Lego City Undercover. This game is kind of like a kid-friendly version of Grand Theft Auto, with the grit and violence replaced by Lego's cute visuals and charm. But it's still fun for grownups, too. Players take on the role of Chase McCain, a legendary police officer who hunts down lawbreakers, and collect Lego pieces throughout the game that unlock new disguises for Chase. The game implements the Wii U GamePad well: You use it as a map and also as a communicator for "video calls" between characters. It really helps to draw you into the game's universe. Lego fans of all ages will have a great time.
It's amazing what you can find out from an auto show. This year, in the course of covering the New York International Auto Show, we came across some exciting electronics news: Readers no longer need commit to a book format the whole time they're reading, even when behind the wheel.
If you're still kicking back on your sofa and passively watching TV, you may be missing out. Thanks to a growing assortment of "second-screen" apps that run on tablets and smart phones, you can now engage with other viewers, almost like they're sitting right next to you on the couch, while your favorite show is airing.
Want to improve the high-quality photos and videos you've taken on your phone? Chances are your smart phone has video-editing tools built right in that can help you craft a polished video that's easily shared.
Cloud storage gives you 24/7 access to your documents, photos, music, and you can access them wherever you are and on whatever device you're using. It also makes sharing photos, videos, and documents easy. Even better, a number of services are free. Here's the scoop on four of the biggest cloud services:
What do you do with your photos after you capture them on your smart phone? Beyond posting them on Facebook or Instagram, or texting them to your friends and family, you may want to print some choice shots or use them in slideshows. Here are three steps to help you get more from your smart-phone photos:
Thanks to a winning combination of solid performance, lots of content, and affordable prices, Roku streaming media players have become a favorite choice of many staffers at Consumer Reports—including me. That's why we were especially interested in taking a first look at the company's newest model, the $100 Roku 3, which replaces the Roku 2 XS at the top of the company's lineup.
Consumerist (our sister site) just ran a story about a couple of hapless parents, a five-year-old Littlest Pet Shop player, and a $120 charge the child incurred making in-app purchases for the game. If you're concerned about the same thing happening to you, here's how you can prevent it.
If you were bummed when Netflix split its hybrid streaming/disc-by-mail service into two separate (and higher-priced) offerings, here's something you may like: Redbox Instant, which combines unlimited streaming with one-day disc rentals via kiosks. I gave Redbox Instant a spin when it was in a private beta and required an access code to register; yesterday the service had a soft launch, so you can now get your own one-month free trial.
If you've ever wondered why Netflix movies look better at your friend's house than in your own living room, Netflix has launched a new website that compares Internet speeds from various broadband providers.
Despite the appreciation for standalone, client-based e-mail programs professed by Jeff Fox, Consumer Reports' Technology Editor (and I do use such programs myself), there are a few good reasons to use webmail—browser-based e-mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail— in lieu of or at least alongside a resident e-mail program.
Web-based e-mail—webmail—is e-mail, such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, that's implemented as a Web app and accessed through a browser. These services are usually free, and it's a rare computer user who doesn't have at least one active webmail account. But I restrict my use of webmail because of security and privacy concerns. (Dean Gallea, a senior program leader at Consumer Reports, takes the opposite view; see his counterpoint argument, "5 Reasons to Use Webmail.")
Looking to turn a plain-Jane television into an Internet TV? The new Roku 3 flagship streamer ($100) has an updated user interface that should make finding movies and TV shows easier, plus a new motion-sensing remote control with a built-in headphone jack for private listening. And the device's more powerful processor will provide faster browsing and navigation, the company claims.
Western Digital, one of the few companies to offer a streaming-media player with a built-in hard drive (the WD TV Live Hub), is taking a different approach with its new entry-level model, the WD TV Play. Given its hockey-puck design, $70 price tag, and selection of streaming content, the WD TV Play seems to be targeting those who might otherwise be considering a Roku.
On February 3, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will battle it out for football supremacy in New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Whichever team you're rooting for, you can use apps to track news, tweets, and stats; check out audio and video broadcasts; discover some sports history; and watch the game itself—in real time.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: