Tech

Is a dedicated TV streaming device irrelevant? It depends

Tested: Slingbox M1

It's easy to think that the ground made up by "TV Anywhere" streaming services from television providers as well as on demand resources like Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO GO have made owning a dedicated device like the Slingbox M1 irrelevant. But is that really the case? After spending a few days testing the newest member of the Slingbox family, the realistic answer is: it depends.

Is High-Tech High Fashion the Future of Wearables?

Fashion Brands Bank on Wearables, Starting at the U.S. Open

Buff male models and scrawny U.S. Open ball boys strolled silently around Ralph Lauren HQ on Monday, standing on platforms and lifting their arms and turning slowly when asked; they were showing off the latest wearable fitness technology, though it was hard to tell. The smart accessories weren't big-screened watches, blocky chest straps or pinned-on step counters: they were their shirts.

Like Post Secret for Adults

Decrypted: Navigating Anonymous Social Media Networks

Within the past year, two anonymous social apps, Secret and Whisper, have launched and secured millions of dollars in funding while racking up thousands of new users per day. The question is, should you be using them?

Playing Muddy Waters from the Mud

Eight Great Rugged Bluetooth Speakers

All-weather bluetooth speakers make sure that you have listening options in any climate, on the edge of any pool or in your pack on any adventure. No plug, no jacks, no need to check the weather report. Just durable music wherever you need it. These are the eight best.

Doesn't sound fun, does it?

Decrypted: A Guide to Avoiding Data Throttling

Throttling is a term that has snuck up on laypeople all of a sudden, particularly applying to how mobile data is delivered. Rather than just cutting users off altogether once a certain usage level is reached, carriers far and wide are instead putting a chokehold on the speed at which data is delivered. In other words, those who consume too much lightning-fast LTE data may find their emails loading much slower until the next billing cycle. That’s better than no data at all, but it’s a very poor user experience that you’d be wise to avoid.

Just In Case

7 Best New iPhone Battery Cases

What with our ever-growing use of smartphones, few things are more annoying than a dead battery. And with this new crop of options, an iPhone battery case is a wiser investment than ever.

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.

A pocket-sized whiskey connoisseur

In Distiller, a Whiskey App Aimed at Educating the Masses

Brent Stiefel and Mikael Mossberg didn’t know much about whiskey when they met up for drinks in May of 2011. Like many people navigating an ocean of Scotch and bourbon, they "were intimidated by folks with mustaches", Stiefel says, but didn’t want to drain their bank accounts by buying every bottle to learn more about what they liked and what they didn't. Feeling a booze-filled higher calling to drink better (and more), the two began drawing up plans for the ideal whiskey resource they'd been searching for but never found.

Stay safe with genuine Canon products

Nobody Wins with Counterfeit Batteries

Counterfeit Canon batteries and battery chargers cost less than their genuine counterparts for a reason: they lack the heat management technology that's critical for safety. The underground nature of their production also ignores factors like quality control and worker well-being in favor of earning a quick buck. By buying fake Canon products, you're not just supporting these criminal groups, you're also putting your camera equipment and potentially even your own safety at serious risk. Learn how to spot fakes here.

The Well-traveled smartphone

25 Best Travel Apps

Whether you're going abroad or visiting a neighboring state, you should take time to make sure your smartphone is ready to make your trip easier. These 17 travel apps are a good start.

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.

Oy, Robot

Design Spotlight: Is JIBO Really the Future of Robotics?

Pop-culture is in love with the idea of a friendly helpful robot. While the concept may still seem like science fiction, JIBO promises to be a low-cost helper bot that will be available to buy soon. Is this really the future of at-home robotics, or just a bulkier smartphone with personality?

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.

Facebook as Big Brother -- no surprise there

Decrypted: The Obvious Lessons of Facebook’s Mood Experiments

Congratulations to the fifteen of you who are still without a presence on Facebook -- you’ve nothing to fear. For the other billion or so folks who have chosen to generate a profile on the planet’s most notable social network, it’s probably time you paid attention to what’s really going on behind the scenes. Recently, it was revealed that Facebook conducted an experiment in 2012, whereby it intentionally (though temporarily) altered the news feeds of around 700,000 users.

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.

My Soccer Ball is Smarter Than Your Honor Student

Tested: Adidas miCoach Smart Ball

Kick the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball and your phone will record its speed, spin, point of impact and trajectory. It's amazingly fun, but is it worth $299? We tested it to find out.

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)

Meet this year's hottest new shooters

The New Camera Class of 2014: DSLR Alternatives

In just a few short years the world of photography has been turned upside down, and the advent of the iPhone and other innovations like mirrorless cameras has created a dizzying array of options. We take a look at the latest new class of cameras, none of them DSLRs, but all capable and unique in their own right.

Goodbye, Net Neutrality

Decrypted: What AT&T’s $42.5 Billion Dollar Purchase Means For You

Just over 30 years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice mandated the breakup of the Bell System in order to prevent AT&T from essentially gaining control over all of America’s telephony services. Later this year, AT&T will likely be allowed to join hands with the largest satellite television provider in the United States. As they say, what goes around usually comes around.

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.

A 50mm Prime Shootout

Want This, Get This: Zeiss Otus or Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

The way we see it, the 50mm prime competition comes down to two lenses. One makes zero compromises and pursues optical perfection at whatever the cost, and one achieves nearly the same optical clarity while costing a hell of a lot less.

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?

Things Look Brighter the Second Time Round

Breakdown: Lytro Illum

Back in 2011, when Lytro introduced the Light Field, critics gasped in amazement at the camera's ability to refocus pictures after the shutter snap... and in horror at the angular, boxy design. Lytro updated and repackaged their technology as the Illum, which represents their first real foray into the consumer market.

Choosing wisely has never been easier

Device Decisions: Picking the Right Tablet for You

Navigating the ever-expanding tablet market doesn't have to be complicated. Honestly answering some basic questions can help quickly narrow your focus. Are you really looking to just triage work emails, browse the web and review spreadsheets, or is editing photos and playing PC-quality games the goal? Your responses make choosing between Intel's Atom and Core i processor line the natural place to start. Next, what about Android or Windows 8? How about screen size? Chances are, there's an Intel-powered tablet available that meets (and beats) all of your requirements. Our buying guide video breaks down some of the best options on the market today, giving you more time to focus on far more important things, like correcting that slice.

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.