Sony has never been a major player in the North American smartphone market, but it still gives it a shot every now and then. Sony has famously found every way to fail at gaining traction with its Xperia Z line of smartphones. This year Sony traded the Z for an X (I guess it traded with Motorola) and has launched a US version of the Xperia X in relatively short order. This phone is a mix of old and new from Sony, but the combination is problematic—it might have kept the wrong things. Sony is looking to sell a phone with a mid-range SoC at a flagship price. Read More
GIFs and emojis are everywhere. You can't even start a conversation nowadays without some form of graphic popping up in the first 5 exchanged messages. But finding and inserting them isn't always the most seamless of experiences. Whether it's scrolling through endless lists of emojis with the complexity of dealing with different sets and their weird emoji orders and designs, or trying to figure out how each app you're using deals with GIFs, it can take anywhere between a few seconds and a couple of minutes to find the perfect visual to convey your message.
That's where Dango swoops in to provide a better approach. Read More
Now that the primary Galaxy S7 series has regained its water-resistant powers, one might wonder why we need a ruggedized "active" version. And the answer is that, while the S7 and S7 Edge are some damn fine phones, all that delicately curved and exposed glass isn't exactly what you'd call durable. If the general tank-like construction of the Galaxy S7 Active isn't enough to turn your head, consider that it has almost exactly the same capabilities as its more mainstream brother (which is fairly unusual for rugged phones), plus an even bigger 4000mAh battery. Read More
Despite being well received, the Jaybird X2 wireless earbuds caught some heat for not being significantly different from the first gen version. The new Jaybird Freedom (technically the Freedom F5) wireless earbuds are a different animal entirely. Jaybird has slimmed down the size of the earbuds to make them more comfortable, but says it hasn't sacrificed sound quality. They do look almost impossibly small. I've been taking these earbuds for a spin to see if they are worth the admittedly high $200 price tag. Read More
This is the JBL Boost TV ($200), one of the newer speakers in JBL's ever-expanding audio portfolio. As you might surmise by the name, the Boost is a compact TV sound bar. It's also a capable Bluetooth speaker compatible with JBL's Android app and boasting some pretty cool features. I spent the last month using one as the primary speaker in my bedroom; spoiler alert – I really liked it. Let's take a look.
Design & Build Quality
The JBL Boost TV has a smaller footprint than most TV sound bars. It's 15 inches long, five inches wide, and three inches tall and shaped like an elongated football that's been slightly deflated (just the way Tom Brady likes it) that's had its ends cut off. Read More
Notifications are the bread and butter of our Android experience. Something happens, we get a notification. It could be as urgent as a new email from our boss telling us that we missed a comma in a post (stuff like that has been known to happen when your boss is Artem) or as ordinary as a new Twitter mention or a shipping status change on an order or a new episode available of your favorite series. The difference between how you act on these notifications is huge. You can instantly tap to check a notification or, if you're on Android N, directly reply to it, you can dismiss it without a second look because it's not something you care about all that much, or you can leave it hanging in your notification shade as a reminder to check later. Read More
I can't recall ever using a smartphone larger than the Xiaomi Mi Max. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is the closest I've ever come, and the Mi Max is over a tenth of an inch larger on the display diagonal than even that phone. While it's not the largest smartphone ever, the Xiaomi Mi Max is certainly in the upper echelons of size in the taxonomic order smartphonus, dwarfing 5" devices we once called "large" just four or five years ago. Read More
I've owned, used, and abused a lot of USB car chargers over the years. They all do more or less the same thing, and most look nearly identical to every other car charger on the market. When Nonda contacted me asking if I was interested in taking a look at their ZUS dual port car charger ($30), I almost deleted the message.
With a max output of 2.4A per outlet (ideal for Apple products), the charger sports decent charging speeds, but with no Qualcomm Quick Charge technology or Nexus Rapid Charge support, I didn't think it was worth my time to review. Read More
The UE ROLL was one of the most interesting new Bluetooth speakers launched last year. With a waterproof (IPX7), disc-shaped body, and an attached bungee cord, the ROLL was marketed as a perfect companion for any adventure, rain or shine. Cam was a big fan of the device and had almost no complaints in his review.
Ultimate Ears is back at it again this year with an update to the original ROLL. It's called the UE ROLL 2 ($99), and as you might expect, it's even better. Read More
The only Samsung smartphone I have owned and used was the Galaxy S3 (well, I also had the Galaxy 5 - not S - for a few weeks, but that doesn't count). I had been eyeing the company since the original Galaxy S, checking what it's doing and waiting for it to be convincing before I dipped my toes and grabbed the S3. I liked the rounded design, even though everyone criticized it. I loved the powerful hardware too, but I hated TouchWiz. It took me two weeks to get fed up, root the phone, flash a custom recovery, and start trying different custom ROMs that removed some of the bloat and smoothed the experience. Read More