The Moto G5S Plus with 4GB RAM is priced at Rs. 14,999 now

Motorola today announced a permanent price cut on the Moto G5S Plus, the company’s budget dual camera smartphone. With this price cut, the Moto G5S Plus is now available for Rs.

Motorola today announced a permanent price cut on the Moto G5S Plus, the company’s budget dual camera smartphone. With this price cut, the Moto G5S Plus is now available for Rs. 14,999, down from its launch price of Rs. 15,999.

The Rs. 1000 price cut puts the smartphone in contention with the Xiaomi Mi A1, Honor 7X and more. This price cut also reduces the price difference between the Moto G5S Plus and Moto G5S from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 1,000.

The Moto G5S Plus is available exclusively on Amazon India and Moto Hub stores, in Lunar Grey and Blush Gold colour options. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the device.

Moto G5S Plus Specifications

The Moto G5S Plus runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and is expected to get an upgrade for Android 8.0 Oreo soon. The device comes with a 5.5-inch full HD IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and the Adreno 506 GPU. It comes with 4GB RAM and 64 GB storage, which can be expanded to 256GB via a microSD card.

Coming to the camera department, the Moto G5S Plus features two 13MP cameras with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. On the front, the device sports an 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash.

The Moto G5S Plus is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and comes with Fast Charge. In terms of connectivity, it supports 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and microUSB 2.0. The fingerprint sensor in mounted on the front, along with the home button.

You can get discounts up to Rs. 3000 on Motorola’s smartphones portfolio

Wireless charging reaches beyond the charging pad, finally – CNET

Step away from the charging pad.

Powercast said Tuesday that it’s won FCC approval for its PowerSpot transmitter, which can deliver over-the-air charging to electronic devices several feet away and, in some cases, as far as 80 feet (24 meters).

Step away from the charging pad.

Powercast said Tuesday that it’s won FCC approval for its PowerSpot transmitter, which can deliver over-the-air charging to electronic devices several feet away and, in some cases, as far as 80 feet (24 meters). The idea is that charging certain devices could work a little like Wi-Fi does: The devices just have to be in the vicinity, rather than plugged in or plopped down in a particular spot.

The biggest beneficiaries for now will likely be keyboards, remote controls, certain wearables and especially low-power devices like home automation sensors.

You’re hoping for wireless phone charging? That gets a little more complicated.

The company plans to show off prototypes of its 3-watt PowerSpot two weeks from now at CES, the consumer electronics extravaganza in Las Vegas that sets the stage for the coming year in gadgets.

Up to this point, wireless charging has been a very short-range thing, based on two main standards — Qi and Powermat — for the home and places like McDonald’s and Starbucks. The device being charged generally must sit on a charging pad that’s plugged into an outlet, and often at a very specific spot on that pad. It might as well be tethered.

Powercast wants to give you more room to roam. Here’s how its technology works. A transmitter broadcasts radio frequency energy on the 915MHz ISM band to a receiver embedded in a device, and the receiver converts that energy to direct current to power the device or charge the battery.

That’s on the receiving end. For the transmission side of the process, Powercast is hoping that consumer goods manufacturers will soon start building the technology into products such as lamps, appliances, set-top boxes, furniture and car dashboards.

Going the distance

The company said it expects that up to 30 devices within range of a PowerSpot will be able to charge overnight, depending on the distance, as well as the type and power consumption of the individual device. It breaks things down this way: Power-hungry, heavily used devices like game controllers, smartwatches, earbuds and headphones charge best at a range up to two feet; keyboards and mice up to six feet; TV remotes and smart cards up to 10 feet; and home automation sensors up to 80 feet.

Because phones are such heavy consumers of power, charging them will require extra help for the time being, in the form of a PowerSpot-Qi combination. This slightly larger PowerSpot transmitter would still send energy over the air to peripheral devices, but the phone would have to sit on top of the transmitter. That is, it would still be Qi charging.

“We do know that people are going to want to recharge their phone,” said Charlie Greene, chief operating officer and chief technology officer at Powercast. “The primary focus of the PowerSpot today is those peripheral devices, and for the short term we see Qi as the solution to go with for charging the phones.”

Powercast will be demonstrating all that at CES 2018. It expects production units to be ready in the third quarter.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

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Best rugged smartphones 2018

When a typical run-of-the-mill smartphone is not sturdy enough to withstand your daily routine, you’ll want to check out our list of the best rugged smartphones in 2018.

Other than being waterproof, these rugged smartphones are also often shock-resistant making them ideal for outdoor activities, whether business related or not.

When a typical run-of-the-mill smartphone is not sturdy enough to withstand your daily routine, you’ll want to check out our list of the best rugged smartphones in 2018.

Other than being waterproof, these rugged smartphones are also often shock-resistant making them ideal for outdoor activities, whether business related or not.

Most will have undergone stringent IP68 tests to ensure that they meet military-specified standards for protection against vibration, shock, extreme temperatures, dust and water (albeit in controlled environments).

Many have extra features to distinguish themselves from the rest of the competition: some have infrared camera functionality, others have sound level meters and even VOC (volatile organic compound) detectors.

Finally, just bear in mind that while all ruggedized smartphones will be waterproof and dustproof (and therefore meet the IP68 specification), not all waterproof phones will be ruggedized.

At any rate, these are our top picks for the best rugged phones on the market right now.

Check out the best business smartphones on the market

We tested out the AGM X1 earlier this year and found that it was mighty likable. The X2, which has been just released, promises to push the envelope even further with a complete upgrade to the internals. An upgraded Qualcomm processor now runs alongside 6GB of RAM. There’s a 16-megapixel camera at the front and a pair of 12-megapixel sensors at the back, surpassing even established models like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Other than the boosted battery capacity (6000mAh) and 128GB of on-board storage, there’s also a VOC (volatile organic compound) detector, which makes this an incredibly useful smartphone for the right audience. It does support NFC and USB Type-C but offers no wireless charging and it supports only one 4G SIM.

You can buy the AGM X2 from Gearbest

Note: Gearbest is an online Chinese retailer, and while its quoted price includes delivery, it’s exclusive of any taxes that may be levied by HMRC or the courier companies on behalf of the vendor. If you want to buy tech from Chinese sites, we’d advise you read this first.

The industrial, rugged look of the Doogee S60, and the fact that it uses a microUSB connector – not to mention the rather silly sounding name – might put off some potential buyers here. But if you can overlook these downsides, then this device has a lot to offer – and it’s half the price of the above AGM X2.

The S60 packs a powerful punch, with a Gorilla Glass 5 glass overlay on the display, plus it offers dual SIMs plus dual standby, a 24W quick-charge charger, NFC and even wireless charging (but no wireless charger). It is crammed with sensors and tools as well, which will come in useful for handymen (and women): there’s a barometer, a gyroscope, a coulomb meter, a sound level meter and even a bubble level.

You can buy the Doogee S60 from Gearbest

The Ulefone Armor 2 is one of a number of recently released rugged smartphones that offer significant upgrades over their predecessors at a very affordable price, far cheaper than either the S60 or the AGM X2. Somehow it still offers similar core components (a Mediatek Helio P25 octa-core CPU, 6GB of RAM and 64GB on-board storage).

The camera subsystem is the weakest of the three but nonetheless on par with other top-end non-ruggedized devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 (note that the pixel count is only part of the equation when it comes to gauging the overall picture quality). This phone’s battery capacity is slightly under par and there’s no audio connector, so you will need to use a converter. Like the S60, it is bundled with a virtual toolkit that contains a few tools; but there’s no sound level monitor.

You can buy the Ulefone Armor 2 from Gearbest

The Blackview BV7000 Pro is a balanced product aimed at a wider audience beyond the traditional builders and ruggedized verticals. In use, the phone proved to be a capable performer and didn’t stutter or run sluggishly during our brief encounter. The screen is gorgeous – even in broad daylight – and little additions like ‘smart somatosensory’ (which uses hand-waving to trigger events), the customizable notification light, or Parallel Space, which allows for apps to be cloned and used by multiple users, are great differentiators.

There’s no wireless charging or NFC, plus you’re still limited to 802.11n Wi-Fi. For now, though, the BV7000 Pro provides an interesting compromise if you want a mid-range model that doesn’t give away your trade, can take a few pictures in torrential rain, and doesn’t break the bank.

You can buy the Blackview BV7000 Pro from Gearbest

The Zebra TC75x brings mid-range smartphone performance to ruggedized devices, albeit with a hefty price tag. The handset does more than make up for its cost, though, thanks to an impressive build quality and an enterprise-level application suite (and support). It is far more expensive than the rest of the competition, but then again, this rugged phone’s features put it at the cutting-edge of what is usually a rather slow moving niche.

A number of challengers have appeared on the market (Cipherlab, Cat, Unitech) but a successful product requires more than just a cheap price tag. Motorola’s legacy lives on and the wealth of expertise that the TC75x packs puts the device in a league of its own, both in terms of price and overall features.

You can buy the Zebra TC75x from Stuff-UK

Also consider

Other noteworthy ruggedized smartphones available on the market are:

The Cat S60 is a good choice if you want to have access to a portable, feature-heavy and very handy infrared camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is ideal for those who want a branded ruggedized smartphone with the latest technology inside.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is a smart move if you want the best value branded ruggedized smartphone.

The Homtom HT20 is the handset to go for if you want the absolute cheapest quality smartphone.

Best laptops for video editing in 2018

If you’re looking for the best laptop for video editing, then finding the right machine can be tricky. After all, video editing is one of the most taxing tasks you can perform on any computer, let alone a laptop.

If you’re looking for the best laptop for video editing, then finding the right machine can be tricky. After all, video editing is one of the most taxing tasks you can perform on any computer, let alone a laptop.

That’s where our list of the best laptops for video editing in 2018 comes in, as our expert advice means you can shop in confidence.

We also have a price comparison tool that will make sure you are getting the best deals for the best laptops for video editing.

So, read on to find out what we think are the best laptops for video editing in 2018…

Check out our list of best video editing software

Once you go Apple, you are pretty much locked down when it comes to your hardware options. Fortunately, the newest MacBook Pro is hands-down the best Mac laptop ever designed for video editors. The innovative Touch Bar makes it easier for videographers to intuitively access commands, while the Retina display on the 15-inch model offers more than enough pixels should you want to edit at native resolution in Full HD on the move.

We’d advise that you opt for a quad-core model rather than a dual-core one and choose as big a hard disk drive as your budget will allow. The laptop’s video subsystem is powerful enough to drive up to four 4K monitors if needs be, and with a 76Whr battery, it has enough oomph to last longer than most rivals.

The cheapest model starts from £1,899 ($1,499) without the Touch Bar, but with two Thunderbolt 2 ports and Iris Pro graphics. A fully kitted model with 2TB SSD, a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and an AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU with 4GB memory will cost more than £4,000 (around $4,870).

Dell’s XPS 15 was one of the true highlights in the 15-inch laptop space in 2016. It features the company’s space-saving InfinityEdge tech, which slims down the chassis size by shrinking the display’s bezels to mere millimetres.

It looks great and is practical to boot, allowing the machine to be slipped into a bag for easy transportation, so it was only a matter of time before Dell launched a version that’s geared towards businesses.

Step up the Precision 5510, which puts the ‘work’ into workstation. Essentially an XPS 15 that’s had a workstation-style makeover, it swaps Windows 10 Pro for the more business-friendly Windows 7 Pro – Free DOS and Ubuntu Linux 14.04 are also available as options.

And when it comes to specs, Dell has stripped away unnecessary features from the XPS 15 to bring the cost down: you won’t find gaming-grade graphics for example. Still, the basic system comes with a quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia Quadro M1000M GPU.

A tip: swap Windows 7 (the default OS) for Windows 10, choose Dell’s own Wi-Fi solution and remove the OS recovery DVD to save some money.

The HP ZBook Studio G3 laptop was announced back in November 2015 and competes with Dell’s Precision 15 5000 and Lenovo’s ThinkPad P50 series in terms of performance, features and also mobility.

The Studio G3 easily fits in the Ultrabook category with a weight of a tad under 2kg and a thickness of only 18mm, slightly heavier and a smidge thicker than the Precision 15 5000 but more portable and svelte than Lenovo’s laptop.

Where HP manages to score highly is when it comes to sheer value for money. The ZBook Studio G3 has a three-year warranty and the model we chose (T7W05ET) comes with an Intel Xeon E3 CPU with a massive 512GB SSD, a 4GB Nvidia Quadro M1000M GPU and a 4K display.

Remember that unlike most of the laptops here, this one is designed to pass MIL-STD 810G testing. We just wished it had a bigger battery and more online configuration options like the rest of the competition. This is a fantastic piece of engineering, though, and one of the finest workstations on the market.

Apple demonstrated that a laptop can be both powerful and elegant with its MacBook Pro, and also that a notebook doesn’t have to be a block of soulless anthracite plastic.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad P70 was one of the first notebooks featuring Intel’s Skylake processor, which should give it a boost in performance compared to Broadwell or Haswell chips.

Equipped with ample storage and plenty of RAM, an excellent keyboard and a wide selection of ports for connectivity, Lenovo is positioning the ThinkPad P70 as the ultimate workstation that you can take on the go without missing your desktop.

As expected, it’s a superbly designed piece of engineering, having inherited the legendary ThinkPad keyboard with the equally iconic red pointing stick, the TrackPoint.

Like the ZBook Studio G3, it is designed to pass MIL-STD 810G testing and comes with a three-year onsite warranty, but it does have a much bigger 17-inch screen.

It is one of the more upgradable models here with four memory modules free plus the ability to have up to four storage drives. It is also the only laptop in this list to come with an LTE modem option, and has the largest battery at 96Whr.

Also worth mentioning is the X-Rite Pantone calibration tool, available as an option, which is great to keep your screen accurate for production work, as well as the Quadro GPU that comes with all the P70 SKUs.

A tip: Shop around, popular online retailers like Ebuyer sell the P70 for far less than Lenovo does directly.

The best printers of 2018: inkjet, colour, mono and laser printers

Looking for the best printer money can buy in 2018? You’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the top printers for home and office use. You can rest assured that only the very best printers are in this list, and we regularly update it with the latest models, so we’re here to make things easier when choosing the best printer for your needs as 2018 begins.

Looking for the best printer money can buy in 2018? You’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the top printers for home and office use. You can rest assured that only the very best printers are in this list, and we regularly update it with the latest models, so we’re here to make things easier when choosing the best printer for your needs as 2018 begins.

There are so many decent multi-purpose printers at very competitive prices these days, so you’re spoilt for choice when looking for a new printer. This is where our list of the best printers comes in, as we cut through the jargon to make buying your new printer as easy as possible.

We’ve also split this list into the best inkjet printers and the best laser printers, and we include standard printers as well as multi-function ones. No matter what type of printer you’re after, we have one for you, and our price comparison tool makes sure you get the best deals on the printer of your choice as well.

Check out what printers made it into our top 10 best business printers roundupBest inkjet printers

The Deskjet 3630 is a decent printer for the price, offering reasonable print speeds and the ability to connect to mobile devices without breaking the bank. Just be wary as its ink cartridges can be priced when picked up from shops. It doesn’t quite have the build quality of HP’s more expensive Envy models, but if you’re looking for an initially cheap model that catches the eye when sat on a shelf, the Deskjet 3630 is a great option.

Read the full review: HP Deskjet 3630

The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is a solid printer for small businesses and workgroups given its fast print speeds, solid print qualities and remote printing and scanning capabilities. Using the larger XL print cartridges, the WF-4630 delivers economical print costs that rival laser printers.

Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630

A very quick colour all-in-one bristling with print, copy, scan and mobile printing options the Officejet Pro 6830 is also very affordable, especially if you opt for the pay-per-page Instant Ink service.

Read the full review: HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One

Great for the traveling professional or someone who needs a small printer for occasional use, printing photos or using the scanner function. It’s a bit pricey to buy – and to run – but the flexibility and quality of the printouts is excellent.

Consumables are usually expensive when it comes to printers. So it is quite surprising that one vendor, Epson, single-handedly decided to challenge that status quo by allowing users to refill their printer using ink bottles. What’s even more surprising is that Epson includes two years of ink with the package; no more expensive cartridges and instead, you have enough material to deliver 11,000 pages worth of black and colour inks (that’s 700ml worth of liquid). Oh and there’s even a three-year warranty making this a great choice for bean counters fixing the TCO of their printers. The ET-4550 lacks the features found on cheaper competitors – it is relatively slower (although it has a higher printing resolution) and has a small paper input tray.

If you’re looking for a great all-round printer which doesn’t skimp on print quality for your photographs, then we don’t think you will be disappointed by what the PIXMA TS9150, Canon’s flagship printer, has to offer.

While it’s certainly more expensive than some of the cheap two in one printers you can pick up, it’s not a bad price for something which produces high quality prints, especially if you only need to print at A4 or below.

Best of all, the print quality here is stunning, and it also has an attractive design. While the looks of your printer may not seem that important, it does mean you don’t feel the need to try and hide it away out of sight if you’re using it at home.

This is a big and bulky printer, that would look more at home in an office than a house – but it’s a fantastic performer that can handle both A4 and the larger A3 sizes. It’s cheap to run, and most importantly, the print quality is very good, making this a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for a fast and flexible printer.

We’ve come to expect simple setup and operation from Envy printers, and this one is no exception. It’s quiet, packs in a lot of features and delivers excellent print quality, especially on photo paper. We particularly like the ability to use smartphones as well as computers, and to connect wirelessly without a router.

Read the full review: HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer

Once you’ve got the PM-400 up and running, you’ll have a ton of fun running off image after image. Although the print quality won’t win any awards for print quality, you’ll be proud to hang any of its prints on your wall or sit them on your desk.

The PM-400 is a delight to look at – not that this should heavily factor into which printer you should buy. It’s got a pretty bone white frame that tucks away neatly, and the 4-pound printer can be easily transported wherever you go.

Read the full review: Epson PictureMate PM-400

You won’t get fancy features like wireless printing, duplexing or scanning, but if you don’t need all the frills of an all-in-one printer, the HP DeskJet 1010 offers solid print performance and quality at an unbeatable price in a compact package.

Read the full review: HP DeskJet 1010 review

Best laser printers

This temptingly priced printer offers 28ppm printing at up to 4,800 x 600 dpi (effective, rather than optical, resolution). With wired (Ethernet/USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi/NFC) connectivity, duplex printing, decent eco settings and support for a wide range of media, the Samsung is an excellent all-rounder, although the multi-purpose tray can only handle one sheet of media at a time. The main cassette has a more useful capacity of 250 sheets.

The M2070W delivers a lot of bang for your business buck – there’s NFC printing from compatible smartphones, online document sharing, and a clever Eco system that supplements the usual toner saving mode with a feature to remove images from documents by replacing bitmaps with sketches.

Factor in claimed speeds of 20ppm, a clever scan to mobile feature and an effective print resolution of up to 1200dpi and you’ve got a multifunction printer that’s well worth considering.

The DCP-9020CDW is a baby Brother – it’s an entry-level all-in-one aimed at small offices, and with claimed speeds of 18ppm and a resolution of up to 2,400 dpi (effective) it has a decent spec for the price. It can upload to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneNote, it’s wireless with WPS authentication and wireless direct printing, and its running costs are competitive. It also offers automatic duplex printing and its colour screen makes it easy to install and operate. This device is a solid all-rounder for PCs and mobile devices alike.

This is a colour laser printer, plain and simple. It has a relatively small footprint on the desk thanks to a surprisingly compact design. The printer is fitted with a 150-sheet main paper tray and a 100-sheet output tray, with an integrated drum/fuser unit and manual duplexing capabilities. Controls are adequate, with a two-line LCD display and a number of buttons for basic menu navigation. The C1760NW also offers an Ethernet connector, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port; although there is no USB host connectivity. The printer is aimed at office or small workgroups and has a high-rated speed of 15ppm for black and colour. This is a good workhorse for everyday printing, where colour isn’t a major part of the mix.

At the time of writing (January 2016), this Brother was Amazon’s best-selling laser, and with good reason – for very little cash you’re getting a superb wireless colour laser. However, at this price don’t expect rock-bottom running costs – it’s a printer for livening up documents with the occasional flash of colour, not constant photo printing.

It doesn’t have automatic duplexing or an Ethernet port, but the HL-3140CW delivers superb print quality, reasonable mono running costs and good wireless features for a very low price.

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen make it to Japan – eventually

Model Chrissy Teigen and her musician husband John Legend have made it to Japan after their initial flight from Los Angeles was turned around mid-air.

The ANA plane turned back four hours into its journey to Tokyo, reportedly because a passenger boarded in error.

Model Chrissy Teigen and her musician husband John Legend have made it to Japan after their initial flight from Los Angeles was turned around mid-air.

The ANA plane turned back four hours into its journey to Tokyo, reportedly because a passenger boarded in error.

Teigen documented the drama on Twitter and continued to live tweet once she and Legend were put on another plane.

The model, who is expecting her second child, also explained why she and her husband had not used a private jet.

“A lot of people have been asking this and I would just like you all to know that a round trip international private flight is like…300,000 dollars,” she tweeted on Wednesday.

According to US media, the mix-up happened after two brothers who were both bound for Tokyo were seated on the same flight, despite one of the siblings having booked with a different airline.

ANA said only that there had been a problem with a customer’s “flight arrangement”.

Skip Twitter post by @chrissyteigen

A lot of people have been asking this and I would just like you all to know that a round trip international private flight is like…300,000 dollars https://t.co/ruHWLmPT6z

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 27, 2017
Report

End of Twitter post by @chrissyteigen

As a consequence of the delay, Teigen and Legend ended up celebrating his 39th birthday miles above the Pacific Ocean.

Skip Twitter post 2 by @chrissyteigen

It’s john’s birthday here in the sky! Wish @johnlegend a happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/S92z99CsVV

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 27, 2017
Report

End of Twitter post 2 by @chrissyteigen

Teigen also revealed that she and her husband had decided to remain in Tokyo upon landing after missing a connecting flight to the Japanese city of Nagoya.

Skip Twitter post 3 by @chrissyteigen

We uhhhhh went ahead and cancelled our connecting flight to nagoya and 3 hour car ride for…obvious reasons…but are happy to stay here in Tokyo! We feel like young lovers again. Been a while since the ramen adventures of 2012!

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 27, 2017
Report

End of Twitter post 3 by @chrissyteigen

Teigen’s running commentary on the mid-air mix-up made headlines around the world and led to ANA (All Nippon Airways) issuing an apology.

Skip Twitter post by @FlyANA_official

We apologize to all of our passengers on Flight 175; we failed to deliver the customer service we strive for. Thank you all for your comments and allowing us to connect, learn and serve you better. We welcome ongoing feedback to understand how we can work to make this right.

— All Nippon Airways (@FlyANA_official) December 27, 2017
Report

End of Twitter post by @FlyANA_official

Yet Teigen wasn’t done, asking on social media why it was deemed necessary to turn the flight around and inconvenience all the other passengers.

“Honestly everyone on the ground and in the air were very kind and apologetic,” she tweeted.

“But I just need to know why we couldn’t have flown to Tokyo and settled this one person’s mistake (who was going to Tokyo all along) there, in Tokyo.”

Once safely on Japanese soil, though, the pregnant 32-year-old began to see the funny side.

“I don’t know why I’m not more upset about this,” she wrote. “The pleasure I get out of the story is worth more to me than a direct flight to Tokyo.”

Her husband pointed out that they were at least offered free Wifi once landing at Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email .

Wireless charging goes long for consumer gear – CNET

Step away from the charging pad.

Powercast said Tuesday that it’s won FCC approval for its PowerSpot transmitter, which can deliver over-the-air charging to electronic devices several feet away and, in some cases, as far as 80 feet (24 meters).

Step away from the charging pad.

Powercast said Tuesday that it’s won FCC approval for its PowerSpot transmitter, which can deliver over-the-air charging to electronic devices several feet away and, in some cases, as far as 80 feet (24 meters). The idea is that charging certain devices could work a little like Wi-Fi does: The devices just have to be in the vicinity, rather than plugged in or plopped down in a particular spot.

The biggest beneficiaries for now will likely be keyboards, remote controls, certain wearables and especially low-power devices like home automation sensors.

You’re hoping for wireless phone charging? That gets a little more complicated.

The company plans to show off prototypes of its 3-watt PowerSpot two weeks from now at CES, the consumer electronics extravaganza in Las Vegas that sets the stage for the coming year in gadgets.

Up to this point, wireless charging has been a very short-range thing, based on two main standards — Qi and Powermat — for the home and places like McDonald’s and Starbucks. The device being charged generally must sit on a charging pad that’s plugged into an outlet, and often at a very specific spot on that pad. It might as well be tethered.

Powercast wants to give you more room to roam. Here’s how its technology works. A transmitter broadcasts radio frequency energy on the 915MHz ISM band to a receiver embedded in a device, and the receiver converts that energy to direct current to power the device or charge the battery.

That’s on the receiving end. For the transmission side of the process, Powercast is hoping that consumer goods manufacturers will soon start building the technology into products such as lamps, appliances, set-top boxes, furniture and car dashboards.

Going the distance

The company said it expects that up to 30 devices within range of a PowerSpot will be able to charge overnight, depending on the distance, as well as the type and power consumption of the individual device. It breaks things down this way: Power-hungry, heavily used devices like game controllers, smartwatches, earbuds and headphones charge best at a range up to two feet; keyboards and mice up to six feet; TV remotes and smart cards up to 10 feet; and home automation sensors up to 80 feet.

Because phones are such heavy consumers of power, charging them will require extra help for the time being, in the form of a PowerSpot-Qi combination. This slightly larger PowerSpot transmitter would still send energy over the air to peripheral devices, but the phone would have to sit on top of the transmitter. That is, it would still be Qi charging.

“We do know that people are going to want to recharge their phone,” said Charlie Greene, chief operating officer and chief technology officer at Powercast. “The primary focus of the PowerSpot today is those peripheral devices, and for the short term we see Qi as the solution to go with for charging the phones.”

Powercast will be demonstrating all that at CES 2018. It expects production units to be ready in the third quarter.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.

CES 2018
reading
Wireless charging goes long for consumer gear
Dec 22
CES 2018 preview: The smart home gets smarter
Dec 21
CES 2018 PC preview: What to expect from laptops, desktops and tablets
Dec 21
LG to roll out its first Nano IPS-based monitors at CES 2018

See All

Share your voice

Tags
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FCC certifies ‘power-at-a-distance’ wireless charger for the first time

Image credit: Energous

Wireless charging is a cool bit of technology as it is, but for the first time, the US Federal Communications Commission has just certified a “power-at-a-distance” charger that makes the current technology look as old-fashioned as sticking in a cord looks now.

Image credit: Energous

Wireless charging is a cool bit of technology as it is, but for the first time, the US Federal Communications Commission has just certified a “power-at-a-distance” charger that makes the current technology look as old-fashioned as sticking in a cord looks now.

The device is called the WattUp Mid Field transmitter, and Energous, the startup responsible for making it, claims it lets you charge multiple devices at once from a distance of around three feet.

The intended device needs a special internal or external receiver for the WattUp transmitter to work, but apparently the receiver is small enough to fit into most phones, and it reportedly also works with waterproof devices.

Unfortunately, a distance of three feet probably means the phone still needs to sit in a fixed spot, so you shouldn’t get the impression that you can charge your phone in your pocket while strolling around the office.

Even so, Energous’ official announcement gives the example of “charging a fitness band even while wearing it,” which appears to mean it may work if the transmitter is beaming the waves at you while you’re on the treadmill.

Energous has also developed a version of the charger that works from 15 feet away, but for now only the three-foot version has been approved by the FCC. The company posted a video of the 15-foot transmission back in 2014 , which likely still gives a decent idea of how the FCC-certified version works.

As that video and more recent videos show, the WattUp even has the power to let you prioritize specific devices with the WattUp. Notably, that feature isn’t mentioned in the latest announcement.

Riding the airwaves

Current wireless charging technology relies on inductive charging coils that require the smartphone or other device to physically touch the charger, but the WattUp works by converting electricity into radio frequencies that are then beamed at the device. This means it works regardless of whether the device is physically touching the transmitter or if it’s sitting a few feet away.

As a bonus, the WattUp transmitter can work with any device – think Wi-Fi – which means you won’t have to worry about your Samsung phone being compatible with a transmitter that’s hypothetically made by Apple. (This is especially remarkable as Energous was once rumored to be partnering with Apple for wireless charging, but that no longer seems to be the case.)

Earlier this year we also heard about another form of “at-a-distance” wireless charging technology from a startup called Pi, but (as of yet) it hasn’t been approved by the FCC. It’s not really the same type of technology as the WattUp transmitter, though, as Pi’s system still relies on a resonant induction.

Unfortunately, we can currently only take Engerous’ word for how well the WattUp works, but the company will be showing off the technology at CES 2018 next month in Las Vegas. It’ll be a technology to watch, as FCC certification means we may now see it in devices sooner than later.

How to spend your holiday gift cards on great home theater tech

With distances between relatives becoming further than ever and overhead baggage space a battleground in which there are no winners, it’s no wonder that so many of us turn to gift cards in lieu of large electronics around the holidays.

With distances between relatives becoming further than ever and overhead baggage space a battleground in which there are no winners, it’s no wonder that so many of us turn to gift cards in lieu of large electronics around the holidays.

One or two may not get you that far, but load up on enough of these stocking stuffers and every aisle at your local electronics dealer will turn into a winter wonderland, full of potential presents for you to bring home and place in your burgeoning home entertainment center.

From TVs to soundbars, video game systems to UHD Blu-ray players, with everything on the table what’s one to buy when all the wrapping paper is shorn away? Here are a few ideas we’ve come up with to help you turn that plastic currency into great home cinema tech.

Of course, all this being said, if your budget is a little larger than the miniscule amounts below, don’t miss our guides to the best TV, best soundbar and best game consoles to outfit your home theater with the latest, greatest … and slightly more expensive tech.

Here’s what you could buy with a $25/£25 gift card

One might think that $25/£25 might not be enough to make a dent in your home theater setup – but unless you’re already outfitted with a killer setup replete with floorstanding speakers, a hefty AV receiver and massive flatscreen, this small chunk of change can go further than you think.

Two suggestions that immediately come to mind are the Roku Express and the Logitech Harmony Smart Control Universal Remote.

The Roku Express is perfect for folks who need a video streaming device for a second room in their house and aren’t put off by the fact that the Roku Express only outputs 1080p.

If you already own a higher-powered streaming device – like the new Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra or Amazon Fire TV – then how about a Logitech Harmony Smart Control Universal Remote? Not only does it work with all of the aforementioned streaming devices (minus Chromecast, obviously) but it’s compatible with some 270,000 components – including most cable boxes, TVs and AV receivers. If you’re looking to cut the clutter in the new year, this is an excellent first step.

Speaking of Google streaming devices, if audio is more your scene, check out the Chromecast Audio – a device that turns your fantastic (but disconnected) old speakers into smart speakers.

Here’s what you could buy with a $50/£50 gift card

See, $25 gets you farther than you thought. But let’s say you had double that amount – around $50/£50 – what should you spend your money on now?

For half that much, there are a number of great buys out there, like Google Home Mini, Chromecast, Creative Muvo 2C, Xbox Live Gold or a Spotify subscription, all of which can help take your home theater system to the next level.

The Google Home Mini is the perfect counterpart to the Amazon Echo Dot. Like the Chromecast Audio, the Home Mini turns any speaker into a smart speaker – but it also comes with a decent speaker and a smart assistant built right in.

If you’re a movie lover and you’re tech savvy enough to know how Google Cast works, the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra (which are usually found for $35/ £30 and $69/£69, respectively) are awesome and cheap streaming devices that bring movies and shows from your phone or tablet to your TV for a pittance.

For the audiophile on the move, the Creative Muvo 2C is a great portable Bluetooth speaker that offers fantastic audio quality in a pint-sized package.

The last two recommendations in this price bracket are subscriptions – either a six-month subscription to Netflix or a six-month subscription to Spotify. Both ideas are similar in the sense that subscriptions snag you some content to watch on your new TVs or listen to on your AV equipment without being subjected to a barrage of advertisements.

Here’s what you could buy with a $100/£100 gift card

Subscription cards and miniature smart speakers are great, but if you want to make substantial changes to your home theater setup – the kind that will radically improve performance for years to come – you’re probably going to need at least $100/£100.

If you have that much plastic currency burning a hole in your pocket, here are four big-ticket purchases you could make that will radically enhance your audiovisual arsenal: the Roku Streaming Stick+, a pair of Edifier R1280T bookshelf speakers, the LG UP875 4K Blu-ray player and, last but not least, the TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi range extender.

Let’s start with the Roku Streaming Stick+, the all-new streaming device that crams 4K HDR-ready hardware into a streaming stick. While last year’s Streaming Stick had all the guts to do decent HD streaming, the Streaming Stick+ ups the resolution as well as the range (up to four times the distance) with the addition of the new external antenna.

While the Roku Streaming Stick+ is sure to take your system’s visual performance to the next level, the Edifier R1280T bookshelf speakers are the upgrade your audio system needs. These fantastic-sounding speakers are perfect for people looking to move away from their TV speakers without going in full-bore on a 5.1 surround system.

If you’re not quite ready to drop physical media once and for all, you should probably upgrade to a 4K Blu-ray player – trust us, your eyes will appreciate it. One of the best budget models on the market is the LG UP875. It offers 3D and 4K playback for just under $100 at Best Buy.

Nothing catching your eye? That’s OK, but we’ve saved the best suggestion for last. If poor reception is a plague upon your streaming and gaming experience, you need a Wi-Fi Range Extender. After doing some research on the subject, the best one we found was the TP-Link AC1750. It extends both 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz Wi-Fi channels with more than enough juice to reach the furthest corners of your home. It’s available from most retailers for $89.

Making an audiovisual upgrade this holiday season that you want to share with me? Send me an email: Nick.Pino@Futurenet.com.

Get started with Google Home Max – CNET

Google Home Max ($399.00 at Walmart) is the company’s latest smart speaker. It’s giant, loud, and fully capable of doing anything and everything you’d expect from one of Google’s smart speakers.

Google Home Max ($399.00 at Walmart) is the company’s latest smart speaker. It’s giant, loud, and fully capable of doing anything and everything you’d expect from one of Google’s smart speakers. After unboxing yours, here’s what you need to know about setting it up and getting started with the Max.

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Placement

Google Home Max can sit flat, or stand vertically on its right side. Each spot the speaker can rest on has a series of magnets inside it. Included in the box is a magnetic rubber stand. Use this stand as a guide so you can be sure you don’t have the speaker upside down or in an orientation, it doesn’t support. If the stand doesn’t attach itself to the speaker, try a different side.

If the speaker is plugged in and you try placing it upside down, Google Assistant will let you know.

Initial setup

After figuring out where you want Max to sit, and which orientation, plug it in. A few seconds later the lights on the front of the speaker will begin to dance and after it’s fully powered up, you’ll hear a sound. Using an iOS or Android device open the Google Home ($79.00 at Crutchfield) app, available on iOS and Android. Tap on your device (it should be listed at the top of the app as a nearby device) and follow the prompts. Setup consists of connecting the Max to your Wi-Fi network, adding a Google account, training it to recognize your voice, and updating its software.

All in all, it’s a process that takes about 5 minutes.

Smart sound

Just looking at Google Home Max it’s apparent it’s a serious music speaker that happens to also have Google Assistant built in. One of the headlining features of Max to drive that point home is something Google calls Smart Sound.

Basically, Smart Sound will adjust the sound quality pumped out of the speaker based on, not only the room you placed it in but where in the room it’s placed. So each time you move it, the speaker will automatically readjust Smart Sound to ensure it’s blaring the best sounding tunes possible.

There’s nothing you need to do to trigger Smart Sound, just plug it in, give it a few seconds and it will adjust itself. Neat, eh?

Gestures

The direction you use a gesture on the Max depends on the orientation of the speaker itself. If it’s vertical then the touch area will be on the right side. If it’s horizontal then the touch area will be on the top of Max. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t enabled a way to summon Google Assistant with just a touch to the Max. Hopefully, it’s something that Google enables down the road.

Play/pause, end call, stop timer/alarm are all done with a tap in the middle of the speaker on a short grey line.
Volume up is a swipe to the right or above the middle of the speaker.
Volume down is a swipe to the left or below the middle of the speaker.

There is a mute switch on the back of the speaker that will turn off the microphone and stop Max from listening for the wake command. When enabled, you won’t be able to interact with it using your voice at all, but can still use it as a Chromecast speaker in music apps like Spotify or Google Play Music.

Commands

There are far too many voice commands to list in this post, so we have a dedicated post for all of your Google Home needs. You can use either OK Google or Hey Google to trigger Google Assistant, followed by your command. Some of the highlights are:

Beatbox
Tell me a joke
Turn the volume up/down
Set a timer
Create a reminder

Pair a Bluetooth device

Want to play music from another device directly to the Max? Use Bluetooth. To put the Max into pairing mode, give the command “OK Google, Bluetooth pairing.” Assistant will then let you know Bluetooth is on and ready to pair with another device.

From there, just follow the typical procedure to pair a device with your phone or computer. When you’re ready to disconnect your device from the speaker, turn off Bluetooth by saying “OK Google, turn off Bluetooth.”

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