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Convert your DVDs to digital movies for free

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:05PM Thursday April 17, 2014
under Product Review

Remember all those DVDs you bought back in the days when watching a movie meant watching a DVD? Now they're probably collecting dust on a shelf, having been replaced by the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and maybe even Vudu. (Ha, ha, I know: good one.)

Yep, those discs are veritable dinosaurs these days, about as practical as vinyl records and VHS cassettes. And yet it's possible to resurrect your DVDs for a very practical purpose: Watching those movies on your PC, tablet, or smartphone. All you need is the right software.

Specifically, a DVD ripper. Don't let the name scare you: the process of "ripping" merely means copying the movie files from a disc and converting them to a format that's compatible with the aforementioned devices. Read More »

Finally, a mobile charger that's both smart and sexy

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:00PM Tuesday March 18, 2014
under Product Review

Mobile chargers are kind of a hot category these days, which is understandable given the ubiquity of smartphones and their insatiable thirst for power.

To put it another way: your smartphone is always running out of juice, and always at the worst times (like when you need to make a call or you're about to finally beat that impossible Candy Crush Saga level).

I've seen mobile chargers in all shapes and sizes, many of them squeezing their way into card-size frames that can easily slip into a pocket, purse, or even wallet. But as cool as that sounds, they typically have ugly plastic shells and anemic batteries.

That's why I'm jazzed about the LithiumCard, which combines slick looks and smart design. It's currently seeking backers on crowd-funding site Indiegogo, but has already blown past its funding goals, meaning it's just a matter of time before it goes into production. Read More »

A watch that's smart enough to track your kids

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:03AM Tuesday March 11, 2014
under Product Review

I can't imagine the horror of a child abduction. Yet here in the U.S., more than 800,000 kids are reported missing every year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Technology to the rescue? The makers of the hereO child GPS watch hope so. Launching today and available for pre-order via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the watch combines GPS and GSM technology to give parents some extra peace of mind. Read More »

Kinivo ZX120: The best portable speaker $20 can buy

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 9:00AM Friday February 28, 2014
under Product Review

I'm about to make your ears really happy and your wallet downright ecstatic.A few weeks back I reviewed the Qube2, a portable Bluetooth speaker that delivered pretty amazing sound--but cost a pretty painful $80.

If you're not hung up on Bluetooth, you can get a seriously amazing portable speaker for one-fourth the price.

It's the Kinivo ZX120, a new, upgraded version of the already very popular ZX100. And it currently sells at Amazon for $19.99 (plus shipping, unless you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, in which case shipping is free). Read More »

Qube2 review: Big sound packed into a tiny speaker

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:46AM Tuesday February 4, 2014
under Product Review

Portable speakers come in all shapes and sizes, but rarely does the size merit an "awww, cute!"

That's the Matrix Audio Qube2 in a tiny nutshell. Measuring just 3.1 inches long and 1.4 inches square, this little guy makes a Twinkie look big. And yet its size belies its power: the Qube2 pumps up the jams like you wouldn't believe.

I'm listening to a review unit at this very moment. It's paired via Bluetooth to my iPhone, which is streaming tunes from Pandora. And it sounds amazeballs--way, way better than a speaker of this size has any right to. Read More »

Review: Martian Passport watch not quite smart enough

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:23AM Friday November 15, 2013
under Product Review

My recipe for the perfect smartwatch is pretty simple.

First, it should look classy, not clunky, ugly, and tech-y.

Second, it shouldn't try to do too much. It should be an extension of your phone, providing notifications and information, nothing more.

Third, it should last for at least a week before needing to be recharged.

Finally, it should cost no more than $100.

The Martian Passport is not the perfect smartwatch. It gets a lot of things right, but also misfires in a few key areas -- not the least of which is basic wristwatch duty.

At first glance, the Passport looks pretty snazzy, with its analog face and shiny chrome casing. It's available with a black or white face, though the black one (which I tested) has a decidedly non-snazzy rubber wristband. The white one comes with a leather band. Read More »

Ematic EGP008 review: A dirt-cheap 8-inch tablet. Is it any good?

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 9:07AM Friday October 25, 2013
under Product Review

When I see the words "8-inch Android tablet" paired with the numbers "$129.99," I sit up and take notice.

After all, Apple's new 8-inch (well, 7.9-inch) iPad Mini just debuted with a starting price of $399. A tablet that costs a whopping $270 less must be a hunk of junk, right?

That was my thinking as I approached the Ematic EGP008, a new tablet that, on paper, seems a little too good to be true.

Available in your choice of black, blue, gray, or red, the EGP008 looks like most other tablets in its class. It's nicely tapered at the rear, and its gently rounded edges make for a comfortable grip. It also feels reasonably light, weighing just a hair over one pound.

The backside also has labels for the various items along the bottom edge, which include the power button, headphone jack, microUSB and microHDMI ports, and microSD slot.
Read More »

Kindle Fire HDX Review: Evolution is Good

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:01PM Monday October 7, 2013
under Product Review

To look at the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon's third-generation tablet to bear the Fire moniker, you wouldn't know much has changed. Read More »

Virgin Mobile Supreme review: The no-contract smartphone you've been waiting for

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 9:48PM Friday September 27, 2013
under Product Review

If you've been looking to buy a smartphone on the cheap, meaning with low monthly rates and without a two-year contract, you know that there are plenty of Android-powered options out there.

The problem is, most of those phones have small screens, old operating systems, slow processors, limited features, 3G-only connectivity, or some other catalog of compromises.

That's why I'm thoroughly excited by the Virgin Mobile Supreme, a 5-inch powerhouse of a smartphone that's quite possibly the best deal no-contract I've seen yet.

I'll get to the specifics in a minute.
Read More »

AOC E1659Fwu 16-inch USB-powered monitor review

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:30AM Monday September 16, 2013
under Product Review

When it comes to productivity, nothing beats a second monitor. At its most basic, it lets you keep two full-screen windows open simultaneously: browser here, word processor there, and so on.

Indeed, I'll often run Chrome on one monitor and Outlook on the other. Being able to see both at the same time is a huge benefit, to say nothing of a time-saver.

But second screens are also great in customer-service environments, like when you're working behind a desk and want a client sitting opposite to be able to see what you're seeing. And if PowerPoint is your thing, you'll love being able to show a presentation to everyone at the conference table while still interacting with your laptop.

Read More »

Review: Limeade Blast L180X mobile charger

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:00AM Friday August 30, 2013
under Product Review

All mobile chargers are created more or less equal, right?

Wrong. Some lack the juice to charge larger devices like e-readers and tablets. Some make you juggle a bunch of different cords and tips, a huge hassle. And some will barely top off your smartphone more than once.

The Limeade Blast L180X conquers all those problems, and then some. But is it the best mobile charger you can buy?

Regular readers know that I'm a fan of the MyCharge Peak 6000, which features, among other things, built-in connectors for two common ports: Apple 30-pin and microUSB.
Read More »

4 ways to get organized with NeatDesk

By (view all posts by Susan.Yoo-Lee)
at 6:00AM Tuesday August 27, 2013
under Product Review

Every year, mostly during tax time, you'll see me hunched over a shoe box with a whole year of piled up receipts. Going through each of those receipts and filing them under dates and categories is a very time consuming job.

I dread every minute of it and it gives me anxiety, especially when I get a call from my tax guy trying to set up an appointment for our yearly tax return. I'm sure many of you, if not all of you can relate to this scenario.

So this year, I have the perfect solution to my dreaded drama, NeatDesk. Just like the name, no more messy desk, no more shoe boxes to hunch over and a road to keeping my sanity and composure on a daily basis. Sounds too good to be true? I feel you and that's why the team over at NeatDesk sent me one to test to see if it's really too good to be true. Read More »