admin on January 30th, 2015

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a nice 1080p IPS display. It costs $329.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a nice 1080p IPS display. It costs $329. Toshiba

WIRED

One of the best Chromebooks on the market right now. Gorgeous 13.3-inch 1080p IPS display with vivid, rich colors. Great sound, even for a laptop. Up to 8 hours from the battery.

TIRED

A display of this caliber deserves better than the somewhat pokey Bay Trail processor. Heavier and larger than most Chromebooks.

Buying a Chromebook is an exercise in compromises. Want a solid construction and a nice display panel? You’ll probably have to sacrifice something like battery life, or the quality of the trackpad. Or, perhaps you want a bigger screen? There are a few models out now that offer 13-inch and even 15-inch 1080p screens. I tested Samsung’s 13-inch Chromebook 2 last month, and while the screen was great, the price was too high. All these compromises!

While it’s not perfect, the new Toshiba Chromebook 2 manages to do what the similarly named Samsung Chromebook 2 could not: deliver a really nice 13.3-inch 1080p screen while keeping the price reasonable. If you’ve been waiting for a decent screen to arrive before you test the Chromebook waters, this is a machine to check out. (Acer also makes a 13-inch 1080p Chromebook, and we’re looking at that one next.)

I tested the Toshiba CB35-B3340, which features a 2.58 GHz Intel Celeron

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admin on January 29th, 2015

winestain-remover-inline1

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Perhaps you’ve read the news: There’s a dark side to drinking. No, not cirrhosis of the liver. Spillage.

Few household stains are more noxious than red wine—to the point where an entire industry has sprung up around helping consumers who want to remove red wine stains from their linens.

Do these products actually work? I acquired five of the most popular names in wine-stain removal and put them to the test. Specifically, I applied a controlled amount of red wine on various points of an otherwise clean cotton towel. With the stains still wet, I followed the manufacturers’ instructions on treating each stain (typically of the spray-then-rub-then-wash variety), then washed the towel with other garments. As a control, an additional stain was treated with a mixture of standard laundry detergent and white vinegar, a commonly advised wine stain removal tactic. A final stain was not treated at all.

I repeated the process for a second test on a different towel, but this time let the wine sit for 48 hours to measure the products’ effectiveness with old, well-set stains. Finally, I tested these products with materials that you can’t launder, including carpet and furniture fabrics, again testing both fresh and old wine stains. This would test each product’s effectiveness on its own, without the aid of a water and soap bath after treatment.

The Contenders

For this analysis, I obtained five cleaning products designed for cleaning wine stains. They include

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admin on January 23rd, 2015

The Nexus 9 tablet also comes in black and white---and gold as well. The back side has a tacky feel that's easy to grip, and at 425 grams, it's very lightweight. Google is pitching this as a productivity, work-forward device. It's selling a magnetic keyboard separately to help you get things done.

The Nexus 9 tablet is manufactured by HTC, runs Android Lollipop, and costs $400 on its own. Google is pitching this as a productivity, work-forward device, so it’s also selling an HTC-made magnetic keyboard accessory for $130. We test both of these in this review. Alex Washburn / WIRED

WIRED

Excellent front-facing stereo speakers and a very nice screen. Light, comfortable to hold. Runs the latest version of stock Android, which has improved since launch. Very solid battery life. Keyboard cover Folio (sold separately) is a nice option for entering lots of text.

TIRED

Not as consistently fast as it should be. Screen is too reflective for some outdoor conditions. Optional Keyboard Folio is buggy, and using it on the fly can grow annoying.

When Google’s Nexus 9 tablet first came out a few months ago, I tested it in direct comparison with the iPad Air 2. I decided Apple’s tablet was the better choice for mobile computing at the time. Now that the Nexus 9 has been around a bit (and many of Android Lollipop’s shortcomings have been addressed) I’m going to look at the Nexus on

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admin on January 21st, 2015

bowflex-ft

Nautilus Inc.

WIRED

Looks like a piece of modern art. Surprisingly fun to use. Tall, not long, so it’s apartment-friendly. Dual heart-rate monitors. Syncs with your smartphone.

TIRED

Short power cord limits placement options. Some user-hostile design choices. Gets pretty noisy. Allows only two user profiles.

The treadmill was born of man’s desire to keep his lazy carcass in shape when the elements won’t permit. Then came the stair-stepper and elliptical, machines born of man’s desire to keep from ripping his knees to shreds on the treadmill.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is about 70 percent stair-stepper, 25 percent elliptical, and five percent torture—but mostly in a good way. It’s definitely one of the most attractive home-exercise machines you’ll ever see, and there’s no question it can give you a solid workout. Plus, it’s smartphone-savvy, syncing your workouts to a tracking app or Apple’s Health Kit. But certain aspects of the design will leave you wondering if anyone at Bowflex actually tested the machine before sending the CAD files to the factory.

It’s definitely a beaut, a monolithic slab of arms and pistons decked out with striking red trim and what looks like a jet turbine at its base. Turns out it’s a fan—one that produces less noise than a jet, but definitely drowns out the TV as you pedal faster.

That’s once you get it assembled, of course. Conveniently labeled parts and a well-written manual make for a fairly painless

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admin on January 5th, 2015

Ultimate Ears has come out with a bigger version of its great-sounding Bluetooth speaker.

Ultimate Ears has come out with a bigger version of its great-sounding Bluetooth speaker. Liana Bandziulis

WIRED

Same killer sound and smart design of the original UE Boom, just louder, bigger, and smarter. Fully waterproof and IPX7 certified. Awesome battery life—over 20 hours. Comes in a variety of bright colors, also black or white. Nice companion app.

TIRED

Not as portable as other speakers unless you’ve got a backpack—it weighs two pounds and is girthier than a bottle of wine.

For almost two years, I’ve been singing the praises of the UE Boom to anyone who asked. The cylindrical speaker is one of the absolute best-sounding, best-designed portable Bluetooth soundsystems, a product category unfortunately overpopulated by awful, bromidic barf machines.

Funny thing is, the UE Boom is a me-too product. It came along well after the Jawbone Jambox, the diminutive Bluetooth speaker responsible for setting fire to the category and generating a giant, candy-colored wave of mobile boombox hysteria. But I’ve always preferred the UE Boom over the Jambox, or other competing speakers like the Bose Soundlink Mini. The UE Boom doesn’t just sound better, it’s got a smarter design. The cylindrical shape throws sound in a wider arc than the forward-facing drivers found in the brick-shaped enclosures. And, the UE Boom’s tiny circular footprint keeps the speaker from “walking” around on

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admin on January 4th, 2015

1272880_Cold Brew Coffee Maker

OXO

WIRED

Makes delicious, low-acid coffee concentrate without electricity. Uses either paper or metal filters. Smart design: all necessary measurements are marked, it comes apart easily for cleaning, and it packs down to half-size for storage. Brings the best out of cheap beans. Lots of grounds, keeps your compost happy.

TIRED

Still fussy. Mostly plastic. Larger footprint than some cold brew systems, so not great for tight kitchens.

Cold brew is exploding. Sure, people have been brewing coffee by letting grounds sit overnight in room-temperature water since the days of the Bishop and Mrs. Proudie. But it’s only recently that contraptions specially designed for cold-brewing coffee have hit the market, all of them claiming to produce better-tasting cold brew than the old “mix it all in a bucket and let it sit” method. There’s the Bruer and the Filtron.

There’s even the decades-old Toddy, itself little more than a bucket into which you mix grounds and water—proving that no matter what heights of preciousness the hipsters of gadgetdom attempt to elevate the cold brewed cup of coffee, the old zero-fuss methods still work just fine.

But now OXO, the giant of the household gadget industry, makes a cold-brewer. It’s a smartly designed, mostly plastic $50 kit that you can find on a shelf at big department stores. And this is OXO we’re talking about, a company that specializes in designing products for a

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admin on December 31st, 2014

With fully functional headlights, taillights, and blinkers, the Henes Broon F870 can be used as the world’s greatest night light. Henes

Henes

Independent suspension keeps the F870 rolling over sidewalk divots and large lumps of gum. Henes

Henes

A dash-mounted Android tablet doesn’t just display the speed. It also lets you set driving modes, speed limits, and bump jams out of the Broon’s stereo speakers. Henes

Henes

The long-life battery in the trunk gives the F870 superb range for a toddler-friendly luxury vehicle. Henes

Henes

It is small, even for a six-year-old. Henes

Henes

To protect the driver from all that torque, a four-point seat belt comes standard. Henes

Henes

The car body pops off the chassis and can be swapped for other colors and styles. Henes

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admin on December 21st, 2014

newWemo-MAIN

Liana Bandziulis / WIRED

WIRED

WeMo Maker provides a mechanism to connect almost any electrical device around your home to the Internet, with no programming knowledge required. Relatively easy to set up.

TIRED

The Maker can be intimidating for those less familiar with wiring diagrams and electrical wiring.

A connected home is a simpler home, or so they’ll say at some point in the future. Right now, however, a connected home can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Not only do you have to deal with excess wireless modem-like boxes called hubs, it’s only a matter of time before you have a folder full of smartphone apps just to control individual facets of your home. The blue icon turns on your lights, tap the red icon for some coffee, oh and that pink icon—that’s for a smoke detector.

Worst of all, none of the competing platforms are capable of interacting with one another. For this reason, among others, Belkin’s WeMo line has only grown in appeal as the company continues to expand its product offerings. Currently you can purchase a basic Switch and Motion sensor bundle, LED Light Bulbs, a crockpot, and even a coffee maker; each one capable of connecting to the Internet and controllable through a WeMo app.

One area WeMo hasn’t been able to tackle, though, is products lacking a traditional electrical plug. Take a garage door opener, for example. I’m not referring

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admin on December 20th, 2014

The Leveraxe Vipukirves 2. Yep, that's an axe alright. You know, for chopping wood.

The Leveraxe Vipukirves 2. Yep, that’s an axe alright. You know, for chopping wood. Ariel Zambelich

WIRED

Innovative design that’ll turn the heads of your lumberjack friends. Makes splitting hardwoods significantly easier than a traditional maul. Light axe doesn’t require a lot of force, lessening chances of back or muscle strain. Unique approach to splitting wood allows you to take on logs of any size, splitting from the outside in. Ten-year warranty.

TIRED

Prior experience splitting wood will increase the learning curve on these guys. The pretty designs are pretty expensive: One axe will set you back somewhere between $250 and $300 depending on which model you choose.

If your trusty old wood-splitter just hasn’t been cutting it lately, give Heikki Kärnä’s invention a try. The now-retired Finnish air controller’s cleverly simple wood-chopping device is called the Vipukirves 2. Technically, it’s just an axe, though it probably doesn’t look like any axe you’ve seen before. That wonky, cherry-red axe head is not only bizarrely shaped, but the unconventional design gives it the power to tear a log a new one. Many new ones, in fact.

Here’s how it works. After the downswing and just after the blade pierces through the wood fibers, the counterweight on the right side of the head forces the axe to fall sideways. This creates a prying force that splits the fibers

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admin on December 19th, 2014

yotaphone-ft

Yota Devices

WIRED

A solid phone with a unique second e-paper screen. Battery life is way beyond every expectation. Reading books, documents and even social media messages on the electronic paper display leaves the eyes less fatigued. It’s like a mini Kindle, or like adding real smartphone functions to an e-reader. Smart notification features. Lots of customizability.

TIRED

The “YotaPanels” and some of their options are tricky to manage. Camera isn’t great. Software is still buggy: reading a notification from the e-paper display doesn’t always clear it from the main notification bar. Traces of previous images stay impressed on the EDP screen for minutes, negatively impacting readability.

You’re being busy on your phone—texting, writing emails, occasionally checking Facebook. But your taps and swipes are cautious. You’re growing more anxious by the minute. Your battery is about to die.

This has certainly happened to each and every one of you. It’s happened to me countless times, usually at the airport while waiting for delayed flights with no free outlets to charge up. (When will people learn to share?)

But the last time I found myself stranded at the airport unable to charge up, I wasn’t worried. I was multitasking: I had Spotify in my ears while checking emails, browsing Twitter, Facebook, and the Web. After four hours of intense usage I was still seated in front of the flight information display with 80 percent of battery life. Amazing.

How was I capable of such

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