I wish all new laptops came with Ethernet ports, but sadly, it just isn't meant to be. You see, as computer makers try to make notebooks thinner, they omit important ports such as Ethernet. For many folks, this isn't a big deal, as they only use Wi-Fi anyway. Other consumers, such as yours truly, like having the ability to connect to a network using a cable.
Thankfully, an Ethernet port is just a dongle away! Thanks to USB, you have long been able to add hardwired networking to a computer without it. With new computers having USB-C ports running at 3.1 gen 2 speeds, it is time to think beyond Gigabit (1Gbps) -- 2.5 and 5Gbps.
Portable solid state drives are great, as they are fast and very reliable since they have no moving parts. They are particularly useful for content creators, as they often have a ton of media that they need to access quickly. Currently, the best option for those wanting fast external storage is an NVMe drive connected with Thunderbolt 3. If you own a computer with TB3 from manufacturers such as Apple, Dynabook, or Dell, you should absolutely try and get an external SSD that can maximally utilize it.
Today, Plugable is launching such a drive, and it is quite incredible. The drive comes in two capacities -- 1TB and 2TB -- and offers insane read and write speeds. How fast is it? It is rated as being able to exceed 2800 MB/s read and 1800 MB/s write. I've been testing the 2TB variant of the drive lately, and I can confirm that it is fast as heck -- but that's not all.
If you have private files that you want to be able to access when on the go, you could consider uploading them to the cloud, or carrying them around on a USB flash drive. The trouble with the former option is you’re entrusting your content to a third party, and in the case of the latter, you run the risk of losing the drive, allowing anyone who finds it to view your data. You could protect your files using software encryption, but it’s not 100 percent secure.
A much better, and far safer solution is to store your data on a hardware encrypted USB drive like the Aegis Fortress L3.
I'm an Apple iPhone user -- a rather satisfied one at that. More specifically, my regular day-to-day smartphone is the iPhone 8 Plus. Why haven't I upgraded to a newer model? Well, I didn't want to give up the Touch ID fingerprint reader, and I am not a fan of the notch. Not to mention, the iPhone 8 Plus is a great device that is still receiving updates. And so, I have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for Apple to convince me to upgrade -- the company has yet to do so.
When I got the opportunity to test Google's Pixel 4 smartphone, I was excited, but also, rather concerned. While I was glad the Pixel 4 didn't have a notch, I was worried about it not having a fingerprint reader. The more glaring issue, however, was the operating system -- moving from the iPhone 8 Plus to the Pixel 4 would be quite the culture shock.
Unless you are a gamer or enthusiast, owning a desktop computer these days is sort of, well... stupid. Look, even if you do most of your computing at a desk, you should still buy a laptop. Why? Think about it -- a desktop keeps you tethered to one place, while a notebook is portable. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, you can use your laptop as a makeshift desktop by using a docking station. In other words, you can connect your notebook to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, web cam, external hard dive -- pretty much anything you need. The dock will charge and power your computer too. A traditional desktop is very limiting.
One such docking station that piqued my interest recently is a Thunderbolt 3 model by StarTech.com. Called "TB3CDK2DP," it has a very unique feature -- it is compatible with USB-C laptops that are lacking TB3. In other words, if you have a Thunderbolt 3 laptop, this dock will work in full TB3 mode. If you have another computer that only has a regular USB-C, however, it will function in a USB mode. This essentially gives you the best of both worlds. I have been testing this docking station extensively with a MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3, as well as a Windows 10 laptop and Chromebook that only have USB-C and not TB3. Unfortunately, I do not have a Windows machine with Thunderbolt 3.
When was the last time you shopped around for a new antivirus? If you're a Windows user and using its latest iteration, you might be quite satisfied with how Windows Defender works. Besides, it comes as default with the operating system and runs unobtrusively in the background, no added setup required.
However, cyberattacks are only growing more rampant and hackers are finding new ways to victimize computer users. And for ordinary users, it's our privacy that's under threat. Hackers look to gain access to our devices to steal data. It's not just our personal and financial information they're after. Hackers are also trying to hack into webcams and microphones hoping to capture anything sensitive and incriminating in order to extort victims.
Ditch the HDMI cables with IOGEAR's Share Pro Mini Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Receiver [Review]
The humble HDMI cable is simultaneously brilliant, and a massive pain in the ass. Great for delivering HD video from your computer to a TV or projector, but a serious downside is the fact that, well, it's a cable. Who hasn't yearned for a wireless HDMI cable?
This is, effectively, what the Share Pro Mini Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Receiver Kit from IOGEAR is (GWHD2DKIT). It's a two-part piece of equipment that lets you stream audio and video up to 12m (40 feet) wirelessly. Best of all, there's no software involved, and no need for Wi-Fi.
There are three things you likely never leave home without -- your wallet, phone, and keys -- and it could be devastating if you lost any of them, or had them stolen.
Ekster 3.0 launched a couple of days ago and is the world’s first voice-activated smart wallet, with worldwide traceability, quick card access, and RFID protection. You can use your phone to track down the wallet should you lose it, and use the wallet to find your phone if that goes missing. (It can’t help with your keys though, so take good care of those).
We are increasingly using our PCs for communication, whether it's making Skype calls or just chatting to other online gamers.
But while laptops and some monitors have built in microphones they are not always ideally located or the best quality.
Before large screen televisions and 4K content became a thing, I used to enjoy watching films projected onto a white wall at home. I had a Canon projector hooked up to my PC with surround sound, and it was like having a personal cinema.
Technology has moved on quite some way since then, and you can now buy reasonable quality projectors for a fraction of the price. Case in point is Nebra AnyBeam, a Raspberry Pi powered pocket sized projector.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all laptop. Sure, there are some computers that are built for general use and should meet the needs of many, but due to personal preferences, there will never be an overall consensus on style, size, or price. For instance, I personally find 13-inch laptops to be the best balance of portability and usefulness, but some folks will think such a screen is too small. Heck, some may even prefer an 11.6-inch screen -- such is life.
With all of that said, HUAWEI has created a laptop that should check all the boxes for many consumers. The "MateBook 13," as you can guess, has a 13-inch screen. It even has an option for NVIDIA graphics -- if you need such a thing. I have been testing this computer to see if it meets my expectations for what a laptop should be in 2019.
When I first opened the box containing the Grado Labs GW100 headphones, one word came to mind: "Cheap". The cans didn't look or feel like the classy Grado RS1i and RS1e, which I once owned, or the GS1000e that are still beloved and possessed. But after connecting to Google Pixel 2 XL (and later the 3 XL), via Bluetooth, I exclaimed: "Priceless". The first offering in the company's "Wireless Series" rises to an audiophile class unmatched by most competing cans; I prefer the GW100 to the GS1000e, which cost four times more to buy. Four words best describe the experience listening to music of any genre: Natural. Immersive. Balanced. Authentic.
The GW100 are unique among wireless headphones by design: They are open-back like Grado's wired models, but they are unlike all other major manufacturers' wireless cans, which typically cover the ears and/or impose oppressively confining noise cancellation. I understand that commuters on noisy trains or travelers on rumbling airplanes might want NC, but the feature creates a cone of silence that is very unnatural. By comparison, the GW100's open-air design allows music to expand, while—I must concede—letting in background noise going on about you.
When I think beta testing, low-tech doesn't come to mind. The gadgets that you use demand extensive quality review during design and prefabrication stages, long before ever being manufactured. But, gasp, cat furniture?
Seeing this website is still called BetaNews 20 years on—and felines own the Internet—there's strange sense to spotlighting something for your furry friend(s) the week before Christmas. Call it a stocking stuffer, but one where the kitty is stuffed. And, this wool wonder, like other things from Tuft + Paw, was thoroughly beta tested.
In the world of Android, LG doesn't get the attention it deserves. The company's smartphones are usually exceptional -- well made, with excellent displays, and quite often, above average audio quality too. Yet for whatever reason, many consumers flock to Samsung instead. Look, there is nothing wrong with Galaxy devices -- they are usually wonderful too -- but one of the best things about Android is there are so many companies embracing different designs and hardware. If you are a user of Google's mobile operating system, why not broaden your horizons a bit?
With the exception of the unfortunate G5, I have been impressed by every LG smartphone I have tried. Historically, yours truly has been particularly smitten with its "V Series" of devices. These are smartphones where LG has taken more risks, such as utilizing a "second screen" that sits atop the primary display -- a feature that is now gone. Was it gimmicky? Yes, a bit, but it was actually useful. Through age and refinement, however, the V Series has evolved into the true flagship device from LG, with the latest being the V40 ThinQ. I have been testing the device (unlocked variant) lately to see if LG is still delivering the quality smartphone experience I expect.