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Updated: 57 min 59 sec ago

Bond Bridge by Olibra review: Bringing smart-home tech to dumb ceiling fans

Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Make your dumb ceiling fan or fireplace smart today with this Wi-Fi bridge, and it might enable you to do the same for your air conditioner and other appliances later.

It's football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch

Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Bringing you everything from stats to game-time snacks, these apps are as indispensable as your TV remote.

NFL without cable: A cord-cutter’s guide for the 2019 pro football season

Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Whether you've cut the cord or are sticking with cable, our guide will show you all the ways you can watch America's favorite sport on TV, including Monday Night Football and NFL RedZone.

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 crams GTX 1650 graphics into a thin-and-light gaming laptop

Wed, 2019-09-04 00:00

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 could be “the world’s first gaming ultrabook,” as the company claims. It features Intel’s brand-new 10th-gen, 10nm Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 inside, and—wait for it—a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. 

On paper, we’d agree. Most thin-and-light laptops by definition remove any consideration of discrete graphics, because hot GPUs and tight spaces don’t mix well. There’s Huawei’s Matebook X Pro with its GeForce MX150, but that discrete GPU isn’t even formally considered a gaming part by Nvidia. The Razer Blade Stealth 13’s GeForce GTX 1650 is far more capable, but we don’t know just how fast Razer can run it in a laptop this small.

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Thunderbolt is optional in USB4, USB4 spec says

Tue, 2019-09-03 18:32

The USB Implementers Forum has published the USB4 specification, as promised, though with one disappointment: Thunderbolt support is optional, meaning that there may be confusion over which devices can support what protocol.

When the USB4 spec was announced, the revelation was that it would integrate the Thunderbolt 3 specification for display and data connectivity that Intel had developed. Intel said at the time that it would contribute the Thunderbolt specification to the USB Promoter Group, and a spokeswoman has confirmed that. Intel also said the new, higher-speed 40Gbps protocol would use a USB-C cable. That all appears to be true. 

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Intel adds 'retro scaling' to Ice Lake CPUs to make pixel-art games look more crisp on modern displays

Tue, 2019-09-03 16:35

Retro-gaming enthusiasts just received a big gift from Intel, but you’re going to need some new hardware to take advantage of it. Over the holiday weekend, the company’s graphics division released beta drivers that enable integer-scaling support in its newly released “Ice Lake” 10th-gen Core mobile processors.

Intel’s Ice Lake chips put the pedal to the metal when it comes to graphics performance, but integer scaling makes games with limited resolution options look better on modern displays. Upscaling retro games—or retro-styled games with fixed resolutions, like FTL—can result in soft, blurry images when they’re processed using traditional scaling methods. Intel’s driver adds the company’s new “retro-scaling” feature, which offers both true integer scaling as well as “nearest-neighbor interpolation” to crisp up your image on modern displays.

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Astro's new Astro.ID program lets you build your own stylish A40 gaming headset

Tue, 2019-09-03 12:55

Customization may be the next big trend in peripherals. Sure, it’s a lot of work on the part of manufacturers, but taste is so subjective. One person wants restrained matte black, another wants pristine white, a third wants all their gear to burst with color. Why not cater to all of them, if possible?

That’s what Astro’s trying to do, anyway. This weekend at PAX I got to go hands-on (and behind-the-scenes) with Astro’s upcoming “Astro.ID” program. Like Microsoft’s Xbox Design Lab—or NikeID, for a non-gaming example—Astro.ID gives you control over the design of your A40 headset.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

The Astro A40 is already a notoriously easy headset to customize, but Astro’s finally formalized the process. There are six components to an A40: Frame, headband, stitching/earcups, side panels, microphone, and cable. And for this initial rollout each component comes in six colors (plus two different designs for the panels), for a grand total of a hell of a lot of combinations.

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AMD acknowledges 3rd-gen Ryzen boost bug, says fix is coming September 10

Tue, 2019-09-03 12:40

AMD said Tuesday that it is preparing a BIOS update to address reports that its 3rd-generation Ryzen processors aren’t able to hit advertised boost speeds under all conditions.

“While processor boost frequency is dependent on many variables including workload system design, and cooling solution, we have closely reviewed the feedback from our customers and have identified an issue in our firmware that reduces boost frequency in some situations,” AMD said, The statement, released in a tweet, says that the BIOS update will be released on September 10 via AMD’s motherboard partners.

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Bang & Olufsen’s first soundbar boasts Dolby Atmos and AirPlay 2 support

Tue, 2019-09-03 10:42
Slated to arrive this fall, Bang & Olufsen’s sleek soundbar comes with 11 powered drivers, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and built-in Chromecast support.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold nears its re-release, but a cheaper, more practical model might be on the way

Tue, 2019-09-03 10:34

After months of testing and tweaks, Samsung is finally almost ready to ship its next-generation Galaxy Fold handset. Maybe. Even though a pre-order button appeared on the Galaxy Fold site on this weekend, you can’t actually pre-order the new phone just yet. Instead, you can sign up for more information, which will presumably be the new on-sale date, which is rumored to be later this month.

If you’ve forgotten, the Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s first handset with a foldable screen. On the outside, it has a small 4.6-inch display, but it can be opened to reveal a massive 7.3-inch screen with three-app multitasking and PC-like drag-and-drop support. Inside it’s very much a Note 10+, with a Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

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The best Windows backup software

Tue, 2019-09-03 09:04

We need backup software for our PCs because storage isn’t foolproof, and won’t last forever. If your data isn’t backed up, when the inevitable accident or failure occurs, it’s gone.

It would be nice if Microsoft itself provided Windows users with something like Apple’s Time Machine: an effective, set-it-and-forget-it, total system recovery and backup solution that requires little interaction or thought on the part of the user. 

Instead, the company delivers a mishmash of restore points, recovery discs, file backup, and even the un-retired System Backup (Windows 7), which was probably originally put out to pasture for its propensity to choke on dissimilar hardware. Online backup services are another option, but desktop clients tend to offer far more flexibility. 

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Blink XT2 review: second time's the charm for this indoor/outdoor camera

Tue, 2019-09-03 06:30
Two-way talk and enhanced motion detection make this simple security camera a marked improvement over its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: If you have $1,100 to spend, this is the phone to buy

Tue, 2019-09-03 06:00

The Galaxy Note 10+ will be too expensive for some people. It’ll be too big for others. Some will balk at its lack of a headphone jack and a few might really want a dual selfie cam. For those people, there’s the Galaxy S10+, which is an excellent alternative that checks off all of the above boxes without sacrificing too much of what the Note 10+ brings.

Daniel Masaoka/IDG

That’s a lot of screen.

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Backup4all Professional 8 review: Easy, reliable backup

Tue, 2019-09-03 00:26

Since last I reviewed Backup4All, some years ago, the change has been all for the better. The program sports a new, modern interface and has built on the already broad range of destinations, including optical disc, with support for online storage services. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Windows backup software. Go there for reviews on competing products and information about how we tested. 

Design and features

As you can see below, Backup4All is all-business in its approach to backup. It’s good-looking yet focused, and uses the Microsoft drop-down ribbon style, which nicely combines icons and text. The bare icons used by many programs, except when used sparingly, are a waste of cognition time.

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Acronis True Image 2020: Fast, reliable backup, now with dual local/cloud protection

Tue, 2019-09-03 00:19

It’s that time of year again: the time when Acronis releases the annual update of its venerable True Image backup program. It’s called True Image 2020 (we tested the Standard version, $49.99 from Acronis) and yes, I know it's not 2020 yet, as the moniker implies, but what’s a few months among old friends? True Image is a trusted warhorse.

This year’s improvements are of course welcome for subscription users, and go quite a ways toward making the program easier to use. However, if you own a recent perpetual license version they’re not a must-have.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Windows backup software. Go there for reviews on competing products and information about how we tested. 

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Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation review: Naim didn’t need to make this wireless speaker better, but I’m glad it did

Mon, 2019-09-02 06:00
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2: The Naim Audio Mu-so 2nd Generation supports them all, along with every music codec and streaming service you can think of.

Why the iPhone 11 won’t have 5G (and the iPhone 12 might not either)

Mon, 2019-09-02 06:00
I tested the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G using Verizon’s network in Providence and I learned one thing: We won’t be getting 5G in an iPhone anytime soon.

Thinkware X700 dash cam review: Classy design with a few missing pieces

Mon, 2019-09-02 02:30

If there is such a thing as a venerable vendor in the dash cam market, it’s Thinkware. The company has been at it for several years, and generally been well ahead of the feature curve with things such as voice command and bad-driver aids. However, while the company’s $150 X700 is good-looking and features a touchscreen interface, the video looks highly compressed, and GPS is available only as an external option. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. 

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Gearbox finally announces a proper Homeworld sequel, 15 long years later

Fri, 2019-08-30 18:52

When Gearbox released the Homeworld Remastered Collection in 2015, I think fans collectively held their breath and thought “Well, what’s next?” The answer was 2016’s pseudo-sequel, HomeworldDeserts of Kharak, which brought concepts from the spacefaring RTS down to ground level. There hasn’t been what you’d call a “proper” Homeworld sequel in nearly two decades though.

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Ask a PC expert: Should you buy an unlocked K-series Intel CPU, or save money on a non-K chip?

Fri, 2019-08-30 06:28

Should you spend the extra money on an Intel K-series processor? It’s a question we’re frequently asked, because it isn’t as simple as you might think.

PCWorld CPU guru Gordon Mah Ung has the (nuanced) answer for you though. He explains everything you need to know about unlocked K-series processors: Yes, they’re the only Intel CPUs that can be overclocked, but by purchasing one of these premium parts, you’re also committing to buying an enthusiast-class Z-series motherboard, as only those parts can crank clocks beyond stock speeds. K-series chips also lack a cooler in the box.

For those reasons and others, Gordon thinks most people shouldn’t pay extra for an Intel K-series CPU. That’s the short answer. For a more detailed explanation, including a few very valid reasons why some people may want to consider a K-series chip, check out the video below.

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