Science & Technology



Sound Advice: Olympus Tough TG-5 is best rugged camera phone

Q. I want to buy a rugged stills camera that can take the shock of a fall when skiing. I've been taking my old iPhone 6 Plus with me as I consider it somewhat expendable, but still feel like I am courting disaster and want to get something dedicated to the task. I also imagine such a camera would be easier to operate with gloves on. Price is ...Read more

Sound Advice: JBL Flip 3 speaker sound better than Amazon Echo

Q. How does the JBL Flip 3 speaker sound compared to the Amazon Echo? Which is better?

-- P.K., Cedarburg, Wis.

A. For pure sound quality, I would say the JBL Flip 3. The Amazon speakers sound OK, but are not known for class-leading sound quality. The Alexa Voice Assistant is the reason to buy them. The $39 OontZ Angle 3 Ultra has better sound...Read more

Sound Advice: Oppo 4K Blu-ray players are the best on the market

Q. I just purchased a 55-inch LG OLED TV and I love it! I want to get a 4K Blu-ray player now. What do you recommend and will I see much of a difference with 4K Blu-rays compared to regular Blu-rays?

-- N.L., Eden Prairie, Minn.

A. Oppo makes the best disc players on the market and are well worth the investment. Oppo players are built like ...Read more

Sound Advice: More washing machine recommendations

This week I have lots of questions and comments about appliances. Readers love this topic!

Q. What model Speed Queen washer do you have? I am interested in learning more.

-- C.O. Boise, Idaho

Q. We bought a new low-water top loading washing machine after being told that in the state of California, these machines are now law. I washed most ...Read more

Sound Advice: Music Hall speaker is worth every penny

Q. I want to get a new turntable, budget $200-$400. You have several recommendations in that range, which do you think is the very best?

-- B.J., Minneapolis

A. Check out the Music Hall MMF-1.5. At $399 it is at the top of your price range, but every nickel will be well spent. Sold by audiophile manufacturer Music Hall Audio of Great Neck, N.Y...Read more

Sound Advice: Google Home, Assistant on par with Alexa

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

Sound Advice: Speed Queen laundry equipment touched a nerve

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

Sound Advice: Most universal remote controls work for TVs

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

Sound Advice: Speed Queen washing machines are a dream

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

Sound Advice: Alexa more reliable than Siri

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

Sound Advice: Micro Four Thirds system good for low-light photography

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

Sound Advice: High quality speakers for a $1,000 budget

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

Sound Advice: Cambridge Audio SE1 wired earphones are high quality, raise money for charity

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


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