When the TicPods Free came out in 2018, they were one of my favorite true wireless sets, especially given the relatively low price of $130. Cheaper models were few and far between at that point, and you’d have to pay significantly more to get anything that sounded truly excellent. The market has been flooded with half-decent affordable options in the time since then, however, and the original TicPods didn’t stand up to the test of time all that well.
I've been looking forward to an update, and now the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro are upon us, the latter of which I’ve been reviewing over the past week or so. Read More
Realme might be the newest and least well known of the BBK Electronics family that includes Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus, but it’s certainly no less ambitious. After starting out as an Oppo sub-brand it was given license to operate more independently in 2017, and since then Realme has sold so many devices that it’s now the fastest-growing smartphone maker in the world. Its foray into the European market only really began in earnest this year, but aggressive pricing looks to be to paying dividends as it goes after more established Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi and Honor/Huawei.
The X2 Pro is the company’s first proper flagship, and it quickly grabbed our attention when it was introduced to the European market in October due to the insane spec to price ratio. Read More
Google bills Stadia as "one place for all the ways we play" — meaning on TV, desktop, and mobile. But considering Stadia's games aren't controllable by touch, playing on a phone can get awkward. Enter the Claw: a made-for-Google phone cradle custom fit to the Stadia controller. It's not great, but outside of Stadia's inherent drawbacks, it does facilitate phone play, and for $15, you might as well pick one up. Read More
OnePlus came out of nowhere barely five years ago, offering a compellingly cheap flagship phone with... questionable marketing. OnePlus has grown up a lot over the years, and it's no longer reliant on unlocked phone purchases. Not only has OnePlus partnered with carriers over the past year, it has produced some of the first 5G phones in the US market. The new OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren has a mouthful of a name, but it's probably the first 5G phone that's even worth your consideration. Read More
If you haven't already bought a smart display and you aren't skipping out over privacy concerns, you really should pick one up. They're a lot more than just a "digital photo frame," providing all the same utility as a smart speaker, plus piles of extra interaction from a touchscreen. But you might want to be careful about which smart display you buy. Lenovo's newest Smart Display 7 might have an attractive design, but it's got piles of little problems that might make the identically-priced (and often discounted) Nest Hub a better choice. Sadly, it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Lenovo's previous models, either. Read More
Cloud gaming isn't a new idea. Companies like OnLive (RIP) have been trying to make it work for the better part of a decade. Google's effectively limitless resources and software wizardry make it an ideal fit to work the kinks out of such a complicated problem, and with Stadia, it seems it may have done just that. In my time with the platform, streaming performance has been wildly impressive — but lackluster day-one game selection and plenty of half-baked features make for a rocky start for the fledgling gaming platform. Read More
Google introduced the idea of a premium Chromebook (and a matching premium price tag) with the original Chromebook Pixel. Other companies have followed suit with devices like the Yoga C630 from Lenovo and some HP X360. In this competitive landscape, Acer has a compelling solution of its own: the Acer Chromebook 715. Acer's new high-end Chromebook sports an all-metal construction with MIL-STD 810G compliance, optional quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with up to 16GB of RAM, a full-size keyboard with a number pad, and an optional fingerprint reader. Currently, there is no other large Chromebook on the market that has those last two features. Read More
Mpow isn't exactly a household name when it comes to audio, but its commitment to competitive pricing has earned it some fans. The M20 wireless earbuds manage to maintain that affordability while packing in a decent array of features. Of course, some compromises must be made to keep costs low, and the M20s are no exception. If you can see past a few issues, these Bluetooth earbuds may be worth your consideration. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More