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
After signing up for Google's Project Fi I had only to wait a couple of days before a SIM card and "Welcome Kit" showed up at my door. I noted that the accessories - a battery pack, earbuds, and white case for the Nexus 6 - seemed to be carefully and thoughtfully designed, even if the hard plastic boxes for each seemed a little extravagant. The welcome kit was foreshadowing for the rest of the Fi experience - thoughtfully put together and pleasing.
I've been using Fi (switching over from T-Mobile) for over a month now, so I thought it might be helpful to rewind through my experience and answer some questions would-be Fi users might be asking. Read More
You know what drives me crazy? Trying to hold my phone and use it for navigation while driving. Or putting it in my lap and glancing down every few seconds. Or trying to put it in whatever car dock I'm using at the time. Or getting the "perfect" car dock, then getting a different phone that no longer fits said car dock.
Ugh. You'd think we have this stuff figured out by now.
And honestly, I think Spigen actually may have with its new Stealth Car Mount. It fits phones up to six inches — with or without cases — at two different viewing angles, is easy to drop the phone into with one hand, and has an adhesive on the bottom that adheres it to basically any dash. Read More
Chromecast Audio is a very simple product, and that’s probably the best thing about it from a consumer’s standpoint. You plug it in to power and then into an audio output source like an A/V receiver or a powered speaker. The Chromecast Audio supports either standard stereo audio cables or optical via a mini-digital connector. From there, just open the Chromecast app and get the device set up on your Wi-Fi network. That’s it - you’re done.
Now, any cast-enabled device within a reasonable proximity of the Chromecast Audio can tell it to play audio, regardless of whether it is on your Wi-Fi network, just like Chromecast. Read More
The idea of using multiple phones as speakers to play the same music isn't new. It was popularized by Samsung's Group Cast way back in the Galaxy S3 days and has since gotten over that proprietary requirement thanks to third-party apps like SoundSeeder that made it possible to tune Android devices together, regardless of their brand. As a newcomer in the field, AmpMe has a lot to prove against tough and established competition. The app manages a few victories thanks to cross-platform compatibility, but loses in terms of services supported. For now, that's only SoundCloud, although the developers say more are coming. Read More
The original Asus ZenWatch was one of my favorite first-generation Wear devices because it had a slick design and competitive price ($200). It wasn't perfect, but it offered a good alternative to expensive devices like the G Watch R. The ZenWatch 2 is going to hit shelves in a few days, and at first glance it's very much like its predecessor.
Asus actually made a number of notable changes, but not all of them are positive. At the same time, the price is very attractive and there are two size options—the large one starts at $129.99 and the smaller will be $149.99. Read More
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