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 . . .
While the BlackBerry Z10, launched in January, was the first smart phone to run on the company's revamped operating system. But its most radical aspect was the absence of a physical keyboard—this from a brand that inspired the term "BlackBerry Thumb," the medical condition caused by repeated tapping of the tiny buttons on mobile devices. Now the BlackBerry Q10 gives longtime 'Berry' loyalists a phone that boasts both the new OS and a physical keyboard—a very good one, too, I found.
A major problem with using Windows 8's touch-screen interface on a traditional computer has been having to reach across a keyboard to touch the display. Today, I was able to see firsthand a touch-screen laptop design that may solve this problem in the form of the 15.6-inch Acer Aspire R7.
"How do we make the most of this amazing device and do it in safe, sustainable manner going forward?" asked Sree Sreenivasan (Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University and faculty member of Columbia's School of Journalism), who moderated a panel discussion hosted by Consumer Reports at Columbia University last night: "Consumer Trade-offs in a Mobile Culture: Privacy, Payments and Social Media."
Wi-Fi can be so tempting, making it easy for you to do just about anything online when you're away from home. But you should be thinking before clicking, because most public Wi-Fi could make your private information a bit too, well, public.
It pays to be careful about which apps you download to your smart phone. More than 5 million smart phone users experienced symptoms of malicious software on their phones in the past year, our latest survey projects. Even a nonmalicious app can be intrusive, asking for permissions to perform various actions, such as access your contact list or location, that may not be essential.
The digital phone services used by millions of consumers today are likely to quit when the lights go out, as homeowners found to their dismay in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last fall. These services, which use a technology called VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), rely on a modem to send phone traffic over the Internet, and that modem needs power. A backup battery can keep the modem and a corded phone operational during a blackout, but don't assume your telecom provider has included one with the modem they provide.
There are just about as many types of smart-phone users as there are phones. Understanding the kind of user you are will help you figure out how to strike the right balance between protecting yourself and getting the most out of your phone. For our privacy report, "Keep your phone safe," we narrowed the types down to three broad categories:
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: