New macOS update – Healthier MacBook’s battery

In April, in a developer preview version of macOS Catalina 10.15.5, Apple introduced a feature called battery health management. Now, with macOS Catalina 10.15.5 going live for everyone, MacBook users can try it out.

Batteries don’t like extremes; to conserve your laptop’s battery, you should rarely charge your laptop to maximum or discharge it fully. Battery health management operates under the assumption that you don’t always need your MacBook’s battery to be fully charged. It will monitor your usage patterns and charge the battery accordingly. For example, if you typically keep your MacBook plugged in during the entire work day. This feature may reduce the battery’s maximum charge.

A similar feature in iOS 13 is called optimised battery charging, so if you’re familiar with that one, battery health management is more or less the same thing. And, just like the iOS feature, battery health management can be turned off on MacBooks.

Apple also added some more information to the Energy Saver pane in your MacBook’s System Preferences — it now displays battery condition and recommends if the battery needs to be serviced.

Catalina 10.15.5 adds a few other features and bug fixes. Most notably, there’s a new option to control automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls, meaning that video tiles won’t change size when a call participant is speaking.

The new TikTok clone is going VIRAL!

The app, Zynn , is a brand-new, short-form video platform that launched earlier this month on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. So what is it? A glance at Zynn’s barebones website shows nothing more than links to the aforementioned app stores and a few screenshots of the app, which appears to be very reminiscent of TikTok.

If you’ve visited the App Store on your iPhone over the past few days, you might have noticed an app you’ve never heard of before occupying the number one spot on the charts.

Looking a little deeper into this new app, it becomes clear how the company’s doing this. Zynn isn’t just a run-of-the-mill TikTok clone; there’s a billion-dollar business behind it which has long rivaled TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance. Also, Zynn’s paying users just to use its app.

With that kind of backing and a monetized user acquisition model, it seems pretty clear that Kuaishou is going after TikTok’s U.S. market dominance with Zynn.

So is TikTok’s time up? Probably not, judging by the activity happening on Zynn right now.

While many videos on Zynn are full of comments, the app’s lacking in actual visual content. But, if Zynn does manage to bring more legit creators on board, it’s possible this app can succeed in taking on TikTok where others have failed.

Escobar is selling ‘Gold-Plated’ iPhone 11 Pro for $499

Robert Escobar, the brother of the slain narcotrafficker Pablo Escobar, gets a high out of nibbling at Apples.

Escobar might be trying to step out of his infamous brother’s shadow. The tactics he is deploying are eerily similar: by tweaking an in-demand product and marketing it at a lower price point. They has trained its guns on a new target: Apple. His new offering, a gold-plated refurbished version of the iPhone 11 Pro (256GB). The original device retails for $1,149.

The iPhone 11 Pros sold by the company will reportedly ship with original accessories including earpods and the charging cable. The golden back face of the phone will have the Escobar Inc. branding embossed on it. It remains to be seen if those placing orders online will actually receive the product. If they do, it will likely be in a “luxury wooden box.”

Apple can never do that,” Roberto Escobar said in a statement. Their’s YouTube channel has videos of women in lingerie flaunting and performing illogical acts with the company’s refurbished smartphones, including smashing them deliberately to prove their ruggedness.

Apple HomePod Review: It Only Sounds Great

Apple HomePod

Apple’s HomePod is the best-sounding wireless smart speaker available, and you can control it by voice using Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. It does a lot of things right, but because it also has a long list of flaws, we don’t believe it’s the best smart speaker for most people.

Nothing about the HomePod when you see it in person is what you’d expect. It’s been both smaller and larger than people I’ve shown it to have thought. It’s so minimally designed that it’s hard to get a sense of scale from photographs.

The HomePod’s power cord is built in and wrapped in fabric, and on top, there are LED-backlit volume buttons and a “display” that isn’t really a display at all. There’s no obvious way to make this area show anything with precise lines, like an interface; Apple told me it was designed to be a touch surface, not to display text. On the bottom is a hard, rubbery material. You need to place the HomePod on a hard, flat surface. Most of its speakers fire down, and it sounds pretty bad if you set it on something uneven or soft.

The HomePod isn’t just one speaker, it’s actually eight of them. All controlled by Apple’s own A8 processor and tons of custom software. There are seven tweeters that fire down and out from the bottom, and a single four-inch woofer pointing out of the top for low frequencies. There is also a total of seven microphones: six around the middle for Siri, and a seventh inside that measures the location of that woofer so Apple can precisely control the bass.

3D Audio

What’s important to understand is that all of these speakers and software aren’t trying to add anything to music; you’re not getting 3D audio or wacky surround effects or anything like that. Apple’s goal is to eliminate unwanted extra sounds you might get from reflections in the room the HomePod is sitting in. It’s then trying to tune to the speaker to sound as neutral as possible in that room.

The HomePod is a remarkable new kind of audio device. It does more to make music sound better than any other speaker of this kind has ever done before. But unless you live entirely inside Apple’s walled garden and prioritize sound quality over everything else. I think you’re better served by other smart speakers that sound almost as good and offer the services.

The most powerful Raspberry Pi now has 8GB of RAM

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has doubled the maximum amount of RAM available in the Raspberry Pi 4 to 8GB with a new device it’s selling for $75. To take advantage of the RAM increase. The foundation is also releasing a new 64-bit version of its operating system in early beta. The new Raspberry Pi 4 is otherwise identical to the device that was announced in June last year, meaning it has the same ARM-based CPU, and HDMI, USB 3, and Ethernet ports.

8GB is a lot of RAM considering the Raspberry Pi’s size and price. It’s the same as many flagship smartphones released this year, and enough for an entry-level gaming PC. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the additional memory should be useful for compiling large pieces of software. Running heavy server workloads, or maybe just having more browser tabs open at once. We’re sure that it won’t take long for the community to come up with many interesting uses.

To take full advantage of the increased amounts of RAM. The foundation is also releasing a 64-bit version of its Raspbian operating system in early beta, renamed to Raspberry Pi OS. The Linux-based operating system currently uses a 32-bit kernel, which means it can’t fully use 8GB of RAM. If you’d rather not run beta software, then there are other 64-bit OS’s available for the Pi 4 like Ubuntu and Gentoo.

This article originally published at THE VERGE here

Realme X3 SuperZoom phone has a periscope camera

Chinese smartphone maker Realme made a name for itself by selling fairly powerful phones at very low price points. It never had a flagship that could really threaten the likes of Samsung and Huawei in Europe. That may change today.

On Tuesday, the company launched a new phone called Realme X3 SuperZoom, a flagship that launches in Europe first and hits all the right spots for a price of €499 ($547/£447).

Realme X3 SuperZoom has a 6.6-inch LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. A punch-hole cutout for the dual, 32/8-megapixel selfie camera. On the back there’s a 64/8/8/2-megapixel camera and the 8-megapixel periscope lens capable of 5x optical zoom.

The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, and comes with 8/12GB of RAM and 128/256GB of storage memory. Finally it has a 4,200mAh battery with 30W speedy charging.

Samsung Money Debit Card

Samsung unveiled Wednesday a new partnership with Mastercard and fintech company SoFi to offer a new “mobile-first money management experience” called Samsung Money.

The experience consists of a Mastercard debit card managed with the aid of online personal finance company SoFi. Samsung is also touting a lack of account fees, rewards for saving money, and exclusive benefits linked to the company’s mobile payment and digital wallet service called Samsung Pay.

By enrolling in the Samsung Rewards program, users can earn points on every purchase made using Samsung Pay. If you have more than 1,000 Reward Points. They can be cashed in, with the money going directly into your Samsung Money account. Security is provided by the Samsung Knox range of security features typically found pre-installed on most Samsung phones. The debit card doesn’t show the card number, expiration date, or CVV number printed on it. Instead, they can be viewed through the linked Samsung Pay app.

Sang Ahn, Vice President and GM of Samsung Pay, commented, “Samsung’s goal is to make everyday life better by putting powerful tools in the hands of Galaxy users … Samsung Money by SoFi is our biggest move yet to help users do more with their money. Samsung Pay is already the most rewarding shopping and payments experience driven by numerous innovations over the years. Now, users can access mobile-first financial services and earn exclusive Samsung benefits.

Launch

Samsung Money will launch for U.S. consumers “later this summer”. Account creation is near instant using a virtual card within the Samsung Pay app followed by a physical debit card. Being mailed to you and then activated by tapping it against your phone with the Samsung Pay app open. When the service is available to use, details on how to sign up for the card will appear on the Samsung Pay website.

This article originally published at PCMag here

Poco F2 Pro – The Full Screen Deal!

Poco is finally introducing the long-awaited Poco F2 Pro. A quad-camera packing, OLED screen-toting, Snapdragon 865-powered flagship apparent, and yet there’s something different this time around. The phone embodies everything the Poco F1 stood for but also deals with the realities of meeting current expectations.

To start with, the phone has got a substantial price bump over the first-gen hardware. The Pocophone F1 launched for €329 (~$356) or Rs. 21,000 in India. In comparison, the Poco F2 Pro starts at a significantly higher €499 (~$539/Rs.40,500), goes all the way up to €599 (~$647/Rs. 48,800) for the top-end variant. That’s a solid price increase that is bound to ruffle a few feathers.

The Poco F2 Pro is a thorough revamp that can genuinely attempt to take on current-gen flagships. The glass and metal design is not just eye-catching but should feel great in the hand. Add to that a significantly upgraded camera system, support for NFC, a headphone jack (remember those?), an OLED screen, and the Snapdragon 865 chipset, of course, and the phone starts looking like a rather good deal.

To understand the Poco F2’s value proposition, it is important to look at the broader perspective. Phone prices have gone up significantly since the launch of the Poco F1, and the F2 Pro reflects that hardware reality.

With high-end smartphones crossing $1,000 and often going up significantly over that. However, no longer is it alone in offering value. The competition has all but stolen the Poco F2 Pro’s thunder by introducing top-of-the-line specs and arguably a more well-rounded package for not much more money.

We’ll have to wait until our full review before we can declare a final verdict. For now one thing is very clear: the Poco F2 Pro is still a flagship killer.

2020 MacBook Pro 13-Inch Review

The Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) is the latest version of the company’s affordable professional MacBook, bringing upgraded hardware and a drastically improved keyboard.

 

The MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 is arguably Apple’s most important laptop, offering power and performance above regular MacBooks. It needs, then, to keep the price accessible, while also offering performance and features that professionals, especially in the creative industry, require.

Performance-wise, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch looks promising on paper. With new 10th generation CPUs offering a noticeable boost, now comes with twice the RAM and twice the storage than the previous model.

As Ever, Sharp: The Retina Display

Other key features are virtually the same between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, like the Retina Display. It’s a 13.3-inch panel with a very high native resolution, somewhere between full HD and 4K. (It measures 2,560 by 1,600 pixels.) Colors appear brilliant, and text is sharp, and I especially like the True Tone feature. Which optimizes the white balance of the screen for the nature of the ambient light around the laptop.

Color Options

The MacBook Pro is available in the dark Space Gray aluminum finish of our review unit. A classic color scheme that has been around for several years. It’s sleek and modern, though it’s far from a striking design. You can also order a MacBook Pro in a lighter Silver finish.

The MacBook has long been a status symbol and an inspiration that has given rise to legions of similar Windows ultraportable laptops. It can get pricey as you add options. Now that Apple has fixed the keyboard, it gets the basics right and is our new top pick among Mac laptops.

Redmi Note 9 Pro review: Great value

The importance of the Note series of phones in Redmi’s lineup cannot be overstated. It is the phone that put the company on the map and helped Xiaomi gain massive global momentum. The Redmi Note 4 sold over 10 million units over its product cycle, and last year, the Redmi Note 7 Pro was India’s highest-selling phone in the Rs. 10,000 and above category. Suffice it to say, it is critical for the brand to get this product right.

The most distinctive, and different, design element has to be the back panel of the phone. Gone is the gradient and instead, you get a brilliantly glossy pane of Gorilla Glass 5. We have the Aurora Blue variant and at the right angle, it could double up as a mirror in a pinch. Of course, this makes it a fingerprint and scuff magnet. Using the included case is almost necessary if you don’t want to constantly clean up smudges. It’s a shame really since the phone somehow manages to stand out despite the myriad iterations on similar design principles.

You will find a USB-C port along the bottom edge as well as a headphone jack. Over on the left is a combined slot for dual nano-SIM cards as well as a microSD card for memory expansion. Yes, the phone retains an IR blaster at the top.

Performance

The Redmi Note 9 Pro sees the company returning to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform. While the Note 8 Pro used a Mediatek Helio G90T, this time around the phone sports a Snapdragon 720G. The chipset sports a combination of two Kryo 465 Gold cores, as well as six Kryo 465 Silver cores. In addition, there is an Adreno 618 GPU tackling graphics duties.

As is the case with almost every mid-ranger these days, day-to-day performance is more than satisfactory. MIUI is well mated to the hardware and delivers a polished, slick experience. There is no hint of lag or stutter, and we didn’t expect it either.