Articles about Review

iStorage diskAshur M2: An ultra-secure hardware encrypted portable SSD [Review]

Storing files in the cloud has a lot of benefits, not least making them easily accessible from anywhere. It isn’t necessarily the most secure option, however.

If you have private data that you can’t afford to fall into the wrong hands, you should definitely consider a PIN authenticated hardware encrypted portable USB SSD like iStorage’s excellent diskAshur M2.

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AKG Ara -- a stylish and versatile USB microphone [Review]

With more and more of us working from home and conducting our business and personal lives via video calls, microphone quality on our devices has become a serious issue.

The in-built mics on laptops are OK but if you want to make presentations or create podcasts, make music, or just make a good impression on Zoom, then you really need something better. Step forward the AKG Ara.

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Kubuntu Focus XE is the perfect laptop for Windows-switchers and Linux beginners [Review]

All Linux distributions are not created equally. In other words, it is absolutely not correct to say "Linux is Linux." Not only are there differences under the hood with things like package managers and kernel versions, but more user-focused variations too, such as the actual desktop environment. Unlike Windows that only offers one interface, there are several for Linux-based operating systems. Ultimately, a user's Linux experience can vary wildly based on distro.

But what Linux distribution is best for a beginner? This is an impossible question to answer definitively, but to attempt to do so, it is important to first define what a "beginner" actually is. Are they a first-time computer user or more likely, a longtime Windows user looking to switch to Linux? While the former is a blank canvas, the latter has many existing computing habits and expectations. And so, looking for something that doesn't deviate far from the traditional Windows user interface.

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What's small, blue and protects your network? Firewalla! [Review]

Firewalla Blue

The current shift towards remote working has shone a spotlight on the security of home networks and the potential risk they present to corporate information.

While there are various software options you can employ to offer more protection, Firewalla has a different solution in the form of a tiny box that you plug into your router.

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TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone perfectly balances quality and affordability [Review]

Android smartphones are more affordable than Apple's iPhone, right? Not always. In fact, in 2020, there has been a bit of a shift. There are Android flagships that are well over $1,000, while the very capable iPhone SE can be had for a mere $399. Of course, the top iPhone models are expensive too, but still, it isn't black and white anymore. Those looking for an affordable smartphone can now go with iOS or Android.

The problem, of course, is that affordable Android phones are often of dubious quality from no-name makers. Sure, some big-name makers, such as Samsung, also make lower-cost models, but they are usually quite neutered and lame. For whatever reason, it can be hard to find an Android phone that properly balances quality and affordability.

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard [Review]

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

We're constantly reminded of the importance of backing up data. "Do it now, or you'll regret it later", and phrases of that ilk, are frequently bandied around, but many of us are guilty of ignoring the advice and flying by the seat of our pants. Which is all well and good until something goes wrong. A hard drive fails, documents get corrupted, someone else deletes things from your computer: that's when you may -- after you've finished crying -- turn  to data recovery software.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an example of such a tool, and it's available in free and paid-for versions. Depending on how much data you have to retrieve, you may well find that the free version is all that you need, but there is a Pro version available if your requirements are greater.

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TRENDnet TUC-ET2G USB-C to 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet adapter for Windows, Mac, and Linux [Review]

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.

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Plugable launches speedy 1TB and 2TB Thunderbolt 3 portable NVMe SSDs [Review]

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.

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Aegis Fortress L3: A super-secure portable drive [Review]

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.

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Google Pixel 4 is oh so awesome [Review]

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.

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StarTech.com TB3CDK2DP Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C hybrid dock is magical [Review]

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.

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Reason Antivirus: When privacy is your priority [Review]

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.

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Ditch the HDMI cables with IOGEAR's Share Pro Mini Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Receiver [Review]

IOGEAR SharePro

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.

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Ekster Parliament 3.0 voice-activated smart wallet [Review]

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).

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A smart retro-look microphone for gaming or conferencing -- MXL AC-404-LED [Review]

MXL AC-404 microphone

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.

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