Electronics

My watch is smarter than your honor student

Decrypted: Are Wearables Worth It?

In a sense, producers of wearables are trying to convince you that they’re something you can’t possibly live without…. something like your smartphone. Chances are, however, you can. Darren Murph examines the current state of the smartwatch.

Potent portables

27 Accessories to Make Your Smartphone Smarter

You don’t need us to tell you that smartphones are becoming exceedingly central to our lives; just look at the massive market for phone accessories. Whether you’re a fitness buff, a photographer or an avid traveler, there’s tons of gear for your phone that matches your lifestyle. We've picked our favorites for both the Android and iOS ecosystems.

No relation to one Katy Perry

Tested: Sound Blaster Roar SR20

Creative's new Sound Blaster Roar SR20 boasts improved Bluetooth pairing, a sound-boosting "Roar" mode, and half the price of its Bose competitor.

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Wall

A Millionaire’s Guide to Mega TVs

The home entertainment arms race has evolved to include factors like pixel counts, connectivity and even screen shape. But the importance of size...that will never change. Meet the TV heavyweights of 2014 that redefine big.

How to Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to your career's benefit

Decrypted: Making Social Media Work…for Work

Whether you’re on the hunt for a new career, thinking about striking out on your own, or simply polishing up your online resume, it’s vital to understand which social networks matter in the world of employment. It’s to your benefit to understand how networking happens in an interconnected world, where your next job is apt to come from, and how you should position yourself across a litany of different networks. Here are tips from an expert on how to use them to your benefit.

Everything you need to know about using your phone on an airplane

Decrypted: Using Devices In-Flight

Phones on flights are confusing at the present moment -- especially after Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) to “implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States" last week. In a nutshell, the new edict means that travelers taking off from abroad en route to the United States may be asked to power their carry-on phones on for inspection.

Fighting Free of Modern-day Tech Duncedom

Seneca vs Social Media: Dumping the Smartphone for Idle Thought

I recently started reading Seneca's Letters to a Stoic and was surprised by the content of his first letter: "Nothing, to my way of thinking, is better proof of a well ordered mind than a man's ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company." This has some real clout. And it also started me worrying. Because I'm certainly not the owner of a well-ordered mind; and lately, I haven't been stopping and passing any time whatsoever in my own company. Why? At least partly because I can't stop scrolling through junk on my cell phone.

As the U.S. Battles Belgium

Inside Google’s World Cup War Room

If the World Cup isn’t about triumph or tragedy as eleven countrymen fight for national pride with illustrious skill, then dammit, it’s about data. And where there is data, there is Google. Every match a team of analysts, writers, and artists are standing by holding their finger to the social pulse of the world, and when something big happens, Google’s World Cup War Room responds.

Third time's the charm

Design Spotlight: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Is it our technological destiny to want both a tablet and a laptop forever, or can advances in hardware and software, combined with intelligent design, actually unify our professional and personal lives within one screen? Microsoft made its stance on the matter abundantly clear with the launch of the original Surface in the summer of 2012. Two years later, the third iteration of the Surface is a marvel of engineering honed by experience and proving more than ever that Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is as real as it gets. Here's a rundown of the key innovations that make new Surface Pro 3 both a powerful Intel Core laptop and an easy-to-use tablet.

An Easy to Understand, Scary Premise

Decrypted: Why the End of Net Neutrality Screws Us All

I’m not even going to use the phrase; as John Oliver so eloquently described, the mere mention of that phrase puts most people to sleep. Instead, allow me to introduce you to a tale of corruption, monopolistic business practices, and a cascading series of events that will result in ever-growing prices for Internet services such as HBO and Netflix. Oh, and that rapid pace of innovation you’re seeing in mobile app stores? Imagine a world where that doesn’t exist.

Why 3D Ruined The World Cup Experience For Everyone

Decrypted: The World Cup’s 4K Tragedy

In 2010 ESPN banked big on 3D as the new way to watch the World Cup. It didn't work out well. Now the most notable advancement in high-definition television, 4K, is being left out of coverage of 2014's tournament -- and it's a damn shame.

Third-Party Extensibility Thrives in iOS 8

Decrypted: Apple Drops its Guard

Make no mistake: what we’re witnessing right now is the beginning of a new Apple. The company that showed itself during the WWDC 2014 keynote is dramatically different from the Apple of years past, a company that had maintained a legendary wall around its wares, demanding that users either do things their way or go elsewhere. And if I had to guess, I’d wager that most of you reading this stand to benefit yesterday's shift.

Sega vs. Nintendo

A Modern Man’s Guide to Retro Gaming

Nostalgia makes the original Sonic an appealing option for summer fun, but tracking down a Sega Genesis is easier said than done. We provide a few modern workarounds to help you play your favorite retro titles from the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Master System, Dreamcast and Saturn.

Because Fido's Ready for the Future, Too

WhistleGPS Dog Monitor

The so-called "quantified self" represents one of the next great technological revolutions for man; shouldn't his best friend get in on the action too? Whistle certainly thinks so. Their eponymous activity tracker was the first of its kind for dogs, serving as the canine equivalent of fitness trackers flooding the tech scene today; it was specifically designed to help owners monitor their pets' activity levels as well as keep track of other critical info related to medication and meals via Bluetooth and wi-fi. Now with the freshly launched WhistleGPS, the company has added a new and arguably more import feature -- keeping tabs on your Pet's location. Interested? Then read on to learn more or visit the site. Buy Now: $129 ($49 for pre-orders)

A Big, Bad Watch Gets Bigger and Badder

Tested: Suunto Ambit2

We get our hands on the Ambit2 from Suunto, the best watch in the business for serious outdoor adventurers looking to track all of their data over an entire weekend trip.

The Right Type, For Some

Tested: Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard

The Harmony Smart Keyboard ($150) is a new product aimed at set-top box users tired of searching for content one letter at a time, and Home Theater PC users sick of switching between a remote and keyboard. But does it work as advertised?

Lots of light, and a little smoke

Tested: Amazon Fire TV

Amazon's Fire TV provides the best experience of any streaming device for consumers who've spent more than a few paychecks on the company's media ecosystem. No question about it: if you live and die by Amazon Prime Instant Video, buy the Fire TV and rejoice. But what if you aren't a card-carrying member of the Bezos fan club? We found a comfy couch and tested it out.

Power plus space, all in one case

Tested: Mophie Space Pack

Mophie's Space Pack for the iPhone 5/5s combines extra battery power with up to 32GB of additional storage, promising to fixing two of the phone's biggest shortcomings in one convenient package.

A Comprehensive Guide to Ignoring Friends and Family

The 50 Best iPhone & iPad Games

Consoles don't provide much in the way of portability (anyone else ever own this masterpiece of engineering?), and grown men carrying Gameboys often attract the wrong kind of attention, but mobile games offer interactive experiences on the devices that most of us carry every day. They allow us a bit of serenity when we need it most -- in the airport, on the subway, at a questionable mid-life Bris. Here, we've provided a list of 50 of the best games made for iOS. Play at the risk of your relationship.

Why choose when you can have both?

Twice the Device: Tracking the Rise of the 2-in-1

Sick of juggling multiple device? You're not alone. So called 2-in-1s can offer the best-of-both-worlds solution, combining the productivity of a laptop with the fun and convenience of a tablet. Check out our video for a rundown of this growing new gadget category and start plotting your new streamlined future today.

The fitness tracker that refuses to fit in

Tested: Misfit Shine

What makes a good wearable? Comparing a laundry list of features is one way to start the conversation. The Misfit Shine proves, however, that there’s still something to be said for keeping it simple.

Lighting the way, from Yellowstone to Haiti

Tested: Goal Zero Lighthouse 250

Goal Zero's latest rechargeable lantern, the LightHouse 250 ($80), is a versatile light source suited for all regions of the globe. But does its on-paper usefulness translate to the real world? We tested it, from hand-cranking to device charging.

Small size, big sound

Tested: Klipsch X11i In-Ear Headphones

The typical beef with earbuds is that they sound worse than similarly priced over- or on-ear headphones. That’s not to say audio engineers haven’t figured out how to squeeze spectacular sound out of a diminutive package, there’s just usually a hefty premium for having your cake and eating it too. Klipsch's X11i are the company's top of the line offering in-ear offering. We spent the last few weeks with a pair to see if they were capable of producing the high-end sound worthy of their high-end price.

Play Through

Tested: Playing through Monument Valley

Since 2010, several iOS games have tried to match Infinity Blade's incredible combination of artistry and narrative, our favorites being The Room and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. On April 3rd, 2014, a new challenger stepped into the arena: Monument Valley, an M.C. Escher-inspired puzzle game made by indie developers ustwogames.

Everything you want, and more

Touch Down: Inside the Evolution of Tablets

We imagined tablets long before they ever found their way into our daily lives -- maybe that's why they fit in so quickly. But don't let their prominent science fiction legacy mislead you: there's plenty of innovation still to be had. In fact, the category is already evolving at breakneck speed, thanks largely to the breakthroughs in processing technology being made by companies like Intel. But don't just take our word for it. Check out the video above to see just how far tablets have come and where they're headed tomorrow.

Release the Titans

Redefining the Single Player Experience… With Robots

Titanfall starts with some 1960s stock footage of rockets. There is a voiceover. From what we can understand, a group called the militia is battling a group called the IMC. Then we're in the game, running on walls, and that stuff doesn't matter anymore. This is Titanfall's big bet: that players, so intent on shooting really big weapons at really big robots, won't care that the game lacks any sort of discernible plot or campaign. And it works -- to an extent.

From Delphi to Your Kitchen

Tested: Breville Oracle

Every once in a while, a product so revolutionizes your day that you feel compelled to brag to your friends about it. You fantasize about it throughout the day, and when you go to sleep, you can’t wait to get up, just so you can jump out of bed and use it. That good. Such is the case with the Breville Oracle, which promises -- and delivers -- high-quality, easily made espresso at home.

Professional grade

Tested: F-Stop Camera Backpacks

F-Stop is a relative newcomer to the camera bag scene, and its St. Louis headquarters is incongruous with its focus on packs for mountain sports photography. But don’t let that fool you. Their packs show a design maturity that could only stem from experience and a smart use of user feedback. We tested both the light-and-fast Kenti ($249) and the sturdier, larger Satori EXP ($379) in conditions as varied as multi-day hikes in New Zealand and peak bagging in New Hampshire.

Two Very Talented Spin Doctors

Want This, Get This: Linn Majik LP12 or Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Today music lovers are finding more and more of their friends have returned to a beloved 1960s listening form: spinning vinyl. Unfortunately, buying a turntable is daunting. The segment tends to idolize incredibly expensive hi-fi gear, which is all well and good, except that few newcomers or even seasoned vinyl listeners can afford the tippity top of the quality pyramid. Truth is, for the price of an iPod you can be the proud owner of a turntable with great sound and the chops to convey every form of jammery until you yourself are a vinyl aficionado.

Laptop, upgrade thyself

Guide to Life: Breathe Life Into Your Old Computer

When you pull a brand new MacBook Pro out of the box it looks so neat and sleek and immortal; it’s hard to imagine a day when that thing will be so slow it’ll make you want to drive an adze through it. But age, lack of space and low memory have set their marks on it. Computers get old and tired and confused, just like people. Fortunately, computers are easier to freshen up than people, and if your machine is three or four years old and lagging, there are some easy solutions to improve its performance, saving you some money and frustration in the process.

A Thorough Guide to Listening the Right Way

Guide to Life: Upgrade Your Music Library

Our obsession with hardware is here to stay -- don't expect an apology for it anytime soon. We'll be the first to admit, though, that even the right headphones, speakers and amps are only as good as the source material you play through them. Garbage in, garbage out. The solution? Get more out of the tunes you love by upgrading your music library.

Five Oceans, Five Cameras

Buying Guide: Underwater Imaging

Nowadays, there are many options for underwater photography and videography available to the avid diver and occasional vacation snorkeler alike. These five underwater imaging options -- everything from custom-machined metal housings to cameras that don’t need a housing at all -- will serve you well on your next dive trip. What you shoot is up to you.

No excuses, just good shots

Kit: Essentials for the Budding Movie Maker

Today's affordable tools, cameras, classes and copious creative outlets have brought making a film (one of the best story-telling devices) nearly to the everyman. Still, all those advances can't change a basic fact: sometimes making a movie means going to where the story is rather than waiting for it to come to you. But paying to check 10 Pelican cases of equipment will essentially eat your entire production budget, not to mention it's tough to sneak into a location if you have a fleet of boxes and bags. This kit can be carried by one or two people in traditional suitcases -- which means you get your shots, no matter where those shots may be.

Nip your audio in the bud

Cheap Beats: The Best Budget Earbuds

Earbuds, rather than full-size headphones, are essential to many a man mostly because they are so very compact. If you're a commuter or jogger or some other type of person who can't balance one-pound earmuffs on your head all day, and you don't want to spend a pretty penny on something that you're likely to lose or break, these are for you. They're the best budget earbuds we've heard of, so listen up.

Streaming Consciousness

Net Flicks: Cut the Cord With These Great Set-Top Boxes

Nowadays media streaming devices offer dramatically improved user experiences, access to a wide range of content at 1080p, and price tags easily within anyone’s budget, making it easier than ever to cut the cable company's iron umbilical cord. We’ve selected the top five that should satiate any media user, aficionado to amateur.

Three Amateur Gamers Play for 14 Hours Straight

Testing the Xbox One

From the Archives: Three GP staffers, all casual gamers, tested the Xbox One for over 14 hours straight and came away with a severe lack of sleep and plenty of strong first impressions. Addicted? Clearly. Here's what they remember.

The pick of the little

The Best iPad Mini & Mini Retina Cases

Does your iPad Mini Retina need some love? We've updated our best iPad Mini & Mini Retina cases at a variety of price points to help get your new Cupertino buddy from birthday suit to warm and cozy. Whether you prioritize looks, function or insurance for your butterfingers, each of these iPad Mini cases has a forte -- and a price.

Sound Matters

Tested: foxL DASH 7 Bluetooth Speaker

Anyone who followed CES this year saw the amount of new wireless Bluetooth speakers -- an avalanche eclipsed only by the utter horde of new fitness trackers. Still, it's clear when a winner emerges from the pack. While the fight for the best portable Bluetooth speaker continues, one high-end contender threatens to end the competition: the foxL DASH 7 ($219), produced by Soundmatters, the same company that originally provided components for the best-selling Jambox.