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Reviews

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TicPods Free review: Capable true wireless earbuds that won't break the bank

True wireless earbuds have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last couple of years as the products have reached a price point and level of quality that make them viable purchases for mainstream consumers. The IFA 2018 show floor was packed with new models from various brands, and I’ve already reviewed two products in the category in the last couple of months.

The Earin M–2 ($249) and Master & Dynamic MW07 ($299) were both premium products with hefty price tags, but now it’s time to try something a little easier on the wallet. AI company Mobvoi is best known for its TicWatch smartwatches, but it has previous experience with audio, too.

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Sweet cameras, sour software

Despite being frozen out of the US market due to political opposition, Huawei still managed to surpass Apple this summer to become the world’s second largest phone maker behind Samsung. The Chinese manufacturer was the first to market with triple rear cameras in the P20 Pro this Spring, and many lauded its photos as the best produced by any smartphone.

Huawei’s latest flagship effort is the Mate 20 Pro, with a similar camera setup and innovations such as an in-display fingerprint sensor and 3D laser depth sensing for secure face unlock. It’s powered by the proprietary Kirin 980 chipset — the world’s first 7nm mobile SoC — and sports a 6.39” 2K+ OLED display.

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Google Home Hub review: A smarter smart display

Google started talking about Assistant-powered smart displays earlier this year, but it let Lenovo and JBL roll out the first products. Google unveiled its Assistant display alongside the new Pixel phones, and it's not just the same guts in a new shell. Google has added some unique features and also omitted one that all other devices have.

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Pixel Stand review: A cool but tragically overpriced wireless charger

You could be forgiven for thinking Google was new to wireless charging if you haven't been obsessively following its products for years. The Nexus 4, 5, and 6 all had wireless charging capabilities, and Google even released its own wireless charging pad in 2013. After ignoring wireless charging for several years, the feature is back on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Google is also selling a wireless charger again: the Pixel Stand.

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ASUS Chromebook 12 C223NA review: A step backwards

In my opinion, Asus makes the best Chromebooks on the market, second only to Google. Last year's Chromebook Flip C302 is still one of the best Chrome OS laptops you can buy, especially considering its competitive price point. The company's lower-end C101PA is also a fantastic 10-inch convertible. I think you can easily make the argument that without Asus, Chromebooks wouldn't have the mainstream appeal they enjoy today.

That being said, both the C101PA and C302 are nearly two years old and long-overdue for a replacement. Asus released a new Chromebook last month, but it wasn't a new premium laptop or an entry-level 2-in-1.

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Pixel 3 and 3 XL review: Come for the camera, stay for everything else

Android has become the most popular computing platform on the planet, but Google has had problems selling very many Android phones itself. It tried for years to make Nexus devices "a thing," but they never caught on outside the nerd demographic. With the debut of the Pixel program in 2016, the company took a different approach—it started building smartphones with consumers in mind. Google hasn't done everything perfectly, but it's gotten enough right that the first and second generation Pixels have been relatively easy to recommend. That brings us to the third-gen Pixels.

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Nimble portable/wireless chargers review: Eco-friendly designs, but high prices for such low specs

Mophie is well known for both the quality of its products and the hefty price tag attached to them, so we were interested when we heard that a handful of its employees had splintered off to start a new, eco-mindful power accessory company called Nimble. With consumer cost-cutting recyclable packaging and a focus on renewable materials, we were curious to see if Nimble could disrupt the battery and charger status quo — a highly competitive market. Unfortunately, Nimble's specs and prices just can't beat the competition. 

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LG V40 review: The best LG's ever built still isn't quite enough

The LG V40 is almost certainly the best smartphone the company has ever released. It has the best cameras, the best display, the best performance, and the most refined design of any LG phone I've ever used. And in 2018, that just isn't enough to more than an also-ran in the high-end smartphone space. At $950 unlocked, the V40 seeks to play in the smartphone big leagues with the Galaxy Note9 and iPhone XS. The sad truth is that for all this phone does right, it does just enough wrong (or simply, not as well) to knock itself out of contention.

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Owl Car Cam review: An expensive LTE-powered dashcam with quite a few flaws

99% of dashcams on the market follow the same formula: a suction/clip-in mount on the top, microSD storage, and power drawn from your car's cigarette lighter. The Owl Car Cam, however, completely bucks that trend; it mounts differently, stores clips differently, and is powered differently. It's been out since late March, though Android support was only added a couple of months ago.

The Car Cam is certainly a well-made piece of hardware, and it might be well-suited for your needs. It does a lot of things that other dashcams can't do, but given its $349 price, it'd be shameful if it didn't.

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Master & Dynamic MW07 review: Exceptional sounding true wireless earbuds, but probably too pricey for most

As the 3.5mm headphone jack slowly descends into the freezing cold waters of the past, our audio options for most high-end Android phones are limited to three. We can use and subsequently lose the adapter, get some USB-C headphones, or we can ditch the wires altogether. Bluetooth earbuds inelegantly attached to one another by a wire just won’t do any longer; true wireless earbuds are where it's at right now.

Apple’s AirPods have acted as a blueprint for other manufacturers, but none has yet perfected the form and function of this fledgling product category. It’s now Master & Dynamic’s turn to try.

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