Reviews Page 2

Review: Fans of Classic Mac Designs Will Love the iBot G3

If you're a fan of classic Mac designs, you may be interested in the iBot G3, a figurine that's modeled after Apple's iconic iMac G3, first released in 1998. The iBot G3 was designed by Philip Lee, who previously released another Mac-related figurine called the Classicbot. The iBot G3 is Lee's latest project, and like the Classic bot, it's a fun take on one of Apple's original Mac designs. There are two variants of the iBot G3, one in Bondi Blue and one in Tangerine, both of which are two classic iMac G3 colors. The figures are made from plastic and are injection molded with details that closely mimic the design of the original iMac G3. Injection molding allows for the smallest of components to be included, which means you get the classic iMac G3 design with translucent teardrop-shaped enclosure, carrying handle at the top, side hatch that gives a peek into the internal components, and even a tiny round mouse and matching keyboard. It's so accurate to the original design that the inside components have also been separately created so you can see the machine's hardware through the translucent outer shell. You can see the CRT tubes, the speakers on the front, the vents, the CD drive, the power button (and the power button on the tiny keyboard), all of the ports (hidden by an access panel complete with mouse cord cutout), and the spot where the power cable plugs in. The only thing missing is an Apple logo, as not including one prevents Lee from running into trademark issues. The Apple logos traditionally at the top and the back of the iMac G3 have been

Fibaro's HomeKit-Connected Flood Sensor Notifies You When Leaks Are Detected

Fibaro has been making smart home devices and HomeKit-compatible products for a few years now, and the company has several sensors that work with HomeKit, including the Flood Sensor. The Flood Sensor, along with the Button that we reviewed last year, are the two Fibaro branded HomeKit accessories available for purchase from Apple. Fibaro's Flood Sensor is designed to detect water, which sounds super basic, but it's something that has the potential to save you a lot of money because if you've ever had a flood or a water leak, you know the kind of damage that water can cause to your home. Design When I saw the Fibaro Flood Sensor online it looked like a rather sizable device, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's actually small, unobtrusive, and able to go anywhere. The Flood Sensor, made from a white plastic material, fits in the palm of my hand. It's round in shape with three corrosion resistant gold feet at the bottom that are designed to detect liquid. The feet are retractable at the ends which makes sure the sensor's feet are in contact with the ground even if the surface is a bit uneven. "Flood Sensor" is written on one side of the device, and there's a Fibaro logo at the top. Inside the Fibaro Flood Sensor, there's a CR123A battery, which can be accessed by twisting the top of the cover counter-clockwise. This is also where the serial number is located. You can put the Flood Sensor just about anywhere it will fit. It's just about an inch thick at its widest point, so you can tuck it into some tight spots. I have it located

Eve's HomeKit-Enabled 'Eve Flare' Offers Awesome Mood Lighting, Long Battery Life, and Water Resistance

Eve Systems, formerly known as Elgato, has been making its Eve line of HomeKit products since HomeKit was first announced, and it was in fact one of the first companies to come out with HomeKit devices. Eve recently expanded into lighting, launching the Eve Flare and the Eve Light Strip. I tested the Eve Light Strip earlier this year, and now that its sister product the Eve Flare has come to the United States, I thought I'd take a look at it to see how it measures up to other available HomeKit lighting options. Design The Eve Flare is a sphere-shaped LED lamp that reminds me a lot of the white FADO lamps from Ikea. I've used Ikea's lamps for years with my Hue bulbs, so I expected the Eve Flare's sphere-shaped form factor to look great with colored and white light alike and I was not disappointed. Ikea's FADO lamps are made of glass with a plastic base, but the Eve Flare assembly is all plastic because it's meant to be portable. A plastic design makes it lighter weight and safer to move around than glass. There is a seam that I can feel at the top of the Flare where the two halves come together, but it's not very visible when the light is in use. There's one flat side on the base of the Eve Flare that allows it to sit flat on a table and charge on its included charging base. You can use the Eve Flare while it's on the base, but you can also pick it up and take it with you outside, in the bath, next to the pool, in the kitchen, or wherever else you might want portable mood lighting. It's kind of similar to the Hue Go in regard to portability, though the

Review: LaCie's New 'Mobile SSD' Features Fast Transfer Speeds and an Attractive Design

LaCie, Seagate's premium brand, recently launched a new external SSD, the LaCie Mobile SSD, which offers up to 2TB of storage space along with USB-C transfer speeds up to 540MB/s. The LaCie Mobile SSD follows the LaCie Portable SSD, offering a thin, light enclosure that's easily pocketable but still eye catching. LaCie first introduced the Mobile SSD at CES 2019, and it's now available for purchase from Apple. LaCie designed the Mobile SSD with unique "diamond-cut" edges, which look quite nice in person. The Mobile SSD is futuristic but simple, which is appropriate because this is an Apple exclusive product. I'm not sure how important SSD attractiveness is to the average person, but this is certainly the best looking external SSD I've used. It's made from a brushed aluminum material that matches well with Apple's MacBooks (especially the Space Gray model), and since it's aluminum, it's light but durable. LaCie says it can withstand drops up to 3 meters, though it's never a good idea to be rough with a data storage device if you can help it. The LaCie Mobile is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, and LaCie sent me the 1TB version to test. It comes with both a USB-C to USB-C cable for use with Apple's most recent Macs and a USB-C to USB-A cable in case you need to use it with older machines that only have USB-A ports. When using a USB-A to USB-C cable, you won't get maximum transfer speeds from the SSD because USB-A doesn't support USB 3.1 Gen 2. There's a single USB-C port at one end where one of the cables can plug in, and with the

Review: Weatherproof Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor Lets You Automate Your Indoor or Outdoor Lights

The Philips Hue line of lights have been controllable via an indoor motion sensor for some time, but Signify is today introducing an Outdoor Motion Sensor that's designed to control the range of outdoor Hue lights that are now available for purchase. The Outdoor Motion Sensor works just like the indoor Smart Motion Sensor, automating your lights and other HomeKit products to come on when motion is detected and turn off when there's no motion detected, all on an automatic basis. As with all Hue products, the Outdoor Motion Sensor is designed to work with a hub, so a Hue hub and Hue lights are required to use the product, even though it can interface with other HomeKit devices. Design The Outdoor Motion Sensor is small and relatively unobtrusive, but it does have a design that stands out somewhat, so it's not entirely unnoticeable. It features a square-shaped plastic housing with a protruding white circle where daylight and motion sensors are built in. At the back, Outdoor Motion Sensor features a mounting plate and a variety of mounting options so you can put it wherever it works best. There's an option for a flat wall or mounting it at a corner, which would allow for maximum view of a driveway, lawn, or entryway. I live in an apartment so I'm not able to do wall mounting, but I'm including this image of the Outdoor Motion Sensor from Amazon to show the different ways that it can be mounted -- flat, on an inward corner, or on an outwards-facing corner. For testing purposes, I have tall shelves outdoors where I keep plants, which is what I used, so it

Review: La Roche-Posay's My Skin Track UV Sensor Offers Interesting Concept, but Needs Improvement

Skin care company La Roche-Posay (owned by L'Oreal) recently released its first tech product, a UV sensor that's designed to tell you how much sun exposure you're getting on any given day. The My Skin Track UV Sensor, available from Apple, is meant to help you make sure you have adequate sun protection for long days spent in the sun. It's tiny, solar powered, and transfers data over NFC, so there's no battery and no need for charging. The Skin Track UV Sensor sounds great in theory, but there are some design flaws and issues that I discovered over the course of several months of testing, which I've outlined below. Design The My Skin Track UV Sensor ships in two pieces. There's the blue and white plastic sensor portion, and a metal clip designed to fit on a sleeve, shirt collar, or cap where it can be exposed to the sun. The sensor slides into the metal clip, which can be a little bit tricky. I'm not sure why it's shipped in two pieces because there isn't ever a need to take it out of the clip, but maybe La-Roche Posay is planning to release different enclosures in the future. Size wise, the Skin Track Sensor is tiny. It's about the same size as my thumb nail, and I have a small thumb. There's a little window on the sensor that houses the UV detecting equipment and an NFC chip, with the window designed to let in light for tracking purposes.

Review: Casper's Easy-to-Use Glow Light Promises to Improve Your Sleep

Mattress company Casper recently introduced its first non-bedding product, the Glow Light. Designed to help you fall asleep and wake up, the Glow Light provides timed, smart lighting that gets gradually dimmer or brighter based on your needs for the purpose of improving your sleeping habits. Design Casper's Glow Light will look familiar to Apple users because the design is reminiscent of the HomePod. The Glow Light is cylindrical in shape, with a flat top and a flat bottom, but it's about palm-sized and smaller than the HomePod. Made of a translucent plastic material, the Glow Light puts off a soft yellow light with several available brightness levels. Light emanates from the entire body of the lamp, with the exception of the top and bottom. A wireless charging base provides power to the Glow Light, which does have a battery so it can be used when off of the stand. Both ends of the Glow Light can be used for charging purposes, so putting it on the charging base is hassle-free. Reversible charging is a nice touch because there's no need to pay attention to orientation. The charging pads on the top and bottom of the Glow Light also double as buttons for certain gestures, but other than these areas, there are no other physical controls on the Glow Light. All adjustments are made via flips and turns thanks to a built-in accelerometer, though there are also iPhone control options. The Glow Light puts off a soft yellow light and the color is not adjustable, but it can be made brighter or dimmer. At full strength, the Glow Light offers even lighting, but

Review: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Forgoes Built-In Navigation in Favor of CarPlay

Mitsubishi isn't one of the biggest-selling car manufacturers in the U.S. these days, but the Japanese automaker has been rebounding substantially in recent years thanks in large part to its focus on the popular crossover segment, led by the Outlander. The Mitsubishi Outlander has been offered in a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant for the last few years, and I've been testing out a brand-new 2019 model of the Outlander PHEV just as the first units are starting to roll out to dealers around the country. In the U.S. at least, changes from the 2018 model are primarily cosmetic aside from some tweaks to the suspension, noise and vibration reduction, and comfort. 2019 models in other countries are seeing some more substantial upgrades under the hood, but those have yet to make their way into the U.S. models. The U.S. version of the 2019 Outlander PHEV offers a 2.0 L 4-cylinder gas engine paired with dual 60 kW electric motors and a 12 kWh Li-ion battery. Operating solely on electric power, the Outlander PHEV can drive up to 22 miles depending on conditions, while it gets 25 MPG in gasoline-only mode, for a combined rating of 74 MPGe. But with a relatively small 11.3-gallon gas tank to make room for the batteries, overall range is only a little over 300 miles. Level 1/2 (left) and CHAdeMO (right) charging ports A 110–120 V Level 1 charging cable is included with the Outlander for charging from a standard electrical outlet, and it offers the ability to switch between 8 A and 12 A charging options. A full charge requires approximately 13 hours at 8 A or 8 hours at 12

Review: Eve's New Light Strip is a Great HomeKit-Enabled Hub-Free Accent Lighting Option

Eve (formerly known as Elgato) was one of the first companies to come out with HomeKit accessories when HomeKit was announced in 2014, and since then, Eve has been expanding its portfolio of HomeKit-connected products. The newest addition to the Eve HomeKit lineup is the Eve Light Strip, first introduced at CES and launched in February. The Eve Light Strip is one of several HomeKit-connected LED-based light strip options on the market, but Eve has a few new innovations worth noting. Design Design wise, the Eve Light Strip looks similar to many other light strips on the market, including the Philips Hue version, which is probably one of the closest competitors in terms of price and functionality. The Eve Light Strip measures in at 6.6 feet, though it can be cut at one foot intervals. It also includes a connector at the end which is designed to allow for extension strips to be attached, and the extension strips are more affordable. A single Eve Light Strip can be extended to 32.8 feet via the extension options. As with all light strip-style products, this is a thin, flexible strip that has interspersed LEDs in different colors along the strip that are used to make up different color shades when it's turned on. Colors are accurate, with the Light Strip able to reproduce red, pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue accurately, along with in-between shades. Purple is more of a blue or a pink, but that's true of most LED lights.

Review: Satechi's Type-C Stand for iMac Offers Easy Access to USB Ports With Ergonomic Design

Satechi has offered a few options for iMac stands over the past few years, allowing customers a chance to elevate their iMac for a more ergonomic workspace, and gain access to a limited number of ports. Now Satechi has released the Type-C Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub for iMac, an all-new iMac stand that is a bit of a combination of the two previous accessories, offering a greater number of useful ports and some added height under your iMac. Design Satechi's new iMac stand is designed with a brushed aluminum finish and unibody construction, perfectly matching any modern iMac with a silver aluminum finish. The front plate of the stand is matte black, mirroring the silver and black colors of the iMac, and this area is where you'll find the stand's seven ports. There's also a very faint white LED to the right of the ports that indicates a successful connection to the iMac. In total, there is a microSD card slot, SD card slot, audio jack, three USB-A ports, and one USB-C data port (not meant for fast charging). The stand itself has a USB-C cable to connect to Thunderbolt 3-enabled iMacs, and it comes with a small USB-C to USB-A dongle adapter so it's essentially compatible with any iMac. As a note, I have a late 2015 27-inch Retina iMac, and have not faced any issues with the adapter and ports on the Satechi stand. In terms of height, Satechi's accessory sits about 1.63 inches tall, with small rubber feet that ensure your entire workstation is stable after placing the iMac on the stand (max load being 50 lbs). There aren't any storage compartments or drawers

Review: 2019 Buick Regal TourX Features a Clean and Modern Infotainment System Design With CarPlay

GM was one of the early adopters of CarPlay, with the feature debuting on a few 2016 Chevrolet models and rapidly spreading across the company's various brands including Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. As part of a 2018 model year redesign intended to breathe some more life into its Regal sedan, Buick introduced the Regal TourX, an all-wheel drive wagon version that offers more cargo space to compete against some of the top models in the class including the Subaru Outback and Volvo V60. I've spent some time testing out a 2019 Buick Regal TourX to get a sense of GM's latest infotainment system (which GM is calling next-generation Buick Infotainment) and how it integrates with CarPlay. My test vehicle was the high-end Essence trim, nearly maxed out with most of the available upgrades including built-in navigation, panoramic moonroof, automatic cruise control, park assist, automatic emergency braking, and more. Buick Infotainment GM has been working on unifying its infotainment offerings, starting with the 2017 Cadillac CTS that launched with the "next-generation CUE" infotainment system. The same general system with some slight tweaks has been starting to expand across the Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC brands since that time, with the Buick Regal receiving the new Buick Infotainment version of the system on some 2018 vehicles. The Essence trim of the Regal TourX comes with a generous 8-inch touchscreen display integrated nicely into the dashboard, while the mid-level Preferred and base TourX trims come with a slightly smaller 7-inch display as standard. The Buick

Review: 2019 Nissan Altima Offers CarPlay Standard Alongside an Updated NissanConnect Infotainment System

Since debuting CarPlay in the 2017 Maxima, Nissan has been gradually expanding support for Apple's in-car platform throughout much of the carmaker's lineup, integrating with its NissanConnect infotainment system. I've had an opportunity to spend some time testing out CarPlay and NissanConnect on a new 2019 Nissan Altima, one of the most popular midsize sedans on the market, and I've found it to be a solid combination. For the redesigned Altima, Nissan is offering CarPlay standard across all trims, meaning that even the base model starting at $23,900 will support it. That's a welcome distinction from many other vehicles where a higher-level trim or a special package is needed in order to get CarPlay. Not all Nissans include CarPlay on the base trims, but the company tells me that it's moving in that direction and the Altima redesign for 2019 was a good opportunity to make it a priority. My tester was an Altima SR with front-wheel drive, which represents the model's second-level trim and starts at $25,250. It includes a spacious 8-inch touchscreen display atop the center stack that's standard across the lineup. The SR trim does not include built-in navigation or more advanced NissanConnect subscription services, but it offers a good idea of what you can get at a relatively low-level trim that minimizes the hit to your pocketbook. NissanConnect The Altima comes with a standard 8-inch touchscreen and an updated version of NissanConnect that is similar to versions found in other recent Altima models but includes some improvements in visual appeal and

Review: First Alert's Onelink Safe & Sound Packs HomeKit, a Speaker, and Alexa Into a Smoke Detector

Back in mid-2018, First Alert launched its Onelink Safe & Sound smoke and carbon dioxide detector that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker and Wi-Fi connected Alexa assistant while also including HomeKit support to integrate with the rest of your smart home products in the Apple ecosystem. I've been using the Safe & Sound for a few months now, and I must say, it's turned out to be more useful than I'd initially thought it would be. Installation The Onelink Safe & Sound is a hardwired smoke detector, so you'll have to use this in a location that's tied into your home's electrical system rather than being able to rely on battery power. But if you've already got hardwired smoke detectors, swapping them out for Safe & Sound units is simple and straightforward for anyone with a modicum of do-it-yourself experience. Just make sure you turn off power to your existing detector at the breaker, unscrew the detector from the ceiling, and disconnect the wiring. Once you've got the bare wires hanging out of the ceiling, it's just a matter of attaching the Safe & Sound's mounting plate to the ceiling (likely by simply screwing it directly into the existing junction box in the ceiling), plugging in the proper wiring harness to the back of the Safe & Sound, connecting it to the house wiring with included wire nuts, and attaching the body of the detector to the mounting plate with a twist. Turn the power back on at the breaker, run through the setup for Onelink, HomeKit, and Alexa in the Onelink app on your iOS device, and you're good to go. It sounds like quite a few steps,

Review: Anker's 30W 'Atom' USB-C Charger is Tiny, Affordable, and Perfect for Charging iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks

With a new material called Gallium nitride (GaN), semiconductor components have been able to be shrunk down, leading to smaller than ever charging accessories. Several accessory makers have been taking advantage of GaN technology for new products, including Anker. Anker recently debuted the PowerPort Atom PD 1, a 30W USB-C charger that's much smaller than the USB-C power adapters offered by Apple and, in fact, not much larger than an iPhone charger. The Atom measures in at 1.4 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, which is about 40 percent smaller than the similar 29/30W USB-C chargers that ship with the MacBook and MacBook Air. Design wise, there's not a whole lot to say about the Atom. It's a small white charger that's almost cube shaped, with a shiny face and a single USB-C port that has "PD" written above it to denote its status as a USB-C PD power adapter. At the side, there's an Anker logo. The plug at the back is not collapsible, likely due to its small size, which is one minor negative. It doesn't fold down, so the prongs are always going to be sticking out. The small size of the Atom is convenient because when you plug it in to an outlet or a power strip, it doesn't take up unnecessary space. In my case, I have a power strip in a cable organizing box, and power adapter size can be a real concern in this kind of situation. A smaller power adapter doesn't take up more than one outlet, and it can be placed in either the top or bottom slots. It's also not in the way with a power strip, and it's more versatile than Apple's own power adapters. As

Review: 2019 Ram 1500 Offers a Gorgeous 12.3-Inch Portrait Display With CarPlay Support

Back in November, I took a look at Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system and CarPlay integration in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, discovering a quite positive user experience that nearly seamlessly incorporates CarPlay into Uconnect. That seamlessness comes thanks to an 8.4-inch Uconnect display that keeps a top status bar and a bottom menu bar visible at all times for easy navigation. FCA isn't stopping at an 8.4-inch display, however, with the company's 2019 Ram 1500 offering a gigantic 12.3-inch portrait display as an optional upgrade. I've had a chance to spend some time with a Ram 1500 Laramie, so I thought I'd share my impressions of this large portrait display. Uconnect on the Big Screen Given my previous look at Uconnect 4, I'm not going to spend much time looking at the infotainment system in general, other than differences unique to the larger display. Suffice it to say, I've found Uconnect to be one of the better infotainment systems out there, and its persistent status and menu bars at the top and bottom of the screen make it easy to shift between functions. The interface is relatively clear and easy-to-use, and the various functions perform well. When it comes to hardware on the Ram 1500, it's impossible to miss the gorgeous 12.3-inch portrait display with rich, vibrant colors. It simply dominates the entire center stack in the car, with a selection of hardware knobs, buttons, and switches framing it. You might think a giant 12-inch rectangle of glass could generate a significant amount of glare, and that can be a bit of an

Review: ZENS Dual Wireless Powerbank Supports Qi Charging On the Go, but Low Battery Capacity Limits Usefulness

Last fall I had the chance to take a look at ZENS' all-new Dual + Watch Wireless Charger, which offers spots to charge two Qi-enabled smartphones and one perch for the Apple Watch. I came away quite liking the accessory, which should be a great charging hub for anyone in a two-person household, and now the company has launched a companion accessory called the ZENS Dual Wireless Powerbank. This device is a portable battery pack that itself includes two spots for wirelessly charging an iPhone 8 or later (or any Qi smartphone), similar to the design of the Dual + Watch stand. The Powerbank has a 9,000 mAh battery, two USB-A ports, and one USB-C charging port on the rear (USB-C to Lightning fast charging is not supported). The device itself also supports wireless charging, so you can place it on the Dual + Watch stand without needing to mess with wires to fuel up the Powerbank more easily. Design ZENS mirrored the design of the Dual + Watch Stand for its new Powerbank, and both accessories have a nice rubberized texture on the mat where you place your iPhone. Instead of aluminum on the sides like the stand, the Powerbank has a plastic enclosure that still has a nice heft to it. Just like the stand, I really like the simple design of the Powerbank. Black isn't usually a color I opt to use in stands as big as the ZENS Dual + Watch, but I've been using it since I reviewed it last October, and the only downside I've come across in the past few months is that it is definitely a dust and fingerprint magnet.

Review: Apple's Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor Loses Features, but Gains Accuracy

Apple in 2017 purchased Beddit, a company that makes a sleep monitoring system designed to track your sleeping habits to help you improve your sleep hygiene. Apple hasn't said much about the purchase, nor what it's doing with the data it collects from the Beddit system, but in December, Apple quietly pulled the original Beddit Sleep System and introduced a redesigned model with an updated and revised feature set. There have been quite a few complaints about the new 3.5 version of the Beddit Sleep Monitor (and its accompanying app) because it removes some functionality that was available with the first model Apple offered. I've been using the original Beddit since 2017, so I decided to check out the new model to see how it compares. As it turns out, the complaints about removed features are valid, but the improvements introduced in the updated version shouldn't be overlooked. Design The 3.5 version of the Beddit Sleep Monitor is similar in design to the previous models, consisting of a fabric-covered strip outfitted with a number of sensors designed to track movement, heart rate, and other parameters that can impact sleep. Measuring in at 2.5 inches wide by 30 inches long and 2mm thick, the Beddit Sleep Monitor is meant to be placed on top of a mattress right about where your heart is located when you sleep. The idea is to put the fitted sheet over the sensor once it's been placed across a mattress. You need to make sure nothing else is over it like another blanket or a pillow -- sheet only between the sensor and your body. On one side of the

Review: Belkin's Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone and Apple Watch is Convenient but Expensive

Belkin is known for a range of accessories for the iPhone, and when Apple introduced support for Qi-based wireless chargers, Belkin was quick to come out with a range of options. The Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock, which debuted in September, is the newest and most versatile offering, combining a Qi wireless charger with an Apple Watch charging puck and an extra USB-A port. Design wise, the Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock has an upright Qi wireless charger similar in design to Belkin's other Boost Up charging options, with a round charging surface that houses the wireless charging coil. The iPhone is designed to sit upright against the back of the charger, with the base serving as a stand. Belkin has slightly angled the base, which makes it easier to see the iPhone's display while positioned on the dock. The base is covered in a grippy material that prevents the iPhone from shifting or moving while it charges. You can't put your iPhone on the dock horizontally because of the Apple Watch charger, so it's limited to vertical charging. The Apple Watch charges on the dock in landscape orientation so it works with Nightstand mode as a clock replacement. I read some reviews that suggested the Belkin charger was not compatible with the iPhone XS Max in certain cases that make the iPhone a bit taller, but I didn't have that experience. Both my iPhone X and my iPhone XS Max charged without issue in Apple cases, and Belkin says that it supports cases up to 3mm thick. The base of the dock measures in at 7.4 inches wide, 4.1 inches long, and 4.8 inches

Review: Anker's Soundcore Life 2 Bluetooth Headphones Offer Active Noise Cancelation Without Breaking the Bank

Anker is best known for its well-received power banks and mobile charging accessories, but the Chinese company has also been busy building its subsidiary Soundcore brand, under which it offers home audio products like smart Bluetooth speakers and wireless earphones. Anker says its ethos of making quality electronic devices at an affordable price also extends to its audio accessory lineup, so I gave the company's new Soundcore Life 2 noise-canceling headphones a spin to test out this claim. The latest addition to Anker's headset range costs $80 and replaces the company's first attempt at over-ear active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones, last year's Space NC cans. As with that pair, Anker is aiming to corner the sub-$100 noise-canceling market, so direct comparisons with premium ANC headphones offered by the likes of Bose and Sony wouldn't be fair. So how do they stack up on their own?

Review: GigSky's Data-Only eSIM Service Offers Convenient LTE Connectivity for Travel

On a recent trip to Europe, I had a chance to try out GigSky's new pay-as-you-go cellular data plan that's available through via eSIM on the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max. I used GigSky's service across four countries, testing out the ease of use, the coverage, the setup process, and what it's like to use the eSIM to get cellular connectivity in another country. Setup Setting up the GigSky service was simple, and much more convenient than having to source a physical SIM to go along with a cellular service that uses a standard SIM. I downloaded the GigSky app, opened it up and selected the country I was visiting. GigSky recommended that I purchase a plan once I arrived in my destination country (Czech Republic), which I did, and after the purchase was made and the payment confirmed, I was set up and ready to go. The app downloaded the eSIM on my phone, and I was able to select it as a secondary cellular option using the Cellular section of the Settings app on the iPhone. Service Requirements Using GigSky's eSIM service requires an iPhone that is both unlocked and that supports eSIM, so the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. My carrier is Verizon and I purchased my iPhone outright, so it came unlocked by default and there was nothing else I needed to do. The GigSky eSIM just worked. Potential customers on other carriers may need to make sure their iPhone has been unlocked before the GigSky service will work. It is not available on a device that is locked. eSIM Usage I activated the GigSky eSIM after arriving in the Czech Republic, and from there, I didn't