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30
Oct

Here’s how to get your hands on the new Apple iPad Pro


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

After months of rumors and anticipation, Apple finally took the wraps off its new iPad Pro models at a special event in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to sporting some serious hardware upgrades like the A12X processor, there’s also an entirely new design for the 2018 iPad Pro. Gone are the chunky bezels and home button; they’ve been replaced with a gorgeous new display and Face ID to quickly unlock the iPad Pro.

If you’re looking to get your hands on one of the new iPad Pros, you’ll have plenty of options. To make sure you get the a new iPad that’s perfect for you at the price you seek, we’ve compiled this guide. Here’s how, when, and where to buy the new 2018 iPad Pro.

Apple

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We’re sure it comes as no surprise that Apple will be offering the new iPad Pro models. If you’re a purist, or simply like the level of support you receive when buying in-store or online, this may be your best option. You can pre-order the new iPad Pro today, but if you want to get it in-store, you’ll have to wait until November 7.

Pricing for the iPad Pro Wi-Fi models is as follows:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB: $800
  • 256GB: $950
  • 512GB: $1,150
  • 1TB: $1,550

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,000
  • 256GB: $1,150
  • 512GB: $1,350
  • 1TB:$1,750

You’ll also be able to purchase Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the latest iPad Pro in store. Pricing for these models is as follows:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB: $950
  • 256GB: $1,100
  • 512GB: $1,300
  • 1TB: $1,700

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,150
  • 256GB: $1,300
  • 512GB: $1,500
  • 1TB: $1,900

Carriers

Do you prefer to purchase the new iPad with LTE connectivity? You may want to check out your carrier. In addition to providing special incentives for new and existing customers, carriers typically offer more financing options. Since we have not received confirmation that any carrier will sell the new iPad, pricing is currently based on information from Apple’s website.

Verizon

Verizon has not confirmed that it will sell the iPad Pro yet, however we anticipate seeing the new tablets online and in Verizon stores. While Verizon hasn’t provided Digital Trends with any information on promotions, we’d expect to see something in the coming days or weeks.

Here’s the current pricing for the latest iPad Pro on Verizon:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB: $950
  • 256GB: $1,100
  • 512GB: $1,300
  • 1TB: $1,700

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,150
  • 256GB: $1,300
  • 512GB: $1,500
  • 1TB: $1,900

AT&T 

If you’re an AT&T customer, you’ll likely be able to get the new Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad Pro through your carrier as well. Although AT&T has not confirmed it will see the new iPad Pro, it has traditionally sold the tablets in the past. And while AT&T hasn’t informed us of any specials or promotions for the new iPad Pro just yet, we anticipate seeing something in the near future.

Here’s the current pricing for the latest iPad Pro on AT&T:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB:$950
  • 256GB: $1,100
  • 512GB: $1,300
  • 1TB: $1,700

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,150
  • 256GB: $1,300
  • 512GB: $1,500
  • 1TB: $1,900

Sprint

Sprint customers will be able to get in on some of the new iPad Pro action as well. Sprint confirmed it will sell the iPad Pro online and in-store. The carrier will sell the-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad Pro online and in-store. Again, we don’t have promotional information available just yet, but will update this story as soon as we learn more.

Here’s the current pricing for the latest iPad Pro on Sprint:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB: $950
  • 256GB: $1,100
  • 512GB: $1,300
  • 1TB: $1,700

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,150
  • 256GB: $1,300
  • 512GB: $1,500
  • 1TB: $1,900

T-Mobile

We’re almost certain America’s Un-carrier will delight it’s customers with the iPad Pro. Like the other major carriers, T-Mobile will likely sell the Wi-Fi + Cellular version of the new iPad Pro online and in-store. T-Mobile has yet to let us in on any specials or promotions, however we’d almost guarantee we’ll see something in the coming days.

Here’s the current pricing for the latest iPad Pro on T-Mobile:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 64GB: $950
  • 256GB: $1,100
  • 512GB: $1,300
  • 1TB: $1,700

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  •  64GB: $1,150
  • 256GB: $1,300
  • 512GB: $1,500
  • 1TB: $1,900

10.5-inch iPad Pro

If you’re not worried about having the latest tech, you may be able to save a few bucks if you purchase the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017. It has many of the same features as the new iPad Pro along with a blazing fast A10X processor and stunning display. You can find the 10.5-inch iPad for sale on Apple’s website and through all the major carriers.

Pricing for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi models is as follows:

  • 64GB – $650
  • 256GB – $800
  • 512GB – $1,000

Pricing for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi +Cellular models is as follows:

  • 64GB – $780
  • 256GB – $930
  • 512GB – $1,130

This is a developing story. We will continue to update as we learn more about the new iPad Pro. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The new iPad Pro is here, and it adds the best of the iPhone to the tablet
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 vs. iPad Pro: Which high-end tablet takes the crown?
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR: How to buy Apple’s new phones
  • The best tablets of 2018
  • Surface Pro 6 vs. iPad Pro



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30
Oct

Rushing out the door just got faster — CrunchCup lets you eat cereal on the go


Here’s a scenario for you. It’s early in the morning and you know that you need to be out of the door in just a few minutes, but that craving for some sweet, sugary goodness soaked in fresh, cold milk hits your taste buds and you can’t help but pour yourself a bowl of cereal. You either have to eat it at the kitchen table and be late or try to take it with you and risk spilling all over yourself. It’s a no-win proposition until now, thanks to the CrunchCup.

Currently raising funds on Kickstarter (it already surpassed its goal of $18,000), the CrunchCup is a simple concept that allows you to eat cereal just about anywhere. The design, which looks like the love child of a flashlight and a shaker bottle, contains two separate chambers. The outer layer holds your milk while the inner layer contains your cereal of choice. The lid on the top of the contraption has a small opening that allows the milk to pour out, while a larger opening about the size of a ping-pong ball lets you get at the cereal.

The container is made of BPA-free, food-grade plastic and can hold up to 10 ounces of cereal and six ounces of milk — or whatever milk-like alternative you prefer given your dietary preferences. It’s dishwasher safe, so you can toss it in with the rest of your dishes and have it ready to go for your next breakfast on the run.

CrunchCup has already met its funding goal on Kickstarter, but you can still back the project if you would like to get your hands on the reimagined cereal bowl. Early bird backers have to pledge $25 to receive the CrunchCup, which the creators say will be about 10 percent off the expected retail price. The CrunchCup is expected to arrive sometime in April 2019. (Of course, you should always take anything from a crowdfunding campaign with a grain of salt.) The creators of CrunchCup also stated they will be donating 5 percent of the proceeds from their creation to a nationally recognized organization that helps get food to children in need, so your purchase will do more good than just letting you eat cereal on the go.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Automatic litter boxes and mobile cereal cups
  • How to clean a standard-drip coffee maker
  • Magic of physics makes this fridge chill food without fans or electricity
  • How to stop spam emails
  • Futuristic chopsticks simulate flavor by zapping your tongue with electrodes



30
Oct

Apple MacBook Air (2018) vs. Apple MacBook


Apple’s most beloved Mac, the MacBook Air, just got better. With under-the-hood improvements, the 2018 Air received a much needed performance boost along with a fresh design. But that’s not all that Apple updated — the MacBook Air also got a new pricier starting price.

Starting at $1,199, this year’s Air not only costs $200 more than the outgoing model, but the new price places Apple’s “cheapest” notebook within $100 of the $1,299 MacBook. Both laptops sport slim and svelte profiles and are designed for mobile road warriors. So which should you choose? The slightly larger and more powerful MacBook Air, or the ultra-slim and sleek MacBook? We’ll weigh some of the most important features of both notebooks to guide you in your buying decision.

Design

Despite its name and recent makeover, the MacBook Air now occupies a more confusing spot in Apple’s Mac lineup, as the standard MacBook is still both smaller and lighter than Air. If you’re looking for ultimate portability, there’s no denying the slightly wedge-shaped MacBook is the option to choose, with its 2.03-pound body and 12-inch display. In comparison, the MacBook Air weighs nearly three-quarters of a pound heavier to accommodate a larger 13.3-inch frame. Both laptops are lighter than last year’s Air, which clocked in with a solid three-pound body.

The biggest visible change to the MacBook Air design is the Retina display. Apple’s swapped the bold aluminum borders around the screen for edge-to-edge glass. Though the Air has more pixels than the regular MacBook — 2,560 x 1,600 v. 2,304 x 1,440 pixels, respectively — both notebooks share a similar number of pixels per inch (about 227), given that that the Air’s increased pixel count has to be distributed over a larger screen. Both notebooks share similar 16:10 aspect ratios. In practice, they’ll look very similar.

Despite packing in more pixels into the Air, the overall footprint of the notebook has shrunk. The 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inch MacBook Air is only slightly larger than the MacBook, which measures 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.52 inches. With the larger size, Apple’s made good use of the real estate on the Air, packing in stereo speakers on each side of the keyboard, similar to the MacBook Pro, which the company claims delivers up to 25 percent more volume and twice the bass as the prior generation.

Apple is also promoting the Air’s environmentally-friendly design this year, as the notebook as made from more recycled parts. Though it’s not noticeable to the user, the Air is now made from an alloy comprised of 100 percent recycled aluminum.

Winner: MacBook Air

Performance

There’s no question the more powerful components inside 2018’s MacBook Air gives this notebook an edge over the standard MacBook. Both laptops sport dual-core CPU designs, but the Air comes with Intel’s newer 8th-Generation processors, while the MacBook is limited to Intel’s older 7th-Generation Core m processors. The Core m design is power efficient, but comes with reduced performance. This year, all configurations of the Air ship with a 1.6GHz Core i5 dual-core processor that can reach 3.6GHz with Turbo Boost.

Both notebooks ship with 8GB memory, though users can configure the laptops with up to 16GB RAM. The Air will give users more storage options, ranging between a 128GB solid-state drive to a maximum of 1.5TB. In comparison, MacBook users can only choose between 256GB and 512GB SSD options. Regardless of which notebook you choose, you have to consider memory and storage options carefully at the time of purchase, as neither can be upgraded after purchase.

To keep the notebook slim, the Air migrates to Apple’s new keyboard design with butterfly key switches. This means shallow key travels, but the Air utilizes the third-generation keyboard design, which should help alleviate some of the sticky key problems reported on the MacBook and last year’s MacBook Pro models. The trackpad is also larger on the Air this year, and it now supports Force Touch, similar to the MacBook.

Apple replaced all the ports on last year’s Air with two Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C ports on this year’s model, making it more versatile than the uni-port USB-C equipped MacBook. Added Thunderbolt 3 support on the Air means creatives can add an eGPU to get better graphics performance. The Air comes with Intel UHD Graphics 617, compared to the MacBook’s integrated Intel HD Graphics 615, though it’s unclear how much of an upgrade that represents. Both laptops come with a headphone jack.

Winner: MacBook Air

Portability

Though some may claim that Apple may have sacrificed the standard keyboard in order to make the Air slimmer and lighter this year, one area that the company did not compromise is battery life. Like previous Airs, the 2018 model comes with 12 hours of wireless web browsing, but comes with an additional hour of iTunes movie playback for a total of 13 hours of video viewing. The MacBook offers just 10 hours of wireless web use and up to 12 hours of iTunes movie playback. Both laptops come with up to 30 days of standby time.

For professional users, both laptops can be used as a mobile office. With MacOS Mojave supporting Group FaceTime calls, users can add up to 30 participants to their video conference with the pre-installed FaceTime app. The Air handles video calls better, with three microphones and an HD camera, whereas the MacBook only has two microphones and an SD 480p camera. Both cameras are situated above the display for a natural viewing angle.

Mobile users will also benefit from the Air’s increased security this year. The Air ships with a Touch ID sensor, which will help you quickly log into your computer without a password, and the T2 chipset inside will help with data encryption to keep your files secure.

Winner: MacBook Air

The Air Remains the Better Bet

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With better performance, more versatility given the added Thunderbolt 3 port, and $100 lower price tag, the Air remains a better bet than the MacBook for most users. Unless you demand the MacBook’s slightly slimmer and lighter frame, the MacBook Air will deliver more performance at a cheaper price in a package that’s only 2.75 pounds and just barely larger overall.



30
Oct

Apple MacBook Air buying guide


It’s finally happened. Apple’s MacBook Air, the company’s least expensive laptop, has received an update. It’s still a 13-inch machine with a thin frame, but it now has a Retina display, Touch ID security, and a butterfly keyboard like other new MacBooks.

There’s a good chance you’re eyeing this slick new machine, but if so, what model should you buy. Is the least expensive version fine, or should you spend more?

Processor

As usual, Apple doesn’t list the exact processors found in the MacBook Air. We do know, however, that it’s an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 dual-core with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz and a maximum clock of 3.6GHz. It also has Intel UHD Graphics 617.

That last point is interesting. Intel doesn’t list any processor with UHD Graphics 617. It has only appeared once, in an August leak of a Core i7-8510Y processor. As mentioned, though, the Air has a Core i5 processor, not a Core i7. Whatever the model number, which we’ll know once it ships to owners, the processor is clearly a compromise to reduce the Air’s size. Most competitors have an Intel Core i5 quad-core processor.

The new MacBook Air does not offer an alternative processor. The older model is still available for $1,000, but its older fifth-generation Core i5 processor is woefully out of date, and we don’t recommend it – even though it’s $200 less.

Hard drive

The base model of the new MacBook Air comes with 128GB of solid-state storage. Remember that MacOS and default apps take up some space, so it’ll effectively have closer to 100GB of storage. That’s not much.

Upgrades are expensive. Most users will at least want the 256GB storage option, a $200 upgrade that bumps the final price to $1,400. Strangely, there’s no 1TB SSD available, but a 1.5TB SSD will be sold – if you’re willing to spend an extra $1,200 for it.

We think the 256GB drive is the best value for most people.

RAM

Apple ships the new MacBook Air with 8GB of memory, upgradable to 16GB for $200.

Most people won’t have need to spend the extra cash. While there’s certainly reasons why you might want more RAM in a MacBook, the Air’s relatively slow processor means it’s a poor fit for people who want to run demanding apps.

Stick with 8GB. If you think you need 16GB, frankly, you’re likely to need a MacBook Pro. We have a hard time imaging a scenario where 16GB of RAM is useful, yet a faster quad-core processor (like that in the Pro) wouldn’t help.

The rest


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Apple Macbook Air

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple Macbook Air

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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new macbook air 2018 retina 2

new macbook air 2018 retina 3

new macbook air 2018 retina 4

Apple Macbook Air

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple Macbook Air

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple Macbook Air

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The MacBook Air has few options. There’s just one processor available, so you can only change the storage and RAM. That means buying it is simple, but there’s a few other specifications you may want to know.

First, the new Air has a Retina display. That means 2,560 x 1,600 resolution or 227 pixels per inch, which is identical to the MacBook Pro. Given the Air’s lower price, the display is a nice feature.

The new Air weights 2.75 pounds and is a maximum of 0.61 inches thick. These specifications are solid but not remarkable. Competitors like the Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook UX331UA are just as thin and light.

You should also know Apple has switched to the butterfly keyboard found in the MacBook and MacBook Pro. It’s been a controversial design because of the keyboard’s low travel and poor tactile feel. There’s no Touch Bar option. That’s still reserved for the Pro.

Buy the new Air. Not the old Air.

As a reminder, don’t buy the old MacBook Air. Apple still has it listed for sale, but it’s an antiquated model with a processor that’s several years out of date and a terrible display. It’s the least expensive option at $1,000, but we don’t think you’d like it.

If you think the MacBook Air isn’t the right Mac for you after all, no worries. Our complete MacBook buying guide will point you to the right machine.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple MacBook Air (2018) vs. Apple MacBook
  • Surface Laptop 2 vs. MacBook Pro
  • It’s finally here. Apple’s new MacBook Air has Touch ID and Retina for $1,199
  • Apple could announce a new MacBook this week. Here’s what we want to see
  • Score a professionally refurbished MacBook Air for less than 300 bucks



30
Oct

Apple’s MacBook Pro 15 gets an upgrade with AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics


Apple has new hardware configuration options with higher-powered graphics coming to its MacBook Pro 15 line of powerful notebooks. Those needing more graphical power for rendering or even gaming will be able to opt for AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Vega 20 onboard graphics chips instead.

Not to be confused with the rumored 7nm die shrink Vega 20 graphics chips expected to debut in 2019, these new graphics cores are nonetheless more powerful than the Radeon Pro 560X currently offered with the MacBook Pro’s top configuration. Built on a 14nm process, the new chips will sport 16 and 20 compute units as designated by their nomenclature, which should make them more powerful than the graphics cores used in AMD’s own desktop APUs the 2200G and 2400G — clock speed depending. They will also sport second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2).

“Radeon Vega Mobile graphics raise the bar for performance in notebooks,” Scott Herkelman, corporate vice president and general manager of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD, said in a statement. “They provide the best of both worlds: Amazing performance for creative applications and visually stunning, responsive gaming for today’s biggest titles in a mobile form factor.”

Apple talks up the new graphics options as being great for those who want to create on their MacBooks, with powerful capabilities for video editing, 3D rendering, and other creative applications. It also gives a nod to those who like to game on their MacBooks, suggesting the new chips will be capable of AAA gaming at 1080P, as well as high-speed gameplay in esports titles.

Although Nvidia may dominate the graphics market in both desktop and laptops for Windows users, Apple has had a long relationship with AMD graphics and currently offers even its high-end offerings like Vega Pro 64 graphics in its top-tier iMac Pro desktop all-in-one. It doesn’t look like that relationship is going to end any time soon, despite its increasing support for external GPUs which opens up all sorts of opportunities for the green team.

There’s no hard release date for the new MacBook Pro configurations just yet, nor any indication of what it will do to price. However, we would expect the new graphical hardware to come at a premium in excess of what the existing Radeon Pro 560X offerings are. The launch date is currently slated for late November.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar review
  • Dell XPS 15 vs. MacBook Pro 15
  • The best monitor for the MacBook Pro
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. MacBook Pro 15
  • MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro



30
Oct

Smell like Skynet: IBM creates an A.I. that will design the perfect perfume


“I love your perfume.” “Thanks. It’s Skynet.” OK, so that’s not necessarily the most likely conversation for you to have in the near future, but it very well could be. That’s because IBM Research has teamed up with master fragrance maker Symrise to use its artificial intelligence expertise to develop next-gen fragrances, courtesy of IBM’s impressive machine learning technology.

Similar to its previous Chef Watson project — which used IBM’s Watson technology to create new recipes for delicious dishes — this collaboration uses data-mining algorithms to comb through masses of data to come up with unique scent combinations likely to appeal to humans. Hey, at least we know that Terminators will smell good for the inevitable rise of the machines!

“Fine fragrance is both an art and a science that takes people 10 years of training to master,” Richard Goodwin, a principal research scientist at IBM, told Digital Trends. “We’ve created a system, Philyra, based on IBM Research’s A.I. for Product Composition that, like a human apprentice, learns from the work of master perfumers to create novel and good smelling fragrances. Unlike human apprentices, the system can’t smell, but it can learn from 100,000s of formulas, created by hundreds of perfumers over many decades. The exciting part is that the system can create well-formed and balanced fragrances that combine the techniques of all the perfumes it has learned from to spur innovation and improve efficiency.”

IBM Research

In addition to perfume, Goodwin said that the same formula-finding technology could also be used formulate fragrance design for other consumer products, including shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergent, and even industrial products like adhesives and lubricants. That gives it a potentially enormous scope.

“For each of these products, chemists train for years to be able to design high performing, cost-effective formulas,” Goodwin continued. “For example, detergents that clean better or adhesives that hold the glass on the front of your phone or hold parts of an airplane together. We want to make the knowledge that these designers have developed and make it available in a way that allows it to be better used to create future products.”

Philyra is currently using the tech to help create perfumes for global beauty company O Boticário, which will be released in 2019. It also aims to distribute the A.I. to both its master perfumers around the globe and as a teaching aid to help train students.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • IBM’s Holodeck-style classroom tech makes language-learning apps look primitive
  • IBM’s drone concept knows when you want a coffee, and flies it to you
  • Replaced by robots: 10 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution
  • As Christie’s auctions its first A.I. painting, the meaning of ‘art’ gets blurrier
  • By studying patient data, A.I. can limit toxicity in cancer treatment



30
Oct

OnePlus 6T debuts in India for ₹37,999 ($515), sales kick off Nov. 1


With the 6T, OnePlus is getting aggressive in the Indian market.

oneplus-6t-1.jpg?itok=7GmnJIwj

India is OnePlus’ largest global market, with the Chinese manufacturer overtaking Samsung to become the largest player in the premium segment earlier this year. At a media event in New Delhi that featured over 1,500 fans, OnePlus unveiled its latest flagship, the OnePlus 6T, in the country.

The OnePlus 6T will be up for sale on Amazon India for ₹37,999 ($515), which is an aggressive move as the phone comes with 128GB of storage as standard. To put things into context, the 128GB variant of the OnePlus 6 retailed for ₹39,999 ($545). The version with 8GB of storage and 128GB of storage will cost ₹41,999 ($570), and the 8GB/256GB model will be up for sale for ₹45,999 ($625).

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There are a few marquee features that makes the OnePlus 6T stand out. First up, there’s a narrower notch up top that leads to a much more immersive experience, and the 6T is the first OnePlus phone to offer an in-display fingerprint sensor. OnePlus says the in-display module is one of the fastest in the market, rivaling that of the Vivo NEX and the Vivo V11.

The OnePlus 6T also has a larger 3700mAh battery that should allow it to eke out slightly better battery life. And when you do need to top up, OnePlus’ charging solution continues to be one of the best around, letting you charge from zero to 50% in just over 30 minutes. On the software side of things, the OnePlus 6T comes with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box along with OxygenOS’ own set of customization options.

OnePlus 6T review: 90% of the phone for 60% of the price

OnePlus is launching a USB-C variant of its Bullets earbuds alongside the phone, which will be available for ₹1,499 ($20). The new Explorer backpack is also making its debut in the country for ₹4,990 ($67), but you won’t be able to buy it just yet. OnePlus will initially offer the bag via an invite-only system.

Unlike the last two launches, OnePlus isn’t debuting a special variant of the 6T as part of its ongoing collaboration with Disney. The OnePlus 5T Star Wars edition and the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Edition were standout devices that were aimed primarily at Indian users, and while there isn’t a similar variant of the 6T just yet, we should hopefully see an update on this front in the coming months.

The OnePlus 6T will go up for sale in India from November 1, and this time around, the device will be available at Reliance Digital retail stores across the country. That’s a huge move for the brand that will allow it to boost visibility and cater to a more mainstream audience, all while solidifying its position in this category.

OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6

  • OnePlus 6T review
  • Latest OnePlus 6T news
  • OnePlus 5T vs. 6T: Should you upgrade?
  • Join the discussion in the forums

OnePlus
T-Mobile

30
Oct

How to automate your evening routine with the Amazon Smart Plug


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The Amazon Smart Plug is a helpful little accessory for making dumb things around your house smart. Here’s how to integrate one into your evening routine!

Products used in this guide

  • Amazon: Amazon Smart Plug ($25)
  • Amazon: Echo Dot (3rd Gen) ($50)

How to use a Smart Plug with your evening routine

For this guide, we’re going to assume you already have an existing evening routine and an Amazon Smart Plug connected to your Amazon account.

Open the Alexa app.

Swipe from the left edge of your screen to open the menu.
Tap Routines.

Tap your evening routine.

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Tap Add action.
Tap Smart Home.

Tap your Smart Plug (in this example, it’s named Bedroom lamp).

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Choose if you want it to toggle on or off.
Tap Next.

Tap the arrow at the top left corner.

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With that done, you’ve successfully added the Amazon Smart Plug to your evening routine. Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back!

Our top equipment picks

A smarter outlet

Amazon Smart Plug

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$25 at Amazon

The best smart plug for Alexa users

The Amazon Smart Plug works mostly the same as its lower-priced competitors, but its tight integration with the Alexa ecosystem results in one of the smoothest setup processes you’ll find for any smart home product.

If you have an Alexa speaker or two, the Amazon Smart Plug offers one of the best experiences you can get with a smart plug. It’s a little bulky and doesn’t have the lowest price, but it performs well and doesn’t come with the added headaches of its competitors.

Best Dot yet

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

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$50 at Amazon

Vastly improved sound in a sleeker body.

The Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is the best Echo Dot yet. Its speakers are much better than its predecessors’ and the new fabric design looks 10 times better than the old glossy plastic.

Don’t let the small size and price tag fool you. The third-generation Echo Dot just may be one of the best smart speakers you can buy. It looks fantastic, the sound quality is perfectly adequate for casual music listening, and the low cost of admission makes it extremely accessible for just about anyone.

30
Oct

Farming Simulator 19: Everything you need to know


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All of the new improvements and tips you need before the release

Farming Simulator was developed by Giants Software and originally released back in 2008. Basically, if you combined FarmVille and RollerCoaster Tycoon into one epic series, you would get Farming Simulator. This game is a very therapeutic way of allowing yourself to wind down from the day and enjoy some brain-numbing fun.

The newest addition to the family will be Farming Simulator 19, and it’s coming to you on November 20th of this year. This will come with the largest list of vehicles that have ever been released, upgraded mechanics and graphics, as well as a few more additions you have yet to see in a Farming Simulator game.

If you’ve been looking into getting Farming Simulator, or have been a longtime fan, check out below to see all the information we’ve collected before this release.

See at Amazon

What’s new about Farming Simulator 19?

Just within the first three seconds of the trailer, I was already blown away. As you can see, for the first time in the history of the Farming Simulator’s series, you can play as a woman. Of course, the option to play a man is still available. It’s just refreshing to see games becoming more inclusive in the new age.

Another thing you’ll notice in the trailer is the ability to ride a horse as well. This was something you couldn’t do in any of the previous Farming Simulator games. But now you can enjoy exploring the land from the comfort of your own steed.

Gameplay you have to check out

Back in August 2018 at Gamescom, Giants Software released a new trailer for Farming Simulator 19 that included all the sneak peaks we’ve been dying to see. As far as the basics go, you can still take care of your crops, raise livestock, control farming machinery, and then sell what you created for a profit. In the end, all of your work will pay out by allowing you to use those profits to continue upgrading your farm with better crops, equipment, and livestock.

Better graphics and even more machines

Another thing you’ll notice is all the new types of machinery, with all new sets of mechanics, that has been upgraded with this new release. This includes big brand names, like John Deere, finally coming to Farming Simulator as a type of machine your character can buy. It doesn’t stop there either. The AGCO IDEAL Combine Harvester, which was an agricultural machine that was only revealed at the Agritechnica convention in November of 2017, will also be a machine that’s available to you.

That means you have the largest list of machines to buy, all new ways to take care of your crops, and you’re even up to date with the standards of the current farming life in the real world.

What you should know before jumping in

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You don’t have to worry about being nickel and dimed to death with booster pack options. Giants Software has already stated that loot boxes and microtransactions won’t even be in this game. Your one and only purchase will be when you buy the game.

They even released the information that not only will there be new machines and horses, but there’s going to be new crops for you to plant as well. All of this comes with new missions and jobs to keep yourself entertained for quite some time.

Co-op options are compatible with the PlayStation 4 version

But if you start getting bored with your missions, don’t worry. The PlayStation 4 version allows up to 6 people to play together in a co-op mode. This means you can take care of the farm with your friends. Designate someone to the livestock, send someone out to the store, and then divide up the jobs between the rest of you. Regardless of your decisions, you can either play with your friends for the fun of it, or you can play with them to complete tasks.

The last and final thing you should know before grabbing your pre-order is the resolution options we’re expecting. While the PlayStation 4 will support up to 1080p, the PlayStation 4 Pro will support up to 1440p, and both of them will run at 30FPS.

Learn some helpful hints and grab your pre-order today

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You should choose what kind of map you need based on how big of a farm you want. The American map comes with larger fields and bigger equipment. If you go for the European map instead, you’ll be met with smaller plots of land that are made to look more narrow.

Once you get started, make sure you strategically plan the types of crops you want to buy. You always want to start with the most profitable to get yourself going. Once you get a bit of money under your belt you should immediately invest in a fertilizer machine to start using on your farm. In previous games, this increased your profits by 30%, which is more than enough to start getting you better machines. When you reach a comfortable state where you can finish all your chores, and still have daylight to work with, then (and only then) is it time to start getting some livestock.

Regardless of how you play, Farming Simulator 19 looks incredibly promising, and you can pre-order it on Amazon right now. Remember, it releases on November 20, 2018. So get ready!

Pre-order options

Farming Simulator 19

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$50 at Amazon

Take advantage of the bonus

You can enjoy all of the improvements to the graphics, mechanics, and missions with this newest addition to the Farming Simulator family. When you pre-order Farming Simulator 19 on Amazon you’ll also receive a Mahindra Retriever Bonus DLC, a super agriculture machine, to help in your goals of achieving the best farm.

30
Oct

Can the Echo Dot Kids Edition filter explicit songs?


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Best answer: Yes, all Amazon Alex-enabled devices have an option to block explicit songs, and that setting is on by default on the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition. Not all music services compatible with Amazon Alexa work with the explicit filter, but Amazon Music and Spotify do.

Amazon: Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition ($70)

Automatically blocking crude ditties

There’s a lot of music out there in the world, and some of it is not safe for young ears. Amazon knows this, and on most of its devices, there is a setting somewhere to filter out explicit content. Parents shouldn’t have to go hunt this setting down on every device they allow their kids to use, and so on Amazon devices that are branded for kids — such as the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet and the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition — the setting to block explicit songs is turned on by default as part of the year-long subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited that the Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with.

With FreeTime Unlimited on the Echo Dot Kids Edition, only the parent can disable the explicit songs block on their child’s profiles and devices. If you’re using an Echo Dot Kids Edition with an older child who you trust and want to disable the explicit music block for, you can set them up on the Parent Dashboard.

Blocking explicit songs on non-Kids devices

The block explicit songs setting is only turned on by default on devices that are branded as Kids devices by Amazon, but what about the other Amazon Alexa-enabled devices around your home? What about devices that are not using FreeTime? Well, turning on the explicit filter on regular Echos is a simple voice command:

“Hey Alexa, block explicit songs.”

This will filter out explicit music on supported music sources, but if a music source does not support Alexa’s explicit song blocking, then Alexa will not launch that music service while the explicit music block is turned on. If you need to turn off the explicit block, you can use the command, “Hey Alexa, Stop blocking explicit songs.”

What services work with Alexa’s explicit song block?

Spotify and Amazon Music are two music subscription services that Alexa’s explicit music block works with, but with FreeTime Unlimited, your child can also listen to dozens of playlists and live music radio stations from providers like:

  • Radio Disney
  • Nick Radio
  • iHeart Radio
  • Breakthrough Radio, powered by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

If you subscribe to a music service that doesn’t integrate with Alexa’s explicit music block, that music service will not launch when you ask Alexa for it on a device with the explicit music block enabled. It’s not optimal, but that’s how Amazon has set things up, erring on the side of safety.

Family-safe fun

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

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$70 at Amazon

Exile explicit tunes, encourage endless entertainment

This bright little speaker is ready to rock your house with some family-friendly radio and music. FreeTime Unlimited’s robust parental controls and quality content ensure your kids can enjoy Alexa safely.

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