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Galaxy J7 Max J7 Pro come with Social Camera Samsung Pay

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first_imgAs you may have guessed, the Social Camera is all about sharing. In fact, it’s about instant sharing. The camera app on both phones allow you to pin people and social networking apps so that you can share your recently taken photos immediately with them. While convenient, it might also be a huge opportunity for social media blunders.The Social Camera goes hand in hand with the fact that both smartphones boast of 13 megapixel cameras front and back. The front camera does have a smaller f/1.9 aperture, though it’s not that far off from the back camera’s f/1.7. Both also have a flash on both sides, reinforcing the image of these smartphones as social media instruments.Of the two, the Galaxy J7 Pro has the somewhat higher specs, though both have a Full HD screen only. The 5.7-inch Galaxy J7 Pro is powered by a MediaTek processor paired with 4 GB of RAM but only 32 GB of storage. The Galaxy J7 Max, on the other hand, has an Exynos quad-core CPU, gets 3 B of RAM, and, somewhat ironically, 64 GB of storage.The Galaxy J7 Max will hit stores in India first starting 20th June, for a price of 17,900 INR, roughly $280. The J7 Max, sadly, only supports Samsung Pay Mini. The Galaxy J7 Pro, on the other hand, supports the full Samsung Pay experience but launches in min July for a higher 20,900 INR, or about $325.SOURCE: Samsung While most eagerly await the new, and sometimes crazy, features in Samsung’s flagship smartphones, users in India are treated to just as much innovation in the company’s mid-range J series. For instance, Samsung’s S Bike safety feature and its S Power Planning mode made their debut in last year’s Galaxy J3. This year, Samsung is taking a more social spin with the “Social Camera” feature with the Galaxy J7 Max and Galaxy J7 Pro. With these two new smartphones, Samsung is also bringing its Samsung Pay service to the mid-range.last_img read more

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Huawei P20 Pro Review The best sort of excess

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first_imgThings get more impressive in Night mode, meanwhile. The P20 Pro always uses its AI Image Stabilization system, but it really comes into its own for long exposures. Night mode takes a four second shot, something most smartphones would demand a tripod for if you want to get anything usable at the end. Somehow, Huawei coaxes a bright, balanced frame from multiple exposures at different settings, without introducing blur.How successful the results are come down to personal taste. Some images proved to be incredible in just how much detail the P20 Pro retained without succumbing to shake or smudging. At other times, however, Night mode can result in oddly exposed images, with a somewhat artificial, overly-HDR appearance. Sometimes, I preferred the shorter exposures from the regular night-shot mode selected by the AI camera. oznor Personally, I find the notch fades from my attention after a short period, and so I just enjoyed the P20 Pro’s vivid colors and broad viewing angles. A little more brightness for outdoor use wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s no deal-breaker. Underneath it is the home button which doubles as a very speedy fingerprint sensor. Hardware and DesignIn design terms, the P20 Pro is fairly unobtrusive. The front is dominated by the display; the back is flat aside from the slight protrusion of the cameras. It feels sturdy, but it takes the more unusual finishes Huawei is offering to make it actually stand out. Most dramatic of those is Twilight and, just like the name suggests spangly vampires, so the P20 Pro goes kitsch with its blue-to-purple metallic gradient. The Midnight Blue version is a little more subtle, though still handsome, and there are Pink Gold and Black models too. Figure on plenty of fingerprints and picking up a few hairline scratches if you want to keep those colors case-free. Rather than following the Snapdragon 845 crowd, Huawei has stuck with its own silicon. That means the Kirin 970 we saw last in the Mate 10 Pro, paired again with 6 GB of RAM. The phone-maker remains excited about its Neural Processing Unit (NPU), though it still doesn’t make much of a visible appearance beyond the AI camera feature. Otherwise there are a handful of compromises. There’s IP67 water and dust resistance, when rival phones are offering IP68. You get USB-C for charging and sync, but no headphone jack. 128 GB of storage is healthy, but there’s no microSD slot to add to it. SoftwareThe P20 Pro runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, atop which Huawei insists on installing its EMUI interface. Now up to version 8.1, the skin is certainly less intrusive and overwrought than earlier versions, but I still can’t help but wish Huawei had just avoided it altogether. Some of that is down to a feeling of change for the sheer sake of change. Android’s stock iconography and menu graphics are perfectly fine: they don’t need Huawei’s attempts to make them vaguely iOS-esque. Yet many of the earlier missteps that gave EMUI such a poor reputation have been quietly retired as it has matured, and it’s no longer as aggressive – and annoying – at managing apps in the background. Indeed, the P20 Pro runs at a decent lick. I suspect, side-by-side with a Snapdragon 845 phone, that would have the edge in particularly system-intensive games, but for the most part I had no issues with lag. The same can be said for Face Unlock, though that wasn’t enough to make me use it regularly. Unlike Face ID on the iPhone X, Huawei’s system is a more simplistic facial recognition system based on a 2D image. Quick, yes, but not as secure – you can’t, for instance, use it for mobile payments. Given the fingerprint sensor was equally fast and consistent, I just relied on that instead. CameraIt’s fair to say that it’s the P20 Pro’s camera system that has garnered the most attention, and with good reason. In the arms race that is smartphone photography, Huawei manages to still stand out from the crowd with its Leica-powered system. In fact, the P20 Pro has a full three cameras on its back. Like the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, there’s a color/monochrome combo. For the P20 Pro, however, Huawei cranks the color sensor up to 40-megapixels with an f/1.8 lens, and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor with an f/1.6 lens. The idea is that the former supplies the color data, while the latter delivers the contrast. The third sensor packs 8-megapixels and has an f/2.4, 3x telephoto lens. Thanks to some computational photography trickery, Huawei can claim up to a 5x hybrid zoom, mixing optical and digital magnification in a way that’s almost lossless. The P20 Pro also throws in laser autofocus along with phase detection, depth, and contrast AF, plus a color temperature sensor for better understanding the scene. What’s unusual is the extent to which Huawei relies on digital processing. With so many megapixels in its main sensors, you’d expect the P20 Pro to be packed full of optical image stabilization (OIS). In actual fact, only the telephoto lens uses that; the other two rely on digital processing to cut out blur. The results are, all round, astonishingly good. Huawei’s AI scene detection automatically identifies your subject, classifying it almost instantaneously into a category like food, greenery, blue sky, sunset, or beach, and then adjusting the camera settings to suit. You can override it if you prefer, or switch to the full Pro mode for complete manual control. Hold the phone at an angle, meanwhile, or zoom in too close to a group shot, and the camera app will suggest adjustments for better framing. By default, the P20 Pro shoots in 10-megapixel mode, combining the data from four neighboring pixels on the sensor for each pixel in the final frame. You can switch to the full 40-megapixel resolution if you prefer, though the file sizes do go up considerably: you’re looking at around 9-10 MB per JPEG. Even more of a drawback is the fact that the phone won’t allow you to zoom while shooting at 40MP. dav Indeed, if the P20 Pro has an Achille’s heel, it’s that it can lean too heavily on its processing. Shots with expanses of grass, or bright blue skies, can be particularly problematic, the AI cranking up the saturation in a way that crosses over into the artificial. Unfortunately there’s no way to have the phone save both a regular, unprocessed image and an AI-adjusted one; as a result, some shots I thought would turn out well proved to be unpleasantly over-processed when I transferred them off the phone. Nonetheless it’s worth noting just what Huawei has achieved here. There’s plenty said about what Google and others are doing with computational photography, but little has wowed me – and the other early-adopters playing with the P20 Pro I’ve spoken to – quite like this phone’s approach to imagery. Elsewhere, there’s a 24-megapixel front facing camera for selfies, while the main camera will shoot 4K video. There’s a 960 fps Super Slow Motion mode, though it tops out at 720p resolution like the Galaxy S9. If you want 1080p, you’re limited to 240 fps. BatterySomehow, Huawei found room to put a full 4,000 mAh battery into the P20 Pro. That’s big for a smartphone, and so unsurprisingly it lasts a long time. Going two full days between charges wasn’t unusual. When you do need to top up, it’ll have to be with a cable. Huawei opted to leave out wireless charging, despite giving the phone a glass back, annoyingly. There is, though, 4.5V/5A SuperCharge support, so that with a compatible charger you can get up and running more rapidly. VerdictI suspect part of the P20 Pro’s allure is the fact that, in the US at least, Huawei is keeping it out of reach. Here on American shores, the company is focusing on the Mate 10 Pro, and has no current plans to offer this triple-camera marvel. That means you either stare enviously from the sidelines, or cough up the roughly $1k being asked for an unofficial import. As much as I admire the Huawei’s camera talents, that’s not something I can really recommend. Make no mistake, shooting with the P20 Pro has been one of the more engaging experiences I’ve had with a recent smartphone. It’s just not enough to overcome the lack of official US support, at times frustrating EMUI interface, and the absence of features like wireless charging which are fast becoming table-stakes. Here’s the thing, though. The P20 Pro demonstrates that Huawei is more than just a copycat in the smartphone space, but in fact capable of legitimate innovation. While it may not be the phone to bring that imagination to the US market, it does leave me eager to see what comes next on what’s suddenly shaping up to be a mighty interesting roadmap. DisplayLook, the P20 Pro has a notch, let’s just get that out of the way upfront. Like the iPhone X, the new LG G7 ThinQ, and several other smartphones, the allure of skinny bezels has forced Huawei to put all those other things you expect on the front of a device – like the camera, earpiece, and cornucopia of sensors – into a chunk cut out of the screen. What it also offers is a way to hide that, if you’re especially offended. The 6.1-inch OLED panel runs at 2240 x 1080 resolution and wraps around the notch by default. Dip into the settings, though, and you can turn on a second setting which hides the notch, making the sides black so that it blends in more. It’s a nice compromise if you’re really bothered by it, though I did find that some full-screen apps would then ignore the fact that the notch isn’t part of the display and thus on-screen buttons would be partially hidden. bsh dav Huawei P20 Pro and P20 Gallerycenter_img bsh rhdr rbsh oznor rhdr rbsh What with all the attention the Huawei P20 Pro has captured lately, you’d think the company would be having a good year. Then again, high-profile criticism by the US government hasn’t exactly done wonders for the Chinese phone-maker’s sales, nor its scuppered carrier deals. If there’s one thing the P20 Pro demonstrates, however, it’s that while Huawei may lack trust from some quarters, it certainly isn’t short on imagination.last_img read more

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iPhone users are getting this temperature warning

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first_imgYour smartphone and/or tablet is one of the most personal pieces of hardware you own. As such, you’ll want to take care of it as well as possible. To do this, you’ll want to avoid heat. Don’t stay out in the sun too long at the beach with your phone, don’t leave your device in your car – you know what? Just be as safe as possible and stay indoors this summer. That’d be best for everyone.Hot TamaleThe overheating warning is especially important as several regions around the world see hotter-than-hot temperatures this week (and later this summer, too). If you live in the midwest USA, you’re lucky – we’ll be getting rain this week. But don’t let that knock you off your guard. This summer, don’t wait for this warning to appear – take precautions in advance!According to Apple, there are several situations in which your device might get warm and it’s near-OK. If your device remains warm for an extended period of time after these events take place, you’ll want to bring them in to Apple to get a checkup. • When you set up your device the first time• When you restore from a backup• When apps reindex or reanalyze data, like Photos tagging for faces, places, or keywords after a software update• When you use graphics-intensive or augmented-reality apps or featuresSetting your device up for the first time shouldn’t mean your phone is too hot to hold. That’s too hot for any situation, and you should take action as fast as possible. This is all true for any smartphone, not just the iPhone. When you’re using the iPhone, you might see the warning shown in the picture above. If you’re using a different sort of device, you might get no warning at all. Be cautious!NOTE: This warning is specific to Apple devices, but a number of Android devices have very similar warnings, too. Samsung devices sometimes suggest that the phone is “taking steps” to cooling itself down. Other devices suggest that you close a specific app. Your phone is smart – do what it says in these situations – but still, there may be other steps you need to take.Drop it like it’s hot?Do not throw your device like a grenade – things will be OK. Just so long as you’re not singeing your flesh with the hot, hot aluminum of the iPhone, you’ll probably be ok. The contents of your phone, on the other hand, might need some attention. No matter what version of the iPhone you own, there’s a warning that can pop up this summer – for one reason only. This is the heat warning, and you might never have seen it before today. It’s important, and not just because it doesn’t include any disclaimers. Users that see this warning need to take action. Above you’ll see a lovely 9-minute video from PBS about the basic properties of heat. If your phone is overheating, you’ll want to make it cooler. The first thing you should do is turn your phone OFF. Keeping the phone on while you’re trying to cool it off is like putting a plugged-in electric blanket in a refrigerator. One can, indeed, use a refrigerator for their iPhone in an overheating situation. Don’t place your iPhone on top of anything that might get it wet – like a watermelon slice, or a big ol’ slab of thawing meat. Put the iPhone somewhere in the fridge where it’ll remain dry while it cools down. If your phone does not turn on again after you’ve cooled it down, plug it in and make sure it’s charged up. If it still does not turn on, seek out an Apple Store or contact a local Apple-certified fix-it store to see if they can help. • NOTE: DEAR UNCLE VINNY – If your phone does not turn back on, it most certainly will NOT have been from cooling it down in the fridge. That’s nonsense. It’ll be because overheating is very, very bad, and probably already did damage before you started the cool-down process. Another way to cool down your device is to take it apart. Don’t do this if you have an iPhone or an iPad – this is strictly for the Androids. Quite a few devices still have removable batteries – take em out. The more space between components, the better. Put em all in the fridge, too, if you’re near one. Or the cooler. Make sure they’re kept dry while you’re making them all cool.This is not a situation in which you want to place your device in rice. That’s something entirely different. It’s also not recommended, as you might get rice in all your phone cracks. Nothing worse out there than rice in your cracks.Do not dunk your phone in a cool drink, unless your phone is waterproof. Even still, it’s better to avoid liquid if your smartphone is already malfunctioning due to a completely separate element. It’s best to go for DRY cool environments and solutions. DISCLAIMER: SlashGear is not responsible for any actions or results of actions taken by the reader before, during, or after reading this article. All readers must understand that technology is fickle, and when heat is involved, anything at all can and must go wrong!What to avoidThis is the “common sense” section of this article. Apple’s given a set of warnings in their official iOS device heat-guidance, all of which include the sun. Hot conditions are not good for any delicate electronics, especially smartphones and tablets. • Do not leave your iPhone or iPad in the sun• Do not leave your iPhone or iPad in a hot car• Do not use your phone in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Apple specifically notes the following activities as potentially warm-dangerous when using the iPhone in the sun for long periods of time: “GPS tracking or navigation in a car, playing a graphics-intensive game, or using augmented-reality apps.”• Do not keep your phone near hot vents, washing machines, or your fireplace.• Do not use your phone as a hand-warmer in the winter. If your phone works as a hand-warmer, there is something wrong. No smartphone should get that hot.• Do not attempt to overheat your device on purpose. This is NOT a safe sort of situation, and it’s no joke. Far more than a total loss of internal memory could happen if the device gets too hot – and your friends and family won’t recognize your charred and smoldering face when the heat hits! That’s a worst-case scenario, but still!If your phone or tablet gets hot on a regular basis, something might well be wrong. That’s not necessarily supposed to happen. If this happens to you, search Google for your specific sort of phone title, plus “overheating”. There might be an issue that other people have had, or it could be a problem specific to you. Either way, you might want to look into some technical fix-it action from a professional.In short: Don’t let your iPhone or iPad get too hot. There’s hardware in there that won’t be happy about it. Best-case scenario for an overheat is a 10-minute wait for your device to cool down in the fridge. Worst-case scenario: The battery expands and leaks, starting a fire which destroys the phone or tablet, then your vehicle, then your home, then the entire world. Be careful of the sun!center_img Story TimelineiPhone 3GS to be sold once again in South KoreaIf iPhone X Plus has no cord, which Android will follow?iPhone brute force passcode hack discovered, Apple says “nope”last_img read more

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Samsung Android Go phone leaks and settles some arguments

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first_imgSamsung’s first Android Go smartphone has been spotted in the wild, confirming that just because a handset runs Google’s pared-back OS, that doesn’t mean device-makers can’t customize it. Android Go – otherwise known as Android Oreo Go Edition – is Google’s vision of a platform for more affordable phones, running more frugal versions of apps. Story TimelineAndroid Go released in USA today on an $80 phoneAndroid One and Android Go: even the US needs these phonesSamsung Android Go: significant change but too little, too late So, there are “Go” versions of apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Files, and the Assistant. Each are designed to use less memory and be less system-intensive, though you do lose out on some functionality and graphical complexity along the way. However, the upside is that they should work smoothly even on humbler-spec devices. Samsung has been rumored to be working on an Android Go handset of its own for some time now, and now the first images of the device in the wild have leaked. SamMobile shared photos of the phone – which may launch as the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core – and it confirms a few expectations. For a start, it finally puts to bed any suggestion that Samsung would leave off its own custom interface. Google hasn’t explicitly said either way whether Android Go phones can be customized. However, the company’s webpage for the more simplistic OS certainly doesn’t deny it. In Samsung’s case, the iconography and other stylistic details are the same as we’re used to from the company’s other Android devices. AdChoices广告While that might come as a disappointment for anybody who was hoping for a pure Android experience, it probably won’t impact how this particular phone performs. Beyond the apparent 8GB of onboard storage there’s no detailed specifications. Previous leaks suggested Samsung would use a 1.4 GHz quad core Exynos 7570 processor and 1 GB of RAM. Google has pitched Android Go as ideal for developing markets, where smartphones are less commonplace because they’re typically disproportionately expensive. It’s not clear at this stage how much Samsung might charge for its phone, though Alcatel announced an Android Go device of its own, the Alcatel 1, back in June. That has an $89 price tag and what look, on the face of it, to be similar specs to what we’re expecting from the Samsung.last_img read more

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Snapchat fix Streaks saved thank goodness

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first_imgStory TimelineSnapchat Send and Request Location is thankfully less invasiveSnapchat now lets you delete sent (and unopened) messagesSnapchat Spectacles now export clips in a much more useful waySnapchat Gaming could be Instagram’s next nightmare A fix is in the mix for Snapchat, an app whose servers had issues over the past 24 hours. Those users with Snapchat on either Android or iOS (assuming you’re not using the app with some 3rd-party off-the-wall system), can try the following to save their Snap Streaks. The first step requires that you hold your breath, because you’re about to turn off the internet! This method of keeping one’s Snap Streaks should work for multiple kinds of down-time situations in Snapchat, not just the one we’re in the middle of right this minute. If you’re in Snapchat and you send a Snap while we’re in the downed server situation we’re in now, you won’t retain your Snap Streak. If, however, you switch off the web, you’ll be able to push a temporary fix.1. Open Snapchat2. Turn off web connectivity in Settings (with Snapchat open)3. Send Snaps*4. Turn internet back on (with Snapchat open)5. Resend Snaps*Note here that you won’t actually be sending Snaps in their entirety. Each Snap sent in this way (with the internet turned off) will save locally. Once the internet is re-activated, all saved Snaps will be sent, one by one, in a way that does not crash the app. Why? I have absolutely no idea at all – clearly it’s magic.AdChoices广告A more permanent fix to the issues that rose in the past day seem to have to do with force-closing. In Android, find the icon for Snapchat and hold down instead of tapping. Access app info and Force Close the app. In iOS, close the app in your app-switching window with a swipe upward and out.“We’re aware many Snapchatters are experiencing crashing on the app. We’re looking into it and working on a fix!” Snapchat Support continued, “Update: We were able to patch things up and resolve the issue causing the app to crash. If you’re still having trouble, try force-closing the app. Thank you for your patience.”last_img read more

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NVIDIAs RTX 20 Series is promising but unproven

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first_imgRay tracing, for those who are unacquainted with the phrase, is a technology that’s all about light. More specifically, ray tracing helps lighting look more realistic by determining how that light interacts with objects in a computer-generated space, whether it creates a reflection, refraction, or a physically-accurate shadow.Real-time ray tracing is something that requires a ton of computational power and thus has been out of reach of consumer-level hardware up until now. These new RTX 20 series cards, however, will enable real-time ray tracing in video games for the first time, and some of the demos NVIDIA shared yesterday are very impressive. If these cards were priced in line with the GTX 10 series, then they’d be easy buys. They aren’t, though, with the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition coming in at a staggering $1200. Things don’t get much better as we work our way down the line, with the standard RTX 2080 Founders Edition priced at $800 – $100 more than the 1080 Ti, which is still an incredibly capable graphics card. Even the RTX 2070, which for now is at the low-end of the 20 series, bottoms out at $500 for a non-Founders Edition card. That’s a lot of money when you consider the mid and low-end cards in the 10 series.Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that things like real-time ray tracing and DLSS aren’t worth paying more for. The problem is that we’ve only seen demos that have been curated by NVIDIA, and we should wait until we’ve seen actual in-game performance before we judge the merits of these cards and whether or not their high prices are worth it.I understand that some people need to be on the cutting edge of technology and will buy first-generation hardware regardless of price. The rest of us, however, should probably wait until we’re into 2019 to see what NVIDIA does with second-gen RTX cards or what AMD’s answer to these GPUs will be. Prices will almost certainly come down in the second generation, if not due to manufacturing efficiency then because of increased competition for NVIDIA.The advances Huang talked about on stage yesterday are truly exciting, and this first wave of RTX cards could very well lead to great things for consumer GPUs. For now, though, there are still too many questions to commit to buying one of these cards after one (admittedly well done) press conference. The fact that we have graphics cards that are capable of real-time ray tracing in video games is something that all gamers should be excited about, whether the PC you play on is modest or enthusiast-level. It isn’t hyperbole to say that the RTX 20 series marks a new chapter for consumer GPUs. With that said, though, it’s probably not a good idea to spend your hard-earned cash on one of these cards at such an early stage.After NVIDIA’s presentation yesterday, the company shared lists of games that are confirmed to support real-time ray tracing and DLSS at launch. Have a look at the list of titles that will support real-time ray tracing below:Assetto Corsa CompetizioneAtomic HeartBattlefield VControlEnlistedJusticeJX3MechWarrior 5: MercenariesMetro ExodusProjectDHShadow of the Tomb RaiderAnd here’s the list of games that will support deep learning super sampling, which NVIDIA describes as a technology “that applies deep learning and AI to rendering techniques, resulting in crisp, smooth edges on rendered objects in games”:Ark: Survival EvolvedAtomic HeartDauntlessFinal Fantasy XVFractured LandsHitman 2Islands of NyneJusticeJX3Mechwarrior 5: MercenariesPlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsRemnant: From the AshesSerious Sam 4: Planet BadassShadow of the Tomb RaiderThe Forge ArenaWe Happy FewNotice anything about those two lists? They’re both very short, and while I’m sure more studios will confirm support for these technologies as time goes on and these RTX cards have been available for a while, there definitely isn’t a whole lot of support right now.The RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are only a month out from release, too, so we probably shouldn’t expect these lists to grow significantly by the time these cards are in the hands of consumers. As with all new technologies, it’s going to take developers time to implement them, and there may not be a huge incentive to do that when there are only three cards on the market that support real-time ray tracing and DLSS. Yesterday, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang took the stage at Gamescom to talk about something he was clearly very hyped about. He introduced us all to the NVIDIA RTX 20 series, a range of new graphics cards that are capable of some very exciting things but have impressively hefty price tags to match. Much of Huang’s presentation revolved around two compelling technologies: Ray tracing and, more briefly, deep learning super sampling. Story TimelineNVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series: All the specs, price, release datesAcer Predator Orion gaming desktop series gets NVIDIA RTX upgradeHP Omen Obelisk gaming desktop with NVIDIA RTX is made for DIYerslast_img read more

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Im no notchhater but jeez this Pixel 3 XL

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Gallery Story TimelineGoogle Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL officialPixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 hands-on: The new Android flagshipsThe big Google Pixel day: All the prices and release dates I’m not a notch hater. Honestly, I’m a little surprised that that’s a sentence you can say in 2018 and have it relate to an actual controversy in the tech world, but nobody said this year would make any sense. Anyway, I don’t have an instant revulsion to phone display notches, but I have to say, I’m not feeling the Pixel 3 XL’s screen right now. After the Pixel 2 XL display debacle last year, where Google faced (legitimate, I felt) criticism for the quality of its OLED panel and the odd blue tint it suffered from, I was exceedingly pleased to see the Pixel 3 XL’s screen didn’t suffer the same complaints. Richly colored, it’s much more akin to an iPhone XS panel, though falls short of the over-saturation that many associate with Samsung’s Super AMOLED. That was the nice surprise. Something I wasn’t expecting to be so bothered by, however, was the notch. That’s the cut-out in the top center portion of the Pixel 3 XL’s display, and it’s undoubtedly been the most controversial element of the smartphone’s design since the first leaks began months ago. The way I’ve always seen it, the screen notch is a necessary evil. We demand a lot from smartphone design, and physics sometimes gets in the way. If you want a) a big screen, that b) takes up as much of the front of your device as possible, but c) aren’t willing to give up the selfie camera and various sensors that modern phones come with, then you’re more than likely going to get a notch. Some people – and companies – aren’t willing to make that compromise to hit all three of those factors, and so you end up with a rectangular display with at least a thicker bezel at the top. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 are excellent examples of that this year. No notch, but neither are their top and bottom bezels quite as slim as those on other handsets. The iPhone XS, meanwhile, has thoroughly embraced the notch. Apple puts its clever TrueDepth camera array there, of course, and as of its 2018 line-up there’s no new iPhone without a notch to choose. Want the latest hardware? Get used to the cut-out. Notably, Apple doesn’t follow the path of other smartphone makers with dimpled displays. LG, for instance, has had notches on some of its phones since last year. The LG V40 ThinQ is the latest, and you can dip into the menu settings if you find the cut-out truly infuriating and switch on an option to mask it. Effectively apps treat the remaining screen as a regular rectangle, though in the process you probably end up with less usable space than if LG had just used a no-notch design in the first place. Apple doesn’t have such a setting. It’s the notch way or the highway. Google said yesterday it would offer Pixel 3 XL owners the choice, though there’s no obvious setting to do that on the review devices it has handed out so far. Instead you have to dig into the developer settings to flip it, something I suspect few people will ever do. They shouldn’t, either, because it’s a mediocre workaround. Even with it enabled, for instance, you still don’t get a full status bar’s worth of notification icons. They still cut off when they get to the section where a notch would start. A combination of understanding that’s the necessary evil behind the choice we make, and the knowledge that I can probably get used to most things unless they’re causing me legitimate pain, has helped me past any real notch annoyance. I don’t really see it day to day, as I use the iPhone XS Max. While I’ve been spending time with the LG V40 ThinQ, my eyes have just generally learned to ignore it. The Pixel 3 XL’s notch, though, feels a little different. For a start it’s more intrusive: deeper, perhaps twice as much so, as the cut-out in the V40’s screen. The fact that’s not as broad as the iPhone XS Max’s notch only emphasizes the depth, at least to my eyes. It looks, frankly, out of place. Google’s argument is the same as that of Apple, LG, and the other notch-adoptees. It has put two front-facing cameras there, along with the earpiece and other sensors, so that it can offer both regular and wide-angle photos. If they didn’t intrude into the screen, then the upper bezel would be broader all the way across, as it is on the Pixel 3. Why, though, does the Pixel 3 XL notch have to be quite so big? The V40 ThinQ has two front-facing cameras as well, for similar regular and wide-angle selfies, but it doesn’t suffer from notch-swell in the same way. Apple may only present one front-facing camera to users, but the TrueDepth array has a variety of sensors and projectors it uses, which all take up space. Even then, its notch is less overt than Google’s. The Pixel 3 XL doesn’t even have a fancy Face ID-style 3D feature mapping system for security. “The notch enables us to provide the best cameras (two, one of which is wide angle) and audio experience,” Google argued with one display critic on Twitter this week. “Pixel 3 also has a smaller border & front-firing speakers to provide optimum sound quality. Our notch-to-display ratio is actually less than many top competitors.”That latter factoid may be correct, but if there’s one thing this whole notch saga has demonstrated it’s that the reaction is primarily an emotional one, not a rational one. Whether you not only see the notch but get enraged by its presence isn’t just a factor of what proportion of notch-to-display you’ve hit. Instead, it’s a matter of how the cut-out fits into the overall styling of the device. There, I’m not sure Google has quite got the balance right. I’ll admit, though, I’m in my second full day of using the Pixel 3 XL: it’s entirely possible that, after a little more time, my eyes will give up their objections. Something legitimately useful, like Face ID has been on the notched iPhones, might’ve helped smooth that process.Instead, Google has been its own worst enemy, and provided us with the perfect example of how the Pixel 3 XL could’ve been better. That is, of course, the Pixel 3, a handset which looks far more balanced when it comes to the width of its top and bottom bezels. The 5-inch Pixel 2 left me feeling it was just a little bit too small to be my everyday device last year. This 5.5-inch Pixel 3, however, is nestling right into a sweet spot. Consistency speaks volumes. Samsung sticks with its no-notch design on its flagships: its attitude to display shape is clear (even if it then feels obliged to shove some snark in Google’s direction, just to double-down on that). Apple, meanwhile, switches over wholesale to notches: you can’t miss its attitude there. Is Google embracing the notch, or just suffering it, or unclear either way? I’m not sure and, looking at the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, I don’t think anybody could be. For 2019’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL – if, indeed, they do end up being called that, and if there are still two sizes of phone – will there be a notch, or no notch, or will it be half and half again? It’s a question the importance of which is elevated by the fact that Google doesn’t just make phones, it makes phones that drop hints – heavy or otherwise – to other Android device-makers how it envisages the future of the OS progressing. Native support for non-rectangular displays in Android was the first sign that Google was acknowledging this new world of screen shapes, but if you’re trying to divine exactly what it thinks the “right” screen is for the platform, neither of these new Pixels are much help there. Maybe I’m reading too much into all this. Perhaps Android OEMs aren’t following quite so closely in Google’s footsteps these days, and are happier treading their own design path. Part of Android’s value has always been the choice inherent to the ecosystem: if you don’t like how Google’s phone looks, you could buy an LG, or a Samsung, or a Huawei, or something else. The Pixel 3 XL, therefore, might just be an awkward looking phone in a sea of device options. No grand error in Android’s legacy, but just a tougher decision for those who expected to buy the biggest Pixel around this year, but who now find themselves questioning its aesthetic. Perhaps time will temper just how odd it looks. All I know now is that the Pixel 3 XL seemed at first like a no-brainer, but even to my notch-agnostic eyes this Android flagship is making me have second thoughts. read more

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YouTube tags Brie Larson search results as news pushes trolls down

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first_imgJust like its parent company, YouTube has taken no small amount of flack for how it surfaced videos that some consider to be fake news, inappropriate, or even downright trolling. Often, YouTube has hidden behind its automated but not always perfect algorithms almost as an excuse. It turns out, however, it might have a rather simple solution to at least some of those cases. It has silently labeled “Brie Larson” as news and, lo and behold, trolling videos have been buried by actual authoritative news on the actress. More than just a defense of Ms. Larson, @loudmouthjulia notes how YouTube has had the solution to its woes all along. It wasn’t just a matter of fixing the algorithms but of properly qualifying search results. Of course, that could require more manual involvement than YouTube would like to do, but given the controversies it is involved now, it might want to consider such actions now. Although the Wonder Woman film did get its fair share of trolls mostly attributed sexism and misogyny, Marvel’s Captain Marvel has received even more undue comments in no small part to Brie Larson’s outspoken attitude towards social concerns. There has been no shortage of calls for boycotting the film simply because of the actress as well as negative reviews even before the film premiered publicly.Naturally, YouTube was filled with such video commentaries and thanks to YouTube algorithms, those got ranked higher in search results. Twitter user julia alexander, however, noticed that YouTube has silently tagged results for “Brie Larson” as news which effectively ranked videos coming from authoritative sources higher. In effect, it also pushed trolls down the list. AdChoices广告 This is kind of a fascinating discovery: YouTube seems to have changed the immediate “Brie Larson” search results to News. That pushes up authoritative sources and, in turn, pushes troll or MRA-style video rants pretty far down the page. Here’s what it was versus now. pic.twitter.com/ifw9JjXQie— julia 🤔 alexander (@loudmouthjulia) March 7, 2019last_img read more

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Notre Dame Cathedral fire This 3D scan dot may save all

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first_imgToday we’re having a peek at a full 3D-scan of the Notre Dame Cathedral interior as captured by Professor Andrew Tallon. If what we were doing back when we were looking at 3D ball cameras in 2016 seemed like nonsense – but who’s laughing now, Janice? There’s also a certain video game by the name of Assassin’s Creed Unity that stands to take part in the cathedral’s restoration – it’s big! Above you’ll see another view of the cathedral from Tallon. Head over to Mapping Gothic dot org to see more imagery and more spherical views of the cathedral from Tallon. You might also want to take a peek at the game Assassin’s Creed Unity. Set during the French Revolution, this game allows the user to explore the interior and exterior of Notre Dame Cathedral in shocking detail. It won’t be as useful to the repairers of the building as Tallon’s scans, but for you and I, it’s a perfect way to see what it was like inside before the fire. What we’ve been doing reviewing spherical cameras (capturing enough photos from all angles to create a spherical-coverage final image) isn’t the same as a 3D scan. What Professor Tallon did was capture the entirety of Notre Dame Cathedral with a sophisticated laser-firing machine with camera action – one that created 3D files that could be viewed in many next-level ways.Technically, with what Tallon collected, he could 3D-print the entirety of the cathedral, piece by piece. It’s almost a given that Tallon’s work will be vital to reconstructing the parts of the cathedral that burned down earlier this week. The dot you see in the first image in this article appears when you look down in any spherical image produced by Tallon – it blots out the 3D scanner that’s scanned the whole building. This dot (this camera) may well be the savior of this historical site.AdChoices广告UPDATE: The device he used was a Leica ScanStation C10. Tallon also worked with the assistance of Columbia’s Paul Blaer. If you’d like to see Houston’s Johnson Space Center (NASA) in this sort of 3D-vision, head over to our original mega-feature: You’re going to Mars, I went to NASA. Drop in on one perspective from inside Notre Dame to see how extensive Tallon’s scans went. center_img Above you’ll see an exploration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Assassin’s Creed Unity by gamer DKCGamerGirl. This was recorded back in November of 2014. Story Timelineeora 3D scanner uses your smartphone and a green laserResearchers use Kinect to increase 3D scanning accuracy by 1000xRiddell Precision-Fit tech uses 3D scanning for custom football helmetslast_img read more

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Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato detailed in new photos

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first_imgAston Martin has new details on the DBS GT Zagato sports car that it says reveals a further glimpse of the final production intent of the exterior of the car. The DBS GT Zagato will be paired up with the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation to complete the DBZ Centenary Collection. Aston plans to make only 19 pairs of these rides with pricing at £6m for the pair. Aston says that the new renderings give a fresh look at the key design features of both new models. The DBS GT Zagato started as a DBS Superleggera, and Aston says that the DBS GT Zagato “embodies the next evolution” of the Zagato design. The car gets a new and unique “dynamic” grille at the front that transforms its appearance.Aston also fitted the car with 108-individual diamond-shaped carbon fiber pieces that are flush with the exterior of the car. When the car started those little carbon fiber bits “flutter into life” as they open to let the twin-turbo V12 breathe. Aston CEO Marek Reichman says that the design of the car is to give onlookers an aural and visual treat when the car starts.The car has a full-length carbon fiber roof and to allow the driver to see out of the back of the car; it uses a camera-operated rear view central mirror. That full-length carbon fiber roof extends to where the rear window would typically be.AdChoices广告 The car is a wild design that looks very cool with its red paint and gold trim on the exterior. Aston says that the DBS GT Zagato is set for production in 2020 joining each of the 19 DB4 GT Zagato cars to be built this year. Perhaps Aston will offer a video of the moving grill area it is taking up so we can get a look at the feature.last_img read more

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2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback are two of the best looking Mazdas

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first_imgThe hatchback version of the Mazda3 is meant to be sporty and more emotional with aggressive body sides and C-pillars. The top of the hatchback is meant to suggest speed and helps to express a powerful presence. Hatchback buyers have an exclusive Polymetal Gray color available Mazda says “fuses the hard appearance of metal with the glossy, smoothness of plastic to create an entirely new expression of style.”Inside both versions of the Mazda3 get an all-new 8.8-inch MAZDA Connect Infotainment screen. An 8-speaker sound system is standard along with a 7-inch gauge cluster, LED headlights and taillights, Bluetooth phone and audio support, HD radio, remote keyless entry, push-button ignition, electric parking brake, knee airbags, rearview camera, and dual USB ports.New interior options include Greige leatherette with the cool tones of gray with soft-feel of beige. The hatchback has an exclusive red leather color. The sedan comes standard with 16-inch wheels, cloth, and power windows. The hatchback comes standard with a rear roof spoiler, 18-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.AdChoices广告Option packages for the sedan include Select, Preferred, and Premium. The Hatchback gets Preferred and Premium package. The cars are also offered with i-ACTIV all-wheel drive, and the only engine is a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L option making 186hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The base transmission is a 6-speed manual with an available 6-speed automatic. Pricing for the hatchback starts at $23,600 with sedan pricing starting at $21,000. Loaded premium package AWD with an automatic starts at $28,900 for the hatch and $27,900 for the sedan. Mazda has pulled the covers off the new 2019 Mazda3, and we already know that the cars will have new tech to woo buyers. Mazda says that its KODO design is applied to the sedan hood, cabin, and trunk and is meant to evoke elegance and sleekness. The horizontal flow of the car accentuates the wide, and low stance with a calmness says Mazda.last_img read more

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After Newtown Shootings Advocates Hoping For Major Infusion In Mental Health Spending

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first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. After Newtown Shootings, Advocates Hoping For Major Infusion In Mental Health Spending Supporters of broader access to mental health care see the current debate as an opportunity to reverse long-time budget cuts across the country. Meanwhile in Texas, some mental health activists are seeking changes in detention policies.The Washington Post: After Newtown, Support For Mental-Health Spending GrowsMental-health advocates from coast to coast are seizing upon a rare and unexpected chance to stem the years-long tide of budget cuts and plug gaps in the nation’s patchwork mental-health care system. In the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., lawmakers from both parties, along with notoriously tight-belted governors, are pushing to restore some of the estimated $4.3 billion in mental-health spending that was slashed from state budgets between 2009 and 2012. At the same time, they are weighing new initiatives, such as adding beds at psychiatric hospitals and improving treatment for inmates with behavioral disorders (Dennis and Sun, 2/23). The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Advocates Seek Mental Health Changes, Including Power To DetainHospitals do not have legal authority to detain people who voluntarily enter their facilities in search of mental health care but then decide to leave. It is one of many holes in the state’s nearly 30-year-old mental health code that advocates, police officers and judges say lawmakers need to fix. In a report last year, Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit advocacy organization, called on lawmakers to replace the existing code with one that reflects contemporary mental health needs (Grissom, 2/23).last_img read more

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Questions From High Court Suggest Concerns About PayForDelay Deals

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first_imgQuestions From High Court Suggest Concerns About ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case which pits brand name and generic drug manufacturers against the Federal Trade Commission. Reuters: Supreme Court Justices Signal Uncertainty On Drug SettlementsSupreme Court justices on Monday signaled uncertainty over how they would rule on whether brand-name drug companies can settle patent litigation with generic rivals by making deals to keep cheaper products off the market. Eight justices, lacking the recused Justice Samuel Alito, asked questions that indicated concerns about such deals, but several seemed unsure how courts should approach the matter (Hurley, 3/25).MedPage Today: SCOTUS Questions FTC Stance on ‘Pay-for-Delay’Several Supreme Court justices had hard questions about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) stance against “pay-for-delay” drug patent settlements during arguments before the court on Monday (Pittman, 3/25).In other courtroom action – The New York Times: Salesmen In The Surgical SuiteIt is not the first time patients have claimed they were harmed by Intuitive’s robotic surgical equipment, called the da Vinci Surgical System. But the Taylor case, set for trial in April, is unusual. Internal company e-mails, provided to The New York Times by lawyers for the Taylor estate, offer a glimpse into the aggressive tactics used to market high-tech medical devices and raise questions about the quality of training provided to doctors before they use new equipment on patients. Intuitive, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., declined to comment on the lawsuit but said studies showed that its robotic equipment results in better outcomes than conventional open surgery (Rabin, 3/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Viewpoints Health Laws Risk Question Medicaid Options In Va

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first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Viewpoints: Health Law’s ‘Risk’ Question; Medicaid Options In Va. The Wall Street Journal: An Obamacare ‘Risk’ Question For Insurers As insurers submit bids for the 2015 open-enrollment season, media reports have trumpeted increased participation by carriers on several health exchanges. Depending on the legal and judicial interpretations of two important issues, those insurance companies may end up getting much more than they bargained for (Chris Jacobs, 6/19). The Wall Street Journal: Does The Affordable Care Act Cover The Uninsured? One of the big criticisms of the Affordable Care Act has been that very few people covered in the new insurance marketplaces were previously uninsured. It’s an important criticism, as expanding insurance coverage was a bedrock goal of the law. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the number of uninsured will be reduced by about 26 million by 2017, cutting in half the number of uninsured in this country. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey out Thursday gives us real data on this question. Among the facts: 57% of those who bought coverage from the new marketplaces during the first ACA open-enrollment period were previously uninsured, and seven out of 10 of them had been uninsured for two years or more (Drew Altman, 6/19).The New York Times: Good Progress On Affordable Health Care Americans are finding very affordable health insurance and a wide choice of plans on the exchanges operated by the federal government, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services. The report was based on data from the 36 states in which the federal government is operating health insurance exchanges this year. Comparable data from states operating their own exchanges is not yet available. … A separate survey of enrollees who bought policies on the exchanges or directly from insurers, issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday, revealed that 34 percent felt they had benefited from the law. Of those, 49 percent said it had lowered their costs and 45 percent said it had increased their access to insurance or medical care (6/19). The Washington Post: McAuliffe’s Best Option On The Budget Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has until Sunday to figure out what to do about the troublesome budget the General Assembly has handed him that forbids the expansion of Medicaid health coverage to 400,000 lower-income state residents. Depending on what he chooses to do, McAuliffe risks blowing out the entire $96 billion, two-year budget and tossing state finances into turmoil on July 1. Since he has vowed to make expanded Medicaid a reality, he is sure to do something other than simply approve the budget. What are his options? (Peter Galuszka, 6/19). The Washington Post: Obamacare Sticker Shock When last we left off in the late spring, the administration was goosing up the enrollment figures without ever telling us how many had paid and how many were newly insured Americans. But the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act has always been its Achilles heel. By heavily subsidizing health-care insurance and insisting on very expensive coverage plans, the administration is almost certainly encouraging demand (i.e. overuse) — thereby moving the price of health-care insurance in the wrong direction (Jennifer Rubin, 6/19).The Boston Globe: Don Berwick And The Single-Payer Pitch While (Bernie) Sanders came out of Vermont’s ’60s-era socialist movement and started his career in local politics, (Don) Berwick is a doctor and former Medicare administrator who comes armed with one major issue: single-payer health care. When his rivals claimed he wasn’t really offering anything new — just another health care commission — Berwick doubled down by calling it “Medicare for all,” a description that pretty much suggests he’d eliminate private insurance. Now, with the Democratic race [for Massachusetts governor] down to three candidates — Berwick, and two party regulars with histories of failing to excite voters — single-payer will finally get the attention it merits as essentially the only markedly different policy proposal to emerge from either party (Peter Canellos, 6/19). The Washington Post: Summit Addresses Mental Health Of Teens When six Fairfax county youths who have wrestled with depression and flirted with suicide spoke their minds on a stage in front of 200 people last week , it was the right thing to do, they said, especially after closing out another school year with four suicides among their peers. One boy from Langley High School talked about that night — July 23 — when he decided to die (Petula Dvorak, 6/19). Journal of the American Medical Association: Health Care At The VA Legislative efforts to address the problems within the VA are important. However, feedback from employees is paramount, and VA clinicians and scientists should be empowered to help solve their local problems. What is effective in one community might not be equally effective in another. This is an ideal opportunity to analyze and redesign the VA system, to make it not only the largest integrated care system in the country, but a model in every measurable sphere. This will require the commitment, innovation, and resources necessary to provide the best care possible for veterans (Faisal G. Bakaeen, Alvin Blaustein and Melina R. Kibbe, 6/19). last_img read more

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Viewpoints Schumers Puzzling Comments GOP Needs To Offer An Alternative Plan

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first_img The New York Times’ The Upshot: Big Changes In Fine Print Of Some 2015 Health Plans More than three years after county and state officials struck a deal with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), a highly regarded nonprofit hospital network, to revamp Prince George’s run-down health-care facilities, final approval is still pending for a facility in Largo that could offer first-rate care to a community where it is still lacking. (12/4) USA Today: Be Cruel To Obamacare To Be Kind The New York Times: Democrats Against Reform The Washington Post: The Real Fight Is Among The Democrats Express Scripts, which handles prescription-drug benefits for millions or people nationwide, is dropping coverage for 66 brand-name drugs next month in an effort to keep costs down. Rival CVS Health is dropping 95 drugs from its own list of covered drugs. Happy holidays. (David Lazarus, 12/4) Positive action on multiple fronts and the recovering economy are helping to reduce the growth in health-care costs to historically moderate levels. But there is no comprehensive national approach to controlling health-care costs. Further, there is little coordination of the disparate efforts across the country, and we can’t say for sure what is working and what is not. (Drew Altman, 12/4) Eighty-five percent of Americans already had health insurance, argued Schumer. Yet millions have suffered dislocations for the sake of a minority constituency — the uninsured — barely 13 percent of whom vote. This has alienated the Democrats’ traditional middle-class constituency. Indeed, in a 2013 poll cited by the New York Times’ Thomas Edsall, by a margin of 25 percent, people said Obamacare makes things better for the poor. But when the question was, does it make things better “for people like you,” Obamacare came out 16 points underwater. Moreover, for whites, whose support for Democrats hemorrhaged in 2014, 63 percent thought Obamacare made things worse for the middle class. (Charles Krauthammer, 12/4) The New York Times’ Opinionator: Fixes: A Depression-Fighting Strategy That Could Go Viral The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Our Fragmented Approach To Health Care Costs Viewpoints: Schumer’s ‘Puzzling’ Comments; GOP Needs To Offer An Alternative Plan A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.center_img When Ebola ends, the people who have suffered, who have lost loved ones, will need many things. They will need ways to rebuild their livelihoods. They will need a functioning health system, which can ensure that future outbreaks do not become catastrophes. And they will need mental health care. Depression is the most important thief of productive life for women around the world, and the second-most important for men. We sometimes imagine it is a first-world problem, but depression is just as widespread, if not more so, in poor countries, where there is a good deal more to be depressed about. And it is more debilitating, as a vast majority of sufferers have no safety net. (Tina Rosenberg, 12/4) Thanks to four justices of the Supreme Court, there is now a clear path to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act next year, finally bringing Obamacare to an end. But Republicans won’t accomplish this by waiting for the court or just voting to repeal the law one more time. The only way they can succeed is by crafting their own replacement — and they need to start right away. (Randy E. Barnett, 12/4) The United Nations estimates that 5,000 more international health care workers will be needed during the coming months in West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak. But where they will come from is not entirely clear. As World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently stated, “Right now, I’m very much worried about where we will find those health care workers.” (Helen Ouyang, 12/4) Los Angeles Times: How To Make It Easier For Health Workers To Volunteer In Crises At first glance, the 2015 health plans offered by the Ohio nonprofit insurer CareSource look a lot like the ones it sold this year, in the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment season. The monthly premiums are nearly identical, and the deductibles are the same. But tucked within the plans’ jargon are changes that could markedly affect how much consumers pay for health care. (Charles Ornstein, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Lena Groeger, 12/4) At this point, the only real threat to the Affordable Care Act is one ridiculous Supreme Court case. There’s a phrase in the legislation that suggests, if ripped from context, that subsidies are only supposed to support consumers in states with their own exchange marketplaces – not those who enrolled in insurance plans through healthcare.gov. … the Supreme Court majority may conclude, then it’s up to Congress to pass a bill to add clarity. In an interesting twist, a prominent Republican has suggested his former brethren do exactly that. (Steve Benen, 12/4) MSNBC: Trent Lott Urges GOP To Be Responsible On Obamacare Los Angeles Times: Dropping Coverage Of Popular Prescription Drugs Is Sad And Shameful It’s easy to understand why Republicans wish health reform had never happened, and are now hoping that the Supreme Court will abandon its principles and undermine the law. But it’s more puzzling — and disturbing — when Democrats like Charles Schumer, senator from New York, declare that the Obama administration’s signature achievement was a mistake. (Paul Krugman, 12/4) The Washington Post: Residents Of Prince George’s Have Waited Too Long For Improved Medical Facilities last_img read more

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Gym newbie Forget the Apple Watch the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4

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first_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 fitness tracker has just gone on sale in the UK for a meagre £34.99 RRP, making it an on paper perfect choice for gym newbies and casual joggers.The Mi Smart Band 4 is an ultra affordable fitness tracker from the Chinese tech giant behind the stellar Xiaomi Mi 9 smartphone. You cna buy it in the UK from today on the via mi.com/uk webstore. Further retailers haven’t been announced.We haven’t reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 yet, so we can’t personally attest to its sleep, health or exercise tracking chops. But on paper it’s a pretty solid piece of kit considering the price.Highlights include a “full” colour 0.95-inch AMOLED screen, 5ATM (50m) water resistance and staggering 20 day quoted battery life.Related: Best Amazon Prime Wearable DealsThe photoplethysmography (PPG) / heart rate, tri-axis accelerometer + tri-axis gyro and capacitive wear monitoring sensors should also cover most basic exercise and sleep tracking.The only obvious omission is the lack of a built in GPS, though considering the price this is hardly surprising. Traditionally we’ve only seen integrated GPS connectivity on more expensive trackers, like the Garmin Vivosport.The Bluetooth connectivity and connect GPS support will also let you get accurate distance data, so long as the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is connected to your phone. When connected it’ll also offer basic notification services.The combined package make it a seemingly great, and affordable option, that could be a better fit for people that just want basic fitness tracking, not the full smartwatch experience.Related: Best fitness tracker 2019The news follows widespread rumours Apple plans to radically improve its fabled next generation Apple Watch Series 5’s fitness and health tracking chops, when it launches later this year.Apple’s been working to bolster its wearable’s health and fitness tracking chops with every new generation. The Apple Watch Series 4 debuted a custom “fall” sensor that is designed to help elderly or less mobile people get help during an accident. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.last_img read more

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WatchWith 5B WestJet deal Gerry Schwartz may finally land his white whale

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first_imgIn July, WestJet shareholders will have an opportunity to vote on the takeover at a special meeting. The Onex bid for the airline has already received the unanimous recommendation of WestJet’s board of directors, and Clive Beddoe, who co-founded WestJet in 1996 and remains the company’s chairman.“Onex’s aerospace experience, history of positive employee relations and long-term orientation makes it an ideal partner for WestJetters, and I am excited about our future,” Beddoe said in a statement.Tawfiq Popatia, a managing director at Onex, said WestJet is among Canada’s strongest brands.“We have tremendous respect for the business that Clive Beddoe and all WestJetters have built over the years,” he said. “WestJet is renowned internationally for its unparalleled guest experience and employee culture.”In addition to shareholder approval, the transaction must also receive the blessing of Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency.Taylor, the Canaccord Genuity analyst, said the Onex acquisition would not dramatically alter the competitive landscape.“WestJet was generally well funded and was already embarking on a large and highly competitive expansion plan,” he wrote. “In our view, a private equity owner of an airline is likely to remain rational with respect to its approach to yields and profitability (versus) market share.”This time around, the assessment seems to be that Onex is a suitable buyer. Taylor titled his report: “An attractive exit at the hands of Onex.” More May 13, 20197:07 PM EDTLast UpdatedMay 14, 201912:43 PM EDT Filed under News Join the conversation → Comment 2 Comments Two decades ago, Gerry Schwartz’s Onex Corp. tried to land a major airline deal, but the transaction fizzled after a dramatic battle that gripped corporate Canada and Bay Street. Now, with a $5 billion bid for Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd., the private equity buyout specialist hopes to reel in a major prize in an industry he has been circling ever since.“We see this as the white whale scenario for Gerry Schwartz … finally landing a major airline,” said Scott Chan, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Corp. who tracks Onex, which tried unsuccessfully to buy and merge Canada’s two major airlines, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines, in 1999.Monday’s bid for WestJet, which includes $31 per share in cash, a 67 per cent premium to Friday’s closing price, must win regulatory and shareholder approval, but is expected to close by later this year or early 2020.“Given the premium valuation and, in our view, a limited list of potential other bidders, we believe the deal is likely to proceed on the stated terms,” said Doug Taylor, another Canaccord analyst, who noted that some potential bidders would be kept at bay by Canada’s foreign ownership restrictions for airlines, which cap individual foreign owners at 25 per cent and total foreign ownership at 49 per cent. Onex’s WestJet deal to shake up airline industry — and Air Transat may be its next target Onex is buying WestJet in $5 billion deal — and taking it private Gerald Schwartz: The man behind Onex and the WestJet deal For Schwartz’s Onex, the acquisition of WestJet, whose commercial aircraft fly to more than 100 destinations in North and Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe, marks a significant entry into an industry around which the private equity player has been investing for years.Past investments included Spirit Aerospace Systems, a Kansas-based manufacturer of structures for commercial and defense aircraft, which generated an internal rate of return of around 200 per cent for Onex following an initial public offering in 2014, and a stake in airline catering business Sky Chefs, which Onex sold to Lufthansa for $1.3 billion in 2001.But the investments have not always been successful, with Onex investing in Hawker Beechcraft, an aerospace manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy in 2012.A couple of airline investments that would have been among the most high profile in Canada never took place. In the summer of 1999, Onex made a $1.8 billion offer to buy Air Canada and merge it with then-rival Canadian Airlines in a transaction that was valued at $5.7 billion.However, Air Canada, which hatched its own plan to buy Canadian Airlines, made several moves to complicate the Onex bid, including adopting a poison pill designed to drive up the price. The corporate battled landed in court, where Onex was rebuffed, and its bid withdrawn.Air Canada subsequently took over Canadian Airlines in 2000, but the combined airline struggled, and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003.Onex’s aerospace experience, history of positive employee relations and long-term orientation makes it an ideal partner for WestJetters Share this storyWith $5B WestJet deal, Gerry Schwartz may finally land his ‘white whale’ Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn That filing triggered another thwarted investment by Onex, which had been attempting to purchase a piece of Aeoroplan, Air Canada’s frequent-flyer program.Onex’s belated comeback of sorts, the multi-billion bid for WestJet, appeared to catch the market by surprise on Monday. WestJet’s shares shot up by more than 60 per cent before pulling back slightly to close at $29.61, within striking distance of the $31 per share bid. Behind the scenes, talks had been under way since March, when Onex approached the airline.Analysts said the Onex bid is rich by airline standards, representing a premium to the valuations given to Air Canada and publicly traded U.S. airlines.Frothy private markets, which Onex executives cited in a conference call with analysts last week — driven by “dry powder” looking to be deployed by global institutional investors — could have contributed to the premium offer for WestJet, according to a note published Monday by Canaccord.WestJet would be Onex’s second recent public-to-private transaction, following on the heels of the acquisition of wealth manager Gluskin Sheff in March, Chan, the Canaccord analyst, noted.“Privatizing tends to be easier to generate value longer term,” said Chan.Onex has not yet spelled out its plans for WestJet, which has marketed itself as an airline where customers are treated well because employees are incentivized through opportunities for stock purchases and profit-sharing to take control of situations and solve problems.Onex is buying WestJet and taking it private. With $5B WestJet deal, Gerry Schwartz may finally land his ‘white whale’ For Schwartz’s Onex, the acquisition of WestJet marks a significant entry into an industry around which the private equity player has been investing for years Recommended For YouEuro inches higher but expectations for dovish ECB cap gainsAqua Terra Water Management Announces New Syndicated Debt Facility of Up to $100 MM To Fund Permian GrowthBiden healthcare plan would curb drug prices, raise taxes on richOklahoma, J&J to wrap up first trial over opioid crisisHong Kong leader says protesters in latest clashes can be called ‘rioters’ Reddit Barbara Shecter Email Twitter Facebook Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Traders bet Bank of Canada will follow Fed with rate cuts this

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first_img Comment Esteban Duarte Featured Stories Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz.Cole Burston/Bloomberg Sponsored By: The Bank of Canada is likely to join the U.S. Federal Reserve with an interest rate cut this year to deal with the fallout from rising trade tensions, according to trading in the swaps market.Investors are betting Canadian policymakers will follow an expected U.S. rate cut in September. The chances of a Bank of Canada match at the Oct. 30 meeting jumped above 50 per cent Tuesday, up from about 25 per cent last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The market is implying 20 basis points of easing over the next six months. The odds of a cut soared after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican products to stem illegal immigration, raising concerns about the ratification of the revised North America Free Trade Agreement. Canada’s yield curve inverts the most in 12 years on Trump’s Mexico tariffs threat Fed sits on its hands while analysts sit on U.S. ‘recession watch’ The Bank of Canada has learned a few things about targeting inflation, and it’s sharing lessons with the Fed Traders are increasing their bets on a rate cut even as economic data signal the economy is showing signs of pulling out of a first-quarter slowdown. The median consensus of analysts expect that the benchmark rate will remain unchanged this year at 1.75 per cent.“The data for Canada is unfolding in a manner about as expected, but the medium-term outlook has definitely been impacted by trade/tariff developments of late,” said Mark Chandler, head of fixed income research at Royal Bank of Canada, which sees the central bank on hold through 2020. “Most of the fear surrounds the potential impact on the U.S. factory sector. Analysts have not fully incorporated this into their forecasts, I believe, because of a belief that the tariffs may yet be avoided.”Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled Tuesday an openness to cut interest rates if necessary, pledging to keep a close watch on fallout from a deepening set of disputes between the U.S. and its largest trading partners. Investors have aggressively increased bets the Fed will cut interest rates this year after Trump widened ongoing trade tensions with the new Mexico threat.In the U.S., swap traders assign an 89 per cent chance of the Fed cutting rates as soon as September, Bloomberg data show. Investors may get fresh signals on rates this weekend when finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 economies meet in Japan.“We should get more clarity on both Mexico and China, at the G-20,” said Chandler. If over the coming weeks there is “no improvement, you might see more analysts believing that rate cuts in the U.S. — and maybe Canada — are more likely.”Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said as recently as last month he still believes interest rates are poised to continue rising once headwinds to growth dissipate. “The natural tendency is for interest rates to still go up a bit,” Poloz said in an interview on BNN Bloomberg, adding he didn’t yet know the size or the timing of any increases.Bloomberg.com Traders bet Bank of Canada will follow Fed with rate cuts this year The chances the central bank will match on Oct. 30 jumped above 50 per cent Tuesday. It was 25 per cent last week Twitter Reddit Join the conversation → Morecenter_img Share this storyTraders bet Bank of Canada will follow Fed with rate cuts this year Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation June 4, 20194:04 PM EDT Filed under News Economy 1 Comments Facebook advertisement Bloomberg News Email ← Previous Next →last_img read more

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Watch Electric Audi RS3 Drag Race Huracan Performante 911 GT2 RS

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It’s almost competitive.Electric powertrains have a considerable potential to change how performance cars operate. Instant torque makes acceleration a breeze, and it puts other supercars on notice. The pinnacle of EV racing is Formula E. Schaeffler, a major sponsor of the Audi Sport ABT Formula E team, decided to show off its electric powertrain by cramming it into an Audi RS3. Called the Schaeffler 4ePerformance, the modified Audi now has an incredible 1,180 horsepower (880 kilowatts) on tap, capable of hitting 124 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour) in less than seven seconds. That’s stupid fast. More EVs In Motion To prove just how capable the electric RS3 is, it competes against two devastatingly quick supercars – the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The Lamborghini packs a 5.2-liter V10 producing 640 hp (470 kW) and 442 pound-feet (600 Newton-meters) of torque. The 911 GT2 RS sports a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six engine producing 700 hp (521 kW) and 553 lb-ft (749 Nm) of torque. On paper, the electric RS3 is far superior to the Lamborghini and Porsche, besting them 540 hp and 480 hp, respectively, and the power difference is noticeable. Neither can best the Audi. The first race against the Huracan has the Audi getting a sizable lead off the start, continuously putting distance between it and the Italian supercar. The race with the Porsche starts much closer, with both staying equal throughout much of the race. However, the Audi pulls away as the finish line approaches, crossing the finish line first by about three car lengths.EVs can be powerful while packing enormous performance. We can marvel at our EV future and the sheer amount of performance that will come with it. The video above is long – we skipped to the six-minute mark just before the first race begins.  Watch Tesla Model 3 Performance Set New 0 To 60 MPH Record Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 6, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Watch Tesla Model X P100D Take On Ferrari 812 Superfast Tesla Model 3 Performance Races Model X P100D, Ford Falcon Drag Car Source: Electric Vehicle News read more

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Flash Drive 2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD

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first_imgRobust In-Car Tech, Lacks Advanced Safety TechDrinks Fuel Like A Larger SUVAlthough the 2018 Ford EcoSport is new to the U.S. market, it’s not a new vehicle. The wee-size crossover SUV first emerged more than a decade ago in Brazil. The current model has been on sale around the world since 2012.Ford desperately needed a subcompact SUV to compete in a market segment that has become seismic in consumer demand and thus, the EcoSport. The subcompact segment includes the top-selling Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax, Toyota CH-R, Jeep Renegade and Hyundai Kona.A well-traveled little SUV lands in AmericaThe 2018 EcoSport model is built in Romania, Brazil, Russia, China and Thailand—our car hailed from Ford of India, the first U.S.-market car to come from that country. It’s sold in S, SE, SES, and Titanium trims, with a choice between front-drive, turbo-three cylinder models and all-wheel-drive versions with an inline-four-cylinder engine. Prices start from just above $20,000, and approach $30,000 in all-wheel-drive SES editions.With a name that begins with Eco, I think it is unforgiveable that neither engine can crack 30 mpg on the highway. The EPA rates the 1.0-liter, front-wheel-drive EcoSport at 27-mpg city and 29-mpg highway; the 2.0-liter four is rated at 23 city/29 highway. Not only is that 29-mpg rating worse than every single one of the EcoSport’s four-cylinder competitors, it’s lower than the 30-mpg estimate for the larger, more powerful Ford Escape.Two Engines OfferedThe 2018 Ford EcoSport is one of the few subcompact SUVs to offer a choice of engines, each mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The first is a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder base engine that powers all EcoSport models with front-wheel drive. This little 123-horsepower power plant with 125 pounds-feet of torque is sluggish at best. Some global markets might be fine with that kind of lackluster go-juice, but most Americans with their longer driving distances aren’t going to be impressed.Enter the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder upgrade with a more robust 166 horsepower and 149 pound-feet of torque. That’s still only just enough for the EcoSport, but it is close to a good balance for the crossover’s needs in most driving situations. If you want the 2.0-liter with the AWD upgrade, be prepared to pay an extra $1,450.Man, This Thing Is Really SmallThe 2018 Ford EcoSport is the runt of the subcompact SUV liter. It’s 16.8 inches shorter in length than an Escape and rides on a 6.7-inch-shorter wheelbase. The Ford’s wheelbase is the shortest of the group, and most of its competitors are six or more inches longer overall.Small on the outside, but competitive space insideUnmistakable as the little brother of the Ford Escape, styling isn’t exactly the EcoSport’s trump card. It looks a bit too tall, a bit too narrow and a bit too boxy at the back. The nose and cabin appear normally sized, but its rear ends abruptly. A traditional grille and front lights mask the EcoSport’s very tall front end, except when it’s seen in profile view.Because the 2018 Ford EcoSport was originally designed to have a spare tire mounted to its rear, the back door swings open to the side, rather than using a traditional roof-mounted hatchback design. The swing-out design means you won’t be able to open the door all the way in parallel-park or backed-in situations.A Look InsideThroughout most of the interior the EcoSport shows its age with the materials that are used. Hard plastics line just about every surface, with some questionable cut lines and panel gaps on the dashboard and doors. The seats are narrow and not very supportive, though individual rear head- and legroom numbers are about par for the course.New tech; old plasticThere are, however, a number of clever storage solutions inside the EcoSport, with small cubbies for your phone or wallet in the doors and passenger-side dash. There’s even a small slot where you can rest a phone horizontally, just ahead of the gear selector and, conveniently, right next to the EcoSport’s two USB outlets. Plus, there are welcome knobs for volume and tuning.In the rear, the little EcoSport offers a class-competitive 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 50 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded.In Car and Safety TechA high point in the 2018 EcoSport is its tech-focused interior. Technology is based on Ford’s Sync 3 system, with a relatively simple menu structure and quick response to inputs. The voice controls work well, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and upper trim levels have an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. A 4.2-inch infotainment screen is standard with a 6.5-inch or 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation available as upgrades on higher trim levels.Driver assistance features and active safety systems are near to non-existent in the 2018 Ford EcoSport. A rear view backup camera is standard as is Ford’s roll stability control system. A blind spot monitor and a reverse sensing system are both available on certain trims, but you won’t find forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and lane-departure warning.Driving the Ford EcoSportWhere the 2018 Ford EcoSport really strutted its stuff was when driving around town. Its tiny size, wheels pushed to the corners and high ride height translated to easy maneuverability and agile handling. It wasn’t as sporty or fun to drive as some rivals, perhaps, but it was definitely easy to get around in. And, the little Ford did a respectable job of absorbing road bumps and imperfections at in-town speeds.A big demerit however, were the enormous A-pillars restricting my view out of the front at street corners. Visibility to the rear wasn’t great, either, but the available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert helped.It will get you there and feels comfortable on the highway, but it’s most at home in the cityThe EcoSport’s decent highway ride was a pleasant surprise in a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. The suspension managed to deliver a smooth, compliant ride and a reasonable degree of body control. Steering was quick and direct with a decent amount of feel and grip in curves was also fairly impressive.Although there was nothing energetic about the EcoSport’s engine responses, they were not particularly sluggish, either. The wee SUV simply went where I pointed it while the six-speed automatic clipped off quiet and unruffled shifts.In the real world, our test drive model easily held the EPA’s estimate of 25-mpg average during a week’s worth of driving 276 miles as a family hauler and general runabout.Final NotesThe 2018 Ford EcoSport isn’t a bad car, but it’s just not the one I would recommend. It delivers an experience that puts it at the lower end of the subcompact pack. Alternatives from Honda, Hyundai and Mazda offer better fuel efficiency and nicer driving dynamics in a far more well-rounded package.Although it features a good amount of cargo space and a user-friendly optional infotainment system, the cons more than outweigh the pros for this subcompact SUV. Despite its moniker, the Ford EcoSport has only so-so fuel economy and it really isn’t sporty to drive.Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Subcompact Crossover CompetitionOur previous staff evaluation—Steve’s Road Trip in an EcoSportRoad Test: 2016 Honda HR-VRoad Test: 2018 Toyota CH-RNews: 2018 Nissan KicksRoad Test: 2018 Mazda CX-3Road Test: 2018 Hyundai KonaRoad Test: 2017 Jeep RenegadeRoad Test: 2016 Fiat 500XRoad Test: 2015 Chevrolet TraxDisclosure:Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.The post Flash Drive: 2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD appeared first on Clean Fleet Report. Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicleslast_img read more

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