Q. I saw your column comparing Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri. What do you think of Google's competing voice assistant and its related products?
-- J.L., Minneapolis
A. Google Home speakers and Google Assistant perform on par with Amazon Alexa devices. The Google speakers tend to have better sound quality than their Amazon equivalents, but ...Read more
Q. Will you please consider reviewing other appliances? Less than two years ago I purchased all new appliances for my new kitchen. They were supposed to be quality, but I think all of them are cheaply made and difficult to operate.
-- M.S., Bethel Park, Pa.
A. When I reviewed appliances in the past it was because they were new or novel, like ...Read more
Q. We have a Marantz plasma TV that is at least 10 years old. The remote no longer works reliably and we can't buy another one, as Marantz no longer makes TVs. What can we do if the TV is no longer supported by the manufacturer? We are very happy with the picture and want to keep the TV.
-- L.L., Pittsburgh
A. Though Marantz may no longer be ...Read more
This week I will begin with a product highlight, featuring an appliance I have come to love. My past columns discussing appliances were extremely popular, and I have a feeling this one will resonate with many of you.
About five years ago I bought a new home. It came with an old washer and dryer, but unfortunately the washer failed after one use...Read more
Q. My wife and I have been discussing electronic personal assistants. Which do you prefer, Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri?
-- G.R., South Bend, Ind.
A. That is an easy one, though one is a smartphone assistant, the other more of a home assistant. I much prefer Amazon's Alexa. First of all, because it actually works, almost 100 percent of the ...Read more
Q. I go to concerts often and need a good low-light camera because flash photography is not only forbidden, it is annoying to the performers and those around me. I'm typically close to the stage so I don't need a super zoom. It needs to be small as SLR cameras and big, protruding lenses get scrutinized at shows. Price is not an issue; what do ...Read more
Q. I am in college and want to buy speakers that make a realistic 3-D soundfield. Ohm Walsh speakers are outside of my $1,000 budget. What do you recommend?
-- R.F., New York
A. As you obviously know, Ohm Walsh speakers are one of the best choices for reach-out-and-touch-it, 3-D sound. If you can stretch your budget, until the end of January ...Read more
Q. Can you recommend high quality wired earphones for listening to music? They will be used with my phone so I need a mic, and I am willing to pay what is necessary to get great sound.
-- J.W., Santa Clara, CA
A. How about excellent high-end earphones that are not only affordable, but generate a substantial charitable donation when you buy ...Read more
My Daze as a Vampire Hunter: A Samuel the Vampire NovelJames T Carpenter
When a group of hunters is killing vampires far too efficiently, his boss says that's humanly impossible and an alien disguised as a human must be among them. After all, in the natural order of things, the superior race is always the...
Q. We're buying a new television and like yourself, we think OLED is the best choice for picture quality. We would like one in the 47-50-inch size range. Do you know if OLEDs in this size will be available soon?
-- L.H., Milwaukee
A. I don't know of any upcoming sub-50 inch OLEDs, but I finally found an LED-LCD TV with a great picture I could ...Read more
Q. My daughter wants lenses for her iPhone for Christmas. What do you think of them, and do you have any favorites?
-- E.H., Bethel Park, Pa.
A. Personally, I have never really taken to accessory lenses for a phone camera. The digital zoom has always sufficed for my needs, though it cuts image quality a bit. I use my interchangeable lens ...Read more
Q. Is there a way to connect my old receiver to Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth speakers so we can listen to the headphones wirelessly inside, or send music outside to my porch? If it is possible, what Bluetooth headphones would you recommend for my wife and me, and what Bluetooth speaker to use outside?
-- A.K., South Bend, Ind.
A. In the ...Read more
Q. Are the Vibes Hi-Fidelity earplugs you recently wrote about also OK to use for operating leaf blowers and stuff like that?
-- J.F., Mt. Lebanon, Pa.
A. I contacted the manufacturer and they say the earplugs can be used with light machinery, providing their specified 22 dB of reduction. While not as effective as over-ear protection, they ...Read more
Q. You recently wrote about a multi-purpose Bluetooth speaker but commented you would not buy it as a primary music speaker. What I want is the best Bluetooth music speaker I can buy for $100 or less. What would that be?
D.A., Manchester, N.H.
A. The best sound quality under $100 is definitely the new OontZ Angle 3 Ultra, which sells for half ...Read more