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The 4 Best Turkey Fryers for Thanksgiving 2019 – Review Geek

A turkey frying in a deep fryer.
Patrick Kawahara/Shutterstock

Do you still use your oven to roast the turkey on Thanksgiving? If deep-frying a turkey sounds too dangerous or complicated, these fryers might change your mind!

Before you can choose a fryer, though, here are a few things to consider:

  • Pot size: You can cook all sorts of food in a fryer, but at least once a year, it has to swallow a large bird. The ideal maximum size of a turkey you intend to fry is around 14 to 16 pounds. You want to get plenty of meat from the finished product, but if you choose a turkey larger than 16 pounds, you’ll sacrifice moisture on the outside to fully cook the meat on the inside. This is why we recommend a fryer that can hold 20 to 22 pounds. Expect more people to show up next year after your friends and family spread the word about your fried turkey.
  • Heat source: Electric cookers take longer to heat up, but you can use them indoors, as you control the oil temperature with a thermostat. Electric deep fryers also tend to use a lot less oil than the propane models. Propane deep fryers heat oil much faster, and you can use them outdoors while tailgating or camping. However, you do have to closely monitor the oil temperature for safety. You have to operate some oil-free fryers outdoors because they use propane to generate heat but, because no oil is involved, they’re much safer to operate.
  • Oil versus oil-free frying: It’s a trade-off! If you oil fry, it produces a turkey with skin that tastes almost like bacon, and a juicy interior (if done right). If you go oil-free, it’s safer and produces good flavor, but without the extra fat and calories you get from oil.
  • Additional features: In a bid to add value to a turkey fryer, manufacturers often include additional features and functions. For example, many turkey fryers double as steamers and boilers. Some oil-free fryers can also infuse smoke into the final product.

To select the best turkey fryer, you just have to prioritize the features above. For the picks below, we prioritized safety, easy and predictable cooking, and the overall flavor of a fried turkey.

Best Overall: Masterbuilt MB23012418 Butterball XL Electric Fryer

The Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer

The Masterbuilt XL electric turkey fryer can handle a turkey up to 20 pounds. While it takes a bit longer to heat the oil with the 1,650-watt heating element, the thermostat maintains the oil temperature, so you can safely deep-fry your turkey, with repeatable results every time. Also, electric deep fryers usually require less oil than the propane models.

You lay your turkey flat on the included wire basket for frying. This might leave some fried turkey skin behind for the chef, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! You can deep fry anything in the basket, steam your favorite vegetables, or even boil up some seafood.

Cleaning is easy—the pot and basket are dishwasher safe, and the fryer includes a built-in drain valve.

Best Turkey Fryer

Best for Outdoors: King Kooker 1265BF3 Portable Propane Deep Fryer Kit

The King Kooker Propane Deep Fryer sitting on the burner next to its lid, a basket, a lifting hook, and a fry pan with Basket
King Kooker

If you’re a fan of portable propane-style deep fryers, the King Cooker 1265BF3 Portable Propane Outdoor Deep Frying/Boiling kit is a great value. Of course, you’ll want to carefully manage the oil temperature on your journey to a great fried turkey, but you can’t beat the go-anywhere nature of propane models.

The King Cooker includes a primary, 29-quart aluminum pot that can fry a turkey that weighs up to 20 pounds. It also includes a punched aluminum basket that’s perfect for deep-frying a vast quantity of chicken wings or Cajun boiling a ton of seafood.

An 11-quart aluminum fry pan and wire basket are included for smaller, family-sized batches.

Best Outdoor Deep Fryer

Best Propane Oil-Free: Char-Broil the Big Easy TRU-Infrared Turkey Fryer

Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Turkey Fryer.

If you want to save a few calories, but still need to be able to cook away from home, look no further than the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Turkey Fryer. With no oil to heat up, the Char-Broil gets to the right temperature very quickly. Infrared heat can cook a turkey that weighs up to 16 pounds very fast—around 8 to 10 minutes per pound. The heat is evenly applied to seal the juices inside, while the outside crisps and browns.

The Char-Broil includes a cooking basket that creates a gap between the turkey and the inner sidewall, further helping the turkey to cook evenly. This also works great for just about any large cut of beef or pork, including ribs. The wire mesh lid allows you to read the temperature on the included thermometer while a removable bottom tray captures most of the drips. The Char-Broil doesn’t have a thermostat to maintain a specific pot temperature, but it does have a flame control dial to increase or decrease heat.

Best Electric Oil-Free: Masterbuilt 20100809 Butterball Turkey Fryer

The Masterbuilt Butterball Oil-Free Electric Fryer and Roaster.

The Masterbuilt Butterball Turkey Fryer uses an electric heat source to provide very similar features to the Char-Broil. The big exception is the inclusion of a built-in wood chip box that allows you to introduce a little smoke into the cooking process for added flavor. It includes a punched-hole aluminum roasting basket that can keep a turkey that weighs up to 18 pounds away from the side walls.

This fryer includes a control dial to manage the heat level on the powerful 1,650-watt electric element. A tempered glass lid with a hook is also included, so you can easily read the internal temperature of the turkey with a meat thermometer.

The unit also comes with a removable drip pan for easy cleaning, and the stay-cool handles make it easy to move around.

Turkey Frying Tips

There are a few important concepts that will help you achieve a crispy, juicy turkey in a fryer. First, before you deep fry, briefly soak the turkey in warm (not hot) water. This melts any ice-crystals that might be hanging around after defrosting.

Drain the water, and then thoroughly dry the turkey inside and out before you lower it into any hot frying oil. As you probably know, oil and water don’t mix. This is even more true with hot oil. Any excess water hiding deep in the bird can cause a fountain of hot oil to spit out at you from the fryer!

A deep fried turkey on a serving platter.
Michael Cocita/Shutterstock

The warm water bath also helps raise the temperature of the bird. When you first drop the turkey into the hot oil, it lowers the oil temperature, so if the turkey is a bit warmer to start with, the oil temp will drop less. This means you won’t have to recalculate the cooking time. If you’re tempted to just leave the turkey out until it gets to room temperature, that’s a bad idea. Bacteria in poultry can quickly multiply to dangerous levels as it warms up.

Whether you fry it with or without oil, an injection of marinade dramatically improves the flavor of a turkey. My go-to marinade recipe is one, 12-ounce bottle of Frank’s RedHot Original with two sticks of butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add the hot sauce. Heat it until it’s hot, but not boiling. Pour some of the sauce into a narrow container, and then load up a good quality injector.

Inject the sauce into many locations in the turkey (some shallow and some deep). Try to avoid injecting directly under the skin as that causes it to burn in that area. While the turkey cooks, the spiciness of the hot sauce is minimized. But the salt and fat in the butter, combined with the cayenne pepper and vinegar in the Frank’s, produce an amazing flavor. If any of your guests want a little more heat, they can grab some of the remaining sauce from the pan for dipping.

Safety is important when you work with hot oil. We recommend you wear long sleeves and gloves and always lower the turkey into the oil very slowly. If something unexpected happens, pull the turkey out, don’t drop it in! Let the oil calm down, and then try again. If you get a strong reaction from the oil, you might have too much excess moisture in the turkey.

Finally, if you’re frying with oil, you absolutely must use peanut oil for the best flavor. Yes, it’s more expensive, but the flavor with turkey is so incredible, you just have to taste it to believe it!

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating fried turkey, pick up one of these excellent fryers and make it happen. You’ll be glad you did!

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The Best Bike Mini Pumps for When You’re Feeling Deflated – Review Geek

Lezyne Carbon Road Drive mini bike pump
Ian Slack

A flat tire in the middle of a bike rides sucks, but it’s a whole other level of suckiness if you don’t have what you need to fix it. Here are my recommendations for the best bike mini pump to get you rolling again after you hear that dreaded hiss.

In Defense of Mini Pumps

As a long-time cyclist and “weight weenie,” I know there’s a certain nerd factor associated with loading your bike up with too many gadgets, but I still think having a mini pump is well worth it. They’ve fallen out of favor since CO2 arrived on the scene, and I’m not promoting mini pumps over CO2 inflators because I love them too. There’s nothing more convenient when you get a flat tire on a road ride and want to fix it as fast as you can to get back to the group you’re riding with.

CO2 is also more likely to give you the big blast of pressure that you need to get a tubeless tire seated—although not always. Be aware that most manufacturers warn that CO2 can cause tire sealant to solidify and make it less effective, so replace the CO2 with air and add more sealant when you get home.

There are a few reasons why I carry CO2 and have a mini pump as a backup. Sometimes when you get a flat tire, the cause is apparent—say a nail or piece of glass sticking out from the tire casing. Other times it can be a slow leak with a mysterious origin. It’s crucial to find the cause because a tiny piece of glass or a minuscule wire embedded in your tire can quickly put a hole in your replacement tube, putting you back where you started. A mini pump lets you inflate your bad tube and look for the hole without using one of your CO2 cartridges.

Also, when replacing a bike tube, it helps to put just enough air in the new one to give it shape before inserting it into the tire. When you do that, you have less of a chance of the tube getting under the bead of the tire and being pinched by a tire lever or blowing the tire off the rim once inflated. A mini pump is useful for that little bit of inflation and lets you use the full charge of your CO2 cartridge for getting max pressure into the tire once it’s mounted.

Lezyne Carbon Road Drive mini bike pump
Ian Slack

Lastly, a mini pump means you always have air as a backup to CO2. I was on a ride recently with a guy on tubeless tires when one went flat. He went through both of his CO2 cartridges before he realized his sealant had dried up. If I hadn’t had a pump to loan him to put his spare tube in, he wouldn’t have gotten home. I’ve had something similar happen to me when my spare tube was old and rotted from sitting in my saddle bag unused for too long. It was only the fact that I carry a pump and an inner tube patch kit that finally got me rolling again after much swearing and time lost.

A Little Goes a Long Way in CO2 Inflators



Feckless Industries minimalist CO2 inflator
Feckless Industries

You can see why CO2 inflators are so popular. Not only are they super-convenient, but they fit easily in even the smallest saddle bag or jersey pocket. I prefer minimalist designs like this one from Feckless Industries that use threaded 16-gram cartridges over ones that encase the cartridge, as they’re very simple to use and take up less space.

Best CO2 Inflator

LEZYNE Tubeless Co2 Blaster

Something relatively new on the market for tubeless tires is plug kits, similar to what’s used on auto tires. Lezyne even makes a CO2 plug kit combo it calls the Blaster. I’ve yet to punch a hole in an MTB tire big enough to need plugging, but I hear the thorns are bigger out west.

MTB Tubeless Tire Plug

How to Pick a Bike Mini Pump

Lezyne Carbon Road Drive mini bike pump
Ian Slack

So, what should you consider when choosing a bike mini pump? Here are a few things that I think are important:

  • The kind of riding do you do: For road riding, being able to pump up a tire to high pressure will be critical, whereas for mountain biking it’s not the pressure so much as the volume the pump puts out to fill up big fat tires without working yourself to death.
  • Valve type: Do you have Schrader valves on your tires (like a car) or the narrower Presta valves common to higher-end bicycles? Some pumps will do both, but watch out for Presta-only models if you’ve got Schrader valves.
  • Where to carry it: Are you going to mount the pump on your bike or throw it in a backpack? Some mountain biking backpacks are quite small, so do some measuring to guarantee the pump is short enough that it’ll fit in your bag. If you’re going to mount the pump on your bike, make sure you’ve got the right mounts on your frame and that the pump won’t be too large for the space you’re allocating for it.

The pump you pick needs to work well for whatever scenarios you plan to use it in.

The Best Bike Mini Pumps

Personally, two things matter most to me in a mini pump: weight and an external hose. Weight matters because—frankly—I need all the help I can get, and I like external hoses because it takes away the potential for side pressure on the valve stem when you’re pumping. I’ve seen people snap valves off with some pumps because they couldn’t keep them from putting lateral force on the stem. Other things are going to be more important to other people.

Best Road Bike Mini Pump: Lezyne Road Drive

Lezyne Road Drive mini bike pump

I have the more expensive carbon version of this mini pump on my road bike, and I’ve had great experiences with Lezyne pumps in general for both road and MTB use. They’re lightweight, very well made, and feature the external hose that I prefer. The Lezyne Road Drive will work with either Presta or Shrader valves and comes with a clip to mount it next to your water bottle cage. The clip works well, and I’ve never had one come loose or rattle. There’s even a little air bleed button on the side of the hose to get the pressure just right.

Lezyne claims this pump will handle up to 160psi, but like all mini pumps, you’re going to get a workout if you want to fully top off a high-pressure road tire—which, again, is why I carry CO2 as well.

The Road Drive comes in either black or silver and lengths of small (180mm), medium (216mm), and large (283mm). The longer the pump you choose, the more air it puts out, but then it’s heavier too.

The rubber caps at each end keep out dirt, and I’ve found they stay securely in place when the pump is not in use.

Best Road Bike Mini Pump

Best Mountain Bike Mini Pump: Pro Bike Tool

Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump
Pro Bike Tool

If you see some similarities between the Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump and the Lezyne I recommended above, there’s a reason. This is a proven design that works.

The Pro Bike Tool pump also works with Presta and Shrader valves and will go up to 100psi. Pro Bike says its design will get you back on the trail faster with 30 percent fewer strokes than conventional mini pumps—which is important for higher-volume mountain bike tires.

This pump is only 7.3 inches long and weighs 3.6oz. Like the Lezyne, it clips next to a water bottle and has a rubber strap to hold it securely, so it’s not rattling around on rough trails. As a bonus, you can choose red over black or silver if that’s your thing.

Best Mountain Bike Mini Pump

How to Make Yourself Ready for Just About Anything

bike flat repair kit
This is what I have in my saddle bag along with some basic tools Ian Slack

So, whether you’re on tubed or tubeless tires, here’s what I think you should have with you on rides.

  • CO2 inflator
  • 2 CO2 cartridges
  • Mini pump
  • Spare tube
  • Patch kit
  • Tire boot material
  • Tire levers (optional)

All of the above sounds like a lot, but I can cram everything but the pump into the smallest saddle bag along with a couple of Allen wrenches. It’s important not to let tools rub against your spare tube because they’ll abraid a hole in it in no time as the bag vibrates under your saddle.

What is tire boot material, you ask? Say you run over a piece of glass that cuts your tire so severely that the replacement inner tube can push through the hole and blow out. Your tire is now shot, but you still need to get home. Some riders use folded money to put between the tube and the inside of the tire. I carry bits of material cut from the casings of old sew-up tires, but Park Tool also sells an inexpensive Emergency Boot Pack that does a great job.

Park Took Emergency Tire Boot
Park Tool

Cut Tire Savior

I put tire levers as optional because you don’t need them to get the tire off with some rim/tire combinations, while others can be a real bear. Do a test run with your tires to find out and decide if you need to carry levers. One other thing to note about patch kits, always replace them after using the rubber cement once because it’ll dry up before the next time you need it—even with the cap screwed down tight.

Yes, carrying a mini pump in addition to a spare tube and CO2 may seem like overkill, but take it from someone who’s had to sit shivering in sweaty bike clothes on the side of the road for over an hour while someone came to pick him up, you can never be too prepared.

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Big Savings on Logitech Peripherals at Amazon, Including Blue Yeti Mics – Review Geek

If you’ve been meaning to grab some PC peripherals, Amazon has some deep discounts on Logitech components today, including some of the best prices we’ve seen on the MX Master wireless mouse and K800 wireless backlit keyboard.

It should be noted that most if not all of the Logitech devices on sale are at least a couple of years old and are not the company’s latest designs. However, the things that have been discounted are still highly rated among Amazon shoppers with most items having four or five stars from hundreds or thousands of reviews.

At $47, the MX Master is currently at its historically low price. The wireless mouse originally sold for an MSRP of $100 but has been going for $60 since late last year and has only dropped to $47 two other times in 2019—and both times for only a day or two. While it could handle some light gaming sessions just fine, the MX Master is best suited for office productivity purposes. (And again, note that this isn’t the new MX Master 3.)

The K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is likewise approaching the cheapest price we’ve seen at $47.99. Launched in 2010 for $100, the K800 has gradually dipped down to costing around $60 throughout much of 2019. Sales on this item are more frequent than the MX Master but there has only been one other point when the price dropped lower than it is today—the keyboard was $1.98 cheaper during a sale around this time last year.

Amazon’s discount on the Blue Yeti Nano Premium might be the best deal out of the whole lot. The microphone has been reduced from its usual selling price of $99.99 to only $69.99—the best price we’ve ever seen on this model.

Meanwhile, $89.99 is approaching must-buy territory for the Blue Yeti, another microphone that is popular among podcasters and YouTubers. That’s only $10 away from its lowest price during a sale way back in January 2018. For much of 2019, the Blue Yeti has been priced at $110 to $120 and it has only dropped to $89.99 a few times since 2016, according to data on CamelCamelCamel.

A dozen or more of Logitech peripherals designed for PC gaming and productivity are featured as part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day:

  • Logitech K375s Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard $39.99
  • Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch TV Keyboard $17.98
  • Logitech K600 TV Keyboard with Touchpad & D-pad $39.99
  • Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard $47.99
  • Logitech MK200 Mouse & Keyboard Combo $15.55
  • Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse $47.00
  • Logitech M170 Wireless Mouse $11.99
  • Logitech Gamepad F310 $13.99
  • Logitech G230 Gaming Headset $19.99
  • Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum RGB $49.99
  • Blue Yeti Nano $69.99
  • Blue Yeti Condenser Microphone $89.99

Source: Amazon

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New Microsoft Office App for iOS and Android Combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – Review Geek

New Microsoft Office App

If you’re among the millions of people who get Microsoft Office work done on a smartphone sometimes, you will soon be able to access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from the same app on your device instead of opening them separately.

In the interest of making mobile productivity more efficient when using Microsoft Office on a phone, the software suite has received an update that brings all of your Office documents together in one place. Along with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the new Microsoft Office app will provide easy access to Sticky Notes for saving quick thoughts, along with various mobile-oriented capabilities such as using your camera to scan documents.

You can also get recent and recommended documents stored in the cloud on your device and search for documents across your organization if using a work account. By combining all of these features into the same mobile application, it should reduce the need to switch between apps, and Microsoft says it will save storage space on your phone compared to having multiple separate apps installed.

The “Actions Pane” is another noteworthy addition. It provides quick access to tasks you might typically encounter on a mobile device such as creating PDFs with your camera, signing PDFs with your finger, scanning QR codes to open files and links, transferring files from your phone to a computer, and sharing with other nearby mobile devices.

You can get these features by updating your Office mobile app to the public preview that launched today for Android and iOS. The app can be downloaded for free and you just have to sign in with a Microsoft Account. Microsoft notes that Apple’s TestFlight program for preview software limits the public preview to 10,000 users, so you may want to hop on that sooner rather than later if you’re interested in trying the software on your iOS phone.

Note that the new Office app is only available for phones, with support for tablets coming later. As for the existing mobile apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft says it will continue to support and invest in the separate apps for everyone who prefers using those instead of the new all-in-one app. The company encourages everyone to submit feedback for the new Office app by going to Settings > Help & Feedback.

Source: Microsoft

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The 4 Best Video Doorbells to Keep an Eye on the Outside While You’re Inside – Review Geek

Two children ringing a Eufy video doorbell at a home.

Video Doorbells are among the best smarthome devices you can own. And these days, there are more choices than ever, each with different benefits and shortcomings. Whether it’s a locally-recording doorbell or one that can identify grandma, there’s a video doorbell for you.

What to Look for in a Video Doorbell

It seems like every company in the smarthome game has a video doorbell for your consideration. But video doorbells call for more than slapping a camera and a button together and calling it a day. You’ll want to make sure the doorbell is compatible with your home and works well for your particular needs.

  • Power Source: There are two ways to power a video doorbell: your home’s existing doorbell wiring or battery power.  Battery-powered video doorbells are easier to install, but require charging. Some (but not all) doorbells that run off existing wiring can make use of your home’s chime. If your wiring doesn’t work, then you’ll either want to choose a battery-powered doorbell or run a plug-in transformer from inside your home.
  • Resolution: Like any other camera, resolution matters. Most video bells offer 720p, 1080p, or 2K resolutions when recording video. While the higher resolution does provide better quality, it also requires more bandwidth and storage space. It’s best to aim for at least 1080p for a good quality video.
  • Chime Options: Most (but not all) wired doorbells can ring your home’s chime. But if it can’t (or you chose a battery-powered doorbell), you’ll need an external plug-in chime. Some doorbells include them, but for others, it’s an extra cost to factor in.
  • Cloud Subscriptions: Nearly every doorbell offers a cloud subscription. For many, like Ring and Nest, it’s a requirement for advanced features like facial recognition and motion zones. You may also need a cloud subscription to review past videos—and the more history you want, the more it will cost. If you don’t want to pay monthly fees, look for a local capture doorbell.

The Best Overall Doorbell: Eufy Video Doorbell

The Eufy Video Doorbell mounted on a door with blue-lit button.
Josh Hendrickson

You might be surprised to see a doorbell other than Nest Hello listed here, but Eufy earns the top spot thanks to a few smart design decisions. To start, unlike Nest Hello or Ring, you don’t need a cloud subscription.

The Eufy doorbell records videos locally and provides advanced features like motion zones and facial recognition without cloud processing. The wired doorbell records 2K video (like the Nest Hello), and while it can’t ring your home’s chime, it comes with a plug-in chime (unlike Ring). All-in-all it provides 90% of Nest Hello’s features for about 65% of the cost, and that’s before cloud subscriptions.

You won’t get tight integration with Google or Alexa, but the company is working on implementing those APIs. The other main feature missing is Nest Hello’s ability to recognize identities. Eufy’s notifications will show a person’s face specifically, but not identify who they are (like your brother or spouse). And unfortunately, if your doorbell wiring doesn’t work, you’ll need to buy a plug-in transformer. Otherwise, you’ll have to pick one of the battery-powered options we recommend instead of the Eufy Doorbell.

Best Overall

The Premium Pick: Nest Hello

The Nest Hello with a glowing blue button.
Josh Hendrickson

If you don’t mind cloud subscriptions, Nest Hello is the absolute best video doorbell you can buy. Thanks to cloud processing, it does a better job of correctly identifying human movement (as opposed to a cat or sunlight) than the Eufy doorbell does.

It also records continuously, works with your home’s existing chime, and remembers who people are so it can identify them by name. Because Google makes it, Nest Hello has better integration with Google Home than any other doorbell. If you have a Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, the video will appear nearly instantly on those devices when someone rings the doorbell.

Just keep in mind that Google locked Nest Hello’s best features behind the Nest Aware subscription. You can only get facial recognition, video history, and motion zones when you subscribe. If you don’t, it’s the equivalent of a digital peephole—only useful when you’re looking at it.

Best Battery Powered Doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2 on a door frame.

If your home’s doorbell wiring doesn’t work or you don’t want to mess with electricity, then a battery-powered option might be the way to go. While Ring 2 can use your home’s wiring, you can skip that and use the included battery pack instead. You’ll just need to recharge it once in a while.

The Ring 2 records 1080p video and much like the Nest requires a subscription to view previous footage. If you don’t wire the doorbell into your home, you’ll need to buy a separate chime to hear when someone rings the doorbell. Ring does have Alexa integration, which includes doorbell announcements. That could negate the need for the separate chime purchase.

Best for Battery Power

Best for Renters: Ring Peephole Camera

A Ring Peephole camera mounted to a door, with someone looking through it.

If you’re not allowed to make changes to your doorbell or other hardware, the Ring Peephole Camera is your best pick. Instead of replacing your existing doorbell, the Ring Peephole goes on your door. As the name suggests, it replaces the door’s peephole.

You can still use your peephole as you usually would, but it also doubles as a camera that can notify you of visitors. As a bonus, if someone knocks on the door, the camera will detect that and notify you.

Like the Ring 2, the Peephole camera records in 1080p resolution, uses a rechargeable battery, and features close integration with Alexa. Best of all, it comes with the necessary tools to install it. Since it doesn’t have a wiring option, you’ll have to buy a plug-in chime if you don’t want to rely on Alexa or phone notifications.

Best for Renters

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Best Smart Display for Your Kitchen or Living Room – Review Geek


  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $229

Two pictures of an adorable dog on the Nest Hub Max smart display.
Josh Hendrickson

The original Nest Hub (formerly Google Home Hub) is so fantastic, we called it the Product of the Year. Now, Google is back with the Nest Hub Max—a bigger and better take on the device.

Here’s What We Like

  • Bigger, better display
  • Bigger, better sound
  • Camera is useful

And What We Don’t

  • Still too hard to return to recipes
  • Hardware switch kills the camera and microphone

Here at Review Geek, we love the Nest Hub. The ambient screen is gorgeous, especially when combined with Google Photos. It perfectly integrates with your smarthome gadgets, and the voice assistant is also incredibly handy.

But at just seven inches, the screen is small. It’s perfect for your nightstand or office desk, but not so great for your living room if you sit across the room on a couch. At a distance, you lose some of its best screen-related features. The Nest Hub Max has solved this by adopting a bigger screen. While 10 inches might not seem like much, it makes a big difference, and it keeps everything we love about the Nest Hub (with one exception).

The Nest Hub Max also adds a camera, which brings in new features the original Nest Hub can’t match.

Hopefully, you don’t mind cameras in your home. Google takes an all-or-nothing approach to that, whether the camera and microphone are both on or off. But more on that later.

A Proactive Smart Display

One of the best features of any smarthome is voice commands. The ability to control your lights, plugs, thermostat, and more with your voice is something you don’t really need, but can’t live without once you have it.

A proactive smarthome is even better! When it anticipates your needs and turns lights on and off for you, it feels magical.

A dog in the main frame, and a profile photo of the author in the upper-right corner of the Nest Hub Max screen.
When the Nest Hub Max recognizes you, it displays your photo in the upper-right corner. Josh Hendrickson

The Nest Hub Max demonstrates that magic, in part. It includes an integrated camera and face-matching technology. After you train it to recognize you, it works for you and anticipates your needs. When I walk in the kitchen or living room in the morning, the Nest Hub Max sees me, greets me, and shows me my calendar, weather, and news. I don’t do or say anything beyond looking toward it.

I want to emphasize “toward it” as the camera uses a pretty wide angle. Often, if I’m making breakfast, the camera spots me and pulls up all that information, which is incredibly convenient. Other times, the photo slideshow continues, but a large banner notification appears with a few important bits of info, like my next calendar appointment.

The camera can also double as a security camera. This requires a Nest Aware camera subscription, which currently operates on a “per camera” basis. However, Google announced that starting in early 2020, one subscription will cover every Nest Cam you own, which will be helpful.

It Sounds Better, Too

The other benefit of moving to a bigger screen is it provides more room for the speakers. Thankfully, Google took advantage of this and upgraded the Nest Hub Max’s speakers in a major way.

The Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub side-by-side.
The Nest Hub Max is noticeably larger than the original Nest Hub. Josh Hendrickson

The Nest Hub Max is much louder than the original Nest Hub. The original is good enough to listen to when you’re right next to it, but the Max can fill your living room with music. It sounds good, too, with decent thumping bass and acceptable mix.

It won’t replace your surround system, nor will it stand up to dedicated smart speakers designed for the audiophiles (like Sonos or Echo Studio), but for the average person, it’s more than good enough.

Perfect for Your Living Room or Kitchen

Let’s address the elephant in the room. In many ways, one of our favorite features about the original Nest Hub was its distinct lack of a camera. This afforded you a sense of privacy and trust—something that doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with products from large corporations. You can safely put a Nest Hub in your bedroom and not worry about a camera hack.

A ReviewGeek YouTube video on the Nest Hub Max.
Watching YouTube is much better on the larger screen. Josh Hendrickson

The Nest Hub Max has a camera that does come with privacy concerns; however, it’s intended to be used differently. The Nest Hub is a smart display for your bedroom, but the Nest Hub Max is the smart display for your kitchen or living room. It’s the display you can see from across the room, and if you want to watch YouTube or get some recipe help, the larger screen is an immediate benefit

The recipe feature could use some help, though.

Room for Improvement

For a device so perfectly aimed at your kitchen, the Nest Hub Max is still a tiny bit lousy at recipe management. When you find a recipe you like, it works well. The steps are clear, concise, and you can navigate entirely by voice—after all, you don’t want to touch a screen with flour-covered hands.

The problem is, you can’t save recipes, nor can you easily go back to one. On one occasion, I chose a recipe I liked, started cooking, and had to stop in the middle. When I came back, I couldn’t find that recipe again; I had to use my iPad to find one that was similar enough to the original to continue.

The back of the Nest Hub Max, featuring a slider switch.
A single hardware switch controls both the cameras and the microphones. Josh Hendrickson

That’s a software issue, though, and Google can fix that. Unfortunately, my other major complaint is a hardware issue. You might like the Nest Hub Max’s size, but hate the camera. The good news is, you can flip a switch and disable it. The bad news? When you flip the switch, it also disables the microphone. It’s all or nothing, and, frankly, that’s frustrating.

Google could have (and should have) added a slide cover for the camera, and a dedicated switch to disable the microphone. If this concerns you, my recommendation is to stick with the original Nest Hub—it doesn’t have a camera, so problem solved!

For everyone else, the Nest Hub Max is a great choice for a smart display in your living room, kitchen, or any other larger room. It’s bigger and better than the original Nest Hub, which was already a fantastic device that outclassed Amazon’s devices, like the Echo Show.

If you want a smart display for the “communal rooms” of your home, this is the one to get—nothing else can compete.

Rating: 8.5/10

Price: $229

Here’s What We Like

  • Bigger, better display
  • Bigger, better sound
  • Camera is useful

And What We Don’t

  • Still too hard to return to recipes
  • Hardware switch kills the camera and microphone

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The 6 Best Wireless Gaming Mice so You Can Easily Rage-Throw Your Mouse – Review Geek

Wireless gaming mice are barely slower than wired mice—by about one millisecond. Unless you have superhuman reflexes and you can play your PC for 24 hours straight to drain the battery, there’s no reason not to upgrade to a wireless mouse.

A few years ago wireless was reserved for the most expensive and impractical mice on the market, but now there’s a great selection available to gamers at all budget levels. We’ve selected the best.

The Best Wireless Shooter Mouse: Logitech G502

The logitech G502 wireless gaming mouse.

The G502 was a long-time favorite of shooter players, who prefer a high back body for palm grips and big, easy-to-hit thumb buttons. Logitech revived the design as one of its most premium wireless options. The new version includes the familiar geometry of the original, with two thumb buttons and a “sniper” button set to adjust the sensitivity on-the-fly by default, with new 1ms USB-based wireless, adjustable interior weights, and an insane 16,000 DPI laser sensor. You’ll pay a pretty penny for it, but it’s the best option out there.

The Best Wireless Shooter Mouse

The Best Wireless MOBA Mouse: Razer Naga Epic Chroma

The side of the Naga Epic Chroma, with twelve thumb buttons.

Wireless MOBA (or MMO) mice, with their grid of thumb buttons for activating up to a dozen skills at once, are surprisingly hard to find now. Razer’s Naga Epic Chroma was the last one made with a wireless option, and it’s now available only on a few listings as refurbished or secondhand sales. It’s still the best choice around if you want that massive array of programmable buttons, but if you can’t stomach a secondhand purchase, Logitech’s G602 and newer G604 design have banks of six thumb buttons instead.

The Best Budget Wireless Gaming Mouse: Corsair Harpoon

The Corsair Harpoon Wireless gaming mouse on a pad.

There are plenty of inexpensive “gaming mice” on Amazon, but most of those come from unreliable vendors, simply swapping out normal budge mice parts with new paint jobs on the body or some shiny LEDs. The best deal from a reliable vendor comes courtesy of Corsair. The wireless version of the Harpoon is identical to its wired variant, with an appealing shooter design, wide thumb buttons, and an impressive 10,000 DPI sensor. It uses either a high-speed USB-based wireless connection or Bluetooth, for those who want to game on laptops or mobile devices. It’s also one of the lightest wireless gaming mice around at only 99 grams.

The Best Budget Wireless Gaming Mouse

The Best Long-Lasting Wireless Gaming Mouse: Logitech G603

The Logitech G603, with battery compartment exposed.
Michael Crider

I freakin’ love this mouse design, even if it has been surpassed by newer models. But the one thing it does better than any other design is last a hell of a long time, even under intense gaming sessions. The G603 can go somewhere between six months and a year of regular desktop and gaming use on two AA batteries. It’s also super-comfy and compatible with Bluetooth, in addition to its USB dongle.

The Best Long-Lasting Wireless Gaming Mouse

The Best Wireless Gaming Mouse with Wireless Charging: HyperX Pulsefire Dart

The HyperX Pulsefire Dart mouse.

There are several mice on the market that can charge their battery wirelessly, but we picked HyperX’s design because it uses standard Qi charging (the same kind that’s on your phone), unlike the expensive and proprietary solutions of the Logitech Powerplay mice and the Razer Hyperflux. The Pulsefire Dart is also a pretty great mouse in its own right, with a shooter layout, 16,000 DPI sensor, and USB-C recharging if you need to go wired. It’s a good package.

The Best Wireless Gaming Mouse with Wireless Charging

The Best Wireless Gaming Mouse for Small Hands: Razer Atherus

The Razer Atheris mouse from the front.

Gaming mice tend to be big and chunky, leaving few options for those with smaller hands. Razer’s Atheris is one of the only wireless choices out there. The sensor is “only” 7200 DPI, but it’ll last for 350 hours on its AA batteries, and it’s happy to connect over either USB or Bluetooth. It comes in Razer’s standard black, or white, or if you’re using the Force, a white stomtrooper variant.

The Best Wireless Gaming Mouse for Small Hands

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Grip6 Makes the Belt That Fits but Doesn’t Flap – Review Geek


  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $35

A man's hand holding a coffee mug and wearing a black Grip6 belt over dark slacks.

I have a problem; my pants require a belt if I want them to stay on. But belts never fit me right, and there’s nothing more annoying than a loose belt flap. Fortunately, Grip6 belts fix all of that!

Here’s What We Like

  • Fits you exactly right
  • No more freaking belt flap
  • Lasts forever

And What We Don’t

  • A little bit on the expensive side for a belt
  • Slight learning curve to put on and take off

To be clear, this isn’t a review of a product some company sent me. I purchased a $35 Grip6 belt over 1-1/2 years ago, and I still love it. I wear it every day, but you can’t tell by looking.

I love the Grip6 because it fits comfortably and solves annoyances. It might be more expensive than a cheap belt you pick up at the local superstore, but you get what you pay for.

Buckles and Ratchets Are the Worst

A brown braided belt with one section showing a looser weave.
This braided belt fit until it wore out, and the braids loosened. Josh Hendrickson

Most belts work in one of two ways: a buckle-and-hole, or ratchet style. You’re probably familiar with the buckle system. You pass the end of your belt through the metal frame, and then insert the prong into the hole you want. If you’re lucky, the holes are spaced apart in a way that provides a good fit. If you’re like me, though, you always get caught between two holes: one is too tight and uncomfortable, and the other is too loose.

A slight alternative is the buckle-and-braided belt. Rather than holes, the manufacturer braids strips of material (typically leather) together, and you slip the prong between the strips. These are better, but the braid loosens over time; you go from perfect fit to no fit at all.

The ratchet system solves this problem, for the most part. You insert the belt end into the frame, and then pull the ratchet to tighten the belt. It’s similar to the ratchets used in cargo webbing on a truck or ship. With ratchet-style belts, you can get a perfect size (or very close to it). However, you still have that pesky end flap.

A belt end flap is that extra leftover bit of belt that goes past the buckle or ratchet system. If you’re fortunate, it fits perfectly into a belt loop. If you’re like me, though, it’s always frustratingly between loops and flaps around when you walk, stand, sit, or have the nerve to exist.

I can’t stand belt flap, but thankfully, there’s a better way.

Grip6 Belt Ends Go Inside the Loop

The Grip6 belt is comprised of two pieces: a long nylon strap, and a curved metal buckle with two slim holes on either side. You slip the strap through the outside of one hole until it catches to put them together. Then, slip the free end through the outside (not the inside) of the other buckle hole.

The handy video below demonstrates the process.

Because it goes from the outside to the inside, the end flap ends up inside the belt’s loop, so the belt holds it in place. Finally, end flaps are a thing of the past! And since this is a sliding system (somewhat similar to ratchet), the belt is always exactly as tight as you need it to be.

To take off the belt, just tilt the buckle and pull the other end of the belt (as shown in the video above). It takes some practice to master, but if you wear it every day, you’ll have it down in a week or so. Eventually, you might even be able to remove it one-handed!

A Grip6 black belt with black buckle in a loop.
A year and a half later, you can hardly tell this isn’t a new belt. Josh Hendrickson

Grip6 makes sizing easy, too—you just order your pants size. If you wear a 34 waist in jeans, for instance, order the size 34 belt.

If your belt is too long for some reason, it’s easy to fix. Because it’s a nylon strap, you can just cut the end of the belt to size—just make sure you cut the end without the buckle catch. Then, use a lighter to burn off the frayed ends.

If you decide to buy more than one belt, you can mix and match buckles and straps to suit your needs. Grip6 offers a multitude of styles, colors, and buckle materials.

A Belt That Lasts

A Grip6 nylon strap and buckle side-by-side.
You can take it apart to mix and match. The t-bar on the left side locks the nylon to the buckle. Josh Hendrickson

All of this goodness doesn’t matter if the belt fails, though. I know all-too-well from trying to use buckle and braid belts. But the Grip6 will last. I can say that not only from personal experience (I’ve worn mine daily since March 2018) but also because the company offers a guarantee.

Grip6 is so confident, it calls this a “Guaran-damn-tee,” and it’s an unlimited lifetime warranty. In the words of the company:

“Any time, any reason, any condition, and if your strap or buckle does break, we would sincerely love to know how you accomplished such a feat.”

If you live in the U.S., it might also please you to know that Grip6 makes its belts there.

I’ve wracked my brain to find something to complain about, but I honestly can’t come up with anything.

The worst I can level at the belt is its learning curve—this is the first time I’ve had to watch a video to learn how to put on a belt. Still, I had it down quickly.

It’s a little pricy, but this belt is darn near perfection—and that’s worth the extra money!

Here’s What We Like

  • Fits you exactly right
  • No more freaking belt flap
  • Lasts forever

And What We Don’t

  • A little bit on the expensive side for a belt
  • Slight learning curve to put on and take off

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6 Awesome Cases to Protect Your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL – Review Geek

A photo of the Pixel 4 in one of dbrand's cases.

It’s really tempting to use the Pixel 4 and 4 XL without a case, but the universe has a way of targeting unprotected phones. Maybe we should meet the universe halfway and use a cool-looking Pixel 4 case.

A ton of super cool Pixel 4 and 4 XL cases are already on the market in just about every style and form factor. Just know that the cases listed in this article are all from reputable brands, they’re all gentle on your phone, they all have raised bezels to protect your display, and they work with wireless charging. Any other details are mostly aesthetic.

So let’s get into it. Here are six killer cases for your new Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL.

Soft and Stylish: The Official Google Pixel 4 Case

The official Pixel 4 fabric case.

Google’s official Pixel 4 or 4 XL fabric cases are badass (especially the coral-colored one). They’re made of a durable nylon fabric that you can clean by hand, they have a microfiber interior to protect your Pixel’s backside (that resale value), and they have raised edges to reduce impact on the screen when you inevitably drop your phone. Plus, they look super cool, and they work with wireless chargers.

Affordable and Customizable: dbrand Skins and Cases

A Pixel 4 in a dbrand case.

Always check dbrand before buying a phone case. dbrand sells cool skins for just about every device imaginable, and the company’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL offerings are exceptionally cool (you can even customize the “G” logo’s color). These skins are super affordable, they look awesome, and they work with wireless chargers. What’s not to love?

If you really want the protection of a case, you could always customize one of dbrand’s Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL cases—you can even put the company’s skins on the back of the case for a bit of extra customization.

It Holds Money: Maxboost mWallet Case

A Pixel 4 in a Maxboost wallet case.

If you’re more of a wallet case kind of person, then you should check out Maxboost’s wallet case for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. It’s a magnetic-latched case that has room for three credit cards (or some cash). It can also act as a kickstand and works with wireless charging if you’re into that kinda thing.

Wait, if you usually use a wallet case, then how have you been carrying your money around since buying a Pixel 4?

It Holds Money

It’s Basically Invisible: Spigen Ultra Hybrid Clear Case

A Pixel 4 in a clear Spigen case.

What if there was a phone case that didn’t look like a phone case? The Spigen Ultra Hybrid clear case for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is basically an invisible case. It’s clear, it’s slim (0.11 inches thick), and it only costs $10. It also works with wireless charging, which makes sense because a wireless charger can’t see the clear Spigen case (that’s not actually how this works).

By the way, Spigen also sells a clear Liquid Crystal case for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. It’s slightly thinner than the Ultra Hybrid case, so it’s a good option for anyone who wants to get as caseless as possible.

It’s Basically Invisible

Strong and Beefy: UAG Monarch Series Case

A Pixel 4 in a rugged UAG case.

All right, we’ve had fun looking at pretty (and invisible) phone cases. Now it’s time to look at a big, beefy phone case. The UAG Monarch Series case for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is made from super grippy rubber, has screen-protecting edges, and meets the “Military Standard for drop and shock protection.” It also works with wireless charging, which is good to hear.

Plain Jane: Speck Presidio Pro Basic Case

A Google Pixel 4 in a Speck case.

We’ve covered all kinds of styles and form factors, but sometimes it’s nice to just go back to the rudiments. Speck’s Presidio Pro case for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is super basic. It’s a dual-layer rubber case with a raised bezel for your display, it’s black, it’s soft, and it works with wireless charging. And that’s really all there is to it. Does this case even have a logo on it?

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Apple TV+ is Available Now, Don’t Forget to Activate Your Free Year – Review Geek

If you purchased Apple hardware such as an iPhone after September 10, you’re probably eligible for a free year of Apple’s new subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, which happens to be launching today (November 1).

Back in September, Apple announced that Apple TV+ would launch with eight original series and one original documentary, which would be expanded every month with new Apple originals. The content is served up ad-free and on-demand with streaming support for up to six family members. Features include the ability to download and watch content offline, and support for 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.

Pricing is set at $4.99 per month and in addition to a free trial for seven days, Apple launched a promotion alongside its announcement in September that includes a free year of Apple TV+ with any purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV. If you’ve purchased one of these qualifying devices, after you activate the device you have three months to claim the free year of Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ Offer
This is toward the bottom of Apple’s iPhone page. Apple

Folks who have purchased a new qualifying Apple device during the promotion can activate their free year of Apple TV+ by simply logging in to the service with the Apple ID that’s associated with your new device. Once logged in, you should see a tappable message that reads something like “Enjoy 1 Year Free.” Tap and enjoy.

Note that if you’re using the free year-long trial, you might want to set a reminder to unsubscribe toward the end of that trial if you don’t want to pay the $4.99 subscription fee, seeing as Apple already has your payment information. If you unsubscribe sooner, you’ll lose access to the service. Nothing unusual but it can be easy to lose track of a subscription over the course of a month much less a year.

Besides watching Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app on Apple’s own hardware, the app is also available through some Samsung smart TVs and there are plans to launch the software on more smart TVs and streaming devices going forward. Of note, the fine print on the offer for a free year of Apple TV+ also applies to refurbished iPhones including those from the iPhone Upgrade Program. It’s also not restricted to any specific location of purchase—resellers included.

“Customers who purchase any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch starting September 10 can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. Beginning November 1, customers can initiate the one-year free offer in the Apple TV app on the device running the latest software. Customers have three months after device activation to claim the offer, or if the device was purchased and activated before the launch of Apple TV+, they will have three months starting November 1. The subscription will automatically renew at $4.99 per month after one year. Customers can cancel at any time in Settings at least one day before each renewal date. Customers who cancel during the offer period will forfeit the remainder of their offer. This limited time offer applies to both new and refurbished models, including devices from the iPhone Upgrade Program, is not restricted to any specific sales channel (e.g., Apple Store, resellers) and will be available in all countries where Apple TV+ will launch. Up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription and watch using their own Apple ID and password. Only one one-year offer is available per family, regardless of the number of devices purchased.”

As mentioned, today marks the maiden voyage of Apple TV+ and whether you’ve purchased a subscription or gotten a year for free, the video streaming service should be open for business. Content available at launch includes all of the shows below, which are all-new exclusives for Apple TV+:

  • See, an epic drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind. When all humanity has lost the sense of sight, humans must adapt and find new ways to survive.
  • The Morning Show, a cutthroat drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and starring Steve Carell, explores the world of morning news and the ego, ambition and the misguided search for power behind the people who help America wake up in the morning.
  • Dickinson, a darkly comedic coming-of-age story, explores the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson.
  • For All Mankind, a new series from Ronald D. Moore, imagines what would have happened if the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centerpiece of America’s hopes and dreams.
  • Helpsters, a new children’s series from the makers of “Sesame Street,” stars Cody and a team of vibrant monsters who love to help solve problems. It all starts with a plan.
  • Snoopy in Space,  a new original from Peanuts Worldwide and DHX Media, takes viewers on a journey with Snoopy as he follows his dreams to become an astronaut. Together, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew take command of the International Space Station and explore the moon and beyond.
  • Ghostwriter, a reinvention of the beloved original series, follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature.
  • The Elephant Queen, an acclaimed documentary film and cinematic love letter to a species on the verge of extinction, follows a majestic matriarch elephant and her herd on an epic journey of life, loss and homecoming.
  • Oprah Winfrey joins the world’s most compelling authors in conversation as she builds a vibrant, global book club community and other projects to connect with people around the world and share meaningful ways to create positive change.

Here are some of the shows that will be added over the coming months:

  • Servant, a new psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.
  • Truth Be Told, a gripping new series starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul, explores America’s obsession with true crime podcasts and navigates urgent concerns about privacy, media and race.
  • Little America, inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine, brings to life the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and surprising stories of immigrants in America.
  • The Banker, a feature film inspired by a true story, stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as two African American entrepreneurs who try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s and quietly provide housing loans to the African American community in Jim Crow Texas. Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult also star.
  • Hala, a feature film and official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, follows a high school senior struggling to balance being a suburban teenager with her traditional Muslim upbringing.

Source: Apple (2) via Gizmodo

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