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Bose’s first portable smart speaker is slated for September

Thu, 2019-08-22 11:23
Get ready to take Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the road in Bose’s just-announced portable smart speaker, due to arrive next month.

Best smart speakers: Which deliver the best combination of digital assistant and audio performance?

Thu, 2019-08-22 10:54
With models based on Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and others to come, we’ll help you find just the right model for you.

Goodbye Android Q, hello Android 10: Google's dessert-based code names are over

Thu, 2019-08-22 10:43

After six betas, there isn’t much we don’t know about the next version of Android, but there was still one burning question: What dessert starts with the letter Q?

As it turns out, there aren’t any good ones. Android Quik? Android Quesito? These would have been ridiculous. But now it’s all moot, as Google has dumped its sweet treat naming scheme altogether, falling back on numbers as identifiers. This year’s release will be Android 10. That’s it.

Google isn’t saying that it was just too damned hard to come up with a pronounceable dessert that begins with Q. Rather, it’s saying that this development was a long time coming, as the rest of the world was sometimes confused with U.S.-centric branding. As Google explains: “Pies are not a dessert in some places, and that marshmallows, while delicious, are not a popular treat in many parts of the world.”

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Mophie Powerstation XXL review: This is the portable battery you're looking for

Thu, 2019-08-22 06:30

The last time I tested a portable battery from Mophie was in 2017 when I reviewed the Powerstation Plus XL. It was impressive enough to earn PCWorld’s Editors’ Choice award as the best overall power bank. Now it’s time for it to be replaced by its burly brethren: Mophie’s Powerstation XXL, a $70 battery pack that has more capacity and is just as efficient.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

The Powerstation XXL has a 20,000mAh battery for a total of 74Wh of power. There are three ports—two USB-A, and a lone USB-C port—indicator lights, and a power button.

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Frndly TV: A cheap way get Hallmark Channel, Weather Channel and more without cable

Thu, 2019-08-22 06:00
With the Hallmark Channel and more for $6 per month, Frndly TV is the cheapest live TV streaming bundle yet.

Amazon Echo Auto review: Alexa just doesn't deliver as a co-pilot

Thu, 2019-08-22 06:00
The Amazon Echo Auto brings Alexa into your car, but it relies too much on your existing technology to be of much use.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ review: A dual-core laptop that's slim, light, and priced to move

Thu, 2019-08-22 06:00

It won’t win any speed records, but the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ makes for a compelling bargain-priced laptop all the same. This $400 model of the Aspire 5 packs a roomy full-HD display and a solid dual-core Intel CPU into a slim chassis that weighs less than four pounds. Its smooth day-to-day performance and long battery life should keep productivity-minded users happy. You’ll have to settle for some compromises, however, including a cramped 128GB solid-state drive and just 4MB of RAM.

Price and specifications

Acer offers at least 22 configurations in its budget Aspire 5 line, ranging from $350 for a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-powered model with a bare-bones 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, all the way to $850 for a far beefier quad-core Core i7-8565 model with a healthy 12GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics. Most Aspire 5 versions boast a 15.6-inch display (although I spotted at least one 14-inch model), with a mix of 1080p and 720p resolutions.

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Best water leak detectors for smart homes

Wed, 2019-08-21 14:50
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

AMD RDNA graphics architecture whitepaper reveals the Radeon RX 5700's deepest secrets

Wed, 2019-08-21 12:47

The Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards kicked off a new era for AMD, and not just because they're great cards. The “Navi” graphics processors beating in their heart are the first GPUs built using the cutting-edge 7nm manufacturing process, and more importantly for AMD, they mark the debut of the company’s new underlying “RDNA” architecture, which replaces the “Graphics Core Next” architecture that has powered Radeon GPUs since 2012. On Wednesday, AMD brought a treat for graphics geeks, in the form of a PDF whitepaper revealing RDNA’s technical details.

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Intel reveals more about its Lakefield stacked CPU, due to ship in late 2019

Wed, 2019-08-21 12:12

Intel executives said Tuesday that its hybrid Lakefield architecture will ship late in the fourth quarter, followed by future revisions that will shrink the design further.

Previously, Intel has said only that Lakefield will ship in 2019.

Intel

Lakefield is one of the more technically interesting chips that Intel has on its roadmap, made up of a split between an undisclosed Sunny Cove CPU (the same CPU architecture that forms the heart of its Ice Lake chip) and several Tremont Atom cores. At the Hot Chips conference Tuesday at Stanford University, Sanjeev Khushu, a vice president in the Infrastructure and Platform Solutions Group at Intel, said that Lakefield would be the first of successive generations of similar designs.

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Hands-on with Wasteland 3: A simplified but still satisfying glimpse of the post-apocalypse

Wed, 2019-08-21 09:16

If you backed Wasteland 3’s crowdfunding attempt, today’s the day it bears fruit. InXile has created a short, combat-heavy demo-slash-alpha for people to dig into and give feedback on. If you didn’t back? Then you’ll have to live vicariously.

We met up with InXile earlier this week to play the very same slice of Wasteland 3. It’s been a long time coming, and I was excited—after all, this is the sequel to our 2014 Game of the Year.

A life well wasted

Though to be fair, Wasteland 2 didn’t win those accolades based on its combat. It was enjoyable, sure, resurrecting the turn-based tactics of the isometric Fallout entries. But Wasteland 2’s writing did the heavier part of the lifting, carrying a somewhat-rickety collection of mechanics to the top of our podium.

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10th-gen CPU buyers guide: We ranked every new Intel laptop CPU for you

Wed, 2019-08-21 09:01

If your brain broke this morning when Intel announced its 10th-gen Comet Lake laptop CPUs, which will sell alongside its 10th-gen Ice Lake chips, we understand.

Among the two different manufacturing processes (one advanced and one very refined) as well as very different graphics cores, core counts and power levels, it’s confusing enough to make you want to switch to a Windows on ARM laptop (just kidding, we’re not that frustrated). Even Intel itself admits there “might be some confusion” between its different 10th-gen  CPUs.

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Intel announces Comet Lake, a faster, 10th-gen Whiskey Lake chip for mainstream laptops

Wed, 2019-08-21 09:00

Intel’s Comet Lake 10th-gen Core chips reveal what Intel was alluding to a few weeks ago: It’s shipping a replacement for the 8th-gen Whiskey Lake mobile processors currently powering most notebook PCs, with a new memory controller and substantially faster clock speeds. 

Comet Lake is actually more like than unlike Whiskey Lake. Both chips use Whiskey Lake’s 14nm CPU architecture. Comet Lake is clocked faster, yet it still remains within roughly the same thermal constraints. Both families primarily use four cores and eight threads, though Comet Lake adds a single six-core option. Nevertheless, Intel is positioning Comet Lake as a 10th-gen chip, in the same family as its recently-introduced Ice Lake

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Best Apple Card alternatives: 5 existing credit cards that outdo the new kid

Wed, 2019-08-21 07:00
There’s buzz around the Apple Card, but you can do better. Try one of these options instead.

Apple Card vs Citi, Chase, and Capital One: Is Apple's new credit card as good as it seems?

Wed, 2019-08-21 03:00
Apple announced a brand new credit card at its 'Show time' event with low interest rates, no fees, and daily rewards. But is it worth adding to your wallet?

Microsoft Edge in Chromium goes beta, and Microsoft says it's ready for everyday use

Tue, 2019-08-20 18:40

Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser has reached beta status, meaning that Microsoft feels like the new version of Edge is available for everyday use for Windows and MacOS.

The new Edge beta channel allows users to download major new builds every six weeks, joining the weekly developers-only channel as well as the nightly "canary" builds. Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser shares the same core rendering engine as Google Chrome, though Microsoft has implemented some features differently. 

Microsoft is preparing to phase out the EdgeHTML-based version of Edge in favor of the new Chromium version, which is designed to allow users access to Chrome extensions and plug-ins, and attract more users to the browser. The beta channel will be the last official channel before launch, which will happen at some future, undisclosed time. It's also the most stable channel, while more features (and more bugs!) are available in the Canary and Developer channels.

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Nvidia's massive Gamescom Game Ready driver improves performance, latency and sharpness

Tue, 2019-08-20 16:20

Nvidia wants everyone to know that those nifty graphics features AMD and Intel have been touting are cute, but watch this. On Tuesday at Gamescom, Nvidia dropped the Gamescom Game Ready driver, a massive update that:

  • Increases frame rates by as much as 23 percent in some games
  • Decreases the mouse click-to-reaction latency in games
  • Adds integer scaling
  • Lets you personalize image sharpening

The bread and butter of the driver are performance improvements for Apex Legends, Battlefield V, Forza Horizon, Strange Brigade and World War Z. Performance improvements vary by game, resolution and GPU, but the the buffs seem fairly decent, with most of the improvements in the double-digit range.

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Dell's OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is a mini-PC that fits into a monitor stand

Tue, 2019-08-20 09:00

The Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra answers a prayer. This long, slender mini-PC slides into the back of a monitor stand, creating the first all-in-one that’s modular and upgradable.

Officially, it’s designed for corporate desk jockeys needing to de-clutter their open-office workspaces. Anyone who’s had to junk an entire all-in-one PC because one component has died, however, understands why we’re so excited about this design.  

Dell

The OptiPlex 7070 Ultra measures a slender 10.09 x 3.78 x 0.78 inches, and weighs 1.43 pounds. 

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8BitDo SN30 Pro+ review: Vintage style meets modern hardware & software

Tue, 2019-08-20 06:30

The SN30 Pro+ is the first full-size gaming controller from 8BitDo, building upon an already solid track record of smaller-sized offerings. With the SN30 Pro+, 8BitDo maintains the classic Nintendo design cues and modern features present in other models, but offers robust software on the PC that enables deep customization options.

At first glance it looks like a SN30 Pro with handles, but its larger size makes it more comfortable for longer gaming sessions. And while the SN30 Pro+ is the best pro controller option for the Nintendo Switch, it has some stiffer competition on the PC—which is where I’ll be focusing this review. 

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Netvue Belle video doorbell review: Certainly not the belle of the doorbell ball

Tue, 2019-08-20 06:00
Netvue makes a big AI promise for its Belle video doorbell, but that feature falls flat.

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