The newest tablet in Samsung's lineup, the Galaxy Note 8 ($400) received top marks in our latest Ratings of 7- to 8-inch Wi-Fi tablets. It's largely the Galaxy's versatility that puts it at the top, with its innovative stylus and a feature lineup that includes GPS and a memory-card reader. (In comparison, the iPad Mini has none of those, but it also costs $70 less).
A laptop and desktop from Vizio—the Vizio CT15T-B1 Ultrabook and the Vizio CA24T-B0, respectively—are the first computers into our labs with the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac. Though it's up and running, it's still an emerging standard, waiting to be ratified by the Wi-Fi working group; still, 802.11ac should result in faster throughput.
Ever since the major video game platforms (the Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Xbox 360) added motion-controlled gaming, players have been jumping off the couch and moving more than their trigger fingers. But say you're new to the world of games and are more interested in fitness than collecting virtual coins or battling digital aliens. Which console should you buy?
The LG Optimus G Pro, exclusively available now from AT&T for $200 with a two-year contract, is essentially a supersized version of the Optimus G, one of the highest-scoring models in our Ratings of smart phones. But with its 5.5-inch display, the G Pro also invites comparisons to the popular Samsung Galaxy Note II. The Optimus colossus lacks the Note II's stylus and the floating-preview options that come with it, but it compensates with other capabilities, including the unique ability to "zoom in" on conversations while using the phone's camcorder.
Take that, Spotify! At its I/O developer's conference today, Google took the wraps off a new music subscription service, called Google Play Music All Access, that blends your own personal music collection—songs stored in your Google Music locker—with all the music available in Google's entire library.
Are you tired of paying for cable channels that you never watch? So is Senator John McCain: He's introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, a bill that would offer incentives to cable companies to offer what's called "a la carte" programming options, allowing consumers to buy cable channels individually. Today Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, has announced its endorsement of Senator McCain's bill.
At BlackBerry Live 2013, the company announced that the latest version of the BlackBerry 10 OS, version 10.1, will be available for download on the BlackBerry Z10 as of today. BlackBerry also announced the Blackberry Q5, a QWERTY keyboard smart phone with a 3.1-inch display—but it's targeted for emerging markets.
Do you care whether your headphones look as good as they sound? If so, you might be considering a model in the Beats by Dr. Dre line. Developed in conjunction with Monster Cable, Beats helped usher in the era of higher-priced, logo-embossed headphones bearing a celebrity endorsement. Certainly, based on the number of people you now see wearing Beats models (with the distinctive lower-case "b" on the earcups) around their necks, they have an obvious appeal.
AT&T's new Aio Wireless (pronounced A-O) service is the company's answer to T-Mobile's recent radical switch to simpler, lower-cost, no-contract plans for phones and tablets. Like T-Mobile, Aio Wireless offers unlimited talk, text, and data without a contract, starting at $40 a month—much less than a traditional contract plan from AT&T and the other major carriers.
Last week at our expert panel on mobile-phone privacy and security, host Sree Sreenivasan lightened things up a bit when he asked the panel members (and the audience) to name some of their favorite apps. They ranged from useful to playful—and a few are both.
Updates to camera or camcorder firmware—the on-board software that runs an electronic device—take place just as frequently as smart-phone firmware updates, particularly for advanced cameras like the Nikon D5200. But the process is a little different, since updates don't show up automatically on your camera, as they do on your phone.
Sometimes ranting about bad customer service to your telecom provider actually pays off, especially if you have a legitimate beef and are so steamed that you talk about leaving for a competitor—and your threat to jump ship reaches the right ears.
Although we're just a few days away from posting new TV ratings—which include both smart TVs and more bare-bones models from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Vizio, among others—our engineers are already hard at work testing the next group of new TVs. So if you check our TV Ratings later this week and don't see a model or series you're considering, look through the list below for models that are currently being tested, as they'll be added to the TV Ratings in a few weeks.
There are just a few things to know about Mother's Day. First, remember the holiday. This year Mother's Day takes place on Sunday, May 12, so you don't have many shopping days left. Second, book a table. Restaurants are packed on Mother's Day, so if you're going out to celebrate, get on Yelp, OpenTable, or some other dining site now. And third, don't limit yourself to the classics and the clichéd. When choosing a Mother's Day present, the sky's the limit, as you'll see below in our selection of gifts for the mom who . . .
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: