Apple's new, cheaper HomePod is a tough smart speaker to nail down. On the one hand, the HomePod Mini boasts impressive audio quality for its size. The HomePod Mini also has a Thread radio that lets it act as a smart home hub, but for now, there are only a few Thread-enabled smart devices available to control. And while Apple's new Intercom feature makes for an easy way to broadcast messages to household members, it doesn't allow for two-way calling. Now, if you're a dedicated Apple user and you've been waiting for a more affordable Siri-powered smart speaker than the $300 HomePod, the $99 HomePod Mini is your best--and only--bet.
Let's just get this out of the way: The holidays are likely to look a lot different this year. From lining up outside a supermarket to buy a turkey and smaller in-home gatherings to near-empty planes and perhaps fewer gifts under the tree, Thanksgiving and Christmas during a global pandemic may seem more like "The Twilight Zone" than "It's a Wonderful Life." But that doesn't mean you still can't create a memorable – nay, magical – time for your family this time of year. In fact, tech can help with the holidays, in several ways, to make the most out of the situation. The following are five suggestions to make this year's Thanksgiving and Christmas more festive than forgettable.
Sign up for internet service with Comcast's Xfinity, and the company will get you in for $19.95 for a relatively slow 25 megabits per second, or $49.99 for "faster speeds" like 200 Mbps. But if you're having trouble with your video calls dropping out, buffering when watching Netflix or waiting for websites to load on your computer, getting faster internet speed may not be the answer. That's the admittedly biased opinion of Nick Weaver, founder of Eero, a device that connects to your home internet and spreads Wi-Fi signals more evenly throughout the various rooms. "You're welcome to pay Comcast pay more money monthly if you like, but it won't solve the problem," Weaver says. You will get faster internet if using a wired connection, "but not in the places of the home where you need it," as in devices that depend upon Wi-Fi like laptops, smart TVs, connected speakers like Amazon Echo and more.
Sign up for internet service with Comcast's Xfinity, and the company will get you in for $19.95 for a relatively slow 25 megabits per second, or $49.99 for "faster speeds" like 200 Mbps. But if you're having trouble with your video calls dropping out, buffering when watching Netflix or waiting for websites to load on your computer, getting faster internet speed may not be the answer. That's the admittedly biased opinion of Nick Weaver, the founder of Eero, a device that connects to your home internet and spreads Wi-Fi signals more evenly throughout the various rooms. "You're welcome to pay Comcast pay more money monthly if you like, but it won't solve the problem," says Weaver. You will get faster internet if using a wired connection, "but not in the places of the home where you need it," as in devices that depend upon Wi-Fi like laptops, smart TVs, connected speakers like Amazon Echo and more.
Apple has had a busy few months. The tech giant has held multiple press conferences to announce a handful of new tech, including the 5G-capable iPhone 12 line-up, a new iPad, and of course, the Apple HomePod mini. The latter is available to pre-order starting today (Nov. The $99.99 asking price of the HomePod mini is just what the speaker needed to finally be competitive with the Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart devices (the original HomePod was a whopping $350). While half the size of the original, the HomePod mini still brings powerful, clear audio to the table and all the quality-of-life features you'd expect a Siri-enabled smart speaker to provide.
Artificial Intelligence or AI is rapidly gaining momentum around the world. While AI is often portrayed in film and television as a precursor to the end of the world, in reality, it is quite a bit more benign. AI, as we know it currently, is relatively innocuous. Known as narrow or weak AI, it is only able to perform relatively simple tasks. Things like responding to your search requests on Google or facial recognition on the photos on Facebook are areas where weak AI can excel.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a promising field in recent years. Despite the disruption 2020 has delivered, the opportunities around AI show no sign of losing their momentum. AI is no more science fiction and is already being adopted by public and private organizations globally. People are far away from the mythical thought that AI robots are coming for humans. The fact is, as a society, humankind is relying more on artificial intelligence with its growth.
We're all spending a lot more time at home lately, so when it comes to the holidays, it makes sense to give a gift that'll make the humble abode a lot more enjoyable. To that end, we've recommended an assortment of home-related goodies, from innovative kitchen gear to attractive smart speakers, to give that special someone in your life. It might not stop them from getting cabin fever, but it just might bring them a sense of home sweet home. Google's latest smart speaker is the Nest Audio, which delivers a huge upgrade over the small puck-like Nest Mini. It has automatic tuning so that its audio quality improves over time as it learns more about your loved one's listening habits and the room it's in. Your giftee can use it to play their favorite tunes, and thanks to Google Assistant, they can also ask it for info like the weather, upcoming calendar appointments or their to-do list simply by using their voice.
The latest version of the Iris, a smart mood lamp from Signify-owned Philips Hue, cannily improves on the elegant original, upping its brightness, improving its translucent light diffuser and spiffing up the power cable, while adding a Bluetooth radio in the bargain. Capable of working both with or without a hub, the $100 Iris can cast a soothing shaft of color or tunable white light on a nearby wall, while its translucent diffuser glows inside the lamp's clear shell. A cinch to set up and compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and (if used with a hub) HomeKit, the Iris makes for an easy and inexpensive way to warm up a room. While the Iris has a list price of $100 (or $99.99 if you want to get technical about it), the recently released lamp is only now finding its way into retail channels, so don't be surprised if you see inflated prices from third-party resellers. While it's rated for up to 570 lumens, or twice as bright as its predecessor, the Iris isn't really meant to light a room or illuminate a workspace.
Light strips are a fun and easy way to add smart lighting to just about anywhere in your home, like under kitchen cabinets, around TVs, along baseboards, and more. To get the job done right, you need a light strip that's fast and simple to set up, stays securely in place, and comes loaded with fun and useful features to light up any room. For these reasons, the Lifx Z LED Strip 6.6' Kit is the best smart light strip you can buy. In what felt like a blink of an eye, we had these dimmable lights connected to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. They also work with IFTTT, SmartThings, Nest, Arlo, Flic, and more.