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Reviews

13

JBL Link Drive review: Google Assistant in your car still has rough edges

Google Assistant is everywhere these days: phones, tablets, speakers, Chromebooks, and more. The first Assistant devices for cars were unveiled earlier this year, and the first model from Anker launched in April. The other device, JBL's Link Drive, was announced at CES and seemed like it wasn't going to come out. Of course, JBL is no stranger to delays, and the Link Drive just became available recently. So, how is the JBL Link Drive? It's an almost identical experience to the Anker Roav Bolt, but with more hardware disadvantages and a higher price.

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21

Plantronics BackBeat 3200 review: Stable sports buds that hit all the right notes but one

While true wireless buds are easy to find in all shapes and prices these days, those that are made for exercising and built for stability aren't that many. Plantronics already dabbled in this segment last year with the BackBeat Fit 3100, which were good until you stepped into the wide open outdoors. Connectivity dropped between the two buds, making them nearly unusable in the environment they were built for.

Plantronics came back this year with a fix to this problem. The new Fit 3150 and 3200 use Bluetooth 5.0, offer a more stable connection, and don't have any issue outdoor.

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68

Google Nest Wifi review: Effortless whole-home networking made even better

Modern-day networking has taken a lot of the sting out of getting your devices up and connected, but there can still be a lot of hoops to jump though, and the idea of running cables, placing antennas, and drowning in a sea of DHCP leases and DNS lookups is enough to give even seasoned techies a mild panic attack. Google's hoping to further reduce many of those headaches while still giving users a powerful home network with the introduction of its new Nest Wifi mesh system.

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38

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless review: AirPods-style earbuds without a killer feature

I don't think it's a stretch to say the market for truly wireless earbuds is absolutely saturated at this point. Even beyond all the usual players - Apple, Anker, Plantronics, Jaybird, Sony, and others - there are thousands of white-label models from countless companies. Despite this, rubber-tipped earbuds still vastly outnumber Apple-style plastic-tipped buds.

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477

Pixel 4 and 4 XL review: Every Pixel has a silver lining (Update: Two weeks later)

Google has been selling smartphones for more than a decade at this point, but it's only on the fourth generation of Pixel phones. The Pixel era is when Google got serious about building a cohesive product that married hardware and software rather than just a vehicle for the latest stock version of Android. With the Pixel 4, it's clear that Google has learned a lot from the last three generations of Pixels, but I worry it hasn't learned all the right lessons.

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504

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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131

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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38

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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