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Published: Wed, 18 Oct 2017 04:46:59 -0700

Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2017 04:46:59 -0700

 



Don't be fooled: Windows Mixed Reality headsets are just VR headsets

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 03:30:00 -0700


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Best antivirus: Keep your Windows PC safe from spyware, Trojans, malware, and more

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Antivirus software ranks nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. No matter how careful you are, some threats can’t be prevented without the additional help of an antivirus program—or a full antivirus suite.

You could visit your favorite website when it’s unintentionally displaying malicious ads. You may accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). You could also get caught by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program allows hackers to install other malware on your machine.

Sure, PC security software isn’t fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits on your machine like ransomware. In general, the average user actively using email, clicking on links, and downloading programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.

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Windows 10: Everything you need to know

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:38:00 -0700

Windows 10 is always updating. This article will keep you informed about what’s new and what’s important. Check here for our latest Windows 10 review based on the two major updates scheduled per year, plus the highlights from notable builds in between. We’ll tell you how to get Windows 10 for your PC. Finally, we’ll discuss the major features of Windows 10—including a few you should watch out for. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Windows 10. 

What’s new in Windows 10

(image) Microsoft

Windows 10's Story Remix turns photos and videos into slideshows where you can also add fun 3D effects. 

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Sonos One smart speaker review: Sonos and Alexa, a match made in heaven

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 21:01:00 -0700

Sonos has multi-room audio down to a science, but it desperately needed a speaker capable of voice recognition if it was to fend off the veritable flood of smart speakers coming to market. The Sonos One is that speaker.

It sounds better than the last entry-level Sonos speaker, it’s compatible with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, and it will be compatible with Google Assistant soon. It’s a great speaker for the price, and it’s a must-have component for music lovers living in modern smart homes.

If you already have Sonos speakers in other rooms, you can control all of them with voice commands with the addition of a single Sonos One to your network. And once you have that, you can control any Sonos speaker from any Amazon Echo. There are some limitations you’ll want to be aware of: You’ll need to use the Sonos app to group two or more Sonos speakers together (and to split them apart). But once you’ve done that, you can tell Alexa to play the artist or song of your choice on any of the speakers in that group.

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Comodo Internet Security Pro 10 Review: It works well, but read every install screen closely

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:08:00 -0700

When we previously looked at Comodo’s Internet Security Pro, the company had a habit of bundling software with its security suite—and that trend hasn’t changed with Internet Security Pro 10. Underneath the hassle of warding off extra installs, however, is a security suite that does a good job of detecting threats.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus of 2017 roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

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Windows Defender review: Basic protection at the right price

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:06:00 -0700

In 2006, Microsoft added built-in security software to Windows for the first time. Since then, it's appeared under various names, but currently it's known as Windows Defender Security Center (WDSC). What started out as a basic antivirus detection feature has slowly grown into something that resembles a security suite. It doesn't have anything close to the features you'd see in a third-party suite, but it does a fair job at antivirus and malware scanning.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus of 2017 roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

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AVG Internet Security Review: A premium antivirus suite that you can put on all your household PCs

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:54:00 -0700

AVG has a big advantage in the free antivirus space since it owns both Avast (acquired in 2016) and its homegrown product, AVG Free. The hope is that you’ll love the free stuff so much that you’ll eventually upgrade to one of its paid products.

In the case of AVG, most people go with its Internet Security program. Priced at $70, it’s one step down from the company’s flagship product, AVG Ultimate, and lacks a number of Ultimate’s less crucial features. For example, you don’t get AVG’s PC tune up package or third-party desktop software updater. That’s hardly a loss, though, as you can find free programs to dump cached folders taking up too much space or monitor software updates. The important security features are all included in the $70 security suite, however, including antivirus, firewall, and phishing protection.

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Avast Premier review: An attractive antivirus suite with limited install options

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:51:00 -0700

Avast is one of the more popular free, third-party antivirus programs. For anyone willing to pay for more advanced features, however, Avast’s premium products also have a lot to offer.

At the top of the company’s line-up is Avast Premier for $80, which comes filled with features. Though it only offers two additional extras compared to Avast’s $60 Internet Security product, those particular features are potentially useful for those who want them.

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Norton Security Premium review: You'll pay a pretty penny for this excellent security suite

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:44:00 -0700


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Why Pixel Visual Core, Google's secret image processor, is the reason to buy a Pixel 2

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:27:00 -0700

The Pixel 2 is an incredible phone in large part because it has such a great camera. And it’s about to get even better. Google has revealed in a blog post that a hidden hardware image processor called Pixel Visual Core wasn’t even turned on in our review units. And yet the Pixel 2 still produced some off the best shots we’ve ever taken with a smartphone.

No matter which Pixel you choose—Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL—you get the same awesome portrait and low-light performance from a single 12MP, f/1.8 lens. But Pixel Visual Core has the potential to improve images even further. Portrait mode can get crisper. Low-light shots can get clearer. Zoom can get more powerful.

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update review: This could be Microsoft's biggest Windows yet

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:36:00 -0700

Update: The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is now available, and can be manually downloaded/upgraded via the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant. Otherwise, Microsoft will automatically push the FCU to all PCs in a series of waves that should last for a few weeks. 

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is what every sequel shoots for: bigger, better, more ambitious than the original. As it rolls out in phases starting Tuesday (see Microsoft's blog post for details), our review focuses on Windows' big, risky bet on mixed reality, plus smarter investments in the pen, creative 3D apps, Edge, and even speech. A ton of practical, everyday additions won us over, including OneDrive placeholders and much longer battery life while watching movies.

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Hands on with Windows 10's Story Remix, the new tool to make your photos pop

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:34:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Story Remix was expected to be one of the highlights of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and it lives up to that promise, combining the existing, excellent Photos app with a video and slideshow editor that adds transitions, music, and even fantastic 3D animations.

Remember how Paint 3D brought Paint into a new dimension, with stamped textures and 3D objects? Story Remix adds the same creative element to Windows 10’s Photos app. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the cohesive experience you might hope for, as Photos now has two different interfaces—the traditional app and Story Remix—and you may need to bounce back and forth between the two.

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Basketball without cable: A cord-cutter's guide to the NBA

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:16:00 -0700

Cord cutters can get their fill of big nationally televised games, but local broadcasts are still left on the bench.


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How to use Microsoft's Paint 3D: Creating cool 3D scenes has never been so much fun

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:09:00 -0700

I’ll admit it—I simply can’t draw. Stick figures push my creative limits. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found that creating 3D objects and dioramas is actually easier in Microsoft’s Paint 3D than drawing two-dimensional art in Microsoft’s legacy Paint app.

Though it shares a name, Paint 3D isn’t really like the familiar Microsoft Paint app at all. Paint 3D’s entire purpose is to create fun, cartoony 3D objects and scenes—and share them. A major part of Paint 3D’s appeal is the Remix 3D community, where you and other members can import, edit, then share digital objects and ideas. Another is the awesome Magic Select tool which functions as a free Photoshop-like editing tool for 2D and 3D content. Don’t forget about the new Mixed Reality Viewer app, either!

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Hands-on: The ZTE Axon M is the first smartphone with a foldable screen

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:58:00 -0700

ZTE isn’t a smartphone brand you'd associate with “firsts.” The Chinese company is known more for its affordable, mid-tier Android devices, its Axon series being the marquee product in the U.S. But ZTE’s new Axon M has a very different story to tell this time around. Rather than announce a flagship that competes head-to-head with the masses, ZTE is attempting to launch a whole new category of device: the foldable smartphone.

Unlike its predecessor, the Axon 7, the AT&T-exclusive Axon M features two 5.2-inch 1080p displays on either side of its hinged chassis that open to create a larger 6.8-inch tablet-style device. The idea of a foldable smartphone isn’t a new concept, as it’s been long rumored that Samsung would be first to market with such a device. Alas, ZTE has that honor, and while the Axon M isn’t likely to set the bar for this type of device, it’s good to see an Android manufacturer try its hand at something completely different.

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The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update's best new features

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:15:00 -0700

The future of Windows
(image)

Image by Microsoft

The next generation of Windows is already here, and the massive Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is overflowing with great new features. It starts hitting Windows 10 PCs on October 17, mere months after the release of this spring’s Windows 10’s first Creators Update. Even more interesting: The Fall Creators Update brings new hardware along too, in the form of a legion of Windows Mixed Reality headsets ready to battle the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

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35% off SanDisk 256GB iXpand Base for iPhone charging and backup - Deal Alert

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:30:00 -0700

Here's something you probably didn't know existed. With SanDisk's iXpand iPhone base, you'll never have to worry about losing your memories again. Every time you charge your iPhone with the iXpand Base, it automatically backs up your photos, videos and contacts. The iXpand Base offers plenty of room to save your files in their original quality with no worry about recurring monthly fees for Internet-based storage. Designed for everyday use with a soft rubber top, a sturdy base, and a wrap-around groove to keep your Apple Lightning to USB cable tidy. Its typical list price has been discounted, for now, to $129.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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Google Pixel 2: 10 awesome tips and tricks

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:15:00 -0700

Google's Pixel 2 is one of the few Android phones that actually looks better after you turn it on. From the functionally elegant Pixel Launcher to the stock Oreo icons, there's a lot to like about the Pixel 2 Android experience. It's smart, stylish, and sophisticated, and it's the No. 1 reason to spend hundreds of dollars on one.

As good as it looks, Android on the Pixel is just as customizable as it is on any other phone. The Pixel 2 features all sorts of little tweaks and tune-ups, so check out these 10 tips and tricks that will unlock its full potential.

Pick a live wallpaper

Last year’s Pixel brought Live Earth wallpapers that gave your home screen a cool three-dimensional feel, but this year’s live wallpapers go beyond parallax effects. Simply press down on your home screen and tap the Wallpapers icon to find them. Inside the Living universe tab you'll find a series of wallpapers that are like mini-movies on your home screen. The movement is subtle (such as waves crashing against the shore in Lagos), but it adds a bit of surprise and delight to what was already a gorgeous array of photos.

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Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is real, and it's five times faster than the original Surface Book

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 aspires to repeat the original Surface Book's history, blowing users away—only more so, with performance it claims to be five times greater than what the original 2015 model achieved. We got a close look at the new hardware at a recent press briefing and have all the information for you below. 

Not one, but two Surface Book 2 models

The fact that there is a Surface Book 2 is surprising enough, let alone two: a successor to the original 13-inch form factor, and a new 15-inch model. We spent some time with both, even unearthing what could be the first performance numbers on Microsoft’s new beast.

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Pixel 2 XL review: A.I. magic on a 6-inch display

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0700

You’ll want the Google Pixel 2 XL if you’re looking for the most elegant Android experience possible in a 6-inch phone. You’ll want the Pixel 2 XL if you’re looking for a stunning display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, amazing portrait photography, and a ton of surprise-and-delight features made possible by Google Lens and the rest of Google’s A.I. tool chest.

When the Pixel 2 XL was announced on Oct. 4, Google reminded us that its machine learning engine is watching our every move to improve its A.I. algorithms. So, yes, the Pixel 2 XL’s ever-Googley magic tricks may keep robophobes up at night. But it’s an incredible phone that grafts device experiences to life experience in simple, intuitive, and smile-provoking ways. And you’ll rightfully want one it if you’re due for a phone upgrade.

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Amazon Echo Show review: This is the best Echo (but it’s also the most expensive)

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:30:00 -0700

Adding a display makes Amazon’s smart speaker even better, but it also balloons its price tag.


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Xbox Fall Update: The biggest changes as Microsoft preps for the Xbox One X

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:51:00 -0700

Microsoft's Windows Fall Creators Update may be upon us, but there's a second game in town: Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One X game console. In preparation for its upcoming launch on November 7, Microsoft began pushing what it calls its Fall Update for the Xbox One to consoles on Monday.

Though the update contains a number of different changes, the primary focus is to help gamers prep for the upcoming Xbox One X launch. With that in mind, let's look at what the new update adds.

1. Back up existing games to an external drive

Xbox One owners need to transition their older Xbox One games to their new console, but the last thing they want to do is re-download them via the cloud. Fortunately, the new Fall Update allows users to back up their games and settings onto an external hard drive. During the setup process for the Xbox One X, uses can connect their drive to the new console and bring all of their content over at once.

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KRACK Wi-Fi attacks shouldn't harm updated Windows PCs

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:41:00 -0700

The bad news: A severe WPA2 protocol vulnerability dubbed KRACK holds the potential to break Wi-Fi security for virtually all wireless devices or networks, allowing attackers to snoop on your Internet traffic or even inject malicious code into websites you visit. The good news: If you’re running a Windows PC, you’re already safe—at least if you automatically apply new updates.

Microsoft quietly released a KRACK-smashing update as part of last week’s Patch Tuesday blitz, the company confirmed to Windows Central and other websites. Phew! Here is the company’s statement:

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KRACK Wi-Fi attack threatens all networks: How to stay safe and what you need to know

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:59:00 -0700

A devastating flaw in Wi-Fi’s WPA security protocol makes it possible for attackers to eavesdrop on your data when you connect to Wi-Fi. Dubbed KRACK, the issue affects the Wi-Fi protocol itself—not specific products or implementations—and “works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” according to Mathy Vanhoef, the researcher that discovered it. That means that if your device uses Wi-Fi, KRACK likely impacts it.

Read on for what you need to know about the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, from how it works to how to best protect yourself against it. We’ll update this article as more information becomes available.

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Microsoft delays Age of Empires: Definitive Edition as the series turns 20

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:45:00 -0700

Cue “Dust in the Wind,” because Age of Empires officially turned 20 on October 15. Unfortunately the surprise party Microsoft planned to throw in its honor has been delayed a bit—which is to say, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition ($20 preorder on the Microsoft Store) has been pushed back to “early 2018.”

The announcement comes just days before the remastered version’s planned October 19 release date, which understandably has left a portion of the audience a bit miffed.

Here’s the “Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Team” with an explanation:

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Amazon's selling the 256GB SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick for $100 today

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:47:00 -0700

Storage capacities on flash drives are ridiculous these days, and today’s deal is a reminder of that. Amazon’s selling the 256GB SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick for $100 as part of its sale on SanDisk products. Typically this drive sells for about $165, according to CamelCamelCamel. This is the second time we’ve seen the drive fall to this price—the last time was in late summer. Amazon’s offer ends just before midnight Pacific time on Monday.

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How to build the best free PC security software suite

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:35:00 -0700

If you have a PC, you’re a target. You need security software. 

That’s as true today as it was a decade ago, despite significant security improvements to Windows over the years. But you have a choice: You can continue paying a security software vendor an annual fee for protection or take matters into your own hands. If you choose the latter you’ll need to put together a custom security suite using various free products. 

The pros and cons of free AV 

Going free can save you some cash, but it isn’t a perfect solution for everyone. When you buy a paid antivirus product you usually get some form of customer support with it. Free products, on the other hand, often mean you’re on your own for solving problems. Going free also means stitching together a combination of utilities. That takes a little trial and error to find the best tools for your needs. Premium suites, by comparison, offer seamless, relatively pain-free security solutions.

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole review: This game doesn't stink, but the bugs sure do

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:31:00 -0700

In 2014, Obsidian made probably one of the all-time great licensed games (admittedly a low bar) with South Park: The Stick of Truth. Twisting genre tropes to fit the tone of the TV show, Stick of Truth reimagined a typical fantasy RPG as a child’s game—one where magic came from farts, elves wore glued-on Spock ears, and a backyard became a vast woodland realm.

Sequel South Park: The Fractured But Whole ($60 on Amazon or Steam) takes the same tack, but this time satirizing superheroes. The kids of South Park have ditched their wooden swords and garbage can shields for towel-capes and jokes about The Avengers.

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25% off SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I card with Adapter - Deal Alert

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:52:00 -0700


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Best home security camera: Keep an eye on the home front

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:25:00 -0700

A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.


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