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Updated: 46 min 27 sec ago

Best smart bulbs for your connected home

Mon, 2019-04-01 14:36
Today’s smart bulbs are brighter and easier to control than ever, but choosing the right one for your environment remains a challenge.

No joke, Google is killing off the Pixel 2, Inbox, goo.gl URL shortener, and Google+ this week

Mon, 2019-04-01 12:44

If there’s one thing Google doesn’t joke about, it’s killing off its products. Google may be celebrating 15 years of Gmail, but it has an equally long history of suddenly paring down its catalog of products and services, both loved and forgotten, and it’s at it again. This time Google is taking the axe to several popular apps and devices as it moves on to bigger and better things.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

While Google has been selling the Pixel 3 and 3XL for about six months now, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are still very good phones, especially at discounted prices. But if you want one, you’ll have to act fast. Google has stopped selling the Pixel 2 and 2XL through its online store, which means whatever remaining stock at store like Best Buy and B&H Photo are sure to be extremely limited.

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Keep your delicate devices dirt-free with over 1,500 sprays of screen cleaner for $17

Mon, 2019-04-01 11:33

Whether you’re working at a desk or swiping at your phone, nobody likes a dirty screen, and trying to wipe away those specks with your finger or shirt never seems to work. You need a good cleaner to get your screen shining again, and today you can grab the popular Screen Mom cleaning kit on Amazon for $16, down from a list price of $22.

This cleaning kit includes a spray bottle of cleaner and a large microfiber towel. Designed to clean odor-free and without leaving streaks, Screen Mom cleans smudges and fingerprints from all kinds of screens. In addition, the bottle should provide over 1,500 sprays, so you’ll be able to clean all your devices for a while with one purchase.

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Intel's Optane Memory finally supports Celeron and Pentium budget PCs that need the most boost

Mon, 2019-04-01 11:20

Two long years after Intel debuted its radical—and awesome—Optane Memory caching SSDs, the company has finally decided to embrace the processors that could appreciate the technology’s benefits the most. A recent Optane Memory driver update added support for Intel’s budget-friendly 8th-gen Celeron and Pentium CPUs, as Anandtech noticed this weekend.

Optane Memory gives pokey mechanical hard drives a shot of SSD-like speed by intelligently caching your most-used programs and files to speed up access. You install an Optane Memory drive in an M.2 slot on your motherboard, and Windows sees it and your hard drive as a single combined storage pool. Intel’s software delegates which data should go on which drive. When you open a commonly used program that’s stored on the Optane Memory, speeds drastically increase. It makes a world of difference in terms of raw performance.

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Microsoft's Surface Book 2 gains a faster quad-core Core i5 CPU over the weekend

Mon, 2019-04-01 10:24

The baseline model of Microsoft’s stunning Surface Book 2 just received a significant bump in power, thanks to Intel. Sunday night, a new version of the Core i5 Surface Book 2 appeared on the Microsoft Store sporting a quad-core Intel Core i5-8350U CPU and a $1,499 price tagRemove non-product link, as first spotted by The Verge.

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Snag a 43-inch, Roku-powered smart TV for only $170 today

Mon, 2019-04-01 09:25

If you’re on the hunt for a new TV, you can get one with some smarts for cheap today. Amazon’s selling a 43-inch Roku Smart TV by TCL for $170 today. This is the all-time low for this set, which has been sitting around $200 lately. The sale ends just before midnight Pacific time on Monday night.

The TCL 43S305 features 1080p resolution on a 43-inch screen, a 120Hz refresh rate, and dual band Wi-Fi for its Internet-enabled extras. For ports, you get three HDMI, 1 USB, optical audio, a headphone jack, and composite video for that Vic 20 lurking in your closet.

The basic hardware is fine, but the big deal with any smart TV is the software running on it. This TV features Roku’s software, including access to more than 4,000 apps, or “streaming channels” as Roku calls them. You can also use a smartphone to function as a remote to automatically call up various streaming channels on your TV. TCL’s television also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to control the TV with your voice.

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Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb 2.0 Dimmable White review: Updates give the Lumos line a fresh profile

Mon, 2019-04-01 07:00
Never mind the light, it’s the low price tag on these smart LED light bulbs that will catch your eye.

Huawei is basically forcing fans to buy the P30 Pro by crippling the P30

Mon, 2019-04-01 06:33

If it seems like every smartphone maker offers a choice between two models of its best phones, it's because they do. Everyone from Samsung to Apple to Google sells a standard and Plus, Max, or XL version of their flagship phones, with larger screens and various upgrades. Obviously, the larger model costs more—usually $100 or so. In short, the more you spend, the more you get.

The difference between the S10 and S10+? A larger screen and a second front camera. The same goes for the Pixel 3 and 3XL. The iPhone XS Max and XS? Three-quarters of an inch more screen. That's how it should be. On the one hand, you shouldn't feel like you're being punished for wanting a phone with a smaller screen, but even if the larger size brings exclusive features, you shouldn't need to comb through spec sheets to decide which phone is a better fit. The differences between two models in the same series should be clear and obvious, which lets consumers make smart choices and encourages upsells.

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Tronsmart Element Force review: This small and inexpensive Bluetooth speaker produces high-quality sound

Mon, 2019-04-01 06:00
Strong water resistance and support for the ability to wirelessly combine two of these speakers into a true stereo pair make for a real winner.

Google Gmail celebrates 15 years by adding scheduled email and Smart Compose for mobile

Mon, 2019-04-01 06:00

As Google Gmail turns fifteen—yes, on April 1—the company is finally adding some long-overdue features, such as the ability to schedule email.

Last week, Google announced that Gmail would support so-called “dynamic” email, also known as AMP HTML preview. With Monday’s updates—and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke—Google is allowing you to specify a time that you’d like email to arrive in a recipient’s inbox. It’s also adding support for what it calls Smart Compose to its mobile app, with real-time suggestions of what to say as you type.

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Apple Card: Here's who will benefit from it most

Fri, 2019-03-29 19:18
We sat down to chat about Apple's upcoming credit card and the people who will get the most out of it.

Wunderlist's death by a thousand cuts continues as Microsoft axes Cortana integration

Fri, 2019-03-29 18:45

The slow death of Wunderlist continues. Beginning April 15, Microsoft will disconnect Cortana and Wunderlist, so that you won’t be able to issue oral reminders via Cortana any more.

It’s a consequence of Microsoft’s move away from the Wunderlist app, and toward its own Microsoft To-Do.  As of January, Cortana integrates with Microsoft To-Do, though you’ll need to be running a Windows Insider version of the Windows 10 April 2019 Update and follow some convoluted setup instructions to enable it. 

In the meantime, though, Microsoft is obliquely notifying customers that Wunderlist is being de-prioritized. That’s because you’ll have to click on the Cortana/search field, navigate to the Notebook, then to Connected Services, and finally to the Wunderlist button. Clicking that produces the following message:

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Best gaming mouse: Find your perfect match

Fri, 2019-03-29 15:27

The mouse is a simple tool: point and click. That’s it. But if you’re a PC gamer, you know that pushing virtual paper around on your desktop isn’t the same as fragging bots and shooting zombies. (Not even remotely.) 

What’s more, picking the right gaming mouse is an intensely personal decision. Every little detail—its overall shape and size, the shape and placement its buttons, its cable (or lack thereof), its weight, its materials—can change how you feel about it. More than any other peripheral, a mouse is the hardest to recommend, because there is no objectively perfect mouse. Everyone’s hands are different.

That said, we can guide you on your search. Below are our recommendations for gaming mice, built on years of experience first and foremost as gamers, and second as writers here at PCWorld. 

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This week in games: Free copies of Morrowind, Divinity: Original Sin 2 gets a tactics spinoff

Fri, 2019-03-29 15:00

Myst developer Cyan is running a Kickstarter campaign for a new game, Firmament, and Gearbox finally announced Borderlands 3. But that’s just the start of this week’s news, which also contained release date announcements for Heaven’s Vault, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Observation, plus the announcement of a new Divinity: Original Sin spinoff tactics game, CD Projekt teasing not one but two games before 2021, and free copies of Morrowind to celebrate the Elder Scrolls anniversary.

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Apple leaves Android users with few alternatives as Texture is earmarked for May 28 shutdown

Fri, 2019-03-29 12:52

The fruits of Apple’s acquisition of Texture were finally realized this week with the launch of Apple News+, a $10-a-month service that offers access to the same 200+ magazines Texture offered, as well as The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Vox, and Vulture.

However, while Apple News+ is clearly inspired by Texture’s business model, it doesn’t actually replace the app. You can still download Texture from the App Store or the Play Store on Android phones, and current subscribers can still read whatever they want. But that’s going to end very soon. Texture has announced that it will be officially shutting its digital doors on Tuesday, May 28. All new sign-ups are already being redirected to the Apple News+ site.

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Turn one USB-C port into four USB-A ports with this Aukey hub for just $7

Fri, 2019-03-29 10:37

Users of modern Macbooks and ultra-thin USB-C Windows laptops know the pain of too few ports, but any computer can benefit from additional connections. And today, you can add some on the cheap with a steep discount on an Aukey USB-C hub. It’s available for $7 on Amazon using the code FSPHO44Y, saving you over half off its $15 list price.

This hub features four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. It’s also compact enough to easily slip into a bag, so you can connect accessories and drives wherever you go. In addition, a chipset designed to be protected against electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge means you’ll be able to connect safely.

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Amazon's blowing out Logitech mice, keyboards, webcams, and more for today only

Fri, 2019-03-29 09:37

Amazon is on quite the one-day sale streak for tech goodies. Earlier this week the retailer threw a time-limited PC gaming components sale, and today only, textlinkAmazon’s blowing out Logitech PC gaming and productivity peripheralsRemove non-product link. The current sale ends just before midnight on Friday night Pacific time and includes keyboards, mice, headphones, and webcams.

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Magic Leap hands-on: Magic, sure, but augmented reality is still a long way away from mass consumption

Fri, 2019-03-29 06:30

Here are two seemingly contradictory statements: 1) Magic Leap is really neat. 2) You absolutely should not buy one right now. Try one? Sure. But spend over $2,000 to own one yourself? Doubtful, even for early adopters and gadget geeks.

Last week at the Game Developers Conference I finally had a chance to go hands-on with the Magic Leap One for the first time. Then this week, Magic Leap announced you'll be able to purchase its debut headset in certain AT&T stores starting in April, crossing from a niche product intended for developers to a (somewhat) consumer-facing product.

Obviously Magic Leap didn't intend for that timing to line up per se, but it did. Thus what was initially intended to be a few scattered thoughts about my demo now doubles as an informal purchasing recommendation. The short version: Augmented reality still isn't ready for the masses—and it won't be for a while.

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Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet review: These headphones are designed to protect children's hearing

Fri, 2019-03-29 06:00
The active noise cancellation in these headphones works very well, and it significantly improves the sound quality to boot.

Cooler Master MM830 review: Its gimmicks are unnecessary flair

Fri, 2019-03-29 06:00

Cooler Master is experimenting, and I’m excited. In the past year, we’ve written about the company’s MK850 keyboard and its analog WASD keys, which could change the entire gaming keyboard landscape and how PC gamers play. No pressure or anything.

We’ll be reviewing that soon. But today we’re looking at Cooler Master’s MM830, a mouse with a similarly lofty pitch—though the reality isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.

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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