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Tips and best practices for optimizing your smart home

Wed, 2020-05-06 06:00
Looking to build out a smart home? These 12 key pieces of advice will turn you into a master.

Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer review: Sophisticated yet simple

Wed, 2020-05-06 06:00
This Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi, with a bridge)-based watering system is great for drip and other hose-based irrigation systems.

Google will switch on mandatory two-factor authentication for Nest accounts this month

Tue, 2020-05-05 10:54
If you haven’t already locked down your Nest account with two-step authentication, Google will do it for you starting in May.

Google Drive gains an important security feature on iPhone, forgets Android exists

Tue, 2020-05-05 10:15

If you’re an Apple user who uses the Google Drive app to share files, a cool security feature just landed on your iOS device. If you’re an Android user who uses the Google Drive app to share files, however, you’re out of luck.

The new feature is called Privacy Screen, and it adds an extra layer of protection for the Google Drive app. Instead of instantly logging you in like before, you can opt to need to verify your identity via Face ID or Touch ID, depending on the device you’re using. When activated, Google Drive won’t open without proper authentication, so if someone borrows your phone they won’t be able to access what’s inside your drive without your permission.

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Shop carefully: Some Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards are much faster than others

Tue, 2020-05-05 09:47

AMD’s $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT launched this week, and it goes toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s powerful $350 GeForce RTX 2060, nearly matching even AMD’s own $350 Radeon RX 5700 in several games. Sometimes. Other times, it’s merely an okay alternative to the $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which itself was effectively rendered obsolete by the launch of the $230 GeForce GTX 1660 Super last fall. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It all depends on which custom model you buy, and whether that card has the correct software preinstalled.

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Rumors point to a new Sonos Playbar with Dolby Atmos, plus refreshed Play:5 and Sub

Tue, 2020-05-05 09:18
Is a new HDMI-equipped Playbar finally about to happen?

5 laptops you should consider instead of the new MacBook Pro 13

Tue, 2020-05-05 06:30

When released, Apple’s updated MacBook Pro 13 will get the most powerful 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake CPU available. But otherwise Apple's late to the game—again. We can think of a bunch of Windows laptops that already outstrip it in features, and we'll tell you about them as we work through the MacBook Pro 13's major improvements. 

First item for examination is the CPU. Intel originally launched its most advanced 10nm 10th-gen “Ice Lake” series of CPUs way back in August. PC laptops based on Ice Lake appeared by October, and it’s gradually made its way into dozens of laptops since then.

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Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

Tue, 2020-05-05 06:00

Mesh networking for small networks appeared in 2015 with the claim that it would solve Wi-Fi problems by improving coverage, speeding networks, and eliminating hassle. It also promised to remove the need to place base stations meticulously around a home or small office to avoid dead and slow spots.

Five years after its initial widespread emergence, those promises appear to have been fulfilled. Mesh networks have become the best way to set up a new network that spans more than a single, standalone Wi-Fi gateway can manage—or to overhaul an existing inadequate or outdated one.

Cost remains an object: Because you need at least two “nodes,” or network devices, to make a mesh, and three is more typical, you can spend two to five times as much compared to old-school Wi-Fi base stations that can’t connect wirelessly or are inefficient in such connections.

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Microsoft officially delays Surface Neo, dual-screen Windows PCs

Mon, 2020-05-04 13:27

Microsoft has officially confirmed that it’s delaying its dual-screen Windows experiences, including the Surface Neo, until “the right moment” arrives. That announcement was part of a Monday blog post in which Panos Panay, the new chief product officer of Windows and Devices, laid out his vision of what he sees for Microsoft’s Windows 10 and related hardware programs.

In some sense, the blog post announcing the changes reads like a recap of what we already know: The Windows 10 May 2020 Update will begin shipping to the general public this month; Microsoft is turning its Build conference into a free, online-only event; and Microsoft is postponing its own dual-screen devices.

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The new 13-inch MacBook Pro: 5 killer upgrades Apple delivered (and 5 it didn’t)

Mon, 2020-05-04 11:09
Apple has unveiled the long-awaited update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with a new keyboard, more storage and more speed.

Why 5G will give the iPhone 12 an advantage over every Android phone

Mon, 2020-05-04 07:00
Apple is set to launch an all-5G lineup with the iPhone 12, but if you were prepared for a price hike, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

Your old Android phone isn't dead yet: 7 ways to make it run faster and last longer

Mon, 2020-05-04 06:30

Your old Android phone needs some help. Maybe it's feeling sluggish. Maybe it's groaning under the weight of excess photos and apps. Maybe the battery dies way too soon. Or maybe you're not quite ready to part with it.

The good news is, you can save it. With a little work, you can make your sluggish Android phone feel fresh enough to get you through at least a little more time together. Here are seven ways to make your old Android phone feel a little younger, starting with...restarts!

Restart your Android phone regularly

Let's start simple. You might not think about restarting your phone unless an update comes along, but just like a PC, it can do a lot to fix an ailing handset. A simple 30-second restart will give your phone an instant speed boost by freeing up your memory, killing background apps and processes, and unsticking any stuck apps. Even if you dutifully swipe away apps on your Recents screen, they might still be holding onto some RAM, which quickly adds up. And if you’ve only got 2GB or 3GB to begin with, a weekly restart will do wonders for your phone’s performance and battery life.

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Anker Soundcore Flare 2 review: A new excuse to party by the pool

Mon, 2020-05-04 06:00
This Bluetooth speaker is waterproof and it can sync up with up to 100 others of the same make and model.

1080p vs 4K: Which is better for your work-from-home setup?

Mon, 2020-05-04 06:00

Should you buy a 1080p or 4K monitor for your home office? This is a question you’ll inevitably face, especially if you’ve been trying to work off of a single monitor or a cramped laptop display at home. If you have the budget and space to add a second or third monitor, you then have the choice between buying the ubiquitous 1080p resolution (1920x1080 pixels), or 4K (3840x2160 pixels), the higher resolution that’s already common on TVs and some high-end laptops.

PCWorld’s editors have been through exactly the same debate with our own home offices. The strategy we’ve landed on is this: Buy a 1080p monitor (or two!) now, to create your own dual-monitor or insane multi-monitor setup. Then save your pennies and upgrade to a far more expensive 4K display later. Because everyone’s situation is different, we’ll help you decide your best path forward. 

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Ring PAR38 Smart LED Bulb review: A bright, weatherproof outdoor bulb for folks in the Ring ecosystem

Mon, 2020-05-04 06:00
This affordable Alexa-enabled bulb is well suited for illuminating driveways, backyards, side entrances, and other outdoor areas.

Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb review: Ring dips its toe into traditional smart bulbs

Mon, 2020-05-04 06:00
This new A19 smart bulb plays nice with Ring doorbells, security cameras, and motion-sensing lights, but it lacks the advanced features that some other smart lighting systems offer.

This random message notification will crash your iPhone before you even read it

Sun, 2020-05-03 04:00
A new iOS messaging bug will lock up and crash your iPhone with a single text.

It's time to admit I just don't want to play my Steam backlog

Sat, 2020-05-02 07:00

Steam tells me I own over 2,000 games I’ve never played. Not one single minute. Never even installed, in most cases. It’s a shameful list, and while mine is extreme (thanks to my job) I think most gamers eventually rack up a similar backlog. They’re good games, by and large. Some are great, even. I’ve always meant to get around to Monster Hunter World, and Devil May Cry 4, and Ashen. One day—when I had time, you know?

Or at least, that’s what I’ve told myself for years. These past few weeks I’ve had all the time in the world though. I’ve played a lot of Animal Crossing, Dreams, and the excellent card game Ancient Enemy. When I get bored though I pull up my Steam backlog and just…stare at it. I haven’t made a dent, haven’t even played one of the myriad games I’ve been “meaning” to play.

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DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 will let laptops connect to 16K displays over USB-C in 2021

Fri, 2020-05-01 17:29

Next year will see the introduction of laptops and desktops that should be able to connect to massive 16K displays running HDR across USB-C, thanks to a new DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 standard released by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) on April 29.

The new standard takes the DisplayPort 2.0 standard launched last year and eliminates the need for a dedicated DisplayPort connector. Instead, it allows the same protocols to run over USB-C, the interface increasingly common among laptops, giving them a massive boost in I/O bandwidth for displays and other external devices. 

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5G will give the iPhone 12 an advantage over Android in an unlikely way: Price

Fri, 2020-05-01 15:30
Apple is set to launch an all-5G lineup with the iPhone 12, but if you were prepared for a price hike, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

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