Vacuum cleaners used to be boring devices that we had to push and drag around the house to collect dust bunnies and other flotsam and jetsam from our floors. But over recent years they've gotten smarter and can now clean our floors with out us even being at home. The Ecovacs Deebot 900 is a robotic floor cleaner that wanders around your home collecting the bits and pieces that hit the floor. Here's how it performed at my place.
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The Apple Watch Series 4, which is the fifth major product version of Apple's smartwatch platform, offers a number of substantial changes over its predecessor while retaining much of what has made it the most popular smartwatch around. While it is an evolution on previous versions, it represents, perhaps, the first compelling reason for early adopters to consider an upgrade.
Microsoft has played a very steady game with its Surface family of computers. It took a couple of generations of the Surface Pro convertible before venturing into more traditional laptop form factors with the Surface Laptop and Surface Book and desktops with the Surface Hub. It's surprising that it's taken over six years to produce the Surface Go, a more compact device that appeals to those seeking a Windows system in an iPad-like form factor. But the company has produced a solid performer that will fulfil the needs for those who want a second computer to complement their main computer or whose computing needs are more modest.
While printing has never really died (Long live the paperless office!) the ease with which we can take high quality photos and share them has almost rendered personal printing redundant. And the ability to print at home means the post-holiday trip to the chemist or local photo-lab to get pictures printed is also a rarity. Enter the Lifeprint - a portable printer that lets you take a mini photo lab with you wherever you go.
With Sonos doing a great job of making exceptional speakers that fit in almost every situation in your home, three further battlefields remained - becoming a less proprietary option so you can stream music from any device to the speakers without having to go through the Sonos app all the time, smart speakers and home theatre setups. All of those have been addressed over the last year or so as the Santa Barbara-based company has revised most of their range. The Sonos Beam is their second home theatre product. Here's what I've found after using the Beam in my lounge room.
Small form factor PCs have traditionally been a story of compromise. In order to fit a full PC into a case the size of a book, they've had to cut back on processing power, storage, and ports for connecting to peripherals. But the advent of fast SSDs, and smaller but powerful processors that don't generate massive levels of heat have changed the equation significantly. Intel has been one of the leaders with their NUC (Next Unit of Computing) range of PCs. The NUC VR Machine is a system that will meet the needs of almost any computer user.
NAS devices have transformed from simple storage devices into multimedia and data management centres that are as much at home in the home as they are in the office. The QNAP TS-453Be straddles that line between work and play, offering a bunch of connectivity, applications and storage options. And while it offers a rich set of features, it's let down by some usability challenges.
Han Solo: Dastardly rogue, charming swindler, cocky pilot, self-assured prick. We've known this much since Star Wars first flew into view in 1977. Now, Star Wars has wound the clock all the way back to tell the story of how Han Solo came to be all those adjectives with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
This is definitely a Star Wars film - and while that will give the legions of disgruntled Last Jedi fans something to hold on to - it works to Solo's detriment.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 has landed in Australia and while cosmetically, it doesn't change the formula too much, under the hood it's got a lot going on and puts itself high on the list of Android devices that you should be looking at.
But is it worth your time? Let's find out.
When Apple introduced the first iPhone, one of the things Steve Jobs lamented was styluses - those small plastic sticks that slotted into the side of many devices back in 2007 that we often lost. That's spawned a number of other options with Apple even develop their own Pencil - albeit at an eye-watering price. The Wacom Bamboo Tip is a stylus solution that lets you scribble notes and sketch on your iOS or Android device.
I had to change how I think because of Google's new $US1000 Pixelbook. This gorgeous 2-in-1 is some of my favourite hardware for the price, but it's loaded with Chrome OS, the worst operating system you could put on your computer. If you've grown up a power user of MacOS, Windows, or Linux than Chrome OS feels like getting cut off at the knees, and hardware can't possibly distract you from how hamstrung Chrome OS is compared to its more mature competitors.
So in order to not spend another Chromebook review complaining about the severe inadequacies of Chrome OS, I decided to think like an ideal Chrome OS user. It was worse than that time I tried to stop drinking sodas, but as painful as living a wholly different existence was it made one thing very obvious: If you are an ideal Chrome OS user this is the very best laptop you can buy.
Sphero might be best known for their brilliant Star Wars robots - R2-D2 and BB-9E are all kinds of awesome. But the company is about more than making nifty playthings. The Sphere Mini is a spherical robot that acts as a gateway for kids to get into programming, as well as a funky little gaming device.
Kingston and their gaming-centric HyperX brand expanded into the mechanical keyboard market with the Alloy FPS last year and the reception was wholly positive. The slimmed-down board was designed in conjunction with professional gamers and it firmly had them in mind when crafting a product that was sturdy, reliable and portable. Now, HyperX have taken things in a slightly different direction with the Alloy Elite.
Not long after the first Deathadder launched, there was discussion amongst Counter-Strike circles about what was the best mouse to buy. The Intellimouse Optical or Logitech's MX500 were the two favourites. But Microsoft had canned production of the former, and the shape of Logitech's offerings (with the concave indent for your thumb) was very particular, and not at all conducive for certain mouse grips. So if you were in the market for a new mouse, or your Intellimouse had just died, what was a gamer to do?
The go-to mouse became the Deathadder: it had the same shape as the fat Intellimouse Optical mice, the optical sensor was just as reliable at the end of a tournament as it was at home, and it felt good in the hand. Razer's since refreshed the Deathadder line with the Deathadder Elite, and it's just as good as the original Deathadder was over a decade ago.