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Best surge protector: Reviews and buying advice

Mon, 2019-11-25 06:00
Far better than ordinary power strips, these products will protect your expensive electronics from dangerous power spikes. We'll help you pick the right one for your home or small office.

Intel Core i9-10980XE Review: Winning the middle

Mon, 2019-11-25 03:01

Intel’s new 18-core Core i9-10980XE isn’t reaching for the stars. It’s reaching for the middle. Squeezed by AMD’s consumer 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X on one end, and the 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 3970X on the other, it can’t win on raw performance. But with Intel’s aggressive pricing at $1,000, it actually competes well on bang for buck, a tempting deal for the content creators who are the prime market for this chip. 

Gordon Mah Ung Why the Core i9-10980XE is almost a deal

The Core i9-10980XE takes Intel pricing in a new direction—down. While the two previous 18-core CPUs were released at $1,999, Intel will be shipping this new generation at $1,000.

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Best phone mounts and holders for cars

Fri, 2019-11-22 18:18

If you’re using your smartphone for GPS directions but leaving it in your lap or cupholder, it’s time to get a phone holder for your car. These mounts allow you to position a smartphone within line of sight—and keep it out of your hands, thus avoiding a ticket in some states.

The best phone holder isn’t the same for everyone, however. Car manufacturers not only use different types of vents, but they mix up the positions of both CD players and vents too. States also have different laws for what can be attached to a windshield (and where).

Accordingly, our list of the best phone mounts doesn’t single out just one or two picks. Instead, we’re sharing the most convenient and reliable models as a group after putting them to the test in a variety of cars.

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This week in games: A Divinity: Original Sin board game, rumors of a new Mass Effect, and more

Fri, 2019-11-22 16:38

It’s hard to imagine any news this week competing with Valve making a new Half-Life game. I don’t really know why you’d even try, actually.

But some unlucky developers did try, so we’ve done our due diligence and rounded up the news of the week. Anthem’s coming back from the dead, Larian’s turned Divinity: Original Sin into a board game, Grinding Gear announces sequel(ish) Path of Exile 2, Black Friday sales kick off a week early, and more.

This is gaming news for November 18 to 22.

Free the North

Per usual, we start with the freebies. It’s another one-game week from Epic, this time the miniature Viking-themed strategy game Bad North. I really love the look of this one, and it’s a neat lil’ spin on real-time strategy. Next week’s an all-time favorite of mine though, the fantastic platformer Rayman Legends, so look forward to that.

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Apple Watch Series 3 vs Fitbit Versa 2: Even a two-year-old Apple Watch is hard to beat

Fri, 2019-11-22 14:21
We pit the newest Fitbit smartwatch against a two-year-old Apple Watch, and the results are surprising.

Google starts the countdown clock on Cloud Print, gives users a year to find an alternative

Fri, 2019-11-22 09:56

In a year that’s seen the death of Inbox, Google+, and the URL shortener, not to mention the loss of free original quality photo storage with every Pixel phone purchase, Google isn’t putting its knives away just yet. Next to go is Google Cloud Print.

Cloud Print has been around since 2010, but despite a fancy website and deep Android and Chrome OS integration, it never actually made it out of beta. And now it never will. Google has quietly announced that users have until December 31, 2020, to enjoy Cloud Print. When the calendar changes to 2021, “devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print.”

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Nvidia's $160 GeForce GTX 1650 Super launches with GDDR6 and little fanfare

Fri, 2019-11-22 09:25

As promised last month, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Super launches today, albeit with much less fanfare than the legion of Super-fied GPUs that came before it. Nvidia declined to provide press with drivers to test the graphics card beforehand, nor did the company supply pricing information ahead of time—both highly unusual moves for the company. The last time Nvidia kept so mum around a GPU’s launch, it was because the original $150 GTX 1650 wound up underperforming compared to AMD’s cheaper Radeon RX 570, so it’s an ominous beginning for its Super-fied successor.

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iPhone 11 vs Android’s best: An underdog does just enough to take down the champ

Fri, 2019-11-22 06:25

It’s time to compare Apple's iPhone to the leading Android handsets, and it should be a close race. From the launch of the first folding phone to the rise of 5G, dual screens, waterfall displays, and cameras, cameras, cameras, 2019 has delivered a dizzying array of new features. Apple may have surprised everyone with a price cut to its entry-level handset, but can it stack up to the best Android has to offer? Let's go through the major specs and find out. 

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Corsair Virtuoso RGB SE review: Finally a fancy headset to match the rest of Corsair's hardware

Fri, 2019-11-22 06:25

Corsair’s headsets have always seemed anomalous to me. Here’s a company that consistently constructs top-of-the-line hardware, be it cases or memory or mice or keyboards. Especially keyboards, actually. The Corsair K95 is flashy as hell, but it’s also built like a tank.

Headsets are the outlier. Corsair’s never made one that got my blood pumping. There have been slight improvements over the past decade, but the Void is still oddly cheap-feeling held up to the rest of Corsair’s lineup.

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Sticker-Eye Wire-Free AI Smart Home Camera review: Wire free, subscription free, and hassle free

Fri, 2019-11-22 06:00
Sticker Eye eliminates many of the bothersome aspects of camera ownership without sacrificing the security.

Luke Roberts Model F Smart Pendant Lamp review: A pricey, high-end smart light with a bevy of configuration options

Fri, 2019-11-22 06:00
It’s Bluetooth-only, however, so you can’t integrate it into the rest of your smart home.

Best Fitbit: We help you choose the right one for your lifestyle

Thu, 2019-11-21 18:55
What is the best Fitbit? Our guide will help you find the one that best matches your activity level and habits, without spending more than you need.

Half-Life: Alyx is a full-length VR prequel coming in 2020, and Valve Index owners get it free

Thu, 2019-11-21 13:00

Valve released its excellent Index virtual reality headset in May, and at the time everyone expected a bombshell game to go along with it. Rumors that it was Half-Life themed were swirling even then, not necessarily the long-awaited Half-Life 3 but...something. The first Half-Life themed “something” in over a decade.

Earlier this week Valve confirmed the rumors, announcing (sort-of) Half-Life: Alyx, and calling it their “flagship VR game.” And it is definitely that, with Valve updating the ancient Half-Life website today for the first time in a decade, revealing that Alyx is a “full-length” $60 game due to release for “all PC-based VR headsets” on March 20, 2020—though Index owners (either the headset or the cheaper controllers) will get it for free. A little added incentive to buy Valve’s hardware instead of a Vive or Rift.

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Best smart sprinkler controller

Thu, 2019-11-21 12:13
Whether you’re motivated by water conservation, saving money, a drive to render every aspect of your home smart, or all the above, a smart irrigation controller will scratch that itch.

Traveling? This $7 gadget protects your phone from treacherous USB charging ports

Thu, 2019-11-21 09:40

If you’re worried about plugging into your phone into suspicious chargers while traveling for the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, consider buying a data-safe charging USB cable or USB-C plug before you go.

Devices like the $7.09 PortaPow 3rd Gen USB-C to USB-A Data BlockerRemove non-product link work by blocking the data that can be passed over a USB when you plug into a charger, keeping your phone secure. You’ll also see them referred to as “USB condoms.”

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Nest Wifi review: A mesh Wi-Fi system and smart speaker mashup for Google Assistant fans

Thu, 2019-11-21 06:25

Google’s Nest Wifi isn't breaking new ground by melding a smart speaker with a Wi-Fi access point. Netgear did it better with last year’s Orbi Voice. But if you don’t need the very high performance that Netgear’s high-end mesh networks deliver, Nest Wifi will save you some cash. A two-node system (the router plus one access point) costs $269, compared to $350 for Netgear’s RBK50V kit.

The savings will continue should you decide to expand your network down the road, since each Nest Point (Google’s name for its access points) will cost $149 compared to $200 for each additional Orbi Voice satellite. But there is more to consider than just price tags. If you’re all in on Google’s ecosystem and prefer Google Assistant, the Orbi Voice’s Amazon Alexa delivery won’t float your boat. But if money is less of an issue and you haven’t committed to either digital assistant, Netgear’s product delivers much higher performance at distance. It’s also a far superior loudspeaker, although not necessarily a better smart speaker; again, that depends on your digital assistant preference.

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Best mesh Wi-Fi routers: Reviews and buying advice

Thu, 2019-11-21 06:25

A great wireless router is an essential element of tech life, whether you’re building out a smart home or you just want the best experience streaming music and video at home. If you’re suffering with low wireless throughput or dead spots in any area of your home, we heartily recommend deploying a mesh network consisting of a Wi-Fi router with one or more satellite nodes that you sprinkle around your home, because it will blanket your home with coverage. 

You can deploy a mesh Wi-Fi router without any satellites, but you’d be losing out on all the coverage benefits that mesh technology provides. We pick the best mesh systems here, because even those of us fortunate enough to have ethernet drops everywhere have devices—smartphones and tablets, for instance—that depend on Wi-Fi to connect to the home network and the internet.

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Best wireless routers: Reviews and buying advice

Thu, 2019-11-21 06:25
Few elements of your home’s infrastructure have a bigger impact on your tech life. We’ll help you find just the right router to anchor your home network.(

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This free tool helps you escape from bloated TV bundles

Thu, 2019-11-21 06:00
MyBundle.TV is a new tool for cord-cutters to compare streaming services.

Dynabook Tecra X50-F review: This lightweight 15-inch business notebook falls a bit short

Thu, 2019-11-21 06:00

On paper, Dynabook’s Tecra X50-F 15.6-inch business notebook looks like a pretty solid buy, with an attractive mix of features. Now majority-owned by Sharp, which took over the company in 2018, Dynabook’s product announcement earlier this year impressed us with its emphasis on large, lightweight business machines.

As the first out of the gate, however, the Tecra X50-F suffers from various small problems, overall lacking the polish of its rivals. It also barely avoids the cardinal sin of less than eight hours of battery life.

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