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Doom VFR review: Ripping and tearing and stumbling over the small details

Mon, 2017-12-04 09:48

It’s been a sleepy fall for virtual reality, but we were promised one hell of a capstone: Not one but three Bethesda titles, reworked for the HTC Vive. First Doom VFR, then Fallout 4 VR, and then Skyrim VR sometime in 2018. (That last one is also available for PlayStation VR right this moment.)

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Need Stocking Stuffers? See Amazon's Highest Rated Tech Deals Under $25 - Deal Alert

Mon, 2017-12-04 09:34

This month, you'll probably need to buy stocking stuffers and cheap little gadgety things for co-workers, extended family members, or to fill in gaps last-minute when you find yourself asking, "Did I buy enough?".  Amazon has deals running every day, so we've filtered their list of active deals down to just the tech categories, and only the deals $25 or less with 4 or 5 star ratings.  Discounted USB cords, chargers, phone accessories, BlueTooth speakers, splitters, and other gadgets. Here it is: An impulse shopper's dream/nightmare

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Gigabyte Aero 15X Review: The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q makes it hum

Mon, 2017-12-04 06:30

Gigabyte's new Aero 15X says conventional wisdom is wrong. That conventional wisdom says gaming laptops can't be good "laptops" because they're too big and eat too much battery. The Aero 15X proves otherwise, with great gaming performance and great battery life. 

If the Aero 15X looks familiar, that's because it's mostly just an upgraded copy of the Aero 15. We absolutely loved the Aero 15, which set the standard for performance and battery life, and the 15X adds to that success. 

Adam Patrick Murray

The Aero 15X is basically the Aero 15 with a faster GPU (that's a good thing).

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HDMI 2.1 has arrived: Here's everything you need to know

Mon, 2017-12-04 06:00
Higher resolution audio and video, faster refresh rates, and more bandwidth will enable better experiences with movies, games, VR, and more.

If your iPhone started crashing at midnight on Dec. 2, iOS 11.2 will fix it

Sat, 2017-12-02 08:53
Another widespread bug has hit Apple devices, this time affecting iPhones and iPads running iOS 11.1.2. In response, Apple has pushed out iOS 11.2 early.

Best Buy is selling two Google Home speakers for the price of one today

Fri, 2017-12-01 13:35

Best Buy has a nice two-for-one deal today: Right now, you can get two of Google's voice-activated smart speakers for $130. It's not clear when the deal will end, but it appears to be a daily doorbuster that will likely expire by the end of the day.

While the Google Home hasn't typically budged from its $129 price tag, the smart speaker has seen a lot of discounts lately--in addition to this deal, it's $79 right now on the Google Store. Google's Echo competitor is a great choice for people who are already integrated into Google's ecosystem. (For example, you can use it with Google's Chromecast streaming device to call up Netflix videos via voice commands.) It also works with a number of third-party smart home device makers including Honeywell, Logitech Harmony, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, and TP-Link Smart Home.

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This week in games: Destiny 2's Ghost gets Amazon Echo commands, Deus Ex isn't dead

Fri, 2017-12-01 11:26

The most important news this week is either the Civilization VI expansion or the fact that EA’s stock lost $3 billion in value thanks to Battlefront II. But hey, there’s also lots of Destiny 2 ne—wait, come back!

Okay, there’s also new footage of Okami HD, Star Citizen’s started selling off fictitious land titles to fund development, Square says Deus Ex might not be quite dead yet, Jazz Jackrabbit hit GOG.com, and Battlezone II is being remade for 2018. This is gaming news for November 27 to December 1.

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Best soundbars

Fri, 2017-12-01 10:08
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.

Vava Dash Cam review: Great video and ground-breaking features

Fri, 2017-12-01 09:00

Vava’s Dash Cam is stylish, cleverly designed, and it offers at least two features that are unique in the dash cam world as far as we know: 360-degree rotation on its magnetic-coupling, and enough battery on board to capture in parking mode for up to 72 hours.

It’s also on-trend with the latest features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, iOS and Android apps, and a separate Bluetooth snapshot button (press it to capture stills) that can be placed anywhere in your car’s interior. If you’ve ever been in a hurry to capture an image, only to miss the opportunity because finding the tiny button on the camera took too long... you’ll appreciate the latter.

All the innovation would mean nothing if the video were weak, but Vava has even taken care of that, both day and night, by incorporating a Sony IMX291 STARVIS sensor. In short, this is a very impressive product from a first-time vendor. It shows what can be done when you examine existing designs with a skeptical eye. It’s even competitively priced at $150 (sans SD card). To see how it stacks up against other models we've tested, check out our full roster of dash cam reviews.

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Best Fitbit: We help you choose the right one for your lifestyle

Fri, 2017-12-01 09:00
We help you find the Fitbit best suited to your activity level and habits, without spending more than you need.

15 gorgeous PC games that will punish your graphics card

Fri, 2017-12-01 08:39
Pixel-pushing, PC-melting graphical firepower

Image by Gordon Mah Ung/Rob Schultz

So you built yourself a brand-new gaming rig, you’ve slotted your sweet new graphics card into the PCIe slot, you’ve sealed up the case, and you’ve heard it all POST—congrats! Now it’s time to throw games at your fresh build until it breaks, then cry at the thought that if you’d spent just 200 dollars more you could’ve played at 4K instead of a mere 1080p!

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Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+ soundbar review: It’s great for music, but you’ll want the optional sub for movies

Fri, 2017-12-01 06:00
Music sounds fantastic on Samsung’s flagship soundbar, but it needs more oomph for soundtracks.

Origin EVO15-S review: A portable, powerful Max-Q laptop that does everything right

Fri, 2017-12-01 06:00

Say hello to one of the most intriguing high-end incarnations of Nvidia’s new Max-Q technology.

The Origin EVO15-S is powerful and portable, delivering GeForce GTX 1070 graphics in a sleek sub-five-pound frame. That’s amazing—but it’s also true of every Max-Q gaming laptop. Origin stands out from the crowd with a superb out-of-the-box customer experience and the ability to configure the EVO15-S hardware any way you see fit, unlike the overwhelming majority of the Max-Q masses.

More importantly, you can use this gaming laptop as a laptop. The first two GTX 1080 Max-Q laptops we’ve tested, the Asus ROG Zephyrus and the Acer Predator Triton 700, suffered from dismal battery life and atrociously positioned touchpads. The more conservative GTX 1070 Max-Q in the Origin EVO15-S still won’t survive the day away from a charger, but it lasts much longer than those others, and it has a straightforward touchpad, right under the keyboard where you’d expect it.

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Google's new data-tracking app could save money on your mobile bill

Thu, 2017-11-30 08:33

Google’s newest Android app might be its most useful of all. It’s called Datally, and it has one function: to stop apps from gobbling up your precious gigabytes of data.

The simple, intuitive app is designed to help you get a handle on your mobile data usage and stop rogue apps from surreptitiously using it up. So, if you get a message from your carrier about using an abnormal amount of data, you can use Datally to pinpoint the app that’s doing the most damage and shut it down.

IDG

Data trackers have been built into Android for a while, but Datally makes it drop-dead easy to use them.

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How to use Word to create holiday cards and other projects

Thu, 2017-11-30 06:30

Microsoft Word may not be a full-fledged graphics program, but you can use its layout, font, text box and other features to make surprisingly good custom holiday cards—with a little clever manipulation and some creativity. You can use images or clip art from your own collection, download royalty-free images from the web, or use Shapes and Special Effects in Word to draw your own custom images. 

Note: If you’re planning to use envelopes (as opposed to a postcard-type design), note that the paper size may be determined by the size of the envelope. So, choose your envelopes first, then create your project.

Designing envelopes in Word

1. Because envelopes are generally wider than tall, open a blank Word document, and select Page Layout > Orientation > Landscape.

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The demise of net neutrality isn't the biggest threat to the cord-cutting movement

Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00
With or without net neutrality rules, the FCC handed an unfair streaming video advantage to big internet service providers like Comcast months ago.

OnePlus 5T review: A $500 mid-range phone with the heart of a $900 flagship

Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00

If the OnePlus 5T isn't a “flagship killer,” it's at least a "flagship bruiser." It’s remarkable how much phone OnePlus has managed to deliver for $500, just $20 more than the OnePlus 5. The camera might be a step below those of its premium peers, and the 1080p display isn’t as sharp as Samsung’s Quad HD ones, but the 5T is nothing less than a tremendous upgrade and value.

Where last year’s 3T was a mere spec refresh, the 5T upgrades the display, which hadn’t really changed much since the OnePlus One (other than switching from LCD to OLED). Never has a half-inch made such a huge difference. With a 6-inch, 18:9 screen instead of a 5.5-inch, 16:9 one, the OnePlus 5T looks and feels like a modern phone that should cost $800 or $900. Considering the 5T releases less than six months after the 5 (making it the third phone OnePlus has released in the past 12 months), it proves the company can make a big-screen AMOLED phone on the cheap, and do it quickly. 

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HDMI 2.1 released: 10K resolution, dynamic HDR, and FreeSync-like game smoothing

Wed, 2017-11-29 10:34

The next generation of HDMI is here, and it holds some major benefits for PC gamers and media buffs alike. The HDMI 2.1 standard, released Tuesday by the HDMI Forum after being announced at CES, supports higher resolutions, new HDR features, and game-smoothing variable refresh rates, among other features.

HDMI 2.1 delivers massively more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0—a whopping 48Gb/s compared to the 18Gb/s achieved by today’s technology. That allows HDMI 2.1 to hit much higher resolutions and refresh rates.

HDMI Forum

The new spec supports 8K and even 10K resolutions, but those are better thought of as future-proofing or targeted towards commercial applications. Modern gamers will appreciate the introduction of 4K/120Hz display support, though. Today’s 4K monitors are limited to 60Hz and the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan XP graphics cards can already max those out in modern games. But 120Hz-plus displays are already coming in the first quarter of 2018 in the form of glorious G-Sync HDR monitors by Asus and Acer, and Nvidia’s next generation of graphics cards—hopefully due sooner than later—will presumably have the power to drive such demanding displays.

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Awesome tech gifts that cost $50 or less

Wed, 2017-11-29 08:53
Give like you give a damn

Image by Rob Schultz/IDG

When it comes to finding gifts that are cool, useful, and affordable, technology can check all those boxes. And contrary to what you might think, the audience for cool tech gifts is quite broad, with options for virtually everyone on your holiday shopping list.

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Corsair Glaive review: This mouse has so many RGB LEDs it made my palm sweat

Wed, 2017-11-29 06:30

The Corsair Glaive is the reason I spend weeks with every mouse we review. Usually the extra time feels like a formality—I can tell almost instantly whether or not I like a mouse. But every once in a while there’s a Glaive, a mouse I strongly disliked at first but (somewhat) reversed opinion on over time.

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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