Ultimate Ears makes some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market today, but what's almost as notable is the company's consistent updates. The BOOM speakers are already some of the most feature-rich when combined with the app(s), and today they're getting even better with a new feature called "Block Party Mode."
Basically, this allows up to three devices to connect to the speaker at the same time and take turns playing music. Everything is controlled by the "host" (the person who started the Block Party), which allows them to play/pause music on any of the connected devices, as well as change the volume of the speaker and boot users who don't want to play nicely. Read More
The 2013 Nexus 5 was a much beloved device—it was great at a few things, good at others, and cheap enough that its shortcomings didn't seem so glaring. It struck such a good balance that many owners passed on the (humongous and expensive) Nexus 6 last year. Now, there's the Nexus 5X, a spiritual successor to the 2013 Nexus. I haven't had the 5X for long enough to give it a proper full review, but I've got some impressions to share in advance of the review. Read More
I've been getting to know the Nexus 6P for a few days now, and while I don't feel a few days is enough time to write a complete review, I thought it would at least be helpful to write a review preview with initial impressions and findings from the new Nexus.
The Nexus 6P is undoubtedly the more "premium" of the new Nexus phones this year. While the 5X is meant to carry on the affordable and performant legacy of the original Nexus 5, the 6P has perks like 240fps slowmo video, a higher-specced (if somewhat embattled) processor, true stereo front-facing speakers, a bigger, denser display, and an all-metal body. Read More
Every once in a while, we get a sneak peek into the new technology that companies are creating that will ultimately make something better, faster, or [adjective here]. Swiftkey recently launched the latest project from Swiftkey Greenhouse: Swiftkey Neural Alpha. This is the first keyboard on a smartphone that uses artificial neural networks to fix mistakes and predict words. Swiftkey currently utilizes n-gram technology to do this by looking for patterns and common phrases.
Neural Network Clusters
While n-gram technology does use context to create predictions, this new neural network-based engine goes one step further toward truly understanding what you mean. Swiftkey's blog post has a full rundown of how the technology works, and there are many videos explaining neural networks and machine learning. Read More
Sometimes you want a speaker that can go with you. But other times, you want something loud and powerful for use at home, and oftentimes those speakers aren't one and the same — if it's small enough for travel, it's rarely powerful enough for home use. Conversely, if it's powerful enough to fill the house, it's not really suited well for travel. And of course, that all goes without mentioning the stylistic differences between speakers made for on-the-go use and those designed to spend most of their time on a shelf.
While I've spent the majority of my time with Bluetooth speakers designed for portability, today we're going to take a look at a super sexy bookshelf speaker made for use around the house or at the office: the $200 Fluance Fi50. Read More
Motorola kicked off the age of Android Wear when it announced the original 360 more than six months before it was finally released. It was a beautiful piece of hardware, but was saddled with an ancient TI OMAP ARM chip and recessed lugs that led to cracked back panels. The second generation device addresses many of the shortcomings of that wearable, but some of them are still staring you in the face. Still, it might be the watch you've been waiting for. Read More
A little more than a year ago, Amazon launched its first set-top box, Fire TV. That was followed by the weaker, but far more wallet-friendly littler brother, Fire TV Stick. Now that the company has been in the streaming market for a little while, a refreshed version of its flagship box makes sense, right? I mean, there's technically nothing wrong with the first Fire TV, but more horsepower and support for more modern resolutions are always better, right?
Actually, no. There are definitely some quirks that you should be aware of before jumping into a new Fire TV — especially if you're just upgrading from the old one. Read More
People who take online privacy seriously eventually get to the point where they want to experiment with a VPN. Usually this costs money, which puts some people off particularly because the process involves handing over an email address and credit card information. This means that even if you're better protected from prying eyes than you would be if you were VPN-less, the company that supplies the service may still be able to connect the dots.
That's what makes Betternet interesting. Unlike most other options, this service is entirely free to use. That has implications both for your privacy (though you still have to watch out for DNS leaks) and your wallet. Read More
The original Moto X was a modestly sized phone with modest specs, but it's gotten more powerful and bigger each year. Now, the third-generation Moto X is a true phablet with flagship specs, but the price is still quite reasonable. After experimenting with carrier exclusives and subsidies, the company is going it alone with the new Moto X Pure Edition (AKA the Moto X Style outside the US).
This phone starts at $399 and is not being sold through any carriers. It still has Moto Maker customizations, and some of Motorola's past shortcomings have been addressed. So, has Motorola finally hit one out of the park, or is it overshadowed by more expensive phones? Read More
TomTom, who you may know best as the company who makes car GPS and fitness products, has decided to dive into the blossoming industry of action cameras. As an extension of their sporting background, this is a logical move. The TomTom Bandit is surprisingly polished and offers some unique functions for a first generation product, signaling to me that this is more than a “me too” business strategy.
Of course, I’ve already given away the review in saying that. Expectations are in some ways lowered for the Bandit given its status as TomTom’s first action camera. When it comes time to reframe things in terms of what you should buy and for what price, the Bandit is far from a failure but will come up short for many potential buyers. Read More