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24
Sep

iPhone Storage is ‘Absolutely the Most Profitable iPhone Feature’ says Analyst


A new report out this morning by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Ian King takes a look into Apple’s pricing strategy for the storage capacities on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Specifically, Bloomberg says that the biggest upsell for the iPhone XS and XS Max is the new 512GB storage option, which will help Apple make $134 more per iPhone than the 64GB option.

512GB is the highest storage capacity that Apple has yet to release on an iPhone, and the company charges customers a lot more for NAND storage chips than it pays suppliers. IHS Markit analyst Wayne Lam explains that storage costs Apple about 25 cents per gigabyte, and the company charges customers about 78 cents per gigabyte. Because of this, Lam says that storage “is absolutely the most profitable iPhone feature.”

In research compiled by Bloomberg, the 64GB iPhone XS cost Apple $23.68 for the NAND storage specifically, the 256GB cost $66.24, and the 512GB cost $132.48. In terms of revenue, the 512GB storage option is estimated to make Apple $134 more per iPhone than the 64GB tier, an increase from $107 for the 2017 models.

According to data from InSpectrum Tech, the market price of NAND flash memory is half of what it was a year ago, but Apple’s storage tiers for the iPhone have not reflected these savings.

“Storage is one of their levers to create more revenue and is absolutely the most profitable iPhone feature,” says Wayne Lam, an analyst at researcher IHS Markit Ltd. Adding more isn’t much work for Apple, because it just means swapping a chip, he adds, “whereas when you increase the screen size, you have to completely re-engineer the phone.”

The 78¢-per-gig charge hasn’t budged since last year. Of course, Apple uses contracts to lock in the price of such components as Nand flash, so it may not be benefiting yet from recent price declines. So far, though, storage costs customers more on an iPhone than on, say, a Samsung Note 9. Samsung Electronics Co. charges 65¢ a gig to move from the 128GB Note 9 phone to the 512GB model.

With more storage, users can save more photos, videos, documents, music, movies, podcasts, books, and more on their iPhones, without having to worry about deleting old items for more space. Of course, Apple also offers iCloud storage at $0.99/month for 50GB, $2.99/month for 200GB, and $9.99/month for 2TB. This means that if a 512GB iPhone XS or XS Max user wants to back up most of the content on their device, they will need to opt for the $9.99/month option.

In terms of the prices for these new iPhones, which begin at $750 for the not-yet-released iPhone XR and increase to $1,449 for the 512GB iPhone XS Max, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company is aiming to “serve everyone.” In an interview with Nikkei, he explained that “if you provide a lot of innovation and a lot of value, there is a segment of people who are willing to pay for it,” referring to the steeper prices of this year’s iPhone XS and XS Max.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS
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24
Sep

Armani Exchange’s smartwatch is for those who want their tech to be dapper


The influx of new Wear OS smartwatches continues with the Armani Exchange Connected, the brand’s first touchscreen smartwatch, which combines a modern design with the latest smartwatch technology. While we say “the latest,” don’t get too excited — this watch is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, not the new Snapdragon 3100. You’ve got to be patient for those.

If you’re scratching your head about this being the first Armani smartwatch, when we’ve seen others in the past, the reason is this is the first to come from the Armani Exchange division. Previously, we’ve tried out Emporio Armani smart and hybrid watches. To help understand the branding, it’s helpful to know that a year ago, Giorgio Armani announced it would concentrate on three brand names — Giorgio, Emporio, and Exchange — rather than the seven it had until that point. Exchange is the entry point into the world of Armani, and appeals to those who still want the look, without the massive price tag. Ideal for a smartwatch.

What about the watch itself? It’s designed beautifully, with a distinctive but not over-the-top style, and available in gold, black, silver, and coal colors. The case is quite large at 46mm — that’s only a millimeter smaller than the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 — making it look modern, and provide plenty of on-the-wrist presence. The AMOLED screen is 1.2 inches, so it doesn’t overpower the watch’s case. We’re advocates of the smaller screen on Wear OS watches, as they remain usable without stretching the overall size of the watch itself.

Like other designer smartwatches released recently, the Armani Exchange Connected has GPS inside so you don’t need your phone when out for a hike or run, plus there is a heart rate sensor on the back of the case. These two features join NFC for Google Pay, and swim proof water resistance too. Google’s Wear OS operating system is installed, complete with Google Assistant, and we imagine the watch will receive an update to the new version of the software, which greatly improves usability. The 300mAh battery is likely to be good for a day before needing a recharge.

If you’re tempted, you don’t have to wait for the Armani Exchange Connected watch, as it’s available to buy from armaniexchange.com now, and through selected retailers too. The color is the only differentiating factor between the four models — all have a metal bracelet — and to get one you’ll pay $295.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Techy and trendy? That’s the new Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch
  • The best Wear OS watches
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 chip will finally make Google’s Wear OS competitive
  • Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro Review



24
Sep

How Razer forged the Blade 15, the slim gaming laptop nobody else could build


Take a walk down the shopping hub of downtown San Francisco, and it’s hard to miss Razer’s street-level storefront. People off the sidewalk are invited in to be dazzled by the spectacle of the live DJ’s thumping music and flashing lights. That’s certainly represents one aspect of Razer’s ethos.

But just a few blocks away is a non-descript, mid-level high-rise where the magic behind Razer’s designs are crafted. Secured doors conceal prototypes, sketches, and mockups for products that have yet to be launched — and like other tech companies in the Valley, employees treat the space as their own garage. Strip away the thumpa-thumpa music and the club-like decadence, and you’ll find the simpler aspect of Razer’s approaches design – methodical, purposeful, and devoid of unnecessary excesses.

That was the space Razer invited us into to hear the story of how the Blade 15 came to be. It’s a gaming laptop that fully embodies that design philosophy both in terms of how it looks and how it performs.

Learning from the smartphone

Minimalist black with green accents highlighted by the familiar three-headed serpent emblem — it’s an aesthetic gamers have come to trust over the years. Quite often, if it weren’t for the darkened silhouette, the two spines on the top of the lid, and Razer’s logo, you’d never know these were laptops that could game. But Razer’s challenge in launching the Blade 15, was moving away from this familiar look into a new design language that’s as much about function as it is about form.

Razer Blade 15 on Lap Razer

That’s according to Razer’s Director of Industrial Design, Stephane Blanchard. The French designer has been working on Razer products for over twelve years now, and has been a central figure in cultivating Razer’s unique design aesthetic over the years. He led us through the halls of the company’s design studio where we learned about Razer’s new design directive.

“What we wanted is something that looks good but isn’t screaming that gaming is all we’re doing”

“The choice has been quite obvious from our perspective,” Blanchard said. “It was a trend in a way, and I feel that’s where we’re going, and it’s being driven by phone.” With the phone, Razer knew it wanted to maximize the front of the device to showcase the display and give gamers front-firing stereo speakers, and Blanchard’s team felt that a flat design with minimal curves was the best approach.

In fact, the Blade 15’s angular design originated several years ago alongside the design of the Razer phone, but Razer decided to launch its phone first. And when it came time to working on the next generation of laptops, the team knew they wanted to port over this design language to the Blade 15.

This new design is apparent the first time we saw the Blade. Rather than follow in the footsteps of other gaming brands, Razer has bucked the trend of more flash, opting for more conservative designs.

Stephane Blanchard, Razer's director of industrial designStephane Blanchard, Razer’s director of industrial design

You won’t find ostentatious speakers, massive grills, or aggressive vents on any Blade, a conscious design decision that the company made to allow its gaming laptops to easily transition between game room and board room environment.

Part of this approach is to design a product that is powerful enough for gaming, but is still utilitarian. At the end of the day, people still write emails, create PowerPoint presentations, and analyze Excel spreadsheets on the laptop, even if it’s one that’s built for gaming.

“What we wanted is something that looks good but isn’t screaming that gaming is all we’re doing,” Blanchard said. “And showing off an aggressive gaming design isn’t all we’re doing.”

But in order to accomplish that goal, the designers at Razer would need to start chopping some of the excess from their designs.

Cutting the fat

With a new mission intact, Blanchard and his team of designers spread across Singapore, San Francisco, and Taipei saw a new opportunity to refine and distill the company’s approach to design. Just like the CNC machined aluminum manufacturing process that shapes and sharpens the Blade’s more angular edges this year, Blanchard wanted to extrude away everything that wasn’t crucial to the Blade 15. Removing anything was unnecessary allowed Razer to focus on performance and perfecting the smaller details.

Razer Blade 15 Concept ArtEarly concept art for the Blade 15 featuring designs for the laptop’s bezel, edge, and hinge. Razer

“It’s really hard work to get to the point where we have to remove everything that is not necessary, so there is really that focus of do we need this design element?” Blanchard said as he showed off the Blade 15’s flat lid and blocky frame. This meant that the two signature spines that adorned the top of every previous Blade model are now gone.

Initially, the team experimented with various spine designs on early plastic prototypes. “For a long time, we were considering whether we were keeping it, not keeping it,” Blanchard said of these lid ridges. “We also studied different ways of doing it — shorter, longer, raised, flat, embossed, not at all.” Ultimately, the team felt that Razer’s design identity is still strong enough that gamers could still identify the Blade as a Razer product, thanks to the signature black and green colorway and the glowing three-headed serpent logo on the lid, and the spines were dropped.

An attention to detail and Razer’s understated approach to design that earned the Blade 15 comparisons with Apple’s MacBooks.

While the spines served a functional purpose, allowing users to quickly grip the laptop when pulling the Blade out from a bag, the detail was inspired by the contouring on top of car hoods. Having studied automotive design in school, Blanchard pulled from his background in cars when designing the Blade 15 and the Core V2 eGPU. You can see the results of that in the laptop’s vents and grills, the bead-blasted anodized black finish, and how light rolls off the surface. On the laptop, the automotive inspiration resulted in rounded edges derived from the idea of continuous curvatures.

To find the right shape for the laptop, designers used plastic mockups to visualize how the Blade 15 would look when it’s held in the hands or sitting on a desk. Early concepts include a wedge-shaped design, chamfered edge detailing, and prototypes with curvier edges on the bottom to give the illusion of an even slimmer design.

Like previous Blades, the team chose to continue using machined aluminum again this year, despite experiments with other materials – including plastic, magnesium, and carbon fiber – Blanchard explained that the material was a great fit in creating a slim laptop with a sturdy feel. “Going with the CNC aluminum really helped us to achieve a really flat surface,” he explained. “If we were going with a plastic enclosure, then potentially you’ll see some marks. It will not be perfectly flat.”


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How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Zoomed out view of the underside with the new hinge design. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

A table of Blade 15 prototypes made from ABS plastic showcasing lid mockups. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

A table of Blade 15 prototypes made from ABS plastic showcasing lid mockups. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

The Blade 15’s keyboard prototype without the full-sized arrow keys. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

An early angular concept for the Blade 15 with spines on the lid. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

An etching from the underside of the Blade 15’s lid. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

A concept for the spines on the Blade 15’s lid using a debased technique. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Razer had to switch away from the barrel-style hinge to this new hinge design with the more angular Blade 15. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

An early machined lid from aluminum that hasn’t yet been sandblasted to give it the final texture. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Side view showing ports on a nearly finished Blade 15 prototype. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

A near-finished but non-functioning prototype of the Blade 15. Razer was still considering the two spines on the lid on this design Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

A table of Blade 15 prototypes made from ABS plastic showcasing lid mockups. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Blade 15 keyboard design showing full-height arrow key arrangement. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Underside of the Blade 15’s lid with stamping and details for circuitry Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Side angle view of a Blade 15 prototype showing new hinge design, ports, and unfinalized lid design with the spine elements. Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

This attention to detail, a solid unibody construction, and Razer’s understated approach to design that earned the Blade comparisons with Apple’s MacBooks. “We are a definitely a designed-focus brand, versus a purely engineering company,” Razer senior manager of public relations Kevin Allen explained. “Otherwise we wouldn’t spend so much time on design.”

Comparisons between the Blade and Apple’s MacBooks aren’t unwarranted, and Razer has earned its spot as one of the leading designers of notebooks. Arguably, like the MacBook Air — which was a pioneer in the thin, light, and powerful notebook space – Razer has replicated Apple’s success by applying similar philosophies in the Blade’s design to address the needs of gamers. Like the Air, the Blade 15 is an unassuming notebook that’s not much thicker than a standard thin-and-light ultrabook. And just like how the Air could be mistaken for a netbook when it debuted, the Blade packs in plenty of processing and graphics power for its small size.

This new, thin design could have only been possible with the right mix of technologies at hand. Most importantly, powerful chips small enough to fit into the Blade 15’s thin chassis and a thermal system to keep temperatures down.

how razer made the blade 15 ultrawide 2

An engineering puzzle

When combined with the large array of ports, the Blade 15’s use of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics processor helps it to become one of the slimmest virtual reality-friendly laptops on the market. To keep the chassis slim, Razer worked closely with partners Intel and Nvidia to hone in on the design, relying on the former’s Max-Q reference design for pushing the slim envelope with a 1070 GPU.

“Ultimately, the question has been when should we introduce a new design language,” Blanchard said. “And that’s something that we knew while working closely with Intel and Nvidia with the new processors that this is something that will happen on the Blade 15.”

“… We want users to be able to open up the back of the laptop and look inside and see that there is an attention to details.”

As designers pushed to slim down the Blade, engineers were working overtime to try to accommodate the powerful CPU and GPU inside. “We knew we have to dissipate heat, but we try to not add vents every on every surface,” Blanchard said. “We are really fighting — not just to the millimeter, but to 0.01 millimeter.” As a result, engineers ported the vapor cooling chamber that debuted on the Blade 17 over, and the team worked on a new fan.

To address problems with heat, all the internal components were scrutinized to see if their height and placement impeded with airflow. A transistor that’s just a millimeter too tall, for example, could create turbulence and overheat the Blade. Engineers sought out the perfect component to work with the Blade’s design and height requirements, and the team found that they needed to re-architect the fan design to deliver better airflow.

But no component is allowed to exist outside the Razor’s relentless design efforts — even on the inside. Once everything has been thoroughly thermal tested, Blanchard’s team examined the system’s vents, grills, and openings. Any internal component that could be seen from the outside had to be replaced with black-coated parts to ensure that the Blade 15 is sleek.

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

How Razer made the Razer Blade 15

Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

“Over the years, we pushed forward to get the black motherboard — black PCB, black elements,” Blanchard explained. “With the latest Blade 15, we offer the user the ability to upgrade their RAM, so we want users to be able to open up the back of the laptop and look inside and see that there is an attention to details.”

Setting out to create a laptop like the Razer Blade has inherent compromises factored into the equation. The issue of heat and throttling is one that’s always been a battle for thin gaming laptops, and even for Razer’s own laptops in the past. But this time around, Razer felt prepared to deliver the level of performance and aesthetics that its fans want.

Blanchard’s team learned a few important lessons when they experimented with the Blade 17’s mechanical keyboard.

Managing the heat output on the Blade 15 was no easy feat. It’s a problem for every laptop, but especially challenging given the combination of the laptop’s slim size and powerful internal components. Razer experimented with a number of different fan designs and placements, and ultimately decided on two bottom-facing fans to pull air in and a vapor chamber, an innovation on top of the traditional heat pipes.

“We make a couple of concepts and prototypes to see which one performs the best,” Blanchard described the process of designing the Blade 15’s thermals. “After selecting the best design, we focused on vents in order to have the lowest skin temperature in certain areas. Obviously, the forehead – the area just above the keyboard – is a low-touch area, so we can afford to have slightly hotter temps. The keyboard, palm rest, and trackpad are areas where we try to control. So all the thermals is very complex work to figure out because there’s a lot of testing and simulation.”

Making the necessary compromises

The solution presented in the Razer Blade 15 won’t please everyone. Those looking for the absolute best game performance will have to look to laptops with bulkier chassis and huge vents. But the balance between performance and portability is a tightrope the Blade walks better than any other gaming laptop we’ve ever seen.

Riley Young/Digital Trends

Aside from heat and performance, the keyboard is another important consideration as designers looked to slim down the Blade’s design. Unlike the larger 17-inch Blade, Blanchard’s team had to make the concession of shipping the Blade 15 without a mechanical keyboard.

“Ultimately technology brings us to a point where we can have a thinner stack up for the keyboard and still have a good experience,” Blanchard said of the membrane keyboard. Razer experimented with different key actuation forces, click sounds, key shapes, and keyboard layouts before settling on the final design that offers decent key travel with good actuation force given its demographics of gamers.

The Blade 15’s story is a labor of love that can be traced back to Razer’s careful planning, attention to detail, and a mix of happenstance.

Blanchard’s team learned a few important lessons when they experimented with the Blade 17’s mechanical keyboard. Because it wasn’t possible to create half-height keys, the Blade 17 was the first Razer notebook to ship with full-height arrow keys. And because the full-height arrow keys were well received, Razer brought the keyboard design over to the Blade 15. However, because of the Blade 15’s slimness and fan placement, designers ultimately decided against a mechanical keyboard — Blanchard’s team was unwilling to make the Blade 15 thicker.

And even though designers struggled over the keyboard on the Blade 15, typists felt that the keyboard layout with full-height arrow keys wasn’t suited for productivity. Instead of dropping the arrow keys down a row to accommodate full-sized up and down keys, Razer opted instead to move the up-arrow key up a row, positioning it between the question mark and a shrunken right shift key. Touch typists who rely on the right shift key now have to reach further.

“I’ll be perfectly honest, this is not something that’s easy for me,” Blanchard confessed, noting that muscle memory can be retrained over time to adjust to the new layout. “It’s just a decision from our perspective of what works the best.”

The story of the Blade 15 is a labor of love — careful planning with an unwavering attention to detail, coupled with a mix of happenstance given that the right set of technologies was finally available.

This trend towards thin, light, and powerful is just beginning. At IFA, we’re seeing more manufacturers implement on this trend, and thanks to the maturation of powerful technologies – like faster processors and Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 2000 graphics – we’re going to see a race to slimming down. Devices like the MSI Stealth Thin, Gigabyte Aero, and Asus ROG series prove that Razer is setting a new trend in gaming laptops.

With a boxier design that maximizes the Blade’s internal volume, we expect to see gaming manufacturers iterate and innovate to bring even more performance in slimmer packages. One thing we know for sure: Razer will be the company leading the conversation well into the future.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Razer Blade 15 (2018) review
  • The best gaming laptops of 2018
  • Dell XPS 15 vs. Razer Blade 15
  • Razer Blade 15 vs. MacBook Pro
  • Razer Blade vs. Microsoft Surface Book 2



24
Sep

What you missed this week at CordCutters.com


Amazon might not have invented over-the-air TV, but it’s about to make it even bigger.

ccac922.png?itok=r8_dbE-KThe new Amazon Fire TV Recast is going to be a big deal for cord-cutters. Actually, that whole over-the-air antenna space is a big deal for cord-cutters, and has been for a long time.

But it also plays a crucial role going forward. One of the biggest questions we get regards local channels. (And for a lot of folks, especially this time of year, college football.) While streaming services are getting better about carrying local channels, the simple fact is that you get more locally available channels with a decent over-the-air antenna. And once you’ve gotten past the initial hardware expenditure — you get get an indoor antenna for as little as $20, and a decent outdoor antenna for maybe twice that — the content is free.

Consider: I can get my local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates on a streaming service. But I can get something like 30 locally available channels with an antenna. Do I watch them all? Nope. But I can if I want to. For free.

Anyway. The Recast is a big deal because, first, it’s Amazon. And also because it makes it super easy to record OTA TV. It might not be the perfect all-in-one device — Tablo and HDHomerun still do great jobs. (Though if I were them I’d definitely be a little worried.) But it’s Amazon. It’s a big deal.

Andrew Martonik was at Thursday’s Amazon event, and we caught up on the Amazon Recast on the latest episode of the CordCutters Podcast.

Here’s what else you missed this week:

  • One of the worst films ever made is now on YouTube. Enjoy. Or not.
  • Pod Save America is coming to HBO.
  • Veronica Mars will be back on Hulu in 2019!
  • The full Mary Poppins trailer is just lovely.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender is hitting Netflix.
  • Will Captain Marvel save us all? Let’s hope so.
  • Wait — OnePlus is making TVs? OK.

Introducing CordCutters.com

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

Get the latest deals

24
Sep

Where can I buy a Jaybird X3 replacement charger?


jaybird-x3-1.jpg?itok=oiWVpnzq

Best answer: Although you can’t buy just the charger for the X3, Jaybird does sell an accessory pack that includes a charger, ear tips, cord clips, and more for $10.

Jaybird: X3 Accessory Pack ($10)

Buying directly from Jaybird is your best choice

If you need a replacement charger for your X3 earbuds, we recommend buying directly from Jaybird. The company’s Accessory Pack includes the charger, costs just $10, and the $6.15 shipping brings things to a little over $16 once all is said and done.

There are third-party sellers on Amazon that are also selling the Accessory Pack, but the markups they’re charging are beyond ridiculous and not worth messing with at all.

The Accessory Pack comes with more than just a charger

What’s great about the Accessory Pack is that you get way more than just a charger for the Jaybird X3. Also included are:

  • Ear fins
  • Ear tips
  • Shirt clip
  • Cord management clips
  • Carrying pouch

Oh, and it’s available in six drastically different colors!

The replacement works just like the original

Once you’ve got your replacement charger, it works exactly how your original one did.

Snap the clip onto the back of the X3’s in-line controls, plug the other end into a USB port, and you’re good to go! After the red light indicator turns green, you’re good to take the X3s off the charger and get back to listening like normal.

Get your buds back in shape

It can be easy to lose the Jaybird X3’s tiny charging adapter, but thanks to the Accessory Pack, ordering a replacement is dead simple.

Our pick

Jaybird X3 Accessory Pack

jaybird-x3-accessory-pack.jpg?itok=3ugpn

$10 at Jaybird

Comes with an extra charger and so much more.

We wish Jaybird sold just the standalone X3 charger, but for $10, it’s hard to argue with the Accessory Pack. In addition to the charger, you also get more ear fins, ear tips, a shirt clip, cord management clips, and another carrying pouch.

24
Sep

How to measure distance in miles or kilometers in Google Fit


ticwatch-pro-heartrate-testing.jpg?itok=

Google Fit is great for tracking everything related to health data, even if you just want something basic to track your runs. If you want to make sure your distances are displayed in the correct measurement, here’s what to do!

Products used in this guide

  • Any Android smartphone
  • Google Play Store: Google Fit (Free)
  • Amazon: TicWatch Pro ($250)

How to change from miles to kilometers

Open the Google Fit application.

Tap Profile in the lower-right.

google-fit-miles-1.jpg?itok=ggsrqeHA

Tap the Settings icon in the upper-right.

Tap Distance.

google-fit-miles-2.jpg?itok=c-tkgwxb

Tap Kilometers or Miles.

That’s it! Now Fit will display distance in the appropriate format!

Our top equipment picks

If you’re all in on Google Fit, it’s worth getting a Wear OS watch to track your workouts right from your wrist.

The best watch for Google Fit

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro

ticwatch-pro-render-black-silver.png?ito

$250 at Amazon

The best Wear OS watch is also the best for tracking your workouts.

The Ticwatch Pro features a GPS tracker, heart-rate monitor, and NFC payments.

The Ticwatch Pro is a genuinely good watch even if you don’t care about fitness tracking. If you do, it’s even better. There’s a GPS chip to better track your jogs, a heart-rate monitor for keeping your beats in check, and an NFC chip so you can leave your phone at home and still use Google Pay.

24
Sep

Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition features new bosses, quests, and much more


hollow-knight.jpg?itok=Bcr2Qt9X

The acclaimed indie metroidvania is bringing new content to consoles.

Hollow Knight made its debut on PC early last year before hitting Nintendo Switch this June at E3, but it was slow to make its way to PlayStation and Xbox. Thankfully the wait paid off for players as developer Team Cherry announced that it would hit Sony and Microsoft’s platforms with the Voidheart Edition, packed with extra content that’s been added since launch.

Ahead of its release on September 25 for the two aforementioned consoles, we’ll break down just what exactly is new with the Voidheart Edition and what content players can look forward too.

See at PlayStation

Four new content packs

Team Cherry has released four content packs for Hollow Knight featuring a slew of gruesome new insects, quests, locations, bosses, and abilities along with additional songs for its soundtrack. Whether you’re looking for hours of new content while you’re hammering out quests or just want to test yourself against a vicious bug, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.

Hidden Dreams

hollow-knight-hidden-dreams.jpg?itok=51J

Hollow Knight’s first content pack, Hidden Dreams, brought with it two bosses, three enemies, a new ability, and another fast travel system in the form of a Stag Station.

Bosses

  • White Defender: Located in the Royal Ratways, the White Defender is a variant of the Dung Defender, and as such features similar attacks.
  • Grey Prince Zote: The Grey Prince Zote is a more powerful variant of the Zote. It is found in Dirtmouth.

Enemies

  • Hopping, Winged, and Volatile Zoteling: The Grey Prince Zote is able to summon three Zoteling forms during your boss battle, each of which has a different method of attack.

Ability

  • Dreamgate: This ability allows you to place a Dream Gate at any location and warp to it from wherever you are. Only one Dream Gate can be placed at a time.

The Grimm Troupe

hollow-knight-the-grimm-troupe.jpg?itok=

The Grimm Troupe is Hollow Knight’s second content pack, and it contains a lot more than its first. Not only did players get new bosses and enemies, but they also received new NPCs, charms, and an entirely new area.

Bosses

  • Grimm: A powerful boss found within Dirtmouth that utilizes several fire-based attacks.
  • Nightmare King: An even more powerful variant of the Grimm.

Enemies

  • Grimmkin Novice, Master, and Nightmare: These three Grimmkin variants pop up across the map when the Knight approaches a flame with the Grimmchild charm equipped.

Area

  • Path of Pain: This area was added to the White Palace as an optional section for those masochistic enough to take on its harder challenges.

Godmaster

hollow-knight-godmaster.jpg?itok=oyHlOx3

The third content pack, Godmaster, is Hollow Knight’s biggest. It contains seven boss encounters, two enemies, three areas, new quests, a new game mode, and a host of new mechanics.

Bosses

  • Winged Nosk: A variant of a previous boss found within the game, the Winged Nosk features wings, as you may have guessed, and a completely different head from its counterpart.
  • Paintmaster Sheo: This hulking beast uses a paintbrush to unleash devastating attacks.
  • Nailmasters Oro and Mato: These two brothers trade Sheo’s paintbrush for more intimidating weapons; nails.
  • Great Nailsage Sly: This little guy may look small (almost like an ant), but he wields a nail that looks like the equivalent of Pyramid Head’s Great Knife for his small form.
  • Pure Vessel: An agile creature, the Pure Vessel is a more challenging version of the base Hollow Knight enemy.
  • Sisters of Battle: These ladies are a counterpart to the Mantis Lords boss battle.
  • Absolute Radiance: A variant of the Radiance boss, defeating Absolute Radiance will reward you with one of two new endings.

All of these bosses are located within one of the new locations, Godhome.

Enemies

  • Flukemunga: You’ll know this enemy when you see it. It looks like a little, fat, disgusting larva. You’ll encounter it in the Royal Waterways.
  • Pale Lurker: When traversing the Colosseum of Fools, you may come across the Pale Lurker, another agile enemy that will drop spikes along its path.

Areas

  • Godhome: If you’re looking for a place to hone your skills against deadly new bosses, you’ll find it in Godhome.
  • Junk Pit: A sub-location in the Royal Waterways.
  • Land of Storms: A sub-location in Godhome.

Lifeblood

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Lifeblood is the flimsiest content pack, for lack of a better word, as it mainly focused on optimizations and other technical aspects of the game, however it did include a new boss battle.

Boss

  • Hive Knight: A very intimidating bumble bee.

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Amazon

24
Sep

Take control over your door with the $200 August Smart Lock Pro


Knock. Knock.

The silver August Smart Lock Pro is down to $199.99 on Amazon. This lock normally sells for $230 and has only started dropping in price recently. The Dark Gray version is also down to this price.

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You could also consider the Smart Lock Pro and August Connect bundle for $249.99. That’s not the lowest price we’ve seen, but it’s better than its usual $280 price. Plus, since the Connect is around $78 on its own you’re saving money over buying these individually. The Connect serves as a bridge between the 3rd generation smart lock and your smart home ecosystem.

August’s 3rd gen smart lock gives you wide-ranging control over your front door. With August’s Door Sense, you’ll be able to know if your door is closed and locked from anywhere. You’ll be able to control access, too. For example, you can create guest access for visitors that only lasts for a few minutes or a few weeks. You can track the door’s activity 24/7, too. The lock works with most single-cylinder deadbolts, and you’ll be able to keep your existing locks and keys. It will lock automatically behind you and unlock when you approach. This lock uses the Z-Wave Plus wireless protocol, so you will need a hub to connect to other systems.

See on Amazon

24
Sep

The $130 SanDisk 400GB microSD card is at its most affordable right now


Large card, small price.

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SanDisk is a trusted brand when it comes to SD cards, and the company is pushing the limits. We’ve seen a few discounts recently on SanDisk’s 400GB microSD card, but none of them have dropped it down this low. Right now, Amazon has the card at just $129.95, which is one of the best prices we’ve ever seen on it.

It’s a Class 10 card with transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s, which would allow you to move up to 1,200 images in just 60 seconds. You can use this in your smartphone, tablet, action camera, and more. Most current-gen smartphones will recognize this card, but not all action cameras, tablets, etc will, so you may want to consider grabbing the 128GB option at its lowest price ever of $27.48, or the 256GB one at an all-time low of $64.92.

See at Amazon

24
Sep

The best microSD cards for the Note 8


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The Galaxy Note 8 is still an absolute workhorse of a phone a year on from its release. You can get more done with the S Pen, and really the only limitations you’ll face will be battery life and internal storage. If you’ve used up the 64GB of base internal storage on the Note 8, you should invest in a quality microSD card and add up to 256GB of additional storage. The best part is the prices for microSD cards are getting better and better!

Straight from Samsung

Samsung microSD EVO+ 256GB

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Using Samsung’s own microSD card offerings might make sense if you’re a huge Samsung fan, and it also helps that they’re some of the best you can buy. Go all out with the 256GB card for a breezy $92. With read speeds up to 95MB/s and write speeds up to 90MB/s, you’ll be able to record HD video straight to the card.

$92 at Amazon

200GB for less

SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSDXC Card

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With read speeds up to 100MB/s and write speeds up to 90MB/s, this 200GB card from SanDisk will let you able to record in HD or 4K to your heart’s content. There are several microSD card options available — from 8GB all the way up to 400GB — but the 200GB card is your best value here.

$44 at Amazon

Best value

Kingston Canvas Select 128GB microSDHC Card

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This Class 10, UHS-I microSDXC card from Kingston features a 64GB capacity and advertises a read speed of 80MB/s and write speed of 40MB/s. Not quite as fast as others on this list, but with the SD adapter you’ll be able to easily load up all your favorite media for your phone.

$28 at Amazon

Which microSD card you go with will depend heavily on your budget and whether you plan on loading the card up with your favorite media, or use it to expand your phone’s storage for photos and video. Our recommendation would be the 256GB card from Samsung ($92) which should satisfy even the most storage hungry users.

Updated September 2018: This article has been updated with new pricing and model information. These are the best prices we’ve seen in a long while!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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