Last week at a press event in Austin at SXSW, Rdio gave us a look at its brand new, completely overhauled music experience. We got a look at the new Rdio, and we walked away impressed by the beauty of what the streaming music company is attempting to pull off. There are a lot of changes, and we think that most people will think they're all good.
New Rdio isn't just a visual makeover though. Wilson Miner, head of design for Rdio said, "We want back to ground zero and rethought the whole user experience from the groud up to put the focus 100% on music and people." That people part is a big deal, because social integration is a big part of the new Rdio. When you log in, you've got a constant bar on the right-hand side that shows your online contacts and what they're listening to. There's also another tab that gives recommendations of who to follow (oh, and you should definitely follow the Gear Live Rdio profile!) Wanna share a track or album with a contact? The old way still works, but now you can just drag and drop content onto contacts as well. Very fluid.
We recently got a chance to check out the Hub Innovations Couture Case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. What sets this case apart from just about anything else out there is that it's decked out in Swarovski crystals, and in turn, definitely makes you stand out when you've got your iPhone in-hand or against your ear. We tried out the Punx Not Dead model in hot pink, but the cases are also available in black and white, with different crystal designs on each.
The pink Punx Not Dead Couture case was a super-girly attention-getter, and started more conversations than any accessory, hair, or makeup I've ever had. I loved the bright pink color and the big heart and crown on the case. Visually, the pink, Swarovski crystal-encrusted Hub Innovations Couture case that wrapped my white iPhone 4S looked fantastic.
Unfortunately, all of the bling made the case feel pretty heavy, and by looking at it, we're sure you can tell that it was extremely hard (read: uncomfortable) to put in a pocket. I also felt concerned about putting the case in my purse because I thought that some of the decorative pieces might fall off inside my bag or get caught on something. In fact, after just a few days, the first few items came off of the case. I left the Couture case on my phone for over 2 weeks, certainly nowhere near the length of time that you'd think a case would start falling apart.
I usually listen to music on my MacBook Air rather than on my iPhone or iPad, so initially I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of the ChicBuds Chicboom. The Chicboom is a small, portable 2W amplified speaker that is attached to a key ring that lets you have a speaker wherever you are. It's super small, so it's not inconvenient by any means to have with you. You connect it to any device using the included 3.5mm stereo jack connection.
With the Detroit Auto Show buzzing with new models, many faster, leaner and meaner than their predecessors it’s only a matter of time before the new vehichles hit the road.
There are two types of drivers in this world—those that ride in their cars and those that drive their cars. In many cases, those that drive their cars tend to have a heavier right foot. Like rain on a sunny day, blue and red lights can ruin anyone’s drive.
Over Labor Day weekend, I went on a road trip to California. Knowing that I’d be spending nearly 26+ hours on the road (Seattle to Sacramento and back), it was inevitable that I’d run into the boys in blue. Not wanting to ruin my weekend trip, I decided to invest in a radar detector.
In the world of radar detectors, promises of a ticket free trip are a dime a dozen. Being a natural born skeptic, I dug around and did some research before buying. I looked for a company that had a proven track record of producing products that worked and stood behind its gear. After searching and reading various reviews and websites, I landed on purchasing the Escort Passport 8500 X50 (Black). Read on for our full review of the radar detector.
Here's something you don't see every day. The webOS Nation blog has done a hands-on review of a tablet that will never see the light of day—Hewlett-Packard's unreleased TouchPad Go. The 7-inch webOS-based device was supposed to be released in the fall of this year, but HP's decision earlier this year to pull the plug on webOS and its TouchPad line of consumer tablets put the kibosh on those plans.
So what are we missing? According to webOS Nation, a pretty nifty little tablet (see a video review above). The blog got its hands on a rare prototype TouchPad Go and ran it through its paces recently.
In giving the TouchPad Go an 8-out-of-10 rating, webOS Nation raves about the tablet's "smooth and sleek" design, "solid" feel, and "fast and relatively stable" performance. Reviewer Derek Kessler actually seems to think the more compact TouchPad Go is a better performer than its full-sized, 10-inch cousin.
"Despite going smaller, HP does not seem to have gone cheaper," Kessler writes. "The Go is still just as powerful (if not more so), and it certainly feels better than the bigger TouchPads."
The perpetual war for supremacy between AMD and Nvidia constantly leaves enthusiasts dodging shrapnel: When you want the best video card you can afford, why buy one now instead of waiting for the better one the competing chipset designer will undoubtedly release in a few months? This leaves reviewers in a tough spot, too, as we're constantly proclaiming that nearly every new card is the fastest ever. But because you can only live in the world you live in, we're obliged to go there. So, here goes once again: The just-released AMD Radeon HD 7970 ($549 list) is the latest fastest and most feature-rich single-GPU card ever, surpassing our previous Editors' Choice winner, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580.
Though we have little doubt that Nvidia will yank back that title with its next generation of cards, the 7970 is an impressive achievement for the moment. (It's rumored to become widely available by early January of 2012.) The inaugural member of the Southern Islands family, it utilizes a fresh architecture AMD refers to as "Graphics Core Next." Based on a new 28nm process technology and utilizing more than 4.3 billion transistors, Graphics Core Next uses a revised instruction set architecture, gives each compute unit the ability to simultaneously execute instructions from multiple kernels, and delivers an increased number of instructions per clock cycle per square millimeter of GPU space. The result, so AMD claims, is "designed for high utilization, high throughput, and multitasking."
How much does Android 4.0 mean to you? How much do you need to have it right now? Because that's the dilemma with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone ($299-$649). Overall it's not quite as good a phone as the Motorola Droid RAZR ($299). But right now, it's the only phone running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), and that's the future.
In many ways, this is the ultimate early adopter phone. The phone itself isn't perfect; typically, Nexus phones aren't the best hardware on the market. But the software takes a major leap forward, with everything from a better Gmail experience to a faster browser and the ability to put folders on your home screens. Do you need that right now? Then yes, you need the Nexus. Why else might you want to jump on board the latest flagship Google device? Hit the link and follow us through our full Galaxy Nexus review for the answers.
I've been using my Kindle Fire since it came out, and while I'm still waiting for CyanogenMod9 to come out and let me actually put Ice Cream Sandwich on my Kindle Fire, I've been relatively happy with the performance.
The main interface tweak added to the Kindle Fire is the ability to remove items from the carousel on the home page. This is a small but useful way to keep your most commonly used apps organized and, if necessary, make sure other users don't see whatever naughty things you might have been perusing.
That's the only change to the main screen; you still can't organize your apps into categories or customize your menu beyond adding and removing items from favorites and the carousel. I use my Kindle Fire for several different things, and it would be great to organize my apps by categories like Online Content, Books, Network Tools, and Games. The Fire still has Amazon's default seven tabs and single app list organized alphabetically or by date.
When we first reviewed the Samsung Focus Flash, we felt its smaller form factor and significantly lower price made it a better deal than the Focus S at first glance ($199.99 - $19.99 on Amazon). Now that we've tested the Focus S, we're singing a different tune. True, you're only getting a bigger screen, an improved camera, and a thinner profile, but the Focus S brings Windows Phone 7.5 Mango closer than it has ever been to the high-end. That alone makes this smartphone worth a close look, especially given its slick OS. Click on through to see why in our full Samsung Focus S review.
The Twelve South MagicWand aims to solve a simple-yet-annoying issue with the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. We've used the Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad combo pretty much exclusively here at Gear Live ever since the Magic Trackpad launched back in July 2010, and while we've enjoyed it (heck, we haven't switched away from that setup yet after 16 months,) there's one problem. Despite the fact that the Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard line up perfectly when next to each other, they have a really hard time staying put.
What I mean is, you constantly have to bring the Magic Trackpad back over to its spot next to the keyboard. It's not something you need to do every few minutes or anything like that, but a few times a day we've found that the Trackpad has mysteriously inched its way across the desk and needs to be wrangled up and brought back home. The TwelveSouth MagicWand solves this.
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