HyperX Cloud Mix review: Pivoting to a mobile lifestyle brand brings mixed results

HyperX Cloud Mix

HyperX wants you to wear its Cloud Mix headset (MSRP $200) all the time—not just for gaming. At your desk? Sure. But also on the train, walking to the grocery store, maybe even while snowboarding. Wherever life takes you, thanks to the Cloud Mix’s built-in Bluetooth capabilities.

The Cloud Mix is HyperX’s attempt to move up the ladder from a gaming brand to a “lifestyle brand.” Astro made the pivot early, pitching its high-end gaming headsets as a statement, not a mere accessory. Then Razer swung that direction as well, ushering in some sort of RGB-everything future.

But can every brand make the pivot? HyperX is a brand that seems steeped in gamer culture more than its predecessors—a brand that started with RAM and other arcane PC necessities. Let’s see how things shook out.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of best gaming headsets. Go there for details on competing products and how we tested them.

Streetwise

Judging by the Cloud Mix’s design, HyperX already thinks it’s a lifestyle brand, or at least bordering on one. Let’s not dance around the subject: The Cloud Mix looks like any other HyperX headset. The color scheme’s a more muted gray-and-black instead of the brand’s standard red-and-black, but even this isn’t 100 percent new. HyperX used the same gray-and-black on the Cloud II headset, for instance.

HyperX Cloud Mix

IDG / Hayden Dingman

Hell, the Cloud Mix takes after the original Cloud and Cloud II more than the current-gen Cloud Alpha. This isn’t exactly a break from tradition, like we saw with Astro’s streetwear-oriented A38 headset. The Cloud Mix simply repurposes old and (at least in the desktop space) beloved ideas. The stitching’s been toned down a bit, but if I threw a Cloud Mix and a Cloud II into a bin together, I’d have a hard time separating the two. The new headset features the same leatherette-padded headband, the same oval-shaped earcups with enormous HyperX logos emblazoned on both sides.

That’s probably the most questionable decision HyperX made with the Cloud Mix. I’m actually a fan of the Cloud design. It’s pretty inconspicuous, not overly bulky nor flashy. I firmly believe you could wear it out on the street, same as any pair of Audio-Technicas or Sennheisers.

But the branding? The branding is anything but inconspicuous. The HyperX logo looks like, well, video games. It’s edgy and aggressive in a way you don’t see from mainstream audio brands like Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, Polk, and so on.

It’s not an impossible hurdle—Razer’s made inroads with a three-headed snake graphic, which is arguably worse. But HyperX’s logo is so big and so prominent. I can’t help but wish it were shrunk down or confined to the headband, or maybe rendered black-on-black where it’d be less glaring. Anything that would make me more comfortable about wearing the Cloud Mix on the street.

Branding missteps aside, there’s not much to complain about. As I said, it’s a HyperX headset. The Cloud Mix is extremely comfortable, as you’d expect from HyperX. I’ve worn it for hours at a time without issue, though the leatherette earcups might get a bit toasty in the summertime.

HyperX Cloud Mix

IDG / Hayden Dingman

In some ways I like it even more than the Cloud Alpha—or really, in one major way. The Cloud Mix finally rectifies one of my biggest complaints with the brand, by slapping controls onto the headset itself instead of relegating them to a small box on the cable. You’ll find volume and power on the right earcup, and a mute button on the left.

[“source=pcworld”]

US SenateTRACED bill aims to end non-stop robocalls

The current situation of robocalls in the United States has blown way out of proportion. Personally, I receive at least six robocallers per day. Some are recordings, some are silent callers to see if a line is active or disconnected, and others really, really want to help me reduce my imaginary student loans. Sometimes, I’ll reject a robocall and then it will call right back… three times!

A new bill was drafted up by US Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The bill is called the TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act and will target these mass Robocalling operations around the US.

The TRACED Act targets robocall scams and other intentional violations of telemarketing laws so that when authorities do catch violators, they can be held accountable. – Sen. Thune

And as much as you block the number, you still get calls from new numbers! Google’s Call Screening is a great feature on the Pixel 3, and now on the Pixel 2 to identify and block spam callers, but this doesn’t solve the problem, it only makes it more bearable as long as number spoofing is still easy to do.

Google Assistant Call Screen feature on the Pixel 3 XL

The bill would give the FCC the authority to fine up to $10,000 per call that intentionally abuses telemarketing laws. It would also let the FCC take action up to three years after a robocall took place, the current time window is 1 year. Also, it would require service providers to create call authentication technologies ( to filter out illegitimate calls from reaching callers in the first place.

The TRACED Act at this point is just a bill, it has not become law yet until it is approved. The release says that 29% of all phone calls are robocalls in the US and that number could grow to 45% next year. Should the bill pass, we should see less robocallers, but of course it would be because of the new caller authentication to actually disable the offenders trying to sell you a home security system.

[“source=gsmarena”]

With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the 'smart plug' during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘smart plug’ during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.

It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.

If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.

This is the smart plug

Amazon smart plug

Amazon smart plug

It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.

All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.

[“source=cnbc”]

Samsung Galaxy A8s to come without 3.5 mm audio jack

Samsung is preparing the Galaxy A8s to be its trailblazer device with an Infinity-O display. According to a prominent Twitter leakster @MMDDJ_, the new smartphone might also be the first Samsung smartphone without a 3.5 mm audio jack, paving the way for USB-C audio in the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series.

The Korean company is apparently testing the waters with the Galaxy A8s and its all-in approach. Given the Galaxy A9s and Galaxy A6s monikers are China-exclusive, we might see the new device getting unveiled first in China, and if the reception is going on well, Samsung will likely copy the product design in its Galaxy S10 series, bound to arrive in Q1 2019.

We are still waiting to hear more specs about the upcoming phone, but we know the display with a hole is likely to be developed by BOE, a company specializing in unusual screens, rumoured to partner Huawei in developing a foldable phone.

[“source=pcworld”]

Google Pixel 3 Lite leaks again, right next to a Pixel 3 this time

Although it has in the past said it’s only focusing on the high end of the marketplace with its smartphones, Google is now working on a mid-range Pixel 3 version. This device, codenamed Sargo, has been leaked a week ago for the first time, and since then we’ve also seen purported camera samples.

Today Sargo (which is going to be called Google Pixel 3 Lite) leaks again, this time in a shot in which it’s right next to a Pixel 3.

If the similarities between these two handsets are confusing to you, note that the Lite model is on the left, the Pixel 3 on the right. The Lite’s screen is marginally taller than the Pixel 3’s, as it has a 5.56″ diagonal (compared to 5.5″) and an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, not 18:9.

The Pixel 3 Lite is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 SoC, and it has 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (though hopefully this is just the base amount and you’ll be able to buy a model with 64GB too), and a 2,915 mAh battery. Incidentally, that’s the exact same battery capacity as the Pixel 3.

The Lite is also expected to employ the same 12 MP rear camera as its higher priced sibling, which means it would instantly become the mid-ranger with the best main snapper. On the front you’ll get a single 8 MP unit for selfies, that might be the ‘normal’ cam seen in the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. No dual selfie shooters here, though.

Obviously the Pixel 3 Lite should run Android 9 Pie, but the bad news is that it may only be offered in specific developing markets. At the rate it’s started leaking, we assume an official announcement can’t be too far off in the future. Oh, and one more thing: the Pixel 3 Lite has a headphone jack.

[“source=gsmarena”]

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled to start in less than 24 hours, marking the entry of only the second Xiaomiphone part of the Android One initiative in the country. The new Mi A2 smartphone is the follow-up to last year’s Mi A1, and the company is emphasising its cameras in its social media teasers. Gadgets 360 has previously learnt the smartphone’s base variant, unveiled in Spain last month, will not be coming to the Indian market. Instead, the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model will serve as the entry point for the new model. Also, the smartphone will be an Amazon exclusive in India. The specifications of the handset are already known, so the Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India will be the big draw for all the fans. Here’s what you should know about tomorrow’s launch:

Xiaomi Mi A2 live stream

The Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled for 4pm IST, and there will be a live stream. However, the link is not yet live, and we will update this story as and when it becomes available. Xiaomi fans looking forward to the Mi A2 launch in India can register for the live stream on the official site and 100 of these registrants will win F-codes for the handset.

Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India, specifications

As mentioned above, the Mi A2 price in India is not yet known. The smartphone was unveiled with price tag of EUR 279 (about Rs. 22,500) for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant and EUR 349 (about Rs. 28,000) for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option. While the former is confirmed to launch in India at tomorrow’s event, the company was said to be still deliberating on the latter.

ALSO SEEXiaomi Mi A2 vs Mi A2 Lite: What’s Different?

As for the specifications, the dual-SIM (Nano) Xiaomi Mi A2 runs an optimised stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo, certified by Google’s Android One programme, and sports a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 5. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, paired with an Adreno 512 GPU.

 

In the camera department, the handset sports a dual rear camera setup. It consists of a 12-megapixel Sony IMX486 with f/1.75 aperture and 1.25-micron pixels, and a 20-megapixel secondary Sony IMX376 sensor with f/1.75 aperture and a 2-micron 4-in-1 Super Pixel size. The rear camera setup comes with dual-tone LED flash and PDAF. On the front, the handset gets a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 selfie camera with f/1.75 aperture, fixed focal length, and a soft-LED flash. There is a 3,010mAh battery under the hood, and the India variant will come with Quick Charge 4 for fast-charging support.

In terms of connectivity, the smartphone includes 4G LTE, Bluetooth v5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Miracast, an IR emitter, and USB Type-C. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Xiaomi Mi A2. Sensors on the handset include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and proximity sensor.

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Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
Display5.99-inch
Processor2.2GHz octa-core
Front Camera20-megapixel
Resolution1080x2160 pixels
RAM4GB
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Storage32GB
Rear Camera20-megapixel
Battery Capacity3010mAh
BUY AT
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    Launching 8th August
    Buy

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will sell them separately

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will get unveiled this week, but with all the rumours that have been surfacing on the Web, we probably know what to expect from the smartphone. Besides all the leaks, the Galaxy Note 9 has also been showcased in several teasers released by Samsung itself. However, leaks are still pouring in tipping the expected specifications and features of the upcoming handset. A recent leak has suggested that the Galaxy Note 9 will have AI-based features. Samsung will also reportedly give early Galaxy Note 9 buyers a choice between the AKG Y50 Bluetooth wireless headphones and 15000 Fortnite V-Bucks. Additionally, a leak has also suggested the features of the S Pen stylus that will reportedly also be sold standalone by Samsung.

As per a post by a tipster on Reddit, citing an unnamed Samsung trainer, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will come with AI-based features that will be able to optimise the camera based on the subject detected, such as landscape, portrait, food, and more. The new camera is also said to have speech bubbles that pop out if it detects an image having any imperfections such as “blurriness, eyes blinking, and hand shaking too much.”

According to the Reddit user, pre-order offers on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 include wireless noise-cancelling headphones from AKG worth $299 or the Fortnite package. Also, buyers would be given the option to get both if they pay $100, the user added. This piece of information has been reaffirmed by an image of Galaxy Note 9 Value Pack retail box shared by Dutch site Techtastic. The retail box includes the AKG headphones along with a car mount.

The leaks suggest that the S Pen stylus in Galaxy Note 9 will let users double tap a button to flip camera mode via by doubling as a remote shutter. Also, the S Pen will be able to deliver up to 30 minutes of use by charging for just 40 seconds. Also, the leak suggests that S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will separately sell different colour styli. However, there is no information on the pricing. The colour of the stylus is also said to determine the colour of the on-screen memo font.

Also, when it comes to Samsung Dex, the Galaxy Note 9 will reportedly be able to enter Dex mode without a dock, just by using a USB Type-C to HDMI cable. The display of the Galaxy Note 9 will be 6.4-inch but the footprint of the smartphone will remain the same as the Galaxy Note 8, the Reddit user added.

Meanwhile, a new report has hinted at the features of the S Pen stylus that will arrive with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As per a WinFuture report, the S Pen will get Bluetooth support, a feature that has been suggested in leaks multiple times. The report says that the button at the top of the stylus can now be used for the first time as a remote control for the smartphone. The report claims that the S Pen can be used to trigger images, remotely control presentations, or even operate other apps without having to touch the handset itself. The images leaked in the report suggest that the stylus comes with a finer tip and now supports 4,096 levels of pressure for a very precise control over your drawings or hand-written messages.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Expands Its Bug Bounty Programme to Combat Platform Abuse

Google Expands Its Bug Bounty Programme to Combat Platform Abuse

Google on Wednesday announced that it is formally expanding its Vulnerability Reward Program to include reports about techniques that allow third parties to bypass Google’s abuse, fraud, and spam systems. Previously, the formal statement limited bug reports to security vulnerabilities, however the move comes after numerous reports were submitted around platform abuse. This programme does not yet cover individual instances of abuse, which are required to be reported through product-specific channels. These product-specific channels include the likes of Google+, YouTube, Gmail, and Blogger.

Since its inception in 2010, Google’s bug bounty programme has given out more than $12 million (roughly Rs. 84.25 crores) to researchers and has helped in creating a thriving community that proactively sends reports to Google. Of this $12 million, nearly $3 million (approximately Rs. 21.1 crores) was given out in 2017 alone, of which Chrome bug reports took the majority of funds.

As examples of potentially valid reports in the revised programme, Google lists instances such as bypassing account recovery systems at scale, identifying services vulnerable to brute force attacks, circumventing restrictions on content use and sharing, and purchasing items from Google without paying. “Valid reports tend to result in changes to the product’s code, as opposed to removal of individual pieces of content,” said Eric Brown and Marc Henson, Trust and Safety, Google.

These reports, submitted by researchers, are reviewed by the panel on the Trust and Safety team, which is highly skilled in detecting cases of abuse, fraud, and spam activity on Google’s suite of products.

Back in April this year, ride-hailing service Uber had announced a refresh to its bug bounty programme after it mishandled a data breach back in 2016. In a major announcement, Uber also revealed that it updated the policies to specifically state that the company will not pursue any legal action against good-faith hackers who submit flaws through the bug bounty portal.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Vivo X23 Specifications, Images Spotted in Leaks, Tipped to Sport 3D Facial Recognition, Display Notch

Vivo X23 Specifications, Images Spotted in Leaks, Tipped to Sport 3D Facial Recognition, Display Notch

Images of an alleged Vivo X23 phone has surfaced in China

Chinese manufacturer Vivo is rumoured to launch a new smartphone – Vivo X23 – as the successor to the Vivo X21. Leaks and rumours surrounding the upcoming smartphone have already started surfacing on the Web. A report has tipped the specifications of the alleged Vivo X23, while another one has leaked a few images of the handset. The latest information suggests that the Vivo X23 will come with advanced 3D face recognition, a next-gen in-display fingerprint scanner, a display notch, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor with 8GB RAM, and more. Earlier this week, the smartphone’s launch date was tipped as August 23.

As per details shared by a tipster on Weibo, the alleged Vivo X23 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, paired with 8GB of RAM. It will sport a 6.4-inch fullscreen display. As per the leaked specifications, the Vivo X23 will come with advanced 3D facial recognition technology and improved under-display fingerprint scanner, similar to the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition. Additionally, the smartphone will feature “independent” audio DAC as well. The leak does not reveal where the information is coming from, nor does it provide any details on the availability or price of the Vivo X23. Notably, earlier this week, the Vivo X23 was tipped to launch on August 23, with the company’s Jovi digital assistant apparently providing the answer.

Separately, another tipster on Weibo has shared live images of an alleged Vivo X23 handset. The images show a person using the smartphone in public. The images show the phone only from the front, indicating that it will come with a small display notch, similar to the Oppo F9 and Oppo F9 Pro. The images first spotted by ITHome, show that the Vivo X23 will use a “water drop screen”, a Snapdragon 670 processor, a new fingerprint scanner, a rear 3x telephoto lens, and 8GB of memory. The phone seen in the image has a cover, making it difficult for us to comment on the smartphone’s design at the sides and the back.

To recall, Vivo X21 was launched in India in May this year, following a China launch in March. The smartphone’s biggest highlight is, of course, the under-display fingerprint sensor that made it amongst the first production smartphones to offer the feature. It is worth noting that Vivo has not officially confirmed anything regarding the Vivo X23 smartphone. As of now, it is advisable to take the leaks with a pinch of salt.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Family Finance: High savings to help salaried Dalals meet goals

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While aggressive investment in equity will help, it needs to be aligned to goals for a smoother journey.

Nishit and Dipti Dalal are both employed and bring in a combined monthly salary of Rs 1.68 lakh. They stay in their own house in Ahmedabad and have bought another house worth Rs 60 lakh as an investment. They have taken a home loan of Rs 12 lakh and a car loan of Rs 5 lakh, and are paying EMIs of Rs 26,900 for both. The couple’s portfolio includes Rs 1 lakh of cash, Rs 1 lakh of gold, equity in the form of mutual funds (Rs 15.9 lakh) and stocks (Rs 1.4 lakh), as well as debt in the form of PPF (Rs 5 lakh), EPF (Rs 2.5 lakh) and debt funds (Rs 1.5 lakh). The couple’s goals include saving for emergencies, buying a bigger house, future child’s education and wedding, and their retirement.

Portfolio

port15

Cash flow

cash15

Financial Planner Pankaaj Maalde suggests they build the emergency corpus of Rs 3 lakh by assigning their cash, debt funds and surrender value of insurance policies. This should be invested in an ultra short term fund. The couple also wants to buy a bigger house worth Rs 1.75 crore in five years and they can allocate their two properties for the goal, which will help fund Rs 1.4 crore. Since they want to make a down payment of Rs 1.52 crore, the remaining Rs 12 lakh can be amassed by investing Rs 15,000 a month in balanced funds. For the shortfall of Rs 22.7 lakh, they can take a loan and the EMI of Rs 22,400 can be furnished from the surplus and increase in salary.

For the future child’s goal of education in 18 years, the couple wants to save Rs 1 crore. For this, they can assign a portion of mutual funds and continue the SIP of Rs 10,000 in an equity fund. For the wedding, they want to save Rs 1.1 crore in 25 years and again a portion of their mutual fund corpus can be assigned to the goal. In addition they can start an SIP of Rs 2,500 in an equity fund and Rs 500 in the gold bond scheme. For retirement, the couple will need Rs 4.25 crore in 18 years, and should allocate their stocks, mutual funds, PPF and EPF corpuses. They should also continue with an SIP of Rs 38,000 in a diversified equity fund.

How to invest for goals

inve15

As for life insurance, they have six traditional plans worth Rs 21.5 lakh and Maalde suggests they surrender all the plans. Nishit should buy an offline term plan worth Rs 1 crore at Rs 3,750 a month. As for health insurance, the couple has a Rs 5 lakh family floater plan, and Maalde advises them to buy a top-up plan of Rs 15 lakh at Rs 833 a month. Nishit should also buy an accident disability plan of Rs 50 lakh at a monthly premium of Rs 667.

Insurance portfolio

insu15

Financial plan by Pankaaj Maalde (certified financial planner)

Write to us for expert advice
Looking for a professional to analyse your investment portfolio? Write to us at etwealth@timesgroup.com with ‘Family Finances’ as the subject. Our experts will study your portfolio and offer objective advice on where and how much you need to invest to reach your goals.

[“Source-economictimes”]