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Rowkin Micro true wireless earbuds review: Super little, not super great

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 15:05

Let me make this clear from the get-go: I am not fond of the Rowkin Micro true wireless earbuds. The reason for this is simple: They sound bad—not terrible, but bad. As they cost $130, I feel that it’s reasonable to demand that they at least sound good.

A number of the true wireless options that I’ve reviewed are available for around this same price point—and they sound good or even great. So, I know it can be done.  The crux of the problem, along with the other issues I encountered while using the Micro, stems from the same source: their diminutive size.

Hardware

One of the great things about the Rowkin Micro is that they look like the future. At 0.72- by 1.25-inches and a hardly-there weight of 0.18 ounces, they’re easily the tiniest true wireless earbuds that I’ve had the opportunity to play with. It isn’t possible to stick these things into your ears without feeling like you’re in a dystopian cyberpunk novel. They look like the wireless headphones of the future: small to the point of being almost unnoticeable.  The good news and bad news about these earbuds is that they’re designed to sit so far into the opening of your ear canal that some people could have difficulties getting them out. Once they’ve been inserted, their small size doesn’t leave you much to grab on to.

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Best Buy is selling an 8TB external hard drive for $140

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 14:02

If you missed out on Best Buy's Black Friday deal on the WD Easystore 8TB external hard drive, you're in luck. Today it's one of the big box retailer's daily doorbusters, though its price tag of $140 isn't quite as cheap.

That's still a very good deal, however. While this Easystore drive is part of Western Digital's exclusive line for Best Buy, its equivalents at Amazon and other retailers are currently selling for about $45 more. This discount also undercuts last week's sale price of $150.

This drive comes with USB 3.0, which WD says allows transfer rates of up to 5 gigabits per second. As with other WD drives, it comes with WD Backup (the company's automated backup software) to keep all the files on your PC in more than one place.

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Best Buy is selling an 8TB external hard drive for $140

PC World - Thu, 2017-12-07 14:02

If you missed out on Best Buy's Black Friday deal on the WD Easystore 8TB external hard drive, you're in luck. Today it's one of the big box retailer's daily doorbusters, though its price tag of $140 isn't quite as cheap.

That's still a very good deal, however. While this Easystore drive is part of Western Digital's exclusive line for Best Buy, its equivalents at Amazon and other retailers are currently selling for about $45 more. This discount also undercuts last week's sale price of $150.

This drive comes with USB 3.0, which WD says allows transfer rates of up to 5 gigabits per second. As with other WD drives, it comes with WD Backup (the company's automated backup software) to keep all the files on your PC in more than one place.

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Jaybird Run true wireless headphones review: This AirPod competitor packs great sound at a great price

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 13:20

For $20 more than you’ll fork over for a pair of Apple’s AirPods, you can invest in a significantly better true wireless headphone listening experience. With a customizable equalizer settings, the $180 Jaybird Run True Wireless Headphones sound great, are sweat- and water-resistant, and come with a number of fit options to ensure comfort. For the time being, these are the true wireless headphones that we recommend for most people.

Hardware

Weighing about 0.22 ounces a piece, you won’t mind the weight of the Jaybird Runs. Unlike Apple’s AirPods, which hang off of your ear’s tragus and antitragus, the Jaybird Runs need to be jammed, albeit shallowly, into your ear canal. Not only does this ensure that they’ll stay in your head—even during strenuous activities— but the earbud’s position in your ears will create a tight seal, thanks in part to the included silicon tips (available in a number of sizes). This provides users with some passive noise cancellation—that’s good news for the quality of any audio you’ll listen to, but maybe bad news for some athletes.

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Hands-on: HP's Envy x2 is a Surface clone boasting 20 hours of battery life

PC World - Thu, 2017-12-07 08:00

The HP Envy x2 joins a growing cohort of Surface Pro clones, but with one big difference: Inside it is a Snapdragon 835, offering battery life of up to 20 hours. We spent a little time with it at the Qualcomm Technology Forum to see what a new chip would do in an established category.

Externally, HP’s Envy x2 changes another key thing about HP’s line of Windows tablets: it removes the kickstand from the tablet itself and puts it inside the keyboard case. Normally, that’s a risky decision: Samsung’s Galaxy Book is an otherwise excellent Windows tablet, but its keyboard case doesn’t allow the flexibility of a true kickstand.

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Face-ile arguments: Getting it wrong about Face ID

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 07:00

Beware, iPhone X users! Unscrupulous developers will soon have access to your precious bodily data!

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and weaponized wrongness foundry, Kevin Murnane asks “What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The iPhone X’s Face ID.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nathan and @designheretic.)

Police are happy to report that the underlying point of this article was found wandering pantsless and confused in a Denny’s parking lot and has been returned to home safely.

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The Full Nerd episode 36: The best PC hardware of 2017

PC World - Thu, 2017-12-07 06:30

It’s that time of year yet again, and what an amazing year it’s been for computer enthusiasts. In this episode of the Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray name the best PC hardware of 2017.

These aren’t PCWorld’s formal picks—they’re the opinions of the Full Nerd podcast group alone. We didn’t hold staff-wide meetings or create elaborate Excel spreadsheets full of information about every gizmo reviewed in 2017. Instead, each member of the Full Nerd crew walked into the studio armed with their personal lists of the best hardware in each category, ready to cajole and convince the others to their cause. No one leaves until we’ve named every winner. And in the cases where we couldn’t break a deadlock, we turned to the live audience as the tiebreaker.  

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Why Amazon and Google just can't get along

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 06:00
Amazon Prime Video finally arrives on Apple TV, but don't hold your breath for Chromecast support.

What can Apple learn from its terrible week of bugs?

Mac World - Thu, 2017-12-07 06:00

What can you say about Apple’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week last week? A macOS security flaw and an iOS bug led to emergency security fixes, rapid OS releases, and the general sense that Apple’s software is having some serious safety and reliability problems.

But why is it happening, and what can be done about it? Unfortunately, Apple’s internal software-development processes are relatively secretive, not to mention incredibly complex. So beyond hoping that a week like this one doesn’t happen again, what can any of us say about it? (I’d certainly be interested in the perspective of someone like Steven Sinofsky, who managed Windows for Microsoft for many years, but unless someone has spent time working on developing an operating system with millions or billions of users, it’s unlikely they’ll understand the ridiculous complexity of these processes.)

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Why Amazon and Google just can't get along

PC World - Thu, 2017-12-07 06:00
Amazon Prime Video finally arrives on Apple TV, but don't hold your breath for Chromecast support.

Bragi Dash Pro true wireless headphones review: Packed with high-tech extras, but not worth the price

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 20:45

For most people, $330 is a lot of money to spend on anything that isn’t groceries, a car payment, or your rent or mortgage. It’s an extravagant amount to pay for a set of headphones. For the price, you’d want them to be as close to perfect as possible. My problem with the Bragi Dash Pro true wireless headphones is that they sound good, but not great—a similar aural experience can be had with true wireless earphones that sell for at least $100 less. To justify their high price, Bragi packed the Dash Pro full of high tech extras, but unfortunately, not everything works as well as it should.

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Amazon Prime Video, tvOS 11.2, iOS 11.2 and your comments and questions: Macworld Podcast episode 585

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 19:05

Six months after it was announced, Amazon Prime Video is finally on the Apple TV. There are also new features in tvOS 11.2, and iOS 11.2 was released with a bug fix and Apple Pay Cash. We also feature your comments and questions for Leah Yamshon, Michael Simon, Jason Cross, Roman Loyola, and Dan Masaoka in the Macworld Podcast, episode 585.

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 will bring speed, security and smarts to high-end phones

PC World - Wed, 2017-12-06 18:56

On Wednesday, Qualcomm revealed its first concrete details of the Snapdragon 845, the next-generation mobile chip that stands a good chance of being in your next smartphone. The 845 will ship in early 2018, and appear in phones sometime after that.

Qualcomm calls the Snapdragon 845 a chip to improve both artificial intelligence and immersion, blending the future of smart devices with the past. At its heart lies the Kryo 385, the semi-custom, upgraded CPU. It’s still an eight-core device, with four performance cores running at 2.8GHz and four energy-efficient cores running at 1.8GHz. That represents a 25- to 30-percent improvement over the existing Snapdragon 835 in the performance cores, and a 15-percent improvement in the smaller, energy-efficient cores. 

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Bose SoundSport Free true wireless headphones review: These splash-proof earbuds will please athletes and audiophiles

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 18:35

Priced at $249, Bose’s SoundSport Free true wireless headphones cost close to $100 more than Apple’s $160 AirPods. But depending on where and how you plan on using them, we feel that Bose’s first stab at wireless headphones are certainly worth the money.

Hardware

With their 1.25- by 1- by 1.2-inch dimensions, the SoundSport Free were, at the time that this review was written, the largest pair of true wireless headphones that we tested. The size of the headphones comes with a purpose: the SoundSport Free come equipped with buttons built into the ear cups. You get your standard volume controls, a button for pairing the earbuds with a Bluetooth device, and a multifunction button that does a bevy of actions—like accepting/declining incoming phone calls, interacting with Siri or Google Now, or controlling the audio that you’re listening to.

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Five ways the Snapdragon 845 chip will impact 2018 Android flagship phones

PC World - Wed, 2017-12-06 17:29

If you thought this year's Android flagship phones were fast, wait until next year. Qualcomm has unveiled its next-generation chip, the Snapdragon 845, and it's more than just the next number in the evolution: It's a ground-up redesign of the platform's architecture. And it's sure to have a profound affect on next year's crop of premium Android handsets.

While the 835 was mostly focused on performance and speed, the 845 brings a slew of enhancements to how phones will use the processor for AI, photos, and, of course, battery life. We'll probably have to wait until the Galaxy S9 to see it in action—Samsung is once again the manufacturing partner—but once the new chip arrives, it will mean great things for mobile power users. Here are five ways the new chip will impact future Android flagship phones:

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Apple releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 15:15

Apple on Tuesday released macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, an update to the operating system for the Mac. The update follows recent releases of updates for iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Before installing the update, you should back up the data on your Mac. The update is available in the App Store app, in the Updates section. If you don’t see it, press Command-R on your keyboard to refresh the list. You Mac will need to restart to finish the installation.

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BrandPost: iPhone X Face ID security fails; tricked by 10-year-old, 3D-printed mask, and twins

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 14:46

Authentication for Apple’s most recent iPhone was recently bypassed by a 10-year-old boy who used Face ID to access his mother’s iPhone X, by a set of twins, by a pair of half-brothers from Britain and even by a 3D-printed mask in Vietnam.

According to Apple’s support page, “the TrueDepth camera captures accurate face data by projecting and analyzing over 30,000 invisible dots to create a depth map of your face and also captures an infrared image of your face.“

The TrueDepth camera system that “accurately maps the geometry of your face” is also used to authorize purchases and payments. If a 10-year-old was able to trick it in a split second to read his mom’s messages, emails, and who knows what else, he could also bypass security and make various payments. The story was meticulously analyzed by Wired.

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Newegg is offering a $40 discount on a GTX 1080 bundled with Destiny 2

PC World - Wed, 2017-12-06 13:19

While prices aren't quite as good as they were during Black Friday, you can still find some decent graphics card deals right now. Case in point: Newegg is selling the EVGA GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 graphics card for $520 after a $20 rebate. This offer also comes with a free copy of Destiny 2.

Not counting the game, that's about $40 cheaper than Amazon's price for this card—provided you file the rebate. Newegg's offer ends at 11:59 PM Pacific on Friday, December 7.

In our graphics card roundup, we liked the GTX 1080 as a solid enthusiast-level graphics card for 1440p gaming, and entry-level 4K if you have a G-Sync monitor. It's also got some sweet overclocking capability thanks to Nvidia's 16nm Pascal GPU.

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Amazon Prime Video finally arrives on Apple TV: Here’s everything you can watch

Mac World - Wed, 2017-12-06 10:02

Almost exactly six months to the day after Apple promised Amazon Prime Video would be coming to Apple TV, the app has arrived in the App Store. And Prime members everywhere can rejoice.

IDG

Do my eyes deceive me?

To install the new app, head over to the App Store and type “Amazon” (or really just “AM”) and click on the icon. Once it installs, select “Sign in and start watching” if you have a Prime account or “No thanks, start browsing” to see what movies and TV shows are available.

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Amazon Prime Video finally arrives on Apple TV: Here’s everything you can watch

PC World - Wed, 2017-12-06 10:02
At long last, Amazon Prime Video has arrived on Apple TV.

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