Guidemaster: Fitness trackers to consider before buying a smartwatch

Guidemaster: Fitness trackers to consider before buying a smartwatch

Enlarge / A different band can change the entire look of the Inspire HR. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Update: Our Fitness Tracker Guidemaster was originally published in January 2018, but we’ve been testing new devices to prepare for the beaches and pools of summer 2019. Our recommendations now include some of the best and newest devices available in 2019.

The smartwatch hasn’t swallowed up the fitness tracker yet. While many consumers are intrigued by the Apple Watch, Android Wear devices, and the like, old-school fitness trackers can still be useful and available for the right price. The main goal of these devices remains simply tracking activity: from daily movement to intense exercise to steps, heart rate, and sleep. Most of today’s fitness trackers haven’t changed much aesthetically, either. They’re still, by and large, wristbands.

Most modern fitness trackers are meant to be worn all day long. And many now have basic

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Guidemaster: The best dash cams worthy of a permanent place in your car

Guidemaster: The best dash cams worthy of a permanent place in your car

Enlarge / Garmin Dash Cam Mini. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Update: Our original Dash Cam Guidemaster was published in March 2018, but we recently tested out some of the newest options and updated our picks—just in time for 2019 summer road trips.

If you’ve ever been in a fender-bender or a serious car accident, you can appreciate the importance of a dash cam. These tiny car cameras stick to your windshield and silently record driving footage, capturing all the strange, mundane, and perilous things going on in front of your car. In addition to peace of mind during daily commutes, they can provide information footage to law enforcement, insurance companies, and other parties in accident situations, monitor your car when you’re not around, and sometimes capture fun videos of you and your friends on a road trip.

But with the numerous big and small companies making dash cameras now, wading

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Guidemaster: Ars tests and picks the best e-readers for every budget

Guidemaster: Ars tests and picks the best e-readers for every budget

Enlarge / The new Kindle Paperwhite. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

If you want to not only read more, but read better, an e-reader may be for you. Yes, it has become easy to find material to read and to get it on any of the numerous devices we have in our electronic arsenals—smartphones, tablets, computers, and the like. But even in a world full of versatile devices, e-readers are still favorites among dedicated readers open to getting their hands on e-books and digital publications in many ways. Ultimately, it may be freedom through limitation: E-readers help you focus on the reading rather than the distractions that are oh-so easily accessible through other electronics.

But that’s just one perk to having a dedicated reading device that either replaces or supplements your physical library. While e-reader technology hasn’t radically changed much in the past few years, companies have updated to their

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Guidemaster: Ars picks the best wireless keyboards you can buy in 2019

Guidemaster: Ars picks the best wireless keyboards you can buy in 2019

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Sometimes the default just doesn’t cut it, and that’s often true when it comes to keyboards. Whether you’re working on a desktop or a laptop, the keyboard you were given or the keyboard built into the machine may not be the best for your working style. If that’s the case, you may benefit from re-organizing your workspace to fit a wireless keyboard that connects to your machine via Bluetooth or a USB receiver.

But there are scores of wireless keyboards to choose from these days. Big PC companies as well as big accessory manufacturers all make wireless keyboards for various kinds of uses from stationary desk typing to on-the-go working. Luckily, we recently dove into the vast world of wireless keyboards head first. Maybe a modern wireless keyboard will never be as beloved as your old Model M, but there are good options out there—and

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Guidemaster: High-tech gift ideas for Mother’s Day

Guidemaster: High-tech gift ideas for Mother’s Day

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 4. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

No physical item can repay your mother for all the love she’s sent your way, but Mother’s Day is still a good time to give Mom some token of your affection. So, as we’ve done in the past, we’ve rounded up a handful of Ars-y items that might make her life a little more pleasant.

Now, not all the gadgets, services, and books we’ve recommended will be great choices for your mom. Some people might enjoy a new fitness tracker, while others would prefer a trip to the spa. You know your mother better than we do. But we’re all about gear and practicality here at Ars, and any of the gift ideas below should serve Mom longer than flowers and chocolates.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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