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Reviews

503

I'm an Android user who tried the Apple Watch for a month — it's now the only smartwatch I'll recommend

Smartwatches as a concept are not something I've ever really been able to get into. It turns out that's mostly because they're all pretty terrible — once you've tried an Apple Watch.

Two years ago, I tried using an iPhone as my full-time smartphone for the first time ever. I wasn't a complete iOS novice — I've owned iPads in the past — but it was the first time I'd actually had to live inside Apple's walled garden. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the experience, and many of them still hold true today. But the Apple Watch was new territory for me.

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108

Pixelbook Go review: Google’s cheap laptop is too expensive (Update: Two weeks later)

In 2013, Google released the Chromebook Pixel, a beautiful, weird, unabashedly high-end device meant to show other manufacturers what Chrome OS could do with more power than it needed. Google nerds were into it, but it didn't have much impact on the greater Chrome landscape. Following a 2015 hardware refresh and 2017's similarly pricey convertible Pixelbook, Google tried and failed to catch more mainstream attention with last year's Pixel Slate, an overpriced, badly-optimized two-in-one that sold so poorly the company actually gave up on making tablets. This year, Google is taking a different tack in trying to sell to normal people with the Pixelbook Go, a regular ol' Chrome OS laptop with regular ol' specs, starting at $650.

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118

I tried to use an Honor phone without Google's apps — and it did not go well

By now you’re probably familiar with the Huawei ban. Back in May, as part of the US government’s pointless trade war with China, Huawei was put on an “entity list” preventing American companies from doing business with the Chinese giant. As a result, Huawei lost access to Intel and Qualcomm’s chips, Microsoft and Google’s software — like Windows and Google Mobile Services (GMS) — and much more US tech.

Huawei mostly makes phones using its own Kirin processors, so losing access to Qualcomm’s hardware isn’t a huge issue. The company can also continue using Android since it’s open source. But losing access to GMS means new Huawei phones cannot run Google’s apps or services, or third party apps that use Google’s APIs — a deal breaker in many markets, including Europe, where Huawei handsets are extremely popular.

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36

Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro and Air 2 review: USB-C, Qi, affordability, and all that jazz

There is no shortage of true wireless earbuds nowadays. Although new, this product category has taken the audio world by storm and appealed to most users thanks to a combination of convenience, portability, and longer listening time between charges. The first generation of products was expensive and riddled with issues, but with time, we're seeing more and more good affordable options, like Anker's Soundcore portfolio.

The company first dipped its toes in this market less than two years ago with the Zolo Liberty and Liberty+, but has since done what it's wont to do by releasing model after model across many price points and form factors.

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6

Arlo Pro 3 review: Two steps forward, one step back

Wireless cameras have had a huge impact on how we're able to keep a watchful eye over our homes, possessions, and loved ones. Modern systems are as feature packed as they are easy to install, and the field is still new enough that we're seeing real improvements generation-to-generation. Earlier this year, Arlo launched a 4K option in the form of its Ultra cam, and now we're getting a fresh entry in its Pro series with the release of the Arlo Pro 3.

The Pro 2 was already a fantastic wireless camera, with a solid 1080p resolution, battery life extending into weeks, and free 7-day cloud storage for recorded clips.

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5

Libratone Track Air+ review: Solid sound and active noise-cancellation at a decent price

Until Sony's excellent WF-1000XM3 launched earlier this year, there was no viable true wireless earbud option with active noise cancellation. This is partly because in-ear audio products already isolate far better than on or over-ear headphones, negating the need for ANC, and partly because it's difficult to squeeze the necessary tech into such a small form factor.

This space has come on leaps and bounds in a few short years, however, and we can now expect even more noise-canceling earbuds to hit the market. Danish brand Libratone recently entered the fray with its Track Air+ model, and they boast an impressive feature set while managing to undercut the competing Sony model by some margin — £179 vs £229 in the UK.

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85

Nvidia Shield TV (2019) review: The best Android TV box for pretty much everyone

Nvidia's Shield TV has been Android nerds' streaming box of choice for going on half a decade, and for good reason: it's got ample power, plenty of features, and software that's always up to date. Now, the company has introduced two new versions with a bit of a twist. The base model, this tube-shaped guy right here, fills a role that's decidedly niche: a premium Android TV box (cylinder?) that does everything you'd want a streamer to do and nothing else, for a price that's high-end but not too high-end. I'm not sure how many people are looking for exactly that, but I'm confident anybody who is will be thrilled with this year's Shield TV.

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10

Anker PowerPort Atom III review: With chargers, all you need is 'fine'

Power accessories are important because they can be dangerous, but they really just fall into three broad camps: legitimately unsafe, odd, and fine. The best you can hope for is for an adapter to meet its specs as defined without doing anything wrong, hazardous, or suffering any incompatibility issues — in other words, the best chargers are just "fine." In that fine tradition, the $40, gallium nitrite-powered, Type-C, 60W, Anker PowerPort Atom III perfectly meets our expectations.

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15

Wyze Plug review: Turning you on to quick and easy home automation

No one wants to go broke while upgrading their house to become a smart home, and that's a big part of what's made Wyze hardware so appealing: straightforward functionality at a just-can't-be-beat price. Following the launch of Wyze Sense security sensors and the Wyze Bulb earlier this year, the company's smart home offerings are now joined by a solution for controlling existing appliances: the Wyze Plug.

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44

Nest Mini review: No need to wait for a freebie, it's worth your $50

The original Home Mini was a home run, delivering Google's then-new Assistant experience with both a tiny package and price. That legacy leaves the Nest Mini with big (small?) shoes to fill, and this little Nest-branded smart speaker delivers, raising the bar when it comes to the entry-level Assistant experience. But, there's no reason to replace a house full of Home Minis just yet.

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