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Nest unveils the simpler, cheaper Nest Thermostat E

Mac World - Thu, 2017-08-31 00:01
The company is implementing a better, best strategy in pursuit of more buyers.

The best laptops of 2017: Ultrabooks, budget PCs, 2-in-1s, and more

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 17:49

Choosing the best laptop among the many options available is about to get a lot harder. Fall is coming—and so are a slew of new laptops.

In fact, if you’re hunting for a new ultraportable, we recommend holding off on any purchases for the time being. Intel recently announced four 8th-generation Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors that could result in a dramatic leap in performance in thin-and-light convertibles, 2-in-1s, hybrids, and traditional laptops. Announcements of notebooks with these chips have begun, with likely more to follow.

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iPhone event on Sept. 12? iPhone 8 vs. Galaxy Note 8, and 4K Apple TV: Macworld Podcast episode 571

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 17:15

Apple may have an event on September 12 that showcases the new iPhone. What would it take for you to be more productive with your iPhone? And reports say that 4K video is in the works for the Apple TV.

Macworld’s Roman Loyola, Leah YamshonMichael Simon, and Dan Masaoka talk about these topics and more in the Macworld Podcast, episode 571.

Editor’s note: We had technical issues with this episode and we were not able to broadcast the live video feed on the Macworld Facebook page or on Twitter. We hope to have those issues resolved by next week’s podcast.

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The Microsoft-Amazon deal leaves Cortana speakers with one advantage: Skype

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 15:38

If Cortana will work on Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices, and Alexa will run on Windows, what's the point of buying Cortana-powered connected speakers like Harman Kardon’s Invoke? In a word: Skype.

The unexpected partnership struck Wednesday between Amazon and Microsoft—neither of which owns a digital assistant that’s natively built into a major smartphone OS—extends Amazon’s reach to the more than 400 million PCs running Windows 10, and ties Microsoft closer to another third-party hardware platform. 

Alexa will be available as a Cortana skill on Windows 10 PCs first, followed by the Cortana apps on Android and iOS in the future, a Microsoft spokeswoman said in an email. Conversely, Cortana will be available as an Alexa skill on devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. Microsoft has yet to confirm whether Alexa will be included on the Invoke.

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Dash cam reviews: What you need to catch the maniacs and meteors of daily driving

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 14:50

August 30, 2017: Updated with our review of the Thinkware Dash Cam F800, which offers impressively sharp night vision.

Dash cams are already essential in many countries because of scam artists who try to create accidents so they can sue you. They’ve also proven useful for catching the occasional meteor, as happened in Thailand and in Russia a few years ago.

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Asus ZenBook laptops power up with quad-core CPUs and discrete Nvidia graphics

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 12:29

The battle over thin and light notebooks flared back to life at IFA 2017 on Wednesday. Mere hours after Acer revealed the Switch 7 Black Edition, a 2-in-1 laptop with a detachable keyboard and dedicated graphics chips, Asus unleashed an army of svelte new ZenBook laptops equipped with Intel’s new quad-core 8th-gen Core CPUs and discrete Nvidia GPUs of their own. We loved the last ZenBook Flip that crossed PCWorld’s test bench, so let’s dig in!

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The Asus ROG Chimera brings blisteringly fast 144Hz G-Sync displays to gaming laptops

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 10:31

Asus was the first company to bring 120Hz refresh rates to gaming laptops, and now it’s pushing even further for gamers who demand smooth performance at a fast clip. At IFA 2017, Asus revealed the ROG Chimera G703 laptop, a beast of a notebook with a blistering 144Hz, 1080p display made more buttery-smooth by Nvidia’s G-Sync technology.

Asus didn’t say much about what you’ll find inside the 17.3-inch laptop, but Laptop Mag reports that it includes an unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and Nvidia’s powerful GeForce GTX 1080, which should have no problem keeping that 144Hz display fed even if you crank up your game’s graphics settings.

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IFA news: Google is talking up new products that leverage its Google Assistant

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:45
A number of new smart speakers will be on the show floor, along with new smart appliances from LG.

Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa are going to work together

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:33

Cortana and Alexa just went from being rivals to being besties. Microsoft and Amazon’s respective digital assistants are teaming up to work together later this year, the companies surprisingly announced today.

That means you’ll be able to tap into Alexa’s smarts via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs and Microsoft’s mobile Cortana apps, or access Cortana via Amazon’s Echo devices and Alexa-enabled phones like the HTC U11 and Huawei Mate 9. You’ll need to specifically summon the assist, however, by saying “Cortana, open Alexa” or “Alexa, open Cortana.”

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38% off Dishonored 2 for XBox One, PS4 and PC - Deal Alert

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:08

Play your way in a world where mysticism and industry collide. Will you choose to play as Empress Emily Kaldwin or the royal protector, Corvo Attano? Will you make your way through the game unseen, make full use of its brutal combat system, or use a blend of both? How will you combine your character's unique set of powers, weapons and gadgets to eliminate your enemies? The story responds to your choices, leading to intriguing outcomes, as you play through each of the game's hand-crafted missions. Right now Dishonored 2 is discounted 38% down to $24.99, for the XBOX One, PS4 and PC versions. See this deal on Amazon.

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38% off Dishonored 2 for XBox One, PS4 and PC - Deal Alert

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:08

Play your way in a world where mysticism and industry collide. Will you choose to play as Empress Emily Kaldwin or the royal protector, Corvo Attano? Will you make your way through the game unseen, make full use of its brutal combat system, or use a blend of both? How will you combine your character's unique set of powers, weapons and gadgets to eliminate your enemies? The story responds to your choices, leading to intriguing outcomes, as you play through each of the game's hand-crafted missions. Right now Dishonored 2 is discounted 38% down to $24.99, for the XBOX One, PS4 and PC versions. See this deal on Amazon.

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Dell's Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop gets serious with GTX 1060 and Nvidia Max-Q

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:00

Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop is getting a little more serious this year, graduating to GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics and using Nvidia’s Max-Q technology to put more power into (slightly) less space.

The jury’s actually still out on Max-Q—gamers are openly leery of potential compromises. Looking at the main differences between the refreshed line announced Wednesday, however, and the prior generation, you can see how Max-Q is starting to change how laptops are designed.

The Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptops will begin shipping in September. Prices start at $999 for FHD-based configurations and $1,449 for UHD-based configurations, with these main options: 

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TerraMaster F2-420 NAS review: Storage device hampered by clunky management software

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 09:00

The TerraMaster F2-420 ($300, available on Amazon) is a basic RAID 1, 2-bay NAS designed for small office or personal use. The device ships with a 2GHz quad core Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM (upgradable to 8GB), two gigabit LAN ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. You must provide your own hard drives.

After installing drives and connecting the F2-420 to your network and power, you use the TNAS application (available on the web at start.terra-master.com) to begin the process of setting up the F2-420. The TNAS desktop application, which is available for Mac or PC, is what you use to locate the TerraMaster NAS on your network and begin the initial setup process. The entire setup process, which includes initializing the hard drives, downloading firmware, creating an initial admin account, and setting up the RAID, takes about 20 minutes, depending on your network speed. An integrity check on the RAID took several hours longer, but the F2-420 was usable during that time.

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Switchmate Bright review: The quick and easy path to smart lighting

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 07:00
You’ll spend more time downloading the app than installing this smart switch.

Switchmate Bright review: The quick and easy path to smart lighting

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 07:00
You’ll spend more time downloading the app than installing this smart switch.

How to delete iOS apps in iTunes for Mac to free up storage

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 07:00

Syncing your iPhone and iPad to your Mac is a good way to keep your devices organized. But if you like to download iOS apps, those apps take up a lot of sotrage space on your Mac.

This is the case with reader Lauren King. She finds that a fair amount of storage on her Mac is occupied with iOS apps. She wonders, “Is there a way to delete them from the computer and not the other devices?”

This happens if you use or have used iTunes to sync with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. iTunes downloads the iOS apps locally, and then copies them over when you synchronize. Apps you downloaded directly to an iOS device will sync to iTunes as well. You can also click an update button in iTunes to retrieve newer versions of those apps to sync to your iOS device.

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Moment Lens Version 2 review: This full lens suite brings DSLR photography to the iPhone 7

Mac World - Wed, 2017-08-30 06:30

The quality of photography made possible with an iPhone has significantly grown in quality over the past few years. But there’s always room for improvement. Enter Moment’s latest system of high quality photographic lenses. After a month of using them on trips to China, Japan, and while driving across western Canada I can say, with few reservations, that they’re one of the best investments a smartphone shutterbug can make.

Out with the old

Up until the release of their version two hardware, the most common way to attach a Moment lens to your iPhone was to invest in one of the company’s adhesive mounting plates. I used these mounting plates for years, but was never happy with them. You’d line the plate up with your phone’s camera lens, and pat it into place. The mounting plate had a twist-and-lock bayonet-style mechanism on its face to secure your lenses to. But it was easy to misalign the mounting plate with the camera lens. This caused unwanted vignetting in the photos you’d take with or without Moment’s lenses attached. Moment also sold a case that their lenses could be used with. But it offered little protection against impact damage, making it a poor choice to use for anything other than taking pictures with.

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Acer's Switch 7 could overpower the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 05:45

Acer's Switch 7 Black Edition is big, black, and ready to stomp on the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro 13. Sporting the latest quad-core CPU from Intel plus discrete graphics, it offers serious horsepower in a surprisingly slim package. Acer says the Switch 7 Black Edition will be available in North America in December with prices starting at $1,699.

Specs are still sparse, but so far we know that the 2-in-1 device with detachable keyboard (which Acer describes as a "laptop" rather than a tablet) features a 13.5-inch IPS touch screen with a resolution of 2256x1504. It uses a Wacom EMR digitizer with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity using the pen.

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Acer's Predator PCs woo gamers with 18-core CPUs, G-Sync HDR, and graphics cards galore

PC World - Wed, 2017-08-30 05:35

In a beleaguered PC industry suffering from sinking sales, gaming stands as a sparkling bright point. There’s never been a better time to be a PC gamer, and at IFA 2017, Acer revealed an army of powerful Predator hardware designed to entice enthusiasts who like their frame rates high and temperatures low: The Acer Predator Orion 9000 series gaming desktops, a drool-worthy Predator X35 G-Sync HDR monitor, and a new gaming headset and mouse to match.

Acer plans to offer several configurations in the Predator Orion 9000 series, but its ultimate form will be an utter beast, with Intel’s 18-core Core i9-7980XE, three M.2 SSD slots, and up to 128GB of DDR4 quad-channel memory. It’s no slouch on the graphics front either, offering a pair of ferocious GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in SLI or four of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega cards in CrossFire. (Modern GeForce cards only support two cards in SLI for gaming.) Acer didn’t mention power supply specs, but it must be a hefty one to handle that sort of firepower.

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iMac: Could the iMac Pro feature Intel’s new Xeon W processors?

Mac World - Tue, 2017-08-29 17:25

Editor’s note: We’ve updated the iMac Pro section of this article with news about new Intel Xeon-W workstation-class processors, which could be the processor in the iMac Pro.

The iMac is a direct descendant of the very first Mac, and it’s often the computer that longtime users think about when they think about the Macintosh. The iMac’s all-in-one design is popular and iconic.

The iMac is great for both novices and demanding users. It can handle general-purpose and heavy-duty tasks equally well. It’s ideal for someone who needs to buy a complete computer setup (keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and display) and wants to maximize workspace efficiency.

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