Touch and Go – Chromebook

Lenovo laptop

WIRED 10-point touchscreen supports pinch to zoom, two-finger right-click, two-finger scrolling, and other gestures you’d expect. 300-degree “stand mode” is perfect for Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Best-in-class keyboard. Solid, well-built chassis. TIRED 2GB of RAM—Really, Lenovo? TN panel display tarnishes the usefulness of “stand mode” by presenting movies in washed-out color. Pricey compared to other options at these specs. Chromebook manufacturers have spent this year continually attempting to one-up each other. It’s been great for consumers, since these cloud-powered laptops now make up one of the most interesting and lively categories of PC hardware. It doesn’t hurt that Chromebooks are also generally very affordable, with many available for around $200. Lenovo recently updated its Chromebook offerings, the n20 and n20p. I tested the latter, which costs $330 and features a…

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Google Play Movies and TV Are Now on Roku

Roku streaming

Today, Roku announced its channel selections will now include Google Play Movies & TV. Unlike the Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, you’ll be able to buy and rent movies and TV shows directly through the Roku channel. Google just announced its own streaming box, which makes that move seem weird on the surface. The $100 Nexus Player, which will launch in November, is the first set-top box that will run Android TV. Google is hoping that TV manufacturers in the coming year will adopt Android TV as a default smart ecosystem of sorts, providing a single platform for developers to create applications that will run on many different TVs. While Roku is the best overall option for a standalone set-top box at this point—its strengths being the…

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How Amazon’s Fire TV Stick Compares to Other Streaming Dongles

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Today, Amazon got into the streaming-stick game with the announcement of the $39 Fire TV Stick, an HDMI-port plugin for your HDTV that will replicate much of the functionality of the full-size Fire TV. Existing Amazon Prime members can pre-order the stick for just $19 in the next couple of days, but it won’t ship until November 19, according to Amazon’s site. It’ll have a few differentiating factors compared to the rapidly expanding field of streaming sticks. Those include a dual-core processor that should mean zippy reaction times, more onboard storage than its competition, and second-screen treats for Amazon tablet users that include X-Ray sync with onscreen content. Like the full-size Fire TV box, the stick will also offer faster load times for Amazon’s streaming content via the “ASAP” feature,…

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fitbit

Fitbit, one of the dominant players in today’s increasingly saturated fitness tracking space, today announced a trio of wearables of the wrist-worn variety. While the wearable space already has an overwhelming number of offerings, like the Garmin Vivosmart, the Misfit Flash, and Polar’s smart fitness watches, wearing something on your wrist is, as Apple emphasized in its Apple Watch hype, very personal. What works for one individual will not necessarily work for another. So, while the options for fitness-interested folks are intimidatingly limitless, it also means that you can find the device, and corresponding software platform, that does exactly what you want, fits the way you want, and looks the way you want. Fitbit, again, aims its particular offerings at those who have pretty basic fitness tracking and notification needs….

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The iPad Air 2 Finally Lets You Easily Switch Between Carriers

ipad-air2

Whether using a smartphone or tablet, wireless users have typically been tethered to a single carrier, constrained by their mobile device’s cellular band limitations and its SIM. No longer—well, at least with the iPad Air 2. While Apple didn’t highlight it in its Thursday keynote, the iPad Air 2 has a new SIM that could change the way you think of cellular network access. The company details its new SIM, dubbed the “Apple SIM,” in its iPad Air 2 wireless section, saying “[it] gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK.” This allows you to choose the plan that works best for you, whenever you need it, without ever needing to enter a carrier retail store. Unlike phones,…

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Blumoo Lets You Control All Your A/V Gear With Smartphone

blumoo

WIRED Operates thousands of IR remote-controllable components. Turns any home-audio setup into a Bluetooth speaker system. Simple setup. App has a live TV guide. TIRED Doesn’t provide the full controls of some supported devices, so you’ll still need to keep your remotes handy for some components. While its database is extensive, it can’t control everything. App is crashy. Blumoo is a three-inch-tall component for your home audio/video setup built around two simple theories. One: It’d be nice if you could stream audio to your home stereo system no matter how old it is. Two: The best universal remote isn’t a universal remote at all, it’s the mobile device in your pocket or on your coffee table. Blumoo wants to replace your remotes with your Android or iOS device, or at…

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