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Reviews

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Hands-on: Elegant bucket list app 'Soon' launches on Android

In a world that bombards us with things to do, it can be tough to stay on top of everything we think is worth checking out. Movies we want to see, music to listen to, books to read, restaurants to try, and places to go, there's just so much to do and almost no central way to keep track of all of this. You can use a simple list app, like Google Keep for example, but where's the fun in that? Now there's a new way to stay on top of your bucket list: Soon.

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Review: Sony's $350 WH-1000XM3 headphones live up to the hype

In today's $350 wireless, ANC-equipped over-ear headphones space, there are two primary competitors: Bose's QuietComfort 35 II and Sony's WH-1000XM3. Bose has long been championed as the king of the segment by many, but it seems impossible to talk about the QC35 II these days without someone butting in about how the identically-priced 1000XM3 is superior. After some time with the 1000XM3, I understand why everyone has been talking about it.

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Arlo Audio Doorbell and Chime review: Easy setup, questionable value

Ding-dong; the future's here! With smart-home technology making it more affordable than ever to outfit your domicile with everything from high-resolution, subject-identifying security cameras to wireless, effortlessly hooked up door and window sensors, who's really thinking about installing something as seemingly archaic as a doorbell and chime? We've already spent some time getting to to know Arlo's wireless camera systems, and I recently set out to see how that setup might be enhanced by the addition of the $80 Arlo Audio Doorbell and the $50 Arlo Chime.

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Philips Hue Play review: Impressive media-syncing light bars, but with room for improvement

As well as offering simple light bulbs and accessories for your home, Philips has been pushing its Hue lights for entertainment purposes more and more. The Zigbee-toting Hue lights can now be used as accent lighting for music, film, and even gaming, which may seem gimmicky or cool, depending on your outlook. I would say it’s a bit of both, or at least that’s how I view the latest addition to the lineup, the Hue Play.

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Nanoleaf Canvas review: The funkiest smart lights get cooler, better

Over the past couple of years, Nanoleaf has made a name for itself as the brand for cool, funky, unusual, and colorful smart lights. I dubbed its Aurora panels "the coolest and most extravagant smart lights you can own" when I reviewed them, and they're still just as awesome as they were back in 2017. But you can't sit still while the world moves on, so Nanoleaf is back again with the Canvas.

Square tiles with multiple connection points replace the triangle ones, but the real advantage is in the touch reactivity and built-in Rhythm mode that follows your music.

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LG ThinQ View smart display review: It's $250, loud, and kind of ugly

Google Assistant-powered smart displays all do pretty much the same things, and, except for the Google Home Hub, run identical software on similar internal hardware. That uniformity leaves device-specific critiques to nuances in external hardware, and while LG's ThinQ View display doesn't outright fail in any respect, for $250, its functional similarity to cheaper, prettier devices makes it a bad buy.

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ExaGear app review: A Windows emulator with questionable utility

Wine, the popular cross-platform Windows compatibility layer, has been officially available for Android since early 2018. However, it only translates API calls; there's no built-in emulator to convert x86 instructions for ARM processors. ExaGear is a paid emulator for Android that attempts to solve this problem, by adding an x86 emulator to a modified version of Wine.

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RHA TrueConnect true wireless earbuds review: You can do better

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.

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The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Winter 2018)

Worldwide sales of voice assistant smart speakers have seen tremendous growth in the last year alone, and the same can be said of the smart home sector as a whole. The technology underpinning the products will continue to get better as prices come down, and new categories will keep springing up, but there’s a lot out there worth investing in right at this moment.

With that in mind, and to ensure you won’t end up gifting (or being gifted) a dud this holiday season, we’ve put together a list of the best smart home devices you can buy. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Home Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, and doorbells, we’ve got you covered.

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Anker Soundcore Model Zero and Zero+ review: Premium wireless speakers, with or without Google Assistant

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.

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