ASUS in the recent past has been pushing harder into Western markets and into smartphones in general with the ZenFone product line and its associated ZenUI software layer. Those who remember the Transformer tablets of yesteryear may be surprised at the non-geeky, colorful, feature-filled approach of these devices. Now well into the second generation of ZenFones, ASUS has announced the ZenFone 2 Laser for wide release, including the USA.
It is a slight refinement on the ZenFone 2, which we reviewed back in June. David felt that its base model was one of the best values around for just $199. Read More
The first few Android Wear watches from mid-2014 were watches in name only. They were really more like tiny screens strapped to your wrist that told the time. The design of Android Wear devices has evolved significantly since then, and now there are some that look like honest-to-goodness watches. The second gen Moto 360 and Huawei Watch are the most watch-like so far, but they aren't cheap. Let's see how they compare so you can (maybe) pick up the right one for you. Read More
I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to review the V5PF (Play-Fi) Wireless Speaker from Wren. The sound quality was absolutely immaculate, and everything about the physical product more than justified its fairly high price tag. The one unfortunate dark spot in the nearly perfect experience came from software – an Android app built by DTS to run its proprietary Play-Fi protocol. It was ugly, amateurish, and unreliable. Two years have passed, and Wren has released the V5US, a new model that not only fixes some minor issues from previous products, but it also combines the features of its three existing variants to produce a single speaker with support for Play-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Read More
Back in July of 2014, a speaker came out that changed the way I thought of Bluetooth speakers: the Ultimate Ears BOOM. At the time — and for many months after — this speaker was the benchmark by which all others were judged. Then came the MEGABOOM, a damn-near double sized BOOM. Again, benchmark-quality stuff. The ROLL is the smallest entry from Ultimate Ears, but that didn't stop it from also being incredible. Needless to say, Ultimate Ears has been putting out some of my favorite speakers over the last two years.
Then JBL came along and changed the game again. Read More
Logitech has been all about keyboards that are designed to handle multiple connections to several different devices for the last couple of years, starting with the (freakin' awesome) K810. About a year ago, the versatile K480 was released, with its biggest feature being price point — it comes in at just $50. The trade-off, however, is the overall size: it's a lot bulkier than most people would want, making it mostly impractical to just toss in a bag for on-the-go typing.
A few weeks ago, the company announced the K380, another sub-$50 entry into its multi-device lineup ($40, to be exact), this time with a much more streamlined form factor than the K480. Read More
At a wedding reception this past Saturday, I finally had a chance to put the HTC One A9 side-by-side with an iPhone 6. “It looks just like an iPhone. Even the little camera bump looks similar,” remarked the person whose iDevice I had temporarily pilfered for this little visual experiment.
I was forced to agree. Flip them over, of course, and the story changes. HTC’s phone, with its elongated speaker grille, HTC logo, and Samsung-pill-style capacitive home key and fingerprint scanner is noticeably distinguishable from any iPhone - and really no different from any other white Android phone in that regard. Read More
I hate cases. For the last…bunch of years, I have refused to use a case on any of my phones. Sure, I'd used them back in the day when we actually did a lot of case reviews — and I always tried to be as objective as possible — but really, I've never liked cases. I don't need the added bulk, and I just hate how they make phones look most of the time. Why hide the beautiful design of most modern smartphones under a gaudy plastic and rubber shell? (That's rhetorical — I totally understand why people do this.)
It's been a while since we've done a hands-on or review with any sort of case, mostly because they're all basically the same at this point (and are generally just rehashes of older versions). Read More
The Nexus 5 was a big hit; an unqualified success for Google. People loved that phone, and many of them are still using one. Now, there's finally a true successor to the Nexus 5 in the LG-built Nexus 5X. Hopes were understandably high for this phone, and the handful of missing features led some Nexus 5 owners to planning how they'd keep their 2013-era phones running for another year. Specs don't tell you the whole story, though. The Nexus 5X doesn't have the most RAM or highest resolution screen, but it still deserves your attention because it offers a wonderful experience for not a lot of money. Read More
A week ago, we took an early look at the Nexus 6P, the larger and more "premium" of Google's phones for 2015. Now that I've lived with the 6P for a bit longer, it's time for the full review.
As stated in the preview post, the 6P is undoubtedly the more premium of the two new Nexuses. It's got the larger, more dense display, the aluminum body, the higher-specced processor, the stereo speakers, and the higher price tag to prove it. And my experience with the Nexus 6P has proven that - to me - the phone is worth that price, even as an upgrade from the original Nexus 6. Read More
The Volkswagen Jetta is, admittedly, the occasional butt of car enthusiast jokes. Long considered a slightly snobby small economy sedan because of its comparatively high price of entry and less-than-great reliability reviews, the car didn't sell amazingly well here in the states for quite some time. Five years ago, VW tried to turn that sales situation around, completely redesigning the Jetta and drastically reducing the cost of many of its constituent parts - the result was the Mk.VI Jetta, and sales did go up quite noticeably.
But the car was compromised, and reviewers generally weren’t fans. Cost-cuts included things like fitting an unrefined rear beam-axle suspension system on most models, ditching optional leather trims, saddling the base car with a gutless 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine, and conducting most of the design and assembly in Mexico instead of Germany. Read More