The Disappointing New Windows 11 Emojis Are Yet Another Reason to Stick With Windows 10

Windows 11 Emoji Not Quite As Good As Promised

If you’re running the public version of Windows 11 right now, you won’t see the emojis until they’re officially pushed out. But folks running the Insider version are less than pleased, especially since Microsoft made a big to-do about its redesigned its emoji, including why it chose to make them pop out instead of sit flat against the background like other operating systems. They called the new emoji “innately fun, innately fluent,” and there was even a video to celebrate “the diversity of shapes and expressions” in the new characters. But none of those emoji appear in the lineup on Windows 11.

According to a tweet from Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager on the Windows Insider Program Team, those 3D emoji aren’t coming to Windows 11 anytime soon. One user replied feeling scammed by the sudden change, considering the official Windows UK account tweeted an image featuring the same emoji missing from the build only a few days ago. In a follow-up tweet, LeBlanc added that the account had swapped out graphics and that there was nothing more to share on where the new emoji would appear.

Understandably, this is all a little grating for users who were promised one experience and received another. There are some theories that Microsoft is holding back on the 3D emoji due to their relative inaccessibility, as they might be hard to parse for folks with vision impairments, in which case, it’s a good thing for the company to go back to the drawing board.

At the very least, Microsoft kept its promise to bring Clippy on as an emoji. The beloved mascot appears in the Insider Build with his signature crooked smile and bewildered expression—a beacon of calm in a wild world.

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HTC’s New VR Headset Leaked, and It’s the Weirdest-Looking One Yet

HTC Vive Flow Leaks, and It’s the Weirdest VR Headset Yet

That’s also not taking into consideration how ridiculous this thing looks. To be fair, no VR headset looks “cool,” but this headset is downright silly. Despite the leaked lifestyle shots, I’m almost positive I can guarantee that no one will wear the HTC Vive Flow to bed. And that when it comes to meditation, the Calm app is $70 a year, has a huge library of content, and is available directly on your phone. Most of what’s being presented here can be found elsewhere for less money, greater convenience, and significantly less teasing.

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It’s not that mixed reality is doomed. On the contrary—just about every tech company out there is convinced this is the future. Facebook just dropped its “smart” glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, Apple is rumored to be working on a pair, as is Samsung, and Google and Microsoft have been out here for years carving their own niche in the mixed reality enterprise space. Somehow, Magic Leap found another $500 million in funding and is barreling ahead with another headset. Razer, Bose, and a bunch of smaller brands are also putting out their own audio sunglasses. Like it or not, virtual and augmented reality is happening. Someone someday is going to crack the winning combination of hardware, software, and use cases.

But every company in this space is facing the same problems: how to stand out from the crowd and how to convince the average person that this is better than the devices they already have. In both cases, the HTC Vive Flow’s probably the funniest-looking VR headset we’ve seen in some time. But the Vive Flow is going to need more than just a distinctive design to convince people it’s worth buying without impressive features.

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1Password Will Now Let You Hide Your Email for Logins

1Password Will Now Let You Hide Your Email for Logins

From a security standpoint, automated burner emails are a good way to protect against phishing scams. It sucks, but we all know that most services you sign up for will share or sell your data for advertising. Data breaches and leaks are no longer rare, and bad actors use leaked emails and passwords to do their nasty business. What’s worse is once an email is leaked, it’s more likely to show up in another breach. Even if the burner email is part of a leak, you’re less at risk as your emails and passwords will all be unique from each other.

The “catch” here is that you need to have both a 1Password and Fastmail account to get the Masked Email feature. If you already have both, you can just link the accounts. If not, you’ll have to sign up for the one you don’t have. A Fastmail account starts at $30 per year, while 1Password subscriptions start at $2.99 per month (billed annually). Meanwhile, Apple’s version of email masking requires you to pay for iCloud storage. These are all relatively affordable, but it doesn’t negate the fact you have to sign up for yet another subscription. It’d be nice if these sorts of features were open to everyone and not kept behind a paywall, but that’s capitalism for you.

Microsoft Just Released Its Slick New Photos App to Windows 11 Insiders

Microsoft Releases Slick New Photos App to Windows 11 Insiders

The visual design of the Windows 11 Photo app has gotten a complete overhaul, with Microsoft touting new rounded corners and the use of Mica material design language throughout, which allows the app to dynamically change its color palette to more closely match your PC’s theme (light mode or dark mode) and wallpaper. Microsoft says the Windows 11 Photos app has also gotten bolder typography to help make finding settings and various albums easier too.

New Windows 11 Photo app UI

The new Windows 11 Photo app’s UI, with Dark mode on.
Screenshot: Microsoft

But the changes to the new Photos app aren’t purely skin deep either, as the photo viewer features a new edge-to-edge layout with an updated toolbar up top for all your core photo editing tools, with a filmstrip down below to make navigating through your photo roll that much simpler. And when you just want to see your pics without any other distractions, you can easily hide the Photos app’s toolbar and filmstrip by clicking directly on the photo viewer.

Inside the updated toolbar, Microsoft offers standard editing tools including crop, rotate, and touch-up, along with a button to view a picture’s metadata and a heart icon so you can quickly mark your favorite pics. And for people who want to see a bunch of photos at once (maybe to compare various edits of the same pic), Microsoft added a new multi-view mode too.

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Multi-view mode in the Windows 11 Photos app.

Here’s what the new Photo app’s multi-view mode looks like.
Screenshot: Microsoft

However, as someone who often relies on more powerful photo editing software for both work and personal content, my favorite new feature might be the Photo app’s new button that allows you to select an image and then send it to Photoshop Elements, Picsart, or other third-party image editors with a single click. Currently, in Windows 10, I typically have to right-click the thumbnail of an image and then use the “Open with” command to send an image to Photoshop, which isn’t terrible, but it gets kind of clunky when you’re doing it 30 or 40 times in a row. That said, at least for now, it seems like only a handful of third-party image editors work with the Photo app’s new launcher button, though Microsoft does claim wider support for more apps is on the way.

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New options and settings in Windows 11 Photos app

Here’s a sample of the options and settings in the Windows 11 Photos app.
Screenshot: Microsoft

If you want to try out the new Windows 11 Photo app, Windows Insiders should be able to download the latest update to the Windows 11 beta today, though if you prefer to wait for Windows 11’s official release, you’re going to have to sit tight for another couple weeks until the OS gets officially released on October 5.

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The Best New Emoji Maybe Ever Just Got Approved (Along With 36 Others)

Unicode 14 Adds 37 New Emoji Including the Melting Face

However, the most popular new emojis will most likely be the new heart hands emoji (this one has been long overdue), the new troll emoji (finally, an icon to represent the most popular persona on the internet), or possibly the new hand with index finger and thumb crossed emoji, which apparently sees a lot of use among K-pop fans (don’t ask me, I’m not a BTS stan).

And even though it doesn’t immediately appear contentious, the new identification card emoji is likely to spark some vitriol given recent moves by New York and other states as they begin implementing vaccine passports in their communities.

New smiley faces in Unicode 14.0

Image: Emojipedia

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Aside from the 37 new emoji which includes seven new smiley faces of various types, Unicode 14.0 is also adding 75 new skin tone variations, which brings the total number of new emoji to 112.

Unfortunately, while the latest batch of new emoji was officially approved this week, it may be another few months until they actually land on your phone or laptop, as there tends to be a bit of lag time between when new emoji get announced and when companies like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and others create customized versions of the new emoji for their devices/platforms.

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So until then, here’s a salute to all the people who are itching to add some hidden meanings to all these new emojis, because I don’t think that new beans emoji is ever going to be used unironically.

House Republicans Say Democrats’ Data Requests Are Illegal, and They Want a Piece of the Action

Republicans Send Data Requests on Democrats to 14 Companies

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In the letter, House Republicans doubled down on the claim that the preservation requests were illegal under “the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” adding “neither the Committee nor you have the legal authority to provide those records.” The letter continued that “having said that,” they want the records of Democrats to be preserved. This all obviously makes perfect sense.

Republicans have good reason to be anxious about the data requests. Some 147 GOP members of the House and Senate voted to refuse to recognize the 2020 election results, effectively declaring their support for baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud and installing Trump for a second term. Those votes happened alongside the Jan. 6 riot, when a swarm of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results. Every single one of the Republicans named by CNN as part of the data-preservation requests voted against recognizing the election, and it’s clear the Democrats on the commission want to investigate their actions around the time of the attack:

… Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar also of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

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McCarthy has particular reason to be worried. CNN previously reported that he called Trump in the middle of the assault on the Capitol, urging him to call off the crowds, to which Trump responded “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” McCarthy reportedly shot back, “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” The House leader has since packed away his spine, never to be seen again.

Microsoft Will Take the Wraps Off Windows 11 Hardware On Sept. 22

Microsoft Announces Hardware Event Sept. 22

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Microsoft could also use its September event to announce the Surface Book 4. Windows Central reported that it might not get the Surface Book moniker, however. Instead, Microsoft could rebrand it as the Surface Laptop Pro. The company could also update its Surface Pro lineup to showcase Windows 11.

Invitations have been sent out to the press, and Gizmodo will be covering the event right here. Be sure to join us on Sept. 22 to see everything Microsoft announces.

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No, Your Acorns Account Wasn’t Hacked—That Email Was a Mistake

Acorns Accidentally Emails Users Saying Accounts Are Locked

They subsequently sent out another round of emails, apologizing to everybody for the mishap and assuring them that their accounts were secure.

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Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Acorn

However, spamming everybody wasn’t the company’s only problem on Friday. People appear to be having legitimate trouble logging into their accounts. Around the same time that the “unusual activity” emails went out, Downdetector reported that the Acorns platform was having trouble.

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In a tweet to one user, the platform attributed these issues to “high volumes” of user activity: “Separately, due to high volumes, all customers may have trouble logging in. We are working diligently to get things back to normal.”

Suffice it to say, that hasn’t really calmed people down, and a lot of them are pissed. “Hey @acorns what’s going on with the locked email? The number provided does not work and your app isn’t working either now,” tweeted one user. “damn. somebody at acorns gettin fired rip,” said another. Another person merely offered: “Acorn fuckin up.”

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We reached out to Acorns, to try to get more details about the episode but we haven’t heard back yet. We will update this post when they respond.

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Cleverly Complex 3D-Printed Adapter Turns an Xbox Controller Into a Flight Simulator Joystick

3D-Printed Adapter Turns an Xbox Controller Into a Flight Stick

Plastic linkages relay the circular movements of the flight stick to one of the joysticks on an Xbox Series X controller (which required the flight controls to be remapped to the gamepad’s right joystick) while the thumb buttons at the top of the flight stick translate presses to the action buttons on the controller as well, allowing throttle, flaps, and even the aircraft’s trim to be all controlled single-handedly. And the add-on doesn’t require any modifications to the controller itself. It was designed using a 3D model of the gamepad so it simply snaps onto the side and securely stays attached until it’s removed.

It doesn’t look like Kuumeri has any plans to sell finished versions of their flight stick accessory, but they have put the 3D models and files for sale on Etsy for $30 for anyone wanting to print their own, with compatibility promised for Xbox Series S/X controllers, as well as those that shipped with the Xbox One. Kuumeri claims it’s an easy print and there are no support materials that have to be removed or sanded away afterward, but they warn that “you will need to have a well-tuned printer for the joints to have proper tolerances. Otherwise, you will have to fine-tune your print settings, or sand and shave some of the parts.”

To ensure your printer is up to the task, Kuumeri has also provided a free version that can be downloaded through Thingiverse. It’s a simplified version of the flight stick accessory that lacks all of the button linkages (it only interfaces with a single controller joystick) but if you’re able to successfully print and use it, it guarantees you won’t have any problems 3D-printing and assembling the $30 more advanced version.

We’re Liveblogging Samsung’s Foldable Phone Event Right Here

Update, 8/11/21, 9:55 a.m. ET: Our liveblog module is on the fritz, so welcome to a stream of consciousness as I watch the Samsung event!

I wanted to talk about the soothing intro music, but no time for that, the show is starting.

This is going to be a big day. Not only is Samsung really pushing foldables for the mainstream, we’re also getting a big update to Samsung’s watch line, with Samsung switching over to a Wear OS-based platform.

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Screenshot: Samsung

Galaxy Watch 4

And we’re just getting right into it: Here’s the Galaxy Watch 4.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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For the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung teamed up with Google to create a new Galaxy Watch platform called Wear OS 3. Samsung layered One UI Watch over top.

One of the big advantages of the new platform is wider support for apps, with Samsung even adding the ability to auto install companion apps on your watch based on the apps you already have on your phone.

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Screenshot: Samsung

Another big update to the Watch 4 series is new health metrics, like snoring detection.

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And just like before, any metrics that get recorded by the watch can be easily viewed on your phone.

But for real health nuts, Samsung is also introducing a new BIA sensor on the Galaxy Watch 4 that can measure your body composition, telling you things like how much muscle you have versus fat.

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Screenshot: Samsung

Samsung says one of the big challenges with adding BIA sensors was making them small enough to fit in a watch. But it seems they managed to pull it off.

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And by measuring the speed of electricity as it passes through your body, in just 15 seconds, you can get an idea of your body composition.

Samsung even says its body composition scans are 98% accurate, which Samsung claims is as good as some professional scanning equipment.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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And just like previous models, the new Galaxy Watch 4 is going to be available with bluetooth and wifi, or with an optional 4G LTE connection.

OK, now we’re getting into the two different models, which is getting a bit of remix from previous generations.

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The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is a bit sleeker, and instead of a physical bezel, it has a virtual bezel that you can use by tracing your finger around the edge of the screen.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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However, for people who like the physical bezel (I’m one of them), there’s the Watch 4 Classic, which looks a bit more rugged, but aside from the bezel, has the same features as the regular Galaxy Watch 4.

Aaaaand here’s the pricing.

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Screenshot: Sam Rutherford

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Now here’s Samsung president TM Roh to talk about innovation.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Roh says Samsung not only wants to focus on new form factors (foldables, anyone?), but it knows how important things like security and privacy are.

Roh says Samsung is also partnering with big corps like Google and Microsoft to help optimize apps on foldable devices.

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Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3

So here are Samsung’s new Z series phones.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

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First up, the new Galaxy Z Fold 3!

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Screenshot: Samsung

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One interesting thing is that Samsung says it noticed Z Fold owners used the exterior cover screen just as much as the flexible main display.

So this year, the Z Fold 3’s cover screen is getting a boost to 120Hz.

On the inside, the Z Fold 3’s screen is still 7.6 inches across. But to help remove any distractions, Samsung is adding a new under-display camera (UDC), which Samsung says is the first for any foldable phone.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Samsung is also showing off some of the Z Fold 3’s app optimizations, showing how a dynamic menu is used to take up less space on the screen with UI elements, letting you better focus on the content you care about.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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And depending on the app, the Z Fold 3 will even let you drag and drop certain files and elements.

To start, Samsung says there will be more than 50 apps optimized to work on Samsung’s foldables.

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Screenshot: Samsung

But wait, there’s more (I’ve always wanted to steal this line).

Now, for the first time, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is getting IPX8 water resistance, which is no small feat on a phone with a hinge and a flexible screen.

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And it’s not just the Fold 3, the other new member of the Z series is getting water resistance too.

The other big new feature is STYLUS SUPPORT (but only for the Z Fold 3)!

This is really big, especially since Samsung has already confirmed there won’t be a new Galaxy Note this year.

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Screenshot: Samsung

To add stylus support, Samsung teamed up with Wacom to make a custom digitizer specifically for the Z Fold 3.

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Of course just adding stylus support isn’t enough, because the Z Fold 3’s screen still isn’t as strong as regular glass.

So Samsung also made a pair of new styluses that have the ability to automatically retract the stylus nib if the stylus detects that you’re pressing too hard.

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Screenshot: Samsung

Samsung didn’t forget about improving durability.

The company created a new type of aluminum called Armor Aluminum, while also switching to a more durable PET factory-installed screen protector, that’s stronger and stickier than before.

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Screenshot: Samsung

Hopefully that last part prevents the screen protector from peeling away, which is an issue I’ve been dealing with on my Galaxy Fold 2.

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Next up, the Z Flip 3!

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Screenshot: Samsung

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I gotta admit, even though I like the big screen on the Z Fold 3, the Flip is super stylish.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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For this year’s Flip, Samsung has made the outside cover screen a little bigger, so it’s easier to capture selfies or simply check notifications.

And if you’re trying to record a video by yourself, you can even prop the Z Flip 3 half open, and use it as a sort of tripod to record a vlog or selfie.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Samsung is even making slick cases with a built-in hook and a stretchy band that gives you a better grip, and looks way better than a PopSocket IMO.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Now Samsung is back talking about One UI 3, which, like apps, has been tweaked to deliver a better experience on Samsung’s foldables.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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OK, here comes the pricing, which is really gonna decide how popular these things become.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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And like last year, there’s also a special Thom Browne edition with a custom paint job, but it’s going to be extra expensive.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

Galaxy Buds 2

Wait, you thought we were done? Nope, Samsung’s got a new pair of Galaxy Buds too.

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And they’re call the Galaxy Buds 2.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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The new Buds 2 feature a super streamlined design, but the real upgrade is the addition of ANC.

Battery life is rated at five hours with ANC on, or around 7.5 hours with ANC off.

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And like previous Galaxy Buds, Samsung still included its Ambient Sound amplification feature, now with three levels of sound boost.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Here are the new Buds 2 colors.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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The other big thing to note is that the Galaxy Buds 2 will cost $150.

So in a lot of ways they are slightly cheaper versions of the Galaxy Buds Pro, with almost the same set of features but for $50 less.

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Aaaaand now we’ve launched in a musical number?

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Screenshot: Samsung

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And now it’s time for the wrap-up.

As usual, Samsung is talking about its sustainability goals and promising even more new innovations to come in the future.

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But today, the overarching message is a new fitness tracking and a new platform for the Galaxy Watch 4, and a big push for foldables into the mainstream market.

Well, that’s all folks!

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Screenshot: Samsung

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Thanks everyone for tuning in, and once again apologies for the technical difficulties.

We’re doing our best over here!

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