Articles about Review

ThinCharge is an excellent, lightweight battery case for iPhone 6/6s [Review]

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I love my iPhone 6s, but the battery life often isn’t as good as I would like. On most days I can make it through to the late evening before the device requires charging, but occasionally it needs a bit of a boost before then. The Low Power mode built into iOS 9 comes in handy, but like most people I’d rather just have longer battery life.

While carrying around a power pack saves the day when I’m out and about and away from a charging point, it’s a bit of pain having to lug it around. This is where ThinCharge comes in handy -- it’s a battery pack built into a thin case.

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Oukitel K4000 Pro -- a smartphone for a life of hard knocks [Review]

Oukitel K4000 Pro

At the top end of the smartphone market the likes of Apple and Samsung are competing to offer the latest technology. But down at the lower priced end of things, for people who want a smartphone on a budget, there are a swathe of Chinese makers competing for your cash.

Set aside your techno-snobbery and many of these phones turn out to be surprisingly good for the price. The latest to come our way is the Oukitel K4000 Pro. It's a 64-bit, quad-core, 4G phone with a five-inch screen, running last-but-one Android 5.1 Lollipop and costing less that $150. Its key selling point though is that it's designed to be tough. On paper the spec looks impressive but how does it stack up in the real world?

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MobileDemand xCase for Microsoft Surface 3 [Review]

MobileDemand xCase front

Microsoft's Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4 are among the best tablets for enterprise use. A full-blown version of Windows, light and sturdy build, adjustable kickstand, good battery life and optional keyboard enables them to work equally well at the desk and on the go. In harsher conditions, however, some extra protection is required.

For use in the field, MobileDemand has introduced a rugged case, called xCase. It promises "unparalleled durability and superior protection" for Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4. Offered in two versions, basic and premium, I have tested the latter in a Surface 3 trim -- here are my impressions.

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9.7-inch iPad Pro Preview

9 point 7 inch iPad Pro

The more I use Apple's smaller Pro tablet, the less likely I am to reach for the larger one. I have tested the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch tabs side-by-side since March 31st—and the bigger one is my primary PC (most days). Unquestionably, the behemoth is capable of replacing a laptop, as Apple CEO Tim Cook asserts. The smaller-size model is a fine notebook companion, and certainly can substitute sometimes. But more than two weeks using this surprisingly satisfying kit, I can't yet (and may never) recommend it as your next PC.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which screen measures like all its forebears, falls into a category I griped about in September 2015: Apple products without purpose—or none that's easily obvious to majority of shoppers. Don't misunderstand. The technology under the hood is quite innovative, and I really, really, really  enjoy using this tablet. But I'm not most people, and looking at the broader consumer marketplace, I see the device as being more for the few than appealing to the many; that is until the next release cycle, when current prices decrease. Now, putting aside these caveats, 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the device I most often grab first. Many of the benefits have purpose that is subtle. The question: Are they good enough for you?

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HTC 10: All hail the new king of Android smartphones [first impressions review]

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For the past 6 months or so, I have been using an iPhone 6S Plus. After years of living in an Android world, I decided to give Apple's offering a try. Why? Well, I don't like how some Android manufacturers fail to issue regular updates for their devices. Many people use phones and tablets with known vulnerabilities that will never be patched, and that is not cool. Regardless of your opinion of Apple or iOS, you must admit that the company is timely with updates for all of its currently supported devices.

As a lover of all tech, however, I am still very interested in Android. Google's Linux-based operating system is a very rewarding experience. And so, I found myself extremely intrigued by the HTC 10. That company is known for using premium materials, while also providing a close-to-stock Android experience. More importantly, it historically offers respectable support. Can the 10 live up to my expectations?

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Tronsmart's five-port USB charger plays nice with your Quick Charge 3.0 devices [Review]

Tronsmart USB charger front

A multiport USB charger is a great tool to have if you need to top up the battery on a couple of devices at the same time. Finding the right one might prove a bit difficult though. There are lots of options available, featuring all sorts of configurations, and with support for different charging standards.

The Chotech six-port USB charger that I reviewed previously is a great all-around option that should keep most people happy for a long time, but for some folks the lack of Quick Charge 3.0 support may be a let down. So, if you have a device that supports Qualcomm's latest fast charging technology you will need to look at a different option, like Tronsmart's latest five-port USB charger which includes a Quick Charge 3.0-ready port.

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Dell Venue 8 Pro 5855 is an attractive business tablet [Review]

Dell Venue 8 Pro front

The first generation of Dell’s Venue 8 tablet hit the market back in 2013. In January of this year the company launched the updated version that we have here, which comes with a faster Intel Atom X5 processor and 64-bit Windows 10 as standard.

So, how does this latest version measure up, and is it a good option for business users?

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There's something you should know about 12.9-inch iPad Pro [seventh in a series]

iPad Pro B&W

April 3, 2016 marks the first day that I truly could use Apple's over-sized tablet to replace my laptop. But I had to spend another $84, before California tax, to do it. Gadget reviewers who say that iPad Pro cannot be your computer are wrong. The apps, performance, and utility are there. Anyone creating content should consider this device as compliment to, or replacement for, an existing PC. The problem with 12.9-inch iPad Pro isn't what it can do but how much it costs to assemble what you need. This kit is far from budget-friendly, which also can be said of Microsoft's competing Surface Pro 4.

I started my iPad Pro sojourn on Groundhog Day, planning to use the device as my primary PC for 30 days. The objective: Apple CEO Tim Cook says the big-ass tablet can replace a personal computer, I want to see if he is right. The experiment isn't my first journey like this. I tried something similar during summer 2011 with one of the first Chromebooks. The path was a dead end. But Spring 2012, when new commercial models released, I started down the path again and never looked back. Google's Chromebook Pixel LS was my main computer before adopting the iPad lifestyle.

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Can’t afford Dyson's Pure Cool Link? Try the Mi Air Purifier instead [Review]

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Having revolutionized the world of vacuum cleaning, James Dyson moved his attention to hand drying, heating and cooling. The latest gadget to roll off the Dyson production line is the IoT-enabled Pure Cool Link air purifier. Like just about every Dyson product out there, reviews are almost universally positive, but there is the question of the price tag.

The Pure Cool Link comes at something of a premium (be prepared to part with around $500), but it's certainly not a unique product. Dyson may have blazed a trail in many areas, but when it comes to air purifiers, it wasn't the first, and it certainly isn’t the cheapest. Take, for instance the Mi Air Purifier from Xiaomi. It's a relative snip at just $200, and the lower price tag doesn’t mean missing out on the Internet of Things.

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Master & Dynamic MH40 headphones [review]

MH40

Newcomer is the only way to describe Master & Dynamic, which on Dec. 31, 2015 completed its first full year of revenue. Young or not, its audio gear is vintage and refined. Wanna see? You can find the MH40 headphones, which look like something World War II bomber pilots would wear, inside any Apple Store. Distribution partnership of that caliber from a near start-up says much about M&D earphones and headphones—design, price, and sound.

The signature sound is full, which is atypical in a market where booming bass ranks among headphone buyers’ top priorities. But for those listeners who delight in the faintest tap of the symbol, warmest treble, and deep lows that reveal details rather than thump, thump, Master & Dynamic delivers. For Christmas I bought the company’s MW60 wireless headphones, which I will review soon. Today's topic is the MH40, which are wired.

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Cubot X17 -- a premium smartphone at a budget price? [Review]

Cubot X17

Cubot is a name you may not have heard of, but the Chinese company is seeking to make an impact on the smartphone market with the X17, offering premium features at a more down market price of around $170 (£130).

First impressions are positive, the phone comes in a box with a textured bronze colored finish. In the package you get a USB cable, mains adaptor, SIM tray opening tool, a clip-on protective cover for the back, a spare screen protector -- there's one pre-installed -- and a printed quick start guide. You also get a couple of cleaning wipes which is a nice touch.

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Choetech 6 port USB charger: The quick way to charge multiple devices [Review]

Chotech six port USB charger

Having multiple mobile devices is great. Charging them? Not so much. If you need to top the battery on a few smartphones and tablets at the same time, you are going to need as many wall chargers to be plugged in. But there is a better way -- enter the multiport USB charger.

A multiport USB charger can allow you to charge a significant number of handsets simultaneously, freeing up sockets in the process. I have been using Choetech's six-port USB charger for the past couple of weeks to find out how good it is and, ultimately, whether it's worth buying.

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Sizing Up Google Pixel C [Review]

Google Pixel C

If you're thinking about buying Pixel C, Google gives two good reasons to do so now: Android N beta program and developer discount on the hardware. The tablet normally sells for $499 (32GB) or $599 (64GB) but you could instead pay $375 or $449, respectively. Keyboard is another $149. The discount and beta OS are meant for developers, but anyone can get them.

Pixel C is the best Android tablet I have ever tested, but that's acknowledging prejudice against Samsung tabs, which are worthy contenders, but I dislike TouchWiz UI. Sammy's hardware hums, particularly the stunning screens. But only Google serves up a Marshmallow feast in Android 6.0, and the hardware design and construction are preemo to the max. For less than $400, Pixel C might as well be free, there is so much value here.

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Choetech Choe Qi is an affordable fast wireless charging pad [Review]

Chotech fast wireless charger Choe Qi pad

Wireless charging is one of the nicest and most convenient features added on smartphones in the past couple of years. Increasingly seen on mid-range and high-end offerings, it enables devices to charge simply by resting on a small pad. After experiencing the benefits, you will not want to go back to using a wall charger and cable again.

It is not enough to have a smartphone that offers this feature, as you also need a compatible pad to wirelessly charge it. A very interesting proposition is Choetech's Choe Qi, which offers fast wireless charging at an attractive price point. I have been using it for a few weeks to find out whether it's worth buying, and here are my impressions.

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My journey from iPad Pro lemon to Apple lemonade [sixth in a series]

Apple iPad Pro

My previous post in this series begins: "I cannot presently recommend Apple's big-ass tablet as a laptop replacement—using the official-issue Smart Keyboard". The statement is retracted.

Apple PR contacted me after the story published, asserting that the short battery life I experienced was abnormal behavior. Seeing as it was the last day to return iPad Pro under T-Mobile's buyer's remorse policy, I took the assertion at face value and returned the rig. The exchange interrupted my plans to use the tablet as my primary PC for a month. From today, the clock resets to zero, and I start over.

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