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Best graduation gifts for her: 50 gift ideas for college grads

Springtime means bright blooms, longer days, and a new class that’s getting ready to graduate. For you that means watching a woman you’re proud of accept her diploma, which also means you need to find the perfect gift for her.

Depending on her interests, your grad might have useful items on her wishlist like kitchen appliances or a new laptop, or she might want something a little more fun like a vlogging camera or some cool gadgets. Regardless, you want to make her feel special for earning her degree and this gift guide is sure to include something she’ll love.

There are plenty of ways to say “congratulations,” whether that’s through a heartfelt piece of jewelry or the latest tech products. You can go as sentimental or as utilitarian as you want — that’s the beauty of college graduation.

Check out 50 of our suggestions to shower the college grad with love on her big day:


Best Father’s Day gifts: 40 things your dad won’t buy for himself

Image: mashable photo composite

Dads often get shit for dad jokes and being bad at texting, but father figures have another thing in common besides thinking terrible puns are hilarious: They’re some of the most selfless people in the world.

TBH, a lot of us wouldn’t know how to live on our own if it wasn’t for those father figures who taught us — this goes for uncles, step-dads, or anyone who stepped up to take on that role. And though he probably insists that you don’t have to get him anything, Father’s Day is an extra-special time to show your appreciation.

Don’t phone it in and get him a mug that says “Dad.” It’s technically accurate, but it’s a terrible gift. (Looking for unique options for Father’s Day? Go here. Looking for something relatively cheap? Check our our guide to the best gifts under $50.)

Whether it’s a gadget to make his life easier, a sentimental keepsake, or something that you know he wants but refuses to buy for himself, here are the best gift ideas for Father’s Day:


Read more: https://mashable.com/gifts/best-fathers-day-gifts/

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Every part of this fully functional electric motorbike was 3D printed


Unlike its older brother, the super-fast G12, Greyp G6 looks and feels like a regular mountain e-bike.
Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

How smart can a bike get? 

The Greyp G6, a battery-powered bicycle launched Friday, March 15, provides a new answer to that question. It raises the bar for every other e-bike manufacturer with a ton of original features that turn the bike into a powerful, high-tech gadget. 

Over the weekend, I got the chance to try out the G6 on the beautiful trails of Croatia’s island Brač. Turns out, it’s also incredibly fun to ride.

Greyp is a sister company of Croatian hypercar maker Rimac Automobili, and the two share a lot of the same DNA. Neither company is interested in doing something that’s been done before, and both build high-end products that may not be for everyone, but will surely make every tech geek’s eyes light up. 

Greyp’s first bike, the G12, was launched in 2013, and it was an entirely different animal. Half electric motorcycle and half e-bike, it was speedy and powerful — so much, in fact, that it wasn’t exactly street-legal in the same way a regular bicycle is. 

The G6 comes in three flavors — G6.1, G6.2, and G6.3. It’s definitely an electric bicycle, of the mountain bike (eMTB) variety. But it, too, has a duality that makes it hard to categorize, simply because there aren’t many (or any) similar bikes around. 

Greyp’s detachable battery and motor are integrated in a way that doesn’t make the bike feel clunky.

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

On one hand, the G6 is a high-end mountain e-bike with a 250W MPF motor and a 700mAh battery that provides additional power as you hit the pedals, but it never just drives itself like a motorcycle does. It has some of the best components imaginable, including a carbon fiber-reinforced frame, an enduro-oriented dual suspension with 150mm of travel and top RockShox parts, and SRAM EX1 shifters, cassette, and chain, to name a few. If you don’t recognize these components, suffice to say that you’ll find them on the best enduro and all-mountain bikes. See full specs for the three Greyp models here

Everything and the kitchen sink

You may have seen similar electric bikes from companies such as Giant, Cannondale, and Specialized, but this is where the similarities end. First, Greyp drew from Rimac’s battery expertise to build its own custom battery, providing some 100 kilometers (62 miles) of range. Based on the short time I’ve spent with the bike, it’s hard to judge how much of an advantage over other brands this is. But having seen Rimac’s battery assembly plant, and given the fact that the company provides battery expertise and parts for some of the world’s fastest supercars, I’d say these folks know their battery tech. One other detail makes the G6 different from many competitors: The battery is visible (as opposed to being built into the frame) and easily detachable; you charge it at home with Greyp’s own custom charger. 

But the biggest difference between Greyp G6 and most other e-bikes is that instead of relying on added sensors and smartphone smarts to provide extra functionality, the G6 has all of that built in. The bike has a GPS chip, a 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, and even a barometric pressure sensor. It has two wide-angle, 1080p cameras (front and rear). It has a 3-inch TFT screen, designed to be readable in sunlight, with a 240×400 pixel resolution for showing basic info such as battery life and speed. Connectivity-wise, the bike’s equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a USB-C port. Most importantly, it’s constantly connected to the internet via a built-in e-SIM, with Greyp covering the data costs until at least 2022. 

Once you connect the phone with the bike, Greyp’s companion app offers tons of info, including a dashboard with ride info, navigation, “fitness” mode, and a front/rear camera video stream.

Image: STAN SCHROEDER/MASHABLE

If you think that sounds like a specs list for a smartphone instead of a bike, well, you’re right, it kinda does. I’ve checked numerous competitors, and I haven’t found an e-bike that has all these features, even on pricier models (though the G6 itself isn’t cheap; more on that later). 

While the bike is fully functional as is — basic functions are accessible via rugged, waterproof buttons on the left handle — the real fun starts when you connect a smartphone and place it in a special cradle on top of the built-in screen. Then, you start Greyp’s companion app (Android-only, for now; iOS support is coming this year) and get features such as navigation, a live video feed from front or rear camera (seeing what’s behind you can be really handy sometimes), or detailed info about your ride. You can even put a built-in heart rate sensor on your wrist (it comes with the bike) and set the bike to provide more power when your heart rate goes up and less when it goes down, keeping you in that fat-burning sweet spot all the time. 

Yeah, this thing is clever. 

It doesn’t end there. When it’s not plugged into the bike (the bike’s battery charges the phone, so no need to worry about your phone dying), the G6’s smartphone app turns into a sort of remote control for the bike. If someone’s touching your bike, for example, you’ll be notified. You will then be able to remotely warn them via a text message on the bike’s screen, take a photo through the bike’s cameras, or disable it completely and track its location through the G6. 

Between the bike itself and the companion app, the list of features is too long to name them all. Still more are coming, as the bike’s software can be updated with over-the-air (OTA) updates. But enough lists. 

Turning a beginner into a pro

Unlike some prototypes we’ve seen, the Greyp G6 is a finished product that can be pre-ordered now and will start shipping to customers in a month or two. I had the rare opportunity to actually test it out right after launch, on a variety of terrain and in two different configurations — the G6.2 and the most powerful variant, the G6.3. 

The equipment on the Greyp G6 is top-notch.

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

As a pure mountain e-bike, the G6 is just loads of fun. If you’ve never ridden a pedelec e-bike — one that assists you while pedaling instead of just driving you like a motorbike — you should know that it has two important traits. First, yes, it makes the ride easier by helping you out during those nasty uphill climbs. If you’re not very experienced or just can’t handle a climb on a regular bike, the G6’s motor will make you feel like a pro by providing just as much power as you need. 

But if you are experienced and are looking for a challenge, the e-bike won’t turn you soft and lazy. You can ride as hard as you like and break a serious sweat, but the difference will be that, compared to a regular bike, the G6 will help you cover more distance. On a normal bike, 20 miles on rough terrain with a solid amount of elevation would be a long, painful ride for me. On the G6, I was blasting through the finish line. In fact, a couple months with this bike, and I bet I’d be testing the G6’s nominal 62-mile range, which would take me years to achieve on a regular bike. Note that once the battery’s depleted, the G6 becomes a perfectly capable regular mountain bike, so no problems there. 

The G6 excels on rough roads. It’s got wide, off-roady tires and a sturdy frame that make the bike feel incredibly stable. With the help of the electric motor, I was easily conquering terrain that’d be a real challenge on a regular bike. Often I felt more confident at high speeds than I usually am; that could mean I’ve suddenly become a better rider, but it’s far more probable that the bike is just fine-tuned well. On an asphalt road, I didn’t mind those rugged tires; again, with the electric motor I was easily achieving good speeds, perhaps not comparable to a road bike, but still fast enough for my liking. I’ve tested both the mid-range G6.2 and the most powerful G6.3 variant, and honestly, both had plenty of power. I’ve also tried turning the power assistance off completely during a steep climb — and I very quickly realized that I’m not in the shape this bike made me feel I’m in. 

The brakes, shifters, and suspension all performed admirably on both bikes I’ve tested. The G6.3 has slightly better parts than the G6.2, but it’s all high-end stuff that’s far better than anything I usually ride. One cool feature was the ability to change the seat height with a switch, mid-ride. The control buttons for the bike’s smart features seemed sturdy enough to me, though using them while riding over rough terrain wasn’t always easy. 

Tech platform for the future

With the G6, the ride itself is just half the fun. I also enjoyed fidgeting with the extra features provided by the smartphone app. Some, like navigation, were most useful during a break. While riding, I mostly had the camera on, because it’s just so cool to have an HD stream of your ride in front of you. And you can record it to your phone at any time. 

Greyp G6 has a built-in front and rear camera, both with 1080p resolution.

Image: STAN SCHROEDER/MASHABLE

There were a few bugs. Sometimes, the video stream would lag considerably, and sometimes, the app crashed — but those issues were only present on an older, Galaxy S8+ Android model, which happened to be installed on the bike I was testing. This is made worse by the somewhat odd decision to place the phone cradle so that the phone covers the bike’s built-in screen. If the phone app dies, you lose access to all the info about the bike and the ride (plus, as a tech geek, I just like the idea of being able to see two screens at the same time). 

The next day, the Greyp crew outfitted me with a different bike that sported a newer Android phone, and I had no issues during a 45-minute ride. Some parts of the trails had a poor 3G signal, which was also an issue for the always-connected G6. I’ve spoken to the folks at Greyp; they’re aware of these issues and are working to fix them before the product reaches end users. 

The most interesting aspect of the bike, however, are the features yet to come. Some, like the possibility of getting a one-minute video replay (useful in case of crash) are nearly there, but aren’t fully implemented. And some, like gamification and racing against other riders, I didn’t get to test. But the possibilities of this platform are truly endless. Notifications if you stray off path and fall out of your group? Bad weather warnings? Music streaming? With the tech this bike has, it’s all possible. 

Why hasn’t anyone done this before?

You could take a regular bike, add some third-party gizmos, and create some sort of makeshift version of the G6. Use a phone for the info screen, a helmet cam for video recording, a sports watch for the measurements, and stick a bunch of sensors on the bike. But it will never work as well as it does when the cameras, the sensors, and the connectivity are all built into the bike itself.

Greyp G6’s tech platform may not be fully perfected, but it sets a high bar for future bikes that call themselves smart.

Image: STAN SCHROEDER/MASHABLE

The truth is, once you get used to it — and you do get used to it fast — you start to wonder why other e-bikes don’t have these features. Mate Rimac, the CEO and founder of both Greyp and Rimac Automobili, tells me the secret is simple. “We’re an engineering company first. Innovation comes before everything else. We aren’t looking to build another bike, we’re looking to see where can we take the idea of the bike.”

I really do believe we’ll see these sorts of smart features on e-bikes more and more. After all, when you have that big, juicy battery, why not have it power a bunch things instead of just helping the bike move forward?

There’s another reason why all e-bikes aren’t as advanced as this, though, and it’s the price. Starting at 6,499 euros ($7,359), the G6.1 is not cheap. The G6.2 costs 6,999 euros ($7,925), and the G6.3 costs 7,499 euros ($8,491). 

While the prices may be eye-watering for someone used to regular bikes in the sub-$1,000 price range, when you compare apples to apples, Greyp’s pricing makes sense. Comparably equipped e-bikes from big bike brands like Specialized and Cannondale are priced similarly, and they don’t have all the features that Greyp has. 

The Greyp G6 can be ordered now from Greyp’s website, and should be hitting dealers in Europe over the next months. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/greyp-g6-e-bike-hands-on/

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50 best stocking stuffers: Gift ideas for guys, girls, adults, teens, and everyone in between

Gift guides are taking over again — gift ideas for him, gift ideas for her, and suggestions for every ultra-specific person in between seem to be everywhere you look. But one thing that’s often left until the last minute? The beloved stocking stuffer.

Whether you’re gifting on a budget, have a spending limit within your gifting circle, or need a tiny-but-expensive gift to add as a surprise, small stocking stuffers are a necessity. 

But let’s be clear: Just because stocking stuffers need to be small in size doesn’t mean they should be dinky and worthless. Fake poop or an emergency clown nose are technically cheap and technically fit in a stocking, but we doubt anyone was dying to open those. Sure, it’s funny for a minute and you’ll be the class clown for the day, but you know it’ll end up in their junk drawer. Your friends and family will appreciate a Bluetooth tracker or wine stain remover way more.

We’ve asked around and done some research to pull together 50 of the best *useful* stocking stuffers out there. Some will be limited by price, some will be pricey but small enough to fit in a stocking, and some will be a mixture of both — while all will be sure to please.


Why Amazon is putting Alexa in wall clocks and microwaves


A sampling of some of the new Echo devices Amazon just launched.
Image: karissa Bell/mashable

In case there was still any doubt about Amazon’s vision for the smart home, the company just made its intentions clear: it wants to dominate every aspect of your house.

The company revealed a dozen new Alexa-powered gadgets on Thursday, including redesigned Echo speakers, a new subwoofer and amplifier, a wall clock, and, yes, a microwave.

Taking over the smart home

Of these, the $59.99 microwave (officially called the AmazonBasics Microwave) attracted much of the attention because, well, it’s pretty damn random, right? But while some wondered about the usefulness of having Alexa inside your microwave, it also offers the clearest look at how Amazon plans to put Alexa on every surface it possibly can.

So why a microwave? Is it actually faster than just pushing a few buttons? According to Amazon, it opted for the microwave because it’s an appliance that hasn’t changed much in the last few decades. And, more importantly, one that can still be frustratingly complicated. Do you know how to use all the built-in presets on your microwave? I definitely don’t.

Though microwave is Alexa-enabled, it doesn’t have any speakers or microphones built in. Instead, it pairs to a nearby Echo speaker. There is an Alexa button on the microwave, but this is just for saving time; if you push the button on the microwave, you can simply say what preset you want, like “one potato,” without saying “Alexa” or “microwave.”

At launch later this year, Alexa will be able to understand dozens of presets, as well as commands like “add 30 seconds.” Amazon says more commands will be added over time as well.

Strategically, though, the microwave is about much more than making popcorn slightly faster. It’s powered by something called Amazon Connect Kit, which will soon be available to the makers of other kitchen gadgets. This means device makers can make their blenders and coffee makers and mixers compatible with Alexa without having to remake their products with microphones and speakers and custom software.

If you don’t want to wait for manufacturers, though, you’ll have another option: Amazon’s new $24.99 Smart Plug, which lets you control any device you plug into it with your Echo. Think of it as essentially an Alexa-enabled on/off switch. 

Echo Wall Clock.

Image: karissa bell/mashable

The somewhat bulky plug does a few neat things in the background as well. You connect it to your home WiFi network by scanning a barcode on the back of the plug with the Amazon app, which should make setup relatively painless.

Finally, there’s the $29.99 Echo Wall Clock, which is meant to take advantage of what might be the most popular feature on all smart speakers: timers. The clock connects to your Echo speaker and gives you a visual cue to track your timers. 

New and improved Echos

Amazon revamped much of its Echo lineup, with new Echo Dot, Plus, and Show speakers. The good news is that all three are way less ugly than the previous models. The Echo Dot, previously a plastic hockey-puck shaped speaker, has been completely redesigned. The new version now looks a bit like a larger Google Home Mini. It’s rounder, and covered in fabric (available in black or white). 

On the inside, the new Echo Dot has also been engineered to sound louder and clearer. In the brief demos I heard, it did better than the original, though I was in a loud room at the time.

All this also means it’s a bit larger than the original, but it shouldn’t take up much more space. Most importantly, the new Echo Dot is priced the same as the original at $49.99.

The larger $149.99 Echo Plus has also ditched the plastic covering in favor of fabric which, again, makes it look way better and more like a “premium” speaker. It’s also shorter and rounder, making it look more like last year’s Echo 2. On the inside, the Plus has gained a new temperature sensor, so it can detect the temperature of its surroundings, as well as upgraded audio.

The relatively new Echo Show also got a much needed facelift. While the previous version looked like some kind of teleconferencing device, the new Echo Show places the speaker on the side of the device, making it look much less bulky. 

Amazon also delivered its answer to Google’s Chromecast Audio with the $34.99 Echo Input, a thin disc-like gadget you connect to an existing speaker in order to turn it into a smart, Alexa-enabled speaker.

If you’re really serious about upgrading your audio setup, Amazon has offered a solution in the form of the $129.99 Echo Sub. The sub pairs to your existing Echo speakers, which can now be paired in stereo and support multi-room audio. 

In the demo I heard it sounded pretty good by my ear — with a noticeably thumpy bass—  but again, I was in a loud demo room so it’s hard to judge the audio quality at this point. What is clear is that Amazon wants to fight the perception that Echo speakers aren’t meant for people who care about sound quality.

Does all that seem like too much Alexa? Perhaps. But Amazon doesn’t need you to buy all of its products or even most of them. What it is trying to do is make its ecosystem of hardware and software an essential part of the things you do in your home every day, whether it’s listening to music, turning off the lights, or cooking popcorn. 

It’s no secret that the smart home, right now, is kind of a mess. From complicated setup processes to getting a bunch of disparate gadgets to sync up to one another, we’re still a long way off from the cohesive vision so many tech companies have promised us. 

For Amazon, the solution isn’t just to make Alexa smarter and easier to use, it’s to integrate it with every conceivable appliance and gadget you could possibly need or want. Once you’ve bought into one part of the ecosystem, why wouldn’t you keep investing in it? 

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/new-amazon-echo-devices-hands-on/

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Lenovo Smart Display recipes


Is a touchscreen worth spending extra for?
Image: raymond wong/mashable
Lenovo Smart Display (10-inch)
$249

The Good

Big • sharp • and responsive touchscreen • Excellent far-field microphones • Good clear speaker • Physical camera privacy shutter • Retro design

The Bad

Kinda big for kitchens • Only has a single speaker

The Bottom Line

Lenovo’s Smart Display is a perfect example of how voice-controlled smart speakers are better with a touchscreen.

Mashable Score4.25

Cool Factor4.0

Learning Curve5.0

Performance4.0

Bang for the Buck4.0

It’s coming out a year later, but Lenovo’s Smart Display is clearly an answer to Amazon’s Echo Show.

Just like the Show, the Smart Display is a smart speaker — powered by the Google Assistant instead of Amazon’s Alexa of course — with a touchscreen bolted on. 

SEE ALSO: Amazon’s Fire TV Cube is a glimpse at Alexa-controlled entertainment, but it needs work

It’s also similarly pricey at $200 for the 8-inch display and $250 for the 10-inch version, which I’ve been using at home for just over a week. 

With a Google Home priced at $130, the big question on everyone’s mind is: Is a touchscreen worth another $70-120? 

I wish there was a simple answer, but it all comes down to how much you value the information that gets displayed on the screen. A display is great for showing information that can’t be conveyed verbally, but it’s also not a necessity for everyone.

Fits right at home

Some things, like the week’s weather forecast, are better shown than simply spoken.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

I think most people agree the Echo Show is more functional than beautiful. Sure, the design is less of an eyesore the more you use it, but that doesn’t mean we should just accept ugly design. Anyone who’s seen the LG WK9 knows what I’m talking about.

Compared to the Show, the Smart Display is a looker; it has a Dieter Rams-ish vibe going for it. It’s slick and fits in well in the kitchen or on a bookshelf, two places it’s likely to end up.

The 8-inch model comes with a white frame around the display and a gray backside. On my 10-inch device, the frame’s also white, but the rear has a bamboo finish. 

The 10-inch model has a nice bamboo finish.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

The Smart Display is meant to be stood up in landscape, but you prop it up vertically for making video calls using Duo, Google’s FaceTime clone. Don’t bother trying to stand it up vertically for regular use because the interface only works in landscape.

The smaller Smart Display has a 1,280 x 800 HD resolution and the larger one has 1,920 x 1,200 full HD resolution. I can’t speak for the smaller screen, but the 10-inch Smart Display’s IPS screen is bright, sharp, and has nice wide viewing angle. It’s comparable to a decent tablet display.

A physical switch to mute the microphone is a must on any device that’s always listening.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

The 10-incher comes with a single 2-inch 10-watt speaker with two passive tweeters and dual array microphones. For buttons, there are just the essentials: a volume button, a physical mute switch, and — this one I really like — a physical camera privacy shutter that blocks the 5-megapixel camera.

Honestly, any camera-equipped device that’s always “looking” at you should have a privacy shutter just for peace of mind. Extra points to Lenovo for including one.

Lenovo really nailed the Smart Display’s hardware, but the size might be a problem for some people. The 10-inch model’s nearly twice the width of an Echo Show and can dominate a smaller kitchen counter or bedside table.

Screen value

The Smart Display is available in two screen sizes: 8 or 10 inches.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

If you’ve used a Google Home or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker of any kind, you’ll know exactly what capabilities to expect from the Smart Display.

Everything you can do with a Google Home you can also do on the Smart Display. That means asking the Google Assistant to tell you the weather, play your music, control smart home devices, set alarms, make phone calls, search for things, etc.

The dual 2 x 2 microphones work really well. The Smart Display was able to pick up my “Hey, Google” requests even when it was playing music at the highest volume. At close range, it could also pick up the wake word if I whispered it.

Sometimes it’s more convenient to touch than to use voice commands.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The single speaker has decent range, too. Side-by-side with the Echo Show, the Smart Display sounds a lot clearer. Music sounds less muffled, and the bass isn’t as distorted at higher levels. On the Show, the speakers crackled as they tried to push more air. The only edge the Show has over the Smart Display is that it’s capable of louder sound. But that’s not really much of an advantage since it’s rare you’ll ever crank these kinds of tabletop smart devices to full volume.

The 10-inch Smart Display is almost twice the size of an Echo Show.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

The value of the Smart Display, like the Echo Show, is of course its screen. The touchscreen interface is extremely stripped-down — there’s no grid of apps or app drawer — and serves as a reminder that the Smart Display isn’t a tablet. As such, it’s for short voice and bite-sized screen interactions.

On standby, the screen shows the time and weather. Tap it and it takes you to a home screen with an expanded weather forecast. Swipe to the left to scroll to access features like music. A right swipe from the left bezel returns you to the home screen. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings up controls for adjusting brightness, volume, and toggling Do Not Disturb mode.

All of these touch controls can also be performed with voice controls. So instead of swiping on the bezels, you can just say say “Hey Google, go back” or “Hey Google, go home.” 

Spotify is pretty bare-bones on the Lenovo Smart Display.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Voice controls are super convenient, especially when your hands aren’t free, but there are many times where visual information is either more useful or augments the digital assistant experience.

For example, Google Maps. It’s great that a Google Home can tell you how long it takes to go somewhere, but it’s even better when you can see the route and all the additional info that comes with Google Maps such as street names, nearby restaurants, etc.

The screen’s really useful for displaying Google Maps.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Same goes for showing information such as your Google Calendar, the upcoming five-day forecast, album art, Google Translations, to name a couple of things. These are all things that are better with visual info.

The most obvious use for the screen is for playing videos and displaying photos. If you have the Smart Display set up in your kitchen, the display’s really handy for showing recipe instructions (Google’s even condensed popular recipes from various independent online sources into easy-to-follow step-by-step slides) and for watching tutorials on YouTube.

Ask Google for a recipe and it might recommend some with step-by-step cooking instructions.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

I can’t stress enough how convenient it is to have YouTube videos on the Smart Display. It’s infinitely more valuable than watching Amazon Prime Video on the Echo Show. While chopping veggies one night, I simply asked the Google Assistant to show me Mashable’s MacBook Pro video without ever lifting a finger off my knife.

YouTube on the Smart Display is so much more practical than Prime Video on the Echo Show.

Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

Similarly, you can tell the Google Assistant to show you photos. By default, it’ll pull photos from your Google Photos gallery first. I asked to show photos of my mom and because I had her face ID’d and tagged in my Peoples & Pets section within Google Photos, it pulled up all her photos. 

Not sure what you can do with the Smart Display? Google’s got a helpful section that “trains” you.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The screen’s also essential for video calling over Google’s Duo service. Video and audio quality is alright. I used the Smart Display to video call Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal’s iPhone X and though the connection was solid, the video call picture quality was average. 

Video calling over Duo works fine, but the picture quality is average.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

For almost all screen info, the Smart Display also includes a handful of actions that you can take either with touch or voice. But sometimes, actions aren’t clearly labeled. For instance, I pretty much guessed at using voice controls to scroll through this recipe’s steps, and it worked even though it wasn’t clear how to do so:

It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t quite get all of Google search just because the Smart Display has a screen. There’s no Google app where you can manually search the web like you can on Android or iOS. Which kind of sucks because when Google doesn’t understand something, it’d be great to have the option to perform a manual search. 

One good example was when I asked for a meatloaf recipe. It worked the first time with the Smart Display showing recipes from a couple of publications. But for whatever reason, the time I asked for meatloaf recipes, the Google Assistant apologized and said it couldn’t understand what I wanted. After a handful of fails, it finally understood the command again. 

Then again, Alexa fared way worse. When asked for meatloaf recipes, it just messed with me — every single time:

Paying for the display

The Google Assistant has jokes. Corny jokes. But it’s got them!

Image: raymond wong/mashable

After trying out the Smart Display, I’m convinced that smart speakers are better with screens. There’s no doubt in my mind that certain information is better shown than spoken. With the Lenovo’s Smart Display you can the best of both voice and touch.

You don’t have to use the touchscreen if you don’t want to. It’s there to augment the experience, which is still primarily voice-based. 

The Smart Displays aren’t cheap at $200 for the 8-incher and $250 for the 10-incher. But they’re also not outrageously priced when compared to the $230 Echo Show. 

Regardless of the model, you’re getting what is arguably a richer and more meaningful experience than you get with the Show. The Smart Display is prettier and has a larger screen. The Google Assistant is smarter and does more than Alexa. It also plays YouTube videos, which the Show can’t. 

That tablet and dock combo, however, is powered by Alexa. With the Google Assistant, the Smart Displays are more intelligent, but if you can make do without the deep Google services integrations, it’s a much better buy for something that’s probably going to end up as kitchen toy.

However, if the decision’s only between the Echo Show and the Smart Displays, I’d go with the latter unless you’re already locked into the Alexa ecosystem.

Read more: https://mashable.com/review/lenovo-smart-display-review

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You never have to worry about running out of groceries with the Hiku shopping button

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

You know that feeling when you make the perfect Sunday morning pancakes, go to the pantry for some syrup, and there’s nothing but an empty container? Never again.

This is Hiku. It’s a button that lives in your kitchen, whether stuck to the fridge or sitting on the counter, that can record your voice and scan product barcodes to preserve a kind of digital shopping list as you begin to run low on things. With the Hiku app, youre able to create a shared shopping list on your phone that will always be near you and up-to-date.

Image: hiku

Check out what josh128 had to say about it: I LOVE my Hiku!!! This is by far one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I keep it stuck to my fridge and anytime I start to run short on something I just give it a quick scan and it’s added to my list. This device has changed my life and made my shopping much easier.

Never worry about running out of things again. Hiku is here to make your shopping simple and stress-free. Get the shopping button here for $43.99.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/10/hiku-shopping-button/

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These modern gadgets will give you mega nostalgia

Image: suck uk

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Nostalgic tech is making its way into the gadget world and were all big fans.

Add a classic taste to your modern tech with some of these products. Theres no time like the past

From vinyl Bluetooth speakers to mix tape thumb drives, this list has all the nostalgia feels.

The classic gamer

Image: Hyperkin

Bring it back with a handheld gaming device. This Smartboy Development Kit can fit any Android smartphone. Get it here for $95.

Vinyl-wrapped and ready to go

Image: urban outfitters

You need this full-range speaker in your living room. With wireless, Bluetooth compatibility and high-quality listening, you cant get a better combo of modern tech and nostalgia. Get it here for $79.

Old school treats

Image: Nostalgia

Take the feels into the kitchen with this popcorn maker. Enjoy some hot and delicious popcorn in retro style. Get it here for $65.

Round and round with retro

Image: crosley

This Crosley turntable will give you the rich sound of vinyl with wireless, Bluetooth features. Available in a variety of colors, this portable speaker is the perfect thing to bring to a party. Get it here for $73.52.

Blast from the past

Image: crosley

It looks like a rotary-dial phone, but its push-button technology is easy to use and the perfect statement piece. Get it here for $49.95.

Cassette USB drive

Image: suck uk

An old-school cassette tape turned into a USB drive? Need that. Personalize it with a title, message, and playlist, and give it to a friend. Get it here for $16.95.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/17/nostalgic-modern-tech/

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Light fires without a flame with this cool plasma beam lighter

Image: Saberlight

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

If youre going out into the wilderness for any significant amount of timewhether youre tent camping or cabin glampingyoure going to want to have a more reliable source of fire than your old Zippo. After all, even the cushiest camping trips can get rugged real fast, and it never hurts to be as prepared as possible.

Replace your current lighter with the Saberlight Plasma Beam Lighter and youll have a contingency against inclement weather and low lighter fluid reserves. Plus, youll have a remarkably slick lighter that will blow your fellow campers moisture-wicking socks off.

The Saberlight Plasma Beam Lighter offers unparalleled reliability in rough conditions, including high winds and rain. It features the same flip-top functionality as your standard butane lighters, but its electrically generated plasma beam burns hotter and cleaner.

Hold a piece of kindling to the beam and it instantly ignites, allowing you to start your campfire quicklyso you can skip the hassle and get right to the marshmallow roasting. Saberlight can be used over 300 times on a single charge, and then replenished via USB in a laptop or portable battery (or a good old electrical outlet if youre not exactly roughing it). Normally, this remarkable gadget costs $99.99. Today, however, the price has dropped to just $15.95 for a limited time.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/15/this-plasma-lighter-can-start-a-fire-without-a-flame-sale/

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Think of the fun you’ll have with this tiny smartphone breathalyzer

Image: pixabay

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

We all do dumb things when we drink: call an ex, send a profanity-laced email to the boss, buy used jeans on eBay that arent returnable. We know we shouldnt be doing these things, but theres never a responsible person next to us to say hey, I think youve had too much to drink.

Fortunately, theres now a smartphone accessory that takes care of this for us: the DrinkMate Breathalyzer. Drinkmate promises that you can plug this tiny, 1.9-inch breathalyzer into your phone, blow into it, and get an accurate reading of your BAC level within seconds. When was that last time one of your drinking buddies did that?

The DrinkMate Breathalyzer connects to your iPhones lightning jack (an Android version is also available) so you never have to worry about needing an external power source. It easily hooks to your keychain or slips it into your pocket too. And since your lips dont actually make contact with the DrinkMate Breathalyzer, you can even share it with your friends. Compete to see who has the lowest BAC. Or to ensure that everyone in your group makes smart decisions.

Actually, you should always do that. Safety first!

The DrinkMate Breathalyzer normally costs $40, but you can get it for just $27.99, a savings of 30 percent. Buy it here.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/14/drinkmate-smartphone-breathalyzer-deal/

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Amazon’s Echo Show is too simple for its outrageous price

Amazon is hell-bent on taking over the home with its Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice assistant.

Its latest device, the Echo Show, includes a 7-inch touchscreen and costs a hefty $230. Compared to other Echo devices, it’s the most expensive one yet $50 more than the regular Echo, $180 more than the smaller Echo Dot, and $30 more than the soon-to-be-released Echo Look. Still, it’s well under the price of Apple’s $350 HomePod smart speaker launching this December.

The beauty of the Echo Show is its simplicity. As an Echo product, its primary method of input (as you probably guessed) is voice commands.

Ask Alexa to do something like turn on your smart lights, and it should do it without fail.

Ask Alexa to play cute cat videos on YouTube, and the Echo Show’s screen comes to life with furry little floofs looking predictably adorable.

Ask Alexa to make a video call to a friend or family member who has the Echo Show (or the Alexa app on their phone), and you’re instantly connected like you would with FaceTime on an iPhone or iPad.

But the Echo Show is not intended to be a do-everything device like the iPhone. Instead, it’s essentially just a speaker with a screen for those moments when it’s convenient to have information visually presented to you.

Honestly, I admire Amazon’s restraint. It could have easily just attached an entire Kindle Fire tablet to the original Echo speaker, but instead Amazon kept things simple. The company deliberately stripped the more advanced features (like web browsing) out touchpad display to make it easier to use.

I wish it hadn’t.

For the last couple of weeks, the Echo Show has been sitting on my desk at work, and I’ve had an excellent time video calling my colleague Lance using just my voice instead of having to drag my feet over to his office.

It’s been great. I have a few small quibbles with the somewhat pixelated-looking video quality, and frankly the hollow-sounding speaker could be better, but in terms of its ease of use, it’s been great. This is the video-box communicator futurists promised us about 50 years ago.

There are people trapped in the magical video box! Oh, it’s just the Echo Show’s video calling feature…

Image: lance Ulanoff/mashable

Oh, and it’s bulky, boxy design that everyone was quick to drag (you know, before they’d even seen it in person)? Not really a problem. You’re never looking at the Echo Show at any angle other than directly in front of it.

As much as I love the device’s pared back features, I wish Amazon had given it just few more. Even just a couple of extras would have done the trick.

In its current state, the standby home screen shows only a handful of things you’d expect from a digital assistant. You get the time, the weather, news headlines (no idea how it surfaces these), and suggestions on what to do with Alexa.

But the very fact that the device has a screen begs you to do more. And sadly, you can’t.

Swiping down from the top of the screen brings down just a few icons for “Home,” “Settings,” “Do Not Disturb,” and brightness slider.

Where are the apps? Unfortunately, there aren’t any, and it’s the Echo Show’s greatest weakness.

The Echo Show is great at the things it’s programmed to know, but is maddeningly limited if you try to do more. That’s where its chief rival Google Home beats it. Google Home can search the internet for information to questions rather than relying on a finite number of programmed answers. It’s better at improvising and understanding unusual requests.

Without access to the wealth of information crawled by a search engine, the Echo Show’s screen kinda feels half-baked. I’m not asking for the entire Google Play Store of apps, nor do I expect people to play Angry Birds or read an e-book on the Echo Show’s screen, but it would be nice to have access to an internet browser or Google Maps for when you need it in a pinch.

I can already see the counterargument: The Echo Show will sit on many people’s kitchen counters and therefore it’s not a situation where your grease-slathered fingers would want to poke at a touchscreen.

But that’d be limiting the Echo Show to a kitchen appliance. I have an Echo in my living room and an Echo Dot in my bedroom. Guess how many Echo devices I have in my kitchen? None.

I’m not saying there aren’t many people with Echos in their kitchen, but I’m willing to bet there are more in other rooms of the house.

There’s also another argument that you don’t need access to a web browser or apps on the Echo Show because you can always use your phone. But you could say the same about a device like the PlayStation 4, which has a web browser and Spotify for those rare moments you need them.

The Echo Show’s home screen is pretty bare.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

My point is, the Echo Show is actually a pretty powerful computer. I consider it an “internet communications device” and in 2017, that type of device should have access to some apps (even limited ones) to make up for Alexa’s shortcomings as an artificial intelligence.

Maybe one day Alexa will be super brainy, but it’s not smart enough today and so the screen should at least help carry some of the load (regardless if it repeats a phone’s functions).

I’d also like to see the Echo Show’s screen put to better use for showing what Alexa skills are available. Right now, the only ways to enable an Alexa skill is to tell it to (assuming you know the skill), enable it through the Skills Store website, or through the Alexa app.

The Echo Show should have access to some apps to make up for Alexa’s shortcomings.

A home screen that lists every Alexa Skill easily searchable and discoverable from the Echo Show itself just makes sense. Tap, tap, tap…boom several new skills enabled. Alexa Skills discovery is a huge pain point right now.

Whenever I visit people and see they’ve got an Echo set up, I always ask them what Alexa Skills they have. The answer is always the same: Nothing special. Why? Because finding Skills is frustrating.

Listen, Amazon: The Echo Show has a nice touchscreen, but it’s underutilized. But you can give it some real purpose. There’s nothing wrong with letting the Echo Show do more, and it would also help justify the ridiculous price. It wouldn’t take much work, either. All it needs is a little software update, and maybe we can finally get some good use out of this thing.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/06/amazon-echo-needs-to-do-more/

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This gadget can make you feel hot or cold in virtual reality

Image: Shutterstock / sakkmesterke

There’s now another element to add to your VR experience.

This startup has created a device that is meant to “drastically heighten” your VR game by letting you experience elements like heat, cold and even pain.

The ThermoReal, created by TEGway a spin-off of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is a thermo-electric device that can go from 4 to 40C (39.2 to 104F), according to a report by Engadget.

Image: thermoreal/tegway

The device can even produce heat and cold on different areas at the same time, which, apparently, replicates what a pinch feels like.

Here’s how the device would work in real life:

So if you’re wandering through a flame in a VR game, you’ll feel heat build up in your hand.

Or if you jump into a freezing cold lake, that sensation of coldness will start to spread across your palms accordingly.

Image: thermoreal/tegway

But how exactly does this work? The company uses flexible thermoelectric devices, that are able to convert body temperature into electrical energy. Electric currents can also be run through the device, which can either cool it down or heat it up.

Image: tegway

Image: tegway

Tegway also adds that it has filed numerous patent applications in these areas.

It might be a while before this is actually adopted by VR manufacturers, but we’re looking to experience heat, cold though maybe not pain in our future games.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/03/virtual-reality-heat/

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