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The best video baby monitors: Keep eyes—and ears—on your bundle of joy

Tue, 2019-09-10 06:00
Today's baby monitors are more capable—and more complex—than ever. Here's how to find the right one, so you and your baby can get some sleep.

Best DNA testing kits: Discover the secrets stored in your genes

Mon, 2019-09-09 16:14

We all want to know more about who we are. Who were the people who came before us? Where did they come from? Are there relatives out there we don’t know about?

DNA testing services promise to help answer these questions. Today, multiple at-home ancestry DNA kits can find long-lost relatives, estimate your ethnic ancestry, or show where your ancestors came from tens of thousands of years ago.

These tests are popular—according to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the number of people who bought at-home DNA kits now exceeds 18 million—and it’s easy to see why. All you have to do is swab your cheek or spit in a vial, seal your sample in a bag, and send it off to the lab. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be given a percentage breakdown of the regions your genes hail from.

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Windows 10's Your Phone app will get a battery indicator soon, and maybe calls, too

Mon, 2019-09-09 15:06

Windows 10’s Your Phone app may allow you to leave your phone in your pocket, but that’s no good if the phone quietly runs out of juice. An update to the app is adding a battery indicator, with something more exciting possibly waiting in the wings: the ability to place calls.

Analy Otero Diaz, a senior program manager lead at Microsoft, tweeted an image of the new battery feature that Microsoft is making available to Windows Insiders, the participants in its Windows 10 beta program. 

Because Your Phone already sends notifications from supported Android phones to your PC, allowing you to interact with them, it’s probably fair to say that you’ve already been able to monitor your phone’s battery life to some extent—with a low-battery warning, for example. This new feature adds to your peace of mind. Diaz did not make clear what version of the Your Phone app would include the new beta capabilities, nor whether it would be rolled out as part of a more general Windows 10 update.

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What to expect at Apple’s ‘By Innovation Only’ event: iPhones, Apple Watch, and one more thing

Mon, 2019-09-09 11:18
Apple’s annual September event is just hours away. Here’s what you can expect to see.

Fitbit Versa 2 review: Small steps add up to a giant leap forward

Mon, 2019-09-09 09:00
Fitbit has made enough improvements to the Versa 2 to call it a true Apple Watch competitor.

Lorex 1080p Wire Free Camera System review: Connectivity problems sink this security solution

Mon, 2019-09-09 08:15
This wireless security system operates just fine on a local level, but its problematic mobile app can't consistently stream video to your mobile device when you're away from home.

TellMeGen review: Heavy on DNA-driven health results, but light on ancestry

Mon, 2019-09-09 06:30

With more and more demand for affordable home DNA testing, the field of available tests keeps growing. Some offer more specialized results or the ability to purchase only the testing categories you desire, while others might undercut the bigger-name kits on price.

TellMeGen claims to offer the complete package, with both health/medical testing and ancestry results at a single purchase price. However, in practice, the service is clearly focused much more on the former than the latter, providing a long list of health traits and medical conditions with ample detail… and then barely scratching the surface with its simplistic ancestry results.

Note: This review is part of our best DNA test kit roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them. DNA collection

You’ll need to mail in a saliva sample for TellMeGen to analyze your DNA. Here’s what is in the kit:

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How to install a smart switch

Mon, 2019-09-09 06:00
Let us show you the easiest way to install a smart switch.

Five cool Android 10 features that haven't yet arrived

Mon, 2019-09-09 05:43

If you own a Pixel or still have an Essential Phone lying around, you’ve probably already tried out Dark theme, gesture navigation, and all the other new Android 10 features. But you might not know there are some other features to explore—features that still need a bit more development time and are currently hidden behind a rather flimsy gate.

Interested? You’ll need to enable Developer options on your phone. To do this, go to the System menu in Settings, then About phone, and scroll down to Build number at the bottom. Tap it seven times, and a message will appear telling you that you’re now a developer. Then go back a screen and tap on System, then Advanced, to see the Developer options menu.

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Best gaming laptops: Know what to look for and which models rate highest

Fri, 2019-09-06 19:01

Picking a gaming laptop is a lot more fun today than it was five years ago, when a “real” gaming laptop meant 12 pounds of back-breaking hardware to haul around. Check out our top picks immediately below, and keep reading to catch up on the latest news and reviews. 

Gaming laptop cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:·

  • Best 17-inch gaming laptop: MSI GS75 Stealth [MSI.com]
  • Best 15-inch gaming laptop: Razer Blade 15 [amazon.com]
  • Best budget gaming laptop: Dell G3 15 [dell.com]
  • Best portable gaming laptop: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD  [amazon.com]
  • Best price-is-no-object gaming laptop: Origin EON17-X [originpc.com]

With major advances in laptop CPUs and graphics technologies, you can now get great gaming performance in sizes from slender to huge, and prices from budget to sky-high. That’s where this handy-dandy buyer’s guide come in. We’ll name the best gaming laptops currently available, and we’ll highlight what to look for when buying a gaming laptop. (Check back often, as we’ll update this list as new products arrive.)

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Best DVR for cord cutters

Fri, 2019-09-06 17:03
TiVo vs. Tablo vs. Channel Master vs. Plex: None are ideal, but one might work for you.

Microsoft did it: Windows 10 now powers over half of the world's PCs

Fri, 2019-09-06 14:45

At long last, a majority of the world’s PCs now run Windows 10.

According to the latest market share information from Net Applications, Windows 10 crossed the 50-percent mark in August. It now stands at 50.99 percent, the highest point for Microsoft’s operating system ever. (Windows 10’s latest market share was first reported by Computerworld.) Since October 2017, Windows 10’s market share has gained by approximately 20 points.

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Netgear sets a $700 price tag (ouch) for its upcoming Orbi Wi-Fi 6 mesh network system

Fri, 2019-09-06 13:49

The future is now as far as Netgear’s latest Wi-Fi mesh router is concerned, with the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi RBK852 mesh network system slated to land in stores in October. Consumers with gigabit (and faster) broadband service, however, should prepare to pony up for the privilege of enjoying a super-fast home network.

Netgear first announced its tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router at CES back in January, and now the networking giant says the upcoming two-node 802.11ax kit will retail for a whopping $700 when it ships at the end of this month.

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The Full Nerd ep. 105: Intel gets salty, Ryzen's boost bug, and the best GPUs right now

Fri, 2019-09-06 13:12

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray dive into CPU wars and GPU glory.

We kick things off with a peek at Intel’s shockingly direct shots at AMD’s Ryzen chips during a recent teaser for the high-end Cascade Lake-X CPUs coming next month. For years, Intel refused to even say the word “AMD” in any official communications, so it’s a surprise to see them coming out with guns blazing. After that, we talk about the Ryzen 3000 boost bug that’s scheduled to be fixed soon, and explain why it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Then Brad dives into the best graphics cards for every resolution, condensing the information from a trio of recent YouTube videos:

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Windows 10's first PowerToys app allows custom Snap resizing and looks amazing

Fri, 2019-09-06 11:00

If you’re a fan of Windows 10’s Snap feature, you’ve been waiting and hoping for Windows to allow you to design your own custom Snap layouts. Now you can! One of the first Windows 10 PowerToys apps, FancyZones, does just that—and it looks incredible.

If you don’t know what Snap does, head to a PC and open any window there—this story will do. Then press the Windows key and one of the directional arrows. If you hit Windows + the left arrow, for example, Snap snaps a window as a column attached to the left side of the screen. If you drag it toward any corner, the window will snap to that corner, allowing you to create a 4-window tiled effect.

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Meural’s revamped Canvas II wireless photo frame lets you decorate your wall with priceless works of art

Fri, 2019-09-06 10:25
The revamped photo frame from Netgear-owned Meural promises better Wi-Fi, greater energy efficiency, and even an optional subscription service of digital masterpieces.

The U.S.-bound dual-screen LG G8X ThinQ is like an SNL parody of the Galaxy Fold

Fri, 2019-09-06 09:41

While all eyes are on Samsung and its next-gen Galaxy Fold that transforms from a 4.6-inch phone to a 7.3-inch tablet, LG has its own idea of what a folding phone should be. And it’s almost charming in its immaturity.

Instead of a revolutionary display that bends, the LG G8X merely adds a second screen via a snap-on case. It’s kind of like hooking up a second monitor to a laptop—if you wanted a monitor that gets in the way of using the laptop. When attached, the second display adds bulk and weight, and the gap between the displays makes it hard to type on the main screen and nearly impossible to type on the secondary one, and blocks the volume keys. The Dual Display concept is similar to the ZTE Axon but portends to be less successful.

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The best 1440p graphics card for PC gaming

Fri, 2019-09-06 06:30

Most people play on 1080p monitors and aspire to game in 4K, but here in 2019, 2560x1440 resolution is the PC gaming sweet spot. 1440p provides a big leap in visual fidelity over 1080p, yet it won’t melt your graphics card as ferociously as a 4K display.

Picking the best 1440p graphics card can be somewhat complicated however. Here, you’ll start to see a wider array of monitor types and features than you typically do at 1080p resolution, with ultra-wide resolutions and high refresh rates becoming much more common. You need to keep the specifics of your setup in mind when you’re buying a new GPU. This guide can help.

If you want a wider look at the world of GPUs, be sure to check out our overarching guide to the best graphics cards for PC gaming, where we also explore your best video options for 1080p and 4K resolution, and divvy out buying tips to keep in mind while you’re on the hunt for new hardware.

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HDHomeRun Scribe Quatro and Servio review: Great video quality, but clunky software

Fri, 2019-09-06 06:00
HDHomeRun's whole-home DVR hardware, the Scribe and Servio, streams broadcasts in native quality on the cheap, but the software is still too crude.

Acer Nitro 5 (17-inch, AN517-51-56YW) review: Here's your cheap Fortnite laptop

Fri, 2019-09-06 06:00

In the field of low-end gaming laptops, Acer’s latest Nitro 5 (model AN517-51-56YW) is about as budget as they come. But for $880, you don’t need more than what the Acer Nitro 5 offers to play Fortnite and Apex Legends at 1080p and 60 frames per second with maximum settings. You can cross the same frame rate and resolution hurdles in lots of other modern games with a few minor graphical tweaks.

Those who turn up their noses up at sub-144Hz displays should stay away, of course, and the Nitro 5’s speakers are major weak point no matter what kind of player you are. But for folks with calibrated expectations, the Nitro 5 is a big low-budget gaming laptop that hits the right marks.

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