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Everything you need to know about Anbernic: RG351, RG552, RG503 & more

Get the lowdown on one of the hottest retro gaming brands around.

Anbernic is one of the world’s most well-known retro handheld device manufacturers. They are owned by Shenzhen Yangliming Technology Co. Ltd, and began life in 2005. From here, it was fairly slow going for the company, where they began to specialise in hardware R&D, PCB board designs and plastic mould design and manufacturing. But, it appears that the company never put out any of their own products until releasing the PAP-GAMETA II in 2013. For all intents and purposes, the device was simply a clone of the Playstation Vita and allowed users to play a handful of retro games.

The company then put out a series of relatively basic, landfill-fodder grade handhelds until they adopted a new brand name, Anbernic, in 2023. While the company continued to make their own flavor of retro gaming handhelds, it adopted the ‘Anbernic’ brand signifier with the release of the RG350, dropping the old ‘Retrogame’ branding of their devices that persisted up until the release of the RG300, a cheaper emulation device that offered great build quality, a high-quality screen and adequate performance in a form-factor that users were familiar with.

The birth of Anbernic

The business clearly was onto something, as their next release would bring forth the now-famous Anbernic name, and offer the same open-source software experience, bolstered by extremely high build-quality. This was to make a name for themselves in a burgeoning emulation-handheld market that quietly simmered after the release of the incredibly influential Dingoo A320 in 2009, which brought forth Dingux, a dedicated OS exclusively used by retro gaming handhelds.

With the availability of older mobile chipsets being offered for discounted prices, the company saw an opportunity to coalesce their refinement in developing a device that has the build-quality of well-known first-party manufacturers like Nintendo. That’s where Anbernic focussed its efforts with its first ‘official’ device, the RG350.

Anbernic RG350 series

The RG350 was a rectangular handheld that supported OpenDingux, an open-source, Linux distro that’s optimized to run on relatively low-powered chipsets, which are able to run several basic emulators. The RG350 line is kitted with the Ingenic J4770 processor, with dual-analog, in addition to supporting a huge range of emulators, the RG350 quickly sealed itself as one of the best-value handhelds on the market and came in at under $100 at many retailers when it debuted in 2023.

With a 4:3 display that can display many retro consoles on an excellent screen, in addition to an HDMI output, you could potentially turn the console into a portable PS1 emulator. The RG350 was one of the devices that kickstarted the shift away from ‘tacky’ retro handhelds, and towards ones that have much more fully-featured software, in addition to a build quality that many manufacturers simply could not match at the time.

Additionally, Anbernic released a further model of the RG350, the RG350M, which included a metal shell for the console, in addition to shifting around the D-Pad and Analog placements to make it more comfortable, as well as giving the system a higher-resolution screen. This was the first time the market saw a higher-end model, with trimmings that make it not only look fantastic but also run games excellently, to boot. But, the device came at a significantly higher cost due to the metal shell. After the release of the RG350M, the company decided to bring many of the RG350M’s improvements to a plastic shell and aptly named it the RG350P.

The system went on to become extremely popular, fostering its own community over on Reddit, with community guides and more showcasing just what the RG350 series is capable of.

ModelProcessorDisplay ResolutionScreen SizeAspect RatioOperating SystemWeightBattery CapacityPriceRG350Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core)320 x 2403-Inches (IPS)3:2OpenDingux160g2500mAh$89.99RG350MIngenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 640 x 4803.5-inches (IPS)4:3OpenDingux255g2500mAh$169.99RG350PIngenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320 x 2403-inches (IPS)3:2OpenDingux170g2500mAh$89.99

Anbernic RG280 series

Image credit: Arzeon

Anbernic would then release an even lower-cost model, named the RG280M in 2023, with a smaller 3.8-inch screen while retaining many of the features that the RG350 line did. But, due to the smaller screen, it was simply overshadowed by the groundbreaking RG350 series of devices. However, another variant of this model. The RG280V found a bit more success, thanks to its unusual form factor.

The RG280 series carries the same chipset as its bigger brother, the J4770, and ran on much of the same firmware, giving it the power to emulate up to PS1 reliably. The 280V was the first vertical handheld that Anbernic released, and while it packed the same internals as the other models up to this point, it ditched the analogue stocks in favour of an incredibly tight form-factor, which made the device incredibly pocketable, while also having access to all of the Dingux OS and software had to offer, and a reasonable price point.

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price RG280MIngenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320×4802.8-inches3:2OpenDingux205g2500mAh$109.99RG280VIngenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320×480 2.8-inches 3:2OpenDingux 120g2100mAh$79.99

Anbernic RG351 series

In early 2023, Anbernic released the successor to the highly popular RG350 series of handhelds, dubbed the RG351. These devices are all powered by the incredibly popular RK3325 chipset, which we first saw in the Odroid Go Advance, but became popular in the market due to its affordable price, and sheer versatility with the titles that it can run, which allows the RG351 series to emulate up to PSP-level devices with some success.

The RG351P was first released, and as the name suggests, it possesses a 3.5-inch display in a 3:2 aspect ratio that allows for pixel-perfect GBA emulation, in addition to running on a version of the EmuElec OS, and can be upgraded to the aptly-named 351Elec. You can also run the RG351 in another OS, named ArkOS. But, the device ships with 351Elec by default, and is currently being supported by a development community to further enhance the user experience in the device itself.

The RG351P was incredibly popular, due to its price point, build quality and ability to run pixel-perfect GBA games and a palatable price point, but there were some roadblocks. Anbernic had to remove the HDMI output seen on the RG350, in addition to running into issues with integrating WiFi on the system due to issues with the PCB. However, a revised, metal-shelled version named the RG351M was released soon after, and brings back built-in WiFi, for quick connectivity to game collection scrapers which give you oodles of metadata to pilfer off of the internet.

Seeing the popularity of the RG351P and RG351M, Anbernic learned from their successes with the RG280V and created another ‘vertical’ handheld, based on the technology in the RG351, named the RG351V, which has a form factor reminiscent of the original Game Boy, and ditches the right analogue stick, and brings with it a 4:3 display.

In late 2023, Anbernic released a further model of RG351, named the RG351MP, which brings with it a metal shell, but possesses a 4:3 aspect ratio for those who are looking for pixel-perfect accuracy in emulating home consoles, which rounds out the entire stack of RG351 devices, which all share the same

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price RG351PRockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core)320 x 4803.5-inches3:2EmuElec160g3500mAh$99.99RG351MRockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 320 x 4803.5-inches 3:2EmuElec 260g3500mAh$139.99RG351VRockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 640 x 4803.5-inches 4:3EmuElec 200g3900mAh$114.99RG351MPRockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 640 x 4803.5-inches 4:£EmuElec 267g3500mAh$149.99

Anbernic RG552

However, the design is now actively cooled, and with a larger form factor, the company has chosen to retain their now-signature rectangular look. However, this did not necessarily translate to a more ergonomic feeling. In addition to this, they also use a plastic shell for the device, and applied metallic paint, making it appear as if the console was made of metal, but is in fact, plastic.

Sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio, it feels like this device was made to emulate later consoles, in addition to other android titles too. However, the pricing for this particular device just doesn’t make sense, coming in at $230 USD, while not remaining competitive against the likes of the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. It’s a rare misfire in Anbernic’s lineup.

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price RG552Rockchip RK3339 (1.8GHz, hexa-core)1920 x 11525.3-inches5:3Android 7.1367g6400mAh$230

Other Anbernic handhelds

Anbernic has also released a couple of other curious handhelds, like the giant Game Boy Micro-looking RG300X, but it isn’t a widely discussed, or used handheld due to being outdated on release. Additionally, they also have a few other handhelds pre-RG350 such as the RG300, which were not released under the Anbernic brand naming scheme.

Additionally, the company has also released a handful of boxed consoles, but none of them has been standout enough to feature. Without a doubt, Anbernic now knows where its niche lies, but the release of the RG552 has clouded a seed of doubt in my mind over if the company knows which direction it is going in if they’re priced to compete with the likes of the Ayn Odin Pro, but lacks the power of something as simple as the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. They need to keep up with their upcoming devices in order to remain competitive in this ever-evolving space, so

Upcoming Anbernic devices

Anbernic isn’t stopping there, with further devices in an attempt to diversify their product stack out of simply being in the budget retro emulator space, and into something that is more premium. We’ve not seen a true successor to the RG351 line quite yet, but they do have two different projects in the works that reflect two different markets that Anbernic is focussing their efforts on.

We’d like for Anbernic to release revised versions of what they’re good at, like a true successor to the RG351, as the form-factor is fantastic for a light, portable device. Unfortunately, the company has yet to give their answer to the sheer power of the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. In the meantime, we have heard of a few devices that you might want to keep your eyes on.

Anbernic Win600

Anbernic RG503

Over the last week there have been several leaks about the Anbernic RG503, which appears to be slightly less powerful than the RG552, but has an ace up its sleeve: a 5-inch OLED screen. Leaks suggest that the RG503 is equipped with the Rockchip RK3566 chip, which places it as stronger than the RG351 series, but less powerful than the RG552, which means that we might be seeing a successor to the 351 lines. The killer feature of the RG503 appears to be the OLED screen, which is reportedly taken from Playstation Vita screens.

Additionally, the design appears to be rounder than what we’d usually see from Anbernic, and at first glance, we’re not too impressed with what we’ve seen thus far. It appears to have an HDMI output, in addition to a rounded back that shows off the ergonomics of the device itself.

This isn’t the most exciting handheld that we’ve seen, but Anbernic is boasting 5GHZ WiFi functionality to use the device over Moonlight as a dedicated game streaming device, too. In order to stay competitive, we’d estimate that Anbernic will price this at around $150.

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Everything You Need To Know About Apple Music

Any Apple product, service or news is deemed important if it’s preceded by the ‘one more thing’ tagline that the late Steve Jobs used to announce that defined historic moments for Apple in the past. The current boss of Apple Inc, Timothy Cook has used it well to introduce the Apple Watch and the Apple Music in early June 2024.

What’s in Apple Music? And How to Use it?

The Apple Music app bears its logo from the early generations of the company when they were just making iPods. Its interface is divided into five main tabs built into the app where-in the first tab is for “You”. This is the section where you will have to give your preference of what you would like to listen from tons of options such as Bollywood, Pop, Rock, Metal, Dance and many more. On selecting your favorites, the app will intelligently search for music that you prefer and build a virtual apple library where you can stream the music and videos on the go. (Below are the  screenshots)

Once you are set up, you will see another tab called “New”. This option includes the trending tracks and videos based on your preference. The option also includes new music, top songs, recent releases, recommended videos and essential that are all knitted and brought under one hood just for you.

If you have heard of or remember BBC Radio1, you will not take a moment to understand the third tab which Apple has named “Beats 1”. You guessed it right, Beats 1 is a 24×7 radio station with DJs from New York, Los Angeles and London. The Beats 1 is hosted by former BBC Radio1 presenter Zane Lowe. Apart from playing the latest and greatest music on demand, there are guest RJs, interviews and hordes of contests. Those of you who have listened to BBC Radio may not find a great difference in Apple’s Beats 1 Radio unless there are massive improvements made by Apple in due course of time. In the meantime enjoy the favorite tracks on the move that you may not get to listen live unless you download them.

Creating Playlist in Apple Music

Creating playlist in the new Apple Music app is quite simple, though not easily traceable. This is how you can create a playlist:

You need to be on the latest software (8.4) released by Apple to load the Apple Music

Launch the app and select the last tab “My Music”

Select the “New” option and you will be redirected to a new window

You can Name your playlist in the “Title” along with the description

Then you can add your favorite songs in the new playlist and you are all set

The following screenshots would guide you on how you can create a new playlist:

PS: After you are done creating the playlist, you can then save it. You can even share it by tapping on the share button. Any changes that you make in the future will result in the playlist updating across all iOS devices.

How to save tacks / playlists for Offline listening

Did you know that Apple Music allows you to listen to your favorite tracks even offline so that you do not have to burn your data all the time when you are not on Wi-Fi? Here’s how you can do it:

One you have launched the Apple Music app, simply navigate to the song / album or the playlist that you desire to download to your iPhone for offline listening.

Tab on the truncation (the three dots next to the selected track) to the right of the title.

You will get a menu popping up from the bottom of the screen with various option. Select “Make Available Offline” option

This action will download the music and save it in your iPhone

If you are on Wi-Fi network, your iPhone could automatically download the tracks and you can listen to them when-ever you desire

The tracks and playlists that you download would show up across all your devices loaded with Apple Music

Better Use of Siri

So, you can now say: “Hey Siri, play me top charted songs from the playlist of Calvin Harris” and there you go.

Associated Costs

Apple Music and the Competition

Compatibility

Apple Music is compatible with iOS 8.4 or later, iTunes 12.2 or later (OS X Mavericks or later; Windows 7 or later), and Apple Watch. It will also release for Android devices and Apple TV in late 2024.

End Note

Folks, who are impressed and satisfied with the services of Apple Music would definitely shift their preference to Apple. I’m using Apple Music from the hour it was launched on June 30 and I’m using it thoroughly since 5 days and I should say that I’m pretty impressed with the content and the choice of tracks and videos. But your preference may not be same as mine. I would suggest all music enthusiasts to get excited about Apple Music and if you really like it then go for the subscriptions. However you would also have option to unsubscribe when-ever you want to.

Happy Listening!

Everything You Need To Know About Tihmstar’s Ios 9.1

First things first: do not rush off and install this untether on your devices. It could easily boot loop them. This isn’t a general warning to be ignored; the tool does not support most devices yet, and I will not be held responsible for any damage done by it.

Having said that, let’s have a gander at this new release, the first jailbreak untether that we’ve seen in quite some time.

It’s an untether package, available from tihmstar’s repo on Cydia, which will eventually be able to turn devices jailbroken with the Home Depot jailbreak from semi-untethered to fully untethered.

What does it support?

Currently it only supports iPhone4,1 (that’s the iPhone 4s) on iOS 9.3.4. The device must be jailbroken already with Home Depot.

No other devices or firmwares are supported at present.

In theory, it should eventually support all 32-bit devices all the way from iOS 9.1-9.3.4, provided they are jailbroken with Home Depot.

How do I use it?

For now, do not use it unless you have an iPhone 4s on iOS 9.3.4, or unless you have enough expertise to modify it for your device. If you do, simply add the following repo in Cydia:

And then install the package entitled UntetherHomeDepot.

How does it work?

It piggybacks off the semi-untethered Home Depot jailbreak, and adds an untether package to it. The untether itself is based on the Pegasus vulnerabilities. Although the Pegasus bugs are well documented, the details of tihmstar’s use of them in the untether are not currently available as he has not open sourced the untether code yet. It remains to be seen whether he will do so at a later date.

Is it stable?

The tool is currently at version 1.2.0, which fixes an issue on devices with a passcode set. Version 1.1.0 rectified a major stability issue with the initial release in which the device going to sleep would make it inoperable. Although these bugs have been fixed, the tool is still not necessarily stable. Unless you have a supported device and/or technical knowledge, exercise caution. An additional known bug is the OpenSSH daemon failing to start. The release tweet gives you some idea of the reliability of the tool at present:

Can I help out?

If you have enough knowledge of the topic to find offsets for other devices and firmwares, to write a script to automatically find them, or even to troubleshoot the untether itself, then go for it! Check out tihmstar’s Twitter for information on how to find offsets, as well as what kinds of help are needed. Tihmstar has appealed to the community to come together to finish off the untether, in the interest of creating a sense of camaraderie and lightening his workload. Once all offsets are found he plans to incorporate them into the untether package for a final release.

You can see a video of the untether in action below:

Although some of our readers will no doubt say that 32-bit devices are no longer of interest to them, many will be glad to see the string of powerful tools which have recently cropped up for legacy devices. From dual-booting utilities and downgrade tools to an iOS 9.3.5 jailbreak and now this untether, it seems there’s some life in the old girl yet.

Once stability and device support comes to this package another big hole will have been filled in the iOS untethered jailbreak record, which used to cover every device and firmware, but which has recently become more hit-and-miss. It’s also no bad thing to see a developer releasing tools of this kind, showing their growing understanding of the complex and specific materials necessary to create further jailbreaks in the future.

Everything You Need To Know About Wearable Health Tracking

How Is It Being Used?

Wearable technology is in a semi-nascent stage. People are still finding new uses for such devices, but for the most part, health tracking has proven to be very promising. For consumers, this means that doctors are able to have a complete picture of their patients’ health.

Sensors can also be used in private businesses, allowing them to understand when employees begin feeling overwhelmed or stressed and lets them take this into consideration when making decisions on what roles employees are ready to play. Sports teams can use sensor input to determine when players are feeling too tired to continue playing and bench them.

Implications in Big Data

Wearable sensors not only give us an idea of our own bill of health, but also play a major role in a much bigger spectrum (hence the use of the term “Big Data”). With wearable technology in the workplace, we can better understand what conditions employees need to be more creative by measuring spikes in gamma brain waves that occur just before that big “aha!” moment. By making large-scale studies, compiling data from multiple workplaces, we can understand what makes people tick and provide environments that promote productivity and creativity harmoniously. Life for employees can improve, while businesses can become more competitive. It’s a complete win-win for everyone!

Things to Watch Out for

Of course, whenever there’s a new technology, pitfalls come along to ruin the party for us. By storing more data about employees and consumers, we potentially expose them to data breaches that can have very negative implications to their own personal privacy. Security will have to be the number-one priority as adoption moves forward. Remember, online credit card payments have been happening every day for years, but we still see breaches happening on massive scales. We still do not understand completely how much more a security breach will negatively affect employees and consumers whose health data we are recording, but we should definitely work on making sure that the benefits of the technology outweigh its risks.

What’s in the Future?

Wearables, as far as health is concerned, show a lot of promise for doing some good in this world. But wearables can have many more implications in our lives. I’ve already explained in an earlier piece how the HoloLens from Microsoft can improve the way we work with the added benefit of being addictively entertaining. The ability to make sensors, wear them, and then use those wearables for our convenience and benefit will provide a significant boost to almost every industry. Should the technology overcome all of the things that may hold it back in the future, we should be seeing these devices making a strong presence in our lives by the year 2023.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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Excel Slicers – Everything You Need To Know

Excel Slicers are a professional way to enable users to easily and intuitively interact with your reports, filtering data in PivotTables, Pivot Charts, Excel Tables and CUBE functions. They’re available in Excel 2010 onwards for PivotTables, and for Excel Tables from Excel 2013. In this comprehensive tutorial I cover EVERYTHING you need to know about Excel Slicers.

Table of Contents

1. What are Excel Slicers? 2. Inserting Slicers 3. Using Slicers 4. Formatting Slicers 5. Custom Slicer Styles 6. Copy and Modify Slicers 7. Connect Slicers to Multiple PivotTables 8. PivotTables not Listed in Report Connections

Watch the Excel Slicers Video

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What are Excel Slicers?

Now I know you can already filter using the PivotTable or Excel Table filter tools, but Slicers are better for two reasons:

They can control the filtering of multiple PivotTables/Charts (but only one Table)

They look professional and are more intuitive to use

Have a go yourself using the interactive workbook below.

Warning: don’t go silly and choose too many areas though, or the PivotChart might implode….. what am I thinking? That’s like a red rag to a bull, of course you’re going to try it now that I mention it but at least I warned you!

Data used in chart above is from Greater London Authority (Microsoft Azure Marketplace).

Pretty cool, eh? I’m sure you’re now itching to get started with your own Slicers, so here’s how:

Inserting Excel Slicers

Using Excel Slicers

Slicers are intuitive to use, and they allow us to easily filter one or multiple items:

The Slicer displays the selected items in a different colour giving a visual indicator to the user:

Formatting Slicers

One of the gripes I had with Slicers in the early days was that they were a bit chunky. Since then, I’ve found some of the formatting tricks hidden deep down in the menus that allow you to make them a more manageable size.

I’ll take you through the obvious ones first and then I’ll show you the secret ones 😉

Excel Slicer Settings

Change the Slicer name

Turn the Slicer header off/on, or give it a different caption

Choose how to sort the Slicer

Choose how the Slicer should handle items with no data. Note: in Excel 2010 you don’t have the option to ‘Hide items with no data’.

Excel Slicer Styles

In the Slicer Styles group we can choose the colour and style, or create a new style (note: the colour options will be based on the Theme/Colors you have selected for the workbook in the Page Layout tab of the ribbon, mine is ‘Paper’):

Arrange Slicers

The Arrange group of tools allow you to quickly align your Slicers or move them behind or in front of other objects like charts, shapes, images etc.:

Buttons and Size

I generally find anything smaller than 0.5cm for the button height is as small as you can go.

If the overall height of your Slicer is too small to display all of the values a scroll bar will be inserted:

Custom Excel Slicer Styles

This will open the ‘New Slicer Style’ dialog box where you can format each of the 10 Slicer elements exactly as you want:

You can even check the ‘Set as default slicer style for this document’ box and use it over and over again, but wait right there because I have a quicker way.

Copy and Modify Excel Slicers

This will open the Modify Slicer Style dialog box:

Then go to the Border tab and remove the border:

Note: While removing the border serves to make the Slicer appear smaller it is actually still the same size. However, now you can squeeze it into a smaller space by placing the edges of the Slicer underneath other objects, like charts, without it being noticeable.

Ok, now that your Slicer is more compact, you’ll be able to squeeze it into your report.

If you want more customisation, check out this dedicated tutorial on Excel Slicer formatting for further tips on how to tweak them to your liking.

Connecting Excel Slicers to Multiple PivotTables/Charts

Once you’ve inserted your Slicer you can go about choosing which PivotTables/Charts you want it to control.

PivotTable not Listed in Slicer Report Connections Area

An Excel Slicer can only control PivotTables which share the same Pivot Cache. Typically, PivotTables which reference the same data source share a Pivot Cache, but not always. If the PivotTables you want to connect to don’t appear in the list, then you’ll know the cause is separate Pivot Caches

The easiest way to fix PivotTables that aren’t appearing in the Slicer Report Connections area is to copy one of the PivotTables that is in the list, and modify it to replicate the missing PivotTable. This way you’ll ensure the PivotTable is sharing the same Pivot Cache.

Note: If you copy a PivotTable that is already connected to one or more Slicers, the copied PivotTable will also be connected to those Slicers, so you may need to edit the Slicer Report Connections.

Apple Homekit: Everything You Need To Know

Apple HomeKit guide

Related: The smart home privacy policies of Amazon, Apple, and Google

How does Apple HomeKit work?

Apple

We’ll go into this more in later sections, but the gist is that once you’ve created a “home” location in the Apple Home app, you pair accessories with the app using an iPhone or iPad. Each accessory appears as a tile with its name and the most important status details. With some tiles, you can tap on button for a quick toggle, or on the rest of the tile for more options. Accessories can be linked together via rooms, scenes, and automations.

Apple HomeKit setup

More: How to reset Apple HomeKit

Controlling accessories

Turn the lights on/off.

What’s the temperature in [room name]?

Turn the [room name] lights on/off.

Set the lights to [percentage].

Lock/unlock the [room name] door.

Turn the [smart plug name] on/off.

Set the temperature to [degrees].

Is the [room name] door locked?

Creating scenes

Here’s how to create a scene in HomeKit:

Tap the plus icon in the Home tab, then Add Scene.

Choose one of Apple’s presets, or else Custom.

Pick a scene name. Make this descriptive yet simple, because you may want to trigger it with Siri, for example by saying, “Hey Siri, Good Morning.”

Tap the Add Accessories button, then on any hardware you’d like to include. Hit Done when you’re finished.

Back at the New Scene panel, tap on accessories to choose what state they’ll enter once the scene is triggered. For example, a light bulb could be set to both turn purple and lower brightness to 50%.

Toggle Add to Home View if you want it to appear on the Home tab’s dashboard. Select Done when the scene is ready to go.

You can trigger any scene via Siri, automations, or tapping its name in the Home app. If it’s not in the Home tab, you’ll have to select the right room(s) to find it.

Building automations

To get started on an automation:

Tap the plus icon, then Add Automation.

Choose an Event that will trigger the automation. This can include household members coming or going, a time of day, an accessory being controlled, or a sensor detecting something. Time-based automations can be linked to sunrise or sunset offsets, and some Events can be given additional People conditions based on whether one or more home members are present (or absent).

Choose all the scenes and accessories you want to include in the automation, then tap Next.

Tap on accessory tiles (if any) to configure how they’ll respond when the automation runs.

If you want an automation to run for a limited time, select Turn Off to select when accessories will shut down. The default is “Never,” but you can select runtimes between one minute and four hours.

In the blank field at the top, type in a name if you don’t want to use the one Apple created for you.

If everything looks okay, hit Done.

You can see which automations you have active via the Home app’s Automation tab. Pick one there to see its details, tweak settings, and toggle it on or off.

Setting up a Home Hub

The best Apple HomeKit devices

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

Philips

Although it’s a little pricey, Philips Hue remains the gold standard in smart home lighting. You can find Hue lights in every conceivable form factor, from standard A19 bulbs to lightstrips and HDMI sync boxes. Their best feature may be the Hue Smart Hub (a.k.a. Hue Bridge), which connects up to 50 lights and lifts some of the burden from your Wi-Fi network.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium

Ecobee

The Smart Thermostat Premium is the top HomeKit-compatible thermostat on the market. Not only does it have an easy touchscreen interface and full integration into HomeKit controls and automations, it operates as its own smart speaker, either for Siri or Alexa. If you choose Siri, you’ll need a HomePod set up as a Home Hub — even an iPad or Apple TV won’t work.

The product comes bundled with an external sensor you can use to extend its temperature and occupancy detection to another room. That might seem excessive, but an Ecobee can quickly pay for itself by making heating and cooling more cost-efficient.

Upgrades to the Premium over prior Ecobee models include a metallic frame, a 50 percent larger display, an overhauled interface, and improved internal sensors. This includes radar for better occupancy detection, and an air quality sensor that monitors CO2 and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). If you don’t care about speaker or air quality functions, or having an external sensor, the Smart Thermostat Enhanced is cheaper while retaining all of the Premium’s other features.

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell

Arlo

The Essential comes in both wired and wireless versions. Its top feature is a 180-degree field of view in all directions, making it possible to see both visitors and packages clearly. Other perks include a built-in siren, and pre-recorded messages in case you don’t want to speak.

You’ll have to pony up for an Arlo Secure plan, however, if you want features like cloud recording, activity zones, or object recognition. Specifically Secure enables person, vehicle, animal, and package detection, which cuts down on false alerts.

Read more: The best HomeKit accessories for your smart home

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