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Updated: 35 min 45 sec ago

The best SSDs of 2020: Supersized 8TB SSDs are here, and they're amazing

Wed, 2020-07-01 09:09

Switching to a solid-state drive is the best upgrade you can make for your PC. These wondrous devices obliterate long boot times, speed up how fast your programs and games load, and generally makes your computer feel fast. But not all solid-state drives are created equal. The best SSDs offer solid performance at affordable prices—or, if price is no object, face-meltingly fast read and write speeds.

Many SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor and communicate with PCs via the same SATA ports used by traditional hard drives. But out on the bleeding-edge of NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) drives, you’ll find tiny “gumstick” SSDs that fit in M.2 connections on modern motherboards, SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card, futuristic 3D Xpoint drives, and more. Picking the perfect SSD isn’t as simple as it used to be.

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Spotify unveils $13-a-month Premium Duo plan for two people

Wed, 2020-07-01 09:08
The new Premium Duo plan sits between Spotify’s existing individual and six-person family plans.

Avira Prime review: Value, value, value

Wed, 2020-07-01 06:30

We’ve been reviewing Avira Antivirus Pro for a few years now and wondering why it was worth purchasing when the free version of Avira offered so much. At the time, Avira’s top-level offering, Prime, was just too expensive. Those days are over, however, and Avira Prime is now available at a competitive price.

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

Prime is the company’s one-stop shop for antivirus, web protection, ad blocking, privacy protection, and system maintenance. It includes access to Phantom Pro, the company’s VPN, as well as system tune-up options, a secure file shredder, and more.

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Lockly Vision review: A smart lock and a video doorbell in one well-made device

Wed, 2020-07-01 06:00
This monolithic smart lock successfully brings two worlds together.

Microsoft's Xbox Series S (code name Lockhart): What we know, what we expect

Wed, 2020-07-01 06:00
Microsoft is expected to announce a second, cheaper console to complement its Xbox Series X. Could this "Lockhart" console be called the Xbox Series S? Here's what we know about it so far.

Data caps on AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile will return after June 30

Tue, 2020-06-30 14:04

Major Internet service providers are scheduled to end their quarantine benefits soon, once again subjecting Americans to data caps and removing protections if they are unable to pay their bills. They're scheduled to expire at the end of June, meaning that July 1 will see the return of data caps to some major ISPs.

The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge is set to expire on June 30. Companies initially agreed to the pledge and rushed to add benefits. ISPs like CenturyLink, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many others said they would not discontinue service or charge late fees for those unable to pay because of the coronavirus. They also agreed to open their Wi-Fi access points for free. So far, the FCC has not publicly said that it would extend the pledge.

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How to manage Windows 10 updates to prevent them from ruining your life

Tue, 2020-06-30 11:00

How can I stop Windows 10 updates? Whether it’s preventing Windows 10 from kicking off a critical update during a presentation, or deferring Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature update because of worries about data loss, it’s a question we’ve all asked. You shouldn’t block all Windows 10 updates. But you can manage them.

Windows 10 feature updates and security updates provide a valuable service: they not only patch Windows, its apps and components, but provide new features and capabilities twice a year. Windows Update can also automatically provide updated drivers for hardware connected to your PC, such as a USB-attached printer. 

It’s not an academic issue. Microsoft wrestled with the fallout from the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which apparently deleted user data in an undisclosed number of cases and was put on hold, then resumed. Would you want to buy a car if it had even a 0.001 percent chance of exploding? Probably not—which is why it’s good to know how to manage Windows 10 updates, now and in the future.

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Samsung SSD 870 QVO review: Stupendous 8TB capacity in a SATA SSD

Tue, 2020-06-30 10:00

The Samsung 870 QVO (‘Q’ as in in 4-bit QLC), is our first look at a drive that will eventually ship with a whopping 8TB of NAND on board. Announced Tuesday, this is the new top capacity available, superseding a still-new flock of 4TB models. Samsung sent us the 2TB version for testing. It’s a great everyday performer; however, when you run out of cache (which shouldn’t be often), write pace falls off drastically.

Specs and pricing

A standard 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps SSD, the 870 QVO is currently available in $130/1TB, $250/2TB (tested), and $500/4TB flavors. The 8TB model will be available in August for $900. That’s considerably cheaper than the high-capacity 4TB OWC Aura P12 and 8TB Sabrent Rocket Q NVMe drives we recently covered, and a far greater savings delta than we normally see between NVMe and SATA. 

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Amazon Prime Video rolls out watch parties with 100 friends (and several caveats)

Tue, 2020-06-30 09:55
Now you can jump into an Amazon Prime Video watch party with up to 100 friends, provided they're all Prime subscribers.

Vizio’s first OLED TVs are coming this fall, and they’re priced to move

Tue, 2020-06-30 08:00
Vizio also revealed pricing and availability for its largest LCD TV to date, along with the rest of its new TVs for 2020.

Chromebooks versus Windows laptops: Which should you buy?

Tue, 2020-06-30 06:59

Should I buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop? Whether you’re seeking out the best computer for your child or just weighing which inexpensive computer would make a great gift, we can help you choose the right one. 

Who should buy a Windows PC?

A notebook PC powered by Microsoft Windows offers several advantages. Windows offers the most flexibility to run just about any app, as well as your choice of any browser. You can tweak and configure your PC as you choose.

That convenience demands more computing horsepower, and often a higher price compared to most Chromebooks. Prices can soar into the thousands of dollars, and if you need a powerful PC for gaming or video editing, Chromebooks really don’t offer that much competition. But you’ll find some great deals among our more affordably priced, top Windows picks.

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Sinopé Zigbee dimmer switch review: Smart lighting from the Great White North

Tue, 2020-06-30 06:00
Sinopé pivots from their proprietary smart home protocol in favor of the Zigbee standard.

Windows File Recovery is Windows' new tool for finding lost files

Mon, 2020-06-29 19:07

Accidentally deleting a file can be a nightmare. A new Windows 10 recovery tool, Windows File Recovery, can help—though it’s geared towards those who don’t mind using a command-line interface. 

Windows File Recovery, a free Microsoft app now on the Windows Store, offers a way to restore files that have become accidentally deleted. It does require Windows 10 build 19041 or higher, however, and also doesn’t work on a file that’s been stored to the cloud. You’ll also need two separate drives, which can be as simple as a USB drive if you’re trying to recover a file from the boot disk.

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11 quick ways to clear space on an overstuffed Android phone

Mon, 2020-06-29 12:11

Updated June 29, 2020 to reflect the latest Android tools.

Few things in life are as annoying as finding that your Android handset refuses to install any more app updates because it’s run out of storage. Unlike many of life’s little annoyances, though, this one’s easy to fix. You can't do anything about your system files, but you can quickly clear out precious gigs by sweeping up stale downloads, rooting out offline maps and documents, clearing caches, and wiping unneeded music and video files. And if these tips don’t do the trick, check out our picks for the best Android phones for every need and budget. 

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Apple removing the iPhone 12 power adapter wouldn't be courageous. It’s just mean

Mon, 2020-06-29 09:25

A new iPhone rumor made the rounds this weekend, and it wasn’t about the notch or the flat edges, or the size of the displays. This one’s about what’s in the box. Or rather, what’s not in it.

Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has seemingly confirmed an earlier report by Barclays that Apple won’t be supplying a charger in the iPhone 12 box. Like none at all. Not even the lame 5W adapter that takes more than an hour to provide a decent charge.

Not since Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 has there been a rumor with more (as Apple might describe it) “courage.” It’s unclear whether Kuo is talking about the whole iPhone lineup or just the entry-level models, but his sources expect Apple to ship some iPhone 12 models without a charger.

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The Belkin Thunderbolt Dock Core is the first dual-powered Thunderbolt dock

Mon, 2020-06-29 08:00

On Monday Belkin launched the Thunderbolt Dock Core, which the company claims is the first Thunderbolt-certified dual-powered Thunderbolt 3 dock.

The $170 Thunderbolt Dock Core accepts your laptop’s power supply (assuming it charges via USB-C), which can plug into the USB-C (PD) port on the side of Belkin’s dock. The port then supplies up to 60W to the laptop, which is typically enough to power an ultralight laptop or similar model. Because the device is dual-powered, the opposite is true: also The dock can pull its own power directly from the laptop’s Thunderbolt cable if needed.

What’s the difference between a USB-C hub and a Thunderbolt dock? They use the same physical interface—a Thunderbolt port can sometimes be indicated by a small lightning bolt, though your laptop’s manual is sometimes the best indicator. Data throughput is the difference, along with the ability to connect multiple high-definition displays at once. 

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10 quick ways to clear space on an overstuffed Android device

Mon, 2020-06-29 08:00

Updated June 29, 2020 to reflect the latest Android tools.

Few things in life are as annoying as finding that your Android handset refuses to install any more app updates because it’s run out of storage. Unlike many of life’s little annoyances, though, this one’s easy to fix. You can't do anything about your system files, but you can quickly clear out precious gigs by sweeping up stale downloads, rooting out offline maps and documents, clearing caches, and wiping unneeded music and video files. And if these tips don’t do the trick, check out our picks for the best Android phones for every need and budget. 

To read this article in full, please click here

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Redefining the small and cheap tablet

Mon, 2020-06-29 06:30

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of the only Chromebooks I’ve ever used that knows what it is. Much like Apple’s iPad or Microsoft’s Surface, the Duet’s identity is in its detachable versatility. It embraces its role wholeheartedly, with a lightweight design, bright WUXGA display, and funky magnetic keyboard case that combine into an impressively portable and stylish package.

It’s as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. The Duet costs just $299 at Best Buy for 128GB of storage—and that’s with a detachable keyboard. But you don’t need to be in the market for a cheap Chromebook to want one. The Duet’s quirky personality more than makes up for its pokey processor, so while it might not stand up to even a middling Chromebook like the Pixelbook Go in speed tests, the Duet will absolutely stand out in the crowd.

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JBL Link Music Smart speaker review: Pretty good things in a pretty small package

Mon, 2020-06-29 06:00
JBL delivers respectable performance and a decent set of features at a very affordable price.

Arm Macs and AMD rising: How Intel's endless 10nm struggles cost it so much

Mon, 2020-06-29 06:00

Intel’s endless 10nm nightmare has cost it so, so much.

It all started on September 5, 2014. That’s the day Intel introduced 5th-gen Core M chips based on “Broadwell,” the company’s first processors built using the 14-nanometer manufacturing process. Despite some manufacturing woes that pushed Broadwell back from its expected 2013 release, Intel’s offering served as the vanguard of processor technology. AMD remained stuck on the 28nm process with its abysmal Bulldozer architecture. A mere month later, the Apple iPad Air 2 launched with a custom A8X chip that couldn’t quite hang with Intel’s older Haswell CPUs in Geekbench—but it was getting close.

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