With movie theaters still closed in most places, the home theater experience is more important than ever. A spiffy Atmos surround sound system can take your viewing experience to the next level, but maybe you don't want to run wires or have speakers permanently installed around your room. Well, that happens to be the niche JBL is targeting with the JBL Bar 9.1. It's an Atmos-enabled soundbar with a whopping 820W of power and detachable satellite speakers that you can place around the room when you need them. It also has full integration with Google's Chromecast platform, so you can manage it from the Home app.
Samsung has so many budget phones that it can be hard to keep track of them all. One of the company's more recent releases is the Galaxy A11, a low-end device with an MSRP of $179.99. However, the sub-$200 price bracket is a highly competitive one, and the Galaxy A11 is fighting the new Moto E, Nokia 2.3, and even other Samsung-made phones for your hard-earned cash.
The Galaxy A11 sits near the bottom of Samsung's phone lineup in the United States, alongside last year's Galaxy A10e and the Galaxy A01. It's a capable smartphone, but depending on what features you care about, there are better options out there.
There are a lot of smart speakers available these days. Some of them are cheap and not great for music, like the Nest Mini and Echo Dot. And then, there are devices at the other end of the spectrum like the Sony RA5000. Despite the uninspiring name, the RA5000 is the big debut for Sony's high-end 360 Reality Audio speakers. The sound you get from this speaker is fantastic across the board, but it's extremely expensive like most Sony products, and there isn't much 360 audio out there. Still, if you're looking for a new way to experience music at home, this could be it.
The Redmi Note series is what really put Xiaomi on the map, and it played an instrumental role in making competitors like Samsung step up their game. The 10th generation of the lineup sticks with the company's ethos of offering oodles of value for money and is probably the most significant generational jump we've seen in the series so far.
Summer 2021 is so close you can almost feel it, and with vaccines already starting to reach the general populace, people everywhere are eager to make up for lost time. If your plans involve spending some time with friends and family in the great outdoors, whether that means a day at the beach or a weekend in the woods, keeping everyone's devices powered can be tricky — and that's where Jackery steps in. The company already offered a wide array of portable power solutions ranging from the easily totable to the heavy-duty, and this year it's upping its game with the highest-capacity, highest-output model yet: the Explorer 1500.
Wyze has made its name in the US by offering competent smart home hardware for startlingly little money—$20 for a camera, $50 for a smart thermostat, and so on. The $250 Wyze Robot Vacuum is by far its most expensive product, but it's still cheap compared to the competition. This device sports full 3D mapping, scheduling, and it's got an app that isn't terrible. Most importantly, it does a very good job cleaning, assuming you don't mind a little noise. Unfortunately, you can't control this device with Google Assistant, but that's one of the few drawbacks.
"Good" and "bad" smartphones can have qualifiers — as in, "good but too expensive" or "bad but so cheap it doesn't really matter." After all, everything is worth something to someone. But Samsung's recent Galaxy S21 isn't just a good phone, now that we're starting to see the rest of what 2021 has to offer, it comes in at a good price, too. In fact, the more I use it, the more I like it. So, we're taking the rare step of giving the Galaxy S21 our Most Wanted award.
When a product is priced significantly higher than its competition, there are two potential reasons: either A) it's a legitimately superior option, or B) the company that makes it knows its target demographic will pony up regardless of how much it costs. Most luxury goods are some combination of the two (think Apple or Tesla). Bang & Olufsen's second-generation Beosound A1 also fits that bill: at $250, the Bluetooth speaker hardly reinvents portable audio — but it does everything it does so well, I'm inclined to put it more in column A than column B. I love this thing.
Last year, Samsung released its most ambitious (non-folding) phone to date: the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It didn't go over especially well. A sky-high $1400 price tag and unremarkable camera performance torpedoed the phone outright in our final assessment, a rare miss for Samsung in the premium smartphone segment.
In 2021, Samsung is trying to reboot the Galaxy S20 Ultra formula with the S21 Ultra. And while the differences on paper (and often in practice) aren't what you'd call huge, the end result is a more palatably priced phone with a much-improved camera system — notably addressing our two biggest gripes.
How do you get excited about something as utilitarian as a battery pack? We've reviewed plenty of them here at AP over the years, and generally it comes down to measuring the specs: What charges the fastest, puts out the most power, and has the largest capacity? But while anybody can construct a big, fast battery, when's the last time you chose a battery for its design, or because of its advanced features? With a slick-as-hell cyberpunk aesthetic and real-time detailed performance feedback, the crowdfunded STORM 2 is making me seriously reconsider what I look for in a battery.