Weekly poll: what's the ideal weight for a phone?

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We often argue about ergonomics at the office – hard to grip screens with curved sides are the usual talking point, especially when it comes to one-handed use. But recently we started thinking about weight. Have phones become too heavy?

Typing is the biggest problem – the keyboard is at the bottom of the screen and you need to reach from the left side to the right side. This means you hold the lower half of the phone and you don’t grip the phone securely (because then you can’t reach the farther edge of the screen).

There are plenty of phones that weigh 200g – iPhone 8 Plus, Galaxy Note8, Xperia XZ Premium to name a few. They are popular phones and offer enticing spec sheets – clearly millions think they are not too heavy.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note8 Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Apple iPhone 8 Plus • Samsung Galaxy Note8 • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

170g is more manageable – Galaxy S8+, iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, OnePlus 5T, Xiaomi Mi A1 and many others. As you can probably tell, these are smaller phones than those in the previous category.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Apple iPhone X Google Pixel 2 XL OnePlus 5T
Samsung Galaxy S8+ • Apple iPhone X • Google Pixel 2 XL • OnePlus 5T

The problem with big phones is that they bend – or rather they would if not for the metal internal structure that keeps them rigid.

Then there are the phones in the 140g range – Pixel 2, iPhone 8, Moto Z2 Force, Huawei P10 and so on and so forth. These are the smallest class of flagships currently available.

Google Pixel 2 Apple iPhone 8 Motorola Moto Z2 Force Huawei P10
Google Pixel 2 • Apple iPhone 8 • Motorola Moto Z2 Force • Huawei P10

If we were to drop another 30g… there would be nothing left. Other than a few entry-level handsets, there are no mid-range (let alone high-end) phones that launched in 2017 that weigh under 130g.

Remember when high-end phones used to weigh 110g? That hasn’t been the case for years. If you want to be generous and include 2016’s iPhone SE in the high-end group, then it’s the last one (but that’s a bit of a stretch, it was Apple’s lowest-spec offering).

So, what’s the ideal weight for a phone?

What’s the ideal weight for a phone?

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Filmmaker pits a maxed-out $14,000 iMac Pro against a top-of-the-line iMac

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After years of essentially ignoring its pro users — a group which largely consists of loyal developers and creative professionals — Apple finally seems eager to right the ship. Not only is the company working on a completely redesigned Mac Pro, the company late last year introduced the iMac Pro, an absolute beast of a machine that is easily the most powerful computer Apple has ever released. The iMac Pro features a Retina 5K display, can support up to 128GB of RAM, and can be tricked out with an 18 core configuration. And that, of course, is just small taste of what the iMac Pro brings to the table.

Naturally, the iMac Pro doesn’t come cheap. While Apple hardware is always pricey, the iMac Pro — when it comes to price — is in another realm entirely. To wit, the base model starts at $4,999. And if you opt to really max out the machine, you’ll be shelling out nearly $14,000.

That said, filmmaker Parker Walbeck recently decided to put Apple’s new iMac Pro through the ringer by pitting a fully loaded $14,000 iMac Pro against a fully loaded iMac priced at about $5,700. While we can talk about and compare specs all day long, what really matters is real-world performance; and if you’re looking to get some serious video editing work in, it’s only natural to wonder whether or not the iMac Pro’s extra power is worth the extra cash.

As evidenced via the video below, full res video playback of 8K clips in Adobe Premiere Pro appears to be much smoother on the iMac Pro than on the tricked out iMac. When looking at 4K footage shot with a 1DX Mark II, playback on both machines was silky smooth. However, when Walbeck decided to watch the 4K footage at twice the normal speed, performance on the iMac began to show a few hiccups relative to its more expensive brethren.

With respect to rendering and exporting, Walbeck found that the iMac Pro is a good 2x faster than the fully loaded iMac. This is a particularly compelling stat, especially for users who have vivid memories of patiently suffering through painfully long rendering and export times on older machines.

You can check out the full head-to-head battle below.

Olympics 2018: Commentators Should Cut the Chit-Chat and Just Explain the Sport

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Luge looks silly. It looks easy, too: lie down on a sled, let gravity do the work, climb the podium. In reality, of course, luge is fascinatingly complex. And, as American Emily Sweeney’s brutal crash this week made clear, it’s dangerous too.

A good start is crucial (that’s where the gloves with little spikes on the fingertips come in). The rule of thumb says every 1/100th of a second you lose up top compounds to 1/10th of a second by the end of the run. Aerodynamics is so important, sliders practice their form in wind tunnels. Because that form includes keeping their head back, they rely on peripheral vision and memory to steer—if you can call flexing your feet and shoulders to manipulate a sled “steering.” Winning requires finding the perfect line through a dozen or so turns on a course made of ice, whose exact shape changes from one run to the next.

Of course, you’d know none of this from watching luge during the Winter Olympics. That’s because NBC’s commentators focus more on things like the American luger who had an at-home luge track as a kid, and something called a “clean line” that apparently matters a lot.

You wouldn’t know that the “sled” these people ride as fast as 90 mph is actually a patch of fiberglass, barely bigger than an Olympian tuckus, atop a pair of overgrown fish hooks. Those are bowed, so most of the time, just a few inches of the sled is touching the ice. I learned that by calling Chris Wightman, a former Olympian who’s now president of the Ontario Luge Association, who told me about the challenges in commanding one of these sleds. “If you sneezed,” Wightman says, “it would go out of control.”

The speed! The precision! That’s the kind of thing that gives me, a know-nothing, a glimpse of what lugers love about their sport. The kind of thing that helps me become an informed spectator. It’s maddening that after watching several hours of the sport—men, women, and the ungainly doubles—and listening to the commentary, you’d still have no idea what’s going on.

What these talking heads should do is talk about the sport the way they would to someone who’s not an expert at all. They should find and feast on the things that convey what makes each sport special, worthy of a place in the Olympiad. There’s more than enough to fill up air time. Like the fact that biathletes train to shoot between heartbeats. Or what kind of RPMs your body has to hit to land a quadruple jump. Or that cross country skiers use wax that can either grip snow or slide over it, depending on whether they’re going up or downhill.

It’s not impossible. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski do a lovely job explaining how scoring works in ice skating, with commentary on why completing a quad spin and falling is better than landing a triple. Bode Miller taught me that in slalom, some results come down to a skier’s waxing skills (which sucks, by the way). But those are the big, marquee sports, popular to the point of familiarity. My favorite thing about the Olympics is that it’s the one time you see all the really weird stuff: biathlon, speed skating, curling, the heck-why-not combination of ski jumping and cross country skiing, the lunacy of skeleton that prompted this seminal tweet from Leslie Jones.

Now more than ever before, we can watch all of the weird and funky sports, thanks to the multiplication of TV channels and online streaming. I can skip the primetime broadcast and watch one bobsledding quartet after another jump into a iron tub on its way downhill. But to go from idle curiosity to the active appreciation these world class athletes deserve, I need to know what to look and listen for. I need a guide, not a commentator.

If NBC is going to maintain its grip over Olympic broadcast rights, the peacock has two years to figure this out before the Tokyo games. Because I’m gonna have a lot of questions about canoe slalom.

The Olympics, Explained

Counterclockwise: the evolution of smartphone cameras in the dark

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This week we’ll do something more visual instead of the usual wordy Counterclockwise article. We remember some old phones as having great cameras, but did they, really? Or is this a case of remembering only the good things?

So, we picked out flagship lines known for their cameras – it’s not a comprehensive list by any measure – and cropped out a part of a low light photo, the one you’ll find in our Photo Quality Comparison tool.

Note that we’re not comparing iPhone vs. Galaxy, Xperia vs. Huawei. Instead, we wanted to see how much each maker improved its own cameras through the years.

The images are in chronological order. Sometimes, it’s a year between the phones, other times it’s 6 months. Some of the cameras should be identical – e.g. the Galaxy S8 camera and Note8’s main camera – but there are still some differences in the software.

Ready? Hit Start and then you can switch between the various flagship lines with the links below. There are two crops – the first tests the rendering fine detail (text and texture), the second focuses on natural textures.

Start

If you want more, you can always head to our Photo Quality Comparison tool and pick any three phones.

Weekly poll results: most people change phones every two years

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Most people upgrade their phones every two years – half the voters in our poll do just that. It makes sense, most carriers lock you into a 2-year contract. And even if you buy a phone SIM-free, most phone makers are on a tick-tock upgrade cycle.

You know how it goes – iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7… well, the iPhone 8 is 7s in all but name. Then there’s the Galaxy S6 – new design but with issues, which the S7 fixed. The Galaxy S8 brought a new design and in a couple of weeks, the S9 will refine it.

Then there’s a nearly even split between people who change phones every year and those who do so every three years or more. That ties into the previous poll, which showed that most people expect 3 years of software updates.

If you change your phone two years after it launched, an extra year of software support will up its resale value. Alternatively, if you buy a phone late in its life cycle (when it’s cheap), then you know you’ll get two years of fresh software.

Weekly poll results: most people change phones every two years

In Past Tense: The story of Peter's phones

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Past Tense is our latest series of articles in which GSMArena veterans take you on a nostalgia-infused ride through the phones that impressed them the most through the years.

Hi, my name is Peter and I will be 31 before long. I’ve worked here at GSMArena for nearly a decade now. I witnessed first hand the major changes in the mobile industry in that time, but I want to start this story before I started work – we’re going way back to highschool.

Unlike Ivan, I will start with feature phones. There’s a good reason for that – I still remember arguing with a friend whether smartphones or featurephones were better. I was on the side of featurephones.

Clearly, I lost the argument in the end, but in my defense at the time “smartphone” meant a clunky Symbian or an even clunkier Windows Mobile handset. The software was buggy, apps were few, not to mention limited on the small non-touch screens. The touchscreens that were available were of the resistive flavor and not very accurate. The advantage of a smartphone (if you weren’t running a business) wasn’t clear.

As promised, we start at the beginning. My very first phone was an Ericsson A3618. The thing I remember most vividly about this phone is the game Erix – a simplified version of the arcade game Qix. A classmate kept playing it in class, the game’s pixelated graphics did not harm its addictiveness one bit.

Ericsson A3618
Ericsson A3618

Quaint as it was, this phone allowed me to chat with friends – including SMS group chats – while away from a computer for the first time. I should have gotten a Siemens C45, though, many of my friends did. They sent images (1-bit pixel art) and ringtones to each other (over EMS), but the Ericsson lacked support for such things.

After that phone got stolen, I dug out a Sagem MY X-2, which was sitting in a drawer at home for some reason. I don’t have much to say about this phone (other than that the build quality was terrible), but one thing I do remember was uploading images and MIDIs to Zedge so I could download them over WAP (if the phone even supported USB, I didn’t have a cable). It was fun, but it makes me appreciate Apple’s genius – iTunes and later the App Store allowed you to access content without jumping through hoops.

Sagem MY X-2
Sagem MY X-2

Later on, I got a Nokia 6230i and absolutely loved it. I took so many photos with its 1.3MP camera and even some QCIF videos (which I edited in Macromedia Flash, good times). It was a game changer – I brought a camera only for special occasions, but the phone captured the everyday moments. Today, I don’t think I would even bother upgrading my phone if not for the promise of a better camera.

Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i
Some of the photos I took with the Nokia 6230i

The 6230i was cool for another reason – it had both Bluetooth and infrared. This made my phone the hub for sharing files for people whose phones lacked either Bluetooth or IR.

Next up was another Nokia – the 5310 XpressMusic. It was thin, light and had media buttons on the side – camera and music are my two main uses for a phone.

I especially liked that it came with a JBL dock, which had great stereo speakers with a rich sound despite the relatively small size. What happened to phone accessories? Back then you used to get a ton of extra goodies, today you count yourself lucky if there’s a pair of headphones in the box.

Anyway, around the same time I also had a Motorola A1000. I never used it as a smartphone or even as just a phone. No, it was my ebook reader. I read through a lot of Larry Niven on the tiny 2.9″ screen using ReadManiac, an app that went as far back as the Siemens SL45. I remember ZIP-ing the books – you don’t think you need to compress text until all you have is 16MB of storage.

Eventually, I gave up and jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. I fell for the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray as soon as it came to the office – I had started working at GSMArena by that time. And I remember the reason I wanted it – it was almost the same size as the Nokia 5310!

I still think it’s the most beautiful phone I’ve owned. The arced Home button with the notification light around it was a design element that hasn’t been matched yet.

The poor phone was underpowered the moment it came out, Sony wouldn’t make an Xperia Compact for a few more years. Towards the end, I practically had to perform brain surgery on the ray – custom ROMs, custom kernels, custom scripts, everything to keep it going.

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

When I finally let it rest in piece, I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE+ – the Black Edition with a Snapdragon 800 chipset (instead of 600). I was going to buy an S5, the rumors building up to the MWC sounded enticing.

But then I saw it – I was so disappointed by its design that I knew I was going to get a Galaxy S4 Black Edition before we even published the news article announcing the S5.

The Galaxy saw its fair share of ROMs as well. It all started one day when I tried to take a photo and the camera took several seconds to launch. I missed the moment, I don’t even remember what I was trying to photograph. But I do remember unlocking the bootloader and installing CyanogenMod as soon as I got home. Once that was done, I tried launching the camera and nearly got whiplash – it was so quick!

Unfortunately, as time went on, the ROM quality started declining noticeably (the more common S600 version received much better support, lesson learned). At one point the phone would randomly reboot and get stuck in a bootloop – it’s not fun fidgeting around the recovery just to get your phone to work.

And that’s how I ended up with a OnePlus 3T. I loved S4’s AMOLED screen so much that I don’t even consider phones with LCD screens anymore (well, maybe a Triluminos screen…). My 3T hasn’t seen a custom ROM and it never will, it’s just not worth it anymore.

It’s a great phone that I’ll keep for a while longer, but do I love it? No, not really. Having gone through the transition from B&W to color screens, to camera phones, to the rise of smartphones, each successive update feels smaller and smaller. The unified “slab with a screen” design doesn’t help.

What’s next? AMOLED, clean Android and a solid dual camera (I’m transitioning to Bluetooth headphones, so I might, might, part with the 3.5mm jack). While featurephones lost, I still don’t use too many apps – I can probably get by with just the Google package. That said, I wouldn’t mind to be proven wrong yet again – someone please make a smartphone that isn’t boring!

Best Hoverboard 2018

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Hoverboards also known as ‘Self Balancing electric scooters’ are a fun and easy mode of transport. With several hundred products on the market, all with comparable features, it can be difficult to determine which is the best hoverboard in 2018.

But, after 30 hours of research, extensive testing and consulting, we’ve concluded that the #1 hoverboard on the market is the Swagtron T1. Why?

The Swagtron T1 charges in 1 hour, has an 8 MPH top speed and a range of 7-12 miles. This is the hoverboard that set the standard for those that have followed.

It is UL 2272 Fire Safe and has a 3 hour battery life.  Moreover, it gives you the best all around value for your money and packs in the features you want.

So without further ado, here are the top hoverboards for 2018.

Top 3 Hoverboards Compared 2018

#1 Swagtron T1 The Best All Around Hoverboard

Pros

  • 3 hour battery life
  • Range of 7-12 miles
  • Charging time is 1 hour

Cons

  • No Bluetooth and lack of GPS
  • No accompanying app
  • Build Quality could be better. Scratches easily.

The Swagtron T1 remains the best hoverboard for kids and adults. It supports a maximum weight of 220 lbs. This model is durable, easy to use, and is safe for everyone since it is UL 2272 compliant. The ABS outer covering is not only durable, but also fire-resistant.  It features a SentriShield battery pack  to prevent overheating and a Safestop feature that lets you get off the device safely while adding to the efficiency of the battery. That battery can be charged in about an hour and you are ready to roll. It even sports 2 learning modes for beginners. This model will offer you a smooth ride, great battery life and you will be using it for a long time to come. Great features combined with safety make this model a true winner in the field. It is the best all-around hoverboard that you can buy today.

#2 Epikgo Self-Balancing Hoverboard

Pros

  • All-terrain 8.5″ tires
  • Charges in under 2 hours
  • Maximum speed of 10 MPH

Cons

  • New riders may have a hard time with the large tires
  • Price is higher than some other models, but well worth it.

For those who like to trade the sidewalk and roads for a more off-road experience, this hoverboard is a dream come true. Especially since you won’t have to worry about potential damage to your hoverboard. The Epikgo self-balancing hoverboard should be your number 1 choice for off-road adventures.  With large 8.5 inch tires, powerful 400W dual hub motors, 1P56 certification, great handling, quick charging and excellent range, it is a good investment. You will find it to be stable ride on a wide variety of terrain and it has ample foot space for comfort. It will handle any terrain, whether it is grass, mud, sand and more. It sports a strong ABS body with aluminum fenders, a quick charge of under 2 hours and a top speed of 10 MPH. A 1 year limited warranty covers parts and labor from the manufacturer.

#3 Halo Rover

Pros

  • Powerful 800W motor
  • Maximum load of 265 lbs.
  • Bluetooth speakers and mobile app

Cons

  • Weighing 32 lbs it is quite heavy
  • Expensive compared to other models, but you get a great set of features for theprice.

If you are looking for a hoverboard that can handle any terrain, this one will do so effortlessly and will deliver an excellent riding experience. The Halo Rover Hoverboard also has the safety credentials that you want in a hoverboard. It is UL 2272 certified hoverboard with a UL certified LG battery. This model also delivers an impressively durable build with advanced water resistance. Rain or shine it will perform. The 8.5 inch wheels will handle any terrain and it can even climb hills with grades up to 20 degrees. This Halo Board also includes LED headlights to improve visibility for riders and pedestrians alike. You can have complete control over your hover board using a smartphone app that lets you monitor power, speed, distance traveled and more. The app can also adjust the speed, steering sensitivity, and other features. This is a solid choice for most experienced hoverboard users.

#4 Segway Minipro Self-Balancing Personal Transport

Pros

  • Made from aircraft grade material for a durable and lightweight frame
  • 800W motors
  • Easy to ride and maneuver

Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Automatic speed reduction keeps things under 10 MPH
  • Customers report issues that some units do not charge properly

The Segway Minipro Self-Balancing Personal Transport is the best all-round hoverboard for those who don’t have experience riding personal transports.  The adjustable knee bar makes it easy for new riders and experienced riders to maneuver. It is UL 2272 compliant, with a lithium ion battery and features IP54 certification so that it is resistant to water. The unit is lightweight and the large 10.5 tires deliver a smooth and satisfying rider experience, which also means that it absorbs shocks nicely. The customizable LED lights keep you visible and safe at night. The Segway Minipro Self-Balancing Personal Transport has a maximum speed of 10 MPH and a range of 14 miles. The powerful 800 watt motors round it all out. It also features 3 riding modes and a mobile app that provides tutorials, an anti-theft feature and also acts as a remote control. This is a solid hoverboard, especially for the inexperienced.

#5 Razor Hovertrax 2.0

Pros

  • Silent Operation
  • Detachable battery that extends battery life
  • Range of 15 miles

Cons

  • Low battery life
  • Top speed could be better
  • Not water resistant

The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard is a definite improvement over the 1.0 model.  Fans of the company will be happy to upgrade to this model. It is UL 2272 certified hoverboard to meet the industry’s electrical safety standards. It has a cruising speed of 8+ mph with silent 350 watt motors and a run-time of up to 60 minutes of continuous use for riders up to 220 lbs. The company’s advanced Ever Balance Technology and non-slip rubber foot pads make it a simple to use hoverboard for any child or adult. The detachable battery means that you can extend your battery life. The range on this unit is 15 miles. While the top speed could be better, it offers silent operation, and ease of use that both make up for it. New features on this model include the cool-blue LED light bar display, fender bumpers, LED battery power indicator, and two riding modes for training and normal riding. The price is just right on this model if you are looking for a budget hoverboard that is durable and easy to use.

#6 Swagtron T5

Pros

  • 5 level battery indicator
  • Light and durable
  • Range of 10 miles

Cons

  • 5 hour charging time
  • Low speed of 7 MPH
  • Not water resistant

The Swagtron T5 is perfect for anyone looking for an entry level hoverboard at a great price point.  This is a good first hoverboard for any user. You will get great functionality and features that you would expect from a budget hoverboard. This unit still does it all and is easy to ride. The light and durable construction make it easy to use and give it a long life. This one is really portable, weighing just 18.9 lbs. It has a maximum load of 187 lbs, is UL 2272 compliant, features SentryShield Battery protection and a Smart battery Management system. The air-tight aluminum alloy body protects the battery, mainboard, and gears from heat dispersion, making sure you are safe. It delivers a range of 10 miles and has a battery level indicator so that you know where your charge is at all times. It also features a handy learning mode for new riders. For those not ready for bigger and more fully featured hoverboards, this is the perfect model to choose. Many newcomers are flocking to the T5.

#7 Swagtron T580

Pros

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Comes with app
  • Smooth ride

Cons

  • Low max speed
  • Low range
  • Mid-range power

The Swagtron T580 is a great middle of the road model from Swagtron. It packs in some very good features like the fact that it is Bluetooth enabled, allowing you to change modes, check the battery, access maps, and play music. The maximum speed is only 7.5 mph, but it has a respectable ability to climb inclines of up to 30° with its 150W dual motors. This model has 3 modes and travels up to 8 miles per charge, with a maximum weight load of 220 lbs. 6.5″ hard rubber tire give you a smooth ride. Your charging time will be 90-100 minutes. A single charge will yield a maximum range of 8 miles. It also comes with an app that is compatible with both iPhone and Android. There is a reason that this model sells. The Swagtron T580 is a great middle of the road model that delivers the features that most users want at a great price point.

#8 Skque Self Balancing Scooter

Pros

  • Smart battery charges quickly
  • Built-in Bluetooth speakers
  • Solidconstruction

Cons

  • Low max speed
  • Lack of smartphone app

The Skque Self balancing Scooter provides a comfortable ride and features a high quality chassis, giving it superior durability for a long life.  Another nice feature are the built-in gyros that give the ride some added stability.  As far as riding around your neighborhood or making quick rides back and forth to work, this one is a great choice. It will also be ideal for you if you only travel short distances. The LED lights will keep you visible at night. This models weighs just 22 lbs. Other features include 15 degrees of climbing, a max speed of about 7 to 10 MPH, a charging time of 1 to 2 hours and built-in Bluetooth speakers. It will hold a rider of up to 220 lbs. It lacks an app to add some extra features, but this is a solid basic model for kids or adults who just want ride around their local area. If you don’t need any extra bells and whistles, it is a great choice for the price.

#9 Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard

Pros

  • Smart battery management
  • Range up to 12 miles
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • No Bluetooth speaker
  • Low top speed
  • Not waterproof

The Hoverzon S Self Balancing Hoverboard has several great features that all make for a simple and fun experience. It has a top speed of only 8 MPH and a full charge will give you up to 12 miles distance. Construction is solid and durable, making it safe to use. It offers several riding modes so that users of all skill levels can enjoy and experience the best that this hoverboard has to offer. If it is an entry level hoverboard that you are looking for, you can’t go wrong with this one. Other features include 250W dual motors, a maximum weight is 220 lbs, gyroscopic motors that make your ride smoother, LED headlights, battery indicators, and smart battery management to keep things extra safe.

Hoverboard Buyers Guide

Below are the top features you should look for in a hoverboard.

Safety First – UL 2272 Fire Safety Certification

  • Your number one concern is safety. A few years back, hoverboards were known to catch on fire and since then the industry has done the responsible thing and made them much safer. You would be hard pressed to find any reports of fire today.  First and foremost, look for UL 2272 Certification on any hoverboard that you buy. That means it has passed all safety tests and is safe for you to ride.

The Correct Tire Size For the Terrain At Hand

  • Tire size is an important consideration when it comes to hoverboards. They come with a variety of sizes. Some are smaller and some are larger. Tire size affects not only the stability of the ride, but also where you can go with it and what kind of terrain it will be able to handle. If you are looking to simply sidewalk-surf around the neighborhood, smaller tires will do the trick. If you are looking to do kore and go “off-road” you’ll want larger tires that will handle more types of terrain better.

The Ideal Battery life and Charging Times

  • Longer battery life is good, but it isn’t everything. For instance, what good is a long battery life if your hoverboard only goes 5 MPH. You want to balance a long lasting battery with speed, performance and charge time. Look for a long battery life in a model that also delivers the speed that you want.
  • Charging times are another important factor to consider. You don’t want to wait 6 hours to charge your battery if it is only going to give you 3 hours of drive time and a wimpy 6 mile range. Again, what you want to look for is a balance that works for you. These days, a 1 or 2 hour charge time is acceptable, balanced against performance and how long that battery lasts while riding.

Make Sure Your Hoverboard Can Go The Distance

  • Along with battery life and charge times, the range that your hoverboard delivers on a single charge is one of the top considerations. Look for the best range that you can get in order to get the most out of your purchase. A great range with short charging times means less waiting around and more going places. A good range for hoverboards is 9-12 miles.

A Solid Yet Lightweight Construction

  • Like any other vehicle, one of your top concerns should be quality construction. You want a tough and rugged frame that will last. Some models even offer scratch resistant materials. Choosing a strong and solid hoverboard means that it will have a longer lifetime in service.
  • Along with a solid construction you also want a lightweight unit. A lighter hoverboard generally means more speed and a better battery capacity. It also makes for a smoother ride.

Powerful Motors Do Matter

  • Obviously, the more powerful the motors, the more your hoverboard can deliver. A 250 watt motor is fine, but twin 250 watt motors are going to give you much more power. That can equal more speed.  It also equates to more features and better performance overall. The bigger the better.

The Top Questions About Hoverboards Answered

It’s a good idea to buy a hoverboard that includes a warranty, 1 year or longer. Just in case you get a defective part, a bad battery, or it just plain stops working.  A warranty is a good idea and it protects your investment. All of our top picks come with at least a 1-year warranty.

Many hoverboards come with bluetooth speakers so that you can easily listen to your music while on the go. Is this a feature that you want? If not, you can save some money by avoiding models with extras like these. The same goes for models that include apps for your smartphone. These apps can add some really nice features, like music control, remote control and much more, but if you are not interested, look for models without these features to save money.

Generally hoverboards can cost between $100 to as much as $700. In our research, we found that you can skip both the $100 price point as well as the $700 price point. The sweet spot for hoverboards with quality features is the $200 to $600 range. The price of your hoverboard purchase will depend on what features you are looking for. More feature heavy and high-end specs will cost you more.

First off, hoverboards do not really hover. At least not in 2018. But they are still fun and you might be wondering how you actually ride one. We can help with that too. First, step onto the device with one foot Next, step on with the other foot and position your feet as far apart as comfortable. This will give you the best stance to control your hoverboard. Stand normally. To get going, lean forward or gently shift your weight forward. Only make small shifts in your weight. To turn just lean the appropriate foot forward. Those are the basics and it really is that easy. Whether it is a Segway, a self balancing scooter or a hoverboard, they all operate the same.

Best Hoverboard 2018

5 (100%) 1 vote


Google app beta adds built-in screenshot-editing tools

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ymgerman via Getty Images

Google app is extremely close to rolling out a built-in screenshot-editing tool — so close that you can now try it out as a beta tester on Android. If you join the app’s beta program and download version 7.21, you’ll find an option that says “Edit and share screenshots” under settings and then under Accounts & Privacy. Toggle that on, and you’ll see a panel pop up from the bottom of the page whenever you take screenshots anywhere you are within the Google app.

The panel will give you the choice to edit the screenshot or to share it to other apps straight from within the Google application or from within a Chrome Custom Tab. If you choose edit, you’ll be able to crop the screenshot, draw on it and then share it once you’re done. It’s not big deal if your phone uses an Android skin that already has the feature, but if you’re using stock Android, it could make the process of taking and sharing screenshots just a bit faster.

 

 

How many Model 3’s has Tesla actually built? This estimator tracks production

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Tesla’s production troubles with the Model 3 are still an ongoing concern for the EV maker, with Elon Musk just a few months back conceding that Tesla was in the midst of “production hell.” Though the company initially planned to manufacture 5,000 Model 3 units per month by the end of 2017, production hurdles forced the company to push back that deadline twice. As it stands now, Tesla maintains that it will be able to reach the 5,000 units per month threshold by the end of June of this year.

During the company’s recent earnings report, Tesla provided us with some additional information regarding Model 3 production. Specifically, Tesla said that it plans to reach the 2,500 units/week manufacturing threshold by the end of March.

“We continue to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2,” the company’s letter to shareholder explained. “It is important to note that while these are the levels we are focused on hitting and we have plans in place to achieve them, our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time.”

All that said, Bloomberg this week rolled out a new Tesla Model 3 tracker designed to track how many units Tesla has manufactured to-date while also providing us with some insight as to how weekly production is coming along. Per the tracker, Bloomberg claims that Tesla has manufactured 7,341 Model 3s since production began last year. With respect to the current production rate, Bloomberg’s data reveals that it currently stands at about 1,025 units per week.

The data itself is based on VIN tracking which the publication sourced from official batch registrations from Tesla and photos of the Model 3 observed on social media sites.

10 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week

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It’s time to hit the movies again, with Black Panther and Early Man opening this week in theaters across the country. I for one am making good progress with the Oscar-nominated films, but Black Panther ranks pretty high on my list of movies to watch. On top of new movie releases, we’ve also got a collection of new trailers to show you from this past week, including the latest Incredibles 2 and Ready Player One trailers.

A Quiet Place

We haven’t yet seen the monsters in A Quiet Place, but this new trailer offers plenty of new action. The gist of it is that a family has to somehow survive in a post-apocalyptic world without making a single sound. Any noise will awaken the monsters, whatever they are, and we’ll have to wait until April 6th to see it in cinemas.

Gringo

Gringo, hitting theaters on March 9th, is a movie about selling drugs the legal way. But don’t expect the legal way to be any easier than selling drugs illegally. Just watch the trailer, and you’ll understand why that is.

Incredibles 2

It turns out that parenthood is a pretty tricky job even if you’re a superhero dad like Mr. Incredible. It’s even more annoying, in fact, if your children have superpowers of their own — especially babies. Because babies with superpowers like Jack-Jack are something that you can’t really control.

Mary Magdalene

Ever wondered why we don’t have more movies focused on the women in Jesus Christ’s life? Well, wonder no more. Mary Magdalene does just that, telling the story of the other important Mary in his life. The film launches this March.

Overboard

Overboard is a comedy about a wealthy yacht owner who’s thrown overboard by his crew, and then forgets who he was before the accident. It’s a remake with big shoes to fill, but it looks pretty good in this trailer.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Pacific Rim 2 hardly needs more introductions. It’s going to be an action-packed flick about giant human-operated robots that are fighting giant sea monsters. A rinse and repeat job of the original, Uprising stars John Boyega and Scott Eastwood. Let’s hope they make it interesting.

Rampage

Speaking of monsters that you need to control, here comes Rampage, a film about genetically altered beasts that cause havoc in urban settings. Of course, we have Dwayne Johnson in the leading role. And of course, the wolf can fly. You’ll see what that means in a minute.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a Steven Spielberg movie you should have on your radar this year. It’s a plausible story about the future of an overpopulated Earth, where alternative reality experiences are a pretty common entertainment solution. Not to mention they’re a lot more sophisticated than anything available from AR and VR platforms right now.

The Grinch

It’s not exactly a real trailer for the new Grinch animation, but more of an Olympics-themed marketing ploy. We’ll take it, however. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having a laugh or two on account of the Grinch? The movie premieres on November 9th.

Uncle Drew

Can aging former basketball stars still play the game? Can they do it better than their younger peers? Can they enter competitions at their age? I have a feeling that Uncle Drew will give us affirmative answers to all those questions. That said, this movie is probably something to avoid until it hits streaming services and you can watch it for free.

Flippy, the Burger-Flipping bot, Raised Another $10 Million, Will Steal Your Job

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Flippy a robot that can flip a burger, is simply among the first in a new wave of bots hell-bent on taking what little menial work is left in the twisted techno-futurist dystopia we’ve made for ourselves. Make no mistake, the robot apocalypse won’t be the type of knock-down drag-out fight we’ve seen in Terminator or Futurama. It’ll be far more mundane and far more steady, and it starts here.

Miso Robotics, the company behind the lil boi, have now secured an additional $10 million in capital to help bring their bot to more restaurants — stealing countless jobs in the process.

Of course, Miso its project is just great. And how could it not? Flippy is a very impressive machine, a testament to the brilliance of human engineers, and the unlimited potential of the minds we all have.

And yet… this is exactly the kind of scenario that many of Earth’s greatest minds have and are continuing to warn us about. It should come as no shock to anyone that the economy doesn’t really work quite like it once did. The global push for profits naturally leads to a race-to-the-bottom for all industries, cutting out as much unnecessary labor as possible. Even turbo-capitalists and neo-robber barons like Elon Musk openly acknowledge this.

With bots that don’t show up late, don’t call in sick, and don’t require all that stupid food crap us dumb humans are always whining about, though, there’s not much incentive for businesses to keep us around.

That’s what lies at the heart of this talk of Flippy. It’s not just a burger-bot, but one that is simple and reliable and has the capital to start spreading outside of the relatively limited chain, CaliBurger, that currently employs the fellas.

Currently, Flippy only has a few different iterations, but it’s already pretty flexible in terms of job type it can perform, filling in the role as a generalized “kitchen assistant.” It can work the frier, plate, or help with other “dull, dirty, or dangerous” tasks. Flippy can be “installed” and operational in minutes, too. Miso Robotics says that it won’t be replacing anyone (of course they say that), adding that the company is sure those employees will find other work in the food industry. It’s just not sure what those jobs would look like.

“Tasting food and creating recipes will always be the purview of a chef,” Miso Robotics CEO David Zito told TechCrunch. “And restaurants are gathering places where we go to interact with each other. Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food. We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

It seriously shouldn’t take someone with an economics degree to figure out that the only reasons companies are interested in bots is to lower costs. That savings comes in part, yes, from the greater efficiency of bots. But then again, there’s no reason to employ people if you’ve got a capable robot to handle it. Oh sure, we’ll share jobs for a while. Humans and bots might work alongside one another for a decade or two, but we’ll be training our replacements. Helping them learn how to do our jobs better than us. Then it’s all over.

In thirty years, it isn’t even really clear how the economy will work at all. Maybe tax the robots and use universal basic income as a stop-gap? Hard to say. But! If we can survive the impending nightmare, there’s a small chance we’ll end up in a Star Trek-style future where (most) things are bright and cheery and money doesn’t exist but instead we have to worry about the Borg. That’s way less stressful.

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This new $99 robot vacuum has quickly become one of the top-rated models on Amazon

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It’s quite rare to come across a low-cost device in a popular consumer electronics category that has an even better customer rating than most of the pricier products in the category. That’s exactly the case with the Housmile Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, however, which is available right now on Amazon for just $99.99. It has a 4.6-star rating from more than 430 customer reviews, making it one of the best-rated robot vacuums on Amazon. It’s no surprise though, considering this Housmile works on hard flooring and on low-pile carpet, and it’s packed with features like infrared obstacle evasion and drop avoidance.

Here are some more key details from the product page:

  • Premium Features: infrared-sensor for evading obstacles, and drop-sensing tech to avoid falls.
  • High-Capacity Li-ion Battery: Delivers over 1.5 hours of fade-free power for constant, powerful suction. Two Work Mode:Press the button once to enter the small room mode(working for 30min), Press the button twice to enter the big room mode(working for 60min).
  • Easy to clean: Clean your house with the click of a button. Versatile cleaning modes and the low-profile design facilitates cleaning under tables and chairs along with every nook and cranny.
  • Two side brushes to remove messes such as dust, debris, allergens, a dam-board to collect rubbish. Coupled with multi cleaning modes, It can easily clean life’s various messes.
  • What You Get: Housmile Vacuum Cleaner (requires 18650 batteries, INCLUDED), AC power adapter, cleaning tool, 2 filters, 4 side brushes, 1 screwer, 4 Screws ,welcome guide and our worry-free 12-month warranty.

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Tesla’s next-gen Roadster looks incredible in these new colors

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When Tesla unveiled its highly anticipated Tesla Semi this past November, Elon Musk surprised everyone when he also introduced a next-gen version of the company’s iconic Roadster. And with the type of showmanship we’ve come to expect from Musk, Tesla introduced the Roadster by having it drive out of the back of a Tesla Semi.

Without exaggeration, Tesla’s Roadster is an absolute screamer. With a 0-60 MPH time of just 1.9 seconds flat, Tesla’s next-gen Roadster is faster than the Bugatti Veyron and nearly any other super car you can think of. Indeed, Musk at the event boasted that “it will be the fastest production car ever made.” And for good measure, the Roadster will sport a top speed of 250 MPH and a range of 620 miles on a single charge.

Just this week, Tesla put a Roadster prototype in its headquarters in Palo Alto, California. And as you might expect, the prototype featured the same shade of sleek red we saw when the car was first introduced a few months back. The photos below were first posted to Reddit courtesy of Casey_S.

Casey’s photos provide us with an interesting and close-up look on the next-gen Roadster. To wit, check out the futuristic steering wheel below.

And a few shots of the rear exterior for good measure.

Before long, an enterprising Redditor and Tesla enthusiast put one of Casey’s Roadster photos through Photoshop in order to see what Tesla’s next-gen Roadster might look like in an assortment of different colors. The full list can be viewed in the following album on Imgur, but a few of the best renderings can be seen below.

The one below essentially looks like a makeshift Batmobile.

Tesla is planning to release its next-gen Roadster in 2020 with a base price of $200,000.

The Best Sci-Fi On Netflix Streaming

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Being able to press a button and get a movie instantly sent to your TV is sort of the stuff of science fiction anyways, so it’s not surprising that Netflix has a pretty solid selection of sci-fi to stream. Picking through all of the detritus, though, can be a slog. There are a lot of lousy low-budget disease pandemic freakouts and cyborg fight club cheapies to skip over.

If you don’t feel like scrolling forever to find the cream of the crop, we’ve got your back. What follows is a list of the 11 must-watch science fiction flicks that are streaming right now on Netflix. We’ll update it as movies are added and removed, so bookmark this page. You’ll want to come back to it when you’re setting up for a binge.

Turbo Kid

Turbo Kid

Created by an idiosyncratic Canadian filmmaking collective, Turbo Kid is a gore-soaked post-apocalyptic homage to classic 80s sci-fi flicks with a personality all its own. When the Kid discovers the armor and wrist blaster of his favorite superhero Turbo Rider, it brings him into conflict with a warlord who grinds up his enemies to extract their precious water. Along with a beautiful female robot named Apple and a one-handed arm wrestling champion, the Kid finds his inner strength and helps change the world for the better. It’s charming, beautifully shot and acted, and a ton of fun.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

The Disney deal continues to pay off for Netflix, as they add the excellent Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel to the streaming library. Featuring one of the all-time oddest Marvel villains in Ego the Living Planet plus plenty of the banter, classic 70s rock and sexual tension we’ve come to love, this is a great push into the cosmic storytelling that is coming to a climax in the forthcoming Infinity War. Lots of fun Easter eggs and secrets to spot on multiple watchings too.

The Road

The Road

John Hillcoat’s adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel is one of the grimmest and most uncompromising movies on this list, a stark illustration of post-apocalypse reality. Viggo Mortensen is astounding as a scavenger who will do anything to keep his son alive, and the cinematography is nothing short of brilliant. This isn’t a feel-good film by any means, and everybody involved commits unflinchingly to the atmosphere of the movie. It’s one of the least commercial sci-fi films to ever come out of Hollywood and definitely deserves your time and attention.

Barbarella

Barbarella

Based on the French comics of Jean-Claude Forest, this 1968 Jane Fonda vehicle is a slice of swinging 60s sexploitation that’s visually exhausting. Fonda plays the titular heroine with a heaping dollop of camp, mugging her way through increasingly ridiculous situations like battling off carnivorous dolls and overloading an “orgasm machine” with her furious libido. It’s about as politically incorrect as you can get, but the costumes by Paco Rabanne are insanely good, the production design is great and the Maurice Jarre soundtrack slays.

Advantageous

Advantageous

This 2015 flick sort of slipped under the radar in theaters, but thankfully Netflix is giving it a second chance at finding an audience. Jennifer Phang’s debut feature is set in the near future, where the technology to transfer your consciousness into a new body has just reached the human trial stage. The protagonist, Gwen, signs up for the procedure because she’s not capable of providing for her daughter, but needless to say science isn’t perfect and “Gwen 2.0” has some pieces missing. Advantageous is a clear-headed and chilly look at a future where the body is as disposable as anything else, and it’s well worth your time.

Hard To Be A God

Hard To Be A God

One of the coolest things about Netflix’s sometimes schizophrenic selection is the offbeat foreign films that sneak through. Aleksei German’s 2013 Hard To Be A God is a great example. When a group of scientists travel to an Earth-like planet that is technologically centuries behind our own, one is chosen to infiltrate their society and help them progress forward. You can probably guess how well that turns out. Hard To Be A God is dark, deranged and uniquely Russian, well worth a look for a different view of the universe.

Embers

Claire Carré’s debut feature takes place in a world that’s been ravaged by a neurological virus that left survivors with retrograde amnesia. The few humans still left behind try to contend with their new status as people unable to reach back into the past or create new memories. It’s a pretty unconventional take that manages to pull a lot of emotion out of its five overlapping stories. This isn’t one you can halfway watch, though, so put the phone down and give it your full attention.

Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest

It took a while, but in 2016 Galaxy Quest is finally getting the recognition it deserves. When the cast members of a cancelled sci-fi TV show are mistaken for actual space explorers by a desperate alien race, things spin wildly out of control. What could be just a Spaceballs-esque farce brings an unexpected amount of emotional depth to the table? Great performances, including the late Alan Rickman, put it on the list. Apparently, there’s a darker, R-rated cut out there somewhere that nobody’s ever seen, but until that surfaces this version is more than fine.

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant

Before Brad Bird was one of Pixar’s greatest weapons, he helmed this animated feature for Warner Brothers about a boy and his robot. The Iron Giant was a tremendous critical success but failed to make its money back at the box office, partly due to the studio not knowing how to promote it. It became a cult classic on cable and home video, and it’s still a really compelling watch today. The titular Giant’s animation was done with cel-shaded CGI and the animators had tons of creative control, resulting in a very personal-feeling film.

Men In Black

Men In Black

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones anchored this tremendous 1997 hit as a pair of suit-wearing agents tasked with keeping rowdy aliens on Earth in line. The duo has to track down a skin-wearing extraterrestrial who is on the planet illegally hunting for a stellar energy source that could shatter worlds. The plot’s a trifle, the effects are dated, but the manic energy of the flick is still solid two decades later and the chemistry between the two leads is great. The sequels haven’t managed to measure up, but they’re not streaming so don’t worry about it.

Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Disney’s new deal with Netflix means all sorts of good movies are winding up there for the first time, and July of 2017 brings Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The first big-screen installment that’s outside of the main nine-movie timeline, this follows a ragtag group of Rebels as they steal the plans for the Death Star. The tone of this one is much more WWII war movie, as it introduces a new group of characters that aren’t necessarily going to make it through OK. Expanding the Star Wars universe is a no-brainer, but we’re happy that the end result is this ambitious and interesting.

Removed From Netflix

Sadly, movies don’t stay streaming forever, and every month the selection on Netflix changes. When a movie gets taken off of the service, we’ll put it down here and let you know where else you can get it.

Robocop

RoboCop

Paul Verhoeven’s dystopian 1987 classic is one of the most unflinchingly steel-eyed looks at the future of militarized policing, and it’s even more relevant in our modern age of drones blowing up snipers. RoboCop, if you’ve been living under a rock, is the story of Alex Murphy, a devoted Detroit cop who gets the majority of his body blown away in a shootout. He’s transformed into a seemingly emotionless cyborg and put back on the streets to set things right. Let’s not talk about the 2014 remake.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Terminator 2

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

James Cameron broke all the rules making the sequel to his time-traveling robot murder movie, and in doing so, he created one of the most iconic sci-fi films of the 90s. T2 brings Arnold Schwarzenegger back, but as the hero this time, tasked with protecting John Connor from a morphing liquid metal killing machine. Great performances, unforgettable action scenes and the best nuclear apocalypse ever captured on camera make this one an all-time classic.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson’s sci-fi fantasia is pretty much absurd from beginning to end, but it’s also visually delicious and a hell of a lot of fun. Bruce Willis stars in this 1997 flick as a taxi driver who meets a mysterious woman who just happens to be the key to preventing the extinction of all life in the universe. An incredible performance by Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, one of the best screen-chewing villains of all time, is more than enough reason to watch.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Back To The Future

Back To The Future

One of the most beloved sci-fi franchises of the 80s, all three Back to the Future movies were on Netflix until October of 2016. It’s absurd that we’d have to recount the plot of these to you, a human being with the Internet, but here we go: ordinary teen Marty McFly gets zapped into the past courtesy an electrified DeLorean and must absolutely not bone down with his mother to save the timestream as we know it. Fast-paced and funny with a career-making Crispin Glover performance, the first flick is the best but the sequel’s pretty solid too. The third one (set in the Wild West)? You can skip it.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

The Running Man

The Running Man

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s late-80s, early-90s run of movies is pretty unimpeachable, and one of our personal favorites is 87’s The Running Man, an alternately grisly and ridiculous spoof where he gets dropped into a murderous game show and has to fend for his life. Jesse “The Body” Ventura is awesome as “Captain Freedom,” and the other “stalkers” are fun as hell. Long-time game show host Richard Dawson shines in the role of the villainous Killian. In the era of increasingly lurid reality TV, this movie seems more accurate than ever.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg’s 1982 megahit is one of the most iconic sci-fi movies of all time. When a short, weird-looking alien is stranded on Earth, a group of kids help him find his way home. That’s a grotesque oversimplification, of course, but the plot isn’t what makes E.T. a classic. It’s the great performances, subtle and effective effects work, and attention to exactly what makes kids different from adults – something so many 80s movies mastered and seems to be nearly lost today. This is a prime feel-good movie that will fill you with nostalgia for an era of sci-fi gone by.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Kerry Conran’s 2004 adventure was unusual when it premiered – live actors over CGI backgrounds, with no real sets? Obviously Hollywood caught up with him in the last decade or so, but Sky Captain is still worth a watch. The plot is an overheated mess, but that’s part of the charm, and the setting – an alternate-universe 1939 where mad scientists run amok and flying robots attack New York – is brilliant. This movie is just good clean fun of a kind that we don’t get enough of anymore. Oh, and it has Angelina Jolie in an eyepatch and a skin-tight leather outfit.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

Kurt Wimmer’s 2002 flick was pretty much overshadowed by the much more successful Matrix movies, but a decade and a half later it holds up really well. Christian Bale plays a law enforcement officer in a society where emotions are forbidden and all citizens take a daily mood stabilizer. When he accidentally goes a day without his dose, his inner humanity awakens and leads him into conflict with the totalitarian state that rules everything. The special martial art invented for the movie – “gun kata,” where you master different stances for shooting and avoiding bullets – is both silly and sort of cool at the same time.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact

None of the Original Series Trek movies are on Netflix, but the Next Generation ones are. The best of them is easily First Contact, which hearkens back to Star Trek IV with a tale of the Enterprise’s crew traveling back in time. It’s not to save whales, though – the mission now is to prevent the Borg collective from changing the timeline themselves. Most of the action takes place on the day of Earth’s first contact with the Vulcans, the moment that created the Federation. Great performances, stirring action set pieces, and the introduction of Alice Krige as the Borg Queen make this one well worth your time.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Primer

Primer

Shane Carruth’s brilliant $7,000 debut is the best kind of science fiction: one that warps your brain as you watch it. When a pair of engineers accidentally invent a device that loops time in their garage, it sets off a mentally taxing series of journeys that will have you making diagrams on graph paper to keep up. The guys do what any smart person would do – get rich on the stock market – but when one thinks things have gone too far and tries to go back in time to prevent himself from inventing the device, all Hell breaks loose.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

Upstream Color

Upstream Color

Here’s Shane Carruth’s brilliant follow-up to Primer. Where that movie twisted brains, Upstream Color does the same for hearts, telling the tale of a couple who are, without their knowledge, infected with a fictional parasite that passes from humans, to pigs, and finally to flowers. It’s a deeply affecting meditation on how much of us is “us” and how much is the horde of bacteria, viruses and other stuff that we carry around. One of the most ambitious and invigorating sci-fi films of the last decade.

Buy on DVD or Blu-Ray

Stream on Amazon Video

The Etch Clock Makes the Time Appear Out of Nowhere

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If you’re already spending the entire 9-to-5 workday gazing at the clock, you may as well invest in a timepiece worthy of prolonged ogling. Every 30 seconds, the current time slowly materializes on the Etch’s thermoelastic membrane. Seven-segment numerals, reminiscent of a classic LCD clock, sit beneath the slate-­colored face. To display the time, the smooth, stretchy skin is pulled into the crevices needed to form the correct digits. The result looks like the numbers are carved into stone, an effect compounded by the concrete-like hue of the membrane. Moments later, the figures disappear—time, of course, is fleeting. So go ahead, stare all you want. Someday soon you may want to evaluate your career choices. But for now, with a timepiece this engaging, those hours won’t seem like a waste.

$1,950


This article appears in the February issue. Subscribe now.

STYLING BY grace suh; Etch Clock courtesy of MoMA Design Store