We’ve made no secret of our love for NVIDIA’s SHIELD: it’s easily the best stand-alone streaming gadget around. If you still don’t have one, head over to Amazon for a great deal today.
The SHIELD, along with its minimalist remote and excellent controller (which isn’t always included), is going for just $107 plus the cost of shipping. To my location, that all comes out to a bit under $115. That’s a savings of $85 on the set-top box and controller combo and an impressive $65 off the SHIELD alone.
Note that, with NVIDIA’s excellent record of software and functionality updates, the SHIELD makes a great gift even if you have to sit on it for the better part of a year. Though it often goes on sale, it’s pretty rare that the discount gets this steep.
High-end Android tablets are thin on the ground these days. Though Apple is all-in on the iPad Pro, Google has abandoned its Nexus and Pixel slate designs, and NVIDIA gives the SHIELD no love. Samsung is picking up the slack.
That said, even the Galaxy Tab S5e is less bodacious than some of Samsung’s earlier Android-powered tablets. At $400 for the Wi-Fi model it’s not competing with either the iPad Pro or the high-end Surface line, instead making its consumption-focused design much more attainable. The highlight of the spec sheet is certainly the 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 OLED screen—still a rarity outside of the phone market. That will make for rich, vibrant colors and deep contrast.
But elsewhere the specs are oddly muted. The S5e is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor, and it gets just 4 GB of RAM in its base 64 GB configuration (an upgraded 6 GB/128 GB version will be available). Cameras are 13 megapixels on the rear and 8 on the front, and as is Samsung’s wont, it’s packing a MicroSD card slot for easy storage expansion. The battery is a generous 7040 milliamp-hours, recharged via USB-C.
There’s no pen or stylus built-in, but an optional keyboard case (connected via proprietary POGO plugs) will let you bang out emails or work on your screenplay if you’d like to travel without a heavy laptop. Samsung’s Dex software, when combined with a dock, monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse, gives you an approximation of a desktop experience.
At just 400 grams (a little less than .9 pounds) and 5 mm thick, the Tab S5e is shockingly light, and it will be much easier to throw in a bag or purse. And, as if it mattered these days, it runs Android 9.0 and Samsung’s new “One” user interface out of the box. The tablet has a vague “Q2” launch window and will be available in black, grey, or gold color options.
Historically, vertical mice have been made for carpal tunnel and RSI sufferers. They’ve been functional, but clinical, lacking some of the features of more modern designs. Logitech’s MX Vertical aims to buck that trend—and succeeds.
Thoughtful choices in both hardware and software allow the MX Vertical to serve all the functions of a vertical ergonomic mouse, while still packing most of the bells and whistles that make Logitech’s high-end mice favorites among power users.
It doesn’t hurt that the thing looks like a postmodern sculpture when it sits on your desk. The design is just short of perfect, and it gets an easy recommendation for anyone who wants a comfy, functional mouse that conforms to you like a friendly handshake.
You’re probably familiar with the MX Master, Logitech’s top-of-the-line conventional mouse. We’ve already reviewed its trackball variant, the MX Ergo, and I happen to have the original to compare it to as well. Suffice it to say: they’re all pretty fantastic mice. The MX Vertical takes the smooth, premium looks of those mice and rotates them by 90 degrees.
Well, fifty-seven degrees, if we want to be exact. The MX Vertical smoothly contracts and curves up to its top edge, a striking flat oval with the still-confusing “Logi” branding on one side and a thumb button on the other. We’ll get to that button in a bit, but first: the thing just looks fantastic. And that’s no small accomplishment, considering that vertical mice like the Evoluent have a tendency to look like amorphous blobs of plastic.
Soft-touch material is everywhere your hand rests, and the back curves into your palm with an appealing wave pattern. A wide lip at the bottom of the grip keeps your hand off of your mousepad. At the time of writing, Logitech only offers the mouse in a grey-and-darker-grey color scheme.
Logitech told me that a focus of the MX Vertical was to give it the same premium look as its other MX hardware, on the basis that customers who need a design that lowers RSI stress don’t necessarily want a mouse that looks like a piece of medical equipment. That attention to detail shows. Different as the mouse is from conventional design, it won’t look out of place on a designer desk or hanging out with MacBooks and Surfaces.
Hardware Covers The Basics
Extending our look past the, well, looks, the hardware in the MX Vertical is fairly basic. You get standard left and right mouse buttons, a regular clicky wheel, and two thumb buttons set to forward and back by default. Oddly, there’s no hidden button where you thumb rests for gestures or other functions. I was expecting one, as that button is present on the MX Master and my M720 Triathlon. Perhaps it was left out after ergonomic testing.
The battery is rechargeable and—a nice, forward-looking touch—gets its juice via a USB-C port on the front. That’s something the older MX Ergo and MX Master don’t get. The battery on my mouse went down to 50% after a week of testing, which is in line with Logitech’s longevity claims. One minute on the charger gives you three hours of wireless use.
Pandora remains one of the most popular streaming music services around, but most users are still on the free, ad-supported plan. If you scuttle over to Groupon today, you can get three months of premium listening for free.
The Groupon deal actually lets you choose between three premium options, all for free: three months of either On-Demand Premium, On-Demand Premium Family Subscription, or Pandora Plus. Those subscriptions are normally $10, $15, and $5 a month, respectively, so there’s really no reason not to go for the more expensive one unless you think you might want to stay on it.
Pandora Premium offers pretty much all the same features as Spotify’s paid accounts: playing any song directly instead of using the randomized radio, custom playlists, downloads, and unlimited skips and replays for stations, and no advertising. Pandora Plus doesn’t have access to on-demand songs or playlists.
Groupon says that the time for this deal is limited, but doesn’t give a specific expiration. Go for it today if you want to get in.
If you’re in the market for both a new phone and tablet (or maybe you just know someone who’d like the latter), Amazon has an enticing deal today: buy a new Galaxy Note 9 and get a free Galaxy Tab A.
This bargain is notable in two respects: one, the Note 9 is the American unlocked version with a Snapdragon processor, which will work on any US carrier (including the sometimes-tricky Verizon and Sprint networks). And two, it comes with a decent tablet. We’ve seen these kinds of bundles before, usually with a carrier-locked phone that comes with a two-year financing commitment and some no-name, whitebox tablet with the carrier’s own branding on it. The Tab A is a middle-of-the-road 10.5-inch machine, but Samsung’s fit and finish is miles ahead of your typical freebie.
The Note 9 is last year’s Samsung flagship phone, and it’s still a beast in terms of specs and software. Still, this is probably a case of Amazon clearing out some stock before the new Galaxy phone announcements in at Mobile World Congress later this month. The deal is active for the rest of today only.