Roku Ultra 2020 review: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

The Roku Ultra has always been a fine 4K HDR streamer. As the flagship in Roku’s extensive line of sticks and players, its bag of nifty tricks includes a remote finder, programmable remote buttons and an Ethernet port — which might be especially welcome now when home Wi-Fi networks are more stressed than ever. For 2020 it adds better Wi-Fi, a faster processor and the ability to stream in Dolby Vision — a long-awaited feature that allows it to better compete with the best streamers from Amazon, Apple and Google


  • Supports Dolby Vision 4K HDR
  • Remote finder is awesome
  • Can connect via Ethernet

Don’t Like

  • Twice the price of Streaming Stick Plus
  • Weaker voice assistant than Amazon and Google streamers
  • No HBO Max

All of those features are nice additions, making the 2020 Ultra a worthwhile upgrade for those who value the extra conveniences, prefer connecting the device through Ethernet or want Dolby Vision. But its main features, namely access to our favorite streaming platform in 4K HDR, a voice remote that can control a TV and Apple AirPlay support are also available in the Roku Streaming Stick Plus for half as much money. The Roku Ultra

Read More View More Roku Ultra 2020 review: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

2021 Mazda3 Turbo first drive review: Mazdaspeed for grownups

The Mazdaspeed3 was a blisteringly fun car that took a regular ol’ hatchback and gave it a big juvenile kick in the powertrain. But the inexorable march of time affects us all, and in Mazda’s case, the automaker has grown up a lot over the past few years. It’s no surprise, then, that despite some impressive on-paper figures, the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo acts more like a retired hot hatch that just wants to sit on the deck and grill all day.

Maturity is the name of the game with the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo, not hooliganism. Yes, its 2.5-liter turbocharged I4 puts out 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with premium gas (227 hp and 310 lb-ft, respectively, on 87-octane), but even with that big ol’ twist, the Mazda3 never feels like it’s bursting forth from a corner. Instead, the tuning makes the engine feel most at home at lower revs, delivering its torque in a way that’s far smoother than, say, a car that attempts to friction-weld my back to the seat. No matter where the tachometer needle is, though, the engine itself sounds great, with a hint of turbo whistle and a bass-heavy warble.

The six-speed automatic transmission’s

Read More View More 2021 Mazda3 Turbo first drive review: Mazdaspeed for grownups

2021 BMW M2 Competition review: Pint-sizer packs a punch

Painted entirely in black, the M2 looks pretty sinister — but don’t worry, it’s actually very approachable.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

BMW offers a wealth of performance vehicles in its lineup, but with many of their outputs pushing far north of 400 horsepower, folks who don’t go to the track will barely ever scrape the adhesive off the performance envelope. Thankfully, there’s one Bimmer that, while still eminently capable, is far better suited for drivers who want to have fun on regular old roads: the 2021 BMW M2 Competition.


  • 405-hp hustle
  • Sublime engine note
  • Surprisingly pliant around town

Don’t Like

  • Lower-grade interior materials
  • Thirsty
  • Situational rear seats
  • No Android Auto

Now, that’s not to say that the M2 Competition is lagging in the power department. Its 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged straight-six packs a 405-hp, 406 pound-foot punch. It’s the same engine found in the 425-hp M4, albeit detuned and, dare I say it, the I6 feels better in the M2 than in its bigger brother. Utilizing two small turbochargers means jamming the throttle produces a near-immediate response, and BMW’s electronic nannies do an impressive job of sorting out the traction, leaving me with nothing but a whole bunch of torque pushing me to

Read More View More 2021 BMW M2 Competition review: Pint-sizer packs a punch

Could your second stimulus check be bigger, and how much would you get? Here’s what we know now

How do you know how much money your next stimulus check could bring? We can help.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As negotiations to solidify a new COVID-19 relief package with a second stimulus check, and submit it for a vote in Congress, have been slow to seriously resume, the need is growing more acute, with over 11 million known coronavirus cases in the US.

“This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, noting that there are 20 million jobless workers across the country. The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims hit 742,000 in the second week of November, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week.

President-elect Joe Biden’s stimulus plan includes a second direct payment for the American people, but the most recent Republican plan, a tightly focused $500 billion bill, doesn’t earmark any new stimulus aid for people in dire need.

If authorized, a second stimulus payment could follow the lead of the first stimulus payment from the spring and still be worth up to $1,200 for those who qualify, with additional financial assistance for dependents. But until that happens, we won’t know all the eligibility rules, when

Read More View More Could your second stimulus check be bigger, and how much would you get? Here’s what we know now