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Electronics

Now that flat-screen HDTVs have had a couple decades worth of refinement and product development, it's fair to say that it's harder to find a bad TV than it is a good one. A modern HDTV pairs excellent picture quality with built-in smart TV streaming features, all at an incredibly affordable price. The most recent trend with HDTVs has been increasingly larger screen sizes; it's now possible to find 55-inch TVs priced similarly to 40-inch models from even a few years ago. Our top HDTV picks display inky black levels, creating a more immersive experience thanks to the well-defined contrast between light and dark areas. These selections also provide excellent color accuracy, recreating an image to make it look lifelike (along with carrying the necessary adjustments to dial in the perfect images with true-to-life colors). Each of these picks can also easily process moving image and maintain clarity with fast-moving program or movie scenes free of shudder or skipping, making them well-suited for home theater use. We also evaluated each TV's respective smart TV capabilities for ease of use and functionality. If you're still unsure, head straight down to our HDTV buyer's guide below.
August 15, 2019
AV receivers (alternately, A/V receivers) act as an electronic gateway or organizer for your home entertainment system, and consolidate the function of multiple devices into a single box. Modern AV receivers offer several HDMI inputs and an ARC-capable output, with higher-end units featuring advanced video processing as well. Better AV receivers offer superior sound quality, which can immerse viewers in the "atmosphere" that movie directors intended. The best AV receivers below offer excellent options for expanding your home audio or theater system, and we’ve also provided an AV Receiver buyer's guide below for your review.
September 06, 2019
Sound bars are by far the easiest way to add volume and clarity to any TV or home theater system. Most TVs come with small downward or rear firing speakers that have especially poor bass response, and often unsatisfactory volume. This generally makes for terrible sound quality, and most don’t reach below 300 Hz or above 10,000; human hearing extends between 20-20,000 Hz, meaning that over half the spectrum is missing! The output from built-in speakers is certainly usable, especially in smaller rooms, but let’s face it: everyone wants their TV to sound more like a movie theater. The good news is that it's possible to move closer to this ideal with a minimal investment. Around $100-200 will net you a unit that can drastically improve sound quality over built-in speakers, lowering bass response down past 100hz to put some good thump in your music and movies, and offering a much more spacious, realistic presentation that will leave you wondering how you ever got by with the bare minimum.
August 08, 2019
  • It's no secret that the most popular type of HDTV on the market today is the LED TV. Technically a misnomer born out of marketing and convenience, the term "LED TV" actually refers to an LCD TV that utilizes an LED backlight to display an image. LED TVs have attained their popularity due to their affordability, varied screen size options, as well as their low energy consumption and compatibility with all different types of content.The latest innovation in this field is the widespread use of "Quantum Dot" technology. While this may sound like something out of a sci-fi TV series, quantum dots are quite real and are commonplace in higher-end LED TVs. The basic science underpinning quantum dots revolves around their behavior when excited by certain frequencies; LED TVs equipped with quantum dots utilize a blue LED backlight, which in turn "excites" quantum dots into emitting red and green tones. In a nutshell, these TVs can display brighter colors that appear more lifelike and saturated, translating into a more pleasing image overall.You’ll find two distinct layouts that utilize LED backlighting: full array and edge-lit. Full-array backlighting positions the LED backlight directly behind the LCD panel. This is often combined with a feature known as "local dimming" in higher-spec models, which can selectively dim or switch off LEDs depending on the desired image to obtain deeper black levels where they are needed. Edge-lit LED backlighting moves the LEDs to the edges of the panel, instead relying on special light guides to illuminate the screen.In our research, we've noted that full-array LED TVs with local dimming consistently outperform their edge-lit counterparts in screen uniformity, black level measurements, and contrast with both standard and HDR content. When combined with quantum dot technology, these LED TVs are capable of generating an outstanding picture while keeping the cost versus screen size at a reasonable level.
    June 19, 2019
  • Digital media players have evolved a lot over the last few years, growing from a niche market to establishing a presence in millions of households. There are a lot of different devices available on the market, and they tend to offer a lot of the same features, with minor variations overall. However, these minor variations soon become major differences since they can impact how you control your digital media player and what it does in your living room. As you consider different models, take into account your own viewing habits, the features you want, and the media sources you’re most likely to use.These digital media players give you the best options and performance thanks to a wide range of channels and streaming services to choose from and utilize, with support for at least Netflix and some other media streaming options. All of these devices offer HD media options of up to at least 1080p, though you’ll typically need to also have access to HD video through a streaming service. These picks are easy to connect to your existing entertainment center either wirelessly or through an Ethernet port. Lastly, they all include remote controls with a variety of voice and manual input commands for accessing your preferred media.
    April 01, 2016
  • Projectors are used for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from high-end home theaters to business presentations and classroom applications. Depending on their intended use, projectors can vary in their technology, style, and price. We’ve compiled lists of some of the best projectors currently available while considering different budgets and performance needs. Although we’ve included several high-end models, we’ve kept ultra-expensive projectors off the list in favor of one’s which are more realistic for use in the average home or business. If you’re new to projectors and need some pointers on what to look for, be sure to also check out our buyer’s guide below.
    March 31, 2015
  • For consumers seeking to "cut the cord" from high monthly cable or satellite bills, there’s the option of a digital television adapter or digital-to-analog converter box. These are television tuners are designed to receive the free broadcast signals transmitted over the airwaves mainly from the major networks and some local or regional stations.These converter boxes are affordable options for bringing home network programming at a onetime price versus a monthly charge. Some of these boxes come with recording functions performing much the same way as a DVR does. Some models can even support multimedia files like digital photos, videos, and music.We've chosen the following picks because of their connectivity options for hooking them up to a variety of devices, as well as their ability to record shows to a USB flash drive or and external hard drive. Each of the following converter boxes also offers basic features such as program guides or parental controls. Finally, each of our selections is easy to use and affordable to purchase, with all of the picks costing around or under $50.
    March 11, 2015
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  • DJing has undergone a recent change from the days of two turntables and a mixer. Controllers have arisen as an all-in-one practical way of playing music. However, the fact of the matter is DJs still widely use turntables to rock a party. Popular software programs often require a hardware box that is meant to bridge the gap between the digital and analog world. Turntables and mixer are connected to a hardware box, bridged to the laptop, and ultimately out through the speakers. This makes the turntable a musical mainstay, not just to play your favorite jazz or classic rock record. And of course there are DJs who strictly play analog! Some prefer to stay averse from the changing, sometimes trendy technologically advancing scene and keep their style close to the original style of DJing. The turntables listed were chosen because they are all durable, feature modern upgrades, and are direct-drive, meaning the platter and spindle are directly connected to the motor which requires less maintenance. Furthermore, consistent match in speed between spindle and platter is needed for the demanding nature of scratching and beat matching that entails applied pressure to the vinyl. Anti-skate technology popularized by Technics have been mastered by other brands such as Reloop and Stanton. Wider ranges of pitch control give DJs unprecedented control over mixing and sampling. Combine this with MIDI capability, an auto beats per minute counter, and USB connectivity in some models, and its apparent that the wave of new features are staggering and promote new avenues to creativity.
    November 21, 2014
  • Directed at audiophiles who specifically want a superior home audio setup, stereo receivers are somewhat of a niche item due to their lack of video support. However, those who do not need or want an AV receiver will appreciate the ability to consolidate multiple audio devices, with many models including inputs ranging from iPods to phono inputs for turntables. Many modern stereo receivers have similar features to AV receivers, including support for Bluetooth and AirPlay. On the other hand, most stereo receivers do tend to be on the more basic side, with the focus being on discrete amplification for high-fidelity sound and flexible audio output options for expandability.
    November 21, 2014
  • Cutting the cord has never been easier these days. You no longer need to pay those hefty and ever-increasing monthly cable bills in order to receive your favorite high definition television programs. Just like back in the days of analog television, a variety of channels are broadcasting high definition content over-the-air for anyone with an antenna to pick up. You won't have unlimited access to cable channels like ESPN, MSNBC, or Food Network, but many of those networks now have "On-demand" versions of their content on streaming devices such as Roku or through your laptop or tablet.Some of these networks may charge a small subscription fee, but considering the low, onetime cost of these HDTV antennas you're still ahead of the game. They can give you access to the regional affiliates of the major networks like CBS, NBC, and so on, in addition to local access channels and nightly news.We've chosen five of the best HDTV antennas for when you're ready to cut the cable, providing variety in terms of both range and price. Although there are antennas available that have longer reception range than the ones we've included, we've opted for popular antennas that meet average needs. We've ensured that they all have excellent signal strength and picture clarity, with easy installation and setup.
    November 21, 2014
  • The fax machine may be a fading technology, but there's still a steady demand for them in the marketplace. These once prevalent office appliances were capable of sending documents over phone lines, it was faster than the mail and cost a lot less than overnight delivery. But with the rise of email, smartphones, and tablets; the fax machine started to take a backseat to the new methods of communication and the gadgets that came with them. There are still a large array of fax machines available on the market from many of the same manufacturers that put them on the map in the first place and you can find them at all the major retailers. But a majority of the machines that are most sought after by consumers are those "all in one" style units that do a variety of jobs in addition to faxing. In fact, almost all fax machines can make copies but the newest models are capable of scanning and printing, most of them compatible with inter-office networks through Ethernet. These are usually wireless units that will even allow multiple users to fax directly from their PC, a Mac, and even an IPhone or Android powered smartphone. So while faxing documents from one place to the next has grown somewhat obsolete, the machines that can do the job are getting more versatile and sophisticated. Don't worry though, you can still find a basic telephone and fax unit without the fancy bells and whistles or the price that comes with it. You'll find lists for the best fax machines on the market below. Give them a look and you'll see that we've found fax machines that can fit every budget and every environment; from large commercial offices to small businesses that may even be run out of the home. If you're thinking about buying a fax machine, chances are one of these will be the one for you.
    November 21, 2014
  • While in-wall and in-ceiling speakers typically can't match the sound quality and performance of floorstanding models, they have the benefit of taking up less space. Neatly installed into the wall or ceiling, these speakers don't take up any floorspace and can free a living room or home theater from clutter and unsightly wires.For building a budget surround system, it's important to choose speakers that work well for both your listening and budget needs. This means good sound quality for the money, and ideally the ability to be used as fronts or rear surrounds. Easy installation is also important, with most of the following best budget in-wall speakers including nearly everything needed for the process. Some have moisture-resistance to do a better job of standing up to humidity, while others offer swiveling tweeters to allow for angling sound where it's most needed. Overall, each of these selections offers excellent value for your money.
    November 13, 2014
  • While most of us listen to music on our smartphones with headphones, sometimes you want to break out your tunes for all to hear. This growing trend of using smartphones as a primary music library has resulted in the rapid expansion of the portable speaker market.There are many to choose from, but the top-rated portable speakers are lightweight, powerful, and compatible with many different types of portable devices.We've chosen portable speakers that can be used completely free of wires, with rechargeable batteries and the ability to connect devices using Bluetooth. All of the following picks are also compact and highly portable, sometimes being small and light enough to fit into a jacket pocket. With so many good options to choose from we've left many popular models out, but each of the following speakers offers some of the best sound quality and portability currently available. As a result, most of our picks aren't focused on being especially budget-friendly, but still offer good value for money.
    November 11, 2014
  • These little digital marvels offer loads of storage space for days of recording time. Perfect for everyone from students to journalists to Moms who just need to remember shopping lists and their children's daily schedules, digital voice recorders are convenient and compact so that you can take them on the go. With built-in microphones that are sensitive enough to seek out only the vocal content you want to record and eliminate background noise at the same time, these recorders are often voice activated so that they only work when someone is speaking. You also want a device that has USB connectivity so it’s easy to hook up to any PC or Mac so you can download and manage your recordings. Some devices are outfitted with additional features such as file editing, variable speed play back, external microphone ports, and they can even record and play multiple file formats from MP3 to WAV among others. Whether you're looking for a digital recorder to capture a busy sound environment with numerous voice speaking or you just need a device to record the audio from an important lecture, we have a variety of products at both ends of the price spectrum that we've determined to be the best you can buy.
    October 29, 2014
  • The pencil sharpener. What's there to know? You'd be surprised. The most obvious distinction between sharpeners is whether you want manual or automatic. You probably remember the manual versions from your childhood days of grade school. Stick one end in, start cranking, and out comes a finely sharpened writing instrument. Not much has changed since, though they have gotten stronger boasting sharper more resilient blades and many of them can accommodate various pencil thickness sizes. Electric sharpeners offer a little more variation in their designs. They're all run by electric motors and operate in much the same manner; just stick your pencil in and the machine does the rest. But here you have more options, like units that prevent from oversharpening, become inoperable when anything else but a pencil is inserted into the device, and come with heavy-duty helical blades that can cut through multiple sizes and diameters of pencil. Some of these units are designed for heavy volume use, incorporating fans and coolers to keep them from overheating while remaining sharp and ready for use time after time. 
    October 29, 2014
  • When it's time to buy new batteries, there are plenty of choices out there. The way to decide which is the best option for you is to first consider what you need the batteries for, then examine what the battery is capable of doing. It all boils down to two choices; disposable or rechargeable. Simply put, disposable batteries are just that. You get a one-time use out of them and when they're drained of their power you throw them away. Rechargeables allow you to keep the cells and re-charge them repeatedly, saving time and money when it comes to the power source in your electronics. However, rechargeables aren't necessarily appropriate for every device or application. Disposable batteries are good for almost all devices, as long as you have the correct size for the application you're looking to power up. These come in two common types; alkaline and lithium. Alkaline are the most widely used as they have a slow self-discharge rate, they can be stored for a long time without any loss of charge (roughly about seven years), and these are often used in low-drain devices such as radios, remote controls, and other devices that don't require constant use at high voltage. There are high-drain versions of alkaline batteries available as well and these are intended for devices that require more juice more frequently. These 'premium' alkaline batteries cost more but provide a charge that is similar to a lithium battery. Lithium batteries last longer, can be stored longer, weigh less than a regular battery and provide nearly double or triple the power capacity of a standard alkaline battery. They also perform well in extreme temperatures. But they all have one thing in common at their very basic purpose; when they've been drained, you throw them away. Rechargeable batteries are cells that you can recharge when they're out of juice. Slip them into any charger and after a short period of time, they're fresh and ready for use all over again. They are usually more expensive than disposables, but you save money in the long run since you only buy them once. You can find them in three different types: Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion (not be confused with the lithium disposables above). Depending upon which type you choose, some have low self-discharge rates, where the battery maintains its charge for an extended period of time, and others have higher rates, in which the battery does the exact opposite. No matter which type you choose, rechargeable batteries are often recommended for high-drain devices that require constant power and at large volumes. The reason is easy to understand; rechargeables can be re-charged and replaced quickly and easily and without additional costs beyond the price of electricity from an outlet. To go out and keep buying disposables for a device that needs such a power load would probably get more expensive than paying a one-time cost for a set of rechargeables and a charger.
    October 28, 2014
  • Numbers never lie. But sometimes you need to double-check what they tell you, which is why we have calculators. There are all kinds of calculators designed for a myriad of applications, from basic models to advanced graphing or financial calculators that support Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) and complex algorithms. Sure you could do that in your head, but you're human...you make mistakes. Calculators don't. We've gathered a selection of the best calculators based on format, with extra emphasis placed on how well they perform at their intended task.
    October 28, 2014
  • When it comes to picture quality, the best plasma TVs offer deeper black levels, superior screen uniformity, and much better off-angle viewing than comparable LCDs, making them the preferred choice of many videophiles. Though they are still much less efficient than LCD TVs, the newer plasmas consume much less power than previous generations. Plasma TVs are best suited for home theater applications due to their excellent performance and ability to handle a variety of sources.
    October 28, 2014
  • The proliferation of MP3's as the preferred method for enjoying our favorite music has made the compact disc all but obsolete. Much like the way the audio cassette was phased out by that bright and shiny new CD; MP3's are the latest advancement in technology and, therefore, all the major manufacturers are offering their own versions of the MP3 player. These mobile devices come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have a few core commonalities. They're built to be portable, lightweight and easy to carry with you on the go. They have varied storage capacities to hold hours upon hours (and in some cases, days) worth of songs. Many of these devices can play various file formats beyond just MP3's and some of them can even play movies as well. There are players for every budget, some are available for as low as around $30 while others can get rather pricey; and there are players for every lifestyle, whether you want one to have with you on the way to work in the mornings or you need a player for jogging or swimming laps (that's right, there are waterproof players you can have in the pool). The bottom line is, if you're in the market for a good MP3 player we've found the best ones you can buy at any price. 
    October 28, 2014
  • Rather than dealing with the clutter of half a dozen different remotes, it's infinitely more convenient to program all of their functionality to a universal remote control. These devices range from feature-filled, multi-tasking remotes to more basic options that can replace a lost or damaged factory remote control.
    October 28, 2014
  • Digital SLR cameras are an evolution of the 'single lens reflex' camera, swapping the film roll for an image sensor. These cameras offer superior performance compared to point-and-shoot models, and provide users with more control over final output. If you'd like a primer on what to look for when buying a dSLR camera, have a look at our buyer's guide.
    October 28, 2014
  • The SLR camera is the essential tool for the serious photographer and one of the reasons it creates high quality images is because it has the ability to use interchangeable lenses. Apart from the image sensor (which affects resolution capabilities), the lens will have the largest influence on the look of the image. They control the framing, the depth of field, the amount of light that can pass through for exposure, and so much more. Having an amazing camera isn’t enough to produce world-class images, you also need to have lenses that can step up to the job. Here are the best lenses for Canon cameras.
    October 28, 2014
  • Nikon is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cameras and lenses. They have been in business for almost 100 years, thanks to superior craftsmanship in their products. Some Nikon lenses are also referred to as Nikkors. Nikkor is a special brand within Nikon that has been manufacturing their very best lenses since the 1930s. As the company has grown, so has their reputation for quality, and today the majority of lenses manufactured by Nikon bear the distinct Nikkor name. There are a lot of lenses available for Nikon SLR cameras but here are the very best ones.
    October 28, 2014
  • UV filters were popular in film and early digital photography because they removed the bluish haze cast by the sun. Modern digital cameras, however, typically do a good job of eliminating that issue on their own. So why are UV filters still popular?UV filters have been embraced as a way to protect the front of a lens from scratches and dust without changing image quality. UV filters are clear so they don't prevent light from getting through. It's much cheaper to replace a scratched UV filter than to replace a lens, and for that reason, UV filters are still very popular. These best UV filters are made from high quality glass and materials and offer a protective element for camera lenses.Please note: These picks come in all sizes so just choose which ones fit your camera len(s) best.
    October 06, 2014
  • The smart pen is a recent advancement in communication technology, used primarily in the business and government sectors. But now, the consumer market has been granted access to this amazing new device which is still evolving even today. These pens are electronic and write in the very same manner as your standard ball-point Bic. The difference however, is that these pens can remember what you wrote and even record audio of those speaking around you, making transcription easier and worry-free.Just upload the digital data to the software provided and in seconds it will translate your writing into a clean MS Word or PDF file that looks as if you typed it on your computer instead of scrawling it free-hand. Then you can email it or save it on your hard drive or do with it whatever you wish. Some of these pens even communicate with PDA devices and other organization programs as well.If you think this is something that would greatly benefit your daily routine, we've found some of the best smart pens available right now. This is a technology that is still in its infancy, so there aren't too many on the market at the moment, with only a few companies blazing the trail with their products. Take a look at what we have on this list, each pen chosen for their ease of use, set up, features, accuracy, memory size, and price.
    September 24, 2014
  • Consumers have embraced the spread of digital music, allowing for technology such as wireless speakers and multi-room systems to begin gaining massive popularity. Although Sonos has been at the forefront of this market, in the past months it seems nearly every other company, heavy hitters and small operations alike, have been trying to jump onboard.Since this market is currently in a period of development and growth, it will be interesting to see how WiFi multi-room digital music systems progress and evolve into the mainstream. We've selected some of the best wireless multi-room digital music devices currently available although many more models will be released in the coming months with offerings from manufacturers such as Naim, Harman Kardon, and LG.The picks on this list are all wireless home audio devices that are part of a larger system. You can start with one, and gradually add more devices to create a true multi-room digital music system. The following selections have been chosen for their overall versatility and value with each offering excellent sound quality for the price. Each one is simple to set up and easy to use, with extensive connectivity and streaming options.
    September 17, 2014
  • The paper shredder. The last line of defense against identity fraud, information theft, and state secrets falling into the wrong hands. There are all types of shredders available to handle any size job with various degrees of sensitivity. When looking to buy a good shredder, the first thing to consider is the cut type. Often times, the question isn't what you're shredding, but how much you're shredding it. The purpose of any good shredder is to grind up your documents or electronic information into a format where it is irreparable and entirely illegible. Lost to the world for good. Cut size is important, and since there are a few types to choose from, you want to take into consideration what it is you'll be destroying. The smaller the cut, the higher the security. Most common shredders used to be strip cut, turning sheets of paper into thin, spaghetti-esque strips; cross cut has become more popular now, turning documents into confetti-sized particles. Micro-cut and high-security cut pulverize your material to even smaller sizes, but unless you work for the NSA or CIA this type of security may be overly excessive (meaning expensive) for your needs. Most shredders can also destroy CDs, credit cards, and other thicker sensitive materials if need be, and many shredders should be able to take more than a few sheets in one pass without getting jammed. Most units have anti-jamming devices and indicators to help prevent you from feeding the entry slot with too much paper and if you do, there are often multi-directional motors to help you reverse your way out of the situation. Safety measures to keep foreign objects like loose clothing, jewelry, and fingers might also be something to look for, depending upon where the shredder will be in use the most. Shredders come in all shapes and sizes; whether for commercial use in high-traffic environments for heavy-duty jobs or home use for the occasional bank statement or expired credit card. Whatever type of shredder you're in the market for, take a look at the lists below and see if there's something that fits your needs.
    August 26, 2014
  • Right now it’s easier than ever to find high-quality and affordable options for a home theater system bundle. All of the following picks are from well-established and trusted brands known for their higher-end offerings. Although none of the following home theater systems are neither suitable for large spaces nor likely to impress audiophiles, they’re perfectly adequate for casual use in a small home theater setup.Important features we looked for are quality components to ensure good audio and video quality, as well as any features such as video upconversion. Connectivity is generally less important on these budget-friendly systems, with manufacturers striving to make setting the devices up as simple as possible over allowing for too much customization. However, modern home theater systems ideally have WiFi, a USB port, and sometimes also Bluetooth and DLNA capabilities.Overall, each of the following selections is an affordable way to bring powerful surround sound and good video quality to your home without the complicated process of having to build your own system.
    June 11, 2014
  • Bringing music outdoors can be difficult as running wires from your indoor stereo involves drilling holes through the walls of the house, and mounting speakers. If ground-based or free-standing outdoor speakers are used, cables must be buried to keep them out of site. These issues make wireless speakers a potentially better choice for outdoor areas such as the patio, poolside, and garden.Although Bluetooth connectivity is becoming increasingly popular for wireless streaming, many wireless speakers still use either a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz transmitter. While the 2.4 GHz frequency can reduce interference overall, it might not be as well-suited for a household that already has multiple devices operating on this band. Either way, good wireless outdoor speakers must have the ability to connect and maintain a reliable wireless link with decent range.These best wireless outdoor speakers are weather-resistant and rugged enough to withstand impacts; our picks range from those suitable for occasional use outdoors to those made for permanent installation outside. Sound quality is evidently important, although the standard to which sound quality is held outdoors is quite different than in a closed, controlled environment. Bass response is typically where outdoor speakers struggle, and since many wireless outdoor speakers can be battery-powered, sometimes they have issues providing enough power for loud volumes. In the interest of representing multiple price points, not all of the following picks are suited for a large open space, but they can all provide decent sound quality for the money.
    June 11, 2014
  • Who wants to lug around a thick, dusty old dictionary? Be it hardcover or paperback, most reference guides weren't designed with portability in mind. With an electronic dictionary, you have a conveniently portable wealth of knowledge.Most e-dictionaries provide the three big essentials including dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar usage. However, many also loaded with additional reference materials and vast word banks to offer an exhaustive overview of the English language. Many of the best electronic dictionaries offer extra features including games, spell check, calculators and even personal organization software. This list spotlights five of the best electronic dictionaries you can find on the market right now, each chosen based upon criteria including their generous amount of word and knowledge references, their ease of use and functionality, practical special features, and value for their price.
    May 02, 2014
  • Conference phones are an essential item for any successful business as they can accommodate multiple callers and interlocutors on one call at the same time. But like any particular piece of electronic equipment, there are a wealth of options available on the market with standard and unique features intended to offer a better product than the competition. First and foremost, you want a phone that offers exceptional sound quality, so look for a phone that employs wide bandwidth and noise cancelling technology to reduce background and ambient noise. Many phones are now wireless and even powered through Ethernet connections as they are configured to sophisticated networking solutions. Typical features run from the simple Caller ID and directory options to recording ability to log entire conversations. Also important, consider the room and environment where the phone will be in use. The larger the room, the more challenging it can be to maintain a crystal clear call; with longer microphone range and high-quality speakers some phones will be more advantageous in certain size rooms than others. The following best picks were chosen for their sound quality, functionality, ease of use, additional features, and price.
    April 23, 2014
  • Skype has become one of the fastest growing methods of online communication. This free internet calling service is well-known for its video conferencing capabilities, but it's also a popular way to place a regular phone call. Mainly, because it's basically free. Now telephone manufacturers have started to get in on the action, designing and building phones for use with Skype that are similar to that of a landline or smartphone handset. Until recently, Skype users were tethered to their PC's or laptops in order to use Skype but now; many of the VoIP ready versions you'll find on this list let you take Skype with you anywhere you can tap into an open Wi-Fi connection or broadband network. This list compiles the best Skype Phones available at the moment, each one chosen based upon the following criteria: ease of use, features, functionality, Skype compatibility, and price.
    April 18, 2014
  • Selecting the best wall mount for your home is really a question of where you plan on placing your flat-screen TV. You have three options to choose from, each one offering particular advantages in certain type of mounting situations and television weights and sizes. The most common is the tilting mount; keeping the television close to the wall in much the same way a low-profile mount would, except this mount does exactly what it says it can do: tilt. Usually offering a ten degree tilt up and down, this mount is perfect for positioning your television higher on the wall, above eye level. Low-profile mounts do not move in any way, they are stationary mounts that do one thing only; keep your TV hung up on the wall. These mounts are called "low-profile" because you can hardly see them when in use. There is such a small gap between the back of your unit and the wall that they're hardly, if ever, visible. Unfortunately, while these are often the least expensive mounts to buy they can also be problematic since most cables and cords connecting the television to cable boxes or Blu-ray players are plugged into the back of it. So this mount could pose some clearance issues with your cables. The final mount you can choose is a full motion or articulating mount. These are slightly more complex as they feature an articulating arm that lets you extend and retract the TV from the wall, in addition to tilting and swiveling capabilities. These mounts are often the most expensive because they offer so much movement and require more hardware in their manufacturing, not to mention they can be more challenging to install. But these mounts are well-suited for positioning your TV along corners, though do they require more room to operate as some of these mounts can extend out from the wall up to 20" or more. All of these mounts are viable options for just about any television, but be sure you choose the proper size that fits with your specific TV brand and model. Consult the VESA standard compatibility between your TV and the mount first; this is the industry standard for how apart your mounting holes are on the back of your television. If your mount and television don't conform to one another, you will not be able to attach them. While this isn't a complicated matter to determine, it is crucial for the proper installation of your television and the safety of anyone who might come in close proximity with it.
    April 03, 2014
  • You may think the boombox went out of style with neon tube tops, breakdancing, and big hair. But you'd be mistaken, because the boombox never really left...it's just gotten a makeover. Today's boomboxes offer more than just AM/FM radio and big sound. Gone are those cassette tape decks and instead you have your choice of CD players, mobile device connectivity, even USB ports and memory card slots that can play your content over high-quality speakers. Some of these boomboxes can even play DVD's and many of them are built with rugged waterproof housings that are suitable for any type of environment; be it a jobsite, the mountains, or the local park. If you're looking to relive those days of strutting down the street with your tunes playing on your shoulder, check out our list of the best boomboxes you can buy. Each one chosen based upon the following criteria; portability, sound source options, functionality, audio quality, additional features, and price.
    February 13, 2014
  • Film used to be the standard photography medium before digital largely replaced it. Today it takes some research to find a film camera and filmstock, but they’re still available on the market. The format is still embraced by purists who see it as the highest level in mastering the craft of photography. There are many different types of film cameras and niche styles. Here are the very best cameras that still use film.
    August 28, 2013
  • Alarm clocks now come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are better suited for some consumers than others. The premise is still the same, a small device that tells time and sounds an alarm at a pre-determined time and date. But nowadays you have an entire spectrum of possibilities out there when it's time to choose one for your needs. Such products these days are usually electronic and fully digital. Sure, you can still find the analog types with the round face and bells up top, but even those have some electronic component attached, such as a lit-up face. But most alarm clocks use bright, lit-up digital displays that are either LCD or LED and come with brightness dimmers. Many of these clocks have dual alarm capability, good for two-person households to set exclusive alarms with different sounds tailored to each individual. There are alarm clocks that also feature musical components to them. Clock radios have been around for decades, but with the advent of satellite radio and technologies such as iPods and MP3 players, your only option isn't just AM/FM radio anymore (though most still have it to some degree). Alarm clock docks allow you to use personal music devices to listen to your songs or even wake up to them in the mornings, instead of loud buzzers or digital alarms. For business travelers or vacationers, there are smaller versions of popular alarm clocks that are fully portable for travel. These have many of the same features as your alarm clock at home, using visual and audio technologies to make your morning as pleasant or disruptive as need be. Heavy sleepers need not worry about sleeping through their alarms anymore either. Many major manufacturers offer clocks that sound off extremely loud alarms that can wake anyone, and even come with vibrating accessories that can be used to shake you awake in bed. Alarm clocks can range in price and convenience, from the most basic to those with endless exotic features and designs. With so many types of alarm clocks to choose from, you may just find the one you need among the following lists below.
    August 26, 2013
  • RCA stereo audio cables are used to connect a wide variety of sources to amplifiers or receivers, and to connect discrete components together such as preamps, power amps, equalizers and surround sound processors. Typically, these cables carry line level signals (-10 dbV at roughly .3 volts) which are susceptible to interference from radio signals (RFI) and electromagnetic noise from AC cords, transformers, and motors (EMF interference). Given that these cables often cross one another, or touch power cords, good shielding is very important. And, with the low voltages involved, signal loss must be kept to a minimum.High-quality RCA cables will use better conductors (copper or sometimes even silver) with gold-plated connectors. In general, thicker conductors are better. But, low capacitance is also important because higher values can cause high frequency attenuation.You can spend an awful lot of money for RCA cables which yield diminishing marginal returns. Our ratings are for 6-foot cables, focused on overall value as much as quality of conductors, connectors, and insulation.
    August 09, 2013