With smartphones and tablets increasingly becoming the focus of our entertainment a decent portable speaker is becoming an essential accessory if you don’t want to be tied to headphones or want to share your music with others.
Inatek's latest offering has a pair of 5W speakers mounted in a stylish, compact (around 9.5 inches long by 2.5 inches high) black and silver enclosure. It has a nice weighty feel and there's a slot in the top into which you can sit a smartphone or tablet -- a pop-out strut at the back prevents the unit from becoming top heavy and tipping over as well as keeping a comfortable viewing angle -- so you can use it to watch videos. A built-in microphone means you can make hands-free calls too. However, it isn't an actual dock so it won't charge your phone or tablet.
You can of course buy ready to use external hard drives, but should you have a spare 2.5 inch disk from an old machine lying around it's easy enough to pop it in a case so you can use it for backups or transferring files.
There's lots of choice when it comes to buying an external enclosure and most of them aren't very expensive, so what makes this offering from German company Inateck attractive?
Smartphones have become such an important part of our lives that it makes sense to get the best make and model you can. However, not everyone can afford an iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6. Fortunately, there are plenty of great budget smartphones to choose from, and these days a budget price doesn’t have to mean a budget experience.
The Blade L2, from Chinese firm ZTE, is a great example. It’s priced at just £89.99 off contract, and for that you get a handset with a quad-core processor and a 5-inch screen.
When isn't a cell phone too big? The Motorola-made, Google-branded phablet answers that question for me, and may very well for you. From Samsung's introduction of the original Note, I scoffed at large-screen smartphones—and, honestly, the seemingly stereotypical gadget geeks using them. But big is better, and my arrogant attitude about phablets and the people buying them was unwarranted.
Simply stated: Nexus 6 is the best handset I have ever used. The experience is so fresh and delightful, the emotional reaction reminds of using the original iPhone that I purchased on launch day in June 2007. N6 shatters my negative preconception about phablets, particularly unwieldiness when used daily. That said, I made some lifestyle changes, including choice of clothing, to accommodate the mobile's massive size.
For many of us, connecting to the Internet is life. While technically not as important as drinking water or breathing oxygen, being connected can feel that way sometimes. It is for this reason that I am often perplexed that people choose to skimp on their router. Look, I like a good deal just as much as the next guy, but why wouldn't you go for the best you can get when it comes to something you do every day, such as connect the Internet? Is it really worth saving $20 if your connection is constantly dropping?
For the past year or so, I have been enjoying Apple's Airport Extreme router, and for the most part, it has been a success. Unfortunately, it has some negatives. Lately, the 5GHz band has become flaky, causing me to disconnect and reconnect; a pain in the butt to the say the least. The biggest deal-breaker? It requires an Apple device or Windows computer to manage. Unlike most routers that can be accessed though a web browser, Apple requires a special program. As a Linux user, this meant not having the ability to change router settings without booting into Windows or grabbing my iPad. To solve this dilemma, I swapped it for the 802.11AC Netgear AC2350 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router. Did it outperform Apple's Airport Extreme?
The average family has multiple devices capable of taking photos and videos. Seagate Personal Cloud from Ebuyer provides a central repository for all of this media, and can automatically back up content from your computers, smartphones and tablets.
You can access movies, music, photos and files from any supported device on your network, and stream media directly to Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, and some Smart TVs. You can also access your files remotely over the internet, and sync content with cloud storage services.
If I wanted to pinpoint the most important development in the smartphone sector in the last two years, it would probably have to be the rapid rise of Chinese manufacturers. Huawei is one of the companies that has forced the mighty Samsung to consent to a rapidly declining market share in the huge Chinese market. Now it is going even further to conquer the world.
The Huawei Honor Holly that I review here is a typical example of what is on offer. It signifies what consumers in rising Asian markets want most: A large screen and good performance that will allow operation as the user’s only device. Let’s take a closer look.
As a system builder, and lover of desktop add-on cards, I am usually adverse to all-in-one computers. Why? I prefer having my computer and monitor separate -- if one breaks, the other can still function. With that said, I recognize the value and space-savings potential of these machines.
For me to be interested in an all-in-one unit, it has to be exceptional. In other words, it has to be well-specced, as many upgrades will not be possible. Today, I am reviewing the Lenovo B50-30 23.8 inch All-in-one computer, and boy oh boy, are the specifications nice! It has an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM and a discrete 2GB Nvidia gaming card. Is it enough to make me an all-in-one proponent?
Bluetooth headphones are pretty common place but these from DIGICare are a bit different because they use bone conduction technology -- as does Google Glass and some hearing aids.
That means instead of sitting in or over your ears they rest on the sides of your head and feed the sound into your inner ear via your skull.
You might think that in-ear type earphones are pretty much the same when it comes to listening quality. But British company Pump Audio is on a mission to convince you otherwise.
It only makes one style of earphone, no plethora of fashion options here, and its selling point is sound quality. Pump claims to offer a 'premium' audio experience, so does the product live up?
Music is my favorite hobby, and I am certainly not alone. Technology has enhanced my listening in ways that I never dreamed. As a child of the 80's, I started with cassettes and later upgraded to CD. Collecting CDs and vinyl consumed my life; I even embraced MiniDisc to create my own digital mixes from my newest records.
Nowadays, I have continued my evolution to mp3 and ultimately, streaming. Long gone are the days of collecting and storing; Spotify is the sole source of all my tunes. Whether listening on my PC, tablet or smartphone, I demand a quality speaker -- preferably Bluetooth and portable. My current favorite portable is the UE BOOM. Today, I am looking at the next-generation, called the MEGABOOM. Is it mega awesome?
Like any new technology, smartwatches when they first appeared were fiendishly expensive. Now that budget manufacturers are getting in on the act however prices are starting to tumble.
The R5 from Chinese company Rwatch costs less than $50 and will work with most Android phones, but can it compete with the pricier offerings from big name manufacturers?
If you want the features of a smart TV but don't want to have to buy a new set or spend $99 on Fire TV then the MK808B, which offers Google TV for less than $35, might be the answer.
It's basically a tiny Android PC that you hook up to your TV set and your Wi-Fi to allow you to stream media from the web or from another device on the same network or via Bluetooth.
Well folks, 2014 is almost in the books, and we will soon be in 2015. Outside of tech, the world has been rather crazy; there have been tragic deaths, natural disasters and further division among US citizens. Sadly, the tech world got pulled into the major news with various hacking scandals -- Home Depot customer information was breached, Sony Pictures was brought to its knees and Hollywood celebrities had their naked photos leaked. In other words, there have been many negative things in both tech and non-tech news.
Luckily, not all is bad; the tech community has seen many great devices and software released too. As is customary for late-December, many tech-writers, such as yours truly, begin compiling lists of the best tech of the year. Well, "best" is subjective, I realize that, so instead, I am offering my favorite tech of 2014. Maybe your list is different; my colleague's lists are. Variety is the spice of life however, so please tell me if you agree or disagree with my choices.
If you need a laptop, there are generally two routes you can go -- desktop replacement or desktop companion. In other words, a svelte 11 inch laptop is cute and light, but hardly something you would want to use full-time. Such a small screen can be tedious for doing a lot of work. Sure, you can connect it to a larger monitor for enhanced productivity, but that is an additional purchase, and requires a dedicated work area in the home. What about those of us that want a machine that can be used comfortably anywhere -- including a kitchen table -- with a large screen and full keyboard? Not everyone is just surfing the web on their laptops as the Chromebook crowd would have you think. Some of us need an honest-to-goodness desktop replacement for getting work done.
Luckily, this demographic is not ignored, and good ol' fashioned laptops still exist, even if they don't get the same "oohs" and "ahs" as their tiny cousins. I became quite intrigued by the Lenovo Edge 15, because first of all, it is Lenovo -- a durable and dependable brand. More importantly though, it has a 15 inch screen, and a full keyboard...including a number pad! The fact that it is a 2-in-1 partial-convertible, is just icing on the cake. While everything looked good on paper, the question became, did the real-world experience match up? With a desire to find this out on my own, I obtained one for review.