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macOS Big Sur: Top 5 features

Mon, 2020-06-22 16:19

At WWDC20 on Monday, Apple took the wraps off of macOS Big Sur, the next version of the Macintosh operating system. Big Sur will replace macOS 10.15 Catalina this fall.

Big Sur is a major upgrade with several features that users can take advantage of. Here are the features that Apple highlighted during its WWDC20 keynote presentation. We’ll follow up with more details on these features as they are revealed.

Refined user interface

With the existence of iOS, the inconsistencies between Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems are notable, and compared to iOS, macOS looks a little dated. With Big Sur, Apple finally addresses the macOS UI, implementing the first major changes since the release of Mac OS X.

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Apple drops Intel: Transition to ARM processors in Macs will start later in 2020

Mon, 2020-06-22 16:05

Apple finally dropped its long-awaited bombshell: Apple’s Macs are switching to its own internally-developed ARM silicon, and the transition will begin before the end of the year.

Apple made the announcement on Monday, as an unofficial “one more thing” at the end of the opening keynote of the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (taking place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic). The custom silicon will be supported by the next iteration of Apple’s MacOS, code-named “Big Sur.” 

Apple CEO Tim Cook described the transition as a “game-changer” for Apple, similar to the company's prior transition away from the PowerPC to Intel’s own Core processors. The transition to ARM-based Macs from the older Intel-based Macs will take place over a period of about two years, Cook said, adding that Apple still has new Intel-based Macs in the pipeline.

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Microsoft kills Mixer streaming service, sending fans to Facebook

Mon, 2020-06-22 16:04

Microsoft has thrown in the towel in its fight against Twitch, saying Monday that it will wind down its Mixer livestreaming service and redirect users to Facebook Gaming instead.

The death knell will sound on July 22, when the redirect to Facebook Gaming will officially occur. Microsoft didn’t actually say how many users Facebook Gaming has, though each month more than 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos or engage in gaming groups on Facebook, it said.

It’s an ignominious end for Microsoft’s streaming aspirations, which took flight in 2017 when Microsoft transitioned its Beam streaming service into the modern Mixer platform. Microsoft tried to build a user base with features such as Sparks and other ways for users to interact with fans, including an early feature where viewers could even influence the way in which the streamer played the game.

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Apple WWDC last minute rumors: Major iPhone and iPad UI changes, but no new hardware

Mon, 2020-06-22 09:21
With the keynote just hours away, here are the most recent rumors we're hearing.

OWC Aura P12 review: At 4TB it offers high capacity for big money

Mon, 2020-06-22 06:30

The OWC Aura P12 has an answer for the lack of capacity in NVMe drives: 4TB. Yes, four terabytes of TLC NAND. Not only does it double the typical maximum capacity of today’s SSDs, it offers excellent everyday performance. However, as you might guess, it’s going to set you back a bit of coin. 

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

Specs, price, and warranty

The Aura P19 is your standard 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor, but with TLC NAND on both sides it may not fit some super-thin laptops or devices. The drive is available in five capacities starting at 240GB ($59 from OWCRemove non-product link), 480GB ($90 from OWCRemove non-product link), 1TB ($159 from OWCRemove non-product link), 2TB ($349 from OWCRemove non-product link), and 4TB ($929 from OWC), respectively. The rest of the industry is catching up fast: After our initial write-up, Sabrent released a 4TB NVMe QLC SSD and an 8TB QLC SSD.

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Aquanta water heater controller review: A smart solution for your home’s biggest energy waster

Mon, 2020-06-22 06:00
This smart home device should pay for itself quickly by slashing the amount of energy needed to heat water.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 review: Two screens and a whole lot of speed

Mon, 2020-06-22 01:58

The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 is a dual-screen gaming laptop that’s learned a thing or two. It has a few predecessors, most recently the HP Omen X 2S 15 and Asus ZenBook Pro from 2019. But auxiliary screen sizes have been the limiting factor. The ZenBook Pro upped the ante with a much larger screen, for example, but it still lay flat, which made viewing angles a pain in the neck.

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Amazon kills its coolest Dash product after ignoring it for years

Sun, 2020-06-21 08:09
Amazon has informed users that the Dash Wand barcode scanner will no longer work as of July 20.

MSI GS66 Stealth Review: Thin and small, with a 300Hz screen

Fri, 2020-06-19 18:32

The MSI GS66 Stealth is the latests GS-series laptop from the company, and it continues the tradition of pushing the envelope on thin-and-light gaming machines.

With the GS66 Stealth, MSI redesigns the trend-setting GS65 Stealth to be, well, a bit stealthier—and stylish. Gone are the red-and-black logos that screamed ‘gamer,’ as well as the gold accents of the two previous designs. The new GS66 (currently $2,999 on Amazon) is designed to slip right into those boring corporate meetings with other sedate black business laptops. Once you’re off the clock, it screams with all the might you’d expect from an Intel 10th-gen, 8-core Core i9-10980HK and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. Keep reading to find out more about this trendsetting gaming laptop. 

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The best CPUs for gaming: Ryzen XT pushes AMD CPUs to faster speeds

Fri, 2020-06-19 14:52

Buying a processor for a gaming rig isn’t as hard as it used to be. Now that Ryzen 3000-series and Intel’s 10th-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:

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Opera's GX gaming browser integrates Discord, adds 'hot tab' killer

Fri, 2020-06-19 14:23

Opera’s intriguing gaming browser, Opera GX, just became even more interesting, with integrated Discord capabilities and a “Hot Tabs Killer” feature that can automatically kill tabs that begin quietly sucking up gobs and gobs of memory.

Opera debuted Opera GX a year ago, and the company celebrated its first birthday by announcing the new features as well as its userbase: a relatively small 3.5 million users per month. But the free Opera GX browser contains most if not all of the features of the standard Opera browser—which, unfortunately, has fallen to near the bottom of our performance tests

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Which Internet providers are lifting data caps during the coronavirus, and which aren't

Fri, 2020-06-19 12:46

As American businesses are forced to shut down because of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus), customers are anxious about their bill for Internet access. Data caps, an annoyance in the best of times, suddenly can mean paying additional fees if a family sheltering in place goes over their limit.

Think of it: you're working from home, videoconferencing over Skype or Zoom, while your kids are playing games and chatting with friends. There's streamed movies to watch in the evenings. Disney+ and Netflix may be in constant rotation, adding to the bandwidth strain. That's a lot of data! 

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Plex app lets you stream free movies and TV shows without an account

Fri, 2020-06-19 10:19

No Plex account? No problem. The latest version of the Android app for Plex, a DVR and media server service with a growing selection of free, ad-supported movies and TV shows, now lets you stream titles from its free video library without an account.

Android Police first spotted the new feature in the changelog for the Android version of the Plex app. I checked in with Plex and was told that the iOS version of the app is slated to get the same functionality later this month.

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15 must-try demos from the Steam Summer Game Festival

Fri, 2020-06-19 06:30

The Steam Summer Game Festival is massive. Like, really massive. The first iteration in December offered about a dozen demos, and the March event touted 50, but now? The Summer Game Festival apparently features over 900 demos—shooters, strategy games, puzzle games, visual novels, and so much more, all vying for your attention in E3's absence.

It’s daunting. Where do you even start? And since it’s all free, there’s an argument to be made that you can start...anywhere. Grab whatever catches your eye! But if you’re looking for a bit more direction, or if you’re just scared of missing something interesting, read on for my personal recommendations.

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HyperX Alloy Origins review: Same keyboard, new switches, new name

Fri, 2020-06-19 06:30

By the time the great Keyboard Switch Wars are over, every company will have its own custom-built switches. That’s what happens when patents expire, I guess. The latest to join the boutique switch trend? HyperX, who used traditional Cherry MX switches through 2018, then switched to Kailh, and now has switched a second time to its own HyperX-branded line.

It’s a move so bold, HyperX created a whole new keyboard to give its switches a home. Or…well, they renamed one of their existing keyboard models, I guess. Meet the HyperX Alloy Origins, twin to the HyperX Alloy FPS—at least on the surface.

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1More Dual Driver ANC Pro Wireless review: This in-ear headphone has a split personality, but great phone skills

Fri, 2020-06-19 06:00
You’ll get clean, lean sound with ANC off, and rich, bass-heavy sound with ANC on.

Best headphones: Our top picks for personal listening

Fri, 2020-06-19 06:00
Whether you're looking for an over-the-ear, on-ear, or in-ear model, we'll help you find the perfect pair.

EA Play 2020: Star Wars: Squadrons gameplay, the return of Skate, and not much else

Thu, 2020-06-18 20:00

Hey, at least one part of E3 remains intact in 2020! Thursday night marked the debut of EA Play 2020, which usually is held in a hot parking lot in Hollywood and this year was held in Andrew Wilson’s surfboard room. 

Anyway, EA kept it to a tight 45 minutes, and a big chunk of that was spent hyping up older games that came to Steam earlier in the day. We’ve rounded up the few new game announcements below though, including news of Skate 4, new Star Wars: Squadrons footage, It Takes Two, and Lost in Random

Wait, did I say Skate 4?

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HBO will stream all Watchmen episodes for free this weekend

Thu, 2020-06-18 16:47
HBO will mark the Juneteenth holiday with a Watchmen marathon on Friday.

HP Chromebook x360 12b review: It's affordable and good

Thu, 2020-06-18 16:30

The HP Chromebook x360 12b is an affordable Chromebook made for grown-ups. It takes you a cut above the rock-bottom basic Chromebooks that hover around $250 (and continue to sell well). Get one of those for your kids—who cares if they destroy it? But you, the adult in the room, deserve the Chromebook x360 12b, with its surprisingly good design and great battery life.

This is still a budget-grade Chromebook, so there are some compromises: Performance is mediocre, and the 3:2 display, while nice and tall, isn’t very bright. Still, we think HP made reasonable choices to provide a productive and enjoyable experience without breaking the bank.

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

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