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.
In a world of tablets, the art of building a PC is becoming lost. However, while system-building is less popular than years past, many people still do it -- including myself. Sure, you can probably save money by buying an off-the-shelf Dell or HP, but there is something special about selecting each and every component of your PC -- things like processor, motherboard, and case.
The case is the unsung hero of any build -- it houses your precious components, but does not directly contribute to the overall performance. It is for this reason that many people look to save money and go cheap on a case. This is a mistake, as a case is something you look at often; it should be attractive. Also, while the components inside may change, a good case can be with you over several builds, making it a wise investment. Fractal Design is a company that commands much respect in the system-builder community. The manufacturer's "Core" line of cases provide great quality, while also being affordable. Today, I am looking at the Core 3300 -- a Mid Tower ATX case.
One of Android's most attractive aspects is also its greatest weakness. You see, unlike the iPhone and iOS, Google's Linux-based operating system is available to any manufacturer that is interested. This means you can see many Android devices in different shapes, sizes and styles. Hell, hardware aside, even the operating system can be customized. The problem is, with so much different hardware and tweaked software, many phones do not get regular updates -- this is also due to extensive carrier testing. To the average consumer, this is not a huge headache, as app compatibility is generally fine across versions. Where this becomes an issue is when vulnerabilities are discovered -- delays in updates or a total lack of updates can put a user at risk.
Enter the Nexus line of Android devices. Every year, Google hand-selects a manufacturer to build a smartphone running "vanilla" Android, meaning it is pure and not tweaked or customized. These phones (and tablets) are designed to get fast updates directly from Google. This ensures that not only does the user have the latest features, but the safest and newest version of the operating system too. The latest such phone is the Motorola-built Nexus 6 -- named as such for having a 6-inch screen (technically 5.96 inch). Is it the best Nexus yet?
Another day, another streaming media box. Quite frankly, the idea of testing yet another such device would normally bore me, but this one is different. You see, it carries the Nexus name. If you aren't familiar, "Nexus" is synonymous with a pure Google experience. What does this mean? Well, it is Android the way the search-giant envisions it.
Amazon for instance, uses Android as a base for its Fire OS found on the Fire TV; however, it is very customized and doesn't have access to the Play Store. The Nexus Player is Google's retort -- showing device manufacturers how Android TV should be done. How does the Nexus Player compare to the competition? Read on for more.
My first-ever tablet was the first-generation iPad. I loved Apple's tablet very much, but ended up selling it to buy the Nexus 7. My decision made sense, as the iPad was nearing end of life, while Google's tablet was just beginning.
The Nexus 7 was awesome, but it lacked the same magic as Apple's tablet. Yes, I am using the word magic to describe the iPad, a much maligned word for Apple's detractors. To explain, the "magic" I speak of, was the emotional connection that I had with iPad; something that did not exist with both Nexus 7 models. Don't get me wrong, both Nexus 7 tablets were great and functional, but also cold and smartphone-like. Now Google releases the Nexus 9 and it finally has the feature I desire most -- magic.