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Zelle review: Instant cash, as long as you've using the right bank

Mon, 2017-11-13 05:37

The Zelle mobile payment app is the major banks' way of saying they're not content to sit back and let the red-hot peer-to-peer payment trend pass them by. So some of them banded together to make Zelle, a slick money-sending app that aims to go head-to-head with the likes of Venmo, Square Cash, and Google Wallet. Zelle lacks the cool factor of an app like Venmo, but it's got an ace up its sleeve: instant and free cash transfers. Enticing, but there's a catch.

Zelle may have your bank behind it, but it's not the only option. Check out the other mobile payment apps we reviewed.

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Google Wallet review: Easy money sending and bill splitting, if you're on iOS

Mon, 2017-11-13 05:33

Google Wallet is the mobile payment app that's so close and yet so far. Were it not for its limitations on the Android side, it would be a strong contender for "Best App that Isn't Venmo." Boasting a simple interface, robust bill splitting abilities—well, for iOS users, anyway—and ability to send or receive cash from virtually anyone, Google Wallet checks most of the boxes when it comes to peer-to-peer payments, although we wish it would let you use a credit card rather than just debit cards.

Google may be a hot company, but its Wallet app faces stiff competition. Check out the other mobile payment apps we reviewed.

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Square Cash review: A simple, versatile mobile payment app

Mon, 2017-11-13 05:32

Square isn't just for paying merchants using those little Square readers; it also lets you send personal payments to friends and loved ones, and that's where Square's "Cash" app comes in.

Square Cash is both more simple and less flashy than Venmo, but it has some clever tricks up its sleeves, and it's a good choice for users who want to send and receive money from anyone—even those without Square Cash accounts—with a minimum of fuss. We just wish Square Cash were a bit more flexible as far as splitting checks is concerned. To find more options, check out the other mobile payment apps we reviewed.

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PayPal review: A safe but costly mobile payment app

Mon, 2017-11-13 05:26

PayPal, the pioneer of online payments, clearly wants in when it comes to the hip new world of peer-to-peer money transfers—after all, it did acquire Venmo back in 2013. But if you're not so sure about sharing your personal transactions in Venmo's social feed, you can still transfer money to friends and family using PayPal's mobile app.

PayPal boasts some distinct advantages compared to the more casual peer-to-peer money-sending apps, chief of which is its lax sending limits and buyer/seller protections for purchasing goods and services from strangers. On the other hands, splitting bills is a hassle, and prepare to pay extra if you want to send money using a debit card.

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How Assassin's Creed: Origins' photo mode makes your Egyptian tourism feel important

Sat, 2017-11-11 07:00

For years I’ve claimed Assassin’s Creed is better as virtual tourism than it is as a game proper. It was only a matter of time until they gave players a camera.

I’m wrapping up my stint in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, finishing up a tour of Ptolemaic Egypt. Uplay tells me I’m at 83 percent completion overall—just some forts and a few side quests to mop up, but I’ve finished Bayek’s story, learned how the Assassins came into existence, uncovered the secrets of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. And Bayek’s right, the Sphinx is smaller than I thought.

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NordVPN is offering 3 years of VPN service for $99

Fri, 2017-11-10 13:17

When I reviewed NordVPN in July, I found it was a very capable service at a good price, but I took issue with the fact that the founders were anonymous.

I still don’t like that, but nevertheless, it’s a good VPN that’s very easy to use—and right now you can sign up at a crazy price.

The company is offering three years of NordVPN for $99. NordVPN typically charges $69 per year, meaning you’re saving about 52 percent off the annual price. The offer stands until the end of November. 

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Need for Speed: Payback review: Pouring loot boxes on a tire fire

Fri, 2017-11-10 10:26

Need for Speed: Payback is the first game to be ruined by loot boxes. Obviously it’s not the first game to have loot boxes—we’ve been actively discussing them and their role in games for the last few months, thanks to Forza Motorsport 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War and “Is this gambling?” and so on.

But I’m talking ruined. In Need for Speed: Payback, we have a totally decent arcade racer undermined at every turn by rampant and predatory monetization. It should be a cautionary tale for the rest of the industry.

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You should use a TV antenna, even if you have cable. Here's why

Fri, 2017-11-10 08:30
TV antennas aren't just for cord-cutters. Even if you have cable or satellite, an antenna will deliver a better picture to your big-screen TV.

Apple TV 4K review: The high price of polish

Fri, 2017-11-10 08:00
The Apple TV 4K gets the little details right, but it's more than twice the price of other 4K HDR streaming devices.

Best power banks of 2017: The top USB portable chargers for your phone

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:30

With so many different phones, charging terminology, cables, and ports, trying to find a versatile yet portable battery back can be a daunting task.

Just pull up Amazon and search for “portable battery” and you’re bound to feel overwhelmed. Anker, Mophie, and MyCharge are all common battery makers, but how do you know which one delivers on its promise? Is it worth saving a few bucks if the battery pack doesn’t perform as promised?

We decided to do the legwork for you, acquiring a wide range of power banks from different manufacturers, some offering unique features. We then spent weeks testing the packs (read about our testing process in detail below).

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Mophie Powerstation Plus XL review: Sleek design and fully capable

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

Mophie made a name for itself with its battery-pack cases for smartphones years ago. As the company grew, so did its product line. Portable batteries are a natural extension of Mophies product offering.

We tested the Powerstsation Plus XL, a 12,000mAh (46.056Wh), lightweight battery pack. The $99 pack includes a cable that’s dual purpose, with a removable Lightning adapter for Apple devices and a Micro-USB adapter for everything else. There’s also a standard USB-A port on the pack.

The built-in cable tucks into the edge of the pack, wrapping around roughly half of its perimeter. Removing the Lightning adapter to convert to Micro-USB is a breeze. A single Micro-USB port on the opposite end of the cable is used to charge the pack itself.

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MyCharge Adventure Max review: A rugged battery pack for folks who are hard on their gear

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

MyCharge has been around for a while, with products ranging from standard battery packs to those designed for, well, a rougher lifestyle.

The MyCharge Adventure Max is a 10,500mAh (37.2Wh) battery pack with a rubber exterior. It’s splash, drop, and dirt resistant.

A carabiner hook helps attach it to a belt loop or exterior of a backpack. None of the ports are exposed to the elements, with an attached flap you have to move to the side to reveal two USB-A and a single Micro-USB port for charging the pack itself.

A power button is found just below the carabiner, along with a few indicator lights.

Included in the box is the MyCharge Adventure Max and a Micro-USB cable. There is no case, because, well, that wouldn’t make sense for a battery pack that’s supposed to withstand the occasional abuse.

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DBPower Q100 Portable Energy Storage Battery review: You’ll be glad to have around

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

While not the ideal battery pack for keeping phones powered while traveling, the DBPower Q100 Portable Energy Storage Battery has its place.

It’s packed with 26,400mAh (97.68Wh) of power. In total, it weighs just over two pounds, measuring 7.2 x 4.8 x 1.6 inches. It’s small enough to fit into a backpack, but big enough you likely won’t want to carry it around airports all day.

On the front is a covered 110V outlet plug, and two USB-A ports. Sandwiched in-between is a DC input used to charge the Q100. A power button to the far right of the ports has four blue indicator lights on the top.

The two USB ports are capable of charging a smartphone at 5V/2.2A, which we verified with our testing equipment. However, if you want to use fast charging with the Q100 you only need to plug your smartphone’s original charger into the AC port.

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Tronsmart Presto PBT10 review: Slender, portable, and extremely efficient

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

The Tronsmart Presto PBT10 is a small battery that packs a punch. At 10,000mAh (37Wh), it’s not made to last you an entire weekend off the grid. It will, however, keep your device charged as you run through the airport or catch a train.

It’s small enough to fit into a coat pocket or the side pocket on a backpack without issue. On the front of the pack are three ports: two USB-A, one Micro-USB. The bigger ports, one of which is green to indicate QC3.0 compatibility, are for charging your phone or tablet. The Micro-USB port is for charging the battery itself.

The PBT10’s smooth finish isn’t slippery like with other plastic housings, so you shouldn’t have issues with it sliding out of your hand or pocket.

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Anker Powercore II 20000 review: One of Anker’s best battery packs

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

One brand that’s synonymous with inexpensive battery packs is Anker. It has built an entire brand around providing a quality user experience at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. The PowerCore II 20000 battery pack falls in line with that mentality.

As the name implies, it’s packed with a 20,000mAh battery (72.36Wh). There are two USB-A ports, one with 12W output, another with 18W output. A single Micro-USB port is used to charge the PowerCore II itself. We were able to fully charge the PowerCore II in 5 hours, 25 minutes—about half the amount of time we expected for this capacity. According to Anker that time can dip to below 5 hours when using a Fast Charging wall adapter.

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Anker Powercore Fusion 5000 review: It’s all you need, really

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

The Powercore Fusion is now my go-to battery pack simply because it’s so versatile. When sitting in an airport near an outlet, I can use the Fusion to charge my iPhone or Android device without using any of the internal 5,000mAh (18.5Wh) battery. Then when an outlet is nowhere to be found, the same device can still charge my devices. Any time I don’t have to worry about packing yet another item, I’m happy.

The Powercore Fusion 5000 can charge itself in a standard 110V wall outlet, or through a Micro-USB port on the face of the device. In testing, we found the pack to charge in 2.5 hours. There are two USB-A ports on the front, both of which are identical in functionality. You won’t find any form of fast charging on the Fusion, which we confirmed during testing.

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Romoss Longuard 10 review: A short, stubby battery pack that does it all

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:15

Unlike the other Romoss pack in this roundup, the Longuard 10 is well designed. It looks and feels like a quality product.

With a rating of 10,000mAh (36Wh), there’s a lot of power in a rather small package.

At the end of the Longuard 10, two USB-A ports are stacked atop each other. Each port is capable of 2.4A of simultaneous output, for a total of 4.8A. This is a different approach, as most competing packs may have a single 2.4A port, with any secondary ports maxing out at 1A.

In testing, however, I was unable to get a combined 4.8A of output from the pack. I was also unable to trigger the Samsung Note 8’s quick-charging feature. It’s not a deal breaker, but I’m unsure what the trick is to reach Romoss’ claimed levels. 

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Romoss Solo 6 Plus reivew: Not great looking, but gets the job done

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:14

A lesser-known brand, Romoss is starting to get my attention. Looking at the Solo 6 Plus, it’s clear Romoss doesn’t lead the way in cutting-edge design, but between its efficiency and brilliant LCD display, I’ve grown fond of this pack.

The Romoss Solo 6 Plus is currently priced at just under $24 on Amazon, with a capacity of 16,000mAh (59.2Wh).

Our efficiency test put the Solo 6 Plus at 87.39 percent of total capacity used when charging your devices. Total charging time of the pack itself is on the slow side, taking 10 hours to go from 0 to 100 percent.

The back of the pack features a display, with two USB-A ports for charging devices on one end. To the right of those ports is a lone Micro-USB port for charging the pack.

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Amazon is offering a $40 discount when you buy two of its new Cloud Cam

Thu, 2017-11-09 18:55

Amazon Key seems like a crazy idea: You provide select permission to delivery people and service workers to enter your home while you’re away.

We found, however, that the security camera part of that system—the Amazon Cloud Cam—is really good even if you don’t want to let people enter your place. Today, you can get the security camera at its first deal price. Amazon is selling two of the Cloud Cam devices for $200, or a $40 discount on the usual $240 list price.

Anyone who wants to go crazy can even get three of the devices for $290, or about $70 off. To get the deal, you have to enter either coupon code 2CLOUDCAM or 3CLOUDCAM, depending on the offer you prefer. Amazon hasn’t put a specific end date on this deal, just the usual “offer good while supplies last.”

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Surface Book 2: Price, release date, specs, features, and everything you need to know

Thu, 2017-11-09 17:13

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 was an unexpected surprise. Sure, the two-year-old original Surface Book was overdue for an update, though we still recommend the Book’s combination of power and long battery life even today. But after hearing that the two (yes, two!) Surface Book 2s will be way better than the original, we can’t wait to see what they can do.

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 aspires to repeat the original Surface Book’s theme, blowing users away with raw performance—only this time around, Microsoft claims the Surface Book 2 offers five times greater graphics performance than what the original 2015 model achieved.

We took a close look at the new hardware at a recent press briefing and have all the information for you below: the specifications, the pricing and release date, and even our first hands-on impressions (with video!) of the product. You can use our index to the left to jump to a specific section. Be sure to check back: We’ll be updating this page with more specific details as they arrive, and eventually a review.

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