Over the last year, we've seen a tangible shift in Android Wear's — now Wear OS — direction. Previously geared toward the demanding techie crowd that was tough to win over, Google's smartwatch platform found a sort of reprieve in more niche markets. We've seen Wear watches made for extreme sports, outdoors, running, and a slew of fashion-forward models from recognized brands like Michael Kors, Diesel, GUESS, Fossil, Kate Spade, Emporio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. The latter all come from the Fossil group, a company that I think should be credited for Wear's second lease of life — and likely its rebrand to Wear OS to attract iPhone users. Read More
When you travel, you get a good idea of the stuff it takes to keep your lifestyle going. It's one thing to be surrounded by all the things you need at home, but it's another to selectively pack them into a limited space with the expectation of maintaining the same standards. For me, the limiting factor has always been power: charging all my stuff means toting a pile of cables and bricks around. In fact, that's one of the biggest advantages of the growing ubiquity of USB-C and the PD spec.
So when I saw Satechi's 75W Travel Charger, with one USB-C PD and three USB-A ports, I knew I was interested, and it didn't disappoint. Read More
The thought of having a personal assistant right in your ears is an exciting prospect, which is why many of us were so hopeful for the Pixel Buds and even Bose's QC 35 II. Ahead of both of those, however, was the OnVocal OV, a pair of neckbuds that came equipped with Alexa. If you're tied into the Amazon ecosystem, then this would be quite appealing. Read More
Huawei has had a tough time of things in 2018, getting the rug pulled out from under it just before it launched the U.S. version of its flagship Mate 10 Pro on AT&T. The blows just kept coming with Verizon pulling out of a deal, followed by "security warnings" from some of the American government security agencies. While all of the political mess is somewhat fun to look back at and is good for a nice chuckle or two, my focus here is on the phone itself, Huawei's centerpiece. Read More
When Samsung announced the Galaxy S9, “that’s it?” wasn’t exactly an uncommon reaction. The Galaxy S9 is, frankly, kind of boring. But when you’re the most successful manufacturer of premium Android phones in the world by a wide margin, you can afford to be a little boring every once in a while.
Samsung knows this. As such, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don’t represent a sea change. Rather, they’re an affirmation of success. Everything that made the Galaxy S8 and S8+ great phones is still to be found here. Wireless charging, Samsung Pay, headphone jacks, brilliant displays, extremely refined industrial design, and IP68 waterproofing make these phones extremely feature-rich. Read More
A couple of weeks ago, Wacom announced the Bamboo Tip, a fine-tip stylus that had us interested. We've seen several of these "active capacitive" pens before, but they still occupy a rather forgotten category - one that's neither fully active neither as cheap as regular capacitive pens. So to get a better idea of how these pens work and whether or not they're worth the rather hefty price tag, I decided to take the Bamboo Tip for a test drive. I think it works well, but the $49.95 asking price is tough to justify. Read More
Netatmo's approach to security cameras is refreshing. In a market that's filled with companies limiting what you can do with the hardware you bought just in order to get you to sign up for a monthly subscription, Netatmo asks only that you purchase its camera. Video storage is free thanks to MicroSD card support as well as optional Dropbox and FTP uploads. Face recognition is free and gets better with time as it learns. A web app is provided so you can monitor everything from your computer, not just your phone. And privacy is respected because nothing other than a backup screenshot is sent to the Netatmo Cloud. Read More
The Android tablet market is a proverbial scarce wasteland these days. It has been quite some time since we saw something from Samsung or Asus, two of the last major stalwart players in this space (excluding Amazon, obviously). Tablets are not what they were in years past, though I personally still find having one useful for certain situations, despite Android leaving much to be desired in this aspect. Read More
After the Google Home was announced, it was only a matter of time before Google, like Amazon, made it possible for other brands to create their own Assistant-enabled speakers. We've already reviewed the TicHome Mini, a small portable alternative to the Home Mini, and today we're taking a look at JBL's line-up of Google Homesque speakers: the Link series. In this review, I will focus on the portable IPX7-rated cylindrical Link 20 and the larger stationary Link 300. However, my Android Police colleague Jeff has also had the Link 10, 20, and 300 for a while so I'll add his thoughts on the Link 10 and mention his personal comments on the other two as well. Read More
Microsoft Garage releases plenty of new projects with some being wacky and some more interesting with potential to grow into a real Microsoft app. The latter is the case of the new Photos Companion, an app that does what its name suggests: it's an Android (and iOS) app that lets you quickly transfer photos from your phone to the Photos app on a Windows 10 PC via WiFi. It works very well from my experience and might become my go-to way for sending screenshots to my computer. Read More