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.
When you buy a thin and light laptop, you pretty much have to wave goodbye to hardcore gaming. Sure, gaming notebooks can be more svelte these days, but they still aren't as portable as say, a MacBook Pro or Windows 10 Ultrabook.
Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, however, you can easily add an eGPU to a thin and light laptop. What is an eGPU? It is essentially a desktop graphics card inside an enclosure. Some companies sell all-in-one units, with the GPU pre-installed, but if you already have a desktop graphics card, you can also just buy the enclosure for a "bring your own card" experience.
Thinkware is slowly expanding its range of dash cams to reach more consumers, with the recently-introduced F70 being one of the most sensibly-priced products in the lineup -- while still offering all the essential features we've come to expect from the company.
It's priced at around $100, which makes it very attractive for dash cam buyers on a budget. It's also got a nice design, unlike many of its competitors. Question is, how does it perform? I've tested it to find out.
The F800 Pro is the ultimate dash cam in Thinkware's lineup. The big brother to the excellent F800 that I reviewed last year brings some nice extra features to the table, the most interesting of which is Thinkware Cloud. It's designed to be used in conjunction with your smartphone, giving you access to your car's location and notifications when someone bumps into it, among other things.
That can come in handy when you lend your car to a friend or leave it unattended in a parking lot, for instance. But there's also geofencing available, which is designed with business customers in mind (or, concerned parents, if you will). This will send a notification when the car is driven outside of an approved area.
With the exception of extremely low-cost budget models, all modern computers (laptops and desktops) should have Thunderbolt 3 these days. Why? Because TB3 is simply amazing -- it uses the USB-C connector, but is much faster than USB 3.1 Gen 2.
With Thunderbolt 3 being so fast, many consumers -- including yours truly -- have been waiting for external PCIe NVMe TB3 drives to begin hitting the mainstream. I am happy to say I have been testing one from VisionTek with my 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and as you can imagine, it is super quick.
Owning a home is not in a walk in the park. Actually, being a homeowner can be downright daunting. Why? Well, things constantly break and need either fixing or replacing. Not to mention, there is normal upkeep, such as mowing the lawn, gardening, and for some folks, shoveling snow too.
This is why I am such a fan of the smart home. Anything I can do to get a little help is appreciated. Things like smart lights and thermostats not only make my life easier, but they can save me money too. Recently, I have been testing the 3rd generation smart sprinkler controller from Rachio and I came away with a very definitive opinion of it.
The easiest and best way to speed up a slow computer is to replace its HDD with an SSD. This will deliver a huge performance boost, and can make an old PC feel brand new. If you’re after the best speeds and your computer has a compatible PCIe-based M.2 slot, then a NVMe solid state drive is what you should you be looking for as they are significantly faster than SATA models.
That said, SATA remains the dominant interface for connecting a SSD to your PC, and for most consumers the performance improvement it provides will be perfectly acceptable -- certainly much quicker than you’d get from a mechanical drive. We took SanDisk’s Ultra 3D SATA SSD for a spin to see how it fared.
Power banks are a dime a dozen nowadays, offering a way to ensure that your phone stays charged while you're on the move and away from a power socket. But while there are plenty of power banks with USB connections, what about those devices that require AC power?
There are some laptops that can charge using a USB-C connection, but most need AC -- and this is where the RAVPower AC Outlet 27000mAh Power Bank can help. As you might guess from the name, this is a portable battery pack that offers 27000mAh of power and could just save you from running out of juice when you travel.
For 2018, I decided to take stock in my finances to see exactly where my money is going each month. I found many ways to cut costs, such as making my own lunch instead of buying something from a deli each day. In New York, a sandwich, bag of chips, and a Snapple can easily run you $13! Food aside, there was one thing in particular that was really destroying my budget -- cable.
When I say cable, I am referring to the traditional "triple play" service, where you get television, internet, and phone. For this, I was paying over $200 a month! This was without any premium channels -- no HBO, Starz, or Showtime. The most ridiculous part? I was being charged monthly rental fees for the cable boxes and modem. Well, enough was enough. Thanks to YouTube TV, I "cut the cord" and I couldn't be happier.
If your laptop has Thunderbolt 3 -- and you want to connect it to a keyboard, mouse, and display -- a TB3 dock is a worthwhile investment. This allows you to both charge and connect your peripherals with a single cable. Don't have Thunderbolt 3? That's OK -- you can still utilize a USB dock. While it won't charge your machine, it will still offer much convenience.
While my MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 3, my family and I have Windows and Linux notebooks that still use USB 3.0. For these computers, I have been testing a new USB 3.0 dock from VisionTek called "VT1000." Not only does it serve as a 3-port USB 3.0 hub (two Type-A on front, one on rear), but it also provides gigabit Ethernet, audio, and the ability to push two displays. For this, it offers very versatile connection options -- HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA.