With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that's not even the meat of my issue with WeMo's switches. Their connectivity has been iffy at best, the app is laughably old, and integration with other smart home devices is hit and miss, mostly because of the aforementioned connectivity issues. 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
OnePlus launched the OnePlus 5T in November, just a few months after the OnePlus 5. While the price was slightly higher, the 5T added a few notable features like an 18:9 display and rear-facing fingerprint reader. Since then, OnePlus has dropped the limited edition Star Wars 5T in India, and now a similar device is coming to the rest of us. The new Sandstone White OnePlus 5T doesn't have Star Wars branding, but it seems otherwise identical right down to the bright red alert slider. Read More
As a Mac user, I've felt like a pariah over the past years that I've also been using Android as my go-to mobile platform. Mac works fantastically with iOS, but Android doesn't have any powerful integration with any desktop environment. That's been the status-quo of things for as long as I remember. Android does work well enough with Windows when you're just trying to transfer some files though. But if you're on a Mac, simply plugging in the phone with a USB cable and choosing the MTP mode (File Transfer) wouldn't do the trick, you'd need a separate app called Android File Transfer (ATP) from Google to make it work. 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
When my husband and I began designing our new apartment about a year ago, one of the first things I wanted to account for was smart lights. I love well-lit environments and the idea of having lights turn on and off automatically in the different rooms was appealing. I thought it'd be easy to find a smart lighting solution for the entire house, but my search eventually hit so many walls I'm surprised I didn't completely give up after the 10th week of frantic Googling and pointless research.
There were so many things to account for: 220V electricity in Lebanon, different size of wall switch and box compared to US, 908.4 MHz Z-Wave on my smart hub (US frequency), compatibility with SmartThings and Google Home, I didn't want an additional hub hanging off my router, and best of all: super frequent electricity cuts and blackouts. Read More
Nest has made its name by adding smart features to things that you might already have around the house. It's worked pretty well in the past with devices like the Nest Thermostat, but home security is a more serious business. It's different than a thermostat—people rely on a security system to control access to their homes. The new Nest Secure is trying to take the place of an existing product with an important function. It's a balancing act between convenience and safety, and Nest mostly gets it right. The hardware is capable and innovative, and setup was a breeze for me. However, it's missing a few features, and the price is high at $500. Read More
I look at my phone. It vibrates. It asks for my password.
This is the single most annoying experience I have on a regular basis with the iPhone X. Face ID is at once pretty good and absolutely infuriating. The iPhone X is, as a result, the most frustrating smartphone I have used in recent memory. The iPhone X is also pretty great, but when it rubs me the wrong way, it really rubs me the wrong way.
Switching to the iPhone hasn't been without annoyances and sacrifices. In fact, it's come with quite a few, if I'm going to be honest with you about it. 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
For the past year or so, I've been looking at smart locks and wanting one yet not able to fully commit to anything. Living in Lebanon means our doors don't have the American-style deadbolts, but what is known as the Euro Style/Profile Double Cylinder - a lock that is quite prominent across France, Germany, the UK, and other countries. So August, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, and plenty of brands geared toward the US market were mostly out of the question unless I wanted to take a risk and get something that doesn't fit at all with my apartment's door. Read More