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Month: August 2018

Skullcandy aims upscale with two new headphones

Skullcandy has always been an odd brand. Aimed at a younger, hipper audience, the headphones always featured wacky graphics and a lower price point. Now, facing competition from multiple players, they’ve decided to step up their game in terms of quality and style. Their two new models, the noise-cancelling Venue and the bass-heavy Crusher 360, are designed to hit the Bose/B&O/Sony quality point while still maintaining a bit of Beats styling. The Venue are the most interesting of the pair. They are true over-ear noise-cancelling headphones that cost a mere $179 — more than $100 less than Bose’s best offerings. The Venue’s noise cancellation was excellent, as was the sound quality. The headphones were solidly built and last for two five-hour flights, a first for me when it comes to wireless or wired noise-cancelling headphones. Usually in almost every model I’ve tested I’ve had to charge or change the battery after about eight hours. This is a vast improvement. As for audio quality, I was quite impressed. Having heard earlier Skullcandy models, I went in expecting tinny sound and muddy bass. I got neither. What I got was a true sound without much modification and very nice noise cancelling. In short, it did exactly what it says on the tin. One peeve is the size of the headphones and the case. Most headphones can fold up to a smaller...

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Leak reveals a new Apple Watch Series 4 with an edge-to-edge display

In addition to a leak showing off photos of the new iPhone XS models, 9to5Mac also got a hold of a photo of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4. The new Watch, which now sports an edge-to-edge display, is expected to be revealed on September 12, at the just-announced Apple press conference, along with the iPhone XS. The photos of the forthcoming Apple Watch (which 9to5Mac notes are “not a render”) show off a watch that’s clearly different from the existing editions. The display now stretches to the edge of the watch face, confirming earlier rumors that said Apple was planning to give the Apple Watch its first big redesign since its launch in 2015. Analysts have been predicting the new watch would sport a 15% larger display, offer extended battery life, and include upgraded health monitoring features. Image credit: 9to5Mac Apple is apparently taking advantage of the bigger screen area with a new watch face that packs in a lot more complications. In the image 9to5Mac published (see above), there’s an analog face that’s practically cluttered with extra complications, including the temperature, stopwatch, weather, activity rings, date, music, calendar updates, and even a UVI index. These are both spread around the outside of the clock itself, and inside the clock, underneath the hands. Arguably, it’s a bit much. But the image is likely showing off all the possible complications that...

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The Google Assistant is now bilingual 

The Google Assistant just got more useful for multilingual families. Starting today, you’ll be able to set up two languages in the Google Home app and the Assistant on your phone and Google Home will then happily react to your commands in both English and Spanish, for example. Today’s announcement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, given that Google announced at its I/O developer conference earlier this year that it was working on this feature. It’s nice to see that this year, Google is rolling out its I/O announcements well before next year’s event. That hasn’t always been the...

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Panasonic to move its European HQ out of the UK because Brexit

Chalk up yet another Brexit deficit: Japanese electronics firm Panasonic will be moving its European headquarters from the UK to Amsterdam in October because it’s worried about the tax implications if it stays, the Nikkei Asian Review reports. The company is concerned it could face tax liabilities if the UK shifts its corporate tax regime as a result of Brexit. Laurent Abadie, CEO of Panasonic Europe, told the publication Japan could treat the U.K. as a tax haven if the country lowers its corporate rate — as the government has indeed suggested it will to try to make itself a more attractive destination for businesses once it’s outside the European Union’s trading bloc. In November 2016 the UK Prime Minister announced a review of the country’s corporate tax rate — saying the government could move to substantially cut the rate below the current 20%. Prior to that, former chancellor George Osborne pledged to cut the rate to below 15%. At the same time as announcing the rate review, the PM unveiled a package of business-focused measures — intended to try to quell fears around Brexit. Although a rate cut evidently isn’t friendly to every business. In the case of Panasonic, it’s concerned that if the U.K. gets designated a tax-haven by Japan it could be saddled with back taxes back home. So moving to stay regionally headquartered within the European Union removes that risk. Abadie...

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Taking a spin with Garmin’s vivosmart 4 activity tracker

Garmin continues to go head-to-head with Fitbit with the launch of its latest offering — the vivosmart 4 activity tracker. This sleek new wristband not only tracks steps, activities and gives you the weather but also comes with a blood oxygen sensor and will tell you how much energy you have saved up for your next full throttle burn session. That new body battery energy calculator estimates the body’s energy reserves to help you figure out when you feel more rundown and why. You simply swipe through the menu on the display to get to your energy levels or...

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