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Five of the best wireless earbuds: a guide for all budgets
Posted on Saturday May 11, 2019

Our pick of the Bluetooth earbuds out there, from Apple Airpods to Samsung Galaxy Buds and more

Earbuds are great for some personal listening in the office, on the commute or at the gym, but wires are a pain, and headphone sockets are disappearing from our smartphones.

Bluetooth earbuds have long been available with a wire between them that runs round the back of your neck, but that can be frustrating as it often gets caught on clothing. The next generation of truly wireless earbuds solves the problem by getting rid of the wires entirely.

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My satnav is out of date – should I update it, or use my phone?
Posted on Saturday May 11, 2019

I often find myself in areas where there are no maps, resulting in a confusing trip home

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

The satnav in my car is out of date. I often find myself in areas where there are no maps and even leaving a shopping centre can result in a confusing trip home. Can I update it? Or should I just use Google Maps on my phone?

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The Bewater bottle – pretty, but requires you to swallow too much
Posted on Tuesday May 07, 2019

These gorgeous drinking vessels come pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones intended to energise your water with positive properties. Sounds a bit wishy-washy

A warning: crystal talk is incoming, which is always a sign you have stayed at the party too long and things are about to all get a bit patchouli. I’m testing a high-end drinking bottle pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones, which supposedly energise water with positive properties. Bewater sell a range of these bottles, each stacked with an internal column of different gems, targeted at delivering love and peace, or wonder and balance. Why are the powers of crystals always so noble? Are there gems that make you restless, or hungry for lasagne, or stop you needing the toilet? If so, they have not been curated here.

The thinking behind energised water is a hodgepodge of discredited notions. First, that gemstones release special energies, quartz watches being cited as proof of this general effect. (In fact, it is the piezoelectric ability specific to quartz that makes the watches work.) Second, and more terrifying, the theory that promoted by Bewater that “water has memory and picks up information from its surroundings”. Ideas like this, derived from thinkers such as Masaru Emoto and Jacques Benveniste, hold that water is susceptible to the directed energies of positive thinking and crystals, retaining those energies by changing its molecular structure, and perhaps even possessing consciousness. The scientific community does not think this. While I hope there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, I draw the line at imagining a glass of Perrier can bear a grudge.

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Still boiling rice rather than steaming it? How old-fashioned
Posted on Thursday May 02, 2019

Joyoung’s slick, advanced, gigantic S5 rice cooker promises perfect fluffy rice. But is it worth the – gulp – £310 pricetag?

In the great war between kitchen gadget fanciers and kitchen gadget cynics, one thing rarely comes up: the rice cooker. I’ve heard more domestic arguments about Brevilles than I have about these wonders, even though the toastie is a much less aspirational foodstuff than perfect, fluffy rice. Rice cookers don’t have to be expensive, and you can do plenty of things in them that aren’t rice, such as vegetables and even meat. But still, they are pretty niche.

In supermarkets, however, the ready-cooked rice market is going strong, which suggests that while no one wants help from a machine, a lot of us don’t really trust ourselves to cook rice.

Related: The miracle method for sustainable rice – and bigger harvests | John Vidal

Related: How to eat: risotto

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Huawei P30 Pro review: game-changing camera, stellar battery life
Posted on Wednesday April 24, 2019

New smartphone with Leica quad camera has 5x optical zoom, super low-light performance and fun features

Huawei’s latest top-end phone, the P30 Pro, has a genuinely groundbreaking new quad camera system on the back with amazing low-light performance and the first 5x optical zoom enabling a practically spycam-like 50x digital zoom.

The new £900 phone, from the firm that continues to be at the centre of a political storm, has the familiar metal frame, curved glass and all-screen design of 2018-19. New for the P30 Pro are some stunning colour options, including the pearlescent oil slick-like “breathing crystal” and the eye-popping amber sunrise. If you want a phone that gloriously embraces colour, this is it.

Screen: 6.47in FHD+ OLED (398ppi)

Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 980

RAM: 8GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 512GB plus nano memory card

Operating system: EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: quadruple rear camera 40MP, 20MP ultra-wide angle, 8MP telephoto, ToF depth, 32MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS (dual-sim available in some regions)

Water resistance: IP68

Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.41 mm

Weight: 192g

Huawei P30 Pro zoom: 0.6, 1, 5, 10, 24 and 50x Optical to 5x, hybrid to 10x and digital after that

With gesture navigation enabled, sometimes I activated Google Assistant when reaching for the punctuation slider in Gboard while typing quickly

There’s a mic hole right next to the sim tray - do not poke the sim ejector in there by accident or risk ruining the mic

The vibrating haptic feedback is nice and staccato, although not quite as sharp as Google’s or Apple’s phones

It has a single speaker in the bottom, which is fairly loud and clear

There’s no headphone socket, just a USB-C socket in the bottom

Dual-sim support is available in some regions plus a nano memory card slot

Pros: incredible low-light camera, amazing zoom, fun ultra-wide angle camera, long battery life, in-display fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, good processor, stunning colour options

Cons: EMUI not to everyone’s taste, nano memory not microSD, expensive, no headphone socket, no stereo speakers, HDR not as good as Google’s

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked

Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: a simply stunning screen

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Honor View20 review: top phone at half the cost of an iPhone XS

OnePlus 6T review: you’d have to spend double to get better than this

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Can a bed of nails really relieve stress and insomnia - or just make me squeal?
Posted on Monday April 22, 2019

This small mat’s 8,820 plastic points are said to be able to address the negative symptoms of being alive in 2019. So I put on a thin T-shirt and braced myself

I love a bed of anything. Bed of lettuce? Here for it. Raised beds for boosted drainage? Take me there. You made your bed, so lie in it? Thank you, I will. Today, though, I’m wondering if I’ve found my limit. Because the word “nails” gives one pause, doesn’t it? Most wellness words are soft, even misty: spirulina, bioavailable, Gwyneth. “Nails” is different. Nails are unsensual, uncalming items that get hammered into chipboard. Or clawed into your back, if you get into bed with this week’s trend.

Sleeping on a bed of nails is historically associated with ascetic Hindu holy men, who sleep up poles and walk on coals. Easy to dismiss, but given my own antisocial tendencies, and the property market, my last online search was “pole, good location” on Zoopla, so I’m not above giving the nails a go. The maker of the Bed of Nails (£70) claims that, among other things, the mats may alleviate chronic pain, insomnia, headaches and daily stress. All of the symptoms of being alive in 2019, basically.

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Galaxy Fold: Samsung investigates as screens break in first days
Posted on Thursday April 18, 2019

Flexible screen failed on several £1,800 tester devices in run-up to public release

The screen at the heart of Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold phone, which literally folds in half, has been failing in testers’ hands within days, prompting concerns about the durability of the £1,800 device.

The company distributed the device to publications across the US on Monday before its release to the public on 26 April. But within two days testers were reporting that the all-important central flexible screen started to break under normal use.

My colleague opened the Galaxy Fold and it started doing this. So, long answer to your question @WilfredFrost, the hinge doesn’t seem very rugged after all. After two days: pic.twitter.com/Z1F8iwjURa

After one day of use... pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9

SUPER YIKES: something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m waiting to hear back from Samsung. It’s broken. https://t.co/p1014uB01D pic.twitter.com/3FZJkWtSKr

Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked

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Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review: in a class of its own
Posted on Thursday April 18, 2019

Stunning all-in-one PC that slides to become drawing tablet is held back by high price and old chips

The Surface Studio 2 is Microsoft’s beautiful all-singing, all-dancing, all-in-one desktop computer that is quite unlike anything else on the market. But then it should be with prices starting at more than £3,500.

Straight out of the box it’s obvious that the Surface Studio 2 is no ordinary computer. Its gorgeous, pixel-dense 28in screen appears to float, held effortlessly by two chrome articulated arms that are invisible when you’re sitting directly in front of it. The small grey pedestal below looks like a weighted stand, but contains the full workings of the PC.

Screen: 28in LCD 4500 x 3000 (192 ppi)

Processor: Intel Core i7-7820HQ (7th generation)

RAM: 16 or 32GB

Storage: 1 or 2TB

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070

Operating system: Windows 10 Pro

Camera: 5MP front-facing with Windows Hello

Connectivity: wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB-C, SD, Ethernet, 3.5mm headphones

Display dimensions: 637.4 x 438.9 x 12.5 mm

Base dimensions: 50 x 220 x 32.2 mm

Weight: 9.6kg

All the ports are on the back of the machine, which make them harder than it needs to be to reach them

Heat is ejected out of the right-side of the base, which can cook anything you place next to it when the computer is pushed hard

The 2.1 stereo speakers pack a fairly powerful punch given they’re hidden away

Xbox wireless connectivity is built in so you don’t need a dongle or Bluetooth to connect an Xbox controller

Pros: beautiful industrial design, huge and gorgeous screen, Surface Pen and Dial support, snappy performance, full-size SD card slot, USB-C, Windows Hello

Cons: super expensive, only seventh gen Intel mobile chips, older graphics processor, no Thunderbolt 3, no HDR support, not upgradable

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: a powerful yet pricey laptop-tablet combo

Microsoft Surface Pro review: very nearly almost the future of Windows PCs

Surface Laptop 2 review: Microsoft’s sleeker answer to the MacBook Air

Microsoft Surface Go review: tablet that’s better for work than play

Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar

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Apple launches second generation AirPods with wireless charging
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Bluetooth earbuds have longer battery life, hands-free Siri and new wireless charging case

Apple has launched a new version of its hugely popular wireless earbuds, the AirPods, with long-anticipated wireless charging and longer battery life.

The second-generation AirPods look identical to the previous version, complete with a white stalk that looks like a set of earphones with the cables cut off. But now the earbuds last longer when used for phone calls between charges and support hands-free access to Apple’s Siri voice assistant.

pic.twitter.com/x3OGOekxc0

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Amazon's cheapest Kindle now has a better screen and a front light
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Higher contrast, better touchscreen and Paperwhite-like light among improvements

Amazon has released a new version of its cheapest Kindle e-reader with an improved screen and a reading light, a feature previously held back for its more expensive devices.

Costing £10 more than the previous generation, at £69.99, the new Kindle has a 6in e-ink display with an adjustable front light that projects from the sides to make the screen readable in the dark.

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Major study suggests Apple Watch can detect irregular heartbeat
Posted on Saturday March 16, 2019

More work needed to see if wearables can help screen for heart problems, but researchers call study encouraging

A huge study suggests the Apple Watch can detect a worrisome irregular heartbeat – but experts say more work is needed to tell if using wearable technology to screen for heart problems really helps.

More than 419,000 Apple Watch users signed up for the study, which was funded by Apple and the largest ever to explore screening seemingly healthy people for atrial fibrillation (A-fib), a condition that if untreated eventually can trigger strokes.

Related: Blow to low carb diet as landmark study finds high fibre cuts heart disease risk

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Five of the best noise-cancelling headphones
Posted on Saturday March 16, 2019

Blocking out annoying sounds on flights or the commute with these options priced from £80

Daily life is stressful enough without being subjected to the noise of others. Thankfully noise cancelling headphones can help by actively blocking oppressive distractions, whether it’s for flights, the commute, or just in the office, with effective options costing from £80.

Here’s a quick guide to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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The Hypervolt massager: it's as if I've grasped an electric fence and can't let go
Posted on Monday March 11, 2019

It pumps out 3,200 percussions a minute to help your muscles recover after exercise. And it does the trick – if you like feeling like a cut of meat being tenderised

The words “personal massaging device” make one spontaneously vibrate with the effort of suppressing a thousand schoolboy jokes, but let’s pretend we are better than that. The Hypervolt, a name that positively screams “fragile masculinity”, is the latest product from Hyperice, a company that usually specialises in foam rollers and ice compression packs with a name that is weirdly reminiscent of Müllerice.

The Hypervolt (£374.99, hyperice.co.uk) looks sci-fi and fun; like Barbarella’s gun. It doesn’t want to be fun, though; it wants to speed up muscle recovery after intense exercise, using percussion therapy. This has nothing to do with nervously air-drumming in a doctor’s waiting room, while you sit expecting the results of your blood test, and this review is also nothing to do with that, so stop worrying and get it together, man. Percussion therapy involves vibrating muscles at high speed, to stretch them out after the tightening effects of exercise, as well as loosen the connective tissues surrounding them. It is not intended for lazy people such as me, who rarely exercise and store all tension in their thoughts. (What if the doctor says I’m not lazy – that there’s actually something wrong with me? Would that be better or worse? Immaterial. Focus.)

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MWC 2019: folding wrist phones, 5G and quintuple cameras – 8 standout gadgets
Posted on Friday March 01, 2019

Also unveiled in Barcelona: Microsoft’s Hololens 2 and phones with folding screens

The annual mobile technology jamboree in Barcelona has revealed the latest exciting developments that will feature in phones, tablets and watches over the next 12 months. From folding handsets and ultra-sophisticated cameras to brick-like smartphones with a very long battery life – here are eight of the most notable products from Mobile World Congress 2019 this week.

Samsung’s $2,000 Galaxy Fold changes the smartphone game

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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review: novel slider finally hits the UK
Posted on Wednesday February 27, 2019

‘China’s Apple’ finally lands in the UK with cut-price top-spec phone with a slide-out selfie camera

After several years of threatening Xiaomi has finally entered the UK with a series of good-value smartphones starting from £99 including the range-topping Mi Mix 3. But has “China’s Apple” delivered something new, or just another forgettable Chinese smartphone?

At first glance the £499 Mi Mix 3 looks fairly boring. The front has a giant display, just like the rest. The back appears shiny glass, just like the rest. It’s got polished metal sides, just like most. But pick up the phone and you realise it’s hiding more than one secret.

Screen: 6.39in FHD+ AMOLED (403ppi)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

RAM: 6GB of RAM

Storage: 128GB

Operating system: MIUI 10.2 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: rear dual 12MP camera, front dual 24MP selfie-camera

Connectivity: dual sim, LTE, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5, wireless charging and GPS

Dimensions: 157.9 x 74.7 x 8.5mm

Weight: 218g

You get a 10W wireless charging pad in the box which takes the phone’s cabled charger

There’s an AI button you can configure to launch Google Assistant, or a variety of other apps or functions

The Mi Mix 3 vibrates every time anything turns up in the notification shade, including the download manager for app updates and other bits, which can get annoying

A 5G version of the Mi Mix 3 is due to go on sale later this year

Pros: notchless all-screen design, good screen, slide-out camera, wireless charging and pad in the box, top performance, solid battery life, good camera, excellent value, great gesture navigation

Cons: MIUI software isn’t as good as the competition, heavy, no water resistance, no headphone socket

Honor View20 review: top phone at half the cost of an iPhone XS

OnePlus 6T review: you’d have to spend double to get better than this

iPhone XR review: Apple’s cheaper battery king

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

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Honor View20 review: top phone at half the cost of an iPhone XS
Posted on Friday February 01, 2019

A big screen with a hole-punch notch, a cracking 48MP camera, great performance and battery

The Honor View20 made by Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer at the centre of a political storm, offers a top-notch experience including a great camera for £500 – less than half the price of an iPhone XS.

The company is at the centre of allegations of violating sanctions and theft of trade secrets, but it’s undeniable that it has produced some excellent phones at affordable prices over the last year. The View20 is Honor’s attempt to show that is has the beans to step out from the shadow of just being Huawei’s cheaper sub-brand with a top-flight phone of its own.

Screen: 6.4in FHD+ LCD (398ppi)

Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 980

RAM: 6GB or 8GB of RAM

Storage: 128 or 256GB

Operating system: Magic UI 2 based on Android 9 Pie

Camera: rear 48MP camera + 3D sensor, 25MP selfie-camera

Connectivity: headphone socket, LTE, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS (dual-sim available in some regions)

Dimensions: 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight: 180g

The notch obscures the time in the left corner when using Android Auto on the phone

There’s a tiny amount of uneven backlighting at the very bottom of the screen, which almost looks like shadow from the bezel

Sometimes the three navigation buttons were shunted slightly off to the left of the centre when held in portrait orientation

Honor has included a very useful button on the navigation bar to rotate the screen when you have auto-rotation disabled (as I have all the time)

The View20 is one of the first three Android phones to support Fornite at 60fps

Pros: hole-punch notch, snappy performance, good battery life, brilliant camera, good screen, dual-sim, headphone socket

Cons: Magic UI not to everyone’s taste, no expandable storage, no water resistance, no wireless charging

OnePlus 6T review: you’d have to spend double to get better than this

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: cutting-edge brilliance

Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience

Google Pixel 3 XL review: big is still beautiful

Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

iPhone XS Max review: Apple’s supersized smartphone

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Super Bowl: experimental radar aims to stop drone drama at game
Posted on Monday January 28, 2019

After rogue drone sightings halt flights, startup seeks permission to test tracking system at Sunday’s game

A Bill Gates-funded startup is seeking permission to test a new kind of drone detector at Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta.

Echodyne, a Seattle-based company, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Sunday to operate two experimental radars “in the immediate vicinity” of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to “alert security personnel, including federal officers, of any unidentified drone activity during Super Bowl LIII”.

Related: First Gatwick. Now a film about a serial killer drone. We have been warned

This story has been updated to correct the cost of Echodyne’s system.

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Amazon Echo Show (2nd gen) review: Alexa's bigger, brighter smart display
Posted on Tuesday January 15, 2019

The latest smart speaker with screen looks better, sounds great and has built-in smart hub

The new second generation Echo Show is bigger with a better display, but is size enough to keep Amazon ahead of stiff competition from Google?

Since the original Echo Show launched last year the software has been refined, but the experience is broadly the same. The Show is a voice-first Alexa speaker, with touch interactivity as an additional input rather than the core experience. If you never wanted to touch the screen beyond the initial set-up ,you wouldn’t have to.

It routinely got stuck on one particular photo in my library, showing it for hours on end.

If you’re listening to music while cooking, the Show will just display recipes and steps without interrupting via voice.

You can’t turn off the tips of things to try through Alexa that show at the bottom of the screen when just showing photos, which is very annoying.

You can disable the camera entirely if you want to, but if you don’t trust Amazon with your data you shouldn’t be buying an Alexa device.

You can use the Echo Show as a Bluetooth speaker or connect it to a Bluetooth speaker.

Despite the screen, shopping on the Echo Show is still tedious and better done via a phone or tablet.

Pros: good, big screen, sounds great, good for recipes, Amazon Prime Video, Alexa, YouTube and BBC iPlayer (in a browser), good smart home control, integrated Zigbee hub, Bluetooth

Cons: no 3.5mm socket, expensive, big and hard to blend in with furnishings, annoying “Try Alexa” tips you can’t turn off, using a browser to get to video sites is irritating, no Netflix or most TV catch-up services

Amazon Echo second-generation review: smaller, cheaper and better

Amazon Echo Spot review: cute smart speaker with a screen

Google Home Hub review: the smart display to buy

Sonos One review: the best smart speaker for audiophiles

Apple HomePod review: Siri lets down best sounding smart speaker

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CES 2019: from beer tech to a banned sex toy – 10 standout gadgets
Posted on Friday January 11, 2019

Also unveiled in Las Vegas: the world’s first rollable TV and Alexa for your toilet

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas revealed what the tech world has in store for us this year. From the spectacular to the controversial – as well as some total tosh – here are 10 of the most memorable products unveiled at CES 2019 last week.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) review: better all round
Posted on Thursday January 10, 2019

Latest small smart speaker has improved looks, sound and still has everything good about Alexa

Amazon’s latest low-cost Alexa-powered smart speaker, the third-generation Echo Dot, looks better, sounds better, but still costs the same budget-friendly £50.

When the second-generation Echo Dot launched in the UK it had very little in the way of competition. Having everything that was good about Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant squeezed into a smaller package half the price of the bigger Echo, it was a no-brainer.

Related: How do I get the best from Alexa?

Alexa can finally recognise different voice profiles for different users in one home in the UK as of November

The blue light ring around the top is easy to see from across the room

You can buy things on Amazon via voice if you want, but it can be a laborious process unless you know the precise name of the item and variant. I turned it off.

Pros: can always hear you, small but loud enough, great device support, clear when muted, activity can been seen from across the room, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio socket

Cons: music distorts at max volume, no real bass, general knowledge not quite as good as Google Assistant

Amazon Echo second-generation review: smaller, cheaper and better

Google Home review: the smart speaker that answers almost any question

Google Home Mini review: a brilliant little £50 voice assistant speaker

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BrandPost: Use GPU-accelerated VideoProc to easily process 4K video, audio, and DVDs
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

More and more people are using mobile phones, 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) cameras, GoPro action cameras, drones, and other devices to shoot exciting video. But when it comes to sharing and displaying the output, the results can often be disappointing, lacking the polish of professional footage. Now, whether you’re a novice or a pro, you can take advantage of VideoProc on your Windows PC to utilize full hardware acceleration to process and touch up your footage.

Turning raw footage into polished videos

To read this article in full, please click here

Need a dragon fix after Game of Thrones’ finale? Head to Elder Scrolls Online’s Elsweyr expansion
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

ZeniMax Online either has an impeccable sense of timing, or it’s so lucky that all its employees should go buy lottery tickets this second. The smoke and memes have barely cleared in the aftermath of last night’s series finale of Game of Thrones, and yet, mere hours later, ZeniMax is kicking open the gates of early access for Elder Scrolls Online’s Elsweyr expansion ahead of its official release in two weeks. (Only for PC and Mac users, though—if you’re on a console, you’ll have to wait until June 4.)

Elsweyr is a perfect chaser for HBO’s tale of politics and fantastic beasts. You’ll see dragons, for one, and lots of them. You’ll find family members with decidedly different opinions about the invasion of a city, and you’ll even find an army of the undead worked into the mix. And if that all sounds a little too familiar, get this: Elsweyr’s also got a bunch of cat people. And we all know how much the Internet loves its cats.

To read this article in full, please click here

Save $100 on the luxurious Bowers & Wilkins PX Active noise-cancelling wireless headphones
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

A solid set of noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver in offices, commutes, homes, and all the other noisy places you spend your life. And today, you can get one of our favorite pairs, the luxurious Bowers & Wilkins PX Active noise-cancelling wireless headphones, for $300 on Amazon. That’s down from a list price of $400 and the lowest we’ve ever seen them.

“The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones’ excellent audio fidelity and solid noise cancellation make these a set of headphones all but the most fussy audiophiles will be happy to own,” we declared in a glowing 4-star review of this headset.

To read this article in full, please click here

Google pulls Huawei's Android license: 5 reasons not to panic (yet) if you own a Huawei phone
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

Logitech's couch-friendly K600 TV keyboard has never been this cheap
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

If you’ve been pining for a couch-friendly keyboard with an integrated trackpad for the living room, today’s your lucky day. Amazon dropped the price of the Logitech K600 TV keyboard to $50. That’s down from a $70 list price, and the $60 street price this keyboard recently hovered around.

The keyboard has a 15 meter wireless range using an included USB dongle. It works with Windows and Mac PCs, as well as Android and iOS devices. Being a living room-focused peripheral, the Logitech K600 can also connect directly to select smart TVs, including Samsung Tizen-based units from 2016, LG TVs rocking webOS 2016 or newer, and Sony Bravia sets running Android TV 2016 and up.

To read this article in full, please click here

The Lutron Aurora handily solves the smart bulb, dumb switch predicament
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

This battery-powered dimmer retrofits toggle switches controlling Philips Hue and other Zigbee smart bulbs, so they can’t be turned off by accident.

FileShadow review: 100GB of free online storage plus local data backup and consolidation
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

FileShadow is a free backup program that's grown up. It started as a very nice cloud storage consolidator with advanced search and sharing abilities. It could transfer from various online storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive to its own facilities, as well as tag photos and perform OCR on your PDFs. Good stuff, but not PC backup. 

Stop the presses! Or actually, start them up: The company has added both Windows and macOS backup clients. Good thing—free 100GB storage accounts don’t grow on trees these days. 

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

To read this article in full, please click here

Best smart speakers: Which deliver the best combination of digital assistant and audio performance?
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

With models based on Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and others to come, we’ll help you find just the right model for you.

How to use Siri for hands-free Apple TV control
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

Siri can control your Apple TV with hands-free voice commands. Here's how.

Marshall Stanmore II Voice review: This voice-controlled Bluetooth speaker has the iconic look of rock royalty
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

The sound quality is fairly good overall, especially with rock music, but I had several problems with its operation.

Asus ZenFone 6 hands on: Flipping the script to take on the OnePlus 7 Pro
Posted on Monday May 20, 2019

Even if they hadn’t released within days of each other, it’s impossible not to compare the Asus ZenFone 6 to the OnePlus 7 Pro. They both have Snapdragon 855 processors, funky selfie cams, and near-stock Android skins. And they’re both a whole lot cheaper than their premium counterparts.

But while we expected the OnePlus 7 Pro to stand out in the field, the Asus ZenFone 6 may be one of the most surprising phones of the year so far. Where last year’s ZenFone 5z was an iPhone imitator with an ugly notch, forced AI camera gimmicks, and a heavy-handed skin, Asus has completely reimagined its smartphone experience for this year’s model: The camera cutout is gone, the AI scene detector is little more than a toggle, and ZenUI has been all but jettisoned. It’s a refreshing change that makes the ZenFone 6 feel more like a reboot than a annual refresh. That’s exactly what Asus needs to take on OnePlus 7 Pro, the ZenFone 6’s most obvious competitor. 

To read this article in full, please click here

Score over $1,750-worth of coding courses for a price you pick
Posted on Sunday May 19, 2019

Learn how to design your own Amazon Echo clone for just $29
Posted on Sunday May 19, 2019

Home automation devices continue to gain popularity. But some consumer-grade products boast only limited abilities, leading some people to go the DIY route. Want to learn how to make your own for cheap? Then try The Complete Raspberry Pi and Alexa A-Z Bundle, discounted to just $29.

If you’ve got even just a passing interest in electronics, then this package is ideal. It includes four courses that’ll teach you how to turn an economical Raspberry Pi microcomputer into a Amazon Alexa compatible home automation device. You’ll learn RPi essentials, discover how to create custom Alexa skills, and you’ll even design your own Amazon Echo clone.

To read this article in full, please click here

You can learn Python programming with this $35 bundle
Posted on Sunday May 19, 2019

Python’s simplicity makes it an ideal language for first time programmers to learn. And now anyone can learn Python programming for cheap with The Complete Python Certification Bootcamp Bundle, which has been temporarily discounted to just $34.99.

This bundle, which is normally valued at over $2,000, features twelve courses that’ll turn virtually anyone into a Python coding expert. Students will learn the highly readable syntax, find out the many applications of Python, and be able to create their own code fast. It’s more flexible than traditional classroom training, which makes it perfect for people that have other life commitments.

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You can train to be a certified Excel expert for just $49
Posted on Sunday May 19, 2019

The job market is competitive. To be the successful applicant, you’ll need to possess skills that others simply do not have. If you want to position yourself for success, then you'll want to start training with The A to Z Microsoft Excel Certification Training Bundle, discounted by over 90 percent to just $49.

This package is ideal for job seekers in nearly every employment sector. It includes eight courses that’ll familiarize students with the world’s top spreadsheet software title, Microsoft Excel. They’ll learn how spreadsheets work, how to apply them to business, and become adept with Excel’s many features. They’ll even walk away with certifications that prove their expertise.

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These WD 10TB My Book and 4TB My Passport deals are so insane we thought they were a mistake
Posted on Sunday May 19, 2019

Editor's note 1:05 pm ET: These deals are currently unavailable but we recommend checking periodically throughout the day in case they pop up again.

Even if you don’t need any more storage for your PC right now, you might want to consider grabbing one of these Western Digital Amazon deals, since we don't know how long they will last. Today Amazon is selling WD 10TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive for $80, 73 percent off its list price and the 4TB My Passport drive for $55, 65 percent off and far below the previous low price of $90.

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This week in games: World of Warcraft Classic enters beta, another new Vampire: The Masquerade game
Posted on Friday May 17, 2019

Okay, making the E3 schedule and...wait, Netflix? Really? Netflix is at E3 this year?

That news, plus Ubisoft delays one game and jokes about another, a second Vampire: The Masquerade game is announced, World of Warcraft Classic opens beta signups, Metro details its two expansions, and KFC gets put in its place by Respawn. Sigh.

This is gaming news for May 13 to 17.

Ski Free

It’s basically summer, which makes this timing a bit funny—like buying a winter coat on-sale at the end of the season—but if you’re longing for the slopes and need something to tide you over until next fall, Steep is currently free through Uplay. That’s Ubisoft’s ski/snowboard/wingsuit/paraglide simulator, if you need a refresher. Released in late 2016, I played it for an hour or two back then and found it a bit stiff, but it’s hard to fault free. You can nab your copy here, anytime before May 21.

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A Plague Tale: Innocence review: A grisly, story-driven journey through Medieval France
Posted on Friday May 17, 2019

France, 1348. Times are grim. The Black Plague has arrived—as have the Hundred Years’ War and the Inquisition. Within a decade, at least a third of the population will die. Some estimates place that number as high as two-thirds.

It feels closer to the latter in A Plague Tale: Innocence. There’s no end to the bodies—left to rot in the streets, abandoned to houses marked with a chalked “X,” piled high on foggy battlefields amid the trebuchets and wagons. And where there are bodies, worse is sure to follow.

Des rats.” Even with the silent “T,” the French is unmistakable: Rats. Rivers of them, black fur dotted with gleaming red eyes, waiting on the edges of the light. Hungry.

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Get your kids started on JavaScript with 50% off a Bitsbox coding subscription box
Posted on Friday May 17, 2019

Your kids may be gearing up for summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop learning. Just in time for the long break, Amazon has slashed the price of its Bitsbox coding subscription box for kids, bringing the first month’s box down to $15 from a normal price of $30.

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Minecraft Earth busts out of the box as a Pokemon Go-inspired mobile AR game
Posted on Friday May 17, 2019

If you’ve ever wished your Pokemon Go had a little less Pikachu and a little more Creeper, Microsoft has a game for you. Headed to mobile phones this summer as a limited beta, Minecraft Earth will blend the power of augmented reality with the mobs and skins of Minecraft to create a whole new world to build and explore.

In an interview with the Verge, game director Torfi Olafsson said Minecraft Earth is an “adaptation” of the popular sandbox game rather than a straight port. However, the game is built on the same Bedrock engine, so it brings over many of the same elements, along with some new ones. “We have tried to stay very true to the kind of core design pillars of Minecraft,” Olafsson said, “and we’ve worked with the design team in Stockholm to make sure that the spirit of the game is carried through.”

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