Guide articles

Explained: A Guide to Smartphone Camera Hardware

For many people smartphone cameras have replaced standalone point-and-shoots as the go-to device for everyday photography, as they're easier to access and more compact to carry with you. But just what goes in to making a good smartphone camera? What hardware do companies use? What do pixel sizes and f-stops really mean? In this article I'll be exploring the hardware, key terms associated with photography, and some comparisons along the way.

How To Use a Xbox/PS Controller on Your PC

While the keyboard and mouse remain the best means of controlling many titles, especially PC staples like FPS and strategy, there are plenty of other options that are really crying out for a pad.

You could go and buy a custom PC control pad, but that would be stupid. Chances are you already own a control pad you can use on the PC: the ones that came with your Xbox 360, PS3 or Nintendo console.

Last Call: Google Reader Dies Monday, Here Are The Best Alternatives

Google feels RSS is no longer as important as it used to considering how the average internet user receives his fix of interesting links and news via social networks -- most of the time not through their social network, though.

But for millions of professionals that need that constant stream of information from manually selected sources, RSS is a big deal. Journalists, bloggers, programmers, researchers, students, tech savvy people, among others, fall into this group. It's a niche product, but still a big niche. Here are what we consider the best drop-in replacements for Google Reader today.

AMD: The Rise, Fall and Future of an Industry Giant

There is no single event responsible for ousting AMD from its lofty position in early 2006. The company's decline is inextricably linked to its own mismanagement, some bad predictions, its own success, as well as the fortunes and misdeeds of Intel.

AMD has long been subject of polarizing debate among technology enthusiasts. The chapters of its history provide ample ammunition for countless discussions and no small measure of rancour. Considering that it was once considered an equal to Intel, many wonder why AMD is failing today. However, it's probably fairer to ask how the company has survived so for long -- a question we intend to explore as we revisit the company's past, examine its present and gaze into its future.

TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2012

With barely a month to go before Christmas, the race is on to clear your holiday shopping list -- or, for the procrastinators out there, to start putting one together. Although you're working against the clock, the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales make this a fairly sensible time to dive in and ensure your loved ones are sufficiently showered in silicon-laced trinkets and baubles on the morning of December 25. As it happens, we have a soft spot for said gadgets and we've compiled a list of over two dozen things spanning all budgets that we'd love to find under the tree this year.

Free to $60 Gifts Gifts for Less Than $200 Between $200 and $400 Gifts $400 and Up

Tech Tip: How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8

Besides not offering a way to bypass the new Windows 8 Start screen (not without the help of third-party utilities), surprisingly Microsoft is also limiting your options when it comes to customizing its appearance. You can choose from a couple color schemes and 10 stock background images, but that's about it. We've seen some workarounds before but they are cumbersome and the results are less than optimal.

Enter Decor8. Stardock’s Windows 8 customization app removes this limitation by giving users the ability to pick any picture they want as the Start screen background.

How to Access Region-Locked Content From Anywhere: Proxy, VPN, DNS Redirections Tricks and More

Online services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify and many others have brought upon an era of instant, on-demand digital media consumption in a world where linear programming, bundled content, and physical formats no longer fit many people's lives.

Unfortunately this is a revolution not everyone can partake in (not yet or not as easily, at least). In this article we’ll offer you three alternatives to get around region locks. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and whichever route you choose will depend on the services you need to access as well as the devices you need to access them from -- not to mention whether you are willing to pay or not.

TechSpot Laptop Buying Guide: The Ivy Bridge Update

When choosing the right laptop it all comes down to what you are willing to spend and what you plan to use it for. This guide will help you navigate through the countless options out there. As usual, we've narrowed down our favorite notebooks and grouped them into five different categories: ultraportables, business and workstations, desktop replacements, gaming, and budget-oriented machines.

Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life. Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.
Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower. Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.
Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.