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LG Heart Rate Monitor Earphone review: good fitness gadget, poor earphones

Heart rate monitors are no longer the exclusive domain of fitness gadgets. The last 12 months have seen sensors make their way into smartphones and wearables, replacing for many of us the need for a standalone pulse monitor. The problem is a lot of these options have been unable to deliver accurate heart rate mesurements, partly because those sensors have to maintain contact with your skin; if they slip, then the readout skips. Maybe LG has the answer, then: Put heart rate monitoring technology into a pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you're like me and are constantly wired for sound during workouts, what could possibly be better?

LG's Heart Rate Monitor earphones link to an iOS/Android app, with absolutely nothing burdening your wrists. LG's fitness app can even add your exercise sessions to a step counter, so long as you buy LG's optional Lifeband Touch fitness band. What's more, the app also integrates with other fitness apps like RunKeeper. It all sounds great on paper, but there's a problem: the headphones don't actually sound good. Let me explain.

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2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1

If you enjoy taking in the summer's big music festivals from the comforts of your sofa, you've likely already peeped this year's Coachella and Bonaroo livestreams. The in-home viewing continues this weekend with Chicago's annual Lollapalooza event, kicking off Friday, August 1st at 2PM CT on Red Bull TV. Over the course of the weekend, there's three channels of over 100 performances on tap, with interviews and behind-the-scenes content peppered in. In addition to web access, the festivities will be beamed to Apple TV, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TVs and a range of mobile devices for a truckload of streaming options. Notable acts set to take the stage between Friday and Sunday include Outkast, Kings of Leon, Skrillex, Phantogram, Broken Bells and The Avett Brothers -- just to name a few.

[Photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella]

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It appears EA and Microsoft have been paying attention to Netflix and PlayStation Now (which opens its doors to all PS4 owners in two days), and are combining to offer a different subscription service for gamers. The EA Access pass is available (currently in beta) for $5 per month or $30 per year and gives subscribers unlimited access to a "Vault" of games. Right now that list covers FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, with the promise of more titles soon. Not enticed by the promise of last year's games plus 10 percent discounts on EA games, DLC, and in-game currency? They're also adding in early access trials for this year's round of EA sports games (Madden, NHL, NBA Live, FIFA) and Dragon Age: Inquisition that open up five days before the games go on sale and let your progress carry over to the retail version.

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Airbnb has realized the next step is to start heavily targeting business users. Uber has clearly come to the same conclusion, and just like the subletting startup, it's bringing direct billing to business customers. The centralized system would not only cover payments, but would eliminate the need to track receipts. Companies would automatically receive all the necessary trip details after their employee finished a ride. Even if your company doesn't choose to do direct billing, you can still connect your Uber and Concur accounts to have e-receipts automatically filed on your behalf. We won't lie and say Uber for Business is the most exciting development in the world, but it certainly makes managing your expenses a lot easier.

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Some of the main items that Beats Music claims set it apart from the competition are its personalization and curated content. Looking to boost both of those areas, Apple's pending purchase has tossed in a few tweaks. First, if you're familiar with the service, you know that upon launching the app for the first time, you're prompted to select a few of your favorite artists and genres to give Beats a clue to your audio sensibilities. Those selections are now editable, making adding and deleting easy for evolving tastes. You're also able to access a list of recently played tracks from the handy Sentence feature -- just in case you forgot to mark 'em for later. More playlists have also been added to the Just for You section, increasing the amount and range of recommendations. All of the recent additions are available now through the service's mobile and web apps.

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Microsoft OneNote on iPhone

Like it or not, school is fast approaching. However, Microsoft thinks it can make the fall semester a little more bearable with big updates to OneNote on both iOS and the Mac. Both apps now let you attach files to your notes; you can include audio recordings from a lecture to add some context to what you wrote, for example. If you add a PDF printout, you can also jot down annotations.

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If you go all out connecting your house, you can end up spending as much upgrading a smart home as it costs to build a dumb one. But you don't need a ton of proprietary gear to pimp your crib with 21st-century tech. Your smartphone and tablet already serve to consolidate your digital life, and they can do the same with your lights, power outlets, air conditioning and nanny cam -- even your door locks and Crock-Pot can be app-controlled, if you so please. Join us below to explore affordable options for your entire home, all of which can be installed yourself.

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Today, The Last of Us is getting ready to take over PlayStation 4 consoles everywhere, and soon it may also be conquering... Broadway. Well, maybe not so much. But Naughty Dog's popular title did make its debut on the live stage, with a show called "The Last of Us: One Night Live" which took place in Santa Monica, California. Sony explains that the play was in celebration of the game's arrival on the PlayStation 4, so giving fans a way to experience the story through a theatre performance was an obvious choice ahead of the launch. "The Last of Us: One Night Live," directed by Neil Druckmann, featured music from the score, read of "key scenes" and a Q&A from the cast and crew involved in the show. Sure, it probably would have been better to actually be there, but Sony was kind enough to let you re-live the performance in the video after the break.

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Summer has long been the season of vacations, beach outings and BBQs, and that means documenting every possible moment on camera. It helps to have your tunes close at hand, too, in case the party's about to jump off. The task of copying over playlists and organizing photos in the aftermath can be a pain, but younity's personal cloud service could help simplify the task. Instead of syncing and storing data on the cloud, it turns all your devices into dedicated media streamers. That means you have centralized access to all of your files, regardless of which gadget they're on -- they just need to be connected to the internet. Younity also added GoPro integration, letting you discover, catalog and instantly share camera content right from your iPhone or iPad. That's why this week, one lucky Engadget reader will be winning a GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition camera and an iPad mini. All you need to do is head down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this adventurous combo courtesy of the folks at younity.

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Windows 8 PCs

Microsoft just can't catch a break from China these days. The country's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has raided Microsoft offices in four cities over concerns that the company may be violating anti-monopoly laws. While the government isn't going into great detail about the raids, it's linking the investigation back to companies' complaints about "compatibility issues" with Windows and Office -- shades of Microsoft's EU antitrust woes, anyone?

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