Ring’s next-gen Alarm Security Kit is a cheap, reliable DIY system

The new Alarm Security Kit is Ring’s second-gen DIY home security system. It looks very similar to the original, despite some minor hardware design tweaks, and it maintains the same $200 starting price as before. Its similarity to the previous model would annoy me if I hadn’t liked the first iteration, but it was the best affordable security system I had tested at the time. 

Like

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Performs well
  • Easy to use

Don’t Like

  • Accessory options are limited

Now the second-gen Ring Alarm Security Kit is replacing the original version as my favorite. No, it still isn’t flashy, and I wish it offered more accessories like a glass break sensor or a key fob for arming and disarming, but this system benefits from its simplicity. It’s a good bet if you want a straightforward, affordable DIY security kit with optional professional monitoring. 

An intro to Ring’s new system

The Ring Alarm Security Kits range from a $200 (£179) five-piece kit on up to a $330 14-piece kit. I tested the $250 eight-piece kit, which includes a base station (with a built-in siren), a keypad, a range extender, a motion detector and four door/window sensors. (Different kits are offered in

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2020 Aston Martin Vantage review: Best when loud

Why so serious?


Tim Stevens/Roadshow

It’s been a little while since I’ve been behind the wheel of the new Vantage, which just a few years on doesn’t feel quite so new any longer. At the 2018 launch of the car, a few days zipping around a rain-soaked Portugal, the car was fresh and exciting, the second big step forward for an Aston Martin in the process of being rebuilt mid-flight.

Like

  • Stunning looks
  • V8 is strong and sweet
  • Heritage doesn’t get better

Don’t Like

  • Schizophrenic drive modes
  • Dated interior tech

Now, with CEO Andy Palmer out and his vision for the brand’s rebirth in question, it’s hard to not look at the Vantage in a different light. This car, the second new model to get a thorough makeover, was repositioned to move it farther away from the venerable DB series. The Vantage is literally edgier, riddled with aerodynamic devices and tuned to feel up on its toes and ready for a fight.

In Portugal, on a passionate day-long encounter, I confess I was pretty smitten by the thing. Now, in the real world, on imperfect roads and small towns much closer to home, the Vantage is a bit

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HBO Max review: 10,000 hours of great TV and movies but still incomplete

HBO Max, HBO’s entry into the streaming wars, is a slick app chock-full of popular TV shows and movies. It’s got HBO’s entire catalog, along with favorites such as Friends, Rick and Morty, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, and almost every Studio Ghibli film — making it a solid streaming collection for adults and children, with the ability to control ratings on kids’ profiles better than most other services. 

Like

  • Large, varied content catalog for the same price as HBO Now
  • Simple, easy-to-navigate interface
  • Large children’s catalog and customizable rating settings
  • Ability to see what movies and shows are coming and going

Don’t Like

  • High price
  • Not yet available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV
  • No 4K HDR
  • Can’t import watch history or personalized recommendations

If you already subscribe to HBO or the HBO Now streaming service (or, let’s be real, mooch off someone else’s account), HBO Max is a great upgrade that gives you a nice new interface and loads more content for the same $14.99 a month. But if you’re a brand-new subscriber, that price is at the high end — especially if you already pay for Netflix, Hulu, Disney

Read More View More HBO Max review: 10,000 hours of great TV and movies but still incomplete

Sony HT-G700 review: Room-filling sound at a premium price

Dolby Atmos soundbars have been around for a few years but remained a relatively niche product until now. Major companies such as Sonos and JBL, have only just announced their first Atmos models in 2020, while other brands simply offer Dolby “compatibility”. The Sony HT-G700 is unusual in this respect — it’s able to decode Dolby Atmos from compatible devices but not able to physically recreate it. This is a strictly 3.1-channel soundbar, with no actual rears or height speakers and no ability to add them later. Instead it simulates both height and surround effects from the Atmos stream, and does a damn fine job.

Like

  • Excellent sound with movies and music
  • Dual HDMI inputs, one with eARC
  • Wireless subwoofer

Don’t Like

  • Relatively expensive
  • Can’t recreate true Atmos effects
  • No expandability
  • Lacks Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming

Sony has been using this kind of electrickery for a while, most recently with 360 Reality Audio on the Amazon Echo Studio, and the HT-G700 demonstrates the company’s deep know-how. This soundbar won’t give you pinpoint accuracy like a true Atmos rig but it’s great at generating a sense of space that fills your room. The problem for Sony, however, is the existence

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iPhone SE review: Classic iPhone design, but with 2020 function

There are a lot of ways to think about Apple’s new $399 iPhone SE. One is that it’s a more affordable option than the iPhone 11 ($699 at Apple), with surprisingly similar camera specs, which it is. Or that it’s the 2020 sequel to the original SE from 2016, which it also is. Or, at 4.7 inches, that it’s the smallest and cheapest iPhone you can currently buy (though it’s not that small). Or (and this is my favorite way to think about it) that it’s an iPhone 8 with the brains and power of an iPhone 11. In fact, the new iPhone SE is all these things and that’s why I’m enamored with it.

Like

  • Affordable price
  • Long battery life so far
  • Great rear camera
  • iPhone 11 Pro-level performance

Don’t Like

  • Old iPhone design
  • Selfie camera is mediocre

Read more: iPhone SE 2020 is proof that Apple won’t actually bring back the tiny phone

The new iPhone SE has the classic design that defined the iPhone for its first 10 years. The design, the body and the camera lenses are all the same as 2017’s iPhone 8. But Apple performed a

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HBO Max review: 10,000 hours of great TV and movies but still incomplete

HBO Max, HBO’s entry into the streaming wars, is a slick app chock-full of popular TV shows and movies. It’s got HBO’s entire catalog, along with favorites such as Friends, Rick and Morty, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, and almost every Studio Ghibli film — making it a solid streaming collection for adults and children, with the ability to control ratings on kids’ profiles better than most other services. 

Like

  • Large, varied content catalog for the same price as HBO Now
  • Simple, easy-to-navigate interface
  • Large children’s catalog and customizable rating settings
  • Ability to see what movies and shows are coming and going

Don’t Like

  • High price
  • Not yet available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV
  • No 4K HDR
  • Can’t import watch history or personalized recommendations

If you already subscribe to HBO or the HBO Now streaming service (or, let’s be real, mooch off someone else’s account), HBO Max is a great upgrade that gives you a nice new interface and loads more content for the same $14.99 a month. But if you’re a brand-new subscriber, that price is at the high end — especially if you already pay for Netflix, Hulu, Disney

Read More View More HBO Max review: 10,000 hours of great TV and movies but still incomplete