Smart phones, tablets, and laptops do lots of things well, but providing great sound quality usually isn't one of them. The small speakers in many of these devices produce audio that you could charitably call weak or even tinny. So what do you do if you're sharing tunes with friends or you want to listen to music or enjoy a video without putting on a pair of headphones?
Q: My children have many small electronics that operate on rechargeable batteries (MP3 players, laptops, handheld video game consoles). They play them until right before the charge runs out. They then plug them in and keep playing. Does this negatively effect the life or operation of the battery? —Patrick Madigan, MO
Apple today unveiled its upcoming iOS 7 mobile operating system, which includes a more-elegant-looking interface and a unique poison-pill approach to thwarting device theft.
In a recent survey, we asked subscribers about how they use their mobile devices. One finding: Twenty-eight percent of tablet owners said children 17 or younger also used their tablet. Some portion of parents who share their tablets with their kids surely must long to get the kids their own devices.
Know someone who's collecting a degree this year? All graduates deserve a reward for making it through school (and before they have to face the rather scary job market that awaits them). Here are some electronics suggestions that should put a smile on any grad's face.
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).
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 . . .
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."
The Archos GamePad is a tablet designed specifically for playing games—one of several others coming out some time this year, including the Wikipad, NVidia's Project Shield, and the Razer Edge Pro. The GamePad combines the features of an Android tablet with the physical controls needed for complex gaming. It does a lot of things competently, but that's not quite enough to make it a must have.
Samsung has announced it will set up dedicated mobile shops within Best Buy stores to sell its cell phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras. The Samsung Experience Shops, coming to more than 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores beginning this month, aim to bring Samsung customers the same expert, brand-immersive experience that iPhone, iPad, and Mac types enjoy when they visit an Apple Store.
Through March 31, Barnes & Noble is offering a two-for-one deal on a couple of its electronics devices: Purchase a Nook HD+ tablet (starting at $270), and B&N will throw in at no charge a Nook Simple Touch e-book reader, normally $80.
When Apple launched the first iPad, tablets were tablets, and laptops were laptops. Sure, there were cross-over features, but aside from a few outliers, it was always pretty clear which was which. Enter Windows 8: We're now seeing tablets running full Windows 8 operating systems. And we're finding that what makes a good tablet may not make a good laptop—and vice versa.
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.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: