As the name might suggest, Sphero's claim to fame is its sphere-shaped toy robots. These include the original Sphero, Sphero 2.0, Sphero Mini, BB-8, and BB-9E. The company has also been marketing some of its products towards education as STEM learning tools, particularly with the SPRK+.
Sphero's latest product is another educational robot - the Bolt. It's a minor upgrade from the existing SPRK+, with a configurable LED matrix display, infrared sensors for communicating with other robots, and "more than two hours of continuous play."
I think the Sphero Bolt is a well-designed product, but I'm not sure there's enough value to justify the $150 price tag, especially when it's only an iterative improvement over the company's existing robots. Read More
Those of us that care about our online security probably use some form of two-factor authentication to secure our most important accounts, but even the strongest password and the longest authentication code are still subject to something as simple as a phishing attack, which is why so many have switched to hardware security keys. Google helped to create the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) hardware authentication standard, and now it's releasing its own product to consumers: the $50 Titan Security Key. Read More
Slightly over a year ago, I reviewed Anker's first Android-powered portable projector, the Nebula Mars. It packed a bright projector and JBL speakers into a small package, and the $599.99 price reflected that. The heavily-modified build of Android 4.4 worked decently well, but app compatibility was limited, since most apps have stopped supporting KitKat.
Anker then released the $350 Nebula Capsule, a smaller (and dimmer) projector that doubled as a Bluetooth speaker. It was more expensive than competing devices, but it was also much better than all of them. The excellent build quality, decent projection brightness, and newer software (based on Android 7.1) made it a great product. Read More
Two months ago, we reviewed the Acer Chromebox CXI3. Even though the CXI3 is a fantastic Chrome OS desktop, it's somewhat expensive - the model we reviewed with a Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM costs $519.99. There's a $469.99 Core i3 version and a $289.99 Celeron model, but those are also slightly expensive given the hardware inside.
If you've been looking for a basic Chrome OS desktop, there's another option - the CTL Chromebox CBx1. CTL primarily manufactures computers for the education and government sectors, and the company has been all-in on Chromebooks for years. The Chromebox CBx1 is CTL's first Chrome OS desktop, and it starts at the low price of $219. Read More
Chrome OS has always been designed with low-power laptops in mind. There have been a few desktop machines over the years, like the ASUS Chromebit and LG Chromebase, but they're vastly outnumbered by Chromebooks. Seemingly out of nowhere, several companies announced new Chrome OS desktops at CES earlier this year - all of which are capable of running Android apps.
Acer's new desktop is the 'Chromebox CXI3,' which went on sale back in April. There are multiple configurations available, from an Intel Celeron version with 4GB of RAM to a Core i7 model with 16GB of RAM. Interestingly, Acer isn't marketing the CXI3 to consumers - it's designed for use in schools, where Chrome OS is wildly popular. Read More
Chromebooks now spread across a wide range of price points. You have the ultra-premium Pixelbook, complete with a really high cost, and mid-range options like the Samsung Chromebook Pro. Then you have the budget models — it's still surprising to me that you can pick up a functional laptop that does most everything that a normal person needs for a few hundred bucks. Read More
When smartwatches first hit the market several years ago, I immediately hopped on board. As an avid lover of watches, I found myself very interested in the concept of wearing a timepiece that also doubled as a notification mirror for my phone. At the time, I worked in jobs where phone use was either discouraged or outright prohibited, whether by policy or the frantic pace of the position. But unfortunately for me, I have a compulsion to know what's going on with my phone at any and all times — I can't just ignore my phone going off. So smartwatches offered me a chance to keep my phone in my pocket, but still be kept apprised of my incoming notifications. Read More
My family lives in a somewhat large house, and Xfinity's 'Wireless Gateway' router has never done a great job at coverage. Several rooms had poor reception or dead spots, particularly in the upstairs area. I bought a basic Netgear range extender as a band-aid solution, but for whatever reason, some of my devices (including my Google Pixel) still refuse to connect to it.
Last year at CES, Linksys announced its first mesh Wi-Fi system, called 'Velop.' The tri-band 2x2 802.11ac connectivity was a major selling point, but it was rather expensive — a 3-pack would set you back $500. The company launched a new dual-band Velop lineup last month, created to directly compete with the Google Wifi and other consumer mesh network systems. Read More
My new apartment is laid out in a longitudinal way with the master bedroom on an opposite end of the living room/balcony. This makes the terrible internet situation in Lebanon even more challenging because finding a router system that reaches both ends is tricky. After a lot of research, I opted for a TP-Link Archer VR2600 that we had to place toward the living room side of the house. On paper, it seemed to fit the bill with speed, dual-band, guest network, parental controls, and a neat Android app. Most importantly, it had an RJ11 port, which is how our ADSL internet is delivered. Read More
Last year, mobile accessory company Anker released its first portable projector, the Nebula Mars. It was roughly the size of a lunch box, with powerful JBL speakers, great video quality, and Android built-in. The hardware was great, but the ancient version of Android (4.4.4, to be precise), lack of Play Store support, and high price made the product hard to recommend.
Not long after, Anker announced a smaller version, called the Nebula Capsule. It's roughly the size of a soda can, and works as both a projector and a Bluetooth speaker. It's almost certainly the best portable projector you can buy, but it commands a high price. Read More