Best dash cam 2018: 10 car-ready cameras for peace of mind

It’s never a bad idea to have a dash cam mounted in your car – you never know when you’ll need footage from your windshield.

Finding the best dash cam in 2018 can feel overwhelming; there are so many models out there, and many companies make more than one.

It’s never a bad idea to have a dash cam mounted in your car – you never know when you’ll need footage from your windshield.

Finding the best dash cam in 2018 can feel overwhelming; there are so many models out there, and many companies make more than one.

But, once you find the best dash cam for you, it can be one of the most crucial bits of tech you own, coming in handy in the event of an accident, or in case something really amazing happens on the road that helps you become YouTube famous.

We’ve sifted through some of the top dash cams to nail down the very best dash cameras for 2018. It’s important to point out that dash cams are much more than GoPros mounted on your car’s dashboard; these are car-ready cameras that perform some critical functions and can even help you save time and money that would be better spent going back into your vehicle.

Whether used to provide evidence to your insurance company or help you avoid paying for a crash-for-cash scheme, dash cams provide some peace of mind wherever your journey takes you.

Don’t get lost with the best sat navs of 2018Best dash cam: what to look for

Generally the best dash cams have similar technology to one another, and for the most part mount somewhere along a car’s front windscreen, or windshield. Of course, wherever you place your dash cam must not block your view of the road.

Dash cams record smaller snippets of footage, usually in increments of one to two minutes at a time. The cameras continually record over the oldest clip in order to keep the memory card from filling up as well.

And while older models typically required the user to manually save or tag the appropriate clip in the event of an accident, new G-Sensor-based incident detection technology has taken over, and now takes care of this automatically.

There are also dash cams that boast additional features that, just like any other technology, see the price increase

There are also dash cams that boast additional features that, just like any other technology, see the price increase.

These extra features can include multiple lenses for front- and rear-facing coverage, improved sensor and image quality (HD recording, for example), night vision, built-in Wi-Fi for easy file transfer and numerous parking modes.

These modes use a time-lapse feature as a surveillance function to capture details of those irksome car park prangs when you’re off running errands.

Whenever we get a new dash cam review in, we’ll update this list with more of the best we’ve tested. Keep reading to find out which rank among the best dash cams 2018!

Nextbase has long been a leading name on the dashcam market, and this dual camera unit offers both front- and rear-facing coverage in one simple unit, as opposed to running unsightly wires to a separate unit in the rear windscreen.

The Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) image processor makes low light and night time recording possible, while the crystal clear two-inch display makes it simple to interact with menus and change settings before setting off.

At 720p resolution, the footage isn’t the sharpest on the market, but the unit cleverly stitches both front and rear imagery together into one handy, side-by-side film for easier reviewing.

Naturally, the Nextbase features a loop recording function, which will automatically delete older files as required. But it will also automatically detect and incident and save important clips to the on-board microSD card.

It also features a built-in GPS module, which allows for the vehicle’s exact route, speed and position to be recorded, while a date and time stamp embedded on to the recorded footage provide further additional evidence.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth compatibility, so retrieving footage will require extraction of the memory card and synching up with a laptop or PC.

The super 2.19MP Sony Exmor CMOS sensor provides excellent quality from this sleek and diminutive package, while the additional extra flourishes are an added bonus.

Designed to be mounted just beneath the rear-view mirror, the TW-F770 features just a few small buttons and no external screen – this is because it can be linked to a smartphone via its on-board Wi-Fi.

This enables clips to be quickly and easily sent to a smart device, should you need to access them quickly, for example, but it does add an additional step to any settings and menu changes.

A Super Night Vision feature boosts low-light settings for improved image quality at night, while a neat Time Lapse feature acts as a CCTV camera when the vehicle is parked.

Bear in mind, though, that this mode will require hard-wiring the unit into the vehicle’s power supply, as is the case with most cameras featured on this list, rather than simply using a standard 12V lighter adaptor.

An on-board GPS tracker, as well as speed and upcoming red traffic signal warnings make this a very accomplished piece of kit.

Often cited as one of the best solutions for regular or professional drivers, the dual-camera BlackVue covers many bases and boasts numerous additional features that go some way to justifying the lofty price tag.

To get the most out of its features, including a detailed parking surveillance mode, the cameras require hard-wiring to the car’s power supply, but BlackVue makes this easier with an OBD II port converter, which plugs into most vehicle on-board diagnostics ports with ease.

The 2MP CMOS sensor and 129-degree lens capture excellent-quality HD video footage from the front camera, while a smaller unit at the rear records in 720p, with incident detection technology automatically flagging the appropriate video footage.

The BlackVue’s clear advantage over some of the rivals listed here is its Over-the-Cloud abilities, which mean drivers can check live footage from the car via a smartphone, laptop or PC, even when it’s parked.

The small, sleek unit is also neat and doesn’t look out of place on modern vehicles, although the lack of screen and limited buttons mean it does require smartphone tethering to adjust settings.

Although the Mio MiVue 698 has been on the market for a year or so, it still remains one of the best packages around, offering superb image quality, front and rear coverage and a clear touchscreen for simple control.

The screen automatically blacks out when it detects movement, to abide with some country’s road laws and avoid unwanted distractions, but clear audio prompts take over to warn of upcoming speed traps once the screen is dimmed.

Built-in GPS takes care of speed and location video overlays, while built-in Wi-Fi makes video and image transfer to smartphones and other devices simple.

Above all else, the extra-wide 150-degree lens does an excellent job of capturing the action, while a high-performing sensor ensures the resulting video footage is some of the best around.

With its sharp ‘Ultra 2K HD’ image quality, broad 145-degree field of view and super-simple user interface, the Z-Edge Z3 has regularly been voted one of the best devices in its class.

The CMOS sensor and advanced image processor ensure the resulting footage is razor sharp, making it easier to read licence plates and capture incidents with superb clarity.

A 3-inch touchscreen display makes interacting with the camera extremely easy, although you’ll likely just set the camera up and let it do its thing, as most of the functionality has been automated for ease of use.

Like most cameras on the list, the unit will power up and instantly start recording when the ignition is switched on (so long as it’s plugged into a power source), and turn off when power is cut.

Memory is managed via a loop recording function, and incident detection ensures vital clips aren’t erased.

In short, it’s a great package for those who simply want a fuss-free camera that delivers quality images without the hassle.

Considering the price point, it’s very difficult to fault this TaoTronics model, even if it doesn’t boast GPS for speed and location recording or some of the added niceties of more expensive rivals.

That said, there’s plenty in the box to get excited about, chiefly the various well-made suction or adhesive mounts, the extra-long power cable and a 12V lighter socket adapter that features two ports, meaning you can still charge your phone with the dashcam running.

The unit itself boasts a G-sensor, for automatic saving of important incident footage, as well as a super-wide 160-degree field of view that’s able to capture five lanes of traffic.

Low-light video footage is very good, and the audio quality is surprisingly good at this price.

Minor foibles include the small and fiddly buttons, while the lack of speed and positioning information might be a deal-breaker for some.

Garmin has applied its knowledge of action cameras and fitness trackers to the world of dashcams, and its mid-range 35 model offers sharp imagery and enough additional features to make it well worthy of consideration.

The field of view might be narrower than that of some of the rival cameras featured here, but the video and audio quality captured are excellent, while the GPS positioning technology enables you to record speed, location, time and date information.

Again, vital clips are automatically stored via the built-in G-Sensor technology, and the camera requires little additional fiddling after the initial set-up is complete.

Plus, Garmin’s clever Dash Cam Player software (available free for most laptops and PCs) makes reviewing, organizing and saving important files easy, with the addition of a digital map helping you to pinpoint where an incident occurred.

There’s also a speed trap warning system that uses audible bleeps to capture the driver’s attention, which can get rather annoying after a while, but this can be turned off in the settings menus.

A dashcam isn’t exactly the sort of thing you purchase for its smouldering looks, but the Cobra CDR 840 is one of the very few units on this list that seems to have been designed with aesthetics in mind.

The rear touchscreen may be small, but it’s sharp and very easy to navigate thanks to a simple joypad-style switch interface, with a clearly labelled, bright red button for manually saving important clips.

Built-in GPS will take care of speed and location, while the G-Sensor tech will automatically save clips should the device detect an accident.

The GPS system can prove a little touch-and-go if satellites are difficult to reach or if adverse weather is playing havoc with the signal, but this is another unit that’s very quick and easy to set up, with minimal on-going attention required.

Yi is a recent entrant into the action camera arena, and is also busy plying its trade in the world of dashcams with some neat units that cram a large amount of technology into their small forms.

The huge field of view on its Smart Dash Camera model means it can monitor the surrounding area and even warn the driver if the vehicle is straying out of its lane. Plus, a forward collision warning sounds if the device senses an impending impact with the vehicle ahead.

This is all part of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) package, which works in conjunction with G-Sensor technology and sees the camera automatically record and save clips in an emergency situation.

An impressive all-glass, high-resolution lens and f/1.8 aperture means that video recorded in low-light situations is crisp and clear.

Simplicity is the name of the game here, and what the RoadHawk DC-2 lacks in exterior looks and additional features it more than makes up for with great image and audio quality.

Gyro-balanced image stabilization and a high-quality sensor team up to create excellent footage, even in low-light scenarios, while an audio-in connection allows additional microphones to be added.

GPS technology is included to take care of speed and location data, although an external GPS antenna connection is also offered should you require a more powerful and reliable signal.

The best sat navs you can buy right now

Chrome’s HTTP warning seeks to cut web surveillance, tampering – CNET

HTTP, one of the technologies that’s made the World Wide Web work since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web more than 25 years ago, is about to get a big black mark by its name, thanks to Google’s Chrome web browser.

HTTP, one of the technologies that’s made the World Wide Web work since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web more than 25 years ago, is about to get a big black mark by its name, thanks to Google’s Chrome web browser.

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol lets your web browser fetch a web page from the server that hosts it. HTTP has had a good run, but it has a problem: It doesn’t protect communications with encryption that blocks eavesdropping and tampering.

That’s why Google, Mozilla and other tech industry allies have been pushing websites everywhere to switch to the secure version called HTTPS. And it’s why, starting with the release of Chrome 68 on Tuesday, Google’s browser will warn you whenever it loads an unencrypted website with HTTP.

Chrome will show the words “not secure” next to the website in the address bar if it’s not encrypted. It’s a pretty open-ended warning, but you probably don’t need to panic if you see it. It’s far more likely to mean that it’s time for website operators to update their sites than it is an alert somebody is trying to do something nefarious with your personal information.

But that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Online privacy is in short supply, as revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and scandals like Cambridge Analytica show. Even passive monitoring of unencrypted web traffic, while less severe than attacks that can steal your password, can reveal a lot about you.

Chrome has a lot of leverage over the web. It accounts for 59 percent of web traffic, according to web analytics firm Statcounter, and Chrome surpassed a billion users in 2015.

Here’s a look at what’s changing and why.

What’s so bad about HTTP?

HTTP has served the web well, but it’s vulnerable to all manner of problems from anyone that controls the network you’re using. That includes in-flight Wi-Fi, coffee shops, hotels and of course your internet service provider.

“Using HTTP for a website instead of HTTPS has always been problematic,” said Nick Sullivan, head of cryptography at Cloudflare, a company that helps websites keep up with traffic demands. “Every interaction you have with a website that is unencrypted is broadcasted to an unknown set of companies in arbitrary locations across the globe. This is a massive privacy problem. It’s also a security problem because the website content can be modified along the way without the user knowing. This invites intermediaries to insert ads, trackers or malicious software to websites.”

Troy Hunt, an independent security researcher, made a video that catalogs abuses that are possible with HTTP websites. Malicious actors can:

Insert ads or other content that aren’t in the original website, something Comcast has done with copyright warnings and modem update pop-ups.

Inject invisible software that mines cryptocurrency for somebody else’s financial benefit, something an Argentinian Starbucks store did in 2017.

Redirect people to fake websites with a technique called DNS hijacking so their usernames and passwords can be intercepted.

Governments with control over their nation’s internet infrastructure get extra abilities, too. China’s “Great Cannon” used unencrypted HTTP connections to turn visitors to Baidu’s website into unwitting attackers of the Github programming website. And Egypt has injected ads and run cryptocurrency mining software on people’s computers, according to the Tor Project for advancing private web use and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, a nonprofit that monitors Egyptian network censorship.

China and Egypt may seem distant to some, but United States law enforcement authorities don’t like encryption, either. FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier in July warned that tech companies that don’t comply with its push to weaken encryption could face legislation requiring them to do so.

What’ll I see in Chrome with an HTTP website?

Chrome’s changes have been gradual, starting when it hatched the Chrome warning plan way back in 2016 and continuing with a warning in February that the HTTP “not secure” alert would arrive in July. Here are the steps in the transition.

Right now if you visit an HTTP website, Chrome shows a circled “i” icon to the left of the address denoting an opportunity for more information. If you click it, Chrome says, “Your connection to this site is not secure.” That’s not particularly alarming, though it isn’t as comforting as the green padlock and word “secure” shown there for an HTTPS-protected connection.

Starting Tuesday with Chrome 68, an HTTP connection instead will show the words “not secure” alongside the information icon.

Then Chrome 69, due in September, will emphasize that secure HTTPS connections are ordinary, not something surprising, by dropping the green color for padlock icon and “secure” word it shows now. Instead you’ll see a less noticeable black lock, Google said in a May blog post. At some point later, that lock will disappear as Google tries to convince us that HTTPS should simply be what we expect.

Last, in October, Chrome 70 will take a more aggressive stance against unencrypted HTTP sites by changing the black “not secure” warning to a more alarming red color.

Mozilla said it’s focusing on other privacy efforts in Firefox for now. “When we have a specific timeline to share for marking all HTTP connections as insecure we will announce it.

Why haven’t we been using HTTPS all along?

HTTPS is decades old, but in the early days of the web, it was only used to protect us when typing obviously sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers into websites.

Why was it unusual? Years ago, HTTPS taxed server processors and network speeds, website operators had to pay for certificates that enabled the feature. The performance problems have long been solved, though, and an effort called Let’s Encrypt — sponsored by Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Akamai, Cisco Systems, Brave and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others — means certificates are now free.

That doesn’t mean moving to HTTPS is necessarily easy, though. It took NASA months to update its 3,000 websites to 95 percent HTTPS.

And the web is big. Really big. The internet has 1,663,673,364 websites, according to the latest tally by web monitoring firm Netcraft.

Google’s choice to call out HTTP sites as insecure, though, means there’s a strong new disincentive for website operators to put it off anymore.

Some would like to see browsers make us jump through even more hoops to load HTTP websites. “Users should have to opt-in to putting themselves at risk,” said Josh Aas, executive director of Let’s Encrypt. “Nobody is saying the old unmaintained websites have to be taken down. It’s absolutely not worth putting everyone at risk by default just to enable viewing historic or unmaintained websites.”

Who doesn’t use HTTP?

Most of the big sites you’re likely to use protect your connection with HTTPS — Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram. Even if you explicitly request their nonsecured pages by typing an address beginning “http://” they’ll upgrade you to a secure link anyway.

But there are others who aren’t there yet. Some, like Chinese search company Baidu and e-commerce company Alibaba, will give you an HTTP page if you just type their URLs into the address bar, but will give you an encrypted page if you type “https://” before the addresses.

Others, like ESPN.com and BBC.com, give you the unencrypted website even if you specifically request the encrypted one.

HTTP is steadily spreading, though. The Let’s Encrypt effort issues more than 600,000 HTTPS certificates per day, and more than 73 percent of website connections made with Firefox are secure today.

And in the most recent of his twice-yearly assessments, security researcher Scott Helme said the number of encrypted websites among the Alexa list of the top million grew 32 percent from the previous study.

What problems will ‘not insecure’ HTTP cause?

Even though upgrading to HTTPS is easier now, change is always difficult. It can mean extra work for administrators and others. The Chrome team’s choice about what’s best for the web can irritate people.

“Some people just don’t want to do the work to secure their site, and at the same time they don’t want the fact that it’s not secure to be communicated to their visitors,” Aas said.

Dave Winer, notable on the internet for having invented blogs and the RSS technology used to inform subscribers of updates to them, is a prominent critic of Google’s “not secure” warning for HTTP websites. He likens the move to “a massive book burning” because of the effect he fears it will have on older websites.

The HTTPS fans disagree.

“This is not like book burning. It’s more like requiring restaurants to publicly display their health rating score,” said Cloudflare’s Sullivan. “Informing the public about a problem with a service is a great way to encourage the service’s owner to fix it.”

Another wrinkle: With HTTPS certificates so easy to obtain these days, it’s less of an assurance that a site is legitimate. “Encrypting web sessions does not guarantee that the site itself is safe,” said Jeff Wilbur, technical director of the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance initiative. “Bad actors can provide HTTPS too.”

Will that slow down the move to HTTPS?

Nope.

With years of pushing, the obstacles to HTTPS adoption are lower and the incentives to use it are higher. In addition to Chrome’s warning and Let’s Encrypt free certificates, there are now lots of online resources from Google, Hunt and others. And newer browser features often require HTTPS. It’s pretty clear where the future is headed.

“The Internet Society believes that encryption should be the norm for Internet traffic and that this is an important additional step in ongoing efforts by the technical community to address the issue of pervasive monitoring,” Wilbur said.

Ultimately, HTTPS becoming ordinary means a harder time for attackers, snoopers and data thieves.

“When we stood up the World Wide Web, we gave nobody any assurances who they’re talking to. We got away for it for 25 years,” Hunt said. But now we’re moving toward a future where the “not secure” HTTP warning will become a rarity. “We’ll look back at this time in five years or so and say, ‘Wasn’t that crazy?'”

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How to pick the perfect carry-on bag and pack it right – CNET

Your carry-on bag is your most precious possession when traveling. It can also save you from boredom on a long flight and from wearing the same outfit day after day if your checked baggage gets lost.

Your carry-on bag is your most precious possession when traveling. It can also save you from boredom on a long flight and from wearing the same outfit day after day if your checked baggage gets lost. Here’s how to pick the perfect bag, what you should pack in it and what you should do with your devices.

Read more: Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful: Check out our best travel hacks.

Which bag is best?

Before you start packing, measure the bag you want to use. There are no TSA or FAA regulations that state exactly how big your carry-on luggage can be, but the general rule is that it must fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment.

The exact guidelines vary from airline to airline and the TSA urges you to contact your airline before you fly. With United Airlines, the maximum size is 9 x 14 x 22 inches (22 x 35 x 56 cm), while American Airlines has a limit of 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). Check your carrier’s website for the exact maximum dimensions before you get to the airport.

If you’re bringing a laptop or tablet on board with you, your carry-on baggage will ideally have a padded compartment to protect them. Be sure that these compartments are easily accessible during security checkpoints since the TSA will require you to remove your devices and you won’t want to be struggling to get them out while also dumping everything else into a plastic X-ray tray.

Another important factor is comfort. You’ll be carrying (or rolling) this bag through security and down long corridors, or perhaps running with it to the gate so you don’t miss your connection. Do you need padded handles or cushioned straps? Make sure your bag or backpack fits your comfort needs.

There are also smart bags to consider. Smart bags that can charge devices, connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can even weigh themselves. These bags are a tricky purchase. While they’re super convenient, they’re also banned on many airlines if the internal batteries aren’t removable.

Many of them contain lithium batteries, which contain highly flammable liquid and are not allowed in a plane’s cargo hold where checked luggage is stowed. All bags need to have their batteries removed before checking them, though usually you can bring the bag or battery pack on board with you.


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Plug your phone into this luggage to charge it while traveling

Before buying a smart bag, try it out at a store, if possible. A bag may say it has an easily removable battery, but you don’t know how true that will be for you until you give it a go. You really don’t want to be struggling with producing the battery in line at the security checkpoint.

Pack smart

While packing, be sure the things you’ll use the least are on the bottom of the bag, while more useful items are on top.

It’s a good idea to keep most of your valuables in your carry-on luggage, just in case your bags are lost. Be sure to pack jewelry at the bottom of your bag, away from the opening, and keep your wallet in an inner pocket so they will be harder to steal.

You may also want to keep a few bills hidden in the pages of a paperback or magazine you brought with you. Most thieves won’t think to steal reading material, so you’ll still have some cash even if your wallet is snatched. Another good hiding place for some extra cash or a traveler’s check is between your phone and its case.

Two more things that should always be in your carry-on bag, not your checked bag, are prescriptions and contact lenses or glasses. If your checked luggage gets lost, it can be hard to quickly replace medication and even harder to get replacement prescription glasses or contacts at your destination.

Airports tend to lose luggage sometimes. It happens. It’s important to pack a spare set of clothes (and underwear!) in your carry-on to hold you over until your bags are found. Pack lightweight clothing that can be rolled up and put in the bottom of your bag without wrinkle worries. Fast drying clothes are also a good idea, just in case you’ll need to hand wash them in the hotel room sink.

Avoid checking luggage altogether

If you’re aiming to avoid checked baggage entirely, just pack smart! With a little bit of planning and a few key toiletries, you can pack for a 7 or even 10-day trip in one carry-on and a personal item (usually a backpack or purse). Granted, you’ll need to be comfortable wearing some things twice (hello, travel size fabric refreshers and wrinkle releasers!), but it is possible. Here are a few tips for traveling light:

Coordinate your clothing

Pack tops and bottoms that all match each other. Interchangeable outfits give you multiple outfit combinations with just a few key pieces. For example, pack a few pairs of pants or skirts and only bring tops that would match any of them. If you wear belts often, invest in a reversible one with a brown side and black side.

Pare down pairs of shoes

This is a tough one for some people, but committing to just two pairs of shoes for a trip can save quite a bit of space. Aim for two comfortable pairs, one casual and for more formal outings.

Take toiletries seriously

Toiletries go beyond just mini tubes of toothpaste. If you’re traveling with a limited number of clothing items, products like wrinkle releasers, lint rollers and fabric refreshers can work wonders for refreshing an outfit. Many come in travel sizes and take up less space than those extra pairs of pants. If you don’t want to wear anything twice, consider using your hotel’s laundry services.

Don’t waste space

Don’t bother packing things you know your hotel will provide for your like an iron or hair dryer. If you’re comfortable using hotel toiletries like shampoo and conditioner you can save space there, too.

What to do with your gadgets

Whether you’re planning to get work done or looking to stay entertained, your laptop or tablet can be your most important item in your carry on — be sure you use it right.

Airplane mode

Remember, airplane mode is called airplane mode for a reason – the flight crew will ask you to use it when the airplane doors are closed and during your entire flight. Use it on your tablet, phone or laptop when asked to. Jason Cipriani has a great post on how and when to use Airplane Mode on iPhone.

Stay charged

On a long flight, your laptop, phone or tablet can quickly go from 100 percent charged to desperate for power, especially if they’re your main source of entertainment. Be sure to bring a charging pack to combat low-battery fears. If I have a window seat I prefer a solar charger, like the X-Dragon Solar Charger Power Bank or the Beartwo Portable Solar Charger, because the sunlight coming through the window means it never runs out of power. Traditional battery packs, such as the Mophie Powerstation or the Anker PowerCore, are also good choices no matter your seat assignment. Both are small, but carry a decent charge.

Pack the right headphones

Now that your power concerns are covered, think about your ears. Many airlines supply free headphones, but the sound is less than spectacular and they can be flimsy. Sound-canceling headphones are ideal companions for your carry-on. You can use them to tune out crying children or talkative seatmates, even if you’re not listening to music. Here is our list of best noise-canceling headphones for 2018.

Need ideas of what to do with your devices while in flight? Mike Sorrentino has a great article with 5 steps to make your phone or tablet an in-flight entertainment center.

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Leaving on vacation? Put your smart home in vacation mode – CNET

The appeal of the smart home is, in part, the management and monitoring that happen while you’re at work or out for the evening. Your smart home can perform just as well over multiple days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you.

The appeal of the smart home is, in part, the management and monitoring that happen while you’re at work or out for the evening. Your smart home can perform just as well over multiple days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you. If you’re hitting the road this summer, we’ve got the tips you need to leave your smart home home alone with confidence.

Read more: Getting for your next trip like a pro with our best travel hacks.

Thermostats

If you have a smart thermostat, most types will detect that you’re away and offer a way to change the thermostat remotely. After all, that’s probably why you bought the thing in the first place. It’s a nice perk when you’re out for a few hours or a workday.

For longer periods of time or for thermostats that include a vacation mode, it’s a good idea to check the threshold settings before an extended absence. Sure, you can adjust them remotely, but the whole idea here is to set it and go. So before you leave, set the temperature ranges on your thermostat so you can save money while keeping your home safe.

High and low temperature thresholds save the most energy when they are set closer to the outside temperature than you’d probably prefer when at home. However, they should still be safe enough for your home.

Lights and shades

My parents always left the TV on when we were away so people would think we were home. I thought it was a weird game of pretend as a kid, but now as a homeowner it makes sense. Lighting isn’t a fail-safe protection against intruders, but having your lights or TV set to mimic human activity is a good start. Smart switches and schedules can do just that.

A good rule of thumb is that outdoor lights should be on at night and off during the day, while indoor lights should go on and off in different rooms. If you have smart switches, consider creating a schedule based on time of day that replicates what you’d typically do while home.

If you have automated window shades, consider setting them to stay down while you’re away. Keeping lights on might deter crime, but leaving your shades open could turn your living room into a window display for a burglar.

Cameras, doorbells and security systems

Several new smart-home security systems hit the market recently. While they do most of the work for you once they’re out of the box, it’s important to give them a quick status check before you leave. Security settings will differ depending on what products you have. Regardless of brand, it’s a good idea to make sure motion sensors, cameras, locks and doorbells have fresh or fully charged batteries and notifications correctly enabled to reach the right emergency contacts.

When it comes to cameras, be sure the lens is free of dirt, cobwebs or decor that might obstruct the view. If you’ve turned down motion sensitivity or set your camera to ignore motion in some areas inside your home, now is a good time to put those features back to maximum vigilance. Finally, ensure all notification settings are set to notify the appropriate people at the appropriate times.

Environment detectors

Leak, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors offer peace of mind every day, and even more so when you’re out of town. Making sure all of these have fresh batteries, a solid Wi-Fi connection, updated apps or firmware and correct notification settings is worth a few minutes of your time before you hit the road.

If your detectors aren’t connected to a live monitoring service, it’s even more important to get a notification sent to the right mobile device. That way, you can ask a friend or neighbor check out any suspicious alerts.

Robot vacuums and other small appliances

There are several robot vacuum cleaners out there with some version of a scheduling option. If that’s a feature you use often, turn it off while you’re away. If no one’s home to make messes, the vacuum doesn’t need to run. Plus, if you’ve enhanced the sensitivity of the motion detector portion of your security system (as I suggested), a robot vacuum could trigger false alarms.

You’ll save battery life and wear and tear on your vacuum by making sure it isn’t running when it doesn’t need to. The same goes for other small appliances that might run on a smart schedule or with smart switches. Run through your list of managed devices to be sure everything is on or off accordingly.

Add a human element

Yes, smart homes are cool. They can do a lot for you on a daily basis, and they keep you connected to home when you’re thousands of miles away. Still, smart homes aren’t perfect, and it’s a good idea to have one or two very trusted (and tech-savvy) humans keeping an eye on things.

Whether it’s sharing a camera feed, security code or Bluetooth key, knowing someone could physically check on your house if anything looked suspicious will help you travel happier.

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Chrome’s ‘not secure’ warning seeks to cut web surveillance, tampering – CNET

HTTP, one of the technologies that’s made the World Wide Web work since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web more than 25 years ago, is about to get a big black mark by its name, thanks to Google’s Chrome web browser.

HTTP, one of the technologies that’s made the World Wide Web work since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web more than 25 years ago, is about to get a big black mark by its name, thanks to Google’s Chrome web browser.

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol lets your web browser fetch a web page from the server that hosts it. HTTP has had a good run, but it has a problem: It doesn’t protect communications with encryption that blocks eavesdropping and tampering.

That’s why Google, Mozilla and other tech industry allies have been pushing websites everywhere to switch to the secure version called HTTPS. And it’s why, starting with the release of Chrome 68 on Tuesday, Google’s browser will warn you whenever it loads an unencrypted website with HTTP.

Chrome will show the words “not secure” next to the website in the address bar if it’s not encrypted. It’s a pretty open-ended warning, but you probably don’t need to panic if you see it. It’s far more likely to mean that it’s time for website operators to update their sites than it is an alert somebody is trying to do something nefarious with your personal information.

But that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Online privacy is in short supply, as revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and scandals like Cambridge Analytica show. Even passive monitoring of unencrypted web traffic, while less severe than attacks that can steal your password, can reveal a lot about you.

Chrome has a lot of leverage over the web. It accounts for 59 percent of web traffic, according to web analytics firm Statcounter, and Chrome surpassed a billion users in 2015.

Here’s a look at what’s changing and why.

What’s so bad about HTTP?

HTTP has served the web well, but it’s vulnerable to all manner of problems from anyone that controls the network you’re using. That includes in-flight Wi-Fi, coffee shops, hotels and of course your internet service provider.

“Using HTTP for a website instead of HTTPS has always been problematic,” said Nick Sullivan, head of cryptography at Cloudflare, a company that helps websites keep up with traffic demands. “Every interaction you have with a website that is unencrypted is broadcasted to an unknown set of companies in arbitrary locations across the globe. This is a massive privacy problem. It’s also a security problem because the website content can be modified along the way without the user knowing. This invites intermediaries to insert ads, trackers or malicious software to websites.”

Troy Hunt, an independent security researcher, made a video that catalogs abuses that are possible with HTTP websites. Malicious actors can:

Insert ads or other content that aren’t in the original website, something Comcast has done with copyright warnings and modem update pop-ups.

Inject invisible software that mines cryptocurrency for somebody else’s financial benefit, something an Argentinian Starbucks store did in 2017.

Redirect people to fake websites with a technique called DNS hijacking so their usernames and passwords can be intercepted.

Governments with control over their nation’s internet infrastructure get extra abilities, too. China’s “Great Cannon” used unencrypted HTTP connections to turn visitors to Baidu’s website into unwitting attackers of the Github programming website. And Egypt has injected ads and run cryptocurrency mining software on people’s computers, according to the Tor Project for advancing private web use and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, a nonprofit that monitors Egyptian network censorship.

China and Egypt may seem distant to some, but United States law enforcement authorities don’t like encryption, either. FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier in July warned that tech companies that don’t comply with its push to weaken encryption could face legislation requiring them to do so.

What’ll I see in Chrome with an HTTP website?

Chrome’s changes have been gradual, starting when it hatched the Chrome warning plan way back in 2016 and continuing with a warning in February that the HTTP “not secure” alert would arrive in July. Here are the steps in the transition.

Right now if you visit an HTTP website, Chrome shows a circled “i” icon to the left of the address denoting an opportunity for more information. If you click it, Chrome says, “Your connection to this site is not secure.” That’s not particularly alarming, though it isn’t as comforting as the green padlock and word “secure” shown there for an HTTPS-protected connection.

Starting Tuesday with Chrome 68, an HTTP connection instead will show the words “not secure” alongside the information icon.

Then Chrome 69, due in September, will emphasize that secure HTTPS connections are ordinary, not something surprising, by dropping the green color for padlock icon and “secure” word it shows now. Instead you’ll see a less noticeable black lock, Google said in a May blog post. At some point later, that lock will disappear as Google tries to convince us that HTTPS should simply be what we expect.

Last, in October, Chrome 70 will take a more aggressive stance against unencrypted HTTP sites by changing the black “not secure” warning to a more alarming red color.

Mozilla said it’s focusing on other privacy efforts in Firefox for now. “When we have a specific timeline to share for marking all HTTP connections as insecure we will announce it.

Why haven’t we been using HTTPS all along?

HTTPS is decades old, but in the early days of the web, it was only used to protect us when typing obviously sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers into websites.

Why was it unusual? Years ago, HTTPS taxed server processors and network speeds, website operators had to pay for certificates that enabled the feature. The performance problems have long been solved, though, and an effort called Let’s Encrypt — sponsored by Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Akamai, Cisco Systems, Brave and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others — means certificates are now free.

That doesn’t mean moving to HTTPS is necessarily easy, though. It took NASA months to update its 3,000 websites to 95 percent HTTPS.

And the web is big. Really big. The internet has 1,663,673,364 websites, according to the latest tally by web monitoring firm Netcraft.

Google’s choice to call out HTTP sites as insecure, though, means there’s a strong new disincentive for website operators to put it off anymore.

Some would like to see browsers make us jump through even more hoops to load HTTP websites. “Users should have to opt-in to putting themselves at risk,” said Josh Aas, executive director of Let’s Encrypt. “Nobody is saying the old unmaintained websites have to be taken down. It’s absolutely not worth putting everyone at risk by default just to enable viewing historic or unmaintained websites.”

Who doesn’t use HTTP?

Most of the big sites you’re likely to use protect your connection with HTTPS — Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram. Even if you explicitly request their nonsecured pages by typing an address beginning “http://” they’ll upgrade you to a secure link anyway.

But there are others who aren’t there yet. Some, like Chinese search company Baidu and e-commerce company Alibaba, will give you an HTTP page if you just type their URLs into the address bar, but will give you an encrypted page if you type “https://” before the addresses.

Others, like ESPN.com and BBC.com, give you the unencrypted website even if you specifically request the encrypted one.

HTTP is steadily spreading, though. The Let’s Encrypt effort issues more than 600,000 HTTPS certificates per day, and more than 73 percent of website connections made with Firefox are secure today.

And in the most recent of his twice-yearly assessments, security researcher Scott Helme said the number of encrypted websites among the Alexa list of the top million grew 32 percent from the previous study.

What problems will ‘not insecure’ HTTP cause?

Even though upgrading to HTTPS is easier now, change is always difficult. It can mean extra work for administrators and others. The Chrome team’s choice about what’s best for the web can irritate people.

“Some people just don’t want to do the work to secure their site, and at the same time they don’t want the fact that it’s not secure to be communicated to their visitors,” Aas said.

Dave Winer, notable on the internet for having invented blogs and the RSS technology used to inform subscribers of updates to them, is a prominent critic of Google’s “not secure” warning for HTTP websites. He likens the move to “a massive book burning” because of the effect he fears it will have on older websites.

The HTTPS fans disagree.

“This is not like book burning. It’s more like requiring restaurants to publicly display their health rating score,” said Cloudflare’s Sullivan. “Informing the public about a problem with a service is a great way to encourage the service’s owner to fix it.”

Another wrinkle: With HTTPS certificates so easy to obtain these days, it’s less of an assurance that a site is legitimate. “Encrypting web sessions does not guarantee that the site itself is safe,” said Jeff Wilbur, technical director of the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance initiative. “Bad actors can provide HTTPS too.”

Will that slow down the move to HTTPS?

Nope.

With years of pushing, the obstacles to HTTPS adoption are lower and the incentives to use it are higher. In addition to Chrome’s warning and Let’s Encrypt free certificates, there are now lots of online resources from Google, Hunt and others. And newer browser features often require HTTPS. It’s pretty clear where the future is headed.

“The Internet Society believes that encryption should be the norm for Internet traffic and that this is an important additional step in ongoing efforts by the technical community to address the issue of pervasive monitoring,” Wilbur said.

Ultimately, HTTPS becoming ordinary means a harder time for attackers, snoopers and data thieves.

“When we stood up the World Wide Web, we gave nobody any assurances who they’re talking to. We got away for it for 25 years,” Hunt said. But now we’re moving toward a future where the “not secure” HTTP warning will become a rarity. “We’ll look back at this time in five years or so and say, ‘Wasn’t that crazy?'”

Security: Stay up-to-date on the latest in breaches, hacks, fixes and all those cybersecurity issues that keep you up at night.

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How millimeter-wave wireless could help support 5G and IoT

The electromagnetic spectrum is the highway over which wireless operates, with multiple lanes capable of carrying traffic at different speeds. Higher frequencies – and thus shorter wavelengths – are able to move more information per unit of time.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the highway over which wireless operates, with multiple lanes capable of carrying traffic at different speeds. Higher frequencies – and thus shorter wavelengths – are able to move more information per unit of time.

Millimeter or extremely high frequency (EHF) waves, occupy the relatively unused portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between 30 GHz and 300 GHz, which offers greater throughput and thus higher overall capacity than the increasingly crowded WiFi bands under 6 GHz.

[ Check out our hands-on reviews: 5 top hardware-based Wi-Fi test tools and Mojo wireless intrusion prevention system. ]

Historically, millimeter-wave technology has been expensive and difficult to deploy, which has limited it to niche applications like radio astronomy, microwave remote sensing and terrestrial fixed communications.

More recently, however, interest has increased significantly as those two obstacles have been largely overcome. Millimeter wave has evolved into a cost-effective option for meeting the ongoing network capacity challenge faced by enterprises. We expect prices to continue to decline and price/performance to continue to improve, making millimeter-wave solutions a first option for organizations everywhere.

A wide range of outdoor and indoor applications are poised to benefit from this set of technologies.

Fixed Wireless

The traditional fixed point-to-point (P2P) and point to multi-point (P2MP) microwave communications are all right at home in millimeter-wave solutions. Millimeter-wave products offer little additional complexity over microwave-based solutions, and licensing, where required, is almost always handled by the equipment vendor or dealer involved in the sale and installation. Parabolic antennas used in millimeter-wave applications can already be seen in campus and metro-area building-to-building bridges, backhaul and interconnect, links to ISPs, and in ad-hoc applications like telemetry and surveillance.

Wireless PAN and LAN

The IEEE wireless personal area network standard 802.15.3c, the 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard and upcoming 802.11ay standard all specify the 60 GHz band. Given the limited object penetration, range and directionality of millimeter-wave signals, applications here are usually restricted to in-room and open-office settings where line-of-sight can be assured. We expect that general access applications using 802.11ad will become common; chipsets are now making their way to market.

We also expect an increasing variety of outdoor and campus solutions based on these technologies. Many existing microwave and millimeter-wave solutions will evolve over time to inexpensive P2P, P2MP and mesh solutions based on .11ad components, opening the door to even wider deployment opportunities.

Similarly, we expect millimeter-wave components to find their way into a variety of IoT solutions, given that so many of these will be clustered and thus amenable to short-range and mesh approaches.

Despite the potential for multi-gigabit throughput, 802.11ad has seen essentially no real-world uptake to this point. This is due largely to the success of 802.11ac in addressing pent-up and growing demand for WLAN capacity, but also suspicion regarding the behavior and utility of the 60-GHz bands – wariness that is eerily similar to that expressed regarding the 5-GHz bands when 802.11a was initially introduced in 1999.

Given time for users to travel up the experience curve and the attraction of low prices and excellent price/performance, this situation is likely to improve over the next few years.

5G Backhaul

As 5G is intended in large measure as a replacement for all other wireless WANs and even, where economically feasible, wired broadband services, significant new backhaul capacity will be required. Since 5G will often apply the “small cells” model of denser base-station deployments, millimeter-wave backhaul makes sense even with its inherent range limitations, and even in the unlicensed bands, thanks to narrow beams, directional antennas and the applicability of mesh techniques enabling rapid, cost-effective deployment of backhaul capacity.

5G Access

More controversial is the application of millimeter waves for 5G mobile subscriber access. Some experiments have indicated that this should be a valuable option in locales with densely packed base stations and appropriate beamsteering capabilities. It’s not clear, however, if the industry will adopt millimeter-wave mobile access on a large scale, and appropriately equipped subscriber devices would be required and, obviously, are not currently on the market.

[ Find out how 5G wireless could change networking as we know it and how to deal with networking IoT. | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ]Vehicular applications

Millimeter-wave radar is already in use in some automotive applications, and mobile connectivity at these frequencies might be useful in inter-vehicle links for network-based vehicles of the future.

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Apple’s HomePod update will finally let you make calls

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is reportedly getting a number of new features in an upcoming update, including the ability to (finally) make and receive calls.

iGeneration reported on the iOS 12 update, which is currently in public beta, meaning there may still be more to come to Apple devices as the update is finalised.

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is reportedly getting a number of new features in an upcoming update, including the ability to (finally) make and receive calls.

iGeneration reported on the iOS 12 update, which is currently in public beta, meaning there may still be more to come to Apple devices as the update is finalised.

25 new iOS 12 features that Apple didn’t tell us about

The calling feature is likely to attract the most attention, allowing users to link their iPhones to the HomePod to make calls to mobile and landline numbers. The HomePod was light on functionality when it launched in late 2017, and Apple is presumably hoping the new features will help shift more units of the device.

The report also pointed to improved translation features, tracking features for locating your iPhone, and the ability to switch WiFi networks without entirely resetting the device.

All the kids are doing it

In contrast to the HomePod, Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers is already able to make calls and send text messages to other Alexa-enabled devices.

Users in the United States can also now expand this capability with the Amazon Echo Connect, an Echo accessory that enables you to make calls to standard landlines and mobile phones, including international and emergency calls – with an expectation that the accessory will come to the UK and Europe in the coming months.

The best Alexa skills and commands: the ultimate Amazon Echo tips and tricks

Game Changing Regulation: Outdoor PtMP 60GHz Connectivity Now Allowed in the UK

FORT LEE, New Jersey, July 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Siklu ready to serve this massive new opportunity with the auto aligning PtMP MultiHaul product family

Siklu Communication, the global market leader in mmWave wireless solutions announced today that its MultiHaul™ Point to Multipoint solution is now available in the UK, following the latest regulation change by Ofcom.

FORT LEE, New Jersey, July 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Siklu ready to serve this massive new opportunity with the auto aligning PtMP MultiHaul™ product family

Siklu Communication, the global market leader in mmWave wireless solutions announced today that its MultiHaul™ Point to Multipoint solution is now available in the UK, following the latest regulation change by Ofcom.

With the introduction of the award winning MultiHaul™ solution Siklu expanded the multi-gigabit solutions available in the UK. When a MultiHaul™ deployment is combined with Siklu’s EtherHaul™ PTP products for backhaul, operators and customers have access to Siklu’s complete end to end portfolio of mmWave solutions.

MultiHaul™ is delivering carrier grade performance in 5G Fixed Wireless and Smart City applications worldwide. By taking advantage of Siklu’s beamforming technology to auto-align links and simplified out of the box deployment, Siklu offers a true plug & play, small form factor system. The MultiHaul™ is also supported by Siklu’s SmartHaul™ WiNDE software, an automated network design tool for PTP and PTMP Siklu radios.

The solution’s 90-degree scanning antenna makes installation by a single person a reality. By combining auto-alignment on the Terminal Unit with the same capability on the Base Unit, multiple terminal units can connect to a base unit with virtually no manual alignment.

Unlike traditional wireless radios that use wide beams that can be easily intercepted or interfered with, the MultiHaul™ leverages narrow beams in the widely available and license exempt 60GHz frequency band. This helps ensure interference free and secure communication, connecting up to 8 terminal units at up to a range of 400 metres.

Siklu’s broad E-band and V-band product portfolio has already crossed a milestone of 130 Smart City installations, and hundreds of 5G GTTH applications installed. The City of Wichita is one of many examples where MultiHaul™ radios are used to deliver multi-gigabit connectivity, running multiple applications on the same wireless network simultaneously, unaffected by 5GHz saturation in the area.

“We are thrilled to introduce our innovative, leading mmWave Point to Multipoint product to the UK market,” said Eyal Assa, Siklu’s CEO. “The MultiHaul™ series is ideal for the emerging 5G Gigabit Wireless Access (GWA) market with enterprise, residential and smart city customers demanding gigabit connectivity.”

About Siklu

Siklu delivers multi-gigabit wireless fibre connectivity in urban, suburban and rural areas. Operating in the mmWave bands, Siklu’s wireless solutions are used by leading service providers and system integrators to provide 5G Gigabit Wireless Access services. In addition, Siklu solutions are ideal for Smart City projects requiring extra capacity such as video security, WiFi backhaul and municipal network connectivity all over one network. Thousands of carrier-grade systems are delivering interference-free performance worldwide. Easily installed on street-fixtures or rooftops, these radios have been proven to be the ideal solution for networks requiring fast and simple deployment of secure, wireless fibre. http://www.siklu.com.

Press Contacts

Shiri Butnaru

Marketing Manager, Siklu

shiri.b@siklu.com

Dave Sumi

VP Marketing, Siklu

dave.s@siklu.com

Which Microsoft Surface should I buy? – CNET

In June 2012, Microsoft announced its first Surface hybrid tablet. Not only was it the first of its kind, but the first hardware designed, built and sold by Microsoft to work seamlessly with the software giant’s Windows operation system.

In June 2012, Microsoft announced its first Surface hybrid tablet. Not only was it the first of its kind, but the first hardware designed, built and sold by Microsoft to work seamlessly with the software giant’s Windows operation system.

Since then the company has built out its Surface hardware lineup to meet the needs of students and home and professional users. Microsoft’s new Surface Go, a streamlined 10-inch entry-level detachable two-in-one, could potentially be a fit for all three of those groups depending on the performance needs.

If you’re not sure where to begin or even what Microsoft’s Surface line has to offer, well, you can start right here. Plus, at the end, you can see our recommendations for some of the best Surface alternatives available.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Surface Pro

The one that started it all (if you forget about the Surface RT, and you should). Microsoft’s current top tablet-cum-laptop is still the gold standard for the category despite being a pretty minor update from the Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Pro’s detachable design is best as a tablet first and laptop second, especially if you use it on your lap more often than not. The keyboard is excellent and certainly makes this a great choice when you need to travel as light as possible. Bear in mind the keyboard cover and pen are not included and they aren’t cheap: The Type Cover is $130 or $160 and the Surface Pen is $100.

Now available in Wi-Fi only as well as Wi-Fi plus LTE Advanced versions, configurations start as low as $800 that have enough performance for basic home or student use, while power users can load it up with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD for $1,900. Read CNET’s full review.

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Surface Go

The Go is Microsoft’s latest Surface device and is basically a new-and-improved version of the budget-friendly 10-inch Surface 3. It’s smaller and lighter than that device, which also makes it more travel friendly than the current 12.3-inch Surface Pro.

The little tablet is, however, running on a lower-end Intel Pentium processor so if you need high performance, you’ll want to stick with the Surface Pro. The Go should work well as either a complementary device to a more powerful laptop or desktop or for anyone with basic laptop needs, e.g. web browsing, email, word processing, note taking and simple sketching as well as a tablet for media consumption.

Prices start at $399, but like the Pro, the Go doesn’t come with its $130 Type Cover or $100 Surface Pen. We haven’t tested it out yet, but it does look like promising competition to the entry-level iPad and Acer’s Chromebook Tab 10. Read CNET’s hands-on first impressions.

Preorder from Microsoft
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Despite initial appearances, the Surface Book (the original and this update) is a two-in-one design that, like the Surface Pro, is detachable from its keyboard. But its keyboard base is more than just some keys, a touchpad and a couple ports. Inside is an extra battery and enough graphics power for content creation and gaming, courtesy of a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 in the 13.5-inch version or a GTX 1060 in the 15-inch model.

The Book 2 is tailor-made for creatives who can appreciate the large pen-enabled display and the high performance and design of a full laptop. Read CNET’s full review.

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Microsoft Surface Laptop

If you have no need for a detachable two-in-one of any kind, Microsoft has a straight-up laptop for you. While the Surface Pro targets business types and Surface Book aims for creatives, the Laptop is pitched for students. Its thin-and-light traditional clamshell design makes it a solid choice for toting around campus and with more than 10 hours of battery life in our tests, you won’t have to worry about finding an outlet in between classes.

Prices start at less than $700 (and that’s before any educational discounts), but our preferred configuration will run you about $1,000. Read CNET’s full review.

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Surface Studio

It’s the Surface Pro, but big and definitely not portable. The 28-inch Studio all-in-one Windows PC has a better-than-4K 4,500×3,000-pixel resolution touchscreen that folds all the way down to a low drafting table angle of 20 degrees and has a seriously wide color range (Adobe sRGB or P3 color spaces). It’s also expensive (the base price is $2,999) and runs on outdated hardware.

While we really liked the Surface Pro when it launched in 2016, it’s also well overdue for an update. Unless you can get a good deal on one, we recommend holding off to see if Microsoft loads it up with eighth-gen Intel processors and the latest Nvidia graphics chips later this year. Read CNET’s full review.

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Surface alternatives

The flexibility of Windows 10 (and Windows 8 before it) to work as an OS for touchscreen devices as well as a traditional desktop OS has led to a lot of convertible and detachable two-in-one laptop designs. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives.

Best Surface Pro alternative: Lenovo Miix 720

Good performance, good battery life and a great price, the Miix is undeniably modeled after the Surface Pro. Unlike Microsoft, though, Lenovo includes its keyboard cover and active pen — and they’re excellent to boot. Read CNET’s full review.

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Best Surface Go alternative: Apple iPad

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s not running Windows and it’s not even a “real desktop OS.” The entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, however, is direct competition for the Surface Go, and if you don’t need to run Windows-only software, it’s your next best bet for the money. Read CNET’s full review.

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Best Surface Book alternative: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Although it doesn’t pull apart like the Surface Book, the XPS is the smallest, thinnest convertible two-in-one available at the moment. It’s also one of the first PCs to use an Intel CPU paired with an AMD Radeon Vega M GL GPU, which in our tests turned out some solid performance without hurting battery life. Read CNET’s full review.

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Best Surface Laptop alternative:Asus ZenBook 13

It might not have the build quality of Microsoft’s touchscreen 13-inch laptop, but it does have overall excellent performance from its eighth-gen Intel processor and discrete Nvidia graphics chip, not to mention a nearly 11-hour battery life, all wrapped up in a slim, lightweight and attractive package for just less than $1,000. Read CNET’s full review.

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Best Surface Studio alternative: Dell XPS 27

To be honest, there is no good alternative at the moment for the Studio. The closest is the XPS 27, which is also old (though not as old as the Studio). Its display is excellent, but not as good as the Studio’s, and although it is a touchscreen and can be adjusted all the way down to your desk, it’s not pen-enabled. It is a fraction of the price, however. Read CNET’s full review.

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The best laptop bags and backpacks for 2018

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Samsung launches the budget friendly Galaxy J8 in the UAE

Samsung has finally announced the launch the new budget friendly Galaxy J8 in the UAE. The new handset joins Samsung’s other mid-ranged devices such as the Galaxy A6 and A6 Plus that were launched earlier this year.

Samsung has finally announced the launch the new budget friendly Galaxy J8 in the UAE. The new handset joins Samsung’s other mid-ranged devices such as the Galaxy A6 and A6 Plus that were launched earlier this year.

Samsung Galaxy J8 Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy J8 runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung’s custom UI skinned on top. It comes with a 6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED 2.5D curved glass display a resolution of 1480 x 720 pixels.

In terms of performance, the Samsung Galaxy J8 is powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. It has been launched in two variant which are 4GB RAM with 64GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. Both of these devices feature a microSD slot that can further expand storage by256GB.

Coming to the camera department, the Samsung Galaxy J8 features a dual camera setup at the back consisting of a 16MP primary camera with f/1.7 aperture and a 5MP secondary camera with f/1.9 aperture. There is an LED flash at the right side of the camera and a fingerprint sensor has been placed below the camera. On the front, the device sports a 16MP selfie camera with an LED flash.

The Samsung Galaxy J8 is powered by a bigger 3,500mAh battery and the connectivity options on the device include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz), GPS, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, FM Radio and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Samsung Galaxy J8 Pricing and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy J8 with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage has been priced at AED 999 while the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage variant has been priced at AED 1,199. It will be available in black, orchid gray and gold color options from major retailers as well as Samsung’s online store.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 release date, price, news and leaks