatar2681077_8.gifTripleOne
07-18-2018 06:02 AM

I no longer use screen protectors on my devices. I’ve only had the Pixel 2 XL for a week and I’ve got micro scratches on it already.

Reply

Now, we’d love to know what you think — Is it important to use screen protectors on phones?

Join the conversation in the forums!

19
Jul

Best PlayStation 4 Controllers in 2018


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A great PS4 experience deserves a great controller.

The stock controller for the PlayStation 4 is very good, but it’s not for everyone. Fortunately, there are a lot of options out there that offer a different experience and cater to different markets. Whether you’re a competitive gamer, have kids who want to play, or just want to sharpen up your experience, a good controller is important. Pick up one of these options if you’re looking for something to change up your play.

  • Scuf Impact
  • Razer Raiju
  • Sony DualShock 4
  • Nacon Revolution
  • Hori Mini Wired Gamepad
  • Hori Onyx

Scuf Impact

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Scuf controllers are used by a large portion of the pro-gamers who play on console, and the Impact is the company’s latest and greatest effort for the PS4. The basic shape is the same as the regular PlayStation DualShock 4, but the grips are longer and the whole thing is less angular.

As a result, you have room for four paddles on the back which can be remapped with Scut’s EMR technology to whichever face buttons you wish. There are also trigger stops for faster reactions in shooters and wireless charging over a regular micro USB cable.

None of the major features of a PS4 controller are lost. You still get the headset jack at the bottom and the trackpad remains where it should be. As it’s a Scuf, though, you can customize the dickens out of it with wild paint jobs and different style or size analog sticks. It isn’t cheap, starting at $140, but it’s as close to the ultimate PS4 controller as you can get right now.

See at Scuf Gaming

Razer Raiju

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Razer doesn’t mess around when it comes to making gaming peripherals and the Raiju is no exception. It’s specifically designed for esports and the pro players that compete in them. While the main layout is the same as you’d find on a standard controller, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Like the Scuf Impact, the shape is less angular and really comfortable to hold. Bear in mind that the Raiju is a wired controller, but you do get a nifty audio control bar at the bottom to manage your party chat and in-game audio levels.

Around the back, you’ve got a couple additional triggers and two more buttons on top next to the bumpers. These are a staple on pro-class controllers and while Razer’s implementation is pretty unique to the Raiju, the end result is the same. It’s tough and feature packed, albeit a little pricey at $150.

See at Amazon

Sony DualShock 4

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The DualShock 4 is the standard controller that comes in the box and therefore, comes with the design we’ve come to expect.

That means analog sticks in the center, D-Pad to the left and buttons to the right, with bumpers and triggers where you’d hope to find them. The DualShock 4 is the first to implement a touchpad, and you get a neat glowing lightbar that has applications beyond just looking pretty.

If you like it already but wish it were a little more interesting, Sony has a range of different colors available. The red one here is pretty hot at $44, but new variants keep appearing all the time.

See at Amazon

Nacon Revolution

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Some folks love PS4 but wish the controller was more like the Xbox One’s with it’s offset analog sticks. Many find this layout more ergonomic, which makes the Nacon Revolution a great option to try. It’s wired, so you can’t sit too far away from the console, but the shape and layout are pretty similar to what you’d find with the Xbox.

It’s also another pro-grade controller, which means you’ve got additional buttons on the back so you can keep firing without taking your thumbs off the sticks.

In advanced mode you can switch between four different profiles, where the buttons can be remapped, sensitivity and dead zones can be adjusted,and you can even assign macros, which are useful in fighting games. It’s also cheaper than other pro-grade controllers at $94.

See at Amazon

Hori Mini Wired Gamepad

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Need a solid controller for younger, smaller hands that doesn’t cost a lot? Or maybe you’re a traveling PS4 gamer that needs something compact. That’s where the excellent Hori Mini Wired Gamepad comes in.

As the name implies, this is a wired controller, but it’s also small. It’s a good deal more compact than a regular controller, with a flat profile rather than the angled design of the standard controller. The touchpad is missing, which is OK, but there’s a button in place for when you might need it.

The cable is 10-feet long, so you can get a decent distance away from your console, and it comes in a lovely shade of blue. It’s also only $30, which makes it a no-brainer if you have kids.

See at Target

Hori Onyx

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If you’re a PS4 gamer but you’ve always prefered the style and feel of an Xbox controller, I have great news for you.

The Hori Onyx controller gives you all the same functionality of a PS4 controller in a different form. You get a wider and beefier grip with offset analog sticks, so you get the same sensation playing on your PS4 as you would on your Xbox.

We live in a modern and wonderful world where we can all customize our gaming expereince to suit our own needs and comfort levels. If this controller seems right for you, you can pick it up for $90 at Amazon

See at Amazon

What controller did you pick up for your console?

Let us know which one is your favorite down in the comments below!

Updated July 2018: We’ve updated this post with the Hori Onyx.

PlayStation 4

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