• Hiku shopping button review

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 11:15 GMT

    Right now, my shopping list has high mortgage, Colgate Total cheap, and speed on it — the result of my adventures with Hiku, a little device that uses a barcode scanner and voice-recognition to help you make a grocery list. The idea is great — let everyone use the mouse-like device to put whatever they need into a consolidated list on everyone’s phones — but the execution didn’t always produce the results I wanted. Get grocery-ing The Hiku is a round, white device with a flat bottom and big silver button that activates a recorder and built-in scanner. It fit perfectly in my admittedly small hands. From unboxing to being ready to scan, setup took under five minutes. I created an account, connected the Hiku to my Wi-Fi network, paired it with my phone via a flashing light (there’s a warning for those who suffer from epilepsy), and was off to the races. The Hiku recommended I try scanning something, and I was running low on Darigold half-and-half, so I gave it a whirl. Then I got an error message on the app: “Well, this is embarrassing! Hiku doesn’t recognize that barcode. This doesn’t happen very often… Try scanning something else.” Okay, let’s try the Kraft olive oil mayo sitting next to it. That works. Then I was prompted to speak into the Hiku’s microphone. It took two tries, but I finally had half-and-half on my list. The next step I could take was to set up a Peapod store to bring everything on my list to my doorstep. I’m familiar with the grocery-delivery service, but it’s definitely not nationwide. I entered in a Chicago zip code to test it out. Unfortunately, there’s no way to create an account from the app, though Hiku says that option is coming. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to set up. The settings basically let you choose a default shopping list and change your language, as well as let you know how much battery is left. The battery is a rechargeable lithium-ion that lasts around two months, so it should be able to magnetically stick to your fridge for a while before you need to plug it in. The app is meant to be shared, so you and your roommates, spouse, or very nice friend who does your grocery shopping can all see the same constantly updated list. If your friend texts to ask if he can bring anything to your party but doesn’t have the app, you can email or text him the list from the app, too. Scan and say There are quite a few ways to get groceries on your list. Two involve pressing the Hiku’s shiny silver button; it activates the barcode scanner and voice recognition feature. That means the scanner’s red light illuminates even when you’re not trying to scan something, so watch where you point it; it’s definitely not advanced enough to read a barcode and listen to you all at once. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends You don’t have to have your phone nearby and the app handy to scan in your items. At least, I don’t think you do. The database of items isn’t robust enough for me to be sure: I scanned 10 items while my phone was on my desk and I was in the kitchen — only one showed up. The Hiku itself makes a series of beeps that let you know whether or not what you’re scanning is actually making it onto your list. If the two-tone beep ends on an up note, it’s added; if it ends on a down note, it doesn’t recognize what you’re saying. If you get four beeps in a row, the barcode isn’t recognized. Once I cracked the code, I went back and scanned a bunch of items I thought the Hiku didn’t recognize. It turns out it still doesn’t know the barcode for Darigold or Trader Joe’s milk, but I’m also kind of a terrible scanner, and it thought I was trying to do voice commands instead of using the item’s barcode. Still, those times when it did add the items to my list, the process was pretty quick. I’d scan, and seconds later, I’d have Philadelphia cream cheese pop up on the app. When I was using the voice-recognition feature, I found I really had to orient the microphone at my mouth. It wasn’t flawless but it worked better than expected. Sure, it thought Tide laundry detergent was high mortgage, toothpaste was cheap, and spinach was speed. But it also got cabernet, Newman’s Own tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, gouda, and a dozen other things I listed. The useful thing about the voice feature is that it saves a little clip of you talking on the app. If you get to the store and wonder why on earth you added “pier” to the list, you can listen to yourself saying “pappardelle” and head to the pasta aisle. Aisle land The app has some other great features, too. You can use your phone’s camera as a barcode scanner if you’re out of soap in the bathroom and the Hiku’s in the kitchen (and if you’re one of those people that brings their phone literally everywhere). It also sorts everything into aisles, which themselves are editable and moveable. If your grocery store’s wine aisle is next to the dairy aisle, you can shift them next to each other in your Hiku app (though you’ll have to create the wine aisle first). This way, you don’t have to crisscross the store because you have bananas at the top of the list and spinach at the bottom. When the produce is safely in your cart, you swipe right on the item in the app, and it gets crossed off. Then you can either fully clear it or resurrect it if you made a mistake. The sorts-into-aisles view went away when I added delivery-service Peapod to the mix, because obviously I don’t need it anymore. I could switch back and forth between the two via the menu button, though. Once you sync up with the grocery retailer, the Hiku instead shows you the name of the product, its price, and the option “Don’t send.” If your preferred type of Tide detergent doesn’t first appear, you can click on the price and a whole list of other types of Tide will pop up. Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of details about the product — I couldn’t even tell how many ounces of detergent I was getting. Interestingly, though my list thought I said “Colgate Total cheap,” Peapod knew what I meant. However, the delivery service lost some points by suggesting that, of all the cabernets in the world, Franzia would be my first choice. If you scanned a specific product, it will still offer some other options, too, so I wasn’t locked into getting another bottle of Nature’s Promise honey if I wanted to try something new. Conclusion I need Hiku. I’m always forgetting something at the grocery store; even when I have a list with me, I manage to skip over a crucial ingredient (you mean I need chicken to make chicken noodle soup?!). The Hiku app’s interface, with everything nicely, automatically sorted into aisles, definitely helped keep me organized in the grocery store. The Peapod syncing was also nicely done, though hopefully there will be more details about items in the future. I also need Hiku to be a little more reliable. Its database of barcodes is definitely lacking, especially compared to some others I’ve seen. The voice recognition works pretty well, all things considered, but it would be easier to take if the scanner were more useful. Still, the Hiku is on sale for $49 right now, and I doubt anyone would be mad to find it in their stocking Christmas morning. Highs Easy to set up and use Nicely designed app Unobtrusive design Affordable Lows Small database of barcodes Voice recognition sometimes fails Grocery delivery service Peapod has limited coverage More »Hiku shopping button review

  • YouTube Kids hit by fresh complaints, this time over junk food videos

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 10:45 GMT

    U.S. consumer groups are still not happy with YouTube Kids, the supposedly family-friendly mobile app that launched back in February. While earlier complaints focused on the app’s failure to filter out videos with sexual content, colorful expletives, and ads for adult products such as alcohol, the most recent objections accuse some food and drink manufacturers of breaking promises not to aim promotional content at children. The groups – the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) – this week filed new complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking it to investigate not only Google, which owns YouTube, but also more than 15 food and beverage makers – Coca-Cola, Hershey, and Nestle among them – that have promotional content appearing on the app. Related: Are screens scrambling our kids’ brains? We asked an expert “Far from being a safe place for kids to explore, YouTube Kids is awash with food and beverage marketing that you won’t find on other media platforms for young children,” CCFC’s Josh Golin said in a release, adding that the FTC “should investigate why Google’s algorithms aren’t configured to keep junk food marketing off of YouTube Kids, and hold food and beverage companies accountable for violating their pledges not to target their most unhealthy products to children.” Speaking in stronger terms, CDD executive director Jeff Chester said, “Our new complaints underscore why the FTC needs to stop Google from engaging in what are nothing less than harmful, unethical, and irresponsible practices that target America’s youngest children.” One of many examples offered by the CCFC reveals that Coca-Cola has so far shown 47 TV ads on YouTube Kids as well as 11 promotional videos. Related: YouTube Kids goes global following a sticky launch YouTube told the Guardian the app only shows ads “that are approved as family-friendly – for example, we don’t show any food and beverage ads – and all ads undergo a rigorous review process for compliance with our policies.” If that sounds odd, that’s because this apparently refers only to YouTube-managed pre-roll ads that play in slots between the main videos. If a brand uploads a TV ad to YouTube as a regular video, it skirts the policy as they are seen as videos not ads. It appears YouTube’s algorithms are then failing to root them out. While YouTube has said that turning off the app’s search function can limit access to these kinds of videos, the consumer groups are keen for the company to take other action such as adjusting the app’s algorithms to prevent the content from turning up in search results. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »YouTube Kids hit by fresh complaints, this time over junk food videos

  • Zano drone maker says sorry for $3.5M Kickstarter failure

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 10:15 GMT

    A lot of Kickstarter backers were left upset and disappointed last week when they learned the Zano mini-drone project had collapsed, apparently taking their funds with it. On Thursday, the company at the center of the failed venture – at £2.3 million ($3.5m) Europe’s most heavily backed Kickstarter project to date – posted an apology to Zano’s 12,000 backers on its Kickstarter page, at the same time explaining what’d gone wrong and how the funds were spent. Torquing, the company behind the Wales-based startup that created the diminutive quadcopter, kicked off by apologizing for the recent lack of communication, adding that it was proceeding “with the best intentions.” In a bid to be more transparent, the statement outlined how the money had been spent. The largest portion, 46 percent, went on “stock and manufacturing,” Torquing said, while 14 percent covered wages, 9 percent purchase taxes, and 5 percent Kickstarter fees. You can see the entire breakdown in the chart below. “We strongly refute any allegations made that may suggest that the board of directors have misappropriated any funds,” the company also said in its message. It went on to detail different areas that caused the greatest challenges for those behind the project, namely prototype amendments and rig testing, hardware expenditure that saw “significant expenditure” when engineers opted to use a lighter plastic to improve flight time, and product manufacturing. Closing, Torquing offered “a sincere apology for the understandable disappointment felt by all of those who have supported the project.” The statement makes no mention the possibility of returning any of the funds to the backers. One of those commenting on Torquing’s post suggests it sells the drone parts in its possession and shares the resulting income. Related: New obstacle-avoidance tech lets this drone zip through a thicket at top speed When it launched toward the end of 2014, the Zano project excited many with its promise of an ultra-portable, autonomous mini-drone with HD video capabilities. A minimum pledge of £139 ($210) promised backers an early version of the remotely controlled quadcopter, but only a few were ever delivered. The project’s demise highlights the risk backers face with projects on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. In a statement to the BBC recently, New York-based Kickstarter said that, on the whole, inventors and creators using its service “have a remarkable track record, but there are no guarantees that a project will work out.” Referencing instances where projects collapse, Kickstarter’s terms say: “The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.” Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Zano drone maker says sorry for $3.5M Kickstarter failure

  • HTC’s Preview program looks to give users a sneak peek into the company’s future

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 02:31 GMT

    2015 hasn’t been particularly kind to HTC, which saw its flagship One M9 underwhelm in sales and the company itself go through several disappointing financial quarters. At this point, HTC seems willing to try anything to get back on track, hence the announcement of its Preview program. Initially unveiled during an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, HTC Preview lets you try out software, and even hardware, before they’re released to the general public. In return, HTC asks for daily use and feedback for the software and hardware you could end up using. If you have an HTC device, the company will ask for the device’s IMEI and carrier, since you could potentially test software updates. Related: HTC details its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, offers a free One A9 if you trade in your iPhone As for how you can participate, you’ll first need to head to the HTC Preview page and, if you don’t have one, log into your HTC account. Registering for the program doesn’t take very long, and questions include what phone you currently use and what things you use your phone for. There are a few things to take note of, however, the biggest being the requirement to be on one of the big four carriers here in the U.S. to participate. In other words, HTC Preview currently isn’t taking sign-ups for those not on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint, though HTC is “working to expand as soon as possible.” Second, you’ll need to sign a nondisclosure agreement, one that HTC will take seriously, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to take screencaps and images of whatever HTC sends your way. In addition, if you have an HTC device that is rooted or has an unlocked bootloader, HTC won’t send you software to test out. Finally, signing up for HTC Preview doesn’t guarantee you a spot in the program, so make sure to have your fingers crossed and hope you’re one of the ones selected. If any of that failed to deter you, HTC Preview is available for Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Also watch: HTC One A9 review Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »HTC’s Preview program looks to give users a sneak peek into the company’s future

  • Look Ma! No hands! Hansnap straps on phones for shooting photos and video

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 02:25 GMT

    A new startup called Hansnap has hit its Kickstarter funding goal for what it calls “the world’s first hand-mounted smartphone filming system” — a hand strap for mounting a handset or action camera for hands-free shooting. The Hansnap is a custom strap that slips over a hand with an adjustable arm that mounts a phone, tablet, or action camera. Similar to how a camcorder strap would grip the inner and outer palm, the positioning is designed to bring stability and security when filming footage or snapping photos. The universal adapter plate connects with its own mechanism that is meant to be attached and detached quickly. The backing plate uses a high-bond 3M adhesive to be fixed onto the device you’re attaching. Industrial strength Velcro is used on the portion lying on the back of the hand, allowing for placing the device there in cases where a hand needs to be free, like grabbing a handlebar on a bike or motorcycle, for example. The strap is versatile and tight enough to also be set up on railings, poles, or handlebars for purely hands-free operation. Related: Cyclops Gear’s CGX2 action camera captures your stunts in Ultra-High Def The concept behind the Hansnap was borne out of experience the founder, Justis Earle, had while at a death metal concert in San Francisco. Wanting to film the experience of surfing through the crowd, he opted not to in case he lost his grip and it fell into the mosh pit. With over 100 percent of the funding goal secured, the Kickstarter campaign will wind down on December 3. Hansnap is also initially partnering with DeathLens, a case and lens manufacturer, to offer a complete mobile filming kit that includes the Hansnap unit, a case, wide-angle lens, and fisheye lens that can work with iPhones and Android phones. On its own, the Hansnap is available for $25 on Kickstarter, going up to $30 when it hits retail. More »Look Ma! No hands! Hansnap straps on phones for shooting photos and video

  • Trends with Benefits: Black Friday madness, kids and drones, Star Wars saturation

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 01:15 GMT

    RSS | iTunes | Stitcher Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here, and Digital Trends has you covered with all the great deals. We sift through a few of them and ask the all-important question: Are you willing to go out and shop in the madness? The plummeting price on drones promises to make them one of the most promising toys this year. That’s right; kids are going to be drone owners. What does this mean for the rest of humanity? And why are we so jealous kids these days? If you’re envisioning your neighborhood’s 11-year-old Hellraiser abusing his new toy, you’ll be glad to know the FAA’s special task force on drones has just announced new set of recommendations on how to create a drone registry. In addition to assigning an actual drone number, they may require education. If the FAA’s current ’80-style educational video is any indicator, future drone owners are in for some laughs. Disney has teamed up with Google for a massive Star Wars crossover. Pete explains how a deal like this usually works, and who’s likely paying who. Finally, there was a surprise development on the front of civilian space flight. The surprise was that Elon Musk, Paul Allen and Richard Branson were not involved. Instead it was a fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon.  His company Blue Origin successfully landed a reusably rocket and then Bezos sent out his first ever tweet to announce it. Today’s episode features Marie Pardo-Garber, Pete Jacobs, Nick Mokey, Ryan Waniata and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits and send in your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time, so tune in next week! More »Trends with Benefits: Black Friday madness, kids and drones, Star Wars saturation

  • Netflix and Marvel’s Jessica Jones is the feminist superhero we all need

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 01:15 GMT

    As Marvel Comics nears the tail end of its sweeping, multi-year cinematic master plan, it has begun to place bets on increasingly obscure characters from its extensive canon. With deep cuts like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man making box office bank, the multimedia empire is trusting audiences will be drawn in by compelling stories, not just recognizable names. Netflix made waves earlier this year with the fantastic Daredevil TV series, but that property has comics going back to 1964 as well as a mediocre 2003 Ben Affleck movie. For its follow-up, Netflix is taking a much greater risk on Jessica Jones, who made her comic debut just 14 years ago in 2001. Alert: Minor spoilers of the show’s premise ahead. A one-time superhero who hung up her cape, Jessica is now trying to lay low as a New York private investigator. A gruff alcoholic with a tortured past, she mostly gets paid to catch cheating spouses in the act, only using her superhuman strength to break locks and occasionally intimidate someone. Jessica is somewhat blasé about her power, and the show accordingly does little to relish in it. In contrast to the slick presentation of Matt Murdoch’s blind-sight empowered martial arts in Daredevil,  Jessica Jones is grounded in characters first, with superheroics taking a more incidental and supportive role. Kristyn Ritter is compelling as the Jessica Jones eponymous lead. The show smartly avoids the pitfalls of making Jessica a so-called Strong Female Character (SFC), whose strength is ultimately fetishized and pigeonholed by the male gaze. Jessica Jones is not a Strong Female Character per se, but rather a character who is strong and female, among many other things. When Carina Chocano conceded in the New York Times that SFCs were “a kind of gateway drug to slightly more realistic — or at least representational — representations of women,” Jessica Jones is exactly the sort of well-painted character she was predicting. A self-loathing hot mess with a strong, but sometimes spotty, moral compass, she’s most clearly in the tradition of hardboiled noir detectives like Philip Marlowe, Rick Deckard, or Veronica Mars. Netflix Netflix Netflix Netflix The show also flirts with, but never succumbs to, Trinity Syndrome, the pervasive trope of a Strong Female Character who only serves to support and motivate the man who ultimately saves the day, so named for Trinity in the Matrix trilogy. As if to underline the point, Carrie-Anne Moss is even in the series as Jeri Hogarth, a gender swap of the ethically-dubious lawyer that hires Jessica for PI work. Jessica relies on the help of a wide range of allies, both men and women, superhuman and average, but ultimately this is her story and the important choices are hers. More than just dodging misogynist tropes, Jessica Jones savvily grapples with feminist issues head-on more than any superhero show before it (sorry, Supergirl). Rape, abusive relationships, and PTSD are all central topics in what is easily the darkest story yet told in the MCU. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg clearly put in the necessary research to handle these delicate topics unflinchingly with intelligence, grace, and respect. It explores these issues with empathy, like Law and Order: SVU, as opposed to shows like Game of Thrones that have caught flack for using sexual abuse plotlines as titillation at the expense of its female characters’ development. Nowhere are these dynamics more interestingly present than in the show’s deeply-disturbing antagonist, Kilgrave, portrayed with unsettling charm by David Tennant. Known as the Purple Man in the original comics, Kilgrave has the terrifying ability of mind control, such that anyone who can hear the unmediated sound of his voice cannot resist his explicit commands. When the show begins, Jessica is still living in the post-traumatic wreckage of her life after she spent an extended period as his enslaved lover and superhuman puppet. Unlike the Kingpins and Lex Luthors of the world, Kilgrave’s motivations are small and human, far from designs on taking over the world (or even just Hell’s Kitchen). “Kilgrave wanted a leather jacket, cello music, and the smile of a pretty girl. What a waste,” Jeri quips after assembling a collection of his victims. While the comics paint the Purple Man as a more conventionally sinister villain, the show portrays him as an obsessed, controlling ex-boyfriend, simultaneously mundane and yet scarier for its prosaic familiarity. Please enable Javascript to watch this video Tennant also turns in a gripping performance as Kilgrave. An affable, sociopathic charmer, he bears a strong resemblance to Tennant’s most famous role as Doctor Who, down to his penchant for wearing sharply flamboyant suits and sweeping beautiful female companions out of their lives to join in his adventures. Kilgrave can get whatever he wants and convince anonymous people to do his bidding without repercussions, all while obliviously casting himself as the victim. Arthur Chu aptly describes him for Slate as a sort of Gamergater’s fantasy and every modern woman’s nightmare: a man who can effortlessly surveil you through anonymous legions, and when he tells you to smile it’s literally impossible to resist. Related: Check out these pics of Daredevil Season 2 shooting in New York It’s no coincidence that Jessica Jones arrives as feminism has once again become a hot topic in public discourse. In the wake of Gamergate, Elliot Rodger, and the rise of MRAs, Jessica Jones is a powerful antidote. The superhero genre, traditionally the domain of male power fantasies, is used instead here to explore male entitlement. Moreover, it does all this without sacrificing everything that makes Marvel great. From its beautiful opening credits and jazzy soundtrack to its acerbically funny writing and gripping action, Jessica Jones is a stylish and engrossing superhero noir from start to finish. Whether Netflix and Marvel will be able to continue this fantastic momentum with Luke Cage and Iron Fist into the eventual Defenders team-up is yet to be seen. Mike Colter’s performance as Cage in Jessica Jones is likable, but not scene-stealing, raising questions about whether he can carry a whole show. This is squarely Jessica’s story, however, and Netflix has earned ample trust in its ability to deliver a context in which Luke Cage might shine. Regardless, it is increasingly apparent that Netflix is carving out one of the most compelling corners of both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and genre television in general. More »Netflix and Marvel’s Jessica Jones is the feminist superhero we all need

  • Best TVs under $1,000

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 21:15 GMT

    It’s finally happened: the 4K Ultra HD revolution has left the star-studded homes of the video elite and landed right here in Everytown, U.S.A. Named for a pixel density that’s around four times higher than 1080p HD, 4K has been champing at the bit since way back in 2013. But this year, TVs bearing the technology finally crossed the $1,000 line en masse — and that means it’s time to seriously consider betting on one for yourself. While it’s true that 4K content hasn’t kept pace with the hardware, it’s coming soon and from all directions. And even if you’re not all that impressed with 4K’s resolution, the TVs have some real advantages over current 1080p sets, boasting better future-proofing, the latest processing and motion technologies, and more. As such, our updated list of the Best TVs under a grand is flush with awesome picks from the 4K landscape, as well as a few humongous HD TVs — because in TV land you can never go too big. Follow along here to find the best TVs under $1,000. If $1,000 is a too rich for your budget check out our picks for the Best TVs under $500. The Best Samsung UN55JS7000FXZA SUHD TV ($1,000) At CES 2015 last year Samsung pulled the veil off its latest and greatest TV innovation: SUHD. It’s short for Super Ultra HD TV, and we got our first glimpse of these vibrant new displays at a posh poolside event that showcased some of the most vivid colors ever produced from an LED TV. The secret to SUHD is a brighter, 10-bit panel coated with a nano-crystal layer, which Samsung says helps to improve the color accuracy. Along with a better, brighter panel, the JS7000 comes loaded with 4 HDMI and 3 USB inputs, processing extras like local dimming to improve contrast, and Samsung’s decked-out Tizen Smart Hub with all the streaming apps you’ll need to keep you glued to your couch long into next year. Settled on the lowest rung of the SUHD lineup, the TV’s performance will suffer just a bit — especially since the native refresh rate is only 60Hz, meaning high-speed content may suffer without motion processing help. Still, this is Samsung’s big new thing, and the fact that you can get one of these babies for under a grand is actually pretty damned surprising. In other words: grab one. Screen size 55 in Display technology LED Backlighting Full Array Refresh rate 60 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon The Rest LG 60UF7300 Ultra HD TV ($900) While LG’s 60-inch class is  technically just 59.5 inches from corner to corner  — who knows where that extra half-inch goes — if you don’t think a damn-near 60-inch 4K panel at this price is a screaming deal, you’ve got some marbles to collect somewhere. In fact, this set was in strong contention for our number one pick. Along with top resolution and a huge screen, the real gift that comes with this set (and all new LG smart TVs) is webOS 2.0, which offers an intuitive, lightning-fast user interface and all the major streaming apps including the elusive Amazon Prime. The IPS panel means black levels won’t be stellar, but it also means brilliant color reproduction enhanced by LG’s ULTRA Luminance processing. And seriously, at this price and size, this 4K Ultra HD set is another no-brainer. Screen size 59.5 in Display technology LED Backlighting Edge-lit Refresh rate 120 Hz Buy it now from: Best Buy Vizio M55-C2 4K Ultra HD TV ($900) Vizio has been muscling its way into flat screen prominence for years now with an aggressive price-to-performance ratio, and the M-series is a prime example. Offering an impressive combination of features and picture quality at an extremely manageable price point, this 55-inch display brings full-array local dimming with 32 independent zones for excellent contrast, a six-core processor for snappy performance, and a native 120Hz panel for excellent motion response. Add in 4 HDMI inputs and a loaded smart interface, and it’s easy to see how this once-budget brand has punched its way into the big leagues. Screen size 55 in Display technology LED Backlighting Full Array Refresh rate 120 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy Walmart Sony XBR49X830C 4K Ultra HD TV ($800) Sony TVs may be pricier than others for their size, but there’s a reason for that: The company’s processing is still some of the finest in the business, allowing Sony TVs to squeeze out excellent performance and extremely accurate colors from an average LED panel. While the X830C may be a hair smaller than its 4K Ultra HD competitors on our list — and therefore less likely to allow your eyes to see the full effect of its dense pixels — it still offers impressive color accuracy and motion performance, and above average contrast. Plus Sony sets come with a few other perks, including the capable Android TV smart platform, as well as the ability to stream PS3 games straight to your TV. Screen size 49 in Display technology LED Backlighting Edge-lit Refresh rate 120 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy Walmart Samsung UN55JU6500 4K Ultra HD TV ($900) While it’s not part of the new SUHD mafia, this TV still packs a punch for its price point that sits $50 below our proposed price cutoff. Along with 4K resolution, the TV packs full-array local dimming (just like our top pick) allowing for better contrast — and since this is a VA panel, it should boast rich black levels, too. We still prefer the SUHD set at the top of our list, but barring that, this fully loaded 4K Ultra HD set is a prime second choice. Screen size 55 in Display technology LED Backlighting Full Array Refresh rate 60 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy Walmart LG 55UF6450 4K Ultra HD TV ($700) While not nearly the monster deal presented by the first LG on our list, at $900 this 55-inch hunk of 4K action is still a contender — so much so that we would’ve been blown away by this price just 6 months ago. Of course, that was then, and this is now. The most obvious drawback of choosing this TV over the UF7300 is the fact that it’s five inches smaller from point to point — which is a bigger compromise in screen real estate than it sounds. It also doesn’t offer the True-Black Control processing of its sibling, so contrast will likely take a ding, and the native refresh rate is only 60Hz, so motion performance will suffer too. It does have webOS 2.0 and 3 HDMI inputs, so this set is no slouch when it comes to features, but if you can get the UF7300, it’s the superior choice. Screen size 55 in Display technology LED Backlighting Edge-lit Refresh rate 60 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy Walmart Sharp Aquos LC-65LE654U HD TV ($1,000) If you just want the biggest TV you can find, and you don’t care about 4K, this TV fits the bill nicely. Moreover, if you’re looking to save some serious cash, you can step down to the 55-inch model and scratch around $400 off the price. While black levels or contrast won’t compete with the top of the heap, the LE65eU is a plus-sized set that’s bright and vibrant, and loaded with enough inputs and features to sit in the captain’s chair of your home theater. Screen size 65 in Display technology LED Backlighting Edge-lit Refresh rate 120 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy Walmart Samsung UN60J6200 HD TV ($700) If there’s one great thing about the passage of time, it’s the falling of prices. If you’d have told us you could get a 60-inch Samsung HD TV with full-array backlighting for $850 last year, we’d have asked nothing more than where to sign. And though we still think going for 4K Ultra HD is the right move in the current landscape, if you’re not convinced of the need for 4K yet, this TV will do you right. It’s only got 2 HDMI inputs, and doesn’t boast a whole lot of other features, but excellent color reproduction, solid contrast and black levels, and all you’ll need in the smarts department make the J6200 a solid choice for your primary TV — and an awesome choice for the back bedroom. Screen size 60 in Display technology LED Backlighting Full Array Refresh rate 120 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Walmart Vizio E65-C3 HD TV ($1000) Here’s another television that makes the case for size over performance. While it’s HD TV resolution is merely mortal, unlike nearly all similarly-sized TVs in its price range, the E65-C3 offers full-array backlighting with local dimming, helping it reach richer black levels, along with better contrast and uniformity than the majority of its peers. Add in a solid smart platform and a claimed 240Hz native refresh panel, and the E-series is a prime choice in the HD arena. Like others of its ilk, taking a step down to the 55- or 50-inch models also provides a mega-bargain, dropping hundreds of dollars with each size class. Screen size 65 in Display technology LED Backlighting Full-array Refresh rate 240 Hz Buy it now from: Amazon Best Buy More »Best TVs under $1,000

  • Don’t buy that cheap 1080p TV! Here’s why it’s finally time to go 4K

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 21:15 GMT

    Sure, 1080p TVs still have their place — in your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, maybe — but their reign over the living room is coming to a close. If you’re looking to replace one of your home’s go-to televisions and you’ve been on the fence wondering which way to go, let us make it simple for you: Jump down on the side of a 4K Ultra HD TV. All the excuses are gone, all the exceptions, null, all the arguments, moot. Manufacturers plotted to phase out 1080p TVs years ago, and with recent holiday pricing announced, we’ve now turned that corner. You really should buy a 4K UHD TV. Still need convincing? Good! You’re doing your research! Here’s what you need to know. 4K UHD TVs are affordable now Remember the laugh-out-loud moments we had over the inconceivably high price tags the first 4K UHD TVs came out with? Sony with its $25,000 85-incher? Samsung’s $40,000 84-incher? No? Then please enjoy these Amazon reviews to jostle your memory whilst tickling your funny bone (come on, even George Takei had a few chuckles over these). Related: These are the best TVs under $1,000 Indeed, 4K UHD TVs started out (almost) hilariously expensive, but in just a few short years they became downright reasonable. In fact, 4K UHD TVs dominate our Best TVs under $1,000 list right now. But are these chintzy, stripped-down TVs? Au contraire! All the good TVs are 4K UHD When a no-name brand comes out of left field with a 55-inch 4K UHD TV priced below $1,000 while its big-name competitors are charging at least seven times that much, you should be suspicious. But that’s not the situation we’re looking at today. Now, all the big-name manufacturers are competing for your 4K dollars with affordable models. When top brands compete, the consumer wins. But here’s the clincher: Manufacturers want to phase out 1080p TVs — right or wrong, that’s what they’re doing — and they are choosing to put their best tech into 4K UHD TVs,  not into 1080p TVs. Samsung 4K SUHD JS9500 Series Bill Roberson/Digital Trends There’s a saying among TV experts that rings  mostly true: It’s not the panel, it’s the processing. Meaning: the exact same LCD panel can be used in two televisions, but one will look remarkably better than the other because of superior video processing. That’s still true today, but now manufacturers have more advanced backlighting systems, color enhancement technologies, High Dynamic Range processing, a new HDMI specification, and more — all of which make a tremendous difference in picture quality. But none of the cutting-edge stuff is going into 1080p TVs any more. Certainly, there are still some solid 1080p TVs out there, and they will look good for years to come. But if you want a great TV capable of taking advantage of all the latest video content — from streaming 4K UHD titles to the coming Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format– you’re going to need a 4K UHD TV. TVs are an investment. So invest! As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are places where a 1080p TV still makes sense — you don’t need a 42-inch 4K TV for your bathroom (unless you actually do, in which case: congratulations). But if we’re talking about the centerpiece of your home-entertainment system, you should looking at a TV that is going to serve you well for years to come, not leave you feeling like you’re missing out on something every time you turn it on. A 4K UHD TV will let you see the best-quality version of House of Cards, Game of Thrones, or whatever TV show or movie you’re into, for years to come. You’ll get more color, better contrast, and higher resolution, and your eyes will thank you for it. Pshaw! There’s plenty of content You’ve no doubt run into some articles talking about a paucity of 4K UHD content out there to watch. That’s yesterday’s problem, friends. There’s already a solid amount of 4K UHD content available from several streaming services — some with ultra-high contrast HDR capabilities — available right now. And more is coming. Not into streaming? Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players will debut in January and February of 2016, and by holiday time next year, you can count on a large selection of titles to choose from that will make your TV look incredible. Granted, broadcast networks and cable-satellite operators have a little catching up to do, but trust us when we say behind-the-scenes work to bring you your favorite sports and broadcast TV shows in 4K UHD is well underway. When the transition begins, it’s going to move quickly. It’s only a matter of time, and you’ll want to be ready to take advantage when it goes down. Choose wisely We hope you’re now feeling comfortable pulling the trigger on a new 4K Ultra HD TV purchase. It really is the smartest decision, and in a year or two, 1080p TVs won’t even be an option. But if you’re not sure which 4K UHD TV might be best for you, we’ve got some more helpful advice for you right here in our detailed 4K Ultra HD TV buying guide. Happy shopping! Also watch: Plugged Crown Headphones Review Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Don’t buy that cheap 1080p TV! Here’s why it’s finally time to go 4K

  • Got yourself an HD 5870 or two? They're no longer supported

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 20:52 GMT

    The release of AMD’s Crimson drivers was an exciting event which saw a revamp and replacement of the Catalyst Control Center and a number of improvements. Consequently, this signals that pre Graphics Core Next GPUs will become orphans. That means that all of the 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards, even the high-end ones, are no longer supported. It also means that any of the rebrands from later series, such as the 7000 to 7600 cards and the 8000 to 8400 cards, won’t be supported either, since they used retooled legacy hardware. Since none of these cards are designed to work with the new Crimson driver release and won’t be supported by any future ones, the last driver they can officially use is the Catalyst 15.7.1 driver, released back in July. Thus, there is some Windows 10 support for older graphics cards, but future updates should not be expected. Those running Windows operating systems older than 7 (Vista, XP) will be limited to using the 13.12 driver. Related: AMD’s new Crimson driver revolutionizes the Radeon’s desktop graphics back-end As much as this is a sad day for those running older cards, it should not come as a surprise. The last new hardware release in the now defunct GPU lines came almost five years ago, and as TechSpot points out, they don’t support a lot of the newer features like DirectX 12 and Freesync. Perhaps more importantly, older hardware doesn’t support AMD’s Liquid VR platform, which will be a big focus for the chipmaker over the next couple of years as it champions virtual reality on PCs and consoles. AMD also said in its release that it had pushed these older GPUs to their peak performance and that by dropping support for them, it could focus on providing a higher end experience for newer and upcoming hardware releases. Are any of you running older 5000 or 6000 series graphics cards? Will this cutoff make you consider an upgrade? Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Got yourself an HD 5870 or two? They're no longer supported

  • Finders keepers is the new rule when it comes to asteroid mining

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 20:15 GMT

    It’s a preemptive move to be sure, but when we are finally able to mine valuable resources from  asteroids, rest assured that it’s fully legal to keep what you find. On Thursday, President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law, which grants companies the rights to whatever they manage to pluck out of these extraterrestrial bodies. Effectively an extension of capitalism into space, the bill is one of the few during Obama’s presidency that received widespread support from the GOP, because apparently, nothing screams bipartisanship like asteroid mining. Calling it “bipartisan, bicameral legislation,” Congressman Bill Posey of Florida called the law “a landmark for American leadership in space exploration.” A far departure from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which banned countries from “claiming or appropriating any celestial resource such as the Moon or another planet,” the new act paves the way for what some say could eventually become a multi-trillion dollar industry. Some estimates suggest that platinum filled asteroids could be worth as much as $50 billion. Unfortunately, the technology to take advantage of these resources does not yet exist. Related Space prospecting: How Planetary Resources selects its asteroid mining targets This certainly hasn’t stopped the praise from rolling in, however. “This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.” Of course, the law doesn’t mean that anyone can lay claim to an entire celestial body (sticking a flag in something doesn’t make it yours), but now, individuals or corporations can claim property rights to whatever is found on these bodies In addition to its stance on asteroid mining, the bill also reaffirms and the United States’ role in the maintenance of the International Space Station. Whereas previous agreements necessitated American involvement until 2020, this latest bill requires that U.S. astronauts play a major role in ISS “through at least 2024.” Related: Jeff Bezos aerospace startup Blue Origin makes first successful rocket landing on Earth And furthermore, to ensure that more SpaceX type projects can emerge (and compete with China’s growing space program), the law also loosens regulations on space startups, allowing them greater freedoms in certain operations. “Throughout our entire economy, we need to eliminate unnecessary regulations that cost too much and make it harder for American innovators to create jobs,” said presidential candidate Marco Rubio. “The reforms included here make it easier for our innovators to return Americans to suborbital space and will help the American space industry continue pushing further into space than ever before.” Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Finders keepers is the new rule when it comes to asteroid mining

  • These top-notch desktop PCs can handle anything you throw at them

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 20:15 GMT

    Everyone wants the best of the best, whether you’re talking restaurants or rave clubs. However, it can be tough to find a desktop PC that blends the perfect amount of comfort and customization in a world increasingly dominated by laptops and ultrabooks. Thankfully, you have a number of pre-built options if you don’t want to build your own, ranging from compact budget-based machines to high-end gaming rigs designed to handle the most demanding titles available. Whatever your performance and budget needs are, one of the best desktop PCs below is sure to fit the bill. Falcon Northwest Tiki ($2,000+) The Falcon Northwest Tiki isn’t the cheapest desktop out there, but its performance is unmatched, especially when you consider its minuscule footprint. The machine is highly customizable, too, with options for budget-minded gamers all the way up to enthusiast-level performance. Falcon’s quality assurance and support is top-notch, so this really is a case of getting what you pay for.  Read our full review here. Buy it now on: Falcon Northwest Origin Millenium ($2,000+) Over the last couple of years, Origin has refined its gaming PCs into a sharp edge, with custom cases, in-house cooling and tech kits, and impressive overclocking chops. The Millenium is the flagship of that effort, with support for the newest Intel i7 and X99 CPUs, 32GB of RAM, and up to four Nvidia Titan X graphics cards. That power comes at a cost, but the build quality and support are all top-notch.  Read our full review here. Buy it now on: Origin PC AVADirect Z97 2-way SLI Quiet Gaming ($1,100+) Not every game system has to make its presence known, so AVADirect has tricked out the Z97 to run as quiet as possible. The desktop doesn’t compromise on gaming performance, either, offering the newest Intel Core i7 quad-core chips, as well as extensive air and liquid cooling. There’s even plenty of room for storage drives and SLI or Crossfire video cards.  Read our full review here. Buy it now on: AVADirect Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK Mini PC ($350) The Intel NUC may be a barebones system that requires some assembly, but don’t let that scare you off. The processor is already installed, so you you just need to provide a hard drive, RAM, and an operating system. The package gives you a surprising amount of control over your computing experience, especially considering how easy it is to get Windows 10 for free these days.  Read our full review here. Buy it now on: Amazon B&H Office Depot Velocity Micro Z40 Raptor ($1099+) Small on size but big on performance, Velocity Micro’s Z40 Raptor wins praise from us for not compromising on high-end components. The humble $1,100 base model has a Core i5-6400 and Nvidia GTX 750, but the machine scales all the way up to the Core i7-6700K and Nvidia Titan X, and packs it all into an attractive, compact tower. It’s not too easy to upgrade, but provides a great computing experience right out of the box. Read our full review here. Buy it now on: Velocity Micro Apple Mac mini ($500+) Not every Mac is a premium all-in-one with a high-resolution display. Apple shows its versatility with the Mac Mini, a sleek desktop machine that packs up to a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. The options only get better from there. This is one of the most attractive computers on the list, and the second smallest after the Intel NUC, so it will look great on your desk or in your living room. Read more here. Buy it now on: Amazon Apple Store Best Buy B&H More »These top-notch desktop PCs can handle anything you throw at them

  • Connection issues postpone the Rainbow Six Siege open beta

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 18:19 GMT

    Updated on 11-26-2015 by Gabe Gurwin: As of noon EST on Thursday, the open beta for Rainbow Six Siege has finally begun. True “beta” tests of games don’t take place days before their release date, and high-profile releases like Halo 5: Guardians have run open beta periods months ahead of time to iron out bugs and rebalance gameplay. Rainbow Six Siege is not one of those games, as Ubisoft planned to start its open beta just a week before the multiplayer shooter hit shelves. Unfortunately, ongoing connection issues are making this impossible. In a statement on the Rainbow Six forums, Ubisoft community manager Ubi_Jax announced that due to ongoing disconnection and matchmaking issues in the Rainbow Six Siege closed beta, the open beta is being postponed “until a later time.” As of this writing, the game is scheduled to come out in about five days, which would make this one of the shortest open beta periods in history. Related: Can your PC run Rainbow Six Siege? Find out here Luckily, the “root issue” with connections, which Ubisoft says was introduced while fixing a separate part of the game, has been identified and the team is working to rectify it. It affects all platforms, but, naturally, the publisher is confident that “the launch will not be impacted by this issue.” While Ubisoft’s track record for online games doesn’t have the same stain as EA and Battlefield 4, the company has still had its share of rocky launches over the years. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was marred with lag issues at launch, while the much-publicized disaster that was Assassin’s Creed Unity led to a steep decrease in sales of this year’s entry in the series, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. As such, you might want to consider waiting a few days before picking up Rainbow Six Siege. With Ubisoft’s plan for content to support the game throughout 2016, there should be plenty of players for months to come. Rainbow Six Siege launches on December 1 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. More »Connection issues postpone the Rainbow Six Siege open beta

  • All 700 examples of BMW's water-injected M4 GTS have been sold

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 18:08 GMT

    Just two months after BMW introduced the hardcore M4 GTS to the world, all 700 planned examples have been poached by new owners. Far more than just a body kit, the successor to BMW’s M3 GTS comes equipped with a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged straight-six engine that features water injection technology to develop just under 500 horsepower to the standard M4’s 425 and an increase in torque to 442 pound-feet. A seven-speed M DCT transmission channels the power exclusively to the rear wheels. This translates to a 0-to-60 mph run of just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. Also part of the GTS package is a series of weight savings techniques, culminating in reduction of 136 pounds. The rear seats have been deleted, the center console and door panels are lighter, and straps replace the interior door handles. BMW’s M GmbH has also tweaked the chassis. On board is a three-way, manually adjustable coil-over suspension and new anti-roll bars and supporting mounts. Steering has been adjusted thanks to retuned power assist and M has tinkered with the active rear differential. Related: BMW’s M4 GTS Debuts In Tokyo Other highlights include 265 front and 285 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires covered unique wheels, and housing carbon-ceramic brakes. The M4’s aluminum hood has been replaced with a carbon-fiber one and its adjustable rear wing, rear diffuser, and front splitter all use carbon fiber construction. A titanium exhaust makes everything sound luscious, too. For some extra coin, the optional Clubsport Package adds a fire extinguisher, six-point harness, and an Acid Orange roll bar. Of the 700 total units, 300 will be coming to the U.S., each commanding £120,500 (about $180,000), though it may convert differently. Customers are able to choose from a small number of exterior paint colors, including Mineral Grey, Sapphire Black, Frozen Dark Grey, and Alpine White. By comparison, the BMW M3 GTS from 2010 only came in burnt orange. More »All 700 examples of BMW's water-injected M4 GTS have been sold

  • Biologists have successfully bred genetically engineered mosquitoes that can't carry malaria

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 17:15 GMT

    Mosquito-borne malaria is a major problem, especially in Africa, Latin America, and other tropical parts of the world. The disease is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium that resides within the mosquito and is transferred to humans when they are bitten by the blood-sucking insect. One way to combat this disease is to genetically engineer a mosquito population to reject the Plasmodium parasite. If the mosquitos can’t carry the Plasmodium parasite, then they can’t infect humans with malaria when they bite. This strategy of building a resistant community of mosquitos is sound in theory, but in real world tests only about 50 percent of the offspring insects will acquire the resistance from its parents. A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ups this inheritance percentage to almost 100 percent using a controversial new technique called “gene driving.” In a nutshell, gene driving is a method of manipulating DNA that ensures a gene is passed from a parent to its progeny at a rate as close as possible to 100 percent. To achieve this feat, scientists use the genome editing CRISPR–Cas9 system, which allows the researchers to target a specific area on the DNA for cutting and insertion of a mutated gene. This mutation is then transferred from one chromosome to another, ensuring all offspring inherit at least one copy of the modified gene. Because all offspring get a copy of the mutation, the modified gene then can be transmitted very quickly through a population of animals in the wild. As you can imagine, the technique is causing is the subject of much controversy among scientists. Not only does it override the natural process of evolution by quickly altering an population, these rapid changes can also produce unforeseen side effects on the ecosystem as a whole. Related: The FDA just granted approval to a fast-growing genetically modified salmon species Earlier this year, developmental biologists Ethan Bier, Valentino Gantz, and their team from University of California, San Diego successfully engineered a gene drive in fruit flies. They then contacted Anthony James, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Irvine to see if their technique would apply to his research with malaria and mosquitos. Working with Bier and Gantz, James inserted two genes into a mosquito that would give the insect an innate resistance to the Plasmodium parasite. A follow-up study showed that the modified genes were passed to 99 percent of the mosquito’s offspring. The team confirmed the genes were being expressed in the progeny, but because their test was conducted in under laboratory conditions, they did not check to see if the genes conferred resistance as expected. Well aware of the potential to change an entire population of insects, James experimented on a non-native mosquito, ensuring the mutation would not spread like wildfire in the rare chance a test mosquito escaped from the lab. Though happy with the outcome of his experiments, James confirmed he is in no rush to move his experiment from the laboratory to the field. “It’s not going to go anywhere until the social science advances to the point where we can handle it,” James says. “We’re not about to do anything foolish.” Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Biologists have successfully bred genetically engineered mosquitoes that can't carry malaria

  • Will Porsche's iconic 911 go hybrid before the end of the decade?

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 17:15 GMT

    Rumors of a fuel-sipping Porsche 911 powered by a hybrid drivetrain have been circulating around the auto industry for years. They’ll materialize before the end of the decade, if a report coming out of England is accurate. British magazine Autocar finds the next generation of Porsche’s iconic sports car will arrive in late 2018 with a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, a first for a regular-production 911. Although technical details are being kept secret, the gasoline-electric powertrain is expected to give the 911 an instant boost in power and the ability to drive on electricity alone for short distances. Porsche insiders told Autocar that the company is moving forward with the development of a hybrid 911 in order to comply with the strict emissions norms that are scheduled to come into effect across Europe in 2020. The company is allegedly also looking into building an all-electric version of the sports car, but the model is still at the embryonic stage of development and it hasn’t been given the green light for production yet. “[We need to] look at what is the right time and whether there is the need for [an electric 911]. It’s expensive and you never know if you will get your money back,” explained Erhard Mössle, the director of the 911 product line. The 911 isn’t going all-hybrid. Entry-level models will be powered by an evolution of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine that was inaugurated by the 2017 Carrera and Carrera S earlier this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Porsche will continue to offer both rear- and all-wheel drive, though the hybrid might be exclusively paired with the latter configuration. Related: Take a virtual tour of the Porsche museum in Germany All versions of the 911 regardless of what drivetrain is mounted out back will ride on a modified version of the current car’s platform. The exterior design won’t drastically change; looking back over the past five decades, the 911’s updates have been more evolutionary than revolutionary. The same applies to the cabin, though it will benefit from new tech features such as a digital instrument cluster. Look for the next-generation Porsche 911 to make its public debut at the 2018 edition of the Paris Motor Show. It will go on sale across the nation the following year as a 2019 model. Of course, more details about the 911 — and, specifically, the oft-discussed hybrid — will likely emerge before then. Also watch: Top Ten Most Expensive Cars In The World (2015) Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Will Porsche's iconic 911 go hybrid before the end of the decade?

  • How to (sort of) make pumpkin pie without an oven

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 17:15 GMT

    Pumpkin pie: a flavor profile so popular it forces Trader Joe’s to replace roughly half its stock with pumpkin-themed products every fall (those “Pumpkin Walks into a Bar” bars are delicious, though) and makes Starbucks start serving PSLs in September. There are countless ways to make the dish, but what if your oven is too busy roasting a turkey? As long as you’re not too hung up on traditions, you can have your pie and eat it (or drink it), too. In the microwave OK, this recipe from The Kitchen isn’t for a true pumpkin pie, more like a deconstructed pie. You melt butter in the microwave, mash in some ginger snaps, then mix together pumpkin puree, egg, milk or cream, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice and stick it back in the microwave. It may not be like what Grandma made, but it’s closer than a pumpkin spice latte and it works well if you don’t want to make a whole big dessert for a small gathering. If you want something closer to a traditional pie, check out this recipe. In the dishwasher Mason jars and Thanksgiving go together like mason jars and weddings, right? Anyway, lots of people rave about cooking salmon in the dishwasher, so why not pumpkin pie? What do you know? We found a recipe over at The Country Chic Cottage. Again, you’re not going to stick it in a regular pie dish — too soggy. Instead you do layers of different ingredients, sort of like a pumpkin pie trifle. In the slow cooker While microwave and dishwasher pumpkin pie recipes were few and far between, slow-cooker pumpkin pie is pretty popular. There are several with no crust, a few with crust, one for a pumpkin pie pudding, and another for a cake. And if you’re still craving the flavor the next morning, you can try pumpkin pie oatmeal. In the blender If you’re looking for something closer to Cold Stone than straight out of the oven, you can try a pumpkin pie milkshake. KitchenAid has a recipe that sounds like a meal in itself. Or you could probably just take a slice of pie your mom made and put it in the blender with some ice cream. We’ll get back to you on that one. On the stove And of course, there’s always no-bake! More »How to (sort of) make pumpkin pie without an oven

  • Drop Kitchen Scale review

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 17:15 GMT

    Measuring cups are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to, you know, measuring. Give three people a cup and ask them to fill it with flour and you’ll get back three different weights. It’s why lots of chefs and bakers swear by weighing out ingredients. It’s a whole process, though, to convert a recipe to ounces or grams yourself. The Drop Kitchen Scale dose the work for you, and with its accompanying iOS app, it will guide you through a recipe — effectively negating the need for (mis)measuring cups. As long as you don’t want to get too exploratory in the kitchen, it works really well. Small scale With its red silicone top and droplet shape, the Drop looks low-tech, almost like the top to some container you’ve misplaced. It’s pretty small — just under six inches in diameter. The only clue to what’s beneath the silicone is a little red light that softly illuminates when you push the divot that serves as its button. And that’s all it is to my fiancé, who has an Android phone. Everything else happens on the iPhone app; there’s not even a display so you can use it as a regular scale. Once the app is downloaded, tap the button on the scale to pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. There isn’t a whole lot on the settings page to deal with; you chose whether you want grams or ounces, and Fahrenheit or Celsius. If you create an account, you can do things like save your favorite recipes. Of course, it’s not like you’ll easily get lost among the Drop app’s recipe list. The search function is pretty straightforward and has filters for things like meal, diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, low fat, dairy-free, vegan, low sugar, and nut-free), difficulty, total time, (less than 30 minutes to over two hours), and occasions. But also, the app only has 271 recipes total. Drop paired with Good Housekeeping and the food community Food52 to make the recipes, and they’re definitely delicious. Drop emphasized quality over quantity when it comes to the recipes, and it shows. Also, the Drop’s legacy as a baker’s tool is evident. Here’s the breakdown when it comes to recipes in each category: Breakfast and brunch: 87 Lunch: 34 Dinner: 29 Sides: 32 Appetizers: 16 Desserts: 114 Snacks and treats: 93 To go along with Drop’s delicious thyme and garlic marinated chicken, I tried to find a recipe for Brussels sprouts. There weren’t any — and I couldn’t import my own. Drop says it’s working hard on this feature, but for now, it’s like the difference between buying a single cookbook and having the Internet’s whole database of recipes at your fingertips. Whip it up The Drop scale has a lot of features that make it better than the regular dumb scale we have in our kitchen, but it’s not perfect. I weighed a lemon on the regular scale, and it instantly told me it was 4.7 ounces. Provided you have the app, you can use the Drop as a regular scale, too, but I had a weird experience with it. The scale feature climbed like I was watching a thermometer all the way to 4.7 ounces. This didn’t happen when I put a half-full (7.6 ounces) can of soda on it, though. It seemed to have a bit of trouble with light measurements. I noticed this when making the (much raved about) lemon poppy seed cookies. When you’re making a recipe, the app has a really cool feature: a dashed line that indicates how much of an ingredient you need. As you pour in the flour or lemon juice, the space below fills up with white. Once you reach the right amount, the app automatically moves you forward to the next step. The 0.2 ounces of baking powder fluttered below the line, seeming to take far more than the teaspoon the recipe called for. For larger amounts, though, like the two cups of flour, everything worked fine. Sometimes the app doesn’t automatically skip forward — if you’re mixing something together, for example. For that, there’s the button on the scale itself. Hit it with batter-covered fingers and it will move the app along. It’s way better than getting goo on your phone… or phone germs on your food. I made two batches of the cookies, and the results seemed perfectly consistent both times. The same might not be said if I was using my imperfect measuring cup. Another really useful thing about the Drop is its “scale up” feature. While I can’t do something like tell it to double the recipe, I could put in twice the amount of butter, then hit the scale up button. It would then automatically apply the new measurements to the rest of the recipe. Maybe it’s not the ideal way to double a recipe, but it’s really useful if I accidentally didn’t buy enough poppy seeds, for example. If I start with that measurement, the Drop adjusts everything down to fit the quantity I have. This is especially useful for something like chicken, when packages never give you exactly a pound. The app tries to be self-contained. It gives you little hints and tips for certain steps, has a built-in timer, and lets you swap out ingredients. You can’t substitute anything for bananas when making banana bread, but it gives a whole list of sugars you can use if you don’t have brown on hand. Overall, I found the recipes really easy to follow and the results fabulous. I do have one bone to pick with the app’s new cocktail feature, however. Much like with baking or cooking, it walks you through the steps of crafting 21 drinks. I tried the Moscow Mule and was dismayed to find that it didn’t call for any lime juice. It tells you to garnish with a lime, sure, but it doesn’t actually prompt you to pour any in. I’ve never seen a Moscow Mule recipe that didn’t call for it (nor has my brother, a former bartender). Even Oprah’s recipe, which weirdly adds simple syrup, has lime juice. Drop told me it’s making the cocktail recipes in house. After trying the Moscow Mule, I took their drink recipes with a salty rim. Conclusion The $100 Drop seems like a good tool to bust out when you’re baking cookies — just not if you’re making your grandma’s secret recipe. If you could upload your own recipes to the Drop app, it would easily become a tool for daily use in the kitchen. But If you’re paleo, for example, there are only six recipes on the entire app that fit your dietary restrictions. With fewer than 300 recipes and an occasionally wonky scale feature, you might not pull the Drop out to make dinner every night — but you’ll be happy when you do. Highs Easy to use Good recipes Consistent results Clean, compact design Lows Limited recipe database Scale readings sometimes fluctuate No display on the scale itself More »Drop Kitchen Scale review

  • 4 annoying iPad Pro problems, and what to do about them

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 16:15 GMT

    The iPad Pro’s large, 12.9-inch display, split-screen multi-tasking support, and 10-hour battery life are tempting millions into buying Apple’s biggest tablet ever. It’s an attractive device for productivity and creativity, but it isn’t flawless. If you’ve splashed out on one, then you have every right to expect it to work perfectly. Sadly, for some people it has been behaving unprofessionally. These are the most common iPad Pro problems being reported online, with advice on what you should do to work around them, or, where possible, fix them so they don’t happen again. Related: 7 must-have iPad Pro accessories for your new tablet Click on an issue to jump to it: Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Issue: Screen freezing during use Bug: System sounds are very quiet First problem: Won’t turn on after charging Click on an issue to jump to it: Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Issue: Screen freezing during use Bug: System sounds are very quiet Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging If you find that your iPad Pro won’t turn on, the screen remains black, and doesn’t respond when you tap it or press buttons, then you are not alone. This seems to be a common problem that occurs after charging. A lot of people report leaving their iPad Pro charging overnight, only to find that it won’t turn on in the morning. Workarounds: Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together for at least 10 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo. Your iPad Pro should work again now, but the problem is likely to reoccur. Some people report the issue was resolved after turning on the “Hey Siri” feature via Settings > General > Siri. Potential fixes: It may be worth backing up and restoring your iPad Pro to factory settings via iTunes. This seems to have worked for some people, but others say that it didn’t work for them. If you want to try it, then plug your iPad Pro into your computer using the cable that came with it. Launch iTunes and choose your iPad Pro, then click on Summary and Restore. Click Restore again to confirm. You might consider trying to get a replacement iPad Pro, though this is likely to be a software issue rather than a hardware problem. An update to deal with this issue is likely in the works. Apple is investigating, and you can keep an eye out for a new fix on this page on the Apple website. Next problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Click on an issue to jump to it: Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Issue: Screen freezing during use Bug: System sounds are very quiet Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi A few people are having trouble getting the iPad Pro to connect to a Wi-Fi network. This is a very common issue for all sorts of devices, and it’s usually a fairly easy to fix. Here’s what to try: Potential solutions: Turn your router and your iPad Pro off and on again. Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together for around 10 seconds and you should see the Apple logo as the device reboots. It’s also worth restarting the router if you can. Try resetting all your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. You’ll have to input your passwords again. If your router has MAC filtering turned on, then you may need to turn it off. It is possible to add your iPad’s MAC address, but due to Apple’s MAC randomization, there’s a good chance it’s going to change and refuse to connect the next time you try. The simplest solution is just to turn MAC filtering off altogether. It’s possible that your DNS settings are the problem. You can change them in Settings > Wi-Fi by tapping the “i” icon next to your network and scrolling down to DNS. Tap on the numbers and change them to “” or “” if you want to use Google’s servers, or you could use OpenDNS, which is “” or “”. If you’re using a VPN service, make sure you have the latest updates. Make sure that your router firmware is fully updated. You may need to check with your ISP or the router manufacturer. Next problem: Screen freezing during use Click on an issue to jump to it: Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Issue: Screen freezing during use Bug: System sounds are very quiet Issue: Screen freezing during use Some people have found that the iPad Pro keeps freezing while in use. The screen will freeze and remain unresponsive for a number of seconds, and then resume as normal. However, it doesn’t seem to be related to a specific app. Workaround: Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together for at least 10 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo. Your iPad Pro should work again now, but the problem might crop up again. Potential fixes: You should try restoring your iPad Pro to factory settings via iTunes. Back up any precious files first, then plug your iPad Pro into your computer using the cable that came with it. Launch iTunes and choose your iPad Pro, then click on Summary and Restore. Click Restore again to confirm. Keep in mind that restoring from a backup may reintroduce the problem, though, you could try testing for a while without restoring a backup to see if the issue is resolved. If the problem persists, even after a restore with a fresh set up and without restoring a backup, then it’s time to contact Apple or take your iPad Pro into the nearest Apple Store and ask about a replacement. Next problem: System sounds are very quiet Click on an issue to jump to it: Glitch: Won’t turn on after charging Problem: Can’t connect to Wi-Fi Issue: Screen freezing during use Bug: System sounds are very quiet Bug: System sounds are very quiet A number of iPad Pro owners are having trouble hearing system sounds. The volume is fine for movies and music, but alerts about emails, messages, and calendar events — along with keyboard taps and other system sounds — are playing at a very low volume. Potential solutions: Start by swiping up from the bottom to open the Control Center, and make sure that Mute — the bell icon with a diagonal line through it — is not turned on. Take a look in Settings > Sounds. If Change with Buttons is off, then the system sound level will be set separately in here. Try tweaking your settings and see if it makes a difference. If you set up your iPad Pro and restored a previous iOS device backup, then it’s possible that a previous setting is causing your problems. You can test this by backing up your device and then restoring it to its factory settings. Plug your iPad Pro into your computer using the cable that came with it. Launch iTunes and choose your iPad Pro, then click on Summary and Restore. Click Restore again to confirm. Test the sound before you restore any backup or install anything, and see if the volume is higher. That’s all of the iPad Pro problems we have for now, but please do check back in future because we’ll update this piece with new issues, workarounds, and fixes as we discover them. If you have a different iPad Pro problem, or you know of a good fix, please share it in the comments below. More »4 annoying iPad Pro problems, and what to do about them

  • Get your game on the go with the best gaming laptops

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 14:15 GMT

    While some may be content to load down their systems with as many graphics cards and hard drives in them as they can, you’re a gamer on the go. You need portability with your power, and that means a gaming laptop is your weapon of choice. The best gaming laptops are tricked out with the latest and greatest in mobile processing, the most power efficient GPUs, and just enough RAM to make sure you won’t lag when buildings start exploding. The Best Asus ROG G752VT-DH72 The Asus ROG G752VT has the latest processor and GPU options and every feature a mobile gamer could want. Its optional GTX 980M beats Nvidia’s previous top mobile chip, the GTX 880, by about 30 percent. There’s also a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 under the hood, so you won’t have to worry about a performance bottleneck. The G752’s other features include a beautiful semi-gloss 1080p, 75Hz display with G-Sync support, a pair of hard drives (one SSD, one HDD), and up to 32GB of RAM. Yet, in spite of its capability, this notebook runs cool and last about four hours in web browsing, which is good for a gaming notebook. No competitor can match the broad appeal of this Asus. Full review Available at: Amazon  Best Buy The Rest Origin EVO15-S Origin has put a lot of work into slimming down its gaming machines, and it really shows with the sleek new design of the EVO15-S. Despite the smaller footprint, the laptop doesn’t skimp on performance, and includes an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, Nvidia GTX 970M with 6GB of VRAM, and choice of 1080p or 4K display. It also packs in an SSD and mechanical drive, plus a multi-color backlit keyboard and all the trappings of a serious gaming laptop. Available at: Origin PC Alienware 17 If you want a little more flash with your gaming laptop, and have a little more to spend, Alienware is the way to go. Its machines are known for their sleek design, customizable appearance, and durable build quality. The specifications aren’t the most extreme available on any particular budget, but can you really put a price on style? With its array of cutting edge GPU options, this is absolutely a machine tuned for gaming, at the cost of portability. Full review Available at: Amazon Best Buy Razer Blade Keeping it thin and light, Razer’s Blade gaming laptop is draped in classy black matte with bright green Razer accents. The line is constantly updated for the best battery efficiency and performance balance, like the 2.6GHz i7-4720HQ and the GTX 970M, and the display in the 15-inch version is an impressive 3,200 x 1,800. It has a little trouble keeping cool, but still offers excellent battery life and a sleek design that’s more portable than any other laptop on the list. Full review Available at: Razer Zone Digital Storm Triton Digital Storm doesn’t make a lot of waves with the bland Triton, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. With an Intel Core i7-6700HQ and an Nvidia GTX 970M, there’s a lot to love under the hood. And it’s lightweight too, so taking it to the LAN party or the cafe won’t weigh you down. The display is a little bit lacking, but the price isn’t too extravagant and it offers a good balance of performance and battery life that will satisfy any gamer on the go. Full review Available at: Digital Storm More »Get your game on the go with the best gaming laptops

  • Airbus’s ambitious detachable cabin concept could finally end boarding chaos

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 11:15 GMT

    It must be fun working as part of Airbus’s R&D team. From windowless cockpits to butt-busting seat designs, it’s never short of a wacky concept or two, though who’s to say some of these ideas won’t become a reality somewhere down the runway. The latest design to spring from their creative minds is the detachable cabin. Yes, you read that right: the detachable cabin. This would, according to Airbus, reduce an aircraft’s all-important turn-time, vital in an industry that operates on super-tight margins. The plan, explained in great detail in a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing spotted by the folks at Wired, describes “a removable cabin module, comprising a floor, an upper aircraft fuselage portion connected to the floor, and a first and a second end wall, wherein the first and second end walls, the floor and the upper aircraft fuselage portion form a cabin for transport of passengers, luggage, freight or combinations thereof.” Airbus Put simply, the cabin would be at the gate, and would slide onto the aircraft once your flight time approaches. When you reach your destination, the cabin would be detached and quickly replaced with another one full of passengers, which could then depart once the plane’s fuel tanks have been refilled. Related: Airbus wants to stack passengers on passengers with mezzanine seating Such an ingenious design would surely also help to eradicate the chaotic scenes that often ensue during the boarding process. Imagine, you could arrive at your gate, quietly take your seat, and you’re good to go. No more mad rush as soon as the gate opens, no more dashing down the jet bridge like an escaped emu running from its keeper, no more squeezing past flustered fellow passengers fighting for overhead bin space. Of course, there is the small matter of cost, with airports required to make huge modifications to their terminals for the plan to work. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Airbus’s ambitious detachable cabin concept could finally end boarding chaos

  • Google getting plenty of right-to-be-forgotten requests, reveals examples

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 10:45 GMT

    Google says that since the EU issued its controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling 18 months ago, it’s evaluated 1,234,092 URLs from 348,085 requests. That’s a lot of people asking to be forgotten. It added that it’s removed search links to 42 percent of the webpages cited in the requests while retaining links to 58 percent. The ruling, which came into effect in May last year, gives those living in Europe the opportunity to request the removal of links to webpages containing information deemed to be irrelevant, out of date, or inappropriate. The sites often include negative or embarrassing information about an individual, but Google says it must “consider the rights of the individual as well as public interest in the content” before deciding whether to remove a link. In a transparency report released this week, the Web giant revealed the top 10 domains from which it’s removed the most URLs from search results on its European search engines. Top of the pile is Facebook, with other high-profile sites and services like YouTube and Twitter also listed. Decisions, decisions Interestingly, the Mountain View company also included examples of the kinds of requests it receives and how it responded. Here’s a few of them: Belgium: An individual who was convicted of a serious crime in the last five years but whose conviction was quashed on appeal asked us to remove an article about the incident. We removed the page from search results for the individual’s name. Italy: We received multiple requests from a single individual who asked us to remove 20 links to recent articles about his arrest for financial crimes committed in a professional capacity. We did not remove the pages from search results. UK: A man asked that we remove a link to a news summary of a local magistrate’s decisions that included the man’s guilty verdict. Under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, this conviction has been spent. We have removed the page from search results for his name. UK: A media professional requested that we remove 4 links to articles reporting on embarrassing content he posted to the Internet. We did not remove the pages from search results. The ruling has presented Google and other search engines with the challenge of finding a balance between protecting an individual’s privacy and the public’s right to access certain information. Related: Facebook privacy lawsuit lands in Austria’s Supreme Court News organizations are particularly unhappy with the situation, claiming it stifles free speech. Of course, it also means less traffic to their websites. In an effort to combat the court’s decision, an increasing number of media outlets, including the Guardian, Telegraph, and Daily Mail, have been posting links to all of the news stories that Google has removed from its European search sites. For those in Europe, the easy way around the issue is to search not from, say, google.co.uk, but instead from google.com, where all the links can still be found. Look out, though, as a French regulatory group has been fighting to change this, arguing that links should be removed from all search engines regardless of the Web user’s location. Also watch: Google Star Wars Promo Lets You Pick a Side For Your Apps Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Google getting plenty of right-to-be-forgotten requests, reveals examples

  • Check out what Pepper the robot looks like in a wig and makeup

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 10:15 GMT

    SoftBank’s Pepper robot isn’t just the world’s first android to understand human emotions – it’s also the first to inspire the launch of an online store offering a range of clothing and accessories made especially for a droid. Since going on sale in Japan in June, the 120-centimeter-tall robot appears to have won itself plenty of fans, among them two buddies who’ve got together to make and sell a range of garments and other gear so owners can personalize their Pepper. Mitsuru Numata, who runs a Pepper fan club, came up with the idea for an online store after a chat with friend Reiko Kawauchi, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Related: Man arrested after assaulting Pepper But the task of designing clothes, jewelry, and other gear for Pepper turned out to be trickier than expected. Early designs saw materials interfere with the robot’s sensors or become caught in its joints and hinges, causing it to malfunction. Determined to prettify Pepper, they eventually found a way of dressing it up without causing any operational issues, and once they’d knocked together a few different items, they started selling the stuff online. Current offerings include a range of dresses for around 20,000 yen ($163), as well as a red kimono, also for 20,000 yen. For a more formal look – ideal if Pepper is acting as your butler – a tux and bow tie can be yours for 15,000 yen ($122). And with Christmas just around the corner, the duo have just added some seasonal costumes, too. The store also includes necklaces, earrings, hairpieces, and stickers that act as makeup. Related: Watch these DARPA droids bite the dust Commenting on the venture, Numata told the Journal, “We’re not doing it for the money. We aim to offer the joy of the experience of personalizing humanoid robots.” Pepper, which is the result of a partnership between SoftBank and French robotics company Aldebaran SAS, is being marketed in Japan as an assistant for businesses and also as a companion for families and those living by themselves. When it went on sale in June, the first batch of 1,000 Peppers sold out in just 60 seconds. Since then SoftBank has been producing a further 1,000 a month, though demand indicates it should be making plenty more. Related: No sex of any kind for Pepper the robot, creators say The robot has been designed to understand the feelings of humans it interacts with by processing information gathered via on-board cameras and sensors. It can then respond with its own emotions through body posture, tone of voice, and color changes shown on its “heart display,” essentially a tablet strapped to its torso. It can also sing, dance, and tell jokes. Pepper costs $1,650, though buyers also have to spend an additional $200 a month to cover various service charges. The droid should arrive in the U.S. and Europe next year, so if you happen to get one and feel like making it look less naked, you’ll be pleased to know that Numata’s online store ships overseas. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Check out what Pepper the robot looks like in a wig and makeup

  • Huawei unveils the veritable, but sleek, monster of a phablet that is the Mate 8

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 07:14 GMT

    2015 has already graced us with a slew of quality from Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei, from the Nexus 6P and the Honor 7 to the Mate S and the P8. It seems like the Chinese firm is ready to excite the smartphone landscape once again with the Mate 8, the sequel to last year’s Mate 7. Much like with the Mate 7 before it, the most striking aspect of the Mate 8 is its gargantuan 6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display. As big as the screen may be, however, Huawei made sure to emphasize the Mate 8’s ergonomics just as much, which is why the relatively high 83 percent screen-to-body ratio makes sure to make the phone easier to handle than you might think. Related: Check out our review of the Nexus 6P Also an improvement from the Mate 7 is the Mate 8’s internals, with the octa-core 2.3GHz Kirin 950 processor the star of the show. Offering a 100 percent performance boost over the Kirin 930 processor found in the Mate 7, the Kirin 950 brings with it an i5 co-processor, which will handle speech recognition, reduced location-based power consumption, and low-power MP3 consumption, among other tasks a typical processor would normally need to handle. Elsewhere, the Mate 8 retains the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor found on the Mate 7, though it’s now a circular design rather than the square design of yore. In addition, the Mate 8 seems to incorporate more aluminum into its DNA, with the 2.5D curved glass front panel making sure those side swipes feel more natural. Finally, the Mate 8 runs Huawei’s EMUI 4.0, the company’s own flavor of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Unfortunately, Huawei left out several other key specifications, such as the resolutions of the front and rear cameras and the amount of internal memory, among other key details. It’s rumored that the Mate 8 carries a 20.7-megapixel camera on the back and an 8-megapixel selfie shooter, with the smartphone coming in two flavors: one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and the other with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. If the idea of another aluminum Huawei smartphone sounds good to you as much as it does to us, the Mate 8 will be available in Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray, and Mocha Brown. As for region availability, the Mate 8 will be available in China starting in the first quarter of 2016. More information, which likely includes pricing for different regions and more specifications, will be revealed during CES 2016. Next page: Rumors about the Huawei Mate 8 before launch Design may be reminiscent of the Mate 7 More photos of what could be the Huawei Mate 8 have been leaked by GforGames. The new photos show four different colors we can expect for the Mate 8: black, silver, gold, and what we suspect is a rose gold. We see once again the edge-to-edge display spotted on previous photo leaks, along with the fingerprint sensor and dual-LED flash on the back. The design, if it turns out to be accurate, is very attractive. Related: Huawei Ascend Mate 7 hands on The photos were originally leaked on Chinese news site iMobile and microblogging service Weibo, but both have been taken down. Before this, OnLeaks revealed some new details earlier in November on what could be the Mate 8. In a spate of tweets, OnLeaks showed what looks like the back, front, and sides of the Mate 8, along with a short video of the device. The photos posted are quite convincing. The Mate 8 uses the same all-metal aesthetic as the Mate S, and has a fingerprint sensor on the back. OnLeaks said that the Mate 8 will not feature USB Type-C. No comments have been made on the screen or megapixel size. No physical buttons appear on the front of the leaked device, meaning we’re likely going to see software buttons. The display appears to be full edge-to-edge, with the Huawei logo and front-facing camera the only areas of non-screen on the front of the smartphone. However, this could be an optical illusion, generated by a black screen and matching black borders. Our first look at what could be the Mate 8 came from a Chinese source in late July, when a pair of renders showing the device were published online. The pictured phone’s design resembled the Mate 7 from 2014, right down to the large fingerprint sensor on the rear. On the front, the display has very thin bezels, and what looks like a flash unit is set above it, opposite the front-facing selfie camera. Subsequently, a short video was published an then deleted from YouTube, showing a hands-on with a phone said to be the Huawei Mate 8. The design was slightly different to the phone in the leaked picture. On the rear, the flash unit was off to the side of the camera lens, rather than between it and the potential fingerprint sensor. There was no obvious Huawei branding, with the name ‘Miahen’ used instead, but this could be creatively altered to make the company’s name. There were changes to the front, with no evidence of a front-facing flash, and the selfie cam lens and ambient light sensor sat to one side of the speaker. The phone was shown in a gold color. Premium body, high specs rumored The Mate 8, which drops the Ascend sub-brand in accordance with the Huawei’s new device naming conventions, seems categorically premium. According to a source in China, it’ll feature an all-metal body and extraordinarily thin bezel around a 2560 x 1440 touchscreen. The internals sound just as uncompromising: a 20.7-megapixel rear camera with a Sony sensor, up to 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint sensor, and support for Cat.6 LTE service. Reportedly driving the powerhouse is Huawei’s in-house Kirin 950 with eight CPU cores, a processor that the source claims matches or bests the performance of Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 820. Another report states Huawei will make two versions of the Mate 8, one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space, and the other with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory. It also adds the front facing camera may have 8-megapixels. However, the report questions whether the Kirin 950 chip will be ready in time for the Mate 8, and Huawei may be forced to go with an alternative. Related: Here’s some confidence for you: Huawei wants to chase down Apple and Samsung in the U.S.  This fits with earlier leaks indicating the Mate 8 would sport a Kirin 930 processor, and those reports also linked the phone with a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization — but suitably high-end components are in line with previous Huawei Mate phones. Last year’s Ascend Mate 7, for instance, featured a massive 4,100mAh battery, 3GB of RAM, and a high-contrast IPS panel. It’s reasonable to speculate the Mate 8’s screen size will be roughly in line with its predecessor, and the gigantic P8 Max. This Chinese source agrees, stating it will measure 6-inches and have a 2K — which we’ll take to mean 2560 x 1440 pixels — resolution. A few unknowns remain. It’s likely the Mate 8 will run the newest iteration of Huawei’s Emotion UI overlay, but it’s unclear how radical a change it’ll be from the version (Emotion UI 3.0) that debuted alongside the the Ascend Mate 7. As for price, don’t expect the Mate 8 to be cheap. The Ascend Mate 7’s going rate in the UK was £399, or about $623. November 26 event teased According to Chinese blog Mobile Dad, Huawei has started teasing an event on November 26, which could see the arrival of the long-rumored phone. The teaser image shows a large figure 8, and states the Mate model line will return. It seems like a safe bet the phone on display will be the Mate 8, but it’s unofficial for now. Where will the Mate 8 be sold? If the Ascend Mate 7’s performance is anything to go by — Huawei shipped 1 million units in its first month of availability — the Mate 8 will undoubtedly sell well in China. But Zhiqiang Xu, president of the company’s U.S. division, earlier this year expressed ambitions beyond the mainland, asserting that 2015 would be “critical for Huawei” in its quest gain a U.S. foothold. To that end, Huawei has committed to improving its American portal for unsubsidized, unlocked device sales by staffing call centers in the U.S. and offering free shipping to and from local repair centers. The company has so far been reticent to brings its flagship devices to U.S. shores — the Ascend Mate 7 never landed stateside — but that could change with the Mate 8. Previous Updates: Updated on 11-25-2015 by David Curry: Added in more possible photos of the Huawei Mate 8. Updated on 11-18-2015 by David Curry: Added in new photos of the apparent Mate 8.  Updated on 11-02-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news the Mate 8 may launch on November 26 Updated on 08-04-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in a short video which may show the Huawei Mate 8 Updated on 07-23-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in leaked picture that may show the Huawei Mate 8 Article first published on 07-22-2015 More »Huawei unveils the veritable, but sleek, monster of a phablet that is the Mate 8

  • Hyatt is serving customers through Facebook Messenger

    Digital Trends - Thu, Nov 26, 2015 06:53 GMT

    Hotel customers are enjoying a new way of reaching out to the Hyatt hotel chain through social media. Through a marketing partner called Conversocial, the hotel operator is testing Facebook Messenger as a social channel for customer service. This tool opens up new channels of support engagement. It puts the Hyatt corporation squarely in the center of where many conversations are happening, while offering immediate assistance to a new audience. Using the app, users will be able to easily reach Hyatt. They can also make reservations and engage in live conversations with the company’s chat support team. They will be able to ask about availability, reservation info, room features, and more as easily as through a phone call or email. New channels Hyatt has been active in customer support through Twitter. However, when the two platforms are compared, Facebook’s large user base will open access to a wider audience. Twitter’s audience is limited in comparison. There are a number of users that either don’t have an account or have abandoned the service. Related: Facebook Messenger for Android reaches 1 billion downloads Hyatt sees a personalized advantage through the features on the system, and responsive exchanges with the company are the end goal. Customers can actively view status updates, such as when messages have been read, when people are typing, and other notifications. Big audience, big potential In March, Facebook set the path for Messenger support for businesses. Hyatt became one of seven brands actively testing the Businesses on Messenger tool. Facebook says that it has more than 700 million active monthly users on Messenger. This new channel for customer service delivers a fresh relevance to customers in a way that they are familiar with. Access, fast service, and fast response are elements that will refine customer engagement for more companies to explore in the future. More »Hyatt is serving customers through Facebook Messenger


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