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Everything You Need To Know About The New MacBook Pro

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Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its vision for 3D content creation and interaction by introducing a more powerful Surface Book and the new Surface Studio All-In-One computer. Today, it was Apple’s turn to update its hardware lineup.

Apple TV

Apple TV

Apple unveiled a new app for the Apple TV, simply called “TV”. This aggregates all the TV shows and movies from all the media apps installed on Apple TV such as HBO, Starz, and others. The TV app is also available for iPhone and iPad for watching on the go. There is also Siri integration to allow spoken queries such “what football games are on?”.

Macbook Touch Bar Apple

MacBook Pro

There were leaked photos earlier this week of the new MacBook Pro showing a touch panel above the keyboard. Those leaks were officially confirmed as Apple (finally) unveiled new 13” and 15” MacBook Pros. To start off, both versions are slimmer and lighter than their predecessors, feature a touchpad that is twice as big as before, and feature second generation butterfly keyboard switches that were originally introduced on the 12” MacBook.

The 15” version has a quad core Intel i7 processor with AMD Radeon Pro (Polaris) graphics. Apple says the 15” MacBook Pro has 130% faster 3D graphics performance than the outgoing model, 60% better gaming performance, and 57% faster video editing. The 13” version has an i5 or i7 processor and Intel Iris integrated graphics. Both MacBook Pros feature four USB Type C ports which support Thunderbolt 3 as well as other display technologies such as HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA.

The star of the show was the new touch panel above the keyboard called the “Touch Bar”. This is a touch screen strip across the top of the keyboard that can change what it displays depending what application is open. For example, if a music app is open, the Touch Bar will display music playback controls.

In an email app, the Touch Bar can show relevant email shortcuts for sending, composing, and adding contacts to the email. While typing, the Touch Bar can even do word suggestions like you can on the iPhone/iPad keyboard. Finally, Touch ID was built right into Touch Bar on the far right. This not only enables authentication for logging in but also allows Apple Pay authentication in the browser. Siri also has a dedicated space on the Touch Bar. Many applications already have Touch Bar support including the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop.

But wait there’s more! For all of you who were waiting for a new MacBook Air, you’re in luck…kind of. Since it’s been awhile since Apple has made updates to its Air line (see what I did there?), Apple made a version of the new 13” MacBook Pro that eschews the Touch Bar for traditional function keys and only has two USB-C ports. That means the MacBook Air brand is officially dead with the only brands going forward being MacBook and MacBook Pro. Regardless, the Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro should be a worthwhile upgrade for MacBook Air stalwarts.

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Airtags VS Tile: Where to Turn When You Lose Your Stuff

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The Apple Spring Loaded Event has millions of Apple users excited over its new announcements and updates. Among them is the Airtags, and it’s part of Apple’s “Find My” collection. However, the tracker faces stiff competition from an established brand called Tile. It’s way ahead of Airtags, but does Airtags give Tile a run for its money?

Here’s our take on the Airtags vs. Tile debate.

Airtags vs. Tile: Look and Feel

The Airtag comes in one color and shape so far: white and round. On the back, it has a small stainless steel cover that gives you access to the replaceable battery.  But, if you want to add some color to your Airtag, Apple made colorful keyrings available for buyers. You can make it classy by buying a Hermès keyring, charm, or luggage tag.

Meanwhile, Tiles come in different colors and shapes, depending on which ones you’ll buy.

The Pro and Slim Tiles have four available colors:

  • Ruby Red
  • Black
  • Azurite
  • Rose
  • White (only comes in the two and four-packs for Pro)

The Pro is a square plastic with a small hole on the upper left. You can slide a part of the back when you need to replace the battery. The speakers are also at the back. It has a button that will pair your Tile to the phone for the first time or help you locate your phone.

On the one hand, the Tile Slim is rectangular, and the speakers are at the front of the Tile. On the other hand, unfortunately, the battery is built-in, so you can’t replace the battery.

The Mate is white and looks similar to the Pro.

Meanwhile, the Sticker is round and comes in black. As the name implies, you can stick this anywhere. Like the Slim, the battery is built-in. This one is closest to the Airtag look.

Aside from colors, Mate also has different Limited Edition designs available.

You can fit the Airtags and all Tile products inside your bag. In addition, you can stick Tile Stickers on items such as your remote control, water bottle, and wallet.

Verdict: Let’s give this to Tile. It’s cool to choose between colors and different Tile types.

Versatility and Functionality

Tile has been in the tracker game longer. Since 2013, the company has expanded its line of Tile products. As of 2021, the current Tile line consists of:

  • Pro
  • Mate
  • Slim
  • Sticker

Tile has the upper hand in terms of versatility. After all, they are ahead of the game.

When using Tile, both Bluetooth and location should be active to pair the device to any item. You can choose an item to assign to your Tile. From there, you can select a ringtone that you want to stick with. And that’s it. It’s all paired up.

Customers can use Tile on Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

For the Airtag, you need to open the Bluetooth first. Once you unwrap the Airtag from the plastic, place it near your device, and it will pair after a few seconds. You can even choose the category of where you’ll put your Airtag (e.g., keys, backpack).

Airtags are exclusive to iOS devices. Its Precision Finding feature is compatible only with these devices:

  • iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, mini, Pro, Pro Max

Verdict: Tile wins this round again. After all, Tile has had the upper hand for almost ten years and has developed different products ideal for the needs of its various users.

Finding Your Things

Once you set up your device to your respective tracker, it’s time to test which is the best.

If you want to find your items using Tile, open the Tile App, click on the Tile, and click Find. It will alert you with the ringtone you set for the Tile.

Tiles aren’t the only things you can find. For example, you have your Tile on hand but need to find your phone, press the button on your Tile twice, and it will help you locate your phone. In addition, the 2020 Tiles are updated to notify you even if your phone is on Silent mode.

On the other hand, you have two options when finding an item with Airtag. That is, of course, you have compatible devices for the Precision Finding feature. You can locate an item through sound or Precision Finding. If an item is within range, it will direct you to the item and notify “Here” when you’ve reached your destination.

Finding Items in Public

In instances where you do lose an item in public, how are these trackers in action?

Tile has the Tile Network. So, for example, you lose your Tile. But another user may be within range of your Tile. The app will notify you that someone has found your Tile.

Airtags follow the same method. But Apple goes the extra mile by activating Lost Mode for an Airtag. You’ll immediately get notified of your item’s location, even if the person who found your item doesn’t have an iOS device. It’s all thanks to NFC.

Verdict: This one’s a tie. Airtags don’t have buttons that will help you locate your phone, but it has Precision Finding. Meanwhile, Tile can help you locate items through sound only, but it can help you find your smartphone with a push of a button (or two).

Airtags vs. Tile: Prices

Tile has more products in its tracker line. While they may have an advantage over versatility, let’s see which one is worth buying.

As a new release, there’s only one type of Airtags available for Apple users.

The cost of a one-pack Airtags is $29.99. Meanwhile, the four-pack is $99.99.

But what about Tile? Here is a breakdown of their prices for each type of Tile.

Pro

  • One-pack: $34.99
  • Two-pack: $59.99
  • Four-pack: $99.99

Mate

  • One-pack: $24.99
  • Two-pack: $47.99
  • Four-pack: $69.99

Slim

  • One-pack: $29.99
  • Two-pack: $53.99

Sticker

  • Two-pack: $39.99
  • Four-pack: $59.99

Verdict: Once again, Tile gets the win here. You can get a Tile based on your budget.

Airtags vs. Tile: Other Specs

Range

Tile specifies the range of how you can find your tracker in your home or anywhere else. But, of course, this also depends on which Tile you want to get.

Tile range:

  • Pro: 400 ft.
  • Mate and Slim: 200 ft.
  • Sticker: 150 ft.

On the other hand, Apple didn’t specify the range for their Airtags. However, TechCrunch estimates that it could be 40 ft. Meanwhile, TechRadar suggests that it could be as wide as 800 ft., considering it uses Bluetooth 5.0.

Water-Resistant or Waterproof?

Airtags are water-resistant, but Tile Pros and Mates are too. The Tile Slim and Sticker are waterproof.

Customization

Apple offers free engraving on the Airtags. On the other hand, Tile doesn’t have personal customization options, but they have different colors, as mentioned above. Also, for Tile, you can set the ringtone to whichever sound you like.

Privacy

Trackers like Tile and Airtags may pose the issue of privacy because you can slip a Tile or an Airtag in another person’s bag or belonging. Based on news reports, it appears that Apple has addressed potential privacy concerns. Airtags have a “Pairing Lock” that won’t pair an Airtag with another device.

If, in any case, someone could be stalking you, you will receive a notification that there’s an Airtag with you. Even those without an iOS device or smartphone can still benefit from this feature since the Airtag will make an alarm if it’s out of range after three days.

On the other hand, Tile says that they don’t sell or save any of their users’ data. They keep your data anonymous and of other Tile users.

Integrations

Users can connect Tile to their partners. Here’s where you can integrate Tile:

  • Fitbit (Inspire 2 has a built-in Tile)
  • HP (has products with built-in Tile)
  • Amazon (Amazon Alexa)

Conclusion

Tile has the upper hand as it’s been in the market for almost ten years. In addition, it has different product lines and prices for various budgets. But it doesn’t mean that Apple’s tracker isn’t inferior. Even if it’s a new release, it’s a worthy competitor to Tile. It’s way ahead in the privacy and precision tracking game.

Regardless of what you choose, both trackers do their job in helping you locate items instantly. Plus, you can be sure that trackers have privacy features in place and will give you peace of mind.

Check us out for more tech reviews.

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10 Mother’s Day Gifts for the Tech-Savvy Mom

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In today’s age, many mothers have already embraced the wonders of technology. And while most of them would keep mum about their desire to buy gadgets for themselves, we know that they deserve it. Instead of getting their own gadgets, they would probably spend the same amount for the family. Here’s our suggestion. This Mother’s Day, get your mom or wife one of these amazing gadgets to show your appreciation. 

1. MoCuishle Shiatsu Back, Shoulder, and Neck Massager – $39.99

First on our list is this Shiatsu Massage from MoCuishle. Come to think of it, being a mother can be exhausting. Moms have to take care of their family, maintain order at home, and sometimes need to get to work. So giving them a portable massager with advanced infrared heating is a great idea. They can also easily adjust it based on their preferred speed. It’s the least they deserve after a long day.  

2. MUSICOZY Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Headband – $24.98

When was the last time that your mother had a great sleep? She probably can’t even remember. 

Having said that, giving her sleep headphones is a present she will truly appreciate. It’s noise-canceling, so you don’t have to worry if you wish to watch movies the whole night. We bet that your mom will still sleep soundly with this device. 

You need to charge it for 1 to 2 hours, and she can use it for 10 hours. Also, it wouldn’t cause discomfort even if she uses it for the entire night. 

3. Tile Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder – $24.99

Mothers can be forgetful. Well, aren’t we all? We would often forget where we place our phones and keys. So the solution is to give her this Tile Bluetooth Tracker. 

This tracker can locate things within 200 feet away. With this small device, your mother can now find her phone even while on silent mode. And if she wants to improve her experience, she can always subscribe to the Premium plans for added security. 

That’s an extraordinary yet highly useful Mother’s Day gift. 

4. Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa – $24.99

Most households now own a smart speaker. So if your mother is considering one, get her an Echo Dot. It’s so compact that it can fit in most spaces. Plus, it has great sound quality, and you could easily control the device with your voice. 

Now, your mother can adjust thermostats, turn on lights, and even lock doors without moving too much. And with Alexa getting smarter, your mother will surely enjoy using it. 

5. Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker with Timer – $39.99

This Mother’s Day, why don’t you get your mom or wife this dual breakfast sandwich maker. But before you give it to her, make sure to prepare her a hearty breakfast. That way, you can show your utmost gratitude for all the things she does for the family. 

What’s fantastic about this product is that you can easily create a mean sandwich in just 4 easy steps. It also comes with a recipe book, so you won’t have to run out of great ideas about what to prepare next. The best part – it’s easy to clean.

Again, you would want to give someone a gift that will make their lives easier – not burden it.  

6.Dash Compact Air Fryer Oven Cooker – $44.99

Here’s another kitchen tool that most moms would appreciate. If you haven’t noticed, many people are going loco over air fryers – and for a good reason. When you use an air fryer, you are preparing healthy meals. And this particular brand features an auto-shutoff function which makes it safe. 

This air fryer is compact, perfect for small spaces. It’s another item that you would want to get for yourself as well.  

7. Mydethun Moon Lamp, Night Light – $29.99

A moon lamp can set the mood every night. It calms you down and can help with getting a good night’s rest. 

That said, your mother badly needs one. It’s an affordable gift idea which they could use for a long time. Take note that this moon lamp uses eco-friendly materials and could change its color from yellow to white. Just charge it for 2 – 3 hours, and it could last for around 4 – 8 hours.  

8. RENPHO Leg Massager for Relaxation – $79.99

If you believe her legs suffer from muscle fatigue, then we highly recommend that you get her this leg massager. This is beneficial for promoting healthy circulation as well. 

RENPHO Leg Massager can loosen stiff muscles and could relieve pain. Plus, it uses high-quality and breathable materials, so comfort will never be an issue. They could even use this not just at home but at the office too. 

9. ToiLight, The Original Toilet Night Light – $12.99

A toilet light might be a simple gift but a thoughtful one, nonetheless. From now on, no one will be interrupted in the middle of the night when someone turns on the light to use the bathroom. It also makes your bathroom break safer. If you must know, many people encounter accidents on their way to the bathroom, especially during the night. 

And before we forget, this uses a motion-sensor too! 

10. FVSA Rechargeable Hand Warmer with Lights – $26.99

Lastly, we have the rechargeable hand warmer. It’s also a clever gift idea during winter. 

Don’t worry about its safety because the manufacturer ensures that all materials are of top quality and engineered by the industry’s best. It also has a decent battery life where you can use it for 18 hours. 

It has a 1-year warranty if you want to have it replaced. Now, that’s value for your money. 


Conclusion 

In reality, Mother’s Day should be celebrated not just on one day but the whole year-round. Giving one of these gadgets isn’t enough for all their sacrifices – but it’s a simple way to say “Thank you.”

In the meantime, you might want to click the links and purchase right away while stocks last.

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Is The Blackvue DR900X-2CH Worth it? In Depth Review

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Blackvue, a well-known South Korean manufacturer, debuted their most advanced dashcam in 2020, the DR900X 2CH. This model replaces the previous generation of DR900S and comes loaded with new features. The main selling point being it now has cloud integration built into the unit. With the proper setup, you can monitor your vehicle 24/7 so long as there’s an internet connection. 

Worth reading: See our of the iRoad X10 4K UDH Dashcam

Choosing 1 or 2 channels

If you don’t think you’ll ever need a rear camera, then choosing the one channel is fine. However, if you ever plan to add a rear camera later, you’ll need to buy the two channels instead. The one-channel model isn’t compatible with a rear camera and is missing the actual port to plug in a rear camera. If you want dual channels and have front and rear cameras, you’ll need to make that decision up front.

What’s in The Box?

Everything comes in what seems like suitable and compact packaging. Both the front and rear cameras, accessories, and wires are well packaged, and there’s no unnecessary packaging. We appreciate it when companies are environmentally conscious.

Inside the box is everything you’d expect and some more. There’s an abundance of cables and wires that you’ll need later for installation. One thing I noticed that Blackvue does that other manufacturers neglect is included installation tools. The pry tool was a lifesaver for me when installing, as it helped prevent damages that I otherwise would’ve had if I had used whatever tools I had.

Installation

If this is your first time installing a dashcam, I recommend checking out the following Youtubers. They’ve done a great job walking through the installation process, especially the hardwiring bit.

Some things to keep in mind when installing…

  1. Download the app first: Make sure you set the dashcam with the app first. Then test the mount in different positions and see how it appears on your phone. The included 3M tape sticks once you place it down, so you won’t be able to make any adjustments. Make sure to try different placements and adjust accordingly before permanently sticking the camera in place.
  2. Clean your windshield: The adhesive is strong but will slip off if the glass is dirty. Use a glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol to give the area a good wipe before mounting.
  3. Front & Rear end of the wire: The wire that connects the front and rear camera have a definite front and rear end that’s labeled. Make sure you set up the front camera first, so you have it right.
  4. Accessibility to ports: When installing, ensure that all your ports and particularly the microSD slot are accessible. Some vehicles (like mine) have a large center console on the windshield that can block access to these ports.
  5. Install the CM100 LTE Module simultaneously: If you plan to use the CM100 LTE module for WIFI connectivity, make sure to install it at the same time. This way, you’ll only need to cable manage once.
  6. Use the pry tool: Use the included pry tool. Don’t try to use a screwdriver or anything with sharp edges. You could damage your interior or the wires.

Hardwiring

Previous models needed to have the Power Magic Pro device keep the dashcam running when the engine is off. Thankfully, the DR900X has a built-in low-voltage cutoff and comes with the hardwiring tools to connect the unit directly to your car.

I don’t see many reasons why you’d use the included cigarette lighter socket adapter. If you’re spending this much on a dashcam, you may as well spend the time to install it right to take advantage of all the features that come with it.

Many of the idle parking and live-view features require the unit to be hardwired, so keep that in mind

Front Camera

The DR900X’s 8mp CMOS sensor captures actual 4K UDH footages at 30fps. I say “actual” because I’ve tested other 4K dashcams that claim to record in 4K, but it’s not genuine 4K. Their smaller sensor records the footage at a lower resolution and then upscale to 4K. The front camera has a viewing angle of 162 degrees, which is more than enough real estate to see everything ahead and even a glimpse of the sides.

Video quality is excellent if this is your first dashcam or an upgrade from a lesser model. The resolution and pixel density produce sharp images at a distance, but it still lags behind VIOFO and Thinkware’s comparable dashcams. This is surprising given that Blackvue was the first manufacturer to roll out 4K on their devices. Blackvue’s devices have a competitive edge before, and I wish they’d kept improving their image quality.

Rear Camera

The rear camera equips a Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor capable of shooting full HD 1080P at 30fps. It’s a reliable rear setup that will give exceptional video quality day or night. The 139-degree viewing angle is standard and gets the job done. Video quality is clear, and the 1080p resolution can make out license plates within about 15-20 feet during daylight hours with decent lighting.

MicroSD Capacity

When purchasing, you can choose from 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB. These are NOT onboard storage, but instead of the size of microSD, they’ll ship with the unit. I would go with the 32GB and then purchase either the 128GB or 256GB microSD card separately to save some money.

The expandable storage is capable of up to 256GB, which will give you about 21 hours of recording. That should be plenty for most use cases, including parking mode.

The microSD port is hidden behind a snap-on cover on the side of the front camera. This can be tricky and even frustrating if you frequently take your microSD card out to upload footage. I was not too fond of this because I find myself having to take the entire front camera off the mount to get the microSD card out. Hopefully, for the next iteration, Blackvue makes the microSD port more accessible.

Video Storage

Videos are saved on the microSD card and can also be uploaded to the cloud. Videos are optimized, and the file size is smaller than you’d expect, given it’s recording in full 4K UDH. This certainly helps to make the most out of your 256GB microSD capacity. Others have reported reduced video quality due to this optimization. However, it’s still lightyears better than 2K quality upscaled to 4K.

Cloud Integration

This is likely one of the main reasons you’re considering the DR900X, so let’s go over it in detail. There are a few requirements that you need to be aware of before buying this device.

Requirements for Cloud Integration

  1. Hardwire: You’ll need to use the hardwiring kit. A cigarette socket won’t do.
  2. CM100 LTE Module: You’ll need to purchase the $169 CM100 LTE module separately.
  3. Data plan: You’ll also need a sim card with a data plan to provide WIFI for the car.
  4. Blackvue Cloud subscription: Finally, you’ll need to have a subscription to Blackvue Cloud. Luckily, there’s a free plan that gives you up to 10 minutes of live view per day and 100 playbacks per month. If you need unlimited live view and playback, you can upgrade to the Smart Plan for $11.99/m.

Overall, this may seem daunting to first-time users, but it’s a fairly basic requirement to get your vehicle set up for cloud recording. Blackvue isn’t making you do anything unnecessary.

Blackvue Cloud’s Subscription

Blackvue currently offers the best cloud-integrated dashcam on the market. Almost everything happens instantly. The real-time notifications are responsive. The live view also gives an actual live view with reasonably low latency, which is impressive. And whenever there are firmware updates, you can update directly from your phone.

Other manufacturers will try to make more money off their customers by offering a flimsy free plan that lacks essential features. They’ll force you to upgrade to a paid subscription at some point. As a consumer, we don’t appreciate these bait and switch schemes.

Fortunately, Blackvue’s free plan is also generous and gives plenty of value as-is. All the essentials you’ll need are included in the Free plan, including 5GB of storage (Smart plan also has 5GB). You don’t need to upgrade unless you have a strong need for unlimited viewing, unlimited playback, and up to 365-day storage.

Robust App

Unlike the VIOFO, the Blackvue doesn’t have a screen. You’ll need to make all the adjustments via a paired Android/iOS app. Generally, these apps tend to be an afterthought and riddled with bugs (looking at you, Thinkware). Blackvue’s App, although barebone looking, is a breeze to use.

The branding was a bit sketchy since it didn’t look like a native app from the manufacturer. But once downloaded and connected, it works like a charm—no crashes, glitches, or features that don’t work.
When using a dashcam with an app interface, it’s important that the App works flawlessly and get constant updates. Otherwise, you’re stuck with a unit with tons of capabilities but no user interface to take advantage of them.

One thing I wish Blackvue had done was making the App look more polished and professional. Currently, iRoad dashcams have the best-looking and most robust App interface. Blackvue’s App experience is solid but only comes second.

Heat Tolerance

This is an area that the DR900X outshines its predecessor. The DR900S could only tolerate a temperature range from -20C (-4F) to 70C (158F). Meanwhile, the DR900X can withstand extremes from -20C (-4F) up to 80C (176F). This level of heat resistance puts the Blackvue on a comparable level of reliability as the iRoad X10 dashcam.

Philadelphia didn’t have the weather extremities needed to put this unit to the test, so we’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word for it.

Verdict

The Blackvue DR900X is one of the best dashcams you can buy in 2021. It has everything from 4k Resolution, Cloud-integration, high-temperature tolerance, a full suite of security and parked features, to an intuitive iOS/Android app. At $449, it’s certainly a premium, but you will get premium features for the price. Owner’s Mag highly recommends the Blackvue DR900X.

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