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Tools of the Trade: November 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
November 1, 2020
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1. GOOGLE PIXEL 5

 

The latest versions of Google’s flagship smartphones, the Pixel 5 and the 4a 5G, are the first Pixels with 5G wireless. The display on the Pixel 5 is 6″ Full HD+ OLED with an 8-megapixel front camera at the top left of the screen. A new ultrawide angle camera on the back has a 16-megapixel sensor, and right below it there’s a fingerprint sensor. On the back is a primary 12.2-megapixel camera. The all-aluminum body is slightly textured, and the phone is water-resistant. The all-day battery has Extreme Battery Saver that will extend a single charge to 48 hours, if needed, and it has fast wireless charging. With the Screen Calls feature, Google Assistant screens unknown callers and filters out robocalls before the phone rings. The Titan M chip secures the operating system and passwords and scans for incoming threats from calls, texts, emails, and links sent from other apps. Memory includes 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. The phone comes with three months of Google One, which includes 100GB of cloud storage and automatic phone backup. The Pixel 5 is available in “just black” and “sorta sage.” store.google.com

 

 

2. IPAD 8TH GENERATION

 

The newest iPad is called the 8th Generation or iPad 2020, and it hasn’t changed much from the iconic design of the 10-years-old original iPad that has stayed on top as the best tablet. This is the basic, entry-level iPad, and it retails at $329 for Wi-Fi. The 8th Generation features the new A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine. It’s able to use the Apple Pencil—the first generation, not the newer Pencil—and it has support for the Smart Keyboard. You can open and use multiple apps at once, and with Scribble, you can write with the pencil in any text field. You can mark up PDFs and copy and paste handwritten notes as text. The tablet weighs about one pound and has an all-day battery. The 10.2″ screen is a Retina Display with Touch ID and stereo speakers. www.apple.com

 

 

3. APPLE WATCH SERIES 6

 

The newest version of the Apple Watch, Series 6, expands on the personal health monitor capabilities with a blood oxygen sensor that measures oxygen saturation in the blood, in addition to the electrocardiogram function and the Apple Fitness+ platform. The software can also monitor handwashing habits and track your sleep. The handwashing timer starts an automatic 20-second countdown when it senses the wrist motion and sound of running water. The basic model is priced at $399 for Wi-Fi and adds $100 for LTE cellular. Options for the materials, colors, sizes, and wristbands are numerous. The always-on display is two-and-a-half times brighter, and the battery is more efficient, with faster charging from zero to 80% in an hour and full charge in 90 minutes. www.apple.com

 

4. GOOGLE NEST SPEAKER

 

The Google Nest Audio is the successor to the Google Home smart speaker. The redesign includes a different look, and it’s 75% louder with a 50% stronger bass. Priced at $100, it includes real-time, multiroom audio, voice calling with Google Duo, and stream transfer for moving sound from speaker to speaker simply by voice command. With improved components and standing an inch taller and wider than the Google Home, it weighs twice as much as the Home. Inside is a 75 mm. woofer and a 19 mm. tweeter replacing the original Home 50 mm. full-range driver. It’s available in five colors: chalk, charcoal, sage, sand, and sky. store.google.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 26 years. His SF TechNotes blog is in its 23rd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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