Along with the three BackBeat Fit models that I reviewed a few days ago, Plantronics announced on Monday two new Go headsets: the in-ear Go 410 and the over-ear Go 810. The governing idea behind the two units is to bring wireless noise cancelation to the masses at a more affordable price. The company says it conducted studies with users and came away with the conclusion that 28% are looking for noise cancelation in their headsets, but 65% of them won't pay more than $150 for that. That seems about right, as I don't imagine many users have the spare cash to pay $300 or more for a pair of earbuds or headphones. Read More
CTL is virtually unknown in the consumer market, but the company has been manufacturing computers for schools and government facilities since 1989. It now mainly focuses on Chrome OS devices, like the Chromebox we previously reviewed.
The 'NL7TW-360' (excellent name, I know) is CTL's latest education-focused Chromebook. It has an 11.6-inch touch screen with Wacom stylus support, a durable 2-in-1 design, a water-resistant keyboard, and plenty of ports.
There is no shortage of durable Chromebooks designed for classrooms, like the Lenovo N22, Asus C213SA, and Acer 11 N7. CTL's newest entry is definitely a decent product with a competitive price, but it only makes sense if you absolutely need a tough Chromebook. Read More
I've owned and reviewed plenty of Bluetooth headsets over the years, but the brand I keep coming back to again and again is Plantronics. The company balances quality, sound, and price very well and has produced some of my favorite and most-used earbuds. For years, you couldn't see me anywhere without the red BackBeat Go 2 draped around my neck as I listened to podcasts while walking, doing chores, shopping, and more. But it was the BackBeat Fit that stole my heart. It was the perfect sports headphones and after four years of 2-3 weekly runs and gym sessions, it still looks like I bought it yesterday. Read More
There aren't very many good budget phones in the United States. There are a few standouts, like the Nokia 6.1 and Moto G6, but most pale in comparison to budget devices sold in Asia and parts of Europe.
Alcatel, a sub-brand of TCL, is somewhat well known in the United States thanks to the hordes of inexpensive phones it sells through prepaid carriers (like MetroPCS and Cricket). The company's phones usually aren't anything special, but the recently-announced Alcatel 7 piqued my interest.
The Alcatel 7 has a 6-inch 2160x1080 2.5D display, a 4,000mAh battery, and USB Type-C. At a retail price of $179.99, it seems like good value on paper, even though it's a MetroPCS exclusive. Read More
Very few smartphone makers can eke out as much value from a device as Xiaomi. We often look at the company's line-up and wonder how small its margins must be if it can delivery such high specs at such low prices. This is especially true of the low-end and mid-range market, where others scramble to offer minimum usable specs and Xiaomi's devices are impressively better.
But for the longest time, recommending Xiaomi's products outside of its foothold markets of China, India, and South East Asia, had been difficult. You couldn't find them easily so you'd had to purchase from an untrusted source and gamble with future support in case something went wrong with the hardware, plus the Android interface felt more tailored toward the Eastern markets than the Western ones. Read More
We've been critical when it comes to Android Go-powered phones in the US, but Asus' new Zenfone Live L1 is set to change our mind. It's the first genuinely good experience I've had with the platform, and combined with a Snapdragon 425, 3,000mAh battery, and price-defying 5.5" 720p IPS display, I think it could be the best phone you can buy for $110. At least, it will be once Asus fixes a serious issue it has with randomly locking up, which the company promises with a future update. Read More
Those of us that care about our online security probably use some form of two-factor authentication to secure our most important accounts, but even the strongest password and the longest authentication code are still subject to something as simple as a phishing attack, which is why so many have switched to hardware security keys. Google helped to create the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) hardware authentication standard, and now it's releasing its own product to consumers: the $50 Titan Security Key. Read More
Slightly over a year ago, I reviewed Anker's first Android-powered portable projector, the Nebula Mars. It packed a bright projector and JBL speakers into a small package, and the $599.99 price reflected that. The heavily-modified build of Android 4.4 worked decently well, but app compatibility was limited, since most apps have stopped supporting KitKat.
Anker then released the $350 Nebula Capsule, a smaller (and dimmer) projector that doubled as a Bluetooth speaker. It was more expensive than competing devices, but it was also much better than all of them. The excellent build quality, decent projection brightness, and newer software (based on Android 7.1) made it a great product. Read More
When Asus announced the Zenfone 5 lineup at MWC, all eyes were fixed on the the king of the group, the 5Z. Fast forward almost six months and the phone is finally available to purchase at a mere $500 in the U.S. While the high-end Android flagship market is squarely controlled by Samsung, there's a curious middle ground between budget and top-tier devices. This "affordable flagship" space is heavily populated with offerings from OnePlus, Honor, and Xiaomi, but Asus has set its sights on a piece of that pie with the 5Z. Read More
Almost two weeks have passed since Google served us a slice of its official Android 9 Pie. Some of us had followed for months as the different developer previews landed and weren't too fazed by the final release, but for those users who preferred to wait, there were many surprising changes from 8.1 Oreo to 9 Pie.
We've previously listed our five favorite Android P features and five least liked ones, but that was back in March, after the first developer preview and before the implementation of many other interesting changes. Today, we take another look at the final Pie release and see which features we like and which ones we're not too fond of. Read More