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
As a kinda, sorta well-known technology journalist, I get a lot of pitches for hardware to review. More often than not, I just ignore these emails (sorry PR people) because I simply get too many of them. On occasion, someone pitches an interesting thing, and I'll take a closer look at it. Such was the case with the Grace Digital CastDock X2. I thought at first it was a Cast enabled speaker, and I bet that's what you thought just now too. Well, it's not. This is literally a dock for your Chromecast Audio, and that makes it just weird enough to warrant a quick hands-on here. 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Aria always looked appealing to me because I've been wearing a Fitbit for more than 3 years, but it's getting a little outdated.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
Hi Google, it's me Rita. I believe we've met before. Somewhere between Gmail, Google Photos, and Chrome, you must know a lot about me. Things I might not want others to discover, so hushhhh. (There are thousands of people reading us, let's not tell them about my love for Winnie The Pooh.) But our relationship doesn't feel equal; I barely have any information about you. Your new guy, this Assistant you've sent here to talk to me, I'd like to get to know him better. He looks a lot like the other guys you've sent before, Now and On Tap, but he seems special. Read More
V-Moda is a newer name in the audio business than other established brands like Bose, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, and Sony, but what it lacks in age it makes up for in moxy, premium materials, and style. Whether you like the way they look or not, there is no denying that V-Moda makes headphones that stand out from the crowd.
A few weeks back V-Moda reached out to see if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their newest products, the V-Moda Crossfade wireless headphones, and I couldn't resist the offer. I've read a lot of good things about their products and have wanted to try out a set of their cans for a long time. Read More
I am an in-ear earphones kind of person. I find them small, portable, with enough noise-cancellation, even if passively, and comfortable to wear for hours and hours without any head pressure or weight. Over the years, I gravitated toward the Sennheiser C and CX series for their tiny earbud size and it became more and more difficult to adapt to larger sets. But I kept wanting and yearning for a nice pair of big cans, maybe because of their popular appeal and visually imposing presence around me, maybe because they felt like they could provide a richer and better sound, maybe because some of them offered active noise cancellation, and maybe it was just the fact that they looked cool. Read More
Motorola is going all-in on modular accessories this year, and Verizon is right there with it. The Moto Z Play was announced recently, and it's a Verizon exclusive for a few weeks before it ships unlocked in October. This device works with all the same Moto Mods as the other Moto Z variants, but it's much less spendy at around $400 on Verizon. That's a big advantage when you're pushing Mods that cost as much as $300. Are the trade-offs worth it? Is this finally the phone that makes modular smartphones viable? Let's find out. Read More
Plantronics makes some of my personal favorite Bluetooth headphones and headsets. Although I use the BackBeat Fit while running and exercising, and the BackBeat Pro+ when I'm at my desk, the BackBeat GO 2 spends the most time of them all in my ears and around my neck. I wear it and listen to music and podcasts while walking, doing chores around the house, shopping, or performing any repetitive activity that doesn't require my utmost attention.
But the GO 2 headphones aren't perfect. Their size and weight balance could be better, their battery life should be around 4 hours but is now less than 3 hours after a couple of years of constant use, and their charging case is too small and kind of unreliable. Read More
I have in my hands the Pure XR, Blu's latest flagship. Teased back at the beginning of August, many noted that the phone bore some striking similarities to a few other phones from the front. Despite this, Blu was quick to express its excitement for this new device. Looking at the company's portfolio, notably the last member of the Pure line, the Pure XL, the reason for the fuss is pretty obvious. I have been using it for about a week now and I have a lot of thoughts on it. Foremost is that at the price of $299, this phone packs some good specs into a very nice frame. Read More