Let me get this out of the way right out of the gate: I love Chrome OS. I wanted to love it back when I reviewed the original Chromebook Pixel some years ago, but it just wasn’t where it needed to be for me. Fastforward a bunch of months, and Google made a ton of useful and thoughtful changes that made Chrome OS a legit desktop contender (for me at least). So, like I said in my recent What We Use post, I made the leap to Chrome OS as my main laptop about 18 months ago (or so) and haven’t looked back. Read More
It's been about a year since Amazon released the first Fire TV Stick (give or take a couple of months), which was probably the best streaming stick at the time—arguably better than both Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Naturally, the company didn't want to wait too long before updating both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, though I'm not sure that I'd call what the FTV Stick got an actual "upgrade." Really, it's the same stick as last year, but now there's an option to bundle it with the voice remote for just $10 more than the normal price of $40 (making it $50). Read More
The Blue Mo-Fis were one of the more controversial headphones of 2014, owing to a built-in, battery-powered amplifier that Blue - a company traditionally in the microphone business - alleged made them superior for mobile device listening. I reviewed them and found Blue's claim to be accurate - especially when it came to Android smartphones, which generally offer lower-power built-in amplifiers than comparable iOS devices. But many headphone nuts were unconvinced, and begged Blue to release a cheaper, amp-less version of the Mo-Fis. And that's exactly what the $250 Blue Lolas are.
Gone are the internal battery, amplifier, the headband adjuster, and a fair bit of weight owed to these features. Read More
You know what I love about the Nexus 4, 5, 6, and 7? Wireless charging. In fact, that's the primary reason I haven't moved to the Nexus 6P or 5X yet — I just can't stand the idea of having it plug in every time I need to charge my phone. I realize that some people don't care about it either way, but it's been a game changer for me. I have a few wireless chargers around the house, and when I need to power up, I just toss my phone on one of them. Done. Every phone should have this. Read More
There are two things that are staples in the bag that I carry basically everywhere I go: an external battery pack and charger, because sometimes I'm near a wall, and sometimes I'm not. At least one USB cable comes into the equation somewhere too, because what good is a charger without a cable. None, I'd say. None good.
Anyway, this new Energi 6K from TYLT is pretty neat, because it's both of those things in one thing. It's got a 6,000 mAh battery pack and charger all in one. It's not a Qualcomm-certified Quick Charger like the one I usually carry, but that's OK. Read More
The Honda Accord may not be a car you’re terribly familiar with if you don’t reside in North America. You may also not realize just how popular it is here. While Honda sells the Accord abroad (and also a modified Chinese-built version called the Crider in Southeast Asia), nowhere has the Accord been more successful than the US of A. This is because when the Accord was introduced for the American market in the early 1980s as an affordable, reliable, American-built Japanese sedan, it was at a time when domestically-designed and produced American sedans were, well, pretty universally... terrible.
The Accord was not terrible. Read More
Logitech has been all about keyboards that are designed to handle multiple connections to several different devices for the last couple of years, starting with the (freakin' awesome) K810. About a year ago, the versatile K480 was released, with its biggest feature being price point — it comes in at just $50. The trade-off, however, is the overall size: it's a lot bulkier than most people would want, making it mostly impractical to just toss in a bag for on-the-go typing.
A few weeks ago, the company announced the K380, another sub-$50 entry into its multi-device lineup ($40, to be exact), this time with a much more streamlined form factor than the K480. Read More
I hate cases. For the last…bunch of years, I have refused to use a case on any of my phones. Sure, I'd used them back in the day when we actually did a lot of case reviews — and I always tried to be as objective as possible — but really, I've never liked cases. I don't need the added bulk, and I just hate how they make phones look most of the time. Why hide the beautiful design of most modern smartphones under a gaudy plastic and rubber shell? (That's rhetorical — I totally understand why people do this.)
It's been a while since we've done a hands-on or review with any sort of case, mostly because they're all basically the same at this point (and are generally just rehashes of older versions). Read More
The Volkswagen Jetta is, admittedly, the occasional butt of car enthusiast jokes. Long considered a slightly snobby small economy sedan because of its comparatively high price of entry and less-than-great reliability reviews, the car didn't sell amazingly well here in the states for quite some time. Five years ago, VW tried to turn that sales situation around, completely redesigning the Jetta and drastically reducing the cost of many of its constituent parts - the result was the Mk.VI Jetta, and sales did go up quite noticeably.
But the car was compromised, and reviewers generally weren’t fans. Cost-cuts included things like fitting an unrefined rear beam-axle suspension system on most models, ditching optional leather trims, saddling the base car with a gutless 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine, and conducting most of the design and assembly in Mexico instead of Germany. Read More
A little more than a year ago, Amazon launched its first set-top box, Fire TV. That was followed by the weaker, but far more wallet-friendly littler brother, Fire TV Stick. Now that the company has been in the streaming market for a little while, a refreshed version of its flagship box makes sense, right? I mean, there's technically nothing wrong with the first Fire TV, but more horsepower and support for more modern resolutions are always better, right?
Actually, no. There are definitely some quirks that you should be aware of before jumping into a new Fire TV — especially if you're just upgrading from the old one. Read More