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Bridging The Gap
Cheap ways to fix annoying tech problems, from slow Wi-Fi to phone charging to old TVs and cars
  Sunday 10 June, 2018
Cheap ways to fix annoying tech problems, from slow Wi-Fi to phone charging to old TVs and cars

We all have someone in our lives who doesnít keep up with technology.

Some people just don't understand tech. But most of the time, it's that someone just doesn't have the time to search for solutions to those little, nagging, everyday problems. Maybe itís a parent or an aunt, or hey, maybe itís you.

Whatever the case, things get a whole lot easier once they (or you!) see how a few simple tech solutions can genuinely upgrade your day.
Soundbar solution

Just recently, some of my relatives were going to toss their big living room TV because the speakers were pooping-out (or their aging ears were). After sitting through family movie night with them with the volume cranked up to 100, I realized the TV was still just fine; they just need a soundbar.

For most people, soundbars are the best way to get better sound quality from a TV. They're simple and inexpensive and great for getting fuller, richer, louder, and more immersive sound for most home theater needs.

After reviewing the top five on the market over the span of several months, I picked out the just-released Polk Audioís new Command Bar. It goes on sale to the public on June 30, but I was able to test it out before it hit store shelves.

This model is a little larger than some of the other soundbars on the market, but it truly delivers superior features at a fraction of the cost of others. (My other favorites range from $600 to $1,000. This one is just under $300.)

Itís also among the first voice-controlled soundbars featuring Amazon Alexa built-in. My relatives yell at the TV anyway, now itís helpful and satisfying: They can just ask the TV to do whatever they want it to, and it just works. The sound is room-filling thanks to multiple range drivers and a wireless subwoofer, along with Dolby and DTS.

True audiophiles will still want to spend more, but for most of us, this is a straightforward solution thatís super simple to set-up, and saves hundreds ó if not thousands ó versus the cost of a new TV.

Another big complaint people are coming to me for help with lately is the range of their Wi-Fi network. I totally get it! Itís super frustrating to get dumped off the Internet when just walking from one room of your house to another.

You donít have to buy a new, high-powered router just to get the coverage you want, and you certainly donít have to suffer from Wi-Fi that just wonít reach. Netgearís $40 AC750 WiFi Range Extender takes the signal from the router you already have and pushes into areas of your house or yard where it just canít reach on its own. Itís tiny, inexpensive, and sits just right in an open power outlet.

Wireless charging is the future, but not all Qi-enabled charging pads and docks are created equally. I've tried most of them, and few could charge my iPhone through its thick case and PopSocket. Then I tried the just-released $60 Belkin BoostUp Wireless Charging Pad. This wireless charger fuels your phone in no time flat and the sturdy charge pad lets you toss your phone down and forget it.

It charges with up to 10W of power. If you think your current charging pad is super slow, itís probably a 5W charger, which just wonít cut it when the time is ticking. The PopSocket even charges through my sturdiest Otterbox case.

Need charging on the go that doesnít involve juggling a bunch of cords in your carís center console? Belkin makes also makes a universal car mount with a built-in wireless charger that fits phones big and small. Just stick your phone in the mount, and it takes care of the rest.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2018/06/07/easy-tech-upgrades/678709002/

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