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21
Sep

First Impressions From New Apple Watch Series 4 Owners


With Apple Watch Series 4 models wending their way to Apple customers in the United States and many other countries today, some people have already picked up their orders and are sharing their first impressions of the new smartwatch online.

Apple Watch Series 4 owners on Reddit and the MacRumors forums appear to be particularly impressed by the larger screen and redesigned chassis.

Image by Reddit user KaiiXiang
Reddit user bluebear74 said that “coming from a S0 to S4 is amazing,” and expressed surprise at the amount of information the bigger screen is able to display: “There’s so many complications I don’t know what to do with them all!”

Having previously used a Series 1 model, Reddit user KaiiXiang in Singapore said they were “really blown away” by the new watch’s screen and responsiveness, although they noted that Siri “still sucks” since it’s “either slow or fails to pick up what I say most of the time.”

Image by MacRumors forum member implacablewombat
MacRumors forum member Jasonstevens said his new Series 4 “looks/feels amazing,” although he found the haptic feedback on the Digital Crown less impressive: “It feels like it’s just tapping my wrist not my finger.”

Reddit user DisHowWeDo, who has small wrists (170mm) and had never owned an Apple Watch before, said they were “REALLY worried the 44mm would look huge on me,” but ultimately found it to be “flipping perfect” and “definitely the right size.”

Hermès Series 4 image by MacRumors forum member boardiesboi
Likewise, MacRumors forum member Suxamethonium was a little worried about the 44mm size when looking at it in the Apple Store app, but he now felt it was “pretty much perfect” for an average man’s wrist. He also commented that the new watch faces “make much better use of all that real estate.”

Perhaps surprisingly, several customers appear to have been caught off guard by the color of the Gold stainless steel Series 4 model, with one Reddit user calling it “quite pink… Like a rose gold.” Another said they expected it to be a lot more gold and felt a bit disappointed, although they were “sticking with it,” while MacRumors forum member defn felt the color “goes surprisingly well with a lot of watch bands.”

Image by MacRumors forum member defn
Have you just become a new Apple Watch Series 4 owner? Feel free to share your first impressions and your photos in the comments below. We’ll be sharing a hands-on video later today, so stay tuned to MacRumors.com.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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21
Sep

Skype Calling Features Coming to Alexa Devices Later This Year


Microsoft has revealed that Skype is coming to Alexa devices. The partnership between Microsoft and Amazon means that owners of devices in Amazon’s Echo range will soon be able to make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and also make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world.

Announcing the upcoming feature in a blog post, Microsoft said device owners will be able to say something like “Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype,” or if Jimmy is calling you on Skype, they’ll be able to say, “Alexa, answer.”

This isn’t the first time Amazon and Microsoft has seen fit to merge existing products and services. The two companies partnered on Alexa and Cortana integration last year.

“Since then, we’ve added Alexa integration on Xbox and are continuing to work together to bring the best of Skype and Alexa together to enable intelligent communications for our users,” said Gaurav Sareen, corporate vice president for Microsoft. “We’re excited to continue bringing the best of Microsoft and Amazon together.”

Skype calling on Alexa will begin rolling out later this year.

Tags: Skype, Amazon, Microsoft, Alexa
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21
Sep

Instagram feature that lets you reshare others’ posts may be on its way


Facebook has always offered the “share” button for content you want to repost, while Twitter has the retweet button.

But, despite constant calls from many of its billion-plus users, Instagram has always refused to offer such an option. Though this could be about to change.

The company is testing a feature that lets Instagrammers reshare others’ posts that appear on their feed, according to a report on Thursday.

Information obtained by The Verge reveals that the feature is called “seamless sharing” and comprises a “share to feed” option located in the “…” drop-down menu that accompanies each post.

Obtained screenshots show how so-called “regrammed” posts land in the feed beneath the username and image of the person that shared it.

The feature is described as looking “extremely rough,” suggesting it’s in the very early stages of development.

Instagram boss: “We debate the reshare thing a lot”

Instagram CEO and co-founder Keven Systrom said in an interview last year that the idea of adding a regram button is often discussed with his team.

“We debate the reshare thing a lot, because obviously people love the idea of resharing content that they find,” Systrom told Wired. The Instagram boss pointed out that “one of the main ways people communicate over Instagram Direct now is actually they share content that they find on Instagram. So that’s been a debate over and over again.”

But Systrom also insisted that “keeping your feed focused on the people you know rather than the people you know finding other stuff for you to see,” was key to how Instagram functioned, adding that this is “more of a testament of our focus on authenticity and on the connections you actually have than about anything else.”

A regram button could certainly have a big impact on the look of your feed, and may not be to everyone’s liking. But it could increase engagement on the site, something that would surely appeal to Systrom and his top team as they look for further grow the service.

As with all new app features undergoing testing, there’s no guarantee that Instagram’s reshare option will ever see the light of day. But knowing there’s already demand for it, and seeing that Instagram is finally relenting and spending time on developing the feature, there’s a fair chance this particular option could eventually find its way onto the popular photo- and video-sharing app.

If you feel that your Instagram experience is somehow incomplete without the option to reshare posts of those you follow, third-party apps like Repost can solve the issue.

Just getting started with Instagram? Be sure to check out Digital Trends’ comprehensive guide to using the platform, as well as suggestions for some fun and fascinating Instagram accounts to follow.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Instagram could separate hashtags for less annoying posts
  • Instagram’s test of Recommended Posts is designed to not interrupt your feed
  • How to link Instagram to Facebook
  • Instagram now shows when you’re online (don’t worry, it has an off button)
  • Instagram will now tell you when ‘you’re all caught up’ with your feed



21
Sep

Versatile robotic skin gives stuffed horse, other inanimate objects some giddyup


When we think of skin, we picture a thin epidermis that’s designed to protect what’s underneath — whether it be by offering a shield against bacteria, viruses, and other nasty stuff or by allowing us to regulate our temperature through sweating. But what if your skin wasn’t just an outer layer of smart protection, but actually the organ that dictates and drive your body’s movement? That, in essence, is the conceptual basis for a new project from Yale researchers — only instead of tissue-based organic skin, they’ve developed a robot skin capable of turning inanimate objects, such as toys, into functioning robots.

The skins are made out of elastic sheets embedded with a variety of sensors and actuators. When they are wrapped around a deformable object, however, the skin is capable of making it move by animating the legs of a stuffed animal or causing a foam tube to flex, for example.

“We can take the skins and wrap them around one object to perform a task — locomotion, for example — and then take them off and put them on a different object to perform a different task, such as grasping and moving an object,” Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, lead researcher on the project, said in a statement. “We can then take those same skins off that object and put them on a shirt to make an active wearable device.”

This ability to use the skin on a variety of different objects is what makes the project so exciting. Rather than having to create multiple robots, the technology could make it possible to use the same robot skin to add motion to a wide range of otherwise motionless items. Using multiple skins makes it possible to create more complex movements — such as bending and compression at the same time.

Prototypes created by the team so far include foam cylinders able to crawl on the ground, a robot gripper that can grasp and move objects, and a shirt wearable that can help correct bad posture. Next up, the lab is set to examine the possibility of 3D printing these components.

A paper describing the work, titled “OmniSkins: Robotic skins that turn inanimate objects into multifunctional robots,” was recently published in the journal Science Robotics.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Spirit animals: 9 revolutionary robots inspired by real-world creatures
  • Born to hug: 6 of the weirdest, most outlandish robots humanity has ever created
  • This spider robot moves around to keep the plant on its head alive
  • Meet Fusion: A helpful robotic ‘parasite’ that lives on your back
  • MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot doesn’t need sight to navigate stairs



21
Sep

All-new Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Sub are now up for pre-order in India


Amazon is launching its latest products in India on the same day as their U.S. debut.

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Amazon released over a dozen products at its hardware event, and the retailer is bringing five products to the Indian market. The all-new Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Sub are currently up for pre-order, with sales set to kick off from October 11.

Amazon is also set to launch the second-gen Echo Show in India at some point next year, along with the Echo Input, which offers the same functionality as a Chromecast Audio but for Alexa.

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The new Echo Dot has a fabric finish and offers vastly improved sound quality thanks to a 1.6-inch driver. It is 70% louder and has an aux port that lets it connect to other speakers, and you also get Bluetooth connectivity. The Echo Dot is available in black, grey, and white color options, and Amazon is retaining the ₹4,499 ($62) price point, which makes it an enticing option for those looking to get started with smart speakers.

See at Amazon India

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The Echo Plus has also picked up a fabric design that makes it resemble the standard Echo, and it now includes a temperature sensor in addition to the ZigBee smart home hub. The 3.0-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter allows the Echo Plus to be louder while delivering more bass. Like the Echo Dot, Amazon is selling the new Echo Plus at an unchanged ₹14,999 ($207), and the speaker is available in black, grey, and white options.

See at Amazon

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The Echo Sub is a new addition to the Echo family that’s aimed at delivering room-filling sound. The sub pairs with a single Echo or Echo Plus in a 1.1 setup, or you can set up two Echos for a 2.1 stereo configuration. The subwoofer on its own costs ₹12,999 ($180).

To incentivize the launch of the sub, Amazon India is offering a 25% discount when you pick up two Echo or Echo Plus speakers along with the Echo Sub. So if you’re buying two Echo Plus speakers and the Echo Sub, the total comes out to ₹42,997, but you can get it for ₹32,248.

See at Amazon

Other products that Amazon launched today include the Echo Auto, which lets you easily integrate Alexa into your car. The Echo Auto connects over an aux port or Bluetooth, and can undertake location-specific tasks. It isn’t able to connect to the internet on its own; the accessory relies on your phone for that, and you’ll be able to access navigation on Google Maps, Waze, as well as ask Alexa for directions, and more.

Amazon also unveiled a $60 Alexa-integrated microwave in the AmazonBasics brand, as well as a $30 wall clock that shows your Alexa timers. Here’s the full list of all the products Amazon announced today:

Here’s everything Amazon announced at its 2018 hardware event

21
Sep

Sony S50G review: A Google Assistant speaker with Homepod looks


More and more Google Assistant smart speakers are coming out each year. As the number grows so do your choices. While they all essentially do the same thing, each speaker tries to find a way to stand out amongst the crowd. Keep reading below to find out the many ways the S50G loaned to us by Sony finds a way to separate itself from the flock.

Design

First and foremost you can’t overlook the design of the Sony S50G, mostly because it looks exactly like Apple’s smart speaker, the Homepod. Both share a strikingly similar shape and appear to be made from similar materials.

That in itself is not a bad thing, many manufacturers copy each other’s designs and if you’re a fan of Apple aesthetics then you’ll most likely find the S50G attractive. Personally, I don’t mind that they copied the Homepod and think the Sony S50G is a fantastic looking speaker that would look great in anyone’s home. Unlike the Homepod the S50G also has the benefit of being IPX3 splashproof making it safe to use in the kitchen.

The soft fabric gives it a nice cozy feel, but my favorite standout from the design is the built-in clock. This was absolutely perfect to replace my out of date alarm clock, which I only kept around to get a quick glance of the time. Even better it sets itself so you don’t have to worry if there is a power surge or you relocate it.

If you’re not a fan of the clock, that’s fine as well because a button on the underside can adjust the brightness or completely disable it. In fact, all the buttons are on the bottom in addition to the brightness/restart button there is also a pairing button, hold button, and microphone off button.

One of the main benefits of a smart speaker is not having to pair your phone in order to play music. However, most offer a Bluetooth connection including the Sony S50G. What distinguishes Sony from other speakers here is they included NFC making it more convenient to connect via Bluetooth.

The top of the S50G looks clean and simple, but there is more going on here than meets the eye. Sony has included a motion sensor for hands-free gestures to control activating Assistant, playing/pausing music, and skipping tracks when listening to music.

The ability to wave your hand over the top of the speaker like a Jedi to control it would be an amazing feature to make your speaker stand out. If it weren’t for these two reasons. For one the controls are extremely finicky and using them often turned into a frustrating task instead of the convenience it should have been.

The second reason is one of the benefits of a smart speaker is everything is controlled by your voice when you are several feet away from the speaker. While the gestures require you to be right next to it.

The top is also touch-sensitive allowing you to change the volume by running your finger over it in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. Unfortunately, once again this experience will leave you unsatisfied. In my experience, each time I tried to adjust the volume this way it took several tries. Making it easier to just ask the speaker to change the volume instead.

Features

When it comes to Assistant enabled speakers, one area they cannot truly differentiate themselves is through the general smart features. That is except for two exclusive features found only on Google smart speakers such as placing phone calls and an equalizer option.

Beyond that, any speaker Assistant speaker you find will have the ability to control your smart home, answer your questions, play music, do multi-room audio playback, play podcasts, make reminders, provide you with weather and news, and much much more.

Simply put, outside of a couple of Google exclusive features no matter what speaker you choose you’ll have all of the same smart functions. Which is why Assistant speakers choose to stand out primarily through their design and sound quality.

Microphone Performance

Microphone performance met my expectations and then some. Immediately when I began using the S50G it was apparent to me that the previous speaker I had been using had a less sensitive microphone. I had become accustomed to speaking louder to activate Assistant and was delighted that I could now lower my voice some.

The far-field technology and microphone placement on the S50G work great together and you won’t have to worry about yelling at it, unless you want to that is.

Sound Quality

The S50G has a fairly balanced sound signature with emphasis slightly more towards the high end. This results in music sounding clear and clean but also somewhat overwhelms the low end. The bass itself is still present but comes off rather weak in comparison to the treble.

If you’re someone who prefers more impact in the low end of your music you’ll be disappointed. However, if clarity in your music is more important then you’ll be pleased with how bass doesn’t take over the tracks. No matter how you like your music though the S50G gets plenty loud enough to fill a room and be heard a couple of rooms over. Even better is that it can reach max volume without any meaningful distortion.

One complaint I have about the sound of the S50G has to do with the volume of the Assistant’s voice. There is no way to adjust the volume of the voice and in general, it is louder than I’d like. This prevented me from using it early in the morning or late in the evening worrying about disturbing others as they were sleeping. The S50G is not the only speaker that does this but there are others on the market which adjust the voice dynamically with the system volume.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the Sony S50G finds a way to distinguish itself amongst the competition with clear sound, unique motion gestures, and a clock. The biggest problem is the unique motion gestures are also uniquely frustrating. After several attempts, you’ll probably end up never using them again much like myself.

However, if you ignore these gestures and prefer an Assistant speaker with clear sound and a stylish design the S50G is a very viable option. Unfortunately, the design is not an uncommon one but there are worse things than looking like an Apple Homepod knockoff. If you’re not a fan of the design or prefer more bass in your music then be sure to check out our list of Assistant speakers for an alternative.

ABT Best Buy B&H Photo Frys Newegg Walmart

21
Sep

Motorola Moto G6 review


It’s Motorola season in the world of smartphones. As of the time we’re putting together this review there are multiple devices sprinkling out into various pockets of the world. Moreover, there’s another model just emerging from behind the curtain in the form of the Z3. Today, though, we’re talking about the Moto G6.

We’re huge fans of Motorola, and always appreciate when it delivers a new phone. For starters, we love the way it leaves Android almost completely untouched. Additionally, we like the price point of its devices.

Let’s take a look at the Moto G6 and dive into our impressions. Note that we have had the review unit for a few weeks now, going back and forth between it, our main phone, and other devices.

No Mo’ Moto?

Interestingly, the phone says “Motorola” on it where previously it would have simply said “Moto”. As a sign of where things are going, at least for the time being, it feels like a new vision while not diverging from its predecessors. The G6 comes across as very much like its forebears with a hint of “new” in the process.

Does this phone signal that Motorola is heading off on a different trajectory? Not quite. There’s a lot here that’s familiar and par for the Motorola course. As to why the name change or branding adjustment, we’re not sure what’s up there.

Design

For lesser demanding users, AKA the Moto G6 target demographic, the hardware is sufficient. We don’t see any reason this package couldn’t last two years for its user base.

Priced just $250 at launch (now just $230), the phone has the appearance of a more expensive device. Maybe we’re still somehow conditioned to think that this price tag means cheaply constructed or plastic materials. Whatever it is, we like the physical look and feel of the Moto G6.

As it pertains to layout and construction, it’s much like anything else from the Motorola camp these days. And, really, it’s not all that ambitious or different from competitors.

On the right edge (facing the screen) of the phone you locate the volume buttons, and just below that, the power button. There’s a knurled pattern etched onto the power so it’s easy to identify in the dark or without glancing.

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Find it with your thumb and you can slide up just smidge to get the volume rocker. All buttons responded very nicely to the touch, providing solid feedback. It’s quite obvious as to whether or not you’ve pressed them.

You won’t find anything on the left edge of the phone. Up above is the SIM card and microSD card tray whereas the USB Type C charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack are down on the bottom edge.

Below the screen you find one hardware button. It works as a fingerprint sensor but also for multiple functions across Android. Indeed, it can be used for back, menu, and home. Though it’s not enabled by default, it is a nice alternative to the standard navigation used for the platform. If it’s your first time using Android, it’s easy to learn; for seasoned owners, it’s fairly easy to learn but sometimes awkward.

Around back is the dual camera configuration which is nested in the upper center of the phone. Just below that is the stylized Motorola logo. It’s printed into the finish and doesn’t have any edges or texture to is.

The Motorola Moto G6 is built with a shiny but durable glass material. Reflective, somewhat slippery, and easily broken, it gives off the appearance of a phone that costs more than it does.

The glass gives off an attractive shine and catches light in ways that draw the eye in for a closer look. On appearance alone it’s hard to imagine this handset being as budget friendly as it truly is.

The Moto G6 is a little bit slippery to the touch, and it likes to pick up oils and smears from your fingers. We found ourselves wiping it with a shirt or against a pant leg out of habit and wanting to keep it clean.

The color of our review unit is “Black” but we felt like it’s almost a really dark grey and silver at times. Black is a pretty accurate term, but you could have convinced us that it was Slate or Midnight Pewter.

The Motorola Moto G6 has a a 5.7-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, meaning it fits in hand nicely. At this size it also packs plenty of space for text and photos.

The curved back and edges deliver an experience that’s easy to hold. Whether you’re dealing with one hand or two, the phone is comfortable and inviting.

Performance

A mid-range phone to be sure, the Snapdragon 450 processor is complemented with 3GB RAM. We’re now at a point where this is the acceptable amount of memory and processor to suffice in a daily driver — just as long as you’re not looking for blazing speeds and benchmark busting numbers.

Does this mean the Moto G6 is slow and sluggish? For most users, that’s probably not the case. The more data-heavy apps, flashy games, or larger files might hinder performance but day-to-day stuff is alright.

Given we tend to use flagship and high-end devices as our daily drivers, we happen notice the slowed performance. It’s not all the time, but often enough that we were reluctant to throw our full suite of everyday apps and games on it and go all-in right out of the gate.

Most apps and games worked as expected, but some were a touch slower to open. We suspect that a typical user wouldn’t catch on to anything. Nothing happened that gave us pause or caused us any real frustration.

Given the Android build is almost untouched, there’s no lag for custom Motorola touches or enhancements. We’ve seen phones, even on the higher end, that feel like they chug or sputter from time to time. It’s usually the “skins” or branded experience that use more resources. We’re happy to say that’s not the case here.

The 3,000mAh battery is rated to last one day, per Motorola. That’s right in line with other phones with similar capacities, but just under what we qualify as a “day’s” worth.

Depending on how early you start your day, and how much you use your phone, the Moto G6 could end up going the distance. But, for us, it tends to get to around 25 percent come the end of a work day. Not to worry, though, the phone charges up quick.

Put the Moto G6 on a charger for about 15-30 minutes and you’ll have more than enough to end your day, regardless of where you were. The TurboPower fast-charging system via the USB Type-C is always awesome to have.

Camera

The dual-rear camera setup takes great photos but it’s not like what you’ll find on the Pixel 2 or OnePlus 6. Then again, you’re also not spending that sort of money. What you do get, though, is a consistent experience that’s more than worthy of social media and sharing.

The “active photos” is a nice touch that captures a smidge of video before and after you take your picture. It’s not unlike what Google, Apple, and others are starting to do with their cameras.

The camera app is easy to use and there are plenty of options to play with, including spot color, panoramic, face filters (think Snapchat or Instagram), and portraits. In terms of video, you get slow motion, timelapse, and face filters.

Using the two sensors, portrait gives users the ability to selectively determine the focal point. It’s the little blur that has your subject popping off the background; it’s possible to adjust this after your picture is taken, too.

Like other modern phones, the Motorola Moto G6 employs artificial intelligence to identify subject and objects. Landmarks, food, text, and other things each get a slightly different tweak ahead of taking the picture.

The Moto G6 can capture video at 1080p (30fps/60fps) but there’s no 4K. If that’s something you already come to like in a phone, you’ll miss it here.

Conclusion

We really admire the Moto G series of phones. In fact, it’s one of our favorite models year in and year out. The 2018 is exactly what we had hoped for, meaning it’s a lot of handset for the money.

As much as it makes sense to see flagships and big-budget phones across multiple carriers, we’d appreciate having these there, too. Understanding that a lot of pre-paid and second-tier service providers offer the Moto G6, we think it would be well-received at the bigger carriers.

We’re always a fan of the stripped down Android experience and Motorola does just that. You get a very recent version of Google’s operating system with only minimal extras. Moreover, they’re opt-in, meaning you don’t have to employ anything fancy or custom.

If you’re on the hunt for a wallet-friendly affair that’s got enough oomph to handle your daily tasks, the Motorola Moto G6 should be on your short list.

21
Sep

Monet review: All-in-one wallet, kickstand, and phone grip


As much as we like our phones and their large displays, they’re not exactly easy to wield. Sure, they’re thin and light, but they can still be a challenge to use with one hand.

Here, try this — open your phone with one hand and see how long you can go before touching it with a second hand. That didn’t take long, did it? Swiping is not an issue, but opening multiple apps, tapping various places on the screen, and getting around is tough.

Chances are good that you’ve seen a Popsocket, or something similar, on the back of a few phones. The simple design shifts the weight away from the front of your phone to the back, letting you use your thumb without strain.

If you’re interested in checking out a solution to unwieldy and cumbersome phones, we’d recommend looking at Monet. We’ve had the opportunity to review a few of its options and are only too happy to share our findings.

We were sent three versions of the Monet: Black Night, Light Blue, and Pretty in Pink (Light Pink). Save for their colors, each is designed the same way. The thin accessory is equal parts phone grip, wallet, and kickstand.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

To apply the Monet all you need to do is peel off the backing and stick it to your phone. You’ll want to ensure that you’ve got room before doing so as some models may not be big enough to support the Monet. A quick sizing against a few models here at the office found that fingerprint sensors would sometimes be covered up.

If you’d like to gauge whether one might work for you, place a credit card on the back of your handset. Give yourself a bit of breathing room but not much. The Monet is built to hold a couple of your cards or cash with little wasted space.

Wallet

With two tight pockets to work with you can carry your main card, a business card or two, and a tiny bit of cash. There’s not a lot of play in the pockets, but that’s a good thing as you don’t want to lose those important items while out and about.

We like the peace of mind we get in leaving the wallet or purse home for date night or a business lunch. There’s no real reason to lug around the extra stuff that’s not going to be used over the next few hours. The Monet solves a problem we didn’t realize we had.

Extra Grip

The adjustable loop fits your finger nicely, making it easy to hold onto the phone for swiping. It doesn’t help you reach opposite edges or corners, but things definitely feel more natural to hold in one hand. When not in use, simply slide the loop snug to the back and it will essentially lock into place.

Kickstand

Using the loop you can also set your phone on its side as it serves as kickstand. This is great for watching video on the plane, landscape selfies in the middle of class, or innumerable other reasons.

Heads Up

As much as we’re a fan of the Monet, there are a couple of things we should point out. If you have wireless charging on your phone, and do use it, this is not the accessory for you. Then again, neither is a Popsocket. You won’t have the ability to place your phone flat on a wireless platter.

Additionally, you can’t set your phone down flat at all. If you’re the type who likes to place their handset face up on a table or surface, you’ll end up with a wonky angle or some movement.

A lot of users protect their device with a phone case. To that end, nearly everyone you buy today provides a bit of a lip around the edge. Once you realize this, and take advantage of it, you’ll find that you’re no longer leaving the display exposed.

We stuck the Monet onto the back of a textured phone case and found it stays in place nicely. It works just the same as it would on the rear of a glass or plastic device and we’ve yet to see any signs of the adhesive giving up.

As we were putting this review together we found the Monet serves another purpose, albeit a completely different one. Using it as a thin wallet, we wrapped corded headphones around and tucked the ends in the loop. Forgoing a phone altogether we could see this being a fashionable and functional way to carry a few essentials to school or work.

Availability

The Monet runs $20 through its website and Amazon. As of today we see there’s a $5 off coupon if you apply MONET5 at checkout through the official site. Enjoy free shipping on all orders, too.

With a variety of color options to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Selections include solids, neons, patterns, multi-color, and pastels. We’ve already enjoyed our time with the Monet and think you would, too.

Editor Note: We received the three review units at no cost to our outlet. All opinions are 100% ours and were in no way affected by the complimentary accessories.

21
Sep

First Impressions From New iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Users


We’ve seen dozens of iPhone XS and XS Max reviews from media sites that Apple invited to test the new smartphones ahead of their release, but now that the new iPhones have officially launched in the United States and other countries around the world, iPhone XS and XS Max first impressions from regular Apple customers are now available.

New iPhone XS and XS Max users on reddit, Twitter, and the MacRumors forums have been sharing their opinions on the two new devices, and for those awaiting their own new iPhone or considering a purchase, the impressions from average consumers provide interesting insight.

MacRumors reader shooter03 said that the larger display of the iPhone XS Max is “amazing” and exactly what he’s after. “I’m like WOW!!” he wrote.

Image via shooter03

I had the 7+ then the X and I really missed the + size so that’s why I went for the Xs+. Screen size is pretty mind blowing. As for hand size it fits me nicely ( I have sorta big hands ) feels a little lighter than the X which is weird. But all in all it’s so nice.

shooter03 shared some iPhone XS Max photos he took of his dogs using Portrait Mode and the new Depth Control feature that lets you adjust the depth of field after taking a photo, which came out great.

Image via shooter03
Reddit user jtx660 who upgraded from an iPhone 7 said the display of the new iPhone is incomparable to the display of the iPhone 7, with vibrant, bright colors.

Image via reddit user jtx660
jtx660 also put together a video of his iPhone and shared a photo gallery to show it off.

First thing I noticed was definitely that huge OLED 6.5″ panel. Its vibrant, extremely bright and immerse a f. After using it for 2 hours and switching back to the 7 Plus, the 7 Plus’s 16:9 rectangle display felt slightly dated. The OLED panel is what really stood out the most.

Ok the camera. Holy crap, the auto focus is ridiculously quick. Putting my hand in front of the camera and taking it away, it focuses INSTANTLY (nearly). I’m amazed at how they were able to make it faster than the already fast 7 Plus’ camera. I am yet to test the video 4K at 60fps and all those other features.

MacRumors reader sjperformance said he didn’t notice a huge weight difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone XS Max, and that it didn’t seem much bigger either. He also shared a photo of the iPhone XS Max next to the iPhone X.

Image via MacRumors reader sjperformance

I believe I’ll be keeping the Max. Never liked how big the plus felt. Especially with those bezels and what not. To me X was perfect but after awhile I desired a bigger screen. With Max the weight difference doesn’t bother me because X is heavy too.

The Max fits perfect inside my pockets. Didn’t really feel a difference inside slim jeans I was wearing today. It does seem more faster smoother over my X running iOS12. I already use my X with 2 hands to text, emails, forums, etc. One handed only when viewing social media, reading something, an email. Barely use my X one handed. I’m used to 2 hands on my X therefore the Max feels normal to me. Having a huge screen with no bezels. No home button truly makes an immense difference. Y’all will enjoy it.

Have an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max? Feel free to share your first impressions and your photos in the comments below. We’ll be sharing a hands-on video later today when the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch in the United States, so stay tuned to MacRumors.com.
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21
Sep

Here’s how to pre-order everything Amazon announced today


Amazon spent Thursday bombarding us all with new internet-connected devices designed to insert voice assistant Alexa into just about every part of your daily routine. If you honestly can’t wait to get your hands on them all, well, that’s a bummer because most of them aren’t available yet. You can prepare yourself by placing a pre-order so all of your favorite new gizmos show up on your door step on launch day, though.

Amazon Echo Dot

The new Echo Dot somehow manages to be smaller and louder. Amazon gave it a new fabric design much like the larger Echo, plus a 1.6-inch driver that makes the speaker 70 percent louder and clearer. The device is officially available October 11, but you can pre-order it through Amazon for $50.

Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon is rolling out a new Echo Plus that is basically just a redesign that brings the device more in line with what the rest of the Echo devices now look like. It gets a little smaller but doesn’t appear to have many other changes. The new Echo Plus drops on October 11 for $150. You can pre-order through Amazon and get a free Phillips Hue Smart Bulb (or get it without the bulb for the same price).

Amazon Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show hasn’t caught on quite the way the smart speakers have, but that didn’t keep Amazon from giving it a refresh. The latest model has a 10-inch screen and improved speaker. It’s available to pre-order for $230 through Amazon and comes with a free Phillips Hue Smart Bulb. It will arrive on October 11.

Amazon Echo Input

One of the new devices announced, the Echo Input is Amazon’s answer to Google’s Chromecast. It plugs into an existing speaker — either via 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth — to add Alexa functionality. It will retail for $35 and you can sign up to receive an email from Amazon when the product is available.

Amazon Echo Sub

If you already have an Amazon Echo, the Echo Sub is an add-on made especially for audiophiles. The subwoofer will make your music-listening experience all the better. It’s available for pre-order through Amazon for $130 and will arrive on October 11.

Amazon Echo Link and Link Amp

Another offering for audio lovers, the Amazon Echo Link and Link Amp are designed to integrate Alexa and other modern features into your existing stereo system. The Echo Link will sell for $200 and the Link Amp will go for $300, but neither are available for pre-order just yet. Amazon will email you when they are available.

Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon introduced its own Smart Plug, which instantly integrates with Alexa to allow you to control the outlet with voice controls. It is available for pre-order through Amazon for $25 and will arrive October 11.

Amazon Fire TV Recast

The Amazon Fire Recast is a rethinking of Amazon’s set-top box. This device plugs into an antenna and allows you to record shows so you can watch them at any time while at home or while on the go. The DVR starts at $230 for 500GB. A 1TB version is also available for $280. You can pre-order through Amazon and receive it on November 14.

AmazonBasics Microwave

Filed under, “Sure, why not?” is the new AmazonBasics Microwave. It’s just your standard microwave, though it is compatible with Amazon Echo devices so you can use voice controls with it. You can pre-order it through Amazon for $60 and it will arrive on November 14.

Amazon Echo Wall Clock

The Echo Wall Clock is a wall clock that works as a companion for your Amazon Echo devices. It displays the time, plus any timers or reminders that you have set through your Echo device. It’s not yet available for pre-order, but you can sign up to be notified when it is through Amazon. It will retail for $30.

Ring Stick Up Camera

The Ring Stick Up Camera is a very simple redesign of one of Ring’s existing security devices. It now comes with a 1080HD camera and a new body design. The camera, which is available in wired and battery-powered versions, will retail for $180. You can pre-order it through Amazon and receive it on October 18.

Echo Auto

The Echo Auto is Amazon’s attempt to get its voice assistant out of your home and into your car. It plays through your car speakers and gives you hands-free control over your phone. The device will sell for $50 when it is available later this year (no release date provided yet) but you can request an invitation to pre-order it through Amazon and get it for $25.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Massive Amazon announcement brings 12 new smart devices. Here’s how to order
  • Amazon ups its smart home game with a new Echo Show, microwave, and clock
  • How to set up an Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo vs. Dot: What’s the difference?
  • Alexa-enabled devices will play better together thanks to ‘ESP’



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