My first desktop PC was an Acer many years ago. If I recall correctly, it ran Windows 95, AOL was my ISP, and it was the coolest thing on the planet to me at the time. It was like the Wild West—the rules hadn't yet been established, so the internet was just a huge playground for…whatever. I could get into a nostalgic post about all the stupid stuff I used to do on that computer when I first got the 'net, but that's another story for another day. (Or maybe never.) Either way, those were good times.
Ever since that computer, though, I've had a bit of a soft spot for Acer—oftentimes not unjustified. Read More
AT CES earlier this month, Blu announced two new phones: the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Today, we're taking a closer look at the lower-end of the two, the Vivo XL, which is the first one to hit the market. This one isn't a dramatic difference from some of the other more recent stuff we've seen from Blu — like the Life One X, for example — but it does continue the company tradition of offering a lot of phone for the money.
Under the hood, it's actually a lot like the aforementioned Life One X, though it does have a slightly larger, lower-resolution display. Read More
Let me get this out of the way right out of the gate: I love Chrome OS. I wanted to love it back when I reviewed the original Chromebook Pixel some years ago, but it just wasn’t where it needed to be for me. Fastforward a bunch of months, and Google made a ton of useful and thoughtful changes that made Chrome OS a legit desktop contender (for me at least). So, like I said in my recent What We Use post, I made the leap to Chrome OS as my main laptop about 18 months ago (or so) and haven’t looked back. Read More
The Huawei Honor 5X is a paradox for Android enthusiasts right out of the box. It costs just $199. But it runs Android 5.1. It has a surprisingly decent camera. But it doesn't support band 12 LTE on T-Mobile. The 1080p IPS display is very bright and may well be class-leading at this price point. But the Honor 5X doesn't have NFC. Its fingerprint reader pretty much lets it stand alone in the market for sub-$200 devices. But so does Huawei's software layer, and not in a good way. It has a microSD card slot. But it's only available with 16GB of storage, and no Marshmallow means no adoptable SD cards. Read More
Despite Google's late attempts to compartmentalize its mobile operating system, the open source nature of Android remains one of its biggest strengths. Without it we wouldn't have marvelous projects like CM13 on (relatively) ancient Barnes & Noble hardware, or various Android-powered console emulators, or a hundred million $60 Walgreens tablets crowding Craigslist. (OK, that last one isn't marvelous, but you get my point.) And we wouldn't have Jide's Remix OS, an attempt to create a desktop-style operating system on the bones of Android. Remix is now on its third incarnation, and unlike the original I-Can-Certainly-Believe-It's-Not-A-Surface tablet or the recent and lamentably underpowered "desktop," this one is completely free. Read More
I've long been an advocate for the usefulness of Android tablets, but even I've been questioning my own words over the past year or so. After switching to a Chromebook Flip as my main laptop and tablet, I rarely even use my Android tablets for anything more than reading in bed or playing a quick game.
But deep down I guess I'm a dreamer—I keep hoping Google will step up and make Android tablets not only relevant for more than the "I want a cheap tablet" market, but for power users. People who want to get things done and don't always want to break out a laptop to do it. Read More
It's been about a year since Amazon released the first Fire TV Stick (give or take a couple of months), which was probably the best streaming stick at the time—arguably better than both Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Naturally, the company didn't want to wait too long before updating both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, though I'm not sure that I'd call what the FTV Stick got an actual "upgrade." Really, it's the same stick as last year, but now there's an option to bundle it with the voice remote for just $10 more than the normal price of $40 (making it $50). Read More
Introduced with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Live Photos was a new iOS feature that created a more dynamic photo experience. Instead of being limited to the single shot that users see when they press the shutter button, the camera would capture several shots around that moment, allowing you to move a few seconds or milliseconds and choose a better timed picture. Another benefit was the creation of a small stop-motion or gif-like animation of the different photos, to capture the breadth of the moment instead of fixing one frame in time.
I liked the Live Photos idea and was certain that some enterprising Android developers would soon bring it to their third-party camera app. Read More
Sony rushes from one flagship phone to the next, making only iterative changes most of the time. With the Z5 generation, there are three different variants of the phone—a standard Z5, the Z5 Compact, and our focus today, the Z5 Premium. What makes it premium? Well, it's the first phone with a 4K display. Does that really do you any good, though? Let's find out. Read More
Until now, all the Android Wear watches you could buy were made by technology firms moonlighting as watchmakers, but now there's the Fossil Q Founder. This is the first widely available Android Wear smart watch designed by a company that makes regular watches. In some ways it looks more like a real watch than any of the others, but there are also some design concessions that remind you Fossil is new to the whole wearables thing. Read More