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The best day-to-day improvements you'll find in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Wed, 2018-10-03 15:00

Microsoft’s Windows 10 October 2018 Update differs from past Windows updates in an important way: This time around, the day-to-day improvements will impact you in more profound ways than the new features. So while we’ve reviewed the new Windows OS, we’ve also separated these new conveniences into their own story. 

What’s a feature? What’s a convenience? Think of it this way: Not all of you have used Windows 10’s Paint 3D app. But probably every one of you has managed files within Windows and the cloud, used Windows’ search function, and adjusted the size of a font or text. We’re calling these the “conveniences” of the Windows 10 Oct. 2018 Update. They may just make your life easier. (Note: Our story is based on the final Windows 10 Insider Builds, which led up to the official October 2018 Update. Microsoft doesn’t appear to have added anything with the announcement, but we’ll check and update this story to reflect any last-minute changes.) 

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Google preps for Pixel 3, smart display launch with a visual Assistant makeover

Wed, 2018-10-03 13:00

In case you haven’t heard, Google is holding its annual Pixel event in New York City on Tuesday, and to prepare, it’s spending this week getting its apps and services in order. After giving Maps an update with group planning and a new commuter tab, Google is now training its sights on the most important piece of its ecosystem: Google Assistant.

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Razer gets into networking with Sila, a $250 router built for wireless gaming that doesn't suck

Wed, 2018-10-03 12:53

Razer’s encroachment into every part of your PC that’s not inside your PC continues with the Sila, a luxurious $250 router built with gamers in mind. And not just PC gamers; Razer designed the Sila for seriously fast gaming over Wi-Fi, because nobody wants ethernet cables strewn across their living room.

The tri-band AC3000 router—one 2.4GHz band at up to 400Mbps, and two 5GHz bands at up to 1,733Mbps and 866Mbps—bristles with nine antennas under the hood and relies on smart software-management tools to optimize your gaming experience. Razer’s FasTrack engine prioritizes gaming bandwidth when your network starts getting clogged, and the Quality of Service tool is smart enough to identify and prioritize each of the major gaming consoles. Razer told us FasTrack will learn which applications are games over time and shift their load automatically. You can also enable a “Gaming mode” that reserves a set slice of your bandwidth for gaming alone.

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These TaoTronics wireless over-ear headphones are usually cheap, but today they're only $25

Wed, 2018-10-03 12:15

Wireless over-ear headphones are an awesome way to listen to your tunes on-the-go, especially if you have an iPhone or an Android phone that's missing a headphone jack. The prices vary from affordable to outrageous, but today you can grab an over-the-ear pair from TaoTronics for just $25.49Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $40.

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Hands-on with Microsoft's Surface Headphones: tune out the outside world to focus

Wed, 2018-10-03 10:32

If the theme of Microsoft’s Tuesday Surface event was about maintaining focus, then the new Microsoft Surface Headphones fall right in line: Spin the noise cancellation dial on Microsoft’s new cans, and the world fades away.

Headphones aren’t usually considered to be a PC accessory, but anyone who’s worked in a coffee shop—or the office equivalent, the dreaded open-plan office—knows that casual conversation and cup clinks can be enormously distracting.

Enter the $349 Surface Headphones, Microsoft’s over-the-ear headphones that feature both active noise cancellation as well as a connection to Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant. Like mice and keyboards, headphones are a subjective experience—we all experience them differently on our ears. I found the Surface Headphones a bit confining during my first interaction with them, though the noise cancellation worked well in the loud, bustling environment of Microsoft's demo space.

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How to get the Windows 10 October 2018 Update right now

Wed, 2018-10-03 10:09

Surprise! Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update out of the blue at a Surface device event on Tuesday, and despite the boring name it’s a milestone ‘feature update.’ That means it’s brimming with new features, including a cloud clipboard that synchronizes across PCs and support for real-time ray tracing in games. But you’ll need to get proactive if you want to install the Windows 10 October 2018 Update today.

In a blog post introducing the new features, Microsoft said that Windows Update will start automatically rolling the October 2018 Update (a.k.a. Build 1809) out to compatible PCs on October 9. Those tend to be staggered rollouts to ease the strain on Microsoft’s servers, however—meaning that not all PCs will get the upgrade right away. You can skip the line a couple different ways though.

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We loved G.Skill's ultra-customizable MX780 gaming mouse, and it's on sale for just $28

Wed, 2018-10-03 09:30

One of our favorite gaming mice just dropped to an awesome price. Amazon is selling the G.Skill Ripjaws MX780 for $28.19. It’s not clear if this is a permanent price drop or if it will be going back up in the coming days, so if you're interested, hop on it now.

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Prepare For The ITIL Certification Exams With This $49 Training Bundle

Wed, 2018-10-03 09:04

Enterprise demands for IT services have grown considerably, so considering a role in IT service management (ITSM) can be a stable and lucrative career move. However, not just anyone can become an IT service manager; it requires earning IT certifications, which demand rigorous preparation. Not to mention, there are numerous courses to choose from online. If you want to earn an IT certification, this Ultimate ITIL Certification Training Bundle by Integrity Training can help you prepare for $49.

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myCharge Unplugged 10K review: A portable battery pack that does it all

Wed, 2018-10-03 08:31

In our opinion, power banks over $50 should have at least one standout feature, like a large capacity. The myCharge Unplugged 10K effortlessly meets this criteria with a built-in Qi wireless charging pad.

That’s right—you can place a compatible smartphone on top of the battery pack and it charge it up without any cables.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

Priced at $70, the Unplugged 10K power bank comes with a 10,000mAh (37W) capacity. (Hence the "10K" in the name.) myCharge also offers smaller capacity models that bottom out at $30 and 3,000mAh.

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The Fire TV Stick 4K fixes Amazon's remote problem

Wed, 2018-10-03 08:00
Amazon's new Fire TV Stick 4K costs just $50 and adds TV controls to the remote.

Hands on with the Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Still the PC you desire but can't afford

Wed, 2018-10-03 07:00

Microsoft touted its Surface Studio 2 as the “fastest Surface ever” while launching it at its Surface event on Tuesday. That may be true in the end, though Microsoft barely squeaks by with that definition on paper. Fortunately, performance isn’t why you’ll buy the Microsoft Surface Studio 2: It’s that amazing, vibrant display.

Let’s get this out of the way: We saw Microsoft’s latest Play Anywhere PC/Xbox game, Forza Horizon 4, being played on the Surface Studio 2, and it looked amazing. The Surface Studio 2’s 4500x3000 28-inch RealSense display puts out even more light than before—over 500 nits!—and it was like falling into a more vibrant, colorful world.

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Hands on with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2: Still a great laptop, now without Windows 10 S

Wed, 2018-10-03 06:30

With Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, Microsoft used Windows 10 S as a tool to help enable the Laptop’s outstanding battery life. Now the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is here, complete with a higher-performing, 8th-generation Intel Core chip. But there’s one thing missing: Windows 10 S.

Performance is the name of the game this time around, and Microsoft’s claiming that the Surface Laptop is up to 85 percent faster, in part because of the new 8th-generation Core processors powering it. Battery life is also impressive, at a rated 14.5 hours. Naturally, that’s a feature that we’re eager to test.

Functionally, the Surface Laptop 2 appears to be exactly the same as its predecessor, in both dimensions and weight. As with the Surface Pro 6, Microsoft has separated  business and consumer customers, but the difference is more pronounced with the Surface Laptop. Microsoft claims that the base price of the consumer model is $999, though the only obvious way to buy it is via an “Essentials Bundle” that includes an Office 365 subscription.

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Tivoli Audio Andiamo Bluetooth speaker review: Great looks, upscale performance, primo price

Wed, 2018-10-03 06:00
In a market stuffed with me-too products, Tivoli breaks through with a speaker that yells “Look at me!”

Hands on with Microsoft's Surface Pro 6: The new tablet is easy to use, confusing to buy

Wed, 2018-10-03 06:00

If you were hoping for a dramatic change with the new Microsoft Surface Pro 6, you’ll be disappointed—unless you love black.

In what many Surface fans see as a throwback to the days of the original Surface, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is indeed available in a retro “black is back” color. But for those hoping that Microsoft evolved to next-generation USB-C ports—sorry. You’ll have to be happy with a new 8th-generation Intel Core processor under the hood. (The Surface Laptop 2, also announced Tuesday, also gets an 8th-gen Core CPU. Learn more in our hands-on of the Surface Laptop 2.) 

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Microsoft launches next-gen Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and more

Tue, 2018-10-02 18:23

Microsoft refreshed and expanded its Surface device family on Tuesday, revealing a new Surface Pro 6, a new Surface Laptop 2, a Surface Studio 2, and even headphones. Panos Panay, chief product officer at Microsoft, introduced the updated Surfaces at an event in New York City. The unifying themes: Helping you focus. And black. All black. 

The event kicked off with Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern life and devices, who made an obvious assertion: We’re all pretty busy. Mehdi defined three dynamics that shape Microsoft’s strategy: Life and work are blurring; there is a constant battle for attention with digital devices; and people want to pursue their passions. “We see these opportunities and we get excited about what we can do,” Mehdi said. 

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Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update releases today

Tue, 2018-10-02 16:51

The Windows 10 October 2018 update will be available starting Tuesday, October 2. Windows and Devices VP Yusuf Mehdi announced the new operating system's immediate availability at a Microsoft event the same day in New York, where new Surface hardware was also announced. More substantive details weren’t outlined, but hey, start jamming that Check for updates button. 

This update doesn’t include as many standout features as Microsoft’s prior cornerstone Windows 10 revisions, but you’ll still find some nifty extras for PC enthusiasts. Improvements include: 

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Amazon's new Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is 30% off and designed to keep children safe online

Tue, 2018-10-02 10:11

Nobody likes sparring with kids over who gets to use the tablet. And if you lose the battle, you better pray that the tyke doesn’t wander into Facebook or your work email. Buying a dedicated child-friendly tablet avoids all that headache and Amazon's new Fire 7 Kids Edition—out October 15—is on preorder sale today for $70, down from a list price of $100.

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Two of our favorite SSDs are cheaper than ever today

Tue, 2018-10-02 09:37

If you've been looking to upgrade your PC's storage, two of our favorite SSDs are available at their lowest prices ever today. Newegg is selling the 500GB Sasmung 860 EVO for $83Remove non-product link with the checkout code NEFQBR5, and Amazon cut the price of the 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND to $150, a deal that also applies to the M.2 version of the drive.

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Wisenet SmartCam N2 review: Solid facial detection tops this security camera's list of features

Tue, 2018-10-02 06:00
This home security camera makes it easy to monitor everything from kids to elderly parents.

HyperX Savage EXO SSD: A small drive that's great for small jobs

Tue, 2018-10-02 06:00

HyperX Savage EXO is a name that evokes hardcore performance madness. But while this superportable and good-looking USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbs) SSD is fast for everyday chores, it’s not the drive you want for offloading large amounts of data.

Design and features

The Savage EXO is a handsome, angular, silver and gray unit measuring approximately 5 x 1.9 x 0.4 inches 2 ounces. I like the way it feels in the hand better than the Samsung T5 and WD My Passport SSD, but the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD still reigns supreme in that regard.

HyperX didn’t provide info on the controller, but the NAND is 3D TLC (we’re assuming 64-layer), and the whole deal is warrantied for three years. The only thing breaking up the smooth exterior is a USB Type-C port, for which HyperX includes both Type C to Type C, and Type C to Type A cables (The latter for older USB 2.x/3.x systems.)

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