admin on August 18th, 2014

20140701_Soundfreaq_Mini_Speaker_01

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

WIRED

Awesome sound for something slightly bigger than your laptop’s power brick. Bluetooth 4.0, works with almost any device. Over ten hours of battery life per charge. Button controls on the side for when your phone is out of reach. Rubber ring around the grille keeps it from moving around as it vibrates. Has a mic and works as a speakerphone.

TIRED

Does fine with classic rock, jazz, and mellower vibes, but it won’t bring out the nuances in your Merzbow MP3s. It wobbles when you tip it vertically, and it only really works well while sitting horizontally. Play button functions like a one-button remote on a smartphone, and can trigger the occasional pocket dial.

I’m crazy for portable Bluetooth speakers. They’re practical, they’re cute. They’re the type of gadget that works in every room—especially in places where you normally wouldn’t put a traditional sound system, like the kitchen, bathroom, basement, or back deck. Never mind the park, the beach, and the balcony at the HoJo.

As a result of my obsession, I have a great number of these speakers in my apartment (seven, by last count) and I’m always testing the new ones. This speaker, the Pocket Kick from Soundfreaq, has been my favorite new addition to the flock. It’s small (“pocket” is probably a misnomer, but it is very tiny), it costs $100, and the sound quality it produces puts it at the head of

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admin on August 14th, 2014

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

SIMILAR GALLERIES

The Humble WWI Biplane That Helped Launch Commercial Flight

The Humble WWI Biplane That Helped Launch Commercial Flight

How to Create a Logo for a Space Engine That Physicists Can’t Explain

How to Create a Logo for a Space Engine That Physicists Can’t Explain

Stirring Portraits of People Forced to Live in Flooded Homes

Stirring Portraits of People Forced to Live in Flooded Homes

Read More at:: http://feeds.wired.com/c/35185/f/661463/s/3d7f682e/sc/28/l/0L0Swired0N0C20A140C0A80Ctoshiba0Esatellite0Eradius0Ep55w0C/story01.htm

Kia’s K900 is its first full-size sedan made for the luxury market. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

The interior is swanky, stuffed with Nappa leather and real wood. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

The LED headlights swing to light the road as you turn. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

The 119.9-inch “world-class”—Kia’s words—wheelbase puts it at the same scale as the A8, 750i, and LS460. It’s a touch taller than those cars, but its profile looks less boxy and lower to the ground. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

19-inch, chrome-finished wheels come standard. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

The car is nearly silent on the road, thanks to double-paned windows and foam insulation packed into key parts of the body. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

“Power soft-close door latches” make the doors close so quietly it’s hard to believe they’re made of steel.

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20140801-SALEWA-SHOES-012edit

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

WIRED

Form meets function with this high-tech, street-smart shoe. It will keep you warm and dry from a subway stop to an airport terminal and all the way to Positano, Italy, without sacrificing style. Plus, the Ramble is a lot of shoe for the $150 pricetag.

TIRED

It’s still a hiking-urban hybrid, which means that I’ll still have to pack strappy sandals and heavier-lugged hiking boots or running shoes for the trail.

When it comes to traveling, footwear is my Achilles heel. I’m usually heading off to a place where winter boots or lug-toed hiking shoes are a necessity. And since these heavy-duty shoes take up most of the space in my suitcase, I almost always wear them through airports, which feels like overkill, sort of like driving a Hummer on an LA Freeway. It’s always a little embarrassing that the airport waifs surrounding me at the x-ray machine are slipping off their strappy high-heeled sandals while I’m unlacing 10 pounds of Vibram soles.

The need to inhabit a variety of worlds when I travel is why I’m excited every time I find products where sophisticated design matches the sophistication of the technology. I love stuff that looks good and works well in the wild. Salewa’s new Ramble urban outdoor travel shoe, which comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, checks both those boxes.

The suede upper is all-Italian, with a low profile, an elegant

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Enter the connected home through the biggest door in your house: the garage door.

Enter the connected home through the biggest door in your house: the garage door. Courtesy Iris/Lowe’s

WIRED

Open and close your home’s garage door from anywhere—inside the house, down the block, or in the Bahamas. Install takes only 20 minutes. Set rules for opening and closing automatically at specific times. No problems with interference. Controller connects to a smart-home hub for lights, motion sensing, and home alarm.

TIRED

Doesn’t auto-sense when you roll up the driveway. Requires connecting two wires into the garage door opener. Z-Wave platform is stable, but requires a dedicated hub that costs $100.

The final frontier of the connected home has nothing to do with thermostats, fancy doorbells, or smooth jazz coming out of your credenza.

If your domicile is large enough to also house a car or two, then the first and last portal you pass through every day is most likely your garage door. And when you and your Porsche (or Chevy Impala) roll to work or come home from the gym, you—being the owner of a fully-connected home—expect more than just an old-school remote-controlled garage door opener. You want something smarter. Something that not only opens and closes the door, but a device that can be controlled by your phone no matter where in the world you are. Such a device should also know when

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admin on July 28th, 2014

Lenovo Y50. Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

WIRED

Patterned, brushed metal lid is a unique and stylish design.

TIRED

Temperamental touchscreen and touchpad. Barely three hours of battery life. Some issues with temporary hanging at boot. Lackluster performance considering the price. Heavy at 5.8 pounds.

“Entry level” and “gaming machine” aren’t phrases that normally go together, and “Lenovo” isn’t typically a manufacturer that goes with either of them. Wisely ditching the ThinkPad brand is about the only decision that makes any sense around this oddball laptop—it’s just the Lenovo Y50. But all told, it’s an “entry level portable gaming machine” that is likely to appeal to absolutely no one.

The Y50 comes with three different display types: touch, non-touch, and 4K. For my tests, Lenovo supplied a Y50 Touch, the model with a 10-point touchscreen. Like you’d expect from Lenovo, it’s a jet black 15.6-inch notebook, but the similarities to the ThinkPad line end just about there. The bright red keyboard backlighting is an instant tip-off that this isn’t dad’s laptop. The curious beveling on the back of the laptop—highlighting some showy JBL speaker grilles—further attempts to step the Y50 away from the stodginess of the ThinkPad line’s business-minded aesthetics.

The Y50 features a few upgrades over the typical laptop, but as its “entry level” tagline implies, it’s hardly on the bleeding edge. The Core i7 CPU included, running at 2.4GHz, is one of the slowest versions of that chip

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admin on July 24th, 2014

nokia-phone-02

Maurizio Pesce/WIRED

WIRED

Very accessible price for 4G LTE networking and a fresh OS. Windows Phone updated to include Cortana, better notifications, and tighter integration with Microsoft cloud services. Colorful interchangeable covers, solid body. Support for up to 128GB of storage.

TIRED

Lacks a selfie camera, and rear-facing camera is not what you would expect from a Nokia. This is probably a phone more dedicated to social players than photo maniacs. Display is disappointing too.

Given the deep morass Nokia and Microsoft are currently slogging through—the blah earnings, the layoff plans, a still-small app store, general confusion—it’s refreshing to see that the mobile phone partnership is not all doom and gloom. The Lumia handsets are selling well and making waves in the mid-to-low-end smartphone market. Last year’s Lumia 520 in particular was a hit; Microsoft says over 12 million handsets were sold, and that success probably has very much to do with the phone’s sub-$150 price tag.

So here’s another Windows smartphone that should appeal the same crowd looking for inexpensive options: The Nokia Lumia 635. It’s among the first handsets to launch with the latest update of Windows Phone 8.1 software out of the box, along with its close relatives, the 3G-only Lumia 630 and the also-3G but smaller and weaker Lumia 530. All three are inexpensive (approaching $150, depending on the carrier) but the Lumia 635 is the only 4G phone

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admin on July 23rd, 2014

One of the unique features on the Fire Phone is “Dynamic Perspective.” Inside certain apps, this visual trick is applied to give onscreen objects a sense of depth and a 3-D look. Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

The phone’s built-in speakers are a bit of a disappointment. There are two on the bottom and one on the top, and while they get very loud, the sound that comes out is very shrill. Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

There are gesture controls designed to make the phone easier to use with one hand. A quick flip to the left or right will display context-sensitive menus. Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Frequently used apps show up on the scrolling carousel section of the Fire Phone’s homescreen. Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Four cameras on the front of the phone track the position of your face relative to the screen. This helps give onscreen objects a sense of depth. Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

It’s gimmicky

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It may look like the original 1974 version, but inside Teenage Engineering's new OD-11 things have changed quite a bit.

It may look similar to the original 1974 version, but inside the new OD-11 things have changed quite a bit. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

WIRED

Produces big, immersive, and uncolored sound for a 10 x 10-inch floor- (or shelf-) bound cube. Beautifully designed (and genuinely intuitive) Othoplay app and web interface. You can wirelessly link up to four OD-11s together. Comes with optical and 3.5mm inputs should you want to call your cloud music back down to earth.

TIRED

Crazy expensive. Must be a premium Spotify user of to take advantage of the direct in app streaming. No native Android or Windows app support (You have to connect to and control the speaker via a browser window). Limited to AirPlay streaming.

Teenage Engineering’s OD-11 speaker has been stuck in “coming soon” limbo for a couple years now. After appearing at the past two Consumer Electronic Shows, blowing a Summer 2013 launch date, and going on pre-order last fall, this white block of almost-vaporware finally materialized at the MoMa Design Store in New York last week. And while you won’t need to be a Scandinavian audiophile to enjoy this Swedish speaker, you will need a sufficiently padded bank account.

First, some history. Stig Carlsson isn’t a household name here in the U.S., but a generation of Hi-Fi-oriented Swedes grew up buying and listening

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admin on July 19th, 2014

The Acer Aspire Switch 10 can be positioned in a few different ways, depending on what you're using it for.

The Acer Aspire Switch 10 can be positioned in a few different ways, depending on how you’re using it. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

WIRED

Solid price point and feature set on a capable Windows tablet. Keyboard attachment and release system is best-in-class. Great portability.

TIRED

Would like to see a higher-resolution display. No rear-facing camera included; selfies only. With weight predominantly in the slate, design becomes top-heavy and prone to tipping over backwards when working in “laptop” mode.

I don’t know if anybody is actually buying these things, but Little Windows Tablets are proving themselves to be quite the capable category of on-the-go productivity devices. Available for just a few hundred bucks, they’re rapidly becoming the netbooks of the ’10s, only with some unique tricks that make them considerably more worthwhile.

The latest entry in the category is Acer’s Aspire Switch 10. It’s called Switch because it features a slate-style tablet that attaches to a removable keyboard. Using a magnetic design, it makes for one of the most seamless and speedy connections I’ve yet to encounter in a device like this. It can also be reversed, so the keyboard also doubles as a stand which lets you invert the tablet and prop the screen up, tent style.

The centerpiece of the unit is a 10.1-inch slate running a full version of Windows

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