Lexus NX 300 Review: Why It’s a Best-Selling SUV

Author: Bill Howard ExtremeTechExtremeTech

The Lexus NX, the smallest SUV in Lexus’ lineup, is a most credible offering, with a nicely trimmed cockpit, long-distance comfort for four adults, and a choice of mainstream, sporty, or hybrid versions. The NX is the best seller in the compact/luxury category thanks to Lexus’ reputation for quality and a base price several thousand dollars less than its primarily German competitors.

The model year 2018 midlife refresh further improves the NX, and addresses shortcomings such as a small navigation screen and quirky touchpad infotainment controller. The Lexus Safety System is now standard, including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. But blind spot detection still requires a separate package costing $ 980 to $ 4,705.

Behind the Wheel of the NX 300h Hybrid

I drove the hybrid version of the 2017 NX, which came nicely equipped at $ 51,187 list, including more than $ 10,000 in options on the 2017 model. The cockpit seating and trim was finished in buttery-gold and black leather. Front seat cabin overhead lighting works by pushing the light itself, not a switch you have to hunt for. The dome light over the second row seats is a soft, diffused moon glow. Lift the top off a sunglasses bin in the console and the underside is a mirror. Minor niceties, but you notice. The rear seats recline, and rear seatbacks power-fold up and down.

Total output of the 2.5-liter gasoline engine and the hybrid electric motor is 194 hp, propelling 4,180 pounds (21 pounds per hp, far from class-leading). The gasoline engine powers just the front wheels of the hybrid version. The rear is electric-drive only, adequate unless you’re driving a lot in heavy snow areas. I found the acceleration just-adequate at about 9 seconds 0-60 mph. Once the car reaches highway speed, the noises common to a hybrid die down and it’s a quiet ride.

Standard wheels and tires are 225/65R17, with a 225/60R18 option available. The 65 or 60 series profile, meaning the sidewall is 65 or 60 percent as high as the tire is wide, is relatively high. That means you are far less likely to suffer pothole damage relative to competitors who offer 50 or 45 series tires. A 65 series tire would hurt your lap times on the racetrack, which is where you’re most likely not going in a Lexus SUV. And you’ll feel better hearing how your X3-owning co-worker has already blown out two of his $ 400, 45-series tires. This is why the word schadenfreude was invented.

The seat trim is attractive and comes in several color combinations. Here, Creme with Black. Our favorite is deep Rioja Red with Black.

Driver Hemmed in By the Console

The driving position feels cramped because of the largish center console, providing just 22 inches from the the console to the armrest, or only a few inches more than a coach class airplane seat. Competitors aren’t this snug. The side of the console is nicely padded if the driver rests his or her leg there.

The center stack is a busy place, too, with an overhanging top section that bring switches and buttons closer to the driver and passenger. The 7-inch LCD is set well back (toward the windshield) and felt small; the 2018 has a standard 8-inch screen, or 10.3 inches if you get navigation. The touchpad with a push-to-click feature is difficult to use, so Lexus has reworked it for 2018 with a larger surface and better tracking, the company says. You can also use voice input, but there’s no touch-screen input.

Lexus Enform, the infotainment system, takes effort to learn and then operate. Plus, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Lexus and Toyota fear with some justification that its system would look much that of every other car when running the Apple/Android apps (it would). As of 2017, Lexus bundled the Scout navigation phone app for buyers who want to replicate smartphone navigation on the car’s bigger LCD.

The rear seats on NX are roomy for two adults (there are seat belts for three). But rear seat lacks USB jacks or a 12-volt adapter.

The NX Trim Walk

Unlike many cars, the Lexus NX has three parallel but not ascending trim lines — that is, the NX does not have good-better-best variants, each with more gear, leather, and gadgets. Instead, you choose your driving and economy preferences, and then you choose from the handful the options packages.

The 2018 Lexus NX variants are:

  • The gas-engine Lexus NX 300, $ 37,385 including $ 945 freight, comes with a 235-hp turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive. It is $ 1,400 less for front-drive. This is the mainstream NX model and is rated at 22 mpg city / 28 highway / 24 overall mpg for all-wheel drive. Front drive is 22 / 28 / 25.
  • The NX 300 F Sport costs $ 40,920 for AWD. It has the same engine and adds bolstered sporty seats and driver-adjustable electronically generated engine sounds (Active Sound Control), plus a G-force meter and turbo boost gauge for the multi-information display. The F Sport has the same 7.2-second 0-60 time as the base NX 300, but slightly different fuel economy, 22 / 27 / 24.
  • The hybrid NX 300h, $ 39,330, is AWD-only. If you want an upscale compact SUV that is also a hybrid, this is pretty much your only choice as of the end of 2017. In a week’s city and highway driving, I averaged 33 mpg with NX 300h. The hybrid’s EPA rating is 33 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 31 mpg combined on premium gas for both 2017 and 2018 models. That’s one-third better economy the the gasoline-powered NX. On an annual basis, the EPA says would burn $ 1,250 of gasoline, while the non-hybrid NX models would use $ 1,900 worth.

The pick-no-more-than-one options include the Comfort, Premium, or Luxury packages. The Comfort Package, $ 980, adds blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, heated and ventilated front seats, and auto-dimming outside mirrors with auto-tilt-down in reverse.

The Premium Package, $ 3,270, includes the Comfort Package features plus a moonroof, 18-inch (instead of 17-inch) alloy wheels, enhanced LED daytime running wheels, front seat memory, and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The Luxury Package, $ 4,705, incorporates the Comfort and Premium Package features and includes black shadow wood interior trim, perforated leather trim, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated leather-trim steering wheel. People who cross-shop mainstream SUVs may be surprised that it costs $ 3,270 to get seat-memory buttons, or $ 4,705 to get your main mirror to automatically dim, but that’s how Lexus currently arranges the placement of desirable features.

There is also a Navigation Package, $ 1,800, with a 10.3-inch display (instead of 8 inches), Destination Assist (live operators for telematics), premium audio with 10 speakers instead of eight, a second USB port, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with HomeLink (garage door openers). A Towing Package, $ 160, allows pulling up to 1,500 pounds; many direct competitors tow 3,500 to 4,000 pounds while mainstream compact SUVs (like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V) are more often limited to 1,500. These two options are independent of your Comfort-Premium-Luxury (or none) choices.

Note that ad teasers say $ 35,985 buys a Lexus NX, meaning the base NX front-drive without shipping. The base price of the second-best-seller Audi Q5 starts at $ 41,500, with standard all-wheel-drive. The most promising new-for-2018 model, the BMW X3, has a base price of $ 42,450, also for all-wheel-drive.

The Lexus NX measures 183 long, 74 inches wide (mirrors folded in), and 65 inches high. That puts it squarely in the compact SUV class, meaning 180-190 inches long.

Should You Buy the Lexus NX 300? Which One?

The Lexus NX should be part of your initial consideration set because of its clear price advantage, about $ 3,500 to $ 4,000 over the Germans if you compare all-wheel-drive vehicles comparably equipped. This could be your car if you want room for four adults on long drives, if you want a hybrid, if you want integrated telematics, if you want a well-priced premium car, or you want a brand ranked high for reliability. It could also be your car if you don’t like being hassled by pushy sales reps; Lexus dealerships rate high on customer satisfaction.

The NX is not your car if you want lots of cargo room without folding down the rear seats; Lexus comes up short because of its steeply raked rear window. Nor is it your car if you want sporty driving; sport seats and bigger road wheels do not a sportster make. The primary drivers should sit for a while in the cockpit and see if they’re comfortable with the space behind the wheel; it’s snug.

The changes for 2018 seem minor, but should make driver and occupants more comfortable: a bigger center stack LCD especially with navigation, larger and improved touchpad, and the now standard Lexus Safety Suite, needing only an options package to complete the most needed safety features.

Lexus NX has been at or near the top in sales it debuted in 2015.

Lexus vs. the Competition

Who is the competition? The Volvo XC60, the Lincoln MKC, and the Buick Envision share luxury attributes with the NX; the XC60 offers a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. If you want something sportier, look at the others in the top five on sales: Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3. The Porsche Macan is often regarded as the best small SUV, but like Lexus is saddled with just 18 cubic feet of cargo bay capacity and the Porsche costs more. The base Macan is $ 47,000, but you can option your baby Porsche up to $ 132,000 (leather-edged carpet mats for $ 650, anyone?). The Jaguar F Pace, new in mid-2016, is like the Macan: excellent handling, luxury cockpit, and priced higher than the norm. The Infiniti QX50 has a strong engine and drivetrain; a long-awaited redesign comes next year.

If you’re partial to Lexus, look also at the midsize Lexus RX, 10 inches longer than the NX’s 182 inches, with an even tastier cockpit, and about $ 8,000 costlier. (There is no subcompact Lexus SUV, not yet at least.) As for the NX, the most desirable version may be the hybrid 300h followed by the regular NX; the NX F Sport isn’t as sporty as other Lexuses with their F Sport badging. If you’re offered a 2017 NX on closeout, make sure you understand the three or four things you aren’t getting — a bigger center stack LCD, a bigger touchpad, blind spot detection unless you buy an options package (though the same goes for 2018), a second USB jack unless you buy the Navigation package — and factor that into your decision.

Most of all, remember: There are very few unhappy Lexus owners. They typically love their cars, the dealer experience, and the reliability.

Copertura fibra ottica Open Fiber: annunciate le altre 82 città che saranno raggiunte nei prossimi mesi


Copertura fibra ottica Open Fiber: annunciate le altre 82 città che saranno raggiunte nei prossimi mesi

La rete FTTH di Open Fiber a 1 Gbps raggiungerà decine di altre città nel giro di qualche mese: ecco la lista della località che saranno coperte con la fibra ottica.

Open Fiber, società partecipata al 50% da Enel e Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, operatore che non vende servizi in fibra ottica direttamente al cliente finale ma attivo esclusivamente sul mercato all’ingrosso (offre l’accesso alla sua rete a tutti gli operatori di mercato interessati), ha annunciato quali città saranno raggiunte per prime con la connettività in fibra ottica FTTH a 1 Gbps.

Le indicazioni di copertura appena pubblicate da Open Fiber sul sito ufficiale non si riferiscono ai primi due bandi Infratel Italia (per le aree bianche o a fallimento di mercato) di cui ormai si sta già (quasi) tutto bensì ai piani di sviluppo della società.

Nell’articolo Fibra ottica: Open Fiber chiarisce i suoi piani futuri avevamo fatto il punto sulla copertura in fibra di Open Fiber.

Copertura fibra ottica Open Fiber: annunciate le altre 82 città che saranno raggiunte nei prossimi mesi

Oltre alle 12 città già raggiunte dalla fibra FTTH Open Fiber (Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Catania, Genova, Milano, Napoli, Padova, Palermo, Perugia, Torino, Venezia), la società ha annunciato quest’oggi ulteriori 82 città (e non soltanto di grandi dimensioni): Alessandria, Ancona, Arezzo, Beinasco, Bergamo, Bollate, Brescia, Bresso, Brindisi, Buccinasco, Busto Arsizio, Casalecchio di Reno, Castel Maggiore, Castenaso, Cesano Boscone, Cesena, Cinisello Balsamo, Collegno, Cologno Monzese, Como, Cormano, Cornaredo, Corsico, Cusago, Ferrara, Firenze, Foggia, Forlì, Garbagnate Milanese, Grosseto, Grugliasco, Imola, La Spezia, Latina, Lecce, Livorno, Lucca, Matera, Messina, Modena, Moncalieri, Monza, Nichelino, Novara, Novate Milanese, Opera, Orbassano, Parma, Pavia, Pero, Pescara, Peschiera Borromeo, Piacenza, Pioltello, Pisa, Prato, Ravenna, Reggio di Calabria, Reggio nell’Emilia, Rho, Rimini, Rivoli, Rozzano, Salerno, San Donato Milanese, San Giuliano Milanese, San Lazzaro di Savena, Sassari, Segrate, Sesto San Giovanni, Settimo Milanese, Settimo Torinese, Siracusa, Taranto, Terni, Treviso, Trezzano sul Naviglio, Udine, Varese, Venaria Reale, Verona, Vimodrone.Entro il 2022 Open Fiber ha in programma di coprire un totale di 271 città italiane lungo l’intero stivale.
Al momento tutto tace per quanto riguarda il ventilato accordo tra Open Fiber e Acea per la città di Roma: Fibra ottica Open Fiber a 1 Gbps anche a Roma grazie all’accordo con Acea.
Open Fiber ha deciso di seguire le evoluzioni della tecnologia GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) in modo tale da creare in Italia una rete alternativa, completamente in fibra, “a prova di futuro”.

Le tecnologie previste nello standard FTTH sono GPON che permette, sulla carta, di arrivare fino a 2,5 Gbps in downstream e 1,25 Gbps in upstream ma le future evoluzioni saranno le seguenti:

– XG-PON (10 Gbps in downstream/2,5 Gbps in upstream)
– XGS-PON (10 Gbps in downstream/10 Gbps in upstream)
– NG-PON2 (minimo 4×10 Gbps in upstream/2,5 Gbps in upstream)

Come primo passo, evidentemente, Open Fiber ha deciso di puntare sulla fibra FTTH e sulla tecnologia GPON per poi scalare verso l’alto.

Per consentire la raccolta delle utenze in modo efficiente Open Fiber ha introdotto un elemento di rete costituito da un armadio di permutazione (coincidente con il nodo PFS) che consente di collegare, in modo flessibile, ogni cliente con le risorse ottiche dell’operatore con cui l’utente ha sottoscritto il servizio.

In corrispondenza delle utenze da servire (abitazioni, uffici, aziende) vengono invece allestiti punti di terminazione detti PTA mentre a valle dei condomini PTE: Fibra ottica fino a 1 Gbps: la copertura Open Fiber cresce. Come vengono raggiunti i condomini.

Intel Announces XMM 8060 5G & XMM 7660 Category 19 LTE Modems, Both Due in 2019

Author: Anton Shilov AnandTech

Intel last week announced that its first commercial 5G modem, the XMM 8060, is now under development and will ship in a couple of years. As part of the announcement, the company reiterated its plans to offer a top-to-bottom XMM 8000 family of 5G modems for various applications, including smartphones, PCs, buildings and vehicles. In addition, the company announced its XMM 7660 Cat-19 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps, which will be available in 2019.

At present, Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform is used to test 5G technologies in different locations around the world. For example, one of such devices installed aboard the Tallink Silja Europa cruise ship is used to enable Internet connectivity to passengers while in port in Tallinn, Estonia, (where another 5G MTP is installed) and the nearby area. Meanwhile, Intel’s 5G Modem for client applications is evolving as well. Intel said that devices powered by the silicon can now make calls over the 28 GHz band. The 5G MTP will be used for its purposes for a while and will even gain new capabilities over time, but the company is working on a family of commercial modems that will be used for mass applications sometimes in 2019 and onwards. The Intel XMM 8000-series multi-mode modems will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands, combining support for existing and next-gen radios. Intel does detail the whole lineup two years before the launch but indicates that it will be able to address smartphones, PCs, vehicles, and fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE).

One of the first members of the Intel XMM 8000 family will be the XMM 8060 modem. This unit will support full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as 2G, 3G/CDMA, and 4G modes, thus enabling devices to work in different locations, including large cities with 5G standalone NR (this may be a distant future) as well as rural areas that have 2G or 3G networks. Intel expects commercial devices based on the XMM 8060 to ship in mid-2019, a little bit ahead of 5G networks deployment in 2020.

Since 5G is not going to become widespread for a number of years to come, there will be demand for Gigabit speeds over LTE from various parties in 2018 – 2020. Intel announced its first-gen Cat 16 Gigabit LTE modem — the XMM 7560 — earlier this year and at present the chip is being tested by smartphone makers. A good news is that it now can officially achieve Gigabit-class speeds (presumably in an actual device), so expect commercial products on its base sometimes next year. In the meantime, Intel is prepping the XMM 7660, its second-generation Gigabit LTE modem capable of up to Cat 19 (1.6 Gbps) downlink connections. Intel hasn’t disclosed much in the way of details on this one, but expect a natural set of features here — advanced MIMO, carrier aggregation, 256QAM, loads of bands support, etc. Intel expects commercial devices to adopt the XMM 7660 in 2019. By that time, leading carriers will implement many of the features necessary for both 5G and Gigabit LTE, so the modem will be able to achieve its speeds in many locations.

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German watchdog bans smartwatches for kids.

Author: edfu777 [AT] hotmail [DOT] com (Nick Farrell) – Home

Watchdog growls and stupid parents

German regulators have banned the sale of smartwatches designed for kids saying that the gear is more of a “spying device” than a toy.

Telecoms regulator the Federal Network Agency urged parents that were dumb enough to buy one of the toys should destroy them.

A report published by the Norwegian Consumer Council in mid-October revealed serious flaws in several of the devices that could easily allow hackers to seize control.

Doing so could grant attackers access to both real-time and historical locational data, as well as a wealth of personal information.

Apparently, some parents thought it was a good idea to strap a low-cost, internet-enabled microphone and a GPS tracker onto their kids. After all you don’t need security standards for that sort of thing do you? Just as well, they don’t have them. Neither does it matter that the firms making the watches don’t promise to sell your kids’ data to the nearest paedophile in your area.

Marketed to children ages five to 12, the devices typically offer several functions inherent to smartphones, such as voicemail, contact lists, and the ability to make and receive calls… you know, routine stuff that kindergartners need. According to the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) one of the kids’ smartwatch brands was even found by the BEUC to be transmitting children’s locations—unencrypted—to servers in China.

BEUC’s director general, Monique Goyens, called for European regulators to act immediately, warning that parents were likely unaware that instead of protecting children, the smartwatches were leaving them vulnerable. “These watches should not find their way into our shops”, she said.

It looks like the Germans have beat everyone to the punch. In a statement, the agency said it had already taken action against several firms offering such watches on the internet.

“Via an app, parents can use such children’s watches to listen unnoticed to the child’s environment and they are to be regarded as an unauthorised transmitting system”, said Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency.