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2
Nov

New MacBook Air might not be as fast as you think, early benchmarks show


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The 2018 MacBook Air was revealed by Apple on Tuesday, October 30, but early Geekbench benchmarks for the new laptop have already been spotted online. Performance testing results show the processor onboard the MacBook Air is just slightly faster than the one in the MacBook, but that it also packs considerably more power than last generation of devices.

Geekbench testing found by MacRumors on the new MacBook Air netted it roughly an 18-percent single core jump and a 16-percent multi-core jump compared to the 12-inch MacBook. Specifically, the Intel eighth-generation Amber Lake 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 8210 Y-series processor gained the MacBook Air a single-core score of 4,248 and a multi-core score of 7,828. Higher scores are always better, but considering that the base 2017 12-inch MacBook with a 1.2 GHz Intel Core M-Series processor brings home a single-core score of 3,527 and a multi-core score of 6,654, the difference is very subtle.

Still, the Geekbench results account for a big difference from the previous generation MacBook Air. Running very outdated fifth-generation 1.8GHz Intel Broadwell processors, the older laptop comes home with a single-core score of 3,335 and a multi-core score of 6,119. Roughly, that accounts for a 24-percent performance difference against the newer Intel eighth-generation Amber Lake processor on the new MacBook Air.

The chipset on board the 2018 MacBook Air was previously unknown at the time of Apple’s reveal, but recent listings on Intel’s website have led it to be part of the 5W Amber Lake Y-Series processors announced in August. That is a significant change from previous generations of the MacBook Air, which come with 15W U-series chips. The difference in chips accounts for more battery power, but also a cut in performance. Since Apple claims the new MacBook can net 12 hours of battery life wireless web browsing and 13 hours of iTunes movie playback, that is especially important.

Geekbench scores don’t always indicate real-world performance and more testing time is obviously needed to measure the MacBook Air. Instead, it will be interesting to see how it handles more demanding web browsing, video encoding, and gaming tests which are more indicative of common usage. The new MacBook Air is set for release on November 7.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple could announce a new MacBook this week. Here’s what we want to see
  • MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro
  • Score a professionally refurbished MacBook Air for less than 300 bucks
  • Apple MacBook Air (2018) vs. Apple MacBook
  • MacBook Air (2018) hands-on review



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2
Nov

Samsung’s dominance slips further as phone market slumps by 6 percent


Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The global smartphone market has suffered a drop of 6 percent in overall sale numbers, according to a report on the third quarter of 2018 from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Similar to the drop in smartphone sales in the first quarter of the year, the IDC points at a slowdown in the Chinese market as being one of the primary factors for the global slump. Since China accounts for roughly a third of the overall global sales for smartphones, a reduction in Chinese buying tends to hit the market hard.

“China’s domestic market continues to be challenged as overall consumer spending around smartphones has been down,” said Ryan Reith, IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers program vice president. “High penetration levels, mixed with some challenging economic times, has slowed the world’s largest smartphone market.”

Another significant reason for the slump is a drop in sales for Samsung. While the Korean company still sits pretty atop the pile with a 20.3 percent market share, sales have fallen 13.4 percent from 83.3 million in the third quarter of 2017 to 72.2 million this last quarter. According to the report, pressure in India and Indonesia from manufacturers like Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi are the most likely reasons for Samsung’s drop in sales. While the Galaxy Note 9 sold well, Samsung’s lack of strong midrange and budget range devices is starting to seriously hurt the company in certain markets. However, Samsung is looking to alter that by offering more feature-packed midrange options like the Galaxy A9.

Other manufacturers did better amid the slump. After passing Apple to become the second-largest phone manufacturer, Huawei’s reach has grown by another 32.9 percent — for a total of 52 million sales in this quarter. Apple’s sales grew too, though only by 0.5 percent to 46.9 million. The IDC expects that the recent release of a new iPhone range will mean stronger sales during the holiday period.

Xiaomi also continues to grow, adding 6 million sales to its numbers from the third quarter of 2017. If it keeps up its strong growth, we could see another Chinese company surpass Apple — but that seems unlikely for at least the next few years, even with further expansion into the U.K.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter the smartphone market has shrunk, and it shows no sign of stopping. It seems most consumers are happy to wait for longer before upgrading their phone — and that delay is hurting the market as a whole. However, it might not be forever, and the IDC predicts growth will return in 2019.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Huawei overtakes Apple as the second-largest smartphone seller
  • Wearables are still in style as the global market sees solid growth
  • Samsung’s new ‘Opera House’ store is its biggest in the world
  • Midrange Samsung phones may get new features before flagships do
  • Xiaomi U.K. launch: News, devices, networks, rumors



2
Nov

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says


Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall, according to a report from the BBC. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions which monitored users by mining their information while browsing through the social media website.

Although Facebook is claiming that its systems were not breached as part of the hack, affected users were primarily based in Ukraine and Russia. Some users from the United States were also reportedly impacted after a hacker on an online forum attempted to sell the Facebook information at a rate of 10 cents per account.

“We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores. …We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts,” Facebook executive Guy Rosen told the BBC.

Sample data from 81,000 Facebook profiles was also posted online by hackers in order to gain interest in possible sales. The group behind the hack originally told the BBC that data from 120 million Facebook accounts were up for purchase, but cybersecurity experts have been skeptical of that figure.

Still, BBC spoke to impacted users who revealed their information was indeed stolen and also listed on the forum. Data from those accounts included photos from a vacation, a chat about a Depeche Mode concert, and even an “intimate correspondence between two lovers.”

This is not the first time that Facebook has faced a hack. In September, the social media platform announced that up to 50 million accounts were compromised due to a flaw in access tokens and the “View As” feature.

As this latest hack involves the use of browser extensions, it is always best to check which source an extension is coming from, and which permissions it is being granted access to. That is a small step to take, but Google has been larger steps to ensure extensions are safer. In Chrome 70, consumers can restrict host access (website access) by clicking on an extension and selecting an option from the drop-down menu.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Hack affects 2 million T-Mobile customers, unclear if passwords included
  • Facebook’s latest security breach leaves 50 million accounts compromised
  • Twitter squashes security bug leaking direct messages since 2017
  • Hacked Chrome extension disguised as legitimate version steals logins
  • Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out



2
Nov

RTX 2070 vs. GTX 1080


There’s no denying that the top Nvidia RTX graphics cards are the most powerful consumer cards in the world right now, but it’s not quite so clear-cut further down the range. In many ways, the newly-launched RTX 2070 competes directly with the GTX 1080 from the last-generation Pascal line of GPUs. So, which is best?

To find out, we pitted the RTX 2070 vs. 1080 in a head to head on features, performance, and most importantly, price.

Performance

We’ve yet to get our hands on an RTX 2070 to do our own hands-on testing, but a look around at results elsewhere and a comparison of specifications gives us a good idea of what to expect. In short, the cards are pretty comparable, but the 2070 tends to perform slightly better in most scenarios.

RTX 2070
GTX 1080

Architecture
Turing
Pascal

CUDA cores
2,304
2,560

Texture units
144
160

Render output units
64
64

RT cores
36
0

Tensor cores
288
0

Base speed
1,410MHz
1,607MHz

Boost speed
1,620MHz
1,733MHx

Boost speed (FE model)
1,710MHz
1,800MHz

Memory
8GB GDDR6
8GB GDDR5X

Memory speed
14Gbps
10Gbps

Bandwidth
448GBps
320GBps

Transistors
10.8 billion
7.2 billion

By the numbers, both cards have a slight leg up over the other in certain specifications and the Founders Editions don’t do anything to close those gaps. The 1080 has 2,560 CUDA cores, while the 2070 has 2,304. The 1080 also has slightly higher clock speeds and a few more texture units. However, the 2070 sports GDDR6 memory giving it a near 50-percent greater memory bandwidth. It also has a larger die-size with 2.6 billion extra transistors.

This equates to a few frames per second advantage for the RTX 2070 in most games, with a more obvious disparity between the two at higher resolutions and detail levels. In some cases that difference extends to 10 percent, but it’s typically lower — and in some cases, within a margin of error.

Ray tracing and DLSS

Alongside a brand new Turing core architecture and a new generation of memory, Nvidia’s RTX-series graphics cards also sport some intriguing additional chips under their impressive coolers. The RT and Tensor cores enable features which other cards can’t really compete with. Ray tracing and deep learning supersampling (DLSS). Of these two cards, those features are only available on the 2070 at this time and there’s no indication that the 1080 will ever be able to perform such feats at comfortable frame rates, if at all.

Although Nvidia’s solution is somewhat of a workaround than true ray tracing, the effect is still rather impressive. Lighting looks more realistic than traditional rasterization, and it can react in real time to changes in a scene, enabling far more reflections and light scattering for an overall more believable looking digital environment.

There are some drawbacks though. The most notable at the moment is that there aren’t any supporting games yet available. Some games have yet to launch and others have yet to implement the feature, but you can’t really take advantage of it just yet. Worse still, there are concerns that ray tracing can dramatically reduce performance even on high-end solutions like the 2080 Ti.

DLSS is in a similar situation in that it isn’t available in any currently available games just yet. However, it does appear to have a very different effect on performance — it improves it when compared with more traditional anti-aliasing solutions. In early demos like Final Fantasy XV, it appears to make them look better too, but we don’t have much evidence to go on just yet.

In the case of both new RTX features, it’s not clear yet whether either is worth buying a 2070 over a 1080 for them alone. They do promise some benefits in the future, however.

The 2070 is the new 1080

The biggest difference between the 2070 and 1080 when the former first launched was price. There was more than $100 between them in some cases. At the time of writing, however, that’s quite different. If you ignore Nvidia’s more expensive Founders Edition of both cards, they are both available for around the $500 price point. And dollar for dollar, the 2070 offers more, even if it isn’t much more.

We would expect Nvidia to allow the 1080 stock to dissipate over the next few months, leaving the 2070 as the defacto replacement for the long-running Pascal GPU. The RTX 2070 isn’t a mind-blowing card in the way the 2080 Ti is, and we’re going to need to wait to see whether ray tracing and DLSS make upgrading from a 10-series card to the new-generation worth it. But even now, the RTX 2070 is a better buy than the GTX 1080.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Nvidia GeForce RTX GPUs: Everything you need to know
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 vs. GTX 1080
  • Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 vs. RTX 2080 Ti
  • Leaked benchmark shows the RTX 2080 outperforming the GTX 1080 Ti



2
Nov

Does the OnePlus 6T support wireless charging?


oneplus-6t-back-full-2.jpg?itok=wQtGZMZc

Best answer: The OnePlus 6T does not support wireless charging, but with a large 3,700 mAh battery and extremely fast Fast Charge system, it’s really not that big of a deal.

OnePlus: OnePlus 6T ($550)

The OnePlus 6T doesn’t support any type of wireless charging

Unlike most phones that were released this year, the OnePlus 6T does not support any kind of wireless charging.

OnePlus has previously hinted that it’ll add wirelsss charging to its phones in the future, but the company’s implementation of the feature isn’t ready for the public quite yet.

However, it’s wired charging speeds are excellent

Even though you’re missing out on the convenience of wireless charging, we don’t think you’ll miss it too much once you experience OnePlus’s Fast Charge system.

Previously referred to as Dash Charge, Fast Charge delivers a full day’s worth of use after being plugged in for just half an hour. It’s easily one of the fastest charging systems available right now, and once you use it, you’ll never want to go back to anything else. What’s wireless charging?

Who cares about wireless charging when you get Fast Charge?

Speaking of charging, that’s not something you should have to worry about all that often with the OnePlus 6T. The phone’s equipped with a 3,700 mAh battery, and in our testing, it proved to be more than capabale for lasting well through a full day even with intensive use.

If you’re just using the 6T sporadically throughout the day and not constantly looking at the screen, there’s a good chance you could even eek out around two days of use on one charge.

Seriously, it’s that good.

Don’t sweat too much over this one omission

Although it would have been nice to have wireless charging on the OnePlus 6T, the lack of it on the phone certainly isn’t enough to not consider buying it. Thanks to the huge battery and excellent wired charging speeds, the missing wireless capabilities will soon become an afterthought.

Our pick

OnePlus 6T

oneplus-6t-render-front.png?itok=TVMaOqV

$550 at OnePlus

A fantastic flagship, even without wireless charging.

The OnePlus 6T may not have wireless charging, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out. In addition to a huge battery and great wired charging speeds, the 6T also has a gorgeous display, a phenomenal software experience, and some of the best bang-for-your-buck you can find.

2
Nov

These are the best Alexa-compatible smart devices


More and more devices work with Amazon Alexa these days. In fact, if it’s got a microphone and a speaker, it’s surprising to not find support for Amazon’s voice assistant. The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Alexa controller out there, of course, but there are countless others as well. Once you’ve got an Alexa device, you’ll want something to control, are there are plenty of categories from thermostats to cameras to other speakers.

The lights of your life

Philips Hue White starter kit

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Smart lights are possibly the easiest entry point into connected tech. The idea is that you’ll have lights you can control from anywhere, as well as a hands-free way to set the scene for any occasion. The most popular brand is Philips Hue, and there are plenty of bundle deals to get you set up quick and easy.

$70 at Amazon

Remote temperature control

Nest Learning Thermostat

nest-thermostat-polished-steel.png?itok=

Being able to control your HVAC with your voice is one of those things that you won’t appreciate until you can do it, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It’s hard to beat Nest’s Learning Thermostat, which observes your behavior and automatically creates heating and cooling schedules for you. It makes it ridiculously easy to control the comfort of your home, and it helps cut down on your electric bill, too.

$205 at Amazon

Always watching

Ring Floodlight Cam

ring-floodlight-camera-render.jpg?itok=0

If you’ve got an Amazon Echo Show, Spot, or an Amazon Fire TV, you can keep tabs on all your stuff with a smart camera like the Ring Doorbell Pro. Just tell Alexa to show it, and you’ll get a live feed on your display. You can watch your front yard from your living room or your backyard from your bedroom. Best of all, the Floodlight Cam will shine bright lights down when it detects motion, scaring away intruders.

$249 at Amazon

A plug for your plug

Amazon Smart Plug

amazon-smart-plug-render.jpg?itok=V0TbLo

Smart lights are great, but sometimes you just want to control something that’s plugged in — say, a set of string lights or Christmas decorations. The Amazon Smart Plug is great for that. It’s a plug for your plug, which then hooks into your Wi-Fi and ties into an Alexa Skill. After that, it’s just a matter of setting a timer or using your voice to turn things on and off.

$25 at Amazon

A speaker for every room

Amazon Echo Plus 2

amazon-echo-plus-2nd-generation-render.j

Here’s the thing about the Amazon Echo — it can connect with other Echoes for multi-room music. That means the same thing will be playing on all your speakers, and all you have to do is use Alexa to tell Alexa to have Alexa play a thing. Yeah, it’s a bit of Alexa inception, but it’s also way cool.

$150 at Amazon

Complete peace of mind

Ring Alarm

ring-alarm-render.jpg?itok=4xYy31Z6

If you’ve ever experienced a break-in, you know how invasive it feels and will do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening again. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to take a ton of effort — Ring’s Alarm home security system keeps you safe with a loud siren, window sensors, and keypads, and all you have to do to arm it is ask Alexa.

$199 at Amazon

The sky’s the limit with Alexa-compatible devices, and the options we gave you are just the beginning. Smart lights are certainly one of the easiest (and cheapest) smart devices to use, but thermostats, security cameras, smart plugs, speakers, and home security all go a long way to making your life more convenient. Shop around for whatever best fits your needs — just make sure you have an Alexa-capable speaker like the Echo Plus 2 first!

2
Nov

Keep your microSD cards out of sight with a $7 AmazonBasics Book Safe


No one will know they are in there.

book-safe-b1iy.png?itok=KvwV5EHE

Pick up the AmazonBasics Book Safe for just $6.99 today and keep your small valuable items hidden away. Normally $10, this deal applies to the red version as well as the blue color (which ships as an add-on item).

It’s basically a lockable box that is disguised as a book — the most boring book, in fact — to keep your keys, cash, documents, jewelry, and more away from prying eyes. It’s also the perfect place to stash away loose microSD cards, flash drives or hard drives when not in use so they never get into the wrong hands.

It blends in seamlessly with other books on your bookshelf thanks to its fabric cover and spine that are designed to look like an ordinary book.

This deal is part of a larger sale on all manner of items in the AmazonBasics range, making a bunch of already affordable items even better value.

See at Amazon

2
Nov

Aukey’s 2-in-1 USB-C cable features a USB-A adapter for $4


One cable for all of your devices.

usb-c-cable-aukey-2in1.jpg?itok=bPhy3-WL

There are tons of USB-C cables on the market, but hardly any of them are as capable as Aukey’s 2-in-1 option. It’s a USB-C cable that features a separate USB-A connector attached, and right now it’s available for just $3.95 with the promo code YJSCF47V.

This cable is cable of charging your USB-C devices at up to 3A, while boasting data transfer speeds up to 480Mbps. Its connected USB-A adapter lets you keep using your current USB wall adapter without needing to get a replacement that supports USB-C.

Alternatively, if you don’t care about having the USB-A adapter on your USB-C cable, you can grab one from Aukey without it for $1.99 using promo code UI7Y9CT5. Both of these options are 3.3 feet long.

See at Amazon

2
Nov

Alexa-enabled devices, Anker charging gear, 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 light bulbs to Lego, these are today’s best deals.

Tech 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!

2
Nov

How to protect your expensive new Hydrogen One


red-hydrogen-one-se-hero-3.jpg?itok=P1Gf

Best answer: Not at the moment, and there likely won’t be many even after launch. RED says that the Hydrogen One is built to be rugged and withstand most wear and tear without a case — but Skinomi offers protective skins and screen protectors.

Amazon: Skinomi TechSkin ($16)

Why can’t I get a case for my expensive new phone?

The Hydrogen One is massive, heavy, and built like a tank, with Kevlar panels on the backside and either an aluminum or titanium construction, depending on the model you purchase. It’s one of the sturdiest-feeling phones on the market, and the ridged grips along the sides make it easier to hold onto to prevent accidental drops.

That being said, things still happen, and you might want to protect your $1,300 investment, no matter how durable the exterior may be. Unfortunately, there aren’t any cases at the moment, even from third-party accessory makers. That might not be changing any time soon — RED doesn’t think cases are necessary for the Hydrogen One.

What are my other options?

For the time being, the only protective accessories available for the Hydrogen One are a handful of skins and screen protectors from Skinomi. While a skin for the back of the phone won’t keep the sides safe, it’ll at least keep your Kevlar and metal backing from getting scratched and scuffed. You can either get a clear skin or style your phone with themed designs like wood, carbon fiber, or brushed steel.

Our pick

Skinomi TechSkin

red-hydrogen-one-skinomi-skintech.jpg?it

$16 at Skinomi

It isn’t a case, but it’s better than nothing.

There aren’t many protective accessories just yet for the Hydrogen One, but Skinomi offers a small collection of skins and screen protectors. You can cover the back with a clear skin, or go for a different style like carbon fiber or wood.

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