Year: 2020

Federal officials are flying a Predator drone over the Minnesota protests

Federal officials have been flying a Predator drone over Minneapolis on Friday, presumably to surveil Minneapolis protestors angry over the killing of George Floyd by police. The drone appears to be a Predator drone operated by US Customs and Border Protection, according to news accounts. This news comes as rioting and protests continued to intensify in Minneapolis heading into the weekend.

Officials with US Customs and Border Protection have been flying a Predator drone over protestors in Minneapolis as the situation there has spiraled out of control following the death of George Floyd — the drone being one more commonly used on the battlefield to surveil and kill terrorists.

That’s according to a Motherboard investigation, which used flight data to determine that an unarmed version of the drone was being flown over the protestors who’ve been marching against police brutality and excessive use of force. Hobbyist flight-watchers use open-source data to monitor skies around the US, and it was members of that community who first identified the drone, about which CBP has not released a statement yet though it’s assumed the drone is monitoring protestors.

According to investigative reporter Jason Paladino, the drone took off from Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. It proceeded to Minneapolis, where, as of mid-day Friday, it was still flying hexagon flight patterns above the city.

To reiterate, this is the U.S. flying a Predator drone, a technology often used to hunt and kill terrorists overseas, to monitor people who are protesting a white police officer killing an unarmed black man

— Joseph Cox (@josephfcox) May 29, 2020

This particular type of drone has a well-documented history. In 2012, for example, it was described in daily drone flight logs published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the activities of which were said to include “collecting synthetic-aperture radar imagery and full-motion video to aid in actions such as surveilling the border, as well as surveilling and busting cannabis grow ops and methamphetamine labs. In one instance, the logs note that the drone continued to circle and feed video to officers until every suspect in a lab raid was arrested.”

As a testament to the extraordinary day of bad and ominous news headlines that unfolded on Friday, meanwhile, the fact that federal officials were using a drone to monitor a major American city — and, specifically, to monitor people protesting the killing of a black man by police — was overshadowed by several other items that easily eclipsed this turn of events.

For starters, the officer seen in videos holding his knee against the neck of George Floyd, which seems to have ultimately killed him (and sparked the subsequent protests), was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Twitter also took the extraordinary step of “hiding” a tweet from President Trump that could be construed as stoking violence against the protestors, and at a press briefing Friday afternoon the president announced the US is severing ties

Samsung Galaxy Note20's battery could be 4,300 mAh after all

Samsung’s Galaxy Note20+ will apparently have a 4,500 mAh battery, but what about the (slightly) smaller Note20? Back in April, word on the streets was 4,000 mAh.

Now though, it looks like Samsung has managed to cram a bit more juice into the Note20’s cell. After digging through the Chinese 3C’s certification database, the enterprising folks at SamMobile have figured out that the model number for the battery that’s going to be used in the Chinese version of the Note20 is EB-BN980ABY. Oh, and its capacity is 4,300 mAh.

That’s marginally better than what was thought before, and in this 5G-ified world we now live in, every mAh counts, so to speak. This also means the smaller Note20’s battery won’t be far, in size, from the Note20+’s, which makes sense if you consider that the former is expected to have a 6.7″ screen, with the latter going for 6.9″. That’s not a huge size delta, so it’s unsurprising that the battery delta would be similarly small.

Both phones should arrive around August with 120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O screens, S Pen stylus, 16GB of RAM, and the Exynos 992 or Snapdragon 865 chipset, depending on market. You should also expect wired charging at least at 25W, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging support of course. Oh, and no headphone jacks.

Source | Image source

Refurbished iPhone XR models now on sale at Apple’s website

Apple began selling refurbished iPhone XR models in the US for the first time this week. Refurbished iPhone XR models start at $499 for the 64GB model and go up to $629 for the 256GB model, which was actually discontinued in September 2019 when the iPhone 11 launched. Depending on which iPhone XR model you buy, you can save up to $120 off the normal price.

About a month and a half ago, Apple launched the long-awaited follow-up to the iPhone SE. While the design of the second-gen iPhone SE was virtually identical to that of the iPhone 8, the A13 Bionic chip inside the phone brought its performance in line with the flagship iPhone 11. But the most compelling feature was its price, starting at just $399 for the 64GB model. But even with its upgraded hardware, not everyone likes massive bezels, so they will be pleased to learn that Apple has finally started selling refurbished iPhone XR models in the United States.

According to MacRumors, Apple began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models this week in a variety of colors and storage capacities. Depending on which model you choose, you can shave between $100 and $120 off the retail price of the phone. At the time of writing, Black, White, Yellow, and Coral were all in stock.

As MacRumors notes, the 256GB model of the iPhone XR was discontinued in September 2019 when the iPhone 11 series arrived, but it has returned alongside the refurbished 64GB and 128GB models, though only in Black. Here are the prices for all of the refurbished iPhone XR models compared to their current prices:

Every refurbished iPhone comes unlocked and without a SIM card, so you can activate it on the carrier of your choice. Refurbished iPhone models also come with the same one-year as a brand new iPhone, all of the same manuals and accessories, a new battery and outer shell, and a new box. Apple notes that the refurbished supply “is usually very limited and we often run out of refurbished inventory,” so act soon if you want one.

With refurbished iPhone X models starting at $599, this is now the cheapest way to join the Face ID crowd and leave the bezels of the mid-2010s behind. That said, the iPhone XR uses an A12 Bionic CPU, which means that you’ll pay $100 more for a phone that is less powerful than the second-gen iPhone SE. For some people, the design is a deal-breaker, but if performance is a priority for you, the iPhone SE is simply a much faster phone. That’s not to say that the iPhone XR is a slouch, but depending on how you use your phone, you might notice the difference.

Image Source: Apple

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His

Here’s one way that Google’s Pixel crushes the iPhone

Pixel vs. iPhone: In a viral tweet, someone recorded a video of how much better Google’s Pixel is at voice-to-text dictation than Apple’s iPhone. The voice-to-text email on the Pixel is virtually flawless, while the iPhone email is riddled with errors. iPhones might come out on top in performance, but they aren’t always the smartest phones.

Technically, the Pixel smartphones are Google’s answer to the iPhone. That’s not to say that they always target the same market, but Pixel is Google’s flagship mobile phone, and a new model launches every year like clockwork. But when it comes to performance, the iPhone is in a league of its own. The Pixel 4 doesn’t even come close to matching the single-core or multi-core scores of the iPhone 11 in Geekbench (though, to be fair, not many phones do). And yet, despite the performance disparity, there are areas where the Pixel totally crushes the iPhone.

In a tweet that went viral earlier this week, Bloomberg Beta’s James Cham shared a video in which he compares the experience of drafting an email using voice-to-text on two unidentified iPhone and Pixel models. As you will see, the results are almost immediately apparent, and the iPhone doesn’t hold a candle to the Pixel:

I don’t think that people appreciate how different the voice to text experience on a Pixel is from an iPhone. So here is a little head to head example. The Pixel is so responsive it feels like it is reading my mind!

— James Cham ✍🏻 (@jamescham) May 27, 2020

In addition to being much, much faster on the Pixel, the dictation is far more accurate on the Pixel as well. By the time Cham finishes speaking, there are enough errors on the iPhone email that he might want to consider retyping it from scratch before sending it to anyone. Meanwhile, the email on the Pixel is virtually flawless.

“Speed has its own quality—the current model for speech is like a command line,” Cham explains in a follow-up to his first tweet. “You say something and wait for a response. Now that voice to text is fast and uses fewer resources than you would think, there’s a chance for truly interactive voice experiences.”

There are a number of explanations for the gulf between the quality of voice-to-text transcription between the two devices, including, as 9to5Google points out, the fact that Google lets Pixel owners download the entire English voice model directly to their phone, which allows it to handle real-time dictation just as quickly and as accurately as if it were being sent to Google’s servers. Regardless, it still significantly outclasses Apple’s solution.

Independent iOS developer Ben Harraway chimed in with a demo of his own, using the on-device speech recognition of the iPhone rather than server recognition. Although the Android phone still comes out on top, the results are much more similar than they were in the original test from Cham:

Sure! Here you go.

Samsung Galaxy A71s 5G UW is headed to Verizon

Verizon is getting ready to add another mid-range Samsung smartphone to its 5G roster, complete with support for its ultrafast mmWave network of course. This will be a reinterpreted Galaxy A71, except, unlike the already announced A71 5G, Big Red’s model will be powered by a different chipset and have a different name.

It’s going to be called Galaxy A71s 5G UW, to fit with what seems to be Verizon’s newfound naming scheme (read: tacking “5G UW” to the end of device monikers left and right, where “UW” stands for “UltraWideband” aka mmWave).

The Galaxy A71s 5G UW may very well look like an A71 5G or A71, but inside we’ll get the Snapdragon 765 chipset, and not an Exynos. At least that’s what’s been rumored. If this pans out, it would be the first Snapdragon 765 handset to support mmWave 5G.

The name itself has been revealed through some recent regulatory filings, so that’s set in stone. Whether or not the rest of the specs will align with the international A71 5G model remains to be seen. Samsung and Verizon may have some slight updates ready, to make this version worthy of the “s” suffix.


Of course coronavirus cases are already spiking in areas that reopened

Coronavirus lockdown measures began to ease in some states and counties across the United States, allowing people to return to work, attend gatherings, and visit parks and beaches. Within days to weeks, many areas began to see an increase in coronavirus cases, with more people flooding into healthcare centers than had been in previous weeks. People refusing to wear masks or practice basic social distancing have made the problem worse for everyone.

Areas that were previously trending downward for new coronavirus cases have seen a recent uptick. The troubling change in course is linked to efforts to reopen businesses and services well ahead of when many public health experts believe it is safe to do so. Now, some of those areas are reversing course, pushing to reinstate restrictions that had previously been working well.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Sonoma County has seen a huge spike in new coronavirus cases. The numbers began to rise after the county loosened restrictions on many public gatherings and business services. In just two weeks, officials watched 203 new cases pop up, more than doubling the previous case rate.

When social distancing and lockdown mandates began to impact the number of new coronavirus cases by reducing the spread in many states and saving lives in the process, you knew it was only a matter of time before people got restless. Some states and counties across the United States have acted as though getting “back to normal” was a race, and now they’re starting to pay the unfortunate price.

County health officials believe many of the cases may be linked to people returning to work at businesses that have recently reopened. If just one employee is positive for the virus and doesn’t know it, it can easily spread throughout the rest of the workforce, especially if masks aren’t being worn and other precautions aren’t being taken.

Many counties in many states have just recently started to loosen their restrictions on business openings, public gatherings, and other activities. Parks and beaches that were closed are being reopened, and residents are flooding back to these places in huge numbers. Everyone knew that was a strong possibility, but despite the urging of health experts, many of the people gathering at these locations aren’t wearing masks or taking any special measures to protect themselves or others.

That’s really the key to all of this. Reopening and loosening lockdown restrictions is one thing, but if nobody is following the best practices set forth by doctors and healthcare experts, the virus is just going to continue to spread as it did before the measures were put in place. All the top experts stressed the importance of taking simple steps to protect ourselves but a lot of people out there just aren’t getting the message.

Coronavirus protestors gather in CA Image Source: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Don’t miss Bose’s true wireless earbuds while they’re on Amazon at the lowest price ever

If you’re on the lookout for a new pair of Bose headphones, Amazon is running a limited-time deal that you’re definitely not going to want to miss. The Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds are Bose’s first and only cord-free earphones, and they’re on sale right now at the lowest prices we’ve ever seen. These top-rated headphones retail for $200, but you can get them for as little as $139 depending on which of the four available color options you choose. Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Apple’s AirPods are of course the best-selling true wireless earphones on the market, and that’s especially true right now because AirPods Pro and both AirPods 2 models are on sale at Amazon at their lowest prices ever. As a matter of fact, the discounts that Amazon is currently offering on the Pro model and on AirPods 2 with wireless charging are even deeper than the discounts we saw last year around Black Friday! If you’re looking for AirPods, now is definitely the time to pick up a pair. But before you do, there’s another sale you might want to check out first.

The Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds have more than 11,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, and for good reason. They offer a compact design, solid battery life, and the fantastic sound quality you’ve come to expect from any Bose audio product. Needless to say, you’ve also come to expect hefty price tags from Bose products, and the SoundSport Free buds are definitely pricey at $199.

Thanks to some deep discounts right now at Amazon though, you can snag a pair for either $139 or $149 depending on which color you choose. At either price, you’re paying less than the $169 they cost on Black Friday so you can rest assured that you’re getting a great deal. You’re also paying less than you would for any AirPods models if you buy them right now from Apple instead of Amazon.

Here’s some key info from Amazon’s product page:

No wires mean no limits. And Bose sound sport free headphones are completely wireless, so you can enjoy total freedom of movement with nothing not even a single cord in your way. The acoustic package is designed to deliver sound so clear and powerful it will motivate you to go faster, lift heavier and train longer. Bluetooth technology transmits music from your phone to the headphones, so music plays reliably and consistently whether your phone is in your nearby gym bag, pocket, or strapped to your arm.

Worried your earbuds will fall out during your workout? Don’t be. “Stay hear” sport tips are built to stay comfortably in place, even when you’re training hard. And if you can’t find an earbud, all hope is not lost. You can track down lost earbuds using the Bose connect app’s “find my buds” feature. It shows when and where the earbuds were last connected to your phone. Still having trouble finding your earbuds? Don’t worry, an audio

Sony will require new PS4 games to run on PS5 starting in July

Leaked documentation shows that all PS4 games submitted to Sony for certification on or after July 13th need to have PS5 support. Developers that submit their games before July 13th won’t be required to include PS5 support in future patches, but it will be “strongly recommended” by Sony. We might learn more about PS5 support at the showcase next Thursday.

Fairly early on in the process of revealing the Xbox Series X, Microsoft made it clear that a vast majority of the titles that are playable on the Xbox One will also be playable on its new console. In fact, as we learned this week, not only will older games be playable on the Xbox Series X, but many of them will be upgraded with HDR and 120fps support. And then there’s Smart Delivery, which lets you pay one price for every version of a game.

Meanwhile, we know next to nothing about how Sony is handling the transition between generations. During a deep dive presentation in March, PlayStation 5 lead system architect Mark Cerny revealed that the PS5 GPU is backwards compatible with the PS4, and an update on the PlayStation Blog later revealed that “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.” Eventually. All we know for sure is that “almost all” of the 100 most-played PS4 games will be playable on the PS5 at launch, but a new leak may finally offer a substantial update.

According to Eurogamer, Sony recently told developers that are working on PS4 games that any titles submitted for certification on or after July 13th must be compatible with the PS5. Eurogamer saw developer documentation on the PlayStation Partners website which has a box that developers will need to check to confirm that the game has been tested and runs on the PS5. The option is said to have been added in late April.

As for what “compatibility” actually means in this context, Sony says that a game is deemed compatible with the PS5 if the code that the developer submits runs on the next-gen console without any issues and provides the exact same set of features as it does on the PS4. So, for example, if you buy a forwards-compatible PS4 game later this year, it won’t lose any features when you attempt to play it on your new PS5.

When it comes to software updates, Sony says that if a game was submitted before July 13th, patches or remasters released for that game won’t require PS5 compatibility, but it will be “strongly recommended.” For games submitted after July 13th, all future patches and remasters have to be compatible with the PS5.

Finally, as Eurogamer notes, submitting a game for certification is not the same as launching a game. Ghost of Tsushima comes out on July 17th, but will have gone through the certification process before the July 13th deadline. That said, Eurogamer has heard that both Ghost of Tsushima and fellow upcoming PlayStation-exclusive The Last of

Xanax, a common anxiety medication, might actually block coronavirus

A standard coronavirus treatment is still unavailable, although researchers have made significant progress at developing new protocols for existing drugs and adapting them for COVID-19. Promising new drugs and vaccines are also in the works. The search for a COVID-19 cure has prompted scientists in Spain to study existing meds and see whether they can inhibit the coronavirus’s ability to replicate inside the body. The researchers identified seven molecules out of more than 6,400 drugs, including Xanax, a widely used anti-anxiety treatment.

The novel coronavirus pandemic brought plenty of sorrow and pain, as we learned how devastating COVID-19 can be. But there’s been plenty of good in all of this, and that doesn’t have to go unnoticed. It’s not just what the armies of doctors and first responders have been doing for the past few months, but also the immense amount of work that researchers put into studying SARS-CoV-2 to find ways to limit the transmission, and cure COVID-19 much faster than what is currently possible. Therapy protocols are already being used successfully around the world to save patients. Plasma transfusions work and antibody-based drugs are in the works. Several vaccine trials have progressed faster than we would have imagined, and the world is optimistic about their chances of success.

The work hasn’t stopped there, as researchers are still trying to figure out how to neutralize the virus once it infects the body. Scientists have looked at specific characteristics in meds that could hinder the virus’s ability to replicate inside cells, and they have shortlisted seven existing human and animal drugs that might do the trick. The list includes the extremely common anxiety drug Alprazolam (Xanax), as well as six other meds, two of which have already shown promising results in labs.

Researchers from universities around Barcelona, Spain searched for existing drugs that could block the main protease (M-pro) of the virus, which plays a key role in the whole replication process. The coronavirus binds to cells via ACE2 receptors and takes over the cell to manufacture replicas. The cell dies in the process, and the new copies of the virus can infect other nearby cells. Most immune systems can put up a fight, whether they’re helped by drugs or not. But some people can’t fight the disease well enough, or the immune response is exacerbated and can lead to death.

Image Source: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hamilton, MT Microscopic image of the novel coronavirus (colored in blue) killing a cell.

Stopping the virus from binding to cells is something monoclonal antibodies drugs will do, as will post-COVID-19 immunity. But drugs that can limit the virus’s ability to replicate could also help in future therapies.

The team analyzed 6,466 drugs that are authorized for use, looking for the ones that can inhibit the M-pro enzyme. The researchers used a computational screening method to isolate the approved drugs that could work in COVID-19 therapies, Knowridge reports. The research predicted seven drugs could act

Sony to hold another PS5 event on June 4

Sony recently detailed much of PS5’s specs but it’s holding another next week and it gave us a short teaser. It will be held at 1:00PM (PDT) on June 4 and will be streamed via PlayStation’s official website.

Join us Thursday, June 4 at 1:00pm Pacific time for a look at the future of gaming on PlayStation 5: #PS5

— PlayStation (@PlayStation) May 29, 2020

The teaser suggests that while the previous event was a bit more technical revealing most of the specs of the PS5, this one will be more game-focused.

That’s why I’m excited to share that we will soon give you a first look at the games you’ll be playing after PlayStation 5 launches this holiday. The games coming to PS5 represent the best in the industry from innovative studios that span the globe. Studios, both larger and smaller, those newer and those more established, all have been hard at work developing games that will showcase the potential of the hardware.

Of course, the event will be online-only and it’s part of a series of online events dedicated on the whole PS5 ecosystem.


A gang of monkeys stole coronavirus blood samples from a lab because 2020 wasn’t weird enough

The latest coronavirus update out of India is that the country is fast becoming one of the new hotspots during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, India has seen almost 170,000 coronavirus infections. If that wasn’t bad enough, a gang of monkeys recently stole a sample of positive coronavirus blood samples from a medical college there.

This certainly ranks as one of the most bizarre incidents to occur so far during the pandemic roiling the globe, with the latest coronavirus update showing more than 5.8 million infections around the world and more than 361,000 deaths globally from the virus. That’s according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University, and while that does as good as anything of illustrating the scope of the coronavirus crisis that’s hitting the US particularly hard, it obviously doesn’t encompass every story of how the virus is unfolding around the world — including the particularly strange ones, like the group of monkeys in India that in recent days attacked a lab assistant and pilfered a batch of blood samples from coronavirus patients who’d tested positive for the virus. 2020 wasn’t crazy enough, right?

Authorities confirmed the incident on Friday, which occurred when a lab technician was walking through a state-run medical college campus in the ancient Indian city of Meerut. “Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment … (and) we had to take their blood samples again,” Dr. S. K. Garg, a top official at the college, told Reuters.

On the face of it, the incident was borderline silly, but there are also some pretty serious concerns. For one thing, officials couldn’t say for sure whether the monkeys had inadvertently spilled any of the blood samples as they scampered away. People live near the college, though, and are worried that wild monkeys running nearby could splash the virus around the residential area.

At the moment, at least, “No evidence has been found that monkeys can contract the infection,” according to Garg. Of course, this incident also calls to mind what happened in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated after making the species jump from animals to humans.

According to the Johns Hopkins numbers, as of the time of this writing, India has seen 169,011 cases of the coronavirus, along with 4,820 reported deaths. The incident in India also comes at a time when the country is trying to navigate the reopening process while cases are also surging — making India, in fact, one of the new pandemic hotspots.

According to The New York Times, some hospitals in Mumbai are so crowded with patients that some of them are sleeping on cardboard in the hallways. In fact, experts are starting to fear that if India can’t get its outbreak under control, there’s concern that its caseload could approach a million in a matter of weeks.

Monkeys wait to be fed by passersby in India Image Source: Channi Anand/AP/Shutterstock

Sony Xperia 1 II review


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The Sony Xperia 1 II is here, was the wait worth it? Announced back in February, Sony’s latest ultimate smartphone is only making it to market now and we’ve got one to try and establish just how productively Sony has spent these months of final tweaking.

There are a couple of things to get out of the way before we dig deeper. One, while the smartphone is, technically, available in Japan, in Europe and the US, it’s still in the pre-order state, with units shipping between mid-June and late-July, depending on where you are and how lucky you get.

Two, it’s officially called the Sony Xperia One, Mark Two – don’t go calling it the Xperia One-Two, or the One-point-Two, or X1.2 or something along those lines. Sony’s bringing the naming convention from its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup to smartphones and generations are marked with an implied ‘Mark’ and a roman numeral.

It’s not just the naming that comes from the camera division, some actual camera influence is present as well. A standalone Photography Pro app mimics the interface of the A-series ILCs, but underneath the surface you’re also getting super fast autofocus, EyeAF for people and pets, 20fps burst shooting and quick sensor readout – just like an A9. Well, almost.

The A9, which the Xperia 1 II aspires to emulate, pairs nicely with a set of 16-35mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm lenses – Sony’s current take on what’s known as the holy trinity in the photographic world. The phone has those too, sort of – it’s got a primary camera with a 24mm equivalent focal length, a 16mm ultra wide module, and a telephoto rated at 70mm – all three producing 12MP images. The ‘sort of’ bit comes from the fact that all the other non-native focal lengths are produced by digital zoom – it’s a phone, after all. The A9 doesn’t have a selfie cam and Sony hasn’t bothered much with the Xperia’s either – it’s the same 8MP unit from the previous generation. Ahem… Mark I, that is.

Straight from the Mark I, we have the industry’s only 4K display. It’s a 6.5-inch OLED with easily more pixels than you’d ever need, wide gamut coverage and a bundle of software adjustment capabilities.

Naturally, the Xperia 1 II packs the latest high-end Snapdragon, and while RAM might be ‘just’ 8GB, the 256GB of storage is more than plenty (it’s the only option, and there’s a card slot too). A bump in battery capacity means the 1 II now packs a 4,000mAh cell (up from the 1 I’s 3,330mAh) with support for USB PowerDelivery up to 21W and wireless charging – that last bit marking a return from the XZ3. One more thing’s back on a Sony flagship too, and that one we thought was gone for good – the 3.5mm headphone jack last seen on the

Roku Express HD is down to $24 at Amazon, and the Roku Stick+ is $49

If you’re looking for a Roku Stick with Amazon Prime shipping or an even better deal on the entry-level Roku Express HD that has been flying off the virtual store shelves at Amazon, today is your lucky day. Roku’s Express HD streaming media player is on sale right now for just $24, which matches the device’s all-time lowest price. If you want an upgrade that supports 4K resolution and HDR content, the $60 Roku Streaming Stick+ is down to just $49 today with free Prime shipping. Delivery times are already beginning to slip, so you’re likely almost out of time to score these deals.

The big news this week when it comes to popular streaming media players is that Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K have been discounted for the first time since early February. They’re both $10 off right now, which means you can pick one up for as little as $29.99. That’s a terrific price indeed, but there’s another big sale you should definitely check out before you buy one.

If you prefer Roku devices to Amazon’s Fire TV lineup, don’t worry because we’ve got a pair of deals for you that might be even better. One is on Roku’s entry-level streaming device — the wildly popular Roku Express HD — and the second is on the Roku Streaming Stick+, which might be the most beloved streamer that Roku makes.

Starting with the entry-level model, the Roku Express HD was updated for 2019 and it’s one of the most affordable streaming media players out there. You get access to every streaming service you have ever heard of along with dozens and dozens of services you’ve probably never heard of. On top of that, you get The Roku Channel, which aggregates all sorts of great movies and TV shows that you can stream for free. It’s shipping out next week and it’s only $29 at Amazon.

There are three things you won’t get with the Express HD that might make it worth the upgrade. First, you won’t get a compact dongle form factor — it’s still compact, but it’s not a dongle. Second, you won’t get support for content that streams in 4K resolution. And third, you won’t get support for the vivid colors that come along with HDR content. For all that, you’ll need the Roku Streaming Stick+, which just so happens to be on sale today for under $49 instead of $60. That price matches Amazon’s sale from this past Black Friday, so it’s definitely a great deal. On top of that, it ships out even sooner than the Express HD model.

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Realme X3 SuperZoom in for review

The Realme X2 Pro was launched last year, and its successor as the brand’s flagship is actually the Realme X50 Pro 5G. However, the company decided to branch out its X family laterally and earlier this week unveiled the Realme X3 SuperZoom with Snapdragon 855+ chipset for the European market.

We now have the phone with us and the review is already underway, but while you wait we though we’d share our initial impressions of this unique phone.

The X3 SuperZoom is the first Realme device with a periscope telephoto camera – an 8MP sensor behind 122mm lens, which the company marks as 5x optical and 60x hybrid zoom. Alongside it is a 64MP main sensor, but there’s an ultrawide camera too.

The phone comes with 8GB or 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB of the speedier UFS 3.0 storage – something that wasn’t available with the X2 Pro. That’s why the price is €499 – it’s pricier than the predecessor but is also not touching the realm of flagships.

One disappointing feature of the Realme X3 SuperZoom is the LCD screen, which feels like a step back from the X2 Pro’s OLED. It also mandated a side-mounted fingerprint scanner instead of an under-display one. The actual button on the side is quite protruded and its sharp edges make its usage slightly uncomfortable if you don’t touch it perfectly in the middle.

Speaking about the design, here we have flater top and bottom that upon further inspection happen to have a slight inward curve. They look stylish, but even don’t allow the phone to stand upright on its own even if it appears they might.

Our unit comes in Arctic White color, and it has a nice finish – it is still a glass panel, but isn’t such a fingerprint magnet, we would compare it to the X50 Pro matte-like back panel. The software package is Realme UI on top of Android 10-based ColorOS. It looks more akin to stock Android than the ColorOS on Oppo phones, but other than that has the same rich featureset.

In the retail box we also have a 30W fast charger for the 4,200 mAh battery. With the VOOC 4.0 technology, the company says the Realme X3 SuperZoom should go from 0 to 100% in 55 minutes. We’ll make sure to test that claim, but judging from past phones it’s probably spot on.

Realme X3 SuperZoom vs Realme X2

The Realme X3 SuperZoom appears to fill an interesting niche that’s undeserved this year as many value brands upped the prices with the 5G arrival. Once we finish our full review we’ll find out if it really strikes as good a balance between price and user experience as its specs suggest.