Watch this week’s Top Gear America used-car challenge


Top Gear America is back for the penultimate episode of the first season. Used car challenges were some of the highlights of the original UK edition. In our exclusive clip, Tom Ford, Antron Brown and William Fichtner run their $7,000 sports cars in a drag race. As expected, the trio chose very different cars for the challenge. Watch the video to see if a Subaru WRX’s all-wheel drive can overcome a power deficit to beat a Ford Mustang and a Chevy Corvette.

Brown and Fichtner also spend some time relaxing with an old Jeep Wagoneer. Like them, we’re really hoping Jeep will bring back the Wagoneer nameplate. Brown also drives a Maserati Levante, proving that not all family cars need be boring. This week’s guest star is actor, rapper and former host of Pimp My Ride, Xzibit.

Top Gear America airs Sundays at 8 p.m. Eastern on BBC America.

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Samsung’s fitness-focused Gear Sport smartwatch is a smaller alternative to the giant Gear S3


Samsung’s wearables family gets a little bigger today with the addition of the Gear Sport. The new fitness-focused smartwatch arrives a few days after Fitbit finally debuted its long-awaited Ionic device, the latest in a growing acceptance among hardware makers that activity tracking continues to be the prime driver in the wearables space, smartwatches, included.

The new watch isn’t won’t be replacing the Gear S3 that Samsung introduced last year — instead it’s filling out the line. It does mark a bit of a departure from that product, though — the S3 moved away from its sleek predecessor, instead opting for a giant and ruggedized take on the space in line with offerings from companies like Garmin. That said, it was a good watch — but it was way, way too big. I’m around six-foot, and I found the thing uncomfortably large. We tried it out on the wrist of our 5’4″ video producer, and it looked downright silly.

Big has worked for Samsung in the smartphone space, but the human body is less forgiving than pants pockets, and the company ultimately did itself something of a disservice by creating the watch equivalent of the Galaxy Note. Among other things, the Gear Sport is smaller than the S3, with a 42.9mm face, versus 46mm. That’s smaller, but by no means small. The Sport is, in part, a chance to appeal to a wider range of wrists, and it’s also an attempt for Samsung to reconfirm its commitment to health wearables.

After all, even Apple, a rare success in the smartwatch sector, has doubled down on health features in recent months. The new watch features built-in heart rate monitoring, does swim tracking (it also has a 5ATM water resistance rating) and takes advantage partnership with Under Armour to offer up a variety of different fitness and sleep tracking apps. There’s also automatic activity detection and built-in motivation alerts. Pretty standard fitness watch features, those.

Samsung also dropped a number of features for the smaller watch, including Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) payments (though the more popular NFC is still on-board), and the LTE phone-free option the S3 had that everyone is suddenly so excited about on the Apple Watch.

The company is also using its stage at IFA to introduce the Gear Fit2 Pro, a new version of the company’s fitness band that features most of the above mentioned tracking features, along with a more comfortable band. That was one of the one of its predecessor’s biggest issues. Samsung’s IconX ear buds are getting a new, more comfortable design as well, along with Bixby support (naturally) and different color options, including pink.

The Gear Fit2 Pro will be available starting September 15, for $200. Pricing and availability for the other two is still forthcoming.


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Samsung Gear Sport Is a Fitness Tracker and Smartwatch in One Device


You have to credit Samsung for its chutzpah. The company’s tried every way it can think of to make its smartwatches happen, refining its line of Gear products year after year. Still, not even the latest Gear S3—one of the best smartwatches on the market—was enough to put Samsung in the conversation with Apple on the smartwatch side, or Fitbit on the fitness side.

Now, Samsung’s hoping to take on both Fitbit and Apple by introducing the only device you ever need on your wrist. Ahead of the IFA trade show, the company announced the Gear Sport, a durable smartwatch that’s just as powerful as your average fitness tracker and way better looking. Samsung also announced a new version of its ugly Gear Fit fitness band, and an upgraded pair of its Gear IconX wireless earbuds. The buds might be worth a look, since they can track your workouts, store music, and chart your workout progress without the aid of your phone. Still, of the three, the Gear Sport has the best chance to really matter.

For starters, the Gear Sport looks a whole lot better than the other options on the market, including the hideous new Fitbit Ionic. Samsung gave it a round display and a slightly squared-off bezel, creating a rugged, Casio G-Shock kind of vibe. It’s compatible with any 20mm watch band, so you can dress it up or down as you please—and it’ll go four days between charges. You can tap on the 1.2-inch display to take calls, chat with Bixby, or control your smart-home devices. It also tracks workouts, plays music, and lets you go to Starbucks without your phone. At 11.6mm thick, it’s still a hefty watch, but not unreasonably so—a Rolex Daytona measures 11.2mm. It’s lighter, smaller, and slicker than the Gear S3, which was already among the best-looking smartwatches you could buy.

It’s not just a watch, though. The Gear Sport is a supercharged fitness device with improved heart-rate monitoring, automated activity tracking, and a family of apps to seamlessly store all your data and serve up recommendations, thanks to a partnership with Under Armour. It can go into the pool without breaking, and track your swimming in the process with the Speedo app. Samsung also worked with Spotify to allow you to download playlists to the watch (at least until you fill the 4 gig capacity), which gives it a big edge over the Apple Watch. It’s not nearly the fitness beast Fitbit launched, which tracks your breathing and oxygen consumption and all sorts of other crazy things, but Samsung’s offering a lot of the same features in a much more attractive package.

If we’re talking Gear Sport versus Apple Watch, the divide is simple: The Apple Watch works on Apple devices, and the Gear Sport works on Android. Sure, the Gear Sport technically supports iOS, just like the Gear S3. But you can’t do much of anything with a Gear Sport and an iPhone. (Which is fine! Buy an Apple Watch, ya goober.) For Androiders, the Gear Sport fills in nicely.

The Gear Sport’s wildcard, as always, lies within its Tizen operating system. It doesn’t have as many apps as Android Wear or Apple’s WatchOS, and using a Gear Sport means swapping Google Assistant for Bixby, which definitely qualifies as a downgrade. Still, Tizen has become dramatically more usable over the years, and at least holds its own when it comes to fitness and notifications. It’s even better if you use other Samsung devices, but works fine across the Android universe.

As of now, three different smartwatches line the top of the market. The Apple Watch is winning, and the Fitbit Ionic hopes it can win over people who care more about fitness than style. Samsung’s betting that a lot of Android users are looking for something that looks like a watch and works like a Fitbit. That’s what it made.


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Maryland school bans students from wearing Washington Redskins gear


Students at a Maryland private school have been told to leave their Washington Redskins apparel at home when football season kicks off.

Neal Brown, head of school at the Green Acres School in North Bethesda, asked parents not to send their children to school with the NFL team’s logo or name.

In the letter, Brown wrote that “the term “Redskin” is a racial slur. Its use, whether intentional or not, can be deeply insulting and offensive. It is a term that demeans a group of people.

“Similarly,” Brown’s letter continued, “the team’s logo also can reasonably be viewed as racially demeaning. At best, the image is an ethnic stereotype that promotes cultural misunderstanding; at worst, it is intensely derogatory.”

Washington’s NFL franchise has been nicknamed the “Redskins” dating back to 1933, when the team was based in Boston. Recent years have seen a vocal movement to get the team to change its name because it is considered offensive to Native Americans.

“I feel strongly that wearing clothing with the name of our local football team or the logo – that those were really against our school’s mission and our diversity statement,” Brown told Fox 5 DC.

The Green Acres School describes itself as “a national leader in progressive education for children age 3 to grade 8.”

Despite the protests, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to consider changing the team’s nickname.

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Jae Crowder Sported Cavs Gear While The Kyrie Irving Trade Has Stalled


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The blockbuster deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas hit a major roadblock over the weekend when Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cavs had serious concerns about Thomas’ injured hip following a team physical he underwent in Cleveland.

Under league rules, the deal could potentially be voided, but it seems more likely that the Cavs are simply using this development to squeeze a few more assets out of the Celtics. None of this appears to be bothering Jae Crowder, who was an underrated component of a trade package that will ostensibly give the Cavs just the type of 3-and-D wing player they covet to help match up against the Warriors.

Crowder was spotted working out at Georgia Tech on Sunday decked out in Cavs gear.


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