Month: September 2019

Delta has an incredible fare sale through Wednesday with flights as low as $97

Regular travelers probably don’t associate the idea of sales and low-fares with a carrier like Delta Airlines, which are more in the wheelhouse of a low-cost brand like Southwest that offers up flash fare sales on the regular.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Delta has going at the moment — a fare sale with deals that start as low as only $97, though they come with a few important catches.

One is that you’ve only got until September 25, to lock one of these fares in. Just as important to know: These are Delta basic economy fares, a classification that leaves several things to chance. You’ll be assigned a seat at check-in, for example, and you’ll be stuck in the last boarding group and thus will probably have to gate-check your luggage.

If you can be fine with those limitations, though, there are some great deals to be had. In most cases, they’re fares that are meant for travel happening sometime between October and February 2020, and the deals include a $97 round-trip offer in basic economy between Atlanta and Nashville; a $99 round-trip offer between Los Angeles and San Diego; a $117 offer between Austin and Cincinnatti; and a $127 offer between Seattle and San Jose.

The full list of routes and discounted fares offered can be found on Delta’s sale website. Of course, just because a fare that’s discounted here looks pretty low doesn’t mean you won’t find a comparable offer elsewhere — one that may also have some of the perks like earlier boarding that you’re denied through this Delta sale. Speaking of those basic economy limitations here, savvy travelers should be able to easily get around them using certain co-branded credit cards that offer perks like early boarding, luggage benefits and the like.

If you decide these deals are worth it, though, remember — you’ve only got a few more days to decide, as the fare sale is only good through Wednesday.

Image Source: Jed Leicester/Shutterstock

This week in tech history: Android turns 11

At Engadget, we spend every day looking at how technology will shape the future. But it’s also important to look back at how far we’ve come. That’s what This Week in Tech History does. Join us every weekend for a recap of historical tech news, anniversaries and advances from the recent and not-so-recent past. This week, Amazon turns 11.

After search (and the massive ad business attached to it), what do you think Google’s most important product is? There are multiple potential candidates like Chrome and Maps, but my money’s on Android. The 10th major version of Google’s mobile operating service just arrived a few weeks ago, as it now does every fall. And tomorrow, September 23rd, is the 11th anniversary of Android’s official release alongside the announcement of the HTC Dream, the first phone running Android.

As just about anyone reading this site knows, Android was Google’s vision for the modern smartphone, released a little over a year after Apple stormed the industry with the iPhone. Through more than a decade, both operating systems have changed radically — but in typical Google fashion, Android felt at launch more

Kodak Smile Classic Review: The Best Zink Instant Camera

Photography has always been sold as a way to preserve memories. But for most of us that’s probably no longer really true. Photography today is now less about saving memories and more about documenting the moment, moments that float by as we thumb through Instagram or Facebook.

Photos as printable memories sometimes feels like an outdated concept. This may no longer be the goal of our photography, but it still has a place. And it’s still incredibly popular: The instant print market was valued at $950 million last year. Score one for the world of tangible objects.

Fujifilm’s Instax cameras and printers have long dominated the instant print world, but there is a competitor known as Zink (short for “zero ink”).

Kodak’s new Smile Classic vastly improves what Zink prints can produce. Unlike other Zink cameras we’ve tested, the Smile Classic produces larger prints, with a nice border, good tonal range, and richer contrast. These are prints that look good enough to trust with your memories.

Design Nostalgia Photograph: Kodak

The design of the Smile Classic echos the look and feel of the 1970s Polaroid OneStep but shaves off some of the bulk to produce a camera that looks great and works with the simplicity of a Polaroid but fits much more easily in your bag. It comes in black, blue, green, and red.

The Smile Classic is the third Zink-based product in Kodak’s Classic line and its first hybrid camera-printer that can snap and print decent photos in its own right but also print any image from your phone. The latter option means you can document the moment and get the print later.

The power button is on the side of camera. Slide it to the front of the Smile Classic and up pops a viewfinder extension reminiscent of the Polaroid’s famous viewfinder. The shutter button is on the back of the camera, large and raised enough that it’s easy to find by touch. Next to the shutter button there’s a small 10-second timer button for group shots.

Like Canon’s Ivy Cliq (see our full review), the Smile Classic keeps things simple. You don’t need to worry about exposure; you don’t even need to focus. You just frame the shot, press the shutter, and out comes your print. This is point-and-shoot photography at its purest.

The camera sports a 27-mm f/2.2 fixed-focus lens that captures square, 16-megapixel images. On the side of the camera body there’s a standard USB-A charging port and a MicroSD card slot. That means you can save digital copies of the images you take with the Smile Classic.

I really like the simplicity of the Smile Classic, but there is one major drawback: It prints absolutely every image you shoot. There’s no screen, no preview. Printing everything, even the images you dislike, will make the Smile Classic more expensive over time. This also affects battery life, which Kodak claims will print 35 images per charge.

A Go-Anywhere Printer Photographs: Scott Gilbertson


Flashback: Huawei P9 and the beginning of partnership with Leica

In 2016 fast-growing smartphone maker Huawei and legendary camera manufacturer Leica announced that they are joining forces to improve phone photography. Later that year the Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Plus arrived on the stage.

Huawei P9 • Huawei P9 Plus

The story actually starts back in 2013 when Huawei tried reaching out to Leica, but the camera maker declined. Huawei persisted and eventually Leica agreed to a meeting. Soon execs from the two companies realized that this would be a mutually beneficial match – Huawei wanted better cameras to make its phones more competitive, Leica wanted to get into the smartphone game as they were eating into the traditional camera market.

Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei (right) and Dr. Andreas Kaufmann of Leica Camera AG (left)

It was easier said than done, however. Leica insisted that the small plastic phone lenses have to go through the same testing process and meet the same standards as the company’s glass lenses for cameras.

The main hurdle was yield – only 1 in 10 lens modules could pass those tests. Working together, the companies figured out a way to start mass producing of good enough lenses and in January 2016 Huawei delivered a prototype P9 to Leica for testing.

And the camera experts were not happy with what they saw. The phone was to be unveiled in April, so there wasn’t much time. However, experts from both companies worked together to tune the camera to produce images that had the signature Leica look.

The Huawei P9 duo had two cameras on the back – a 12MP main shooter and a 12MP monochrome sensor (a Sony IMX286 sensor was used for both cameras). The latter enabled dramatic black & white photos, but also boosted low light performance (as it lacked a Bayer filter, which let it capture nearly three times as much light).

In addition B&W shots, Leica prepared three “Film modes” – Standard, Vivid Color and Smooth Color – which emulated the look of camera film. These played on nostalgia as well as tried to inspire people’s creativity the same way that Leica cameras do.

The two cameras and the Hybrid autofocus system (which included Laser AF) was able to simulate bokeh, going as wide as f/1.0.

The cameras also collaborated in the dark. While the two sensors had 1.25µm pixels, Huawei claimed that combining data from both created the equivalent of a color sensor with 1.76µm pixels. For comparison, rival Samsung Galaxy S7 had 1.4µm pixels.

Note that the partnership extended only to still photography, tuning the video recorder was up to Huawei. And the video recording skills of the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus were nothing to write home about, as they couldn’t capture 2160p footage. Huawei was behind on video recording capabilities all the way up to the Mate 30 phones, now it may be in the lead (certainly the 7,680fps mode is unchallenged).

The Huawei P9 cameras were embroiled in controversy when reports surfaced that the lens

10 Best iPhone Accessories for 2019 (iPhone 11, 11 Pro)

Another year, another iPhone. This time around, you have your pick of the iPhone 11 or the premium iPhone 11 Pro. We break down all your choices in our iPhone buying guide, but if you want to get the most out of your shiny slab of glass and metal, you’ll need some accessories. From wireless charging to protective cases, and even the dongles and adapters Apple leaves out of the box, here are the best accessories for your new iPhone.

Update September 2019: We updated our accessories guide to include cases and products for the latest iPhones.

10 deals you don’t want to miss on Sunday: 80% off Kindle books, $11 Anker wireless charger, $66 off Instant Pot, more

There are always killer daily deals out there over the weekends and you can find them if you’re willing to dig… or if you just come check out our roundups of the best ones! Highlights from today include a big sale that slashes up to 80% off top-selling Kindle books you can read on a Kindle and in the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet, $25 off the newest Kindle if you’re a Prime member, one of Anker’s best-selling fast wireless charging pads for just $11.46, the upgraded faster version of Amazon’s best-selling Wi-Fi range extender for just $19.99, $15 off both the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick for Prime members, the Echo Dot for cars at an all-time low of $19.96, a whopping $66 discount on the best-selling Instant Pot on Amazon, a 12-outlet power strip for $19.71, multi-color LED strip lights for only $16.99, and more. Check out all of today’s best deals below.

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Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals from around the web. Quantities may be limited. Prices are subject to change without notice and coupons

The 'Smart Kitchen' Is Very Stupid

The smart home market is big and booming. Connected products, like those made by Roku, Nest, Sonos, and Amazon have changed the way we live, mostly for the better. But the so called “smart kitchen?” The app-connected kitchen gadgets, the experimental tiny ovens, the microwaves you can talk to, and the recipe apps? They’ve failed. While our first whack at the connected home kitchen was interesting and occasionally even fun, for the most part, it has flopped like a soufflé.

It’s time to wipe down the counter, tighten our apron strings, and start from scratch.

Harsh? Maybe. But most of the smart kitchen devices I’ve reviewed in the past few years would not get a passing grade. In fact, for all the kitchen testing I do, none of my favorite kitchen gear is connected.

Despite the influx of tech, my favorite kitchen tools are still my knives, a 25-cent plastic pocket scraper, and an old wood-handled silicone spoonula from Williams-Sonoma. The item I’m most excited to buy next is one of those old-school wood-and-Plexiglas cookbook holders. There is all sorts of excitement in the food-tech sector—robot delivery, ghost restaurants, restaurant ticketing—but the tech you use in a home kitchen feels like it’s stalling while the rest of the smart home is taking off.

It’s not just me. Most restaurant chefs aren’t bothering either. Over at America’s Test Kitchen, executive tasting and testing editor Lisa McManus also struggles with it. “The idea that you can make a home appliance ‘smart’ and you’re done had a lot of problems built in,” she says. “It’s hard enough to make a great appliance, and just adding an app to a basic one isn’t the answer.”

Photograph: Hestan

Perhaps home cooking just isn’t all that ripe for disruption. Look at a successful smart home product like the Nest, which automates temperature control in your home. Before Nest, nobody ever told me how much they loved their thermostat. The kitchen, though, is capital-F freighted. We chop with our cherished knives, sauté in favorite pans, mix in our moms’ beloved Kitchen-Aid mixers. Recipes are gently refined as they are passed down through generations. They make things the way they’ve always made them because it took forever to arrive at a recipe that good. On top of that, cooking is a skill and a trade that we’ve been honing in home and professional kitchens for centuries. The French alone have been refining their craft for hundreds of years; nobody in Paris ever thought, “You know what this dish needs? A Bluetooth-enabled tarte tatin pan.”

Microsoft invites more people to test very rough Xbox features

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Timothy J. Seppala/Engadget

You’ve had to be part of a very exclusive club to try Xbox One features in their rawest form — so exclusive the criteria has been “closely guarded,” Microsoft said. Now, though, the company is loosening its restrictions ever so slightly. The Xbox Insider unit is inviting more people to join the Alpha Skip Ahead ring so that it can expand testing for key updates. If you see this before September 23rd at 2:59AM Eastern (11:59PM on September 22nd), you can use the “report a problem” feature in the power menu, choose “add new problem,” pick “future build” and then make a case for why you should be included in the Alpha Skip Ahead program.

You’ll know if you get in through an Xbox Live message formally inviting you to the test ring.

This isn’t for the faint of heart. Alphas are rough by their very nature, and Microsoft warned that the current Alpha Skip Ahead build has bugs that can

Weekly poll results: iPhone 11 lineup doesn't get the best reception

Going through the comments in last week’s poll we get the feeling that Apple’s image as an innovator has slipped away. The response to the new iPhone 11 trio is strongly negative and that seems to be a combination of lacking innovation, high prices and features that may not be as useful in real life as they sound on a presentation.

To be fair, Apple didn’t raise the prices, in fact it lowered the price of the vanilla model. However, the iPhones remain some of the most expensive smartphones around and the 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are no match for the competition, which is keeping prices the same while raising the base storage and RAM.

The iPhone 11 Pro models come with fast chargers in the box, which does bump up the value for money rating a bit. The vanilla 11 does not, however. At least you finally get a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box, so you don’t need a separate cable to connect to you MacBook.

But that’s just Apple playing catch up – just like with the ultra wide camera. While the iPhone 7 Plus was among the first phones with a telephoto camera, the ultra wide-angle has become standard on even mid-range Androids these days.

Sure, Apple’s thing has always been product quality instead of spec superiority, but Night mode has been a major improvement in phone photo quality and Apple is only now launching its version.

Also, Apple was among the first to introduce a 120Hz screen on a portable (with the iPad Pro in 2017), but the iPhones are still at 60Hz. There are already several Androids running their screens at 90Hz and we expect many more to adopt this feature before September next year (when Apple will release its next-gen phones).

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max • iPhone 11

Anyway, some in the comments lamented the lack of reverse wireless charging, no 5G option, the camera sensors which are still at 12MP, the 720p-class display on the iPhone 11 and so on. Meanwhile, the utility of the 4m water resistance was called into question – how many will actually test this in real life?

Also, there were no mentions of the Apple Arcade and TV+, which might not bode well for Apple’s desire to transition its revenue stream away from iPhones (which have entered a period of decline) and towards services.

Long story short, Apple’s image of an innovator has faded. In a few months we’ll see how that has affected the company’s bottom line.

Fitbit is reportedly in the early stages of exploring a sale

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Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Fitbit might be ready to cede some control of its destiny. Reuters sources said the company is talking to investment bank Qatalyst Partners about the possibility of shopping itself around to would-be acquirers. Qatalyst has reportedly been pressing Fitbit to consider the option for weeks, suggesting that Alphabet and private equity outfits might be interested if it did. A move is far from certain, but it’s notable that a selloff is even on the table.

Fitbit and Alphabet have both declined to comment.

There might be good reasons for Fitbit to consider a sale. While it has enjoyed some success transitioning to smartwatches and services, it’s still struggling to return to profit. There have been missteps such as the poorly received Versa Lite. Fitbit isn’t in imminent danger if it continues to operate on its own, but a purchase could give it a lifeline and help it compete against rivals with vast resources.

Source: Reuters

nubia Z20 in for review

Full-screen designs are a thing now and every smartphone maker has its own take on the matter. Some prefer pop-up cameras, others are still stuck with notches (ahem, Apple and Huawei) while yet others are just slapping a second screen on the back of their devices. After the vivo NEX Dual Display, here comes the nubia Z20.

The nubia Z20 has a unique twist to its secondary screen design. When the screen isn’t on, the back looks like a standard curved glass panel with a flashy gradient paint job but once you turn on the secondary screen, the better part of the back lights up.

The trade-off is color accuracy. The Blue version that we have, although looking pretty awesome, distorts the colors and makes them blue-ish, especially the white elements.

The nubia Z20’s second screen

Spec-wise, the nubia Z20 is every bit the flagship. The main display is OLED measuring 6.42″ in diagonal and having 1080 x 2340px resolution, complete with HDR10 support. The secondary screen is 5.1″ with the same 1080 x 2340px resolution.

All those pixels are driven by a Snapdragon 855+ chipset, paired with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage.

nubia Z20’s front and rear screen

In the camera department, the handset packs a 48MP main shooter with f/1.7 aperture and OIS. An 8MP telephoto camera capable of 3x optical zoom keeps it company, while the third camera has ultrawide angle lens and a 16MP sensor.

As you’ve probably guessed, the handset doesn’t have a front-facing camera so it uses its main camera for selfies and video calls and the secondary screen as a viewfinder.

A 4,000 mAh battery with support for 27W fast charging over Power Delivery 2.0 keeps the nubia Z20 going.

It’s too early to tell how the phone feels on a daily basis usability-wise but nubia did include two side-mounted fingerprint readers for optimal convenience. That way you always have a sensor under your finger regardless of which screen you mean to power on.

We were mesmerized by the always-on animations and effects on the secondary screen – it’s definitely a looker.

We’ve only just begun our testing of the nubia Z20 and there’s a lot to go through. Stay tuned for our detailed review coming soon!

Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

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Steve Dent / Engadget

With their sharp picture, super efficient and flexible RAW format and SSD compatibility, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras are fantastic choices for videographers on a budget or anyone in need of a solid B-camera that doesn’t break the bank. But one nagging problem is the camera’s fixed 5-inch LCD, which can make it difficult to keep an eye on the action when positioning the camera at certain angles. Accessory maker Tilta is correcting that with an aftermarket modification kit that adds the ability to pull and tilt the screen to suit your viewing angle.

You won’t be replacing the camera’s screen with this mod, just adding some hardware to allow it to twist and turn. Tilta says that it only takes an hour to complete the modification and that the kit includes all the tools you’ll need. The company will also provide tutorials so you can follow along and hopefully not brick your pricey camera. Oh, and performing this mod

Huawei's Harmony OS is coming to Europe on the Honor Vision smart TV

OK, we admit, the title was a bit deceitful in its wording, yet also technically true. Huawei’s in-house Harmony OS and all it’s cross-platform prowess and “Android alternative” perceived reputation will be coming to Europe. Just not on a phone. In fact, Vincent Pang, Huawei Senior VP already made it pretty clear that Harmony OS won’t be coming to a smartphone this year at all. So, TV’s and potentially smart wearables running the platform is all we can hope for in the immediate future. Remember, Harmony OS is a huge and timely undertaking. Plus, one that will arguably fair better in the current tech climate if it lays low for a bit, so to say.

Still, beyond Harmony OS itself and the various smartphone prospects it may or may not hold, there is the Honor Vision smart TV itself to look forward to on The Old Continent – a pretty impressive piece of kit. More important still, a potential trendsetter for a new wave of increasingly more “smartphone-like” TV’s as feature-rich hubs for a connected home.

As a quick reminder, the Honor Vision TV comes in a vanilla and a Pro flavour. The difference between the two being the smart retractable camera on the Pro, six 10W speakers, instead of four and different internal storage – 16GB and 32GB, respectively. Both feature 4K Quantum Dot (VA) panels, courtesy of Samsung. Initially, European markets will be able to choose between a 65-inch and a 75-inch variant, with 55-inch and 85-inch ones coming later.

Honor Vision 55-inch smart TV

At the heart of the Honor Vision TV lies an octa-core Honghu 818, with some smartphone-level performance figures to boast, as well as advanced image processing technologies including Motion Estimate and Motion Compensation (MEMC), High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR), Super-Resolution (SR), Noise Reduction (NR), Dynamic Contrast Improvement (DCI), Auto Color Management (ACM) and Local Dimming (LD). Also on board is the HiSilicon Hi1103 chipset, which 2.4GHz, 5Hz dual-band and 160MHz bandwidth support for peek download rates up to 1.7Gbps. A lot more than what you would typically find on a smart TV.

The Vision TV even gets a dedicated HiSilicon Hi3516DV300 NPU for its built-in camera, enabling some interesting Ai capture features, mostly to be leveraged for video calls. Thanks to Harmony OS and HiLink, the Vision TV can also act as a central hub for your IoT connected home.

There is no real info on pricing or a time frame for Europe availability yet. It also remains to be seen whether both the Pro and the regular models will be entering the market. Perhaps more important still from a service standpoint, Huawei or rather Honor, in this case, needs to clarify its plans and intentions and potentially capabilities for various Western-friendly service integrations into Harmony OS. In the wake of the whole US and Google fiasco, software services really can’t be taken for granted.


Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

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An important if ignominious chapter in American nuclear energy has come to a close. Exelon has shut down Three Mile Island’s Generating Station Unit 1 reactor after 45 years of use. The reactor isn’t the one behind the accident in March 1979, but this effectively marks the closure of the plant — Unit 2, the reactor that failed, has been dormant for the past 40 years. It didn’t directly provide a reason, but it had warned in 2017 that it would shut down the plant in 2019 due to the high running costs.

This doesn’t mark the end of the overall story, however, as it’ll take decades to clean up. Some of the teardown will take place quickly. Staff will remove the reactor’s fuel supply in the next few weeks and store it in the used fuel pool. It’ll take much longer to fully decommission the reactor, however. Exelon estimated that the plant won’t be fully clear of radioactive material until

Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

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Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Samsung postponed Galaxy Fold’s release to fix its issues after an early rollout put damaged units in the hands of reviewers. The redesigned Fold felt sturdier than before when we tried it at IFA, but it sounds like the tech giant still wants you to take extra good care of the device if you buy it. Samsung has published a new care guide video showing the model’s features with instructions on what and what not to do when handling it.

It starts with a reminder that the Fold’s display comes protected and needs no extra film — one of the reasons why early units got damaged was because reviewers peeled that layer off. However, the video also advises potential buyers to “use a light touch.”

Next, the video explains that the Fold was designed with an articulated spine “inspired by the precision of watch mechanics” and that you should keep it free of water and dust. When Samsung redesigned the