Reviews

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

Review: 2019 Lexus ES Features Optional Widescreen CarPlay, but Remote Touch Trackpad Interface Is Cumbersome

A few months ago, the 2019 Lexus ES became the first vehicle from Toyota's luxury brand to add support for CarPlay, built on top of the brand's Enform 2.0 infotainment system, and Lexus now has a half dozen 2019 models announced with CarPlay support. I've had a chance to spend some time with a Lexus ES 300h Ultra Luxury hybrid model that includes a number of technology features, so here's a look at what iPhone users can expect now that Lexus is rolling out CarPlay support. CarPlay support comes standard on all ES models starting from October production, and the base ES infotainment system comes with an 8-inch color display that can use a tethered smartphone with the Scout GPS Link service to provide navigation. My test vehicle, however, was equipped with a Navigation Package that boosts the center display to a 12.3-inch widescreen palette and provides native onboard navigation capabilities. Widescreen native navigation This widescreen display offers a choice of an ultra-wide view of main apps within the Enform system like navigation or a split-screen view to put a traditional size navigation pane alongside an audio pane, for example. Split screen native navigation with audio Widescreen CarPlay The 12.3-inch display on the Lexus ES makes it one of the few vehicles on the market, along with some models from the likes of Mercedes and Alfa Romeo, to support widescreen CarPlay, which takes over the entire display. While most users are familiar with the traditional 4x2 grid of icons for the CarPlay home screen, with a wide enough display as in the Lexus ES

Review: Braxley Bands Are Comfortable and Easy-to-Wear Elastic Apple Watch Accessories

Third-party Apple Watch bands have been around since Apple debuted the original Apple Watch back in 2015, typically offering customers a low-priced alternative to styling their watch, as opposed to Apple's bands, which start at $50. From left to right: Rosé, Orchid, High Tide, and Denim Braxley Bands A new option for shoppers is now offered by an Austin, Texas-based company called Braxley Bands, which sells $30 Apple Watch bands with a unique twist: they're unibody bands that are fully elastic and stretch over your hand to lay on your wrist. Installation Like all other Apple Watch bands, Braxley Bands snap onto the Apple Watch case by sliding the lugs into the cutouts at the top and bottom of the Apple Watch. There is a logo on each band, but they face inward when wearing your Apple Watch, so they won't be visible. The Braxley Bands didn't fit in my Apple Watch Series 2 quite as snug as the bands made by Apple itself (like my Sport Loop and Classic Buckle), so there was a bit of a wiggle when I would check each side of the band. This wasn't so bad that I worried the Braxley Bands would disconnect, however, and is a reality of some third-party Apple Watch bands. Once installed, Braxley Bands have one of the simplest processes to place on your wrist: you stretch the band until it's big enough to go over your hand, and slide it up onto your wrist. Some of the company's materials make this more difficult initially, including the Denim and Rosé options I received, leading to a bit of a struggle to stretch the material over the larger part of your hand before

Review: Ubiquiti Labs' AmpliFi Routers Have Fast Setups, Gorgeous Designs, and Rock Solid Mesh Wi-Fi Coverage

Ubiquiti Networks' consumer technology brand, Ubiquiti Labs, began making a name for itself in late 2016 with the launch of the AmpliFi HD Wi-Fi Mesh Router. Similar to other mesh systems, the AmpliFi HD comes with a centralized router and two "MeshPoints" that provide blanket Wi-Fi coverage throughout a home, but Ubiquiti Labs' device is unique thanks to its circular, full-color touchscreen on the main unit. Ubiquiti Labs began expanding its product lineup this fall, in October announcing the AmpliFi Instant and in November revealing the AmpliFi Gamer's Edition. The former router is a pared down version of the AmpliFi HD with a smaller size and miniaturized capacitive grayscale touchscreen, while the latter option is essentially the AmpliFi HD with low latency support, WAN quality-of-service features, and other additions aimed at users who play a lot of online games. Each router features 802.11ac with self-configuring, dual-band 2.4 GHz/5 GHz Wi-Fi radios. Over the past few months, I've been relying solely on Ubiquiti Labs' trio of mesh routers for all of my internet needs, with the majority of my time spent using the AmpliFi Instant and AmpliFi HD routers. In my time with the routers I've yet to find any real flaws or noticeable drawbacks to using AmpliFi, and as someone who has been researching mesh networks for years but was too inundated with various options to make a decision, I can say that the AmpliFi routers are a great option for anyone looking to transition away from a single router system and into mesh.

Review: 2018 Accord Hybrid Offers Honda's Quality Display Audio Infotainment System With Sensible CarPlay Integration

Honda consistently ranks as a top five best-selling car brand in the United States, so it's worth taking a look at the company's Display Audio infotainment system and how well it works with CarPlay. Honda was one of the first car brands to support CarPlay, starting in late 2015 with the 2016 Accord, and the company has since expanded support across nearly its entire lineup. I had the opportunity to spend some time with a 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid, which offered me a chance to try out Display Audio, CarPlay, and some of Honda's slick hybrid technology. My Accord Hybrid came in the high-end Touring trim, which tops out at a little over $35,000. It includes all of the bells and whistles you might expect from a top-level trim on a mid-range car, including a heads-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, built-in navigation, rain-sensing wipers, and even a wireless phone charger that'll talk a bit more about later. Honda has been at the forefront of driver safety technology, and every Accord trim comes with Honda Sensing standard. The suite includes a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane-keeping assist, and, newly standard in 2019, traffic sign recognition. The two-motor hybrid system Honda is using in the Accord delivers an EPA rating of 47 MPG and offers a remarkably smooth ride that feels like an all-electric vehicle much of the time. That's because at most speeds (up to about 50 mph), only the electric drive motor is connected to the wheels and providing the drive force. When

Review: Volvo's 2019 S60 Sedan Offers a Striking Sensus Infotainment Display and CarPlay, but Usability Needs Some Work

As car infotainment systems go, Volvo's Sensus system is certainly an eye-catcher with its gorgeous 9-inch portrait display dominating the center stack, so I was excited to have an opportunity to go hands-on with Sensus to see how it works and how well it integrates with CarPlay, which is broadly supported in Volvo's lineup. My test vehicle was a new 2019 S60 T6 AWD R-Design sedan, and the 2019 S60 is the first Volvo to be manufactured in the United States, coming out of the company's new plant outside of Charleston, South Carolina. My S60 came packed with technology and safety features including lane-keeping assist and oncoming lane mitigation, parking assist, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic alerts. A $2,500 Advanced Package adds even more features including a 360º view camera, adaptive cruise control with pilot assist, heads-up display with speed and navigation, and active bending headlights to enhance illumination in the direction you're steering. My test vehicle was equipped with a high-end $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker audio system that unsurprisingly sounded fantastic. All told, the MSRP on my test vehicle approached $55,000, but the Sensus system with CarPlay support is standard even on the entry-level Momentum trim starting at $35,800. Sensus From a hardware perspective, the Sensus system is very good. The portrait display is beautiful, bright, and sharp, although it does tend to show fingerprints on both the screen and the glossy black frame surrounding it. Still, it's quite a statement feature in the way it dominates the center

Nanoleaf's New Touch-Enabled Canvas Offers Up Fun, Interactive Mood Lighting

Nanoleaf's Canvas, launching today, is the company's second HomeKit-enabled mood lighting product that follows its popular triangle-shaped Light Panels. Rather than using triangle lights this time around, Nanoleaf designed the Canvas to have a square shape with multiple connector ports for more design versatility. What's more, the Canvas is touch enabled and puts thousands of lighting scenes at your fingertips without the need to use an app. The app and HomeKit availability are still available though, offering up multiple ways to control the lighting panels. Design Unlike the iconic triangle design of the Light Panels, Nanoleaf has designed the Canvas with a new square shape. Each Canvas square measures in at just about six inches on all sides. When conceptualizing the Canvas, Nanoleaf originally planned to offer plain squares with uniform lighting across, but this wasn't possible. Each square instead has a noticeable cross shape in it, dividing it into four. The individual squares still light up in one single color, but you will see the crosshairs within each one. I don't mind the crosshairs and in some ways they make the Canvas more visually interesting, but it could be a turn off for customers who were hoping for flat, uniform lighting across the entire square. There are eight Canvas Light Squares and one Control Square, which needs to be centrally situated and accessible to touch because it's the square that features specific touch-based controls for the entire Canvas system, though all squares respond to touch. The Canvas squares are more

Review: RAVPower's Ultrathin 45W USB-C Power Adapter Can Fit in Your Pocket

RAVPower recently introduced a new 45W USB-C Power Adapter that uses eGaNFET circuitry allowing for an ultrathin design more portable than traditional USB-C power adapters. Made from white plastic, the power adapter measures in at 2.8 inches long, 2.1 inches wide, and 0.56 inches thick. Compared to the 29/30W USB-C chargers for the MacBook and the MacBook Air, it's longer, but thinner. The thinner design allows the power adapter to fit easily in a pocket, bag, or backpack. It's not as oddly square-shaped as Apple's own chargers, which makes it more convenient to carry. RAVPower does not ship this power adapter with any cables, so you're going to need to supply your own USB-C to USB-C cable or USB-C to Lightning cable. Since this is a 45W charger, it's ideal for the MacBook Air or the MacBook, but won't really work for the 61W 13-inch MacBook Pro or the 85W 15-inch MacBook Pro. It is, however, also useful paired with a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge an iPhone or with a USB-C to USB-C cable to charge one of Apple's new iPad Pros more quickly. Design wise, this is a nice looking power adapter. The aforementioned white plastic is unblemished aside from a RAVPower logo at the top, and there's a single USB-C port at one side. RAVPower's adapter next to 29W power adapter from Apple At the back, there's a set of prongs for plugging it into an outlet, which fold down when the power adapter is not in use. This also allows it to be pocketed or tucked away in a small pouch in a backpack. At 45W, the RAVPower charger enables fast charging with the

Review: WaterField Designs' Time Travel Apple Watch Case Organizes Your Apple Watch Accessories

WaterField Designs is a San Francisco-based company that makes a range of different cases and bags for Apple's product lineup, from the iPhone and iPad to Macs, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. For Apple Watch, WaterField Designs has the Time Travel Case, which is designed to organize your Apple Watch accessories into one easy place for commuting and traveling so nothing gets misplaced or lost. Made from either black leather or "cowboy" brown leather that's soft and supple to the touch, the Time Travel Case for the Apple Watch measures in at 7.5 inches long and 4.25 inches wide, and it's slim enough to tuck into the pocket of a purse or backpack. It zips along the top and one of the sides and opens up into a u-shape so that you can get to the contents inside. The entire inside is lined with a soft material that will ensure nothing gets scratched, and there's padding at the sides to keep expensive watch bands safe. At the right side of the pouch, there's a wide side pocket that's designed to hold Apple Watch bands, and I found that you can fit three to four inside comfortably, which is ideal if you want to bring a few extra bands along when traveling. On the left side, there are two smaller pouches that can hold an Apple Watch charging puck with cable and your headphones or AirPods case. The larger left side pocket is perfect for cables, while the smaller pouch is the perfect size to house AirPods. Between the two sides of the pouch, there's a middle section that can fit additional cables or accessories, or a device up to the size of an iPhone XS Max.

Review: Nimble's Wireless and Portable Chargers are Reliable and Beautifully Designed

In late August, a new accessory brand called Nimble emerged from a trio of former Mophie employees, offering customers various charging devices that are all built and shipped with a focus on the environment and sustainability. Led by Ross Howe (Nimble CEO), Jon Bradley (creative director), and Kevin Malinowski (brand marketing), Nimble's lineup of accessories remains modest two months in, focusing specifically on a collection of eight wireless chargers and portable chargers. Over that period of time I've had the chance to use all of Nimble's products, and while there are a few issues with the lineup, it's clear that quality over quantity takes precedence at Nimble. Design Specifically, Nimble sells four portable chargers, four wireless chargers, and three accessories, and a few of the same design elements emerge across the device lineup. Nimble names the portable chargers by estimating about how long you'll be able to get battery out of them: a 3-Day (10,000 mAh, $49.95), 5-Day (13,000 mAh, $59.95), 8-Day (20,000 mAh, $69.95), and 10-Day (26,800 mAh, $99.95). Each of these includes a magnetic attachment for cable management, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and the 10-Day Portable Charger throws in an AC adapter brick. For the wireless chargers, Nimble sells a Wireless Pad ($39.95), Wireless Dual Pad ($49.95), Wireless Stand ($49.95), and Wireless Travel Kit ($59.95). Individually, you can buy a Dual USB Wall Charger ($19.95), USB Wall Charger ($12.95), and USB-C Cable 2-Pack ($12.95-$17.95). Each Nimble product is built in partnership with a supplier that

Review: Anki's Vector Robot Isn't the Smartest AI, but He's Definitely the Most Adorable

Anki has been making toys that use artificial intelligence for years now, starting with the Anki Overdrive set of racing cars and the interactive Cozmo toy robot, but this year the company launched its most ambitious product: Vector. Unlike Cozmo, Vector is no toy, and is instead positioned as a home robotic device. Vector adopts capabilities from Cozmo, but his functionality goes above and beyond the tricks and games Cozmo is known for. I've had Vector as my constant companion for a week now, and while he is far from the smartest AI I've interacted with, he's definitely the most lovable. It's fitting to think of Vector as a derpy, simpleminded pet that gets things wrong, but in an endearing way. Vector is kind of like a personal assistant like Siri or Alexa, but with a more limited range, a physical body, and a more expressive personality. With a "Hey Vector" trigger word, Vector can answer questions, obey commands, play games, and more, serving as a friend and helper in day to day life. Design and Components Vector is a palm-sized robot that uses the same general design as Cozmo, Anki's previous robot toy. Vector is made from a black plastic material and he has a body that's filled with various sensors and electronics to detect and respond to the environment around him. Vector has four wheels covered in tank-style treads that allow him to traverse smooth floors and rugs alike, a movable front arm that lets him interact with his cube and adds to his various expressions. Most of Vector's personality is expressed through his small front display,

Review: Mophie's USB-C Equipped 26,000mAh Powerstation 3XL Has Enough Juice to Charge Your MacBook or MacBook Air

Mophie recently announced the launch of its largest battery pack yet, the Powerstation 3XL, which is designed for charging Apple's line of MacBook and MacBook Air devices. The Powerstation 3XL features a 26,000mAh capacity and 45 watts of power, making it ideal for charging devices that include the iPhone, iPad Pro, 12-inch MacBook, and new MacBook Air. As you might expect with a 26,000mAh device, the Powerstation 3XL is not a small, pocket-sized charger. It's 6.6 inches long and 3.7 inches wide, plus nearly an inch thick. You can fit this into a bag or backpack without much trouble, but it is bigger than even Apple's largest iPhone, the XS Max. The Powerstation 3XL weighs more than a pound (18 ounces), and it feels like a heavy, sturdy accessory. The charger is made from a black plastic material that's covered in a soft, tweed material that makes it easy to grip and adds some flair. Design wise, this is a high-quality charger that looks like it's expensive, which it should, because Mophie is charging $200. At the bottom of the Powerstation 3XL, there are two USB-C ports, one for plugging into USB-C accessories like the MacBook Air or MacBook, and one for charging the power bank with a USB-C cable. You can tell the two ports apart by a little line and a lightning bolt that indicates which side is used for which. There's also a USB-A port next to the USB-C charging port so you can also charge USB-A accessories. In total, you can charge one device using the USB-C port and one device using the USB-A port at once, and if you plug in a USB-C cable and a

Review: Nomad's Base Station Lets You Wirelessly Charge an iPhone and an Apple Watch in One Convenient Location

Nomad, a company that makes various cables, chargers, cases, and other accessories for Apple devices, recently came out with an updated version of its Base Station charger. While the original Base Station is designed to wirelessly charge two iPhones at once, the updated Apple Watch version is able to charge an iPhone and an Apple Watch. The Base Station Apple Watch Edition features a flat, leather covered aluminum wireless charging pad that has an elevated Apple Watch magnetic charging puck on the left side to accommodate an Apple Watch. The positioning of the Apple Watch charger allows for the Apple Watch to be placed into nightstand mode, ideal for charging on a bedside table. Design wise, the Base Station is a sleek black color, which will fit well into any modern office or room setup. The bottom features two non-slip rubber strips to keep it in place, and the leather pad keeps the iPhone from moving around while charging while also offering a soft place to put it. When it comes to size, because this is a flat charger, it takes up more space than an upright charger might. It measures in at a little over six inches long and about 4 inches wide, so it's not huge, but it's definitely bigger than some other combined Apple Watch/iPhone chargers. I'd like to see Nomad make one of these with a smaller footprint that has an upright charger option and an Apple Watch charging option.

Review: Twelve South Offers a Creative Solution to Wireless iPhone Charging With the 'PowerPic'

Since the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus introduced Qi wireless charging into Apple products for the first time last year, more and more users have begun hunting for the best wireless charging pad out there. We've detailed this topic in numerous posts over the past year, and in the end, many buying recommendations for Qi mats come down to support for Apple's 7.5W fast wireless charging and overall design. In both categories, Twelve South's all new PowerPic Frame for iPhone excels. The accessory is a wooden picture frame that fits any vertically framed 5"x7" photo, while also charging any Qi-compatible smartphone. In Apple's lineup of devices, that means it supports the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, and XR, but if you use Google or other Android smartphones that have Qi wireless charging, you can use the PowerPic as well. Setup PowerPic essentially comes in three pieces: the wooden picture frame, the back plate that makes up the main charging section of the device, and a small metal support arm. The support arm connects easily into the back of the PowerPic, and a little cutout allows for cable organization. The included cable is a 1.5m USB-C to USB-A cable. PowerPic doesn't come with an AC adapter, so if you want to plug it into a wall then your outlet will need a USB socket, or you can use any traditional wall adapter brick. To change the image in the frame, PowerPic is built like a regular picture frame. The back has small clips that hold the charging plate in place, and if you swivel these clips away, the plate will disengage from the wooden frame. Even

Review: Lifeprint's Harry Potter Printer Lets You Print Photos That Come to Life Using Augmented Reality

Lifeprint recently came out with its newest product, the Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer, a Harry Potter-themed version of its standard Lifeprint photo printer that connects to the iPhone. The Harry Potter version of the Lifeprint printer is identical in function to the regular Lifeprint printer options, but it has a unique Harry Potter design and the branding is a clever way to highlight the Lifeprint's augmented reality capabilities. In the Harry Potter universe, photographs are animated rather than still, something that Lifeprint mimics through an augmented reality app that can play videos or Live Photos in the Lifeprint app when a photo printed with a Lifeprint printer is scanned. Design Functionally, the Harry Potter printer is similar in design and shape to the standard Lifeprint printer. Like all Lifeprint printers, it is a ZINK printer which means it uses ZINK paper with no need to bother with printer cartridges and other hassles. The Harry Potter printer is rectangular in shape and is thicker and wider than an iPhone, but still portable enough to easily tuck into a bag or backpack. It measures in at about 4.7 inches long, just under an inch thick, and three inches wide. You can get the printer in either black and gold or black and white, with both options decorated with a Hogwarts crest on the front. The crest isn't as ornate as it is in the Harry Potter movies, but it features the four houses, an outline of the castle, and the Hogwarts motto, "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus" which means Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon. The

Review: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Shows Off Solid CarPlay Integration With Uconnect Infotainment System

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is home to a number of vehicle brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and of course Chrysler and Fiat. All of these brands include FCA's Uconnect infotainment system, the most recent version of which, version 4, began making its way into vehicles for the 2017 and 2018 model years. Vehicles with Uconnect 4 support both CarPlay and Android Auto, and I recently had an opportunity to test out a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited equipped with a Uconnect 4C NAV system that includes built-in navigation. The Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid, and really the only such vehicle available in the minivan segment in the United States, so it has a lot going for it in that regard. With a charge that takes just a couple of hours with a 240V level 2 charger or more like 14 hours with a 120V level 1 charger, you get roughly 33 miles of battery-only operation. Otherwise, the Pacifica acts as a traditional hybrid, supplementing the gas engine and recapturing some energy through regenerative braking to recharge itself. Overall, the Pacifica Hybrid is rated at 84 MPGe (32 MPG in gas-only mode) and offers up to 570 miles of range. Overview of center stack infotainment system and other controls Unsurprisingly, my test vehicle was outfitted with lots of bells and whistles, including a 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system that sounded great and a host of safety features including standard ParkSense sensors to alert of you of obstacles at front and rear, optional parallel and perpendicular parking assist that controls the steering wheel for you, and

Review: Vocolinc Offers the First HomeKit Supported Essential Oil Diffuser With the 'FlowerBud'

Apple's HomeKit platform has expanded to support a variety of device categories since its launch in 2014, now including lights, thermostats, ceiling fans, sprinklers, outlets, and humidifiers. Although close in style to humidifiers, one specific accessory missing from HomeKit has been an essential oil diffuser, and now connected smart home brand Vocolinc has introduced the FlowerBud Smart Diffuser to rectify the situation. Setup Out of the box, the FlowerBud Smart Diffuser looks somewhat similar to other essential oil diffusers, and it's broken into two parts for quick-and-easy assembly. There's a 6.5-inch wide base that holds the water reservoir, and on its front there is a button for the mood light and one for the diffuser itself. The water reservoir holds 300 ml of water, but you'll have to make two passes with the included measuring cup to fill the base to capacity, since it only holds about 150 ml. Underneath, you'll find a port to connect the AC adapter's barrel plug into, and the slightly elevated rubber feet make everything level even with the cord passing through.

Review: Ember's iOS-Connected Ceramic Mug Keeps Your Coffee and Tea Warm for Hours

Ember first began selling its temperature control Travel Mug back in 2015, allowing customers to personally control the temperature of their favorite hot beverage from their smartphone, and keep the drink hot for as long as an hour when it wasn't sitting on a charging pad. Ember also sells the Ceramic Mug, which provides all of the same benefits of the Travel Mug but in a size and shape that's aimed for use in your home or at your office. I've had the chance to test the Ceramic Mug over the last few weeks, following an announcement that Ember's mugs now calculate your approximate caffeine intake and sync it to Apple's Health app, and are now being sold in Apple stores. In that time, I've found the device to be a helpful companion for my daily cups of tea and coffee, although there are some aspects of its design that will hinder its usefulness in the long run. Setup Setup is largely a breeze with Ember's mugs; all I had to do was power on the Ceramic Mug, plug in the charging coaster to the included AC adapter with a barrel plug, and set the mug on it to fuel it up. Using the Ember iOS app, I searched for and found the mug, paired it, named it, and customized its front-facing LED color. In terms of setup, that's really it; you can wait for the mug to finish charging, but if you'll be placing it on the charging coaster as you drink, the initial setup process is shortened even further. Once the mug is on, you never have to worry about powering it on or off again since it automatically goes into sleep mode when not in use. Initial Use and Ember's iOS App

Review: LaCie's New Portable SSD is Pocket-Sized With Up to 2TB Storage and Fast Transfer Speeds

LaCie, Seagate's premium brand, today announced the launch of the new LaCie Portable SSD, a palm-sized storage device with up to 2TB of storage space. The new Portable SSD is one of LaCie's smallest and lightest SSD options, with the 1TB model measuring in at about three and a half inches long and just under three inches wide. It's pocketable at about 1/4 of an inch thick, and it easily fits into a bag or backpack without taking up much space. LaCie says this drive is suitable for on-the-go use with drop resistance of up to two meters. We dropped it a few times from a two-meter height onto wood flooring to test LaCie's claim, and the SSD suffered no harm. The SSD is made from a black plastic material with a red-rimmed black metal plate at the top that catches the light and looks quite attractive. There's unobtrusive LaCie branding at the top of the drive and a white LED at the front that comes on when it's plugged into a computer. The LED is a bit too bright in a dimmer room, but it's not a dealbreaker. LaCie offers the Portable SSD drive in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, so there are a total of three models at three price points. 500GB of storage costs $125, 1TB of storage costs $270, and 2TB of storage costs $540. LaCie says that the Portable SSD features USB 3.1 Gen 2 with maximum read/write speeds up to 540/500MB/s, which wasn't too far off of the speeds that we saw in our testing of the 1TB review unit that LaCie sent for evaluation ahead of the product's launch. Using a Blackmagic Disk Speed Test with a 2016 MacBook Pro, read speeds for us

Review: 2019 Acura RDX Offers Novel Touchpad Infotainment Controls, but CarPlay Doesn't Fully Support Them

As part of my continuing series of articles looking at how car manufacturers have integrated CarPlay into their infotainment systems, I've taken a look at the 2019 Acura RDX, the popular crossover SUV from Honda's luxury brand. Acura has been gradually rolling out CarPlay support across its lineup over the past few model years, and the new 2019 RDX is the first of this model to support the feature. My test vehicle was a well-equipped RDX with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), Technology package, and an A-Spec trim designed for those who want a bold look. The Technology package adds a premium ELS Studio audio system that offers 12 speakers, Acura's navigation system, two rear USB charging ports, parking sensors, and blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems. The A-Spec package adds larger 20-inch wheels in "Shark Gray," special exterior accents like a unique front bumper with LED fog lights, dual oval exhaust, and prominent badging. Inside, the A-Spec package adds a sport steering wheel that feels great in the hands, and leather seats in either full black or red with black inserts, including heated and ventilated front seats. Regardless of seating color, red is a prominent highlight color in other areas of the A-Spec cabin, including on the instrument panel and nighttime ambient lighting. The audio system is also upgraded to 16 speakers, including four embedded in the roof of the vehicle. There's an additional Advance package that includes some other nice features such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, a heads-up display, a