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7
Oct

Is Google’s next Chrome OS detachable the Google Pixel Slate?


Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s new Pixelbooks.

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The Google Pixelbook is one helluva device. Its bezels might be big and the lack of a fingerprint sensor is a shame, but if you want a Chrome OS machine, it’s one of the very best you can get.

It’s no surprise that we’ll be getting a successor this year to accompany the Pixel 3, but according to everything we know, Google could be prepping to launch two Pixelbook 2 devices this year. What can we expect from this new hardware and when will we learn more?

Here’s everything we know about the Pixelbook 2 series!

The latest Pixelbook 2 News

October 6, 2018 — Detachable Chrome OS 2-in-1 leaks again as “Google Pixel Slate”

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The October 9 Made by Google event is just days away, and while there’s little left to spoil about the new Google Pixel 3, there are other Google devices predicted for the event that still have some mystery to them. Rumors have swirled over a new Pixelbook or Pixel tablet, and with the latest leaks of the detachable Chrome OS tablet comes a new name: the Google Pixel Slate.

The images from MySmartPrice show the previously-seen detachable, well, detached from its keyboard base, as well as showing off an handsome blue Pixelbook Pen to match it. Whether this Nocturne-codenamed device is really the Pixelbook 2, Google Pixel Slate, or something else entirely, we won’t have to wait long to find out

September 19, 2018 – Detachable Pixelbook 2 shown off

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Keyboard maker Brydge was rumored to be working with Google on a Chrome OS keyboard, and now that’s all but confirmed. About Chromebooks shared an image from the keyboard maker, showing off a keyboard that mostly resembles the standard Chrome OS layout. The leak also showed the tablet the keyboard was attached to, giving us a look at the fingerprint sensor and what looks like a far-field microphone setup.

While there’s nothing about this image that specifically has Google’s logo on the device, it’s worth noting there isn’t any logo on the front of the device. Companies like Asus, HP, Acer and other have a tendency to put their logo just below the display, which makes it more credible that this is a Google detachable.

September 12, 2018 — Pixelbook 2 appears in YouTube TV ad

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One leaked ad showing the Pixelbook 2 not enough? Lucky for you, because a second one’s already popped up.

According to one Redditor, the above image appeared during a commercial for YouTube TV. Just like the device that we saw in the Chromebook ad a couple days ago, this shows a device that looks very similar to the current Pixelbook with much smaller bezels.

Adding more weight to the legitimacy of this leak, the same Redditor also shared a Motion Photo from his Pixel 2 that shows a couple seconds of the ad in action.

September 10, 2018 — Leaked ad shows 2nd-gen Pixelbook with much slimmer bezels

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Atlas has been rumored for some time as a marginal upgrade over the 1st-gen Pixelbook, and thanks to an online ad that was recently discovered, we now have our first look at the machine.

The ad is pretty similar to other Chromebook advertisements Google’s been running, but the product shown in it is a device we haven’t seen before. The underside has a two-tone design that looks identical to the original Pixelbook, but as you can see for yourself, the bezels surrounding the screen are much smaller.

Lastly, the ad also reveals that the Pixelbook Pen will continue to work just fine with the new hardware.

September 8, 2018 — Video reportedly shows detachable Pixelbook 2

Like we previously talked about, this year should see Google releasing two Pixelbook 2 models — Atlas and Nocturne. Today, a short video clip apparently gives us our first look at the latter of those two devices.

The video’s pretty short and only shows a small portion of Nocturne, but it reveals some key details.

First of all, the buttons on the keyboard are circular instead of the traditional square design of last year’s Pixelbook. Few laptops have these circular buttons, so it’s interesting to see Google feature them on what’s likely its flagship Chrome OS device of 2018.

The bezels surrounding the display also appear to be much slimmer than the Pixelbook.

How do we know this is Nocturne and not Atlas? While we can’t confirm this with 100% certainty, the black pad that separates the keyboard from the screen sure does look like something you’d find on a Surface Pro — suggesting that the keyboard can detach from the main computer and reinforcing the belief that this is, in fact, Nocturne.

August 10, 2018 — Commit suggests two Pixelbook 2 models are coming this year

The Pixelbook is still one of the best Chromebooks you can buy, and later this year, Google may treat us to not just one, but two new machines to succeed it.

Thanks to some hard work from the folks at Chrome Unboxed, various commits hint at two new Chrome OS devices that Google is working on. Referred to as Atlas and Nocturne, these are believed to both be new entries in the Pixelbook 2 series.

What evidence backs this up? According to the commits that were found:

  • Atlas and Nocturne share the same board.
  • Features have been enabled for both Atlas and Nocturne in the same commit — something that doesn’t happen that often.
  • “Krabbylake” is mentioned in the commit for Atlas and Nocturne (maybe a new version of Intel’s Kabylake processors?).
  • Another codename “Whiskers” is referred to as a keyboard accessory for Nocturne, indicating it’ll be a detachable 2-in-1 device.

How many models are we expecting?

While one new Pixelbook would be a big enough treat from Google, a lot of signs are pointing towards us getting two Pixelbook 2 models — Atlas and Nocturne.

Atlas is expected to retain the same general design as the first Pixelbook with the exception of slimmer bezels around its display. On the other hand, Nocturne should feature a detachable design (a la Microsoft’s Surface Pro) that allows the main computer to detach from the keyboard so it’s easier to use as a tablet.

Various commits have provided ample evidence that Atlas and Nocturne are in fact two unique Chrome OS machines that Google is working on, giving customers more choice to find the Pixelbook that’s right for them.

How much will it cost?

Last year, pricing for the Pixelbook started at $999 and went up to $1649 depending on the configuration you chose.

It’s still unclear how much Google will charge for the Pixelbook 2 series, but we believe that the Nocturne detachable model will be the more expensive option while the Atlas machine that keeps the traditional laptop design will cost less.

In one leaked ad that shows a familiar Pixelbook body with slimmer bezels, the tagline under “You Chromebook” says “Convertible, flexible, affordable.”

“Affordable” could mean just about anything, but it suggests that the Atlas Pixelbook 2 could cost less than the original Pixelbook’s base $999 price tag.

When will the Pixelbook 2 be released?

Google’s confirmed that it’ll be holding an event in New York City on October 9, 2018.

While the Pixel 3 and 3 XL will likely be the main focus, this is also where we can expect to learn all about the company’s latest Chrome OS efforts with its new Pixelbook 2 hardware.

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Chromebooks in education: Everything you need to know
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

7
Oct

Make the most of your Ring Doorbell with these accessories!


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The Ring Doorbell is a great way to make your home a bit smarter, since it pulls double duty as a security camera and intercom system, works with Alexa, and of course, functions as a doorbell. While the Ring Doorbell includes everything you need to get up and running out of the box, it never hurts to go beyond the basics. These are the best accessories to help you make the most of your Ring Doorbell.

Creative mounting

HOMONO Angle Mount

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Every doorway is different, and you may need to get creative with how you mount your doorbell for it to be completely effective. This mount from HOMONO gives you up a 55-degree horizontal angle, so your camera pays attention to where it should.

$9 at Amazon

A simpler mount

OideaO 3x Adjustable Mount

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This one works a bit differently than the previous mount, with the advantage being you can set it to a wider angle. You get three wedges: one 20-degree, one 30-degree, and one 40-degree, and you can stack these as you see fit to find the perfect angle for your doorway. The kit includes drywall anchors and screws, so you just need a drill and screwdriver to install this.

$12 at Amazon

Vertical mount

KIMILAR Angle Mount

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If you need to change your vertical angle instead of your horizontal one, this kit if for you. Again, you get three wedges to angle your Ring Doorbell Pro, this time at 5-, 10-, or 15- degrees. And again, screws, drywall sockets, and even a little screwdriver are included so you can have the mount installed in no time.

$10 at Amazon

Better battery

Ring Rechargeable Battery Pack for Video Doorbell 2

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The Ring Doorbell 2 works with standard AA batteries, but there are less wasteful power options available. This kit includes a rechargeable battery pack and a USB charging cable. The battery should last up to six months, though it takes seven hours to recharge.

$36 at Amazon

Unlimited power

Hotop Ring Doorbell Power Supply

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If you don’t want to deal with batteries at all, a permanent power supply is for you. This one from Hotop works with all Ring Doorbell models, and the cable and plug are small enough to fit through a small hole in your wall. The cable is 1.8 meters long, so you shouldn’t have any issues reaching one of your outlets inside.

$16 at Amazon

Show up

Amazon Echo Show (2nd gen)

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You can use the Echo Show to see who is outside your door, and the newest version is better than ever. The slimmer bezels and fabric back panel make the new Echo Show look miles better than the first one, and the big screen will make it super easy to see what’s going on outside your door. You can also talk to whoever is outside through the Echo Show, and hear them back.

$230 at Amazon

Speak easy

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

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The all-new Echo Dot is great for a lot of things, but the key one here is that it lets you speak to and hear whoever is outside. It’s not as nice as being able to see footage like with the Echo Show, but this is also a good bit less expensive.

$50 at Amazon

Chime in

Ring Chime

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The microphone on your doorbell doesn’t do any good if you can’t hear it throughout your home. The Ring Chime’s speaker plugs into any power outlet to let you hear whoever is trying to come inside. The Chime lacks a microphone, though, so you won’t be able to talk back.

$30 at Amazon

Extra reach

Ring Chime Pro

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This does everything the Chime does but also serves as a Wi-Fi extender. Now, this doesn’t work as an extender for your smartphone or tablet, only for Ring devices, so you can hear alerts in that secluded back corner of your home.

$50 at Amazon

The Ring Doorbell is great on its own, but like with all smart home tech, it gets so much more capable once you add some accessories. Not all of these are mandatory (we personally like the Amazon Echo Show for its ability to let us see who’s at our door), so just mix and match accessories to find what works best for your home.

7
Oct

iFixit Indicates Third-Party 2018 MacBook Pro, iMac Pro Repairs Still Possible for Now


Earlier this week, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple stating that Macs with the Apple T2 chip, including the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, must pass Apple diagnostics for certain repairs to be completed.

The document states:

For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run. Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.

• For notebooks: Display assembly, logic board, top case, and Touch ID board
• For desktops: Logic board and flash storage

Apple’s diagnostic software is limited to internal use by Genius Bars at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and qualifying institutions, suggesting that independent repair shops without Apple certification would be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro going forward.

Moreover, the document reignited a debate about planned obsolescence, as there were concerns that when Apple stops servicing the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, repairs through alternative channels might not be possible.

The news was quickly opposed by “Right to Repair” activists who believe that Apple and other device manufacturers should be legally required to make replacement parts, repair guides, and tools available to the public. Apple has and continues to actively oppose “Right to Repair” legislation in the United States.

Those activists will be delighted to hear that, for whatever reason, what Apple said in its document isn’t actually the case right now.

After our report was published, the repair experts at iFixit swapped out the display and logic board on a 2018 MacBook Pro, and the notebook remained operational without being subjected to Apple’s diagnostic software.

iFixit swapping out parts on 2018 MacBook Pro
iFixit is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider, so at this time, it appears that independent repair shops should remain able to repair the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro without issue. It’s unclear why Apple’s document suggests otherwise, but it’s possible the requirement could kick in at a later date.

iFixit:

So why is Apple doing this? It could simply be a mechanism for tracking parts used by their authorized network, to check quality or replacement rates. It’s possible that units with swapped parts may operate normally, but still report a failure in Apple diagnostic tests for having ‘unauthorized’ components installed—much like earlier units did on earlier versions of AST for third party HDD/SSD, RAM and batteries.

Apple did not respond to our request for comment.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, iMac ProTag: iFixitBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now), iMac Pro (Neutral)
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7
Oct

Do you need a 120Hz or 240Hz monitor?


If you’re looking for a new monitor, you may be bewildered by today’s options. The last five years have seen the average monitor’s feature list swell to include better panels, higher resolutions, and more inputs. But figuring out whether you actually need all of those features, especially if you’re not a gamer, can be rather difficult.

Alongside improved resolutions like 4K, one of the big selling points of many modern monitors is a high refresh rate. Often you’ll see displays marketed as having a 120Hz or 144Hz panel. This is among the most confusing traits for consumers, because the name doesn’t provide much explanation, and unlike most improvements, refresh rates don’t enhance color accuracy or resolution.

Is it better just because the numbers are higher? Do you need a 120Hz or 240Hz monitor?

If you just want to jump ahead and buy one now, here are some of our favorite high-end displays.

What does Hz actually mean?

Casual users often assume that “120Hz” has something do with performance because it seems similar to the way processor clock speeds are described. In fact, the term describes something a bit different; refresh rate.

Refresh rate is the number of times per second a display refreshes its image. Since movement is displayed by the difference between frames, the refresh rate effectively places a hard cap on the frame rate visible. That said, refresh rate is not the same as frame rate. Refresh rate is an attribute of the monitor, while frame rate is an attribute of the information being sent to it.

If you can run a game at 100 frames per second, you may see a tangible benefit from playing it on a monitor that can refresh that many times per second. But if you’re watching a movie at a classic 24 frames per second, a higher refresh rate monitor won’t make any difference.

Motion resolution

If your computer can play a game at a high enough frame rate to match a 120Hz or 240Hz monitor, you’ll see a noticeable change in the perceived sharpness of a moving image. Blurring occurs because of how the human brain processes the set of individual frames a monitor displays. The brain blurs together the series of frames to create a sensible moving picture, but some detail is lost along the way.

A higher refresh rate helps to decrease the blur by giving our brains more information to act on, in turn reducing perceived blur. However, unlike computer hardware, our brains aren’t all made to the same specification. Some people notice the difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz display immediately, while others can’t see what everyone is all worked up about. The difference between 120Hz and 240Hz is even more subtle.

Again, it is very much dependent on what you’re doing on your system. Gamers will notice sharper visuals during fast action, and moving a mouse can feel smoother compared to a more typical 60Hz display. Web browsing when fast scrolling down a page can look a little smoother too, but watching online videos and answering emails won’t see provide any real.

Screen tearing

Because refresh rates and frame rates are very different things, they can often mismatch. That’s when something called screen tearing can occur. It tends to happen when a computer’s video card is spitting out frames at a rate well beyond the refresh rate of the monitor connected to it. Because more frames are being rendered than the monitor can handle, half-frames are sometimes shown together on the screen, manifesting as an obvious split between two portions of it, neither of which appears to line up correctly with the other. It’s a distracting problem that even the least sensitive viewer will usually notice.

In games that aren’t particularly taxing, frame rates can often exceed 100 FPS. However, a 60Hz display only refreshes 60 times per second. This means gamers are not fully benefiting from the enhanced responsiveness of the higher frame rate, and may notice tearing as the display fails to keep up with the data fed to it. A 120Hz display refreshes twice as quickly as a 60Hz display, so it can display up to 120 frames per second, and a 240Hz display can handle up to 240 frames per second. This will eliminate tearing in most games.

Frame syncing technologies like V-Sync, Freesync, and G-Sync, also help prevent screen tearing, but they have their own drawbacks. V-Sync will cap performance. Freesync and G-Sync, meanwhile, require specific combinations of video card and monitor hardware.

Input response

Aurelien Meunier/FIFA/Getty Images

The refresh rate of a monitor has an impact on input lag. A 60Hz display, for example, will never have a visible input lag below 16.67ms, because that’s the amount of time which passes from one refresh to the next. A 120Hz display halves that time to 8.33ms, and a 240Hz display further reduces it to 4.16ms.

Decreasing lag by less than ten milliseconds may not seem important, and for many people, even gamers, it’s not. However, input lag can be worth eliminating for ultra-competitive gaming or for those who like games to feel as smooth as possible. This is, once again, an issue some people will notice more readily than others.

Do you need really need a 120Hz or 240Hz monitor?

In short, if you’re a gamer, we’d argue that you would see a greater, more obvious benefit from switching to a high-refresh rate monitor than you would in upgrading to 4K — as doing both can get inordinately expensive and taxing on your hardware. 120hz or 144Hz displays make for smoother, tear-free gaming with less input lag.

Still, if possible, try finding a 120Hz monitor in a store. Many have motion demos running to show off the feature. You might also refer to past experience; if you immediately notice stuttering or blur at the movie theater, or on your television, you’ll probably notice the difference. People who’ve never had a problem, however, may not see an improvement.

If you’re not a gamer, switching to a high refresh rate display is much less important. While the improvement in motion resolution is visible, its benefit is often hard to notice. Televisions, which also advertise 120Hz or 240Hz panels, further improve motion quality with image processors that change the input sent to them. Many can even add frames, effectively increasing the framerate of content. Monitors, however, usually have no processor; the input sent is what’s displayed. This minimizes the benefit of the panel when viewing video content. An improved refresh rate also does not guarantee the elimination of “ghosting,” an artifact common to LCD monitors which causes moving objects to leave one or more faint trails behind them.

Ultimately, consumers who don’t game will struggle to notice a difference. Spending money on improved image quality, rather than improved motion performance, is usually the better choice. There are many great IPS displays on the market which rely on 60Hz panels but are otherwise superior to most 120Hz monitors on the market.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • What is G-Sync? If you’re a gaming fan, you’ll want to know
  • Asus ROG Swift PG279Q review
  • The best monitors of IFA 2018
  • Acer targets gamers with new color-rich 4K Predator and Nitro monitors
  • What is the ‘Soap Opera Effect’ in TV and how can you turn it off?



7
Oct

Save 50% on the TorGuard VPN and browse in peace… for life


Pay a little extra for privacy and security.

Use the code THRIFTERDEALS to take 50% off any of the Anonymous VPN services offered by TorGuard. This deal brings the price down to $4.99 for the monthly service or $29.99 for a year. Anonymous VPN is a subscription service, but you will continue to get the discounted price every time it renews until you end it. That’s pretty awesome because it means 50% off for life if you want.

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TorGuard is a virtual private network. The internet at large is a really public space, and a lot of times that means your data is being passed around when you don’t even know about it. VPNs turn your internet experience into a private one so you can protect yourself and not worry about who is collecting or using your information. No matter which plan you choose, TorGuard services will include access to more than 3,000 servers in 50 countries, up to five simultaneous connections, perfect forward security, advertisement and malware blocking, protection against known leaks, support for all operating systems and devices, and more. You can even add on extras like protection from DDoS attacks.

Even if you aren’t generally worried about privacy, which you should be, there are a lot of general use reasons to subscribe to a VPN service. For example, if you play video games or stream online, you can use a VPN to protect your IP address from online trolls. Since VPNs can access servers in multiple countries, you can use them to view content that would not normally be available to you, like YouTube videos or European Netflix. It also keeps ads from targeting you based on your shopping habits and things like that, which can be very disconcerting.

You can try a month of the TorGuard VPN for as little as $5 with the THRIFTERDEALS promo code, and if you like it upgrade the service or keep it at the discounted price. For that low of a cost, it’s worth a shot.

See at TorGuard

7
Oct

The SanDisk Ultra 128GB micro SD card has dropped to $25


Store and save with this discounted micro SD card.

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The SanDisk Ultra 128GB micro SD card is down to $25.49 on Amazon. This is the best price yet we’ve seen for a card that has been steadily dropping in price over the last couple of months. It was selling as high as $40 in April and has been dropping slowly since then.

This is a Class 10 SD card with transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s. It will resist shocks, extreme temperatures, water, and X-rays. The card is built for Android-based mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It also comes with a 10-year limited warranty. Users give it 4.5 stars based on 6,559 reviews.

See at Amazon

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