Hardware

Is the Amazon Echo a good Christmas gift?

Episode 1343

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo Dot

Cindy wants to know about the Amazon Echo. Leo says that the cool thing about the Echo is that Amazon opened it up to create more functions for it, called "Skills." To date, the Amazon Echo has over 3,000 skills it can handle. If she's an Amazon Prime member, she can tell it to buy stuff and ship it to her. She can tell it to stream music, too. If she has a stereo system, she can save money and get the Amazon Dot and plug it in.

Should I buy a Sony 4K TV?

Episode 1341

Chad from Long Beach, CA
LG B6 OLED

Chad is looking to get the XBox Scorpio next year to upgrade his game console but he wants to upgrade his TV first. Leo says that this will trigger the upgrade cascade with all of his other devices. Sony's 4K TV is very nice, and Scott Wilkinson says nice things about it. It misses the UHD Premium spec, however. Leo says it may be HDR 10, but Leo says he'll want a TV that supports the whole spec, not just one or the other. Sony always goes their own way with proprietary technology. That's a legitimate concern.

How can I record radio?

Episode 1341

Adam from Los Angeles, CA
CC Witness Plus Digital MP3 Recorder-Player with AM/FM Radio

Adam likes to record Laker games on audio to listen to them later while he's on his walks. He wants an all-in-one solution so he doesn't have to transfer it to an iPod or something. Leo says that CCrane has an all-in-one device that time shifts and records to MP3. It's called the CC Witness Plus. It's about $150 and it's like a DVR for radio. It records MP3 to a memory card. It also has microphones so he can record directly with it.

Can I buy an HD antenna for watching local channels?

Jim from Florida

Episode 1342

Jim remembers a call a few weeks ago about cord cutting and local channels. Could he buy an HD antenna for that? Leo says maybe, but only if he's in an area with line of sight to a TV transmitter in his area. The more rural you are, the more difficult that is.

Jim should check out TVFool.com or AntennaWeb.org to see not only what channels he can get in his area, but what antennas will work best.

What's a good PC for gaming?

Episode 1342

Sean from Sweet Home, OR
Asus Republic of Gamers PC

Sean's wife is into gaming and he wants to get her a good PC that will last a good, long time. Leo says that computer power isn't improving at the rate it used to and as a result, people, especially gamers, don't have to upgrade as often. His budget is $1500. Leo says that's a good budget. He should check out the Hardware Leaderboard over at PC Perspective for some great ideas.

How can I root my tablet?

Episode 1342

Brett from Woodbridge, NJ
Dell Venue

Brett has an older Dell Venue tablet and wants to update it, but they don't support it anymore. Leo says that his only choice is to root it and put a custom ROM on it. Leo says the first place he'll want to go to put a custom ROM on Android is the XDA Developers Forum. He can get step-by-step instructions for his exact model. There is a Dell Venue section, but he should be sure he uses the exact model or he could brick it.