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8
Sep

5 reasons why you shouldn’t be surprised Elon Musk smoked weed


As you’ve probably noticed, the internet is crapping its pants over Elon Musk. Again.

Why? Because The Tesla CEO went on Joe Rogan’s podcast and took a tiny hit from a spliff (for all you squares reading this, that’s half tobacco/half weed) during a recorded video interview.

The video went viral almost immediately, and shorty thereafter, Tesla’s stock took a hit. Apparently the footage of Musk puffing on jazz cabbage has some investors worried about his fitness to run a publicly traded company.

That’s ridiculous. Here are five reasons why nobody should be surprised that Elon Musk gets down.

1. This is the guy who dreamt up the Hyperloop. Who else, other than a stoner, would come up with a transportation system based on giant vacuum tubes? Your boy Elon was clearly baked out of his gourd when he went to a bank and saw the pneumatic tube system at the drive-through. He then did what any genius-level stoner would do: He went home and wrote a whitepaper. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m fairly certain that’s how the Hyperloop was born.

2. He’s dating Grimes (or was — I really haven’t kept up with all the gossip). Let’s be honest: The only way anyone can survive a Grimes concert is by smoking a shipping container full of Chernobyl Kush and getting so blitzed that your brain doesn’t process auditory information correctly.

3. He’s a billionaire, and CEO of multiple high-value companies. If you think for a second that Elon hasn’t snorted blow in a nightclub bathroom before, or dropped LSD directly into his eyeballs at Burning Man, then you’re delusional. This dude has done things that regular people like you and I only see in movies — so smoking a bit of loud with Joe Rogan is probably child’s play for him

4. He recently tweeted about making Tesla private again, and said he had secured funding to do so at $420 per share. Coincidence? I think not.

5. Seriously? You’re still reading? Who cares if he gets stoned? There are far, far worse things going on in the world than a grown man taking a completely legal puff on a completely legal blunt.

Ok. That last one wasn’t really a reason.

Elon Musk’s appearance on Rogan is entertaining to watch, for sure. It also shows how Musk’s cult of personality has turned into a circus that has nothing to do with the technology his companies build. Musk wants to build electric, autonomous cars. He wants to send people to space. He wants to build high-speed tunnels to connect faraway cities. These — and many other things that Musk works on — will have serious consequences for millions of people. It’s worth giving them serious thought.

Musk hitting a blunt? C’mon. It’s hilarious. It’s also irrelevant.

This article represents the views of the author, who was probably stoned while he wrote this.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Tesla isn’t going private (but it had the funding to do so, Musk says)
  • Tesla board waits for Musk’s plan to go private as Saudi Arabia stays silent
  • The Boring Company doesn’t sound so boring anymore
  • No, this airborne Tesla isn’t the flying car Elon Musk talked about
  • Here’s everything you need to know about SpaceX Starlink



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8
Sep

Lex is a wearable exoskeleton that lets you take a comfortable seat anywhere


How awesome would it be if, any time you started to feel tired, you could just kick back and relax on a chair that appears seemingly from out of nowhere? What if this miraculous chair also happened to be one of the most ergonomic sitting devices you’ve ever encountered, promising a seat that ensures you maintain the best possible posture? That is the mission statement of a fancy new Kickstarter campaign for Lex, a pair of wearable, folding exoskeleton legs that just so happen to transform into an ultra-versatile portable seat.

“You can lead a better life and prevent a lot of injuries by maintaining the correct posture, caring for your shoulders, and finding a chance to relax your body more,” Lex team member Don Plooksawasdi told Digital Trends. “If you find that hard to do in your daily life, the Lex is here to help.”

The lightweight, 2.2-pound exoskeleton legs retract when they’re not in use, giving you the ability to move around easily and without any restrictions. (You can even jump while wearing it!) It attaches to your body just like a belt, requiring only three straps. When it’s in folded mode, the Lex is hardly visible from the side.


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Whether you want it as an easy accessory for festivals and other outdoor events, or simply fancy a superior alternative to the chair for your workplace, this could be the answer you’re searching for to make life more convenient and comfortable. Well, so long as you weigh 264 pounds or less.

As ever, we offer our usual advice about the potential risks of crowdfunding campaigns — which can mean delays, or even products that never ship or don’t ship quite as expected. However, if you’re happy to take the risk, head over to Lex’s Kickstarter page to pledge your cash and support. A single Lex unit costs around $215, with $45 extra for shipping to the U.S. The product, available in four colors, is due to ship to customers in December.

We’ve previously covered some awesome high-tech exoskeleton projects here at Digital Trends. While some are more high tech and servo-assisted than Lex, this may just turn out to be our favorite!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • This Minion-looking robot will nag you to improve your posture as you work
  • The best camping chairs
  • This cockpit-style simulator will make your VR experiences more immersive
  • Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: VR gaming cockpits, mosquito bracelets, and more
  • The best camping cots



8
Sep

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs. Galaxy Note 9: Can Sony topple Samsung’s giant?


Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Sony’s new Xperia XZ3 has been revealed, and it boasts everything that made the Xperia XZ2 a great phone — along with a few beneficial changes and Sony’s first-ever OLED smartphone display. Are these small tweaks enough to make the Xperia XZ3 a contender against one of the biggest flagship phones of 2018? To see whether the Xperia XZ3 can hold its own against the Galaxy Note 9, we put the two phones head-to-head in a series of comparisons to decide which of these two amazing devices should be your next phone.

Specs

Sony Xperia XZ3

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Size
158 x 73 x 9.9 mm (6.22 x 2.87 x 0.39 inches)
161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm (6.37 x 3 x 0.35 inches)

Weight
193 grams (6.81 ounces)
201 grams (7.09 ounces)

Screen size
6-inch OLED display
6.4-inch Super AMOLED display

Screen resolution
2,880 x 1,440 pixels (537 pixels per inch)
2,960 x 1,440 pixels (516 pixels per inch)

Operating system
Sony UI (over Android 9.0 Pie)
Samsung Experience UI (over Android 8.1 Oreo)

Storage space
64GB

128GB (with 6GB of RAM), 512GB (with 8GB of RAM)

MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 512GB
Yes, up to 512GB

Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay
Google Pay, Samsung Pay

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

RAM
4GB
6GB (with 128GB storage), 8GB (with 512GB storage)

Camera
19MP rear, 13MP front
Dual 12MP (with OIS) and 12MP zoom (with OIS) rear, variable aperture, 8MP front

Video
2,160p at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 960 fps
2,160p at 60 frames per second, 1,080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps

Bluetooth version
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0

Ports
USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C

Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes

Water resistance
IP68/IP65
IP68

Battery
3,330mAh

QuickCharge 3.0

Qi wireless charging

4,000mAh

QuickCharge 2.0

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store

Network support
T-Mobile, AT&T
T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint

Colors
Black, Silver White, Forest Green, Bordeaux Red
Ocean Blue, Lavender Purple

Price
$900
Starting from $1,000

Buy from
Best Buy, Amazon

Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Samsung

Review score
Hands-on review
4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Going by the numbers, the Note 9 has a slight edge on the XZ3 in terms of pure performance. Both phones are equipped with the powerful Snapdragon 845 — but the Note 9’s water-cooling system should mean that it can push harder and for longer, without as much risk of overheating. The Note 9 also has more RAM, with 6GB and 8GB options dwarfing the XZ3’s 4GB. To be fair, you’re unlikely to notice these differences in real-life use — but it’s clear that the Note 9 is the objectively more powerful phone.

Storage options paint a similarly one-sided story. The Note 9’s 128GB model has twice the storage of the XZ3’s 64GB — and that’s without mentioning the ludicrously roomy Note 9 model with 512GB of storage. However, both have support for MicroSD cards up to 512GB in size, making it unlikely users of either phone will run out of storage quickly.

The winner isn’t as clear in battery life and charging. The Note 9 comes with a massive 4,000mAh battery that comfortably lasts a day — and while the 3,330mAh battery in the XZ3 is clearly smaller, it should also easily see you through a day’s use, putting these two phones in similar positions. Both have Qi wireless charging available, which is convenient, but the XZ3’s quick charging tops the Note 9’s with support for QuickCharge 3.0.

While the XZ3 claws back some points with speedy charging, it’s clear Samsung’s titan is the more powerful phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Design and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Consumers in 2018 demands beautiful flagships, and neither phone lets us down in that regard. The XZ3 and the Note 9 are both desirable glass phones with aluminum frames, and curves that gently wrap around their bodies. However, the XZ3’s bezels aren’t as slim as the Note 9’s, and Sony’s Ambient Flow design has yet to catch up fully with the sleek and slick Samsung flagship range. If you’re still rocking your old wired headphones, it’s important to note that only the Note 9 is equipped with a headphone jack.

In terms of durability, you’re likely to want a case for the XZ3 and the Note 9 — glass is fragile and can be slippery, so the added protection and grip will be a must for some. These phones are otherwise well-protected, with IP68 ratings against water immersion and dust. The XZ3 goes a step further with an IP65 rating as well — giving it protection from jets of water from any direction, as well as full immersion protection.

Style and beauty are subjective — but we think the majority of people would agree the Note 9 is the prettier of these two. While the XZ3 gets points for its IP65 rating, the headphone jack on the Note 9 seals the deal.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Display

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Sony has been using LCD screens in its Xperia phones for years — so it’s a pretty big deal that the XZ3 now comes with the more advanced OLED display technology. It’s a beautiful screen, with inky blacks and deep, vibrant colors — it’s the most beautiful display we’ve ever seen on an Xperia phone.

But can it beat the Note 9’s Super AMOLED display? DisplayMate named the Note 9’s display as the best it had ever tested, and using it makes it easy to see why. It’s exceptionally sharp, and the color reproduction is nearly perfect — as is the deepness of blacks.

The Note 9 has one of the best displays around, and we’re not sure the Xperia XZ3 can beat it. If it turns out the XZ3’s screen outperforms the Note 9’s after further testing, we’ll change this verdict — but until then, the Galaxy Note 9 wins.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s bad news for anyone hoping Sony would carry on the dual-lens camera seen on the Xperia XZ2 Premium — the XZ3 is equipped with just a single rear-facing lens. It’s very similar to the camera lens from the XZ2 — a 19-megapixel camera that provided good shots, but sometimes struggled with exposure. It wasn’t as good as the XZ2 Premium’s dual-lens set-up, and therefore isn’t as strong as the dual 12-megapixel lens setup on the Note 9.

There’s a 13-megapixel lens around the front of the XZ3 though, and it’s likely that this monster of a front-facing lens will be the match of the Note 9’s 8-megapixel selfie shooter. Video is a closer race too. Both phones have support for 4K recording, as well as super slow motion video at 960 frames per second — but the XZ3 can record super slow motion video at 1080p, beating the Note 9’s 720p.

But it’s too little, too late. It’s still early days for the XZ3, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the clearly superior camera. We haven’t even mentioned the Note 9’s variable aperture or A.I.-driven scene optimization — because we didn’t have to. The Note 9 runs away with this.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Software and updates

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

You’ll find fairly heavily altered versions of Android on both of these phones. Samsung uses the Samsung Experience UI on its phones, and while it’s much better than the old TouchWiz UI, it’s pretty far from stock Android. Purists won’t have any more luck with the Xperia XZ3 though, as Sony uses its own custom UI and adds a lot of additional bloatware.

However, the XZ3 has a serious advantage by being one of the earliest phones to adopt Android 9.0 Pie. Samsung’s update record isn’t as solid as Sony’s, and we suspect it’ll be months before Samsung upgrades the Note 9 to Android Pie. You can probably expect to get a quicker update to Android Q from Sony’s phone as well, making the XZ3 the phone to get if you love sampling the latest Android treats soon after launch.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ3

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You either love or hate the special features on the Xperia XZ3, as a lot of them are fairly niche. There’s the usual Xperia shoes-ins — PS Remote Play for PlayStation 4 remote streaming, and the 3D Creator app. But the XZ3 has also seen some new and useful additions. Users can use Side Sense to bring up a menu with a single tap, and Smart Launch launches the camera app when the device is put into landscape mode.

But the XZ3’s options pale in comparison to the Galaxy Note 9’s vast plethora of tools. The S Pen in particular has seen some serious improvements, including a low-power Bluetooth remote connection that supplements its usual uses. Samsung’s DeX desktop mode has been improved too, and no longer requires the expensive dock to work. Bixby is more useful than before, and Note 9 owners also benefit from fast facial unlocking.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Price

The Galaxy Note 9 is currently available from most major carriers, with prices starting from a whopping $1,000. The Xperia XZ3 will cost $900 when it releases on October 17 — but keep in mind that it’ll only work on T-Mobile and AT&T.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Galaxy Note 9 is among the best smartphones in the world right now, so the Xperia XZ3 was always going to have a hard time topping it. It’s clear to us that the Note 9 is the superior phone in most categories, and that means it’s the Samsung you should be picking.

However, the competition was not completely in the Note 9’s favor, and some categories are closer than the final score would have you believe. The Xperia XZ3 is still a powerful phone with a gorgeous display, and if you love Xperia phones, then it’s a great choice for you. But for everyone else, it should be the Note 9.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The Sony Xperia XZ3: Everything you need to know
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium review
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact review
  • Sony’s Xperia XZ2 Premium has a crazy-high ISO for photos and video
  • Sony Xperia XZ3 hands-on review



8
Sep

The best smart thermostat to integrate with Alexa


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It’s a trick question! If there’s a Skill, there’s a way. But it’s still worth knowing what you can (and can’t) say to Alexa to control your thermostat.

The ecobee4 Smart Thermostat is your best option if you want a thermostat that integrates with Alexa. It includes a room sensor to better learn your environment, and Alexa is built right in so you don’t need an Amazon Echo to use this with your voice. The thermostat’s design will also look great on your wall.

Our Pick

ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Built-In Alexa, Room Sensor Included

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  • $250 from Amazon
  • $250 from Best Buy

The latest ecobee has Alexa built right in, and it includes a room sensor to better balance the temperature in your home.

The most important job for a thermostat is to keep your house or apartment at a comfortable temperature, and the ecobee simply does this the best.

Why you should buy this thermostat

There are a few good options for smart thermostats, but the ecobee4 is the best when it comes to keeping your home your desired temperature. This kit comes with a room sensor that helps the thermostat keep the temperature balanced, and you can purchase more sensors to cover all your favorite rooms. Installation just takes 30 minutes, and the thermostat is hard-wired to your home so there aren’t any batteries to replace. And with Alexa built-in, you can control the other pieces of your smart home just by talking to this thermostat.

Is it a good time to buy the ecobee4?

Yes. Thermostats aren’t a product that will need to replaced every few years like a smartphone, so a potential new model won’t be significantly different in how it works than the current models. This thermostat has been on the market since 2017, so there you can be sure it’s a good product without any major defects.

Reasons to buy

  • Comes with a sensor for your rooms
  • Alexa built-in for voice commands
  • Wires directly into your home

Reasons not to buy

  • A Nest’s dial is easier to control temperature
  • Pricey

Why this is the thermostat for you

It may sound like we’re harping on this a bit, but the ecobee4 is the best thermostat that does thermostat things. With the included sensor, it can find out what the temperature is in your desired room, then the thermostat adjust things to make sure that room is your ideal temp. And if you have multiple rooms that you want to make sure are consistent — say, your children’s rooms — you can easily buy and add more sensors.

Having Alexa built-in makes changing the temperature that much easier, and means you need one less device in your home.

Having Alexa built-in may sound like a gimmick, but it means you can change the temperature with your voice without needing another device. And if you have smart lights or other gadgets controlled by Alexa, you can just control those by speaking into the thermostat.

Alternatives to the ecobee4

The ecobee4 is a bit expensive, so the Nest E may seem appealing for its lower price. If you have a small home it’ll work great, but Nest’s sensors simply don’t work as well as ecobee’s.

Runner-up

Nest Thermostat E

nest-e.jpg?itok=vPyCbOPs

If you have a smaller home or apartment, the Nest E is perfect for you.

$169 at Best Buy

While Nest’s separate sensors don’t work as well as ecobee’s, that’s not really a concern if you have a smaller home. The Nest E still offers Alexa integration, though you’ll need another device for voice commands.

Nest has some more expensive options, but the Nest E is good enough for most people. You still get Alexa integration, but you’ll need one of the Echo speakers or another device to actually use the voice commands. Nest’s awesome dial is here, so you can easily change the temperature by giving that a spin. While Nest does offer its own sensors for faraway rooms, they simply don’t work as well as ecobee’s.

Value Pick

Honeywell TH6 Thermostat

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Don’t spend more than you have to on a basic thermostat.

$115 at Amazon

Honeywell has made thermostats forever, and this model works perfectly with Alexa. You also get basic scheduling options.

This thermostat doesn’t offer as many custom scheduling options as the ecobee and Nest models, but the basics are here: Alexa integration and the ability to change the temperature from anywhere in the world. If that’s all you need in your thermostat, there’s no sense in spending more money.

Bottom line

The ecobee4 is the best option if you want a thermostat that works with Alexa. There’s a room sensor included to get a better feel for your home’s temperature, and you can give voice commands directly to the thermostat since Alexa is built-in. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s a great investment to help you save money in your home.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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Tom Westrick is a U.S.-based freelancer. He’s been poking and prodding at Android phones since 2011, and covering various topics for Android Central since 2017. He can often be found with multiple laptops in his backpack and a cup of iced tea in his hand. Follow him on Twitter.

phil-nickinson.jpg?itok=-8fl8Tnx

Phil Nickinson is the editor of CordCutters.com, the Head Dad behind Modern Dad and Editor Emeritus of AndroidCentral.com. He’s been a journalist since starting at his hometown newspaper in 1998, and with Mobile Nations since 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @Mdrndad.

8
Sep

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is down to just $25 right now for Prime members


Streaming made affordable.

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Right now, Prime members can pick up an Amazon Fire TV Stick for just $24.99, which is $15 less than it normally sells for. The Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s most affordable streaming hardware that provides quick and easy access to popular services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, and more. It has an Alexa-enabled voice remote, which means that you can speak to it and get your favorite shows played without having to search for them manually.

If you’re looking for something more robust, the Fire TV Cube is also on sale, which adds the best of Amazon’s Alexa as well. This one lets you turn your TV on, change apps, and more with just your voice. You can’t go wrong with either, but you’ll want to make sure you grab one now, before the discounts are gone.

See at Amazon

8
Sep

Wireless headphones, the Mohawk drone, and more are discounted today


Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on the Kids Edition Fire HD 8 tablets, the Decade Collection BeatsX wireless headphones, Aukey’s Mohawk drone, and more!

View the rest of the deals

If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you’ll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

8
Sep

Custom Fortnite Monopoly board game will hit store shelves in October


Collect 2HP when you pass go.

Fortnite is taking over the world. No, seriously. These days it’s hard to go anywhere without hearing about Fortnite, and soon not even your family game nights will be safe. A newly skinned version of Monopoly, titled Fortnite Monopoly, will be making its way into stores beginning October 1. Custom versions of Monopoly are nothing new, we’ve seen tons of them through the years, but this one will surely be a hit this upcoming holiday season. The custom skin has popular Fortnite locations as its spaces, including Dusty Divot, Tilted Towers, Loot Lake, and more.

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The game will also feature chests, traps, and storm cards, all of which replace other familiar parts of the regular Monopoly. Instead of just a few game pieces, it looks like Epic has brought forth a bunch of its most popular skins, including Tomato Head, Bunny Brawler, Skull Trooper, and more. It’s unknown at this time which retailers will carry it or what it will be priced at.

If you don’t think you have enough Fortnite gear already, maybe it’s time to grab a pair of socks, an embroidered patch, a hat, or maybe even a backpack

8
Sep

Bose QC35 vs. Soundlink Wireless Headphones II: Which should you buy?


We’re a virtual company made up of tech experts from across the globe. While Android is our passion, we also know that a great pair of headphones is the perfect companion to any phone.

Bose QC35

Noise-canceling beast

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$349 at Amazon

Pros

  • Noise-canceling
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life
  • Google Assistant and Alexa built-in

Cons

  • Expensive

If you want the best wireless Bose headphones you can buy in 2018, the QC35s are the way to go. In addition to providing the best active noise-canceling around, the headphones also feel great, last up to 20 hours on a single charge, and have both the Google Assistant and Alexa built-in.

Bose Soundlink Wireless II

Best for less

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$229 at Amazon

Pros

  • Powerful, crisp audio
  • Comes in two dual-tone colors
  • Offers more value for your money

Cons

  • No noise-canceling
  • Shorter battery life

If you’re okay giving up noise-canceling, Bose’s SoundLink Wireless II is a great headphone pick. The battery life isn’t quite as long at 15 hours and there aren’t any built-in virtual assistants, but the sound quality is still superb and the design is just as comfy.

For buyers that don’t need noise-canceling, the Bose SoundLink Wireless II offers the best bang-for-your-buck. However, if you’ve got the cash to spend and want the best that Bose has to offer, the QC35s are still worth the higher price.

Break it down now…

At first glance, the Bose QC35 and Soundlink Wireless Headphones II look very similar — and for good reason. While there are a couple distinct features that separate the two products, they both offer a very similar experience in more ways than not.

Starting first with the design, both the QC35 and Soundlink Wireless II are over-ear headphones with a padded headband, adjustable sides, and leather earcups that hug your ears with great comfort and security. Both also come with a free carrying case, 3.5mm cable to use them in a wired fashion, and microUSB charger.

In regards to the sound quality itself, you’ll find a very similar experience across the QC35 and Soundlink Wireless II. Bose promotes crisp and deep sound for both headphones to ensure your music and podcasts sound as great as can be. There’s also built-in microphone so you can easily answer phone calls and support for the excellent Bose Connect mobile app.

Dimensions 7.1″ H x 6.7″ W x 3.2″ D (8.3 oz) 7.5″ H x 6″ W x 1.5″ D (7 oz)
Battery Up to 20 hours Up to 15 hours
Noise-canceling
Voice assistants Google Assistant Amazon Alexa None

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While all of that’s great, there are a couple key areas where the QC35s definitely come out on top — most notably with its active noise-canceling. There’s no doubt the Soundlink Wireless II sounds great, but if you’re using them on an airplane or a noisy coffee shop, it can be easy to have your tunes overwhelmed by the ambient sounds around you.

With the QC353, that’s not an issue in the slightest. Bose’s noise-canceling on the QC35 is some of the best you can find on any headphones right now. With the flick of a button, all of the extra noise arround you either disappears completely or turns into a faint muffle — allowing your music to stand out even in the loudest of envrionments.

Along with this, the QC35 also gets an edge with its built-in voice assistants. You can hold down a button to quickly talk to either the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, making it simple to hear notifications from your phone, check the weather, send texts, and a ton more.

Lastly, while battery on the Soundlink Wireless II is really good at 15 hours of use before needing to charge, the QC35 also gets a slight edge here with a higher 20-hour rating.

Our top pick is the QC35

With all that said, the Bose QC35 earns our top pick between the two headphones.

The $349 price tag definitely isn’t cheap, but these headphones do it all. The superb sound quality and excellent design already stand out as fantastic, and when you bundle that together with Bose’s top-notch noise canceling and the availability of Google Assistant and Alexa, you end up with a really special product.

Oh, and don’t forget about the ridiculously good battery life.

QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

Noise-canceling beast

boseqc35.png?itok=zwMM7eFS

$349 at Amazon

Powerful nose-canceling with built-in smarts.

If you’ve got the cash to spare, the QC35s are the very best wireless Bose headphones you can buy. In addition to great sound and battery life, the active noise-canceling and support for Google Assistant and Alexa really seal the deal.

The Soundlink Wireless II is a great, cheaper alternative

We also understand that not everyone is able to spend more than $300 on a pair of wireless headphones. If you don’t need the noise-cancelation features or built-in voice assistants, the Soundlike Wireless II will serve you really well.

The sound is great, the design is just as comfy as what you’ll find on the QC35, and while the battery isn’t quite as legendary, it’s still pretty darn awesome.

Soundlink Wireless II

Best for less

bose-soundlink-wireless-ii-white.png?ito

Top-notch sound without all the expensive frills.

$229 at Amazon

If you don’t need noise-canceling or voice assistants, the Soundlink Wireless II offers fantstic sound quality, battery life, and comfort for a great deal less than what you’ll pay for the QC35.

8
Sep

Routines are broken on third-party Google Assistant speakers


google-assistant-routines-tichome-s9plus

“OK Google, what the heck happened to my routines?”

Google Assistant has only had custom routines for a few months now, but it’s made quite the impression, especially with the scheduled routines option that rolled out the ability to schedule routines so that they activate on a specific Google Assistant speaker at specific days and times. Scheduled, custom routines make Google Assistant my favorite alarm clock, but there’s been a slight snag in using them the last two weeks.

They’re not working on any Google Assistant speakers outside the Google Home line.

Insignia Voice users have been the most vocal about Routines being broken, both on /r/GoogleHome and on the Google Assistant Help Community, but users of other Google Assistant speakers including the Sony S50G, the TicHome Mini, and JBL Link speakers have reported Google Assistant Routines failing in the following ways:

  • Scheduled routines stopped firing after weeks of consistent performance
  • Custom routines that date back to the Shortcuts days were suddenly producing “I don’t know how to help with that yet”
  • “Good morning” still seemed to work, but not “good night,” nor any of the other ready-made routines

Since Google Assistant doesn’t have a support line, only Google Home, users who contact Google through the Home app or Google Home website are being told to contact the manufacturers. That said, with the impacts being felt across most if not all third-party Google Assistant speakers, this seems to be a server-side issue on Google’s end. Some Google Home users have been seeing more sporadic issues with Routines the last two weeks, but none of the persistent failures that third-party Google Assistant speakers are seeing.

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In my testing, routines are failing altogether on TicHome Mini and Insignia Voice while my Google Home is still executing scheduled and voice-activated routines. The Music action in And then play… for routines now seems locked to the primary music service, whereas before you could specify an alternate music service, but otherwise, Routines are working normally on Google Home.

Are ready-made or custom routines working on your Google Assistant speakers? Can you schedule custom routines and are they actually firing at the designated times? Let us know in the comments below!

8
Sep

Can I use two Nest Protect detectors in the same home?


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Best answer: Yes. Up to 10 Nest Protects can be used with the same Nest account, in one or multiple locations.

Amazon: Nest Protect ($119)

Multiple Nest Protects are supported

You probably have more than one smoke alarm in your home right now, and that’s because multiple units are needed according to national and local law. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations for residential dwellings — single family homes that don’t house a business or provide care services — say you’ll need an alarm in multiple areas, including all sleeping areas, every level that’s separated by a door, new homes built since 2007, and for certain-sized dwellings, one every 500 square feet of floor space.

Luckily, your Nest account allows up to 10 Nest Protects enabled at once and these can all be in the same location or spread across several different locations (we recommend the latter).

And you’re going to want to get that full protection. Nest Protects are both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so you’ll be covered. However, it goes beyond just a typical smoke detector. Nest Protects are smart, so they can not only regulate themselves but have multiple settings, including a Home/Away Assist feature that uses sensors to detect whether you’re home or not. It can also contact up to 20 people via smartphone if one of them goes off.

Best of all, because they’re smart, they won’t deafen you while going off. That’s literally music to our ears.

Our pick

Nest Protect

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$119 at Amazon

If you’re replacing or adding smoke detectors, the Nest Protect is your best buy.

A smoke detector needs to warn you when appropriate, and not give false alarms. The Nest Protect excels at both and also provides excellent carbon monoxide detection. Because they’re from Nest, they are easily integrated into any home automation plan and work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

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