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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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
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. 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
German company Sennheiser has a sterling reputation for creating high-quality audio products, so I was understandably enthused when I learned they were making a pair of true wireless earbuds. These products have improved a great deal since they first burst onto the scene, but they still tend to lag behind wired equivalents in terms of sound and can’t compete with bulkier Bluetooth sets in battery life.
Since Sennheiser is pretty late to the true wireless game, you would hope its engineers have taken their time to craft something superior to the many rival products already on the market. As it turns out, that’s not far from the truth. 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
Depending on the tech circle you're in, 360 cameras may either be the most superfluous fad or the coolest thing. I used to be in the former camp and my LG 360 Cam collected dust in a drawer for years, but over the past months, I've found a new appreciation for the product category. It's partly thanks to the number of cool "tiny planet" creators I follow on Instagram, but most importantly, it's because of a shift in my understanding of what a 360-degree camera can do.
If you think that these cams are only good for photospheres and VR, you're missing out. 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