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The best deals we found this week: $40 off Google's Pixel 4a 5G and more

Engadget

This week brought a return of some holiday sale prices, plus a few deals that are even better than those we saw late last year. Google's Pixel 4a 5G fell to a new record-low price, while the 8th-generation iPad remains on sale for $299. If you want to up your smart-home game, August's WiFi smart lock is more than $65 off and some Beats headphones are 50 percent off, too. Here are the best deals from this week that you can still get today. One of Google's newest smartphones, the Pixel 4a 5G is down to $459, or $40 off its normal price.


Apple HomeKit: Going all-in with Apple's smart home platform

ZDNet

About a year ago, I decided I was tired of all the different smart home devices and hubs in my house. Managing all the apps and platforms had become somewhat of a nightmare, especially if I wanted to give control of a device to my wife. I planned to take a few weeks and then pick a platform and stick with it. Then 2020 happened, and figuring out how to automate my lights or streamline viewing camera feeds just wasn't a priority. Toward the end of the year, however, I decided it was time to begin my smart home conversion.


ICYMI: We take a listen to Apple's AirPods Max

Engadget

It's been a busy few weeks here at Engadget. In addition to celebrating the holidays, ringing in the New Year and prepping for next week's virtual CES, we've kept reviewing all the new gadgets and components that we can get our hands on. We start off with the long-awaited Apple AirPods Max headphones and, more recently, the Amazon Echo Frames which are now finally available. We also checked out Sony's portable A7C camera, HP's Reverb G2 mixed reality headset, NVIDIA's RTX 3060 Ti and the flexible Hologram Electronics Microcosm effects pedal. Long-rumored and quietly revealed last month, the AirPods Max are high-end, over-ear headphones constructed from aluminum and metal and available in five colors.


The Best Smart Thermostats

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

If you've ever used an iPod, the Nest Thermostat will be familiar to you--in fact, it was designed by Tony Fadell, the designer of the original iPod hardware. Changing the temperature is as simple as rotating the thermostat's dial. You can use the app to set a traditional time-of-day schedule--far simpler than most non-smart thermostats--or let the Nest learn your daily habits and adjust the temperature automatically. This feature is great for those who don't want to put in any effort, but might be a bit too confusing for people who like to fine-tune their schedules, so you can turn it off if you wish. Like many other smart thermostats, the Nest can save you energy by adjusting the temperature when you aren't home, as determined by your phone's location and the Nest's built-in motion sensors, and it's also compatible with the energy-saving plans and rebates offered by many utility companies.


Tech tip: How to record and send audio messages

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. That's where audio messages come in. You speak to your phone and send a voice message straight to your friends and family. I don't know about you, but I ignore incoming calls more often than not with the never-ending robocalls.


Echo Frames review: Alexa on your face is both helpful and annoying

Engadget

It's been more than a year since Amazon introduced the Echo Frames to the world, and this month, the connected glasses finally became widely available for purchase. For $250, you get hands-free access to Alexa wherever you go. Plus, you can take calls, play music and hear your notifications through the device's open-ear speakers, while still being aware of your surroundings. To be clear, though, that's pretty much all the Echo Frames do; there's no display or camera. Still, there's potential here, especially for people who already wear glasses and want to interact with their phone without touching it.


Apple's HomePod Mini packs mega sound

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

We've come to hold Apple devices to a high standard. They have a track record of performance, quality materials, and seamless integration (if only with each other). The HomePod Mini is exactly what we expected: Apple quality and Apple's proprietary ecosystem. It feels heavy in the hand, the power cord is thick and has a sturdy connection to the Mini's base, and the lights on top are beautiful, swirling colors like you'll see when you summon Siri on and iOS device. But how does it stack up to comparable smart speakers?


Consumer guides: Tech Gift ideas for everyone in your holiday list

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

You've heard so much about the new iPhones, and you want to get one. But seven models to choose from? And how to make your decision? "Upgrading from the XS Max soon," Wisconsin photographer Kevin Scott noted on Facebook. "Do you feel 12 Pro is worth the extra over the 12?" That was just one of the many questions we received during the holidays, which boiled down to variations of "Which iPhone should I buy?" and "Is the discounted Apple Watch a good buy?" You've come to the right place.


Top 40 Voice AI Influencers to Follow on Twitter

#artificialintelligence

The voice-first community on social media continues to grow almost as quickly as the adoption of voice AI technology itself. In 2018, we identified 15 voice AI influencers to follow on Twitter and heard from a lot of our readers on how much they loved the list--an inspiring mix of engineers, entrepreneurs, academics, linguists and journalists. Two years later, we're updating our list to include 40 experts we recommend you follow to keep up with the latest in voice AI news, trends, predictions, and successes. As we are all in planning mode for 2021, we thought this would be a good time to publish a new list to help inspire you. If you know someone who should be included in our next list, please let us know.)


Tech gift guide: ideas for last-minute Christmas presents

The Guardian

What to buy the tech enthusiast in your life? Here are some ideas – from smart speakers and games consoles to smartwatches and headphones. With Christmas rapidly approaching, time is running out to buy the big-ticket items, so we have also included some instant-delivery gifts for last-minute purchases. Google's cheapest little smart speaker looks like a pincushion and is great for playing the radio, answering questions and controlling smart home devices. It comes in four colours and can even be wall mounted. The best-sounding smart speaker under £100 is often available for far less in sales.