While we continue to wait for news about the Mars copter’s first test flight, Elon Musk and SpaceX closed out the week with a big win, scoring a contract from NASA to use Starship as a lander for the Artemis lunar program. The company beat out (which teamed up with key aerospace players like Lockheed Martin) and defense contractor Dynetics to secure .
There are still funding hurdles for NASA to clear if it plans to fly as scheduled, but those missions are still years away at best. In the nearer future, Apple’s Spring Loaded event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Chris Velazco has reminders of the rumors you should know about before it starts. New iPads and iMacs seem like safe bets, but we’ll see if there are any big surprises in a few days.
— Richard Lawler
A pair of $500 Sonos Five speakers will work for music lovers, but there are cheaper options.
As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that’s always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used — you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it’s also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too.
The good news is that there’s never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you’re a music fan. For all their benefits, the original Amazon Echo and Google Home devices did not sound good. Sonos, on the other hand, made great sounding WiFi-connected speakers, but they lacked any voice-controlled smarts.
That’s all changed now. Sonos is including both Alexa and Google Assistant support in its latest speakers. Google and Amazon, meanwhile, made massive improvements in sound quality with recent speakers. Even lower-end models like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini sound much better than earlier iterations. With the growing popularity of these speakers, there are now more options than ever. Nathan Ingraham can walk you through the best choices at different price points and for different uses.
$20 off Google’s Nest Audio and more.
This week brought a bunch of deals on new gadgets, including Amazon’s rotating Echo Show 10 and Google’s Nest Hub. The former dropped to a new all-time low of while the latter remains 20 percent off at various retailers like and . AirPods Pro are more than $50 off right now at , and Amazon Prime members can snag the Fire TV Stick Lite for only .
Here are all the best deals from the week that you can still snag today, and remember to follow on Twitter for more updates.
NVIDIA bets big on ARM, Surface Laptop 4 arrives
This week, Cherlynn and Devindra chat about . It turns out ARM chips are going to be a much bigger deal for NVIDIA! Also, they discuss the recently announced and Microsoft’s . And we spend a bit of time with Cherlynn’s .
Listen on , , , or .
If you can afford one.
Two years after its CES debut, LG’s OLED R TV is finally available in the US — or, at least, there’s now an Inquire to Buy button to the OLED R product page for US residents. There’s no mention of US pricing on the website, but in South Korea, it costs 100 million KRW. At the current exchange rate, that’s about $89,000.
The new shortcut makes it easier to refine your search results.
Google’s new Search shortcut helps to speed up your search process. Now, when you’re on a results page, you can simply press “/” to expand the search field and add more words or modifiers. This feature joins the tab accessibility shortcut, which highlights links so you can open websites without relying on a mouse or a trackpad.
Once again, ASUS delivers a ton of power at a decent price.
According to Devindra Hardawar, “The Zephyrus G15 has practically everything I’d want in a solid gaming notebook, without breaking the bank. It’s relatively lightweight, powerful and far cheaper than other premium notebooks.”
The Zephyrus G15 currently with an RTX 3060 and 16GB of RAM, which isn’t too bad considering it still has the Ryzen 9 and the speedy 1,440p display. Our review unit with the RTX 3080 Max-Q and 32GB of RAM.
But wait, there’s more…
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