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Roborock S6 review: This premium robot vac/mop combo features Increased suction, carpet recognition, and more

Mon, 2019-07-15 06:00
It also improves the navigation and mopping function of its predecessor.

Acer Swift 7 (July 2019) review: The ultimate thin-and-light laptop's flaw is still performance

Mon, 2019-07-15 05:59

Acer’s Swift 7 (July 2019) 14-inch laptop still represents the pinnacle of the thin-and-light PC movement. Amazingly, this breathtakingly slim notebook PC is significantly lighter than its predecessor, while solving many of the usability issues which detracted from Acer’s previous Swift 7.

That laptop was frankly unpleasant to work on, with an average keyboard, a touchpad without click capabilities, and an absence of Thunderbolt ports—though the latter is admittedly still more of a spec we expect rather than one many peripherals take advantage of. Our updated Swift 7 (July 2019) review reflects how Acer solved those problems, though others remain: a poor webcam, mediocre performance, and a somewhat worrying amount of heat. That won’t altogether dull the sheer gasp of amazement that occurs when you first lift this sliver of a laptop out of its box.

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: The best tech, electronics, PC, and mobile deals

Mon, 2019-07-15 03:08

For Amazon Prime Day 2019, the number of deals have increased dramatically. Amazon's competition has grown, too—but still, this annual summer sale has a long way to go before it rivals Black Friday.

Still, during our hours of poring over deals, we found respectable deals in multiple categories—you’ll find everything from chargers to TVs on the cheap. Tech enthusiasts can find a few diamonds in the rough, too. Overall, it'll pay off to check out both Amazon and rivals like Dell, Walmart, and Newegg, especially if you're shopping for a laptop.

Deals will roll out continually over the course of Prime Day (between July 15 12 a.m. PT and July 16 11:59 p.m. PT), so be sure to check this page regularly for updates. We'll update this article as new deals and new pricing information become available.

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Microsoft is shutting down its online versions of Hearts, Spades, Checkers and more

Sun, 2019-07-14 20:04

Chances are that you’re either obsessed with Microsoft’s Internet versions of Hearts, Backgammon, Checkers and more—or completely oblivious that such games exist. Unfortunately for the fans, Microsoft's online card games are going away entirely.

In a Community post, Microsoft has announced that its versions of Internet Backgammon, Checkers, Spades, Hearts, Reversi and MSN Go are indeed going away—if you’re still running Windows XP, they’ll vanish at the end of July. Support for the games on Windows 7 will end on January 22, 2020, the same day that support for Windows 7 officially ends.

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Best Amazon Kindle and Fire tablet deals for Prime Day 2019

Sun, 2019-07-14 15:01

Amazon Prime Day isn’t just a day—it’s essentially a 60-hour event that starts right now with deals on Amazon’s own devices, including Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Bottom line: If you’ve been considering one of these devices, now is the time to buy, as we’re seeing discounts of up to 50 percent. (You’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member to score these deals, and if you aren’t already, you can sign up here.)

Of all the deals listed below, we're partial to the all-new Kindle, which is the best budget Amazon e-reader you can buy, and now $10 less than its all-time low price. Compared to the previous model, it upgrades from E Ink Pearl to E Ink Carta for sharper text. It also adds a capacitive touchscreen to minimize errant swipes. 

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Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers review: Lighting the way for other MMORPGs

Sat, 2019-07-13 08:00

“Shadowbringers” is such a goth name, to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if you entered Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion expecting to see, oh, broody anime antiheroes running a delivery service for vampires. But it’s so much more than that.

It’s a tale that reminds us that the world’s beauty depends on a balance of light and dark rather than a surfeit of one or the other, and that starry nights boast as much majesty as sunny afternoons. It’s an oddly timely tale that riffs off contemporary concerns about ignorant politics in the context of a sickened world, and its cutscenes command more interest than many series on television. It’s not only the best Final Fantasy XIV expansion so far (at least in terms of its launch state), but its story hits with such a force that there’s no longer any question that Square Enix’s MMORPG warrants inclusion in discussions of the best Final Fantasy games of all time.

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This week in games: Blizzard sics DeepMind on its StarCraft II players, Cuphead heads to Netflix

Fri, 2019-07-12 15:14

Steam’s Summer Sale is over, which means summer is well and truly underway. I hope you’re all having a good July, the only month of the year where games sort-of stop releasing for a bit. I know I am.

There’s still plenty of news thoughteases for Control and other August releases, plus Blizzard sics the AlphaStar AI on its StarCraft II players, The Bard’s Tale IV gets a director’s cut, Cuphead is getting a Netflix cartoon, Amazon announces a Lord of the Rings MMO, and Ion Maiden bows to Iron Maiden.

This is gaming news for July 8 to 12.

Free for the ages

Steam’s free games are usually free-to-try, not free-to-keep, but this week’s the rare exception. With Age of Wonders: Planetfall due out on August 6, Triumph’s made its previous game Age of Wonders III free to drum up excitement. You can grab it here from now through July 15.

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Google defends 'critical' Assistant language experts who listen to your recordings

Fri, 2019-07-12 10:59

A report this week by VRT NWS seemingly outed Google employees for listening to users’ Assistant recordings. Now Google wants you to understand that they were just doing their job.

The Belgian broadcaster got ahold of the recordings after Dutch audio data was leaked by a Google employee. VRT says they received more than a thousand Google Assistant excerpts in the file dump, and they “could clearly hear addresses and other sensitive information.” The outlet then was able to match recordings to the people who made them.

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GOG Galaxy 2.0 hands-on: The only game launcher you need? Not yet, but maybe someday

Fri, 2019-07-12 06:30

While Valve and Epic battle over storefront supremacy, there’s another battle quietly looming. As complaints mount against the proliferation of storefronts, there’s a chance for someone to make the ur-storefront. I’m talking of course about the launcher that will unify all the other launchers, the one launcher to rule them all and—in the darkness of your hard drive—bind them.

And GOG’s taken an early shot at it. Building off its Galaxy launcher, which was once a mere repository and auto-updater for your GOG library, it’s now begun rolling out “Galaxy 2.0” to a select few, including us. I’ve spent the last week or so testing its capabilities to see if I’m ready to condense my launcher loadout.

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Graphics card massacre: 6 GPUs you absolutely should not buy right now

Fri, 2019-07-12 06:03

What a week it’s been for gaming nerds. Over the past seven days, AMD kicked off its next GPU generation with the $350 Radeon RX 5700 and $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT, while Nvidia countered its rival by launching a barrage of souped-up GeForce RTX “Super” graphics cards. The $400 GeForce RTX 2060 Super and $500 GeForce RTX 2070 launched on July 9, with a faster GeForce RTX 2080 Super scheduled to land on July 23.

The RTX Super cards effectively shift performance down a pricing tier. The GeForce RTX 2060 Super performs on a par with the original $500 RTX 2070, and the new RTX 2070 Super is almost as powerful as the original $800 RTX 2080. AMD’s Radeon duo, meanwhile, outpunches their direct GeForce competition in raw frame rates despite Nvidia’s attempted Super spoiler.

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Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild: A behind-the-scenes look at the advanced audio technology in a very unique live show

Fri, 2019-07-12 06:00
An in-depth look at one of the first THX-certified concert venues that enables Aerosmith to deliver live, immersive rock-and-roll performances.

Best home security camera: Keep an eye on the home front

Fri, 2019-07-12 06:00
A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.

Best PDF editors: Reviewed and rated

Thu, 2019-07-11 20:06

Though it’s nearly 25 years old, the PDF may be more useful than ever in our increasingly multi-device, cross-platform world. Much of the time you can get by with a free PDF reader to review and comment on these files. But inevitably, particularly in a business setting, you’ll need to edit a PDF file and that usually requires upgrading to a premium PDF editor.

Best PDF editors 2019
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: Best overall [adobe.com]
  • Nitro Pro 12: Runner up [gonitro.com]
  • PDF Architect 6 Professional: Best budget option [pdfforge.org]

Historically, Adobe Acrobat has been the best option, but it has also been the most expensive, often putting it out of reach of individuals and small businesses. That has given rise to a wealth of alternatives with varying features and costs. We looked at several top PDF editors to see what they offer and how they stack up against each other. See below for why we choose our top picks, and scroll to the bottom to see all of our PDF reviews.

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The PC market grows unexpectedly, thanks to tariff fears and the Windows 7 transition

Thu, 2019-07-11 19:58

The PC market benefited from a higher number of Intel processors and the Windows 7 transition to record a higher-than-anticipated 4.7 percent year-over-year growth, IDC said late Thursday. President Trump even contributed.

Overall, 64.858 million PCs were sold worldwide, IDC said, a 4.7 percent increase. A year ago, HP topped the list of worldwide vendors. For the second quarter, however, a whopping 18.2-percent increase in year-over-year sales propelled China's Lenovo to the top of the list.

In part, that may be because tariff fears prompted PC vendors to stuff the channel, IDC said, selling laptops out of China before possible tariffs raised their prices. Otherwise, the two factors that contributed most were Intel's ability to ship microprocessors once again without supply constraints, as well as the looming end of support for Microsoft's Windows 7 in January 2020. That, IDC said, is spurring corporations to invest in new PC hardware. 

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Microsoft brings new ways to pester your coworkers to Microsoft Teams

Thu, 2019-07-11 18:39

Microsoft claims that its Teams collaboration tool now has 13 million active daily users. But a few new features may not exactly be welcomed by those who use it.

Employers will probably love the fact that a new Time Clock feature will allow employees to clock in and out, including for breaks. Employees may not appreciate the fact that those notifications can be geofenced, meaning that if you’re not quite back in your office when you say you are, your employer will know.

Microsoft

Announcements are now part of Microsoft Teams.

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The best graphics cards for PC gaming

Thu, 2019-07-11 16:19

“What graphics card within my budget gives me the best bang for my buck?”

That simple question cuts to the core of what people hunting for a new graphics card look for: the most oomph they can afford. Sure, the technological leaps behind each new GPU can be interesting on their own, but most everyone just wants to crank up the detail settings on Battlefield and get right to playing.

Gaming GPU cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

  • Best budget GPU: Radeon RX 570 [amazon.com]
  • Best 1080p GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 [amazon.com]
  • Best 1440p GPU: Radeon RX 5700 [amazon.com]
  • Best 4K/60Hz GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 Super [GeForce.com] or Radeon RX 5700 XT [amazon.com]
  • Best 4K/144Hz GPU: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders EditionRemove non-product link [BestBuy.com]

Updated July 11, 2019 to add the Radeon RX 5700 series and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX Super graphics cards, and remove the “Best $500 graphics card” category in their wake.

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Valve's intriguing 'Steam Labs' experiments help you find new games to play in a sea of releases

Thu, 2019-07-11 13:00

Steam is enormous, and growing more so by the day. And that presents a problem: How the hell do you find anything that isn’t already on your radar? It’s less a needle in a haystack, more a needle in a hayfield—and that’s after Valve tried to solve the problem once already, with 2014’s Discovery Update.

Five years later, it’s time to try again. This time, Valve’s approach is a bit more advanced—and a bit more scattershot. Under the umbrella of Steam Labs, Valve’s rolling out three new experiments that should hopefully streamline the discovery process and help you find the odd diamond among Steam’s 30,000 game library.

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Apple temporarily disables Walkie Talkie on Apple Watch over eavesdropping concerns

Thu, 2019-07-11 10:22
Apple has temporarily disabled the Walkie Talkie app on the Apple Watch because a security flaw can let outsiders listen to your iPhone without consent.

How to shop Lightning Deals during Amazon Prime Day

Thu, 2019-07-11 08:00

Amazon’s summer sales extravaganza, Prime Day, is a full 48 hours this year. From 12:00am PT Monday, July 15 until 11:59pm PT on Tuesday, July 16, the deals will flow on the popular shopping site. One of the best ways to find good prices during the sales fest will be Amazon’s Lightning Deals.

Lightning Deals feature limited stock available at a low price for a limited time, with a purchase limit of one per customer per item. They generally offer some of the best sale prices on Amazon, which makes the demand for them that much higher.

Lightning Deals expire in two ways: The deal ends either when the time limit runs out, or when customers claim all available stock. Because these bargains often sell out fast, you'll want to have a plan to take advantage of the best items.

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Windows 10 Insider Build 18936 lets you skip the password on your PC

Thu, 2019-07-11 06:31

Hate passwords? So, apparently, does Microsoft. And in the most recent Windows 10 Insider build, you can do without them.

Windows 10 Insider Build 18936, part of the 20H1 branch inside the Fast Ring, adds three new key features: the ability to remove passwords from your PC, the addition of new events from the calendar flyout, and broader support for the Your Phone app within the Microsoft Surface lineup. Remember, this is the so-called "feature release" of Windows 10, due to roll out in about April 2020.

Microsoft isn't revoking passwords entirely. Presumably you'll still have to enter a password under certain conditions, such as managing your account online. On your PC, though, it's a different story.

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