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35

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential review: It's a (time)keeper

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential review: It's a (time)keeper

The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is not a massive leap in technology—it's a clock radio. A glorified clock radio. A more sensible, smart clock radio. But it's still a clock with a speaker. It tells the time and weather, and it's got Google Assistant. It's missing a few features, and the audio is about what you'd expect for $50, but I found it to be a great addition to my home. Whether or not you agree depends on what you want out of your Assistant devices, but there's a lot to like about the Smart Clock Essential.

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65

Stadia one year later: The grass is looking greener from up here in the cloud

Stadia one year later: The grass is looking greener from up here in the cloud

It's finally here — the day when everyone who said Google's cloud gaming platform would be canceled in less than a year are officially wrong. That's right, Stadia is turning one today. It's been a rollercoaster of a ride with plenty of highs and lows. However, despite it all, I still believe Stadia has grown a lot in 12 short months, and it's time we give it some credit.

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226

Apple is holding back messaging progress across the entire world with iMessage

Apple is holding back messaging progress across the entire world with iMessage

Google's rollout of its RCS-based "Chat" in the Messages app is now complete, delivering on the years-long promise of a better, universal messaging standard on Android. But, it's still not the "iMessage for Android" many of us hoped it might be. And, perhaps ironically, it's Apple that's standing in the way of that.

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70

Next year's Pixels need to charge faster than 18W

Next year's Pixels need to charge faster than 18W

Since the very first Pixels in 2016, the fastest any of Google's flagship phones has charged was limited to 18W. Back then, it wasn't an issue: Fast-charging standards of the time like Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 could ostensibly go higher, but they practically topped out at a similar speed, and it wasn't a huge gap. In the end, Google elected for the better and more universal USB Power Delivery standard. But now, four years and five Pixels later, 18W doesn't cut it.

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144

Opinion: OnePlus has jumped the shark

Opinion: OnePlus has jumped the shark

OnePlus has come a long way from the scrappy, super-disruptive startup it used to be. For years, its phones posed the best spec-to-price "anti-flagship" value ratio of pretty much any Android phone, with software that was praised for its simple and stock-like appearance, supplemented by frequent and consistent updates. More than just a poor-man's Pixel, OnePlus phones had an enthusiastic (if not rabid) following for their confluence of features and price. But somehow, in the last year or so, OnePlus has lost its way.

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42

The Pixel 4a 5G hits the value sweet spot of 2020

The Pixel 4a 5G hits the value sweet spot of 2020

It's nearly the end of the year, and while many of us are waiting for the expected autumnal/Black Friday sales to upgrade phones, it's time to put that list together and consider just which models you'll be keeping an eye out for. And if you're still on the fence examining the 2020 lineup, we've got a specific recommendation: The Pixel 4a 5G. At $500 bought outright and unlocked, it offers a nearly ideal balance of value to performance.

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399

Google Play Music vs. YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

Google Play Music vs. YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

Google Play Music is on the way out and has already become inaccessible for many. A lot of people have probably long taken advantage of the migration tool and have started using YouTube Music. But there are still some key differences between the two services, and if you haven't made the switch, there are a few things to watch out for. In this article, we're going to dive into the key differences between the two services, large and small, and why they matter.

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152

Google needs to set an example and go beyond three years of Android updates

Google needs to set an example and go beyond three years of Android updates

I admit, I held hope that Google might surprise us with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. They were only guaranteed updates until this month, but Google was able to bring the original 2016 Pixels Android 10 last year even though they weren't promised to get it. Secretly, I wanted that to be a trial run for the Pixel 2, dreaming that Google might surprise us with an extra year of updates. After all, 2017 wasn't that long ago, and the hardware has the headroom for at least another year or two of updates. But, though the phones commanded a premium $650-750 price tag at launch, they're being left behind.

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174

It's time for Google to kill the rest of its 'Play' branding

It's time for Google to kill the rest of its 'Play' branding

Mixed in among the Pixels, Chromecast, and speaker yesterday was another important tidbit. Google is essentially rebranding Android TV to Google TV over the next few years. But "Google TV" is more than just a software skin, it's also the new name for Google Play Movies & TV. That's makes it the second Play-branded service to get the boot in the next month if you consider Play Music, and I don't think this change goes far enough. It's been eight years, and it's time for Google to kill the "Play" branding across the board.

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123

Including expensive mmWave 5G on the Pixel 5 was a big mistake, Google

Including expensive mmWave 5G on the Pixel 5 was a big mistake, Google

When it launches, the Google Pixel 5 will cost $699 in the United States — easily making it the most expensive Snapdragon 765 device on the market globally. For comparison, OnePlus's Nord costs around $470 in Europe, while the US-sold LG Velvet retails for $600. Both phones have larger screens, more cameras, in-screen fingerprint scanners, and still support the actually-usable sub-6GHz 5G being deployed globally. And I think that pretty much tells us what we need to know about why the Pixel 5 is commanding such a premium — mmWave 5G no one asked for or needs.

Only the American Pixel 5 will ship with the antenna modules required for compatibility with mmWave 5G networks, and those antenna modules are expensive.

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