Reviews/How Tos

Though it still hasn't grabbed consumers like some manufacturers had hoped, the smartwatch market is growing rather quickly, and a number of good options are currently available. For some users, price may be one of the key factors holding them back from buying a smartwatch. While many watches cost at least $250, and some can run hundreds of dollars more, ASUS’s latest ZenWatch 2 we'll be showing you here is available for as little as $129. Of course, any time we see a budget-friendly smartphone, laptop, tablet, or smartwatch we assume sacrifices were made to keep the price low. In the case of the... Read more...
Periodically, Amazon updates and revamps its lineup of tablets with upgraded models and new names. While the company's tablets have kept the Fire branding over the years, the combination of letters and numbers that follow have changed. This year, for example, Amazon removed the HDX tag and now offers tablets with simply “Fire” or “Fire HD” branding. As its simpler name may suggest, Amazon’s latest Fire tablet is a more basic model that doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the HD series, which is available in three sizes. Instead, the all-new 7-inch Fire tablet has an ultra-low $50 price... Read more...
Competing with Apple in the mobile space isn't rocket science, it's just a matter of sticking to a proven formula for success -- build a premium device with superior specs than the one Apple is selling, inject it with Android, and then undercut the iWhatever in price. That's not to say Apple is the only premium slate target of opportunity but we'd surmise Apple would consider it the sincerest for of flattery anyway. Incidentally, we've just described the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0. It's a well designed Android tablet with Intel inside, and it boasts better specs than the iPad mini 3. It's also less expensive... Read more...
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon. Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for... Read more...
Dell took the wraps off a fresh, new revamp of their popular XPS 13 ultrabook line, out at CES in Las Vegas last week. The new machine was widely considered best-of-show for core computing products and racked-up awards left and right from major publications, including accolades from us here. Dell seemingly hit all the high notes with this machine, from its new 14nm Intel Core i5-5200U Broadwell-U processor power plant, to its absolutely stunning 13.3-inch 3200X1800 IPS display that's strapped with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT and nearly completely devoid of bezel on its... Read more...
Most are in agreement that Apple's iPad Air 2 is one of the finest tablets ever produced, if not the best out there, period. Certainly, it's not difficult to make that case -- after all, the latest 9.7-inch iPad is thinner than its predecessor at just 6.1mm thick, wicked fast with its custom A8X System-on-Chip (SoC), and incredibly light at just under a pound. Toss in a gorgeous display and a set of ancillary features that have been upgraded for this latest release, and even the most stringent critics can't help but pile on the praise. That's the easy part. What's a bit more difficult to address... Read more...
The PC laptop market is a funny place. Good laptops are fairly easy to find, but great laptops are staggeringly rare. This is true even at the boutique end of the market, where manufacturers have a tendency to choose powerful components, but cram them into a chassis that can't handle the heat without sounding like a jet turbine, or pick great, quiet hardware but opt for a sub-par 1080p screen whose quality leaves something to be desired. The Asus G751 is not a good laptop. The G751 is a great laptop. It is, in fact, the single best gaming laptop I have ever reviewed. If you're in the market... Read more...
When introducing the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple described it as the “biggest advancement in iPhone history.” Naturally, the use of “biggest” was quite intentional, a pun almost. Prior to 2014, Apple’s entire iPhone line had only ever had two screen sizes: 3.5-inch and 4-inch. Those sizes were perfectly acceptable in their day, but of late, the market has asked for more. More screen real estate, more pixels, more horsepower and more battery life. While Samsung, LG, HTC, Nokia, Sony, and just about every other smartphone maker on the planet introduced larger... Read more...
Bold. That’s the word that comes to mind when we consider Amazon’s Fire Phone. In a world where precious little has happened in the smartphone space over the past few years, at least in terms of groundbreaking innovation, Amazon’s entrance provides all the spark you need to sit up and pay attention. These days, a major OEM doesn’t just enter the smartphone space. Apple and Samsung have dominated market share and profits for years, squeezing BlackBerry out almost entirely and putting HTC on life support. Nokia, meanwhile, is stutter-stepping as Microsoft begins a massive... Read more...
The ability to stream movies and other content to your TV is relatively commonplace thanks to set top boxes such as the Roku 3, Apple TV, gaming consoles that support streaming, and built-in functionality that comes with many of today’s Blu-ray players and TVs. Even so, there’s always room for additional competition, right? Amazon believes there is, and recently launched its Fire TV to prove it. Amazon Fire TV provides access to a number of popular services including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime Anytime, Pandora, tunein, YouTube, Vimeo, Crackle, and much... Read more...
So much has changed in the tablet market since Apple starting shipping its first iPad around three and a half years ago. Prior to the original iPad, the tablet category didn't really exist, not like it does today. Apple wasn't the first to market with a tablet -- not by a long shot -- but Steve Jobs and the gang were the first to release a tablet that people actually wanted, and bought. And bought, and bought, and bought. There was no competing with the iPad in the early days, not when Google's hardware partners insisted on charging the same premium for Android tablets as Apple was for... Read more...
The Asus Transformer Book T100 packs an impressive list of features into a diminutive chassis and companion keyboard dock. After working with system, it's clear that Asus is hoping to capture lightning in a bottle, for the second time in a row. It's been six years since Asus launched the first Eee PC and kicked off a miniature revolution in mobile computing. Eee PC models weren't fast, they weren't particularly well-featured, and they didn't have the best displays. Even so, these lightweight boxes were the harbingers of the netbook bonanza that kicked off in earnest with the launch of Intel's... Read more...
If not for Apple's impending launch of the next-generation iPhone, the Moto X would be one of the year's most notable smartphone launches. And honestly, that's saying something. 2013 has also been a year where the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 came to light, but no Android phone has captured as many eyes as Motorola's simply-titled "X." The reality is that Motorola has not been a force in the mobile arena since the days of the original RAZR. Believe it or not, that iconic flip-phone was released nearly a decade ago, and it goes without saying that a whole lot has changed in the years since -- not... Read more...
Dell has updated its Alienware series of gaming notebooks with the refreshed Alienware 18, and what an update it is. In addition to a new generation of hardware, with both Intel's Haswell and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780M rumbling under the hood, Alienware has completely redesigned the look of the chassis, keyboard, and touchpad, all of which we’ll examine more closely in just a moment. One thing that has definitely not changed from the previous generation Alienware notebooks is the size and weight of these monsters, but of course, all that weight belies components built for serious gaming... Read more...
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