How to use Microsoft Teams to send text messages | Digital Trends
Using Microsoft Teams to talk with your colleagues is pretty simple thanks to the built-in chat feature. You can chat with your teammates, share documents, and even initiate voice calls if and when you need them.
Its initial design focused on communicating between team members, hence the name, however, being able to talk with other businesses or clients can be limited with Microsoft Teams. Now, thanks to a recent update, you can invite people via SMS on Microsoft Teams for free. In fact, you can start an SMS conversation with participants in multiple countries, including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, India, Mexico, and the U.S.
How to send an SMS in Teams
Starting an SMS conversation is really simple:
Select New Chat in Microsoft Teams.
Enter the participant’s telephone number you want to send an SMS to in the To: field.
Enter the participant’s name in the Add contact name field.
Send your first message to create the one-to-one SMS chat.
The participant you’re sending the SMS to will receive an SMS from Microsoft Teams. This will indicate to them that you want to chat. If they want to accept, they can click the link in the SMS to join Teams via the app.
How to start group SMS chats in Teams
As well as starting individual SMS chats, you can invite multiple participants to an SMS group chat. In fact, the process is quite similar to starting a group chat on WhatsApp or Messenger.
Select New Chat in Microsoft Teams.
Select the New group chat option.
You can take or add a photo to apply to the group. When you’re done, selectNext.
Enter the participant’s telephone number that you want to add to the group in the To: field.
Enter the participant’s name in the Add contact name field.
Repeat the above steps to add more members to the chat.
To finish creating a group SMS chat in Microsoft Teams, simply send a message in the chat. All of the invited SMS participants will receive an SMS from Microsoft informing them that they have been added to the group chat.
If you have an existing group chat that you want to add further participants to, you can do this by clicking on the group chat’s name and then selecting the option to Add people.
How to link your Android phone in Teams
You can also link your Android device to Microsoft Teams, making it easier to manage meetings and communications from one place. This will collate your SMS messages, contacts, and Meet links in one easy-to-access place, rather than bouncing between devices and platforms.
On your Windows 11 device, open Chat from the taskbar.
Select What’s new and more at the top of the Chat window, then select Link your phone.
When the QR code appears on your desktop, use your phone to scan the QR code.
Enter the verification code that appears on your desktop and enter it on your phone, followed by your Microsoft Account (MSA) password.
You’ll need to accept the permissions notifications on your Android device so Teams can access features like SMS, contacts, etc.
Once you’ve linked your Android phone in Teams, you can see SMS messages under Recent.
If you no longer want your Android phone linked in Teams, you can unlink it.
On your Windows 11 device, open Chat from the taskbar.
Select Open Teams.
Navigate to More options at the top of the window and select Settings > Mobile device.
Select the option to Disconnect SMS messages to unlink your Android device in Teams.
After connecting your Android phone to Microsoft Teams using Link to Windows, you can access your contacts easily. Here you can read, reply, and receive SMS notifications. This also enables you to create a Meet link so you can initiate video chats, whether they are on Teams or not.
Third-party SMS solutions for Microsoft Teams
Rather than simply inviting customers and colleagues to Teams via SMS, there are third-party apps like Text Bot that actually allow you to text, SMS, and MMS into and out of Teams.
Text Bot allows you to send messages that get delivered straight to Teams. Any replies via text will be shown in Teams, and replies will be sent to the text number.
YakChat SMS is another third-party app that allows you to send and receive SMS messages from Teams and connect with all of your contacts.
You can download either of these apps by clicking on the Apps menu item in the sidebar of Teams. From there, just find the app and select Add to install it.
Apple TV with Zoom means it’s finally time to call your mother | Digital Trends
Zoom is now available on Apple TV, complete with Continuity Camera. That means you can use your iPhone camera as, well, the camera and your TV as the screen on which to see the folks on the other side of the call. And because Zoom is a cross-platform app, it means you don’t have anymore excuses for your Android-wielding family.
All of which means: it’s time to call your mother.
OK, so there have been other ways to call home via video, of course, even using your iPhone in conjunction with Apple TV. FaceTime has worked on tvOS with Continuity Camera with the rollout of tvOS 17. And it’s very cool. But if you’re looking to talk with someone who isn’t on an iPhone, or who just prefers a different app for this sort of thing? Zoom is going to be a very cool option.
And because we’re talking about Continuity Camera and not just static lens that’s pointed in your general direction, it’ll zoom in on most important face (or faces, if you’ve got the family on the couch with you), and even track your ugly mug if and when you start to drift a little bit.
There’s not much you have to do to get things going. It just requires Zoom on your Apple TV — which, by the way, is our pick for the best streaming device — and then a few taps to get things going (you don’t even have to log in if you don’t want to). Then you approve using your phone as the camera, and Bob’s your uncle.
One strong recommendation, though: If you’re at all serious about this sort of thing — whether using Zoom or any other video calling app with Apple TV, and whether you’re alone or with family — spend a few bucks and invest in a basic tripod that’ll hold your phone. Nobody wants motion sickness because you’re weaving all over the place. And going hands-free lets you pay more attention to what’s really important — the family on the other side of the call.
How to find archived emails in Gmail, return them to inbox | Digital Trends
If you’re looking to clean up your Gmail inbox, but you don’t want to delete anything permanently, then choosing the archive option is your best bet. Whenever you archive an email, it is removed from your inbox folder while still remaining accessible. Here’s how to access any emails you have archived previously, as well as how to move such messages back to your regular inbox for fast access.
Finding archived emails via the web
If you access Gmail via a web browser, it is a straightforward process to recall any emails you may have archived. For starters, if you choose to use the search bar at the top of the page, search results will include any archived emails. Alternatively, you can access all of your available mail, including archived pieces, under the All mail option.
Step 2: On the left side of the screen, select More.
Step 3: Select the All mail option.
Step 4: On the right side of the screen, you may now browse your email; it will include all emails in your account, including archived content.
Finding archived emails via mobile apps
If you are using the Gmail mobile app on your iOS or Android device, you can also access archived content easily. As on the web, you can use the search bar displayed above your mail to initiate a search that will include archived content. Otherwise, if you wish, you can access all of your available mail, including archived content, under the All mail option.
Step 1: Open the Gmail app on your device.
Step 2: At the top of the screen, select the Menu button; it is displayed as three horizontal lines.
Step 3: Select the All mail option from the menu that appears.
Step 4: You may now browse your emails on-screen. This will include all emails in your account, including archived messages.
Moving an archived email to the inbox via the web
If you change your mind, you can always move any archived content back to your inbox. Follow these steps to move archived emails back into your inbox using the Gmail website:
Step 3: To the left of the email, check the Small box icon.
Step 4: At the top of the screen, select the Move to inbox icon. It looks like an inbox tray with a downward arrow inside of it.
Your archived email will then be moved back to the inbox for regular viewing. If you wish to return the piece of mail to the archive, hover over the email once again and select the Archive button (pictured as a small box with a down arrow).
Moving an archived email to the inbox via mobile apps
You can also change your mind about archived emails while you are out and about using Gmail’s available mobile apps for iOS and Android. Follow these steps to move the archived email back into your inbox within Google’s official Gmail app for Android:
Step 1: Open the Gmail app on your device.
Step 2: Locate the email you wish to relocate and select it.
Step 3: Select the More button in the upper-right corner of your screen (shown as three vertical dots), not the message.
Step 4: Choose the Move to inbox option from the menu that appears.
Your archived email will then be moved back to the inbox for regular viewing. If you wish to return the piece of mail to Archived, reopen the email and select the Archive button (pictured as a small box with a down arrow).
Note: For iOS devices, the process is a bit different. Here’s how to do it according to Google:
Step 1: Find the email you want in All mail.
Step 2: Select the sender’s profile icon on the left of the screen.
Step 3: Select the More icon (three dots).
Step 4: Select whether you want to Move to inbox or Move to > Primary.
Archiving an email vs. muting an email
You may have heard of the ability to mute an email and archive an email discussed in the same breath. Both features will remove messages from your inbox to keep things tidy, but archived emails will return to your inbox if someone replies to them. On the other hand, muted messages will stay out of your inbox permanently. Follow these steps on either the web or a mobile app if you wish to mute an email:
Step 1: Access your Gmail account.
Step 2: Open the email you wish to mute.
Step 3: Select the More button (shown as three vertical dots). For the web, it is important that you select the More button that is located toward the top of your screen, just under the search box.
Step 4: Select the Mute option.
You can follow these steps on both iOS and Android phones and tablets. The only minor difference with iOS devices is that the More icon for iOS is not three vertical dots, but instead is three horizontal dots.
If you wish to unmute an email conversation, you can do so on the web by following the steps given above, but you’ll need to select the Unmute option in step 4. You’ll still need to select Move to inbox if you want the email to return to your inbox. Unmuting an email doesn’t move it to a different folder in Gmail, so it will remain in All Mail if you don’t move it yourself.
You can also unmute an email in the Gmail app for Android, but you won’t find an Unmute option. You’ll have to select the More icon and then Move to inbox instead. Doing so effectively unmutes the message and moves it back to the inbox.
All of your muted conversations are grouped so that you can easily access them by searching for them under the name “is:mute” in the Gmail search box.
I’m talking about the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, of course, which I bought about a year ago. I’ve been in love with it ever since, immediately recognizing why it’s widely considered one of the most important gaming monitors released in the last few years. The most recent holiday barrage of deals got me, though, and I sold the monitor, which often tops lists and review charts, in exchange for something completely different.
I picked up the KTC G42P5. I understand if you don’t know who KTC is — I didn’t, either — but I rolled the dice on the display after I found an Amazon deal that was too good to pass up. I’ve had the monitor for about a week now, and I’ve already put it through its paces. And I’m floored.
Hitting the right price
Let’s start with why I chose this particular monitor, though. It’s a 42-inch OLED display, which, yes, I recognize sounds like a massive size for a computer monitor. It is, but I’m certainly not the first one to put a 42-inch display in front of my PC. And in practice, a 42-inch 16:9 monitor is a lot closer in size to a 34-inch 21:9 monitor like the Alienware 34 QD-OLED than it sounds.
There are several reasons I wanted to switch back to 16:9. I wanted to be able to play console games on my main display without black bars, and I wanted to be able to take 4K screenshots for the performance guides I write here on Digital Trends. More than anything, though, I was just done messing around with the problems 21:9 brings.
The Alienware 34 QD-OLED is great, but I was fed up with playing Elden Ring with black bars or getting sucked out of Alan Wake 2 whenever a cutscene played. At the same time, I didn’t want to give up the perfect black levels of OLED or the massive screen real estate the Alienware 34 QD-OLED offered me. The KTC G42P5 checked all of my boxes, and at a price I could actually justify.
There are a few other options if you’re interested in this form factor. It uses an LG OLED panel, so naturally, you could pick up the 42-inch LG C3 OLED. There are a couple of problems compared to KTC, though. For starters, it’s a TV, so it lacks DisplayPort, and it’s more expensive. I spent $800 on the KTC display, while the LG TV sells for $1,000, or $900 on sale. The LG has some upsides like image processing if you’re not worried about latency, but that didn’t tip the scales for me.
The main competition is the Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ. It’s a 42-inch monitor just like the KTC, and it’s overclocked to 138Hz (also just like the KTC). It’s a near-perfect monitor, but there’s one big problem. It’s $1,400. Even during holiday sales, I’ve never seen it sell for cheaper than $1,200 — that’s a full $400 more than what I spent on the KTC for what is essentially the same display.
Those are your only two options if you want this form factor. Older LG TVs like the C2 OLED are available, but for above $1,000, and the Gigabyte Aorus FV43U is cheaper, but it’s not OLED. I picked up the KTC G42P5 on sale for $800, but even now, it’s available for $1,000 at the time of writing. That’s still $400 cheaper than the Asus display at list price.
The natural question is, why? If this is the same panel with the same features, why is it so much cheaper than the competition? There are actually a couple of reasons.
Why is it cheaper?
I’ll assume you’ve never heard of KTC. It’s a Chinese company that started pushing out displays in 2021, and the brand has only recently started making the rounds on Amazon. KTC as a company, though, isn’t new. KTC says it’s been around for 27 years, serving as a manufacturer of displays for companies like Samsung, ViewSonic, and LG. You probably haven’t seen a KTC-branded monitor, but there’s a decent chance you actually have seen a KTC monitor.
The idea here is that the middleman is becoming the seller with KTC, which pushes down prices a little bit. That’s not a crazy idea in the world of tech. Even AMD, Intel’s biggest competitor in the world of processors, started out as a supplier for Intel before breaking off into its own standalone brand.
There’s a practical reason for this particular monitor being cheaper than the competition as well: It doesn’t include a stand. It’s easy to forget how expensive a solid stand for a 42-inch display can be — $125, at least for KTC’s G42P5 stand — and KTC cuts that cost out.
That could be a downside depending on what you’re wanting to do with the display. For me, it was a positive. I was able to save some money because I already had a monitor arm — about $50 on Amazon — and for a display this large, there’s a good chance you’re going to mount it on your wall. There are also TV stands available for the 100 x 100 VESA mount for about $15. Regardless, there are several situations with a display this large where you might not use the included stand, and at least you have the option to skip it with the KTC G42P5.
It’s worth noting that, even with the stand, the G42P5 comes in $200 cheaper than the ROG PG42UQ, so the savings aren’t only reliant on the stand.
The monitor itself
Now, we need to talk about the monitor itself. The KTC G42P5 uses an LG OLED RGBW panel, which is the same panel in later versions of the LG C2. All of that is to say, it looks great. OLED offers perfect black levels for infinite contrast, while brightness, although low compared to LCD, is still enough to overcome most ambient lighting conditions.
Digging into the numbers, I measured brightness at around 400 nits for 10% of the screen in SDR, and that shot up to above 600 nits for a 3% windows in HDR. Those numbers don’t sound high, but remember that this is a 42-inch screen. You don’t want it blasting 1,000 nits at you as a computer monitor.
In practice, I have two windows directly pouring light into my office, and I’ve never struggled with brightness issues, and that’s while running the panel at 30% of its maximum. Unless you have extremely bright ambient lighting conditions, the brightness of the monitor shouldn’t be an issue.
For colors, this OLED panel offers a wide gamut. That means it exceeds 100% of the sRGB gamut, pushing into wider gamut like DCI-P3. In that color space, I measured an excellent 97%.
Color accuracy was a different matter. KTC calibrates each monitor at the factory and includes a report, but the calibration is off, specifically for the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color modes. I measured a color error of 6 for Adobe RGB and 4 for DCI-P3, neither of which is great. On the standard mode, the color error was over 3. Ideally, you want to see a color error of under 2.
That’s nothing a little calibration can’t fix. Using the free DisplayCal, I calibrated the monitor, and it was able to achieve a color error of 0.6, which is very good.
It’s always nice when colors are perfect out of the box, but at least you can pull the KTC back if you need great color accuracy. That doesn’t always matter in practice, though. Sure, the colors were off out of the box, but the display still looked great for games and movies before calibration.
There are some downsides here. For starters, the OSD (on-screen display) isn’t great. All of the options are there, but it looks a little janky. For instance, “overclock” is “over clock” in the menu, and some settings just randomly don’t capitalize letters. None of this actually matters for the performance of the monitor, but it certainly makes it feel like you’re getting a cheaper product.
The bigger issue is the Auto-Brightness Limiter (ABL). If you’re unfamiliar, all OLED displays have an ABL that limits the brightness when you reach certain thresholds. In practice, this plays out as the monitor quickly dimming itself when you pull up something very bright like a white webpage, and it gets brighter when you pull up something darker, such as a website in dark mode.
Ideally, ABL should be invisible on a display as it was on my Alienware 34 QD-OLED, but it’s very aggressive on the G42P5. I constantly see the display light up and limit itself as I’m swapping between browser tabs. It’s particularly annoying when I pull up the Windows search bar with a website open, as the screen immediately lights up with my dark mode Windows theme.
This would normally be a deal-breaker, but there are a couple of reasons it’s not for me. First, it only applies with HDR. There aren’t issues in SDR, even if I crank the screen to its maximum brightness. ABL still kicks in, but it’s far less noticeable, and it’s fast enough that you won’t catch it most of the time.
Second, it’s never become an issue in games or movies. There are situations where ABL can kick in and become distracting in media, but it’s not common enough to become a problem. Based on my testing, it looks like ABL kicks in when about 60% of the screen is white, dimming to its lowest point when pure white reaches about 70% of the screen. It’s not enough to turn me off of the G42P5, but it’s my biggest complaint coming from the Alienware 34 QD-OLED.
The final issue is the OLED maintenance feature, but it’s more of an annoyance than a problem. It kicks in automatically, giving you a 20-second countdown before the pixel refresh starts. This has already caught me a couple of times, locking me out of using my PC for a few minutes. Thankfully, you can turn off the automatic pixel refresh if you want.
Trading the best
The KTC G42P5 is a perfect answer for me. As much as I loved the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, I’ve been feeling the squeeze of 21:9 for a while, but I couldn’t justify spending $1,400 on the PG42UQ or over $1,000 on a 42-inch OLED from LG. The KTC G42P5 hit the right price with the right features, and with little in the way of sacrifices.
It’s not as seamless as the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, with disappointing color accuracy out of the box and annoying ABL in HDR. Thankfully, those issues are easy to correct, making the KTC G42P5 a suitable replacement. It nails the screen real estate and the excellent picture you get out of OLED, and it comes in at a price that puts monitors like the PG42UQ to shame.
How a MacBook Pro got me back into PC gaming | Digital Trends
I have fond memories of the old days of PC gaming. That is, the old days for me. Games like Starcraft and Elder Scrolls: Morrowind had a big impact — but honestly, it’s remembering the endless hours of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn that ring my nostalgia bell the loudest.
But somewhere along the way, I more or less retired from regular gaming. Between reaching my mid-30s, getting some new hobbies, being married, buying a house, and having kids, I wasn’t finding a lot of time or energy for the old pastime. It sounds stereotypical, I know, but its sadly true.
Then a laptop came around called the M3 Max MacBook Pro, along with a little game called Baldur’s Gate 3. And bam — all of a sudden, I was 13 again, compelled by an expansive game world and a convenient means to easily get there.
It’s all about convenience
Baldur’s Gate II came out in the year 2000. I’m not going to try and pretend I remember the details of all my experience with this game, but let’s just say I wasn’t a hardcore PC gamer at the age of 13. I played it on whatever computer my parents happened to have, which was primarily used to access AOL. It was the same beige computer on which I did homework assignments, chatted on AIM, and made my first MySpace account.
The metaphor isn’t perfect, but being drawn to Baldur’s Gate 3 on the M3 Max MacBook Pro felt a lot like that for me. These days, you’re not going to play AAA PC games by accident. You need some dedicated hardware to make those games work well, and most of it is targeted specifically at that demographic. That is, for the most part, has been a good thing. But that’s definitely not what the M3 Max MacBook Pro is. Even as it’s launched its own gaming service in Apple Arcade, Apple has always seemed to hold the PC gaming community at arm’s length. There are signs of that changing in the near future, but we’re still in the beginning stages.
I’ve been using the 14-inch M3 Max MacBook Pro for the past month or so, and wrote the initial review of it after it launched in November. The most notable thing about it is the huge boost in graphics with the M3 Max. The previous versions were powerful, but for the first time, the hardware here felt capable enough to handle many of the latest flagship PC games without sacrificing too much in settings. And hey — Baldur’s Gate 3 just so happens to be one of the big new titles to run natively on Macs.
It’s not just the fact that it can handle a game like Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s that it handles it like a dream. Unlike almost every gaming laptop I’ve ever used, the temperature on the surface of the device never gets uncomfortably hot, and the fan noise doesn’t overpower the fantastic speakers. You can even play this game unplugged from the wall without a discernible drop in performance.
I have to mention the screen too. Gaming laptops are finally starting to catch up with some of the mini-LED displays out there, but the XDR display on the MacBook Pro is still unbeaten in terms of quality. The colorful and detailed world of Baldur’s Gate 3 looks gorgeous in HDR — a perfect match for the the MacBook Pro’s bright, bold screen. Throw in the ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate and the clarity of its glossy screen, and you have a visual feast accessible right at your fingertips. It’s even one of the few games you can comfortably play right on the trackpad, which is a huge convenience factor. I know that sounds crazy — but trust me, it works.
All of that means I have an incredible gaming experience on the same laptop that I’ve been composing articles on, writing emails, and taking Zoom calls. It’s right there, just like that beige box I used back in the early 2000s in my parent’s basement. And that accessibility has made it far easier to jump in here and there when I have the time.
Of course, a MacBook Pro alone isn’t enough to get me hooked on a game. I needed something that reached deep into my brain and tapped a nerve of pure nostalgia and joy. And for me, that’s exactly what Baldur’s Gate 3 offered.
I’m happy to admit that nostalgia plays such a big role in my connection to Baldur’s Gate 3. Like my resurged obsession with embarrassing 2000s-era pop punk, I should have known that the game to get me back into gaming would be something directly tied to my adolescence. Because that’s exactly what Baldur’s Gate 3 is — old school in all the best ways.
Rather than adopt a more modern storytelling style or updated combat mechanics, Baldur’s Gate 3 feels almost relentlessly determined to stay true to its roots as a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop adventure. The absorbing story doesn’t rely on extravagant cut scenes and cinematic drama, but instead on dialogue trees, digital dice rolling, and choices you make. It seems to revel in just how nerdy it is too — never wincing away at less dorky costumes, characters, and storylines. And that’s exactly what makes it so charming and unique.
Heck, for me, even the frustrating bits are nostalgia bait. It’s clunky at times, there are plenty of graphical glitches, and sometimes I’m really not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. If you spent time PC gaming in the early 2000s, all of that should be familiar territory.
In all my time trying out new devices and testing out games on them, I’ve never felt drawn to go beyond what I needed to properly evaluate the product. It’s not that there haven’t been games that intrigued me over the years. Of course not. A brief stint in Halo Infinite was the last time a game like this grabbed me, and it was for very similar reasons. But as life has gotten busier, the barrier of entry of time and convenience keeps getting higher and higher.
Being absorbed into a game like Baldur’s Gate 3 on a MacBook Pro somehow smashed its way through that barrier, and left me reminiscing about when PC games, technology, and life itself was a bit simpler.
The no-contract plan provides nationwide 5G access primarily through its own Helium Mobile Network that’s backed up by “the nation’s largest 5G network” — T-Mobile. This allows the carrier to provide full 5G coverage at much more affordable prices than traditional carriers and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).
In addition, Helium Mobile is sticking with a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy that gives subscribers the freedom to use any compatible phone of their choice and reduces the overhead involved in contracts and phone financing.
“Traditional carriers think they have Americans over a barrel. At Helium Mobile, we believe that cell phones are an essential service and unlimited data, text, and calls are table stakes,” Amir Haleem, CEO of Helium’s parent company Nova Labs, said in today’s press release. “We are tired of carriers that hide high subscription rates, roaming, and additional data fees behind free phone upgrades that lock you into years of expensive plans. Americans deserve better.”
How Helium Mobile works
Nova Labs initially built the Helium Network as an effectively crowd-sourced project that relied on mobile Helium hotspots to create a decentralized wireless (DeWi) network organically built on leveraging existing internet connections of those folks who were willing to purchase and carry a hotspot, which Helium Mobile says allows it to “pursue the community vision of democratizing access to the internet.”
As widespread as the Helium Network has become, it hasn’t quite reached the point where Helium Mobile can provide ubiquitous coverage, so it’s also entered into an MVNO arrangement with T-Mobile to provide 5G service when there are no Helium Network hotspots nearby. This not only expands coverage but also increases network performance by using T-Mobile’s fast and expansive 5G network for additional capacity. The company calls this “Dynamic Coverage.”
Helium Mobile’s “unlimited” service comes with the usual disclaimer: data speeds may be reduced after 30GB of usage per monthly billing cycle. Tethering is also limited to 5GB per month. The company doesn’t say how much speeds will be slowed down, but it’s likely enough to maintain basic connectivity for email, messaging, and casual web surfing, similar to other carriers.
While we imagine most folks will interested primarily in Helium Mobile’s unlimited plans, the company’s Network Builder program allows you to be part of the “people-powered” network by operating your own Helium Mobile Hotspot. In addition to getting rewards that could add up to free cellular service, you get to build a network that’s operated by “customers, not carriers.” Helium Mobile likens this to Airbnb and Uber, saying that it helps “reduce monopolies and let customers be owners,” improving service and lowering costs.
Helium also hopes that this could make dead zones a thing of the past since anyone can invest in a hotspot and place it where it’s most needed, creating a “mini cell tower” to cover areas that may not be a priority for the big carriers. The company offers two versions of its hotspot at even lower prices than when they initially launched; the Outdoor Helium Mobile Hotspot sells for $499, while the Indoor Helium Mobile Hotspot can be purchased for $249.
Best 85-inch TV Deals: Save on Samsung, Sony, TCL, and More | Digital Trends
While many large TVs can get the home theater job done, if you want to bring some head-turning action to the experience you need to go with an 85-inch TV. Many of the best TV brands makes models up to 85 inches, and there’s a lot to choose from if you’re hoping to land some savings. Discounts are out there on 85-inch TV models by Samsung, TCL, and Sony, and we’ve done the heavy lifting of tracking them down. So whether you’re shopping to upgrade your home theater or start one from scratch, these are the best 85-inch TV deals for doing so.
Our favorite 85-inch TV deal
85-inch TCL S4 4K TV — $800, was $1,000
TCL has grown in popularity the last few years, as it makes TVs with features that generally outperform their price point. You’ll find an excellent 4K image with the TCL S4. It boasts HDR PRO technology that provides enhanced contrast, accurate colors, and includes the fine details in all of your favorite content. This is a great TV for gamers, movie lovers, and sports fans as it utilizes a feature known as Motion Rate 240 to create exceptional motion clarity, even during fast-paced action.
This should be a particularly enticing TV if smart TV features matter to you. The TCL S4 uses the Google TV smart OS platform. This is one of the better smart platforms, particularly if you watch movies and TV shows across several different streaming services. You’ll get built-in access to things like the best new movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Max, and more, and the Google TV interface does a good job of organizing your favorite content from all of your streaming service, as well as present new content from places you may not otherwise think to look.
More 85-inch TV deals we like
But there’s plenty more shopping to do, particularly if TCL isn’t your brand or you prefer one of several other smart OS platforms in your smart TV. Samsung using its own Tizen smart OS, and you’ll find some great Samsung 85-inch TV deals available. You’ll also find the likes of Sony, LG, and other name brands with discounted 85-inch models, including some that can compete with the best QLED TVs.
Graphics cards are selling again, and that worries me | Digital Trends
GPUs are selling again. Ever since the GPU shortage, graphics cards haven’t been selling well, but a recent report from Jon Peddie Research shows that trend is changing. The report shows that GPU shipments increased by 16.8% compared to last quarter, which is a positive sign. Still, I can’t help but feel worried about what this could mean for GPU prices.
Both AMD and Nvidia came out of the pandemic highs with new ranges of graphics cards. Nvidia set the bar with pricing higher than we’ve ever seen before, and AMD quickly followed, pricing its cards just low enough to be considered a value by comparison. That’s made the price of building a new gaming PC higher than it’s ever been.
Over the past year, however, it’s been difficult for AMD and Nvidia to keep prices propped up. AMD has cut prices on its RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT, and Nvidia has followed with price cuts to the RTX 4070 and RTX 4080. The only GPU that’s gone in the opposite direction is the RTX 4090, which is likely seeing a price increase due to a recent sanction the U.S. placed on China.
With shipments rising again, I’m worried that Nvidia and AMD will reverse course on these pricing drops. That’s problematic considering the cards we’ve seen this generation almost universally arrived overpriced based on the performance they offer.
That’s what has driven a lot of the price drops. As you can read in our RTX 4080 review, for example, it’s a great GPU if you ignore the fact that it arrived $500 more expensive than the card it was replacing ($1,200 compared to $700 for the RTX 3080). AMD’s RX 7900 XTX — the direct competition to the RTX 4080 — drove some of the price drops with drops of its own. Both are solid cards in a vacuum, but they look downright pitiful when you consider how expensive they are.
The cards still sold, but probably not at the rate Nvidia and AMD were expecting. As Jon Peddie wrote in the report: “All through the last three quarters, add-in boards sold, not at normal volumes, and albeit with complaints about prices, but sold, nonetheless.”
There’s another critical factor at play here, though, which basically guarantees that GPU prices won’t fall any further.
Nvidia has reportedly stopped production of the RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 4080 in order to make room for a rumored Super refresh that’s supposedly arriving at CES 2024 in January. If these Super cards are real, the last several months of lowered prices were likely aimed at clearing the way for them to arrive at the same list prices.
It’s great that GPU shipments are improving, but it could mean that prices creep back up overall. It looks like desktop GPUs are driving this increase, too. the report shows that shipments increased overall by 16.8% compared to last quarter, but desktop graphics cards increased by 37.4% compared to last quarter. Desktop GPUs are the driving factor here.
That doesn’t mean that graphics cards will start going above list price, though. The main worry here is that the lowered prices we’ve seen over the past several months will disappear and GPUs will go back up to list price. It’s important to keep a longer historical context in mind. The report says that, although GPU shipments are up for the quarter, they’re still down 5.1% compared to the same point last year.
Peddie sees this as more of a correction, writing, “This bounce back … is being overpraised, when it largely reflects a cleaning out and straightening up of the distribution channel.” I would be remiss to omit Peddie’s warning about these reports, too: “The mistake is the constant search for sensationalism. It’s fatiguing.”
At the risk of diving into sensationalism, the biggest risk right now is that GPUs will go back up to list price, not that we’ll suddenly be in another situation of GPUs selling for two or three times what they’re worth. That’s still cause for concern when the pricing corrections we’ve seen on several GPUs are at risk of disappearing.
1More’s PistonBuds Pro Q30 look like great budget buds at $50 | Digital Trends
The new PistonBuds Pro Q30 from 1More boast AirPods-like looks along with active noise cancellation (ANC) and spatial audio, but it’s their rock-bottom $50 price that stands out. As part of the launch, 1More has dropped the price to $40 for a limited time, making these wireless earbuds even more attractive. The PistonBuds Pro Q30 are available in white/gold or black/gold combos.
In the past, 1More has favored a stemless design for its PistonBuds lineup, but this time the company has opted for a stem-based approach. If you’ve ever tried PistonBuds in the past and found them a poor fit, this new shape might be a better option.
Inside the buds are 10mm diamond-like carbon (DLC) drivers that 1More claims will deliver “powerful bass and vibrant vocals” and three microphones per side. The mics power the earbuds’ ANC modes, which include transparency, wind noise resistance mode, and an adaptive mode. With the help of an AI-enabled voice recognition algorithm, 1More promises the new PistonBuds will deliver clear calls.
Though not intended as sports wireless earbuds per se, the PistonBuds Pro Q30 have an IPX5 rating for water resistance, which will keep them very adequately protected from sweat and the occasional splash if you clean and dry them after each use.
Battery life is rated at 7.5 hours with ANC off, and the charging case’s supply can extend this to 30 hours. A fast-charging system can top up the earbuds with an extra two hours after just 10 minutes in the case. Unfortunately, wireless charging is one feature that didn’t make the cut at this price.
There’s an optional low-latency mode for gaming applications, and the 1More Music app can enable a spatial audio feature for “360-degree listening.” Bluetooth 5.3 is supported, along with Bluetooth Multipoint for simultaneous connections to two devices.
Windows 11 may replace a favorite shortcut with more AI | Digital Trends
Microsoft is currently testing removing a popular Windows 11 feature and swapping it out for AI.
The brand recently rolled out the Windows 11 preview build for the Dev Channel. In the build, the shortcut to Copilot is a primary feature of the operating system. The shortcut will be located in the bottom-right corner of the screen and will replace the “Show desktop” button, which has been commonplace on Windows since 2009, according to Neowin.
The Show desktop feature has been an easy shortcut to minimize all apps and allows you to return to your desktop with one click. However, Microsoft is looking to make its Copilot AI-assistant more efficient and present on the Windows desktop. Its position on the desktop will put it near the notification center and the time and date, potentially making it easier to locate and use.
The once default Show desktop feature is now turned off in the preview build update, however, it is still available in the system and can be enabled manually.
You can enable it by selecting Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors >Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop. You can then attach it where you like on your taskbar.
Though Microsoft is testing this setup, there is no guarantee it will make it to a public Windows build. The current Windows look has the Copilot icon located to the right of the search bar, which is a more centered frame of reference on a standard desktop.
Neowin noted that Microsoft developed and tested the Show desktop feature for some time before rolling it out to the public. Perhaps a final version of the Copilot icon placement will allow Show desktop to remain enabled in some form, especially considering Microsoft’s AI assistant also includes the voice activation function as an accessibility feature.