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Mobile Accessory Reviews

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Xtorm review: Good but expensive USB-C hubs, chargers, and cables for the European market

There are many perks to living in the US: Google services availability, frequent Amazon deals, lower tech prices (on average), and the fact that many tech companies are based there, meaning you never have to worry about plugs and voltages when buying your gadgets. Cross the Atlantic and the story gets a bit more complicated. Each time we, the poor souls living in Europe and countries that follow the European electricity standards, want to buy something new that isn't officially available for us, we have to make sure it works on 220-240V and that as a bonus, it has an EU plug so we don't have to use a small adapter that will add weight and could cause the whole thing to fall off the wall at any time.

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FrontRow review: An interesting concept, but not a great buy at $399

Cameras are absolutely essential to our lives these days. After all, what would we do without our Snapchat Stories and Instagram selfies? How else would we communicate with the outside world? There's a reason why cameras have been crammed into everything from smartwatches to quadcopters; the ability to capture our memories so easily and in such great detail, then share them with anyone we'd like to, is simply amazing.

Ubiquiti Networks, a company most famous for its WiFi equipment, thinks so too. Nearly two months ago, it debuted the FrontRow, a camera that you wear on your body so that you can capture great moments without compromising your own live experience.

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Phiaton BT 390 review: A competent, compact pair of Bluetooth headphones that sounds great

You all know how I feel about Bluetooth audio products by now, especially my opinions about the inverse relationship between portability/convenience and sound quality. It's true that most of my Bluetooth audio reviews here on AP have been negative, however, what I have today completely blew my expectations. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to judge anything before I actually get it and test it, but I'm jaded, so I was very surprised here.

Meet the Phiaton BT 390, an extremely competent pair of Bluetooth headphones that pack very good and balanced sound, and even amazing battery life, into a foldable, portable body.

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FLIR One Pro review: An excellent mobile thermal camera, for a price

FLIR's name is essentially synonymous with thermal cameras from cheap mobile sensors all the way up to industrial and military applications. The company first got into mobile devices with an iPhone-specific camera case and later a dongle. FLIR One came to Android a few years ago with a microUSB-equipped version, but that was right at the dawn of USB Type-C. Consequently, that first camera became obsolete quickly. Now there's a new FLIR One, actually two of them. The third-gen FLIR One costs $199 and the FLIR One Pro will run you $399.

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Divoom Timebox Mini review: Fun, but ultimately underwhelming

I've grown jaded to the Bluetooth speaker market lately, but I always hop on the chance to review a new one in the admittedly futile hope that it will exceed my general expectations of the product segment. I get really excited when I'm pitched something that has a truly unique aspect to it — and no, I don't consider durability or weatherproof-ness to be unique anymore. But do you know what I really dislike? When something has a lot of promise, both in premise and presentation, but falls flat on its face, so to speak, in most areas.

This is the Divoom Timebox Mini, a little speaker/smart alarm clock that seriously excited me when I heard about it.

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FABRIQ Chorus review: Standing out from the crowd

Fabriq is a relatively-new speaker brand. Its first product was the Fabriq RIFF, a speaker about the size of an Echo Dot, but covered with a soft fabric in a variety of patterns. Not only did it have the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, but you could connect more than one for synced multi-speaker playback (like Google Cast/AirPlay). The Riff used either a direct microUSB connection for charging, or the included charging dock.

Today, Fabriq unveiled its second speaker, the Chorus. In most regards, it's a larger and more powerful version of the Riff, but with the added bonus of Alexa always-listening for commands (the Riff required a button press to activate Alexa).

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Optoma NuForce BE2 review: The best Bluetooth earphones in this price range

I am very cynical about Bluetooth audio these days. Even if the sound is good, the battery life sucks, the buds themselves aren't comfortable, and so on. However, I think I finally found a product that actually meets a lot of the criteria that make a good pair of Bluetooth earphones. Optoma's NuForce BE2 is made for athletes; it packs an IPX5 rating, decent sound, and a nice 10-hour battery life span all for $50.

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Urbanears Stadion review: This is not how to do Bluetooth earphones

I think that I've made my opinion of Bluetooth audio accessories clear by now. However, in case you haven't heard it yet, here it is: I don't think highly of them. The convenience factor is often eclipsed by lackluster sound quality, battery life, or both. Until now, I never considered any of the pairs that I have used to be outright awful. Unfortunately, today is the day that I must amend that because Urbanear's Stadion represents the most disappointing pair of Bluetooth earbuds that I've ever had the misfortune of using.

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LG TONE Studio review: A novel combination of earbuds and speakers, but kind of a useless one

As far as headphones go, LG's TONE Bluetooth headsets look pretty strange. They don't really follow the standard in-ear or over-ear design, instead opting for a battery base that sits around your neck. However, they're still surprisingly popular; I see people wearing these a lot more often than I'd expect. LG's done something right here.

The new LG TONE Studio (HBS-W120) puts a spin on the TONE line by introducing a second method to listen: speakers. That's right - within this base are four speakers that aim to create a "personal sound experience" (LG's words, not mine). In theory, this sounds like an interesting idea - listen with the earbuds in quiet areas, and rock out with the speakers at home or while you're outside.

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Infinite Protection: Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ case review roundup (continuously updated)


Every new phone deserves to be protected, especially when you have an all-glass Samsung S8/S8+. I owned the much more fragile S7 Edge with its steeper curved display. There wasn’t a day where I wouldn’t have the phone in a case unless I was briefly taking it out for a cleaning. Since Samsung opted for an elegant, unique design with the S8, the display is costly to replace. I haven’t seen the official cost to repair the phone's display yet; although I’d imagine it’s more than the $250 for the S7 Edge. No case will guarantee 100% protection for your phone, but it will provide significantly more protection than no case at all.

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