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212

Google Stadia review: This could be big

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.

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484

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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110

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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5

Libratone Track Air+ review: Solid sound and active noise-cancellation at a decent price

Until Sony's excellent WF-1000XM3 launched earlier this year, there was no viable true wireless earbud option with active noise cancellation. This is partly because in-ear audio products already isolate far better than on or over-ear headphones, negating the need for ANC, and partly because it's difficult to squeeze the necessary tech into such a small form factor.

This space has come on leaps and bounds in a few short years, however, and we can now expect even more noise-canceling earbuds to hit the market. Danish brand Libratone recently entered the fray with its Track Air+ model, and they boast an impressive feature set while managing to undercut the competing Sony model by some margin — £179 vs £229 in the UK.

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10

Anker PowerPort Atom III review: With chargers, all you need is 'fine'

Power accessories are important because they can be dangerous, but they really just fall into three broad camps: legitimately unsafe, odd, and fine. The best you can hope for is for an adapter to meet its specs as defined without doing anything wrong, hazardous, or suffering any incompatibility issues — in other words, the best chargers are just "fine." In that fine tradition, the $40, gallium nitrite-powered, Type-C, 60W, Anker PowerPort Atom III perfectly meets our expectations.

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6

Blue Yeti X is one of the best consumer mics available for under $200

The default hardware kit for most podcasters and live streamers consists of two widely known products: A Logitech webcam and a Blue Yeti microphone. The Yeti has become one of the most popular all-around mics on the market because it delivers high quality, versatility, and a distinctive look without breaking the bank. Blue is now launching a new member in the lineup called the Yeti X, taking everything from the original, but adding great lighting and powerful audio processing capabilities that will appeal to podcasters and a rapidly growing market of game streamers.

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4

Mpow's H5 noise-canceling headphones get the job done for 50 bucks

The active noise-canceling headphone market has been booming lately, with commendable options from the likes of Sony, Jabra, and Microsoft — not to mention Bose, which has practically defined the product category for years. If you want the best, though, you'll have to pay: it's not uncommon for high-end ANC cans to run $200 or more. Mpow's H5 noise-canceling headphones can't compete with the big guys, but at $50, they're not trying to — and they're probably just right for a lot of people.

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52

[Update: Two weeks later] The Nest Hub Max is the best smart display, but not the best security camera

No product is more emblematic of the fusion of Google and Nest into a single brand than the new Google Nest Hub Max. This is the bigger brother to the Google Home Hub, later renamed the Google Nest Hub. The two devices share many of the same features like Ambient EQ and smart home controls, but the Hub Max steps up with a camera, better audio, and a much larger screen for $229. If you're looking to pick up a big smart display with Assistant, the Nest Hub Max is absolutely your best bet. However, don't count on the "Nest" part of the Nest Hub Max to impress—it's not a very good security camera.

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18

Zhiyun Smooth-Q2 review: A great travel gimbal that's perfect for beginners

Whether you're preparing for a trip across the world or just getting together a few essentials for a hike, it can be difficult to find space for everything that will come with you. If something is too big, it's staying at home. That's where most smartphone gimbals tend to fail the test: long handles and awkward shapes make them terrible to pack and annoying to carry. Zhiyun, a company highly regarded for its DSLR and smartphone gimbals, is preparing to release a new model called the Smooth-Q2 that's more compact than any smartphone gimbal on the market. Aside from a few basic sacrifices, it's a great little tool to really improve the quality of your videos.

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27

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

Over the past few years, we've seen the emergence of a new category of phone: the budget flagship. Pioneered by brands like OnePlus, these affordable devices have a lot of the desirable qualities of phones that cost considerably more. At just $550, ZTE's Axon 10 Pro packs a spec wallop, and it seems like a great option on paper — but questionable software decisions and lousy image processing spoil what could've otherwise been an easy recommendation.

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