When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, there are a few brands that I find to be consistently awesome. After spending a few weeks with the Xtreme ($299) and Flip 3 ($99), I think JBL may have made itself a mainstay on that shortlist of manufacturers that make great speakers, because these are two of the most impressive pieces of Bluetooth audio equipment I’ve ever laid, um, ears on.
Seriously — I was not expecting either of these speakers to be as awesome as they are. Let's start with the big one.
I like to put BT speakers into a few categories: ultra-portable, portable, boombox, and bookshelf (or non-portable). Read More
We've talked about Blu phones a lot in the past, and I've personally gone hands-on with essentially every phone the company has released over the last couple of years. I've seen everything from the cheapest of the cheap to the higher-end stuff from Blu, but never anything like the 2015 Pure XL. Sure, it carries the same name as one of the higher-end devices that the company put out last year, but trust me when I say this one is nothing like that phone. This is on a whole different level. This is easily the highest-end, most flagship-quality phone the company has ever done. Read More
The Huawei Watch is a nice smartwatch with a nice screen, good battery life, and what I would call an above-average level of construction quality. If you want a Wear device that is nice and usable and doesn’t have anything seriously wrong or annoying about it, this is a great option. A pricey one, to be sure, but still very, very good. But above all else, it really does feel like the Huawei Watch is the smartwatch for the consumer seriously concerned about the Moto 360’s flat tire. That is most of this watch’s real appeal to enthusiasts, so let’s just lay it out there. Read More
At Google IO this past June we saw the launch of many new products from Google, including Android M, Android Pay, and Project Brillo. The tech giant also launched Google Photos as its own service, which was previously tied down to Google+. Today we're going to dive into every corner of Google Photos and my experiences with it over the last few months.
Intro & tests
Over the last eight years I have used iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, and Photos on Mac to organize my photos. While each worked for a period of time, I never truly felt like my photos were properly organized. Read More
One of Android's differentiating features has been the ability to multitask, especially by allowing apps to coexist on one screen or to show elements on top of each other. Although the concept of floating apps was prevalent for years on the platform, Facebook Messenger popularized the idea of less intrusive bubbles, which simply put round icons at the edges of your screen to allow quick access to your chats and contacts. Link Bubble further pushed the envelop on that approach, taking the bubbles and making them work for you in the background.
Pintasking is another step in the bubble's story on Android. Read More
Earlier this year, Blu released what would end up being my favorite phone from the manufacturer today: the Vivo Air. It was super sleek and thin, had a beautiful display, and was a generally great phone for just $199. Today, Blu announced the Air's successor, the Vivo Air LTE.
This phone basically corrects the weaknesses found in the original Air by bumping the RAM up to 2GB and adding LTE. This, of course, means the processor has also changed, and Blu has chosen to go with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 this time around. Otherwise, most of the other specs are the same:
It's really an incremental update, but it's a pretty significant incremental update...if that makes sense. Read More
Google has been branching out into new areas of hardware in recent years. It bought Nest and Dropcam, and now the Google Store acts as a storefront for Google to push its own hardware, as well as products made by others. The OnHub was an unexpected twist for Google's hardware aspirations, though. It does make some sense when you think about it. Routers are usually ugly and annoying to use, but is the $200 OnHub the best way to fix that? Read More
The Galaxy S6 edge+ is a large Galaxy S6 edge. If you want this phone distilled to its essence, there it is. It is derivative. That is its sole reason for existing, and if that is the bar to meet, the Galaxy S6 edge+ meets it with unforgiving literalness and exacting precision.
The Galaxy Note 5 is a large Galaxy S6... with a pen. And a curved backplate (a reverse edge, if you will). The Note 5 is very clearly defined not by the Note device that preceded it, but by Samsung's larger "premium" corporate brand image unveiled with the S6, and makes all but a complete break from last year's device except in regard to the stylus. Read More
OnePlus came out of nowhere last year with a phone that appealed to a lot of cynical smartphone-using curmudgeons. A device with great specs, capable software, and a reasonable price? What's the catch? Oh, invites. Well, the OnePlus One still managed to win a lot of fans, and now the company's followup, the OnePlus 2 is (sort of) available. This device also has an invite system, and the price is a little higher. Is it worth scrounging and begging to get an invite to buy this one, though? After all, they claim it's a "2016 flagship killer." Let's find out. Read More