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Which are the best laptops for home use? Here's what to look for

Tue, 2020-04-07 06:00

The best laptops for working from home don’t have to be expensive. Models costing as little as $500 offer the features you need to work efficiently and stay connected with coworkers. That said, if you have the budget, some higher-end laptops could provide better experiences and be smarter long-term purchases. We’ll make some specific product recommendations for great work-at-home laptops, and also walk you through the features you need so you can shop anywhere and find the best deal for you. 

Note: Because of the mass shift to working from home to combat coronavirus, laptops are flying off online shopping sites and local store shelves. We’ll do our best to recommend products that are in stock, but pay close attention to ship dates (which are becoming a moving target), and be prepared to keep looking if your first choice is no longer available. 

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The best USB-C hubs for your laptop or tablet

Mon, 2020-04-06 14:00

A USB-C hub allows you to add connections and ports that your laptop or tablet lacks: an HDMI connection, for example, or an SD card slot. Some laptops only have USB-C ports--that means a USB-C hub is essential if you want to connect a wired USB mouse or keyboard, or an older wired printer. 

Fortunately, there are so many USB-C hubs available with various combinations of legacy I/O that finding one to meet your particular needs is as easy as ordering off a menu. We’ve divided our picks into two categories: basic and full-featured, the latter denoting hubs that offer greater extensibility, including charging. We've also tried a sampling of hubs to point out details you can't tell from the specs, like whether the ports are too crowded or the hub runs a bit hot. Below our picks you can find information on how to choose a USB-C hub and how we tested these hubs in our evaluations.

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The best online film festivals and virtual art house movie screenings

Mon, 2020-04-06 13:34
SXSW, the Ashland Independent Film Festival, Film Forum, and more are turning to virtual screenings in the wake of COVID-19.

The best CPUs for gaming

Mon, 2020-04-06 11:52

Buying a processor for a gaming rig isn’t as hard as it used to be. Now that AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s 9th-gen Core CPUs come with more performance and cores than ever before, it’s hard to buy a stinker these days—especially because most games favor graphics firepower over CPU oomph. All that said, there are specific chips that stand out from the horde as the best gaming CPUs due to their price, performance, or nifty extras.

Best CPU for gaming cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

  • Best gaming CPU for most people: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
  • Best budget gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • Best high-end gaming CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KRemove non-product linkRemove non-product link

Whether you’re on a budget or willing to pay for sheer face-melting speed, these are the best CPUs for gaming PCs that you can buy.

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Wait, TCL now makes phones? Yes, and the 10 Series has a premium design at an affordable price

Mon, 2020-04-06 10:30

TCL’s timing couldn’t be better. In a world where premium smartphone sales are slumping, the company best known for affordable 4K TVs is turning its attention to much smaller displays at prices that make the OnePlus 7T Pro and Galaxy S10e look downright expensive. If it wasn’t for TCL’s glorious embrace of headphone jacks, in fact, you might confuse the company’s new phones for competing models costing four figures.

Of the three new TCL phones, only two of them—the 10 Pro and the 10L—are coming to the U.S. at launch. The 10 5G “will be available in select regions around the world later this year,” though TCL does have plans to bring it to the U.S. “for under $500” by the fourth quarter of 2020.

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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3: Is the newest do-it-all fitness tracker a worthy upgrade?

Mon, 2020-04-06 07:00
Here's how the new Fitbit Charge 4 compares to its predecessor.

Photoshop tips to boost your skills: Scratch Disk, Image Fill, Masks, Brushes, Vignettes

Mon, 2020-04-06 06:30

When you're ready to boost your Adobe Photoshop skills, try one of these features to work some magic with your images. We start with what to do when your Scratch Disk fills up, then dive right into tips for getting started with Content-Aware Fill, Clipping Mask, Brushes, and Vignettes. 

The Photoshop Scratch Disk is full

Photoshop uses the Scratch Disk to store its temporary files, such as the working and history files. If your Scratch Disk is full, save your file, then restart Photoshop. The Scratch Disk is cleared when you exit the program.

The default Scratch Disk is the C:\ drive. Adobe advises against using the operating system drive for your Scratch Disk unless it’s the only drive available. Here’s how to select another drive for the Scratch Disk.

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Lenovo Yoga C940 15 review: Doing what the MacBook Pro doesn't

Mon, 2020-04-06 06:00

Plenty of Windows laptops try to position themselves as MacBook Pro alternatives, combining slick designs and vibrant displays with powerful PC performance, but the Lenovo Yoga C940 15 is no mere copycat.

While the Yoga looks sharp and has a bright display, it also leans into its differences as a Windows PC. It has a touchscreen that flips around into tablet mode, a built-in stylus for writing or sketching, and—thank heavens—a full-sized USB-A port to complement its two USB-C connections. It even fits in a number pad without cramping its excellent keyboard.

That’s not to say the Lenovo Yoga C940 15 ticks every imaginable box. Screen backlighting is a bit uneven, audio quality could be better, and limited configuration options will prevent you from turning this into a beastly desktop replacement. Also, if we’re comparing to Apple’s MacBooks, Lenovo’s laptop doesn’t include all the same niceties, such as a slightly larger screen and jumbo-sized trackpad.

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ADT Blue Doorbell Camera review: It’s not much to look at, but it offers premium features and a good picture

Mon, 2020-04-06 06:00
You can use it as a stand-alone security for your front door or integrate it into a larger DIY system, with optional professional monitoring.

Quibi is an innovative, mobile-only streaming video entertainment service with a little something for everyone

Mon, 2020-04-06 00:01
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new project shouldn’t be dismissed as 'Short Attention Span Theater' for the new millennium.

iPhone SE 2020 preview: Price, specs, size, and an imminent launch likely for Apple's budget phone

Sun, 2020-04-05 08:18
Apple is set to launch a new iPhone SE in April. Here's everything we think we know about it.

These 17 movies will be available online early to help ease your coronavirus anxiety

Fri, 2020-04-03 21:24
The Call of the Wild, Onward, Bad Boys for Life, and more are available to rent or buy from streaming services way ahead of schedule.

How to use your Android phone as a webcam for video conferencing and virtual meetings

Fri, 2020-04-03 17:03

If you’re sick of peeling the tape off your laptop's camera every time you need to call into a virtual meeting, look no further than the Android phone lying on your desk. That’s right, you can use your Android phone as a makeshift webcam for Zoom or Skype video calls—no cables required.

There are a few different apps you can use, depending on your PC. If you have a Mac, your best bet is EpocCam, which also works well with an iPhone or iPad. For Windows or Linux users, we like DroidCam. Both offer free and paid tiers, depending on your streaming needs.

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The best alternatives to Amazon for buying tech right now

Fri, 2020-04-03 16:02

While Amazon has traditionally been a one-stop shop for tech gear, its mid-April delays are making other retailers viable options for getting what you want with a shorter lead time. Online stores like Newegg and B&H are stepping up, alongside (gasp!) actual brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Office Depot.

Alas, the old way of buying tech—looking for the absolute lowest price—is being set aside, as consumers are willing to pay a bit more for any products actually in stock. While we can’t guarantee a particular retailer will have the specific product you’re looking for, all of the ones we checked appeared to have a decent assortment of items in stock that we haven't been able to get through Amazon.

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Skype Meet Now is Microsoft's effort to make Skype calls as easy as possible

Fri, 2020-04-03 15:25

With millions of people currently connecting via online video and chat, Skype is promoting Skype Meet Now, a free, simple way of connecting via Skype without a subscription or even a download.

Announced Friday, Skype Meet Now is essentially a web-based version of Skype, with additional conveniences: a permanent link that you can toss into a text message or email, background blurring, and even a stored cloud recording of the call and files. Users can go to the Skype Meet Now webpage, click the Create a free meeting link, and get a shared meeting link to send to friends.

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The Full Nerd ep. 133: Intel's Comet Lake H and Nvidia's RTX Super GPUs blitz gaming laptops

Fri, 2020-04-03 11:58

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad ChacosAdam Patrick Murray and special guest Mark Hachman talk about the next-gen Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs revealed for gaming laptops at the exact same time on the exact same day. What a coincidence!

Mark kicks things off with a deep-dive into Intel’s new “Comet Lake H” 10th-gen Core processors, which blow well past the 5GHz speed barrier. Whoa. How does Intel’s latest compare against the ultra-impressive AMD Ryzen 4000 notebook CPUs that also launched this very week? The gang digs in.

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The best online film festivals and virtual art house movie screenings

Fri, 2020-04-03 11:00
SXSW, the Ashland International Film Festival, Film Forum, and more are turning to virtual screenings in the wake of COVID-19.

2020 iPhone SE preview: Price, specs, size and everything else we think we know

Fri, 2020-04-03 10:35
Apple is set to launch a new iPhone SE in April. Here's everything we think we know about it.

The best co-op PC games to play with your friends

Fri, 2020-04-03 09:23
Battle buddies

Image by Ubisoft

It's good to have friends.

We’ve refreshed this list a few times over the years, but now feels like a particularly appropriate time to do so. We could all use a way to hang out with friends right now, right? Co-op games have long been a way for people to “see” friends from afar, and that’s doubly important at the moment. If you’re looking for a way to spend time with your loved ones digitally, what better way than robbing trains or shooting aliens or whatever?

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How to use a digital camera, camcorder, or GoPro as a webcam

Fri, 2020-04-03 06:30

Webcams are hard to come by at the moment. These sudden necessities have sold out across major retailers, with remaining stock going for inflated prices through third-party and eBay sellers.

All is not lost, however—you might still be able to cobble together an equivalent setup with a digital SLR (dSLR) camera, camcorder, GoPro, or premium point-and-shoot you already own. Provided that the device passes muster, you just need to buy a capture device and possibly a few accessories.

The cost? About the same amount of cash as those opportunistic webcam listings (currently between $130 and $180 for models with MSRPs of $100 and below). And you’ll very likely end up with better picture quality, too.

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