Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Episode 1100

Alex from Long Beach, CA
HP Chromebook

Alex is looking to get a Google Chromebook but people are trying to convince him to get a Windows laptop instead. Leo says that the fundamental difference between a Chromebook and a Windows laptop is that there's very little storage on a Chromebook -- everything is meant to be accessed from the cloud. The entire Chromebook is basically like using only the Google Chrome web browser on a Windows computer.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1099

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is the Selfy. It's a case for iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S5 that has a bluetooth remote shutter button. The shutter remote slides into the back of the case and you can slide it out anytime you want to take a selfy. They have accessories to fit into that slot including a tripod, bike mount, and helmet mount. It's great for parties and picnics if you take a lot of selfies.

Is BitLocker good enough for encryption?

Julian from Santa Barbara, CA

Episode 1099

Julian uses BitLocker to encrypt his laptop hard drive. Is that adequate? Leo says absolutely. It's more than sufficient. And with more than 12,000 laptops being lost and stolen every week at airports, it's a wise idea to encrypt his laptop hard drive when he's traveling. But remember -- BitLocker requires certificates, so he can't lose them. It's wise to back them up or he won't be able to decrypt his drive. He should make sure that he uses a very good, random password for the encryption as well.

Why are my TV speakers cutting out when I plug in my headphones?

Mark from Rhode Island

Episode 1098

Mark's mom won a new TV at work and he's been tasked with hooking it up. They also want to have the sound transmitted to a wireless headset for his father. But when he plugs it in, it turns off the speakers on the TV. Suggestions? Scott says that's a common problem and there may be a setting for audio submenus that will give the option to leave the internal speakers on. Scott says that since Mark uses a splitter, it's likely causing the TV to turn off the internal speakers.

What speakers should I get to mix my audio?

Episode 1098

JR from Detroit, MI
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic

JR is building a gaming system and he wants to add some great audio. What about the JBL speakers? The one's he's looking at are made in china and he's concerned about the build quality. Scott says that just because they're made in China doesn't mean they're no good. There's good and bad speakers from anywhere. Scott would recommend going with larger 8" woofers to go deeper in the bass. He also needs a digital audio converter.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1097

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio Bluetooth Speaker

This week's gadget is in honor of Scott's pinch hitting for Leo. It's the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio Portable Bluetooth speaker. It's 4.6 pounds and has two 3-inch woofers, two 3/4-inch tweeters, and two passive radiators. There's no audio-in jack, as it works via Bluetooth. It's battery powered, and can last 5 hours on one charge. 15 watts per active speaker for a total output of 60 watts. Frequency response is stated as 60Hz to 20kHz. List price is $399.99, but discounts are widely available.

Will OLED TVs ever be affordable?

David from San Diego, CA

Episode 1097

David bought a Pansonic VT55 and had it professionally calibrated. He's now looking at an OLED TV, but he's not sure it'll be around very long. Scott says that OLED is stunning. But they're not cheap by any means. And new models are going to be curved, also. Scott isn't much of a fan because with screen sizes below 110", it's just an unneeded feature. There's also the problem that OLED simply isn't going to be mainstream for awhile due to the cost and we don't know how long it will survive over the long term, especially with blue colors. Blue tends to age faster.

Is it better to get an A/V receiver with 'smart' functions or use a Roku with it?

Steve from Louisville, KY

Episode 1097

Steve's Pioneer Audio receiver finally bit the dust. He's looking to replace it and wants to connect Internet Radio to it. He's heard about the Onkyo NR646. Can he use the Roku in concert with it, or should he get smart capabilities in the receiver? Scott says it really depends on which app or service he wants to use, and whether or not it's on the receiver or the Roku. There might not be an option to get a receiver without those smart functions, as most TVs now have it.