If you're at all serious about online security, you're sure to have at least a passing familiarity with two-factor authentication, or 2FA. Single-use codes sent in text messages or emails are probably the most common type of 2FA, but there are more secure methods. The YubiKey 5C NFC facilitates several of those methods in a small, affordable package: at 55 bucks, it's a pretty fantastic little gadget. Honestly, everybody should have one of these things.
From the new Apple M1 powered Macs to the Microsoft Surface Pro X I've been using, ARM-based computers are the new craze in mobile computing. The Surface Pro X was Microsoft's second big consumer push to get into the ARM platform and it really nails the essentials. Microsoft provides a fast and stable Windows on ARM experience, which is impressive despite the underpowered hardware on Microsoft’s latest SQ2-based machine. At the same time, some important features are missing while we wait for proper 64-bit emulation to arrive. That makes the price harder to swallow, but I've still really liked using the Surface Pro X.
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Over the past few years, wireless charging has become pretty ubiquitous; even some bargain-bin true wireless earbuds support it. Given that, it's entirely possible you have several wireless charging-compatible devices floating around your home right now. If you want to charge them all at once, a multi-device wireless charger could be just what you need. The Artellia Monno, recently funded on Kickstarter, is a sleek and competent charging pad that can wirelessly top up three devices at a time. During its campaign, it was available for $79, but it's projected to cost $129 at retail — a pretty penny for a third-party charger.
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LG might not sell a lot of flagship phones in America, but the company does have its budget and entry-level devices in nearly every prepaid carrier store. The K22 is one of LG's latest phones, and while it has been available in other countries for a few months, it only recently arrived in the United States as a Boost Mobile exclusive.
In a time when flagship phones are easily surpassing $1,000, and millions of people in the US (and elsewhere) are looking to save money wherever they can, phones like the K22 will likely receive more attention than ever. I was surprised by how capable the K22 was in my time with the phone, but it is about as cheap as a smartphone can reasonably be, which means a lot of corners were cut.
Apple has become a big name in wireless headphones with AirPods, which are easily the most popular and recognizable earbuds worldwide. AirPods provide reliable connectivity and an all-around great wireless earbud experience, but the sound quality can't compete with a nice set of over-ear headphones. That's what the AirPods Max are about.
Apple's iPhone 12 Mini will, I think, mark an end to small and good smartphones. That's not because it's bad, far from it; this is a great phone. But, it hasn't sold very well, and though they might argue otherwise, smartphone manufacturers are hardly altruistic. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple doesn't refresh this model next year. The iPhone 12 Mini may very well be the small phone swan song, and it really makes me wish a company in Android-land would make the mistake of copying it.
Premium Sony phones like the Xperia 5 II are hard to review. They're made for a very specific demographic — one so specific as to comprise roughly zero percent of the market. They're made for people who want both niche features like a physical shutter button and features that used to be common but now aren't, like headphone jacks, expandable storage, and displays without notches or hole-punches.
And that's fine! If you're a member of that subset of a subset of consumers, you'll probably like the Xperia 5 II very much. But the phone costs $950, which, after a barn burner of a year for very competent phones that cost $800, $700, $600, and less, is a bitter pill to swallow.
Android tablets have a tough time competing at the high end; iPads more or less single-handedly dominate that space. But if you're looking to spend a couple hundred bucks on something to watch Netflix in bed, you're probably not shopping Apple. You're probably looking for something like Samsung's latest budget tablet, the Galaxy Tab A7: it's cheap, it's got a nice screen and speakers, and the battery lasts for days. There's not a lot to dislike here.
The Fitbit Versa 3 launched earlier this year alongside Fitbit's flagship tracker, the Sense. That device is packed with features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, what have you — but it can also do ECG scans, and even purportedly measure your stress levels. In his review, our own Ryan found that the usefulness of some of the Sense's features was questionable. He also said it's too expensive at $329.
The Versa 3 is extremely similar to the Sense, with a few key differences: it drops ECG and electrodermal activity (EDA) monitoring, trades stainless steel casing for aluminum, and slashes $100 off the price tag.
Two months after the original European launch, OnePlus has officially brought the N10 5G to the US at $300. But this new move downmarket with the Nord brand still doesn't live up to the smash-hit original. Bugs with the touchscreen, connectivity, and performance have been ironed out since our original review, but the phone still doesn't quite earn our recommendation given the lackluster update policy and competition — even with the benefits of 5G.