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
A few months ago, I reviewed the Collectors Edition of Anki's popular 'Cozmo' robot. Cozmo was first and foremost a toy, but the app included a 'Code Lab' where owners could create simple block-based programs (Anki has even extended that in subsequent updates).
After that review, Wonder Workshop asked me if I wanted to try out two of its toy robots - the 'Dot' and 'Cue.' Unlike the Cozmo, where coding functionality was more of an afterthought, programming is at the heart of the Dot and Cue. Almost all the activities you can do with these robots involve some level of coding, but they are accessible enough for most kids to get some enjoyment out of them. Read More
The chances are almost 100% that everyone reading this has some way to access the Google Assistant. You might even have more than one Assistant device now that most phones released in the last few years have support and Google is handing out Home Minis like they're going to expire. The original Google Home has a respectable speaker for the size, and many people use it to listen to music. Yet, for anyone who's serious about their tunes, the Home and Home Mini just don't cut it. That's where the Home Max comes in. This smart speaker is not screwing around—it's big, heavy, and incredibly loud. Read More
Storage space is getting cheaper, whether you're talking about phones or computers. It used to cost astronomical amounts of money to get even 1GB of storage. As storage has become cheaper, files sizes are increasing. A photo taken with the Pixel 2 might be nearly 10MB, and that adds up over time. 4K video? We're talking many gigabytes. Read More
$250. That is what a pair of Bose's take on the truly wireless earbud will set you back, and you won't exactly look stylish for your decision. Like the original, cable-linked SoundSport Wireless, the newest wireless earbuds from Bose aren't lookers, and they're damn expensive. Here's the thing: they do the truly wireless thing very well, and they sound great doing it.
I loved the original SoundSport Wireless, but my one real gripe was the cable between the buds: it rubbed against my neck in a kind of annoying way, and I yearned for a true wireless take with a similar design. Read More
Roku was one of the first companies in the streaming set-top box market. Over the years, it has released quite a few devices, ranging from Chromecast-shaped sticks to 4K-capable boxes. You may recall that Roku revamped its lineup last month, and now sells five different products for different use cases.
The original Streaming Stick was released in 2012, and while it received generally favorable reviews, the requirement of MHL-enabled TVs (to draw power) and the poor performance were major drawbacks. An updated model with a microUSB power connector was released in 2014 to positive reviews. Roku replaced it again in 2016 with a smaller and more compact version. Read More
The Pixel Buds mark Google's first foray into personal wireless audio. I won't make you wait: it's not gone well. Read More
Chromebooks compose an interesting product category and provide a new perspective on the question "What do I need my laptop to do?" While I've been a fan of Chrome OS and its accompanying hardware since its inception, I have not been able to convince myself to buy one in recent years. Part of this has been due to the fact that Chromebooks typically don't come in larger screen sizes. Read More
Chromebooks have come a long way from the dark, buggy days of the CR-48 and laggardly Intel Atom processors. Back when Chrome OS really was just a browser, it was fairly easy to write off as just another strange Google experiment, unlikely to succeed and conceptually far ahead of its time. Who could get by on a laptop with just the web? I, like many people, thought Chromebooks wouldn't appeal to anyone.
But 7 years after the first Chromebook, Google's browser-based OS is still with us. And, much to everyone's surprise, it's going stronger than ever.
The reason for that, primarily, is the browser-focused laptops turned out to be ideal terminals for students accessing web applications. Read More