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
On November 3, 2014, I published our review of the Nexus 9. It wasn't especially pretty, if I'm honest. But as with all things Nexus, time and software updates (mostly software updates) can smooth out rough edges and straighten up quirks, so a revisit seemed necessary. Now, three months on, have things really changed with Google's flagship tablet? Or is it still the HTC-made misfit I wanted to love, but just couldn't?
The end of a review is nothing to spoil, so I'll just be out with it: the Nexus 9 feels like basically the same kind-of-OK-but-not-great tablet today as it did the morning it arrived on my doorstep. Read More
The second mobile title based on The Witcher series of games has arrived on Android, and it's a bit more action-packed than the board game from a few months ago. The Witcher Battle Arena is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game based on The Witcher universe. It's free-to-play, but the developers say it's not "pay-to-win."
Gameplay And Controls
The Witcher Battle Arena is played in a top-down isometric view in a number of small arenas populated with control beacons. You and your teammates must capture these beacons to drain the enemy team's energy until it hits zero. There are nine different heroes to unlock, each of which has different skins and weapons that can be equipped. So, as you're playing you see the same nine characters over and over, but they don't actually look the same. 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
In June of last year, Blu released its sleekest phone yet, the Vivo IV. This ultra-thin, super-svelte handset really put an emphasis on design, something that no other Blu phone before had really done. At CES, the company announced the newest member of the Vivo line, the Vivo Air. At just 5.1 mm thick, this is the thinnest smartphone you can currently buy in the US. It's stupid-thin, but it also weighs under 100 grams, so it's equally as light. So, stupid-light.
Based on its specs, I wouldn't necessarily call the Vivo Air the IV's successor, but rather just a new addition to that product family. In fact, the Vivo IV is still more powerful than the Air, though both devices feature the same MediaTek octa-core chipset. 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
When Motorola released the revamped Moto X a few months ago, there was plenty of discussion about whether it or the still-unannounced Nexus 6 would be a better purchase. It's completely reasonable to prefer the Nexus 6 because of the larger screen and improved camera, but the 2014 Moto X still stands out to me as one of the best Android phones ever made. Now that we've got a little distance, let's see how the 2014 Moto X is holding up.
In just a few months, it will be the one-year anniversary of Android Wear's announcement (March 18th). Since the first two official Android-powered watches were released at I/O 2014, we've seen half a dozen total watches running Android Wear, each with its own pros and cons. These devices run the gamut from kind of ugly to truly gorgeous. A new wave of watches will be upon us in the coming year, but the current ones are still a great way to get into wearables. In fact, I bet there will be some solid discounts on these devices in the not too distant future.
If you simply can't decide which—if any—watch is the right one for you, here are all the strengths and weaknesses of the current crop. Read More
You may remember Anki as the company that took the stage at Apple's iOS 7 announcement in 2013 only to have its demo bogged down with bugs. Since then, the product has done quite well on iOS and it came to Android a few months ago. At $150 for the starter kit, it's a lot to pay for AI-controlled race cars. Anki Drive seeks to bring basic artificial intelligence into the real world, making for a unique gaming experience. Should you consider dropping cash on what is essentially a really fancy slot car set?
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