Archives For Gadgets

tplink-wr702n

For many years, I’ve relied upon a small ASUS wireless bridge (WL-330gE) for a variety of blog and personal projects around the house. And, frankly, I’m long overdue for a 802.11n upgrade… especially as I consider a second TiVo Mini – in my kitchen, lacking both coax and Ethernet connectivity. I’d originally considered having Verizon wire me up with another FiOS TV jack but, after their recent rate increases, that’s off the table. Powerline is another option, and probably a safer bet than wireless, yet I remain firmly anti-clutter.

So I briefly took a look at ASUS’ latest and greatest portable router (WL-330N), which does indeed add higher speed, greater distance 802.11n capabilities — but at $47 it was a bit more than I cared to spend for this sort of product. Not to mention, configuration of my model has always been something of a pain. Enter the TP-Link TL-WR702N Continue Reading…

Unannounced Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker already on sale for $199.99

Vizio Costar

Despite a rocky launch and Chromecast availability, Google TV soldiers on. And, at $100, the Vizio Costar is the most economical of the bunch. After a number of software updates, including availability of a full-on Amazon Instant app, the Costar warrants a look. Also unique at this price point is Google TV‘s HDMI pass-thru functionality, allowing you to overlay the UI on top of another set-top or the HDTV itself – merging multiple sources onto a single television input. Further, the (bulky) QWERTY remote has an integrated IR blaster to potentially control those other aforementioned content sources. Due to a USPS/FedEx shipping debacle along with kind intervention by Vizio PR, we ultimately ended up with two units. Our pain is your gain and this brand spanking new Vizio Costar is up for grabs to Zatz Not Funny Facebook fans located in the US and you can enter using the embedded widget below. The giveaway ends at midnight tonight (EST), so act fast. Good luck! Continue Reading…

kindle-paperwhite2

Exactly one year ago, I received Amazon’s first illuminated Kindle. And the Paperwhite display did not live up to the breathless marketing hype (and product imagery). I tried to give it a chance, but ultimately the smudgy, cross hatching towards the bottom of the display was more of a distraction than the lighting was a benefit… and the Kindle was returned. So when v2 was announced about a month ago, I wondered aloud if the lighting had been improved – with The Verge Editor-in-Chief assuring me it was. And now that mine has arrived, after only about 3-4 hours of reading, I concur: the $119 Kindle Paperwhite (v2) is a keeper. Screen illumination is significantly more even, no longer a distraction, and touch recognition/responsiveness is similarly improved.

As to my prior Kindle(s), Continue Reading…

samsung-smart-cable-boxThanks to a recently uncovered Amazon listing, we now have a bit more detail on Samsung’s upcoming hybrid set-top box that mates digital cable, via CableCARD, with over-the-top Internet apps like Netflix. Sorta like a TiVo. Without a hard drive or DVR capabilities…

The curious Samsung solution, first uncovered via FCC filings and later filmed in action at the Cable Show, looks primed to launch early November at $200 as a “Smart Cable Box” that includes WiFi. I suppose it might make a decent enough den or kitchen TV accessory, but given ongoing CableCARD complexity (and rental fee) it might be simplest to augment an operator’s basic cable box with an inexpensive Roku for similar results.