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13 Great Black Friday Deals on Google Devices We Like

13 Great Black Friday Deals on Google Devices We Like

Google Nest Hub

Nest Hub

Photograph: Google

Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond

Smart displays are very similar to smart speakers in that they have many of the same functions, but as you might surmise, they have a screen. It’s helpful because when you ask for the weather report, as an example, you’ll be able to see all the details for yourself. This model is small enough to be useful on the nightstand or kitchen counter (and there is no camera). It can also track your sleep, though the feature was in beta when we tested it and wasn’t very polished.

Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart

The benefit of having a camera on a smart display is that you can make video calls with friends and family. On the Nest Hub Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends), it works through the Google Duo app. This display has better speakers than its sibling above, and a larger screen that makes it nicer for following recipes, and if you ever need it to pause an alarm, timer, or song, just show it your palm—handy if you’re in the kitchen and don’t want to touch the screen.

Smart Home Deals

Nest security camera

Nest Cam

Photograph: Nest

Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart

The new Nest Cam is in our guide to the Best Outdoor Security Cameras, but it works just as well indoors. This one is battery-operated, so you can place it pretty much anywhere (within range of your Wi-Fi network), and the battery only needs to be recharged after a month or more. When you need to charge it, you can just take it off the mount—it attaches magnetically. The 1080p video quality is solid, and the motion alerts are seamless. You can pay for a Nest Aware subscription ($6 per month) so it can learn faces, have access to a 60-day event history, and more. The corded version is also on sale for a significantly cheaper $80 ($20 off).

Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart

We haven’t tested the Nest Doorbell, but this new model adds HDR and night vision. The sun or streetlights won’t blow out the image and ruin your footage. You can get alerts customized for people, packages, animals, and cars, and you can talk through the doorbell when you’re not home. 

Target, Amazon, Best Buy

We have not tried this model, but we’ve tested and liked previous Nest Thermostats. You can control your home’s heating and cooling system from your phone and set schedules. It can remind you when to change your filter, and it can detect when you leave the home to turn on Eco mode to save energy. 

Google’s Much-Hyped Pixel 6 Undercuts Its Peers at Just $599

Google’s Much-Hyped Pixel 6 Undercuts Its Peers at Just $599

I’ve been using the two for the past few days and can’t share much about them just yet—look for our review next week—but these Pixels feel just as high-end as most $1,000 phones. The Pro especially has shiny aluminum around the edges that give it a classy look, whereas the Pixel 6 sticks with a matte texture that’s more subdued. Both are wrapped in glass, with Gorilla Glass Victus protecting the Pro’s screen, and Gorilla Glass 6 protecting the standard Pixel 6. Victus is a year or so newer than 6, and supposedly more protective.

These are also two of the larger Pixels Google has produced. The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen and the Pro is a 6.7 incher, but they don’t feel drastically different in size. That’s because the Pixel 6 has thicker borders around the screen, and the Pro’s screen curves out to the edges to maximize screen space. 

Maxed Out Specs

They have pretty much any feature you’d want in a top-end Android phone, including OLED panels, stereo speakers, full 5G connectivity, speedy Wi-Fi 6E, IP68 water resistance, and wireless charging (a new Pixel Stand wireless charger is on the way too). Both also have fingerprint sensors baked into the display, a first for Google but a feature that’s become the norm on most high-end Android phones.

Like its competitors, the Pixel 6 range does not include charging adapters in the box, just a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. 

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 Pro

Photograph: Google

Here’s how they differ:

Pixel 6: There’s a 90-Hz screen refresh rate, just like on last year’s Pixel 5, and a 1,080 x 2,400-pixel resolution. The Tensor chip, which Google says delivers up to 80 percent faster performance over its Qualcomm-powered predecessor, is joined with 8 gigabytes of RAM. It has a 4,524-mAh battery cell, which Google says should last more than a day. Neither has a MicroSD card slot (nor a headphone jack), but on the Pixel 6, you can choose between 128 or 256 gigabyte storage options. 

Pixel 6 Pro: You get a higher 1,440 x 3,120-pixel resolution and a 120-Hz screen refresh rate, which Google says can dip as low as 10-Hz when there’s not much happening on the screen to save battery life. The bigger size means a bigger 4,905-mAh capacity, and you also get 12 gigabytes of RAM. And if you record a lot of video, there’s an additional 512 gigabyte storage option. The Pro has an exclusive ultra wideband (UWB) chip, which can help it pinpoint the location of other UWB devices, similar to how the new iPhone 13 can find the precise location of Apple AirTags. Google says it will roll out “several features” that utilize UWB in the coming months but we don’t yet know what those will be.

Camera Upgrade

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6

Photograph: Google

Pixel phones are known for their stellar cameras, but their lead has waned. To combat this, Google is upgrading its imaging hardware. Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have the same main camera, a 50-megapixel large 1/1.31-inch sensor that can take in up to 150 percent more light than the Pixel 5. The camera uses a process called pixel binning, where pixels merge to absorb more light, so you end up with a 12.5-megapixel photo. 

How to Use the Focus Feature on iOS 15—and Get More Done

How to Use the Focus Feature on iOS 15—and Get More Done

Sometimes it’s hard to focus. When you have a dizzying number of screens pinging around you, they can be more distracting than helpful. But if some of those screens run one of the new versions of Apple’s operating systems—iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8, and MacOS Monterey—there’s a tool to make things easier. 

It’s called Focus, and it lets you create distinct profiles to not only control what notifications are allowed to interrupt you (if any at all) but also rearrange the home screen to suit what you need at the moment. Need all your work apps front and center from 9 am to 5 pm, and only messages from colleagues? Customize and enable the Work Focus! What about zero disturbances when you sleep? Go for the Sleep Focus. 

Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to make a custom Focus.

How to Access Focus

First, you need iOS 15 on your iPhone, iPadOS 15 on your iPad, WatchOS 8 on your Apple Watch, or MacOS Monterey on your Mac. (The latter is still in beta.) If you haven’t installed these versions, we have instructions here, along with details on the many other new features. You should also back up your device before updating. 

You can create up to 10 Focus profiles. They’re all accessible from the Control Center, which you can access on modern iPhones and iPads with a swipe down on the top right corner. In earlier models (that is, anything without Face ID), swipe up from the bottom of the screen. On Macs, the Control Center is in the menu bar (the toggle icon), and on the Apple Watch just swipe up from the bottom. It’s the half-moon symbol. You can also go to Settings > Focus on iPhones and iPads, or System Preferences > Notifications & Focus on Macs. Focus on Macs and Apple Watches is a little more pared-down than what you get on iOS and iPadOS, because it doesn’t change the layout of your desktop or watch face in any way. 

One important point: When you turn on a Focus, your Focus Status will be visible to your contacts. This acts similar to a status on messaging applications—if the app supports it and if you’ve granted it permission, your contacts will be able to see that you’ve silenced notifications, though they cannot see the name of your Focus. You can turn this sharing feature off within the settings menu for any Focus by tapping on Focus Status and hitting the toggle. 

If you have multiple Apple devices, your Focus will sync throughout all of them so you don’t need to make new ones per gadget. And if you turn on a Focus on your iPhone, it’ll turn on in every other device, though you can toggle this off by heading to Settings > Focus > and toggling off Share Across Devices

Creating a Focus

Open the Control Center, tap Focus, and you’ll be greeted with Do Not Disturb, Work, Sleep, and Personal. These are all presets you can configure, but you can delete the last three if you want to create profiles from scratch. Tap the triple-dot button next to each and Settings to configure them, or the “+” icon at the bottom to create a new Focus. 

A Focus has three main components: notifications, home screen or lock screen customization, and scheduling. With every Focus, you can allow calls and messages from select contacts, and you can choose any app you still want to receive alerts from. Then you can choose to change the entire home screen to a custom page with specific apps and widgets to fit the Focus, plus dim or hide notifications from the lock screen. Finally, you can schedule a Focus to turn on automatically or have it trigger when you arrive at a certain location or open an app. 

How to Preorder the iPhone 13—and Which One You Should Get

How to Preorder the iPhone 13—and Which One You Should Get

If you’ve been daydreaming about the iPhone 13 over the past few days, then you’ll be happy to know that you can order one very soon. Preorders for each of the four new iPhones start at 8 am EDT (6 am PDT) on September 17. If you’re struggling to find the best deal, you don’t know which model to choose, or you’re wondering if you even need to upgrade, we’ve got you covered.

Below, we break down the differences between the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, and have included details on how to preorder one of these shiny new slabs of glass (or multiple, we don’t judge).

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Is the Upgrade Necessary?

All four iPhone 13 models come with incremental changes over last year’s devices. Slightly longer battery life here, more internal storage there. That’s why we don’t think it’s a sound investment to upgrade if you currently own an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

That mostly rings true for anyone with an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro. Unless you’re really into the boxier frame of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, have cash to spare, and want to future-proof your device with 5G connectivity, then you’re good with what you have. If you’re dealing with poor battery life, the first step is to try a battery replacement, which can go a long way in extending the life of your device for a nominal fee.  

Got an older iPhone? Then have at it! Snag that iPhone 13 with no regrets.

iphone 13
Photograph: Apple

Choose Your iPhone

The iPhone 13 offers some noteworthy improvements over the 2020 range. Each model includes the A15 Bionic chip for slightly better performance, plus longer battery life, more internal storage, improved camera sensors, and new colors. The 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are the first iPhones with ProMotion, a 120-Hz refresh rate, which you can read more about here.

Just like last year, there’s 5G support, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason to get a new iPhone, since 5G availability is still rather sparse in the US and not that different from 4G LTE in day-to-day use. To see more differences between each model, Apple’s comparison tool can help. 

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

Everything Samsung Announced at Its Unpacked Event

The prices for both Samsung foldables have come down considerably, with the Fold3 going for $1,799 and the Flip3 starting at $1,000. If you preorder the Fold3, you’ll get $200 in Samsung Credit for Samsung.com, and it’s $150 if you snag the Flip3. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic

Samsung watches

The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (left, in blue) starts at $250. The Watch4 Classic (right, in white) starts at $350.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Samsung is going in a new direction with its smartwatches. Rather than relying on its bespoke Tizen operating system and asking developers to create versions of their apps that only run on Samsung devices, it’s embracing Google’s Wear OS operating system. The company codeveloped the software alongside Fitbit, the Google-owned wearable maker. That means Samsung watch fans gain access to more useful apps, such as Google Maps. And, given the popularity of Samsung’s smartwatches, the move could potentially encourage more developers to build apps for Wear OS, something Google has always struggled with.

The new Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic have user interfaces that look and feel very much like previous Samsung smartwatches, but there are many changes under the hood and some subtle tweaks that make them easier to use. For example, tapping the button on the side of the watch lets you access recently-opened apps. Both watches are powered by a 5-nanometer Samsung processor, and they have higher-resolution screens, 16 gigs of storage, up to 40 hours of battery life, and wireless fast charging.

More importantly, Samsung’s BioActive smartwatch sensor has been redesigned to sit closer to the skin, thereby improving the health tracking abilities of the watches. The sensor can still measure electrocardiograms, blood pressure, and VO2 Max readings, but it’s faster at automatically recognizing workouts. It also offers more accurate calorie counts, and it now includes bioelectric impedance analysis, which lets you see granular body composition data such as skeletal muscle, body fat, and fat mass.

Samsung says sleep tracking on its watches has improved too. The watches work with Samsung’s Galaxy phones for snore detection (using the phone’s mics to pick up the sound of you sawing logs) while collecting blood oxygen data via the watch’s sensor once per minute for more detailed sleep analysis.

The base Galaxy Watch4 replaces Samsung’s previous Active line. The new watch doesn’t have a mechanical bezel, but rather a digital one. (You can slide your finger around the edge of the screen to scroll through the interface.) I think it’s better looking than the Classic, and it has a tantalizing price: It starts at $250 for the Bluetooth version but adding LTE connectivity costs $50 more. It comes in 40- or 44-mm sizes.