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Top Stories  |   (May 22, 2015)

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung delivers its best smartphone, but is it enough?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 range is a critical component in Samsung's flagging smartphone strategy. With sales of its high-end smartphones being sapped by intense competition from Apple's larger iPhone 6 models, and sales of its mid-range and low-end smartphones being attacked from all sides by the cheaper Chinese competition, the success of the Galaxy S6 is vital to the company reversing its fortunes. The Galaxy S6 Edge is potentially the more interesting of its two Galaxy S6 models -- both of which share identical specs on paper -- as the Edge features a more adventurous design with a curved version of its Super AMOLED display. So can Samsung claw back market share with its new smartphone, and return high profitability to its mobile division? Read on in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge .

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Hands On: Asus Zenfone 2

Asus Zenfone 2 is a great value Android smartphone

The Asus Zenfone 2 has just landed in the U.S. and after getting our hands on it, we think it is yet another mid-range competitor that is likely to give Samsung a real headache. While we are definitely fans of high-end smartphones, we are much less keen about the inflated price-tags that come with them. For the subset of users who don't necessarily want or need all the cutting-edge features, or who don't want to enter into long-term plans, there is a growing array of Android-powered options that have both genuine appeal and capability. The Asus Zenfone 2 is one of these devices and warrants a closer look. Read on to see why we are excited to see this handset get a surprise local launch.

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Review: Seagate Personal Cloud (two-Bay)

Cloud storage made personal

When it comes to backing up files, many users are now looking to the myriad of cloud storage solutions. There is no doubt that over the past few years cloud storage has taken off, yet as ISPs begin to add tighter data usage restrictions, we, as users, are being forced to more closely monitor our uploads and downloads. Seagate, however, thinks it may have a solution to this problem with its Personal Cloud NAS.

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The MacNN Podcast, Episode 15: Man down!

Filemaker Pro 14, Cox Cable's cap testing, Xbox bricking, and more

Episode 15 of The MacNN Podcast is on the air! Regular shenanigans ensue, even if not perpetrated by the regular crowd. This week, we talk about Microsoft up to its old tricks with six versions of Windows 10 at retail, Xbox consoles bricked by Microsoft (or not), Cox Cable's cap testing, and much more!

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Hands On: Origin PC BlackWidow Chroma keyboard

A rainbow in the dark for typists, gamers

While Origin PC is known for the computers they build, they also offer a Gearshop filled with additional components to improve your gaming experience. One such offering is the $169 Origin PC BlackWidow Chroma , a mechanical gaming keyboard with customizable backlighting options. Anyone familiar with the PC gaming market may recognize the name "BlackWidow" as a product offered by Razer, and they would be spot on. Origin's keyboard is simply a Razer BlackWidow Chroma that has been rebranded with the Origin logo. Despite the BlackWidow's popularity amongst the gaming community, this was our first chance to get our hands on an actual unit. Find out our thoughts on the colorful keyboard in both our written hands on and accompanying video review.

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First Look: Microsoft Surface 3

x86-powered Surface 3 offers more possibilities

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the launch of the Microsoft Surface 3 is the apparent death of Microsoft's Windows on ARM for tablets experiment, otherwise known as Windows RT. Instead of being powered by an ARM-based chip design like the iPad and most Android tablets, the Surface 3 is now powered by an Intel x86-based Atom chip. The main benefit of this change in approach is that, unlike the original Surface and Surface 2, the Surface 3 runs the standard and full version of Windows 8.1. This means that desktop applications like Apple's own iTunes for Windows PCs can be installed on the Surface 3, along with any other applications compatible with Windows 8.1 and the specifications of the machine. So does this finally make the Surface 3 seriously warrant your attention?

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Review: Kitvision Rush HD100W Action Camera

Entry-level action camera includes Wi-Fi connectivity, large number of mount attachments

People starting out in the confusing world of action cameras will typically gravitate towards the GoPro line, purely due to brand recognition. Smaller camera producers have to work hard to earn your custom, by offering extra features and other accessories in the box. The Kitvision Rush HD100W action camera attempts to do just that, but is it enough to stand up to GoPro? Read our review to find out.

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Opinion: Is Microsoft Continuum a game changer for Windows phones?

Desktop-style apps on mobile unlikely to woo switchers, but still points new direction

Although Microsoft is lagging as very distant third in the smartphone space, it has not yet given up on the hope that it can eventually gain some market traction. At its Build developers conference last week, the Redmond software giant revealed the shape of things to come from its smartphones in the near future. The most intriguing features demonstrated for Windows 10 on smartphones was Continuum , its new desktop mode for a smartphone connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although it hasn't been revealed in its final form, Continuum promises to reconfigure a Windows 10 smartphone interface on-the-fly so that users can interact with its apps in a desktop environment much as they would do with a PC. Is it a game changer?

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Giveaway: Win an Apple Watch

Win an Apple Watch with MacNN Deals

The recent launch of the Apple Watch has garnered considerable attention and high sales, despite some considering it to be too expensive to acquire. If you fall into this category but still want the Apple-produced smartwatch, you will probably want to take part in our contest to win the Apple Watch through our own recently-launched MacNN Deals .

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Review: Origin PC Millennium

PC gaming made elegant

When it comes to PC gaming, there are two basic routes you can take. You can choose to purchase a built-to-order machine from one of the many boutique gaming companies, or you can hunt down the necessary parts and do everything yourself. While many opt for the latter route, there is undoubtedly a market of gamers who would rather have everything put together for them. Origin PC has taken notice of this market and -- thanks to products like the mid-tower Millennium -- has managed to make a respected name for itself in the industry. Several weeks ago, we were lucky enough to receive a Millennium tower from Origin, and have spent some time putting through its paces. Our particular review build was priced at nearly $4,000, and includes some of the latest and greatest in PC components, including an Intel Core i7 4790k and dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 980s. Read all about our experience with this powerful gaming PC in our full review .

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Hands On: Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Beats second-generation headphones are much improved

The Beats Solo2 Wireless on-ear headphones is the latest product to emerge from the now wholly Apple-owned subsidiary. While it is unlikely Apple's engineering and design teams have had much, if any, influence on its latest products, most agree that the second generation of Beats headphones is much improved over its first generation of products. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the asking price for a set of Beats headphones. This new wireless model will run you $299, putting them on roughly on par with high-end competition from Bose and Sennheiser. So -- are they worth it?

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Tesla unveils Powerwall battery pack for homes, businesses

Powerwall can store generated solar power, charge from grid at cheaper times of day

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has launched a new product, designed for the home. The Powerwall is a large battery connected to the building's power supply that can be used to store excess electricity produced from solar panels for use at a later time when energy generated doesn't cover energy usage, with the ultimate aim of saving its users money in the long run.

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LG G4 launched with 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, leather backing option

Latest LG flagship has 16MP F1.8 camera with OIS 2.0

LG has formally launched its previously-teased flagship smartphone. The LG G4 follows on from its predecessor, the LG G3 , upgrading the screen to a 5.5-inch 2560x1440-resolution IPS "Quantum Display" panel, which is claimed to offer 20 percent greater color reproduction, a 25 percent improvement to brightness, and a 50-percent greater contrast.

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Hands On: Apple Watch Edition

Bling Bling

Yesterday, we took a trip up to Dallas to try on the Apple Watch Edition. Yes, that's the really expensive gold one . Sadly, there were no flutes of champagne, or tastefully-appointed back rooms. What we did get, instead was a friendly and enthusiastic Apple Store employee, and the heft of four to six ounces of 18-karat gold on our wrist. Keep this in mind: aside from the two sizes of screen to choose from, the price differences between the different models has everything to do with aesthetics and what the casing or band materials are made of, particularly with the Edition.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 12: Apple Watch Day, TW-Comcast, more

Spotlights on The Feature Thief mini-series, Amazon's sustainability, Deliveries app

If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse , Randy Ubillos' retirement , and more.

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Review: 12-inch MacBook with Retina display

Thin, light, new keyboard, new trackpad, USB-C. Is it missing anything?

It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. Currently, the focus and excitement is largely around mobile and wearable devices, but the stunning and groundbreaking Mac Pro (Late 2013) showed that Apple still has a keen interest in pushing the development and innovation of its computer product lines right to the edge of the design envelope. Although the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display might look, at first glance, like a natural evolution of an Apple ultraportable MacBook, it packs a full suite of technical and design innovations that we feel make it the definitive statement of what's next in the state-of-the-art in notebook design. Read our full review for our analysis.

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Ahrendts in China, lines at boutique locations for Apple Watch launch

Few locations have some actual selling stock, but mostly demos rule on former retail debut

While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout , a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the day in China.

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Plug officially pulled on Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger

Future uncertain for AT&T and DirecTV merger, future suitors for TWC

As expected, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have both walked away from the blockbuster merger deal, citing governmental resistance from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement about the collapse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that "we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away."

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Google reveals Project Fi as carrier with flexible data allowances

Project Fi switches between two carriers, provides credits for unused data

Google has confirmed earlier rumors that it was planning to launch its own wireless service. Project Fi is a virtual network that provides calls, texts, and data like other carriers, but the main feature of the service is that it will drastically simplify and potentially cheapen the user's bill, by asking customers to pay for the basic service and only for the amount of data they use in the month.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 11: best backup practices, AMD in trouble

Announcing expanded gaming news, examining the LA School iPad debacle, more

Another week, another roundup on the week in tech through the eyes of our MacNN and Electronista staffers! This week, The MacNN Podcast takes a poll on backup strategies among our writers, while Managing Editor Mike tells campfire tales of data loss from his days as a network consultant. We spend some time talking about our own expanded gaming coverage, adding more Mac game reviews and coverage as well as doubling our overall industry news . We dissect what's getting chipmaker AMD down, try to figure out the LA School District's iPad waffling, and more.

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First Look: All-new 12-inch Apple MacBook

Apple takes lessons from mobile to make the ultimate ultraportable notebook

The all-new 12-inch Apple MacBook is here and MacNN and Electronista have our hands on it! It is Apple's definitive statement on the future of notebooks, but it is available right now to customers who want to go along for the ride. If you're in the market for an ultraportable notebook made for the mobility age, the MacBook has to be on the top of your shopping list. There is nothing else quite like it on the market, with the device boasting several firsts for Apple and the industry.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 10: now available on iTunes

Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more

Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast , along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes . Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.

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FCC Open Internet regs appear in Federal Register, effective June 12

Publication of regulation likely to redouble opposition efforts to regulation

The US Government has released the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet regulation package to the Federal Register . With publication, the net neutrality and Title II regulation, as laid forth by the FCC, are effective and enforceable starting on June 12.

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First Look: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge delivers premium materials, Apple-like design

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is one of two Galaxy S6 models that the South Korean tech giant hopes will reverse its drastic decline in profits in recent quarters. Although its predecessor, the Galaxy S5 sold in the tens of millions of units, it was not enough to halt a sharp decline in smartphone profits. With its high-end sales being eroded by Apple's wildly successful iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its low and middle-end ranges being cut into by Chinese makers like Xiaomi and Huawei, these are perhaps the most important Galaxy flagships Samsung has ever released.

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Apple Watch: Pre-orders live, delays, Apple Care+ prices revealed [U]

Apple Watch shipping times already blown out

Apple Watch pre-orders are now live in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US, but only after a delay of several minutes past the scheduled go-live time. Despite renewed warnings that shipments would be constrained, some users may be disappointed, even shocked, to learn that some models may not be available until as late as August, according to live shipping information from the Apple Store. Users who seek an aluminum or one of the steel models might be getting theirs in a reasonable time frame -- but those hankering for a gold Edition could be waiting until August.

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Apple Watch: in-store fitting and hands-on experience

Apple Watch launches in store in select markets world-wide

Apple has officially launched the Apple Watch in stores, with Australian and New Zealand customers among the lucky first around the globe to finally get their hands on the smartwatch. MacNN and Electronista were on hand at the Penrith Store launch, about a hour west of Sydney, Australia. There were a small number of eager Apple fans keen to try on the device from a wide cross-section of age groups, but the throng of Apple Store employees on hand to mark the occasion easily outnumbered them. It certainly helped to create a buzz around the event. Pre-orders are now being accepted in the US and other countries, starting at 12:01AM Friday local time.

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Unboxing: Origin PC Millennium

Crate expectations

While many choose to go the route of building their own gaming PCs, there are a number of companies that thrive on a market looking for pre-built options. Over the past few years, Origin PC has built a reputation for offering powerful systems and top-notch customer support.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode nine: 2015 MBP, BBC on BitTorrent, more

Staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the iPad, ponder the Surface 3

Presenting episode nine of The MacNN Podcast , which this week features a hands-on report on the new 2015 MacBook Pro, along with some chatting about the recently-revealed new MacBook benchmarks, well ahead of its April 10 debut. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the iPad by talking about the many ways, big and small, it has changed our lives. We discuss the new Surface 3 from Microsoft, the Doctor Who BBC bundle on BitTorrent, and more.

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Apple Watch: Guided Tours webpage launches, features video tutorials

Introductory, Digital Touch, Messages, Faces videos up now, more coming soon

On Friday, Apple added to the Apple Watch section of its website with a Guided Tours page that features short videos showing off some of the features of the new device, which will start appearing stores and become available for pre-order on April 10, followed by a full retail debut on April 24. A general introductory video is followed by tutorials on Faces, Digital Touch, and Messages.

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Full review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Early 2015)

Full review of Apple's new 13-inch MBP with Force Touch trackpad

Although the new darling of the Apple MacBook line up is the all-new MacBook , Apple has given its popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display a solid refresh. While the stunning new MacBook caters to a select audience of users who value portability above all else, the MacBook Pro is a much more well-rounded machine that is still portable, but offers much more power and flexibility. It also gains one of the marquee features of the new MacBook, the Force Touch trackpad, that ditches a mechanical clicking mechanism for one that has been completely re-engineered around haptic feedback. Read on in our full review to see how the new 13-inch MacBook Pro shapes up.

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