Whenever I am in the studio and I have to work on editing photos and footage that I have shot over a few days, I usually have a bunch of different media full of files that I need to transfer to my editing computer. At any given time, I may have a couple of SDXC cards, a couple of compact flash cards and even some micro SD cards. I used to find the process of transferring the files very tedious since I would normally use a small multi-purpose USB reader and copy each card one at a time.

Some time ago, I decided to examine the efficiency of my workflow, and the copying of files seemed like a logical process that needed to be made more efficient. After some research, I found and purchased the Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 Hub. This is a very nice, small and compact modular 4-bay hub that accepts up to four different types of card readers, and via USB 3.0, it is able to transfer the files from all 4 of the readers simultaneously. The modules that are offered for this hub include readers for SDHC, SDXC, Micro SDHC, Micro SDXC, CompactFlash, CFast and XQD cards. There are also two flash storage drives that are available in 256 or 512GB sizes.

The Lexar HR1 Hub is both MAC and Windows compatible, and it has been an amazing addition to...

These days I really don’t pay attention to bluetooth speakers, unless there’s something really unique about it. The BenQ treVolo S stood out due to it’s unusual “folding” configuration… and electrostatic speakers?

What is it?

I know BenQ from their video products (I have two of their 4K displays at work), but not Bluetooth speakers. BenQ claims the treVolo S is the world’s smallest electrostatic Bluetooth speaker. It features dual woofers and dual amplifiers, plus electrostatic speakers that unfold from the sides.

Hardware specs

Frequency Response:  60 Hz – 20 kHz‎
Bluetooth:  Bluetooth 4.2
aptX Support: No
NFC:  Yes
Input Types: 3.5 mm stereo input; USB audio‎ (DAC)
Duo Mode:  Yes (Stereo / Party mode)‎
Sound Mode:  Pure/3D
Playing Time: 18 hours (Dependence on user scenario)‎
Keys:  Power Key, BT Pairing Key, Volume Key (+-), 3D Mode Key, Play / Pause‎
LED Indicator: Power key : Red LED x1; Green LED x1 ; BT Pairing Key : Blue LED x1‎
Microphone: No
Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery‎
IO Port: Micro USB x1 ; Line-in x1‎
Input Power Rating:  DC 5V 2A‎
Temperature Range for Use‎:  0~40º C‎
Dimension‎: 63.2×157.5×96.3 mm (Closed)‎
Weight: 1kg

What’s in the box?

Speaker, mini USB charger with mains plug, instructions and drawstring bag.

Design and features

Whenever I want to shoot a quick video, I tend to grab my DSLR as opposed to my Canon or Sony professional video cameras, which are much bigger and heavier, and require me to drag along much more equipment. My DSLR and an external audio recorder are usually enough, but there have been times when I have tried to synchronize the audio from the recorder with the audio recorded by the camera mic, and the audio from the camera mic was so noisy and unfocused, that it created problems. Then at other times, I needed to shoot a video and immediately use the footage with the audio recorded by the camera mics, and that too was bad.

It was obvious that I needed a better solution for such occasions, so I purchased the Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone, and it has worked out well. It is true to its name, as it is quite small and compact but does a very good job of capturing directional audio, and really does outperform the mic on the camera. The Rode comes with a detachable coiled cable that connects to it via a 3.5mm female jack, and the other end connects to the mic input on the DSLR. I really like that the coiled cable stays out of the way. There is also a nice shoe mount that is included, and a “dead cat” windscreen that...

I have an old-style downlight in my foyer, and I wanted a smart bulb for it.  I saw a lot of  retrofit kits for recessed lights with the light source and trim kit in one.   But those weren’t what I wanted, because none I found were wirelessly controllable.  I gave up on those kits and just bought a new trim kit and a Hue BR30 bulb that’s a bit too short for the old-style downlight.  It works okay, but it’s a bit dimmer than it should be because the end of the bulb is recessed in that old, deeper-than-normal fixture.  I may have to replace that with the Philips Hue White Ambiance Smart Retrofit Recessed Downlight now that I’ve found them.

The Hue downlight kit is available in sizes to fit 4″ or 5/6″ recessed fixtures.  Just like other Hue bulbs, these retrofit kits must be paired with the Hue bridge.  Once paired, they can be controlled, dimmed, and scheduled using the Hue app, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit, and Hue Tap and dimmer switches.  These aren’t the color-changing bulbs; they are White Ambience, meaning they have what Philips describes as 50,000 shades of white, from warm to cool white.

You can purchase the 4″ kit or the 5/6″ kit Philips Hue White Ambience Smart Retrofit Recessed Downlight for $35 at Home Depot.  If you don’t already have one,...

Verizon Wireless was kind enough to send me a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone to test for a few days and it’s an all around awesome phone. From the look of the hardware to what’s under the hood, this is a phone that many Android fans would love to own, but for some reason, I just can’t seem to fall for one of them.

You look like you haven’t changed a bit since I last saw you

At first glance, the S9 looks identical to the Samsung Galaxy S8 from last year with a glass front and back sandwiching a metal frame. The new handset is slightly heavier, and a few tenths of a millimeter thicker and wider S8. But those are things you won’t notice at all when you hold the phone in your hand. It’s not until you flip the phone over that you will see the biggest physical difference compared to the S8. The often criticized location of the fingerprint sensor on the S8 has been updated on the S9 to a new location below the camera lens.

There’s a new home for the fingerprint scanner

If you’ve been a regular visitor of my reviews, you’ll know that I am usually grumpy when it comes...

Wired gaming gear has been a must in the past when playing reaction based games. Especially those fast-paced, action games that require quick, zero-lag responsiveness. However, the cable-less, clutter-free appeal of wireless has always been there, waiting for the technology to improve. With the Arctis 7 from steelseries, there is no longer the need for sacrifice of space for ability with its lagless and cordless audio.

The disadvantage of wired products has always been the nightmare of many tech users: wire clutter. With keyboard, mouse, and headphones the issue wasn’t if they would tangle but how fast and big would the knot grow before having to deal with it. Even by making one input device wireless, it reduces the chaos many times over. Since I’m sharing desk space, this helps the organization of my components when I’m not using them as well.

What is it?

The steelseries Arctis 7 are a set of high-end wireless gaming headphones. The steelseries developers have created a lag-free, cable-free gaming headset using 2.4G wireless technology with 7.1 surround sound and built-in ClearCast microphone.

What’s in the box: Arctis 7 Wireless...

It’s an 80’s classroom nostalgia trip in a pocket-sized package! In this handheld version of the classic Oregon Trail, hunt for food, trade with settlers and ford dangerous rivers as you attempt the 19th-century trek from Missouri to Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley.

This game was a treat to play in elementary school, though I think the only thing I learned from it was that I was glad to be shooting at pixelated buffalo instead of contracting cholera in the back of a covered wagon. Playing Oregon Trail is literally all this thing can do, but it might be a fun gift to pick up for a fan of the original game or to inflict digital snakebites, broken limbs and diseases on a new generation.

The game features all the required buttons to make decisions and hunt for food, as well as authentic 80’s sound and graphics. The description on Target’s website lists the difficulty of this game as “easy,” but if memory serves me, I only remember actually finishing this game a handful of times, so your mileage may vary, literally.

You can pick up the Handheld Oregon Trail game exclusively at Target, in-store or online for $25.

The post The Oregon Trail Handheld Game brings you dysentery on-the-go appeared first on The Gadgeteer.

Filed in categories: News


My house is probably like most houses out there.  There are some rooms that are hotter than I’d like and some that are colder than I’d like, no matter the season.  Because of the location of the thermostat and the long shape of the condo, our bedrooms tend to be chilly in the winter and hot in the summer while our living and dining rooms are uncomfortably hot in the winter and cold in the summer.  Because of the age of the building, the cement walls and ceilings, and the neighbors above and below us, there isn’t much we can do to remedy this situation by rerouting ductwork or moving the thermostat.  The Nest Temperature Sensor will work with my Nest thermostat to help remedy that situation without having to install a new heating system.

The battery-powered sensors can be mounted in various locations in your house to send back information to the Nest thermostat about conditions in those locations.  You can then use the app to tell the thermostats which locations need to be prioritized and when to make those rooms more comfortable.  For example, we could prioritize the living and dining rooms in the early evening, so they’ll be comfortable while we have dinner and then watch some TV.  Before bedtime, we could have the bedroom area prioritized for comfortable sleeping conditions.

The Temperature Sensors will work with the 3rd-generation Nest Learning Thermostat...

Recently I have been writing a lot of news stories about camera bags and bags that hold camera gear and accessories, but that is not the full extent of my “bag” adventures. Whenever I go anywhere that I know will allow me some downtime, I like to try to edit either video footage or photos, or simply research new gear and equipment on the internet. For this reason, I have invested in well over two dozen laptop bags including shoulder bags, carry-on bags, and most recently, backpacks.

While I am very certain that no design will ever meet my very personal fussy requirements, I did find one that has come close to my needs, at least for now.

The Pelican S100 Sport Elite Laptop Backpack is probably the strongest and most durable laptop bag that I own, and it accommodates my need to carry my laptop, my iPad Pro 12.9”, a second tablet, 3 or 4 different chargers, my mobile hotspot, a couple of bottles of plain water, a bottle of flavored “health” water, a couple of magazines, a few USB drives of various capacities and sizes, and a host of other small techie items that I need with me to satisfy my nerdy gadget obsession.

The hard shell that is built into the back of this bag does an amazing job of protecting my larger tablet or laptop, and the hard...

While the global smartphone market saw a steep fall in sales in the last quarter according to all major research agencies, the used smartphone and refurbished market is gaining traction at a surprising rate.

This is important because the numbers show that the smartphone market declined by between 5 and 9 percent in the last quarter of 2017 (depending on whose report you’re reading). This is a significant drop. But that was just the new smartphone market — research from Counterpoint’s refurbished smartphone tracker shows a 13 percent leap year-on-year. That’s 140 million units changing hands, which is close to 10 percent of the entire market.

Second-life devices now represent close to 10% of the entire smartphone market

These “second-life” devices include repaired smartphones, “rejuvenated” models, or just those collected and sold as is. Combined with the fact we’re holding onto phones longer, the increasing sales of second-hand phones is reducing new smartphone demand, as Counterpoint research director, Tom Kang, confirms:

“The slowdown in innovation has made two-year-old flagship smartphones comparable in design and features with the most recent mid-range phones. Therefore, the mid low-end market for new smartphones is being cannibalized by refurbished high-end phones, mostly Apple iPhones and, to a lesser extent, Samsung Galaxy smartphones.”

Apple and Samsung devices in the refurb market, Counterpoint says, hold close to 75 percent of the second-hand market, with Apple “leading by a significant margin.”

Welcome to our Android 8.0 Oreo update tracker. Following its public release in August 2017, Oreo is steadily finding its way to more and more Android smartphones.

Google has been working to reduce fragmentation and ensure that more devices receive the latest Android version in a timely fashion. It’s still a work in progress though; the Android 8.0 Oreo update is still far from widespread, as the Android version distribution figures show.

You’re probably wondering “When will my phone get Oreo?” This tracker will help with that question. We’re collecting all the information we can find on the rollout of Android 8, including past OTAs and upcoming releases.

Without further ado, here’s what we know so far about the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

What’s new in Android 8.0 Oreo? We have all the features here

Looking ahead at Android P

Still waiting for Nougat? Check out our Nougat tracker

Android Wear update tracker

Got Oreo? Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Before we start

As with older versions, the update to Android 8.0 Oreo has been released by Google, but many factors influence its actual availability. First and foremost,...

Although Amazon hasn’t made a statement about it, Reddit users have discovered a new Brief Mode for Amazon Echo products. Brief Mode stops Alexa from issuing verbal affirmation after completing a task; the assistant emits a beep tone instead. The new feature also appears in the Alexa app for Android and iOS.

Reddit users over at /r/AmazonEcho discovered something interesting: a new mode for Amazon Echo products called Brief Mode. While Amazon itself hasn’t made any announcements about the feature, Echo users around the globe are reporting their experiences with the new, less-talkative Alexa.

Currently, when you ask Alexa to perform a command, such as, “Turn on the lights,” a response of affirmation follows the successful completion of the task, usually a simple “OK!” While it’s nice that Alexa wants us to know that the task was completed, it can be a little annoying with something like asking her to turn on the lights; the lights are on, we know it worked, we don’t need to hear from Alexa about it.

Editor's PickGoogle Assistant vs Siri vs Bixby vs Amazon Alexa...

Sony has started rolling out Android Oreo to the Xperia XA1 family. Weighing a little under 900 MB, the update brings improved performance, security fixes, and all the new features that Google announced with Oreo back in 2017.

The Xperia XA1, XA1 Plus, and XA1 Ultra are getting the Android Oreo update, which brings features like picture-in-picture videos and notification dots.

Editor's PickAndroid 8 review: Oreo is for everyoneThree years ago Google introduced us to its new design language called Material Design. It was flat, graphical and colorful. It was the visual change that ushered in the beginning of a new age for …

According to Xperia Blog, Sony has started rolling out Android Oreo to the Xperia XA1 family – the XA1, XA1 Plus, and XA1 Ultra. Weighing a little under 900 MB, the latest update not only brings the February Android security patch but also all the new features that Google announced with Oreo back in 2017. These include pinned shortcuts and widgets, notification dots, picture-in-picture...

Leaked documents obtained by Reuters give us some new insight into how Amazon Prime Video helps Amazon’s bottom line. Viewership for Amazon’s video content is at about half of what Netflix has for subscribers. Amazon’s original shows get people to sign up for Amazon Prime, netting the company massive profits.

This week, Reuters nabbed some leaked documents relating to Amazon Prime Video subscriber data. While Netflix, the reigning king of video streaming services, publishes subscriber data from time-to-time, Amazon has never released figures for its total audience, nor has it published other data that appears in the leak.

According to Reuters’ interpretation of the source data, Amazon Prime Video has about 26 million viewers in the U.S., which is roughly half the U.S. subscriber base of Netflix. That number includes the viewership of all video programming on Prime, including the non-original content Amazon licenses from other companies.

Editor's Pick10 best video streaming apps and video streaming services for Android Video streaming is a big deal. That old cable subscription is looking less and less like a good deal and there are now tons of ways to enjoy content online....

AAPicks has teamed up with PureVPN to bring you an amazing deal on their 3 year service. During this promotion you can sign up for the equivalent of just $1.91 per month. That’s a cool 82% saving.

If you’re already a fan of PureVPN then no time to waste, hit the button below to find the deal. If you’re new to their offerings then read on.

To the Deal!

Not familiar with VPNs yet? You might be wondering why you need one. You can check out our handy guide to VPNs here.

If you’re not in the mood to follow a link, we’ll summarize the perks for you: privacy and security. With a VPN you connect to the internet through a remote server rather than your ISP. This hides your location and IP address. The connection is encrypted, making it very difficult for hackers to target you with malware or viruses.

In an age in which high-profile online security breaches are weekly occurrences, Using a VPN is by far the best way to protect yourself. It might sound a bit techy, but they’re super easy to use. However, the quality of VPNs varies greatly, which is why we love feedback...


The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus hit shelves today, and to celebrate, Samsung announced two special new AR Emojis are available. You now can be Mickey or Minnie Mouse in AR Emoji form, with more Disney characters becoming available soon. The AR Emoji feature is one of the most talked about topics around the Galaxy S9, which is either good or bad, depending on how you look at it.

Whether Samsung intended it or not, the new AR Emoji feature of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus is one of the most talked-about features of the new devices. Samsung revealed today that it has partnered with Disney to allow Galaxy S9 owners to use Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as AR Emoji. We previously knew that the two companies had partnered up for the project, but didn’t know which characters would be available at launch.

Heavily inspired by Apple’s Animoji for the iPhone X, the AR Emoji feature allows you to record your face transplanted onto popular Emoji characters. You can then share these custom Emoji animations with friends and family.

The Disney characters launching with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are limited to Mickey and Minnie Mouse...

Update (3/16): According to at least one Android Authority reader, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus on O2 in the U.K. are now receiving their Android 8.0 Oreo updates.

Thanks, Ryan!

Original article: Welcome to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Android update tracker page. This page covers all major U.S. carriers with a quick reference table for each and a log with links to further details. It will be regularly updated with the latest Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus update information.

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus receive their updates simultaneously – or at least very close together. For this reason, they both appear here on this update page. Also, note that we won’t be covering general security patches in our list.

We recommend you bookmark this page so you can stay up to date with the very latest updates.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Android Oreo update

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus arrived in April 2017 running Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung’s Grace...

Subway Surfers is an endless runner game first released in 2012. The game is now the very first title in the Google Play Store’s history to reach one billion downloads. The developers discuss plans for the franchise, including licensing deals and animated films.

Earlier this week, we published an article about how mobile gaming now makes twice as much money as console and PC gaming combined. If there were any skepticism about just how big mobile gaming is, we now have another statistic to add to the pile: Subway Surfers, the endless runner mobile game phenomenon, just hit one billion downloads on the Google Play Store.

Subway Surfers now has forever bragging rights as it is the very first game in the Google Play Store’s history to reach that milestone. According to a statement from Kiloo, the game’s primary developer, the one billion number refers to “the number of unique users who have installed the app on at least one device for the first time.” In other words, if you install the game on two devices with the same Google account attached to them, that still only counts as one download in the one billion total. However, if you...

Update (3/16): Note 8 users in Canada and Turkey are waiting for the planned Android 8.0 Oreo updates on March 28, but Samsung has apparently jumped the gun in France. Users in the European country began reporting signs of the Oreo update earlier today.

The update bumps the firmware number up to N950FXXU3CRC1. It also includes the March 2018 security patches. While it isn’t the mass rollout some are hoping for, it’s a good indication that a wider release is just around the corner!

Original article: Welcome to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Android update tracker page. This page covers all major U.S. carriers with a quick reference table for each and a log with links to further details. It will be regularly updated with the latest Galaxy Note 8 update information, but note that we won’t be covering general security patches in our list.

We recommend you bookmark this page so you can stay up to date with the very latest updates.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Android update

The Galaxy Note 8 was released in September, 2017 running Android 7.1.1 Nougat and is expected to be one of the first Samsung phones to receive Android...