Wi-Fi is the greatest thing since sliced bread —so long as everything is working the way it should. No ethernet cables strung all around the house (I remember those days) and the ability to use a Wi-Fi enabled device anywhere. At least that’s the promise. The reality is many homes have zones where Wi-Fi is dead or very slow. Building materials like concrete, ceramic and metal can block Wi-Fi signals and decorative items like glass mirrors can deflect them. While one approach to improving Wi-Fi coverage for your home or small business is to install a newer, more powerful router, you can often get just as much of an improvement for a lot less money and fuss by installing a range extender. In this review, I look at the latest such device from D-Link, the DAP-1520 Wireless AC Dual Band Range Extender.
Razer Blade. Two words guaranteed to grab the attention of anyone who takes PC gaming seriously. The gaming laptop series made waves in 2013, landing on a slew of “best of” lists. The 2014 edition manages to be even more over the top, earning titles like “world’s thinnest gaming laptop” while offering performance that has to be seen to be believed. You’ll soon find the all-new Razer Blade gaming laptops at Best Buy (you’ll be able to pre-order them this week), including the impossibly thin and light 14-inch model with its 5.76 million pixels —the world’s highest resolution 14-inch notebook display.
Smartwatches, augmented reality glasses, fitness trackers –any compact extension to your smartphone or tablet– is firmly in Google’s sights with the announcement of Android Wear. What is Android Wear? It’s a push to extend Android to those smartwatches and wearable devices, using a standard API and developer tools so Android apps for smartphones and tablets can be ported to, or seamlessly integrated with those wearables. Google is working with developers and hardware partners like Samsung, Fossil and LG on the Android Wear Initiative. And you’ll see two Android Wear-powered smartwatches at Best Buy Later this year: the Moto 360 and LG’s G Watch.
Chromebooks are one of the fastest growing computing categories. Small, lightweight and inexpensive these Google Chrome OS-powered notebooks have proven ideal for many users including students and small business. They’re great for home too. But what if you want the touchscreen experience that’s become a standard feature on Windows 8 Ultrabooks? You were pretty much out of luck on the Chrome side. Acer has filled that gap quite nicely with the new C720P Chromebook, an 11.6-inch device that combines the advantages of Google’s Chrome OS with a multi-touch display. It’s available now at Best Buy, but if you want a preview of what it’s capable of, I’ve spent some time putting a C720P Chromebook through the paces for a review.
SSD and HDD: Two acronyms you’ll frequently see during discussions of computers and their specs. What’s the difference between the two, which one is better and why is SSD showing up more frequently these days? In this post, I’ll tackle those questions and provide the details you need to make an informed choice when it comes time to choose between the two computer storage options.
Fans of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system have less choice in smartphones than their Android counterparts, so it’s always news when a new device arrives in Canada. Nokia’s Lumia line of smartphones set the standard for the Windows Phone experience and the Lumia 625 is set to raise the bar for value-priced Windows mobile devices. Improving on 2012’s Lumia 620, the 625 gains a faster Snapdragon CPU, bigger display, LTE compatibility and a leap in battery life. There are some compromises compared to the 620 (for example, NFC support has been dropped) but the Lumia 625 provides much of the experience of more expensive smartphones in a budget-friendly device. Expect to see it soon at Best Buy.
Last year, HTC had a hit with its HTC One, considered by many to be the best-looking Android smartphone ever released, not to mention a solid performer. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 ended up running away with the Android sales crown in 2013, but HTC is back this year with the One M8, a successor that’s bigger, looks even better and offers solid performance combined with an innovative new dual camera system. I just spent a few days with HTC’s new flagship and this is probably the best Android smartphone I’ve laid my hands on. And it’s coming soon to Best Buy!
Two things have radically transformed photography in the past two decades. The first of course, is the rise of the digital camera with its ability to take limitless photos and instantly see results without having to wait for film to develop. The second is the growing popularity of photo printers. Thanks to the ability of these machines to produce high quality colour prints on demand, photo labs have all but disappeared. Photo printers have only gotten better, with higher resolution, faster printing and features on some like on-printer editing with built-in LCD displays, super-sized prints and wireless access. There are plenty of photo printers to choose from, but here are five of the best to consider if your printer needs are less about pages of text and more about high quality pictures.
What is all the fuss about Spritz? If you were using a Spritz-enabled app, you would already have read to the end of this post and could tell us. But given that Spritz-enabled tech isn’t out there yet (it’s coming soon, though), here’s the scoop. Spritz is new speed reading technology that’s based on the theory that much of our time spent reading is wasted as our eyes move side to side. Display a word in one place, flash one word at a time and suddenly reading becomes much more efficient. Not only that, but by displaying just one word at a time, reading is suddenly possible on compact displays, like a smartphone or smartwatch. Being able to quickly (and painlessly) read e-mail, reports or even books on your Gear2 or Gear Neo suddenly makes the idea of wearable technology even more appealing.
Chances are you’ve heard of a Chromebook —the hot new category in affordable, mobile computing— but what the heck is a Chromebox? The cardboard box a Samsung Chromebook ships in? Does it have anything to do with Battlestar Galactica and Cylons? No to both. Chromebox is the natural extension of the Chromebook, taking Google’s Chrome operating system and using it to run a compact, portable and affordable alternative to a traditional desktop Windows PC. The Chromebox isn’t for everyone, but when it comes to a desktop PC that features near instant boot-up, built-in security, the ability to work on documents and spreadsheets using free (and offline-capable) apps plus a complete web experience, a Chromebox is an appealing option.