A Beginner’s Guide to Advanced Storage

If you need fast storage and lots of it for work or otherwise, there’s still no substitute for a professional-grade RAID setup or networked storage. The Synology DS1512+ NAS and LaCie 5big Thunderbolt external RAID bay are the best combination of accessibility, price and performance. They’re our favorite starter advanced storage options, because we are only offering an intro to this rabbit hole.

Do I need advanced storage?

Now, if you’re like most people, and simply need to back up a few hundred gigs of family photos and documents to a cheap external hard drive, you don’t need to mess with this category, which we’re calling advanced storage. Today’s USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt external drives offer great transfer speeds compared to the USB 2.0 drives of yesteryear. Go check out the Seagate Backup Plus, our favorite external drive, and call it a day.

But some of us need 10 terabytes instead of 2 or 3, or the ability to edit HD video from an external drive, or safer redundant backups than the average external drive can offer. This is where we enter into the world of premium storage, and this piece is meant to serve as a primer on what premium storage is good for and why the prices are worth paying (you’re likely spending at least $1000 here). 

The Razors You Should Buy for Your Face And Other Parts Also

Alexander George has done a thorough review of ALL OF THE RAZORS for The Wirecutter, and picked the ones you should buy. READ MORE 

Emergency Gear for the Next Time We Have Emergencies

Brian and Co. at The Wirecutter have put together a roundup of very useful emergency gear to throw in your emergency-go bag to prepare yourself for the next disaster that comes (and there probably will be many more disasters to come in our lifetimes).

The Best Robot to Buy to Vacuum Your Dirty Home

The $350 iRobot Roomba 560 is my pick for a robot vacuum cleaner.

First thing’s first: a robot vacuum cleaner is not a replacement for a traditional vacuum. These bots are designed to supplement, not replace, manual cleaning. As I found when I compared several models for Wired last year, a robot will rid you of ignorable, but irritating dirt and dust that gathers on your floors, extending the time between major household cleanings, but eventually, you’ll still need to vacuum by hand to pick up the grime that the robot couldn’t wrestle free. But they will give you more time between major cleanings—you can go a month or two between manual cleanings rather than sweeping or scrubbing once every two weeks. Or if you’re concerned about allergens, every day. For anyone that has pets that shed, or allergies to dust or pollen, the little bit of cleaning a robot vacuum can do on a daily basis can go a long way.

Read More

A Gifting Guide For Weird and Wonderful Humans

So, I'll Be Your Personal Shopper–Just Ask Wirecutter.

The Best Space Heaters

Maybe your home’s heating system just isn’t cutting it, and wearing your coat indoors for the next six months is just stupid. If you rent your home, or can’t afford to install new insulation or upgrade your central heating system, then the best way to stay warm short of piling on extra layers of clothing is to buy a space heater.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive portable heater to help keep your home warm this winter, Delonghi’s $80 TRH0715T Safeheat 1500W portable oil-filled radiator is the way to go. After 20 hours of research and hands-on testing of 11 different space heaters, it was the offered the best combination of price, energy efficiency and features that I could find.

But, if you’ve got money to burn, Dyson’s $400 AM04 Hot fan-forced ceramic heater is a great option too. It’s packed with features, safer than anything else I tested and  heated up my test space so much faster than everything else I pitted against it.

But before we talk about what you should buy, there’s a few other things we need to talk about.

Read More

The Best LED Lightbulb is the Philips L-Prize

I’m replacing my old favorite LED lightbulb, the Philips 12.5 watt ambientLED, with their next generation L-prize bulb now that its finally less than $40 ($37) online.

Philips’s next generation bulb, which is based closely on the bulb that won the $10m government contest to create the future of lightbulbs. It’s called the L-Prize bulb, and it is more efficient at 9.7 watts instead of 12.5 watts than the bulb below; brighter at 940 lumens versus 800 lumens; has a much better light quality rating, and lasts 30,000 estimated hours instead of 25,000.

But let’s get this out of the way: It costs $37. LED lightbulbs aren’t cheap. But they are cost effective, lasting anywhere from 15 to 25 years, compared to about a year for regular bulbs. And they use one-fifth of the power that older bulbs require. In the long run, then, LED bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars by lasting longer and being more energy efficient.

Read More

The Best Home Theater in a Box (Does Not Exist)

The audio world is shifting rapidly, and soundbars are usurping the once mighty category of HTIBs. So what are we to do, when fewer are being made, and fewer still are being reviewed?

Well, that’s easy–we’re going to recommend something else.

CNET has this to say about HTIBs:

“HTIBs used to be the go-to budget option for home audio, but [we’re] reluctant to recommend an HTIB these days. You get all the downsides of multiple speakers and tangles of wires, yet you often don’t get dramatically better sound than a good sound bar. And unlike AV receivers and speakers, an HTIB typically isn’t upgradable, so you’re stuck with the AV receiver, speakers, and built-in Blu-ray player your HTIB features. While there are some scenarios in which an HTIB is the best option, in most cases you’re better off saving up for a full-size system or settling for a good-enough sound bar.”

There was a time HTIBs made sense. They were convenient, and often offered a discount compared to buying the pieces on their own. While this is still sort of the case, the lower price now often means worse performance.

Read More

The Best Cable Modem

If I were in the market for a cable modem so I could forgo those pesky rental fees, I'd pick up Motorola's SB6141 Surfboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable modem at $120.

What You Need to Know About the New iPhone If You Care About the New iPhone

Instead of pretending I have something fresh to add, I’m going to point you to my favorite article on the new iPhone by my friends John and Matt, and my favorite hands on experience of the phone written by Josh, who was at Apple’s press event.

What I am good at, however, is telling you the very basics of what is important and forgetting about the extra junk. These things are kind of important-ish:

–You’ve likely already heard that the new phone is lighter, faster, has better life and is thinner and taller. It’s taller so it can better fit things above the pop-up on-screen keyboard, as well as better display 16:9 widescreen video.

–You’ve maybe heard the camera is better, with a more scratch-resistant sapphire crystal (second only to diamond in hardness) lens. It is able to shoot panoramic shots and take stills while you’re recording video and has a microphone on the back so it can better capture audio. It also takes better photos in low light. READ MORE