Lenovo S5 announced with dual cameras, 18:9 display

Lenovo today announced its latest mid-range device in the S series, dubbed as the Lenovo S5 in its home country China. The device was teased earlier as a durable and slim device with good battery life.

Lenovo today announced its latest mid-range device in the S series, dubbed as the Lenovo S5 in its home country China. The device was teased earlier as a durable and slim device with good battery life.

The Lenovo S5 is a feature packed device and offers decent specifications for its price. The device will directly compete with the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in India which comes with similar specifications and has been priced starting at Rs. 13,999.

Lenovo S5 Specifications

The Lenovo S5 runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with ZUI 3.7 skin on top. It features a 5.7-inch full HD+ IPS LCD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18:9. The company has not mentioned if the display comes with any protection.

Performance wise, the Lenovo S5 is powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. In terms of memory, the device is available in 3GB RAM + 32GB internal storage, 4GB RAM + 64GB internal storage and 4GB RAM + 128GB internal storage options. Additionally, the device comes with a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

In the camera department, the Lenovo S5 features a dual 13MP camera setup consisting of a 13MP monochrome sensor and a 13MP RGB sensor at the back with f/2.2 aperture and dual LED flash. On the front, the device sports a 16MP secondary camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The Lenovo S5 is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and comes with 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and a USB Type-C port as the standard connectivity options.

As mentioned earlier, the device will compete with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in India. The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 5.99-inch full HD+ display, Snapdragon 636 SoC, 12MP + 5MP rear camera setup, 20MP front camera and a 4,000mAh battery.

Lenovo S5 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

To begin with, the Lenovo S5 comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box while the Redmi Note 5 Pro still runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. In terms of display, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is ahead of the Lenovo S5 as it comes with a bigger display and Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

In terms of performance, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is once again ahead of the Lenovo S5 on paper, as it has a more powerful Snapdragon 636 processor. While the Lenovo S5 was teased to come with a big battery, it comes with 25% less battery than the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

Lenovo S5 Pricing and Availability

The Lenovo S5 has been priced at CNY 999 (approx Rs. 10,300) for the 32GB storage variant, CNY 1,199 (approx Rs. 12,300) for the 64GB storage variant and CNY 1,499 (Rs. 15,400) for the 128GB storage variant. It will be available in Midnight Black and Flame Red colors.

Everything you need to know about the Redmi Note 5 and the Note 5 Pro

Is the smart garden growing or wilting? – CNET

Extending your smart home to the great outdoors can have a lot of benefits. Smart sprinklers can remember to water on their own, and they’ll watch the weather so they won’t turn on when it’s raining.

Extending your smart home to the great outdoors can have a lot of benefits. Smart sprinklers can remember to water on their own, and they’ll watch the weather so they won’t turn on when it’s raining. You can get a notification on your phone when you need to fertilize your houseplant. Tech can take care of a lot of your gardening work for you.

Because of those benefits, the promise of the smart garden is enticing. A couple of years ago, it looked like the category would become as prominent as the smart home category, which has now entered the mainstream thanks to competition from big name tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google.

The two main categories of smart garden tech so far have been smart plant sensors and smart sprinklers. One category has indeed moved beyond the early adopter phase and become almost standard. The other has faded from relevance and become even more of a niche product.

Now Playing:Watch this: The state of the smart garden
What happened to plant sensors?

Back in 2014, I reviewed three products in a relatively new category of connected tech called plant sensors. The premise of the tech was simple and a great fit for a beginning gardener like myself: Stick these sensors in the ground by your plant, and they’ll send an alert to your phone when you need to water it. This way you won’t murder your houseplant with accidental neglect or too much attention.

The sensors I tested offered a variety of features at prices ranging from $60 to $130. You could search the internet and find a dozen options if you wanted a plant sensor, and new ones kept popping up on crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter. The one that got the most attention was from a startup called Edyn, which rolled out a plant sensor with a slick look from award-winning designer Yves Behar. Given Behar’s involvement with other smart-home products, the August Smart Lock especially, his name gave the gardening niche some heft.

Compared to the other major smart outdoor categories — smart sprinklers, robot lawnmowers and weather sensors — plant sensors looked like the most accessible entry point. Smart sprinklers cost at least $200 and are only any use if you have a yard with an inground sprinkler system. Weather sensors seemed to be aimed at a specific niche of specialists given all of the free weather apps. Robot lawnmowers are expensive and tedious to set up.

But anyone could make use of a plant sensor, whether they wanted to monitor an extensive garden bed or a small potted plant. Because of that accessibility, I wrongly pegged smart plant sensors as the category that would help lead the smart garden to prominence.

Fast forward to 2018 and smart plant sensors have all but disappeared. The four plant sensors I reviewed are all off the market. Larger garden companies saved two of the four. Lawncare giant Scott’s acquired PlantLink and is resurrecting it as the Scott’s Gro Water Sensor. Koubachi was acquired by a European smart garden company called Gardena (a subsidiary of Husqvarna) and it’s no longer offered in the US.

The two with the highest profiles — the Parrot Flower Power and the Edyn Garden Sensor — have vanished entirely. Parrot is no longer making smart garden gadgets and the promising Edyn isn’t selling anything at the moment.

Others, such as the Wimoto Grow, never came to fruition. Try to buy a plant sensor now and Amazon pulls up a small handful of unexciting options that all appear to be produced by the same manufacturer.

I talked to Jason Aramburu, the founder of Edyn, over Twitter and email to find out what happened. “I believe market demand has evolved,” he said. “Consumers today want to know more about their plants than what this class of sensor can provide.” He noted that the category stagnated: “the pace of R&D and innovation in the market as a whole has been slow.”

While I thought the price of plant sensors would help them flourish over other categories, Brad Wardle, the Director of B-Hyve and Digital Products for smart watering company Orbit, believes the price wasn’t low enough for what they could do. Because “In any lawn across this country,” he said, “you get a bunch of different microclimates.” So you’d need “four, five or six sensors per zone to get an accurate reading.”

Wardle gave a sloping hill and a shady area under a tree as examples of different microclimates, and concluded that “The cost-benefit ratio doesn’t really work out.”

I never gave a glowing review to any of the plant sensors I reviewed. Avid gardeners likely didn’t need a reminder to water, and none of the options offered enough data for research purposes. So even though the price of a plant sensor was cheap relative to other smart garden tech, the category still banked on those who didn’t care enough to water on their own investing $100 on tech that didn’t actively fix the problem.

As a result, plant sensors aren’t dead, but they’re even more of a niche product than they were four years ago.

15 brainy gadgets that bring the smart home outside

Smart sprinklers on the rise

In stark contrast to plant sensors, smart sprinklers seemed too expensive and too niche to gain much popularity. Smart sprinklers replace your existing sprinkler controller for your in-ground sprinklers. If you don’t have a home with a built-in sprinkler system, you have no use for a smart sprinkler.

Perhaps because smart sprinklers targeted specific consumers, they’ve flourished while plant sensors faltered. Startups such as Rachio, Blossom and GreenIQ popularized the category. Like PlantLink, Blossom was acquired and rebranded by Scotts.

Rachio still stands on its own and it just released the third generation of its product along with a new flow sensor. GreenIQ is widely available at places like Home Depot. Long time sprinkler company Orbit jumped into the smart game with the B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler.

You can also find smart sprinklers from Skydrop, Rainmachine and Rainbird. Meanwhile new products from startups such as Sprinkl Conserve are still jumping onboard.

Cool off your garden with these smart sprinklers

Regarding Orbit’s sprinklers, Wardle noted, “The majority of people that are buying the smart sprinkler timer are replacing a working, perfectly good sprinkler timer.” They’re not just waiting for their old model to break down, but seeking out smarts for their timer.

Chris Klein, the CEO of Rachio, agreed. “Look at the aisle of Home Depot or Lowe’s,” he said. “It’s just dominated by internet connected controllers. It’s literally becoming the standard.”

Klein mentioned “tech gurus” that want to make their home smart as fast as possible, but noted “That’s still the base, but as things like drought influence outdoor water use and make conservation more of a purposeful activity, you’re gonna see a new persona kind of come in and that’s kind of what we’re seeing from our consumer insights.”

After reviewing a couple of models, including the Rachio and Orbit sprinklers, I can attest that everyone who has a sprinkler system can benefit from a smart sprinkler. While old-fashioned control panels can be tedious to operate, smart controllers let you manage your sprinklers from an app on your phone.

The best ones can accurately do the scheduling work for you and monitor the weather over Wi-Fi, so you don’t even have to manage your sprinklers if you don’t want to. Plus, they can save you water by watching the weather and smartening up your watering routine, so if you have a sprinkler system, you stand to be paid back for your initial investment in the controller upgrade.

Smart sprinklers seem to have flourished while plant sensors faltered by offering a clear benefit and a polished user experience to a specific group of consumers.

Gardening time

We’re celebrating the start of Spring by building a smart garden at the CNET Smart Home. Check back throughout the week for details on the garden itself, as well as a guide to all manner of outdoor tech. We’ll take a deeper dive into robot lawnmowers and why you should consider smart weather monitors even though your phone can already tell you when it’s going to rain. We’ll look at outdoor lighting, indoor gardening and using cams to scare away pests.

The promise of the smart garden is as enticing as ever. We’ll put that promise to the test and see how easy it is to use tech to make our garden grow.

Share your voice

Post a comment

Smart HomeGoogle

It’s spring! Let’s talk smart outdoor tech – CNET

The “smart home” often conjures up images of stuff that goes inside a house — an Amazon Echo speaker, a Nest thermostat, a Samsung fridge. But increasingly we’re seeing weatherproof connected devices specifically for the outdoors.

The “smart home” often conjures up images of stuff that goes inside a house — an Amazon Echo speaker, a Nest thermostat, a Samsung fridge. But increasingly we’re seeing weatherproof connected devices specifically for the outdoors. You can use some of these outside gadgets year-round, like a doorbell or an LED spotlight; others are seasonal. Since Tuesday officially marks the first day of spring 2018, we’re compiling all of the latest tech for your yard, your garage and beyond. Here’s a preview of the products and stories you’ll see throughout the week.

15 brainy gadgets that bring the smart home outside

Irrigation systems

Smart gardening used to be focused on standalone plant sensors. Buy a Parrot Flower Power or an Oso Technologies PlantLink, stick it in a pot — or directly in your yard — and wait for it to tell you when to water your plant. These small devices were fairly limited, especially for folks interested in monitoring larger gardens.

Enter: connected irrigation systems. From Rachio’s latest smart sprinkler set up to CNET’s own homemade drip irrigation system, which we’re using to grow lettuce, jalapeños and Carolina Reapers, these systems help you track a larger space remotely.

Read moreIs the smart garden growing or wilting?Rachio 3 uses hyper local weather to run your sprinklersHow to extend your Wi-Fi outdoors
Security cameras

Outdoor cameras aren’t new, but the variety of options have increased a ton in recent years. Where it was once limited to a standard camera, we’re now seeing cameras built-in to outdoor light fixtures, camera and doorbell hybrids and even battery-powered cameras.

We’re most excited about the new LTE cameras that work over a cellular network, which effectively monitor garden pests outside Wi-Fi range.

Extending your Wi-Fi range

A wireless access point, also called an extender, is a great way to get your Wi-Fi network outside, if you don’t want an LTE camera or simply want to get internet out in the garden.

An outdoor extender, like the Netgear Orbi Outdoor, can easily handle this. Read our in-depth look at how to cover your yard in Wi-Fi here.

LEDs and light fixtures

We’ve covered indoor lighting extensively, but smart outdoor lighting is a relatively new space. Sure, you can control an outdoor light with an indoor wired Lutron switch, but what about smart LEDs that combat the elements?

There’s good news on that front — Philips is leading the charge this year with a complete series of outdoor-rated LEDs and fixtures. We’ll have a story later this week about the very best options for outdoor lighting.

Garage door openers

Yes, a garage isn’t technically “outside,” but it covers that space between your driveway and your home, and for a lot of us it’s where we store the lawn mower and the garden tools. Smart garage door openers let you open and close your garage doors from an app and some even let you use voice commands; they can also send reminders to your phone to let you know when you’ve left a door open. A complete roundup of the latest garage door openers is coming your way at the end of the week.

Now Playing:Watch this: The state of the smart garden
Weather-tracking tech

You can track the weather in your area with a quick Google search any time, but smart weather stations are more customized. The BloomSky Sky2 Weather Camera Station tracks temperature, wind speed and rain and air pressure right in your backyard. Whether you’re a weather geek or want to monitor the latest forecast to determine when best to plant, water and harvest plants in your garden, products like this might be a smart investment.

That’s just an overview of the categories we’re excited to cover this spring, but there’s so much more to come — including a robot lawnmower roundup. I’ll update this page to include all of the outdoor tech-related stories we cover this week, so watch this space.

CNET Smart Home
It’s spring! Let’s talk smart outdoor tech
Mar 20
Rachio 3 uses hyperlocal weather to run your sprinklers
Mar 20
The state of the smart garden
Mar 20
15 brainy gadgets that bring the smart home outside

See All

Share your voice

Post a comment

CNET Smart HomeSmart Home

Fujitsu Report Finds Consumers Crave Digital Minimalism, Paperless Lifestyles to Enhance Productivity and Confidence

“As consumers prefer to go paperless, many industries and service providers are still behind the curve,” said Derek Flower, Director of Business Development. “Lost documents and clutter can have a huge impact on an individual’s time management and overall productivity.

“As consumers prefer to go paperless, many industries and service providers are still behind the curve,” said Derek Flower, Director of Business Development. “Lost documents and clutter can have a huge impact on an individual’s time management and overall productivity. In an age driven by smaller screens and less time, the solutions that provide the most seamless way to digitize your life will win.”

Other key survey findings include:

81% of respondents find it key to have their most valuable documents backed up and stored in the cloud 89% feel more confident when important digital documents, files and photos are organized, and 92% shared that simplifying the way they store digital files truly makes life easier 83% prefer to store their hard documents also in digital form, and 68% even like to get rid of documents and papers once they are digitized Millennials identified most strongly with digital minimalism, specifically prioritizing the need to simplify way they store files and photos, and looking for ways to simplify digital life When asked to rank the most important aspects of tools to help organize the digital life, 47% value the ability to add metadata for easy organization, followed by 31% who prioritize the ability to connect to the cloud and share files 57% of all respondents share that they currently use scanning technology

The survey was administered on-site at CES 2018 where Fujitsu gathered consumer insights on digital minimalism and organization across several demographics ages 18-50. While younger respondents unsurprisingly were more dependent on technology and interested in full digitization, older respondents trailed closely behind – proving that regardless of age, gender or other differentiators, consumers across the board want easy solutions to digitally organize important files.

Fujitsu offers a wide range of compact devices to simplify document and image scanning for consumers and small businesses, such as the ScanSnap iX100. The mobile scanner features built-in Wi-Fi, compatibility with Mac, PC, iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices and cloud storage functionality with providers including Google Drive, Evernote and Dropbox.

About Fujitsu
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

For more information, visit http://www.fujitsu.com and on social at @ScanSnap and @Fujitsu_Global

About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.
Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. is an established leader in the Document Imaging industry, delivering innovative scanning solutions and services that enable our customers to solve critical business productivity issues and streamline operations. Fujitsu provides cutting-edge document capture solutions for business and personal environments, backed by a comprehensive portfolio of service and support programs. For more information about Fujitsu Document Imaging solutions and services, visit http://us.fujitsu.com/fcpa or call us at 800-626-4686.

Gabie Kur
BAM Communications
C: 516.567.3036

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fujitsu-report-finds-consumers-crave-digital-minimalism-paperless-lifestyles-to-enhance-productivity-and-confidence-300616641.html

SOURCE Fujitsu

Related Links


How to extend your Wi-Fi outdoors – CNET

It’s great to be able to seamlessly connect to your Wi-Fi to devices throughout your home, but frustration often starts the moment you try to connect your Wi-Fi network to a device outside.

It’s great to be able to seamlessly connect to your Wi-Fi to devices throughout your home, but frustration often starts the moment you try to connect your Wi-Fi network to a device outside. You can move your router as close to your yard or front porch as your Ethernet cable will take you, but that won’t always solve the problem.

With the increasing number of outdoor smart devices like lighting, security cameras and garage door openers, you need to be able to extend your Wi-Fi beyond your home’s exterior walls. It can be tricky, but with the right hardware, you’ll be streaming video by the pool and posting pics to social media in the yard in no time.

Weather-resistant devices are the most reliable

Most of the options that I’ll explore don’t require you to drill holes or run new wiring outdoors. And yet, getting reliable, fast Wi-Fi outdoors is going to take an initial investment. Setting it up the right way may cost more now, but in the long run will require little maintenance and give you great coverage.

Using a Wi-Fi device that is meant to be left outside is far and away your best bet. There aren’t a ton of cheap options right now, so you have to decide which setup will work best for you.

The Orbi Outdoor extends Wi-Fi coverage outside your home

An outdoor Wi-Fi extender, sometimes called a wireless access point or wireless repeater, is perhaps the most straightforward option, since it’s the only solution that involves installing hardware outside. Many of these devices are enterprise-grade, but some manufacturers have recently come out with consumer-grade outdoor extenders, like the Netgear Orbi Outdoor. These devices are made to be exposed to the elements year round and have hardware capable of communicating with your router wirelessly in order to give you great Wi-Fi coverage outside your home.

The first step is to find an extender that’s compatible with your current router or purchase a new router and extender to upgrade your entire network. There aren’t a ton of wireless extenders designed for outdoors, but a few notable manufacturers are Netgear, Ubiquiti, EnGenius and Hawking.

Next, check the ingress protection (IP) rating on the packaging and the temperature range the device can withstand. The IP rating defines how weather resistant the device is, mainly against dust and water. The highest rating is IP68, which means it’s totally protected against dust and can withstand long periods of immersion underwater.

The Netgear Orbi Outdoor is a great choice, if you can afford it. At $330, you get a tri-band extender that performed great at over 200 feet when I tested it. (It’s not yet available in the UK or Australia.) The major downside is that it’s only compatible with an Orbi mesh Wi-Fi router (models RBR50, RBR40, RBR20 or SRR60) and Orbi two-piece systems cost at least $200 (£290 or AU$559). If it’s any consolation, the Netgear Orbi is one of the best mesh systems out right now. Setup is super easy too as you really just need to plug the outdoor extender into an outlet and mount it to a wall.

An option that is a little more of a complicated outdoor access point, like the EnGenius ENS620EXT, allows you set separate modes for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. The setup is a little more advanced, but you don’t have to drill holes or run new cables.

Basically, you set your 5GHz band to wireless bridge mode and the 2.4GHz band to access point mode. This makes your 5GHz band a dedicated backhaul link to the router and allows your outdoor devices to connect via 2.4GHz. This setup limits your speed a little but you should still be able to take full advantage of your 2.4GHz bandwidth. I even spoke with technical support at EnGenius and they were super helpful getting my system set up.

Some wired access points use a Power over Ethernet (PoE) injector adapter that you plug into an outlet indoors near your router. You then just have a single outdoor Ethernet cable that you can bury or run overhead. I would only recommend this option to the more tech-savvy among you.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems are easier, more expensive

Another option is to take advantage of an indoor mesh Wi-Fi system, which usually comes with one router and one or two satellite units, and can cover up to around 5,000 square feet. Most people don’t have homes that big, so with the right placement you will get some coverage outdoors. It’s possible you’ll sacrifice a little speed or coverage indoors by moving the satellite units, but most mesh systems are expandable and you can add additional units.

Each satellite unit only needs an electrical outlet to plug in the power adapter, no Ethernet cable required. The idea for extending your Wi-Fi outdoors is to place the mesh router central in your home and put the satellite unit(s) as close to the exterior as you can. There is a limit to how far apart you can place the units though. For example, the Samsung Connect Home recommends that you place each one within 40 feet of the other units.

Linksys advised me that its indoor, three-piece Velop mesh system can help with outdoor coverage as well. Each unit can cover around 2,000 square feet, so if you place one of the units 5 to 10 feet from an exterior concrete wall, your outdoor coverage can improve. Everyone’s home environment is different, so your results may vary. Your best bet is to place the satellite unit(s) near a window or door.

There are more potential problems with this setup, though.

Generally, most mesh satellites link directly back to the router, not to the closest satellite and then back to the router. This means, you won’t be able to wirelessly daisy chain them in sequence to stretch your signal in one direction. This is part of the reason it is best to place your router central in your home.

Also, your exterior walls will still interfere with and weaken your signal, especially on 5GHz. You may have to play around with the location to figure out which spot will work best for outdoor coverage in your environment. One easy way to test your signal is through a utility called Netspot, which is free to use on any laptop. You can walk around and see signal strength in real time.

If you aren’t familiar with Wi-Fi signals, they are measured in decibel-milliwatts (dBm). The signal reading will be negative, so closer to zero is better. You want a signal between -60dBm and -30dBm (best). That’s your sweet spot. If you are seeing something around -80dBm or -90dBm or lower, your signal is pretty much nonexistent.

Since mesh systems are relatively new, they’re also expensive. An affordable three-piece system, like Google Wifi, covers 1,500 square feet per unit and will cost you around $300 (£329, AU$499), plus $125 for each additional unit. The three-piece Asus Lyra covers up to 6,000 square feet but costs $400 (£380, AU$499). As you can see, mesh systems are a hefty upfront investment no matter which one you get.

You might be tempted to leave an indoor router or satellite unit in a covered area outside or in a weatherproof enclosure. This may work in the short term, but the risk factors are high. The device could overheat or freeze. Humidity is also a factor, as well as foreign objects like dust and insects clogging the device’s vents. Not to mention that leaving an indoor device outside will void your warranty.

Indoor range extenders are cheaper, less reliable

You can replicate the mesh setup mentioned above with a regular router combined with indoor Wi-Fi range extenders or repeaters. This option is a little more affordable. The extenders would be in place of the mesh satellite units. The setup is slightly more complicated, but if you follow the quick start guide included with the extender, you shouldn’t have much of an issue.

Also, make sure that the extender you purchase is compatible with your router, especially if it is older. For simplicity, look into extenders made by the same manufacturer as your router. Many newer devices devices are mix-and-match though, like the D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi extender (DAP-1860), which is advertised to help extend Wi-Fi into your backyard and is compatible with any router.

Keep in mind that most wireless extenders will cut your Wi-Fi in half, because they receive the wireless signal then rebroadcast it using the same radio on the same channel. Expect your speeds, when connected to an extender instead of the router, to be slower. One way around this is to use a tri-band extender, which has an extra 5GHz network that can act as a dedicated link to your router. This will help you get the maximum bandwidth out of the extender.

Keep in mind that many routers also work as extenders, so another option is to buy a new router and use your old one as a wired or wireless extender. Check your current router to see if it can function as a wireless access point (AP) or extender. A new router will most likely give you better coverage, including some outdoors, so using the old router as an extender could give you the extra boost in Wi-Fi coverage that you need.

Between the two setups, the mesh system’s big advantage over the router plus extenders is that the mesh devices create a single network, so you don’t have to reconnect to Wi-Fi when you move from room to room or outdoors. In general, mesh systems are designed so that your phone or laptop will automatically connect to the closest mesh unit without issue. When you have an extender, you have two networks, one for the router and one for the extender that you may need to switch between when you move around. Plus, having two networks could cause interference with each other, especially on 2.4GHz.

Powerline adapters, a last resort for outdoor Wi-Fi

One inexpensive option is using powerline adapters, which use your existing in-wall electrical wiring to extend your signal. You can plug some into an outdoor electrical socket, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find an affordable one that’s weather-resistant. An indoor powerline adapter can also overheat if you plug it into a covered outlet outdoors.

A temporary solution would be to use an indoor Wi-Fi powerline adapter, such as the Zyxel PLA5236KIT AC900 Powerline kit, which you plug in to an indoor outlet near where you need better coverage. Your range outdoors won’t be great, but it should improve your current setup.

15 brainy gadgets that bring the smart home outside


The simplest option to extend Wi-Fi outdoors is with a mesh system and additional satellite units. This should give you a couple hundred square feet of coverage outside your home. Mesh systems can be expensive but setup is usually easy for novice users.

I feel that the best option is to just use an outdoor extender, but there aren’t many consumer-rated products available right now. If you can afford it, check out the Netgear Orbi system with its new Orbi Outdoor. It’s expensive, but the entire system will transform your home Wi-Fi experience.

If you know of any easy ways that I haven’t mentioned to extend your Wi-Fi outdoor, I’d love to read them in the comments.

Share your voice

Post a comment


15 brainy gadgets that bring the smart home outside – CNET

If you want to smarten up some Christmas lights, a space heater, or anything with a plug on it really, then consider plugging into the iDevices Outdoor Switch. It pairs with your home network over Wi-Fi so it doesn’t need a hub, and it works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you turn whatever’s plugged into it on and off using voice commands.

If you want to smarten up some Christmas lights, a space heater, or anything with a plug on it really, then consider plugging into the iDevices Outdoor Switch. It pairs with your home network over Wi-Fi so it doesn’t need a hub, and it works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you turn whatever’s plugged into it on and off using voice commands.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe review – Roadshow

Fire up the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST and you’re greeted by a throaty roar. “Does this have a stock exhaust?” asks my surprised passenger. After a quick explanation of the optional Borla exhaust — and a couple more blips of the throttle — he responds with a simple, but stunned, “Wow.

Fire up the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST and you’re greeted by a throaty roar. “Does this have a stock exhaust?” asks my surprised passenger. After a quick explanation of the optional Borla exhaust — and a couple more blips of the throttle — he responds with a simple, but stunned, “Wow.”

Louder noises are only one part of the Tahoe’s new RST package. For $2,820, you also get a unique rear axle ratio and high-flow air filter, all part of a big powertrain upgrade. Yes, the big selling point is the bigger engine underhood: Chevy’s 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.


Firmly stomping the right pedal rapidly shoots the 5,600-pound Tahoe forward; power is plentiful and accessible throughout the engine’s rev range. A 10-speed automatic transmission also accompanies the bigger engine, which thankfully doesn’t suffer from any gear hunting issues, instead performing crisp, well-timed shifts.

All those gears and a seamless engine cylinder deactivation system help garner fuel economy estimates that aren’t comically low, too, with 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway ratings. Over the course of two tanks of fuel in mixed driving environments, I averaged a low-but-not-horrible 16.1 mpg.

Customers can get the RST package on the Tahoe LT with a standard suspension, or on the range-topping Premier trim that comes standard with a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system with RST-specific calibration for the adaptive dampers. Along with the super-wide 22-inch Bridgestone Dueler tires, the Tahoe RST hustles through bends with respectable composure. Turn-in for corners is brisk with lightly-weighted, but responsive steering. There’s plenty of grip through corners and the optional six-piston Brembo front brake calipers easily scrub off speed in a hurry.

Unfortunately, trade-off for this upgraded suspension is poor ride quality. Up front, it’s not as noticeable, but for second- and third-row passengers, the rear suspension provides a decidedly choppy ride.

Dark matter

No special edition model is complete without visual alterations. The $2,630 RST appearance package — yes, an additional cost over the $2,820 powertrain upgrade — adds 22-inch wheels with gloss black-painted insets along with a slew of other black exterior accents including a grille, badges, mirror caps and roof rails. Combine all that with this test car’s black paint job and you’ve got a wicked appearance befitting of the Secret Service or a famous music mogul.

The RST changes end when you head inside the spacious cabin, which is fine because accommodations are still plenty good. Contrasting cocoa brown and black soft-touch surfaces with mahogany trim offer a premium look and feel, while creature comforts like heated front seats, steering wheel and second-row captain’s chairs will keep occupants toasty on cold days.

Like most full-size SUVs, the Tahoe is capable of swallowing a lot of cargo with 15.3 cubic-feet of space behind the third row, 51.7 cubic-feet aft of the second row and 94.7 cubic-feet behind the first row. However, with all seats up, the Nissan Armada edges the Chevy out with 16.5 cubic-feet of cargo space and 95.4 cubic-feet with both rows of back seats down. The new Ford Expedition betters it by even more with 20.9 cubic-feet behind the third-row and 104.6 cubic-feet with the second and third rows folded.

Still solid tech

Even with fresher competition on the market, the Tahoe’s technology game remains strong. The MyLink system with 8-inch touchscreen is simple and effective with intuitive menus, plus hard buttons in the center stack to quickly get to the home and audio screens. Navigation with real-time traffic updates, a crisp-sounding 10-speaker Bose audio system and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot are all excellent during a road trip to Chicago from Detroit and back.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto users will appreciate MyLink because it’s capable of running both, while there are numerous USB ports, 12-volt outlets, a wireless charging pad on the center armrest and a three-prong plug in the second row to juice up smart devices.

Safety tech isn’t skimpy, either. Standard forward collision warning comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist comes with lane departure warning, and there’s blind-spot monitoring and a rearview camera with rear cross-traffic alert. Strangely, adaptive cruise control isn’t standard even on the top-end Premier trim, but is available as an $895 option.

My Tahoe

As a car enthusiast, my Tahoe would definitely have the RST performance package, and since I’d also want Magnetic Ride Control, I’d have to pony up for a Premier model. As much as I would love the optional Brembo front brakes, I would forego those to keep the price somewhat in check, but spring for four-wheel drive because I live in Michigan and am subjected to real winters.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST: Meaner looks and performance

With all that, my Tahoe would sticker for $71,945, which includes $1,295 for destination. That’s a little more reasonable than my tester’s $78,450 as-tested price with the upgraded brakes, sunroof and rear entertainment system, but still not an inexpensive truck.

One of the few

Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with the supercharged 707-horsepower Hellcat engine is among the most noteworthy go-fast utes today, but that’s a midsize SUV. When it comes to full-size performance SUVs, the Tahoe RST really only has the Dodge Durango SRT as non-luxury competition, and with 470 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque from a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, the Chevy is outgunned. When optioned with similar equipment, the Dodge also checks in at the low $70K range to put both muscle trucks on a level playing field price-wise.

Either one of those SUV hotrods will plant a smirk on your face and likely draw some “wows” out of your passengers every time you mash the gas pedal. If you value bragging rights at the drag strip, you’ll probably want to go for the Dodge, but if you want a still-fast people mover with a slightly nicer cabin and infotainment tech, the Chevy may be more up your alley.

Echelon’s New SmartServer IoT Enables Customers to Embrace, Extend and Enhance Existing Industrial IoT Networks Using Cloud-Based Analytics

The SmartServer IoT is ideal for both OEMs and system integrators in the IIoT space. Both will now be able to collect and analyze data from existing traditional control system installations running protocols such as LonWorks, BACnet or Modbus, as well as extend those installations with IT-centric solutions such as Wi-Fi.

The SmartServer IoT is ideal for both OEMs and system integrators in the IIoT space. Both will now be able to collect and analyze data from existing traditional control system installations running protocols such as LonWorks, BACnet or Modbus, as well as extend those installations with IT-centric solutions such as Wi-Fi. OEMs benefit from faster development times, flexible deployment options and easy customization. Integrators working with customers to expand or improve in-place controllers and sensors are able to get actionable information to the cloud quickly, without having to rip and replace the old devices. All users benefit from a dramatic improvement in performance.

SmartServer IoT is open, programmable and extensible. Most traditional commercial and industrial control systems are proprietary, do not fully support interoperability across vendors or prohibit adding support and services for new devices; SmartServer IoT does not have such limitations. Similarly, edge servers from IT-centric vendors do not provide support for the traditional control protocols that are built into SmartServer IoT.

“SmartServer IoT introduces a whole new world to LonWorks: the world of IoT,” said Ron Bernstein, CEO/Executive Director of LonMark International. “Echelon’s mission of ’embrace, extend, enhance’ brings the promise of cloud analytics, big data and AI to existing and emerging LonWorks solutions, thereby creating opportunity for countless improvements to business, process, and quality.”

“The SmartServer IoT has the APIs and interfaces needed to get information from devices to the cloud, making development and deployment time much, much faster,” said Alan Slabodkin, VP of Controls at Western Allied Corporation. “Since it can support devices from multiple vendors, and connect traditional or new protocols to the cloud, we are able to help customers achieve business outcomes that were impossible before. Other solutions do not compare and typically are closed or require a time consuming and expensive overhaul and replacement of devices.”

“SmartServer IoT delivers the value of the IoT to traditional control systems, unleashing the data locked in those systems by bringing the worlds of operational technology (OT), information technology (IT), and cloud services together in a single system,” said Rich Blomseth, Director Product Management. “We loaded up this device with the software, services, and APIs needed to connect OT devices — sensors, actuators, and controls in industrial systems — to the cloud, saving our customers untold hours of development time and creating opportunities for revolutionary new smart control systems.”

To begin developing applications on SmartServer IoT or for more information go to https://www.echelon.com/products/smartserver-iot.

About Echelon Corporation:

For 30 years Echelon (NASDAQ: ELON) has pioneered the development of open-standard networking platforms for connecting, monitoring and controlling devices in commercial and industrial applications. With more than 140 million connected devices installed worldwide, Echelon’s solutions host a range of applications enabling customers to reduce energy and operational costs, improve safety and comfort, and create efficiencies through optimizing physical systems. Echelon is focusing today on two IoT (Internet of Things) market areas: creating smart cities and smart campuses through connected outdoor lighting systems, and enabling device makers to bring connected products to market faster via a range of IoT-optimized embedded systems. More information about Echelon can be found at www.echelon.com.

Echelon, the Echelon logo, and SmartServer IoT, are trademarks of Echelon Corporation that may be registered in the United States and other countries. Other product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

This press release may contain statements relating to future plans, events or performance. Such statements may involve risks and uncertainties, the risk that Echelon’s offerings by themselves or combined with other applications or offerings do not perform as designed or do not offer the expected benefits and savings; and other risks identified in Echelon’s SEC filings. Actual results, events and performance may differ materially. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Echelon undertakes no obligation to release publicly the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Thomas Cook
Echelon Corp.

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/echelons-new-smartserver-iot-enables-customers-to-embrace-extend-and-enhance-existing-industrial-iot-networks-using-cloud-based-analytics-300615553.html

SOURCE Echelon Corporation

Related Links


The best business broadband deals in 2018

When you’re looking for the best business broadband service, the one you choose is about more than just price. You need fast, reliable internet, with expert support when it matters most.

When you’re looking for the best business broadband service, the one you choose is about more than just price. You need fast, reliable internet, with expert support when it matters most.

But when it comes to the price, it’s easy to be taken in by promises of market leading tariffs and discounted deals. That’s where TechRadar comes in. So that you don’t have to waste your time (and, therefore, your money) searching high and low for the cheapest plans, we’ve put in the hard yards to track down the cheapest business broadband deals in the UK today.

We’ve picked out a handful of the most attractive packages below. With different options depending on whether you want the very fastest fibre optic broadband speeds, or simply the least impact to your bottom line. All prices are VAT exclusive.

Cheapest business broadband deal:
Fastest business broadband plan:
Cheapest fibre broadband deal:
Best widely available business fibre deal:
Best value BT business broadband deal:
The best of the rest business broadband

The best deals available from other business broadband providers in the UK

TalkTalk Superpowered Fibre Complete | Fibre | 76Mbps | 24-month contract | £16.95 line rental | £21 per month |View this deal on the Talktalk website

XLS Max | Fibre | 76Mbps | 24-month contract | £16.95 line rental | £13 monthly for 12 months, £35 afterwards | View this dealon the XLNTelecom website

Relish Business Broadband | 4G | 50Mbps | 12-month contract | £0 line rental | £25 monthly | View this deal on the Relish website

DST Unlimited Business Fibre Broadband | Fibre | 80Mbps | 24-month contract | Line rental: n/a | £39.95 monthly | View this deal on the DST website

Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 Broadband | Fibre | 76Mbps | 12-month contract | Line rental: £0 | £42 monthly | View this deal on the Zen website

Toople Business Fibre XL| Fibre | 80Mbps | 24-month contract | Line rental: £8.75 for first 3 months then £17.50 per month | £19.50 monthly | View this deal on the Toople website

Other UK business broadband providers
Other UK business broadband providersDaisyKinexDemonAquissO2SpitfireBOnlineClaranet

With businesses chasing every customer online, it’s vital for your company to have a broadband service that can deliver the performance you need today, and handle your needs in the future.

Choosing a broadband service for your business may seem like child’s play, with these services becoming almost a commodity. However, it is critical to carefully consider the service in use, since this can have a massive impact on performance, and ultimately on the profitability of your company.

Claire Sadler, head of marketing at BT Business, advises: “Traditionally business-grade services are slightly more expensive, but that’s because they include things such as greater levels of support – both during and outside of normal office hours and guaranteed fix times – as well as more consistent speeds where business traffic gets priority at peak times.

BT Infinity and more: fibre broadband explained

“One other area to look at is whether it includes a free Wi-Fi connection outside of the office, which can enable staff to work effectively wherever they are – whether that’s on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.”

For business users of broadband services the service level agreement (SLA) is all-important, because the SLA governs how the broadband service will be supported. Richard Phillips, managing director of CUP Classic Cars, says: “As with anything these days, you need to do your homework and know what you need.

“Choose a reputable supplier that really understands your requirements and works with your business needs, so they can give you advice on the best service for you. You have to be comfortable with your supplier and know that problems are going to be resolved quickly should anything go wrong.”

Need for more than just speed

Buying broadband services is more complex than simply choosing the fastest speed. Business broadband services also mean data management, backup and recovery, and of course email. Look closely at any services on your shortlist and ensure that they are not consumer grade, and are built with business users in mind.

Cost of course is a clear driver here but the devil is in the detail, as Andrew Ferguson, editor at thinkbroadband.com, says: “A good business connection should come with clear information on what speeds you can expect. So while cheap services will use the classic ‘up to’ marketing phrase, those services aimed at the business sector should talk about things like committed rate and burst speed. Do not be afraid to ask for explanation, though be wary of sales staff who trot out the line ‘our consumer services are 50:1 contention and business is 20:1’… this sales person’s patter is eight years out of date.”

No discussion of business broadband would be complete without considering the impact that the cloud is now having. Small business users can clearly see the advantages that cloud-based services can offer. What is also vital is the connection that is available to the cloud, which is where a reliable, fast and robust broadband connection becomes essential.

David Barker, technical director of 4D Data Centres, says: “SMBs need to make a decision on what their immediate requirements are to meet the business’s needs. Usually for a first connection this is a small office or sole trader, so a basic business ADSL line will suffice. But, if you are looking to grow your staff quickly or if you’re planning on using cloud services for your day-to-day activities, then you might want to look at a faster connection such as fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or even a leased line which can offer speeds from 10Mbps to 1Gbps and is usually able to scale the speed as your business grows.”

Top tips for business broadband buyers

To ensure your business chooses the right broadband service for its needs, use the checklist below to help you define your needs, and then locate a broadband supplier that can become a trusted business partner:

1. Perform a data audit

Before choosing a broadband service, look at how your business uses the data it is creating, storing and analysing. This will give you a benchmark to use that will ensure the broadband service has the capacity to handle these data loads. Is your LAN or WAN set up to handle high speed broadband?

2. Connect to the backbone

Your internet service provider (ISP) can be connected to the internet in one of three ways. These are referred to as tiers 1, 2 and 3. Look for a host that has a tier 1 connection, since this means they have their own portion of the internet that they control. These are the most expensive, but the most reliable.

3. Look for better bandwidth

The speed and efficiency of your website depends on how much data your server can send and receive. This is the bandwidth. Look for a hosting service that has bandwidth utilisation of below 50% to avoid bottlenecks.

4. Study service level agreements (SLAs)

Any hosting service worth their salt should offer you one of these. Look closely at every clause so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Most items should be open for negotiation.

5. Seek cloud optimisation

As small businesses increasingly use cloud-based services, look for a broadband supplier that is set up to manage a hybrid cloud storage approach to data management, so your small business can use on-site servers and cloud services together.

6. Embrace data services

As more businesses embrace the cloud and the flexibility that this offers for teleconferencing, VPNs (Virtual Private Network), VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and support so you can bring your own device (BYOD), choosing the right broadband service is more important than ever.

Phillips adds: “Don’t think in the short term. Technology is changing so rapidly and now enables businesses to do all sorts of things that were unimaginable even five years ago – the internet is at the heart of that change. There is a wide range of options, but as with all things you need to buy the best you can afford, as you’ll soon grow into the capacity, whether or not you think you currently need it.”

Satellite broadband: can it light up the UK’s broadband blackspots?

Spotify Connect: What it is and how it works – CNET

Now Playing:Watch this: How to use Spotify Connect

Now Playing:Watch this: How to use Spotify Connect

Streaming media is the future of music consumption, and while your stereo may be from the ’90s you can still use it to play your music from the cloud. In the past few years, one of the most interesting developments has been in the form of Spotify Connect. It enables Spotify Premium subscribers to use their phones (or other devices) to easily listen to music on their home stereo systems.

You don’t even need to buy a whole new hi-fi to do it, just an inexpensive adapter. Interested? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Spotify Connect?

Spotify Connect was announced in September 2013 as a way to give users “effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of songs built right in.” Spotify Connect devices started filtering into the market in 2014.

Spotify Connect is one of several competing methods enabling you to listen to music on your phone through a stereo system. Others include Bluetooth, Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Cast.

The biggest difference between Spotify Connect and Bluetooth is that Spotify uses higher-quality Wi-Fi connectivity, which is less susceptible to dropouts, sounds better and has a much wider range.

If you use a standalone Spotify Connect system, the app will automatically turn the device on and set the volume as soon as you press play — very convenient!

Related LinksChromecast Audio reviewApple Airplay: A complete guideSonos music systems adding Spotify Connect soonBluetooth, Airplay, Sonos, Play-Fi and Chromecast: What’s the audio difference?

Spotify Connect lets you set up a connection between the hi-fi and the internet so it streams music from Spotify directly, rather than via the phone. Translation: you don’t run your phone down, it simply acts as your remote control.

By comparison, AirPlay — which also uses Wi-Fi — and Bluetooth stream music directly from the phone to the receiving device, which can wear down the battery more quickly.

Chromecast built-in, available on devices like the Chromecast, Android TV devices and some audio gear, notably from Sony, also streams from audio services directly.

While Spotify’s competitors work with multiple cloud music services as well as local music files, Spotify Connect only works with the Spotify app. However recent updates to Sonos mean that Spotify is now interoperable with these systems. It’s also important to note that you can also use the Spotify app to stream to both AirPlay and Chromecast built-in devices, and these will appear as available devices in much the same way as a Connect receiver does.

What you’ll need

The first thing is a Spotify Premium subscription: Spotify Connect will not work with the company’s free tier of service.

In addition to a functioning Wi-Fi or cellular network connection, you’ll need something to stream from — whether it’s your phone, tablet or PC running the Spotify app. The receiver can then be a dongle (such as the $35, £30 or AU$59 Chromecast Audio plugged into an existing audio system), a set of speakers or other similar hardware with Spotify Connect onboard.

While plugging a dongle into your stereo will bring you quickly and cheaply into the Spotify Connect ecosystem, it’s worth considering buying a receiver or stereo system that supports it natively. Why? Because then you don’t have to turn your stereo on and set it to the right input separately.

Compatible devices

There are a growing number of Spotify Connect devices, from dongles for existing stereos (Gramafon, Chromecast Audio) to tabletop speakers (Wren V5US, Samsung Shape M7, Amazon Echo) to receivers (such as from Sony or Onkyo) and home theater systems. The company has an official list of Spotify Connect devices here, which appears to be regularly updated.

While the Spotify Connect software works on almost any PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, universal support isn’t guaranteed with even modern AV equipment. Like Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect is hardware-based and needs a specific chipset (such as this one by MediaTek) installed in your AV device for it to work. Check your device for the Spotify logo, or check for an updated manual just to be sure.

While some devices have both a Spotify app onboard and Connect support we have found in almost all cases that using Connect is better. One big reason is that, unlike the mobile version, the onboard app in your TV or AV receiver might never receive updates or just simply stop working — for example, Spotify deleted its app from the Roku platform recently and it’s unclear when it will return. In addition, apps built into TVs and other gear can be tedious to use as instead of a touchscreen they use your remote control.

How to use

The easiest way to use Spotify Connect is with the Android or iOS app. You don’t have to perform a set up routine to stream to a new speaker (as you would with most multi-room services); if the Spotify Connect device is on the network, your phone should be able to see it.

Once the app detects compatible speakers, a “Devices Available” message appears at the bottom of the screen. Pressing this will bring up a list of the players on your network, with a choice of Spotify Connect, Chromecast or even AirPlay/Bluetooth connections.

Once you choose a player to stream to, your music will begin playing. If you have a speaker group created within Google Home, you can now stream to all of them together using Spotify as well.

If you use the Mac/PC app, the Devices icon is next to the volume slider located on the right-hand side of the screen. Click it to find other devices on your network.

If the “Devices Available” icon doesn’t appear, you can try going to Settings->Show Available Devices. If for some reason that doesn’t work, check that device is connected to your network. Unfortunately there’s no syncing process to manually add your device. It either connects or it doesn’t.

Keep in mind that all compatible devices on the network, plus ones you have previously logged into around the world, will appear in the list. This means if you really want to mess with your pets at home, you can.

As we mentioned above, a speaker, receiver or home theater system with Spotify Connect built-in has an advantage over a Spotify Connect dongle connected to an existing system. With a dongle, you’ll have to make sure your system is powered up and turned to the correct input before you’ll hear any music. With Spotify Connect built in, just hitting the Play icon on the app will turn on the device (if it’s not on already) and begin playing music without you having to futz with another remote control. You can even adjust the volume from within the app.

A quick note on soundquality: If you are streaming using your home Wi-Fi, it’s worthwhile to set your audio quality to “Extreme.” You can find this under Settings->Music Quality and it will stream at the maximum 320kbps — which is great for your hi-fi system and still not as taxing as a Netflix stream.


Spotify Connect is one of the best features of the Swedish streaming service. It’s easy to use, and offers high-quality audio playback. While amplifiers and stereos with Spotify Connect onboard work best, an inexpensive dongle will bring your 20th century boom box into the silver jumpsuit-wearing future.

First published April 27, 2015 at 3:26 p.m. PT.
Update October 26, 2016 at 2:14 p.m.: Adds updates throughout.
Update March 19, 2018 at 3:56 p.m.: Refreshed with expanded information on Spotify Connect, including its removal from Roku streamers, and new photos.

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team shares experiences that remind us why tech stuff is cool.

Share your voice

Post a comment

Wireless & Bluetooth SpeakersMedia StreamersMobile AppsAirPlayAmazonBluetoothGoogleRokuSamsungSonySpotify