Ring launches the $60 Video Doorbell Wired – CNET

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Ring

On Jan. 27, Ring launched the new $60 Video Doorbell Wired -- the smallest and most affordable doorbell yet released by the company. The doorbell is available now for preorder and will ship by Feb. 24.

The Video Doorbell Wired includes many features that have now become standard for similar devices: two-way audio, live streaming, advanced motion detection, motion and privacy zones, night vision and more. In addition, customers can opt into a subscription service as well, which starts at $3 per month and includes a more robust notification system and various levels of video storage.

Read more: The best video doorbells for 2021

As with all of Ring's products, the Video Doorbell Wired will also work with other smart home devices, such as Alexa-driven Echo speakers and displays, lights and alarms.

Ring's newest device is mostly notable for its size and price point: up until now, even as Ring has followed the price of standard security cameras downward, most high quality video doorbells, such as Arlo's excellent $150 device and Ring's own price-cutting Video Doorbell, haven't broken below the $100 mark. One more affordable alternative, the $30 Wyze Video Doorbell, launched in the last month, but performed poorly when we tested it. If the Ring Video Doorbell Wired performs well, it could represent a significant addition to the market -- a smart value option for customers on a budget or just looking to try out a video doorbell for the first time.

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired is available for preorder on Ring's and parent company Amazon's websites, and it will be available for $60 online and in stores at Home Depot, starting Feb. 24. It will arrive at other retailers starting March 26.

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Amazon launches Alexa Guard Plus subscription service – CNET

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon is launching a new subscription service for Echo users called Alexa Guard Plus, which will include access to a 24-hour helpline, alerts when your smart speakers or displays hear a break-in, deterrence measures and more. Guard Plus will cost $5 per month or $49 per year.

Alexa Guard Plus was announced last year as an expansion on the existing free Alexa Guard feature, which monitors for the sound of glass breaking or smoke alarms going off, sends alerts to users and flips connected lights on and off randomly while you're out of the house to simulate a person being inside.

Guard Plus, along with the fee, brings a few new features to bear, namely deterrence measures, such as sounding an alarm or playing the sound of dogs barking if a break-in is detected, and a 24-hour helpline, which can connect users to emergency services. In addition, Guard Plus listens for a slightly wider range of sounds -- such as human footsteps inside the house -- than the free version of the service.

Amazon has begun rolling out Alexa Guard Plus to Alexa users today, and it will be available to US-based customers for a free, one-month trial.

See also: Amazon Echo's Alexa vs. Google Home's Assistant: Which smart speaker wins?

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Five ways Alexa can help make remote learning easier this semester – CNET

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Remote learning is hard -- hard for students, hard for parents and hard for teachers. While many people have struggled with isolation during the pandemic, many of us with children have struggled to balance the demands of life as a professional, as a parent and increasingly, as a teacher, too (or at least a teaching assistant).

And all these challenges can be exacerbated by any number of variables, from how many kids you have to their ages and even the space you have in your house or apartment.

While technology isn't going to solve the problem of remote learning altogether, voice assistants like Alexa, which works on Amazon Echo smart speakers and displays, can genuinely help with some of the challenges of teaching and learning in this time.

Search without more screen time

Chris Monroe/CNET

Depending on the age of your kids, they may be spending upward of eight hours per school day planted squarely in front of a computer screen, and evidence suggests that this learning environment has a number of negative repercussions.

Luckily, Alexa will answer simple questions without extra screen time. Need to check the answers on your math homework? Ask Alexa. Need to check historical or scientific facts? Ask Alexa.

Sure, Alexa's not going to do deep research for you, but as a simple tool, the voice assistant can be great to keep around during screen-free learning time.

Drop In on your kids during school

Chris Monroe/CNET

Even if your kid is "at school" in their room for much of the day, it can be hard to fight the urge to check in on them periodically, to make sure they're awake, attending to their lessons and nothing else is going wrong. But you don't want to disrupt school, either.

Alexa devices let you Drop In on your family members (once you change your privacy settings to allow it), and this can be an easy, fairly nondisruptive way to listen in on class for a few minutes -- if only to put your mind at ease that learning is in fact happening.

Alexa can read with your kids

Julie Snyder/CNET

Reading is a huge part of education, but if your kids are just learning to read, have some learning disabilities or are simply tired from long days staring at text on screens, Alexa can read to your children. If you have an Audible account, Alexa can read any books connected to the account.

If your children are younger, Amazon Kids+ is a great subscription service that includes loads of free audiobooks for kids to read along with.

Alexa can play music for your kids

Chris Monroe/CNET

This might seem like an obvious one, but as learning has shifted online, many noncentral subjects like art and music have fallen by the wayside (or look dramatically different from before). Alexa can play music for your kids using streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Tidal and more.

If you're learning about music history, Alexa can play various classical songs with a simple request. If you're hoping to help your young kids become more passionate about singing, they can request songs like "Bingo" and "Old MacDonald."

Alexa can help your young children learn how to speak more clearly

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This is for early-development children, but as the parent of a child who had a minor speech delay, I found that having a smart speaker around with Alexa was actually helpful for practicing question/answer conversational structures, and for practicing clear speech.

While Alexa obviously won't stand in for in-person conversations, the voice assistant really can help with some verbal development in a way screens simply won't.

Have you found other ways Alexa can help with remote learning? Let me know in the comments.

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Otter can now transcribe your Google Meet chats in real time – CNET

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Otter

Transcription service Otter has launched a Chrome extension that will allow groups of coworkers to keep automatic notes on meetings through Google Chat. Otter already offers a similar service for Zoom.

Although Google Chat already has a live captioning feature, Otter's big draw is its editable transcript, which the whole team can access and alter during and after the meeting -- making it a more flexible collaborative tool.

This new feature will likely prove useful for improving accessibility as workforces continue to adapt to the challenges of remote work -- and it could make conducting meetings easier as interruptions at home (like a sick child or hungry pet) force various participants to step away from their screens.

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How to make your home a healthy workspace in 2021 – CNET

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Working from home for months at a time can take a serious toll on your health, both physical and emotional. And yet, with COVID-19 reshaping modern life, that's exactly what many of us had to do in 2020. The year is new, and vaccines are slowly rolling out, but working from home is still a reality for the time being -- and could be through most of 2021.

Luckily, humans are adaptable, and we've learned a lot over the past year. A few creative solutions can really change working from home for the better, making it more sustainable as we work toward a vaccine, and healthier in the meantime.

Here are six tips on making your home a healthier workspace in 2021.

Create distinct spaces

Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the biggest challenges with working from home is maintaining a health boundary between work and home. One way to do this is to clearly demark an area that is work-only, and try to keep your work from spilling into the areas you rely on for relaxing and de-stressing.

Even if you're only in a studio apartment, keeping your laptop to a corner desk or table and keeping work away from your bed or couch can help you establish the boundaries you need for maintaining mental health during a highly stressful time.

Work near natural light and plants

Patricia Puentes/CNET

Whether you're hunched in front of a laptop all day, or shooting videos like some of my colleagues, natural light and plants can go a long way toward making your home work space feel less claustrophobic.

Even if you don't have a great view out your window, pulling your desk a little closer to those natural light sources can make a big difference.

Keep a glass of water nearby

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It's easy for time to blend together these days, and when you lose track of time, it's also easy to lose track of how much you're eating and drinking.

Keeping a glass of water on hand (you can add sliced lemons or a straw for easy sipping if you want) helps you stay hydrated, leading to fewer headaches and a healthier body in general.

Find a comfortable chair

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Ergonomics matter, and even if you can't afford to buy a new office chair, finding the most comfortable position to sit during long work days can make a world of difference.

If you already have an office chair, using a pillow for lower back support might not be a bad choice.

Move during the day

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Whether you're just taking a quick lap around the house, a 15-minute walk outside or a full-on midday workout, injecting some activity into your daily work routine can help break up the monotony and fight off the effects of sedentary life.

I keep a pull-up bar and various other cheap exercise equipment around the house and make it a habit to do a few reps each time I pass them throughout the day.

Give yourself a little grace

Chowhound

Lockdown life can be hard, and it'd be disingenuous to act like any of these solutions will totally solve those challenges. Plus, each of us is dealing with our own challenges, whether we're stuck in small apartments, living with extended family, raising small children or dealing with prolonged isolation.

While it's important to try to take care of your body and draw boundaries between work and the rest of your life, things sometimes break down. And that's okay. Just like cheat days can make healthy eating a little easier, occasionally bending rules to give yourself, say, a day working in bed, is OK.

I usually give myself Fridays to bend the rules a little, both in terms of what I eat and how I work. I don't exercise on Fridays, and I usually chill in bed for part of the day -- and giving myself a scheduled day to break those rules has made it easier to keep to them the rest of the time.

These are only a handful of the tips I've learned in the past 9 months since beginning to work from home. If you've found other ones, share them in the comments.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 images leak ahead of expected launch in January – CNET

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Winfuture

Samsung's Galaxy S21 will reportedly launch this coming January, but in another leak ahead of the scheduled release, official product images are now available, thanks to German tech publication Winfuture.

While images of the new S21 phones have circulated for some time, these appear to be the first official images, rather than early marketing images. These represent the latest in a series of rumors and leaks about the upcoming S21 launch.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

See also: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review: Amazing features, but is anyone a 'power user' anymore?

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Samsung Galaxy S21 images leak ahead of expected launch in January – CNET

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Winfuture

Samsung's Galaxy S21 will reportedly launch this coming January, but in another leak ahead of the scheduled release, official product images are now available, thanks to German tech publication Winfuture.

While images of the new S21 phones have circulated for some time, these appear to be the first official images, rather than early marketing images. These represent the latest in a series of rumors and leaks about the upcoming S21 launch.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

See also: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review: Amazing features, but is anyone a 'power user' anymore?

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Amazon Sidewalk has automatically switched “on” in your Alexa app – CNET

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Chris Monroe/CNET

If you have a new Amazon Echo smart speaker, a Ring Spotlight Cam or a Ring Floodlight Cam, you might want to check your Alexa app settings: Amazon is automatically switching on Sidewalk, a new feature that slices off some of your Wi-Fi bandwidth to create a farther-reaching network for Amazon devices using Bluetooth or 900MHz radio signals to communicate.

Amazon Sidewalk has the potential to increase the range of your smart home devices -- making them more reliable at greater distances from your router and other gear -- but its privacy and security implications remain largely untested.

Read moreHow to turn off Amazon Sidewalk in the Alexa app

While Sidewalk is not live yet, some privacy experts have expressed concerns about the automatic opt-in. Users have reported the switch online, and I myself found Sidewalk to be set to "on" in my Alexa app, despite intentionally not activating it during initial setup.

Amazon has sent emails, like the one below, to at least some users about the rollout. It says Sidewalk won't be available until later in the year.

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Amazon has sent this email to at least some customers, though it appears the email went to the "promotions" folder for Gmail users.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

"We started notifying existing Echo customers with eligible devices that their devices will be a part of Sidewalk and how they can change their preferences before the feature turns on," said an Amazon spokesperson. "Customers can update their Amazon Sidewalk preferences during device setup or any time from settings in the Alexa app."

Read more: Amazon Sidewalk will create entire smart neighborhoods. Here's what you should know

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Best Black Friday Ring doorbell deals: Savings on Ring doorbells, floodlight camera, alarm kit and more – CNET

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Savings

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

While many of the biggest Black Friday deals are starting to run out, there are still great discounts remaining on Ring doorbells, Ring floodlight cameras and security kits.

Some of the best Black Friday deals are a return to Prime Day pricing lows, and you'll also find new additions to the line-up of home security products, including the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, now with a free Echo Show 5 (save $170). Walmart's sale began on Nov. 25 and Best Buy started discounting on Nov. 22, but Amazon saved many of its biggest price drops for Black Friday, and we anticipate that prices won't be this low again between now and Christmas.

You'll notice that some of these items are now on back-order for two to three weeks, and those ship times will likely increase. Amazon devices rarely go "out of stock," however, so in the worst-case scenario shipping dates may just get pushed further back.

We'll keep the list below up to date with the best Ring doorbell deals and discounts for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, so check back often. Pricing and availability were accurate at time of last publication, but may change without notice.

Deals available now

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Ring offers live 1080p video, motion alerts and two-way voice communication and a feature called Pre-Roll (when someone or something trips the motion sensor, you can see what happened before that). This deal saves nearly 50% off the regular $250 retail price and throws in an Echo Show 5 ($90 list price) to boot.

Note, the Ring Pro doesn't have a rechargeable battery. If you can't connect it to the existing doorbell wires at your front door, this isn't the video doorbell for you. Read our Ring Video Doorbell Pro review.

Ring

The Ring Peephole Cam is perfect for apartment dwellers or people without hardwired doorbells. It's super easy to install, and $70 is a super welcoming price. If you're interested in video doorbells in general, this is a great place to start. Read our Ring Peephole Cam review.

Julie Snyder/CNET

Ring Alarm is a modular-style home security kit, and you can get various arrangements of the kit for great discounts. The five-piece with a free Echo Dot is the best deal, though, at 50% off the list price. You can also get the 14-piece set for an impressive $200.

Amazon notes that stock is running low, and it looks like this deal will be delivered in December if you order now.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Ring's Floodlight Cam usually sells for $250, so finding the camera for under $200 -- let alone with a free Echo Show 5 smart display thrown in -- is a pleasant surprise. This package is perfect for jumpstarting your outdoor security system, whether to keep your house safe from burglars or just to spy on the raccoons who keep getting into your garbage.

Like the five-piece alarm deal above, Amazon notes that stock is running low, and it looks like this deal will be delivered in December if you order now. Read our Ring Floodlight Cam review.

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Dyson Black Friday deals: dwindling stock on Dyson Ball, V10 Animal and more – CNET

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Black Friday is here, and now you can really clean up -- literally. Dyson, one of the most highly regarded vacuum brands, has some great deals happening right now, with at least one more coming this weekend. Check out the best Dyson discounts on cordless vacuums, a heating-cooling air purifier and other Dyson products below. At this time most deals are only available in-store, but you'll also find a preview of additional Cyber Monday price drops to come throughout this long weekend.

Read more: Black Friday 2020 vacuum deals: Save on Neato, Hoover, Shark and more

Prices and availability were accurate at time of publication, but tend to fluctuate. Check back often, as we'll be updating this article on a rolling basis to account for newer, better deals and expired discounts.

Black Friday deals available now

Home Depot

Dyson's "entry-level" corded vacuum usually costs $350, but that price has dropped to a much more reasonable $199.

Best Buy

The V10 Animal returns to its all-time Amazon low of $350 this season, with Target confirming the price drop will start this week. We expect it to be that price at Best Buy and elsewhere, too. This cordless model delivers 55% more suction than the V7 and an hour of runtime using the battery.

Dyson

The Dyson V8 boasts 15% more suction than the V7, according to Dyson. Normally $380, the Motorhead version drops to $230 at Target starting this week.

Black Friday deals coming soon

Dyson

Dyson's V7 Animal normally costs $400, but it's getting a whopping 50% discount this week. Best Buy has confirmed this price will be available by Saturday, Nov. 28.

Dyson

No, this isn't a vacuum -- but if you're a Dyson fan, take note. If you're looking to clean the air in your house, Dyson also has one of its air purifiers on discount this Black Friday, for 25% off its usual list price. The HP01 cleans the air, but also functions as a space heater and fan -- that's a lot of features to pack into a Dyson device for under $400. (Just note that it's sold in the past for as low as $300.)

Lowest known Amazon price to date: $300

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