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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review- A Good Media Slate But Mediocre at Best

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review

Tablets were once considered as the best portable media devices out there simply because of their bigger displays than smartphones. However, with phones getting bigger and bigger screens, most people have opted to use them instead of the bulkier tablets.

That is not to say that no one ever uses tablets in this day and age. In fact, Amazon reminds everyone that the bigger devices can still become good enough for daily media consumption.

This article is for the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

What is It?

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is Amazon’s foray into the tablet market. Although it is definitely a slate where you can place all of your media files in, it is not comparable with the bigger competitors such as Samsung or Huawei’s tablet devices.

Still, you buy something that is intended for a particular purpose and this tablet is mainly intended for content and media consumption.

Now, you might have seen that there is a vanilla version of the Amazon Fire HD and their main differences are that the ‘Plus’ version has an additional 1GB of RAM, as well as wireless charging capabilities.

Design

The design of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is quite reminiscent of the tablets of old. It has thick bezels on all sides, but it still has a respectable screen real estate.

This 8-inch tablet is a bit wider and a bit shorter than its 2018 predecessor. Despite it being a plastic device, it is quite sturdy nonetheless.

The tablet measures 202 x 137 x 9mm and it weighs about 355 grams which is a bit lighter than other tablets of the same size on the market.

When you look at the back, you will find that the camera is actually situated on the left side of the device when you put it in landscape mode. If you orientate the device as such, it would be ideal since your eyes will be in the right position as the camera.

At the top of the tablet, you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume controls, and a USB Type-C charging and data port as well.

Display

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

When people see the word ‘Plus’ on the product’s moniker, they would instinctively think about a device that is larger than the non-plus version. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus still has an 8-inch LCD screen like its non-plus variant and the display has also the same resolution of 1280 x 800. As previously mentioned, the main difference of the ‘Plus’ version is that it has an additional 1GB of RAM, as well as wireless charging. Other than that, they are nearly identical.

Whereas most tablets are already using a 1080p screen as the default, you are still stuck with an HD display and in 2020, that is a bit of a let-down.

As you can expect, the things that you can see on the display are mediocre at best. To be fair, the elements on the screen are clear for the most part, but there are certain instances where pixelation is noticeable. This is just something to keep in mind.

This 8-inch tablet was mainly built for content consumption and I do have to say that it is okay. For the price of $110, you cannot really complain about this at the said price point.

Software

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus makes use of Android 9 with Amazon’s Fire OS 7 Skin built on top of it. Amazon’s OS is a far cry of what Android should be in the sense that it is too restrictive in what you can do.

Aside from the fact that you can barely customize anything, app support is fairly limited. No, you do not get Google Play Store on this device but instead, you are stuck with Amazon’s own app interface which is pretty barebones compared to the former.

Despite that, there is a redeeming quality though. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can easily integrate the device with Amazon’s own services.

When you purchase this tablet, you also have a 3-year subscription to their Amazon Kindle service that allows you to download ebooks and audiobooks from the company’s massive library.

While there is support for Android-based apps and games such as Clash of Clans and Netflix, it is somewhat limited and you are better off using Amazon’s own services.

If you have smart home appliances and you are naturally using Alexa to control them, you will be happy to know that the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus also has the company’s own virtual assistant as well, so you can easily use voice commands just by using the tablet.

Battery

Although this tablet lacks in performance compared to others, it does have pretty good battery life. Amazon touts this device to last up to 12 hours and during my testing, I was able to reach 9 hours and 34 minutes with the brightness set to 75% while doing a combination of Netflix and reading ebooks.

Your mileage may vary, but the battery life is indeed considerable. On a single charge, it may last up to three days.

It uses a fast charger so you can top this device off pretty quickly and I am happy to say that it is capable of wireless charging as well.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review 2020

Verdict

Would I recommend the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus? Well, that depends. If you are subscribed to Amazon’s services, particularly Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Kindle, then this tablet is a steal at $110 for the 32GB version.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you are looking for a competitive tablet that can do more things than just media consumption. If you want other alternatives for content consumption, you may want to get an ebook reader instead.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Best Tech Deals in October 2020

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Amazon Echo Dot

Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.

Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.

Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:

Best Tech Deals in October

1.Apple iPhone XR

Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy

Apple iPhone XR

If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.

Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.

What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.

That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.

Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!

2.Amazon Echo Dot

Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.

The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.

One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.

If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.

The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.

Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.

3.Nintendo Switch

Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.

This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.

You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.

4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro

Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro

The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.

You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.

The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.

5.Apple Airpods Pro

Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon

Apple Airpods Pro

The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.

Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.

Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.

It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.

If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.

6.TCL 43S425

Price: $229 (was $329)

TCL 43S425

If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.

This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.

Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.

7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (1)

We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.

You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.

Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.

If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.

8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless

Price: $239 (was $349)

Bose QC 35 II Wireless

Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.

Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.

You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review- A Good Media Slate But Mediocre at Best

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review

Tablets were once considered as the best portable media devices out there simply because of their bigger displays than smartphones. However, with phones getting bigger and bigger screens, most people have opted to use them instead of the bulkier tablets.

That is not to say that no one ever uses tablets in this day and age. In fact, Amazon reminds everyone that the bigger devices can still become good enough for daily media consumption.

This article is for the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

What is It?

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is Amazon’s foray into the tablet market. Although it is definitely a slate where you can place all of your media files in, it is not comparable with the bigger competitors such as Samsung or Huawei’s tablet devices.

Still, you buy something that is intended for a particular purpose and this tablet is mainly intended for content and media consumption.

Now, you might have seen that there is a vanilla version of the Amazon Fire HD and their main differences are that the ‘Plus’ version has an additional 1GB of RAM, as well as wireless charging capabilities.

Design

The design of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is quite reminiscent of the tablets of old. It has thick bezels on all sides, but it still has a respectable screen real estate.

This 8-inch tablet is a bit wider and a bit shorter than its 2018 predecessor. Despite it being a plastic device, it is quite sturdy nonetheless.

The tablet measures 202 x 137 x 9mm and it weighs about 355 grams which is a bit lighter than other tablets of the same size on the market.

When you look at the back, you will find that the camera is actually situated on the left side of the device when you put it in landscape mode. If you orientate the device as such, it would be ideal since your eyes will be in the right position as the camera.

At the top of the tablet, you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume controls, and a USB Type-C charging and data port as well.

Display

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

When people see the word ‘Plus’ on the product’s moniker, they would instinctively think about a device that is larger than the non-plus version. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus still has an 8-inch LCD screen like its non-plus variant and the display has also the same resolution of 1280 x 800. As previously mentioned, the main difference of the ‘Plus’ version is that it has an additional 1GB of RAM, as well as wireless charging. Other than that, they are nearly identical.

Whereas most tablets are already using a 1080p screen as the default, you are still stuck with an HD display and in 2020, that is a bit of a let-down.

As you can expect, the things that you can see on the display are mediocre at best. To be fair, the elements on the screen are clear for the most part, but there are certain instances where pixelation is noticeable. This is just something to keep in mind.

This 8-inch tablet was mainly built for content consumption and I do have to say that it is okay. For the price of $110, you cannot really complain about this at the said price point.

Software

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus makes use of Android 9 with Amazon’s Fire OS 7 Skin built on top of it. Amazon’s OS is a far cry of what Android should be in the sense that it is too restrictive in what you can do.

Aside from the fact that you can barely customize anything, app support is fairly limited. No, you do not get Google Play Store on this device but instead, you are stuck with Amazon’s own app interface which is pretty barebones compared to the former.

Despite that, there is a redeeming quality though. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can easily integrate the device with Amazon’s own services.

When you purchase this tablet, you also have a 3-year subscription to their Amazon Kindle service that allows you to download ebooks and audiobooks from the company’s massive library.

While there is support for Android-based apps and games such as Clash of Clans and Netflix, it is somewhat limited and you are better off using Amazon’s own services.

If you have smart home appliances and you are naturally using Alexa to control them, you will be happy to know that the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus also has the company’s own virtual assistant as well, so you can easily use voice commands just by using the tablet.

Battery

Although this tablet lacks in performance compared to others, it does have pretty good battery life. Amazon touts this device to last up to 12 hours and during my testing, I was able to reach 9 hours and 34 minutes with the brightness set to 75% while doing a combination of Netflix and reading ebooks.

Your mileage may vary, but the battery life is indeed considerable. On a single charge, it may last up to three days.

It uses a fast charger so you can top this device off pretty quickly and I am happy to say that it is capable of wireless charging as well.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Review 2020

Verdict

Would I recommend the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus? Well, that depends. If you are subscribed to Amazon’s services, particularly Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Kindle, then this tablet is a steal at $110 for the 32GB version.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you are looking for a competitive tablet that can do more things than just media consumption. If you want other alternatives for content consumption, you may want to get an ebook reader instead.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Best Tech Deals in October 2020

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Amazon Echo Dot

Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.

Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.

Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:

Best Tech Deals in October

1.Apple iPhone XR

Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy

Apple iPhone XR

If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.

Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.

What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.

That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.

Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!

2.Amazon Echo Dot

Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.

The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.

One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.

If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.

The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.

Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.

3.Nintendo Switch

Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.

This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.

You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.

4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro

Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro

The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.

You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.

The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.

5.Apple Airpods Pro

Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon

Apple Airpods Pro

The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.

Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.

Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.

It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.

If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.

6.TCL 43S425

Price: $229 (was $329)

TCL 43S425

If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.

This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.

Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.

7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (1)

We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.

You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.

Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.

If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.

8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless

Price: $239 (was $349)

Bose QC 35 II Wireless

Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.

Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.

You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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