Walk into any amazon.com these days and you’ll be confronted with an incredibly massive library of video games; a new field of consoles (see sidebar below) just adds to the melee. How do you sort the Grand Theft Autos from the ExtremePaintbrawls*? We took a look at the crop of upcoming games for both current-gen and next-gen consoles and found the games you should be looking forward to.
Connectivity never looked so good
The creative process is a series of concessions. That ideal image, pristine and brilliant in your mind, gradually breaks down in the face of technological limitations and, well, real life. Canon’s EOS 6D, the lightest and most affordable of the brand’s full-frame models, seeks to narrow the gap between vision and reality. With a 20.2 megapixel sensor, a 100 to 125,6000 ISO range, and 11-point autofocus, the EOS 6D more than holds up its end of the creative bargain.
Read on for a breakdown of all the camera’s unique features.
The internet cognoscenti’s response to Google Reader’s shut-down announcement has been incredible. Yet the fact remains: as of July 1st, the longstanding browser-based RSS compiler with a social streak will be shuttered. Luckily, a host of opportunistic companies and long-standing competitors to Reader have scrambled to make viable alternatives. So which life boat should you swim to? Gather, ye huddled masses of Internet refugees. We’ve come up with the best alternatives to Google Reader ready to take you in.
Putting products on a pedestal
We’ve all experienced it before — that overwhelming desire to stop and marvel at something. For some, the response is sparked by the sight of art, a beautiful landscape or even particular members of the fairer sex (uncouth, we know). Certain things in this world simply demand more than a passing glance or two. For people like us, though, it’s all about great things that live at the intersection of impeccable design and remarkable engineering. Chances are you feel the same way.
Today, we’re introducing a new way of telling stories — one with fewer words and a higher focus on bringing products we test to life through the magic of short-form video, one perfect for a quick moment of inspiration (or awe) that’s mobile friendly and ready to go. We’re calling them GP SHORTS.
Click to watch our first take.
A new Rebel with a cause
Canon’s Rebel line of DSLRs has always offered an impressive mixture of features while remaining completely approachable. The recently released Canon EOS Rebel T5i continues this tradition as the new flagship of the Rebel line. Like the EOS Rebel 650D before it, this shooter boasts an 18MP CMOS sensor, a 9-point cross-type AF sensor, a 3-inch 1.04m-dot touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD, and Full HD video mode, complete with continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking; these are all contained in a body that feels more professional than its predecessor.
Click to learn more.
The complete package either way
Kit lenses have a bad reputation for being the cheap training wheels of the photography world, built solely to make the DSLR buying process more approachable for thrifty consumers in search of a one-stop upgrade. These knocks against the category aren’t completely unfounded, but you shouldn’t let the general snobbery of experienced photographers steer you away from a good deal or convenience. There are a variety of kit lenses that are still a tremendous value and a great starting point for building a glass collection, whether they’re purchased with a camera or on their own. Here, you’ll find a few of our favorites across a variety of major brands and setups.
Meet the media manager of the future -- and it's not made by apple
Qvivo is a new cloud media service startup that claims to succeed where most others have failed in offering a dream streaming solution for video and music fans with large digital libraries. Starting at $1.99 a month, Qvivo offers unlimited cloud storage for movies, tv shows and music that can then be streamed through any modern web browser. We put the service through its paces and came away extremely impressed.
Bolster your photo app-titude
Whether you’re trying to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or just snapping a selfie of your abs (not again, Anthony Weiner!), utilizing a set of great photo apps is key. Give the Earlybird Instagram filter a break and read up on our five favorite photo apps.
Back in Black
In July 2003 picture messaging was a luxury, SARS was a global concern, and Apple had just introduced its futuristic and incredibly powerful Power Mac G5. The drilled-out brushed aluminum tower looked like a prop from The Matrix Revolutions (also debuted in 2003, not worth remembering). Fast-forward to nearly 10 years later, and Apple is finally introducing a form-factor update to its longstanding pro desktop tower. Boy, did they go big.
A Full-Frame Legacy Lives On
Canon has long stood apart from its competitors in the world of DSLR cameras. Each successive EOS release since the pioneering EOS 650 model in 1987 has pushed the vanguard of photographic technology, all the while maintaining sleek, elegant design and attending to customer feedback.
This attention to the consumer shines through in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III ($3,499), a camera that has single-handedly set the standard for modern DSLRs.
Let’s dive further into how the Canon EOS 5D Mark III continues Canon’s full-frame legacy.
Nothing can stop you, save a dead battery
Gadget-obsessed as we are, even we sometimes bristle at the sheer number of fitness apps available for download. How much help do you really need with physical pursuits? It’s summer — run some laps; swim a bit; hike across an embargoed Caribbean country. There’s no substitute for sweat, no matter what version of iOS you’re running.
And yet, admittedly, sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get out of your seat, especially when your seat is on a patio in the sunshine and there’s a cold beer on the way. Since there really is an app for that, we’ve done the work for you, finding the best in three categories: apps that help you set and achieve goals, apps that help you maximize your workouts, and apps that help you maintain a healthy diet. We hereby endorse bringing your phone to the gym (or wherever it is you work out) this summer, because nobody can blame a guy for wanting to look good.
Little Big Sound
Listening to music surely isn’t seasonal — but listening outside is. Now that the warmer, more relaxing months are upon us, it’s time to invest in a Bluetooth speaker that will just as easily perform backyard barbecue DJ duties as it will rainy day basement dance offs. Gone are the days of guarding against every fatal spill or doggy dry-off shake. A new crop of portable boomboxes presents rugged, well-designed and, yes, decent-sounding speakers. We size up five (plus one) of our favorites.
The screen of your dreams
If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, leaving your gadget desires unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. In this installment, we put the Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD and the Panasonic TC-PST60 head to head.
One for All
Ambiguous branding aside (trade you my Xbox 1 for your Xbox One!), we’re predicting the Xbox 360′s singular successor to be a hit. The just-unveiled console’s first looks are rolling in, and though we haven’t gotten our paws on it yet, our Master Chief Covenant-killin’ senses are tingling. We break down the 360′s successor.
Make like Stirling Moss
It’s hard to believe how different a hot commute in hair-pulling traffic can be from a balmy mid-afternoon drive on an open road in the countryside — both in the same car. Nothing brings back the freedom of summer like a great drive, and unless you’re cursed with a 36-month lease of a kiddie-hauler that now smells like sour milk, it’s high time you planned just such a trip. Now it’s time to get you equipped.
Because things could get ugly quickly
Maybe you’ve heard about them — there’s no way you haven’t — but Google is pushing a new eyewear gadget poised to revolutionize(!) how we interact with technology. It’s called Google Glass, and its current form makes even the those Rec Specs wearers from your youth soccer days look like Steve McQueen. The internet backhanders have already made a Tumblr about it, god bless ‘em. But as awkward as they are today, chances are that tech’d up eyewear is here to stay. It’s up to us to deal with it. So we decided to show some initiative by drafting a few ground rules. And we’re counting on you to buy in.
Ditch the hulk for some helpful tech
Most of us are out of touch with our bodies. We clueless about calories, how much we’re walking in a day, or even how to check our own heart rate. Luckily, there’s a host of new fitness trackers that make training truly personal. Strap them onto your wrist or toss them in your pocket and they’ll track your every move — every step you take, every minute you sleep, every calorie you inhale or burn off. Read on for our five best bets for prying you off the couch — and tracking your efforts.
Keep your tablet tickin'
The iPad’s extreme portability is simultaneously glaringly obvious and overlooked in favor of its flashier tech wonders. The take-it-anywhere-ness of the iPad is also perhaps its biggest downside: we tend to treat it like the things it replaced, the books and magazines that we could toss without a care. That usually doesn’t work out well. Here are 30 great options — leather, wool, propped, or otherwise — that should keep your tablet ticking and looking good.
What's that, now?
A respite from noise might seem thin on paper, but spend a few hours on an inescapable airplane with crying babies, heaving green-faced passengers or even a chatty cathy neighbor and get back to us on what you’re willing to pay for a little peace and music. What’s more, NC options have some of the best sound profiles available, making them true gems for audiophiles and the easily distracted alike. Considering the vastly small market for noise-canceling headsets available at the moment, the problem isn’t necessarily narrowing down the field — it’s choosing the best one for your audio needs. From pioneering audio staples to buzzing newcomers, these are the noise cancelers worth turning your ears to.
Call for backup
Doubling battery life is a no-brainer. Options run the gamut for solutions to Apple’s latest quick-to-die wonder — and we really mean run the gamut. It’s a bit of the Wild West in the battery case world at the moment, so start here with our five best selections, then do your homework and make sure what you choose will get you what you want.
Don't call it a video game
You’re sitting on the grid at Road America in a classic Lotus 79. The red turns green and you light ‘em up. Accelerating hard down the front straight, you dice for racing room with two or three dozen other drivers around the world before pouring into turn one. Yep, you read that right. Those other drivers aren’t FROM around the world, they ARE around the world. This is internet racing on iRacing.com
Speakers that speak for themselves
Pursue perfection. Some people — people at the top of their games — consider it a personal mantra. That theory holds for the design world, too, and it’s why industrial designer Joey Roth recently released a third version of his celebrated speaker system. Apparently, he just wasn’t satisfied yet.
It wasn’t so long ago that 10-key calculators and instant messenger were the most exciting things happening to technology. But nowadays, tech moves fast — new computer segments are born and buried quicker with each passing year. Don’t let that scare you away from the good ole desktop, though. All-in-ones have more to offer than ever: effective touchscreens with the UI to back them up (Windows 8), high-def displays that can easily double as TV screens (thanks to HDMI and built-in TV tuners), and slimmer profiles for fitting just about anywhere.
Sure, it’s tough explaining to grandma where to put the floppy disc, but we’ll leave that to you. Before choosing which one is right for you, though, figure out just what it is you need. Whether that means sexy looks, entertainment nirvana or a gamer’s sweaty-palmed fantasy, our five picks for the best all-in-one desktops are awaiting below to help out.
Smartphones have made typical point-and-shoots about as useful as Ryan Lochte in a public speaking class. But until our favorite thigh weights gain a thicker skin, there will always be space for tougher rigs designed to take a licking and keep on clicking. Toss one of these rugged cameras into your bag before your next big adventure, and maybe you’ll finally capture some evidence to go along with that hell of a yarn.
The term “noise canceling headphones” almost always summons images of big puffy over-the-ear numbers. As wonderful as those can be, they’re bulky to pack if you’re traveling light, and during workouts, they suck — providing a feeling akin to sweating with scones strapped to your head. Austrian headphone maker AKG’s K391 NC offer up noise canceling features in a compact package. We tried out a pair.
Don't Call Them Point-and-Shoots
The point-and-shoot market may have hit a smartphone camera iceberg, but the ship hasn’t sunk yet. In fact, bitter competition has sped up the photography arms race, producing a wide field of top-tier compact cameras with big sensors — at a better price. Boasting image quality more than good enough to be deemed professional, these cameras can be a useful tool for the prosumer and feverish enthusiast alike, providing an infinitely more portable, all-in-one option rather than bulky DSLRs while sharing many of the same features and image quality.
That said, it’s up to you sharpen the focus on what you really need. We don’t mind walking a few steps to get the right shot — so our choices hone in on the best compact cameras that sport big sensors, fixed lenses and fast focusing. There’s a big field of small shooters; we’re here to slim it all down to the cream of the crop.
Where to store it when the going gets tough
In today’s digital era of technology, “Knowledge is Power” has taken on a much broader meaning as data becomes our most valued asset. How we as users go about portably accessing and backing up these personal files — music, photos, financial documents, and third-party software — has proven to be just as critical. Whether it’s the aspiring music producer shopping beats around to labels or the established accountant keeping tabs of clients’ paper trails, everyone can use a sturdy and high-functioning portable hard drive, especially those who remain adventurous and (naturally or otherwise) accident prone.
We’re talking an external device that can withstand the daily wear and tear. Something that can handle being tossed in the messenger bag; something that can survive a natural disaster. Need we remind you of Hurricane Sandy, or of last Friday’s party at your place? Didn’t think so. Luckily for you, there’s a handful of damage-proof HHDs available sure to safeguard all your stored data — and we’ve found the best.
There’s no shortage of speakers vying for your computer’s affections. The trouble is, most have land grab aspirations that put Ted Turner’s to shame. Nocs NS2 Air Monitors ($450) are precisely designed to suit even the “coziest” of desktop environments, but like any child of the information age, prefer not to be pigeonholed by any single role.
Don't Sweat The Wet
Problem: you want to use your DSLR to shoot some rad watersport photos, but standing on the shoreline or using those disposable waterproof cameras isn’t nearly rad enough. And even less rad is trying to fit your personal rig into a Ziplock freezer bag to protect it from the wet. Solution: Outex waterproof DSLR covers.