I have never thought of power strips as sexy or gorgeous. To me, all power strips were unavoidable tools that did their job while hiding behind a desk or under a cabinet. The fact that they all looked like cheap pieces of plastic was a necessary evil, a price to pay for their convenient functionality. But that all changed when I saw the Woodie Hub project on Kickstarter.
The Woodie oozed class in a modern and minimalistic way. This was a power strip you could display on your desk, a table in your living room, a bedside table, without it sticking out in the décor like a sore thumb. Read More
I'm reviewing Google Wifi because my apartment sucks. Well, specifically: my apartment's walls suck. And the placement of my router is far from ideal. You see, because I need a hardline to my desktop PC in my office, that means keeping the router in the office, too, or snaking around fifty feet of unsightly ethernet from my living room along the wall (in-wall cabling is not an option for me). This presents a conundrum, because it means that if I want my apartment to have well-distributed Wi-Fi, I need a big, ugly, long cable running the length of the place. If I don't want to run the cable, it means lopsided Wi-Fi coverage. Read More
Amazon's Echo success took me a little by surprise. It seemed like we went overnight from questioning the idea of a voice assistant in a speaker to almost everyone owning an Echo and companies rushing to add Alexa support for their services and products. Part of what seemed like a quick success is due to the Echo Dot, the smaller cheaper version that you can sprinkle around the house in places where you don't care about excellent sound quality.
The second generation Echo Dot builds on that. Unlike the first one, you can order it directly from Amazon without having to use another Echo. Read More
Google's Daydream is what I would call the most travel-friendly VR solution yet. Its simple but elegant pointer-style Bluetooth controller means you aren't reaching all over the place to work the VR interface, its comfortable fabric design is tolerable for long periods of wear, and sliding the phone into the viewer is a simple no buttons, no switches affair.
So, I decided to put these qualities to test on a five-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York last week. I had a variety of games (I didn't play any), interactive experiences (many require an active internet connection), and a few movies I'd downloaded from Play Movies to watch. Read More
Google's Daydream View serves as the gateway into Google's mobile VR platform, Daydream. The viewer itself, though, is what has received the lion's share of attention thus far, likely owing to our fascination with its genuinely charming design and unique wireless controller (well, unique-ish). It is, I wager, all but impossible not to love the fabric-wrapped, gentle curves and elegantly blended material aesthetic of the View headset. I hope Google wins some kind of award for it, because they deserve one - the Daydream View is Google industrial design at its most endearing. But enough about the way it looks: what's it do? Read More
If you're not in the market for a $200 USB microphone, this article's probably not for you - just a warning. If you are potentially in the market for such a thing, you may have heard about Blue's newest product, the Raspberry. You may also have held back because of its alleged iOS, PC, and OS X compatibility - no Android. Well, while Blue doesn't advertise that the Raspberry is Android-compatible for good reason, they did tell me that there's a very good chance it works with a lot of Android devices (those with USB OTG, that is) anyway. My finding is that this is an accurate assessment. Read More
Automatic is a company that makes small plastic dongles that plug into your vehicle's OBDII port to analyze your driving style and efficiency in the cloud through an app and web interface. We reviewed the original Automatic some time ago. Based on Bertel's experience, I found the original product a bit impractical for one reason: Bluetooth. I don't like Bluetooth. Bluetooth is unreliable, slow, buggy, and finicky in general. The idea of having to sync vehicle data from a dongle over a Bluetooth connection had zero appeal to me - I wanted something that was utterly seamless. And now, Automatic has done just that with the new Automatic Pro. Read More
My arsenal of smart health and activity trackers has been missing a body composition weight scale. The Fitbit Aria always looked appealing to me because I've been wearing a Fitbit for more than 3 years, but it's getting a little outdated. Several months ago, I was looking at the Polar Balance Scale, the Withings WS-50, the Garmin Index Smart Scale, and a few others. Eventually, I settled on the QardioBase because I already had a good experience with the QardioArm and liked the company's no-nonsense approach to design and health. However, I was unlucky enough to get the first generation, which turned out to be a complete failure from the get-go. Read More
Motorola launched the Moto Z on Verizon a few weeks back with three optional Mods—a battery, speaker, and pico-projector. Before that was all announced, there were rumors of a camera Mod with optical zoom. It wasn't available at launch, but now the Hasselblad True Zoom Mod is official, and it costs $300. I've been snapping photos with the Hasselblad Mod for a few days, and here are a whole bunch of them. Spoiler: they're kind of disappointing. Read More