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Exclusive: Crypto’s winter is here again. How long will it last?

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Crypto’s winter is here again. How long will it last?

#Cryptos #winter #long

You’ve seen this movie before. Or at least you know the plot: A new technology starts gathering attention, puzzling doubters but exciting its adherents, who promise that It Will Change Everything. A wave of hype and speculation lifts it into the public eye, culminating in Super Bowl ads that make the new tech seem thoroughly mainstream and enticing — if still confusing to most normals. Then, the crash.

So, yes. That was the first web bubble, back in the 1990s, which popped in March 2000.

It also seems like what’s happening to crypto and/or “Web3” — the recent rebranding of crypto — right now. Over the last year, your friends who don’t know anything about tech became aware of NFTs, even if they couldn’t explain them. The 122 million people who watched the Bengals-Rams Super Bowl in February also watched ads for formerly obscure crypto companies, like FTX, endorsed by a celebrity with no obvious connection to the product. Tag line: “Don’t miss out on crypto.”

And now the crash: Something like $1.5 trillion in value has disappeared since last fall as cryptocurrencies have plunged: Bitcoin is down 56 percent from its peak in November; ethereum is down about 63 percent. Don’t even ask about Dogecoin. Even the venture capitalists at Andreessen Horowitz, perhaps the most prominent crypto advocates in tech, concede that we may be entering a “crypto winter.”

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Rani Molla

The big question for everyone who has invested in crypto so far — institutional investors, startup founders and employees, and average folks who bought a bitcoin or a digital cartoon monkey — is whether Things Are Different this time. We don’t have an answer yet.

There are plenty of arguments on both sides. Here we should note that crypto bulls take pains to distinguish between blockchain, the technology based on a worldwide network of computers that talk to each other and record transactions, and cryptocurrencies, the assets often generated by that tech. In theory, interest in blockchain shouldn’t be tethered to the price of cryptocurrency; in reality, it very much is.

If you think crypto is plunging along with the rest of the stock market and the tech market specifically, you can point to data points like plummeting prices for NFTs. Or investment “down rounds” — private companies that are forced to raise money in deals that value their company at less than they were worth just months ago. That may be happening to BlockFi, a crypto trading platform. Less than a year ago, the company thought it was worth $5 billion; now investors are reportedly telling the company it’s worth $1 billion.

Or the fact that other crypto firms — including Coinbase, one of the crypto companies that splashed millions on a Super Bowl ad a few months ago — are doing hiring freezes or even layoffs.

Meanwhile, some workers who were eager to leave their Big Tech jobs for Web3 startups a few months ago may be having second thoughts. An executive at a privately held, non-crypto company tells me it has been much easier to recruit people from the likes of Google and Facebook than it was earlier this year when they were all heading to crypto.

There’s also a general vibe shift: A year ago, it was hard to find many tech people willing to spend time publicly critiquing crypto and Web3. Now there is an increasing number of them, from Box CEO Aaron Levie to software engineer Molly White, who runs a site dedicated to cataloging the travails and missteps of crypto and Web3 (I chatted with her recently on the Recode Media podcast.) See also: The glee in headlines like “​​Someone Stole Seth Green’s Bored Ape, Which Was Supposed to Star in His New Show.”

But if you think crypto isn’t going anywhere, you have your own data points: While Andreessen Horowitz is talking dark times in the near future, it also just raised a $4.5 billion fund explicitly earmarked for crypto investments. That money has to get spent somewhere, and there are still plenty of crypto investments happening: Katie Haun, a former federal prosecutor who became a crypto investor and raised a $1.5 billion fund earlier this year, just announced a new deal this week.

And yes, some people may be tired of cartoon apes. But that doesn’t mean they’re tired of NFTs. Something called Goblintown is the new hotness, people who spend time in this space tell me, as I nod knowingly even though I have no clue what they’re talking about.

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Meanwhile Gary Vaynerchuk, the marketer/self-improvement guru who loves nothing more than the Next Big Thing, recently hosted a four-day VeeCon event on the floor of the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium in Minneapolis. The only way to get in was to buy a Vaynerchuk NFT, and he tells me that nearly 7,000 VeeFriends owners showed up.

And plenty of people I talk to in Web3 and crypto insist that things aren’t nearly as dire as they sound — and that they’re used to crypto prices swinging around wildly. It would be weird if they told me otherwise because they’re bought in. But it doesn’t mean they don’t believe it.

“This has been a cycle that’s been widely discussed as a crypto crash. But when you’re in it, it doesn’t feel like it,” says Jarrod Dicker, a tech entrepreneur and executive who’s now a crypto investor at the Chernin Group, an investment firm that specializes in media and tech. “I think a lot of these companies that are building or starting to build, they’ve raised their capital, they have their three- to five-year plan, and they’re going for it.”

For now, at least, crypto remains something plenty of regular people are interested in, for better or worse. Brandwatch, a company that does sentiment analysis of social media, says social mentions of “crypto,” “NFT,” and “Web3” have remained mostly positive for the last 12 months. Download rankings for crypto trading apps have also stayed pretty level, according to Data.ai.

A graph showing how interest in crypto trading apps like Coinbase, Crypto.com, Binance, and FTX remained steady in the past year, according to monthly active usership rankings from data.ai.

Rani Molla

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But if we’re drawing parallels between now and the web 1.0 bubble, it’s important to note that it didn’t fully deflate overnight in March 2000 — it took a couple years for all of the dumbest dot-bombs to fade away.

I was around then, and I remember that you could measure the decline by the way successive waves of layoffs were treated: People who got dismissed by their dot-com early on got nice severance packages (I recall several people telling me they were going to spend their “funemployment” payouts on cooking school). But successive layoff rounds got less and less generous, and by the time the companies shut their doors for good, employees got nothing because there was nothing to give them.

So while I hate this hedge, I’m going to hedge: We’re not going to know how bad, and how meaningful, the crypto collapse is for some time. In the meantime, one of the things you hear from Web3 believers is that it wouldn’t be terrible for lame crypto companies to go away and leave the good ones intact. In this scenario, their company is Amazon, which survived the dot-com bust and became … Amazon; other people’s lame companies are theGlobe.com, a dot-com flagship that now exists solely as a Wikipedia entry.

“Every cycle, when there’s a huge bust, I think that the people who are quietly building are quite ecstatic because a lot of the noise is washed away,” says Tina He, the Web3 entrepreneur I talked to earlier this year when I was trying to get my head around the hype.

He is still building something called Station, which she hopes will be a LinkedIn for crypto workers, and says she has a “super lean” team of six workers and “plenty of runway.” On the other hand, she says, the fact that other Web3 teams might be struggling will impact her project, which assumes there will be plenty of Web3 projects and employees to track and connect with each other. So she can’t last forever without new cash.

“We’re actually quite optimistic and idealistic around our progress,” He tells me before acknowledging that she may need to raise a “bridge round” to get her through to a more forgiving funding climate. “Even without that, we could last through the winter — if the winter lasts less than two years.”

Rani Molla contributed to this story.


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Exclusive: Best Graphics Card for Gamers and Creatives in 2022 – CNET – TalkOfNews.com

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Best Graphics Card for Gamers and Creatives in 2022     - CNET

#Graphics #Card #Gamers #Creatives #CNET

Most people use graphics cards that are several years old, which is a shame because there have been some big leaps in tech over the last couple of years. Because of that, graphics cards that are only a couple years old can feel like antiques. Whether you’re a hardcore PC gamer, a video editor, an animator or anything in between, you need the power of modern graphics cards. They utilize technologies, such as smart resolution upscaling, ray-tracing and a whole lot more. Everything has become much more demanding, and your PC deserves to meet those tasks confidently.

Even if you only need the basics for streaming video or surfing the web, a modern graphics card can make your system feel snappier overall compared to an equivalent older model. The best graphics card options will improve video decoding acceleration, redraw your screens faster and give better performance to any of a plethora of processing tasks that you don’t think about. 

But this is still a bad time to shop for a new video card. They’re actually a lot easier to find than they were a year ago, but some continue to be in the LOL-try-to-get-one-for-a-rational-price phase. Prices for anything you can find remain out of control, and while they’re not nearly as high as they were eight months ago, they remain substantially higher than the manufacturers’ fantasy launch-target prices: Some casual calculations I made showed a range of about +30% to +130% difference between the press-release prices and the cheapest recommendable card I could find for a given current-generation chip.

Still, if you’re ready to throw down some cash for a new graphics card now, we hope this can offer some guidance on the best graphics card options around. Learn what to look for and which GPUs make sense for your budget and needs. While you can make some judgments based on specs like the manufacturer, graphics chip, amount of video memory, memory and gaming clock speeds, power requirements and other factors, they’re imperfect predictors of how any particular model will perform in your games or creative applications.

Zotac

If you’ve got an old desktop with integrated graphics that don’t support the current versions of graphics programming interfaces such as DirectX 12 or Vulkan, or you have a game that won’t run unless it detects dedicated graphics memory (these have 2GB) or if you just want to make your Windows experience feel a little more snappy or smooth, a GT 1030-based card can help. It’s designed with lower power requirements than most other discrete GPUs, so it can fit in systems with small power supplies and compact designs. Unlike most gaming graphics cards, 1030-based cards can be low-profile and take up just a single slot for connectivity, and are quieter because they only require a single fan.

Don’t expect to game with the GeForce GT at 1080p — 720p at best, unless a game is very lightweight. But Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends and other popular multiplayer games generally fall under the “can play on a potato” umbrella, so you don’t need to worry as much if they’re your go-tos. In some cases, games may simply go from unplayable to a little less unplayable. If you do want to play games, though, spring for versions with DDR5 memory, not DDR4; it can make a noticeable difference. That’s why you’ll see some offerings for less than $130. For a simple speedup, the cheapest decent one I’ve seen was $115, though prices can fluctuate.

Asus

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Since much basic photo editing still isn’t very GPU-intensive, a fast, high-core-count CPU still gives you a lot more performance value for the money than a higher-powered graphics card. The GPU does matter for the experience and smooth display rendering, but for smallish images and single-screen editing you shouldn’t have any issues.

The RX 6500 XT kind of wins here by default; it hits the basics and its price is much lower than step-up cards, which seem to run upward of $400. That’s partly because the markup over its $199 manufacturer-recommended price is the least of any cards I looked at, leaving it in the sub-$300 range. You’ll find it in two-fan and three-fan configurations (the latter is usually overclocked).

Lori Grunin/CNET

Once again, this becomes my pick somewhat by default because AMD’s real prices are far less out of whack than Nvidia’s; its performance falls between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti, where its manufacturer’s price sits, but its actual price is lower overall than the RTX 3060, and far lower than the 3060 Ti, which would normally be my pick here. If you can find a decent model of the latter for between $600 and $700, then you might want to go with it.

Read Asus ROG Strix RX 6600 XT OC review.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Originally $900, such a steep price felt like an awful lot to pay for this card, but it was already a lot better than the $1,100-plus the RTX 3070 Ti. Its performance weaves below and above the RTX 3070 Ti, but the extra memory, 12GB vs. 8GB, can make a big difference in game quality choices and video editing performance, making it a good option. The RTX 3070 Ti is $950 now, but at $638, that only makes this offer even more appealing.

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Read AMD RX 6700 XT review.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

The RTX 3070 Ti is generally a better GPU than the 3070 (but not worlds better) and the prices currently overlap significantly — they’re roughly the same as the closest AMD competitors — making it a toss-up. You can find individually cheaper RTX 3070 cards, though. The RTX 3070 Ti has higher memory bandwidth, which can impact video editing fluidity and some workstation graphics applications, so you might want to lean that way if you need to. I still think that $1,000-plus is a lot to pay for either of these cards, which were originally targeted to cost within the $500 to $600 range. 

Read our RTX 3070 hands-on.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

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As with the step-down price segment, the RX 6800 XT generally outperforms the RTX 3080, though it can be roughly the same as the RTX 3080 Ti, especially at higher resolutions and in professional graphics applications, thanks to the better memory bandwidth and more video memory. And this is one case where the AMD cards are just as overpriced as their Nvidia equivalents, costing upward of $1,500. But if you use workstation or video-editing software that takes advantage of Nvidia CUDA acceleration, the 3080 Ti is your best bet.

Read our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti review.

 

Graphics Card FAQs

What’s important to consider when shopping for a graphics card?

  • Power requirements: Always check the power needs of a card against your power supply’s output. Don’t forget to take the other cards and devices in your system into account concerning power usage.
  • The most powerful GPU on the planet won’t make a difference if your CPU is the bottleneck (and vice versa) — think overkill.
  • You’ll see a lot of price variation across cards using the same GPU. That’s for features such as overclocking, better cooling systems or flashy (literally) designs. 
  • Dual-card setups are usually more of a pain than they’re worth. Video editing is usually the exception, depending upon application support.
  • If you want a card for content creation, game benchmarks aren’t usually representative. To research those, start by running a search on “workstation GPUs” or, for example, “best GPU for Premiere.” It’s important to match the GPU to the application, because, for instance, Nvidia RTX A-series GPUs (the workstation GPUs formerly known as Quadro) are generally more powerful than their AMD Radeon Pro or WX series equivalents, but application developers who are tight with Apple — which doesn’t support Nvidia GPUs — optimize their applications for AMD GPUs. The biggest example of this is Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve video editor.
  • For photo editing, it may no longer suffice to use a low-end or middling graphics card, though it depends on your software. With the latest generations of Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe has begun to expand its use of AI-related technologies in meaningful ways. For instance, Photoshop’s new Replace Sky and Neural Filters can take advantage of GPU hardware designed to accelerate AI to speed them up, such as the Tensor cores in Nvidia’s RTX cards. But if you don’t have at least 32GB of memory, graphics applications may get a bigger boost from upgrading that before the GPU, unless the graphics card is really old. 
  • For video editing, the amount of memory on the card can have a big impact on real-time performance as you work with higher-resolution video (4K and up). 
  • Running games at 4K requires significantly more video memory than 1440p or lower, at least 8GB.

Does Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync make a difference?

If you’re sensitive to screen artifacts caused by a disconnect between the rate at which your monitor updates and the frame rate at which you’re playing, or you’re interested in proprietary technologies like Nvidia’s Latency Analyzer to help improve your gameplay by reducing lag, then you should definitely at least look into what each of them offers. Otherwise, get the appropriate GPU for your needs and work with what you get.

Read What are Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync and Which Do I Need?.

 

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Relative performance of recent GPUs

Far Cry 5 (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (RTX 3060)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

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Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Far Cry 5 (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (fps)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1440p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 with DLSS)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti with DLSS)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

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Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark DXR (DirectX ray tracing)

MSI Aegis RX (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

SpecViewPerf 2020 SolidWorks (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Configurations

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Ryzen 9 3900XT; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,600; 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 1TB SSD + 4TB HDD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3050) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2H20); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 12GB EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 FE) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 4GB Gigabyte Eagle 4G Radeon RX 6500 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 6600 XT OC; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2H20); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800; 1TB SSD
MSI Trident X (RTX 2070 Super) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); (oc) 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,932; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); Intel Core i9-10900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 10GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (EVGA); 1TB SSD + 500GB SSD

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Exclusive: This vault of SNES manuals is an amazing resource for fans of gaming history – TalkOfNews.com

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This vault of SNES manuals is an amazing resource for fans of gaming history

#vault #SNES #manuals #amazing #resource #fans #gaming #history

They might often be an afterthought nowadays, but in the console generations of yesteryear, game manuals were often essential reading. Compared to the scant pack-ins that come with games today, those vintage instruction manuals were on a completely different level in terms of the care and detail that went into them — and the page count was much higher, too.

Now, as noted by Kotaku, a community project led by led by streamer Peebs has successfully scanned and uploaded every last English-language game manual for the Super Nintendo. You can check out the entire collection here. Peebs was motivated to assemble one central resource for manuals during an eight-year quest to play and beat every SNES game for his Twitch viewers.

Perusing through random instruction booklets can be a fun dose of nostalgia for 30-somethings like myself, but this can also be a helpful resource for any gamers working through the various SNES titles that are available with a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo provides online manuals for each game included with its NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles, but this is a far more comprehensive vault of gaming history. Take a look at the manual for something like Chrono Trigger as just one example of how extensive they could be in the 16-bit era. Similar archives are available for Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy titles.

The SNES manual project was a collaborative effort, with owners of rare or difficult-to-find titles contributing scans to the archive. Nearly 100 people rose to the occasion, according to Peebs. But if anyone out there happens to posess the PAL manual for the German release of Daze Before Christmas, you can help fill in the last remaining piece of the puzzle. I’ll just be over here skimming through old favorites like Saturday Night Slam Masters and a Home Improvement game that I never even knew existed. In-game tutorials just aren’t quite the same as a physical manual with a notes section at the end.


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Exclusive: The Best AirTag Alternative for Android – TalkOfNews.com

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The Best AirTag Alternative for Android

#AirTag #Alternative #Android

Apple

Apple AirTags offer an easy and cheap way to track tons of everyday objects. The only problem is they’re locked to Apple products. Android users have several options, but there’s one that stands above the rest.

These simple Bluetooth-enabled devices can be attached to things and you can track their location with an app. Android users might miss out on the easy system-level integration of AirTags on the iPhone, but they aren’t without options.

The Best: Tile Mate

tile mate
Tile

Tile is undoubtedly the name most people think of when it comes to Bluetooth trackers, and that’s for good reason. The company has been around for a while and it offers several different models to choose from. The one we think is best for most people is the Tile Mate.

Like AirTags, the Tile Mate uses Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to connect to your Android phone or tablet. The range of the Tile Mate is advertised as 200 feet, but you’ll probably get slightly less in the real world. That’s still really good and should be enough for most situations.

What happens if you’re not in that range? The Tile app will show you where the tracker was when last connected. If that’s not enough, you can mark it “Lost” in the app and crowdsource other Tile users to help you find it.

Older Tile models were essentially disposable since the batteries couldn’t be replaced, but that’s no longer the case. The Tile Mate uses a standard CR1632 lithium battery that can easily and cheaply be replaced yourself.

tile mate on bag
Tile

The Tile Mate is slightly bigger than an Apple AirTag, but it has a key-ring hole so you don’t need any extra accessories to clip it to something. Unfortunately, the Tile Mate is only available in white, but there are 3rd-party cases available.

For $3 per month, you can subscribe to “Tile Premium” for some additional features. Those include free battery replacements (a 5-pack only costs about $6), a longer warranty (up from 1 to 3 years), 30-day location history, unlimited location sharing, more alert options, and text support.

All in all, the Tile Mate is a very solid counterpart to AirTags, and it has the flexibility to work with more than just Apple products. Tile Mate costs $24.99 for one or $47.99 for a two-pack. That’s $5 less than the AirTag.

Best for Android

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Honorable Mention: Chipolo ONE

chipolo one
Chipolo

Tile has a great reputation, several different products to choose from, and a big network of users. However, if for some reason you don’t want to go that route, the Chipolo One is another good option.

Chipolo One offers all of the same features as the Tile Mate for the same price. It’s round instead of square, but similar in size and has a keyring hole as well. Chipolo does offer a nice selection of color choices, which is a bonus.

Chipolo advertises the same 200 feet Bluetooth range as the Tile Mate, but you should expect to get less than that too. The CR2032 batteries are also replaceable and very affordable on Amazon.

The one benefit you’ll get with the Chipolo One over any Tile tracker is alerts when you’re out of range. You have to pay for the Premium subscription to get that feature with Tile. We don’t think that’s enough to opt for the Chipolo One, but your use case may vary.

In general, the Chipolo One is a perfectly fine Bluetooth tracker, but it’s hard to beat Tile’s big user base when you need help finding something.

What About Samsung Galaxy SmartTags?

If you’re an Android user with a Samsung Galaxy device you may be interested in Samsung’s own Bluetooth tracker. Unfortunately, the company’s Galaxy SmartTags don’t have many benefits.

While they have similar functionality to AirTags and Tiles, and are priced closely, Galaxy SmartTags are very limited. For one, they only work with Samsung devices, not even other Android devices. They also lack some of the sensors found in the Tile.

Unless you get a Galaxy SmartTag for free with the purchase of a Samsung phone, we think you’re much better off with the Tile Mate or Chipolo One.

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