Today, T-Mobile announced a new deal for new and existing T-Mobile customers. If you purchase any Samsung Flagship smartphone and add a new line of service or activate two lines of service if you’re a new customer, the carrier will give you a free Samsung 50-inch 4K TV.
In order to qualify, you need to register for the promotion online and the TV will be shipped to you at some later time. The offer will be available until free TV supply is depleted so there’s no official end date.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9
It’s worth noting that T-Mobile didn’t say this was going to be a Smart TV so don’t expect one if you do want to take advantage of this deal. It may not be worth buying an extra phone and adding an extra line if you’re not going to use it just to get a free TV. Otherwise, if you are already going to buy a new Samsung phone and sign up for an extra line, then you might as well take advantage of this promotion.
To qualify, you need to purchase any Samsung flagship (Samsung Galaxy Note9, S9, S9+, S8, or S8 Active) on an Equipment Installment Plan and add a new line of service and then register to get the promotion online
Most of us are pretty irrational when it comes to our spending habits. We don’t think twice about small daily purchases — but if a price tag crosses a certain threshold, we start to feel uncomfortable about our buying decision.
This mindset is not good for your bank account. Small purchases are usually low-value and have a very short gratification period. Larger purchases, while a bigger investment, usually pay for themselves and continue to improve our lives over time.
With all of the holiday sales starting, now is a great time to start thinking harder about the things you buy.
This Black Friday I challenge you to rate purchases in terms of value and long-term return. Avoid picking up a bunch of cheap things just because they’re a “great deal” and go for items that will improve your life and save you money next year. Here are nine examples of purchases that check both boxes and are even better buys on Black Friday.
1) Restaurant Gift Cards
You probably don’t have every weekend planned out for 2019 but one thing I can guarantee you’ll do is eat at your favorite restaurant.
On Black Friday, many restaurants offer a bonus gift card when you purchase a certain denomination (you’ll see deals like buy a $100 gift card and get an extra $20). This is a great way to lower your food spend in 2019 without changing your eating habits. Just check the fine print as some “bonus” gift cards will need to be spent by a certain date.
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2) Fitness Equipment with Live Classes
Fitness classes are a great way to stay in shape. But they can get expensive. A spin class costs $20 on average, and that price can be even higher at some studios. Attending class three times per week means you’re likely spending at least $250 per month or $3,000 per year on spin class.
If attending classes in person isn’t a priority for you, then purchasing an at-home solution can help you meet both your fitness and financial goals.
Fitness equipment with live classes, like a Peloton bike, are often viewed as fancy and expensive but when you break down the costs, they are usually much cheaper. Peloton’s 0% financing options currently allow you to pay $58 per month for their equipment and $39 per month for their membership. That means your all-in cost is about $100 per month — or less than half of what you’d pay at a studio.
That post-workout smoothie from the shop next to your gym might be great for your health but it’s destroying your food budget. Splurge on a fancy blender instead and make your own at home to seriously cut costs.
Even a top of the line blender like a Vitamix (starting at $289.95) will pay for itself in a few months if a smoothie stop is part of your regular routine. As a bonus, owning this new appliance may also inspire you to make your own almond milk or soups and further reduce your food spend in 2019.
4) Cooking Equipment and Meal Kits
Millennials are known for our love of dining out but while fast casual restaurants and delivery services are extremely convenient, they’re often not great for our health or wallets.
Learning how to cook a few of your favorite dishes well can save you tons of money and calories. Plus it’s a pretty useful life skill to have.
A great way to get started on your cooking journey is to opt into a meal-kit delivery service like Sunbasket or Blue Apron, both of which are currently offering $60 off. Their easy-to-follow recipes and home delivery make cooking a breeze for even the most novice of chefs. And if you need basic cooking equipment to get started, there are countless Black Friday deals you can take advantage of.
5) Wardrobe Staples
The avalanche of promotional Black Friday emails from retailers have already started. Most people open those emails, spot a few things they like, and make an impulse purchase. When the item arrives, they maybe wear it once or twice and then forget about it because it wasn’t practical or something that they even really wanted.
Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you should buy it. (Repeat that three times.) Instead, take advantage of low prices by buying high quality wardrobe staples that will constantly be in rotation and can handle the wear.
An easy way to determine if an item is worth buying is its cost per use. Divide the cost by the number of times you think you’ll wear the outfit in a year.
6) Coffee or Espresso Machine
If you love your morning Starbucks run, this is not for you. But if you get annoyed every time you see a $5 latte listed on your credit card statement, then investing in a top quality coffee or espresso machine can save you a ton of money.
You can replicate exactly what the barista is doing at your favorite coffee shop, but for a fraction of the cost. And since you control the inputs, you can even get your daily brew to the point where it tastes exactly how you want it to.
7) Sports Equipment
Repeatedly renting sports equipment like a paddleboard or ice skates can get expensive. If there’s a hobby you enjoy that involves equipment rental, tally up how much you’ve spent on your rentals this year. Chances are that if you rent often, it may be cheaper to buy. And owning may incentivize you to indulge in your hobby even more than you already do which should make you happier.
8) Annual Park Passes
Paying an admission fee every time you want to visit one of your favorite places can add up. Getting a discounted annual pass to your local national park or theme park means you’ll always have a fun place to go and your cost per visit will go down.
“Why buy a headset when you could just buy a great pair of headphones and a good microphone for the same price?” So goes the conventional wisdom in comment sections around the world, every time someone dares to suggest that a gaming headset might not be so bad a purchase.
But what if the self-professed audiophiles are right? And what if you could get the same form factor as a headset, but with any top-tier pair of headphones? Wouldn’t that be a better deal?
We went hands on with the ModMic to find out.
(See our roundup of best gaming headsets for a thorough comparison of headset solutions.)
Hand in hand
ModMic isn’t new by any means. Since 2011, Antlion Audio has done one thing and done it well: It’s allowed gamers to take their high-end headphones, attach a microphone on the side, and thus get great sound with (most of) the convenience of a dedicated gaming headset.
It works exactly as you’d expect, basically. The ModMic costs $69.95 on Amazon and arrives in a tiny little box. After all, it’s just a microphone. Nothing too surprising here. Inside the box is a padded carrying case, and inside the case is the mic itself, along with a bundle of cables.
You then take the ModMic and affix it to the side of your headphones, probably the left ear as is standard. A bit of 3M double-sided tape holds it in place, and…that’s it. Your headphones are now a headset.
It’s a somewhat permanent installation, which can be a bit hair-raising when you’re talking about audiophile headphones. The Sennheiser HD 280s I had lying around aren’t even that nice, but I did hesitate as I affixed the ModMic to the outside. “Am I okay with this? Forever?”
The good news is that it’s somewhat permanent. The ModMic is actually two pieces. The larger piece is the mic itself, along with the boom arm. But the part that’s actually affixed to your headphones is just a small disc, about the size of a dime. The microphone attaches magnetically to the disc, so you’re free to remove the bulk whenever you’d like. All that’s left over is the weird magnetic rivet on the outside (as seen in the image below).
The next challenge is cable routing. With a headset, you usually have both your audio and mic cables combined into one, at least until they reach the PC. With the ModMic, you obviously don’t have that luxury. Instead you run a second 3.5mm cable from the ModMic to your computer, with the option to insert a mute toggle in the middle.
Our ModMic review unit came supplied with some cable sheathes, in order to wrapthe ModMic and headphone cables together. The problem is that the HD 280s use a coiled, telephone-style cable for most of their length, so I was only able to wrap the top section effectively. The result was a bit of a mess, aesthetically. With other headphones that use conventional cables, you’d probably achieve a relatively sleek result.
Still, overall, a dedicated headset is going to win out aesthetically. No surprise there—that’s why they exist. Combining headphones and a microphone into a single device allows for a more elegant and efficient design.
But what about performance? After all, that’s what people are talking about when they say you should separate your headphone and microphone purchases. The theory is that you could buy audiophile-grade equipment in both categories for the price of a single, middling headset.
There’s one area where PC gamers get consistently overlooked: haptics. Haptic feedback (or rumble, in the vernacular) has been a mainstay of console gaming for almost two decades now, and for good reason. Smart usage can both increase immersion and provide invaluable feedback to players, e.g. letting you feel the moment digital tires lose traction on slick asphalt, or warning that an enemy’s shooting at you.
There have been a few experiments, like SteelSeries’s Rival 500—a mouse with built-in haptics. But it’s hard to make a mouse with rumble because it’s bound to affect your aim, and keyboards are too large and heavy to effectively produce the effect.
That leaves us with headsets. Razer’s the latest company to explore this space, this week revealing the new flagship Nari Ultimate. Get ready for sound that rattles your bones, quite literally.
This review is part of our roundupof best gaming headsets. Go there for details on competing products and how we tested them.
As I said, Razer’s not the first company to explore this haptic headset space. I actually reviewed one such headset a few years ago, the GX Gaming Cavimanus, and once upon a time Mad Catz also dabbled in similar ideas with the FREQ 4D.
It’s a popular gimmick. What better way to make bass feel more intense than to literally vibrate your skull, right? Feel the explosions. Feel the gunshots. Feel the rumble of that V8 engine.
The Nari Ultimate might be the first to make haptics feel like more than a gimmick though, for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, Razer made a comfy headset. The Nari Ultimate lifts design cues from a number of Razer products without fully matching any. It uses the Thresher’s floating headband design, two metal arcs above another wrapped in both leatherette and sports mesh (on the inside edge). The earcups are similar to those of the Razer Kraken, generously padded and with cooling gel on the inside. And it’s a wireless headset, so the Nari Ultimate duplicates the on-ear controls from the Razer Man O’ War of course.
It’s Razer’s most comfortable headset. Like all floating headband models, it can feel too loose at times—tilting my head forward or back results in noticeable slippage. But I can (and did) wear the Nari Ultimate all day long, no problem.
The cooling gel is fascinating as well. Like built-in haptics, Razer isn’t first to this idea either—I know Turtle Beach did something similar a few years back, and I wouldn’t even swear that was the originator. The effect is subtle, but when you first don the Nari Ultimate the ears are noticeably cooler than the usual leatherette or sports mesh surface.
Unfortunately the effect doesn’t last long. You’ve got maybe 15 or 20 minutes before the ears heat up to your skin temperature; taking the headset off for a brief period rapidly cools it again. Those dedicated to cold ears can also take the padding off and throw it in the fridge for a bit. And maybe you should, because if I have one complaint about the Nari Ultimate, it’s that once it heats up, your ears really sweat.
Aside from its heat-trap tendencies though, the Nari Ultimate’s a smart little device. It even copies over one of my favorite tricks from the Man O’ War, which is that you can store the USB dongle in the bottom of the right earcup when not in use. As someone who’s lost quite a few dongles over the years, I’ll never stop being grateful for this small courtesy. The volume wheel rounds out the right ear, while the power button, MicroUSB charging slot, a 3.5mm jack, mic mute, and chat-mix are found on the left ear.
Note that you can use the Nari Ultimate with a 3.5mm aux cable unpowered, though obviously you lose the haptic effects. Keep it in mind regardless, as battery is one of the other weak points—haptics and lighting reduce the Nari Ultimate to a piddling eight hours of runtime. (It’s “up to” 20 with both features disabled.)
Ain’t that a kick in the head
But the haptics. That’s why we’re here, right? Sure it’s comfortable, and sure it’s got cooling gel in it, but those aren’t the features to justify spending $200 on a headset. Certainly not one by Razer. Even if you think Razer’s audio quality is worth $200 (questionable), you can undoubtedly get that same sound from Razer’s recently refreshed Kraken lineup or the lower-price Nari variants, all of which lack haptics.
Razer calls it HyperSense. It was designed by Lofelt, a company experimenting in haptic effects for VR, phones, headsets, and more. HyperSense differs from previous haptic-equipped headsets in two key ways: It operates across the entire LFE range of 20Hz to 200Hz, and it’s processed in stereo.
What that means for you, the wearer, is nuance. A lot of haptic devices are binary, either on or off, but a few (like the Xbox One controller’s triggers) are capable of more sophisticated feedback—so you can for instance, as I said in the intro, tell when your digital tires have lost traction. The Nari Ultimate is the first headset I know of to fall into this camp.
I find it easiest to notice in music, where there are a lot of easily distinguishable elements. You’ll get a thick oomph of haptic feedback for the kick drum, a rumble for any low-end synths, and maybe a bouncey bit with some haptic reverb for the bass guitar. And the Nari Ultimate’s drivers are sophisticated enough that it can layer all these different rumbles on top of each other.
Jumping over to games then, maybe you drive around Forza Horizon 4 in an angry-sounding dune buggy, tires rumbling over dirt roads, and with the lush EDM soundtrack blasting above the din. Again, you’ve got three different sounds all contributing to the Nari Ultimate’s haptics in tandem. And as I said earlier, the Nari Ultimate works in stereo.
That’s an important aspect to separating out the various elements as well, and one that’s not so prevalent in music (because low-frequency instruments are usually mixed in the center). So in Horizon you might feel the kick of the soundtrack’s bass drum in the center, and probably the engine most of the time. Turn to the right however, and you might feel that tire rumble slide in that direction—or vice versa, if you swing wide.
It also comes into play in shooters. If you’re getting shot from the left, expect to feel a small kick on that side of your face. Intensity depends on the amount of bass, so a grenade going off will field a slightly larger kick usually, and so on. It’s a neat trick, and one I haven’t seen in other haptic-enabled headsets.
My biggest issue is that the intensity of the haptics is dependent on volume. The louder the headset, the more intense the vibration—and Razer apparently wants you to go deaf. If you listen to the Nari Ultimate at normal, safe levels you will barely notice the haptics exist. Call me an old man, but protecting your hearing is important. There’s an option to crank the intensity in Razer’s Synapse software and I suggest you do so immediately. In my opinion it should default to a higher level, or at least not roll off the haptic effects so sharply as you decrease volume.
As for the actual audio quality? It’s pretty solid. Razer’s sound profile isn’t my favorite, and the Nari Ultimate is certainly heavy on bass—probably to be expected, given the haptic effects. But both music and games sound relatively clear, with the mid-range and low-end coming through nicely. There’s a bit of a hollow feel to the center channel at times, but like the Man O’ War, the left/right stereo play is fantastic, and in games I find that’s usually a more important factor. Regardless, Razer’s slowly but surely closing the gap between it and companies like HyperX and Logitech.
The microphone is surprisingly decent too. Voice reproduction is good, as is noise isolation. I miss the dedicated mic volume wheel from the Man O’ War though, and the mute button’s too small by half.
The main sticking point is the price. The standard Nari (no surname), the mid-tier entry, runs for $150 and includes every feature from the Ultimate except the haptics. Is a bit of face-rumble worth $50? And for that matter, does the standard Nari compete with devices in its price tier like Logitech’s G533 and SteelSeries’s Arctis 7?
I’d answer yes and no, respectively. The $150 Nari is a tougher sell, and I think you’re probably better going with the G533 or even the Arctis 7 (or a wired headset for half the cost). But the Nari Ultimate’s haptics are seriously neat. Still a gimmick? Sure, maybe—but one I could see taking off. The PC is desperately in need of some haptic devices that aren’t as goofy as the various vests and so-on out there. The headset seems like a smart place to start, and evidently a bunch of other manufacturers have agreed in the past.
The Nari Ultimate is simply the first one that has the tech to make it stick. Feeling the rumble of a tank in the distance or a fat ol’ synth kick in—it’s completely unnecessary, even outright dumb at times, but adds a lot to the listening experience all the same.
“I can afford it” is a thought that will stop you getting rich. It’s especially bad if it crosses your mind after you receive a raise or a new, better paid job.
Like all the most-effective lies, it is built on a destructive truth. You probably can afford whatever it is you want because you are making such a great salary here in the UAE. It’s probably also something you have always wanted. Now, it’s within your reach.
I had a teacher friend who used to pull up to work every day in a new luxury convertible. It was a very pretty car. One day I asked her about it. I thought she might be independently wealthy or have a husband making way more money than we do as teachers. But, no.
She told me something I’ve heard many times since moving to Dubai: “I figure, I’ll only be able to afford it now, while I live in Dubai, and why not live a little?” She bought it on credit, and followed that up with: “It’s probably why I’m not saving much money.”
In the financial independence world, we refer to that as “lifestyle inflation”. Basically, as you make more money, you spend more of it on nicer and nicer things – because you can afford it. There’s always something else to buy, no matter how much money you make and what you’ve bought before. Thank you capitalism.
Readers can either graze or binge their way through this superb collection of infographics, but will need both hands to lift the trilingual tome, which weighs around a kilogram.
While it may sound strange to tell stories about food using data, Food & Drink Infographics’ subtitle “A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures” is surprisingly apt.
The good wine infographic
The wealth of information contained in the graphics will whet the appetite of casual readers who can dip in and out of the book, but it will be manna from heaven for foodies and infographic enthusiasts, who will consume it as fast as possible.
Simone Klabin explains in her introductory essay how food visualisations have evolved from a Mesolithic cave painting of bees attacking a person collecting honey to contemporary videos uploaded to the internet, by way of ancient recipes on clay tablets, illuminated medieval manuscripts and the Victorian era cookbook, Mrs Newton’s book of Household Management.
After reading this book, I now know how a chunk of raw beef, for example, arrived at my supermarket. I can identify the cut, explain how the fridge which keeps it fresh works and whether it was sourced locally.
I have learned multiple ways to cure, age, grill, barbecue and roast joints of meat, and how a microwave oven heats food. I discovered that meat was first roasted 1.8 million years ago and the recipe for the mustard I would choose for a condiment probably originates from a Roman cookbook dating back to 4AD.
I now feel confident about pairing the right wine with a meal thanks to a graphic on wine appreciation by my colleague, Adolfo Arranz, the deputy head of infographics and illustration at the South China Morning Post. Other graphics explain how our taste buds work and that roast beef shares over 100 flavour compounds with beer, peanut butter, coffee and bacon.
Another graphic shows there are no nutrients in beef that are not also available in a balanced vegetarian diet and that a single cricket packs more protein and contains less fat than 85 grams of beef.
That particular graphic, also published by the South China Morning Post, explains why an increasing number of researchers are calling on the widespread adoption of an insect-based diet to alleviate concerns there will not be enough food for everyone by the year 2050 if we continue on our present path of consumption.
Global in scope, the book brings together infographics from every corner of the world with plenty focusing on Asian cuisine.
Foodies will learn about the history of their matcha latte – which traces its origins to ancient China before being adopted by Zen Buddhists in 960AD – as well as how to eat fugu without killing themselves.
A fold-out timeline dates the birth of noodles at 2,000AD, after the discovery of millet-based noodles in an earthenware bowl in northwestern China, while a piece of cheese dating from around 1615BC has been found in a desert location in Xinjiang.