The New Google Chromecast 2: Still $35, But It Does A Lot More (And Better)

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 1.35.04 PMBesides refreshing the Nexus line, Google as also dropped a new Chromecast on the world. The Chromecast 2 comes in different colors, still costs $35, and quite literally makes any TV or monitor into a smart TV. However, there have been some crucial changes this year, starting with the design: it’s more circular, but also a little wider.

Software! Let’s talk about it: Fast Play is a new Chromecast solution to playing content faster on-screen. by preloading content as soon you begin the media player app, along with a redesign app (iOS and Android) that is sleeker than before and offers relevant updates and content.

Also: Chromecast audio is a physical solution to adding 3.5mm audio to your Chromecast, so that now a decent home theater setup is possible — it’s the little things that make an iteration count.

Colors available starting today include lemonade, coral and black, in 17 countries, priced at $35 when you buy it from the Google Store, Best Buy or Wal-Mart. Also new partners for the Chromecast 2 have come onboard: Spotify, Google Photos, BBC iPlayer Radio, Showtime, NBA and MLS.

Via: Google Store

LG Finally Brings Its Gram Laptops Stateside

lg-gram-13Everywhere else in the world, LG laptops are something of a regularity — but reading that sentence in the United States may warrant a question mark.

Yes, LG does produce laptops and as of today, is introducing the Gram series to the United States, starting on Amazon and the Microsoft Store. Still running fifth, not sixth generation Intel Core processors, they may be slightly behind on the times, but still are venerable 13- and 14-inch systems. The lightest machine weighs 980g (2.16lbs), but still offers a 1080p display, microSD card slot and HDMI-out.

Pricing $899 for a 13-inch version with a Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM and 128GB solid-state drive. The 14″ costs $999 with similar specs, or $1,399 for one with a Core i7 processor and a 256GB SSD.

While the build quality isn’t in the same ranks as an ASUS Zenbook, Dell XPS 13 or even a Macbook Air, LG does have a nice little offering here.

GoPro’s New Hero+ Brings WiFi To Action Cams On A Budget


Before you had to spend over $300 to have wireless capabilities for an action camera that came from GoPro — well, now you just have to spend a little over $200. The new Hero+ brings Bluetooth and WiFi for the cost of two Benjamins, with 60 frames per second at 1080p HD resolution, or 8 megapixel stills. Its launch date is pegged for October 4th.

Oh, and for those of you who couldn’t justify the $400 price tag for the tiny cube action camera, the Hero4 Session, GoPro took the liberty of also reducing its sticker price by $100, making it $300.

In making these pricing arrangements GoPro is not only solidifying its place in all levels of the action cam market, but also giving a friendly nod to its users, in stating that you don’t need pockets full of cash to get great action footage — and that’s a good thing.

Via: GoPro

This Took Too Long: Google Keep Finally Arrives On iOS


Users of the Google suite of apps know that Google Keep, while not perfect, is one of the best-note-taking solutions out there, especially for keeping a daily schedule or your agenda in check with lists — or better yet, with location-based reminders.

After all, it only took two and a half years, but Google finally accomplished the delivery of a much-requested app on its rival’s platform.

Supported iOS devices include the iPad and iPhone, naturally. Google Keep debuts on the App Store today, for free.

Via: App Store

Oculus Will Add VR Support For Netlfix, Twitch, Hulu And More


Welcome to a world of VR that is (or will be) more consumer-friendly.

Oculus is working with some of the top apps of this generation, including Twitch, Hulu and Netflix — the latter launching today — to bring virtual reality versions of the services to the Oculus Rift platform. Facebook, Lionsgate, Fox and even TiVo support are all in the works, as well.

Also announced on the side, but still of importance: Minecraft for VR and a Samsung Gear VR headset that works with all 2015 Samsung phones for $99. Indeed, the virtual reality onslaught is ramping up for 2016.

Via: Oculus

Pebble Time Round: The 7.5mm Thin Smartwatch Meant To Be Practical

pebble-time-roundThis time around, Pebble is keen to bring a practical rounded smartwatch to market. Compatible with iOS and Android, the Pebble Time Round is a $250 smartwatch in a 7.5mm, marine-grade stainless steel case, with black, silver, or rose gold colorways. The practicality comes from its battery life: it can (purportedly) receive enough charge to last 24 hours in 15 minutes, with a full battery life of two days. Those stats translate to its ability to track your sleep cycle and physical activity.

In fact, it might be one of the most practical smartwatches announced to-date. It’ll be time to see if that stays true when it ships later this Fall.

Via: Pebble 

Microsoft Drops Office 2016 For Windows And Mac, Catches Up To Drive

The-new-office-is-here-4-v2In a sense, Office 2016 is an incremental update that allows it to catch up to Google Drive and Docs as a whole.

Real-time co-authoring is now a feature, Cortana integration debuts for assistance, better search has been engineered, better cross-platform compatibility, chat with built-in Bing searches, and finally, business integration to the point where DLP (Data Loss Prevention) is built-in and Multifactor Authentication makes it easier to operate on the software suite if away from the corporate network.

As for design, the interface remains mostly unchanged, but updated of course, to fall in similar aesthetic quality with the new Windows 10.

Office 2016 is now available for Office 365 subscribers or as a one-time purchase on Mac — pick your poison, essentially.

Via: Office Blog

SteelSeries Apex M800 Keyboard Review: Once A Rainbow, Always A Rainbow

20150917_171641In July of yesteryear, I took a look at what was SteelSeries’ best gaming keyboard offering: the Apex. An excellent choice of backlit colors, but with too many cramped keys and lackluster actuation between those keys, it was fraught with disappointment. This year however, the Danish gaming peripheral maker has stepped forward with the Apex M800.

Through and through, it’s a mechanical keyboard, with the company’s own style of mechanical switches, complete with individual key lighting and a dual-processor setup  that allows for some very cool effects, macros, and dual USB 2.0 ports.

But, is a high asking price — even among the world of backlit, mechanical keyboards — worth the temporary pain, with the promise of comfort afterwards? It’s time to critique.