"A Few Weeks Away"


Brian Lam for The Wirecutter:

The Google Nexus 7 beats the aging Kindle Fire as the best cheap tablet. And the Samsung Galaxy S III beats out the aging Galaxy Nexus as our pick for Android phone. But if I were you, I’d wait to see what Amazon’s next Kindle and Google’s next Nexus phone look like before buying anything. Then again, that’s my problem with with Android hardware–I always have fear of missing out on the next thing, which is only a few weeks away.

Perhaps the most affable element of the forthcoming Nexus 7 is that it is official Google hardware. Despite being manufactured by Asus, Google does not have a track record of releasing more than one iteration of each of its flagship devices per year. Accordingly, with the Nexus 7, there is a good bet that it will be the Google tablet device for the coming year. Presumably, the same will hold true for the impending refresh of the Nexus phone line.

Outside of the Nexus-branded options, I would feel utterly reticent about buying into any other device — particularly a contracted phone. Having worked with the HTC One X during the announcement of Jelly Bean, it was odd to be quite so aware of the futility of excitement when it comes to sustaining a relatively untouched (i.e., non-rooted) experience. Although the One X has cutting-edge hardware, fantastic build quality, and a lovely screen, it is without question that this competitive device will not be done any great service by HTC over the coming months.

Given my excitement over Jelly Bean, however, I will say that I’m very keen to see what the next Nexus-branded phone might be. With rumors swirling around Asus’ performance as a third party vendor, perhaps we’ll see an Asus-built phone to accompany the Nexus 7?

Conjecture aside, it’s clear that Android is finally gaining an increased portion of mindshare from even the most staunch of its opponents. Jelly Bean takes enormous steps toward the correction of Android’s path, and Google’s submersion within the hardware manufacturing world is certainly exciting to behold.

Thus, although, as Mr. Lam writes, there is perpetually a threat of a new device in the Android marketplace, I tend to disregard such competition. For me, with Jelly Bean, Google-branded devices are — for now — the elements deserving of our collective attention.

2012 MacBook Air Named Best Laptop by The Wirecutter

MacBook Air

Brian Lam:

Unlike when it first debuted, the Macbook Air does not come close to having the best specs in every regard, according to Mark Spoonauer of Laptop Magazine, who is one of my favorite laptop reviewers out there. But his experience–his publication tests nearly 130 laptops a year, from the cheap to the expensive–finds that there are lighter, faster, better sounding, cheaper and higher resolution ultra books out there. More on those specifics later. What is most telling is that, ultimately, he still chooses the Air as his favorite ultrabook over all comers.

Considering I bought a 2012 MacBook Air yesterday, this serves as apt validation for my decision.