Pixel 4A review: A feature-rich budget smartphone for $349 – CNET

Like

  • Affordable
  • Excellent camera
  • Has a headphone jack
  • Great battery life so far

Don't Like

  • No wireless charging
  • Not water-resistant

Google on Monday revealed the Pixel 4A, which will sit alongside the Pixel 4A 5G and the Pixel 5. Though the latter two will be available at a later date, you can already preorder the Pixel 4A for $349, £349 and AU$599. Unlike in previous years, the phone only comes in one color (black) and one size (as in, there's no Pixel 4A XL). And for its price, the Pixel 4A has one of the best cameras you can get on a phone.

Read more: Here's how the Pixel 4A compares to the Pixel 3A, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. And here's how it stacks up to affordable rivals like the iPhone SE and Galaxy A51.

Amid the abundance of $400 phones that are out now, which include the iPhone SE (2020) and the Galaxy A51, the Pixel 4A's two standout features are hard to dismiss. The fact that it has the same excellent main camera as the Pixel 4 (unfortunately, it doesn't have the Pixel 4's second telephoto lens) makes it the ideal phone for someone who wants to take great photos without much effort. Especially if that person doesn't care about having a sleek design or a huge screen, both of which the Pixel 4A doesn't have.

The Pixel 4A is about $50 cheaper than its closest competitors and has 128GB of storage, instead of 64GB like years past, so it really is a solid value. And these days, any amount of money that can be saved is crucial.

So does the Pixel 4A have the best camera on any phone? Which is to say does the Pixel 4 still have the best camera? Not necessarily, not like previous years. When the Pixel 2 came out in 2017, the delta between Google's camera and other Android phones at the time felt pretty wide. And when the Pixel 3 introduced Night Sight, it was witchcraft-levels of impressive. But rivals such as Apple, Samsung and OnePlus have shrunk the gap when it comes to important camera features like low-light photos and zoom. 

The better question to ask then, is: Is this the phone with the best camera you can get for $350? Considering that the Pixel 4A also receives prompt software updates from Google, has a long-lasting battery life (so far) and has a headphone jack -- all on top of its stellar camera -- I'd venture to say the answer is yes.

Comparison of Google Pixel 4A and Pixel 4


Pixel 4A Pixel 4
Rear cameras The Pixel 4A doesn't have a second rear telephoto camera 2 rear cameras make for better portrait shots
Headphone jack It has a 3.5mm headphone jack The Pixel 4 doesn't have a headphone jack
Design Larger, 5.81-inch screen and hole-punch front-facing camera Smaller, 5.7-inch screen and prominent camera bump
Display refresh rate 60Hz display 90Hz display
Charging No wireless charging Does charge wirelessly
Water resistance Not water resistant Rated IP68 for water resistance
Soli motion-sensing Doesn't have Soli motion-sensing, which enables touchless gestures Pixel 4 does feature Soli motion-sensing and touchless gestures
Battery 3,140-mAh battery 2,800-mAh battery
Processor Less powerful Snapdragon 730G chipset More powerful Snapdragon 855
Storage options It has one 128GB storage option Two options: 64GB and 128GB
google-pixel-4a-4621

The Pixel 4A has a single 12.2-megapixel camera

Angela Lang/CNET

The Pixel 4A has the best camera for the money

The Pixel 4A's main selling point is that it has the Pixel 4's stellar main camera in a less expensive package. While at times the Pixel 4A's handling of HDR effects and contrast can look unrealistic at times, the cinematic quality of its photos makes it one of the more intuitive cameras to use. And though it doesn't have multiple rear cameras like, say, the Galaxy A51 or the original Pixel 4, it takes very little effort to get the Pixel 4A to spit out a good photo. This is what makes it fun and hassle-free to use.

Below are a few general photos in clear, outdoor light taken in the afternoon and evening. Notice the crisp, fine details and contrast.

Lynn La/CNET
Lynn La/CNET
Lynn La/CNET

The photo below was challenging because the camera faces directly toward the sun. And in the picture after that, I was standing in the dim shade and taking an image of the bright sun-drenched lake. Both are tricky lighting situations, but the photos came out well exposed.

Lynn La/CNET
Lynn La/CNET

Below is an example of the phone's 7x zoom, branded by Google as "Super Res Zoom." While the person sitting in the lawn looks muddled, the fact that I can still make them out even though they were sitting about 400 feet away is impressive.

A view of the lake without zoom.

Lynn La/CNET

This image was captured using the Pixel 4A's 7x zoom.

Lynn La/CNET

Like previous Pixel phones, the Pixel 4A can take pictures in very low light thanks to its Night Sight feature. It also has a mode specifically for astrophotography.

Taking a Night Sight photo of the lake in the dark evening.

Lynn La/CNET

Though this photo is blurry, it was taken in near darkness and you can still see the palm trees and stars in the sky.

John Kim/CNET

The Pixel 4A takes portrait pictures with only one camera. Though these photos came out fine, there were a few others where the bokeh effect was patchy or inaccurate.

In this portrait photo, you can see that on the right side of the cat's face the blur drops off abruptly.

Lynn La/CNET

Another portrait image taken with the Pixel 4A.

John Kim/CNET

Shooting video was also great. The Pixel 4A uses a combination of optical image stabilization and software to stabilize footage. When I recorded my surroundings while walking on the sidewalk and while riding a bicycle on a paved trail, the videos were stable and smooth. 

It looks like a 'budget' phone 

While the Pixel 3A and Pixel 3 look nearly identical, the Pixel 4A is clearly a budget version of the Pixel 4. While I like the thin bezels, the hole-punch camera and the baby blue accent on the power button -- all of which keep the phone looking modern -- the Pixel 4A looks and feels cheap. Its plain polycarbonate body lacks the glossiness of the Galaxy A51, the elegance of the iPhone SE and the fun Pop Art aesthetic of its Pixel 4 brother. And unlike the Pixel 4, it doesn't have that higher refresh-rate display. This isn't a deal-breaker as most phones have the same 60Hz screen, but it would have been a nice carryover that would have elevated the Pixel 4A's appeal.

As someone with a small grip, I find the phone's small size makes it comfortable to navigate -- and it fits in my back pocket. I prefer a more one-handed experience, which is one of the reasons why I don't usually opt for the "XL" versions of Pixels. So I'm glad that when Google picked one size for the Pixel 4A, it went with the smaller option.

Because the phone doesn't have the Pixel 4's Google Soli sensor chip for facial scanning, I used the fingerprint sensor on the back to unlock the screen, which works quickly and consistently. 

google-pixel-4a-4656

The Pixel 4A only comes in black and has a plain, polycarbonate body.

Angela Lang/CNET

Pixel 4A software: Incremental but welcome improvements

Because the Pixel 4A is a budget phone and Google is launching its main Pixel 5 in the fall, it's not surprising that the 4A doesn't have Android 11 out of the box. Nor is it brimming with radical changes to Android 10. Instead, Google added small improvements to Android features that were already useful to begin with.

Live captioning a call on FB Messenger.

Lynn La/CNET

That includes expanding the phone's live-captioning abilities, which was introduced on the Pixel 4. You can now live transcribe phone and video calls, including ones made on non-native apps such as Facebook Messenger. When I tried it on Messenger, there was a lag between the speech and the captioning, and not every word was transcribed 100% accurately. But other than that it worked pretty well, and I can imagine it coming in handy when I have to take a call in a noisy, loud environment. If you ever used Google's Screen Call when it transcribes an incoming call, it works similar to that.

Real-time transcription for audio recordings, which also debuted on the Pixel 4 and is for English only, can now be prompted by voice via Google Assistant. The phrase to begin recording that Google suggests is, "Hey Google, start recording my meeting." It's a very specific phrase and oddly, it's the only one that'll work. I tried others: "Begin audio recording," "Record audio," and "Start audio recording," but those only opened the Recorder app. I was able to stop recording by telling Assistant to stop and fortunately I didn't have to add, "my meeting" to the command. I also found it useful that I can now save the text of these transcriptions directly into a Google Doc. As a reporter, this streamlines my own workflow

Other Pixel 4A software tidbits

  • Like all Google phones, the Pixel 4A will be one of the first phones in line to receive OS and software updates when they're ready to roll out from Google.
  • Google Assistant on the phone can be activated by voice, by tapping the Assistant icon on the screen or by swiping your finger upwards from either corners. The Pixel 4A doesn't have Active Edge, which was on past Pixel phones and called up the Assistant by squeezing the phone's sides.
  • The Pixel 4A does have Call Screen, which natively screens robocalls and is one of my favorite Android features. (So much time saved not listening to random Chinese-language spam recordings that I can't even understand!)
  • Google's Personal Safety app is preloaded on the Pixel 4A and is available for Android phones to download as well. In addition to crash detection and setting up emergency contacts, you can schedule a safety check. It's a newish feature (my Pixel 3 received this update a few weeks ago) and it gave me some peace of mind when I was walking alone from my car to my apartment one day. I set a 15-minute timer on the app and if I failed to check in with the app within 15 minutes, it would have notified my emergency contacts. Fortunately, nothing happened and I arrived home safely. 
  • Google has stopped offering new Pixel users unlimited Photo storage at original resolution. If you want that you'll have to sign up and pay for Google's cloud service, One. Pixel 4A owners still get unlimited storage at "high quality," however, which isn't as big as original, but should satisfy most needs.
google-pixel-4a-4649

The Pixel 4A runs Android 10 out of the box.

Angela Lang/CNET

Pixel 4A's performance and battery

The Pixel 4A features a Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6GB of RAM. On benchmark tests the Pixel 4A consistently outperformed the Galaxy A51. But, as expected, it fell behind the Pixel 4 flagship, which has a superior Snapdragon 855 processor. The iPhone SE, with its proprietary A13 Bionic processor from Apple, beat all the phones comfortably.

Anecdotally, the phone works quickly with most tasks. Unlocking the screen with my fingerprint, launching Assistant and opening apps went off without a hitch. But the Pixel 4A isn't the smoothest phone I handled. After I downloaded Call of Duty and PUBG, I had to restart the phone because both apps stalled while loading. And every once in a while, say, an app would unexpectedly quit or I had to relaunch the camera because the on-screen shutter button wouldn't register. Overall though, the phone works reliably, and after restarting I was able to play both of the aforementioned games without any further issues.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single-core

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

As for battery life, the Pixel 4A has a notably better battery life than the Pixel 4. When I used it to watch video, take lots of photos, browse the internet and similar activities, the phone lasted all day without a charge without any concerning moments of low power at any point in the day. Tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode showed similar results. With Google's Adaptive Battery feature turned off, the Pixel 4A averaged 18 hours, 45 minutes, which is an excellent time. 

For comparison, the iPhone SE lasted about 15 hours, 45 minutes and the Galaxy A51 clocked in 16 hours, 10 minutes. The Pixel 4, which had a disappointing battery life for its caliber, powered off after 10 hours. We're going to conduct more battery tests on the Pixel 4A with streaming video. When the results are in, I'll update this review and its final rating. 

Pixel 4A spec comparison


Google Pixel 4A Apple iPhone SE (2020) Samsung Galaxy A51 (4G) Google Pixel 4
Display size, resolution 5.81-inch OLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels 4.7-inch LCD; 1,334x750 pixels 6.5-inch FHD AMOLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels 5.7-inch OLED; 1,080x2,280 pixels
Pixel density 443ppi 326ppi 405ppi 444ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7x2.7x0.3 inches 5.45x2.65x0.29 inches 6.24x2.90x0.31 inches 2.7x5.7x0.3 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 144x69.4x8.2 mm 138.4x67.3x7.3 mm 158.5x73.6x7.9 mm 68.8x147.1x8.2 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.04 oz; 143g 5.22 oz; 148g 6.07 oz; 172g 5.7 oz; 162g
Mobile software Android 10 iOS 13 Android 10 Android 10
Camera 12.2-megapixel (standard) 12-megapixel (wide-angle) 48-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth sensing) 12.2-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 7-megapixel 32-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Apple A13 Bionic 2.3GHz octa-core processor 2.84GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Storage 128GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB 64GB, 128GB
RAM 6GB Not disclosed 6GB 6GB
Expandable storage No No Up to 512GB No
Battery 3,140 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8 4,000 mAh 2,800 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back Home button In-screen No
Connector USB-C Lightning USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes No Yes No
Special features Dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging N/A Soli motion sensing and touchless gestures; 90Hz display; water resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $349 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB) $400 $799 (64GB), $899 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £349 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB) £329 £669 (64GB), £769 (128GB)
Price (AUD) AU$599 AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB) AU$599 AU$1,049 (64GB), AU$1,199 (128GB)

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Fortnite is adding cars this week – CNET

Fortnite cars

Fortnite is adding cars in the Joy Ride update.

Epic Games

Fortnite is finally adding cars to the game, it revealed Monday. The Joy Ride update is coming on Wednesday, Aug. 5, Fortnite tweeted.

"It's not just a name. It's a warning," the tweet said alongside a picture of a blue and red car with a logo reading Whiplash.

The battle royale shooter said it would be adding vehicles when it launched Fortnite Season 3 in June, but this is the first time they'll be available in the game. 

new Atlantis-like area called Coral Castle has also been revealed in the map this week, CNET sister site GameSpot said. It's north of Sweaty Sands, with a castle standing in receding floodwaters.

Read more: The best games for your work-from-home laptop

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Twitter under FTC investigation for alleged misuse of user data – CNET

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Twitter is being investigated by the FTC for allegedly misusing users' personal data.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter on Monday disclosed it's under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for using personal information provided by users for security reasons to target them with advertising. The probe could lead to a loss of as much as $250 million, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Twitter said it received a draft complaint from the FTC alleging the company had violated a 2011 consent decree in which it agreed to work harder to safeguard users' personal information.

"The allegations relate to the Company's use of phone number and/or email address data provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019," the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. "The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome."

The investigation apparently relates to a revelation Twitter made last year in which it informed users that had recently discovered that users' email addresses and phone numbers meant to be used for security reasons "may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes." 

That information is supposed to be used solely for account protection purposes, but Twitter said advertisers were able to tap the phone numbers to target commercials, through the company's "Tailored Audiences" and "Partner Audiences advertising system. 

The FTC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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FDA lists hand sanitizers that don’t have a high enough alcohol level – CNET

handsoap2

The FDA recommends not using these hand sanitzers.

Amanda Kooser/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA has been testing hand sanitizers and has now released a list of products that may not actually be effective at killing germs. This time, instead of finding toxic ingredients in hand sanitizers like methanol that can be absorbed through the skin, the FDA has found some products that contain troublingly low concentrations of the good ingredients.

The list includes seven hand sanitizers that the FDA said Friday have "concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol," with the recommendation for people to avoid them.

"The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol," the FDA said.

The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers that have at least 60% ethanol or ethyl alcohol -- although the CDC maintains that "no drugs, including hand sanitizers, are approved to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Those listed include: NeoNatural from manufacturer Limpo Quimicos SA de CV; Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution from manufacturer Healthy Foods & Nutrition Lab de Mexico SA de CV; and Datsen Hand Sanitizer and Alcohol Antiseptic 62% Hand Sanitizer from Quimica Magna de Mexico SA de CV.

Read more: The best face masks for exercising

Those sanitizers were found to have subpotent levels of ethanol. Alcohol Antiseptic 65% Hand Sanitizer, Alcohol Antiseptic 70% Hand Sanitizer and Bernal Hand Sanitizer were also made at the same Quimica Magna facility, so they have also been added to the import alert.

The FDA has recommended recalls of all those products, as well as import bans on them.

In addition to subpotent levels of ethanol, the FDA has also listed several hand sanitizers that may also have subpotent levels of benzalkonium chloride: dgreen Advanced Sanitizer Alcohol Free, dgreen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Antibacterial Gel, Hand Sanitizer, Hand Sanitizer Gel and Clean Humans Hand Sanitizer from manufacturer DEPQ Internacional S de RL de CV.

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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FCC seeks comment on Trump’s plan to crackdown on social media – CNET

trump-and-tweets-gettyimages-1216138995

Twitter applied a fact checking label to tweets from President Donald earlier this year, prompting the president to sign an executive order to re-examine legal protections under the Communications Decency Act that shield social media companies against lawsuits against them for user generated content. 

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission is inviting public comment on the Trump administration's calls to crack down on legal liability protections that social media companies currently have for content posted by users. The agency opened public comment on a proposal Monday.

Trump signed an executive order in May asking the National Telecommunications and Formation Administration (NTIA) to petition the FCC to review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law that gives social media companies their legal protection. The president wants rules that'll let the agency investigate complaints that social media companies discriminate against certain speech on their platforms. 

The order followed Twitter's decision to slap labels on two Trump tweets about mail-in voting, saying they contained "potentially misleading information." 

Last week, NTIA filed its petition with the FCC. And today FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency will seek comment on the petition.  

"Longstanding rules require the agency to put such petitions out for public comment 'promptly,' and we will follow that requirement here," he said in a statement.

The NTIA petition asks the FCC to define "information content provider" more broadly to include entities that make "editorial decisions that modify or alter content." 

Under that interpretation, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter would be treated as publishers responsible for information posted by their users. Also, under this interpretation, these sites would also lose legal protections from lawsuits filed against them for taking down or blocking offensive content. 

The petition comes as liberals and conservatives complain about how social media companies moderate content on their platforms. Conservatives, led by the president, allege that their speech is being censored by Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, a claim the companies deny. Liberals say they're equally troubled by the rampant flow of disinformation, including interference by foreign countries in the 2020 presidential election, and hate speech. 

Still, it's unclear if the FCC even has the authority to make calls about whether social media companies play fair. Any FCC action would likely be challenged in court. And of course, it's also an awkward twist asking this Republican-led FCC, which has worked to deregulate the communications industry, to police content on social media sites. 

So far, the FCC has not indicated whether it supports NTIA's suggested rules. The FCC's public notice merely asks for comments on the proposal. But Pai has said it's important to discuss the issues.  

"I strongly disagree with those who demand that we ignore the law and deny the public and all stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on this important issue," Pai said in a statement. "We should welcome vigorous debate—not foreclose it. The American people deserve to have a say, and we will give them that chance."

The agency will take public comment on the proposal over the next 30 days and will allow for an additional 15 days of replies. 

The FCC's two Democrats, who each have opposed the petition, reiterated their concern for the FCC's involvement in drafting rules for social media companies. 

 "Social media can be frustrating. But the FCC shouldn't be the President's speech police," Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote on Twitter. "So speak up. Tell the FCC to reject this loud and clear."

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said that Congress, not the FCC, should be the ones to address concerns over content on social media sites. 

"I'm sure this Public Notice will generate a spirited discussion," he said in a tweet. "Perhaps when comments are in we can package up the whole docket and send it over to Congress—where this debate belongs."

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Virgin Orbit reveals cause of failed May test launch, and its future plans – CNET

vo-launch-org

A Launcher One rocket detaching from its carrier plane.

Virgin Orbit

Some bum plumbing kept Virgin Orbit from getting to space during a demonstration launch in May, the company revealed Monday. 

Specifically, it was "a breach in the high-pressure line carrying cryogenic Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to our first stage combustion chamber due to a component failure," according to a release from the company. "Without a supply of oxidizer, that engine soon stopped providing thrust, ending our powered flight and ultimately the test itself."

Virgin Orbit is Richard Branson's space launch company, which aims to send satellites into orbit via a rocket that ignites after being released in midair from the belly of a modified 747. During its demonstration in May, a 747 named Cosmic Girl dropped one of the company's LauncherOne rockets, which then fired up, but only for about 10 seconds. 

LauncherOne ignites shortly after being released.

Virgin Orbit

Spacecraft plumbing problems aren't unheard of, especially when super-cool cryogenic fuels are involved. Similar breaches have caused some pretty spectacular explosions for competitors like SpaceX in the past. 

Virgin Orbit said it's still wrapping up its investigation of the incident, but that the main problems and solutions are clear.

"We're well underway with fabricating new parts and putting (corrective) actions into play."

Now playing: Watch this: Virgin Orbit will fly rockets from the UK

3:01

The company also said that its next attempt at a demonstration launch will be carrying 11 small satellites for NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative, which is also a collaboration with a number of universities.

The goal is to pull off the launch by the end of the year, but a specific target date wasn't announced. 

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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor spy shots reveal new suspension secrets – Roadshow

Hey there, Raptor.

F-150 Gen 14 Forum

You thought the hoopla surrounding the 2021 Ford F-150 had subsided, didn't you? Buckle up, because we still have a lot to learn about the new pickup, including info about a new F-150 Raptor.

Behold a wonderful look at the next F-150 Raptor courtesy of some new spy shots, thanks to the folks at the F-150 Gen14 forum. The photos, published Monday, clearly depict the latest F-150 and its evolutionary styling with a wide-body treatment common to the Raptor. Ford's cloaked the truck pretty well, so details are hard to come by, but if you dig the 2021 F-150, the Raptor model should look mighty fine, too.

The brave photographer was, perhaps more importantly, able to snap a few photos of the truck's underside as well. Said photos reveal a big change to the truck for the new model: leaf springs are out. Instead, the photos show a coil spring setup, which could give the next F-150 Raptor even more usability off the beaten path. In place of the leaf springs is a new structural mount, and the photos show the coil spring mount where the Fox shocks sit in the current truck. In turn, the shocks move forward slightly to make room.

One other interesting change is the exhaust. With the leaf springs out, it looks like Ford rerouted the exhaust. What engine this particular truck housed isn't clear, but it seems likely Ford will continue to outfit the Raptor with its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 -- even though it just can't match the growl of the original Raptor.

We should see the 2021 F-150 Raptor debut later this year. Keep tuned for more info as we get it.

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Amazon now has a Baby Yoda Echo Dot stand – CNET

Amazon Echo Dot Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda now comes as an Echo Dot 3rd Gen stand.

Amazon

Amazon has launched a Baby Yoda stand for the 3rd Gen Echo Dot. The Child stand will be released and shipped for delivery on Aug. 20 for Prime members if you pre-order for $25. The stand has little green ears and a base that looks like Baby Yoda's robe. You can nest your Echo Dot 3rd Gen inside.

Amazon describes it as the "cutest bounty in the galaxy, an instant conversation starter."

Preorders are open now, and you can get the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen for $50 in charcoal, gray, plum and sandstone.

Baby Yoda took the world by storm when the first episode of The Mandalorian aired on Disney Plus in November 2019. Wide-ranging merch featuring the beloved character ranges from Funko Pops to T-shirts, whiskey glasses, stickers, artwork, plush toys, robots and even a Hot Wheels car.

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Amazon may be facing antitrust probe from New York attorney general – CNET

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Inside an Amazon warehouse in Massachusetts.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon appears to be facing even more antitrust troubles.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is joining the investigations into Amazon's market power, according to Bloomberg. The publication said Monday that James' office is partnering with California's attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission on their investigations into the e-commerce giant.

The news comes after Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos was grilled last week before a US House antitrust subcommittee about his company's allegedly unfair practices against smaller sellers on its platform. He appeared along with the CEOs of Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, who also faced harsh questioning about their business practices.

There have already been a slew of ongoing antitrust investigations into Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet and Apple by Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, European Union and state attorneys general. Previous reports have already revealed Amazon investigations by the attorneys general in California and Washington, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, though Amazon hasn't publicly confirmed these investigations.

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Representatives for both Amazon and the New York attorney general separately declined to comment.

The New York AG has already been taking a critical eye at Amazon. In April, the AG's office claimed in a letter to Amazon that the company may have violated the state's whistleblower laws when it fired activist employee Christian Smalls. In the letter, the attorney general also claims Amazon may have broken federal and state safety guidelines  by providing "inadequate" protections for New York warehouse workers.

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Misfit’s $280 Android Wear smartwatches are on sale for $40 – CNET

misfit-vapor-x-promo

The Wear OS-powered Misfit Vapor X is just $40 right now.

Misfit

Welcome to the Island of Misfit Deals. For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get a Misfit Vapor X (42mm) Android Wear watch for $39.99 in your choice of colors. Original price: $279.99. Although it's not expressly stated anywhere, these are obviously discontinued, clearance items -- and that's a big win for you.

Also available: The Misfit Vapor 2 (41mm) for just $29.99. This is the older of the two models, and the lesser. My advice: Opt for the X.

That watch runs Android's Wear OS. It features integrated GPS, heart-rate monitoring, NFC and Google Pay and promises "extended, multi-day battery life," according to Misfit. It even has 4GB of onboard storage for listening to music, podcasts and the like.

This is a bonkers deal, then, right? Here comes the "but." CNET hasn't reviewed the Misfit X, and ratings elsewhere are pretty mixed. What's more, some user reviews point to performance issues and poor battery life. (Me, I have no problem with a watch that lasts only day -- provided it does last a day -- because it's not a hardship to drop it on its charger at night.)

But, hey, guess what? If it doesn't work well, you can return it for a full refund -- and you've got up to 90 days to do that.

So, yeah, if you like the idea of scoring a $280 smartwatch for $40, act fast. These won't last long.

Read more: The best smartwatches of 2020

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CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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