Author: IPAI Online

How to Restart the iPhone X: Three Quick Steps To Resolve a Frozen Screen

With each new significant iteration of the iPhone, the method to restart the device, or reboot the iPhone, has changed.

With the iPhone 5, it was a matter of just holding down the lock button and the home button. For the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7, you simply needed to simultaneously press the volume down and the lock button until the screen flashed black and the Apple symbol appeared.

However, the new iPhone, the iPhone X is different, which is clearly denoted by the lack of the home button. And so with that, the method to restart the iPhone has changed.

So how do you restart the iPhone X? It’s fairly simple, but it requires a three-step process unlike the aforementioned versions of the iPhone, which was only 2 steps.

How to Reset Your iPhone X

Perform the below sequence in somewhat rapid succession for it to be effective

  1. Press (don’t hold) the Volume Up button
  2. Press (don’t hold) the Volume Down button
  3. Press and HOLD the Lock/Side button
  4. The iPhone X should now restart, with the screen going dark and quickly rebooting to the iPhone X’s home screen.

When You Should Hard Restart or Force Restart the iPhone X

While the iPhone and it’s software, iOS 11, is generally very reliable and stable, it’s the apps that sometimes can cause conflict. And that conflict usually results in a frozen screen or extreme lag. More often than not the iPhone can resolve this quandary on its own, so we always recommended giving it a few seconds. But in the event it cannot, or it won’t, you’ll need to perform a hard reset, which requires you to follow the above button sequence.

A Good Practice to Restart Your iPhone Periodically

Sometimes it’s a good idea to reset or power cycle your iPhone periodically, especially if you’re experiencing occasional glitchiness. Alternatively, you should at least make it a regular practice to power cycle your phone occasionally, as it can resolve many small issues and save you a trip to the Genius Bar.

What if the Hard Reset Doesn’t Solve My Issue

If after a hard reboot your iPhone X is still acting oddly, we recommend making an appointment with Apple’s Genius Bar. You can also give them a call and see if they can help you over the phone. Whatever you do, don’t show up to the Apple Store expecting them to see you at a moment’s notice, as they’re often backed up and will simply differ you to a later appointment. However, sometimes you can get lucky, but more often than not you would have wasted your time by commuting to the Apple store only to be turned away and come back at a later time.

How to Hard Reset the iPhone 8

In case you ended up here looking to reboot your iPhone 8, worry not. It’s the exact same sequence as the iPhone X.

  1. Press (don’t hold) the Volume Up button
  2. Press (don’t hold) the Volume Down button
  3. Press and HOLD the Lock/Side button
  4. The iPhone 8s screen should now go black and the home screen should reappear provided you’ve completed the sequence correctly

The post How to Restart the iPhone X: Three Quick Steps To Resolve a Frozen Screen appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Microsoft Xbox Stereo Headset Review: The Most Affordable Xbox One Headset Upgrade

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Simple and minimalistic, Microsoft’s Xbox One headset is ideal for those on a budget and is especially lightweight for those who hate heavy headphones.

Price: Check Price
Sound: Stereo
Weight: 9 ounces
Battery Life: N/A
Compatibility: Xbox One
Mic: Flip-up
Drivers: 40mm neodynium

Microsoft’s design goals are obvious: Create a minimalistic headset that offers private sound experiences for players without raising the price too high. If you were vastly underwhelmed by the simple little telemarketer headset that came with your Xbox One and controller, you will probably be interested in this stereo headset.

Design

Available in white or black, the headset gets down to business immediately. The earcups are one of the most interesting parts: they are broad over-the-ear cones that provide as much room as even the largest earcups on high-end models, but at only a fraction of the weight. The entire headset only clocks in at around 9 ounces, and it’s an odd feeling at first to have such encompassing earcups on such a lightweight headset. The headband is a basic layer of rubberized padding, and the length adjustments are based on simple push/pull ratcheting. Nothing unfamiliar, and nothing wasted.

The earcup material itself is a basic weave designed more for longevity than comfort. Like other weaves, it tends to trap dust a little too well, but the lightweight design keeps it from being uncomfortable at any point.

Xbox headset - Stereo Headset

A lightweight headset for a more casual upgrade.

There are not controls on this space-saving headset. Instead, Microsoft includes an expanded plugin adapter, very similar to the in-box mic the controller uses. Plug this into your controller, and you can mute, change the volume, and alternate chat volume balance. On Xbox systems, this controller-based control option is welcome, and timesaving compared to reaching up to buttons on the headset itself.

The mic is notable for its “hidden” design when it flips seamlessly up into the headband, making accidents less likely when putting the headphones away. The mic is a little short and fully plastic, but the audio dynamics work well nonetheless: It’s not crystal clear communication, but it gets the job done and keeps the boom out of the way at the same time.

Sound

With “stereo” in the name, it’s pretty obvious what sort of sound Microsoft offers here. With those extra-large earcups and the 40mm neodynium drivers, this stereo is probably better than what you’re used to, although it’s still a far cry from surround sound. There’s very little directionality, and bass tends to be soft at lower volumes – although this improves when you crank the sound up.

Ultimately, if you don’t have any headphones, or have a cheap pair and want to upgrade, these will provide a bit of extra advantage when it comes to filtering out sounds and signals. However, they don’t offer much environmental sound, and pinpointing noise remains tricky: they’re best used when you want a slight audio advantage but are particularly interested in the privacy and simplicity that Microsoft’s headset offers.

The post Microsoft Xbox Stereo Headset Review: The Most Affordable Xbox One Headset Upgrade appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+ Review: Most Durable Xbox One Headset

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This compact headset offers plenty of durability and a welcome wireless experience on Xbox, with a price that’s easier to handle than most, which makes it a great Xbox One headset in our book.

Price: Check Price
Sound: Fully wireless stereo with superhuman hearing
Weight: 1.1 pounds
Battery Life: 15 hours
Compatibility: Xbox One, Mobile
Mic: Plugin flexible boom mic with mic monitoring
Drivers: 50mm

Design

If there’s one thing that Turtle Beach excels at, it’s making extra-durable, solid headsets that can withstand boisterous playing better than almost anything else on the market. The Stealth 420X Plus is an excellent example, a compact headset that’s ready to put up with a lot, and doesn’t have any extra hanging or dangling pieces that could all too easily cause accidents in the future.

The earcups are slightly smaller than you might expect, and contribute to the overall lightweight, nimble feeling of these headsets. The earcup material is made of thick foam and pleather material dotted with holes, all the better to allow more airflow and less sweat build up. It’s not amazingly comfortably, but it gets the job done, again with a focus on durability. The earcups both swivel (we’re not exactly a fan of such easy swiveling, but it doesn’t get in the way too often) and ratchet down for basic adjustments.

The mic is a separate, flexible boom microphone that plugs oddly into the bottom of the lefthand earcup. It’s a weird setup, but the mic is flexible enough to make it work, and there is one advantage to the plug-in method: It makes the mic easy to detach and store elsewhere for safekeeping, especially when someone else is using the headset.

On headset controls include two rollers for mix and headset volume, a mute button, and a button to switch between different presets. All these buttons are small and unobtrusive, but you need to learn them for quick in-game changes, a process that can be quite challenging when fumbling for the right volume roller (both are located beside each other on the same side) or trying to find the tiny mute button. It’s not very fun to learn these controls.

Another disappointing design decision was the use of USB ports. Turtle Beach really wants the Stealth 420X Plus to be fully wireless. It’s a noble goal, but unlike the Astro A50, the 420X Plus divides up wireless transmission and charging. You need one USB port for charging, and one to plug in the dongle for wireless transmission. That means at any given time you need at least one and often two USB ports cleared, which only gives you one USB port left on the Xbox One to use for other accessories like TV tuners, external hard drives, and so on. That’s asking a bit much of the invested Xbox player.

Sound

The 420X Plus is another headset that makes an extra effort to go wireless for Xbox One, which does earn it some points. But “going wireless” doesn’t automatically mean great sound quality, so let’s talk about just how well the headset performed.

This line of TB headsets doesn’t offer true surround sound: What it does offer is the “superhuman hearing” option which enhances audio clarity. It’s no surround sound, but it does help you notice details in the audio that you might have otherwise missed, which is certainly a plus.Stealth 420X

While the audio may be limited when it comes to surround sound, it’s still impressively environmental, despite its relatively compact size. Bass quality feels a little random, but higher notes were reliably clear. Sometimes a few echoes crept in, perhaps because of the lack of surround sound and over-emphasis on environmental details, or perhaps because of some slight wireless interference around the dongle.

The boom mix is less impressive. It provides the necessary pick-up quality, but is a little too sensitive and tends to catch the breathing, shifting, and any other sounds you don’t want relayed over mic. The mute option, a tiny button located on the front of the right earcup, isn’t very easy to use either, so push to talk options are readily available.

Overall, the 420X is a durably, slightly smaller headset that’s ideal for those who want a much better pair of headphones to improving their gaming, but don’t like the extra-high prices of many elite models. It tries to be both wireless and affordable, and largely succeeds at the balancing act – as long as you are willing to pay the price of no surround sound and a somewhat awkward mic.

The post Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+ Review: Most Durable Xbox One Headset appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Turtle Beach Elite Pro Review: Best Headset for Competitive Gaming

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The audio controller really bumps this headset from a good choice to one of the best Xbox One headsets around for those who spend a lot of time on a single competitive game.

Price: Check Price
Sound: Surround sound with audio controller required
Weight: 13.76 ounces
Battery Life: N/A
Compatibility: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mobile
Mic: Flexible boom mic
Drivers: 50mm “Nanoclear”

Design

The first thing you noticed about the Elite Pro headset is just how large it is: The construction is comfortingly solid (especially compared to some of the other headsets on our list), but you sure feel these when you pick them up.

The earcup material is divided into an outer layer of soft leather and an inner layer of weave, so that the weave faces your ear—and will absorb most of the sweat. We mention sweat early on, because this headset is weighty, and the earcups are some of the heaviest we’ve seen, too. There’s a reason for this: They house 50mm drivers and a whole lot of passive noise cancellation. While they might get annoying during long term play, the pleasantly light and comfortable headband (also adjustable) helps make up for a little, and it really does have some of the best sound isolation we’ve seen if environmental noise is a problem for you.

There are no on-headset controls, which we are very grateful for: Too many headsets crowd awkward buttons on their earcups, but TB went with a clean approach. Instead, the Xbox Adapter handles most of the sound management (more on this later), so there’s less fumbling overall.Turtle Beach Elite Pro

Finally, the flexible boom mic works fine: The mic sound pick capabilities, with “TruSpeak” amplification, are top notch (confirmed by friends surprised at the sudden improvement in mic quality), but the thin, flexible mic structure isn’t often the best approach for consoles. These skinny, attachable mics work better in a protected PC environment. For console, you’ll have to make sure the mic doesn’t get too out of joint or lost when not attached.

Sound

We have to talk about sound in two stages: Without the audio controller, and with it. Without, the headphones have tolerable audio. The treble comes across clear, while the bass is a little lacking, and you may have to turn the sound up to hear everything that’s going on. Overall, it’s fine, and a big improvement on the average non-surround sound headset that you may have tried in the past.

But now it’s time to talk about the mini-sound board accessory that Turtle Beach offers the truly invested, or as they call it the “tactical audio controller” which comes with several sliders to mic monitoring, background noise, and so on. The audio controller is typically packaged with the Elite Pro, but you do have to take some time to set it up and learn how it works.

Turtle Beach Elite Pro Headset

The Turtle Beach Pro products now include a new headset and an audio controller.

For truly good game sound, the audio controller is a necessity. Not only does it support surround sound for the Turtle Beach headphones, it allows the most competitive gamers to adjust their sound levels specifically to give them the right kind of advantage, whether that’s boosting background noise to track footprints or adjusting mic levels to filter out everything but the necessities – not to mention making on the spot changes in volume.

In summary, the audio controller is particularly adept at putting the “pro” in this headset, but that’s also a little annoying. To take full advantage of the Elite Pro’s capabilities, you need to set up and learn a secondary device, one that must remain at your side whenever gaming. But then, Turtle Beach hasn’t pretended this headset is for anything other than the hardcore gamer.

The post Turtle Beach Elite Pro Review: Best Headset for Competitive Gaming appeared first on Gadget Review.

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LucidSound LS40 Gaming Headset Review: Best Surround Sound for Xbox One

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: LucidSound makes a splash with a mostly-wireless headset that offers extra high quality sound at a surprisingly affordable price, making it a top Xbox One headset in our book.

Price: $199.99 on Amazon
Sound: Tethered wireless surround sound with digital optical audio
Weight: 12.5 ounces
Battery Life: 15 hours
Compatibility: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, Mobile
Mic: Flexible plugin dual-mic
Drivers: 50mm neodymium

Design

The metallic, industrial appearance of the LS40 is well-planned. It gives the headset a sleek, professional look while still managing to seem…well, badass. However, behind that design waits a surprising amount of comfort. The headband includes a switched cushioning bumper more comfortable than the usual headband cushions. The earcups themselves may be large and weighty (the headset clocks in at a hefty 12.5 ounces), but they are backed by surprisingly cushy pleather pads that sink deep around your ears. It’s a little odd then, that the passive noise cancellation properties aren’t better on this headset (external noises easily permeate), but it is good to see that the style didn’t come at the cost of any comfort.

PS4 Headsets - LucidSound LS40

The LucidSound LS40 is a serious headset with a focus on pure audio features.

The earcups are also adjustable, but not in an annoying way: They are set on rigid, slow-moving pivot sections that allow for slow adjustments without the usual flopping earcups, another sign of the careful LS40 design. You can also see the smart decision making when it comes to buttons on the headset: There are two true buttons, one for power and one for EQ settings on either earcup. The backs of the earcups swivel to control different types of volume as well, and you tap them to mute. It’s a very easy setup to master, and doesn’t get in the way…which a benchmark few headsets are able to meet.

The LucidSound mic, like many Turtle Beach versions, is an ultra-flexible plug-in model. While we prefer flip-up mics with a sturdier design, there’s nothing overtly wrong with this plug-and-talk approach. It also allows you to take the mic off entirely and “protect” it when it would just get in the way, which is a nice benefit depending on your play style.

But onto the wireless design: Like the Turtle Beach Stealth 420X Plus (further down the list), the LS40 uses a dongle that attaches to the back of the Xbox, but this time with an optical audio connection to boot. It’s a little awkward, but once set up it works quickly and intuitively.

Sound

The LS40, no doubt helped by its optical audio connection, ranks up there with the Astro A50 when it comes to top-notch surround sound for Xbox. Those industrial-looking earcups produce vibrant, rich environmental audio that makes it easy to pinpoint everything that’s happening, even without the boosted surround mode activated – frankly, the high sound quality renders the different modes a little meaningless, at during our gameplay experience. Percussion and bass notes in general are handled particularly well by the LS40. Additionally, the wireless connection never lagged, and the control responses were all immediate.

LucidSound LS40 PS4 headset

LucidSound’s heavy headphones exchange frills for quality.

Mic pick-up was fine, if a bit quieter than most headsets on our list, something that can be improved through mixer adjustments. The dual-mic plus mic monitoring setup keeps communication clear, smooth and free of distractions, too.

LucidSound has a great headset here, especially when it comes to consoles. It’s not fully wireless – a tether to the control is needed for chatting – but the surround sound quality is superb. Combine that with some really good (for the most part) design choices and a very affordable price, and it’s easy to say the LS40 is one of the best headsets around.

The post LucidSound LS40 Gaming Headset Review: Best Surround Sound for Xbox One appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Moto Z2 Force Smartphone Review

Motorola’s smartphones don’t quite have the same recognition of the giants like Samsung or Apple, but the Lenovo-backed company still presses forward nonetheless. And we’re glad of it too. Motorola’s approach to flagship smartphones is much different and darn right interesting when compared to the competition, largely in part to its modular design. If you were a fan of those neat Moto Mods that could expand the smartphone’s functionality in a snap, you’ll be glad to hear that Motorola is progressing it this year.

Continue onward to our Moto Z2 Force Smartphone review to find out if Motorola has managed to sidestep the rest.

Overview

Price: $31.50/month or $756 retail on Verizon
Available: July 2017
Model: Moto Z2 Force

Summary: The Moto Z2 Force is a durable and cleverly designed top-end smartphone. Both the magnetically modular system and shatterproof screen are tremendous features that we wish we could find on other devices, giving the Z2 Force an edge where some other aspects are yesteryear, such as the considerable bezels and rear camera hump. It ultimately comes down to which features matter most to you, but you’ll be getting a solid and speedy smartphone regardless.

What We Liked

  • Shatterproof display
  • Interesting design and premium construction
  • Dual cameras
  • Moto Mod options are compelling

What We Didn’t

  • Camera hump
  • Scratch-prone display
  • Significant bezels
  • No waterproofing

Moto Z2 Force Specs

Moto Z2 Force
Display 5.5″ P-OLED, QHD resolution (2,960×1,440), ShatterShield protection
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.35 GHz, Adreno 540 GPU)
Memory 4GB of RAM
Storage 64GB internal and microSD expansion (up to 2 TB)
Rear Camera Dual 12MP sensors (1 monochrome, 1 color), f/2.0 aperture, 1.25µm pixels, PD and Laser Auto-Focus
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.2 aperture
Battery 2,730 mAh (non-removeable), no wireless charging
Software Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)
Colors Super Black, Fine Gold, Lunar Grey (depending market)
Price $756
Buy Now

Design

The second chapter in Motorola’s Moto Z story is more of a follow-up than an evolution. Many of the original Moto Z‘s features make a return, such as its exceedingly thin profile, premium construction, and ingenious magnetic pin system that is used for custom accessory attachments. Yes, unlike LG with the G5, Motorola isn’t giving up on the idea of a modular phone and has instead expanded on the available options with the Z2 Force debut.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

The Moto Z2 Force continues Motorola’s thin and modular-capable smartphone design, but this time with a more practical metal panel on the back.

This iteration is a great thing for fans of the Moto Z’s unique design, and we appreciate the switch of the back cover material from fragile glass to an attractive brushed metal…but we can’t help feel like there was some progression that Motorola missed out on. This notion is a result of the bezel-busting top-dogs this year from LG and Samsung (the G6 and Galaxy S8, respectively). If you’ve used one of these flagships, the front of the Moto Z2 Force may be an eye-sore, mostly because of its substantial bottom chin. This also means that despite the 5.5″ sized display, the phone is still almost the size of the 6.2″ Galaxy S8+. Some of it gets justified by a front-placed fingerprint scanner, which is miles ahead of the Galaxy S8’s compromised placement adjacent the rear camera lens.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

The front-placed fingerprint scanner on the Z2 Force works flawlessly – quick and reliable.

But that’s not the only aspect that puts the Z2 Force a step behind. The camera(s) bump is still prominent, there’s no waterproofing rating, no wireless charging, or no headphone jack. Sure, these particular features aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but the sum of them at a $750 price tag may be, especially in light of the direct competition at the same cost.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

New dual camera system on the Z2 Force utilizes a standard color and a black/white sensor to improve image quality.

Alas, these negative points don’t mean that we’re dealing with a missed opportunity whatsoever. The build of the Z2 Force is as solid as can be, and feels fantastic in the hand due to its extremely thin and light design. The matte-finished metal frame and brushed metal back cover are luxurious, further complimented by gleaming chamfers on all edges.

Performance

The Moto Z2 Force matches its top-end rivals for under-the-hood specs. That is, we have the latest Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset coupled with 4GB of RAM. On-board storage is also at a generous 64 GB internally, with up to 2 TB microSD card expansion. Ultimately, this all means that the software of the Z2 Force flies like no tomorrow. The speed is also assisted by the fact that Motorola opts for minimal software bloat to the pure Android build. The smoothness and fluidity of the UI reminds us a lot of the clean Android experience in the Google-made Pixel phone.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Our battery usage showed great consistency on Verizon’s network and WiFi. And idle time optimization is superb, with only 5% battery drainage overnight.

The Z2 Force’s exceptional thinness does mean that battery capacity takes a step back. That’s no understatement; we’re down to 2,730 mAh from the 3,500 mAh battery in the original Moto Z. But before reaching for that pitchfork, know that the Snapdragon 835 processor came with significant battery-saving optimizations. The downgrade here isn’t as drastic as it appears. In our use, moderate usage would comfortably get us through the day. But you may want to look elsewhere if you’re a heavy user, as the direct competition pushes above 3,000 mAh. Or you can opt for Motorola’s battery pack (covered further in the review).

An increasing trend in smartphones is the exclusion of the long-established 3.5mm audio jack, and Motorola is alreday on that boat. Like with the current iPhone, wired headphone users will have to carry around a dongle adapter that gets audio out of the charging port. Interestingly, we don’t see a speaker grill anywhere along the frame of the phone. This is because Motorola cleverly incorporated the loud speaker into the earpiece. It’s great to have the external sound pointing in the right direction, but its mono and tinny qualities are a far cry from those manufacturers that have a two-speaker implementation.

Display

One of the tricks Motorola has up its sleeve on its flagship phone is the ShatterShield display. As the name implies, it means that the Z2 Force display is impervious to shattering. Motorola achieves this by constructing the front with a multi-layer plastic panel. This technology is so robust that the company warranties it for four years, which is rather unheard-of.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

The quality of the Z2 Force’s 5.5″ QHD AMOLED screen is close to as good as it gets, but the screen-to-body ratio is quite lacking for a 2017 flagship.

One may think that this extra focus on screen durability may mean that the display quality makes a step back, which is fortunately not so here. The Z2 Force sports a QHD resolution OLED screen like the big boys. It is vibrant, colorful, and performs admirably against sunlight in the outdoors.

However, we must caution that the screens plastic and shatterproof quality does make it more prone to scratching than the Gorilla Glass 5 panels used in most of today’s flagship smartphones. We strongly recommend a screen protector with the Z2 Force.

Camera

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Motorola’s camera software is a quick and no frills. The dual cameras allow for better bokeh capture and control.

Motorola jumps on the latest dual camera trend with the Z2 Force. Smartphone manufacturers vary on how they end up using the secondary sensor, such as LG tacking on a wide-angle lens or Apple with a 2x zoom on the Plus model of the iPhone. Motorola follows in the steps of Huawei and incorporates a monochrome sensor to assist the standard color sensor. Two primary advantages of this kind of camera system is better lighting data (the black and white sensor reads this information better) and better depth of field quality.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

In Auto mode, it’s not immediately apparent that we’re using a dual-camera system; pointing and shooting functions as normally would. Jumping into the camera options displays the extras. Aside from the typical Manual mode, we have a Depth mode and Black & White mode. The latter is self-explanatory (it shoots with the monochrome sensor). Depth mode is the most interesting benefit of the dual cameras, where we can substantially put a subject into focus. The background blur gives off a similar effect to Apple’s Portrait mode, but here we can edit the effect in post. Motorola includes a “Depth Editor” function that allows for changing the focal point and/or adjusting the amount of blur. Pretty neat.

That’s all fine and dandy, but does the extra sensor actually equate to boosted image quality of standard shots? You can judge them via our samples below.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Mods

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Motorola’s Moto Mod system is proving to be a tremendous feature.

A nice thing to be aware of is that due to the design similarities between the original Moto Z and its successor, all of the previous mods are compatible, such as the Hasselblad True Zoom camera, Style shell panels, or that neat Insta-share projector that we checked out in our Moto Z Review. We have a few to look at in depth, thanks to our friends at Verizon Wireless.

Moto Gamepad

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

This mod was one of my personal favorites. Since the existence of the Xperia Play back in the early Android days, a part of me has been longing for another attempt at a phone with a physical gamepad. Motorola has now come to the rescue.

While the mod’s implementation doesn’t have the most finesse (its horizontal length is a bit much), its shear benefit to heavy mobile gamers is sure to outshine any pickle about the design. It has all the buttons you’d expect in a gaming controller – analog sticks, d-pad on the left, 4-button array on the right, and bumpers on top – and feels tactile and right. Inside is also a 1,035 mAh battery that lasts about 8 hours.

Moto Turbopower

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Another new mod is the Moto TurboPower. As implied, the shell contain a battery pack within, which will add a whopping 3,490 mAh of juice to the phone’s 2,730 mAh capacity. Sure, the combination adds a tad more thickness to carry around, but this is the most seamless way we’ve seen to insure you don’t end up with a paperweight on a busy day. There’s no cables involved, just snap the shell on whenever you end up in that dire low-battery situation.

JBL SoundBoost

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Like the Hasselblad mod for the camera, the SoundBoost (as the name implies) takes the phone’s audio output to another level. Produced by JBL, it packs dual 27mm, 3W speakers for stereo sound. This mod essentially turn your phone into like that of a Bluetooth speaker.

Since that kind of audio power would take a toll on the phone’s battery, the mod has its own 1,000 mAh capacity within. It can last about 10 hours from a full charge before tapping into the phone’s battery.

Software

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

Earlier, we touched on Motorola’s excellently responsive take on Android. It is one of the best things about this phone, leaving us wishing that more Android smartphone manufacturers would lighten up their custom interfaces. Motorola maintains most of Android’s Material Design software elements, such as the floating overlays and animations, circular icons, and even the Google Now aggregator as the most left panel. What’s more, Motorola uses Google apps where applicable (i.e. phone dialer, photo gallery, calendar, calculator).

What’s also notable is that the Moto Z2 Force is running on a current Android Nougat build (version 7.1.1). The latest Nougat didn’t only bring software optimizations from the original build but some new features, like quick actions by long-pressing on app icons, a new set of emoji’s, and the ability to send GIFs directly from the keyboard.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone
Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

One of the largest software benefits of Motorola phones is the Moto app. Motorola doesn’t attempt to create its own voice assistant like some other manufacturers, but inserts some useful features not found in stock Android. The Moto app lays out three sets of these: Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Moto Voice.

Moto Z2 Force Smartphone

The ambient Moto Display is a nifty feature. It flashes whenever a notification pops up or when you wave your hand across the front of the phone.

Final Thoughts

The Moto Z2 Force is best thought of polished Moto Z. Many of the same qualities are carried over, such as the super thin profile, clean software, magnetic pin system for modular add-ons, and unfortunately those substantial front bezels. Motorola is essentially betting that improved internals, a secondary camera sensor, and wider variety of Moto Mods is what it takes to succeed. We’ll let buyers be the judge of that, but we will say that at the $750 price point, some of the competition has the clear upper hand in terms of features.

The post Moto Z2 Force Smartphone Review appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Customers of AT&T Put at Risk by New Hack

According to a blog post by security researcher Joseph Hutchins that first went live in August, upwards of 138,000 AT&T wireless routers may have a critical security vulnerability that could leave many of its customers open to an attack.

Five flaws altogether were discovered in the company’s “Arris”-branded routers, though even more are said to potentially affect other OEM AT&T U-verse modems regardless of make or model. The attack is able to bypass any security measures that a user may have put in place, as well as the internal firewall through a publicly-available set of credentials.

Once the hacker is in range of the router, he can either use the credential crack or a brute force of the half-completed MAC address to get in. The latter bug may have been a result of AT&T’s staff support methodology, which leaves a channel open that technicians can use to remotely troubleshoot internet issues without having to send someone out to the address physically.

https://www.nomotion.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/word-image-9-768x455.png

The bug allows root access to all of the AT&T router’s features.

Hutchins says that while a feature like this may be innocuous on the surface, something appears to have gone “terribly wrong” when it came to coding extra security layers around that backdoor.

A spokesperson for Arris wasn’t willing to release any specific details about the hack, saying only that “…ARRIS is conducting a full investigation in parallel and will quickly take any required actions to protect the subscribers who use our devices”.

In order to prevent these kinds of bugs and backdoors from effecting your internet security experience, we recommend picking up any one of the top 5 routers that made our list of the best routers for 2017.

The post Customers of AT&T Put at Risk by New Hack appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Our Best Standing Desk Converter Picks for 2017

If you’re one of the many who have been idly sitting by (no pun intended) as the standing desk craze has taken off, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to take the full plunge just yet, standing desk converters can be a great way to keep one foot in both ends of the pool.

Standing desk converters sit on top of regular desks and give extra height to your monitor, keyboard, and mouse so you can use them from either a sitting or standing position. But what are the best standing desk converters for 2017?

Read on in our quick guide below to find out!

1. Fully Cooper Standing Desk Converter

fully cooper standing desk converter review

The Fully Cooper can squeeze a whole lot of weight onto its adjustable surface.

The Cooper Standing Desk Converter is made and shipped by Fully, a company who has already impressed us with the Jarvis Bamboo, our pick for the #1 Standing Desk of 2017.  There are a lot of different designs that standing desk converter manufacturers will use to achieve the effect of getting your entire workstation to lift in the air like magic, but of all of them we prefer the x-bar ironing board style employed by Fully the most.

When we reviewed the Fully Cooper we found it was stable at both sitting and standing heights, and didn’t experience too much of the same wobbling problems that lesser converters might have once you’ve been using them for more than a month or two. More importantly perhaps, they also ditched the more traditional spring style for a hydraulic actuator, which can transition the entire desktop from sit to stand with the squeeze of a lever.

With stability to match the best and a price point that beats them all, it’s no wonder why the Fully Cooper Standing Desk converter is the best model on shelves (and desks) for 2017!

You can buy the Cooper direct from the Fully site found here.

2. VariDesk Standing Desk Converter

varidesk converter

The Varidesk is one of the longest running – but still the best – standing desk converters out there.

For years,the VariDesk Standing Desk converter was one of the only models out there that actually offered a stable platform that you could raise and lower to get the standing desk effect. The rest were either too cheap, too flimsy, or too wobbly to be worth the headache. But even though VariDesk may be one of the veterans on the block, that doesn’t mean it still can’t stand toe-to-toe with newer options like those from Fully above.

The VariDesk converter uses an older spring-style mechanism to raise your desk into 11 different standing positions, made that way so you can find the height that’s most comfortable for you and stick with it.

One small complaint that some users have raised about the VariDesk is that due to the way the mechanism actually raises your desk (up and toward the user), it can be a struggle for anyone in a more compact workspace. It also keeps you further away from your actual desk, so if you have anything on it you need to interact with often (drink, pencil, Post-It notes, etc), you’ll want to make sure it’s on the raised surface before you switch positions to guarantee it stays at an arm’s length.

You can buy this one from Amazon, with Prime shipping.

3. VertDesk Standing Desk Converter

vertdesk standing desk converter

The VertDesk is one of the most stable z-bar standing desk converters you’ll find today.

Unlike the Fully Cooper converter which utilizes an “x” bar style to raise up its platform, the VertDesk Standing Desk converter is one of the few to employ what’s known as the “z” style. Z-bar standing desk converters are prone to wobbliness on the front end, and may even tip over completely if you’re someone like me who wrests their wrists heavily on the surface in front of their keyboard.

Thankfully the engineers at VertDesk seem to have found a solve for many of the problems that previous z-bar standing desk converters faced, achieved through a ridiculously sturdy base that helps to redistribute weight and balance away from the front of the mechanism and back down to the desk itself, where it belongs.

This prevents tip-overs while also providing a super-sturdy work surface which can stand up to even the most heavy-handed typers among us (myself included).

You can buy the VertDesk Standing Desk Converter at BTOD.

The post Our Best Standing Desk Converter Picks for 2017 appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Sony Announces New Line of 4K HDR Projectors

While it’s only in the past few months that major projector manufacturers like Optoma and Acer have begun throwing their hat into the ring of the top rated 4K projectors, companies like Sony have been doing it since the very beginning.

Sony still holds the title of the first manufacturer to release a true 4K projector at a consumer-level price point (if the cost of a small car is something you’d consider “consumer”).

But while 4K may already be old news to Sony, more recent innovations like the HDR color spec have not crept by unnoticed. At the IFA show in Berlin this month, the company was ready to show off three new models that are all lighter, smaller, and more feature-rich than their corresponding predecessors.

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  • Sony VPL-VW260ES 4k Projector
  • Sony VPL-VW360ES 4k Projector
  • Sony VPL-VW760ES 4k Projector
  • Sony VPL-VW260ES 4k Projector
  • Sony VPL-VW360ES 4k Projector
  • Sony VPL-VW760ES 4k Projector

The first is the VPL-VW760ES, which uses a 2,000 lumen laser light source to project its images, yet another first in the consumer space checked off for Sony. With such bleeding-edge tech installed underneath the hood you can expect an equally bleeding-edge price, but Sony also took their time at IFA to reveal two other models which will supposedly be more focused on the budget home theater enthusiast.

These include the VPL-VW360ES and the VW260ES, the latter of which has a 1,500 lumen output and a much more petite profile than its older brother in the line. Other features stashed in all three projectors include Sony’s proprietary TRILUMINOSTM system which is said to up the color accuracy on lower-light pictures, as well as MotionFlow technology which interpolates frames between each other to create a smoother, overall less-jittery viewing experience for anyone who’s sat down to watch.

The Sony VW260ES and VW360ES are expected on shelves this month (no word on exact pricing just yet), while the VW760ES will go on sale for £13,850 this November just in time for the holidays.

The post Sony Announces New Line of 4K HDR Projectors appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven Review

The Breville Smart Oven Pro easily ranks as one of the best toaster ovens that I’ve ever tested…but it isn’t without its flaws. Not only that, it also pushes the top end of the budget spectrum, costing $265 on Amazon which will likely cause many to consider cheaper options.

But as I see it, investing in the Breville Smart Oven Pro is worthwhile. Why so?  Well in short, it can replace your full size oven (and save you on energy costs in the meanwhile), functions like a high end appliance, has 1,800 watts of power, a whole mess of cooking options and fairly consistently toasted toast, browned food and more.

So keep reading my Breville Smart Oven Pro review to learn more.

Overview

Price: $260+ on Amazon
Availability: October 1, 2013
Model #: BOV845BSS

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Breville Smart Oven Pro isn’t a toaster oven, it’s an oven to replace your full size oven.

Summary: Temperature issues aside, the Breville Smart Oven Pro feels and operates like a high end (toaster) oven. And at this price point it should. It’s powerful and versatile enough to replace your full sized oven, save for the fact that it only ships with one rack and can’t fit a 9 x 13″ baking pan.

What We Liked

  • Can easily and unequivocally replace your full sized oven
  • Intuitive controls
  • Feels and looks high end
  • Temperature accurate (despite preheat tone confusion – see my testing section for more on this)

What We Didn’t

  • Temperature preheat accuracy is questionable; 450° F preheat tone sounded but thermometer showed 300° F. Update: According to Breville this was actually done with purpose. You can see the full explanation in the comments, but in short, Breville determined the total preheat time is less if you put your items in earlier due to the delta that occurs when the door is opened.
  • Doesn’t fit a 9 x 13″ pan

Design

Interior space of the Breville Smart Oven Pro is .8 cubic feet. That’s slightly less than Cuisinart’s comparable toaster oven offering. And while it may seem moot, and largely is, the biggest caveat is that you cannot fit a 9 x 13″ pan inside. And yes, the Cuisinart’s competition can. Which for some could be a non-starter, especially if you’re a big baker. I am not, but I did have one instance where upon I couldn’t us my 9 x 13″ to bake a gluten free chocolate cake.

Breville Smart Oven Pro Design

The Breville should look good in any kitchen thanks to its finish.

And like the Cuisinart, the Breville is clad in stainless steel all around. Leaving items, such as trays or the included pizza tray (metal not ceramic as found with the Cuisinart) will leave a slight discoloration on top. And like all other toaster ovens, this one will get hot to the touch, so you’ll have to look out for little ones and their curios hands.

As for footprint, the Breville measures 15¾ x 18½ x 11″. It’s a fair bit smaller than the Cuisinart and with that comes room for 6 slices of toast, 3 less then the competition.  That in mind, note the height size and make sure that this unit will fit under your cabinets. I had no issues with the space in my kitchen, but not all homes are built equally.

On the inside you’ll find a non-stick surface that makes for easy wipe downs. Though I still can’t help but wonder what a year or two of use will result in.

There is an interior light, which in my book is a must. That said, Breville makes another version of this oven called the Smart Oven Plus and the only real difference, based on their product page, would seem to be a lack of interior light in the latter product. So suffice to say, spending the extra $20 or so dollars is money well spent. Just keep in mind, you’ll want to wipe down the light regularly to maintain visibility.

And last, and most certainly not least, are the 5 independent quartz heating elements. I mentioned these in my Cuisinart TOB-260N1 review, but in short, these provide infrared cooking which is ideal for searing food while maintaining moisture, or moistness, because the air doesn’t have to heat for the food to begin to cook. Instead, the uncooked food directly absorbs the radiation and begins to cook.

Operating the Breville Smart Oven Pro

Operating the Breville Smart Oven Pro

The Breville Smart Oven Pro’s controls are straight forward and easy to use.

Operating the Breville Smart Oven Pro is intuitive and easy to do, no matter your knowledge of cooking. There is an easy to read LCD display, which turns from blue to red when the machines is toasting, baking etc.

To control the settings there are a total of three knobs and one button. Well, truthfully there are also 4 small buttons: one to activate additional time for frozen foods (such as bread), a convection oven button, a light button and a button to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

The single, large button turns the machine on and off.

The smallest knob, located at the top of the control panel, allows you to select from 1 of 10 cooking function (Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, Pizza, Cookies, Reheat, Warm, Slow cook), where as the remaining knobs, in descending order, allow you to influence temp/darkness and time/slices.

The faster you move each knob, depending on the cooking function, the faster the display’s number will increase (or decrease). So sometimes it can be a bit finicky when it comes to nailing down the correct temperature, slices or time.

Total cooking time, for baking and roasting, maxes out at 2 hours. For slowing cooking you can achieve up to 10 hours of cooking. And in the case of broiling, you’ll be capped at 20 minutes of cooking time.

The limited broiling timer can be an annoyance, especially when you’re preheating the function and still prepping food. I generally resort to powering the machine down then up (very quickly) as the timer knob will no longer increase the time from what is remaining on the display. I’m not sure if this is an energy conservation feature or that the heating elements are best not used at this intensity for periods longer than 20 minutes.

At this point, I haven’t used the slow cook function since I haven’t had a meal that has called for it. I have, however, dried some figs in the oven over the course of a few hours, at a low temp, and it was fairly effective at doing doing so.

Compared to the Cuisinart, the Breville does feel more premium in both function and slightly form. Granted Breville doesn’t include a ceramic pizza stone in their accessory pack, but they do offer virtually the same, albeit smaller, 12 x 12″ enamel baking pan. It can also fit a 13″ pizza, as there is slight bubble in the back to accommodate.

Unlike the Cuisinart, the Breville has a set of magnets that pull the rack out of the oven slightly, provided it’s located in the middle position. It doesn’t make the machine but it’s a nice touch. As are the  knobs, which exude a nice clicking feeling that feels more premium than the Cuisinart offering. In short, the Breville just feels more solid and premium than the competition.

Cleaning the Breville Smart Pro

Lastly, cleaning the Breville Smart Oven Pro is pretty pain free, at least so far. I’ve had cheese drip all over the rack and bottom (crumb tray) and I’m happy to report it all wipes off quick and easy. The bottom of the oven, the crumb tray, removes for easy cleaning. It’s sturdy and is hidden when it’s back in its home.

Cleaning the Breville Smart Oven Pro

Cleaning is pretty easy thanks to the non stick interior.

I recommend wiping down the glass door after each use, or every other use to prevent food residue from building up and cooking into place. If you don’t, it can reduces the glass door’s intended purpose.

Testing and Results

So I’d be remiss if I didn’t perform a few objective tests to see how the Breville compares to the competition.

First up is the heat map. I used 6 slices of white bread (Sara Lee) to measure not only the heat distribution but the time it took to achieve what I generally like to refer to as good toast, or visually speaking, that ideal golden brown. Time to achieve this for 6 slices: 4:30. Keep in mind the less toast, the quicker it might be.

And you can see below the toaster’s heat map. It performs admirably, but lacks heat on the left and right sides. In this instance (picture), the bread was pushed slightly more to the right, hence why that side isn’t as toasted as the left.

Breville Smart Oven Pro Toast Test

To test the heat distribution (aka heat map) we used 6 pieces of white bread.

The next test is temperature accuracy and timing. As for accuracy, I’m looking to see if the preheat function – which sounds a tone when it’s reached the inputted temperature – is accurate, and how long it takes using this Thermometer (the same thermometer in all our toaster testing). I’m also looking to see how long takes to achieve select increments of temperature as well as measure the max temperature.

In the case of the Breville, it sounded the preheat beep after 4:56 minutes for 450° degrees when the our thermometer only showed 300° F.  Disappointing? Indeed. BUT WAIT…KEEP READING.

Update: Richard from Breville reached out to address this issue. To paraphrase, Breville sounds the preheat tone early on purpose. Why? After testing, the found at the they netted less preheat time if the food was put in earlier since less heat was sacrificed at a lower temperature when the door is opened (opening any oven door lets out heat).   Here is his full comment if you’re interested:

“Thanks for a really useful review. I worked on the Breville BOV845 Smart Oven project. You mentioned the pre-heat tone sounding when the oven had not reached full temp. This seems like the oven temperature is not accurate, but this is actually a deliberate feature. Allow me to explain. We wanted to make the pre-heat time as short as possible. While we were developing the product we graphed the temperature in the cavity. To pre-heat the oven to 450 F takes 10 minutes. When you open the door to put the food inside the oven cavity temperature drops dramatically (~120 F) and it takes a further 2.5 minutes at full power to recover to 450 F making the total heatup time 12.5 minutes.

We tried other options and discovered that if the food is put in at 5 minutes when the temperature is lower, the amount the temperature drops is less (about 60F) so then you then reach 450 F in 10 minutes which is 2.5 minutes faster! For this reason we made the pre-heat alert sound at 75% of the target temp in order to get you baking 2 minutes and 30 seconds sooner!”

You can see the remaining temps and the amount of time it took below. Lastly, the oven, while set to its max temp on bake of 450° F, was never achieved according to our thermometer, but it did come close at 440° F after over 15 minutes of preheating.

  • 350°F: 5:46 minutes
  • 400°F: 7:36 minutes
  • 425°F: 9:30 minutes
  • 440°F: 15 minutes
  • 450°F: n/a – we could never reach this temperature according to our thermometer
  • Preheat accuracy
    • Oven set to 450° but according to our thermometer it was 300°F at 4:56.

Lastly, and this is important, the Breville’s thermometer is in fact accurate. I set the oven to 400°F for 15 minutes, stuck the thermometer in, and it too read the same temperature.

Wrap Up

Temperature preheat inaccuracies aside, the The Breville Smart Oven Pro easily delivers the most premium experience of all the toaster ovens I’ve tested. I can live with the delta found during preheating as it’s by design on the part of Breville more a matter of waiting, though in my mind it does some what defeat the feature’s purpose.

If I could change one anything, it would be the Smart Oven Pro’s capacity. Not it’s overall capacity, but it’s width. It’s just a few centimeters shy of being able to fit a 9 x 13″ pan.

The post Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven Review appeared first on Gadget Review.

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