audio
The Polk Command Bar Is an Ugly Attempt at an Interesting Idea

Smart soundbars are an interesting idea. They’re like smart speakers, except they work with your TV, so you can use your voice like a remote control. Neat! In January, Polk wowed CES attendees with its new Command Bar. Put bluntly, this smart device is a big honking soundbar with an Amazon Echo Dot stuffed inside of it. That means the Command Bar can do anything an Echo Dot can do as well as a few extra tricks. It’s pretty ugly, too. Read More >>

laptops
This Ugly Gaming Laptop Has Exactly Three Great Things Going for It

The MSI PS42’s look is so bad, it might derail you. This laptop looks like it was made five years ago and probably by Acer or Toshiba. When I pulled it out of the box, I immediately made quite a few unpleasant noises about its appearance. Then I used it for a week, and while I still find the MSI PS42 to be one of the ugliest laptops produced in a while, I can’t deny the charm of its performance or price. Read More >>

lego
Lego’s Voltron Is Wonderful Proof That Fans Are Sometimes Worth Listening To

Listening to what customers want is crucial for any company to survive, but in 2008 Lego took that idea farther than most by enlisting its dedicated fanbase to actually help it design new sets. The approach has led to some of the company’s most memorable creations to date, including a towering new Voltron set that might be the ultimate mashup of childhood nostalgia. Read More >>

amd
AMD’s 16-Core Beast Creams Intel, but You Might Be Better Off Without It

I won’t lie, when AMD’s new 16-core monster CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, arrived, I ran around the office showing off it and its accompanying air cooler to anyone who would make eye contact with me. The thing is enormous—easily twice as large as a standard desktop CPU from Intel. The air cooler, saddled with the goofy name Wraith Ripper and festooned with LED lighting, is larger than most power supplies, and if dropped, it could do damage to floors, feet, and small woodland creatures. Even people who know nothing about computers were suitably impressed by these enormous pieces of PC. Then they’d ask how much the Threadripper 2950X cost. Read More >>

samsung
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Is the Best Big Phone

Since the beginning, the big honking screens on Galaxy Note phones have been their most memorable characteristic. But as the rest of the smartphone world caught onto the jumbo display trend and screen sizes from various makers started to converge around six-inch displays, the throne on which Samsung’s Note phones lorded over lesser devices just didn’t have the same kind of sway. So now, the question is: What’s the purpose of a big ass flagship handset in 2018, especially one that starts at the pearl-clutching price of £899? Read More >>

reviews
CAT S61 Review: A Well-Rounded Rugged Phone, With a Hefty Pricetag

In this day and age, smartphones feel like they cost the Earth. The big names all seem to be loaded with gimmicks, and still seem as fragile as a champagne glass in an opera house. Then you have rugged phones, which are hardier and more durable, but are often overlooked because their primary focus is trade workers and people who need a phone capable of handling more dangerous situations. Read More >>

smartphones
Finally, a Perfect Phone for Small Hands

Whether it’s because you’ve got small hands, prefer a more pocketable device, or simply don’t care about having a giant display, when it comes to truly small phones, there just aren’t a lot of options. Your choices are essentially the iPhone SE, the standard Pixel 2, and this: the Xperia XZ2 Compact. However, with Apple not having bothered to update the SE in more than two years, and the Pixel 2 having been cursed with a half-assed design that makes it seem like the neglected member of Google’s 2017 offerings, even those handsets have issues. I know small phones aren’t super popular, but it’s almost comical at how little effort companies put into making modestly-sized devices with competent specs. Read More >>

movies
The Meg Is Dumb, But It Knows It’s Dumb, and That’s Why It’s Great

Though they are complete tonal opposites, The Meg feels like an unlikely and very unconventional love letter to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. It’s as if the film’s writers sat down to watch that 1975 masterpiece and just kept asking “What if?” What if the shark really ate people off the beach? What if the heroes could fight the shark underwater? What if they actually did get a bigger boat? Read More >>

apple
Six Months With the Apple HomePod Almost Convinced Me It Was Good

I didn’t understand the Apple HomePod, when it launched six months ago. Sure, I got the business reasons behind Apple’s smart speaker (everyone’s got to have a smart speaker it seems), but the HomePod struck me as too stupid and too expensive. It just seemed like Apple’s weird attempt at showing Amazon and Google that it could make speakers too. After spending the last few months with the HomePod some things have become quite clear. This thing is still incredibly overpriced, and AirPlay is so good it almost makes the HomePod worth it. Read More >>

samsung
How Two Big Things Stopped the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 From Winning Me Over

After checking it out briefly when it first announced, I was prepared to hate the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. Sporting outdated specs similar to last year’s Galaxy Note 8 (except with 2GB less of RAM and worse cameras), no fingerprint reader, and a price tag of £600 (and that’s not including its keyboard dock), the Tab S4's underlying components just didn’t make sense. And for all that, what was Samsung offering in return? A slightly larger screen with slightly smaller bezels and Samsung’s Dex software instead of Chrome OS? Read More >>

reviews
Flares Jet Earphones Review: Superior Quality For An Everyday Budget

Last year, audio company Flare Audio sent me a pair of their flagship earphones, the Flares Pro, to review. I liked them, but noted that their price tag – £350 – was far too high, regardless of how good quality they were. Well, the company heard my short-pocketed cries and released a new range of more reasonably-priced in-ear headphones: the Flares Jet. Starting at £50, they come in two varieties – the Jet 1, made of polymer, and Jet 2, made of aluminium (£70). I’ve tried out both sets, and you know what? They’re pretty damn nice. Read More >>

smartphones
The Cost of Buying a £100 Phone

No one gets a cheap phone because they want to have a sub-par experience filled with stuttering and lagging apps. People get cheap phones because they’re cheap, and usually work just enough to justify the low price point. Take the Alcatel 1X, for example. It’s neither novel nor intriguing. It’s not trying to impress you. Hell, it runs on an operating system designed explicitly for underpowered devices. But it’s £100, and that sure is cheap. Whether you can stomach how cheap it feels is another thing entirely. Read More >>

audio
I’m Amazed By How Much I Love These Earbuds

A weird thing about reviewing gadgets for a living is that my neighbours notice. Sometimes they just call me out for getting a lot of packages in the post. Other times, they ask me for advice. One neighbour recently pointed out the £170 Jabra 65t Elite Active truly wireless buds I was wearing in the lift. “What do you think?” he asked. After taking the earbud out of my head and asking him to repeat the question, I was honest and probably a little bit surprised by my candour. I said, “I love them. You should buy them.” Read More >>

toys
Nerf’s New Laser Tag Blasters Ditched the Darts, and I Don’t Miss Them

Over-the-top Nerf battles are a fun and (mostly) painless way to determine who in the office has to buy the donuts this week. What’s not so fun is having to hunt down every last missing dart afterwards. Hasbro’s eliminated that hassle with its new Laser Ops Pro blasters; an updated version of laser tag that might feel like blasphemy to the Nerf name, but actually ends up being more fun than fighting with foam darts. Read More >>

star wars
The Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Blu-ray Is a Fitting Tribute to the Series and Franchise 

If the Star Wars Rebels season 4 Blu-ray was only 15 minutes long, it would still be worth the purchase. That’s because the release (which has about seven hours of content, don’t worry) includes an incredible 15-minute featurette called “Forces of Rebellion,” which is just series executive producer Dave Filoni talking about the Force. And it’s wonderful. Read More >>