Fire Emblem and I go way back. I have played many of them, but the one I most fondly remember is Path of Radiance on the Gamecube (the one that introduced Ike). The series is known for its turn-based tactical gameplay with anime-styled characters and common JRPG story elements. Nintendo has done a good job at promoting the series throughout its lifetime, especially when it comes to the 3DS releases, and inspiring loyal fans to pick up the latest title. I am not ashamed to note that I am in that demographic. So when Fire Emblem Heroes was announced, you can bet that I got damn excited. Read More
Budget flagships are all the rage these days. After all, why would anyone pay $769 for something like a Google Pixel XL when similar or only marginally worse performance can be had from a $439 OnePlus 3T? The category has come a seriously long way since the Nexus 4 first pioneered it, largely thanks to loads of new entrants in the past few years from both new and storied nameplates. Read More
MOCACARE is a relative newcomer in the household healthcare products category. The company's first product, MOCAheart got its start on KickStarter and promised to be a tiny and simple heart health indicator. But plenty of users complained (on Amazon and in other reviews) about the lack of quantitative measurements in MOCAheart. Whereas the device does give your exact blood oxygen and heart rate, the most important measurement — the "MOCA index" — is just a qualitative indication of pulse wave velocity that's directly correlated to blood pressure, but without much transparency or granularity in the way its calculated. That left users to rely blindly on Mocacare to tell them if their heart health — so not exactly their blood pressure — was good or not. Read More
Hardware design is a tricky subject. Some companies take risks to define their own aesthetic, while others borrow, in varying degrees, the design languages of more popular brands. What I have in my hands is the latter; the Meizu Pro 6 Plus borrows heavily from Apple's style, especially when viewed from the front. Its software is also an attempt to mimic iOS, for better or for worse.
Overall, however, I find that this phone is the classic story with a twist. The Pro 6 Plus has some actually nice hardware, but the native Flyme OS is a mixed bag. I am not sure if this is a case of Stockholm syndrome or what, but I found that I could tolerate the software for the most part. Read More
Huawei has become one of the largest phone makers on the planet, and it's done so without too much help from the US market. The company has dabbled mostly with mid-range phones here, including some from the Honor sub-brand. The Mate 9 is the first phone Huawei has brought to the US that isn't explicitly going after the budget crowd. It's running the latest version of Huawei's in-house Kirin SoC, has an all metal housing, and the Leica-branded cameras are present too.
The hardware side hasn't been Huawei's problem in western markets. It's the software. I've always had trouble using Huawei phones for very long because of the many, many annoyances present in the EMUI Android skin. Read More
Sen.se is a relatively new entrant in the connected home and IoT space. The company's most prominent product is the Mother, an oddly shaped humanoid-like hub that connects to small "Cookies" you can intersperse everywhere to monitor motion, temperature, presence/absence. The concept is interesting: Sen.se bills it as a way to keep an eye on different things and people around your home, including how often someone brushes their teeth or when the cookie jar is opened. But the price is on the very exorbitant side of the equation: Sen.se sells the Mother for €242 on its store and it retails for about $200 on Amazon in the US. Read More
You don't have to look far to find a home security camera with big names like Logitech, Google, and Netgear all offering up systems for keeping an eye on things. There are also some newer players with cameras you might want to consider. For example, the Xiaomi-funded Yi Technology. This Chinese firm has released a few home cameras, but the new version of its Dome Camera stands out from the crowd. Unlike other cameras, this one can actually rotate to get a full 360 degree view of a room, and it has built-in motion tracking. Unlike the old Dome Camera, this one also shoots 1080p video. Read More
It would be understandable if you have never heard of Meizu. While it is one of the top electronics companies in mainland China, the company isn't massively popular outside of the country. The M5 Note is the newest device to come out of Meizu, and like many of its recent phones, is being sold internationally.
From the spec sheet, the M5 Note looks like a solid device. A Mediatek Helio P10 CPU, 1080p LCD screen, at least 3GB of RAM, a massive 4,000mAh battery. The price is perhaps most impressive, costing just 899 CNY for the base model - roughly $131 USD. For comparison, the Moto G4 Play with a Snapdragon 410, 720p display, and 2GB of RAM costs more at its regular price. Read More
Android tablets are certainly not the shining example that most of us would hope them to be. Some even argue that these tablets are dying a slow, uninteresting death in the wake of poor sales figures and declining usage across multiple sectors. All this doom and gloom in this saturated market at large has not discouraged Asus from taking stabs in the dark, though. Read More
NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV console has been, since its launch in 2015, the only Android TV you really should be paying attention to. For 2017, it has received a very light hardware refresh. Even with the changes overall being minor, it is still the only Android TV device you should be paying attention to.
Now, many of the changes in the 2017 version of SHIELD came to the existing SHIELD console today via the 5.0 upgrade, including Android 7.0. The old model, too, will get Google Assistant, SmartThings support, and Amazon Instant Video. And this brings me to the second major point of our review: If you already have a SHIELD, there's no reason to replace it with this refreshed version. Read More