Skip to content

Archive for

6
Oct

Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Book 2


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Surface products aren’t for everyone, but if you want a powerful 2-in-1 with great battery life, there aren’t many that can compare. When you look at the new and different entries within the Surface line though, it becomes much harder to decide which is best. To try and nail it down, we pitted the Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Book 2 and compared them on design, performance, and portability.

For a look at some of our other favorite 2-in-1s, check out our buying guide.

Design

Almost the entirety of Microsoft’s Surface line of products exudes a cool professionalism that is hard to find outside of Apple’s MacBook Pro line of portable computers, and the Surface Book 2 is easily the flagship device in that respect. It’s exceedingly sturdy, with a solid, magnesium frame that’s both lightweight and extremely durable. It feels solid, professional, and high-quality — although you would expect as such with its high price tag.

The Surface Pro 6 is an equally well-built device, though with its thinner keyboard it’s not as substantial or as domineering. It could be argued that its new black color scheme for this-generation of Surface Pro is a little more futuristic than the more classic silver of the Surface Book 2, but that’s largely a personal choice.

Since both devices have detachable keyboards, they are each incredibly light during tablet-mode, with the Surface Book 2 somehow coming in ever so slightly lighter at 1.6 pounds (vs. 1.75 pounds), despite its larger 13.5-inch display.

The Surface Book 2 also has slightly greater and more forward-thinking connectivity options, despite being the older of the two devices. It sports a pair of USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports (it’s confusing, we know) as well as a headphone jack, two Surface Connect ports, and a full-size SDXC card reader. The kicker though, is that it has a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port.

While the Surface Pro 6 comes equipped with its own USB-A 3.0 port, a headphone jack, miniDisplayPort, Surface connect port, and microSDXC card reader, it lacks a USB-C connection.

Performance

Despite the pricing disparity between these two devices, their hardware configurations are closer than you might think. The Surface Pro 6 starts at $900 and has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and an eighth-generation, quad-core Core i5-8250U CPU. Upgrades include an i5-8350U, or for $1,500 you can get a Core i7-8650U CPU with 256GB of storage. For $2,300 you can net yourself 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of SSD space.

The Surface Book 2 starts at $1,200 and comes with a seventh-generation Core i5-7300U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. That’s a rather weak starting point compared to the Surface Pro 6, considering the 7300U is only a dual-core CPU. However, if you’re willing to spend $2,000, you get the same Core i7-8650U found in the Surface Pro 6, the same 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Most importantly though, you get an Nvidia GTX 1050 discrete GPU, which is leaps and founds more powerful than anything the Surface Pro has.

Spending $2,500 gets you double the RAM and storage, while the top-end $3,000 configuration nets you a terabyte of SSD space. There are also options for a 15-inch version if you need more screen-space and power, with a GTX 1060 graphics chip on board, though those configurations are more expensive again.

For general computing, the Surface Pro 6 is easily the better machine in terms of price vs. performance, but when it comes to graphical capabilities, the Surface Book 2 is miles ahead of its smaller sibling if you configure it with the dedicated graphics chip.

Feeding off of all that power, the displays in both systems are excellent, each with identical pixel densities of 267 pixels per inch. The only difference is the Surface Book 2 has a slightly higher resolution of 3,000 x 2,000, vs. 2,736 x 1,824 on the Pro 6, to account for its extra inch of screen space.

Portability

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Both the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 are amazingly portable 2-in-1s, especially when in tablet mode. The Surface Book 2 is the larger and heavier device with a keyboard attached, measuring 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.59-inches and weighing 3.62 pounds in the Core i7 configuration. However, when you remove the keyboard and use it as a tablet, it weighs just 1.6 pounds.

The Surface Pro 6, on the other hand, weighs 1.7 pounds without the detachable keyboard and measures  11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33-inches.

Where the Surface Pro 6 is a little easier to handle, it can’t match the Surface Book 2’s battery life. The Pro 6 offers an impressive 14.5 hours of life, according to Microsoft, but the Surface Book 2 is rated at up to 17 hours. One important caveat, though, is battery life in tablet mode. The Surface Book 2 has two batteries — one in the keyboard, and one in the tablet. The one in the tablet is smaller, so battery life in tablet-only mode is only two to three hours.

The Book is better, but there’s a but

Picking a winner out of these two Surface 2-in-1s is difficult, as it’s a case of each being better at certain things. The Surface Pro 6 is more affordable and offers better hardware at that lower price point. But it’s not as sturdy, nor as capable graphically, nor as long-lasting as the Surface Book 2. It’s also lacking that important USB-C port.

With that in mind, the Surface Book 2 is the better piece of hardware. However, it’s also more expensive. If you want a dedicated GPU and a system that works great as both a laptop and tablet, it’s near-perfect. If you don’t need that graphical might, the Surface Pro 6 is very comparable and when it’s available in mid-October.

Overall winner: Surface Book 2

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Pro 5
  • Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Go
  • Surface Go vs. Surface Pro
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 13-inch review
  • Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) review



Advertisements
6
Oct

Give your phone the finger with this creepy, versatile robotic attachment


There was a time in history when we thought that selfie sticks were the weirdest smartphone accessory that could ever exist. Now, an unusual, altogether unsettling new phone attachment will make you reconsider. Called MobiLimb, it’s a robotic finger that plugs into your smartphone and pulls itself along the floor by making beckoning motions. Imagine a new iPhone feature designed by The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, and you’ll start to get the idea.

“MobiLimb is composed of five small servo motors, enclosed in a 3D-printed shell,” Marc Teyssier, a human-computer interaction researcher who helped create the device, told Digital Trends. “Everything is driven with an Arduino board, and it uses Android OTG connection for power usage and data transmission.”

For a device consisting of relatively simple tech, MobiLimb certainly manages to be creepily lifelike — as well as versatile. Along with dragging its smartphone “body” along a table, it can also wag like a tail, tap on a surface to indicate that a notification has been received, act as a flexible torch, and so on. Heck, if you so wished, it could even stroke your hand while you’re speaking on the phone. Because what better way is there to creep out your fellow commuters on the way home after a busy day’s work?

“The original starting point for this project was human touch for social communication, which is the topic of my Ph.D. thesis,” Teyssier continued. “In real-life communication, we use touch to communicate emotions with others. However, current technology doesn’t use touch as an information channel. This project is just one approach for how we can receive a remote touch. Another aspect of this work is the relationship we are building with our mobile devices. Because they’re always in our hands or pockets, smartphones are becoming companions for humans — yet right now they remain a cold and flat technology.”


Previous


Next

1 of 5

mobilimb robot finger mobilefinger

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 21h57m35s671

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 21h58m54s446

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 23h19m37s582

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 23h30m00s666

The MobiLimb team created several versions of the finger, including the regular (as regular as it gets, at least) black plastic version, a furry one, and a flesh-like variant created with the help of a visual effects artist. The prototype is set to be shown off at the ACM User Interface Software and Technology conference in Berlin this month.

Don’t expect to be able to buy one any time soon, though. “We have no plans to commercialize it yet,” Teyssier said. “It’s a research project at a prototype phase. Its aim was to explore such devices — and judging by the reactions and comments on the internet, people are not ready to use it just yet.”

A paper describing the project is available to read online.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Sirin Labs’ crypto-phone could change the way we pay
  • 7 ambitious DARPA projects that could revolutionize the armed forces
  • How LG built its Signature appliances to solve problems you didn’t know you had
  • Vivo Nex S review
  • Want an extra arm? A third thumb? Check out these awesome robotic appendages



6
Oct

Give your phone the finger with this creepy, versatile robotic attachment


There was a time in history when we thought that selfie sticks were the weirdest smartphone accessory that could ever exist. Now, an unusual, altogether unsettling new phone attachment will make you reconsider. Called MobiLimb, it’s a robotic finger that plugs into your smartphone and pulls itself along the floor by making beckoning motions. Imagine a new iPhone feature designed by The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, and you’ll start to get the idea.

“MobiLimb is composed of five small servo motors, enclosed in a 3D-printed shell,” Marc Teyssier, a human-computer interaction researcher who helped create the device, told Digital Trends. “Everything is driven with an Arduino board, and it uses Android OTG connection for power usage and data transmission.”

For a device consisting of relatively simple tech, MobiLimb certainly manages to be creepily lifelike — as well as versatile. Along with dragging its smartphone “body” along a table, it can also wag like a tail, tap on a surface to indicate that a notification has been received, act as a flexible torch, and so on. Heck, if you so wished, it could even stroke your hand while you’re speaking on the phone. Because what better way is there to creep out your fellow commuters on the way home after a busy day’s work?

“The original starting point for this project was human touch for social communication, which is the topic of my Ph.D. thesis,” Teyssier continued. “In real-life communication, we use touch to communicate emotions with others. However, current technology doesn’t use touch as an information channel. This project is just one approach for how we can receive a remote touch. Another aspect of this work is the relationship we are building with our mobile devices. Because they’re always in our hands or pockets, smartphones are becoming companions for humans — yet right now they remain a cold and flat technology.”


Previous


Next

1 of 5

mobilimb robot finger mobilefinger

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 21h57m35s671

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 21h58m54s446

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 01 23h19m37s582

mobilimb robot finger vlcsnap 2018 04 23h30m00s666

The MobiLimb team created several versions of the finger, including the regular (as regular as it gets, at least) black plastic version, a furry one, and a flesh-like variant created with the help of a visual effects artist. The prototype is set to be shown off at the ACM User Interface Software and Technology conference in Berlin this month.

Don’t expect to be able to buy one any time soon, though. “We have no plans to commercialize it yet,” Teyssier said. “It’s a research project at a prototype phase. Its aim was to explore such devices — and judging by the reactions and comments on the internet, people are not ready to use it just yet.”

A paper describing the project is available to read online.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Sirin Labs’ crypto-phone could change the way we pay
  • 7 ambitious DARPA projects that could revolutionize the armed forces
  • How LG built its Signature appliances to solve problems you didn’t know you had
  • Vivo Nex S review
  • Want an extra arm? A third thumb? Check out these awesome robotic appendages



6
Oct

Whitestone Dome Glass Screen Protector for Note 9 review: The clear winner


An expensive solution to a potentially more expensive problem.

whitestone-dome-note-916.jpeg?itok=9AcCP

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. Company releases phone claiming that its glass screen is “stronger” and “less prone to scratches and cracks” than the one before. So you believe the claim and forgo buying a screen protector only to drop the phone onto concrete shortly thereafter. Your heart stops and you inhale sharply as you lean down to pick up the face-down phone. You turn it around and it’s a spiderweb of debris, money down the drain.

Or this one. Company releases phone claiming that its glass screen is “stronger” and “less prone to scratches and cracks” than the one before. You don’t believe the claim because it’s still just glass and glass scratches and breaks. You log onto Google, search for “best screen protector for phone” and buy the recommended one. When it arrives in the mail, you eagerly unbox it, follow the vague and poorly-written instructions, and end up with a bunch of frustrating air bubbles that distract you every time you look at the phone.

Both of these scenarios are pretty common. The issue has been exacerbated with the proliferation of curved glass phones — phones like the Galaxy Note 9. Phones that cost way too much money to risk having their screens shatter, or having bubbles under their screen protector.

That’s where Whitestone’s Dome Glass comes in.

Liquid courage

Dome Glass Screen Protector



whitestone-dome-glass-note-9-render.jpg?

$45 at Amazon

An accurate install and high-quality part

Whitestone uses a very complicated and involved install process to accomplish what few other accessory makers can do: a clean, bubble-free install on a curved-glass phone. And it works.

Pros:

  • Finished product is perfect
  • Installation is straightforward
  • Glass appears high quality

Cons:

  • Installation is very involved
  • Very difficult to correct if you make a mistake
  • Expensive

whitestone-dome-glass-note-9-17.jpg?itok

Whitestone Dome Glass What’s good

Whitestone approaches a screen protector installation like surgery, and for good reason: I’ve tried installing so-called “professional” and “easy-to-apply” screen protectors on Galaxy devices going back to the S8 and they’ve all turned out badly.

Name a company — Zagg, IQ Shield, Skinomi — and I’ve had a poor experience. They’re not bad products, but the reality is it’s really hard to get a screen protector, especially one made of tempered glass, to adhere properly to a curved screen.

Well, by approaching the installation like a surgery, Whitestone has managed the impossible: a perfect installation. The process is seriously involved: there are about 10 steps you have to follow, and to the letter, or you risk something going wrong.

First, there are all the precautionary measures to ensure that, when the adhesive is eventually applied to the screen, it doesn’t damage the Note 9’s buttons or ports. So you have stickers and absorbing sheets and a full-tilt station to acquaint yourself with.

whitestone-dome-note-98.jpeg?itok=gHGPfj

But once you read the instructions a few times — they’re not translated well, so I made sure to read them more than a few times — it’s pretty straightforward. The tricky part is making sure that, once the adhesive is applied, the tempered glass adheres bubble-free to the screen. Because unlike some film-based screen covers, air bubbles can’t be forced out of this one. If they’re there, they’re there for life.

Note: I highly recommend buying the 2-pack when investing in Whitestone’s screen protector. It saves you from having to salvage a disastrous first attempt (as you’ll read below) and lets you replace an installation if it becomes too scratched.

whitestone-dome-note-99.jpeg?itok=DpuZiS

Once the protector is installed, the cool part begins: using the included UV curing light, which sets the adhesive in under a minute and ensures that touch response is identical to the display in its natural state. It’s USB-powered, so you’ll have to plug it into a nearby AC adapter or battery pack, but you only need it for a couple of minutes.

You pay more not necessarily for a higher-quality screen protector but a better installation that ensures the protector adheres properly.

The best part of Whitestone’s Dome Glass is the fact that, once properly installed, it’s not going anywhere, even on the notoriously finicky rounded edges of the Note 9. To wit, I’ve been using it for over a week now and there’s no evidence of the edge lift that you commonly see in cheaper solutions.

And how is the tempered glass itself? Honestly, it’s fine. It’s a standard 9H-rated glass slab, thick and weighty but likely no higher quality than anything you’d find for a quarter the price. That’s not really what Whitestone is selling here, because a properly-installed curved screen protector is going to be much less likely to crack or dislodge when dropped. The fact that the Dome Glass adheres to the Note 9’s screen uniformly ensures that are no areas of particular weakness. And that is this product’s greatest strength.

whitestone-dome-note-914.jpeg?itok=rHRKx

Whitestone Dome Glass What’s not good

As far as screen protectors go, there isn’t a lot to complain about here. I did have to throw away my first install because I made an error in my first attempt, letting the adhesive run too far down my phone. The most important thing to know about the Dome Glass is precision: every step needs to be followed perfectly, or you risk ruining the process.

Then there’s the question of cost, and whether you need a screen protector at all. Whitestone makes a good product, but it costs $45 for a single and $60 for a two-pack. (There’s also a $35 “refill” that arrives without the UV curing light). If you want the best, this is it.

But with Gorilla Glass 5, the Note 9 has a pretty tough glass exterior on its own. It may hold up to a few minor falls, and you’ll probably not notice the average scratch against it.

whitestone-dome-note-913.jpeg?itok=MDE7r

Should you buy it? Absolutely

If you regularly drop your phone, a screen protector is a must. If you regularly drop your Note 9, Whitestone’s Dome Glass is basically your only reliable bet. In this case, you’re not paying for a higher-quality product but for the tools to successfully install it.

4.5
out of 5


Yes, the Note 9 is one of the most expensive phones out there. And yes, its curved display is often more hassle than it’s worth.

But if you want the best, you have to pay for it — and that’s true of the phone and the screen protector.

See at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

AT&T
Verizon
T-Mobile
Samsung
Amazon

6
Oct

These are the best drives for expanding the NVIDIA Shield TV’s storage


nvidia-shield-android-tv-usb-drive.jpg?i

The NVIDIA Shield TV is the best Android streaming box that money can buy in 2018, and there are savings to be had for opting for the 16GB Shield TV — but if that doesn’t sound like enough storage space for your media needs, you can make use of the NVIDIA Shield TV’s USB ports and mount an external storage device to expand your available storage.

Barely there at all

SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive

sandisk-ultra-fit-mini-usb-3-flash-drive

If you’re a stickler for conserving space in your home entertainment setup, you’ll want to get this ultra slim flash drive from SanDisk. It’s available in your choice of storage size, but you’re best off going with the 128GB. The 64GB drive for just $17 is your next-best value.

$31 at Amazon

Durable and reliable

Samsung BAR USB 3.0 Flash Drive

bar-flash-drive-silver-metal.jpg

Samsung’s BAR flash drive is made from metal and designed with a built-in key ring. These sleek and portable flash drives are perfect for use with your Shield and beyond. We’ve linked below to the 128GB version, but you’ll also find the same style available with 32GB ($10) and 64GB ($17) on the product page.

$28 at Amazon

NVIDIA approved

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive

sandisk-extreme-128gb-usb-3-flash-drive-

The SanDisk Extreme Pro is one of the few flash drives that NVIDIA specifically recommends for use with the NVIDIA Shield. The solid-state performance here will give you “extreme” read/write speeds, which is ideal for streaming media. The Shield’s max capacity for external storage is capped at 128GB, and that’s the drive we’ll recommend here — although for $62 you might be best off considering some of the other options on our list.

$62 at Amazon

The biggest approved by NVIDIA

SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive

sandisk-extreme-128gb-usb-3-flash-drive-

With a 256GB model listed on the NVIDIA support site, the SanDisk Ultra offers the biggest storage option for your NVIDIA Shield. You can get all the storage you’re likely to need for just $58 or opt for the 128GB drive for $28.

$58 at Amazon

These are the best drives whether you plan to use them to replace the Shield’s 16GB hard drive or use it to download content from your PC files to your living room TV. If you’re looking to max out your internal storage, we’d recommend the 256GB SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive.

Do note that if you decide to mount and use a USB drive as internal storage for your NVIDIA Shield, it will format the drive and wipe it clean and you will need to reformat again to use it with a different device. Alternatively, NVIDIA recommends selecting the “removable storage” option if you’re using the drive for transferring or watching media content. We’d recommend the 128GB SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive for its slim profile and great price.

6
Oct

Nerf blasters, Bluetooth speakers, and more are discounted today


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

There’s never a shortage of deals available, but sorting through all of them can be difficult at times. We’ve handpicked all the best tech, and everyday essentials discounts that you can take advantage of right now and brought them to one central location. From Nerf blasters to everyday backpacks, these are today’s best deals.

Tech Deals

View the rest of the deals

Everyday Essentials

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

6
Oct

Where to try an Oculus Go before you buy


oculus-go-colors.jpg?itok=TWBqtvwz

If you’re looking to buy an Oculus Go, but you’ve never tried out virtual reality (VR) before, you might want to give it a try before you buy to see if it’s for you. We’ve got plenty of virtual reality experts and fans here at Android Central, and we want to help you get your hands on this device so you can have fun in a whole new world, or at least figure out if you shouldn’t.

Products used in this guide

  • Amazon: Oculus Go Headset ($199)

Trying out the Oculus Go at Best Buy

Go to Best Buy’s Website

Click “Find Oculus Go and Rift demos”

ogo-demo-best-buy-1.jpg?itok=_eZycbM-

Select your state from the dropdown menu.

Another dropdown will appear listing counties that have available demos near you. Choose the closest one!

ogo-demo-best-buy-2.jpg?itok=1EMBm59p

A pop-up box will show you all the information you need to know.

There you have it, the first option of where you can try out the Oculus Go before you buy (just in case your friends don’t have one). From the information given to you from the Best Buy website, you’ll even be able to call the store, send an email, or leave a review on your experiences. The best part? If you love the headset, you can pick it up right from the store before you leave!

Trying out the Oculus Go at a local gaming convention

Check on Google to see if there is a gaming or VR convention going on near you.

Go to the conventions website and check out the list of vendors that will be available.

oculus-go-lory-profile.jpg?itok=f4t5gZDw

Go mingle with other virtual reality fans!

Here at Android Central, we got to try out the Oculus Go at GDC (Games Developer Conference) 2018. It was a pleasant surprise walking into the gaming hall and it’s obviously convenient to have it ready to demo in a professional setting. Who knows, you might find a gaming store or convention near you willing to let you try out the product! Calling around for questions never hurt anybody.

Our top equipment picks

When it comes to portable virtual reality, the Oculus Go is definitely the headset that has my vote. With the amazing resolution and all of the games it has available, it’s hard to not want one for yourself.

Standalone Virtual Reality

Oculus Go

oculus-go-amazon-image-sale.jpg?itok=sDh

$199 at Amazon

Revolutionizing virtual reality

With two different options of memory, you can go for the 32GB for $199, or the 64GB for $50 more. The Oculus Go is a completely portable headset to bring all your favorite VR games and experiences wherever you want.

Most of us have wanted to try out virtual reality for the longest time. While other headsets like the PlayStation VR are phenomenal, they all require a console (or a computer) to run them. So, what if you don’t have a PlayStation 4, or a decent computer? Well, that’s where the Oculus Go comes in. The only thing you need to set it up is your phone, and after that, it’s a completely standalone headset. Go and share your virtual experience with your friends!

6
Oct

Amazon Alexa’s app redesign makes navigating your smart home easier


This is happy. Alexa, do not play Despacito.

With Amazon’s huge lineup of smart devices, all new generations coming out, and new toolkits giving developers even more freedom to experiment, the Alexa voice assistant has firmly entrenched herself as one of the top voice control smart home systems around. The primary way to control Alexa, outside of yelling at her (be nice!), is through the free app. Now that app is getting a face-lift and it’s looking better than ever.

alexa-app.jpg?itok=Eb1uUi3l
If you haven’t gotten the update yet, it is rolling out to iOS and Android devices worldwide. Check your app store and give it an update. Outside of design and color, one of the functional changes includes a simpler way to control all your smart devices. You’ll now see your smart devices grouped by room with all the individual devices listed below it. Practically, this eliminates at least one click you’d have to take in the current edition of the app, making it easier to use.

Amazon is on fire these days (literally… because of the new Fire TV Stick 4K). They’ve got all new ways to watch Thursday Night Football, a DVR called the Recast that wants to be the new way cord cutters watch TV, and all kinds of bundles on the newest generations of Amazon devices designed to save you money. A redesigned Alexa app is just the icing on the smart home cake.

6
Oct

Canada Daily Deals: Sous vide cookers, ILIFE Robo Vacuums, 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 sous vide precision cookers, ILIFE Robotic Vacuum Cleaners, Amazon Echo Dots, Nintendo Switch pre-release games, and much more!

View the rest of the deals

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

For more Canadian deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter CA, sign up for the Canadian newsletter and follow the team on Twitter.

6
Oct

Should you get Google Wifi or Plume for your mesh system?


We’re a virtual company made up of tech experts from across the globe. We have a lot of connected devices in our homes, and we do our best to keep our home networks working in tip-top shape.

Google Wifi

No nonsense

google-wifi.jpg?itok=enOryfmg

$130+ at Amazon

Pros

  • Easy installation.
  • Can be placed on a shelf or desk.

Cons

  • Higher upfront costs.
  • Less advanced features available.

Google’s Wifi system comes in single and three packs, and it’s super easy to add more pieces as you expand your home.

Plume

Super subscription

plume-wifi-press-01-3udg.jpg?itok=1ObUaU

$239+ at Plume

Pros

  • Lower upfront costs.
  • Plugs right into a power outlet.

Cons

  • Restricted to where you have power outlets.
  • Ongoing subscription fees for some features.

Plume’s model is a bit more interesting in that the hardware is cheaper, but users have to pay for a subscription for some features. Depending on exactly what features you want, that could save you some money.

While they’re priced a bit differently, both Google Wifi and Plume are great ways to get better Wi-Fi coverage in your home.

Features

Ethernet backhaul Yes Yes
Power cable Yes, USB-C No
Automatic updates Yes Yes
IPv6 support Yes Yes
Custom DNS Yes Yes
UPnP Yes Yes
Guest network Yes Yes, with subscription
Family controls Yes Yes, with subscription
USB device support No No

How do they compare?

The most obvious difference between the two systems is the hardware. Plume plugs directly into a power outlet, while Google Wifi includes a USB-C power cable (and can work with most third-party cables). Which one of those is better depends on the layout of your house: plugging a router directly into the power outlet is easier, but being able to put it on the shelf will keep it from getting knocked around by pets and kids.

The next obvious difference is in the pricing: Google Wifi starts at $130 (or sometimes on sale for $100) for a single router and $300 for a three-pack. The Plume routers are cheaper by themselves, but you can’t buy them without also buying a subscription, especially if you want certain features. The cheapest way to get started is $99, which gets you three routers and a year of service.

Lifetime membership is a one-time $200 fee, which comes to $239 if you haven’t bought any Plume routers yet. That’s still cheaper than the Google Wifi three-pack, and you can still expand it with new routers if you move to a bigger home. If you stop paying the subscription, your Plume routers still work, still get updates, still allow you to change your network name and password, but you don’t get access to some advanced features.

Both Google Wifi and Plume support Ethernet backhaul, so you can have the mesh routers communicate over a wire to make your network that much more stable. The smaller Plume only has one Ethernet port though, so it can’t be used for both connecting to one of your devices and for Ethernet backhaul.

These are both great options, so pick the best to match your home layout.

They do have a lot in common though. Both support automatic updates, so your network is always safe as can be. Neither has a USB port for connecting a printer, hard drive, or other devices to your network. Features like IPv6 support, custom DNS, and DHCP and UPnP support are present for both. Both offer smartphone applications for iOS and Android so you can check on your network from anywhere in the world.

They also both include family controls to keep your child’s device locked down after certain hours, but Plume only allows this if you’ve paid for a subscription. Same with guest network support, but that’s a bit more granular. Plume allows you to have a guest network, but devices in your main network — say, a Sonos speaker you want your guest to be able to use — can still talk to devices on the guest side.

In the end, neither system is better or worse than the other. The one you choose should be based on the layout of your home, and whether you want to pay the subscription for extra features.

Google Wifi

No nonsense.

google-wifi.jpg?itok=enOryfmg

$300 at Amazon

No dealing with subscriptions.

Google Wifi makes it super easy to get started on your mesh system, and there are no ongoing fees. The separate power cable gives you a bit more freedom when placing each router.

Plume

Super subscription

plume-wifi-press-01-3udg.jpg?itok=1ObUaU

Cheaper to get started that Google’s system.

$239 at Plume

Plume’s subscription model may seem like a bad thing, but even with a lifetime membership, it can end up being less expensive than Google’s system.

%d bloggers like this: