2021 Toyota Corolla Apex first drive review: Great idea, mediocre execution

A sporty economy car is more than just the sum of its parts, but the parts still factor in. Leave too many things on the table, and the end result will feel purgatorial, trapped between what it is and what it could be. That, dear readers, is the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex in a nutshell.

Don’t take that to mean that the Corolla Apex’s upgrades are for display purposes only. Quite the contrary, actually; the Apex packs a number of tweaks that work to live up to its handling-adjacent badge. New springs lower the body by more than half an inch, and they work in conjunction with new shocks, solid sway bars and a unique tune for the power-steering system.

I can feel every single upgrade. In fact, I can’t stop feeling them. The Corolla Apex is demonstrably stiffer than its pedestrian sibling, entirely too much so, in fact. The one super-smooth road I experience is met with a fine ride, but the second the pavement swaps over to something a little more worn, the ride becomes tiring. Every bump or highway expansion joint is met with an incredibly sharp vertical jerk, and just about every undulation in the roadway

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Stimulus check money: Everything we know about how large your second relief payment may be

We help you estimate the maximum amount that could end up in your bank account if another stimulus payment arrives.


Angela Lang/CNET

Could you get a second stimulus check before the election on Nov. 3 if you qualify, and how much could you get? 

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have restarted negotiations to pass another coronavirus rescue package, there’s still a chance of another round of payments. House Democrats have a new relief proposal worth $2.2 trillion that includes a check as well as other items like $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits — it may be voted on as soon as this week. If it actually passes the House, the Senate could vote on it or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may choose to let it languish like the original Heroes Act from May instead of taking it to the upper chamber.

The first stimulus check sent as much as $1,200 per adult, but a second stimulus check could be a bigger or smaller amount, particularly if the qualifications for dependents are broadened or if your financial circumstances have changed since the first round in March (try CNET’s stimulus calculator for

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Yale Smart Delivery Box is ready to battle porch pirates


Molly Price/CNET

Prime Day is nearing and holiday gift giving is just around the corner. Even if you’re a Scrooge who doesn’t like Amazon’s deals, you’re probably getting more packages delivered to your home this year. Whether it’s office supplies, groceries or another set of “comfy pants” (hey, no judgment here), you might be concerned about keeping your deliveries safe. 

Today, Yale introduced a smart delivery box that works with the Yale Access and August Home apps, which normally control each brands’ respective smart locks, and major voice assistants to do just that.

The Yale Smart Delivery Box comes in two styles, at $230 Brighton style and a $280 Kent style. Both include a Connect adapter to connect them to your Wi-Fi network for smart home integration. Add a smart keypad for another $50. Yale partnered with with Kingsley Park, a Step2 Company for box design and production. You might recognize Step2 from its lines of children’s playsets, wagons and outdoor toys. 

Hands-on 

I gave the smart delivery box several test runs at my own home prior to today’s release. I’ve had it just a few days and haven’t received any deliveries quite yet. Stay tuned for a full

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When could the IRS send more stimulus checks and who might get them first? Here’s an estimate

How soon could your second stimulus check come? We lay out some possible dates, from when the bill is passed to when your money could actually arrive.


James Martin/CNET

Now that negotiations to pass a new economic rescue package with a second direct payment appear to be inching forward, we can forecast when qualifying Americans could get paid. If a new stimulus check becomes a reality, the priority group that you’re a part of and how quickly the IRS can start sending out money in general will determine the speed of the payments. (Here are some more important stimulus payment facts.)

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed House Democrats to bring a new relief proposal to a vote as early as this week. Pelosi also agreed to resume negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“I’m hoping for a deal,” Pelosi said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Try CNET’s stimulus calculator to estimate your potential check and keep reading to learn some possible timelines for when you could get a new stimulus check. This story updates often.

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2021 Audi E-Tron Sportback first drive review: Slipstream SUV serenity

Make no bones about it: Audi’s all-electric E-Tron SUV may have received high marks from professional auto reviewers and new owners alike, but it hasn’t moved the automaker’s sales needle in the US. In all of pre-pandemic 2019, the Audi sold fewer than 5,400 E-Trons here — less than an average month of Q5 sales. It’s amidst this frustrating backdrop that the 2021 Audi E-Tron Sportback model whirs into dealers, its racier slope-back roofline hoping to catch both eyes and sales.

Based on visuals alone, the E-Tron Sportback has undergone the now industry-standard four-door-coupification process more successfully than most luxury crossover SUVs — EV or not. From the windshield header forward, the Sportback looks the same as its more traditional two-box sibling and indeed, it has nearly the same height. However, owing to its dramatically plunging rearward greenhouse and frameless windows that clean up its roofline, the Sportback looks simultaneously lower and arguably more stylish, adding in a dash of athleticism. The Sportback isn’t just slipperier to the eye, it enjoys a 0.28 coefficient of drag, 0.02 better than its boxier relation.

Range and charging specs are

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How to resolve common wireless performance issues using NetSpot PRO on Mac

Wireless networking has become the primary, and often only, connection method for many users. Here’s how to troubleshoot corresponding performance issues.

Image: NetSpot PRO

A few years ago I needed a utility capable of confirming a potential wireless network deployment’s strength and range. Using NetSpot PRO with a Mac, I was able to confirm with confidence that the wireless equipment specified within a project plan would perform as intended within a new facility.

You, too, can use the Mac-friendly application to confirm proposed wireless deployments or upgrades will meet your needs, but you can also use the $149 application to expand the $49 Home version’s zone compatibilities, data collection points and snapshots capacities. The PRO version also provides an additional technician license that can be leveraged when reviewing wireless surveys.

SEE: Incident response policy (TechRepublic Premium)

NetSpot PRO version 2.12 is a small-footprint app. The program occupies only 26MB of disk space and typically consumes less than 8% of a CPU on my Mac when performing a survey and less than 4% when only discovering and collecting metrics on available wireless networks. Unlike other applications and network utilities I’ve used, NetSpot PRO locates and identifies more wireless connections, as well.

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