When you talk about Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, it's hard not to talk about 'the average consumer.' Because the Galaxy S series is the second-most popular line of smartphones on earth, its audience is unashamedly mainstream, and the vast majority of sales of these devices will be to consumers who aren't what you'd call tech-savvy. The issue for Samsung, increasingly, is learning how to split the difference between a smartphone that provides a good experience for everybody and maintaining that all important credibility with its fans and enthusiasts.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+, for example, have Quad HD displays - the best ones I've ever seen. Read More
There's little denying that the Fitbit Alta HR is a reiterative product. It looks very similar to the regular Alta and a bit like a smaller Charge 2, but it sits somewhere between the two in terms of features. When it was announced last month, Fitbit called it the slimmest fitness tracker with continuous heart rate monitoring, a distinction that had to be made to justify the same $150 price as the Charge 2 while packing fewer options on paper.
I came to the Alta HR a bit skeptic. The Charge 2 was by far the most convincing Fitbit I'd ever used and even one of the best all-around activity trackers on the market. Read More
I am not an on-ear headphones person so it's difficult for me to review them objectively without saying how much I dislike the idea and pressure they exert on my ears. Oddly, that's not the case with the BackBeat 500, the newest release from Plantronics. I don't hate them and I can manage wearing them for a couple of hours without wanting to rip them off my head. That's a good start.
I've reviewed many of the brand's headphones over the years including the in-ear BackBeat GO 3 and the big over-ear BackBeat Pro+ and Pro 2, and I've spent some time with the on-ear BackBeat Sense, so I do know what to expect: better value for the money than most brands, good sound quality, and nice design and build. Read More
Huawei used to avoid releasing high-end phones in the US, but no more. The Mate 9 was launched in the US several months ago, and it was announced as the very first phone to have Amazon's Alexa built in. However, that wasn't ready at launch, and Huawei didn't even know exactly when it would be available. Alexa finally rolled out to the Mate 9 several weeks ago, but Google sort of cut Amazon off at the knees by launching Assistant on the Mate 9 and many other phones while we were waiting for this update.
As I noted in the original Mate 9 review, this is a good phone—Huawei has really turned things around in the software, the battery life is killer, and the build quality is top notch. Read More
The expansion of services like Netflix and Hulu has led to fewer people subscribing to traditional cable. Still, there are some things you can't get with those streaming services, most notably live TV feeds. That's what Google aims to offer with YouTube TV. Google announced the service a few months ago, and it went live in a handful of cities yesterday. I haven't had a cable subscription in years, so I was anxious to try it out. YouTube TV seems like an excellent start, but there are definitely some pain points.
YouTube TV is currently only available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Read More
Those of us with a library card now have another means of easily accessing the local library’s free eBook and audiobook collection. OverDrive, a long-time manager of eBook collections for libraries, recently released their new Android app Libby.
For the uninitiated, a library card can get you a lot more than a dog-eared copy of The Girl on the Train these days. Most public libraries have long since entered the digital age and provide patrons with the convenience of eBooks and audiobooks at the same free price. It is worth noting, though, that not all library networks are the same, and many publishers place restrictions that can hinder use of some devices. Read More
But really, it hasn't. I had to get paper towels. Read More
We all know that Huawei is no stranger to making great phones (take the fan favorite Nexus 6P, for example). Even at the low end of the price spectrum, the hardware is laudable. The P-series kicked off on a new foot last year with the P9 and P9 Plus, which brought great hardware and the impressive Leica cameras to the high-end smartphone business.
For 2017, we have the P10 and P10 Plus that bring sleek hardware, even better cameras, and a nicer software experience. Huawei has delivered something that provides almost anything you could ask for in a phone: good battery life, great camera, nice screen, and even an improved software experience. Read More
The Galaxy S6 was, by all accounts, a truly transformational moment for Samsung's industrial design. After years of building plastic phones constantly lambasted for their "cheapness," Samsung made radical changes in an attempt to completely redefine its smartphone brand. Those changes were generally well received, but it always felt like they stopped short: the software was still slow, bloated, and the battery life surprisingly poor. With the Note5 and S6 edge+ we saw significant refinement of that reinvention "moment," but not until the S7 and S7 edge did Samsung really build the concept I think they set out to with those first metal and glass sandwiches. Read More
If the G5 was the low watermark for LG's mobile division, you might think there was only really up to go for LG in 2017. The G6 can feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy that way: the narrative around the G5 was almost universally negative, and the idea that 2017 would yield a "comeback" product from LG seemed to become a given. After all, it was obvious what LG did wrong last year, so how could they not address these issues?
At the same time, we often find ourselves saying tech companies make a habit of poor product decisions year after year, so it's never quite a sure thing that a new gadget really will check the very-obvious-to-us boxes we've communally decided are so important. Read More