At a wedding reception this past Saturday, I finally had a chance to put the HTC One A9 side-by-side with an iPhone 6. “It looks just like an iPhone. Even the little camera bump looks similar,” remarked the person whose iDevice I had temporarily pilfered for this little visual experiment.
I was forced to agree. Flip them over, of course, and the story changes. HTC’s phone, with its elongated speaker grille, HTC logo, and Samsung-pill-style capacitive home key and fingerprint scanner is noticeably distinguishable from any iPhone - and really no different from any other white Android phone in that regard. Read More
I hate cases. For the last…bunch of years, I have refused to use a case on any of my phones. Sure, I'd used them back in the day when we actually did a lot of case reviews — and I always tried to be as objective as possible — but really, I've never liked cases. I don't need the added bulk, and I just hate how they make phones look most of the time. Why hide the beautiful design of most modern smartphones under a gaudy plastic and rubber shell? (That's rhetorical — I totally understand why people do this.)
It's been a while since we've done a hands-on or review with any sort of case, mostly because they're all basically the same at this point (and are generally just rehashes of older versions). Read More
The Nexus 5 was a big hit; an unqualified success for Google. People loved that phone, and many of them are still using one. Now, there's finally a true successor to the Nexus 5 in the LG-built Nexus 5X. Hopes were understandably high for this phone, and the handful of missing features led some Nexus 5 owners to planning how they'd keep their 2013-era phones running for another year. Specs don't tell you the whole story, though. The Nexus 5X doesn't have the most RAM or highest resolution screen, but it still deserves your attention because it offers a wonderful experience for not a lot of money. Read More
A week ago, we took an early look at the Nexus 6P, the larger and more "premium" of Google's phones for 2015. Now that I've lived with the 6P for a bit longer, it's time for the full review.
As stated in the preview post, the 6P is undoubtedly the more premium of the two new Nexuses. It's got the larger, more dense display, the aluminum body, the higher-specced processor, the stereo speakers, and the higher price tag to prove it. And my experience with the Nexus 6P has proven that - to me - the phone is worth that price, even as an upgrade from the original Nexus 6. Read More
The Volkswagen Jetta is, admittedly, the occasional butt of car enthusiast jokes. Long considered a slightly snobby small economy sedan because of its comparatively high price of entry and less-than-great reliability reviews, the car didn't sell amazingly well here in the states for quite some time. Five years ago, VW tried to turn that sales situation around, completely redesigning the Jetta and drastically reducing the cost of many of its constituent parts - the result was the Mk.VI Jetta, and sales did go up quite noticeably.
But the car was compromised, and reviewers generally weren’t fans. Cost-cuts included things like fitting an unrefined rear beam-axle suspension system on most models, ditching optional leather trims, saddling the base car with a gutless 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine, and conducting most of the design and assembly in Mexico instead of Germany. Read More
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