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    Tested: Yuneec Breeze 4K Quadcopter

    I've left my fingerprints on a lot of different multi-rotors. So it's rare for me to come across a product so unique that it nudges me out of my comfort zone. The new Breeze 4K ($500) from Yuneec is one of those products. It is unlike any quad I've flown before. In some respects, it forced me to rethink my preconceived notions about what an aerial photography platform could be. At the same time, it challenged me with issues that I couldn't overlook.

    The Yuneec Breeze 4K is a compact multi-rotor that is intended to create high-end selfies.

    Who is the Breeze 4K For?

    While it definitely has many hobby-quality attributes, the Breeze is not intended for model aviation enthusiasts. In fact, it seems that Yuneec has tried very hard to remove much of the burden of becoming a skilled pilot. Most of the built-in flight modes involve some degree of automated control over the quad. Just keep in mind that there is still a minimum level of proficiency required. It is necessary to understand and become competent with the software that augments any lack of flying skill. In other words, read the manual and watch the tutorials before you hit the skies.

    It appears that this quad is primarily for people looking to elevate their selfie game. The flight modes are tailored to put the user, more than anything else, in the camera lens. Think of the Breeze as a long selfie stick…a really long selfie stick!

    The marketing material for the Breeze notes that it is capable of outdoor or indoor flight. It has special sensors on the bottom side to improve its indoor capability in the absence of GPS signals. One photo even suggests that it is okay to fly within the limited confines of a high-rise apartment. Personally, I would be very uncomfortable flying a multi-rotor of this size and power inside my house.

    Tested: Xiro Handheld Gimbal Mount

    Earlier this year, I reviewed the Xiro Xplorer V aerial photography quad. Changes come quickly in the ever-evolving multi-rotor market. In the time since I wrote the review, Xiro has dropped the price on the entire Xplorer series and introduced a new ground-based accessory. That new accessory, a handheld gimbal mount, is the focus of this review.

    A neat feature of the Xplorer is that the 3-axis camera gimbal is a detachable, modular unit. The gimbal on the Xplorer G is made to hold a GoPro camera, while the V-model gimbal has an integrated 1080P camera. In either case, Xiro's new handheld mount ($160) will allow you to utilize your gimbal for ground-based filming.

    The concept behind this mount is simple. It has a pistol grip layout with a rechargeable battery hidden in the handle. The gimbal clips into a socket that also mates all of the electrical connections. A spring-loaded clamp on top of the unit provides a nesting place for your smart phone.

    A thumbwheel is used to control the pitch angle of the camera.

    Once the device is powered on, a thumb wheel at the top of the grip allows you to control the pitch angle of the camera. A real-time video feed from the camera will be visible on your phone via a Wi-Fi connection and the Xiro app. The whole set-up effectively emulates the way the gimbal works while it's on the Xplorer.

    Tested: Nvidia GTX 1060 Rains on the RX480

    AMD dreamt of mid-range glory when they shipped the Radeon RX480. The RX480 offered a great little package, including performance which matched high-end cards from past generations, lower power utilization, and a compact package suitable for most cards.

    True to form, Nvidia came along and crushed AMD's dreams.

    AMD announced its intent to pursue the ordinary gamer's heart months ago. Perhaps AMD's true high-end, code-named Vega, wouldn't be ready. Maybe AMD realized Nvidia would try to capture the high-end first. Either way, AMD laid their strategy bare for the world to see – including a certain Santa Clara-based GPU company.

    So it should surprise no one that Nvidia launched the GTX 1060 scant three weeks after the RX480 hit the street. At first, it seemed Nvidia's new mainstream card might not really be mainstream. Initial pricing suggested pricing closer to $300, based on Nvidia's own "Founder's Edition" card, which the company offers direct to users. Several weeks after the launch, pricing parity has hit, however. Prices for GTX 1060s running at stock clock speeds range from $249 to $329 depending on clock frequencies and cooler configurations. Radeon RX480 8GB cards run from $239- $279 while 4GB cards run right around $200. Availability for either the GTX 1060 or the RX480 remain spotty, suggesting demand still runs pretty high weeks after launch.

    So which should you buy? As always, let's look at the numbers.

    Hands-On with Rick and Morty VR

    We play the first demo of Rick and Morty VR, a roomscale virtual reality game made by Owlchemy Labs and Adult Swim. Here are our impressions, along with a chat with Owlchemy's Alex Schwartz about narrative VR game design, comedy script writing, and VR puzzles.

    Testing the Mantis Drone Claw Accessory

    We introduce Simone to a Tested tradition--opening mystery mailbags from viewers! This week's package contains an accessory for our quadcopter: a beautiful drone claw manufactured via a Kickstarter campaign. We have fun testing it in the the office though a series of challenges--what could go wrong?

    Test Riding the Segway MiniPro Personal Transporter

    Norm and Simone test the new Segway MiniPro electric personal transporter. Here's how it works, our first impressions from riding, and our confusion of what to do with our hands while standing on it. We're not calling it a hoverboard, so it's up to you to come up with a better name for this kind of device!

    Hands-On with Raw Data's New Multiplayer VR Demo

    We visit the offices of Survios, a VR game company making a sci-fi multiplayer shooter for the HTC Vive and Oculus Touch. The new demo of Raw Data includes teleportation for moving around the map, hero classes, and special powers. We chat with Survios' Chief Creative Officer about some of their VR design ideas.

    Show and Tell: SixKeyBoard Custom Keyboard

    For this week's Show and Tell, Patrick stops by (our old office!) to share this custom keyboard set by TechKeys. The SixKeyBoard is a programmable keyboard with yep, just six keys. But instead of requiring desktop software, macros and shortcuts can be saved right to the keyboard to work on any system.

    Tested: ODROID C2 $42 Computer

    More tiny computers! This week, Patrick Norton stops by the Tested office to review the Odroid C2, a tiny ARM-based computer that can run Linux and has several advantages over the Raspberry Pi 3. We talk about the importance of USB and Ethernet throughput for these computers, and what projects you can use them for.

    Tested: Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

    What makes a good mechanical keyboard? And why are peripheral companies releasing new gaming keyboards so frequently? Patrick and Norm discuss the state of this essential accessory, and how the switches in new keyboards from Corsair, Razer, and Logitech compare. Which type of switch do you prefer?

    Tested: Carvey Desktop CNC Machine Review

    We test the Carvey, a desktop CNC machine from Inventables. Unlike the X-Carve, this three-axis mill is enclosed for office use and designed for simplicity and safety. Using the web-based Easel software, we're able to create a design and cut it on a sheet of plastic in just a few minutes. The simplicity limits its versatility, so it may be better suited for classrooms than large working shops.

    Tested: Blade Chroma 4K Quadcopter

    Choosing a multi-rotor for aerial photography can be tough. Not only is there a large variety of platforms to choose from, but many of these multi-rotors share a sizable core of common features. It often takes detailed research to sort out what the differences are in terms of capabilities and performance.

    Most aerial photography (AP) multi-rotors feature a video downlink system that utilizes your personal phone or tablet as the viewing screen. While most of these set-ups work quite well, incorporating a third-party device into the mix adds a few unwanted variables and opens the door for potential compatibility issues. Even the small overhead of simply keeping another device charged has bitten me a time or two. The flying field is a crummy place to figure out that your kids borrowed your iPad and didn't bother to charge it!

    The Blade Chroma 4K is the first AP quad I've reviewed that has the video screen integrated into the radio transmitter. This means that everything necessary to fly, monitor, and record video (and photos) is in the box.

    About the Chroma

    The Chroma is available in a few different configurations. Some can carry a GoPro via a static mount or a 3-axis gimbal. Other models have a 3-axis gimbal with an integrated 1080P or 4K camera. These latter packages are the truly turnkey systems of the bunch. Horizon Hobby provided a Chroma 4K ($800) for this review.

    With a diameter of 400mm, the Chroma is a little bigger than its 350mm predecessor in the Blade lineup, the 350QX3. Like the QX3, the Chroma is encased in a plastic shell. All of the electronics are nestled inside. The Chroma also has a pop-up GPS antenna that helps to keep it clear of RF noise that could hinder reception. Ready-to-fly weight of the Chroma 4K is just a few grams shy of 3 pounds.

    The Chroma includes absolutely everything needed to begin shooting Ultra-High Definition video.

    The proprietary 3-cell LiPo battery snaps into place on the bottom side of the body. Electrical contact is made as the battery is inserted into place. Markings on the battery suggest that it has a capacity of 5400mAh, but an update from Blade states that it is actually 6300mAh. It takes a little under two hours to refill a depleted battery with the provided AC-powered charger. Additional batteries are available for $120 each.

    Tested: Samsung Galaxy S7 Smartphone

    We've been using Samsung's latest flagship smartphone for over a month, and here are our testing results. While processor performance improvements alone aren't enough to justify an upgrade, the new camera, water resistance, battery capacity, and return of expandable storage makes the Galaxy S7 an excellent Android phone.

    Tested: WeBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster

    We review the WeBoost EQO, a cell phone booster that works by picking up cellular signals from an area with good reception and amplifying it to an area with poor reception. Patrick Norton talks about the setup process, his experience with signal performance, and what scenarios the WeBoost is most effective.

    Testing: The LG G5 Android Smartphone

    LG has been chasing its hometown rival Samsung in the Android ecosystem for years now, but it's never managed to beat Samsung. The LG G5 is LG's attempt to address concerns about its materials and design while also keeping the features that set it apart from other Android OEMs. The G5 has an aluminum frame, whereas past phones were plastic. At the same time, it keeps the removable battery and adds a system of modular accessories. Is this enough to make for a compelling flagship phone?

    I've been using the G5 for a few weeks, so let's see how it stacks up to the competition.

    Design and Display

    The G5 is an aluminum phone, which is a big deal for LG. In the past, it has been criticized for sticking with plastic materials while its competition used more impressive metal and glass designs. However, the way LG is using aluminum is probably not the way you would have expected. In fact, there's been a lot of argument about this on the internet.

    So here's the deal: the G5 is a metal phone, but it doesn't feel like one. There's a thick layer of synthetic polymer primer on top of the metal that hides the antennas on the back panel. Most metal phones have those plastic lines across the back (think iPhone), but LG decided it wanted to hide those. The solution seems bizarre to me because part of the appeal of a metal phone is that it feels like metal. The upshot of all this is the smooth back (if you like that), and a more rigid frame that allows for the unique battery system (more on that shortly).

    Also on the back is the power button with built-in fingerprint sensor. The volume rocker has, sadly, moved back to the side of the phone. I quite liked it on the back with previous LG phones. The fingerprint sensor works well enough, but it's not as good as the ones from Google, Samsung, and HTC.

    On the bottom is the mono speaker, which is fine, and the new USB 3.0 Type-C port. The Type-C port will mean ditching all your old cables, but this is the standard of the future. Best we all just get with the program. The addition of Quick Charge 3.0 is nice as well.

    LG has again gone with a 2560x1440 resolution LCD—it was the first mainstream OEM to do that with the LG G3 two years ago. The G4 was an improvement over that phone, and the G5 improves even further. The colors are solid and accurate without any of the blown out reds of some LCDs that are trying to emulate AMOLED. With the high resolution, this 5.3-inch panel is very dense and produces crisp images. The outdoor brightness is impressive as well. Some people are noticing some backlight bleed, but I haven't seen that one my unit.

    Tested: DJI Phantom 4 Review

    After flying DJI's Phantom 4 quadcopter for a month, we share our evaluations of this new drone's ambitious features: the new obstacle avoidance system, active subject tracking, sport mode, and increased battery life. Here's why we think you're better off buying last year's Phantom 3 model.

    Tested: Eero Wi-Fi Router and Extender

    We test a new router system that attempts to eliminate the worry of Wi-Fi dead spots by building a mesh network of hotspots that work together as one seamless wireless network. The Eero does what it promises, but may be too simple for power users who need to heavily configure their network settings.

    Tested: Blade Mach 25 FPV Racing Quad

    At this time last year, it looked like 250mm quads would be the dominant airframes used for multi-rotor FPV racing. Now we're seeing lots of smaller, lighter designs in competition. But don't throw out your 250mm racer just yet. They're still popular, fast, and fun.

    My first 250-class racing quad was built with parts sourced from several different vendors. I'm dealing with a prebuilt model this time around, the Blade Mach 25 ($350). The Mach 25 is a Bind-N-Fly-Basic model. This means that it includes everything except a radio transmitter (the receiver is compatible with Spektrum brand radios) and FPV goggles (or monitor).


    The Mach 25 is certainly different from the mainstream. Its most obvious unique feature is the painted polycarbonate shell with Speed Racer-inspired styling. The body is held in place with rubber grommets that fit over posts attached to the frame. It's a simple yet secure system

    Another unique feature of the Mach 25 is the integrated FPV camera and 5.8GHz video transmitter (VTX). This tiny device is mounted to a vibration-damped plate near the front of the quad. Even though the VTX only transmits at 25 milliwatts of power, an amateur radio license is required to operate it.

    The Blade Mach 25 is a prebuilt quad racer with a unique appearance and some interesting features.

    The main frame is built with 2mm carbon fiber plates, while the motor arms are aluminum tubes. These tubes are held in place with aluminum clamps that are also spacers for the plates. The motors are tilted forward at a 10-degree angle. One of my motors had a visibly different tilt angle than the others. I loosened the relevant clamp and twisted the tube to get it aligned.

    Tested: Amazon Echo Dot Review

    One of our favorite devices from last year was Amazon's Echo, a Bluetooth speaker with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. At half the price of the Echo, the Dot offers the best of Alexa at a fraction of the size and cost. Here's why we think this is an essential gadget if you have connected hubs like Nest, SmartThings, or Hue.

    Tested: HTC Vive Review

    The consumer release of the HTC Vive is finally here! We've been testing the Vive Pre for a while and the final headset for about a week, playing VR games with tracked controllers in a roomscale setup. Jeremy and Norm discuss the setup process, ergonomics, comfort features, and launch content for Steam VR. Plus, we play through Valve's first-party VR game, The Lab!