recent articles

Deal: This $99 PC monitor will make your Mac or Windows laptop shineWorking from home with your MacBook or Windows laptop? It’ll feel like a whole new machine when you plug in a mouse, keyboard and external computer monitor, like this eye-popping 21.5-inch model by HP Pavilion.

On sale for $99, the HP Pavilion 22cwa boasts an anti-glare screen, full-HD resolution (that’s 1920 by 1080 pixels, for those of you counting), as well as a screen technology called IPS (In-Plane Switching) that makes for brighter images at any angle, meaning the picture won’t look washed-out when viewed from the side. You can plug the HP Pavilion 22cwa directly into the VGA or (more likely) HDMI output on your PC laptop. Got a Mac? This $9 “Thunderbolt” adapter will do the trick. Read More

Looking for some great stocking stuffers? Not only are these picks relatively cheap, they’re all things that I’d love to snap up for myself.

TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi range extender ($25)Deal: Spotty Wi-Fi network at home? This $20 gadget can help

What is it: A compact gizmo that plugs directly into a power outlet and boosts the range of your home Wi-Fi network.
Who it’s for: Anyone who has Wi-Fi dead spots in their house.
Why you should snag it: I bought my own Wi-Fi extender earlier this year for about $100, and I thought that was a pretty good deal. But $25? That’s a no-brainer. Read More

Deal: Stream TV shows from Netflix, Hulu on your HDTV with this $29 gadgetHave a loved one who’s still leery about streaming TV shows from Netflix and Amazon? Nudge them in the right direction this holiday season with this cheap, itty-bitty set-top box.

The $29 Roku Express sits right next to your HDTV and comes with just two ports: one for an HDMI cable that plugs into your TV set, another for power. Once you’ve hooked it up, just connect the Roku Express to your Wi-Fi network, switch your TV to the right video input (like, say, HDMI 1 or HDMI 2), and start streaming shows from the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, and more. Also nice: the easy-to-use remote, which boasts big, bright buttons that send you directly to Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services. Read More

Deal: Too many TV remotes? Replace 'em all with thisFor years, I’ve been using a universal TV remote to take charge of my HDTV, my Blu-ray player, my Apple TV and my gaming consoles. Frankly, I’d be lost without my Harmony remote, and for today only, one of the newer models is on sale today for just $80, or 86 percent off its usual $250 sticker price.

Capable of controlling up to 15 home theater components, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate One IR All In One Remote boasts the usual array of TV remote buttons—you know, Play and Pause, fast-forward and reverse, plus volume and channel buttons—as well as a roomy touchscreen that you can customize however you want. Read More

Deal: A sweet-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker that won't break the bankNope, you don’t have to spend $100 for a decent portable Bluetooth speaker. Then again, you don’t want to waste money on a cheap piece of Bluetooth junk, either. Here’s an on-the-go wireless speaker that hits the sweet spot, particularly now that it’s on sale.

On sale for $28 (a whopping 72 percent off its standard $99 price tag), the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3 Next Generation Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (yes, it’s a mouthful) will wirelessly connect to your iPhone, iPad or Android device, and it boasts seven hours of battery life, a water-resistant design (meaning you can splash it, but don’t dunk it), stereo sound, and excellent customer reviews. Small enough to fit in a knapsack, the Oontz Angle 3 weighs in at just under 10 ounces, and it even doubles as a speakerphone thanks to its built-in mic. Read More

Deal: A cheap portable charger for an iPhone or Android phoneMy iPhone’s battery is generally running on fumes by the end of the day. My Android phone? It’s dead by sundown without a midday charge.

A portable battery charger can give your dying iPhone or Android phone new life when you’re on the road, and at just $27, the top-rated Jackery Bolt (which got a nod from The Wirecutter) makes for an enticing option. The 5.3-ounce Bolt comes with a powered USB port plus a pair of charging cables: a “Lightning” cable for iPhones and iPads, and a Micro-USB cable for Android devices. The next time your iPhone or Android battery meter is buried in the red, just pull out your Bolt for a quick recharge—and if your friends are green-eyed with envy, you can offer them a charge, too. Read More

ben’s tip of the week

Ben Patterson: Welcome to here's the thing, your source for practical tips, advice, and how-tos about the gadgets you use every day.

Can't find your Netflix queue?

Remember the old Netflix Queue? It’s still around, although you may have to dig around for you queue—or rather, “Your List,” as it’s now called—on your Netflix home screen depending on how often you use it. Read More