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Reviews

24

Review: Budget-friendly Blink XT2 smart camera reminds us you get what you pay for

Smart home shoppers have dozens of options when it comes to internet-connected cameras, with solutions available from Nest, Arlo, Eufy, and more. Those run the gamut in terms of hardware features, cloud connectivity, and ultimate cost — initial and ongoing. Can the cheaper systems hold their own against the big boys? Today we're looking at one of the more affordable indoor/outdoor wireless cams, the new XT2 from Amazon-owned Blink.

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98

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review: Cheap and decent activity tracking, but not for swimmers

In the world of activity trackers, nothing comes close to the Mi Band's value. Cheaper than any Garmin or Fitbit tracker, even the most basic vivofit4 and Inspire, but still packing enough functionality, it also benefits from Xiaomi's name recognition and is considered a serious choice, not a cheap knock-off no-name tracker.

The most recent Mi Band 4 pushes the value-for-money envelop even further thanks to a colored AMOLED screen, swim tracking, and music controls, which get added on top of the previous generation's all-day activity, sleep, and heart rate tracking. Overall, the package is very attractive, but cracks are inevitably hiding below the surface, especially if you like spending your time in a pool.

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11

Review: The Omnicharge 20+ is a highly versatile portable battery, but it's too complicated for most

Among on-the-go professionals, there's a sort of holy grail when it comes to power accessories: a single portable charger that can power everything. The transition to USB Type-C has helped approach that ideal, but there are still things it isn't perfect for, and batteries like the 71Wh Omnicharge Omni 20+ will always have a special place. It can charge devices off of USB Type-A, Type-C, 120/230V AC, Qi wireless charging, and even a barrel DC port, but that flexibility means it also has a special price: $200. And with all the features and output types it crams in, we think this battery may be a bit too complicated for most consumers.

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35

Wyze Bulb review: Smart lighting this affordable is clearly a bright idea

Wyze is on a mission to convert your house into a full-blown smart home, even if it has to do so piece by piece. The company started out selling very affordable surveillance cameras, which have only become more powerful as they pick up new functionality.

But the big move for Wyze happened just a couple months back, with the expansion beyond cameras into the security-focused Wyze Sense. Now we've got a smart scale and connected outlets just over the horizon, but today we're taking a look at Wyze's first foray into lighting, as we go hands-on with the recently released Wyze Bulb.

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16

Review: Logitech Harmony Express is a universal remote for people with more money than time

The ultimate and original automation convenience is the universal remote: a simple gadget that replaces all your similar devices, turning elaborate multi-step operations into a one-button convenience. Logitech's Harmony series of remotes and hubs have offered one of the best experiences out there, but at the cost of a complex setup and maintenance process. The new Harmony Express streamlines almost everything about the experience, but I don't think that convenience is worth the sky-high price tag.

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31

AirDroid launches new screen mirroring app for remote tech support

A year ago, AirDroid released AirMirror, an app that allows you to control other mobile devices right from your phone. It's great for helping out parents and friends in tech distress but it comes with some limitations. The device you want to control has to be rooted or set up by tethering it to a computer before you can access it. AirDroid's latest product, Remote Support, addresses this issue. While it won't allow you to outright remote into another device, you can see a mirror of the other party's screen as you interact with them through chat, voice messages, integrated calling, plus you can suggest touches and swipes that will show up on their screen.

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12

Sony’s $250 Extra Bass headphones can’t compete with the 1000XM3 — even on price

Most ANC headphones on the market, Sony's own WH-1000XM3 included, are fairly neutral-sounding. But given how popular Beats headphones are, it was only a matter of time before a bass-focused ANC offering popped up in the market. The WH-XB900N Extra Bass caters to that specific audience, and at $250, it undercuts the 1000XM3's MSRP by $100.

However, the XB900N feels like it's lost a lot more than that $100 in value when compared to the 1000XM3. It's worse in every measurable metric, and not just by a little. Consider the recent discounts that have brought the 1000XM3 to sub-$250 prices, and you can quickly see that it doesn't make much sense to recommend the XB900N at all.

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71

The Xperia 1 is Sony's best phone yet, but it struggles to justify the exorbitant price

Sony used to be one of the most successful mobile companies in the world, but it never really got into a groove as modern smartphones took over the market. Sony has been on a slow downward slide for the last decade thanks to a string of mediocre, overpriced devices and failing relations with carriers. There have been some bright spots along the way, though, and Sony has been focusing on the hardware more in recent years. Last year's Xperia XZ3 was an encouraging improvement, and the new Xperia 1 is better still. However, it's just not good enough.

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37

Forget gaming: The Red Magic 3 is the most powerful phone under $500 in the US right now

I’ll just come right out and say it: gaming phones are a gimmick. You can get 99% of the same gaming experience using a flagship without sacrificing other core functionality like camera performance. And don’t get me wrong—shoulder buttons, blinking lights, and other gaming-specific features are certainly nice to have, but hardcore gaming on phones isn’t a big enough market (at least yet). In reality, too few mobile games are designed to take full advantage of extra controls or 90Hz displays.

Before you reach for your pitchforks, though, there’s one area where gaming phones have been leading the pack lately, and that’s value—at least on paper.

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98

The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Summer 2019)

Worldwide sales of voice assistant smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and others continue to grow, and the same can be said of the smart home sector as a whole. The technology underpinning these products is always improving and it’s becoming increasingly affordable to bring smart gadgets into your house.

There's already such a vast number of different products from various companies out there that it's hard to know which ones are the best, so we've put together this list with some of our favorites.

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