‘Hey Facebook,’ How About Not?

Illustration for article titled 'Hey Facebook,' How About Not?

Image: Facebook

Chances are you’re probably familiar with using a command like, “OK Google,” “Hey Siri,” or “Alexa” to summon a voice assistant. But now, the company that brought you pokes and likes—and who could forget fake news?— is trying to add, “Hey Facebook” to your rotation.

Facebook’s new vocal command officially rolled out today with the company’s announcement that it’s introducing “Hey Facebook” as an opt-in wake phrase on the Oculus Quest 2 to help deliver a more seamless hands-free VR experience.

However, as The Verge discovered, the “Hey Facebook” command can now also be used with Facebook’s Portal devices instead of the existing “Hey Portal” wake phrase to ask questions or perform functions like starting a video call.

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Now on a certain level, as we continue moving into this era of ambient computing where you don’t have to be sitting in front of a monitor and keyboard to actually use a computer, the addition of another wake phrase to everyday use shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

However, there’s something that just feels off about “Hey Facebook,” and after ruminating on it a bit, I think I’ve figured out why. The difference between “Hey Facebook” and other voice command triggers is that when you are directing a question to Siri or Alexa, you are directing your request to a specific entity, which in this case is an AI-powered digital assistant. And even though, “OK Google” would seem to be the same as “Hey Facebook,” Google has always made it clear that you are talking to the Google Assistant, not the company itself. (For what it’s worth, I still think the Google Assistant badly needs some kind of normal, human name.)

But with Facebook, there is no assistant or AI to speak. Facebook killed its previous assistant M, so with “Hey Facebook,” it feels like you are calling out to the faceless company that reminds people when your birthday is and keeps tabs on unspecified amounts of personal data. In the same fashion, “Hey Facebook” is also different from saying “Hey Portal,” which inherently refers to a specific device in your home. “Hey Facebook” just doesn’t feel the same.

So while saying “Hey Facebook” is extremely weird, that won’t stop Facebook from pushing its new wake phrase instead of alternatives like “Hey Portal” or even “Hey Oculus.” Facebook usually gets what it wants, even if it’s something no one else is on board with.

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Samsung’s ‘Buy and Try’ Program Lets You Take Its Foldable Phones for a 100-Day Test Drive

Galaxy Z Fold 2 | $1,450 | Samsung
Galaxy Z Flip | $650 | Samsung

Sure, plain slabs of glass are perfectly fine for scrolling your feeds, playing a few games, and keeping in touch with friends, but maybe if you absolutely must have the latest tech, you’ve probably had your eye on folding phones. Though still in their infancy, there’s a range of options to choose from, including the Microsoft Surface Duo, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and flip phone-style Galaxy Z Flip. They’re all pretty nifty in their own ways, but they’re also expensive, and the uncertain future of folding phones doesn’t instill much confidence that your investment will pay off down the road.

But if you’ve got your mind made up and your eyes set on a folding phone—high prices and uncertain futures be damned—a longer return window can help. Through April 1, Samsung is extending its return window for Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Z Flip devices from 15 days to 100 days. You can also trade in another device for up to $550 in credit towards your new phone, which may take a good chunk out of your payment depending on what you’re trading in.

There are some things you should know, though. If you do trade in a device but end up not sticking with your Galaxy Z Fold or Flip, you won’t be able to get your phone back. Instead, Samsung will issue you a credit for the value of the traded-in device. That credit only works on Samsung’s site, though, so be certain you’ll be getting a Samsung for your next phone before making the leap.

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Caveats aside, this offer does alleviate a bit of the risk if you’re tempted to try out a foldable smartphone without putting down an exorbitant amount of cash for the privilege.


Why Yes, I Would Love to Build My Own Customizable, Upgradable, Totally Repairable Laptop

Illustration for article titled Why Yes, I Would Love to Build My Own Customizable, Upgradable, Totally Repairable Laptop

Image: Framework

San Francisco-based startup Framework just announced a thin, lightweight productivity laptop unlike any other on the market right now. Sure, it looks similar to the aluminum options almost every other laptop maker offers, but this laptop can be upgraded, customized, and repaired in ways that others just can’t.

To start, Framework laptops have four swappable port bays, which can eliminate the need for a separate port dock all together. Framework calls this the Expansion Card System. There’s the default USB-C card, which supports USB4, 20V/5A charging, and DisplayPort Alt Mode for connecting a monitor; a USB-A card that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2; an HMDI card that supports HDMI 2.0; a DisplayPort card for DisplayPort 1.4 support; a MicroSD port; a card for an extra 250GB or 1TB of storage, which kind of functions like an external drive; and Framework has more expansion cards in development for headphones, microcontrollers, and others.

You can not only choose what ports you want, but you can choose what side you want them on. So if you’re like me and use an external mouse with your laptop sometimes, you might want the charging or HDMI port on the left side so the cables don’t get in the way. (Also good news for left-handed mouse users!)

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The laptop’s guts can all be completely customized. Framework says the entire mainboard can be swapped to boost performance as it launched new models with new processors down the road. The battery, screen, and keyboard are also totally replaceable, and Framework laptops also let users swap their keyboard language and layout, as well as customize the color of the detachable magnetic bezel.

The laptops can either come pre-assembled or disassembled for those who enjoy the DIY process.

According to The Verge, Framework founder Nirav Patel, who was one of the original Oculus employees and also previously worked at Apple, hopes to address the issue of electronic waste by allowing its laptop customers to swap out a host of different components in their device.

Illustration for article titled Why Yes, I Would Love to Build My Own Customizable, Upgradable, Totally Repairable Laptop

Image: Framework

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“As a consumer electronics company, your business model effectively depends on churning out constant tons of hardware and pushing it into channels, and into market, and into consumers’ hands, and then sort of dropping it and letting it exist out there,” Patel told The Verge. “It encourages waste and inefficiency, and ultimately environmental damage.”

Framework also puts the right to repair directly—and literally—in its customers’ hands. By maintain an ecosystem of easily replaceable parts, customers won’t have to replace their entire laptop if something goes wrong, or ship it back to the manufacturer just to replace a stick of RAM. (Some companies like to solder the RAM to the motherboard.)

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Framework is not the first company to attempt some form of modular laptop or mini desktop design. We previously reviewed Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme Kit, and Intel also quietly launched its Phantom Canyon NUC 11 lineup during CES last month. Alienware also had its big dream of swappable components with the Area-51m R2, but it didn’t translate so well with customers due to the unavailability of Nvidia RTX Super GPUs for upgrades. Google even had a modular phone, Project Ara, which it eventually scrapped.

But it seems like Framework could be the first company to make a modular laptop work. The advent of Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake mobile CPUs, which contain both the CPU and GPU on a system-on-chip (SoC) form factor, not to mention the smart design choice of swappable ports, make this laptop an attractive option for those who want or need that little bit of extra customization.

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Framework will start shipping its customizable laptops in summer 2021. You can sign up on its website to be notified by email when you can place an order.

Don’t Do It, Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch

Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Rumors that Samsung may potentially ditch Tizen, its proprietary OS for wearables, for Google’s Wear OS, have been flying lately. It’s a baffling idea, considering that Samsung smartwatches are the best Android-friendly smartwatches right now, and Wear OS is a stinking hot mess.

Case in point: 9to5Google reports that the “OK Google” or “Hey Google” phrases to trigger Google Assistant on Wear OS watches have been broken for months. Google also confirmed to The Verge that it was aware of this bug, which has been plaguing users since at least November 2020, and is working on a fix. While you can still use the Assistant by long-pressing buttons (which is actually my preferred method of bringing up Assistant on Wear OS), it’s telling that Google has known about the problem for this long and still hasn’t fixed the issue.

Wear OS has long been one of Google’s most neglected projects, but this is a new low. The main reason to pick a Wear OS watch over a Fitbit or Samsung smartwatch is native integration with Google Assistant and Google Pay. If you don’t care about quickly fixing one of the main selling points of your wearables platform, then I’m not sure I can confidently say Wear OS is going to be around for the long haul. And this isn’t the only instance. Back in October, even Google put Wear OS second by opting to release a YouTube Music app for the Apple Watch first. Worse yet, Google’s most recent updates to Wear OS were paltry at best, with slightly better app loading times and a weather tile as the marquee features.

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This was all Wear OS had to offer in 2020. Compare that to Samsung’s blockbuster year, in which it absolutely knocked it out of the park with the Galaxy Watch 3. Right now, the Galaxy Watch 3 is the only other flagship smartwatch that can go toe-to-toe with the Apple Watch on nearly every single feature. Of course, it’s not perfect. Some features like its FDA-cleared electrocardiogram app are currently only available for Samsung smartphone owners. However, there’s really no competition between the Galaxy Watch 3 and even the best of the best Wear OS watches I’ve tested.

To be fair, once upon a time Samsung did use Wear OS—then Android Wear—on its smartwatches. But in 2014, it made the switch to Tizen with the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, probably for the same reasons nearly every other smartwatch maker besides Fossil at the time did: Google’s clunky UI, low adoption rate, and the outdated Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip.

So why, why would Samsung go back to a platform that has yet to get its shit together? I can think of a few reasons, but none of them are particularly good. For starters, Tizen doesn’t have a great ecosystem of third-party apps, and switching to Wear OS might open it up to more apps. But to be quite honest, Wear OS apps don’t get much developer love, even if there are more of them. For instance, Spotify for Wear OS is a glorified remote control, while Spotify for Tizen lets you use offline playlists. Google’s native Wear OS apps are OK at best, and frankly, it’s bizarre that the built-in Google Fit workout app is actually now split into several different versions. Google Fit, even with newer updates, is also not better than Samsung Health, and having both installed on your watch is again, tedious.

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The other reason I could see Samsung making the switch would be to bring the option of Google Assistant and Google Pay to Samsung watches. And that would be awesome, because Samsung Pay is more restrictive to use than Google Pay, and who the hell actually likes Bixby? But does Samsung need to go all-in on Wear OS to incorporate Assistant and Google Pay? Fitbit manages to have Google Assistant work on Fitbit OS, why not allow Samsung to do the same? (Granted, Fitbit likely has Assistant because Google now owns the company.)

There’s the distinct chance that a Samsung Wear OS watch would suck less than every other Wear OS watch. But that’s mostly because Samsung could use its proprietary Exynos SoC instead of relying on Qualcomm’s, which is doing the bare minimum. Also, while I’m sure Samsung’s rotating bezel navigation could be ported onto a Wear OS watch, it just wouldn’t be quite as good unless Google allowed Samsung to run a Wear OS skin (which is what Oppo did with its Wear OS watch). It’s telling that Wear OS was actually decent on the Oppo Watch because it didn’t look or function anything like Wear OS. And at that point, what even is the reason to switch from Tizen again?

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It’s clear that Google gets more out of Samsung using Wear OS than vice versa. Samsung bringing its smartwatch innovations to that platform would suddenly make it relevant again—provided that all of Samsung’s apps, including the ones that need FDA clearance, could seamlessly make the jump.

Except that wouldn’t make Wear OS as a whole good. For that to happen, other watchmakers would have to figure out how to make the best use of Wear OS. Google would have to actually update the damn platform consistently with actually good features, not incremental ones that are barely a blip on the radar. Qualcomm would have to figure out how to update its wearable SoC to current process technology and do it more than once every two years. And that’s if Google doesn’t decide to up-end the whole thing now that it owns Fitbit to make something else entirely.

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Android users—and not just the ones who use Samsung smartphones—deserve an excellent smartwatch. This just doesn’t seem like the best way to get one.

How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Illustration for article titled How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Image: Apple

Smartphones have come a long way toward becoming the best cameras we carry. A long journey through megapixels, multiple lenses, optical zoom, image stabilization, and various other upgrades has gotten us to today’s handsets, but today, much of the work in capturing a great photo is happening on the software side.

Phone cameras can take pictures with a ton of extra information attached to them, including data about lighting, color, intensity, focus and so on. These additional bits of data can then be used to transform the photo after it’s been taken.

Taking multiple photos in an instant is also a key part of this new era of computational phone photography, because photos can be compared, analyzed, and combined to adjust colors, fix focus, and apply a variety of other smart tricks to an image. These tricks and the machine learning networks underneath them vary between phone manufacturers, but there are some broad techniques that they’re all using.

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Balanced exposures

High Dynamic Range (HDR) has been with us for a while, on TVs and movie streaming services as well as smartphone cameras. The idea is to keep details visible in both the darkest and lightest areas of a picture—avoiding the silhouette effect you might see when taking a photo of someone standing in front of a bright window, for example.

By taking multiple photos with multiple exposures, smartphones can grab the details in all areas of the picture, effectively applying different processing rules to different sections of the image. The bright spots get a certain tweak, the dark spots get another tweak, and so on until the picture is balanced.

Illustration for article titled How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Image: Google/Nicholas Wilson

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As Google explains, these HDR effects are improving as phones get faster and algorithms get smarter. They’re becoming more natural-looking and more balanced, and they can now be previewed in real time through the phone screen, rather than everything being done after the shutter button has been pressed.

What’s also getting better, through the ever-improving algorithms that have been trained on libraries of millions of images, is the way that different sections of a photo can be stitched back together. To the user, there should be no sign at all that the phone has pulled together multiple exposures and broken up the individual images to treat different segments of them separately: It should just look like one photo, snapped in an instant.

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Background blurs

Portrait mode was one of the very first computational photography tricks to roll out as a built-in smartphone feature, and just like HDR, the results are getting more impressive and more accurate as time goes on. Information from multiple lenses and depth sensors (if the phone has them) is combined with smart guesses from neural networks to figure out which parts of a picture should be blurred and which shouldn’t.

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Again, multiple pictures can be used in combination, with the ever-so-slight differences between them telling the image-processing algorithms which objects are closer to the camera than others—and which pixels need blurring. These algorithms can also be deployed to judge whether or not the photo is suitable for a portrait shot to begin with.

Illustration for article titled How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Image: Apple

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Recent improvements are adding more data to the mix, such as which areas of an image are fractionally sharper than others, which again can indicate how far an object is from the camera. You can see the progress being made year over year: Cameras capture more detail and new signals, and the AI processing gets better at putting everything together in a finished image.

Not every step forward is because of software, though. The introduction of LiDAR on the Pro models of the latest iPhone 12 handsets means that more depth data can be captured right from the start, and hardware upgrades will continue to progress alongside software ones.

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Low-light photography

We’ve seen some spectacular leaps forward in low-light photography in recent years, and it’s largely due to computational photography. Again, the idea is that multiple photos with multiple settings are combined together to bring out as much detail as possible, while keeping noise to a minimum. This type of processing is now so good that it can almost make the nighttime look like the daytime.

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The compromise that’s made here is time: Low-light photo modes need more seconds to capture as much light as they possibly can. In the case of the astrophotography mode on the Pixel phones, you might be waiting several minutes for the capture to finish, and the phone needs to be kept perfectly still to achieve usable results.

Illustration for article titled How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Image: Google

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Even with the extra time and camera stability required, it’s barely believable that we can now take photos of a starry sky with a mid-range phone that fits in a pocket. Neural networks are stacked on neural networks, with some dedicated to picking out the faintest points of light and others solving other tricky problems—such as how to nail white balance in such a challenging shot.

This technology is constantly moving forward too. The neural networks behind it are getting more adept at recognizing which parts of a photo are which, working out how to focus on objects in darkness and make them as sharp as possible, and identifying the difference between a dark sky and a dark mountain—so you don’t suddenly end up with stars that are in a perfectly bright blue sky.

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Other improvements

The benefits of computational photography don’t stop there. Multiple frames can also be analyzed and pushed through algorithms to reduce noise and increase sharpness as well, which is an area which Apple’s Deep Fusion technology covers. It looks at multiple exposures and then applies artificial intelligence techniques to pick the options for crisp detail, sometimes down to the level of individual pixels. The final photo picks out all the best bits of the multiple snaps that have been taken.

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Pixel binning is another related technology that you might hear mentioned when it comes to top-end smartphone cameras. It essentially uses information from several pixels in a camera sensor to create one master, super-accurate pixel in a finished image—it means finished pictures are smaller than the megapixel rating of the camera might suggest, but they should be sharper and clearer too.

That’s a lot of image processing done in milliseconds across millions of individual pixels, but the power that’s packed into modern-day flagship smartphones means that they can keep up. The same principles are being applied to making digital zoom as good as optical zoom too. Right now this also helps premium handsets stand out from budget and mid-range phones, because they have the extra processor speed and memory required to get all of this optimization done at a satisfactory speed.

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Illustration for article titled How Your Phone Works Behind-the-Scenes Magic to Take the Best Possible Photo

Image: Apple

RAW formats (including Apple ProRAW) are still available on many phones if you just want all the data captured by the camera and think you can do a better job than the algorithms. However, computational photography has now seeped into just about every phone on the market, to a greater or lesser extent: Most of us are happy to take the improvements it brings, even when the finished image doesn’t match what we actually saw.

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Facebook Told Us to Suck It, for a Change

Illustration for article titled Facebook Told Us to Suck It, for a Change

Photo: Michael Reynolds (Getty Images)

Attention, haters: you have officially been put on notice by Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg.

This morning, Clegg unleashed a very salty, very strongly-worded rebuke to sordid charges propagated by publishers supposedly looking for a cash grab. It’s titled “The Real Story of What Happened With News on Facebook in Australia,” and reads like a closing argument in a courtroom drama—in this case, essentially accusing Australian lawmakers of allowing the media industry to pick Facebook’s pocket through a proposed law which would compel the company to pay for journalism. While I reject every assertion in this blog post, it’s nice to finally get a human on the line—rather that the unbroken chain of prerecorded denialism and we’ll-get-back-to-yous from Facebook which rarely relate in any way to criticisms at hand.

Here’s the reported version of the Story of What Happened With News on Facebook in Australia: Australian lawmakers have been wrapping up some new legislation (the News Media Bargaining Code). Specifically, it gives Australian news businesses the power to bargain over a rate which Facebook and Google would have to pay in exchange for hosting news articles in full, as excerpts, or in link form. Facebook did not care for this plan and retaliated by pulling all news links shared by publishers and users from its site in Australia. (Clegg said that Facebook had to do so to protect itself from liability.)

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But many also noted that this kind of proved the point that Facebook wields way too much power over news access online. Yesterday, the company flipped the news switch back on after lawmakers agreed to a handful of amendments. They would give Facebook and Google a month’s notice before enforcement and potentially exempt Facebook entirely if it proves that it already pays Australian media companies through alternative deals. (Google, on the other hand, struck a deal with NewsCorp to share some ad revenue and create a subscription service. Google already pays some participating publishers to give readers free access to paywalled articles in its News Showcase product. Facebook reportedly pays a select number of outlets to present their full stories in its News Tab.)

In a blog post yesterday, Facebook said it was “pleased” with the agreement, but Clegg saved a few choice words for (presumably) legislators and journalists. Claiming that the Australian lawmakers were deluded by “a fundamental misunderstanding” of how news on Facebook works, Clegg argued that Facebook actually provides news outlets a free marketing service. More to the point, what you’ve heard are lies [emphasis theirs]:

The assertions — repeated widely in recent days — that Facebook steals or takes original journalism for its own benefit always were and remain false.

Okay, depends on your vantage point. Moreover, that wasn’t really the lesson from the past week. We just learned that Australians like getting their news from Facebook.

Clegg could have left it there, but he decided to let it rip:

Of course, the internet has been disruptive for the news industry. Anyone with a connection can start a website or write a blog post; not everyone can start a newspaper. When ads started moving from print to digital, the economics of news changed, and the industry was forced to adapt. Some have made this transition to the online world successfully, while others have struggled to adapt. It is understandable that some media conglomerates see Facebook as a potential source of money to make up for their losses, but does that mean they should be able to demand a blank check?

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I’m guessing the money-grubbing failures to which Clegg refers include the dying local papers that have struggled to adapt in part specifically because they’re losing out on locally-targeted advertising revenue which is now almost entirely pocketed by Google and Facebook. Anyway, okay, we get it! Not done yet [emphasis, again, Clegg’s]:

It’s like forcing car makers to fund radio stations because people might listen to them in the car — and letting the stations set the price. It is ironic that some of the biggest publishers that have long advocated for free markets and voluntary commercial undertakings now appear to be in favor of state sponsored price setting. The events in Australia show the danger of camouflaging a bid for cash subsidies behind distortions about how the internet works.

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This is a wildly skewed metaphor; Facebook is less like the car and more like one of two radio stations that get to decide which record labels to promote. That kind of broadcast dominance has directly led to newroom layoffs through (allegedly knowingly misleading) emphasis on video. It’s also algorithmically suppressed outlets now competing for attention with fake and inflammatory sources. For a sense of how much an even playing field matters, the Pew Research Center recently found that 36% of Americans regularly get their news from Facebook. Its influence over the flow of information is so patently obvious that every few years we circle back to insisting that Zuckerberg just admit that he’s running a media organization.

Maybe Australian politicians, in needling Facebook to pay its fair share, finally struck a nerve. Or maybe the thrill of winning a pissing match against a sovereign nation has the company’s executives willing to gloat. Whatever the case may be, I sincerely hope that Facebook keeps the line of honest dialogue open.

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OLED King LG Says It Will License webOS to Other TV Makers

Illustration for article titled OLED King LG Says It Will License webOS to Other TV Makers

Image: LG

LG will make its webOS software available to other companies.

The proprietary software on LG’s own sets will be able to be licensed by outside TV brands, the company announced Wednesday. Notably, TV brands that choose to bring LG’s software to their televisions will also get its Magic Motion remote, LG’s very good cursor-like wand. It would also see the same voice control tools, algorithms, and apps—including LG Channels—included on those displays as well, the company said.

“By welcoming other manufacturers to join the webOS TV ecosystem, we are embarking on a new path that allows many new TV owners to experience the same great UX and features that are available on LG TVs. We look forward to bringing these new customers into the incredible world of webOS TV,” Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, said in a statement.

The news follows LG’s announcement during CES earlier this year that webOS was getting a fairly drastic redesign. LG’s interface in the past has gone for a blade-like design that kept the navigation menu in the lower third of the screen. But with webOS 6.0, which will be included on the company’s 2021 TVs, LG has ditched the blade design for a more standard interface that looks a lot more like Google TV, which is also being licensed out to TV makers and will appear on devices other than the Chromecast this year, including on TCL and Sony televisions.

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More than 20 TV makers have already signed on to bring webOS to their sets, according to the company, including RCA, Ayonz, and Konka.

Bypass Region Locks and Get Protected With 35% off 1 Year of ExpressVPN

Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

1 Year of VPN Service | $100 | ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the best-reviewed virtual private network (VPN) services around, called out as the top service by publications such as CNET, TechRadar, and Tom’s Guide. Whether you want a VPN for anonymizing your internet connection to evade potential snoopers, or want the ability to get around regional restrictions imposed by websites and content services, ExpressVPN is one of your best options.

Right now, you can snag a full year of ExpressVPN service for $100, which is 35% off the usual month-to-month price. ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers around the world to route your connection through, including servers in 160 locations across 94 different countries. You can use up to five simultaneous devices via ExpressVPN, too, and they keep no activity or connection logs. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee, too, in case it doesn’t meet your needs.

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HP Expands Its Gaming Empire by Bringing HyperX Into the Fold

Illustration for article titled HP Expands Its Gaming Empire by Bringing HyperX Into the Fold

Photo: Sam Rutherford

HP is already one of the biggest computer makers in the world, complete with its own line of Omen gaming systems. But today HP’s gaming empire is about to get bigger with the acquisition of HyperX.

In a deal valued at $425 million, HP announced it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Kingston’s gaming division HyperX, which encompasses a range of both PC and console gaming products, including keyboards, mice, headsets, microphones, gamepads, and more. But notably, Kingston’s line of HyperX PC components such as RAM, SSDs, and more will stay with Kingston, as the focus of HP’s deal is on HyperX’s gaming peripherals.

In a press release detailing the acquisition, HP President and CEO Enrique Lores said:We see significant opportunities in the large and growing peripherals market, and the addition of HyperX to our portfolio will drive new sources of innovation and growth for our business.”

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However, the bigger picture is that with the global video game market expected to exceed $200 billion in the coming years, a lot of major players have started gobbling up smaller companies to help expand their holdings, which is exactly what happened in 2019 when Corsair acquired Scuf, Elgato, and Origin PC.

In fact, you can trace the origins of HP’s gaming PCs all the way back to 2006, when HP acquired boutique desktop maker Voodoo PC, which was later relaunched under the Omen brand name in 2013 with a logo evoking the original Voodoo style.

Currently, it’s unclear how HP will manage the HyperX branding going forward. The company could potentially folding some existing products into the larger Omen brand. It’s also unclear if Kingston plans to retain the HyperX branding on its PC components (the first HyperX branded product came on a new line of high-end RAM back in 2002) or if it will switch to something else. Gizmodo has reached out to HP for clarification, and we will update the story if we hear back.

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The deal between HP and Kingston is expected to be officially finalized sometime in Q2 2021 following standard regulatory review.

Wednesday’s Best Deals: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, UGG Bedsheets, Joker Comics, 18TB External HDD, Geryon Vacuum Sealer Machine, Kirby Art Book, and More

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G and UGG bedsheets lead Wednesday’s best deals.

Jump to: Tech | Gaming | Home | Lifestyle | Media

Samsung’s long-running Galaxy Note line has delivered some serious large and feature-rich Android phones over the years, and they’ve been consistently super expensive and packed with a pop-out S Pen stylus. Last fall’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is the apex of the line: larger, more luxurious-feeling, and even more feature-rich than ever. Also the most expensive ever.

As Gizmodo’s Sam Rutherford wrote:

“Frankly, the S-Pen is just a bonus, and when it comes to taking notes during meetings or just drawing silly captions on photos, I’m glad it’s still around. But even without it, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is still so much more thoughtful and refined than the S20 Ultra, or any other super premium phone. Yes, even at $1,300, this thing is still exceedingly expensive, but at long last, Samsung has finally made something truly worthy of that ‘Ultra’ tag.”

But if you’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, now might be the time to strike: Amazon is taking $375 off the list price in all three colors as its Deal of the Day. Yes, that’s still $925 for a phone—but a 29% knock is hard to ignore if you’ve been considering the Note 20 Ultra anyway. And remember that the new, stylus-less Galaxy S21 line is also on sale this week!


Charge your phone and your MacBook too. This 65W PD block from RAVPower is half the size of Apple’s boxy MacBook Pro adapter and for a fraction of the price. At $30 with our exclusive promo code KJ99FHNOW5 and the on-site coupon, you can’t beat this two-port USB-C plug.

Plus, the price difference is substantial. A 61W charger from Apple is $69, a difference of 57%. Save your $39 for the apocalypse, not an inferior power supply. And hook your phone up to a source that’s both portable and powerful, with this special limited time offer. It’ll also work with other phones, tablets, and laptops, not to mention the Nintendo Switch.


Look, it’s not my job to ask questions. I scour the internet for deals and present them to you with minimal commentary. All I hope is that I’ve saved you a few bucks on something you were going to be buy anyway. That’s really all I’m aiming for here. So if for some reason you have need for an 18TB external hard drive, well, more power to you. Maybe you work in film. Maybe you are the government. Don’t know, don’t care! Just going to tell you that Best Buy is selling this 18TB USB 3.0 hard drive for $330 today. I’m not going to follow up and ask why you possibly need this much space, because I’m sure you have a good answer. And even if you don’t, that’s none of my concern!


A few of these have turned up on the site, and I’ve even tested one or two; this one is a fan favorite of SideDeal. These sanitizers can sterilize basically anything you can fit in it them, and I’ve just started adding my face masks. Take 86% off this UV Phone Sanitizer today. And with two you put them in different locations in your home or share.

If you’ve never seen or used a sanitizer like this, it’s all pretty user-friendly. Do you remember the five-second rule as a kid? Well, this Sharper Image one is governed by the five-minute rule. Yup, in just five minutes, your items will be almost 100% free of gross microorganisms. I absolutely recommend using the aromatherapy function. Sometimes these sanitizers can leave your stuff smelling slightly zapped. ::insert shrug emoji:: But anything you can think of will get all-around disinfection in this little pod. Earbuds, toothbrushes, watches, keys, glasses, and jewelry are all ready to be germ-free and keep you safer in a newer, cleaner world.

If you’ve read a few of our pieces on SideDeal before and you like what you’ve seen, they offer a $5 monthly fee to get free shipping on all of your orders, no matter how many. Otherwise, it’s a flat rate of $8.


Bring home the convenience of wireless charging at a bargain price thanks to this discounted two-pack of Yootech wireless charging stands. They’ll charge any Qi-compatible phones, including recent iPhones and top Androids from Samsung, Google, and more at a max speed of 10W. Better yet, they’ll do it while keeping your phone screen upright and visible, which is ideal when charging while working at your desk.

Yootech’s chargers are very well-reviewed on Amazon, with a 4.6-star rating from 16,900+ customer appraisals, and right now you can snag a two-pack of these wireless charging stands for just $22 when you clip the coupon on the page. They come with the USB A-to-C cables, but not the power bricks—but you may already have some of those kicking around.


Are you the friend constantly asking if anyone has a charger? Or pre-pandemic, were you asking bartenders if you could plug your phone in somewhere? The second option is probably not on the table now, so what better way to solve the problem than by grabbing this Aukey 20,000mAh power bank for just $28. Just clip the coupon and see the savings appear at checkout. This deal will expire on February 28.

I’ve had Aukey products before and really like them. This power bank is a great deal at 22% off. I personally like to have a portable charger with me at all times. I’m not too fond of seeing the battery level go to red, not knowing where or when I can charge it next. This power bank shines with its foldable stand, which allows for hands-free phone viewing while it charges, which it can do cable-free thanks to the built-in Qi wireless functionality.

It’s a bit hefty, but it can charge an iPhone 12 up to 50% in just thirty minutes. The charger itself takes about three hours before it’s fully charged, and you can hit the road. This pack comes with a user manual and a 24-month AUKEYCARE Card.


True wireless earbuds aren’t a necessity, but their convenience can’t be disputed. If you’re eyeing a good pair of buds, but need something that’s more Android-friendly than Apple’s AirPods or more affordable than Jabra’s Elite 85t, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ are down to $110 on Amazon right now.

These noise-cancelling headphones feature up to 25 hours of battery life, support for Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa, and customizable fit. In her review of the Galaxy Buds+ last February, Gizmodo’s Caitlin McGarry commended the earbuds for their solid sound quality, long battery life, and price point. It’s worth noting, though, that the model on sale does not include the wireless charging case.


 

Google’s Chromebook laptops are a sensation: they’re super affordable while still highly functional, and it’s possible to get a convertible 2-in-1 device at a surprisingly low price. Here’s a prime example: right now, Samsung’s Chromebook Plus V2 is just $350 at Amazon, a savings of $150 off the list price.

This Chrome OS-powered notebook has a Full HD 12.2” touch display and folds inside-out to take on a tablet-like form. On top of that, there’s a built-in stylus pen that you can pop out and use for sketching, taking notes, and more. This is a super-handy entry-level laptop with perks, and can be great for personal use or even the kids’ e-learning needs. Grab this bargain while it lasts!


If you’re looking for a pair of reliable in-ear headphones, I would check out Aukey EP-N7 True Wireless Earbuds. They’re only $52 with the promo code KINJAN720. You’ll be able to block out the world around you and concentrate with hybrid noise-canceling, which means that they’ll automatically detect and cancel up to 35dB of ambient noise.

There is a built-in mic for video calls and you’ll get up to 25 hours of battery life with 1.5 hours of continuous charge. Yes, you’ll receive a USB-C cord as well as the wireless charging case. I’ve tested this pair, and unless you’re trying to debut your singing skills on TikTok like I did this weekend, it’s the perfect pair to accomplish all your day-to-day tasks and listen to tunes.


Apple doesn’t ship a wall charger with the iPhone 12 line, which it says is for the environment, but potentially leaves you with a $699+ phone that you can’t charge right out of the box. You’ll need a wall charger with a USB-C port to use the cable that’s in the iPhone 12’s box, or you could charge with an old iPhone brick and Lightning-to-USB cable, but it’ll be at lower speeds.

Here’s an affordable way to both fix that omission and ensure that you’re well covered. Right now, RAVPower is offering a two-pack of its 20W USB-C PD wall chargers for just over $11 at Amazon right now when you clip the coupon.

These little guys are about as small as the old, less-powerful Apple wall chargers, but still pump out enough power to charge your new phone at full speed. Apple’s own single 20W charger is $19, by the way. And you can use these to charge other devices, too, such as Android smartphones, AirPods, and the Nintendo Switch. They’re very handy to have around if you don’t already have a pile of power bricks.


There are a lot of very obvious AirPods-inspired wireless earbuds out there right now, but Samsung’s recent Galaxy Buds Live are different: they look like lil’ beans that you pop into your ears. These aural legumes are plenty powerful, however, packing active noise cancellation and strong audio quality. And the shape actually works well, as Gizmodo reviewer Sam Rutherford described:

“The Galaxy Buds Live are quite comfortable, and when combined with their relatively petite dimensions and low profile, they are some of the most unobtrusive wireless headphones on the market. In fact, I’ve even fallen asleep while wearing them and they are right up there with the Pixel Buds as being one of the most comfortable earbuds in my ears. And when it comes to staying in place during exercise, even after a sweaty one-mile run, the Galaxy Beans never budged.”

Save $30 off the list price in all four colors at Amazon right now.


I mentioned to a friend I was testing these; they had no idea that Yamaha made audio items like this. They thought the company was only keyboards. While yes, they have made/make great musical instruments, they’ve taken that commitment to quality to audio products. Specifically their new TW-E3A True Wireless Earbuds. These are currently $39 less and worth every penny.

First off, they paired perfectly and quickly with my phone. The sound is really clear, specifically when I was listening to my favorite podcasts. They are also very comfortable and stayed firmly in my ears as I trudged eleven blocks on errands in the snow. Unlike other less expensive earbuds, I absolutely see the difference in not having to fuss with finding the right position to get the most dynamic sound. The microphone was a little murky on the calls I made, but that could very well be on the cellular provider. I had these in for quite a few hours while writing, and again they’re extremely comfortable. I got a full steady five hours of playtime before I popped them back in their very pretty matte case. Yamaha boasts twenty-four hours of battery life off one charge, and I absolutely believe that given my experience. As with all earbuds, the “simple controls” take some time to get used to, but I can say these are a lot more responsive initially with a single tap. These are sweat and water-resistant, so don’t be afraid to take these to your next gym session. The blue earbuds are the only ones that are 30% off, while the other colors are 23% off.

This will ship for free for Prime members.

Are you ready to play a nice, wholesome fighting game with your friends? Cool. I hope that works out for you! Anyways, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate Edition is on sale for $35, and it’s a game where you destroy a man’s skeleton until he dies. If you’re confused by all the different re-releases and DLC packs for the game, all you need to know is this: the Ultimate Edition has it all. You’ll get Kombat Packs I and II, Shao Kahn, and the Aftermath expansion. So if you’re looking for an easy way to get all of the game’s content, this is the package you’re looking for. Play it just in time to be let down by April’s new Mortal Kombat movie!


Deep breaths, deep breaths. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is down to $28 on Xbox and $38 on PS4 at Amazon, which is a very low price considering it came out in November. When I bought the game, it was still full price, and the drops only started a few days after that. Isn’t that funny? I figured, “There’s no way it’ll get discounted this early.” And then it went down to $50! Great, I love that for everyone that is not me! Lo and behold, I’ve woken up today and here we are at $27. Extremely cool and I’m happy for everyone who had the foresight to wait a few months. Anyway, Like a Dragon is the latest in the Yakuza series, which just seems to get increasingly weirder as time goes on. The biggest change this time around is a pivot to turn-combat, a departure for the series. You can also do a bunch of wacky and mundane side-missions like can collecting and go karting and that’s really the selling point here, frankly.


Cloud gaming doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. Google Stadia just celebrated its one-year anniversary by making Destiny 2 free to play (though it also just dismantled its original game development team), Amazon recently threw its hat in the ring with Luna, and Microsoft’s own cloud service is coming to iOS next year. Whether or not cloud gaming is the future of gaming, it’s certainly going to become more available in 2021. If you’re looking to dip your toe in, you’re going to want a proper controller setup. Razer currently has the best solution out there with the Kishi, a gamepad attachment that essentially turns your phone into a handheld system. You can currently grab a Kishi for $58 at Amazon and try for yourself. This version is compatible with Android devices, and is designed with Microsoft’s cloud gaming service in mind. and features a Type-C port and button layout that mirrors the Xbox controller’s.


I’ll be honest: I don’t know much about Shenmue. All I know if that it’s kind of cheesy. I’m not even sure if the love for it is ironic or not. The one thing I do know is that it has a scene about looking for sailors and it’s iconic. So, maybe 2021 is the year to play Shenmue? I mean, not a lot else going on, I guess, right? Why not play all three Shenmue games? If you’re looking to join me on this arbitrary journey I just decided on in this 7:30 a.m. haze, Shenmue III is on sale for $10 on Best Buy right now. It includes a steelbook case for the game, so you can just become a Shenmue super fan right out the gate. I just hope there are sailors in the game. I would be sad if he never found the sailors.


If you’re a big fan of catching ‘em all, then here’s a more affordable way to complete your collection on Switch. Right now, a few Pokémon games are marked down $15 apiece.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a Switch remake of a Game Boy Advance dungeon-crawling spinoff, is $45 at Best Buy or Amazon, while Pokémon-meets-Tekken fighting game mash-up Pokkén Tournament DX is likewise $45 at either Amazon or Best Buy. Meanwhile, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, both remakes of the original Pokémon handheld game, are each $45 at Best Buy.


Do you currently enjoy many close and cherished relationships with friends and family? Would you like to absolutely ruin all of those in the blink of an eye? Well do I have a deal for you! Amazon is currently selling Overcooked! All You Can Eat for PlayStation 5 or Xbox (Series X/S or One) for $35. That’s a savings of $15 off the list price for this complete compilation, which brings together both games with all additional content.

These are fantastic multiplayer games where players need to work together to run a kitchen. Sounds simple enough, right? You have no idea how wrong you are, naïve fool. Overcooked! is a game about chaos in cooperation. Simple tasks like making a hamburger become a nightmare as four people all try to coordinate to make it together. It’s essentially the old “too many cooks” adage adapted into a video game.

UGG is a brand that flies off the shelves once it’s on sale. This is a really great deal on their sheets, but you’re going to have to do a little work. There are eight colors still available in various sizes and at different prices. The best value of all of these seems to be the Queen Set in Snow. These premium sheets are % off, and they’re the softest blend of woven polyester microfiber. These are comfortable and chic. The snow color is nice as it won’t clash with the decor you already have. But again, play around with the other options, and you might find a better fit for your bedroom. If not, snag these for $20 less. Buy quickly, though; these will all be gone very soon.

Free shipping on orders over $39.


Winter is the prime season for the crockpot. I grew up with a mom that had a very cool retro one from the 70s and she made almost everything during the cold months in it. If you’ve ever wondered about cooking with a crockpot I highly suggest it. And if you can get it for a great price what not? Take $70 off this Crock-Pot Express 6-Quart Multi-Cooker for the rest of the day at Best Buy.

The crockpot is a pretty versatile appliance and can make a million different things. I guess that’s how it got its multi-cooker name. With one-touch cooking settings, it is easy to operate no matter your needs. You can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, and/or steam. I have a cousin who almost exclusively cooks with her crockpot. And I get it. These are all-in-one machines that make dishes 70% faster than traditional cooking. This size is perfect for a big fam or if you love to meal prep. It’s simple to clean out and stays locked until pressure is released to keep you safe. And you’re saving $70.

This item ships for free.


You can’t make me do it. You can’t ask me to write up a post about this Tauntaun sleeping bag, which is on sale for $100 at GameStop, and expect me to write a joke about how it smells. Sure, it seems obvious to write a headline line “Wait Until You Smell the Inside of This $100 Tauntaun Sleeping Bag!” but I refuse to give in. And frankly, you don’t want this either. A quick google search shows that this joke has been made dozens of times for this very same product. Deals writers before me have jumped on this goof, and they’ll continue to long after I am dead. Would you even buy this if I wrote an entire article implying that this comfortable sleeping bag smelled terrible? Really think about it! In any case, you can buy this sleeping bag and not smell it if you want.


There’s a good chance that your house’s floors have seen a bit more gunk after nearly a year of quarantine. It’s an unfortunate side effect of spending more time walking all over the place, but it’s not entirely hopeless. With the right broom or vacuum, you can get your floors looking spiffy again in no time. They’re not the cheapest option, but robovacs will provide the most low-effort experience if you’re not too keen on spending your Saturdays gathering all the crumbs, or you have other priorities.

Right now, eufy’s BoostIQ RoboVac 30C is down to $180 at Amazon when you clip the coupon and use code eufyHome1 at checkout. It can connect to Alexa or Google Assistant, and its battery should last up to 100 minutes according to eufy. This is $70 off the usual price we’ve seen lately and $120 off the list price.


Sometimes, we just see a deal that we have no choice but to post. This is one of those deals. You can get a Dragon Ball Z Popcorn Maker for $30 at GameStop. That’s right, folks. You can pop corn inside of that big Dragon Ball and then use it as a service dish. This presents a key chance to make some Dragon Ball jokes, so you know we’re going to take them. Gags like “You can cook your popcorn for over 9,000 minutes” (don’t do that). Or perhaps a one-liner about how this will spend multiple days charging up its power before actually cooking your popcorn (it doesn’t do that, it makes popcorn at a normal rate of time). Maybe I’ll just say “Goku” as a joke and call it a day. Either way, you can cook popcorn inside of a Dragon Ball for $30. Goku.


Saving food is probably at the top of your list because it helps reduce waste for the environment, and it helps you keep more money in your wallet. Those are two pretty important things if you ask me. Achieving those in one item, all the better. Right now, take $17 off the Geryon Vacuum Sealer Machine and achieve those aforementioned goals.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll save time in food prep making meals faster and easier. Save the disappointment of freezer-burned food too. All you need to do is plug this in and read the simple buttons. It’s easy to pick between the dry option for solid food items or the moist option to keep steamed or simmered meals at peak deliciousness. These vacuum sealers help with preservation and are superior in every way to ziplock bags or Tupperware. This sealer fits up to twelve-inch width bags and rolls. You will get five of these bags to start. The best part of those bags? They are reusable. Kind to the earth and kind to your wallet.

This item will ship for free for Prime members.


If your New Year’s resolution was to maintain a cleaner home, there’s still time to get on track. Start with purchasing a robot vacuum, specifically the iRobot Roomba i6+ while it’s on sale for a 31% discount in Amazon’s limited-time Gold Box sale. While it didn’t make the cut in our roundup of the best robot vacuums of 2021, its budget-friendly sibling—the Roomba i3+—did, and was featured in Gizmodo’s Coolest Gadgets of 2020 end-of-year buyer’s guide.

Unlike the i3+, the i6+ brings the same smart mapping functionality boasted by its higher-end counterparts, allowing the device to learn the layout of your home and schedule cleanings accordingly by room. This is the most affordable Roomba option for anyone buying a robot vacuum for its technological autonomy. It also features automatic dust disposal, dumping its findings into a bin connected to the charging station so you don’t have to empty it as often.

Because it’s compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa, you can command the iRobot Roomba i6+ with your voice to tell it things like “vacuum immediately, minion!” to which it will respond by begrudgingly following orders and eliminating all the cat and dog hair from your house or apartment floors using a high-efficiency filter. In fact, you can add Amazon’s new Echo Dot smart speaker to your purchase for just $10 more right now. Double bargain!

It’s also compatible with the Braava Jet M6 which, when paired, mops your floors after the Roomba goes over it with a quick sweep. Never subject yourself to cleaning floors again, and instead focus on all the other horrors of life, or just sit down and play a darn video game because you deserve a break every now and then.


Looking to keep a watchful eye on your house? Amazon currently has an excellent deal on Eufy’s 2K indoor security camera, which is just $30 after applying a coupon. You’re getting a lot of features for that low price. This camera uses AI that will automatically notify you when there’s excessive noise happening in your house. It’ll also start recording as soon as movement happens and send you a notification. There’s two-way audio built into it, so you can talk to whoever is on the other end of the camera. That means that it’s not just good for general security, but for childcare as well. That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this camera can do. Add in night vision, customization options, pet detection and more and you’ve got a robust security solution that’ll keep your home safe.


As much of the US is blanketed in snow, warmer weather may seem years away. A quintessential part of sunny temperate skies is the summer cookout. If you just can’t wait, bring the experience indoors with Power XL’s Smokeless Grill, now 33% off.

Don’t worry about lugging around propane or chiseling burnt bits any longer. This smokeless grill has a non-stick surface for all your favorites to make mouthwatering with little to no mess. They even designed this grill with the classic cross-hatch “X” marks so each delicious item looks fresh from an authentic barbeque. This also helps distribute the heat evenly and ensures thorough cooking each use. This countertop grill was also designed to keep smoky air to a minimum, so no fear of making your home smell like Famous Dave’s. Keep all the BBQ flavor for your meats and veggies without overheating it or the room. The LED panel is easy to read and control. The removable plate makes clean up effortless. You can even pop it in the dishwasher. Get high heat within seconds of firing this up and bring that authentic char-grilled taste to every meal. This also comes with a sixty-day warranty.

This will ship for free.


Like a great many other products, Amazon has gotten into the business of making and selling its own dog food called Wag. It’s well-reviewed by customers and nutritional analysis suggests that it’s well balanced for health, with a lean protein as the first ingredient and no major red flags throughout the rest of the list.

If your dog already digs Wag or you’re looking to trial a new dog food, you can save 40% right now on an array of varieties and sizes, as well as Wag’s jerky treats and dental chews. Compare it to what you’re feeding your pup right now: it might be cheaper and/or healthier, and you can do a Subscribe & Save order to have it delivered regularly with an added discount.


It’s the season for your car’s battery to randomly die because of the cold weather. It’s ok, and it’s absolutely normal, but you should be prepared! This HULKMAN 20,000mAh Jump Starter may be your best bet. Formatted with a large digital screen, you’ll be able to tell when your car battery is 100% charged. This charger can power up huge, 10L diesel trucks with 2000 amps. And after one hour of charge in any kind of outlet, you’ll get multiple boosts. I don’t know you guys, it sounds like a dream. Get it before its gone!


A rotary tool might be one of the handiest tools you keep around your home, as the versatile little device can be used for drilling, sanding, cutting, polishing, engraving, and more. Tacklife’s rotary tool kit is well-reviewed by Amazon customers (4.5 stars) and much cheaper than the brand name Dremel version.

Right now, it’s 50% off the list price—just $20—when you clip the coupon on the page and drop in promo code MGUEO56O at checkout. This 32,000RPM rotary tool has an upgraded universal keyless drill chuck and ergonomic design, and comes with more than 100 accessories in the case, including four attachments. Whether for repairs or crafting, you could get a lot of use out of this affordable little tool.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. If you aren’t betrothed, we feel ya. 2020 was a rough year for romance. Our pals at Ella Paradis want you to remain strong and love yourself. So stop messaging that baddie from your past. Better Love’s Don’t Text Your Ex vibe is pretty, powerful, and worth every penny, just like you. This price will hold until the end of the week. No code needed.

This heart-shaped toy is 80% off to celebrate a month of self-love. Engage in some good old-fashioned positive vibes with zero regrets. You can’t make calls if your hands are busy, and Better Love is very good at making sure our hands are full. Take the time to make sure your needs are met and it’s consistent and reliable attention. Expect about an hour of playtime, but it’s easy to charge up and approve watersports. There’s ten vibes mode, and it’s user-friendly. Games are played on your terms, you’re totally in control, and you’re never disappointed.


I’m so proud of you for still wearing a mask; it’s super cool of you. But do you need an upgrade or maybe something a little more heavy-duty? Or maybe you just want to put your mind at ease with something a smidge more protective? Grab 60 of the KN95 masks from Meh right now for just $29.

These are industry-standard, which means they are supposed to filter 95 percent of particles. That is just about as good as you can get. So the mask obviously doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of catching or spreading something, but if you wear it correctly, it still drastically reduces the likelihood. These are also great if you’ve got severe allergies or asthma and protect against pollen, dander, and whatnot. The KN-95 isn’t made for clinical environments, not that you’re performing surgery with these, but they will definitely protect you and others against what is currently out there. Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear masks. So thank you.

If you’ve read a few of our pieces on Meh before and you like what you’ve seen, they offer a $5 monthly fee to get free shipping on all of your orders, no matter how many.


At least until everyone is able to get the vaccine, life is pretty bleak right now. So I wouldn’t blame you for indulging in some much-need legal cannabis. Hell, I know I am. Whether you’re a first-time or a long-time consumer, Sunday Scaries’ Side Piece bundle is a great place to start. Starting at just $50 for a subscription, or $69 for a one-time purchase, using our exclusive promo code KINJA25, you can finally fetch the chill time you’ve been hankering for. Chill out on the couch with a good book, watch old episodes of The Simpsons on Disney+, or hell, try yoga for the first time—without the doom and gloom of the world weighing you down.

The Side Piece bundle comes with a bottle of the company’s signature CBD gummies and an oil tincture to sweeten the deal. Mix the latter into your coffee or tea, with a little whole milk or butter to help it dissolve. Sunday Scaries is the de-facto CBD brand in my opinion, and I’m sure a decent chunk of its 158,000 Instagram followers would be inclined to agree. Whereas many unsafe substances will make you feel groggy in the morning, CBD is more of a supplement than a vice, helping a lot of users mitigate their anxiety without killing their motivation to stay active.

I know I’ve had some distressing mental health episodes where cannabinoids came in clutch. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, or maybe there’s something to it. LDN CBD’s Aaron Horn seems to think so, courtesy of The Guardian:

CBD will change culture. People are less interested in drinking in bars getting really drunk, feeling like shit the next day, letting their body down, having issues with their body because of that. The shift is happening: more people are interested in eating healthier, living healthier, and this is part of that.


Work out while running errands, walking the dog, and even doing chores around the house with today’s fitness deal: a ZELUS 20 lb. weighted vest.

You could also, you know, use it to add extra resistance to your workout like it’s intended. It even has a handy pocket for holding your phone or money for when you eventually stop for (hopefully takeaway— still a pandemic, ya’ll) coffee.

You can grab it for $45 when you apply promo code 68XIFTLQ at checkout.

If 20lbs. is too much for you, there are lighter options. Unfortunately, to promo code won’t work on them, just to save you some time from trying. If you can handle the twenty-pounder though, today’s your lucky day!


Huckberry is at it again, and while it might not include white Vans, the multifaceted outdoor gear-slash-clothing-slash-home decor-slash kitchenware-slash [insert product category here] retailer is kicking off its annual winter sale with a bang. In it, you can find best-sellers like the Proof Rover highlander jacket, Dolomite boots, a Wellen vintage tie-dye pullover, Proof Nomad pants, and so much more. Losing track of time? Who isn’t. The (Coca-)Cola tinged HB x Timex Sport watch is over $60 off. Need a throw blanket to keep you warm at night? There’s a nap for that.

At my own request, I got a few things from Huckberry over the holidays, including a Flint and Tinder American Made flannel I’m wearing right now. While that particular shirt isn’t on sale, plenty of Flint and Tinder items are on sale, and I can vouch for their comfort. If you’ve been looking to refresh your wardrobe for the extended winter, as predicted by our good friend Punxsutawney Phil, this is one sale you don’t want to miss. In a world where high-quality apparel from retailers like Huckberry is vastly overshadowed by the rapidly decaying products of fast fashion, it’s important to take advantage of limited-time discounts that make shopping for that fresh fit a little more affordable than the typical intimidating list prices.


We just covered the benefits and tastiness of numerous Apple Cider Vinegar gummies. The benefits of ACV have been discussed for years, and as more information emerges, it becomes less an object of folklore medicine. While there is no definitive clinical evidence, millions swear by it. This pack from CleverLifeRX gives you two bottles for just $14. This is a great deal for 120 organic gummies that can help boost metabolism and increase your energy levels. And taste much better than ingesting the source directly.

If you’ve read a few of our pieces on SideDeal before and you like what you’ve seen, they offer a $5 monthly fee to get free shipping on all of your orders, no matter how many. Otherwise, it’s a flat rate of $8.


Plenty of time left in the chilly months to buy some stylish winter wear. Our pals at JACHS do it better than most. Right now, grab any two winter items for just $50 with the code 2W50. There are fifty-six pieces to pick from, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit.

I love the look of these sherpa-lined trucker jackets ($29). There’s something a little classic, a little vintage but very stylish about them. The stretch corduroy fabric comes in olive green color and will keep you very toasty when temperatures drop.

Puffer Jackets are also included in this winter deal. Ride the frosty times out in style and save 81% while doing so. These jackets are warm, durable, and look dang good.

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Winter is here, just like the Starks said. A good way to prevent chapped lips is to get a lip balm that really works. From personal experience, Jack Black Lip Balm is the truth. It has a natural mint flavor that gives you a satisfying tingle when applied and will last for the majority of the day without having to re-apply. Plus, a three-pack is $22, which is on the more expensive side, but I promise you won’t use the other two for at LEAST a couple of months. Think of it as an investment against ashy lips.

In 2020, my New Year’s resolution was to only refer to the Joker as “The J-Man” whenever I talked about him. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard. How much does one talk about The Joker in a given year? Then the film Joker got nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture and my life was ruined for 12 months. It probably wasn’t the worst thing abut 2020, but it was certainly a low point. Anyway, if you love The J-Man as much as I hate him, Comixology is currently holding a giant sale on digital comics featuring the iconic Batman villain. Naturally, that includes some of the most memorable (for better or worse) Batman comics out there like A Death in the Family and The Killing Joke. You can grab Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – 30th Anniversary Edition for $7 too, which is a highlight. It’s the Joker, baby! He’s twisted! He’s damaged! He’s an evil clown! People like him! Okay!


Look, there are few things that we all agree on. Political tensions are higher than ever and it’s no exaggeration to say that we’re a divided nation. In a time when we are on the brink of civil war, we need something that can bring us together. And that something is Kirby. Yes, the iconic pink … whatever he is. You know him. You love him. You can show your undying affection for the adorable flesh balloon by grabbing Kirby: Art and Style Collection, a whole coffee table book of cute Kirby art, for just $18. This honestly might be the only thing that can save us from total national collapse. Either that, or it’ll make your coffee table cuter.


Some good boys are in the White House now. They’re making history too. Major will be the first shelter dog to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Pets in the President’s home has a long and storied history. If you’re like me, you’re excited to see the adventures the First Dogs will get up to just as Bo, Buddy, Millie, Checkers, and Fala did before them. Joy McCullough’s brand new storybook gives a little background to the presidential puppers and imagines what life will be like for them in our country’s famous home. Sheyda Abvabi Best beautifully illustrates each page, capturing not only the likeness but personality of the Biden’s loyal duo. Grab 34% off Champ and Major: First Dogs ($7 off for the Kindle) right now.

This is a wonderful gift for dog lovers young and old, or anyone who wants a way to remember this historic return of dogs to our White House.

This book will ship free for Prime members.

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Whether you’re looking to make the jump from another platform, or just upgrade your aging gadget, now’s not a bad time to grab a new smartphone. Between Apple’s relatively-new iPhone 12 lineup and Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 lineup, there’s plenty of options to choose from.

If you’re eager to grab one of Samsung’s new phones, they’re all on sale over at Amazon this week. The Galaxy S21, which typically retails for $800 for the 128GB model, is $100 off. It features a 6.2″ display with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 and a 120Hz refresh rate. That’s a pretty good deal, but you can also get 256GB model for the same price, but there’s a bit of a delay in shipping.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21+ is down from $1,000 to $800 for the 128GB model. That phone features a 6.7″ display and the same resolution and refresh rate as the S21. Both have 8GB of RAM as well as Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 processor and 5G radio support. On the back, both phones have a three-camera setup featuring a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens. As with the standard S21, the S21+’s 256GB model is down to the same price, $800, though there’s a longer delay in shipping there, as well.

On the higher end lies the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is down from $1,200 to $1,000 for the 128GB model. For your money, you’ll get a 6.8″ 3,200 x 1,440 OLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery. The Ultra packs four lenses into its camera module, including a 108-megapixel lens, two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses (with 3x and 10x zooms), and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens.


Thanks to quarantine, lots of us have picked up new hobbies. For me, it’s been leaning into my doodling, catching up on my game queue, and honing my green thumb. For others, it’s been photography. A decent smartphone will do the trick, but when you’re ready to step things up, you’ll want a good mirrorless camera.

The Sony a7 III, ranked tops overall in our roundup of the best digital cameras, is $300 off today at Amazon. At $1,698 even with that discount, you’re paying a hefty price, but for your money you’re getting a 24.2MP sensor, impressive autofocus, reliable battery life, and a wide array of attachable lenses to suit whatever your needs may be.


If you’re running out of space on your Nintendo Switch or have another microSD-supporting device that’s increasingly tight on storage, here’s a bargain for you. Right now, Amazon is offering this meaty 400GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC memory card for a mere $45.

That’s a huge chunk of storage for a smartphone, camera, or Switch, and is a few bucks lower than this card has been hovering at lately. Not bad for a card that launched at $250 a couple years back!