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Review: Whistle 3 Pet Tracker

Because I work from home, and because my dogs are the best dogs, we are in contact all day, every day. We're a three-headed, ten-legged Hydra, rotating around each other as we move from my office to the living room to the kitchen. Whatever I do, they're usually there too—whether that's sleeping at night, pacing around my living room, or feeding my kids. And unfortunately, whatever happens to me, usually happens to them too. Last night, a friend saw my dogs after a long absence. “Hey you!” he said, scratching…

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Review: Samsung Q8FN 4K TV

One of the best perks of the job is that I get to try some tech toys that are simply out of my price range. From high-end cameras to bonkers-expensive pro laptops, I realize I'm pretty spoiled. That's why when I had the chance to try one of the newest Samsung 4K TVs in my apartment, a sense of dread came over me. Would swapping my dinky, three-year-old 40-inch for an expansive, pricey, 55-inch 4K unit ruin my life? Would I feel compelled to immediately jump onto the higher-def bandwagon…

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Lenovos New Yoga Book Stretches Laptop Design

Two years ago, when Lenovo first unveiled the futuristic Yoga Book, the company held it up alongside a hardcover Dr. Seuss book to demonstrate how thin and light it was. It had a “Halo” keyboard: a bottom half that lit up to create a digital keyboard. You could write directly on this keyless keyboard, too, as though it was a notepad. It was a whole lot of new tech packed into a tiny, $500, fold-over tablet, but not all of that tech was fully-baked. The flat, matte keyboard came with…

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Review: Even H3 Wireless Headphones

The audio market is full of headphones that strive to put out the most balanced, best sound signature possible, so listeners can hear every sonic detail in their favorite tunes precisely as "the artist intended." It’s a noble pursuit, but it assumes we’re all hearing the same things. In reality, much like eyesight, we all hear differently—and our ears continue to change as we age. I enjoyed using the Nuraphones when I reviewed them earlier this year. This space-age set of cans used a NASA-grade microphone to automatically map my…

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Android Pie Is Here. Let’s All Enjoy a Slice

Google has just released the final version of its Android P software, which was first previewed at the company's annual developer conference back in May. This also means that we're finally learning what P stands for, after months of online debate. Popsicle? Pudding? Pumpkin pie? In keeping with Google's dessert-themed naming convention for its mobile OS, the new software is simply named Pie—although, as many will be quick to point out, not all pies are dessert pies. One element of this users might find jarring: The permanent back button is…

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When in Nature, Google Lens Does What the Human Brain Cant

AI-powered visual search tools, like Google Lens and Bing Visual Search, promise a new way to search the world—but most people still type into a search box rather than point their camera at something. We've gotten used to manually searching for things over the past 25 years or so that search engines have been at our fingertips. Also, not all objects are directly in front of us at the time we’re searching for information about them. One area where I've found visual search useful is outside, in the natural world.…

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Review: Instant Pot Max

Electric pressure cookers hit it big in American home kitchens a few years back because, along with the perceived lower risk of dinner on the ceiling, they cook food fast. Something like beef stew, which takes all day in a slow cooker, needs as little as 25 minutes under pressure. With an extra hit of power, Instant Pot's new six-quart Max promises to take that speed and turn it up to 11, getting dinner to the table even faster. Could it? I wondered. And what's 11 mean, anyway? Like many…

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Review: Electrolux Pure i9

Many people like to run their robovacs at night or while they’re at work. I choose to run ours while I’m awake, right after dinner and while we're putting the kids to bed. First off, I don’t see any reason to walk around all evening with crumbs sticking to the bottoms of my feet if I don’t have to. But I’ve also found that most robot vacuums will require rescue, which means you have to be awake or around. If you’re sufficiently pressed for time and energy that you need…

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This Gadget Communicates Human Emotions Through Touch

Ask engineers what the future of communication looks like and they’ll show you a fiber-optic cable. Ask artists and they’ll conjure something like the Sleeve. For the past year, engineers at Nokia Bell Labs, the famed New Jersey research facility that birthed the transistor, have been developing this wearable armband with input from artistic collaborators. “We’re reductionist in our thinking; artists are divergent,” research lead Domhnaill Hernon says. The labmates are part of a ­program called Experiments in Art and Technology, founded in the ’60s and newly resurrected in partnership…

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How to Not Watch the Royal Wedding

Congratulations! The digital world has invited you to virtually attend Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's marriage this weekend. Frankly, you don't give a damn. But the internet won't let you off the hook so easily. Your news feeds will be littered with the #RoyalFamily and #WhenHarryMetMeg musings unless you do some work to cinch off the firehose before the event begins. Prepare your platforms, adjust your settings, download extensions, and escape the royal wedding with the following prudent suggestions. The event starts early Saturday morning in the US, so do…

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Here’s One Way to Keep Wearables on Wrists: Subscriptions

The wearable tech market may have grown last year, thanks in no small part to the success of the Apple Watch, but you wouldn't think that was the case if you've been reading anything other than analyst reports. Fitbit's device sales have been declining, Nokia is dumping its digital health business, and Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) hasn't appeared on a new piece of hardware in over a year. Wearable makers, right now, are leaning heavily on specialized devices—stuff beyond your basic step-counters—while they try to convince people to wear…

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Are Air Fryers Worth It?

A few months back, I went to a kitchen appliance trade show and was surprised by the large number of manufacturers coming out with air fryers. "Enjoy great tasting fried food"[sic] reads the cover recipe booklet for Philip's new Airfryer XXL, a lovely sounding idea. With their focus on faux fried flavor, an aversion to fat, and an emphasis on convenience in the marketing from almost every manufacturer, the rise of air fryers felt like the second coming of the George Foreman Grill. Honestly, though, I was suspicious. Wasn't air…

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The Essential Phone Is Now $350, Half Its Original Price

The smartphone market can be cruel to newcomers, especially in the United States. It's a place where big names matter most, and four major wireless carriers still hold all the keys to the kingdom. Devices that should change the market often fall flat or gain only niche followings. Andy Rubin's high-end Essential Phone still has the bells and whistles of an $700 phone, but it's price is half that. Less than a year after it's debut, Amazon has the phone for $350. If you're hunting for a smartphone, you'll be…

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Inside Nokias Super-Fun Feature-Phone Nostalgia Trip

Let’s all agree that this has not been a year of feel-good stories in tech. Whether it’s Facebook privacy or YouTube algorithms, the headlines out of Silicon Valley have been a dismal parade of lapses and letdowns. So let’s take a moment to appreciate the one thread development everyone can get behind: Nokia’s perfect throwback party. You may not know the Nokia 3310 or 8110 by name, but you’d recognize them in a heartbeat. They’re two of the phones that made Nokia the dominant cell phone seller of the oughts,…

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This Gently Breathing Robot Cuddles You to Sleep

It's breathing. The chest rises and falls rhythmically, hypnotically. We guess it's the chest. Nobody's marketed a sleep robot before, and we're not even sure it's a robot. It looks like a pillowy four-pound kidney bean, about the size of a novelty prize at a carnival game. "Spooning the sleep robot during the night, you will be soothed to sleep," the sales literature claims, with "thousands of years of Buddhist breathing techniques." To bring upon sleep, breathing has to become slow and even, says Natalie Dautovich, a psychologist and sleep…

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