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Amazon Echo Show vs Google Home Hub: One of these smart displays is better than the other

Mac World - Fri, 2018-12-21 06:00
Which smart display belongs in your smart home? We put the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) and Google Home Hub through the wringer to find out.

Best Google Home add-ons and accessories

Mac World - Fri, 2018-12-21 06:00
These mostly inexpensive gadgets can make Google Home smart speakers even better.

BoseBuild Headphones review: An educational kit that teaches the science of sound

Mac World - Fri, 2018-12-21 06:00

Seeing the BoseBuild Headphones at Maker Faire this past summer was instantly intriguing. Only a handful of large established companies have made the foray into the STEM educational market and I'm curious how they are able to leverage their expertise and brands. It's no shock that Bose created a kit focused on sound.

The BoseBuild Headphones kit is targeted at children ages 8 and up and is comprised of 10 pieces that snap together to build fully functional wireless bluetooth headphones.

Before, during, and after assembly, there are various lessons and activities on the BoseBuild's iOS app that teach about the physics of sound and how the brain processes it. One critical lesson teaches about proper listening volume, there's even a simulation that shows what damaged hearing sounds like. The kit also has simple games that utilize some of the learnings.

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SteelSeries Rival 650 review: Solving the wireless-mouse problem with 15-minute charging

PC World - Fri, 2018-12-21 05:59

SteelSeries has long had a weak spot in its peripherals lineup: mice. Great headsets, good keyboards, mediocre mice. Some were too conservative, others too daring, but none of the ones we’ve looked at over the years have qualified as must-haves.

That changes with the new Rival 650 ($120 on Amazon). At long last, SteelSeries has a mouse that both nails the fundamentals and packs a solid gimmick.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of best gaming mice. Go there for details on competing products and how we tested them.

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No, Apple, bent iPad Pros are not acceptable

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 18:30

It turns out there may be a “bendgate” for the iPad Pro, after all. On Wednesday, Apple confirmed to The Verge that some iPad Pro models shipped with a slight bend, but the company claims this isn’t a defect. The problem seems to affect cellular models more than regular models, and that this is all simply part of the cooling process, Apple says it shouldn’t worsen over time. It’ll be fine! Everybody go home.

What a crock. What an embarrassment. I said last month that I personally had no problems with warped aluminum on Macworld’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and that continues to be the case. I'm still ready to believe the problems may spring from a bad batch of iPads. But that doesn't justify Apple's response. After Apple acknowledged that there is, in fact, a problem, it defies belief that Apple would essentially claim it’s no big deal. Considering what the iPad Pro is used for, a bent chassis potentially makes the tablet useless.

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Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC battery pack review: This portable battery pack does it all

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 17:00
he Sherpa 100AC is what happens when someone builds a battery pack that includes everything but the kitchen sink.

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC battery pack review: This portable battery pack does it all

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 17:00

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is a combination of all modern and past technologies used to charge our devices. For the current generation of devices, there are two USB-C ports and a Qi wireless charging pad. For older devices, there are two standard USB ports. For even older devices, there’s a standard US 110V outlet—like the one your phone’s wall adapter plugs into.

There’s also a charging port, that can fill up the 94.7Wh battery pack in just a couple of hours. You’ll need to purchase that dedicated charger separately. However, our testing showed that a USB-C wall adapter with Power Delivery charged the Sherpa in just over two hours.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods. Goal Zero

Nestled among the Sherpa’s array of ports is a small status display.

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The 2018 Steam Winter Sale is here with steep savings and free daily gifts

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 14:35

To quote one Burl Ives: “A neighbor tipped his hat to me this morning. The landlord even smiled and said good day. And I want you to know that a stranger said hello...the Steam Sale can’t be far away.” One of my favorite songs about the holidays, let me tell you.

And sure enough, the 2018 Steam Winter Sale is here. It launched this morning, with the full title of “The Steam Winter Sale, Featuring the Extremely Cozy Cottage of Surprises.” Said cottage also features prominently on the homepage, a warm and welcoming glow in the frigid winter landscape.

The Extremely Cozy Cottage appears to be Valve’s way of injecting some life back into the Steam Sale, or trying to at least. See, back in the day Valve’s sales were more of an event. Every day you’d see new deals, with games on the front page discounted to unprecedented prices. There were also Flash Sales, which refreshed every eight hours and could also feature steep discounts.

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The 2018 Steam Winter Sale is here with steep savings and free daily gifts

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 14:35
Check out the Steam Winter Sale's Extremely Cozy Cottage every day for wallpapers, in-game items, and more. Or don't, and just buy games on the cheap like usual.

Moshi Porto Q 5K battery pack review: A well-designed power bank with the bonus of wireless charging

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 13:52

Moshi designs some of the best-looking phone accessories on the market. One look at the Moshi Porto Q 5K Battery Pack ($85 on Amazon), and you can tell the company takes pride in its overall approach to product aesthetics.

The Porto Q 5K is covered in a cloth material. A complementary rubber ring found on top of the power bank holds your smartphone in place when the wireless charging feature is in use. This prevents notifications and general vibrations from nudging the phone off the pack and onto the floor.

The Porto Q 5K sports two ports: a USB-A port to charge another device, and a USB-C port that’s used solely to charge the battery pack itself. The USB-A port is capable of up to 12W charging speeds, but falls short of triggering rapid charging on a Pixel 3 XL or a Samsung Galaxy S9.

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Moshi Porto Q 5K battery pack review: A well-designed power bank with the bonus of wireless charging

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 13:52
If attractive product design matters to you, Moshi brings it with the Porto Q 5K battery pack. Just don't expect the fastest charging speeds.

20 offbeat Christmas movies for streaming

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 12:48
These 20 off-kilter streaming movies tip a hat to the holidays while catering to a non-traditional sensibility.

20 offbeat Christmas movies for streaming

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 12:48
These 20 off-kilter streaming movies tip a hat to the holidays while catering to a non-traditional sensibility.

Have yourself a streaming little Christmas

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 12:20
18 classic, heartwarming holiday favorites to make the season bright.

Have yourself a streaming little Christmas

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 12:20
18 classic, heartwarming holiday favorites to make the season bright.

Looking for an affordable last minute gift? Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet is on sale for $50

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 10:46

So, you’ve procrastinated getting gifts for that special someone in your life. Have no fear—it’s not too late to snag great presents for low prices. Today, you can grab the new Fire HD 8 tablet for just $50, down from a list price of $80 and tied for its lowest price yet. Even better? Amazon says it will arrive before Christmas.

This awesome tablet comes with a crisp 8-inch HD display and up to 10 hours of battery life. The on-sale version comes with 16GB of storage, but there’s also a microSD slot if you want to add even more. For hands-free control, you can use the Alexa app to do everything from turning on videos to checking the weather with just the sound of your voice. To take that a step further, you can turn on Show mode to create a visual Alexa experience.

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Looking for an affordable last minute gift? Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet is on sale for $50

Mac World - Thu, 2018-12-20 10:46
Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet is worthwhile at its normal $80 price. At $50, it makes for an awesome last-minute gift.

The Fitbit Versa is $90 right now, $60 cheaper than its lowest Black Friday price

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 09:37

Just when you thought the price of the Fitbit Versa couldn’t get any better, it goes plummeting down even more. Amazon and Macy’s are selling the Fitbit Versa for $90 right now, which is far, far under the $150 sale price we saw around Black Friday.

The Versa is a smart watch that includes the usual Fitbit specialties, including 24/7 heart rate monitoring, step tracking, and sleep tracking. It also has room for more than 300 songs with integrations for Pandora and Deezer, and smartphone app notifications. The Versa can track more than 15 exercise modes to record your workouts, it connect to your phone for GPS tracking, and offer on-screen coaching.

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8BitDo N30 Pro 2 review: Compact size and cool effects highlight a mostly minor update

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 08:00

8BitDo’s N30 Pro was a fun controller that married classic NES aesthetics with modern controls. Its sequel—the N30 Pro 2—adds new features without changing much. For better or worse, it features the same balance of portability and comfort, while adding rumble, tilt controls, and USB-C charging. But since the release of the Super Nintendo-themed SN30 Pro it’s been hard to recommend the N30 Pro. The updates do little to change that.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

N30 Pro 2 (top)

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How to set up a Mac and macOS to take advantage of an SSD and external storage setup

PC World - Thu, 2018-12-20 08:00
If you set up your Mac correctly, you can get the best of both worlds.

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