Everyone is trying to make true wireless earbuds these days, but most of these products aren't very good. The technology has gotten cheap enough that any white label OEM can throw together a true wireless setup that does the bare minimum. Unless you simply refuse to have wires under any circumstances, these cheap options aren't worth the tradeoffs like sync issues, poor sound quality, and A/V lag. At the high-end, there are true wireless systems that can almost match a nice set of regular Bluetooth earbuds, but there's a lot of variation. The RHA TrueConnect earbuds look like an able competitor, but the USB Type-C port can't make up for the missing features and so-so sound quality. Read More
Anker's Soundcore sub-brand sells all kinds of wireless audio gear, from earbuds to soundbars. They generally target a pretty midrange market; they're not chintzy by any means, but historically, they haven't been expensive, either. Starting at $200, though, Anker's new Soundcore Model Zero and Model Zero+ speakers are decidedly more premium than the company's previous offerings. And while they're not quite a home run, there's a lot to like here. Read More
When Google announced Chrome OS as a platform, it talked about LTE as one of the defining characteristics. At the time, Google pitched Chrome OS as always up-to-date and backed up because your laptop would have a constant connection. There have been some LTE-equipped Chromebooks but none for the past few years as manufacturers have focused more on the budget end of the market. The new Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 brings LTE back to Chrome OS, but it does so with a higher price tag. Read More
Jaybird has had a busy few months. Following September's release of both the flagship X4 and budget Tarah, the company released last month the Tarah Pro, a second high-end headset that evidently shares enough in common with Jaybird's entry-level offering to share its name.
Tarah, it seems, is Jaybird's name for these devices' particular form factor, rather than an indicator of budget-friendliness. While the Pro take a number of design cues from the vanilla Tarah, they certainly don't take inspiration from their price: at $160, the Tarah Pro are Jaybird's most expensive earbuds. They're also the company's best. Read More
If you peruse our Winter 2018 Most Wanted audio guide (and you should — good stuff in there), you'll notice an unfortunate trend. With few exceptions, manufacturers of wireless audio gear seem timid about adopting USB Type-C charging. So I was excited to get my hands on the Rowkin Ascent Charge: they're fully wireless earbuds whose case is decked out with not only the increasingly standard USB-C, but also Qi wireless charging. And after using the buds for a couple of weeks, I like them a lot, but a few grating flaws are stopping me from loving them. Read More
Like an increasing number of people, I do all my work on a laptop. When I'm at home, it's generally docked at my desk, attached to a large, stationary monitor. When I take the show on the road, I find I miss the convenience of having two screens at my disposal. Less real estate to work with means more switching between tabs and windows, making for a workflow that's less productive overall.
So conceptually, I find the Vinpok Split enticing. It's a portable, 15.6-inch, 1080p touchscreen monitor that connects to your laptop over either HDMI or USB-C. I'm not the only one intrigued: the product's Indiegogo campaign, which initially set out to raise $5,000, has collected nearly $2 million since October. Read More
The device we currently know as the "NVIDIA SHIELD" is not the first one to carry the name. That honor goes to the handheld device launched in 2013, later renamed SHIELD Portable. After that came the SHIELD Tablet, and finally the SHIELD Android TV in 2015. It was not the only way to get Android TV, but NVIDIA's box is the only one that had any staying power. Three years on, this device has gotten 20 updates across three major Android versions. I can't think of another Android device that offers so much value after more than three years of use. That's why we're taking another look at the SHIELD—it's changed quite a lot. Read More
Unlike most phones we review, the Palm Phone does not claim to be the equal of another device. It doesn't even necessarily claim to be good. The Verizon-exclusive Palm Phone is billed as a companion to the phone you actually like using. A phone that's minimalist and limited by design can't be "good" in the traditional sense, but can it be bad in a way that you still might want one? Sadly, no.
The TCL-made Palm Phone is fascinating because of how odd it is. So many phones these days are predictable and boring, but this one is at least interesting. Read More
Just a few short years ago, Nokia was seldom mentioned on Android Police... or much of anywhere, really. Microsoft gobbled up Nokia's renowned smartphone division and still couldn't make Windows Phone work. The remainder of Nokia partnered with HMD to revive the brand in 2016, and some of the phones to come out of this partnership are fantastic, helped by Nokia/HMD's commitment to Android One. Read More
For as long as there have been smartphones, there have also been weird smartphones. While mainstream models tend to keep things basic, giving you slightly faster and more feature-rich versions of devices that have come before, there are always those outliers that seem to remind us that there's room for variety in this industry yet: phones that fold, have sliding hardware, or take similar steps to set them apart from the rest of the pack. Read More