Articles about Review

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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Nebra AnyBeam: A Raspberry Pi powered home cinema projector you can fit in your pocket [Review]

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.

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Rock Jaw T5 Ultra Connect wireless earphones [Review]

Rock Jaw T5 Ultra Connect

Previously when we've reviewed earphones from Rock Jaw we've found them to be a good compromise between affordability and performance.

The T5 Ultra Connect is the first wireless product we've seen from the firm, so we were keen to find out how they measure up.

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HUAWEI MateBook 13 laptop [Review]

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.

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Grado Labs GW100 wireless headphones [Review]

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. ImmersiveBalanced. 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.

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Tuft + Paw Gatto Basket [Review]

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.

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LG V40 ThinQ Android smartphone is quite delightful [Review]

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.

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VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 eGFX External GPU Enclosure [Review]

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.

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Thinkware F70 review

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.

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Thinkware F800 Pro review

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.

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VisionTek Portable 1TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD [Review]

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.

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