PCWorld


Ecobee4 smart thermostat review: Retains the great functions of the Ecobee3, and adds Alexa

PCWorld

While the 4 looks almost identical to the 3, if slightly larger, it's now packed with a speaker and microphone to accommodate its new role as a smart hub that can tell you jokes and the weather, change the temperature in the house, and, if you really want, play music from Amazon's music service (among many other tasks). While it's not the worst speaker I've ever heard, the actual Amazon Echo's speaker is at least a little better. So, if you work from home and have the sensor in your home office, the Ecobee can adjust the temperature based purely on the readings in your office. You can't create a complicated schedule of adjustments throughout the day like many admittedly less-smart thermostats allow, since the Ecobee adjusts based on your set temperature preferences for cooling and heating, and data from the motion sensors.


Windows 10 digital ink: All the improvements with the Fall Creators Update

PCWorld

The improvements include two major elements: navigation, including using the pen or stylus to select and scroll text; and better interpretation of inked words as text, via a more accurate and responsive handwriting panel. Once it comes to writing actual words with your digital pen, though, Microsoft's new handwriting panel does an impressive job of interpreting inked words as editable text. Note that the keyboard icon won't appear on your taskbar unless you right-click the taskbar and select Show touch keyboard button from the menu that appears. Once you've enabled, and clicked, the touch keyboard button, you'll need to enable the pen input by selecting the pen keyboard.


Spoiler alert: Google's Pixel event will still be more exciting than Apple's iPhone X reveal

PCWorld

As expected, Google will be announcing several new products at its event: Google Home Mini, an updated Daydream View VR headset, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and a new Chromebook Pixel that will apparently be rechristened Pixelbook. After all, Google's own teaser for the phone presents some pretty big questions it's supposed to answer, alluding to things like improved image stabilization, long-lasting battery life, and auto updates. It's all but confirmed that HTC is manufacturing the smaller Pixel anyway (complete with its side-squeezing Edge Sense feature). With Google Home, the Pixel phones, Chromecast, and Daydream, Google has a numerous product lines to nurture.


Ezviz Mini Trooper review: Weatherproof and wireless security

PCWorld

The Ezviz Mini Trooper starter kit includes a camera, base station, and an 8GB microSD card for storing security video. It supports motion detection, automatically recording video of triggering events and pushing alerts via the Ezviz companion app, and has a built-in mic to capture ambient audio (but no two-way communication). The Mini Trooper starter kit includes one base station, one camera, and an 8GB card. Thanks to its PIR sensor, the Mini Trooper's motion detection is pretty spot on.


Amazon's updated Fire HD 10 is a fast, powerful iPad competitor for $150

PCWorld

In the world of consumer-level 10-inch tablets, there are basically two to buy: At the high end, there's Apple's 9.7-inch iPad, and at the lower end, Amazon's Fire HD 10. Amazon's fresh 10-inch Fire HD tablet ($150 and up on Amazon) is a huge improvement over the prior generation in nearly every way. The Amazon Fire HD 10 comes in black, blue, and red. The Fire HD 10 tablets comes in black, blue, and red, and are already available for pre-order.


C by GE Sol review: GE has transplanted Alexa's brain into a funky lamp

PCWorld

But in addition to letting you use voice commands to control the lamp's brightness, the Sol also lets you use voice commands to change the color temperature of its outer white LED light ring, from a cool 6,500K to a warm 2,000K (the inner LED ring is reserved for visual feedback--more on that later). That enables you to use voice commands to also control any C by GE smart bulbs in your home--adjusting the brightness of the C-Life and C-Sleep and tweaking the color temperature of the C-Sleep. When Alexa responds, the dots briefly shift to a grayish white and then back to blue before turning off by traveling back down the left and right sides of the ring. The Sol does support Spotify Connect, so you can stream Spotify music to it its speaker, but you can't control Spotify with voice commands.


Ring Stick Up Cam review: A companion camera for the Ring Video Doorbell

PCWorld

Whether you decide to mount the camera to wood, stucco, brick, concrete, or vinyl, the array of included tools will help you get the job done. If you don't want to have to remove it from its mount every few months to recharge it via USB (a USB cable is also included in the package), you can purchase Ring's optional Solar Panel ($49) and mount it next to the camera to keep it continuously charged. Tapping the Stick Up Cam here will open a dedicated screen showing the camera's battery status, an on/off toggle for motion alerts, and a button for accessing the camera's live feed. The last two, Linked Chimes and Ring Partners, allow you to connect your account with the Ring Chime accessory and Ring's smart home partners' apps, respectively.


How Microsoft Edge will beat Chrome as the best PDF reader with the Fall Creators Update

PCWorld

Microsoft Edge is gaining new PDF reader features with Windows 10's Fall Creator's Update--everything from sticky notes to inked signatures. But based on these builds, you'll be able to fill fields, re-orient PDFs, add sticky notes, and adjust the PDF layout--even mark them up with digital ink, and sign PDF documents with a stroke of your stylus. Right now, both Chrome and Opera boast fillable PDF fields, while the current Creators Update version of Edge does not. As it does with its ebook capabilities, Microsoft's Edge browser offers the ability to read the PDF aloud.


Sylvania Smart Color Light Bulb review: Supports HomeKit, ditches hub

PCWorld

But while the company has lost some of its branding, its gained something else: support for Apple's HomeKit system without requiring an external hub. Add an Apple TV and you can add schedules and control the bulb when you're not at home. Making these settings through the Home app isn't quite as intuitive as it is on some competing standalone control apps--there's a lot of extra tapping required--but if you only have basic lighting needs, this isn't a big deal. If you want more power, you can use Sylvania's separate lighting control app--Sylvania Smart Home--to control your lights, or at least you will eventually be able to once its released.


Logitech Circle 2 review: Second time's the charm for this wired home security camera

PCWorld

Logitech offers a pair of Circle Safe subscriptions that extend that to 14 or 31 days for $4 per month per camera or $10 per month per camera/$100 per year, respectively. The latter premium subscription will unlock advanced security features, including person detection, smart alert filters, and the ability to set motion zones. You can customize motion zones to narrow detection areas. It's a little disappointing that you have to pay for a premium cloud subscription to take advantage of what are often standard features--other cameras like the Neatmo Presence and Honeywell Lyric C1 include motion zones and smart motion detection in the their price--but whether that's a drawback is best decided by your budget.