At today's glitzy Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled a raft of new products, some of which are mostly aspirational for the time being. One device the company will hope to sell a boatload of in the coming months is the Galaxy S10e, a new cheaper variant in the popular series. It's a departure from the norm for Samsung, and a response to growing consumer unrest at the rising price of high-end flagship phones. It also serves to counter Apple's more affordable iPhone XR, obvious from the identical $749 starting price and variety of bright colors being made available. Read More
Automating the light in your home is easy if you only consider getting some smart bulbs or switches or plugs. But once it comes to natural light, the equation gets a bit more complicated. Smart shades/blinds/curtains aren't as ubiquitous, and the current solutions aren't ideal. You either have to replace your entire shades (Ikea, Lutron), the motor (Neo Smart Blinds), or if you're not feeling particularly adventurous, you can try to retrofit your existing window coverings.
The solution for that is both a little genius and ridiculous: there's a cord to control your shades, so how about adding a motor that just pulls on that cord instead of you? Read More
We would love for USB-C to be as ubiquitous as possible, and to avoid using USB-A and MicroUSB cables and ports, but the truth of the matter is that we're still in a transition phase where smartphones have adopted the standard, computers are moving in that direction, and accessories are still (generally) lagging behind. If you have multiple devices that can charge over USB-C, a hub that only provides one C port isn't ideal. But those with two ports or more are still a rarity.
Aukey had the PA-Y6, but it turned out to be not up to spec; ZeroLemon and Scoche have some options, but their low output makes them less ideal for charging laptops; and Anker just announced the 100W PowerPort Atom PD 4, but it's not yet available and should cost about $100 when it does come to market. Read More
There are plenty of reasons to pick up a microSD card, should your phone support one. It can be a lot cheaper to get a phone with less storage and plan to add more. Media maniacs and data hoarders can also make use of the super cheap extra space. But if you think SanDisk's new A1 and A2-rated microSD cards are going to provide anywhere near the experience of your phone's built-in storage, think again. Read More
I will never change my opinion when it comes to the headphone jack: Taking it away was a terrible, consumer-unfriendly decision. Thanks to Google, Essential, OnePlus, and other OEMs, that means I have to work a bit harder to accommodate new devices into my firmly, happily tangled life, and one of the most annoying sacrifices up until now was using my phone in the car. The standalone Android Auto app actually works great just on your phone's screen, but having to choose between charging and audio was a major bummer.
Thanks to Moshi's power/3.5mm splitter dongle, that's not an issue for me anymore. Read More
Nokia's nothing short of a legend when it comes to mobile phones, having been responsible for some of the most iconic handsets of all time. Over the years we've seen the brand change hands numerous times, reinventing itself and crossing platform lines in the process, but it's always been a survivor, managing to find its next niche. Most recently that's meant creating some no-nonsense, streamlined Android handsets under the direction of HMD Global. Now HMD is finally making inroads onto the US carrier marketplace, bringing Nokia handsets to both Cricket and Verizon. Today we're taking a look at what that Cricket option has to offer as we review the Nokia 3.1 Plus. Read More
Most smart home products use one of four connectivity options — WiFi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Bluetooth Low Energy. Bluetooth products are a little less popular, because they can only be controlled locally via a smartphone, or remotely if the company makes its own Bluetooth to WiFi hub. General Electric's C-Life A19 bulbs use Bluetooth too, but they're special because they're one of the few products that can use a Google Home speaker as their hub.
The C-Life Smart Bulb has no separate account to manage, no additional hubs to plug into your router, and no Wi-Fi connections to deal with. All you need is a Google Home, the Home app, and you're set. Read More
In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.
The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more. Read More
You are no longer stuck with a few Google-branded speaker options if you want to invite Assistant into your home. There are speakers from JBL, Sony, and many others—including Marshall. The updated Marshall Stanmore II speaker launched recently, and it looks like a feasible alternative to Google's best-in-class Home Max. It combines classic Marshall styling with modern voice assistant features, but it comes with a steep $400 asking price. Read More
Odds are you didn't buy your phone or laptop because of the charger that it came with. They're an incidental feature compared to the gadget itself — some reviews don't even mention them — but you definitely need one. If that dependency drives you to buy another USB Type-C PD-compliant wall-wart, Anker's new PowerPort Atom PD 1 is among the best 30W chargers you can get. It's tiny, powerful enough to drive some laptops, and pretty cheap at a mere $30. Read More