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Samsung Galaxy Book S hands-on review

The first laptop with Qualcomm’s 8-core Snapdragon 8cx processor is Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, and if Samsung’s claims hold up, this could be the Windows laptop to buy for people who find themselves often working out of the back of a cab. Why? Not only does it have LTE, but Samsung’s claiming a whopping 23 hours of battery life.

It’s quite potentially the perfect lightweight laptop — here’s what it’s like.

Super lightweight, but feels a bit cheap

I love lightweight laptops. I’m often the guy walking around trade shows like CES with a laptop in my hand as I finish writing a story. If not, my laptop is always in my backpack, which I carry everywhere, so being as light as possible is the best possible feature. That’s where the Galaxy Book S impresses the most on first impression. At just 2.1 pounds, it’s well over a half pound lighter than the MacBook Air, and it’s a joy to hold and type on at the same time.

The build material — not so much. Samsung said it’s a “premium anodized aluminum frame on the top and base,” but it feels a bit plasticky and cheap. Hold the edges of the laptop and you can hear it click a little bit, as though the parts aren’t entirely held together. It’s a bit worrying, but longer-term testing will be required to see the durability of this machine.

It’s a joy to hold and type on at the same time.

Still, the design makes up for it. It resembles a Surface Laptop 2, which is a good thing, because it looks sleek and modern. The slim bezels around the 13.3-inch screen help make it look contemporary, too. I like the screen size — it’s big enough to get work done with, and perfect for watching videos too. The screen resolution is 1,920 x 1,080, and it looks sharp, though it didn’t get as bright as I would have liked. It is a touch screen, and Samsung said you can wake the device with a quick tap, just like a smartphone.

The keyboard is clicky, and maybe makes a bit too much noise for my taste, but it feels nice to type on.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx and LTE

This is a Windows laptop (Windows 10 Home, specifically), and it’s powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx processor. It’s the first laptop using this chipset, so we don’t quite have a proper reference point on how this laptop will perform. Previous attempts at implementing Qualcomm ARM chips in laptops have resulted in poor performance, but the 8cx aims to correct that. This chipset competes against Intel’s latest generation Core i5 processor, so it should be able to power average daily tasks without issue. It felt snappy in the brief time I used it, but that’s hardly a good measure for performance. Time will tell.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There’s 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state drive storage, but there’s also a hidden MicroSD card slot in case you need to add more space or transfer files. It’s in this tray that you’ll find the SIM card slot so you can add LTE connectivity. Now, there’s no Wi-Fi-only model, so you get the option for LTE no matter what. LTE service is only available through Verizon.

LTE connectivity is what makes this laptop perfect for those who want to work anywhere. It ensures you stay connected whether you’re in the back of a cab, in a coffee shop, or walking around the showfloor at CES.

23 hours of battery life

To go with the theme of working anywhere, you need a laptop that won’t give you battery anxiety. Samsung claims the Galaxy Book S can last for 23 hours on a single charge, which is impressive.

It’s less impressive when you look at the fine print:

LTE connectivity is what makes this laptop perfect for those who can do their work anywhere.

“Based on results from internal lab tests for local video playback time conducted by Samsung. Test results are estimated values of the battery sample from a pre-release version tested under default settings (audio volume and brightness levels) without connection to Wi-Fi or mobile network.”

So the battery claim of 23 hours is based on a test that didn’t use Wi-Fi or LTE, which can typically impact battery life greatly. Expect real-life usage to deliver less, and we’ll make sure to see what it’s like to use completely on LTE.

There are two USB-C ports, as well as a headphone jack. To juice it back up, the Book S supports USB Power Delivery 2.0, and Quick Charge 2.0 — it’s a bummer there’s now Power Delivery 3.0 or Quick Charge 4+ support. Still, if you have a Galaxy Note 10 Plus, you can use the 45W charger to keep this laptop powered.

The rest

What else is there? A 720p camera sits at the top of the screen, there’s a fingerprint sensor embedded inside the power button key at the top right area of the keyboard — it feels glossy so it’s distinguishable — and there are also stereo speakers powered by AKG (with support for Dolby Atmos).

You can also connect your phone to the laptop using Microsoft’s Your Phone app to see notifications, recent photos, and send and receive texts. But pair a Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10 Plus and you can mirror the screen and control it from your laptop as well.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Book S costs $999, and it will be available in the U.S. this fall. The LTE connectivity will exclusively be accessible through Verizon. The global launch will be arrive in September.

There are two color options — Earthy Gold and Mercury Gray — but only the latter will be carried by Verizon.

The Galaxy Book S is a promising step for Samsung, and also Qualcomm — but it has a lot to prove. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to use such a lightweight laptop on the go and stay connected. Let’s just hope the Snapdragon 8cx is powerful enough for the task.

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Tribit StormBox portable wireless speaker review

Bluetooth speakers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and price points. To say that it’s easy to find something that works for you would likely be an understatement.Bluetooth speakers are also widely available; they’re found not just in electronics stores, but general retail stores and myriad online outlets, too.For every big-name branded speaker that you’ll encounter in your hunt, there also will be unknown companies competing for your attention and money. Take, for instance, Tribit.Although it doesn’t have the same market presence as Ultimate Ears, it does have a growing portfolio of competing products with lower prices. Its StormBox speaker is one of the brand’s latest products and we’ve had a chance to check one out.DesignThe Tribit StormBox is a cylindrical speaker that takes up about as much space as a large energy drink. Although its buttons lead you to believe there’s a specific front to it, the shape lends itself to a 360-degree sound.Speaking of buttons, the StormBox keeps things simple. There are volume controls and a multi-function power/pairing button. Oh, and there’s also an XBass button that’s used to take sound to the next level.The speaker has a hard mesh exterior and an IPX7 rating which means it’s built to withstand splashes and scrapes. At the top is a lanyard that makes it easy to carry or connect to a bag. Nice and portable, it weighs in around one pound total.Although it pairs via Bluetooth, the StormBox also has a 3.5mm auxiliary input for directly connecting to audio sources. It, and the microUSB charging port are located under a protective rubber flap that keeps things dry.Also worth noting, you can pair multiple StormBox speakers together to create a stereo sound. We did not have the chance to test the feature out.What’s Included?Tribit Bluetooth SpeakerMicro USB CableBlack LanyardUser ManualSetupThere’s very little to mess with here as it’s more or less a case of powering on and holding down the pairing button. You don’t have to worry about any apps or phone settings.PerformanceI was quite happy with how the speaker performed as it did everything it promised. The StormBox had no problem filling large rooms and open spaces. You could easily hear whatever was playing throughout any room.The water-resistance worked pretty well. It was a bit muffled, but nothing drastic. Overall, I thought the speaker did really well underwater.As for the special button, I didn’t feel that the XBass button had much effect. I wish it had been a bit stronger.The battery life is reported to be twenty hours. I used it right out of the box and used it for about ten hours, and haven’t had to charge it yet. The manual includes a guide to figuring out the different functions, including how to understand your battery level. It isn’t very obvious, but there is a column of lights on the back that will give you a general idea.ConclusionOne of the best selling points of the StormBox is that it comes with an 18-month warranty. Not only that, but you can extend it out to 30 months at no extra cost. This process is done online at Tribit’s website.Given the affordable ($60) price, this is a great speaker option for people who might want something for around the home, office, or pool. It’s portable, sounds great, and has an excellent battery life.AvailabilityThe Tribit StormBox comes in a variety of color options, including blue, black, and red. Look for it at Tribit’s website and Amazon for about $60.

Cool tech gifts under $100

In the era of digitalization and lots of tech advancements appearing every day, you have no choice but adapt to our quickly-changing world. Tech gadgets are cool: they simplify our life and make it much more convenient. Besides, they become an irreplaceable part of our daily routine, just like smartphones once did. More attention to tech gadgets are paid in college: students are in need of helpful devices as well as reliable services like papercoach, which you can pay for an essay or just delegate your homework. Tech gadgets can also become a great gift for everyone, from a teenager to a retired person. In this guide, we will cover the top popular of them that will not cost you a fortune.Top gadgets for under $100 budgetHow many times have your smartphone, quick Internet connection, and professional student service united to make wonders? You just choose a reliable resource based on speedy paper review and other agencies’ feedback, then send a request like «Can you do my homework for me?» or «Can you write my essay for me cheap?» and receive a completed task within a short timeframe. Just a decade ago, we couldn’t imagine it would have ever become possible. Now there is a variety of gadgets aimed to make our life easy and comfortable. We offer a list of top tech gifts everyone would be happy to get and which cost no more than $100 (however, today $100 can get you quite far):Streaming stickA device like the Chromecast will cost you around $70, if not less, and is good for people who love streaming like bloggers or just enjoy watching Netflix. All tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google have invested in the development of the streaming revolution so you can find a variety of models appearing every year (for example, Roku). It is able to deliver 4K HD video and helps you find the best place to enjoy the content easily;Portable chargerThis is a must-have device for active smartphone users that never have enough battery power (that is, for everyone). We recommend getting the one with 20,000mAh or more, which will likely cost you around $50 and will keep your phone charged seven times (this is especially convenient during the trip in the mountains, concerts, and other places where you can`t get charged a standard way). It is small, lightweight, and easily fits in the pocket or backpack. Besides charging quickly, it also does it safely based on your cable and device;Amazon Echo DotThis device is a mini voice assistant speaker that has access to multiple apps and using which you can control smart home devices (lights, garage door, water, and thermostat), listen to music, and order pizza. It will cost around $50 and is totally worth this money: it has a far-field system of voice recognition so you can make commands across the room while the device will react to your speech, accent, vocabulary, and patterns;E-readerFor example, it can be Amazon Kindle for the cost of $80. If the person loves reading and cannot invest much money into regular books buying, this one will make a perfect gift. The most recent models have a nice design, enough memory to download hundreds of books, a great touch screen, and a powerful processor for convenient reading. Talking about Amazon, it also has a built-in vocabulary and the battery life of one month by active reading;Wireless headphonesIf you are looking for a gift under $100, you can consider the Shure SE112 model that has a solid construction, built-in microphone for making calls, great quality of the sound, and a smooth Bluetooth connection. These headphones provide outstanding performance within a limited budget so you can enjoy music on the go;DroneDepending on the model, it will cost you around $100, and it will be a perfect gift for travelers and just nature lovers. It is lightweight, has stabilization features, and is controlled via an app. Cheaper models can record videos in 720p, which still makes great quality.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

Android’s file sharing Nearby Share is now live

One feature that has been missing in the Android space for some time is the option to easily share files and contacts wireless with other Android users. Apple has had this with AirDrop for years, but Google has never brought a comparable protocol to the table. Finally, the rumors have been confirmed with Nearby Share available to Android.Nearby Share gives consumers a great option to quickly share links, photos, contacts, and documents with Android users instantly. The service works over cell networks, Bluetooth, WebRTC, or WiFi. This gives folks multiple avenues to deliver the shared files both on and offline.Google’s blog post also states that privacy settings are available in the app to make sure you have some more granular controls over how you can be found and receive files. You can change this from “all contacts” to “some contacts” or “hidden”. These privacy settings should allow you to add a layer of security to make sure you are only receiving or sending files to your most trusted friends or colleagues.Chromebooks are also not forgotten in this update. Chrome OS is quickly becoming the jack of all trades operating system and Google has made Nearby Share available on this platform as well. File sharing seemed like a natural progression of the already good continuum experience of Instant Tethering from Chrome OS devices to Android phones and we are glad Moutain View’s finest took the time to make this compatible day one.Nearby Share is a long-awaited addition to the Android ecosystem. While we like to think that Apple steals from Google on a consistent basis for new iOS features, this has been a gap in the Android experience that just needed to be fixed.Pixels and “select Samsung devices” should already see Nearby Share on the devices. Google will continue the trend of rolling releases of new Android options like this with future handsets getting Nearby Share over the coming months.