Anyone who’s researched sub-$500 laptops in recent months will know the Acer Aspire E 15. For a while now, the E5-575-33BM model has maintained its status as a best-selling laptop on Amazon. In fact, it’s often been the top seller.Looking at specs, it’s easy to see why this cheaper version of the Aspire E 15 is so popular. For just $350, you get a Core i3 processor, a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080, a 1TB storage drive, and Windows 10. Typically 15-inch laptops in the $300 range only offer 1366x768 screens.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
This is a smart and stylish thermostat, but it’s not in the same league as Nest or Ecobee.
We’ve been fans of Samsung’s super-svelte T series USB SSDs since their introduction in the form of the T1. They’re small, light, silent, nearly indestructible, attractively styled—and the T1’s 300MBps performance over USB was a kick in the pants when we first experienced it.The follow-on T3 added a Type-C connector and Gen 1 USB 3.1, but overall performance was only a marginally better. With the T5, the company has gone state-of-the-art with 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2, and the performance increase is now noticeable. Very noticeable. We like it.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Microsoft’s Windows 10 S is what happens when a once-easygoing operating system has kids and turns into a helicopter parent. Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows 10 found on the Surface Laptop and a small group of low-cost, third-party notebooks, keeps students safe and secure by restricting them to the Windows Store. But as our review shows, the lack of freedom chafes.Locking your PC away from the big, bad, outside world makes sense when your children are going off to high school or college, Microsoft thinks. But even the most dutiful parent will wonder why their child can’t use Chrome to beam YouTube videos to a Chromecast, print on some local printers, or protect their PC with anything other than Windows Defender. There’s always an escape hatch: a simple upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. But otherwise, Windows 10 S can be an exercise in frustration.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
More webcam than weather station (unless you purchase an add-on kit), BloomSky still holds some appeal as an adjunct tool for weather enthusiasts.
There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.
What’s all this under my thumb? That’s the first thought I had when using the SteelSeries Rival 500 mouse (available for $80 on Amazon), and most likely the first thought anyone would have with this device—there’s a lot to take in. But is a unique and intuitive layout under the thumb enough to make up for the Rival 500’s shortcomings? Or is it just one standout feature that’ll hopefully carry forward into other, better mice in the future?To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
The Asus Zenfone AR is a study in contrasts. On one hand, it has last year’s Snapdragon 821 processor... but it also packs up to 8GB of RAM. It has three rear cameras... but only one is used for taking photos. And while the Zenfone AR is on the bleeding edge of Google’s Tango AR and Daydream VR ambitions, it doesn’t have common premium features such as wireless charging and water resistance. Chris Hebert/IDG
Don’t be fooled by the design—there’s an array of tech inside.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
It’s been a while since we’ve taken an in-depth look at one of Corsair’s keyboards, but the K95 RGB Platinum is a great reason to return. It is the luxury sedan of keyboards, dominating any desk it graces, both in sheer size and an impressive light-show that (for the moment) outshines all its competitors. Is it a bit gaudy? Sure. Everything about it is flashy, oversized, and slightly ridiculous.But that’s luxury, right?Sportier design
The craziest bit is that the K95 RGB Platinum is actually slimmed down from the K90/95 of old. Where once the K90 line sported 18 (yes, eighteen) macro keys on the left side of the keyboard, the new K95 RGB Platinum now has six.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Updated August 14, 2017 to add our review of the JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker, which we've named to the new category of best $100 Bluetooth speaker.
There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.The industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we’ve picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and—yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers—price is no object. We also added an outdoor category to our coverage, with Soundcast's VG7 the first to win our praise, with the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ taking the runner-up spot.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
After months of teases and delays, the wait for Vega is finally over. On Monday, AMD launches its flagship Radeon RX 64 lineup: the $499 Radeon RX Vega 64 and the $699 liquid-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64, which is only available as part of a convoluted “Radeon Aqua Pack” bundle. Reviews are also lifting for the $399 Radeon RX Vega 56, which will hit the streets on August 28. And for the first time in a long time—over a year, in fact—the Red Team is fielding high-end graphics cards capable of challenging Nvidia’s enthusiast-class hardware.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
If you need to know the exact temperature and humidity inside your home, this stylish comfort gauge can work in concert with your HomeKit-based smart home.
$100 isn’t chickenfeed, but this small speaker sounds like it should cost a lot more.
Show, don’t tell. It’s one of filmmaking’s oldest adages—write for the screen. Don’t drag out in dialogue what’s better served through action, left unsaid, sequestered away in subtext.I bring it up because Fullbright’s first game, Gone Home, was a master of subtext. Arriving at your family’s empty house in the middle of the night, you’re left wandering room to room, piecing together a story from the objects you find scattered about. An invoice, a rejection letter from a publisher, a milk carton, a scribbled drawing, an old newspaper clipping—Gone Home worked in subtleties, a family dynamic reduced to its material possessions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Most any weather enthusiast will recommend Davis, but is the name alone still enough to justify the price tag?
This boutique service hits all the right notes with FLAC streams and high-resolution downloads.
The Zenfone AR is only the second handset capable of running Tango apps. Here's a taste of what it can do.
AMD’s 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ($999 on Amazon) is an angry Godzilla stomping his way through downtown Tokyo. Those puny 8-core, 6-core, and 4-core CPUs? They’re just tanks and army trucks to be punted across the city. Yes, it’s that good.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.
Here's what you need to know about what is arguably the most powerful consumer CPU ever unleashed upon mankind.
This 55-inch TV doesn't offer a lot of peak brightness, but its wide color gamut helps with HDR.
If there’s any gaming laptop as recognizable year-to-year as Razer’s Blade line, it’s probably Alienware’s. Following a redesign a few years back, the humbly named Alienware 17 has stayed pretty much the same ever since, at least on the outside.And you know what that means: Time to hit the gym if you want to do anything with this laptop besides set it on a desk and forget about it.The build: Bigfoot
The Alienware 17 R4 (currently priced at $2,549 on Amazon) is still so big. Just staggeringly huge. With so many following Razer’s lead and slimming down to actual laptop size as opposed to so-called “desktop replacements” proportions, I keep expecting Alienware to do the same.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Honeywell's smart surveillance camera offers intelligent sound detection and motion-detection zones to assure you get only the most important alerts.
Thumbs up on the integrated headphone amp, thumbs down on the exaggerated bass.
Keys are yesterday’s tech, your smart home needs a smart lock.
Ever get that text message out of the blue? You know: “Hey, I’m at Best Buy right now. What do you think of this Acer laptop versus this Dell laptop? One says it has four cores, while the other has 8GB of RAM. Help!”Yes, it’s that time of the year when friends and family hit you up for computer-buying advice. Their kids are going off to college, and they need your all-knowing tech help right now. Because with great computer knowledge comes great responsibility, I always wade into the specs, and provide quick-take buying recommendations based on what I can discern from the configurations and prices.So, in the spirit of offering you the same expert advice I’d give to my nearest and dearest, I’ve combed through the best-selling budget laptop lists from both Amazon and Best Buy, and weighed the pros and cons. Both lists change quite rapidly, so I’m basing this on a snapshot in time—namely, the best-selling laptops on the morning of July 21, 2017.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
If you want a strong indoor TV antenna that blends in, look no further than RCA’s Skybar.
TerraMaster's D2-310 RAID enclosure is a two-bay, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) box that’s extremely similar in appearance to the company's fast F2-220 NAS. In fact, it’s pretty much the same box with a different backplate and logic board. As direct-attached, USB storage options go, this one is rugged and pretty fast, though still with some shortcomings.Design and specs
Like its F2-220 cousin, silvery D2-310 is built like a brick outhouse, with real metal and a wide stance, making it difficult to knock over. That’s important when you have two rapidly spinning, rather fragile 3.5-inch hard drives inside. It’s also capable of housing 2.5-inch drives. Drives are installed and swapped using sliding trays, but there are no locks on the bay doors—the D2-310 isn’t for theft-prone areas.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
Until WD’s My Passport SSD showed up on our doorstep, Samsung’s T3 USB 3.1 (Gen 1, 5Gbps) portable SSD was the last word in super-svelte, high-capacity storage. Now there’s at least a conversation. The My Passport SSD even adds a little spice to the debate by using a Type C USB 3.1 (10Gbps) interface. The extra bandwidth made no difference in performance, and the T3 is still a little faster. More on the why of that later.Price and Design
Small and fast costs more. At the time of this writing, the WD My Passport SSD was available only from Best Buy, with the 256GB version costing $100, the 512GB version priced at $200, and the 1TB version we tested going for an even $400. Darn, no break on capacity. That’s not cheap, but roughly on par with the T3. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
An alternate experience to getting lost on YouTube.
Update, July 31, 2017: Sony has enabled an Alexa skill for many of its 2017 Bravia smart-TV models that allows the sets to be controlled with voice commands. The XBR-65A1E model reviewed here is one of them. You'll find additional details on Sony's support site and on Amazon.What do you get when you put an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in the hands of the Sony with their decades of experience enhancing TV images? A better OLED TV. Having only seen another company’s OLED TVs in the consumer space, we’d gotten the idea that the technology was simply challenged when it came to rendering fine details. Not so with the A1E, whose facility with picture minutiae, while not LCD-like, is a substantial improvement.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
HideIPVPN in brief:P2P allowed: Netherlands and Germany servers onlyBusiness location: USA and MoldovaNumber of servers: 28Number of country locations: 8Cost: $70 (billed annually)Picking a VPN is a tricky business since you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you buy. That’s why some services offer free trials. HideIPVPN is one such company that offers a 24-hour free trial with full access to its entire service.After digging into HideIPVPN, what I found was an average VPN service that lacked good speeds, with the exception of Germany. It does, however, offer an interface that may appeal to some users, but that’s not quite enough to recommend it.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here