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Published: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 01:53:08 -0700

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 01:53:08 -0700

 



Kaspersky's stellar antivirus finally goes free

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:06:00 -0700

Kaspersky has always charged a premium price for its antivirus product, and rightfully so. The software's topped independent testing results for years, to such an extent that in 2016 AV-Comparatives created a new "Outstanding Products" category for it and Bitdefender. But late Tuesday, the company announced Kaspersky Free, letting you deploy that top-notch defense without spending a single dime. 

Kaspersky Free isn't as full-featured as the full-blown version, offering only antivirus protection for files, emails, and the web, along with table-stakes features like automatic updates and a quarantine for flagged files. "In short, the indispensable basics that no one on the planet should do without," CEO Eugene Kaspersky wrote.

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Ryzen sales lead AMD earnings, despite issues with game optimization and mining

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:45:00 -0700

Ryzen was the star of AMD's second-quarter earnings call Tuesday: The processors helped boost earnings 19 percent compared to a year ago. Company executives also had two messages for gamers: one, that game developers had largely completed their code optimizations for Ryzen, and two, that miners who hoarded graphics cards wouldn't be around forever.

Both messages should resonate with gamers, who have struggled to find available graphics cards because cryptocurrency speculators have snapped up the available supply. Meanwhile, those same gamers have had to wait while developers rewrote their code to take advantage of the new Ryzen chips.

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Pyre review: Magical basketball made rote

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:00:00 -0700

Supergiant's Pyre ($20 on Steam) has me thinking about repetition.

All games are repetitive, be it on the macro level or micro. Pong, you hit a ball back and forth. Super Mario Bros, you run to the right and sometimes jump. Doom (and basically every shooter since) you enter an area and gun down everything that moves. The Witcher 3 might house one of gaming’s best stories, and some of its most creative side missions, but even there you’ll do an awful lot of “Following the glowing red footprints to the waiting monster.”

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Newegg is selling the Surface 3 for less than $300 today

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:00:00 -0700

Microsoft stopped production of the Surface 3 in late 2016, but there are still some new units lying around at Newegg. The online retailer is selling the non-Pro version of the Surface 3 for $289 on Tuesday. Now while this deal isn’t quite as good as Newegg’s bundle earlier this month that included a type keyboard, it’s still a great price for the tablet on its own. Microsoft sells refurbished Surface 3 devices for $300. 

The Surface 3 features a 10.8-inch touchscreen with 1920-by-1080 resolution, a quad-core 1.6 GHz Atom x7-Z8700 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, and Windows 10. The device has a single USB 3.0 port, one mini DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

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Ilumi LED Smart Bulbs review: The brains are in the bulb

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:59:00 -0700

Update, July 25, 2017: ilumi's smart bulbs are now compatible with IFTTT.

With the Bluetooth speaker as a role model and chronic entrepreneur Mark Cuban as a “Shark Tank” sugar daddy, iLumi is the smart bulb that asks: Why Wi-Fi? Why not Bluetooth?

ILumi, with the range of its second-generation smart bulbs extended to 150 feet after a Bluetooth 4.0 upgrade, now behaves inside the home a little more like Philips’ Hue, Belkin’s WeMo and other Wi-Fi-connected bulbs.

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Adobe Flash will die by 2020, Adobe and browser makers say

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:58:00 -0700

Adobe Flash, one of the most controversial elements of the web, will be phased out by 2020, Adobe said Tuesday. Browser makers, including Microsoft and Google, simultaneously announced plans for a gradual phaseout over the next few years.

Adobe said that enough progress had been made within open web standards like HTML5 that it was time to phase out Flash. "Adobe and Macromedia provided innovation to the web, through browser plug-ins, before the underlying web standards could support the interactivity and creativity our digital media publishers and consumers craved," the company said in a blog post. "By the end of 2020, we firmly believe that all of these required media capabilities and standards will be widely deployed and natively available to customers within browsers."

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Moto packs power, performance in rugged Z2 Force Edition, coming to a carrier near you

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:55:00 -0700


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Microsoft will save Microsoft Paint, making it a downloadable app

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 07:24:00 -0700

Stand down, everyone: Microsoft Paint isn’t going away after all.

Microsoft signaled an about-face in a blog post Monday night by Megan Saunders, a general manager within the Windows Experiences group. Instead of deprecating Paint in Windows 10 (which seemed to many to be the first step toward oblivion), Saunders said Microsoft would release MS Paint in the Windows Store as a free app. "MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free," Saunders wrote.

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61% off Anker Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 with 6-Month Battery - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:42:00 -0700

Enjoy more comfortable, efficient typing on your iPad and keep it protected as well with this smart folio keyboard case. Opening or closing the cover triggers your iPad's sleep or wake modes, and the keyboard connects automatically when needed via Bluetooth. With the one of the highest capacity battery of any iPad keyboard case, it lasts half a year between charges. The typical list price of $69.99 has been reduced 61% to just $27. See this deal on Amazon.

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VTech VM981 Safe & Sound Expandable HD Video Baby Monitor review: Not quite ready for the nursery

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Missing features and image-quality shortcomings keep this baby monitor from being all it can be.


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HP's Pavilion 27 is one of the first PCs with Intel Optane Memory

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Correction: The original mistakenly indicated that Intel Optane Memory works with AMD Ryzen CPUs. PCWorld regrets the error. 

The HP Pavilion All-in-One 27 comes with 16GB of Intel Optane Memory, making it one of the first PCs to ship with the impressively fast caching storage. Announced Tuesday morning, HP did not provide full pricing, unfortunately, but based on our tests, Optane Memory will make this PC worth every penny. 

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Bose Soundlink Revolve+ review: An all-around excellent indoor/outdoor Bluetooth speaker

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Audiophiles might blanch at the presence of a single full-range transducer, but we have no complaints about its performance.


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Chuwi Hi13 review: A $500 Surface Book clone that skimps too much

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

The Chuwi Hi13 2-in-1 tablet aspires to be a poor man’s Surface Book, with a price tag a mere fraction of Microsoft’s own. But as our Hi13 review demonstrates, it falls short in terms of performance, battery life, and even construction.

It must be said that the Hi13 performs basic computing tasks adequately: office work, web browsing, 4K video playback, and even (very) light gaming. For $400 (plus an additional $65 for the almost-obligatory keyboard base, and $35 for an optional stylus) Chuwi tries to deliver a ruggedized version of the Surface Book—there’s even a virtually identical 3,000x2,000 display. Our opinion, though, is that Chuwi would have been better off spending a tad less on the display and investing more heavily elsewhere.

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Microsoft is building a better HoloLens with a new chip focused on machine learning

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:48:00 -0700

Microsoft’s HoloLens may have largely faded from public view, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s halted development on it. On Sunday, Microsoft researchers disclosed that HoloLens development is moving ahead, with a new chip that emphasizes machine learning.

Specifically, Microsoft said the next generation of its Holographic Processing Unit, or HPU, will support Deep Neural Network processing, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, or AI. The AI in question isn’t necessarily Cortana, but simply the way that the HoloLens recognizes the real world.

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10 alternative browsers that prove there's life after Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0700

Sometimes it feels like there’s only room for four choices when it comes to web browsers on Windows: Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer. You’ll find some people running Opera, too, but for the most part it’s all about the big four.

Despite the seemingly small world of web browsers, there’s an entire alternative universe out there. All of them are fighting for your attention with unique features and specializations around new interface concepts, privacy, music, social media, and more.

If you’re looking to shake up your web-surfing experience, consider these 10 great browsers not named Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.

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Microsoft may be quietly retiring Paint after 32 years

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:22:00 -0700

Update 07/25/2017: Microsoft acknowledges fan outcry and says it will save Paint by turning it into a Windows Store app. Read all about it in our follow-up news story. 

The writing’s on the wall: Microsoft has targeted the venerable Microsoft Paint app for extinction within Windows 10. In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update due next month, Microsoft has classified Paint as “deprecated,” meaning that the app’s not in active development and might be removed in future releases. 

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper: Everything we know so far about this monster CPU

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:16:00 -0700

Updated July 24: It's a small update but AMD just showed of the nifty box that Threadripper will come in (you can see the box at the bottom) and no, it's not big enough to include a liquid cooler. This isn't as as big as the news from July 14 that Threadripper will support 1TB of RAM nor even remotely close to the real news from July 13 when AMD announced jaw-droppingly good prices for its 16-core and 12-core Threadripper CPUs. Threadripper’s clock speeds and August release window were also revealed. 

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Amazon, Best Buy, and Staples have knocked $50 off the Echo

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:42:00 -0700


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Best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:40:00 -0700

Updated July 24, 2017 to name the Oppo Digital UPD-205 Ultra-HD Audiophile Blu-ray player our top pick for audiophiles and home-theater enthusiasts.

So you plopped down a pile of cash to buy a 4K TV, maybe even one that delivers high dynamic range. Awesome. Once you’ve wowed your friends and family with those lush demo files the manufacturer provided, you’re going to want to splash some 4K movies across that screen. A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player is just the ticket. 

Most players also stream 4K HDR video from a handful of video-streaming services—including Netflix, Amazon Video, and Vudu—if you have the bandwidth, that is. If your ISP can’t deliver super-fast download speeds, you won’t be able to stream 4K.

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Xbox One S review: A great Ultra HD Blu-ray player for gamers

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:16:00 -0700

This review doesn’t touch the gaming side of the Xbox One S. If that’s what interests you, this review discusses some of that. We used use the same 2TB model for this evaluation, but the less-expensive 500GB model will do just as well if you plan to use the machine as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, media renderer, and 4K video streamer.

(image) Microsoft

Updates that enable the Xbox One S to send Ultra HD Blu-ray’s high-definition audio bitstreams (Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, and Dolby Atmos) over HDMI to higher-end A/V receivers render it an incredible bargain, especially if you also enjoy playing video games. You'll have to jump through a few hoops--including installing Microsoft's Blu-ray player app--and you'll need to figure out how to use the Xbox One controller to play Blu-ray discs (this support article on Microsoft's help site tells you how), but those are one-time obstacles. 

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Pokémon Go Fest could have been great—instead, it was a disaster

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:05:00 -0700

Busted servers and strained cell connections ruined the game's Chicago birthday bash.


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70% Anker Quick Charge 3.0 63W 5-Port USB Wall Charger - Deal Alert

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:33:00 -0700

This premium wall-charger from Anker features 5 ports that pump out 63W of power — enough for the whole family to simultaneously charge multiple devices at the highest speed possible. Right now it’s discounted 70% to just $27 on Amazon, where it averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 500 customers. Right now when you buy this item you’ll also activate a 10% discount on other select Anker products including their power bank and bluetooth speaker. See this deal on Amazon.

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43% off Pecham Vertical Stand for PS4 with Cooling Fan and Dual Controller Charging - Deal Alert

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:03:00 -0700

Keep your PS4 or PS4 Slim compact, organized and functioning properly with this vertical stand from Pecham. It features an integrated cooling fan, dual controller changing and a USB hub for powering & charging your phone or other devices as needed. Pecham's stand currently averages 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 185 people on Amazon (82% rate the full 5 stars: read reviews here), where its list price of $29.99 has been reduced 43% to just $16.99. See this deal now on Amazon

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HyperX Cloud Revolver S review: A costly improvement to the original Cloud Revolver headset

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Anyone who’s followed HyperX for the past few years and saw last year’s Cloud Revolver knew what was coming next: the HyperX Cloud Revolver S. It’s a familiar pattern for the company nowadays—first the stereo version of a headset and then, about a year later, the USB-enabled version with surround sound.

And that’s exactly what we’ve got here. The Cloud Revolver S takes last year’s design, adds in a USB sound card and 7.1 surround support, a chat mixer, and tacks on a premium price ($150 on Amazon). So is it worth it?

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Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 review: Nvidia Max-Q makes it incredibly thin and powerful

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 03:30:00 -0700

The  Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus GX501 had us at "GTX 1080 graphics in a five-pound laptop that's almost as thin as a MacBook Pro 15." Pound for pound, this is the most powerful portable gaming laptop on earth today. But to get this much performance in a laptop this portable, some big compromises have been made.

(image) IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

How thin? That's an Alienware 15 R4 on the left with the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 in the middle and a Dell XPS 15 on the right.

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Oppo UDP-205 Ultra-HD Audiophile Blu-ray player review: Audiophile sound and price tag (plus Dolby Vision)

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

With 32-bit DACs and other upscale components, you won't hear better analog audio from an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It's also the first player we've tested to support Dolby Vision 4K UHD discs.


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Surface Laptop vs. Surface Pro 4: We compare prices, features and more

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:50:00 -0700

Updated 07/22/17 with additional data from our review of the Surface Laptop. Check out the Battery and Performance sections for the new comparisons. 

Microsoft's Surface Laptop is aimed at supplanting the MacBook Air as a college-student favorite. The svelte, stylish clamshell also fills a middle ground between its cousins, the Surface Pro 4 tablet and Surface Book powerhouse 2-in-1, providing a third option that could appeal to many regular consumers. 

We got a good first impression of the Surface Laptop after going hands-on in advance of its June launch. Now that we've reviewed it, we can help you decide whether it's a better choice than the Surface Pro 4, with its promise of a tablet that can be a full-fledged computer. Let’s dig in!

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This week in games: Call of Duty WWII's spooky zombies, Doom Guy identity revealed, and more

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:41:00 -0700

Christmas in July? More like Halloween in July, as we are inundated with horror trailers this week—Evil Within II, Observer, and Call of Duty: WWII's spooky new zombies.

That, plus John Romero reveals who served as inspiration for the iconic Doom cover art, American Truck Simulator closes down Pacific Coast Highway, and StarCraft II adds skins, sprays, and other Overwatch-style fodder.

This is gaming news for July 17 to 21.

More Wang

Looking for something to play this weekend? If you never purchased the 2014 Shadow Warrior reboot, you can grab it from the Humble store from now until 10 a.m. Pacific on July 22—less than 24 hours from now. I know, it's not the longest-running promotion, but that 2014 Shadow Warrior is an incredible corridor shooter with some awe-inspiring boss battles and great (albeit crass) humor.

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Best Buy is currently selling the HDHomeRun Connect for $70

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:55:00 -0700

If you've been thinking about going the cord-cutter route, consider this a sign. Best Buy is selling the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Connect for $70 right now. This external TV tuner features two tuners, allowing you to watch over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV on two sets or to record one show while watching the other.

The Connect's specifications say it supports up to 1080p, but broadcast TV is usually 1080i. That's still 1920-by-1080 resolution, however. The one extra thing you will need in addition to the tuner is a digital antenna.

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Doom's free DLC unleashes hell on hard drives as a ludicrously large update

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:15:00 -0700

Thank goodness I didn’t have Doom installed. Earlier this week we reported on Bethesda’s sort-of magnanimous gesture to give away all of Doom’s DLC for free—the catch of course being that Doom only had DLC for its lackluster multiplayer mode. Still, it’s free right? So what’s the problem?

It’s a 34GB update, give or take.

Earlier this year I wrote about the bloated size of game downloads and the amount of space they take up on your hard drive. The situation hasn’t improved, with the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7 apparently set to swallow 100GB of drive space, or slightly under in a best case scenario.

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