Articles about Review

LuguLake-24 Bluetooth speaker -- style over substance? [Review]


Bluetooth speakers usually need some sort of distinctive feature to help them to stand out from the crowd. In the case of the LuguLake that distinctiveness is in the way it looks.

The first thing that strikes you is the funky design, it's about the size of a tennis ball, or an apple if you prefer, with a shiny black finish and a sort of suspended saucer over the speaker cone itself. On the top of this is a touch pad that acts as a volume control as well as allowing you to pause and skip tracks, and answer calls so you can use it as a speakerphone.

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More than just a USB hub -- Inateck HB4009 [Review]

Inateck HB4009

USB hubs are commonplace and, let's be honest, not especially exciting pieces of kit. Inateck’s HB4009 is a three-port USB 3.0 hub, but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve. It has a Magic Port, allowing you to link two systems together for file transfers or establish a client/host link using the USB On-The-Go (OTG) standard.

This makes it a versatile little device as you can link Windows, Mac OS and Android devices to their own kind or to each other. You can also attach another USB device like a flash drive or camera to a system, such as a tablet, that might not otherwise have a suitable port.

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Sond Audio Bookshelf Speakers: Quality Bluetooth speakers for the home [Review]


We review -- and get asked to review -- a lot of Bluetooth speakers. While the ones we look at might be from different makers, and of varying quality, they all share one thing in common. They’re small, and portable. Not so the Sond Audio Active Bookshelf Speakers.

The twin speakers are large, and designed to sit in the one place. This could be a bookshelf, provided you have one that’s deep enough to accommodate them, or the floor. If you enjoy listening to music, and the sound quality delivered by portable speakers doesn’t cut it for you, then the 180w these speakers offer could well be what you’re looking for.

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Five into one will go -- ARCTIC Smart Charger 8000 [Review]

ARCTIC Smart Charger

Most of today's gadgets seem to use USB for charging their batteries so you inevitably end up with a whole stack of cables and the mains power adapters to go with them.

If you're looking to simplify things the Smart Charger 8000 from Swiss company ARCTIC may be the solution. It's a little box with five USB ports that allows you to charge a number of devices at the same time. It intelligently detects the devices connected to it in order to provide the best charging speed for each one.

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I bought a $200 Android 'flagship' smartphone and it changed everything

Xiaomi Mi 4i lead image

A few weeks ago my one-and-a-half-year-old Nexus 5 started to misbehave. Its power button wasn't holding up well, forcing the phone to switch off a dozen times, while also making it a chore to turn the phone back on again. I realized the phone was on its last leg. I also have an iPhone 5s, but I mostly use it to listen to podcasts, take phone calls, and take photos. Suffice to say I'm an Android guy. With OnePlus announcing its plan to release the successor of its One flagship in Q3 later this year, and LG reportedly working on the successor to Nexus 5, I decided to purchase a cheap phone running Google’s software to keep my boat floating until these much-anticipated smartphones begin to trickle up on the market. This led me to purchase the recently launched $200 Mi 4i smartphone from Chinese conglomerate Xiaomi. After using it for a couple of weeks, I don't think I want to upgrade to a new phone this year.

The smartphone market has seen many new forces arrive in the last couple of years. These new players have changed the landscape entirely, pushing new phones with top-notch capabilities at an increasingly competitive price point. We now have plenty of options in both the low and mid-tier categories. The dirt-cheap $100 Moto E is a decent entry-level smartphone, and the $180 Moto G entices users looking for a more efficient phone. The Lenovo A7000 offers 4G LTE capability for less than $150, and $100 Android One smartphones from Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles, and Lava offer the up-to-date software and reasonably good specs. But I wanted a phone that offers a high-end processor and top-of-the-line hardware modules; Xiaomi was offering me just that.

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Innerexile Glacier: Self-healing case for your iPhone 6, 6 Plus [Review]

Transparent Innerexile Glacier self-healing iPhone 6 case scratched by Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox

There are lots of nice cases available for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I prefer Apple's Leather Case as it looks great, feels fantastic, fits the device as it's supposed to and, last but not least, offers some much-needed grip. It is a bit expensive but, in my opinion, it is worth it.

However, Apple's Leather Case, much like other iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases, needs to be handled with a bit of care, to avoid scratching and damaging the material. Accessory maker Innerexile claims that it has developed a self-healing case for the latest iPhones, which can "[heal] itself from light scratches". Offered the opportunity to try out the premium-looking Glacier (there is also a similar Hydra model), I quickly started to put these claims to the test.

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onanoff SoundCover -- Bluetooth speaker and cover for iPad [Review]

onanoff SoundCover for iPad 4

Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen nowadays. For such a speaker to stand out, it has to have something to differentiate it from competitors. While exceptional sound quality is always the goal, it is sadly not enough anymore.

The onanoff SoundCover for iPad Air piqued my interest because it offered a unique design. Quite frankly, the concept was so odd, that I didn't even understand it at first. As you can see in the below unboxing video, I assumed that it would prop up the iPad Air with a Surface-like stand, while sending the sound through the rear. This is not the case.

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Little and large -- Inateck FE3001 and FE2007 USB 3.0 HDD enclosures [Review]

Inateck hard drive enclosures

What do you do with the SATA hard drive you took out of that old machine you threw away a couple of years ago? One answer is that you get hold of an external enclosure and use it as an archive or for making backups.

Inateck's latest external enclosures allow you to do just that for both 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives. Let's take the larger one first, the FE3001 is USB 3.0 for fast transfers and the case is made of sturdy aluminum with a smart, grained finish. There's an external power supply, USB cable and everything else you need -- screws, rubber pads and even a small screwdriver -- is included in the box.

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Apple Watch: The early adopter's take [Review]

Apple Watch Sport on wrist

As a self-confessed gadget fan, I have to admit, I’ve been excited about the Apple Watch ever since the hype started.

I’m no Apple Addict (only started using an iPhone 18 months ago, have never purchased music from iTunes and I don’t own a Mac) however I ordered the Apple Watch two minutes after the advance ordering opened... And now it has arrived -- so the question is, does it live up to my expectations?

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Lenovo Yoga 3 11 -- thin, light, beautiful, and wonderful [Review]

Uploaded ToLenovo Yoga 3 11 4

Lenovo's Yoga line of laptops has been a favorite of mine. In addition to Microsoft's Surface line, Yoga has proven to be a great way to experience Windows on a 2-in-1 with very little compromise. While I was a fan of the 13 inch Yoga variants, I found them a bit too large for my liking. Believe it or not, I prefer 11.6 inch laptops as I am always on the move; I'll turn anything into a work space as long as there is Wi-Fi (shout-out to Starbucks).

When I got the opportunity to review the all-new Lenovo Yoga 3 11, I was elated. Not only does the size and Yoga flexibility meet my needs, but Lenovo quality is something I am fond of too. Historically, I have found the manufacturer's hardware to be well-built and reliable. Will the Lenovo Yoga 3 11 match my high expectations?

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Inateck KT9001 PCIe USB 3.0 and wireless card [Review]

Inateck KT9001

In a world increasingly dominated by mobile devices it's easy to forget that many people, particularly in business environments, are still using desktop PCs.

Desktops of course tend not to come with built-in Wi-Fi which means adding a PCIe card or a USB wireless adaptor. With the KT9001, what Inateck has produced is a PCIe card that's a clever mash up of wireless adaptor and three port USB 3.0 hub.

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My four months with Nexus 9 [Review]

Nexus 9 and Friend

I want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship. N9 is not a bad tablet; others offer better value and performance for the price (or less), with Apple iPad mini being high among them. That said, if pure (aka stock) Android is your thing, there is no worthy alternative. Just prepare for a few compromises, particularly if moving up from Nexus 7.

In his November 2014 review, my colleague Brian Fagioli calls Nexus 9 "magical". I can't agree. During my four months using the tablet, response occasionally hesitates and WiFi too often disconnects. Last week, my N9 received the newest Android update, which somewhat resolves both problems. I purposely delayed this review, waiting for v5.1.1.

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GV18 Aplus smartwatch -- what can you expect for $35? [Review]

GV18 Aplus smartwatch

It's always the way with technology that it starts out expensive then tumbles in price as more manufacturers enter the field. With smartwatches that fall in price has come pretty quickly as Chinese manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon.

The last budget smartwatch we looked at proved pretty impressive for the price. The GV18 Aplus is cheaper still and yet packs in even more features. So, is it cheap and cheerful or cheap and nasty? Let's find out.

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System76 Meerkat is a cute Intel Broadwell-powered Ubuntu Linux computer [Review]


Imagine if every time you wanted a Windows computer, you had to buy a Mac, format the hard drive and install Microsoft's operating system. That would suck, right? This is pretty much how it is for Linux users, sadly. If you are a user of a Linux distro such as Fedora or Ubuntu, for the most part -- unless you are a system-builder -- you have to buy a Windows machine, and install your preferred operating system.

What if you want to buy a computer with an operating system such as Ubuntu pre-installed? Enter System76. The company sells computers -- both desktops and laptops -- running the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Recently, the company began selling the Meerkat -- a mini computer based on Intel's NUC. I have been using the computer for a few weeks now, with both Ubuntu and Windows 10 and I am ready to share the experience with you.

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Harman/Kardon Nova is bright [Review]

Harman Kardon Nova

My daughter's cat Cali loves to chew cords—a habit we will eventually break. Meanwhile, it's good excuse to invest in new wireless speakers that diminish some of the cord clutter. Our 20 year-old also is moving home for the summer, putting more wires at risk and necessitating some speaker swaps. She takes my Harman/Kardon SoundSticks, which subwoofer meets her requirement for thumping bass; I don't need it and switched to a space-saving, cord-reducing duo set.

Spectacular sound is my description for Harman/Kardon Nova, which deliver rich treble, magnificent highs, fine detail, and more-than-adequate bass for the kind of kit. Separation and soundstage are bold—dynamic! The speakers are best appreciated when matched to the right source. I stream from lossless leader Tidal on Chromebook Pixel LS, connected via Bluetooth. The combination is immensely enjoyable and makes me happy while working, which boosts the quality and speed of my productivity.

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