The Morning After: Amazon Echo (2020) review

The smart speaker that got things started is back, and it looks a little different now. Nathan Ingraham reviewed the new spherical Amazon Echo, and the good news is that no matter what you think of its looks, it sounds better than ever. Adding an extra tweeter — not to mention the built-in Zigbee home hub — seems to have made all the difference.

Amazon Echo and Nest Audio

That odd shape does mean its indicator light is a bit hidden, but when the sound is good enough that buying two to create a stereo setup seems like a reasonable option, maybe we can get over it… maybe.

— Richard Lawler

Garmin’s new smartwatch is for game streamersWhat?

Garmin Instinct Esports Edition

Garmin is offering Twitch broadcasters and other game streamers a way to layer their heart rate and other metrics into their streams, with an Esports Edition of its Instinct GPS smartwatch.

The smartwatch uses Bluetooth to hook into a PC streaming tool called Str3amup!, which could also be the name for a Nickelodeon-branded soft drink. Broadcasters can then display their live heart rate, stress and Body Battery energy level data on their streams.

It also has an esports activity profile to monitor heart rate and stress level along with the game session time and time of day. All this, along with more typical smartwatch features like sleep monitoring, costs a mere $300. Continue reading.

Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro hands-onAnother powerful flagship that you won’t buy

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Huawei made another impressive smartphone, but it’s hamstrung yet again by the lack of Google Services, or any realistic replacement for what the Google Play app store offers.

Daniel Cooper spent the last few days with the Mate 40 Pro, and says there’s much to celebrate, but the same big reason not to buy. There’s yet another impressive camera setup, which includes a 50-megapixel f/1.9 primary sensor, a 20-megapixel f/1.8 ultra-wide cine camera and a 12-megapixel f/3.4 periscope telephoto sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS). And again, the imaging performance is impressive.

Meanwhile, the phone is powered by a 5nm processor, the Kirin 9000, which ensures very smooth running — even if there aren’t many apps or games to truly push it. It’s also, simply, a very pretty flagship smartphone. But that just isn’t enough when it comes to how you actually use a smartphone — apps and all. Continue reading.

Google Fi’s phone subscription gets you a Pixel 4a for just $15 per monthThis is the cheapest way to get a Pixel 4a.

Google Fi

Like many mobile carriers, Google Fi is now ready to offer discounts on devices if you agree to a two-year package. However unlike some carrier agreements, this subscription attaches a good price to an already great phone — Google’s Pixel 4a. If you forego device insurance, you can get what we called “the best $350 phone” for $216, paid at $9 per month over two years.

Otherwise, at the normal $15 per month–two-year rate, you get the phone and insurance for the same $350 you’d otherwise pay up front, plus an opportunity to upgrade to a new device under the same package at the end.Continue reading.

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