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11
Sep

UK Daily Deals: Nokia Smartwatches, Sony 4K TVs, and more


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 Nokia Steel HR Smartwatches, Sony Bravia 4K UHD Smart TVs, Kingston portable storage, and more!

View the rest of the deals

Each day, the Thrifter UK team scouts out and shares amazing deals on products you know and love, helping you find the best prices on the ‘net.

For more UK deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter UK and follow the team on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute coverage.

11
Sep

Skype Preview for Android can now relay SMS messages from your PC and Mac


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You’ll soon be able to send and receive SMS messages on your Android phone via Skype for desktop.

Updated September 11, 2018: The SMS Connect feature is now gradually rolling out for the Skype Preview app on Android, Microsoft says. Until the rollout completes, not everyone will be able to use it right away. Once available, however, you should be able to pair your phone with your PC and start using Skype to text from your desktop. Once testing is complete, the feature will make its way to the full Skype app on Android. The original story follows.

Skype is making a bid to be your texting app of choice with its latest preview update. The Skype Preview app for Android has been updated with a new “SMS Connect” feature that will let you send and receive SMS messages from the Skype app on your PC or Mac (via Windows Blog Italia).

sms-skype-preview.jpg?itok=LtS3fikh

Unfortunately, while the option to turn on SMS Connect now appears in Skype Preview’s settings on Android, it doesn’t appear you can enable it just yet. Regardless, Microsoft is promoting the feature with an update to the Skype Preview app on desktop, which offers the option to use Skype SMS or the new SMS Connect. From the description:

Use Skype on your PC or Mac to read and reply to your Android phone’s SMS messages. To get started, tap the button to install Skype on your Android phone.

We aren’t yet seeing the preview update on Windows 10, but the folks at OnMSFT have reported it is rolling out as version 8.29.76.16.

In other Skype news, call recording and encrypted private messages have started rolling out across the app on all platforms. Private messages should already be enabled for everyone, while Microsoft’s director of design for Skype and Outlook, Peter Skillman, says that call recording will reach everyone soon.

Roll out started with 8.27 and will be at 100% soon. Follow these steps: Start the audio/video call. During call, click Options [+] button & select “Start Recording”. You can stop recording call anytime you want. Once done, the recorded content will be available for everyone

— peter skillman (@peterskillman) August 16, 2018

If you’re ready to give any of the new features a shot, you can pick up the release version of Skype and the Skype Preview app from Google Play now. On desktop, you’ll have to opt into the preview via the Skype app’s settings menu.

See at Google Play See at Google Play (Preview)

11
Sep

These are the best microSD cards for the Galaxy S8


The Galaxy S8 offers 64GB of internal storage, which might be more than enough for some. But if your phone is close to capacity with all your music, video, or pictures, you should take advantage of Galaxy S8’s expandable storage and grab a quality microSD card.

The biggest and best from Samsung

Samsung EVO Select 256GB

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With read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s, this is the fastest card from Samsung that’s also U3 classified which makes it perfect for 4K video. If the 256GB card is too much or too expensive there are smaller and cheaper options available, too.

$73 at Amazon

Extreme value

SanDisk Extreme 128GB

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SanDisk’s high-performance microSDHC UHS-I Card offers transfer speeds of up to 80MB/s and with its U3 rating, it is more than capable of handling 4K video. We’ll highlight the 128GB card for just $46, but smaller storage sizes are available!

$46 at Amazon

An Elite choice

PNY U3 Pro Elite 128GB

pny-card.jpg

PNY’s U3 Pro Elite 128GB card offers plenty of storage and the speeds you need. Classified at U3, it is great for video, and it is capable of up to 95MB/s read and 90MB/s write. Given the pricing of the other PNY cards, this is your best value for sure.

$50 at Amazon

Samsung for less

Samsung EVO 128GB microSD

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Samsung’s EVO 128GB microSD card isn’t the company’s top offering, but it comes with decent speeds and a price tag to match. With up to 48MB/s read and write speeds and Class 10 or U1 classification, it can handle 1080p video without a problem. If you want a Samsung-branded card that doesn’t break the bank, this is the one to go with.

$39 at Amazon

Last but not least

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD

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SanDisk is a respected brand when it comes to memory cards and storage products, and cards like this show you why. The SanDisk Ultra 128GB is a Class 10 card that comes with a 10-year warranty and has quick transfer speeds (up to 80MB/s). If you want a bit more memory, you can get a 200GB card for just $63.

$40 at Amazon

Whether you’re constantly deleting photos or apps to clear up space on your phone or want to load up your phone with your favorite media, there’s no better time to buy a microSD card for your Galaxy S8. The absolute best card you should get is the Samsung EVO Select 256GB which is a great deal for just $73.

Update September 2018: Updated formatting and pricing. These are still your best options for the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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11
Sep

eBay Builds Tech That Uses iPhone X TrueDepth Camera and ARKit to Navigate Apps With Head Motion


eBay has created a new technology it’s calling “HeadGaze,” which tracks the user’s head movement through the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera and ARKit so that they can navigate around eBay without touching the screen. The technology was created by Muratcan Cicek, an eBay intern with motor impairments who was looking for a way to shop online independently.

The eBay team built a model that tracks the user’s head using 3D information from ARKit, creating a virtual cursor that follows the head’s motion in every direction. Then, designated buttons on the screen can be activated depending on how long the cursor has been in one spot. These buttons can perform actions like scrolling down, moving to another page, selecting a product to purchase, and more, all without touching the screen.

Cicek says that the technology’s modular code design will let developers “easily integrate” HeadGaze’s features into existing or future apps:

This year as part of my internship project at eBay, my team and I developed HeadGaze, a reusable technology library that tracks head movement on your iPhone X and starting today, the technology is available via open source on GitHub.com. The first of its kind, this technology uses Apple ARKit and the iPhone X camera to track your head motion so you can navigate your phone easily without using your hands.

HeadGaze enables you to scroll and interact on your phone with only subtle head movements. Think of all the ways that this could be brought to life. Tired of trying to scroll through a recipe on your phone screen with greasy fingers while cooking? Too messy to follow the how-to manual on your cell phone while you’re tinkering with the car engine under the hood? Too cold to remove your gloves to use your phone?

eBay has developed an app called “HeadSwipe” as a way to test the HeadGaze technology. HeadSwipe is focused on browsing and buying items in eBay’s deals section, and can be navigated entirely through head motions on iPhone X. Both HeadGaze and HeadSwipe are available open source on GitHub.

Next, the team is also looking at technology that tracks eye movements, and potentially fusing the two experiences together in future apps.

Tag: eBay
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11
Sep

Radical Oris watch strap is made from recycled plastics, and it looks great


Luxury watchmaker Oris has introduced a watch with a strap made from a new material called r-Radyarn, a filament yarn made from recycled plastics, and the even better news is it that looks great. Often with recycled materials, the design can be simple or at worst, unattractive, but Oris has struck the right balance between style and design, especially when pairing it with the Divers Sixty-Five watch. We love the way it references an undulating sandy beach and the sea, which neatly ties in with not only the watch’s natural habitat, but also the strap’s unique material.

It’s the technically fascinating r-Radyarn that makes the Oris watch strap special. It’s made from 100 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET), a material made with natural resources that are running out, and that’s often carelessly disposed of. Reusing it is an important part of combating the effects it’s having on the planet and its ecosystem. Made by Radici Group, r-Radyarn has been used in everything from socks to car seats, but Oris is the first to put it to use on a watch strap.

The beige-and-blue color scheme looks great in the pictures, and is applied here using a one-step method called solution dyeing, which lowers water and energy consumption, without sacrificing color-fastness. Even after the strap comes to the end of its natural life, it can be recycled several times over. It’s refreshing to see steps taken in this direction, and we hope to see similar straps used by smartwatch manufacturers soon, as they continue to gain popularity.

If you want to wear an r-Radyarn watch strap, then it’s currently only available on the Oris Divers Sixty-Five watch, a beautiful 42mm divers watch with a blue dial and cream hands, perfectly complementing the new strap. Domed sapphire glass covers the front and the back of the automatic watch, and it’s water resistant to 100 meters. Oris doesn’t make quartz watches, and the Divers Sixty-Five is sustainably powered by your body, due to the Oris 722 movement inside, which has a 38-hour power reserve. It’s available in September for 2,000 Swiss francs, or about $2,050.

Oris has long supported ecologically responsible causes, and has previously made watch boxes from environmentally friendly regenerative algae — yes, really — and has also added sustainably produced leather straps to its watches. Oris chairman Ulrich W. Herzog says it’s all part of the company’s long-term strategy, and that there is a lot more to come in the future.

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  • The best fitness trackers of 2018



11
Sep

Nvidia RTX 2080 reviews may not drop until September 19


The second-most-powerful graphics card in Nvidia’s upcoming Turing generation of GPUs, the RTX 2080, may not be revealed in all its green glory until September 19. Rumors suggest that due to problems with reviewers acquiring the cards and receiving adequate drivers, the non-disclosure-agreement (NDA) that they signed has been extended from September 17 to September 19. That gives them a couple of extra days for testing and two days more for the world to wait to find out what those cards can really do.

Nvidia’s RTX-series graphics cards, the 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti, have been mired in middling controversy since their original unveiling. Despite impressive ray tracing and supersampling features, their hardware appeared to be catering to everyone but gamers, their performance in hands-on testing seemed far from stellar, and the prices are several hundred dollars higher than the last generation. Real world numbers showing the cards dominating in games tested by third parties would go a long way to fixing some of those misgivings, but we’re going to have to wait a little longer to see those, it seems.

The original NDA lifting dates for the various hardware options were said to be September 14 for the Turing architecture itself, September 17 for the RTX 2080, and September 19 for the RTX 2080 Ti. However, VideoCardz’s sources now suggest that the date for the 2080 has been pushed back to the 19th, meaning we’ll only learn of its performance capabilities on the same day as the 2080 Ti.

Although some have cried foul at this news, suggesting that Nvidia is concerned about the performance of the 2080, neither it, nor the 2080 Ti will ship out to anyone until at least September 20, so for those on the fence about its capabilities, there should be plenty of time to learn what they can do before ordering. That said, stock of the new-gen cards is already quite low due to heavy pre-orders based on speculative performance numbers.

Even with availability and pricing concerns with the 2080 and 2080 Ti though, they may be more popular cards with the Turing generation than their predecessors. New rumors about the midrange options, like the expected RTX 2060, suggest that only the high-end cards from the new generation will sport the RT cores that make real-time ray tracing possible.

As graphics card prices return to some semblance of normality following more than a year of price hikes, top cards from the last generation could be attractive buys for those considering upgrading without the need for the new-gen features.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile sighting hints at more powerful gaming laptops
  • Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing
  • Everything you need to know about the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series
  • Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 might launch next year without ray tracing
  • Leaked benchmark shows the RTX 2080 outperforming the GTX 1080 Ti



11
Sep

Samsung opens the world’s largest mobile experience center in India


Samsung will showcase phones, wearables, and VR headsets at the 33,000 sq. ft. retail store in Bengaluru.

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Samsung opened the world’s largest phone factory in India earlier this year, and the company has turned to the country once again for its largest retail store globally. Samsung’s Opera House store in Bengaluru, India is dubbed the world’s largest mobile experience center, with the company showcasing phones, accessories, VR headsets, IoT, wearable devices, and home appliances at the 33,000 sq. ft. store.

The store itself was constructed during the Colonial era, with Samsung restoring the original facade over the course of the last two years. Samsung says it will offer a plethora of VR experiences for customers visiting the store, which include a Whiplash Pulsar 4D chair that makes “360 degrees three-dimensional movements,” and much more:

One can slip into the role of a fighter pilot doing extreme aircraft stunts, or experience a space battle, or a roller coaster ride. For those who enjoy the thrills of kayaking or rowing, a not-to-be-missed VR experience is awaiting them. Fitness enthusiasts can cycle through scenic Europe, racing alongside a friend.

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Samsung will also give customers the ability to book the store’s home theater zone for viewing movies and TV shows. The brand will highlight its QLED TVs — including The Frame TV — as well as the Family Hub refrigerators and smart ovens. The store also hosts a customer service center and comes with free public Wi-Fi.

Those looking to pick up accessories will have no dearth of choice, and Samsung will also offer custom engraving options:

Samsung will have the biggest ever display of accessories, including cases, covers and power banks, on a 24-feet wall at its largest mobile experience centre in the world. Here, consumers will be offered unique customization options for accessories such as installation of military strength skins for screen protection and 360 degree body protection.

They can also get laser engraving done of any design or content on the mobile covers they choose from. There will also be a range of Harman Kardon, JBL and Samsung audio products to choose from.

The Opera House store further highlights Samsung’s commitment to the Indian market. The company has faced stiff competition in recent quarters, but it looks like Samsung is intent on turning the tide in its favor.

11
Sep

Google Wifi vs. Eero: Which should you buy?


We’re a virtual company made up of tech experts from across the globe. The majority of our work is also done from a home office, where great Wi-Fi is a must. We’ve tried all these products and know what works best.

Google Wifi

The name you know

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$257 at Amazon

Pros

  • Whole-house coverage
  • Easy setup
  • Inexpensive
  • App-based administration
  • Secure

Cons

  • Google collects data
  • Can’t change settings when the internet is down
  • No dedicated wireless backhaul
  • Large satellites

Google Wifi is simple to use, easy to set up, and inexpensive; you can even run a cable to a switch should you need to do it. On the downside, there’s no dedicated channel for backhaul and Google does collect some data about how the product is being used.

eero Home

Fits anywhere

eero-home-3-pack.png?itok=gOPIVups

$399 at Amazon

Pros

  • Whole-house coverage
  • Easy setup
  • Small satellites
  • Thread support
  • Secure

Cons

  • Beacons not Tri-band
  • Short range
  • Beacons have no ports
  • No backhaul channel on beacons

An eero mesh system is simple to install and set up with beacons that plug directly into a wall outlet and fit anywhere. But the Home version doesn’t offer much more performance gain over Google Wifi while costing more.

Both Google Wifi and eero Home are excellent entry-level mesh Wi-Fi systems and each delivers on their main promise — better Wi-Fi throughout your home. If you’re vested in the Google ecosystem you can save a few dollars and get the Google Wifi, but if you want better internet-of-things support, eero offers dedicated Thread (IEEE 802.15.4) connectivity out of the box.

The need to know details

Internally, the Google Wifi units and eero Home base have the same hardware. The quad-core ARM CPU and 512MB of RAM don’t seem like much, but it’s more than sufficient to keep your Wi-Fi network running smoothly and send the information where it needs to go. The biggest differences are in the radio support, and that the eero Home system uses receptacle-mounted beacons instead of multiple base stations.

Both systems are “prosumer” devices — designed and marketed to the average household with an eye towards the tech-lover. They offer all the basic networking control you’d need for your home network and have additions like access control, easy to share passwords, guest networks, and device prioritization and pausing. You won’t have much trouble with Netflix buffering or gaming lag provided you have enough units and place them appropriately.

The eero beacons are smaller and easier to place but lack ethernet ports. This can be a downside if you need to connect something like a Philips Hue hub or network switch for your home theater, but most users won’t need them or care. If you do need ports the eero Pro system retails for $497 for a 3-pack of eero base stations and offers better network speeds with full triband wireless and wireless backhaul.

Wireless AC1200 2X22.4GHz and 5Ghz dual band802.11 a/b/g/n/acTX BeamformingBluetooth Smart 2X2 MU-MIMO2.4GHz, 5Ghz, 5.8GHz triband (base station)2.4GHz and 5Ghz dual band (beacons)802.11a/b/g/n/acTX BeamformingBluetooth 4.2Thread 1.1 support
Ports 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per unit 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports on base station only
Security WPA2-PSKAutomatic updatesInfineon SLB 9615 TPM WPA2-PSKAutomatic updates
Processor Quad-core ARM CPU at 710MHz Quad-core ARM CPU at 700MHz (base station)
Memory 512MB RAM 512MB RAM (base station)
Dimensions 4.17 x 2.7 inches (diameter x height) 4.76 x 4.76 x 1.26 inches (base station)4.76 x 2.91 x 1.18 inches (beacons)
Features Network checkFamily Wi-FiGuest networkBasic smart hub integrationPrioritize, group, and pause devices Family profilesAccess controlGuest networkPrioritize and pause devices

You can’t go wrong with either option

Each system comes highly recommended; you can’t go wrong here and we can’t stress that enough.

Google Wifi costs a bit less for a three pack, but you may find that it also offers better coverage than an eero since each Google Wifi unit is essentially a base station and covers more airspace. The addition of Ethernet ports on every piece makes connecting to smart hubs or other devices easy. It also facilitates a way to use a cable to extend the network or act as wired backhaul. It’s not tri-band like the eero base station, so if you need the extra connectivity than what 5.8GHz offers, you’ll need to look at eero.

The eero Home 3-pack is simple to set up and the beacons will fit into places where a Google Wifi won’t because they mount directly into a wall plug. The range of an individual beacon isn’t as good as other products, but the ease of adding another makes up for it. Thread networking is supported out of the box, a trend that’s catching on with companies like Nest and Apple. An eero beacon doesn’t have any Ethernet ports, but it also doesn’t have Google collecting any data (read about that here) if that’s a concern.

If you need to cover a large area you’ll appreciate eero Home’s almost endless expansion as adding beacons is simple and they fit everywhere. We can’t pick one over the other in this case, and can easily recommend either for most people. If you have special considerations you’ll need to decide which works best for you.

Google Wifi is the simplest choice to make

If you don’t have any equipment that needs 5.8GHz wireless and lives in an average to large home, Google Wifi is the simplest choice. It costs less compared to the eero Home and works great. As a plus, each unit has the required ports for a wired-backhaul setup or to connect other devices with a CAT6 cable.

Google Wifi

Inexpensive and works great

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$257 at Amazon

The simple solution from a name you already know.

Google Wifi is a great product for almost every home. It doesn’t offer the better speeds you see from a mesh system with wireless backhaul and tri-band radios, but most users will never notice and even stressful applications like Netflix binging work great.

The eero gives you more flexibility at a higher price

If you need to cover a large area you’ll appreciate eero Home’s almost endless expansion as adding beacons is simple and they fit everywhere. As a plus working Thread support means you’re ready for the next wave of IoT devices.

eero Home

Fits everywhere

eero-home-3-pack.png?itok=gOPIVups

A more flexible solution from wireless mesh pioneers.

$399 at Amazon

An eero Home system is also perfect for most homes. The beacons are small and plug directly into a wall socket for easy placement, and what they lack in range they make up for by being so easy to add more.

11
Sep

Instagram Tests Video Tagging Feature Among Select Users


Instagram is testing a new feature that allows users to tag friends in videos (via TechCrunch). The option uses the same icon that users normally tap at the bottom left of tagged photos, but instead of overlaying the content with tagged names, the button links to a separate page listing all the people tagged in the video.

The new page, titled “People in this Video”, also lists users that the original poster wants to notify of the shared content. As it stands, the videos don’t copy over to the tagged users’ profiles like tagged photos do, but that could change if Instagram opts to roll out the feature globally in future.

Video tagging in Instagram (via TechCrunch)
Video tagging only appears in the mobile app right now, so it won’t show up for anyone using the web version of the social media platform. Instagram also confirmed that the feature is currently only available to a “small percentage” of users who specifically opted in to test video tagging.

Photo tagging has been possible on Instagram since 2013, with the feature having since been extended to support additional usage scenarios, such as product tagging and tagging friends in Stories. Video sharing was introduced later the same year, but the ability to tag people in them has been missing thus far.

TechCrunch notes that the introduction of video tagging could drive additional engagement on the platform and usher in a spate of “shoppable videos” that could enable users with a large following to share videos promoting their favorite products, places, and brands more easily.

Tag: Instagram
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11
Sep

This quadcopter is a ‘flying battery’ than can stay in the sky for 2 hours


A big annoyance for drone owners is the limited amount of time you can keep your bird in the sky before the juice runs out.

Many of today’s remotely controlled copters can only stay in the sky for around 30 minutes tops, so buying a couple of extra batteries is a necessity for most pilots when they order their machine.

But Impossible Aerospace says it can change all that.

Impossible Aerospace

The Sunnyvale, California-based startup on Monday announced a battery-powered quadcopter capable of staying in the sky for up to two hours on a single charge, or 78 minutes with a 3-pound payload.

Designed by experienced engineers from the likes of Tesla and SpaceX, the US-1 drone is, in simple terms, a battery with propellors. Indeed, the “battery-first” approach was key in the machine’s development.

“The US-1 is more than just a drone — it’s the first aircraft designed properly from the ground up to be electric, using existing battery cells without compromise,” Spencer Gore, CEO of Impossible Aerospace, said in a release. “It’s not so much an aircraft as it is a flying battery, leveraging an energy source that doubles as its primary structure.”

The CEO said this is how electric aircraft will need to be built if they’re to compete with conventional designs and displace petroleum fuels in aviation. Gore hinted at plans to incorporate the technology into larger aircraft, a move that could result in a major shift in the aviation industry.

The US-1 drone

With its 26-inch frame, the US-1 has a top speed of 42 mph and tips the scales at at a hefty 15.7 pounds, making it about five times heavier than DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro — not all that surprising considering its larger lithium-ion battery.

Impossible Aerospace, which was founded in 2016, is aiming its machine at the commercial market and says it’s already received orders from firefighters, police departments, and search and rescue teams. Important extras such as optical and thermal sensors are also part of the US-1’s package, and delivery to customers is expected later this year.

A bonus for companies with concerns about privacy and national security issues is that the US-1 will be engineered and assembled entirely in the U.S.

But at $7,500 for the basic model, the drone doesn’t come cheap. Whether potential customers will be attracted by the US-1’s extended flight time over, say, DJI’s Inspire 2, which offers 27 minutes of flight time at less than half the cost, could be key to the drone’s success.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • This net-blasting security drone can stay airborne forever. Here’s how.
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom review



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