Android: Copying text on your phone is already a bit of a pain, but bouncing back and forth between apps just to make a call is an even bigger hassle. Easy Copy helps fix this by letting you launch actions on your text like making a phone call or searching for an address.
The app is invoked any time you copy text. Just select text like normal, hit the Copy button, and Easy Copy will appear like an actually-useful Clippy. You can then choose to send that text to several pre-set apps like Translate, Maps, your SMS app, or Google. Or you can invoke the Share menu, which has even more options. Chances are good that when you copied that text, you wanted to do something with it. Easy Copy just skips the app-switching step.
Yesterday, Google announced a feature that allows you to send directions to your Android phone directly from a search box. What they didn’t announce is that you can also use “note to self” to send a reminder directly to your notification shade.
As Android Police points out, “note to self” works the same way that “send directions” does. To send a text note to your phone, follow these steps:
Open up Google.com on your computer and type “note to self” plus the text you want to send into the search box.
Edit your note (if necessary) and choose a device from the drop down list.
Click “Send note to your phone.”
Open your phone and your note should be in your notification shade.
This feature requires the latest version of the Google app, Google Now notifications enabled, Web & App Activity enabled, and you must be logged into your Google account. You can also use Google to set alarms on your phone.
Building a computer from scratch gives you the perfect machine for your needs, but it can be daunting the first time around. Here's our complete guide, from picking the parts, to putting it together and installing your OS.
Warm weather means it’s a great time to get outside, fire up the grill, have friends over, and maybe listen to some music while everyone hangs out outside. To do that though, you’ll need some solid outdoor, weather-resistant speakers.
Tic’s GS3 Pro Outdoor Omni Speakers won’t win any beauty contests—in fact they’re essentially large green upside-down cups that you bury half-into the ground (or leave above ground, whichever you prefer!), wire up to a sound system (using weather-friendly wiring and wire sheathing of course), and leave alone. They sound great and are weatherproof, meaning you don’t have to pull them up out of the ground when the winter sets in or they’re covered in snow, and you don’t have to care if the spring rain keeps them wet. They offer full 360-degree sound, so you don’t need to position them in any particular direction. The green is actually on purpose—aside from blending in nicely with shrubbery or other garden periphery, they’re designed to be low-profile and offer great, all-direction sound in your yard or garden without being obvious about where that sound is coming from. There are varying models available depending on the size and the power of the speakers you want, but these particular ones will set you back $80 each at Amazon.
If you’re looking for a pair of speakers that’ll survive the elements but still look good mounted in your backyard or on the side of your home, JBL’s Control 25 series will do the trick. They’re directional, so you’ll need more than one, but they come in pairs, come with mounting hardware, and sound great once they’re connected to a music source. These are also wired speakers, so you’ll need to run speaker cable to them from another audio source—and make sure they’re connected via weatherproof cables and connectors. They come in black and white, sound great, and aren’t so obtrusive that they look awkward either mounted on a wall or on small stands in your backyard or on the back of your home. They’ll set you back $270 for a pair at Amazon.
Yamaha’s NS-AW350 outdoor speakers are designed to be all-weather, space-saving, wall or fence-mounted, and powerful enough to sound out a small outdoor space well. It’s a bookshelf-style speaker, and includes the mounting hardware required to attach it to a wall or any other fixture. They’re wired speakers, so the standard warnings apply there, and while they’re not the most powerful speakers in the roundup, they are capable of projecting great sound, are made to handle all sorts of weather, and are rugged enough to handle occasional wind and rain, heat, and extreme cold. Yamaha does suggest you bring them in during the worst of the cold weather months, and that they shouldn’t be exposed to constant bad weather (eg, the deck of a boat or anything), but for most people, mounting them under an overhang or on a patio should be just fine. A pair of them will set you back$95 for a pair at Amazon.
Polk’s Atrium4 indoor/outdoor speakers are a good-looking, weather-resistant, and great-sounding pair that are built rugged to survive life outside in all seasons. They’re built to exceed MIL-STD-810 ruggedness standards, which means they can put up with reasonable punishment all-year round. The Atrium4s include their mounting hardware, which is designed to be easy to mount and dismount with one hand, in case you want to take the speakers somewhere else. The brackets and grille are both aluminum, and designed to resist wear and never rust, and have stainless steel and brass hardware. They’re available in white or black, are wired, and like with many of the others here, you’ll need to bring your own amp to the party—a party that should be able to stretch to the back of your yard or garden thanks to how loud these speakers can get without sounding distorted and muffled. You can pick up a pair for $100 from Amazon.
Klipsch’s AW-500 outdoor speakers have technically been discontinued, but that doesn’t mean they’re not widely available, and they’re not an excellent option if you need speakers that can sound out your backyard when you have a large gathering, or play some quiet tunes in the background when you have a small one. They’re built rugged, and have their mounting bracket attached to the back of the speaker so they’re easy to install or remove and move inside if you’d like, and have a built-in recession to connect your speaker cables so they aren’t exposed to the elements. Their sealed ABS enclosure isn’t as shiny or premier-looking as other models, but they’ll stand up to year-round, all-weather punishment mounted to the side of your house or on any other fixture in your yard or garden, and they’ll sound great all year long. They’re also some of the most powerful in the roundup, and use binding posts for secure audio connections. You can snag a pair at Amazon for $280.
While it's a bit early to say that 4K has officially "landed," it's not far off. The benefits are tangible, especially if you have 4K-capable gear. That's right: There's more to a 4K PC than a display packed with pixels. Here's what you need—and need to know—to build a 4K desktop that handles anything you throw at it.
How to Tell If 4K Is Right for You
If you love screen real estate, keep several windows open at once, and can use every spare pixel you can muster, 4K is great. If you love full-screen gaming and have a system that can power a 4K display, even better. But beyond a never-ending love of bigger screens and more pixels, who is 4K really for at this point? After all, even though we're seeing more 4K displays and TVs on store shelves doesn't mean they're practical. Let's take a look at who can benefit from 4K:
Video and audio editors: Video editors can use the extra space to see video tracks the way they were shot. Anyone who's used After Effects or Final Cut will definitely appreciate the working space a 4K display has to offer. You'll easily be able to view multiple tracks and other media files all in the same window, simultaneously, without each one being the size of a postage stamp. If you're editing 4K video, you'll appreciate the benefits even more.
High-end PC gamers: If you play all of your favorite games with the settings turned all the way up, and your favorite games are the ones with the highest system requirements, you'll love 4K. A number of developers have already said they plan to embrace 4K, so you have a lot to look forward to, and many games scale up well right now.
That said, 4K displays have dropped in price even in the the past few months. More displays have hit the street, and 4K gaming has started to take off. So what would it take if you wanted to embrace a 4K display for gaming and for productivity? Let's take a look.
What It Takes to Make a PC 4K-Capable
Pushing all of those pixels is no easy task. Ideally a 4K-capable computer will be able to support what you want to do at the panel's native resolution. (3840 x 2160) Before you buy a 4K display on sale and put it on your desk, take a look at these components and make sure they're up to the task:
The display itself: Obviously your first concern is the display, and whether it'll suit your needs. If you're going 4K because you want an awesome 3D gaming experience, the budget-friendly Seiki displays mentioned earlier won't appeal to you. They're limited to 30Hz. However, for a developer, writer, or anyone else who doesn't need 60Hz to work, it's fine and the price point (usually around $400) is appealing. Adding 60Hz and 3D gaming to the mix will, as is often the case, require more power (and more money). Luckily, it's not much more.
Your graphics card(s): To get the best all-around performance on your 4K display, you need a graphics card (or two) that can push those pixels, even better if it's at 60Hz. That card will have to connect to the display via DisplayPort on the PC or Thunderbolt 2 on the Mac (or HDMI 2.0, but few graphics cards support it yet). Long story short, if you plan on gaming, you're looking at high-end cards. The card you have in your PC right now probably won't cut it, unless you've built your PC very recently and went top of the line when you did. You do have options though—flagship cards from both AMD and NVIDIA both support 4K, as do their most recent drivers.
Your processor: Your processor doesn't play a direct role in whether your computer can handle a 4K display, although it (and your RAM) do govern how many applications you can have open at once without bringing your machine to its knees. The bigger issue is that your CPU should be on-par with your graphics card, especially if gaming is one of your priorities. You don't want to cheap out on the CPU and create a bottleneck .
There's a balance here. You'll probably spend more on a 4K display and graphics card (or cards) than budget system builders would spend on an entire PC build . That puts it out of reach for a lot of people. However, if you are willing to put some money into it, the bleeding edge can be pretty nice.
Our 4K-Capable, Do-Anything Build
To see what a modern, 4K-capable PC would look like, we priced one out on PCPartPicker. (Note that prices will likely change, as many of these components are high-end right now, and will only get cheaper as time progresses.) Obviously, if you have a sufficiently powerful PC, you may only need a few upgrades rather than a whole new rig, and we'll get to that in a bit. For now, you can see our full parts list in the image below, and check out the build at PCPartPicker here.
Our high-end 4K PC it came up to about $3000, including a Samsung 60Hz 4K monitor and the dual AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards:
Of course, we made some assumptions about what a "do-anything" PC would look like. For example, we picked an Intel i7 processor because he goal is for this machine to really do anything—and that includes video editing, audio editing, transcoding, and more, not just gaming. If you're gaming, you could just as easily get an i5.
We even tacked on a Cooler Master TPC 812 after-market cooling unit, just to keep your processor temps down, in case you want to overclock. Prefer AMD? Go for it—there's no reason a high end AMD FX processor won't work with a 4K build—that's what Forbes did earlier this year. Just make sure the one you choose is sufficiently powerful for the GPU you pick. The same applies to the other basic components—the case, memory, motherboard—all of those components are a matter of taste here.
At the end of the day, though, this is just an example—most of the parts are up to you. Here are the two parts that actually matter, and why we picked them:
One thing is clear: You'll definitely pay a price premium to be on the cutting edge here. It's clearly out of reach for a lot of people, and the nice thing about all of this high-end gear is that it'll only get more affordable as time progresses. The displays will get cheaper, the graphics cards will come down in price, and new, mid-range cards will appear that support 4K natively. If you're on a budget, it might still be better to wait. However, if you have money to burn and are building a new system, this is what you'll need to enjoy the benefits right now.
You don't have to break the bank to get a great display for your computer. Large, high-resolution monitors are more common—and more affordable—than ever. This week we're looking at some of the best computer monitors that offer screen size, features, and great image quality without a huge price tag.
Earlier in the week we asked you for your favorite budget-friendly computer monitors—less than $400, preferably—and you offers tons of great suggestions that were at that price point and, of course, way below. Contrary to our best overall computer monitors from a few years ago (which we're planning to update with new model numbers and links, since we don't think the top five would change if we re-ran the poll), this time we wanted to talk displays that may not cost more than the PC you're connecting them to. Here were your five favorite nominees, in no particular order:
The Asus 24 inch (technically 23.6") VE247H TFT LED-backlit LCD display is a pretty decent bargain, coming in at around $160 at Amazon (available this month with an additional $20 rebate, and often on sale from other retailers around the $150 mark). It's full HD, with a native resolution of 1920px by 1080px (60hz) and 16:9 aspect ratio. It packs DVI-D, VGA, and HDMI inputs, a pair of speakers (with a headphone jack for private listening), 2ms pixel response time, and a tilting monitor base that lets you adjust the angle just a bit (although it's not a full tile/swivel base.) All in all, it's an affordable, no frills 24" display that offers great picture for an affordable price.
Those of you who nominated the VE247H said similar things—it's not the most feature rich display, but it comes with the important things you'd want, and it's affordable. Many of you pointed out you have this display in multi-monitor setups, and with a little searching you can find deals on the display that brings the purchase price down significantly from its MSRP. The ability to connect your computer to it via DVI-D, HDMI, or VGA (or connect multiple devices to the same display) is a nice bonus too, and the display's picture-in-picture mode lets you see multiple inputs or switch inputs easily. It's not a perfect monitor though—some of you noted it's not the best for color reproduction, and others have had lighting issues. Others noted the built-in speakers aren't very good. If you're looking for a similar model that's just a little larger, the 27" Asus VE278Q-P is another great option, and only $267 at Amazon for all the same features (and a few more) with a bigger display (that earned a good number of nominations on its own!) You can read more in its nomination thread here.
The Monoprice 27 inch IPS-Zero-G display is one of our favorite affordable alternatives to expensive big-screen displays, and full disclosure, I nominated it because I own one myself. It's a great IPS panel, albeit on the expensive end of our roundup at around $350 direct from Monoprice (although they're often on sale). That 27 inches of real-estate give you a native resolution of 2560px by 1440px (60hz) at 16:9 aspect ratio. It's a little short on the connectors though, and only supports DVI-D and VGA inputs, although you can have them both connected at the same time and switch between them easily. 6ms response time, a tilting base (although again, not a tilt/swivel base), and a super-thin and light body with a glossy (thanks to an applied laminate, not glossy glass, so it's not a glare magnet) front panel and aluminum trim round out its features. If you're willing to spend a bit more to get more space to play with, it's a great 27" model that's more expensive than some of the import displays we've mentioned before, but cheaper to have shipped and available from a retailer you can work with—and that boasts a 5-dead pixel warranty for a full year.
Those of you who supported the nomination noted that the display is actually an LG panel inside a Monoprice-branded shell, so you get a nice piece of glass for your money. What it lacks in input options (and one of you noted that DVI-D is compatible with HDMI and other inputs if you buy an adapter) it makes up with its slim form factor, thin bezel, and great brightness and color thanks to that IPS panel. Of course, if you're looking for a full tilt-swivel base, a slightly smaller bezel, and more input options, you can upgrade toMonoprice's 27" IPS Glass Panel Pro (#10489), which adds a few bells and whistles, moves the controls to the bottom of the display instead of the back, and adds HDMI and DisplayPort as input options. It'll run you more though—around $480, which puts it out of the price range of this roundup, but it's a great option if you want a more robust display that offers the same size and style. You can read more about this one though in its nomination thread here.
Dell has a history of making great, affordable displays, and their 27" S series S2740L IPS is no exception. It'll set you back $300 at Amazon, packs edge-to-edge glass on the front, and a native resolution of 1920px by 1080px (60Hz) and 16:9 aspect ratio. You can connect your computers (or consoles) via DVI-D, VGA, or HDMI, and the display has a pair of USB ports as well just as an added bonus (although they're on the back and pointing downward, so not the easiest to reach.) The 7ms pixel response rate is reasonable, and the display base is another tilt model (although again, not tilt/swivel) that's easy to position around your desk. The bezel is thin, and while the glass is glossy, you shouldn't have a problem unless you're in a bright environment.
Those of you who nominated it pointed out that while it's not a perfect display, it does offer a ton of real estate for a great price. For one, the glossy screen could be a turn off for some people in bright environments or who just prefer matte displays. This is probably the biggest complaint we've seen about the panel too—the reviews at Amazon echo this: The front glass looks great, but a tiny gap between the actual screen and the back of that glass combined equals some serious glare and reflections some people can't get past. However, dimmer environments or users with no direct light note it's not an issue, and love the color reproduction and image quality. Otherwise, the 1080p display on a 27" panel could be a turnoff for people looking for 1440p to go with their 27 inches. Even so, The S2740L is an energy sipping display that won't break your budget, and comes with a one year warranty that includes any dead pixels. Read more in its nomination thread here.
Asus's 23-inch VH238H TFT LED display was popular in the call for contenders thread, partially because it's a reasonably sized display at a bargain price, only about $160 from Amazon. If you don't need that much screen real estate, plan to build a multi-monitor setup, or just want a budget-friendly 1080p screen, this is a great option. It supports 1920px by 1080px (60Hz) native resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio, 2ms response time (thanks to Asus' Overdrive technology, which is great but can also result in inverse ghosting, an issue with Asus displays—including the ones earlier in this roundup), and your choice of DVI-D, VGA, and HDMI inputs to choose from (or connect multiple sources to.) Like other Asus panels, this one includes built-in speakers, although they're not terribly good. There's also a headphone jack for private listening, and a standard tilt-adjustable stand.
Those of you who nominated this model pointed out that it's particularly good in multi-display setups, saving space but offering tons of real estate when connected in double display setups or even triple monitor gaming rigs. More than a few of you pointed out that you have these displays connected to your computer on one end and plugged into a gaming console or another system with another input, and both the size and the price are perfect for you. You can read all about it in its nomination thread here.
This AOC 24-inch IPS display will set you back $200 at Amazon, but also packs a pair of Onkyo speakers in that elevated base that sound much better than most you'll find in a display. That said, you're probably not buying a display for its speakers (nor should you), so you'll be pleased to know this 24" panel sports full HD, with a native resolution of 1920px by 1080px (60Hz) at 16:9 aspect ratio. The bezel is remarkably thin, and the display even comes with an MHL cable for charging your mouse, smartphone, or other low-power device right from the monitor. Its 5ms response time is solid, and for your money you get two HDMI inputs and a VGA input (no DVI port, for those looking for one). The base, since it includes those speakers, is tilt-adjustable only.
Those of you who nominated it pointed to its super-thin stature, noted that the panel has great viewing angles (thanks to it being an IPS display), and it being priced really nicely for an IPS. The addition of MHL is a nice touch, and even if you don't use the speakers, it's still well priced and looks great. It also doesn't hurt that AOC includes a 3 year warranty with its panels, which is especially useful if you run into dead pixels or defects after you've owned it for a while. Between the nomination thread, reviews at Amazon, and comments elsewhere on the web, this is a beautifully designed display that won't break the bank—and it'll look nice on your desk once you have one. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the Lifehacker community favorite:
What's The Best Budget Computer Monitor? (Poll Closed)