If you write about technology, work in technology, or just spend regular time near technology, the questions come early and they come often. Which laptop should I buy? Do I want an iPhone or an Android? I need something for checking my email on rainy Thursdays at approximately 6,000 feet above sea level — what do I get? Technology is now an inextricable part of our lives, and it’s more important than ever to make sure we get the right thing. The best thing.Welcome to This Is My Next, which is all about the best things. This Is My Next is a one-stop answer to the question "which one should I buy?" It’s Let Me Google That For You for gadgets, apps, and everything else we’re going to need to live in the future. Each week, we will seek to answer that question for some product or category. When you want to know what to buy, we'll always have the answer.
Jul 6, 2022
If you’re shopping for a gaming headset in 2022, you have a lot of options. While there are some great headsets out there, it’s easy to pay too much, to accidentally purchase a headset that doesn’t work with your desired console or platform, or to get one that’s uncomfortable after a few hours of use. Knowing a thing or two about headphones might aid in your search, but gaming headsets have only gotten more complicated to shop for — especially the wireless ones.Read Article >
For instance, wireless headsets made for Xbox operate via Microsoft’s proprietary wireless protocol. They’ll only work on Xbox consoles or a PC that has one of Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Adapters plugged in, in most cases. Conversely, if you get a multiplatform wireless headset that includes a 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle, it’ll likely work on the likes of the PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch (when plugged into the console’s TV dock), and PC — but not Xbox. In short, it’s best to buy the headset that mentions support for your preferred platform(s) explicitly (or just buy a wired gaming headset instead).
Dec 7, 2016
It’s been a wild year in the smartphone world, we’ve seen everything from modular phones, to exploding phones, even an iPhone that can get wet. Smartphones have been integral parts of our lives for nearly a decade now, but there’s still a lot of interesting things happening with them.Read Article >
There is still so much going on with smartphones that it can be hard to find the right phone for your needs. On the plus side, it’s harder than ever to buy a bad phone; virtually any phone you buy today will have fast performance, a great screen, reliable battery life, and a camera that can take incredible pictures.
Nov 30, 2016
Calendar apps have a tough job. Everyone needs one, but everyone is looking for something different out of them. I want a concise look at the day ahead, but you might want a spaced-out view of your week, and someone else might want a super-dense look at their entire month.Read Article >
The best calendar apps do a good job presenting your schedule no matter how you want to view it. They make it easy to understand your day and to plan out the weeks and months ahead.
Nov 16, 2016
For the last few years there was a simple rule of thumb for drones. If you wanted the best picture and the most advanced features, you had to stick with a unit that was fairly large and expensive. If you wanted something easy to carry, you had to sacrifice on image quality, battery life, and range. A lot of drones on the market still feel this way. Sure you want to snag some epic aerial footage on your next vacation or weekend trip, but do you really want to lug around a case that seems designed for the nuclear codes?Read Article >
Luckily there is a new breed of drone available. These units deliver stable 4K footage and battery life of 20 minutes or better, but they are small enough to slip into a slim backpack. The very best of the bunch can fit inside a purse or large jacket pocket. Suddenly a drone becomes something you can bring along just in case, a piece of gear that doesn’t have to be an awkward burden when you’re hitting the ski slopes or hiking up a mountain.
Aug 16, 2016
A good universal remote can completely change your living room experience. Instead of juggling a bunch of different remotes for your TV, cable box, game console, streaming box, or whatever else, a good universal remote can clean up your end table and let you go from watching nothing to watching something with a single press of a button.Read Article >
A good remote controls anything you might have today and anything you might buy in the future. It’s easy to program and can turn on multiple devices in the right sequence. It can control devices that have traditional IR systems, but also can control newer ones that rely on Bluetooth. It’s also accessible and easy to learn, so anyone in your household can just pick up the remote and watch something.
Jul 26, 2016
If you’re looking for a cheap computer, the first thing you should do is check out just how much you can get with a Chromebook.Read Article >
Chromebooks are increasingly looking like the perfect laptops for a whole lot of people. Sure, they don’t have the wide desktop app ecosystem that Mac and Windows laptops have. But ask yourself how many of those apps you actually use each day, and of those, how many you actually need. Could you trade Outlook for outlook.com? Would you be fine in Google Docs instead of Office? (And if not, would your answer change if it meant saving several hundred dollars?)
Jul 19, 2016
The portable Bluetooth speaker seems, at first glance, like an unnecessary gadget. If you already have nice surround setup at home or a solid pair of over-the-ear headphones, you might ask yourself in what situations you’d even use a Bluetooth speaker? It turns out the answer is everywhere, all of the time. Portable Bluetooth speakers have shed the crummy sound, abysmal battery life, and lackluster design of past models. The best of the crop today can transform any situation — the beach, living room, kitchen, and, yes, even the shower — into a surprisingly good music experience. And once you start bringing music with you wherever you go, it’s hard to stop.Read Article >
But it’s hard to know which one to get, because pretty much every consumer electronics brand with an audio department has slapped its logo on a tube-shaped speaker, and a lot of them are terrible. Like with headphones, it’s easy to get tricked into buying a speaker that looks really cool, but ends up sounding subpar. And while it may seem like a smart choice to stick with tried and true audio brands, some of the best devices come from brands you might not have ever heard of before. At around $100 to $250 bucks for a decent Bluetooth speaker, it’s not a trivial purchase. But there’s good news: your choice isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Nov 24, 2015
We’ve seen a long lineup of new tablets this year at sizes big, regular, and small. But the everyday things we use tablets for — watching movies, playing games, browsing the web, checking email, and getting some light work done — still haven’t changed much in 2015. And the key things we look for when buying are also the same; a tablet should have a screen you can get lost in for hours; it should be fast and powerful, have a huge selection of apps, and the battery should last all day and beyond. And though we often leave them at home, it’s important that tablets are portable when we need them to be, a requirement that’s disqualified some particularly massive contenders this year.Read Article >
More and more, we’re seeing devices that try to bridge the gap between a laptop and tablet. But despite everyone’s best efforts, those hybrid devices don’t quite replace PCs and don’t feel great when you want to do “tablet stuff.” Tablets still work best when they focus on leisure and entertainment. They’re still that middle thing between your smartphone and computer, and the best ones embrace that position. They put amazing technology into something that’s simple and genuinely fun to use — and they do it without costing too much money. That’s where our top choice excels.
Nov 17, 2015
This fall a bunch of new streaming video devices launched, including the new Apple TV, Roku 4, the second-generation Amazon Fire TV, and new Google Chromecast dongles. The abundance of options underscores that these products, which connect to your Wi-Fi network at home and offer a variety of video-streaming apps on your TV screen, are no longer just workarounds for the cord-cutting set. They’re legitimately useful devices that have come to dominate the interfaces on our TVs at home, even if those TVs are already “smart” TVs.Read Article >
Better yet, they go above and beyond the standard options of Netflix and HBO Go and YouTube on the TV. Almost all streaming devices now include a wide variety of gaming, health and fitness, and even shopping options, and the point-and-click remote is thankfully approaching its demise with the introduction of solid voice-command software.
Sep 15, 2015
If you’re taking pictures, chances are you’re using a smartphone. Smartphones are great portable cameras because they generally take decent photos and are always in our pockets. But they aren’t particularly capable photographic tools and can really struggle in difficult lighting situations or when capturing fast-moving subjects. When your smartphone just can’t seem to do the job, you’re going to want something more. That something more is a mirrorless camera.Read Article >
There are a lot of mirrorless cameras available to buy at all kinds of prices. A mirrorless camera is one that has interchangeable lenses, but doesn’t have the mirror system of a traditional single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. That makes them smaller and often less expensive than SLR cameras, while still providing excellent image quality and performance. Mirrorless cameras come in a variety of shapes and designs, ranging from those that mimic SLRs to sleeker, more modern-looking options.
Sep 8, 2015
Action cameras — those blocky little cameras you use when you want to record all kinds of intense moments, such as skydiving, white water rafting, high-speed go karting, and more — have been around for a while now. In the past few years, action cameras have developed from niche curiosities into really popular devices that can capture amazing footage. But every year it's still the same story: market-leader GoPro releases a new camera, and other companies desperately try to catch up. Some companies have come close to making one as good as its best, but as soon as they do, GoPro releases a new one.Read Article >
This time around, however, GoPro’s releases were aimed at the low end. That means all of its competitors had a year to catch up to the company’s two standard bearers: the Hero 4 Black and the Hero 4 Silver.
Oct 2, 2014
These days, a $200 monitoring camera can keep a very good eye on your home when you’re gone. Most of these gadgets aren’t designed to stop an intruder, but to provide peace of mind. You use them to find out more about what’s going on in your home with both live and recorded video, and simple information updates.Read Article >
A good home-monitoring camera should be well-designed but inconspicuous, easy to set up, and extremely easy to use. The best ones make it simple to check in on what’s going on at home, and to get alerts only for the things you want to know about. The best ones also let you check in from all kinds of devices, be it your computer or on mobile.
Sep 19, 2014
No matter what your responsibilities are at work, chances are you can’t keep it all in your head. Our brains just aren’t very good at remembering everything we’re supposed to do. For a long time, we wrote down daily to-do’s on paper — and plenty of people still do. But mobile apps let you take your personal productivity much, much further. Find the right one, and there’s a good chance you’ll be more productive.Read Article >
It’s not hard to make a simple to-do app: just create a list that lets you cross off items as you finish them. But great developers build on the concept to help you organize huge projects, set deadlines, manage recurring tasks, and even set location-based reminders. There are hundreds of to-do list apps cluttering up app stores. And there are almost as many ways to get things done as there are people in the world. But Wunderlist is the best to-do list app for the average person.
Sep 11, 2014
Headphones are your smartphone’s best friend. They are the cheese to your phone’s wine, the glass of milk to your phone’s Oreo. They are nearly as ubiquitous as smartphones themselves and you see people wearing headphones almost everywhere you go.Read Article >
A lot of smartphones come with a basic set of headphones right in the box. But most of these headphones are pretty terrible, with a poor fit, mediocre sound, and a cable that easily turns into knots in your pocket. They are designed to serve the lowest common denominator, while still being cheap enough for phone makers to include them at no extra charge.
Sure, fine, you might still want to carry around a Moleskine and a lovely fountain pen because it just feels good. But that's hardly the most efficient way to take and store notes anymore, and the perfect tool is probably sitting somewhere in your pocket or your bag. The iPhone is not only connected to the internet — unlike your Moleskine it can actually save your notes somewhere else — but it also has a camera, a keyboard, and a virtually endless sea of apps designed to make it easy to get any and every thought out of your head and into a more reliable system. You'll be able to search and organize your notes, and your chicken-scratch penmanship will be rendered finally, mercifully readable.Read Article >
If all you want to do is write down the great novel title that's sitting in your head before you forget it, you can basically pick any of several hundred note-taking apps. Or you can use the built-in Notes app, I guess. But don't. Pick the app that will handle everything in your head. Pick the app that offers the best search, the best organization system. Pick the app that makes it the easiest to dump the most things in and then makes it totally painless to find anything later no matter where you are. Pick the app you'll be able to use even if you switch devices or platforms.
You need to make a dentist appointment. A friend just spent 45 minutes raving about A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and you need to remember to read it so you can get a word in edgewise next time. You just came up with a killer startup idea (it's like Uber but for dress pants) and you don't want to let another billion-dollar idea slip away. Where do you put all of this?Read Article >
You could write an email to yourself, which is sort of the 2006 version of leaving yourself a message on the answering machine. Or you could write it down on a Post It note that you'll eventually put through the wash and lose. Or you could do the smart thing: open your note-taking app, jot it down, and rest easy knowing the contents of your brain now live somewhere much safer.
Aug 14, 2014
I sit at a desk too much. I drink too much coffee. I don’t sleep very well. I have an odd feeling those three things might be connected. This thing on my wrist agrees with that assessment.Read Article >
After a few months of wearing and interacting with a fitness tracker, I have a shockingly clear picture of my lifestyle. Some of the news is good (living far from the subway is actually a good thing), some is bad (seriously: too much coffee), but it’s all eye-opening. And with the right device, it can be legitimately life-changing.
Is it going to rain today? Should I bring a jacket with me? Is it safe to plan a trip to the beach this weekend? Just a couple of years ago, answering any of those questions required watching your local news or tuning in to The Weather Channel to get a vague forecast that will probably change before you get where you’re going. But with smartphones, we can have insanely accurate weather reporting and predictions at our fingertips everywhere we go. Weather apps are a huge part of my daily routine — I consult them every day to determine where I’ll go and what I’ll wear.Read Article >
Google Now on Android phones puts the current weather conditions and forecast a simple voice command away. But if you're looking for more than just basic temperature and the upcoming forecast, there are plenty of great weather apps out there for Android. The best apps can accurately tell you the forecast in your notification bar or in a desktop widget, are easy to use, fun to look at, and don’t have ugly ads ruining the experience. And they offer everything from short and long term forecasts to radar maps and severe weather alerts.
Weather apps are an essential part of my daily workflow: I check the weather on my phone every day to help determine what I’ll wear and where I’ll go. If you're like me and looking for more than just your basic temperature and upcoming forecast, there is a wealth of great weather apps out there. In addition to offering things like pinpoint location accuracy, animated radar maps, and detailed minute-by-minute forecasts, today's weather apps are the playground for cutting-edge app design. (Apple even awarded Yahoo Weather its prestigious design award in 2013.) Weather seems like a pretty mundane topic, so it may come as a surprise to some that the best weather apps are fun to play with and pretty to look at.Read Article >
You can spend days — and a lot of money — looking for the best weather app for your iPhone. We’ve done the hard work, testing out dozens of weather apps, and have found the best weather apps that are both fun to use and functional. It’s okay to love a weather app, just make sure your heart is devoted to one of these.
Jun 25, 2014
For the vast majority of people, the compact camera is dead. Today’s smartphones take good enough pictures, easily fit in our pockets, and are always with us. But there are situations where the fixed lens on a smartphone just doesn’t cut it.Read Article >
If you’re looking for a camera that can do more than a smartphone, you have a number of options — including some good ones under $250. The right camera should cover the basics: it should be compact enough to fit in your pocket or the bag you’re already carrying around. As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. Second, it should have a long zoom lens, since there’s no point in carrying around a camera that doesn’t offer significantly more reach than your smartphone. Finally, it should be fast and easy to use. If a camera isn’t fast enough or you have to fumble with awkward controls, you’ll often miss the shots you’re trying to get.
Jun 11, 2014
If you write about technology, work in technology, or just spend regular time near technology, the questions come early and they come often. Which laptop should I buy? Do I want an iPhone or an Android? I need something for checking my email on rainy Thursdays at approximately 6,000 feet above sea level — what do I get? Technology is now an inextricable part of our lives, and it’s more important than ever to make sure we get the right thing. The best thing.Read Article >
Welcome to This Is My Next, which is all about the best things. This Is My Next is a one-stop answer to the question "which one should I buy?" It’s Let Me Google That For You for gadgets, apps, and everything else we’re going to need to live in the future. Each Wednesday starting today, we will seek to answer that question for some product or category. When you want to know what to buy, we'll always have the answer.