The world of con­sumer tech­nol­ogy is full of choices, some of them ex­pen­sive. Here’s some help with the de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - BY A ALEXAN­DER GE­ORGE

As an Ap­ple loy­al­ist, I have the an­nual sub­scrip­tion plan, which gives me the ra­dio sta­tions with hu­man-se­lected new mu­sic that comes with the stan­dard monthly sub­scrip­tion, plus the abil­ity to use Siri to change mu­sic hands-free in the car. But if you al­ready have Spo­tify, stay with it. Most won’t miss the ex­clu­sives it lacks, and sug­ges­tion al­go­rithms such as Dis­cover Weekly are re­li­ably great.


Now that Uber has sched­uled pick­ups, an op­tion to add stops and tip­ping, Tax­ify doesn’t win for fea­tures. It comes down to Tax­ify be­ing less ex­pen­sive, bet­ter profit shar­ing for driv­ers and be­ing gen­er­ally more like­able. Ser­vice on both can be iffy at times, so it comes down to cost and which ser­vice you’re used to us­ing. Uber’s trump card is the vol­ume of driv­ers, and it’s cur­rently more widely avail­able.


Both apps of­fer fairly sim­i­lar fea­tures with small dif­fer­ences help­ing make one of them the win­ner of this clash. Ac­cuweather pro­vides satel­lite im­ages, two-week fore­casts and se­vere-weather alerts. It lacks a pollen count, though, which the app from The Weather Chan­nel has. Ac­cuweather is more ver­sa­tile.


Bose’s patents mean it’s still the best at noise-can­celling head­phones. I wear the last-gen QC 35s ev­ery day at my desk, and won’t fly with­out them. Xqisit’s oe400 ac­tive noise-can­celling ’phones are the new up­starts giv­ing Bose a run for its money. The noise can­celling is great and it’s so com­fort­able, it’s ba­si­cally a mother’s hug. It also costs less.


Easy menus and voice search make the Roku the best TV oper­at­ing sys­tem right now. But Ap­ple wins for user in­ter­face. Be­sides pret­tier menus, you can type your Net­flix or Ama­zon Prime pass­words on your iphone or ipad if it’s nearby, in­stead of mov­ing a square around the on-screen key­board.


Chrome’s new built-in ad-block­ing is ef­fec­tive, but it still uses too much sys­tem mem­ory, which can slow down other apps if you have too many tabs open. I use Sa­fari for daily driv­ing be­cause it blocks cross-site track­ing and never crashes or slows down.


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