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2
Sep

Can this tabletop Krups keg really deliver a perfect pour? We asked beer snobs



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krups sub home beer dispenser angle

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krups sub home beer dispenser with beer

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser beer close

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser logo

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser pouring head

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser pouring glass

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser button

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser front

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser offset

Riley Young/Digital Trends

krups sub home beer dispenser handle

Riley Young/Digital Trends

The Krups SUB Home Beer Dispenser ($180) is an in-home mini draft system, letting you enjoy your favorite local beer from your kitchen. It’s like a growler, but one that will keep your beer drinkable, and more importantly carbonated, for more than just a day.

KRUPS has partnered with HOPSY, a growler shop-turned-beer delivery service, to bring craft beer directly to your home. It’s unbelievably easy to use, and their website boasts that the device keeps your beer fresh for up to 14 days after you tap it.

Sure, it’s Pretty

The dispenser is sleek and compact, weighing just 15 pounds, and fits anywhere on your kitchen counter. It has the look of a barrel put on its side, but classy. The SUB fits a two-liter mini keg, also known as a Torp, that holds about four full pints of your favorite beer. The beer is supplied by local breweries who have partnered with HOPSY — you can get an IPA brewed in the Bronx or a Lager from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. If you’re not feeling like drinking, they also offer kegs filled with cold brew and kombucha.

krups sub home beer dispenser beer close

krups sub home beer dispenser logo

krups sub home beer dispenser handle

krups sub home beer dispenser pouring glass

How does it work?

It’s unbelievably easy to use, especially with the simple diagram directions that the system includes. Once you get your mini keg in the mail — we had to wait one week before it arrived at the office – you insert it into the dispenser. Attached to the top of the keg is a built-in hose that you run through the device’s tap handle, then close and lock the door. You have to wait until the keg gets cold enough and the green light turns on. When we went to pour my first beer, it was a bit alarming to hear a weird machine noise, but that’s normal.

How does it stay fresh?

It’s important to note that there is no CO2 involved, which seems a bit confusing since CO2 is what keeps beer carbonated. Krups actually uses air to keep the beer fresh. When it’s time to pour, the tap pushes air into the plastic bottle, this puts pressure on the bag inside, squeezing the beer out through the tap and into your glass.

The Taste Test

We ordered the Cool Down IPA from Gun Hill, a brewery in the Bronx, New York, and had a little tasting around the office. It was a mixed bag. While some said that the beer was super chilled and had good flavor, others thought it was under carbonated and a bit oxidized. Everyone thought that the dispenser itself was easy to use and agreed the beer wasn’t too foamy. Some would have preferred the beer a little bit colder, but thought the overall taste was good.

We had a little tasting around the office. It was a mixed bag.

The freshness of the beer didn’t last as long as we hoped it would, though. One person in our office tasted the beer a week after it was first poured and said it was so bitter that he couldn’t drink it. Another person who tried the beer after a week said it was skunky and didn’t seem cold enough. We’re not sure that the company’s claim that the beer will last for up to 14 days is true

To Buy or Not to Buy?

To be frank, the Krups SUB is a bit of a novelty item. At a price of $180 and mini kegs going for $20 plus shipping, the whole system can cost a pretty penny. That being said, it does exactly what it says it’s meant to do: it serves as an in-home beer dispenser. Enjoying a cold crisp beer from the comfort of your home is obviously convenient. It might also be nice if you are someone who likes to try different beers from around the United States. Overall, HOPSY does a great job of offering a variety of beer choices. Maybe you know someone who would prefer beer tapped in their own home, but we’ll be sticking to refilling our growlers or going down to the local brew pub.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • A craft beer dispenser in your own kitchen? We’ll drink to that!
  • How to download movies from Netflix for offline viewing
  • The best coffee makers of 2018
  • Celebrate dad on Father’s Day with the help of Alexa and Google Assistant
  • How to make cold brew coffee at home



2
Sep

LG G7 One hands-on: The G7 sold its soul for great Android One software


Take a few hardware compromises to get the software you really want.

LG used the IFA 2018 trade show to announce its first-ever Android One phone — and it did so with the least amount of fanfare possible, simply dropping a press release. That’s mostly because the LG G7 One is … kind of an odd phone. Ostensibly it’s an LG G7 — except in a handful of places where it definitely isn’t.

The LG G7 One has the exact same dimensions as the standard G7. It has the same 6.1-inch display, and same hardware features in terms of its headphone jack and DAC, BoomBox speaker system, 3000mAh battery, IP68 resistance, fingerprint sensor and buttons. But the changes are in the details — the metal frame has a slightly textured matte finish, not unlike the the Galaxy Note 9, and the glass back is frosted for a soft texture as well. It’s a classy, understated look — which is decidedly different from the regular G7. It feels great, too — but it’s definitely lost all of the LG flair that made the G7 stand out from the crowd a little bit.

You keep a surprising amount of the unique hardware features, and lose LG’s software.

I love that LG has retained most of the G7’s core features for this Android One version, but you do have to take a few annoying spec shortcomings in order to get the nice hardware and software combination. The lack of a secondary wide-angle camera is the biggest one — our friend MrMobile is right when he says that one of the main reasons to buy a G7 for its unique wide-angle shots. The processor steps down to a Snapdragon 835, but I’m not worried about performance with Android One in tow — the same could be said for the 32GB of internal storage, but I sure wish it was 64GB like the standard G7.

But in return for losing some of what gives the G7 its soul, you get Android One instead of LG’s software. For as much as that software has improved over the past two generations, many will say they’d just prefer LG get out of the way and let Google handle that part — and that’s what you get here. You get the necessary bits to interact with LG’s hardware features — like the Quad DAC — and that’s it, the rest is Android One like any other phone with the brand. You also get guaranteed security and platform updates, which you definitely can’t count on with LG’s own support.

It’s frustrating to lose some features, but this could still be the best Android One phone.

It’s tough to fully evaluate the LG G7 One right now, because pricing and availability information is going to make or break it. On one hand, it’s disappointing that the couple of spec drops and the loss of the wide-angle camera make this a pretty generic device rather than one that builds on LG’s few unique strengths by being “a G7 with cleaner software.” But at the same time, the LG G7 One could easily be the best Android One device yet, as a majority of the phones with Android One software land in the mid-range price segment or have many more compromises.

It’s pretty clear what LG’s attempting to do with the G7 One. It’s inexpensive to keep making G7s, swap out a few components and put Google-provided software on them in order to expand its phone sales and address a different price bracket. But in doing so, it clearly made deliberate decisions to remove things that would’ve made the G7 One more desirable. LG kept most of what makes the G7 unique, which is why this is such a nice phone, but dropped a few key parts to make sure the Android One version doesn’t outshine the ThinQ model.

LG G7 ThinQ

  • LG G7 ThinQ review: Wide angle, narrow appeal
  • LG G7: Review, Specs, Availability, Problems and more!
  • LG G7 Specifications: Everything you need to know
  • Join the LG G7 forums

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Verizon
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2
Sep

Apple offers free repairs for owners of defective iPhone 8s


Does your iPhone 8 sometimes freeze up, restart, or refuse to power on? If so, the device might be eligible for Apple’s new repair program. The company has announced that a small percentage of iPhone 8 devices suffer from defective logic boards and has offered free repairs to affected customers.

This program only includes the basic version of the iPhone 8, so owners of the 8 Plus or X who are suffering similar problems are not eligible for the free repairs. Beyond that, the repair program is limited to customers in the U.S.,  Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau,  and New Zealand.  The program will extend to devices that were sold for up to three years after the original retail date of November 2017. If you have questions about whether or not your iPhone qualifies for this program, you can simply enter the serial number on Apple’s website and it will let you know.

Those who do qualify for the repair program have three options available to them. Their first is to contact Apple’s support team and arrange to have the phone mailed to the company’s support center, where the device will be repaired and then mailed back to you. Affected consumers can also opt to make an appointment at an Apple retail store or go through an authorized third-party. However, the website does specify that, regardless of which method is chosen, the device will still be sent to an Apple Repair Center.

In terms of cost, the repairs to the logic board will be free of charge.  However, Apple does warn that hardware issues, such as cracked screens, may need to be fixed before the company can work on the logic board. If the company has to fix one of those issues, then users may incur extra fees. In such cases, it might be better to get any outstanding hardware issues fixed first as to avoid any unexpected charges.

As is always the case before sending your phone off for repairs, Apple advises that users back up their data through iTunes or iCloud. Otherwise, there is a risk that their phone’s data may be wiped during the repair process and won’t be salvageable.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • MacBook DIY keyboard repairs don’t void your chance of a free replacement
  • The most common Xbox One problems, and how to fix them
  • How to unlock a phone on each and every carrier
  • The best phones for kids
  • The best Apple Watch accessories



2
Sep

What you missed this week on CordCutters.com


ccac91.png?itok=wAJ0KUmu

Hype. You missed the hype. Or, maybe there’s been no way to avoid it.

Hype is a funny thing. It’s almost impossible to live up to, and yet it’s also impossible to avoid.

Amazon has been hyping Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan for what seems like forever. Months and months. And now it’s finally here, available for binging on all the platforms that support Amazon Prime Video. (Which is pretty much everything.) And the while I’m not usually a fan of blasting through series so fast it’s almost impossible to do so with any real enjoyment, Jack Ryan didn’t once slow the pace. At only eight episodes — with the longest coming in at barely over an hour, and the shortest clocking in at 42 minutes — it’s a quick, easy watch.

And the series was good. Maybe not great, but definitely watchable. John Krasinski is a pretty benign Jack Ryan — a character who perhaps is rivaled only by Jack Bauer when it comes to one person finding himself in the middle of all sorts of terrorist hijinks. Wendell Pierce is great as Jim Greer (with a spoiler-riffic — yet ultimately superficial secret, and his expletives remain in the caliber of Mr. Samuel Leroy Jackson.

But after digesting things for a bit, I think maybe it was Ali Suliman — as terrorist mastermind Mousa Suleiman — who brought the best performance to the series. It’s too easy for the terrorist storyline to employ the usual tropes. And while some of that is unavoidable, he still brings a human aspect to the role — and that humanity plays an important twist later in the series.

So does Jack Ryan live up to the hype? Maybe not. But then again maybe there’s no way it could. It’s good. I’ll watch the second season, for sure. But ultimately it’s a decent action series in the same vein as Jack Bauer and Jason Bourne, borrowing the characters from Tom Clancy’s world.

Check out Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video and let me know what you think.

Here’s what else you missed this week on CordCutters.com:

  • The IFA conference in Berlin brought a few announcements that cord cutters can can about: mostly 8K televisions from the likes of LG and Samsung. Plus, Sony’s AF9 and ZF9 TVs are soon hitting Europe.
  • The college football season is official underway, and FuboTV is streaming a few games in 4K resolution.
  • The fourth season of Mr. Robot will be the last. And I’m sure Elliott won’t go quietly.
  • Roku already powers one out of every four smart TVs — and now it’s got JVC as a new partner.
  • Amazon is rumored to be working on a ad-supported service for older TV shows.
  • PlayStation Vue added a bunch of local channels. But you can’t DVR them.
  • The creator of Gravity Falls is joining up with Netflix for new animation projects.
  • The third season of True Detective gets its first trailer.

Introducing CordCutters.com

  • The hardware you need
  • All about streaming services
  • What channels are on which service
  • FREE over-the-air TV
  • How to watch sports
  • Join the discussion
  • Listen to the podcast

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2
Sep

Predator Helios 500 vs. Alienware 17 R5


Picking a gaming laptop is a more intense decision than picking a desktop or individual components. You can’t just throw in a new graphics card or CPU in a few years to improve performance. Outside of RAM and storage, what you pick now will be what you game for years to come.

To that end, we’ve pitted two gaming laptops we very much like: The Acer Predator Helios 500 and the Alienware 17 R5. Both are serious gaming laptops with impressive performance, but only one can be your next gaming laptop. Here’s how they stack up.

Design

Jayce Wagner/Digital Trends

Unlike some streamlined gaming laptops like the Razer Blade, both the Predator Helios 500 and Alienware 17 R5 are very much typical gaming laptops. They’re big, heavy, and have that military, metallic styling that is so common in gamer-aimed products. The Helios 500 does come in a little lighter at 8.8 pounds (versus the 17 R5’s 10 pounds), though neither is going to be something you’ll want to play with on your lap. We do like the boxier look of the Alienware from a purely aesthetic standpoint though.

The Alienware machine has a lot of ports filling its flanks, with two USB-A and a single USB-C connector alongside an Ethernet port, headphone jack, Thunderbolt port, HDMI port, and mini-DisplayPort. That offers lots of options for running larger, external displays, with many of those ports located on the back, so they’re well out of the way when you’re gaming on a desk. In comparison, the Helios 500 has more USB ports, with three USB-A and two USB-C. It also has HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, as well as an ethernet connector, and a headphone jack. There’s a little more versatility there, especially when it comes to external USB accessories, but there’s not a huge difference between the two.

The keyboard on the Helios is fantastic and has been for a few generations, though it does not feature per-key backlighting like the Alienware system does. That platform also comes with its own Tobii eye-tracker, which is a nice touch, but it has limited usage in most games at this time.

Performance

Riley Young/Digital Trends

There are only a couple of options for configuring the Acer Helios 500, but both are monstrously powerful. For $2,000 you can have an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU paired up with 16GB of memory (with space for up to 64GB), a GTX 1070 graphics chip, 256GB of PCIExpress SSD storage, and a 1TB hard drive. Microcenter even has that configuration at $300 off at the time of writing. If you want more for (more of) your money, you can spend $2,500 for the same configuration but with a Core i9-8950HK CPU and 512GB of SSD storage instead.

The Alienware 17 R5 has a similar hardware selection, but a broader price range. Starting at $1,500, it comes with a Core i7-8750H CPU with 8GB of RAM, a GTX 1060 graphics chip, and a terabyte of hard drive storage paired with an 8GB caching SSD. For a couple of hundred dollars more, you can upgrade that to a 256GB SSD instead. Options for more RAM and expanded storage give you some flexibility throughout the price range, but if you spend the maximum $3,900 you can upgrade to a Core i9-8950HK CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a GTX 1080 graphics chip.

A big part of that configuration and its cost though is the 4K display it comes with. There are options for a 1080p and 1440p panel in the price range, while the Helios 500 is limited to a 1080p display, but it is 144Hz — compared with the 120Hz refresh rate of the Alienware laptop at 1440p. Although the Acer laptop is a lower resolution, we found its visuals to be stunning in comparison to the Alienware alternative, and that’s thanks to its use of an IPS rather than a TN panel. Its color accuracy is noticeably better, and its contrast ratio is greater for deeper blacks and whites.

While the Helios 500 might be the slightly weaker system in terms of overall hardware, the end result simply looks better thanks to the higher quality, faster panel, even with a lower resolution. For 1080p gaming, the Helios 500 is more than enough power than what most gamers will need. However, if you plan on hooking up to high-resolution monitor, the Alienware 17 R5 will certainly produce better framerates.

Portability

Jayce Wagner/Digital Trends

Neither of these systems is one you’ll want to lug around all day, but that’s to be expected. The 17-inch form factor is not designed with portability in mind. Still, at 8.8 pounds, the Predator Helios 500 is noticeably lighter than the Alienware counterpart and will strain your back less during transit. The Helios is a little thicker, but shallower than its Alienware counterpart, measuring 16.85 x 11.73 x 1.52-inches, versus the 17 R5’s 16.7 x 13.1 x 1.18-inches.

The size differences between the two aren’t large enough to make them a deciding factor and battery life doesn’t do much to change that either. The heftier hardware in the Alienware laptop meant that it drained its battery faster in our video viewing test, lasting just under four hours, while the Helios 500 managed five and a half hours. However, the 17 R5 did last two and a half hours in our Basemark test, while the Helios 500 only offered an hour and a half of battery life.

Neither laptop is portable in any sense of the word and though in certain settings each has a battery life advantage, we would expect the slightly lower spec Helios 500 to outlast the Alienware system in most scenarios if the latter sports a 4K display.

Fast gaming trumps power

Riley Young/Digital Trends

Both the Alienware 17 R5 and Acer Predator Helios 500 are fantastic gaming laptops. They’re supremely powerful, beautiful to look at and play on, and unsurprisingly, don’t last long when away from a power socket and comfortable desk. Picking one over the other is hard, but the Helios 500 will be better bang for your buck for most people.

While it might lack a UHD display, its 144Hz, 1080p IPS panel is prettier and smoother than the Alienware alternative. The Dell-built system might be more powerful if you opt for the higher specification version, but it’s also a lot more expensive too. When you’re paying as much as an extra thousand dollars for a screen that doesn’t look as good in games, it’s hard to argue it’s not wasted money.

Acer’s Predator Helios 500 gives you exactly what you need for high-speed, 1080p gaming and keeps the extras to a minimum to remain cost-effective. The Alienware system, in comparison, feels bloated for its task, as much as it’s great at completing it.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Digital Storm Equinox review
  • Alienware 17 R5 review
  • Razer Blade 15 (2018) review
  • The best gaming laptops
  • Lenovo revamps Legion brand with affordable gaming laptops and desktops



2
Sep

Temi is your personal robot butler, like an Amazon Echo Show on wheels


While popular culture has consistently served up a vision of the future that features robot servants at our beck and call, they’ve been slow to infiltrate our homes so far. Despite the development of increasingly sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence, domestic robots have yet to take off.

Temi could be in the vanguard of a new wave of robot butlers designed to cater to our whims, or it could be a glorified smart speaker on wheels. We took it for a spin at IFA in Berlin to find out exactly what it’s capable of.

Standing just over 3 feet high, Temi has an Android tablet for a head, with a 10.1-inch screen. Behind that and a little lower there’s a kind of shelf that also works as a wireless charging pad for phones. The main body is curved with a couple of midrange speakers in the chest area and then a subwoofer built into the base.

There’s a lot of clever tech inside Temi.

There’s a lot of clever tech inside Temi. Cameras, sensors, microphones, and more enable it to hear you and track your movements, tilting its head up and down and turning around. Temi can also navigate around using lidar to detect and avoid any obstacles. Tap it on the head or ask it, and it will track and follow you around, turning as you do to ensure that it’s always facing you.

You can use a range of voice commands with Temi. Just like any other voice assistant it can answer basic questions, tell you about the weather, and play music and video. There’s support for a few major apps such as Google, Reddit, YouTube, CNN, Yelp, Deezer, and Uber, but because Temi runs a modified version of Android, developers have to add support.

If you’ve ever used an Amazon Echo Show, then the tablet portion of Temi will be easy to understand. While it currently uses a proprietary voice assistant, there are strong rumors that the final product will have Google Assistant on board. That would be a good thing because, even allowing for a noisy show floor, we weren’t too impressed with its voice recognition during our demo – it frequently misunderstood commands, even from the makers.


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Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

We’ve seen telepresence robots before, but Temi is quite sophisticated in that department. We tried out a video call and it worked very well, although it doesn’t show you from a very flattering angle unless you sit down because it’s only 3 feet tall.

You can chat as you walk around with Temi following you, but the caller on the other end can also swipe left or right to turn Temi, or tap and hold on spots in your room to command Temi to go there. They don’t have to be too precise, as Temi will plot its own route to avoid obstacles.

If you did buy a Temi, one of the first things you would do is set up a map of your home for it, so you can tell it to go the kitchen or the dining room, for example. It will remember the rooms you define and they can also be used during video calls.

Temi comes with a charging base station and will keep itself charged up so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in. Apparently, it will decide when to charge based on your schedule and remaining power to ensure it’s ready to go when you need it.

For all its sophistication, Temi is essentially offering a smart speaker experience in mobile form.

It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity you have the option of adding cellular data support.

For all its sophistication, Temi is essentially offering a smart speaker experience in mobile form. It works well as a telepresence robot, and it might be nice sometimes to have your music follow you from room to room, but you’re going to have to pay a big premium for that mobility.

If you consider that the base model costs $1,500, then there’s a good chance it would be cheaper to fit our every room in your home with a mix of Amazon Echo Shows and other speakers. It wouldn’t be as cool as having a robot that can follow you, of course, but all you’d really miss out on is the telepresence functionality and that remote-control element.

It’s also worth noting that Temi can’t climb stairs, so it will work best in homes that are on one level.

There is going to be a higher end model of Temi available for $1,900 which adds a 4K display, more powerful Harman Kardon speakers, and a more luxurious finish.
Ultimately, we’re not sure Temi is worth the investment unless the telepresence feature is something you would use a lot or you have another specific use case in mind. Temi will be available from October this year.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Ecovacs Deebot 901 robotic vacuum review
  • iLife A7 Robot Vacuum review
  • Born to hug: 6 of the weirdest, most outlandish robots humanity has ever created
  • Meet Fusion: A helpful robotic ‘parasite’ that lives on your back
  • It’s curtains for Kuri: Work ceased on robot companion project



2
Sep

Temi is your personal robot butler, like an Amazon Echo Show on wheels


While popular culture has consistently served up a vision of the future that features robot servants at our beck and call, they’ve been slow to infiltrate our homes so far. Despite the development of increasingly sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence, domestic robots have yet to take off.

Temi could be in the vanguard of a new wave of robot butlers designed to cater to our whims, or it could be a glorified smart speaker on wheels. We took it for a spin at IFA in Berlin to find out exactly what it’s capable of.

Standing just over 3 feet high, Temi has an Android tablet for a head, with a 10.1-inch screen. Behind that and a little lower there’s a kind of shelf that also works as a wireless charging pad for phones. The main body is curved with a couple of midrange speakers in the chest area and then a subwoofer built into the base.

There’s a lot of clever tech inside Temi.

There’s a lot of clever tech inside Temi. Cameras, sensors, microphones, and more enable it to hear you and track your movements, tilting its head up and down and turning around. Temi can also navigate around using lidar to detect and avoid any obstacles. Tap it on the head or ask it, and it will track and follow you around, turning as you do to ensure that it’s always facing you.

You can use a range of voice commands with Temi. Just like any other voice assistant it can answer basic questions, tell you about the weather, and play music and video. There’s support for a few major apps such as Google, Reddit, YouTube, CNN, Yelp, Deezer, and Uber, but because Temi runs a modified version of Android, developers have to add support.

If you’ve ever used an Amazon Echo Show, then the tablet portion of Temi will be easy to understand. While it currently uses a proprietary voice assistant, there are strong rumors that the final product will have Google Assistant on board. That would be a good thing because, even allowing for a noisy show floor, we weren’t too impressed with its voice recognition during our demo – it frequently misunderstood commands, even from the makers.


Previous


Next

1 of 7

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Temi Robot

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

We’ve seen telepresence robots before, but Temi is quite sophisticated in that department. We tried out a video call and it worked very well, although it doesn’t show you from a very flattering angle unless you sit down because it’s only 3 feet tall.

You can chat as you walk around with Temi following you, but the caller on the other end can also swipe left or right to turn Temi, or tap and hold on spots in your room to command Temi to go there. They don’t have to be too precise, as Temi will plot its own route to avoid obstacles.

If you did buy a Temi, one of the first things you would do is set up a map of your home for it, so you can tell it to go the kitchen or the dining room, for example. It will remember the rooms you define and they can also be used during video calls.

Temi comes with a charging base station and will keep itself charged up so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in. Apparently, it will decide when to charge based on your schedule and remaining power to ensure it’s ready to go when you need it.

For all its sophistication, Temi is essentially offering a smart speaker experience in mobile form.

It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity you have the option of adding cellular data support.

For all its sophistication, Temi is essentially offering a smart speaker experience in mobile form. It works well as a telepresence robot, and it might be nice sometimes to have your music follow you from room to room, but you’re going to have to pay a big premium for that mobility.

If you consider that the base model costs $1,500, then there’s a good chance it would be cheaper to fit our every room in your home with a mix of Amazon Echo Shows and other speakers. It wouldn’t be as cool as having a robot that can follow you, of course, but all you’d really miss out on is the telepresence functionality and that remote-control element.

It’s also worth noting that Temi can’t climb stairs, so it will work best in homes that are on one level.

There is going to be a higher end model of Temi available for $1,900 which adds a 4K display, more powerful Harman Kardon speakers, and a more luxurious finish.
Ultimately, we’re not sure Temi is worth the investment unless the telepresence feature is something you would use a lot or you have another specific use case in mind. Temi will be available from October this year.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Ecovacs Deebot 901 robotic vacuum review
  • iLife A7 Robot Vacuum review
  • Born to hug: 6 of the weirdest, most outlandish robots humanity has ever created
  • Meet Fusion: A helpful robotic ‘parasite’ that lives on your back
  • It’s curtains for Kuri: Work ceased on robot companion project



2
Sep

Sony Xperia XZ3 hands-on: Damn fine hardware, with potential pain points


sony-xperia-xz3-red-1.jpg?itok=UUvDZONU

This is some beautiful hardware that steps beyond the XZ2 in the right ways.

Sony’s strategy of releasing a new flagship phone every six months means you don’t have to wait long to see the company’s latest mobile tech. But it also means that the generation-over-generation changes are extremely subtle compared to others that refresh once a year. The Xperia XZ3 hasn’t broken that mold, but what has changed is notable and the overall product is still enticing — particularly from a hardware perspective.

It’s easy to dismiss the XZ3 as “yet another Sony phone” at first glance — and I’ll admit that was my first reaction — but believe me, there’s more to this hardware than you think. Sony’s design languages is intact, but the details dramatically change the feel of this phone. The 6-inch display makes this phone slightly larger than the XZ2, but it doesn’t feel as big or “pillowy” as I liked to refer to the XZ2.

The aluminum frame thins out around the sides of the phone, the back is flatter across the middle and the curves are more subtle. The curved screen makes a massive difference to the feel of the phone because of how it lets the glass more aggressively curve over into the thin sides. In short, it feels like the Galaxy S9+ — and that’s a really good thing. And call me crazy, but I think Sony’s execution of the metal, glass and joins is actually better than Samsung’s latest. The color selections Sony made are absolutely fantastic. Whether you go with the monolithic all-black, the pleasant sea foam green or my personal favorite white-and-silver, each one has a nice mixture of finishes and a great depth to the color.

Sony managed to notably improve on the XZ2’s hardware; it’s stunning.

The new 6-inch OLED display looked really good to my eyes, but then again you expect that in this level of device. What I didn’t expect from Sony was shrunken top and bottom bezels, which brings the XZ3’s edges closer to what the rest of the industry has reached. They’re now down to the size where you can give them a pass, at least if you consider the new and improved speakers.

The one curveball feature on the XZ3 that I can’t wrap my head around is “Side sense,” the feature not unlike HTC’s Edge Sense that lets you tap along the sides of the phone to perform actions without pressing a button. Sony has a pretty basic implementation here: you double-tap your thumb on either side of the phone, and a menu pops out with apps you can launch. It’s basically the same as using an Edge panel on a modern Galaxy phone, except you don’t have to look at the little pull-in tab all the time.

This new ‘Side sense’ feature needs some fine tuning.

Unfortunately, I spent several minutes trying to get it to consistently trigger and just couldn’t make it happen with anywhere near 100% accuracy. You need a pretty firm double-press, which can be tough on a phone with such a thin metal edge. It’s a very neat idea that could be incredibly useful if Sony fine tunes the system and makes it more configurable. And unlike the HTC U12+ it isn’t a core part of the phone’s navigation, so I’m willing to give it a “wait and see” pass for the moment.

Sony’s also shipping this phone with Android 9 Pie out of the box, which gives it a leg up over all of the phones that launched recently with Oreo. Sony’s software continues to be fast and clean, following in the footsteps of Google Pixels albeit with a little extra Sony style — something most people either love or hate.

As ever, there are (potential) caveats here. I still don’t like the fingerprint sensor placement, as just like the XZ2 it’s way too far down the back of the phone. There’s no headphone jack here, either. The display looked great in my short time with it, but Sony has a track record of screens with weak outdoor visibility — hopefully switching to OLED fixed that. I’m also concerned by the longevity of a phone this big with a 3300mAh battery. The camera, too, has potential to be a dealbreaker. Taking a few shots in the (admittedly poorly lit) Sony booth at IFA 2018, the camera was sometimes slow to capture, and the grain and chroma noise in the resulting photos was immediately noticeable — that’s just not something I can put up with in a $900 phone.

Sony made a darn nice phone, and no longer has a bunch of bone-headed mistakes.

When using the Xperia XZ3, I fell back to the usual question of whether it’s a “too little too late” situation with Sony’s flagships. The company is so saddled by the baggage of releasing expensive, subpar phones for so long that now it almost doesn’t have a chance to capture any market — even though it’s fixed most of its flaws. The Xperia XZ3 looks and feels like a phone that’s every bit as nice as — or nicer than — the high-price competition. It no longer has bone-headed mistakes like an oddly placed NFC antenna or a missing fingerprint sensor. It has most of the features that people desire (or at least complain about not having) like an SD card slot, stereo speakers, notch-free display, simple up-to-date software, wireless charging and more. I can’t yet find a critical problem here — just issues that come down to preference.

If you’re someone who doesn’t scoff at the Galaxy Note 9’s $1000 price tag, I’m not sure how you can look at the Xperia XZ3 and not think it’s at least worth considering at $900.

2
Sep

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 hands-on review



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Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30

Shaving 4mm off anything doesn’t sound like very much. Reducing the length of a car by 4mm, for example, would not make any appreciable difference. But when Casio cut it away from the WSD-F20 Pro Trek smartwatch’s case to make the WSD-F30 Pro Trek Smart, it made a considerable difference to the wearability and style, without sacrificing any technology. In fact, the watch became even more useful.

Smaller, but still large

Before we go any further, we should say that while the WSD-F30 definitely looks more at home on most wrists than the WSD-F20, it’s still a big watch. The case is 53mm wide, after all. Like many other Casio watches, the size means it’s tough, and the Pro Trek WSD-F30 meets military standards, plus it’s water resistant to 50 meters, even though it has a microphone for Google Assistant. It’s impressive. The watch’s bold design is tailored to those who embrace the outdoor lifestyle, and the new blue color looks superb — not as faceless as the black version, or as ostentatious as the orange model.

We spoke to Kayo Okada, product planner at Casio, who said the neutral blue model along with the smaller case size will help make the WSD-F30 appeal to more people, after the masculinity of the orange and black WSD-F20. We agree. The blue tone minimizes the size and striking looks, without losing the watch’s character. It’s 83 grams in weight, but does not overpower the wrist. We were genuinely impressed with the WSD-F30 Pro Trek’s wearability. Okada further explained those who buy Pro Trek watches embrace the active lifestyle, and tend to wear these watches throughout the week.

The watch’s bold design is tailored to those who embrace the outdoor lifestyle.

Putting on the Pro Trek is a joy. It’s supremely comfortable (provided you’re slightly used to wearing large watches), and the strap has more holes than previous models to fit more wrists without a problem. Not only does it feel great, we think it looks great too. The large buttons are easy to find and press, have an easy-to-locate texture, and respond quickly — and clearly marked as well. The top is for maps, and the lower is for the sensor toolkit. Other niceties that simplify a complex watch include a clear compass indicator when in battery saving mode.

Power-saving features

Work on the WSD-F30 started straight after the launch of the F20 in 2017, according to Okada, and shrinking the watch was a considerable technical challenge. Casio followed a step-by-step process: redesigning the internals to fit the smaller case, using new components, changing the screens. The WSD-F30 has a 1.2-inch OLED for Google’s Wear OS, and a second 1.2-inch monochrome screen for the battery-saving Multi Timepiece mode. Casio would not disclose the capacity of the new battery, which is smaller, yet it should return one-and-a-half days of regular Wear OS use, Okada said. This is through some clever software management that increases the watch’s efficiency.

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Casio knows the Pro Trek smartwatch will have to battle situations where power-sucking GPS is essential, potentially over long periods of time, so the company has added two special modes to lengthen battery life. Multi-Timepiece mode shuts down Wear OS and the OLED screen, turning on the monochrome LCD instead, which then shows the time and information from some sensors. It’s activated using an option under the menu, and takes a few seconds to turn on. Reverting to Wear OS involves rebooting the watch entirely, which takes a few minutes.

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 Compared To

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41

Mondaine Smart Helvetica

Nixon Regulus

Alpina AlpinerX

Apple Watch Series 3

Motorola Moto 360 (2015)

LG Watch Sport

Huawei Watch 2 Sport

Huawei Fit

Apple Watch Series 2

Martian Passport MP100WSB

Garmin fenix 2

LG G Watch R

Martian Notifier Watch

Phosphor Touch Time

More interesting is Extend Mode. Here, you can schedule when the watch wakes up, at which time the Multi-Timepiece data and color maps are shown, ready to guide you along a hike. It’s a set-and-forget feature we can see being really helpful. We also like how the monochrome screen can be brought to life when viewing the sensor data, making it more readable in sunlight. Wear OS was swift and smooth in our short test, and all the sensor data appeared quickly on screen.

Software

When the WSD-F30 launches, it will have Google’s new version of Wear OS onboard, but the version we used did not have it installed. However, we could try all the watch’s special features. Pressing the lower button scrolls through data from the various onboard sensors, while the top button brings up the maps. Google Maps is displayed when working online, while Mapbox supplies offline maps; you can download and store up to five on the watch. Range can be specified with a maximum area of around 50km. By selecting smaller areas, detail is increased.

Putting on the Pro Trek is a joy.

These features, along with the various app partners — ranging from surfing app Glassy to fishing app Fishbrain — tell you at whom the Pro Trek Smart is aimed, but does that mean outdoorsy types shouldn’t buy it? Usually, hardcore watches with specific functions appeal only to their niche; we think Casio fans generally will be tempted by the F30. It’s not as full-on rugged as the G Shock Rangeman, which Ms. Okada said is designed for extreme situations, and due to the neater style and more versatile strap, we can see the Pro Trek Smart being purchased by those with very little interest in hiking — just because they like the look.

Expensive

We appreciate how focused the F30 Pro Trek is. This is a smartwatch with a clear function. It’s not just about style like a fashion smartwatch, or solely about technology either; yet it manages to straddle both worlds very effectively, and even appeal to those who aren’t into the outdoors lifestyle. Casio is a master at this. Look no further than its G Shock Gravitymaster watches for pilots, or G Shock Frogman watches, which are popular with those who never fly or dive.

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

If there is a problem, it’s the price. The Pro Trek WSD-F30 will cost $550, or 550 euros, when it’s released in early 2019. That’s twice the price of some simpler fashion smartwatches, and more expensive than a 4G LTE Apple Watch. It’s somewhat justified by the functionality, military spec durability, and sheer engineering involved, but it’ll be a hard sell for those who are less interested in the features and more into the style.

We have no doubt the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 will satisfy both the outdoors fan, and the watch fan, provided your wallet can take the strain.

2
Sep

Best wireless chargers of IFA 2018


Wireless charging has been steadily gaining ground over the last few years, but Apple’s adoption of the Qi standard in its iPhone range took things to a whole new level. Purveyors of smartphone accessories have been devising a wide range of new products capable of top wireless charging speeds for Apple and Samsung phones, and we’re seeing a growing trend toward trying to make them stylish so they blend in with your office or home.

We have a best wireless chargers roundup at Digital Trends, but we saw several great new candidates for the list here in Berlin at IFA 2018. These are our top picks.

Anker PowerWave 15


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best wireless chargers ifa 2018 anker powerwave 15

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

best wireless chargers ifa 2018 anker powerwave 15

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We’re big fans of Anker products because they’re unfussy, they tend to work well, they last the distance, and they’re always reasonably priced. Its PowerWave wireless charging pads have been out for a while, but they have a somewhat utilitarian look. Anker is keen to add a slightly more stylish and premium feel and so the latest version combines a black, soft-touch pad with a sturdy, dark gray, aluminum frame.

There are rubber feet on the bottom to stop it sliding around and a blue light on the front to show it’s powered. We’re not sure about the price just yet, but this charger will support fast wireless charging for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones and it should be available very soon.

Moshi Porto Q

best wireless chargers ifa 2018 moshi porto q Simon Hill/Digital Trends

With a hugely popular range of stylish bags and phone cases Moshi is a strong brand in mobile accessories and it has just unveiled a new range of wireless charging accessories. Our top pick is the Porto Q which is an attractive pad covered in gray fabric with a 5,000mAh battery inside. That means you can take it with you wherever you go and charge up throughout the day. It also sports a USB-A port for charging any devices that lack Qi functionality, and there’s a USB-C port to charge it up.

The Moshi Porto Q will go on sale in the next couple of months and will cost you $80, but Moshi also has a simpler puck charger without the battery inside for $40.

Nomad Base Station

best wireless chargers ifa 2018 nomad base station Simon Hill/Digital Trends

For a touch of class, you can’t beat the stylish leather accessories turned out by Nomad. Their cases are fantastic and now they’re branching out into wireless charging pads. Since people typically have multiple devices that work with Qi wireless charging their first release will be the Base Station which can accommodate two smartphones at once. It will wirelessly charge your phone at maximum speed, whether it’s an iPhone, a Galaxy, or something else.

Finished in black leather, this pad is going to blend in with any environment. It also features a USB-A port for any older devices that may lack Qi support and a USB-C port for newer devices without wireless charging capability. It will be coming out soon and will set you back $100.

Ventev Wireless Chargepad

best wireless chargers ifa 2018 ventev chargepad Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Gray fabric is a bit of a trend in the new wireless charging pads we’re seeing and this one from Ventev has an aluminum base with rubber feet on the bottom to keep it from sliding around. It’s capable of fast wireless charging and it comes with a cable and the right adapter to deliver maximum power. There’s a simple blue light on the front to show that it’s working. You can buy this one at Amazon right now for $50.

Aircharge Dual Charger


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best wireless chargers ifa 2018 aircharge

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best wireless chargers ifa 2018 aircharge

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Here’s a dual wireless charging pad that can charge up two phones simultaneously or a phone and something else, like perhaps a PS4 gamepad if you have the Aircharge PS4 DualShock Smart Adapter. Aircharge is planning to sell a bundle that includes an unobtrusive attachment for a PS4 controller and allows you to place it on the pad to recharge.

It supports charging at maximum speeds and it’s finished in black. You can get the pad itself for $40 and the PS4 attachment will cost you $20, but Aircharge is likely to offer the pair as a bundle when it comes out. The company also has a nice new line of puck-style chargers finished in wood, leather, and Gorilla Glass.

Zens Dual and Watch

best wireless chargers ifa 2018 zens dual and watch Simon Hill/Digital Trends

This slim aluminum charging pad also includes room for an Apple Watch. Two smartphones can be charged swiftly with up to 10W being delivered to both pads simultaneously for a total of 20W maximum. It’s a very sturdy construction with a nonslip finish and it’s both MFi and Qi certified. There’s a tiny white LED on each pad to show it’s working.

With the ability to charge two phones and the watch at once this could be the ideal solution for the nightstand to meet all your wireless charging needs. You can buy it for $100 and it should be available in Best Buy from September 15.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best wireless phone chargers for your iPhone or Android
  • Nomad creates a wireless charging pad just for the Tesla Model 3
  • Mophie vs. Belkin vs. Anker vs. iOttie: Finding the best wireless charging pad for iPhones
  • Samsung’s Wireless Charger Duo can charge two devices at the same time
  • The best iPhone accessories



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