Since I took over audio reviews at AP from Cam, I have been asked to share my opinion on speakers from dozens of brands. One brand that pops up often in these discussions is RIVA. I hadn't heard of the company before so I did some research and discovered that the newcomers to the portable audio industry are building speakers that are turning heads (or maybe just ears) with their smooth sound and sophisticated styling.
I asked RIVA to send me one of their speakers to check out, and they obliged, so today we'll take a look at the newest speaker in their lineup, the RIVA S ($250). Read More
OnePlus likes to talk a big game, but sometimes the company fails to live up to expectations. The OnePlus One offered solid specs at a low price, but it was hurt by scarce invites and the collapse of the Cyanogen partnership. The OnePlus 2 struggled with hardware and software issues throughout its life as well. In fact, that phone just got Marshmallow a week ago. That brings us to the OnePlus 3. Again, OP is making big promises, but at least it's not threatening to kill other phones this time. This is a big departure for OnePlus in terms of design, and for once you don't need an invite to buy it. I've been using the OnePlus 3 for a day, and I have some initial thoughts to offer. Read More
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