When smartwatches first hit the market several years ago, I immediately hopped on board. As an avid lover of watches, I found myself very interested in the concept of wearing a timepiece that also doubled as a notification mirror for my phone. At the time, I worked in jobs where phone use was either discouraged or outright prohibited, whether by policy or the frantic pace of the position. But unfortunately for me, I have a compulsion to know what's going on with my phone at any and all times — I can't just ignore my phone going off. So smartwatches offered me a chance to keep my phone in my pocket, but still be kept apprised of my incoming notifications. Read More
My family lives in a somewhat large house, and Xfinity's 'Wireless Gateway' router has never done a great job at coverage. Several rooms had poor reception or dead spots, particularly in the upstairs area. I bought a basic Netgear range extender as a band-aid solution, but for whatever reason, some of my devices (including my Google Pixel) still refuse to connect to it.
Last year at CES, Linksys announced its first mesh Wi-Fi system, called 'Velop.' The tri-band 2x2 802.11ac connectivity was a major selling point, but it was rather expensive — a 3-pack would set you back $500. The company launched a new dual-band Velop lineup last month, created to directly compete with the Google Wifi and other consumer mesh network systems. Read More
We spend a lot of time researching the gadgets we use, but often gloss over things when it comes to accessories. That seems to be especially true in the case of power, where most of us just sort of use whatever battery or charger we have on hand—convenience is the most important thing. But if you look into the matter, not all batteries are created equal. Thankfully, RAVPower's 27,000mAh, 110V AC-compatible battery has some decent specs in an inexpensive package, and we've got a coupon that makes it even cheaper. Read More
My new apartment is laid out in a longitudinal way with the master bedroom on an opposite end of the living room/balcony. This makes the terrible internet situation in Lebanon even more challenging because finding a router system that reaches both ends is tricky. After a lot of research, I opted for a TP-Link Archer VR2600 that we had to place toward the living room side of the house. On paper, it seemed to fit the bill with speed, dual-band, guest network, parental controls, and a neat Android app. Most importantly, it had an RJ11 port, which is how our ADSL internet is delivered. Read More
Last year, mobile accessory company Anker released its first portable projector, the Nebula Mars. It was roughly the size of a lunch box, with powerful JBL speakers, great video quality, and Android built-in. The hardware was great, but the ancient version of Android (4.4.4, to be precise), lack of Play Store support, and high price made the product hard to recommend.
Not long after, Anker announced a smaller version, called the Nebula Capsule. It's roughly the size of a soda can, and works as both a projector and a Bluetooth speaker. It's almost certainly the best portable projector you can buy, but it commands a high price. Read More
I've never been a fan of buying expensive laptops, even once I could actually afford them. Just like with smartphones, there's a certain point where the added features can't justify the $1,000+ prices, unless you are doing heavy productivity or gaming. My first laptop was the ASUS Eee PC 1001PXD netbook, which I was pretty happy with at the time (now the 1024x600 screen sounds atrocious), but the casing eventually started to crack apart. I later switched to the original Dell Chromebook 13, but the limitations of the browser-only environment were too much to bear, so I bought a Surface Pro 2. Read More
When you travel, you get a good idea of the stuff it takes to keep your lifestyle going. It's one thing to be surrounded by all the things you need at home, but it's another to selectively pack them into a limited space with the expectation of maintaining the same standards. For me, the limiting factor has always been power: charging all my stuff means toting a pile of cables and bricks around. In fact, that's one of the biggest advantages of the growing ubiquity of USB-C and the PD spec.
So when I saw Satechi's 75W Travel Charger, with one USB-C PD and three USB-A ports, I knew I was interested, and it didn't disappoint. Read More
A couple of weeks ago, Wacom announced the Bamboo Tip, a fine-tip stylus that had us interested. We've seen several of these "active capacitive" pens before, but they still occupy a rather forgotten category - one that's neither fully active neither as cheap as regular capacitive pens. So to get a better idea of how these pens work and whether or not they're worth the rather hefty price tag, I decided to take the Bamboo Tip for a test drive. I think it works well, but the $49.95 asking price is tough to justify. Read More
Many things come to mind when I think of smart home accessories: speakers, locks, displays, TVs, or maybe wall plugs. The list continues to grow each day it seems, but here comes Anker with a car charger that, while itself not unique for the company, features Alexa as a defining feature. Don't want to fork over the money to get Assistant in your car? Here's the next best thing... kinda. Read More
Just ahead of this year's CES, Mophie announced a massive 22,000mAh battery capable of spitting both 30W USB-PD over Type-C and 100W over a standard AC outlet, all in a relatively dinky 7.5" x 4.5" x 1.1" package. It even had what looked like a swanky gray fabric shell, so our interest was certainly piqued. The only real potential drawback we noted at the time was the price. $199.95 is pretty serious cash for a 22,000mAh battery.
Since then, the battery has been marked down to ~$125 on Amazon. Now that I've had a chance to play with one for a while, I can say that it's a great battery, but depending on your use case it might not be a great value. Read More