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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Microsoft Edge browser now available for all Android and iOS users

Testers had to sign-up to get special access to the new browser, but Microsoft is making both the Android and iOS versions generally available today. Microsoft Edge for mobile is mainly useful if you tend to resume a lot of browsing from a phone to a Windows 10 PC.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why do you rewatch your own Instagram stories?

Why'd You Push That Button? is back. We took a break last week to feast on Thanksgiving side dishes, and now we've returned to break down why we snack on our own Instagram content. More specifically, we want to know why people rewatch their own Instagram stories and obsessively check who's viewed them.

Monday, November 27, 2017

How to buy the perfect PC case

No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Which one should you buy?

For the first time, Apple has not just two sizes of its newest iPhone, but two distinctly different iPhones. There’s the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, which keep the same form-factor we know and love, Retina display, Home button, and all. And then there’s the new hotness, the bleeding-edge iPhone X, with an OLED display and a TrueDepth camera that unlocks the phone when you look at it.

You’ll notice that Apple didn’t call the iPhone X the “iPhone Pro,” to match the naming scheme of the iPad and MacBook lines. That may be because inside, the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus are really pretty similar. They do have some key differences, however. So, which one should you buy? Without further adieu, here’s a complete comparison between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Size

The iPhone 8 Plus is the bigger phone physically, even though the iPhone X’s display is actually larger when measured diagonally.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, but it’s surrounded by a bezel with the FaceTime camera on the forehead and the traditional Home button on the chin.

On the other hand, the iPhone X has a 5.8-inch screen, but it’s in a more compact package with nearly no bezel, no Home button, and a little “notch” for the front-facing TrueDepth camera system. We think the iPhone X form factor is the iPhone’s best size yet, but if you have larger hands and/or like the bezels, the iPhone 8 Plus may be a better fit.

iPhone 8 Plus: 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inch, 7.13 ounces
iPhone X: 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inch, 6.14 ounces

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Display

The biggest difference between these iPhones is the display. The iPhone 8 Plus sports the same Retina display as it has in prior generations, an LCD that in the Plus size is full HD at 1920x1080.

Apple completely changed that with the iPhone X. It has an edge-to-edge OLED display, which gives it a much higher contrast ratio and support for HDR video. It’s got a higher resolution (2436x1125) and pixel density too—Apple’s even calling it “Super Retina.”

When comparing these phones side-by-side, the iPhone X is the clear winner by far. The colors are rich and pop, text looks clean and sharp, and the black is so deep that we find it mesmerizing. This is the best screen we’ve seen on an iPhone.

iPhone 8 Plus: 5.5-inch, 1920x1080 LCD, 401 ppi, 1300:1 contrast ratio
iPhone X: 5.8-inch, 2436x1125 OLED, HDR, 458 ppi, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Performance

Inside, the differences aren’t so stark. Both phones pack the same processor, Apple’s 64-bit A11 Bionic system-on-a-chip with an embedded M11 motion coprocessor. Both also have a dedicated neural engine to let AI processing happen on the device.

The A11 Bionic has a whopping six cores: Two for high-performance computing, and four efficiency cores for tasks that don’t require as much performance—or as much power. Apple says the A11 is 75 percent faster than the previous generation.

Our benchmarks between the two phones are pretty similar. Obviously, the A11 Bionic is faster than last year’s A10 Fusion, but what’s of note here—and not surprising—is that the iPhone X essentially performs the same as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These three phones have the same processor, so if all you want in a new iPhone is faster performance and you could not care less about new features like Face ID or the cameras, get an iPhone 8 Plus. (You can check out our benchmark scores here.)

iPhone 8 Plus: 6-core, 64-bit A11 Bionic, M11 motion coprocessor, neural engine iPhone X: 6-core, 64-bit A11 Bionic, M11 motion coprocessor, neural engine

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Battery

If battery life is the most important to you, the iPhone 8 Plus with its physically bigger battery should eke out a little more life during Internet use and video streaming, although Apple estimates about the same battery life for talk time and audio playback. We’ve found similar results in our own testing, too.

Both of these iPhones support Qi wireless charging, and Apple wil have its own charging pad next year, although plenty of Qi products exist already.

Both phones also support fast charging if you spring for one of Apple’s USB-C power adapters and a USB-C to Lightning cable. It’s speedy, though: Up to 50 percent charge in just half an hour.

And of course you can always charge up the old-fashioned way too: A standard Lightning cable and USB power brick are still included.

Further reading: Apple AirPower wireless charging pad: Everything you need to know

iPhone 8 Plus: Up to 21 hours talk time, 13 hours Internet use, 14 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback
iPhone X: Up to 21 hours talk time, 12 hours Internet use, 13 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Rear camera

The iPhone 8 Plus still has an edge over the regular iPhone 8 when it comes to camera features. But the iPhone X has the same dual-lens camera on the back as the iPhone 8 Plus, and the same video recording features too.

The one little difference is that the iPhone X has “dual optical image stabilization,” meaning it works on both of the rear lenses, while the iPhone 8 Plus has just “optical image stabilization,” according to Apple.

Further reading: The iPhone 8 has the best smartphone camera, DxOMark says, but iPhone X will probably beat it

Further reading: iPhone 8 Plus camera test: Is it worth the upgrade from iPhone 7 Plus?

Camera specs

iPhone 8 Plus: 12-megapixel wide-angle (f/1.8) and telephoto (f/2.8) cameras, optical image stabilization, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting (beta at launch)
iPhone X: 12-megapixel wide-angle (f/1.8) and telephoto (f/2.8) cameras, dual optical image stabilization, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting (beta at launch)

Video recording

iPhone 8 Plus: 4K video recording at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. 1080p video recording at 30 or 60 fps. Slo-mo recording in 1080p at 120 or 240 fps. Optical image stabilization, optical zoom, up to 6x digital zoom, time-lapse with stabilization.
iPhone X: 4K video recording at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. 1080p video recording at 30 or 60 fps. Slo-mo recording in 1080p at 120 or 240 fps. Optical image stabilization, optical zoom, up to 6x digital zoom, time-lapse with stabilization.

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Front cameras

The front-facing cameras on these two phones are so different, Apple gave them different names.

The iPhone 8 Plus has the traditional FaceTime camera, but it has been improved. With a f/2.2 aperture, it takes 7-megapixel stills and records 1080p video. Like the rear cameras, it captures wide-gamut color when taking photos and Live Photos. There’s a Retina screen flash to help you get better lighting for your selfies.

The iPhone X has all of those same features, but its TrueDepth camera goes a lot further. Since you log in to your iPhone X with the new Face ID feature, the TrueDepth camera has special sensors that assist in this secure facial recognition. They include an infrared camera to see you in the dark, a proximity sensor, a flood illuminator, and a dot projector that helps make a 3D map of your face to make sure you’re not a photo.

All the tech in the TrueDepth camera is packed into the little “notch” at the top of the iPhone X screen, and it helps this camera have extra features for taking selfies too. Namely, it supports the same Portrait mode and (beta) Portrait Lighting feature as the rear-facing camera. Plus, it has Animoji, a feature that animates an emoji (like a puppy, a unicorn, or yes, a talking poop) with your voice as you speak. It’s a silly way to show off this much technology, but it’s another thing that’ll be fun to demo for friends after you show them how you can unlock your iPhone X by just looking at it.

iPhone 8 Plus: FaceTime HD camera with 7-megapixel photos and 1080p video, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash
iPhone X: TrueDepth camera with 7-megapixel photos and 1080p video, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting (beta), Animoji

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Biometrics

The iPhone X is all screen, which means it doesn’t have a Home button, which means it doesn’t have Touch ID. Instead, Apple uses Face ID to unlock the phone as well as to authorize Apple Pay payments. Third-party apps can also support Face ID to log in, just as they can also use Touch ID.

Face ID and Touch ID create a digital hash based on your face or fingerprint, respectively, and securely store it in the Secure Enclave, a separate coprocessor that handles security features on the device. Then when you log in or authorize a payment, the new facial or fingerprint data you’re inputting is compared with the stored data, and if it doesn’t match, you still get the option of entering your passcode (to log in), or your password (to sign in to a third-party app or make an iTunes Store purchase, for example).

Around iOS, Face ID works like Touch ID. You do have to be looking at the iPhone. You can temporarily disable Face ID by squeezing the Sleep and a volume button at the same time. Or you can turn off Face ID for various features (unlocking your phone, for example) in the Face ID & Passcode section of the Settings app.

On the iPhone 8 Plus, it’s Touch ID as normal. The Touch ID sensor is crazy fast, too, and less likely to be fooled, if you’re worried about that. Specifically, Phil Schiller joked onstage at the iPhone X unveiling that an “evil twin” (identical twin, natch) could potentially fool Face ID—but even identical twins have different fingerprints.

In the real world, it all comes down to preference—at this point, Touch ID feels like second nature, but after a few days of using Face ID, it feels like a more seamless experience. Face ID does have its flaws, however—for example, it doesn’t work when your phone is flat on a table or desk, sometimes low-light environments trip it up, and you may have to remove your sunglasses to use it outside. But when it works, it works impressively well.

Further reading: Face ID on the iPhone X: Apple releases Face ID white paper and support document

iPhone 8 Plus: Touch ID sensor embedded in the Home button
iPhone X: Face ID using the TrueDepth camera

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Price and storage

This probably isn’t a surprise, but the iPhone X costs more. After all, the TrueDepth camera is brand-new to Apple, and the edge-to-edge OLED screen must be more expensive and difficult to manufacture.

In fact, if you only know one thing about the iPhone X, it’s probably, “That’s the iPhone that costs $1,000.” And it does—it’s $200 more than the iPhone 8 Plus, and $300 more than the iPhone 8.

To be (a little bit) fair, iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus are Apple’s two most expensive handsets. All the way at the low end, the iPhone SE starts at $349 (buy from Apple), and Apple still offers the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus at various price points in between.

iPhone 8 Plus:

    $799 for 64GB (buy from Apple)
    $949 for 256GB (buy from Apple)

iPhone X:

    $999 for 64GB (buy from Apple)
    $1149 for 256GB (buy from Apple)

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Availability

Both iPhones are technically available now, but the epilogue to this story is this: The iPhone 8 Plus is a lot easier to find. Although wait times are getting shorter, the iPhone X is in high demand and short supply, and will probably continue to be somewhat scarce in stores, being first-generation technology and all. If you try to buy an iPhone X at the Apple store today, you’re faced with a 1 to 2 week wait time. If you’re shopping with a holiday purchase in mind, you’ll find more deals and sales involving the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 (as well as previous years’ models) than the iPhone X, too.

This isn’t to ding the iPhone X, but some shoppers might wind up going with the iPhone 8 Plus because they can buy one, rather than dealing with the hassle of tracking down the iPhone X in the right color, capacity, and carrier.

iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Which one should you buy?

After spending ample time using both the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X, it’s hard to pick a clear winner: Both devices offer a top-notch user experience and pack high-end features. You truly can’t go wrong with either device. It all comes down to which features are the most important to you.

Go for the iPhone 8 Plus if:

  • You’re coming from an iPhone 6 or older—many of the iPhone 8 Plus’s features, like the camera, will be brand-new to you.
  • You’re more price-conscious.
  • You really like Touch ID and have no interest in Face ID.
  • You want a familiar user experience in a faster device, and want to skip the learning curve it takes to nail new gestures.
  • You like the large size of the Plus models.

Go for the iPhone X if:

  • You want the latest and greatest technology.
  • You have to have OLED and/or Face ID.
  • You want a new interface and user experience, but want to stay in the Apple ecosystem instead of switching to Android.
  • You’re on a yearly upgrade plan like Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program—the monthly cost difference is reasonable and it’s a good way to try new tech without a complete buy-in.
  • You’re less concerned with cost and are willing to pay for Apple Care or shell out the big bucks if it breaks.

Mac World

When your phone gets snatched: A survival guide

Let's start with a confession: I'm one of those idiots you heard about on the news last year.

Cast your mind back to July 2016. It was the summer of Pokemon Go, the augmented reality game that had us scouring the streets for Hypnos, Jigglypuffs and Seels. It was also a summer plagued with Pokemon-related calamity. Distracted Pokemon hunters crashed into police cars, wandered onto military bases and fell off cliffs. One man even claimed to have been stabbed while playing the game.

Thankfully, in my case the only thing hurt was my bank balance. Well, that and my pride. I was loitering around CNET's London office, trying to capture a gym, when a gloved hand entered my peripheral vision. I only half noticed as it closed around my phone, a leather-clad thumb unhelpfully blocking my view of the Hypno I was trying to defeat. I flexed my fingers, but something felt wrong. It only dawned on me that my hand was empty when I looked up in time to see two people on a moped zoom away with my iPhone.

Losing an expensive piece of tech stung, but the experience was more unnerving than painful. It wasn't a violent mugging, but I still felt violated. Like you, I'd packed my phone with personal information and photographs, not to mention the apps and tools I use every day. Fortunately, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, or you just lose your phone, these simple steps can get you back on your feet.

Call the police

Call the police and report the theft. You should give them the phone's registration number (IMEI), which you can get from your phone provider if you don't know it (CDMA phones, like those from Verizon and Sprint, use a similar number called an ESN). Better yet, look up your IMEI or ESN in your phone's settings menu when you buy it and write it down for safekeeping. And after you report it, keep the police report or crime reference number -- you'll need it if you want to make an insurance claim.

Contact your phone company

Also get in touch with your phone provider right away. If someone is using your phone to make calls, you may be liable if you don't report it. Once your provider knows your phone's been stolen, it will suspend your service. But beware: A thief could still use an unlocked phone over Wi-Fi. You might also get a replacement phone from your provider, but more on that later.

Change all the passwords

Ideally, you'll have protected your phone with a passcode lock and disabled access to any features from the lock screen. If you haven't, do so immediately (for more security, don't rely only on a fingerprint scanner). On an Android phone, I'd opt for an alphanumeric passcode over a swipe pattern as a thief may be able to guess it by following the finger smudges on your display. And if you aren't already using two-step authentication, now's the time to set it up.

Passcode or no, change any passwords for apps or services connected to your phone the minute you get to a computer. To make sure you'll get everything, make a list of accounts connected to your phone and keep it in a separate place. You should also remotely sign out of any websites or apps you had open. Prioritize your email, social media and anything connected to your bank accounts. Then keep going.

Track your phone

If you've installed Find My iPhone, Find My Device for Android or Samsung's Find My Mobile service, you may be able to see the location of your missing phone. These services also allow you to lock your phone remotely with a new passcode or erase it if you don't expect to get it back. Just remember that you won't be able to use any of these features if the phone isn't connected to a cellular or public Wi-Fi network. You can send the commands at any time, though, and the phone will complete them when it reconnects.

You can also use these apps to remotely disable mobile payment services. That should cover you, but you should still warn your bank right away of possible fraudulent charges.

Reach for the cloud

In an age of streaming music and cloud-based storage, most of the precious information you access on your phone might not even be stored there. Google, for example, automatically syncs your device settings, app data and contacts with the cloud. With an iPhone, either you'll have backed it up to your computer (hopefully quite recently) or synced your contacts, calendar information and settings with iCloud. Apps are retrievable, too: Just go back to your app store to download anything you've paid for to a new device.

The bad news: If you've saved anything to your phone that isn't backed up elsewhere, it may not be retrievable.

Learn to love again

After a day or so navigating the city without the help of Google Maps, you'll have to accept that your old phone isn't coming back. So what to do now? If you have insurance from your carrier or credit card, then your journey ends here: You'll get a new phone to replace your lost one.

For the less responsible among us (guilty!) you've got a few options. Depending on how close you are to the end of your contract, you might be able to upgrade right away. If not, there are other options. You could roll the dice on a used phone or, if you're lucky, someone you know could be about to upgrade and you'll be able to snap up a hand-me-down. It all depends on how much you're prepared to pay. 


You will soon be able to listen to Amazon Music through your Samsung Smart TV

Recently, Samsung has been rolling out new features to its lineup of Smart TVs, such support for YouTube TV. Yesterday, the company announced (via Engadget) that owners can soon listen to Amazon Music through their Smart TVs, the first third-party device to connect to the service.

The company says that users will be able to browse their libraries, playlists and access recommendations and stations through the system. The service will also be accessible through other Samsung audio products, such as soundbars and wireless speakers.

While users can listen to streaming services such as Spotify
through Samsung’s SmartTVs, this might be appealing alternative to Prime users who own a Samsung TV, but who don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot in their home. The company didn’t say exactly when users will be able to begin listening, saying only that it will be “available starting this month.” The functionality is limited to models from 2015 and newer.

The Verge

Saturday, November 25, 2017

macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra:
Everything you need to know about Apple’s latest Mac operating system

The next version of Apple’s operating system for the Mac is called macOS High Sierra. While the OS is mostly about software refinements, it also lays the foundation for future innovations in the worlds of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Net neutrality repeal means your internet may never be the same

The FCC is about to pull the rug out from under Obama-era rules on net neutrality. That could be just the start of a whole new internet experience for you.

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