Earlier today, Sony announced plans to expand its 360 Reality Audio platform. The key updates were a two-fold approach for expanding the limited content library, licensing tech to other companies and -- most importantly -- news that it would ship its own speakers built for the immersive sound this spring. At the time, the company said it didn't have any info beyond a few vague details, but that's wasn't entirely true. Sony's UK website has already posted full details for both the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 "premium wireless speakers." If you've been following our 360 Reality Audio coverage since 2019, you'll recognize the designs.
That Cyber Monday special from Best Buy sounds really enticing. Which may not be a catch at all, but it is something worth considering. Because if you have Amazon Echo speakers throughout your home, you won't be able to use them to talk to your new TCL TV. As all TV sales now tend to be "smart," they operate on different software platforms, ones you need to consider before making your purchase. Before you buy a Roku-branded TV, I have three words for you: "Wonder Woman 1984."
Polk Audio manages to tease some relatively impressive virtual 3D audio out of its 2.1-channel MagniFi soundbar, which makes the speaker's subpar bass response all the more disappointing. Equipped with built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant support, the MagniFi 2 is easy to set up, and Polk Audio's custom digital sound processing delivers subtle surround and height effects without undue harshness. The $499 MagniFi 2 also comes with three HDMI inputs, a pleasant surprise for a soundbar in this price range. But while it's unquestionably an upgrade over standard TV speakers, the MagniFi 2's otherwise crisp audio is undermined by muddy bass from the wireless subwoofer, robbing the sound of punchiness. Polk Audio has three lines of soundbars.
After years of trying to make Bixby happen, Samsung is coming around and enabling support for better AI helpers like Alexa and Google Assistant. The company announced at CES this year that you can choose to use these assistants on its QLED 8K TV, but Google Assistant only just became available. With Google Assistant on these devices, you can not only control other smart devices, but also use it to pull up your favorite show or get onscreen answers to your questions. You'll need to connect your TV to the Google Assistant app on your phone by heading over to Settings on your big screen and selecting it under Voice. You'll need to give Samsung and Google permission to share information with each other as well as access to your voice.
Samsung, Amazon, Roku, Google, Sony, Apple and Microsoft have unveiled their fall lineups of new tech gear with one biggie awaiting a reveal: those new editions of the Apple iPhone, which is expected later this month. Perhaps you missed the announcements. Or wondered when the products would be available. We have our annual fall calendar for you, right here. Several new ones products have already been released, including the updated Series 6 Apple Watch, Amazon's Fire TV streaming players (some so bare-bones, they don't have TV controls or 4K streaming support) and a faster, more powerful $329 iPad.
Microsoft's Cortana-powered consumer speakers are dead. Long live...Cortana powered Teams speakers? During a Microsoft Ignite keynote by Jared Spataro, the vice president of Microsoft 365, Microsoft showed off a demonstration room powered by some of its latest hardware, including the 85-inch Surface Hub 2S, plus companion devices like Teams Rooms, which are third-party bundles of cameras and small displays for facilitating meetings. Microsoft's idea is that the Teams Rooms devices will manage the meetings, with voice assistance using Cortana, and capabilities like Teams casting and the Room remote app for facilitating conferences. One of the key capabilities of the Microsoft Teams software is its ability to listen to, record, and transcribe the conversation.
This week was jam-packed with new product announcements but we also got a couple of good deals, too. Apple's AirPods Pro remain at their lowest price ever -- only $199 -- and the latest MacBook Air is $100 off. Those in need of a new smartphone can grab the latest from Samsung for $200 less and the solid Beats Solo Pro headphones are down to $199. Here are the best deals from this week that you can still buy today. You can get AirPods Pro for their lowest price ever, only $199, on Amazon, Walmart or Staples.
Labor Day weekend deals extended into the rest of the week with a number of sales on electronics and home appliances. Amazon's $99 Instant Pot deal is still available while August's latest WiFi smart lock can still be had for $30 off. Some of the latest gadgets are on sale, too, including Apple's 2020 iPad Pros and Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra smartphone (which just came out). Here are the best deals from this week that you can still grab today. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has only been available for about a month and it's already on sale.
OLED TVs, as expensive as they can be, are a favorite among display aficionados. Both Sony and LG announced new OLED TVs earlier this year at CES and now there's actually a decent sale on one of them. The Sony 55-inch A8H 4K OLED TV is $400 off right now at a bunch of retailers, which brings its price down to $1,499. It goes without saying that OLED TVs are worth the money if you care about color quality and getting the blackest blacks possible. It's also an Android TV, so it has built-in Google Cast and support for voice assistants including the Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.
TL;DR: As of Sept. 10, Best Buy will throw in an e-gift card worth up to $500 when you buy one of two huge smart TVs on sale -- choose from the 77-inch LG CX Series OLED 4K Smart TV (down $1,200 from $4,999.99) or the 82-inch Samsung Q800T Series QLED 8K UHD Smart TV (down $2,000 from $6,999.99). Fancy TVs were some of the biggest stars of this year's stellar Labor Day sales (per usual), with Samsung and LG leading the pack in terms of discounts: The former offered savings of up to $1,000 on its QLED 8K TVs, while LG slashed the prices of its OLED TVs by as much as $3,200. If you missed out, you've got another chance to save a ton of money on a massive display from both brands: For one day only, Best Buy is giving away e-gift cards worth up to $500 on top of savings of up to $2,000 on the 77-inch LG CX Series OLED 4K Smart TV and the 82-inch Samsung Q800T Series QLED 8K UHD Smart TV. These deals are only scheduled to last through Thursday, Sept. 10 at 11:59 p.m. CT (or until they sell out), so don't dawdle -- here's the scoop: Equipped with Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, and LG's ThinQ AI platform, this WiFi-enabled OLED display uses over 8.3 million self-lit pixels to produce a sharp, smooth, and remarkably detailed picture. When you're not using it for movie night, pop on the Gallery Mode to turn it into a piece of wall art.