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Toshiba Amazon Fire TV C350 series review: Alexa, what’s on? – CNET

The C350 series from Toshiba gives big-screen, physical form to Amazon’s Fire TV streaming system. From the fonts to the colors, if you’ve interacted with any Fire TV stick or other Amazon TV device, you’ll be fully familiar with this television. As you’d expect, it leans hard into Alexa and has full Amazon Prime Video integration, but…

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Toshiba Amazon Fire TV C350 series review: Alexa, what’s on?     – CNET

The C350 series from Toshiba gives big-screen, physical form to Amazon’s Fire TV streaming system. From the fonts to the colors, if you’ve interacted with any Fire TV stick or other Amazon TV device, you’ll be fully familiar with this television. As you’d expect, it leans hard into Alexa and has full Amazon Prime Video integration, but it also has other streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and more. 

LikeAlexa powers superior voice featuresVoice remote included

Don’t LikeSmart TV menus lag behind RokuOvert focus on Amazon services

Picture quality on the C350 was fine for a budget TV, if a little worse than the competition. In my side-by-side comparisons its color and contrast couldn’t quite match the TCL 4-Series and Vizio V-Series, but at this price the image quality differences probably don’t matter that much. Arguably more important is the smart TV, and while Alexa beats Roku and Vizio for voice control, we like Roku’s simpler, more agnostic smart TV approach better. It’s also annoying that some non-Amazon services, like Vudu, get short shrift, while others, namely Peacock, aren’t available at all.Right now the C350 also costs more than either of those competitors from TCL and Vizio, but with Prime Day fast approaching, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a big price drop. Until that happens, however, we can only truly recommend it for someone who fully embraces the Bezos bonanza and wants their TV to be a part of that. 

Read more: Early Prime Day TV deals: Save on models from Insignia, LG, TCL, Toshiba and VizioThe Toshiba C350 series is available in 43-, 50- and 55-inch versions, with larger 65- and 75-inch sizes coming soon. I reviewed the 50-inch model.

Prime features and connectionsLike other TVs at this price the C530 is a basic 4K HDR model — no fancy extras like next-gen gaming perks, local dimming, wide color gamut or tons of light here. Its Fire TV functionality is the major feature here and the menus have what Amazon calls a content-forward design: lots of thumbnails for TV shows and movies as opposed to tiles like Roku. Many focus on Amazon’s Prime Video library, but you can download apps for other major streaming services, which unpack rows of their thumbnails.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
I liked the Toshiba’s remote better than the TCL’s because it features Alexa voice as well as Bluetooth, so you don’t have to aim it at the TV. The button layout is simple and clean, if not quite as sparse as Roku, and includes prominent white shortcut keys to various services. The C350 basically ties the Roku in most user-friendly setup screens. It has the added bonus that if you’re an Amazon Prime member (and I assume you are if you’re considering this TV), once you go through the initial setup you’ve already logged in and are ready to watch shows and movies.Fire TV’s setup menus are simple and straightforward.
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
One frustrating design decision is that the picture settings menu covers one-third of the screen, and shadows about half. This menu doesn’t disappear or shrink when you make adjustments either. Now, you would think this would only be a problem if you’re a TV reviewer like me using test patterns (don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is), but it also makes it harder if you’re trying to eyeball the correct setting at home. That’s because the majority of the screen is not what the screen will look like once you exit the menus. Probably not a huge deal for most buyers, to be fair, but it’s a bummer if you like to get a TV looking as good as possible.Read more: Stop watching bad TV picture settings: 9 ways to optimize your big screenThose picture big adjustment menus can mess with your tweaks. 
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Energy Star rating for the 50-inch model is $21 a year, which is mid-pack for this range of TVs.Some TVs in this price range have three HDMI inputs, and it certainly isn’t a bad thing that the C350 has four. It even has analog video and audio inputs. So if you have an old gaming console or any retro A/V gear, you’re in luck. If you decide you want to go your own streaming route and eschew Fire TV, you won’t be able to power most streaming sticks from the TV’s USB connections. Not a huge deal: It just means you’ll need to run power separately to the stick.HDMI inputs: fourComposite analog inputUSB ports: two (0.5A power)Internet: Wi-Fi, WiredAntenna inputAnalog audio output (3.5mm)Optical digital audio outputSpeakers: two downward-firing
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Alexa, what’s Vudu?The voice search works well. It directs you to Amazon in most cases, but it does give you some alternate options. For example, if you say “Thor Ragnarok” it will bring up a screen with that and some related content, and if you select the movie out of those choices you have the option to buy or rent on Amazon — or watch it on Disney Plus. Another click brings up additional places to watch. However, it doesn’t show all options like Roku or Vizio would. It doesn’t show you Vudu, for example. It’s actually worth focusing on Vudu as an example of the limitations forced on this Toshiba, presumably by Amazon. There is, technically, a Vudu app. So at first glance in a store or on a checklist, it seems to have more options to buy or rent content than just Amazon. The truth, however, is that it’s an ancient version of the Vudu app that has an archaic interface and only allows you to watch SD content. You read that correctly: not even HD, and forget about 4K. And that’s for content you already own. You can’t buy anything in the Vudu app. You have to go to Vudu’s website to buy it. With TCL/Roku, Vizio and Samsung, you can buy directly in the app. So you should absolutely consider this TV not just “primarily” an Amazon device, but an Amazon device that might lock you out of non-Amazon stuff. 
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
It’s also worth repeating that Fire TV, and by extension this TV, is the only major streaming platform to lack an app for Peacock. Subscribers can try side-loading if they’re adventurous, but our advice is to get a different TV if Peacock is important to you.Picture quality comparisonsThe TCL 4-Series and Vizio V-series are direct competitors of the Toshiba C530, with similar features and prices, so they make ideal comparison models. I connected them via a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and viewed them side-by-side-by-side watching a mix of HD, 4K and 4K HDR content.The Vizio and the TCL look very similar. The Toshiba is in one way better and most other ways slightly worse. It’s significantly brighter than either, nearing the much more-expensive Samsung Q60A with non-HDR content (although with HDR content the Samsung is far brighter). None of these TVs are dim, of course, but if you have an extremely bright room and need all the light you can get from your TV, the Toshiba has an advantage.That said, with test patterns it was readily apparent that the C350 only achieved its peak brightness for a few seconds, then immediately dimmed. With actual content, this wasn’t readily noticeable. It did this regardless of settings, so it’s possible it was still doing it with actual content, just not as much or as noticeably as with test patterns. In other aspects of picture quality, the C350 isn’t as good as the other two. Not significantly, but when viewing them all at the same time, enough that you could see it. The color is a little less accurate, a little less lifelike. The contrast is a little less punchy. It wasn’t bad, but when I’d slide across the couch to view either the TCL or Vizio (all have mediocre off-axis picture quality), those two just looked a little better.Prime real estate?Anyone looking for a budget TV has some excellent options all for very little money. The TCL 4-Series is probably the best choice for most people, especially those who don’t know their contrast from their composite. It’s easy to use thanks to its Roku interface, and has access to all the major streaming services. The Vizio V-Series is nearly as good, with more picture setting options and a more lively interface. Which leaves the C350. If you buy everything through Amazon, including renting movies and buying TV shows, then it’s probably fine. But the limitations imposed by Fire TV might be frustrating in the long run. A more budget-agnostic TV, like the TCL/Roku or the Vizio, allow you to get content any way you want (mostly), without funneling or limiting you to Amazon’s ecosystem. It’s sort of like a car that only drives on certain roads. If you only drive on those roads, that’s fine. But if you want to take a new shortcut to work, you’re out of luck. If someone’s not very tech-savvy and has gotten used to Fire TV specifically, or Alexa generally, then this might be a good choice because it’s very much an Amazon product, despite the name on the bottom. For everyone else, however, I’d recommend the TCL or Vizio first.

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Huawei’s new flagship P50 series has Snapdragon 888 and two camera bumps – CNET

Huawei/Screenshot by Sareena Dayaram/CNET Huawei has taken the wraps off its latest superphone series. It unveiled the P50 and P50 Pro in an online event Thursday, each of which are getting a China-only release for now. The main superpower of Huawei’s phones has long been their cameras — and the P50 is no exception. In fact, you…

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Huawei’s new flagship P50 series has Snapdragon 888 and two camera bumps     – CNET

Huawei/Screenshot by Sareena Dayaram/CNET
Huawei has taken the wraps off its latest superphone series. It unveiled the P50 and P50 Pro in an online event Thursday, each of which are getting a China-only release for now. The main superpower of Huawei’s phones has long been their cameras — and the P50 is no exception. In fact, you can see the emphasis Huawei put on the cameras as soon as you look at the phones: Both the P50 and P50 Pro have not one but two camera bumps, which together take up more than a third of the phone’s rear width. This wasn’t entirely a surprise, since Huawei had teased images and videos of the lineup ahead of the event, but it does make for an eye-catching new design, which does away with the dual hole-punch design of the P40 series.The P50 Pro has four cameras on its rear: a 50-megapixel main, a 64-megapixel telephoto, a 40-megapixel monochrome and a 13-megapixel ultrawide lens. The P50 has a similar camera bump, but it has one less lens. There’s a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto and a 13-megapixel ultrawide. Surprisingly, the base version has better optical zoom than the Pro version (5x versus 3.5x optical zoom). Each has 13-megapixel selfie cameras.Huawei’s P50 lineup was launched in China on Thursday.
Huawei
Beyond the camera, the P50 series stacks a range of enviable features, as expected (see the specs list below for more details). A crisp and smooth OLED display, a large battery, fast charging (66 watts) and powerful processors. The P50 series comes in two variants — one powered by the company’s own Kirin 9000 chipset and the other by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 4G CPU. Qualcomm was granted permission to sell chips to Huawei last year. These chipsets are backed up by 8GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of flash storage. You may recall Huawei phones no longer feature Google apps — a consequence of crippling US sanctions. But the P50 series is one of Huawei’s first new lineups to debut the company’s own operating system, Harmony OS, which the Chinese telecom had developed in-house to replace Google Mobile Services in its smartphones. When the P50 launches internationally, it should provide Huawei with the opportunity to gauge consumer response to the company’s in-house software and whether it’ll gain wider adoption among international shoppers amid the backdrop of Huawei’s eroding smartphone market share.  Huawei’s Richard Yu unveiled the company’s P50 series in a virtual launch event.
Huawei/Screenshot by Sareena Dayaram
Huawei is starting out with a China release before the series gets an international rollout (if it ever does), though specs may vary slightly based on your country. The P50 Pro starts at 5,988 yuan (roughly $930, £665 or AU$1,256), while the P50 starts at 4,488 yuan (roughly $695, £500 or AU$940).Key specsHuawei P50 Pro 4GDisplay: 6.6-inch OLED, 120Hz, 2,700×1,228 pixels, 450ppiDimensions: 158.8×72.8×8.5mmCamera: 50-megapixel main, 64-megapixel telephoto, 40-megapixel monochrome, 13-megapixel ultrawideProcessor: Snapdragon 888 4GBattery and charging: 4,360 mAH, 66-watt charging, 50-watt wirelessWater and dust resistance: IP68 ratingHuawei P50 4GDisplay: 6.5-inch OLED, 90Hz, 2,700×1,224 pixelsDimensions: 156.5×73.8×7.9mm Camera: 50-megapixel main, 13-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel telephotoProcessor: Snapdragon 888 4GBattery and charging: 4,100 mAh, 66-watt chargingWater and dust resistance: IP68 rating

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Grab a Ring Doorbell and an Echo Show 5 bundle for $65 today – CNET

ring Having a Ring Doorbell is one of the best ways to know what’s happening at your front door when you’re not home, because it lets you see what’s happening right from your phone. When you are at home, however, you may not always have your phone om hand. This is one of the best…

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Grab a Ring Doorbell and an Echo Show 5 bundle for $65 today     – CNET

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Having a Ring Doorbell is one of the best ways to know what’s happening at your front door when you’re not home, because it lets you see what’s happening right from your phone. When you are at home, however, you may not always have your phone om hand. This is one of the best reasons to pair your Ring doorbell up with an Echo Show, as it lets you immediately see what’s happening from that camera. It’s why you frequently see Ring products and Echo Show products bundled, but it’s rare to see those bundles as heavily discounted as the one available today. The wired version of the Ring Doorbell is perfect for anyone who already has a doorbell system in their home and wants to make it a little smarter. And when you pair an Echo Show 5 with it, you have a screen that lets you peek outside from wherever in the house you set it up. This setup is incredibly handy for people who work in a room that isn’t near the front door of their house, or if you’re elbows deep in meal prep in the kitchen and can’t clean your hands off fast enough to reach for your phone. This huge discount is a great way to make your front door safer, and if you have an Amazon login you can purchase from the Ring website as though you were purchasing from Amazon itself. 

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How to use the automatic responses on Ring Doorbells – CNET

Chris Monroe/CNET Ring’s video doorbells can talk to the delivery person at your door when you don’t feel like it. They can even tell your annoying neighbor to go away. Ring’s Quick Replies feature debuted recently and is rolling out on newer models like the Ring 4. It’s even available via an update on older models…

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How to use the automatic responses on Ring Doorbells     – CNET

Chris Monroe/CNET
Ring’s video doorbells can talk to the delivery person at your door when you don’t feel like it. They can even tell your annoying neighbor to go away. Ring’s Quick Replies feature debuted recently and is rolling out on newer models like the Ring 4. It’s even available via an update on older models dating back to the Ring 2. From the app, you can pick from a variety of automatic responses and then, when your doorbell rings, your smart gadget will do the talking on your behalf. 

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Check out the video to see it in action. Here are the steps to enable the feature and customize it to your liking. From the main page of the app, click on the settings icon on your device. You can also tap the image from your doorbell cam to pull up a menu specific to your device, then tap the settings icon. The icon itself will in the top right corner in both cases and looks like a gear wheel.Once in the settings menu, look for a button labeled “Smart Responses” and tap it. Everything else is pretty intuitive.You can turn the feature on and off with the toggle at the top. Turn it on and you’ll see options for response time and what message to relay. You can set the response time to “immediate” to have the doorbell talk right away or you can give yourself a few seconds delay if you want to respond most of the time. If you answer the door, the quick reply won’t also join in.  Ring has a variety of generic messages to pick from. You can have it say things like “leave the package” or “we’re not interested.” You can also prompt the person to leave a message, but you’ll need to subscribe to Ring’s premium service to be able to watch the clip later on and see what they said.

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That’s all you need to know to use this simple but helpful feature. I do wish Ring offered a little more customization or conditional responses so it only gave an automated answer at night, for instance. As it stands, the feature is easy to flip on or off, so when you’re expecting a delivery, you can quickly prep an automatic response from the friendly robotic helper inside your Ring Video Doorbell. 

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