Amid a week featuring the debut of a fashionably small laptop, Dell has announced a line of products that move firmly in the opposite direction. The new XPS line of laptops are a high-end-targeted set of media-featured notebooks aimed squarely at the HP Envy and MacBook Pro crowds. The design, from a backlit keyboard to lots of anodized and brushed aluminum, feels like an upscale fusion of the Studio and Adamo lines. They aren't flashy, but they seem quite sleek, and Dell offers its arsenal of Design Studio tweaks for anyone looking to pop these XPS models up a … Read more
Starbucks Card Mobile App means BlackBerry owners can carry around one less plastic loyalty card in their wallets. Log in with your Starbucks Card username and password, or register a new account, and you'll be able to manage multiple prepaid cards from your smartphone.
Better yet, when credit threatens to dip below your latte threshold, you can top up your Starbucks Card by charging your credit card. The app lets you reload value from $10 to $100 (in $5 increments), and can also set up autocharging so you're never without a means to your caffeine buzz.
The app'… Read more
The publisher's description for Unit Converter describes the program as a "free unit converter made with an engineer in mind." That may be, but potential users who aren't engineers shouldn't be put off. Although Unit Converter handles measurements like enthalpy and thermal conductivity, it's also a quick and easy way to convert all kinds of everyday measurements.
The program has a unique interface, with 19 different categories of measurement in a list down the left side. Clicking on a category lets users select the original unit of measurement and the unit that they want … Read more
New models of AV receivers always roll out later in the year and we're in the midst of rounding up the best midrange models of 2010. AV receivers certainly don't change as quickly as other home theater products, like HDTVs and Blu-ray players, but every year there are few new features that are important to be aware of when making a buying decision. Here's a quick look at some of the changes to look out for this year in the midrange price level.
3D pass-through Even though it's a completely new feature for 2010, 3D compatibility … Read more
Do you remember when you bought stereo receivers based on their power and connectivity? The entry-level models were low in power and had just a few inputs. As you moved up in the line, they got more power, more ports, and an extra feature or two. The top models looked cooler than the entry-level ones, with a more high-end design flair and they hid their lesser-used controls under a flip-down panel. If someone bought a more expensive model, it's because they wanted better sound quality.
Home-theater receivers followed the same course, except the higher end models had more speaker … Read more
Proving size doesn't matter, VW won overall "Best Engine of the Year" for its 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger engine. Again.
It's the second year in a row that the "little engine that could" won this award at the International Engine of the Year Awards 2010. This fun-size engine combines a turbocharger and supercharger in one compact unit and, using direct fuel injection, manages to squeeze out 178 hp with astonishingly little displacement.
Powering the European Union versions of the Eos, Golf, and Tiguan, the 1.4-liter engine delivers impressive fuel economy gains over its … Read more
Your Android phone may have some measure of voice commands baked in, but Vlingo's premium offering adds the capability to launch apps, update your Twitter status, and send e-mail and text messages when you bark orders at it. (We'd love to see voice commands for playing music and taking photo and video, too.) On top of that, Vlingo will also dial your contacts, plumb Google Maps, and search Google or Yahoo. We should mention that there is a short learning curve in picking up the right voice triggers to get Vlingo to search and perform tasks.
Like other … Read more
People buy home theater-in-a-box systems for a lot of reasons, but sound quality isn't one of them.
The problem with HTIBs, even the very best ones, is they don't come with great speakers or subwoofers. Denon has a solution at hand: the S-5DB. Think of it as a HTIB that doesn't come with speakers or a subwoofer. No HTIB ever made has speakers as good as the better ones I've reviewed from Aperion Audio, Atlantic Technology, Definitive Technology, Energy Speakers, Klipsch, Mirage, or Polk. You want great sound? You gotta have great speakers.
The S-5BD combo … Read more
Google Translation Bar is a handy add-on for the Chrome Web browser that lets users translate Web pages between a variety of languages. It doesn't have as many features as other translators we've seen, but it's still a quick and easy way to get translations of fairly high quality.
The add-on integrates well with Chrome, appearing as a small icon within the address bar. When the icon is clicked, a banner appears across the top of the Web page offering translation options. Translating couldn't be easier; users simply select the desired output language--there are 53 to … Read more