Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Read More
I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to review the V5PF (Play-Fi) Wireless Speaker from Wren. The sound quality was absolutely immaculate, and everything about the physical product more than justified its fairly high price tag. The one unfortunate dark spot in the nearly perfect experience came from software – an Android app built by DTS to run its proprietary Play-Fi protocol. It was ugly, amateurish, and unreliable. Two years have passed, and Wren has released the V5US, a new model that not only fixes some minor issues from previous products, but it also combines the features of its three existing variants to produce a single speaker with support for Play-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Read More
The Nexus 5 was a big hit; an unqualified success for Google. People loved that phone, and many of them are still using one. Now, there's finally a true successor to the Nexus 5 in the LG-built Nexus 5X. Hopes were understandably high for this phone, and the handful of missing features led some Nexus 5 owners to planning how they'd keep their 2013-era phones running for another year. Specs don't tell you the whole story, though. The Nexus 5X doesn't have the most RAM or highest resolution screen, but it still deserves your attention because it offers a wonderful experience for not a lot of money. Read More
The 2013 Nexus 5 was a much beloved device—it was great at a few things, good at others, and cheap enough that its shortcomings didn't seem so glaring. It struck such a good balance that many owners passed on the (humongous and expensive) Nexus 6 last year. Now, there's the Nexus 5X, a spiritual successor to the 2013 Nexus. I haven't had the 5X for long enough to give it a proper full review, but I've got some impressions to share in advance of the review. Read More
Motorola kicked off the age of Android Wear when it announced the original 360 more than six months before it was finally released. It was a beautiful piece of hardware, but was saddled with an ancient TI OMAP ARM chip and recessed lugs that led to cracked back panels. The second generation device addresses many of the shortcomings of that wearable, but some of them are still staring you in the face. Still, it might be the watch you've been waiting for. Read More
The original Moto X was a modestly sized phone with modest specs, but it's gotten more powerful and bigger each year. Now, the third-generation Moto X is a true phablet with flagship specs, but the price is still quite reasonable. After experimenting with carrier exclusives and subsidies, the company is going it alone with the new Moto X Pure Edition (AKA the Moto X Style outside the US).
This phone starts at $399 and is not being sold through any carriers. It still has Moto Maker customizations, and some of Motorola's past shortcomings have been addressed. So, has Motorola finally hit one out of the park, or is it overshadowed by more expensive phones? Read More
The original Asus ZenWatch was one of my favorite first-generation Wear devices because it had a slick design and competitive price ($200). It wasn't perfect, but it offered a good alternative to expensive devices like the G Watch R. The ZenWatch 2 is going to hit shelves in a few days, and at first glance it's very much like its predecessor.
Asus actually made a number of notable changes, but not all of them are positive. At the same time, the price is very attractive and there are two size options—the large one starts at $129.99 and the smaller will be $149.99. Read More
Google has been branching out into new areas of hardware in recent years. It bought Nest and Dropcam, and now the Google Store acts as a storefront for Google to push its own hardware, as well as products made by others. The OnHub was an unexpected twist for Google's hardware aspirations, though. It does make some sense when you think about it. Routers are usually ugly and annoying to use, but is the $200 OnHub the best way to fix that? Read More
OnePlus came out of nowhere last year with a phone that appealed to a lot of cynical smartphone-using curmudgeons. A device with great specs, capable software, and a reasonable price? What's the catch? Oh, invites. Well, the OnePlus One still managed to win a lot of fans, and now the company's followup, the OnePlus 2 is (sort of) available. This device also has an invite system, and the price is a little higher. Is it worth scrounging and begging to get an invite to buy this one, though? After all, they claim it's a "2016 flagship killer." Let's find out. Read More
Here's the thing about wireless charging: in its current form, it's a convenience. A perk, another skirmish in the eternal arms race of mobile specifications. It's nice. Wireless charging is great if you happen to sit at a desk or other stationary place, for hours at a time, and need to constantly refer to your phone. Coincidentally, that pretty much describes the entire working life of a gadget blogger, so the Tango wireless charger is great for me. Whether or not it will work for you, or be worth the considerable expense for what's basically a neat way to avoid plugging your phone in half a dozen times, will depend on how much you value that convenience. Read More