I bought my Fossil Sport Smartwatch over Black Friday weekend, when it was improbably on sale just after it launched. This admittedly has no bearing on how good a smartwatch it is, or whether you should consider buying one of your own. But it might help to know from the start that I’ve worn this watch nearly every day for the past three months. And that I plan to keep on wearing it.
Let’s get this out of the way too: The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is almost certainly the best WearOS smartwatch you can buy. It’s one of the few with the latest processor, the Qualcomm 3100, which embraces the principle that even the most modest gains count for something. It looks sharp enough that people will ask you what kind of watch you’re wearing. It suffers minimal chunk. And for further supporting evidence I’d direct you to Google itself, which recently spent $40 million to acquire some of Fossil’s smartwatch-related intellectual property and a handful of engineers. Until Google makes a Pixel Watch, the Fossil Sport Smartwatch is as close as you’re going to get.
Let’s also be clear that absolutely none of that means the Sport Watch is great. In truth, it sometimes struggles to reach a plateau of “good.” Being the best WearOS watch is also an important qualifier; Samsung’s capable Galaxy Watch runs a different operating system, Tizen, which still works just fine with Android smartphones. But the Sport Watch does offer the best distillation of Google’s smartwatch ambitions, and it does enough things well enough that you won’t regret strapping it on.
Wrist and Shout
It’s a testament to the Fossil Sport Smartwatch that the bulk of any discussion about it has to center around WearOS, rather than the hardware. I think about it almost never, in the best possible way. It’s light enough that you don’t notice you’re wearing it, but durable enough, at least in these three months, to live up to the “sport” in its name.
The Sport Smartwatch is currently available in two sizes—41 mm and 43 mm—and four colors: black, red, “smokey blue,” and “blush,” which is a beige sort of pink. (Grey and light blue were previously offered but are listed as sold out online.) The darker models come off better, thanks to the mixed materials Fossil deploys. The top case is made of aluminum, but it rests above hard nylon. It all blends together nicely enough in the blue and black versions, but the red and blush get contrasty in a way that could read as cheap. Fossil also sells bands in many, many additional colors if you want to get creative and swap in. I haven’t done this; I like my smokey blue just the way it is. But I did take the straps off of my watch using its quick-release mechanism, and it took all of 10 seconds to get them back on again.
On the side of the Sport Smartwatch you’ll find a rotating
This weekend is Presidents’ Day. Maybe you’ve chosen to spend the day contemplating the long history of our nation’s highest office, or maybe you’re taking advantage of the long weekend to get out of town. If you find yourself with some free time, we’ve rounded up more than two dozen of our favorite deals from online retailers around the web and included the links to their sale pages. Happy birthday, Washington and Lincoln, and thank you for the day off work.
These Snowshoes are 25 Percent Off
REI is having their yearly ski and snowboard sale this weekend, which is worth checking out if you have a snowy presidential excursion on the docket. Snowshoeing is vastly underrated as a sport, and these ultralight and secure ones just might convert you.
Product designer and internet native Chris Messina was lucky enough to snag the username @chris on Instagram back when Instagram was known as Burbn, and, like all of his early usernames, it became a part of his digital identity. But having an OG username has exposed him to hacks, scams, and generally shady online exchanges. It has also lead him down the path of more existential questions about life online––like, is the internet still fun? On this week’s Gadget Lab podcast we talk to Chris about the biggest offer he’s ever been made for his name, ephemerality in apps, and what the future of social media looks like once the concept of “following” goes away.
Also covered in this episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, which was taped on Valentine’s Day: Amazon’s big break up with New York City. After a months-long search for “HQ2” that ended in an eventual commitment to build out corporate offices in Long Island City, Queens, Amazon has now backed out of the deal. While not everyone is happy about Amazon’s retreat, there were also plenty of good reasons for the resistance to the deal.
Show notes: You can read WIRED’s story about Amazon backing out of New York City here. Say goodbye to NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover here. And if you want to see what Chris has been up to, follow the hashtag #Noyoucanthavemyusername on Twitter. Recommendations: Chris Messina recommends Otter.ai. Arielle Pardes recommends the Tokimeki unfollow tool. Lauren Goode recommends Becoming, by Michelle Obama. Mike Calore recommends Nanban, by Tim Anderson.
Send the Gadget Lab hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Michael Calore can be found at @snackfight.
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Cold brew coffee, if made right, is simply divine. Sadly, it almost always tastes better at the coffee shop or from a bottle. That’s because brewing it at home can be incredibly tricky. I’ve read many guides that recommend different makers, methods, coffee grounds, water ratios, brew times, and temperatures.
In my quest to make better coffee, I’ve tested 22 different cold brewers in the past year. I’ve tried pot immersion (tea style) methods, big immersion buckets, slow drip makers, French presses, mason jars, and even a couple automated brewers. In them, I’ve tested more than half a dozen different cold-brew-friendly coffee blends to try and find a combination I could recommend. I still haven’t made what I’d consider my perfect cup of cold brew coffee, but I’m getting closer. Below are my favorite picks.
Updated on February 2019: We’ve added a new recommendations from Primula, a new coffee blend, and we’ve added a few new cold brew makers to our list of products to avoid. Other changes were made for clarity.
The Coffee Gator was my favorite cold brewer for many months, but Primula’s Burke immersion brewer has taken its top spot. It’s shorter and wider with a more durable build to it than the Gator. I couldn’t quite fit it into the door of my fridge, but it could fit in some. It makes about 32 fluid ounces of coffee at a time.
Like other pot-style brewers, you put coarse grounds into the mesh basket, snap it into place, slowly pour water through it, and come back 24 hours later. Coffee came out smooth and flavorful without too much bitterness and the filter is fine enough that there was less sediment than many immersion brewers. Too much sediment can ruin a good cold brew by adding a gritty mouthfeel and aftertaste.
Cleanup is easier than some brewers because the bottom of the Burke’s filter screws off, allowing you to easily eject used grounds. The only downside compared to the Gator (below) is that it doesn’t come with a scoop and funnel, though it does have a wider grounds filter, so you should be OK, but I’ve added one that looks good in the accessories sections below.
There’s nothing insanely unique about Coffee Gator’s glass immersion cold brew coffee pot. There are a host of pots that look just like it on Amazon, but the included metal scoop and collapsible funnel made adding grounds and water an easier, tidier process. I liked them so much, I began using these handy accessories with
For the past couple years, earbud makers around the world have been on a quest. They all want to snip the final wire out of wireless, Bluetooth earbuds—the one that connects both buds together. These products go by many names, like “fully wireless” and “truly wireless.” Here at WIRED, we call them “wire-free.”
But removing that last wire raises a bunch of issues. Without it, both earbuds have to operate independently of one another, somehow syncing their audio while also connecting to your phone or laptop via Bluetooth. Wire-free earbuds need bigger batteries, so they’re often bulky. Some have syncing issues or confusing controls. Others just don’t sound very good.
With the Momentum True Wireless, Sennheiser delivers on sound—but it isn’t immune to some of the more annoying problems facing all fancy-free buds.
Cradle of Love
First, the price: The Momentum True Wireless cost almost twice as much as competitors like the Jabra Elite Active 65T. But they look the part, and they feel sturdy inside and out.
Like all wire-free earbuds, these come with a charging cradle. The case is covered in a gray fabric with a classy heathered weave. If it had a handle and some wheels, it would make a perfect suitcase for a highly intelligent, fashionable Ratatouille-style rat. (Because why wouldn’t a rodent want rollable luggage?) The case gives you a place to top up your charge and a place to store the buds so you don’t lose them. But trust me, you will anyway. They tend to vanish like marbles on a table.
The pillbox-style case charges with speedy USB C and is filled with magnets that help the earbuds snap in. Once they’re in, they fit snugly and charge consistently. The case also has a magnetic clamshell lid that’s almost as pleasant to open as the Apple AirPods’. A teensy tiny light on the back glows green if the battery in the case has a full charge, yellow if it’s in the middle, and red if it’s almost dead.
The case is great, but the earbuds really rely on it. Like many wire-free earbuds, the case is everything. The buds cannot turn off or on unless you shuffle them in and out of the case, which means you always need to have it with you. I found this out the hard way when I defiantly tried to go to a coffee shop without it. The walk home was pretty quiet. The case is not particularly thin or petite either; it makes for a noticeable bump in your pocket.
The buds lasted about four hours on a charge for me, and the case holds enough juice for two top-ups, or about eight hours of extra listening time. The AirPods, by comparison, can get about five hours on a charge and the case holds 19 more hours of juice. Considering that Sennheiser’s battery case is much larger, I hoped for more. I also had to recharge the case pretty frequently, and I ran
If you can’t paddle out to the lineup, you can’t surf. So now’s the time to build your upper body strength, lest you get stuck boogie-boarding on the whitewash with the toddlers. First head to an indoor pool. To isolate your upper body, put a pull buoy between your legs, slide Speedo’s training band over your ankles, and prepare to slog through endless freestyle laps. You can also try putting your surfboard in the pool’s lap lane, but in my experience, that doesn’t go over so well.
A few interesting announcements took place in week 38 and three of those came courtesy of Samsung – the first mid-ranger with a triple camera Galaxy A7 (2018) and a couple of entry-level devices in Galaxy J4+ and Galaxy J6+.
Meanwhile Xiaomi gave us two more members of the Mi 8 family – the Mi 8 Lite and Mi 8 Pro, while Meizu gave us four new handsets – the 16X, the X8 and the V8 duo.
Meanwhile OnePlus was a prominent feature in our rumor mill with its 6T flagship, along with Xiaomi and its upcoimng Redmi Note 6 Pro mid-ranger. .
We are also still feeling the aftermath of the iPhone XS and XS Max launch – the duo went on sale and we got to learn more about their hardware through reviews and teardowns.
Check out the full list of popular stories to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
The sale begins tomorrow at 12 noon in India at Amazon and Xiaomi’s stores.
It’s the company’s first triple camera smartphone.
Is artificial intelligence the key to communicating with aliens?
Researchers used machine learning to discover 72 new fast radio bursts from a mysterious source 3 billion light years from Earth.
In radio astronomy, fast radio bursts are high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin; the bright pulses of radio emission last mere milliseconds and are thought to originate from distant galaxies.
“This work is exciting not just because it helps us understand the dynamic behavior of fast radio bursts in more detail, but also because of the promise it shows for using machine learning to detect signals missed by classical algorithms,” according to Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and principal investigator of Breakthrough Listen.
In the 12 years since Duncan Lorimer discovered the first fast radio burst in 2006, many more have been found, including the repeating FRB 121102—the focus of this investigation.
The team focused on radio signals from 400 terabytes of data, recorded by West Virginia’s Green Bank Telescope over a five-hour period in August 2017.
Yasss! My favorite planet-cum-dwarf planet got the thumbs up from the University of Central Florida to be reinstated as a full-fledged member of our Solar System.
New research from UCF suggests Pluto’s declassification as a planet was not valid. (Damn straight!)
The International Astronomical Union in 2006 formally defined a planet as having “cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit (i.e. be the largest gravitational force in its path).
Because Neptune’s gravity influences its smaller neighbor, which shares its space with objects in the Kuiper belt, Pluto sadly lost its title as the ninth planet from the Sun.
Enter Philip Metzger—UCF planetary scientist with the Florida Space Institute, and my new hero.
In a study published online in the journal Icarus, Metzger reported that this standard for classifying planets is not supported by 200 years scientific literature.
Only one publication from 1802 used the clearing-orbit requirement, based on reasoning which has since been disproven.
“The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research,” lead author Metzger said in a statement. “And it would leave out the second-most complex, interesting
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Read the full Vitamix vs. Blendtec guide here.
Vitamix and Blendtec are the two biggest names in high-powered home blenders. In our testing, we’ve always preferred Vitamix. We still get asked about Blendtec, though, maybe thanks to its popular “Will It Blend?” campaign, which features a Blendtec pulverizing iPhones and other objects that would taste bad in smoothies. The image of a phone turned to dust is a compelling demonstration of raw power, but pulverizing a phone and making a good smoothie are two very different tasks.
To prove it, we pitted the Blendtec Designer 675 against the Vitamix 5200 (our top-pick blender) in a series of tests, and the Vitamix won every time. The Vitamix was much better at smoothies, soups, nut butters—the things you’d need a kitchen blender for, in other words.
We chose to compare those two models because they offered roughly similar features and control schemes. The 5200 is Vitamix’s original variable-speed model, and it offers the power and performance Vitamix blenders are known
For those digging the convertible notebook concept, solid choices abound. HP’s Spectre x360 has been at the top of the heap for a while, neck and neck with the Microsoft Surface Book. As it goes with these things, HP has updated the x360 to keep with the times and the competition. While it hasn’t reinvented the converti-wheel with this 2018 release, it has re-solidified its position at the top of the pack.
If you’re familiar with recent vintages of the x360, this version will look awfully familiar. It carries the same 360-degree convertible hinge to allow for use as a laptop, a slate tablet, and everything in between, plus a similar, all-business color scheme of slate gray and coppery metallics. (That’s “dark ash silver” for those in the know; two other colors are also available.) While the design has been lightly tweaked here and there, it’s a very close sibling to the 2017 model.
While specs have been updated for 2018 components, my review unit was on the lower end of HP’s configuration spectrum. That means a relatively slow 1.6GHz Core i5 processor. Also onboard were 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and screen with the resolution capped at
But that’s not enough for NASEM, the collective scientific national academy of the United States.
“Our current knowledge of the range of characteristics of planets outside the Solar System is substantially incomplete,” the committee said in a news release outlining two “overarching” goals:
To understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems as products of star formation and characterize the diversity of their architectures, composition, and environments To learn enough about exoplanets to identify potentially habitable environments and search for scientific evidence of life on worlds orbiting other stars
We’ve seen it happen a thousand times: Android device makers hire stars to promote their latest devices, and those influencers tweet their endorsements from the device they actually use, which is Apple’s iPhone. But when it happens to Google’s latest Pixel, and when it involves photography, which is one of the best things about the Pixel, it’s the ultimate humiliation for Android as a whole.
In a matter of weeks, Google will unveil the Pixel 3 series and the phones’ photography skills will be put on display. Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will feature dual-lens selfie cams, and single-lens main cameras, which already has us puzzled. Google will surely explain its camera decisions, and will probably tell us how the new Pixels will deliver a camera experience that’s unparalleled.
In the meantime, Google is still promoting the Pixel 2 XL around the world, with Bollywood star Anushka Sharma having inked a Pixel advertising contract for India. She posted the following images on Twitter making sure the message that those pictures were taken with the Pixel is clear. Just check out all the Google and Pixel hashtags. Little did she know that well-known tech reviewer Marquess Brownlee will