reviews stories

 
Last month, GM decided that it would be kinda fun to send some journalists from Vermont to Maine in a squad of Chevy Volts. For some reason, they decided that I would be one of those journalists. They couldn't have known that I've been following the Volt for years, from the introduction of the original, awesome concept to the toned-down production model through all the powertrain and battery controversy to the ultimate commercial release. So now that you can actually go out and buy a Chevy Volt, should you? It's a unique type of car: not quite gas, and not quite electric. Or maybe it's both. Either way, we'll be taking you through all 500 miles of our impressions, so let's get started.
 
Building a tablet in today's climate is hard. You'll either be called out for being a copycat by consumers or officially called out by Apple — the leading tablet maker — for blatantly ripping off its vague design patents. Since Apple set the precedent for what a modern tablet (not one of those bulky tablet PCs that Bill Gates dreamed up a decade ago), there's an expectation that a finger-friendly touchscreen tablet should be thin, light and start at $500 (or less if you're not an iPad). And even though Samsung is still knee-deep in some lawsuits that span courtrooms around the globe with its larger Galaxy Tab 10.1, it still fired up the factories to pump out the smaller Galaxy Tab 8.9 to sell in the U.S. To rival the iPad 2 is a tough task. Motorola's Xoom tried. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tried. A sea of cheap Android tablets tried. The only one who seems prepared to bring the entire ecosystem of content and hardware is Amazon and its Kindle Fire next month. Is the Galaxy 8.9 the tablet that finally gives the iPad 2 a run for its money? Maybe, maybe not.
 
A while back, we posted about how physical media is on the way out, with cloud storage enabling us to access all of our stuff anywhere, anytime. One major concern that about a hundred of you brought up was the issue of security: someone else owns the cloud, with your data in it. Western Digital's My Book Live offers an effective compromise, letting you keep control of all your data while still making it available wherever and whenever you want it.
 
While all eyes are on Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to deliver the next-generation of gaming in portable and console form, one old-time friend is making a silent return. Atari is partnering with DiscoveryBay Games to launch the Atari Arcade — an iPad dock that enhances old-school arcade classics with the tactility of a joystick and four physical buttons. Right off the bat, you're probably thinking the Atari Arcade is an iCade knock-off. It certainly seems so at a glance; the Atari Arcade is the second joystick dock for the iPad, but the similarities pretty much end there. Read on to find out if the Atari Arcade is up to snuff to make you want to play games like Pong, Asteroids and Centipede all over again.
 
Like so many other technophiles, I'm eager to embrace wireless for everything in my home. My dream is to cut the cables, but my reality is nowhere close to that. To enjoy music on speakers, I either have to connect my computer or iPhone through an audio-out cable or dock the iPhone into a 30-pin compatible boombox. That's hardly an elegant solution that befits my wireless fantasies. That's where the Sonos Play:3 steps in. It's a speaker that can blast music wirelessly from hundreds of online music services and stations that I can control entirely from any iOS or Android device with an master app. There are plenty of wireless solutions cropping up on the market right now, sure, but Play:3 makes it easy as pie, and doesn't completely drain your piggy bank in the process.
 
When we first heard about Allsop's Clingo smartphone stands and mounts, we were hesitant to give it an in-depth look. After all, smartphone stands, grips, holders and mounts are about as common as an oxidized penny. What intrigued us the most were not the mounts, per se, but the actual Clingo grip itself. The "patent pending" sticky green goo is supposed to last for practically forever without losing its stickiness. A few hundred sticks later, including tons of smartphones and gadgets, but also including everything a blogger needs such as bananas, bottles of hand lotion (for that Carpal Tunnel) and a plethora of other weird stuff, we finally have a verdict. Is the Clingo as good Allsop says it is? Find out if Clingo is the only grippy mount you'll ever need for the rest of your life.
 
It's been quite a journey following RIM's PlayBook tablet from announcement to launch. The amount of hype this device has received can't be understated. We've seen plenty of videos and more showing the PlayBook smoke the iPad in web page rendering, showing off its touch-sensitive bezel, confirming that it runs Android smartphone apps and cheering at its iPad-mirroring price points, but that was before we settled in with it. Now that we've welcomed it into our home, is the PlayBook worth going gaga for in the real world? Click on for our full review.
 
The purpose of Mophie's Juice Packs are to give your iPhone that extra boost when its battery is running low. The Mophie Juice Pack Air and its beefier cousin, the Juice Pack Plus for the iPhone 4 are no different, each providing over five hours of additional Internet and talk time over 3G. Despite initially feeling bulky, we found plenty of reasons to keep either the Air or Plus attached to our iPhone or stored in our messenger bag for those hard partying nights.

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