From the way things are going multichannel home theater speaker systems will be on the endangered species list in a few years. Sound bars epitomize the "good enough" direction the market has taken, and most folks are happy with them, mostly because they sound better than the speakers built into their TVs. That's easy, but how do sound bars fare compared with a bona fide 5.1-channel subwoofer/satellite system? For this shootout I wanted to keep the budget in check, so I used MonoPrice's 8247 sub/sat system, and compared it with a couple of … Read more
You’re out of town. Someone knocks. Suddenly, you see a message on your phone: it’s the picture of the person who’s at your door.
The Goji Smart Lock is a bit of a hybrid; it’s one part automated entry system, one part surveillance. It also lets you use a physical key, but it doesn’t have to use one to open.
There are already a fair number of automated lock systems out there -- Lockitron, August Smart Lock, and Kwikset Kevo -- but the Goji’s addition of a camera-notifier makes it somewhat distinct from the … Read more
LIFX is a Wi-Fi-enabled LED bulb that you can control on your Android or iOS device. Much like the Philips Hue and fellow crowd-funded lighting project Ilumi, LIFX bulbs boast functionality way beyond that of incandescent lights or even other LEDs.
LIFX began on Kickstarter with a $100,000 goal, and ended up with pledges totaling $1,314,542 by the end of its campaign. Though the funding period is over, you can still preorder a LIFX bulb on the Web site for $89. That $89 will net you a highly customizable, energy efficient LED light that claims to last … Read more
Facebook is acknowledging that most smartphone owners want a broader view of the social-networking universe, not just a window to planet Facebook.
Starting Thursday, the company is incorporating Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram content into the Facebook Home lock screen experience, marking the biggest modification since a dramatic shift in strategy that came after its once-bundled Android software package failed to move consumers.
The Home improvement, only available in the Facebook for Android beta application to start, gives application users the option to add streams of content from the third-party, image-rich social services to their smartphone lock screens. The release … Read more
The device runs Android and works only with Samsung mobile devices equipped with Samsung Link, the company's program for connecting and sharing content. That includes the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 8, the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1, and Galaxy Camera.
"HomeSync is a powerful platform that we envision to be the center of a … Read more
Have you ever felt like your Flag Day lights were missing something? Perhaps your kickoff-timed lighting display still needs that fourth color from your team's second alternate European road trip jersey?
Rather than expanding into the galaxy of home automation component devices, Philips is taking a focused approach with its Friends of Hue product line. Hue, of course, is Philips' connected LED light bulb line that debuted last year. The Friends of Hue, at the moment comprising two accessory products, so far stay rooted in the world of LED illumination.
Among Hue's new Friends are the Bloom LED … Read more
If you've been waiting impatiently to preorder Yves Behar's August Smart Lock, today is your day. You can now go to August.com, select among four different color options (silver, dark gray, champagne, and for a limited time, August red), pay $199, and hover by your front door for the estimated first-quarter 2014 delivery of your very own August lock. Behar's smart lock is not only designed to compete with traditional lock systems, it's also a newer entrant into the quickly expanding smart lock market.
And since the August lock is officially one step closer to … Read more
If you own a 2013 Panasonic Smart TV, which includes the Home Screen interface, you will now be able to customize it with the new "Home Screen Collection." The Collection enables you to pick new wallpapers and layouts from a selection of 20 different options, including nature scenes and even sports stars.
When it comes to customization and even just the attractiveness of its user interface, Panasonic has arguably lagged behind its competitors. The new Home Screen is a good start; the default interface was, in my opinion, rather drab.
To access the new wallpapers, first make sure … Read more
HomeBank promises "free, easy personal accounting for everyone." It not only manages your accounts but also helps you analyze your finances. Customizable filters and colorful graphs help HomeBank deliver on the "easy," and more than 50 interface languages cover "everyone," as long as they're using Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8. We tried HomeBank in 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.
HomeBank's download is suitable for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and its installer automatically detected our 64-bit system and installed the correct version. HomeBank's user interface is well designed and even … Read more