One of my favorite innovations that has started to become more mainstream over the past several years is wireless charging. I'm bummed that every phone doesn't have it at this point (looking at you, Motorola - the Moto X should've been qi-compatible!), because it's easily one of the most convenient changes of all time. OK, maybe that's a little hyperbolic...but really, I do love it.
When it comes to wireless charging, my go-to charger has been the Tylt VU for as long as I can remember. The angle is great, it's super easy to use, and it's large enough to charge basically everything I own that has wireless charging. Read More
When I reviewed the Ultimate Ears BOOM back in July of 2013, it quickly became my favorite portable speaker, and held that title all throughout last year. To this day, in terms of portability, form factor, and sound quality, I don't think you can get a better all-around package. Sure, there are more robust speakers (like the Fugoo speaker), and there are even speakers that sound better (like the Bose SoundLink Mini, which is amazing for the size), but when it comes to one do-it-all monster, the BOOM is it.
Naturally, when Ultimate Ears announced the MEGABOOM at CES, I had to jump in line to check it out. Read More
You can walk into basically any department or electronics store right now and be overwhelmed with the assortment of Bluetooth speakers. And when you start to dig in online, the competition gets even tighter - there are so many legitimately good options available today, it can be incredibly challenging to pick the one worth your hard-earned dollars.
As a result, manufacturers are looking to things other than just sound quality to give their offering an edge. Things like size/form factor and available accessories are starting to be much more important than they were this time a couple of years ago, which is exactly why the Transit XS from Soen ($130 retail) was born. Read More
In the realm of wall-tethered wireless speakers, there isn't a great shortage of high-end brands. B&O Play, Sonos, and Bose are probably getting the lion's share of revenue in this space, considering the absolutely bonkers prices of some of their products. They all offer something, too - with B&O, you buy into the striking European style of Bang & Olufsen. Sonos offers a unified, proprietary communication protocol with good platform support and a variety of speakers and price points. And Bose offers the Bose name, which as I recall did mean something circa 2003 daytime TV infomercials (I kid, I kid - sort of, their connected speakers look terrible). Read More
When it comes to IP security cameras, Dropcam is (and has been) one of the biggest names in the game. It's easy enough to use, sets up quickly, and can basically be left alone once everything is in place (most of the time, at least). That's the kind of simplicity that most home and small business owners want, which is what Dropcam has been offering since day one. Add in the fact that the company is constantly adding new, useful features to its apps, and you have a winner.
Naturally, challengers are going to come. There's clearly a market for products like this, so why let one manufacturer own it? Read More
One of my favorite Bluetooth earphones of all time is Plantronics' Backbeat GO 2. Ever since I got it over a year ago, you'd rarely find me outside of home or work without seeing it around my neck. It accompanies me on my walks, my shopping, and most of my daily activities. It is small and minimalistic, easily fits in my purse, and lightly hangs around my neck when not in use. It's also quite comfortable to wear for 2 or 3 hours continuously, enough to entertain me on all of my outings.
The one problem with the Backbeat GO 2 is its fit, especially when engaged in more energetic activities like running. Read More
While I don't personally do a lot of work from a tablet, the option of a keyboard has always been appealing to me. I'll occasionally use my tablet to take notes for whatever review I'm working on at the time, pen a quick email, or some other third thing that I can't think of right now. For anything more than a short sentence or two, the software keyboard just doesn't cut it for me. I've reviewed several hardware keyboards designed for Android, but none seem quite as elegant as Google's Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio ($130). The overall design is well thought-out, and thanks to the magnetic connection to the tablet, it's super slim. Read More
I've always loved accessories for my mobile gadgets, and docks are typically some of my favorites. But in a world packed with more docks than you can shake a stick at (I oftentimes shake sticks at docks for whatever reason), it's difficult to find something new and compelling. In fact, the last dock I was truly impressed by was 2040's Arq Dock, a pretty versatile little dock in its own right.
When I found out about the Sarvi dock - a sort of progression of the Arq Dock in a way (the guys from 2040 teamed up with the gents from Sarvi for this one) - I knew I needed to check it out. Read More
Back in August of 2012, I reviewed a set of Bluetooth earbuds from Phiaton called the PS 210 BTNC. At the time I found them quite pleasant to use, that huge clip-on "remote" be damned. Fast-forward two years and Phiaton is back with the 210's successor, the BT 220 NC ($160). Here's the questionable part: the design is basically the same. While most Bluetooth earbud manufacturers have moved to a much smaller, more practical design, Phiaton is sticking to its guns with the wired remote. The good news is that the in-line donglemote has been dramatically improved over the 210, so at least there's that. Read More
The set-top box market has basically exploded over the past couple of years, with companies like Google, Roku, and Amazon leading the way. The good news is that there's no indication it's going to slow any time soon; in fact, it keeps getting better. Amazon's Fire TV stick is the perfect example of that – it's essentially a Fire TV crammed into an HDMI stick, but at a fraction of the price. I kinda fell in love with Fire TV back when I reviewed it, but for $25-40, Fire TV Stick is the best streaming "box" that you can buy for the money. Read More