The Kindle Touch is Amazon's top-of-the-line e-ink reader, a compromise between a tablet like the Kindle Fire (easy typing, faster navigation) and the e-ink, single-focus ebook reader named simply Kindle. But Amazon's relentless price slashing makes me wonder if there's a need for this in-between.
People throw around a lot of big phrases when they talk about the Kindle Fire -- "iPad killer" being an oldie but goodie. But after spending some time with the 7-inch Fire, one thing is abundantly clear: this ain't no iPad killer. This right here is something else entirely.
The Lumia 800 is supposed to be kismet: Nokia makes great hardware, but terrible software. Windows Phone is great software, but the only phones that use it are yawn-worthy plastic rectangles. The Lumia, Nokia's first Windows Phone, is finally here, and if it's not as, well, new as some might have hoped, it's still a very, very fine smartphone--probably the best Windows Phone out there, which should make it high on your list if you're looking to buy a new phone this fall (and you live in Europe and/or are rich).
Our friends at Sound+Vision just posted a review of the Libratone Live, a curious, triangular, compact audio system that plays music from an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Mac, beamed to it via Apple's AirPlay. S+V found that the speaker satisfies even their highly discerning ears, looks great (love the felt/tweed look), and has some pretty advanced tech in there to make you forget you're listening to a tiny little speaker. Check out the full review over at Sound+Vision.
People wanted an iPhone 5. A top-secret new phone to deliver previously unknown pleasures, and to cast the 16-month-old iPhone 4 into the rubbish heap of planned obsolescence.
But the news on October 4, coming just a day before Steve Jobs's death, was a reminder that not every Apple announcement blows off the roof. So here's the 4S--faster, Sprint-ier, with a better camera to see the world, and Siri, the voice-recognition assistant to better listen to it. And the proverbial question: is it worth an upgrade?
Take the 3rd-generation Kindle, probably the best ebook reader ever made. Chop off the keyboard, trim the sides a bit, rearrange the buttons. Sell for eighty bucks. Correction: sell about a billion of these things for eighty bucks each.
Our first review of Microsoft's Windows Phone noted that the basics were all in place: a stylish and innovative interface, smooth and fast operation, and a tight integration of Microsoft services like Xbox and Zune. But it was the first version of a major OS, and as we all know, those are never really great--just look at how far iOS and Android have come--so here we are again, taking a look at Microsoft's first major update, known as Mango, which was released this week. It solves lots of the problems with had with version 1.0--though some still remain.
The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a simple idea: take a big hard drive with you, wherever you want to go, that doesn't need any advanced setup, that doesn't need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network, and can beam your music, videos, photos, and documents to whatever device you happen to have with you--iPad, smartphone, laptop, whatever. And it does exactly that. Congratulations, iPad/smartphone/etc owner: You now have 500GB of extra storage, no matter which device you're using.
If you've seen his vacuum commercials, you know James Dyson loves nothing more than solving a deceptively simple engineering problem. Oh, how it delights him. But when his company introduced its nifty but ultimately confounding Air Multiplier fan last year, it solved a problem suffered by no one: the "uncomfortable buffeting" of air flowing from a common, bladed desktop fan. The engineering involved in shooting air forcefully and smoothly from the Multiplier's eye-catching ring was impressive, but its reason for being fell flat.
As it turns out, all it takes to turn a good-looking but ultimately strange product into something legitimately, usefully innovative is the addition of hot air. The Dyson Hot—essentially an Air Multiplier fan with a heating element—is proof.
Media streamers have proven a surprisingly hard gadget to get right. There's no one gadget that's easy to recommend for everyone--typically, you'd say an Apple fan should get an Apple TV, techies should opt for the Boxee Box, DIYers should go for a home theater PC, and those who want something cheap and simple should get themselves a Roku. The newest Roku, the Roku 2 XS, suffered from some connection problems, but it's still a very competitive and capable streamer--and most importantly, it's still easy to use.