On Techlicious: The Best Laptop Under $500 – Fall 2014
A search for laptops under $500 turns up a wide range of choices, starting with smaller, netbook-like hybrids and moving up to full-size, mainstream PCs with a budget price tag. Assuming you want a full-featured PC, chances are that you’re looking for either a small, ultra-portable, low-power secondary machine or a full-sized computer that’s basic yet reliable. Since the criteria for each are different, a final choice comes down to one thing: Which laptop is the best value for my money?
To evaluate the best laptops under $500, I didn’t just look at price; I also considered performance, design, brand reliability and reviews from professionals and consumers. A handful of promising contenders emerged, including the Acer Aspire E15, the Lenovo Yoga 2 11, the Acer Aspire Switch 10 and the Asus Transformer Book T100.
On Liliputing: Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook [Video]
I don’t think many people expected to see Samsung hardware and the same Nook version of Android used on older tablets like the B&N NOOK HD (which is sad, really, because it was a slick interface). But I had hoped that the experience would be different from what you get when you install the Nook app on any Android. And in some respects, it is. Just not so much that you mistake this tablet for anything other than a Samsung product. It is running TouchWiz, after all.
If that doesn’t scare you away completely, read on for my first impressions.
On xoJane: Kat Von D is Treacherous And 5 Other Things I Learned When She Discontinued My Favorite Lipstick
Several months ago I was hanging out with a friend when I pulled out my lipstick to re-apply it. “You shouldn’t wear that,” she said to me in a casual, off-hand way.
“Um, why not?”
“That shade is wrong for you. It contrasts with your skin tone too much. It’s too severe.”
At the time I rolled my eyes and ignored her because she’s the only person ever to say something negative about my shade.
On Techlicious: Review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40
You don’t need a big camera in order to take crisp, detailed and balanced pictures. Premium compact cameras aim to be the best of both worlds: small like a point-and-shoot; powerful and programmable like a DSLR. That’s the space the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 fits in.
At $449 retail, the ZS40 is expensive for a compact camera. Its price though, can be justified by its impressive set of features—a 30x zoom, 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 lens, 18MP sensor, electronic viewfinder, optical image stabilization, WiFi, GPS, RAW capture, and a host of manual controls—great image quality and easy pocketability. The ZS40 is only 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches and weighs just 8.5 ounces.
On Techlicious: The Best 10-Inch Android Tablet – 2014
So what makes for an impressive tablet? We look for ones that have crisp screens with 1080p (or better) resolution, bright color palettes, interfaces that are pleasing to look at and easy to use, speedy and power-efficient quad-core CPUs, and designs that are thin and light—without feeling flimsy and cheap. The best of these tablets come at a premium, around $500. For that price, you want a device that offers extras—multi-tasking and kid-friendly modes and a wide array of content options—on top of all the basic criteria. Free stuff doesn’t hurt, either.
On xoJane: 5 Awesome Headphones That Won’t Overwhelm Your Head
Headphones are a legit fashion accessory now that a bunch of celebrities either make them or wear them at all times. But as cool as a pair of Beats Studios may look around Katie Holmes’ neck, it does not escape my notice that those things are way huge on her.
The Dr Dres, 50 Cents, and Tim Tebows of the world might prefer giant cans on their heads, but some of us are looking for headphones with a smaller profile. Good thing it’s far easier to find a non-bulky, attractive, premium headphone now than it was just a year ago.
On Techlicious: The Best Android Phone – Summer 2014
This year, a number of excellent new Android phones hit the market: the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2 and LG G3. All of them have the ingredients of a great phone — big, beautiful displays, speedy performance, good cameras and long battery life — with only a few drawbacks between them.
I tested each of the new models and determined that the HTC One M8 is the most impressive of the bunch. It has the whole package down pat, including a gorgeous design, which makes it my pick for the best Android smartphone. Here’s why.
On Techlicious: The Best Way to Take Notes
Taking notes is one of the most important activities for a high school or college student, be it in class during lectures or at the library or home doing research. Using a laptop to take notes has become common, but recent research shows that laptop note-taking is far less effective than taking notes by hand. And even when students don’t use their laptops to multitask during class (surfing the web and chatting on social networks), they don’t process and retain information as well as students who take their class notes by hand.
This effect doesn’t mean you have to give up the convenience of digital notes. With new digital pen tools and note apps, it’s possible to transform handwritten notes into text or make scribbled notes indexable and searchable.
On ChipChick: Siri vs. Cortana – Which Can Tell Me Chris Evans is Sexy?
One of the most hyped features of Windows Phone 8.1 is Cortana, a digital personal assistant that’s Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. And Microsoft wants you to know that they can build it better, stronger, faster. Well, better at least. Cortana’s feature set is supposedly guided by what real flesh and blood personal assistants say they do for clients. It’s not just a digital voice that can search the web and interact with apps; Cortana really gets to know you.
I spent a week with Cortana and Siri testing the strengths of each to see how well Microsoft did out of the gate. It might not seem like a fair comparison since Siri is almost three years old now, but Cortana already does most of the things Siri can and a few she’s not capable of just yet.
On ChipChick: ASUS Padfone X is a Productivity Road Warrior: Review
The ASUS Padfone X, available now on AT&T for $199 (with contract), is a smartphone that transforms into a tablet that sort of transforms into an Android laptop. It’s an intriguing concept, especially if you want or need a tablet with productivity chops and you don’t want to pay extra for mobile hotspot service. That use case only covers a specific type of user. If you mostly use a tablet at home, the Padfone X may not be the device you need.