Are today's laptop prices starting to worry you? If you have a laptop that's about ready to hum its last and need a replacement, there are inexpensive and dependable computers out there…if you know where to look. We're specifically talking about Chromebooks, those lightweight laptops that run Chrome OS and come with much cheaper specs than the average mobile machine. Even the best Chromebooks are limited in some ways: Because they can only run Chrome and have very limited storage, most of their work needs to be based in the cloud, on the web, or on more simple apps. However, if you don't need to run any demanding programs or save up a lot of data, they can be a very effective solution to your laptop vs. wallet problem. Here are several of our top picks for the best Chromebooks and why they shine.
Toshiba Chromebook 2 - $400
It's common to expect not-so-impressive specs on a Chromebook, so when one of these computers actually has impressive features, it's worth talking about. This Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a particularly great HD, 1080p screen: At around 13 inches it isn't huge, but it is bright and beautiful, and makes this Chromebook an entertainment device in its own right. The other features include 4GB of RAM, a Core i3 processor, and only 16GB of storage, so remember to take it easy and stream your entertainment instead of downloading it.
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a role-playing game released for mobile platforms last fall, initially struck me as a game I could skip without a second thought. It had the appearance of a cheap cash-in meant to capitalize on the launch of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Although I'm not generally not the sort of person to write off a game for being free-to-play (some of my favorite games don't cost a dime to start playing), there's something about the combination of that business model, mobile, and a major franchise that made me assume it was not worth so much as a download.
I was wrong.
Sonos has introduced the second-generation Play:5 wireless HiFi speaker, and we bring you our full Sonos Play:5 review in this episode.
A lot has gone into the redesign of the new Play:5, which you'll notice sports a curvier look and does away with the awkward handle that was found on the original model. On the inside, you've got a collection of six drivers with dedicated amplifiers behind the grille.
Being a smart speaker, the Sonos Play:5 integrates with the rest of the Sonos HiFi wireless audio system. It connects to your home network by way of the Sonos app, and from there, can stream music from just about any source you can think of--whether it's a streaming music service, podcasts, or files stored on your local network.
The new TruePlay feature allows you to accurately and automatically tune the sound of the Play:5 to be optimized for its placement in the room that you're in using an iOS device, and it really works.
Check the video for the full Sonos Play:5 review - if you're looking for a smart speaker that packs a serious punch when it comes to sound and features, this is the one to get.
You can pick up the Sonos Play:5 now.
If you talk to DJs both old and new about the Technics 1200 turntable, you'll quickly realize just how legendary the deck truly was. Last year, Panasonic revived the Technics brand, and customers the world over had one question: "Where's the 1200?" Passionate fans even went to far as to sign petitions to let Panasonic know that they wanted to see the iconic record player make a triumphant return. At CES 2016, they got their wish, as the Technics SL-1200G and SL-1200GAE were announced, and they've been improved over all of the previous models.
As many folks know, we're big fans of headphones here at Gear Live. We live in a portable world, with portable entertainment available at our fingertips, and we wanna make sure we have great sound when we are on the go. At CES 2016, Panasonic's Technics brand showcased a pair of headphones that may have been the best I've ever heard - the Technics EAH-T700.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2013, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2013!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
I bring you my Apple Pencil review in this episode. Apple designed the Apple Pencil alongside the new iPad Pro, to allow artist to draw and sketch on the tablet, but also for everything to be able to write and take notes as well. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I was very impressed by what I could accomplish with the iPad Pro once I had the Apple Pencil in my hands.
It gives an immediate sense that you can do more with the iPad, and when you go into an app that is use for image editing or drawing, even someone like me all of a sudden feels capable. It's rare that I get that Apple feeling that a lot of people who aren't technically inclined get. I'm an expert, and know all the features and how they work. With the Apple Pencil though, I definitely felt it - I'd say that I suck at drawing and fail at Photoshop...but with the Apple Pencil, I was empowered to try those activities with surprising results.
I highly recommend the Apple Pencil to buyers of the iPad Pro!
You can pick up the iPad Pro now!
I bring you my full review of Apple's epic iPad Pro in this episode. It's the largest iPad to date, and the largest iOS device to date, with Apple hoping that this can be the tablet that will replace your laptop. How does it succeed? I talk to you about all the iPad Pro features that are meant to make this a premium tablet, including things like multitasking, the Smart Connector for using Apple's Smart Keyboard and third-party keyboard add-ons, and of course, the use of the Apple Pencil and how important it is to the iPad Pro experience. Of course, there's also the A9X processor, 4GB RAM, and greatly-improved speakers, and the gorgeous 12.9-inch Retina display.
The iPad Pro starts at $799 for 32GB Wi-Fi model, and also comes in a $949 128GB Wi-Fi model, and a $1079 128GB Wi-Fi + LTE version, which is the one we used in this review.
You can pick up the iPad Pro now!
In this episode, Andru Edwards brings you a look at Toyota Entune Premium Audio, and the features that it offers to make your driving experience safer and more convenient. Coming to you from Toyota Headquarters in Torrance, California, here's a rundown of what's covered in this Entune Premium Audio & Entune App Suite demo, using a 2014 Toyota Highlander:
Entune Premium Audio includes:
- 6.1" - 8" Touchscreen
- Bluetooth Streaming
- Advanced Voice Recognition
- Sirius XM Radio
- HD Radio
- HD Traffic
- AM/FM Radio Cache
- Entune App Suite
In case you missed it, be sure to also check out our Toyota Entune Multimedia overview & demo!
We visit Toyota Headquarters to bring you a look at Entune, Toyota's in-car multimedia system. Andru Edwards brings you a look and demo of Entune in a few different vehicles. Check out what you get with the different trim levels of Entune:
- Entune Audio: 6.1" - 8" Touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, iPod/USB2.0/AUX, Bluetooth Streaming, Phonebook, Advanced Voice Recognition
- Entune Audio Plus adds: SXM Radio, HD Radio, HD Traffic, Weather
- Entune Premium Audio adds: AM/FM Radio Cache, Navigation, Entune App Suite
- Entune Premium JBL Audio adds JBL speakers and amp for high-quality sound