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Intel's Optane Memory finally supports Celeron and Pentium budget PCs that need the most boost

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 11:20

Two long years after Intel debuted its radical—and awesome—Optane Memory caching SSDs, the company has finally decided to embrace the processors that could appreciate the technology’s benefits the most. A recent Optane Memory driver update added support for Intel’s budget-friendly 8th-gen Celeron and Pentium CPUs, as Anandtech noticed this weekend.

Optane Memory gives pokey mechanical hard drives a shot of SSD-like speed by intelligently caching your most-used programs and files to speed up access. You install an Optane Memory drive in an M.2 slot on your motherboard, and Windows sees it and your hard drive as a single combined storage pool. Intel’s software delegates which data should go on which drive. When you open a commonly used program that’s stored on the Optane Memory, speeds drastically increase. It makes a world of difference in terms of raw performance.

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Microsoft's Surface Book 2 gains a faster quad-core Core i5 CPU over the weekend

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 10:24

The baseline model of Microsoft’s stunning Surface Book 2 just received a significant bump in power, thanks to Intel. Sunday night, a new version of the Core i5 Surface Book 2 appeared on the Microsoft Store sporting a quad-core Intel Core i5-8350U CPU and a $1,499 price tagRemove non-product link, as first spotted by The Verge.

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Snag a 43-inch, Roku-powered smart TV for only $170 today

Mac World - Mon, 2019-04-01 09:25
The TCL 43S305 is $170 at Amazon today with Roku software and a 1080p 43-inch display.

Snag a 43-inch, Roku-powered smart TV for only $170 today

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 09:25

If you’re on the hunt for a new TV, you can get one with some smarts for cheap today. Amazon’s selling a 43-inch Roku Smart TV by TCL for $170 today. This is the all-time low for this set, which has been sitting around $200 lately. The sale ends just before midnight Pacific time on Monday night.

The TCL 43S305 features 1080p resolution on a 43-inch screen, a 120Hz refresh rate, and dual band Wi-Fi for its Internet-enabled extras. For ports, you get three HDMI, 1 USB, optical audio, a headphone jack, and composite video for that Vic 20 lurking in your closet.

The basic hardware is fine, but the big deal with any smart TV is the software running on it. This TV features Roku’s software, including access to more than 4,000 apps, or “streaming channels” as Roku calls them. You can also use a smartphone to function as a remote to automatically call up various streaming channels on your TV. TCL’s television also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to control the TV with your voice.

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Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb 2.0 Dimmable White review: Updates give the Lumos line a fresh profile

Mac World - Mon, 2019-04-01 07:00
Never mind the light, it’s the low price tag on these smart LED light bulbs that will catch your eye.

Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb 2.0 Dimmable White review: Updates give the Lumos line a fresh profile

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 07:00
Never mind the light, it’s the low price tag on these smart LED light bulbs that will catch your eye.

Huawei is basically forcing fans to buy the P30 Pro by crippling the P30

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 06:33

If it seems like every smartphone maker offers a choice between two models of its best phones, it's because they do. Everyone from Samsung to Apple to Google sells a standard and Plus, Max, or XL version of their flagship phones, with larger screens and various upgrades. Obviously, the larger model costs more—usually $100 or so. In short, the more you spend, the more you get.

The difference between the S10 and S10+? A larger screen and a second front camera. The same goes for the Pixel 3 and 3XL. The iPhone XS Max and XS? Three-quarters of an inch more screen. That's how it should be. On the one hand, you shouldn't feel like you're being punished for wanting a phone with a smaller screen, but even if the larger size brings exclusive features, you shouldn't need to comb through spec sheets to decide which phone is a better fit. The differences between two models in the same series should be clear and obvious, which lets consumers make smart choices and encourages upsells.

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AirPods (2nd generation) review: Apple's mega-hit headphones get a few modest improvements

Mac World - Mon, 2019-04-01 06:30

When AirPods were first announced in 2016, people were skeptical. Apple wants us to pay $160 for EarPods without wires? What’s with those sticks sticking out of your ears? The case looks like dental floss!

But then, everyone who actually used them fell instantly in love. Easy pairing, auto-pausing, lightweight comfort, and rock-solid connection—Apple took all the pain points of Bluetooth headphones away. AirPods flew off the shelves and were backordered for months as Apple ramped up production to meet demand.

So what does Apple do for an encore? We’ll have to wait for a while to find out. Apple’s new AirPods are just that—new AirPods. They’re not AirPods 2 or AirPods X. They’re not a revolution or even a new design. But if you rely on Apple devices, they’re still the best true wireless earbuds around.

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Tronsmart Element Force review: This small and inexpensive Bluetooth speaker produces high-quality sound

Mac World - Mon, 2019-04-01 06:00
Strong water resistance and support for the ability to wirelessly combine two of these speakers into a true stereo pair make for a real winner.

Tronsmart Element Force review: This small and inexpensive Bluetooth speaker produces high-quality sound

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 06:00
Strong water resistance and support for the ability to wirelessly combine two of these speakers into a true stereo pair make for a real winner.

Google Gmail celebrates 15 years by adding scheduled email and Smart Compose for mobile

PC World - Mon, 2019-04-01 06:00

As Google Gmail turns fifteen—yes, on April 1—the company is finally adding some long-overdue features, such as the ability to schedule email.

Last week, Google announced that Gmail would support so-called “dynamic” email, also known as AMP HTML preview. With Monday’s updates—and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke—Google is allowing you to specify a time that you’d like email to arrive in a recipient’s inbox. It’s also adding support for what it calls Smart Compose to its mobile app, with real-time suggestions of what to say as you type.

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Apple Card: Here's who will benefit from it most

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 19:18
We sat down to chat about Apple's upcoming credit card and the people who will get the most out of it.

Apple Card: Here's who will benefit from it most

Mac World - Fri, 2019-03-29 19:18

In case you missed it, Apple announced its own credit card during Monday's livestream. Administered by Goldman Sachs, this new entrant into the realm of cash-back rewards will have plenty going for it: zero fees, the promise of low interest rates, daily payout of cash earned, and a polished, helpful interface for management. (You can read all about it in our Apple Card FAQ.)

But as we dug into in our comparison of the Apple Card versus other credit cards, this particular Apple product doesn't have the numbers to trounce its closest cash-back reward card rivals. So who is it for? We outline our thoughts in the video above.

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Wunderlist's death by a thousand cuts continues as Microsoft axes Cortana integration

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 18:45

The slow death of Wunderlist continues. Beginning April 15, Microsoft will disconnect Cortana and Wunderlist, so that you won’t be able to issue oral reminders via Cortana any more.

It’s a consequence of Microsoft’s move away from the Wunderlist app, and toward its own Microsoft To-Do.  As of January, Cortana integrates with Microsoft To-Do, though you’ll need to be running a Windows Insider version of the Windows 10 April 2019 Update and follow some convoluted setup instructions to enable it. 

In the meantime, though, Microsoft is obliquely notifying customers that Wunderlist is being de-prioritized. That’s because you’ll have to click on the Cortana/search field, navigate to the Notebook, then to Connected Services, and finally to the Wunderlist button. Clicking that produces the following message:

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Apple breaks its silence on AirPower only to kill the charging mat once and for all

Mac World - Fri, 2019-03-29 15:59

Were you hoping that Apple would surprise us with a release of the AirPower wireless charging mat at some point in the coming days? Dash those hopes away, my friends. As TechCrunch reports, Apple has officially canceled the project.

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project,” said Apple hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio in a statement. “We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

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Best gaming mouse: Find your perfect match

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 15:27

The mouse is a simple tool: point and click. That’s it. But if you’re a PC gamer, you know that pushing virtual paper around on your desktop isn’t the same as fragging bots and shooting zombies. (Not even remotely.) 

What’s more, picking the right gaming mouse is an intensely personal decision. Every little detail—its overall shape and size, the shape and placement its buttons, its cable (or lack thereof), its weight, its materials—can change how you feel about it. More than any other peripheral, a mouse is the hardest to recommend, because there is no objectively perfect mouse. Everyone’s hands are different.

That said, we can guide you on your search. Below are our recommendations for gaming mice, built on years of experience first and foremost as gamers, and second as writers here at PCWorld. 

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This week in games: Free copies of Morrowind, Divinity: Original Sin 2 gets a tactics spinoff

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 15:00

Myst developer Cyan is running a Kickstarter campaign for a new game, Firmament, and Gearbox finally announced Borderlands 3. But that’s just the start of this week’s news, which also contained release date announcements for Heaven’s Vault, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Observation, plus the announcement of a new Divinity: Original Sin spinoff tactics game, CD Projekt teasing not one but two games before 2021, and free copies of Morrowind to celebrate the Elder Scrolls anniversary.

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Apple leaves Android users with few alternatives as Texture is earmarked for May 28 shutdown

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 12:52

The fruits of Apple’s acquisition of Texture were finally realized this week with the launch of Apple News+, a $10-a-month service that offers access to the same 200+ magazines Texture offered, as well as The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Vox, and Vulture.

However, while Apple News+ is clearly inspired by Texture’s business model, it doesn’t actually replace the app. You can still download Texture from the App Store or the Play Store on Android phones, and current subscribers can still read whatever they want. But that’s going to end very soon. Texture has announced that it will be officially shutting its digital doors on Tuesday, May 28. All new sign-ups are already being redirected to the Apple News+ site.

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Apple leaves Android users with few alternatives as Texture is earmarked for May 28 shutdown

Mac World - Fri, 2019-03-29 12:52
Texture has announced that it will be shutting down on May 28, leaving Android users with no place to read their digital magazines.

Turn one USB-C port into four USB-A ports with this Aukey hub for just $7

PC World - Fri, 2019-03-29 10:37

Users of modern Macbooks and ultra-thin USB-C Windows laptops know the pain of too few ports, but any computer can benefit from additional connections. And today, you can add some on the cheap with a steep discount on an Aukey USB-C hub. It’s available for $7 on Amazon using the code FSPHO44Y, saving you over half off its $15 list price.

This hub features four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. It’s also compact enough to easily slip into a bag, so you can connect accessories and drives wherever you go. In addition, a chipset designed to be protected against electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge means you’ll be able to connect safely.

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