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Updated: 53 min 13 sec ago

AirTV 2 review: Antenna TV and Sling TV merge, with mixed results

Fri, 2020-01-31 06:00
The AirTV 2 adds over-the-air channels to Sling TV, but the new hardware fails to fix some old problems.

EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO review: Ray tracing gets affordable

Fri, 2020-01-31 06:00

The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO offers something for everybody.

Gamers like you and me get a custom GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card and all its benefits—great 1080p gaming, good 1440p gaming, and real-time ray tracing—for just $300, a full $50 below the RTX 2060’s suggested price. EVGA steals the spotlight in a crucial segment of the market by significantly undercutting its competitors. And Nvidia gets to clear out stock for a different GPU, surprisingly enough, while fielding a headache-free rival to the new $280 Radeon RX 5600 XT.

Okay, maybe AMD doesn’t get anything out of it.

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Best DVR for cord cutters

Fri, 2020-01-31 06:00
TiVo vs. Tablo vs. Channel Master vs. Plex: None are ideal, but one might work for you.

Zhaoxin ships the KaiXian KX-U6780A, an X86 PC processor line worth watching

Thu, 2020-01-30 16:44

Decades ago, microprocessors from Cyrix, Centaur, and Via Microsystems competed directly against AMD and Intel. While those days may be over, Shanghai’s Zhaoxin wants to add another X86 PC processor supplier to the mix.

Tom’s Hardware brings word of the Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-U6780A, a new X86 chip. Zhaoxin has begun selling the chip on the Chinese online shopping site Taobao, bundled with a motherboard, for 4,300 yuan, or about $620. (According to Wikipedia, Zhaoxin is a joint venture between Via and the Shanghai government.)

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Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice

Thu, 2020-01-30 16:23

Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. Just look at the critiques of notable computer security experts and online pundits to understand the challenge.

Even supposed experts in the field can turn out to be frauds, as was recently reported about site The site’s creator appears to not actually be a cypber-security expert, as he once claimed, but might not actually be a real person, casting serious doubt on any of the site’s VPN reviews and research.

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Ring is rolling out its new Control Center dashboard

Thu, 2020-01-30 14:42
Owners of Ring video doorbells and other home security products are finally getting some essential privacy protections.

FastestVPN review: A surprising upgrade for 2020

Thu, 2020-01-30 06:30

FastestVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Business location: Cayman Islands
  • Number of servers: 250+
  • Number of country locations: 30
  • Cost: $30 per year
  • VPN protocol: IKEv2
  • Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
  • Data authentication: MS-Chap v2 and TLS
  • Handshake: SHA-II

FastestVPN with an active connection.

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HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop review: Affordable gaming with a few caveats

Thu, 2020-01-30 06:00

HP’s Pavilion Gaming Laptop may seem like a relic from years past, given the rise of HP’s Omen line. Granted, the Pavilion line lacks Omen’s “For Gamers, By Gamers” cred, but...well, what’s in a name, really? The Pavilion Gaming Laptop is really just an Omen in disguise, an entry-level peer with mainstream branding.


The pricing is mainstream, too. The Pavilion Gaming Laptop starts at just $640 for a base Pavilion 15t model on hp.comRemove non-product link, with Intel Core i5-9300H and a last-gen GTX 1050. The model we received is essentially HP’s “high-end” unit, the poetically named 15-dk0045cl, a $1,250 version sold at Costco and equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB HDD. It’s a good deal. If you’re not a Costco member, an identical model based on the Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15t at costs $1,440Remove non-product link. The similar Pavilion 15-dk0046nr is available for $1,300 on hp.comRemove non-product link with a Core i7-9750H, 12GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and a step down in graphics to Nvidia’s GTX 1650. 

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The best smart garage door controllers deliver convenience and peace of mind

Thu, 2020-01-30 06:00
Even if you use your garage only as an oversized storage locker, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without a smart controller for your existing garage door opener.

Cord cutting gear's next frontier: Better sound

Thu, 2020-01-30 06:00
Streaming player makers like Roku are looking to home theater audio as the next big thing.

Microsoft's Surface sales near $2 billion, but its Azure cloud business is growing faster

Wed, 2020-01-29 20:01

Cloud, cloud, cloud, followed by Office, gaming, Surface and then Windows: By now, Microsoft has laid out its priorities, and the financial results Microsoft reported Wednesday afternoon reflected this.

For consumers, the high point of Microsoft’s fourth-quarter calendar 2019 results was the fact that Microsoft reported $1.98 billion in Surface sales alone—almost, but not quite, making Surface a $2 billion-dollar business. Interestingly, chief financial officer Amy Hood implied that sales could have been higher, referring to unexplained “execution challenges” in the consumer portion of the Surface business.

Overall, Microsoft reported profits of $11.6 billion during the second quarter of its fiscal 2020 calendar, up 38 percent from a year ago, from revenue of $36.9 billion, up 14 percent from the same period. 

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Best wireless charger: Ditch the headache of cables with our top pick

Wed, 2020-01-29 15:48

As convenience goes, wireless charging can’t be beat. You simply drop your phone onto the charger and walk away. Gone is the headache of managing cables that inevitably break or get lost.

Until recently, the main drawback to wireless chargers has been slow adoption and slow charging. This style of charging is still not ubiquitous, but you can now find Samsung, LG, Sony, and Moto phones that support it on the Android side, and Apple has adopted it for its iPhone lineup as well. And the technology itself is finally reaching a point where its speed is easier to live with, too.

Now that it’s a good time to go out and grab a stand or pad, we’ve tested some of the most popular models out there for both Android and iPhone, and discovered our favorites among the bunch. Read on for our findings, and check back periodically for our latest updates.

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Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords

Wed, 2020-01-29 15:23
Not sure if you should buy AirPods or some AirPods alternatives? We break down the best earbuds without wires, whether you're looking for top sound quality, value, or workout-friendly features.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review: Packed with gimmicks

Wed, 2020-01-29 08:00
These mediocre $99 AirPod alternatives boast a lot of interesting features that don't work or don't matter.

Nomad Base Station Stand review: Easily the best-looking wireless charger I've used

Wed, 2020-01-29 06:30

Top to bottom, Nomad’s product line consists of high-quality accessories and devices. From its iPhone and Pixel cases to cables and wireless chargers, the common theme is premium. The Base Station Stand is no different. With an aluminum housing and leather pad, it’s clear the moment you unbox it that this wireless charger is a step above the competition when it comes to overall design. Of course, that premium design comes with a premium price tag. 

Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless charging pads. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods for both Android phones and iPhones.

At $99.95, the Base Station Stand costs the same as Nomad’s standard Base Station that’s capable of charging two devices at the same time, thanks to its flat design and quad Qi-compatible wireless charging coils. With the Base Station Stand, you can charge only one device at a time. Still, it features two coils, capable of 10 watts each, making it possible to charge your Android phone or iPhone in either a vertical or horizontal orientation.

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Motile M142 review: Ryzen finds a home in this surprisingly good budget notebook

Wed, 2020-01-29 06:00

The Motile M142 14-inch notebook PC may be the best budget laptop you’ve never heard of, by a company that understands low prices. That’s because the Motile M142 is Walmart’s house brand, and it’s one that the retailer itself often passes over to promote brand-name PCs. 

Yes, the M142 cuts some corners. At about 6.5 hours, its battery life is comparatively poor. The screen is somewhat dim, and lacks touchscreen capabilities. Given the price, however, it’s a laptop we wouldn’t mind recommending to friends and family with tight budgets.

The M142 has one notable thing going for it: AMD’s mobile Ryzen 3000-series chips. For years, seeing an older AMD A-series chip among the listed specifications meant a lackluster experience. With AMD’s mobile Ryzen, that’s changed. The M142 generally outperforms our current best budget laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ, and for a price that’s about $100 less.

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AMD soars to record Q4 earnings on Ryzen, Epyc sales

Tue, 2020-01-28 19:40

AMD enjoyed a well-deserved victory lap during its earnings call on Tuesday, in which it reported record revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019. There’s an even rosier future ahead: The company said it expects 42-percent revenue growth during the first quarter alone, compared to a year ago.

Interestingly, the real questions surrounding AMD’s future didn’t concern the company’s Ryzen CPU or Radeon GPU businesses—together, the two accounted for the highest quarterly client processor shipments in more than six years, AMD said. Instead, it’s the semi-custom business that analysts wanted to know about: How are the SoCs AMD is providing to the next-gen Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 expected to fare?

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The best SSDs of 2020: Price fluctuations affect our top picks

Tue, 2020-01-28 13:53

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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Ring admits its Android app uses third-party trackers following EFF report

Tue, 2020-01-28 12:28
Ring's Android app uses multiple third-party trackers to deliver customer data to companies other than Amazon.

Aqara Smart Home Starter Kit review: This muddy smart home kit has a glimmer of promise

Tue, 2020-01-28 06:00
This bare-bones, but budget-friendly kit covers just the basics and is very weak in terms of home security.