Matter’s first update won’t light up your smart home, but the next one might

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) is rolling out the first major update to the Matter standard. Well, it's supposed to be a major update, but it's more like a minor patch.

Matter 1.1, as it’s called, won't add any new new device types to the support list, nor will there be any major changes to the individual platforms like Apple HomeKit. The CSA, instead, is making three relatively small changes affecting both companies and users alike, and those changes mostly affect the former. 

Change number one is it is now easier for smart home manufacturers to get started with Matter. The standard’s specifications reportedly have been made clearer allowing for “better guidance” in growing “support for new device types.” The CSA has also made it easier for developers to certify their products so they can get into the hands of customers faster. 

Finally, Matter 1.1 will be fixing a bug affecting Intermittently Connected Devices or ICD, which are “typically battery-powered” gadgets like motion sensors and door locks. Moving forward, it will be less likely an ICD “will be reported as offline” whenever a user or platform interacts with it. But, as far we understand the CSA, the bug isn’t completely gone. The error can still happen.

And that’s pretty much it for Matter 1.1. Two developer-centric changes and one for the users that doesn’t solve the problem at all. It just lowers the chance of the error occurring.

Analysis: the hype is gone

This update is disappointing, to say the least. It’s been seven months since Matter officially launched, and it’s pretty safe to say the hype surrounding the standard has effectively died. Roll out, too, has been slow. Google, for example, has only recently added Matter support to its Google Home app on iOS. And it took Amazon nearly four months to finally roll out Matter to its Echo lineup

Plus, multi-admin control is still a problem, according to The Verge. It isn’t easy to switch your gadget from one platform to another if it’s already connected to one, for instance. And that's something that doesn’t make any sense because the whole point of Matter – its reason for existence – is to have better interoperability between smart home platforms.

It appears the CSA is allowing smart home brands to update their individual platforms at their own discretion. The question is: when are they going to be updating? In all honesty, who knows?

The CSA states it’s going to remain committed to its goal of a “twice-yearly release cycle” for future updates. It’s currently working on “the next version of Matter”, bringing in “new features and device type support.” We contacted the CSA for more information on Matter 1.2, as we’ll call it. This story will be updated at a later time.

If you want to know what works with the standard, check out TechRadar’s list of the smart home devices that play nice with Matter.

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Best Ultrabooks 2020: the top thin and light laptops reviewed

Owning one of the best Ultrabooks on the market is more than just about looking cool. Thin, light and elegant, Ultrabooks not only ooze sophistication in the design department; they also boast power as well – and a lot of it. That excellent combination of portability and power is what makes them a favorite among professionals, especially those who are always on the go.

The best Ultrabooks 2020 has to offer can handle a hefty workload despite their svelte form, thanks to the best processors and SSDs they hide within. In fact, they’re so powerful more creative professionals rely on them for demanding tasks like video editing and 3D design. What’s more is that these Ultrabooks tend to generally have a great battery life, so they’ll go a long way on a single charge.

If you’re ready to invest in one of the best Ultrabooks of 2020, this list is for you. We have gathered all the best ones on the market, each of which we’ve tested and reviewed ourselves so you know you can count on whichever one you choose.

HP Elite Dragonfly

The HP Elite Dragonfly tops many of our lists this year, including the best Ultrabooks list.

If you’re a traveling professional, and you’re looking for the best of the best this 2020, then you will be hard-pressed to find anything that will rival the HP Elite Dragonfly. Garnering our coveted five-star rating, this laptop tops many of our lists this year, including the best Ultrabooks list. It’s no surprise, as it delivers a deadly combination of incredible features like a sublime keyboard and amazing speakers, raw power, portability, a beautiful design and a long battery life. Admittedly, it’s pricier than many of its competition; but if you’ve got the funds, it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly

Huawei Matebook 13

For some years now, Huawei has been sitting in the shadows, biding its time to take on the best Ultrabooks. But now, their time in the limelight is here. Like the Huawei MateBook X Pro before it, the Huawei Matebook 13 packs a ton of powerful hardware into a gorgeous shell, all while offering it at a price that’s more than reasonable. Those discrete graphics are also worth a mention – the Huawei Matebook 13 may be one of the tiniest laptops out there to come with an MX150 GPU. It’s not hard to see why the Huawei Matebook 13 is the best Ultrabook right now.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 has been king of the Ultrabooks for years, and while it’s been unseated by the Huawei MateBook 13, it remains one of the Ultrabooks to beat in 2020. This time around, Dell has moved the webcam from the bottom of the display back to the top, fixing one of the biggest flaws that held back the XPS 13 for years. Add the updated internal components to the mix, and the Dell XPS 13 still makes the best Ultrabooks list – even in the face of tough competition.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Sometimes an Ultrabook arrives that totally changes everything. When the 2018 model of the Huawei MateBook X Pro hit the scene, it did just that. This beautiful Ultrabook brings high-end components into an elegantly designed package that puts even the MacBook Pro to shame. It really is one of the best Ultrabooks on the market, despite its successor’s attempts to best it with an Intel Whiskey Lake processor. It’s still the 2018 model that’s captured our computing cores.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro

HP Spectre x360

If an arresting Ultrabook housing 2-in-1 functionality and a ton of power satisfies what you’re looking for, it’s hard to find a better laptop than the HP Spectre x360. This slim and light Ultrabook isn’t just filled with the latest Intel Whiskey Lake processors and plenty of RAM. It also might just be the most exquisite laptop you can buy today. The HP Spectre x360 won’t just get you through your workload, but will also make you smart and stylish in the process – leaving no doubt that it’s well-deserving of its lofty spot on our best Ultrabooks 2020 list.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Surface Laptop 2

The original Surface Laptop hit the market just about two years ago, and while it was a great Ultrabook, it was affected by relatively weak internals and Windows 10 S. Fortunately, Microsoft rolled out the Surface Laptop 2 in late 2018, offering quad-core processors and the full-fat version of Windows 10. It’s through these fundamental improvements that the Surface Laptop 2 is able to bring the purest Windows 10 experience to a laptop – not to mention, join the ranks of the best Ultrabooks available right now – at a price that won’t make you run in the opposite direction.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

Lenovo Yoga C930

The Lenovo Yoga C930 has quite a few of the makings of the best Ultrabook – from an absurd 14.5 hours of battery life and dual Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports to internal components that will easily handle those daily productivity tasks. That’s without even considering it’s a 2-in-1 that offers form versatility so you can squeeze in some light gaming and movie-watching once you’re done working. It has a few cherries on top as well, specifically the integrated self-charging stylus and the fab speaker system.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C930

Razer Blade Stealth

Razer has made quite a name for itself in the gaming world. Yet, with the Razer Blade Stealth, the green-themed manufacturer wants consumers to know that they’re more than just a company “for gamers, by gamers.” This Ultrabook will absolutely change your mind with its 13.3-inch, QHD+ beauty. You can no longer choose to get a 4K screen, but the performance this Ultrabook provides is more than worth the compromise – especially given how gorgeous the chassis is.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

Lenovo yoga 730

Durability meets portability and performance in this slim laptop with a reasonable price tag. The Lenovo Yoga 730 isn’t the close-to-perfect machine many premium buyers may be in the market for, with a few less-than-favorable issues like heavier weight, average battery life and weak speakers. However, this laptop will easily take you through your weekly workload. Lenovo then rounds out that performance with a reliable keyboard and trackpad, sturdy hinges to go between tablet and laptop mode, and a display with thin bezels.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 730

HP Envy x360 13 (2019)

There are so many exciting reasons why the HP Envy x360 (2019) should be on our best Ultrabooks list, and its sleek, stylish design is the least of them. This 13-inch 2-in-1 has a premium build quality, touts 9 hours of video playback and a performance that will tackle most of your schoolwork and projects with ease, all without burning a hole in your pocket.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 (2019)

Michelle Rae Uy, Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

Image credit: TechRadar

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Best Ultrabooks 2020 at a glance:

  1. Huawei Matebook 13
  2. Dell XPS 13
  3. Huawei MateBook X Pro (2018)
  4. HP Spectre x360
  5. Surface Laptop 2
  6. Lenovo Yoga C930
  7. Razer Blade Stealth
  8. Lenovo Yoga 730
  9. HP Envy x360 13 (2019)
  10. Asus ZenBook UX310

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