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1 day ago

Best gaming controllers for the Amazon Fire TV

14
Best Controllers for the Amazon Fire TV

Gaming on your Amazon Fire TV? You have more controller options than you might think.

Looking to invite friends over for a multiplayer session on your Amazon Fire TV but not sure what controllers are compatible with it? Well, for starters you're going to have an easier time connecting third-party controllers if your still rocking the first generation of Fire TV.

But worry not. We've broken out a list of some of your best controller options for the Amazon Fire TV — and chances are you may already own something that's compatible without knowing.

Updated February 24: Added the Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad and Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad to the list.

Amazon Fire TV Gaming Controller

Amazon Fire TV Bluetooth controller

An obvious but necessary inclusion on this list, if you enjoy the gaming controller that came with your Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition, you can buy extra controllers from — where else — Amazon.

The Amazon Fire TV controller connects via Bluetooth and has a number of features specifically designed to get the most out of your Amazon Fire TV box. For starters, it includes a built-in microphone, which gives you full access to Alexa features and allows you to search for games, movies, music, and more information, using only your voice.

The controllers also feature a headphone jack, so you can fully immerse yourself in a movie or game without bothering the people around you. This will also be your best option if you have a second generation Fire TV, as support for third-party game controllers with the newer Amazon box is spotty at best compared to its predecessor.

The Amazon Fire TV controller takes two AA batteries, so you should stock up on those if you plan on becoming a heavy gamer.

See at Amazon

Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad

Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad

There's a number of features that makes the Matricom G-Pad a compelling third-party Bluetooth controller to buy for your Amazon Fire. For starters, it's powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery which means you won't need to stock up on AA batteries, and if you're running low you can plug the mini-USB cable to your Amazon Fire and play wired.

Since it's Bluetooth, it'll work just fine with your Samsung Gear VR, other Android devices and, of course, Matricom's own G-Box Android TV box. If features dual modes for control, so you can switch over to mouse emulation whenever you may need it. Best of all, it's the cheapest controller on the list offering a comfortable and lightweight design for a budget price. Given it's near-universal compatibility and simple-yet-conventional design, Matricom's G-Pad Wireless gamepad is worth your attention.

See at Amazon

Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad

But since we're talking about third-party controllers for the Amazon Fire, we gotta include this smaller option from Mad Catz — a household name in third-party gaming accessories. This is a compact option, and probably the smallest controller on this list, but it is jam packed with features you'll love.

For starters, Mad Catz claim the Micro C.T.R.L.R. is "future-proof", featuring dual-mode Bluetooth that works with Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Smart devices. That helps this controller achieve near-universal compatibility, with controller modes specific to the device you're connected to: Mouse Mode, PC Mode, and GameSmart Mode (for near-universal compatibility with laptops, tablets and smartphones). It also features built-in media buttons for controlling your favorite media streaming services including Netflix, Youtube and Hulu Plus, so you can use this little kitty for nearly everything on your Amazon Fire.

For great quality and versatility that won't break the bank, you can't go wrong with this travel-sized controller.

See at Amazon

Xbox 360 Wired Controller

Microsoft Xbox 360 Wired Controller

The wired version of the Xbox 360 controller works nearly flawlessly with the first generation of Amazon Fire TV. Simply plug in the controller to the USB port on the back of your Amazon Fire TV and you're good to go. With the second generation, you may need to go into settings and ensure that USB debugging is turned off before the system will find the controller.

Looking to attach more than one USB controller? It's as simple as first plugging in a USB hub then plugging in up to four controllers. If you've got a couple plugged in, you'll even notice the player indicator lights will light up properly — a small but reassuring feature.

There's a whole bunch of third-party controllers that work with the Amazon Fire, including the wireless versions of the Xbox 360 controllers, but the reason why we're not recommending the wireless variant is because you'll also need to own Microsoft's Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows.

If you happen to already have a few of the wireless Xbox 360 controllers around, the dongle receiver may be the better option. If you don't, the wired variety are your best bet, as you won't have to worry about batteries or connectivity issues.

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DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller (for PS4)

PS4 DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller

The DualShock controller has been an industry standard and trailblazer since first being introduced for the original PlayStation back in 1998. While the technology inside the controller has improved, the overall design has remained largely unchanged and it's clear to see why — it's incredibly comfortable to hold.

Sony's DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller is a great option that's compatible with your Amazon Fire TV. It's quick to pair — simply go into the Amazon Fire TV's Bluetooth controller settings, then hold down the Share and PS button on the DualShock controller to start the pairing.

The DualShock 4 controller is a surprisingly versatile controller; beyond using it with your PS4 and Amazon Fire TV, it's also compatible with Windows for PC gaming.

See at Amazon

SteelSeries Stratus XL

SteelSeries Stratus XL

The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a great controller that works for gaming on your Windows PC, Android phone, and Amazon Fire TV. SteelSeries has basically taken the best features from the DualShock and Xbox 360 controllers and combined them to create the Stratus XL.

It connects via Bluetooth and plays for up to 40 hours on two AA batteries. It's got nearly perfect weight to it and has been designed to fit comfortably in your hands for marathon gaming sessions.

Starting at over $60, the price might give you pause, but you really can't go wrong with this versatile, comfortable controller.

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Logitech Gamepad F310

Logitech Gamepad F310

If you're looking for a cheaper USB controller option, the Gamepad F310 from Logitech is a good choice.

It features the same analog stick layout as the DualShock and a cord that should be long enough to reach from the Amazon Fire TV to the couch. This one is also plug-and-play, meaning you shouldn't have to worry about setting things up.

And since this is a cheaper option, starting at $19.99, you could stock up on a couple of them, along with a decent USB hub and always be prepared for some multiplayer action.

See at Amazon

What's your preferred controller?

Do you have a favorite Amazon Fire TV gaming controller that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comments!

Amazon Fire TV

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1 day ago

How to accessorize your Black Onyx Galaxy S7

2

Black is always in style.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 looks absolutely gorgeous in black. Like really good. So good, you may want to make sure that all your accessories for it match.

So we've collected our favorite accessories that'll not only look smashing alongside your black Galaxy S7 but also add a ton of added functionality for your phone. Let's dive right in!

Samsung Gear VR

While the best VR experience is still to be had with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, Samsung is arguably leading the mobile VR sector with the Samsung Gear VR. This updated headset is designed to work with the Samsung Galaxy S7 along with USB-C devices such as the now-defunct Note 7. The 2016 edition is all-black, which fits perfectly with accessories that match your black S7.

Virtual Reality is an entirely subjective experience, and it's possible that VR is just not your bag. But if you've got the itch to dive right in and see what VR has to offer, the Samsung Gear VR is a great entry point. Available for well under $100, it's the best value for VR you'll find. And make sure to check in with our pals over at VRHeads.com, who have a growing list of the best games for the Samsung Gear VR. You're definitely going to want to invest in a few games to show this thing off to friends and family.

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Samsung Wireless Charging Pack

There are a number of great external battery packs that'll work great with your Samsung Galaxy S7, but carrying around a separate accessory and cable to keep your phone charged is cumbersome.

The Samsung Wireless Charging Pack is a case that not only offers basic protection from your phone from drops but will also help keep your battery topped up throughout the day with an extra 3,100mAh of extra power available via wireless charging, which also leaves your ports at the bottom of the phone completely open. Buying a battery case can be tricky because they often add a ton of extra bulk to your phone. That's not an issue here, as Samsung has designed perhaps the slimmest battery pack you'll find. It's also available in black, of course.

See at Amazon


Samsung S-View Flip Case

When it comes to cases for your phone, you got options — like a ton of great case options depending on your needs. But in keeping with our theme of accessorizing your black Galaxy S7, we got to give the nod to this proprietary case from Samsung that offers a bunch of added functionality that will keep your phone protected yet accessible at all times.

Using the Samsung ID chip, your phone knows when the case is closed and will display specific information that can be viewed through the frosted front of the case and will allow you to interact with the phone through it. This lets you cool things like answer calls without having to flip the front cover open. Your phone snaps in quick and easy into the hard plastic back plate, which also features extra protection in the corners — a particularly vulnerable area for your phone to fall. You can get yours in black to match your phone.

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Spigen Style Ring (black)

This one is always a somewhat contentious accessory pick because not everyone is down with adding a mounted hook on the back of your expensive phone. We get that. But, the Spigen Style Ring is seriously one of those accessories that will not only grow on you with time, you'll absolutely come to rely on the added functionality it provides.

It works as a kickstand for hands-free viewing, includes a very handy mount to install in your car for hands-free calls and directions as you drive, and also comes in real handy when inserting and removing your phone from your Samsung Gear VR. It comes available in multiple different colors and is fairly painless to remove without leaving any marks or residue on the back of your phone. It will impede with some NFC functionality and wireless charging, so if those are important features for you, then you're best off slapping it on the back of a case instead. It's just a super versatile accessory that seems unconventional at first but becomes essential in short time.

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Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

This wireless charging pad from Samsung is a great accessory for your black Galaxy S7 for a number of reasons; it'll charge your phone faster than any other QI wireless charging pad, you don't need to worry about plugging or unplugging your phone at your desk and, perhaps most important of all, it lets you show off your beautiful phone to all your office mates.

This is an upgrade over Samsung's older wireless charging pad, which laid flat on your desk. Having your phone tilted up at a 45-degree angle lets you easily keep tabs on notifications and incoming calls while offering a bigger charging surface and a grippier rubber surface to keep your phone in place. AC's Andrew Martonik summed it up quite well in his official review:

"Combine the easier positioning with the subtle improvements in the charging status LED, while also keeping the same fast wireless charging tech inside, and this is quite easily the best wireless charger that Samsung has ever made."

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1 day ago

How to clean your PlayStation 4 console

15

Keeping your console clean is mandatory for the best gaming experience!

Your PlayStation 4 is a behemoth when it comes to delivering awesome games, movies, and even VR content. However, you may start to notice some slow down if you let dust build up over time, and nobody wants that. To keep your console running as efficiently as possible, you definitely need to keep it clean. Thankfully this is an easy task that should only take about 10 minutes of your time.

Compressed Air

The first thing that you want to do while cleaning your system is to go ahead and grab a can of compressed air. Your PlayStation 4 is covered with vents located at the front, sides, and back of the system, and these have a tendency to get absolutely covered in dust. To take care of this all that you need to do is go ahead and point the nozzle of the can at those vents, and then spray in short measured bursts. You ought to see the dust clear out of all the vents very quickly, and since PlayStation 4 consoles are black it's easy to see where the dust has evacuated the system.

Now when you're using compressed air you want to keep the nozzle a fair few inches away from the system so that the dust can escape properly. Likewise, you want to ensure that you hit all the vents on the system so you don't miss built up dust somewhere. By cleaning out all of the vents, you're ensuring the system is able to expel excess heat which helps reduce strain on the internal components.

PS4 in need of a good dusting? You can order a two-pack of compressed air via Amazon.

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Microfiber Cloth

Now if your system frequently turns gray with dust, you might be tempted to hit it with a wet wipe of some kind. Do not, we repeat, do not do that. You never want to introduce any kind of moisture to the system. Instead what you'll want to use is a microfiber cloth. Using the cloth you'll want to wipe the entire system down. This includes the top, sides, front, and back. Depending on how you have your console set up, wiping down the bottom isn't a bad call either. Depending on how much dust you are dealing with you may need to clean the cloth off a few times, but the shiny black of a clean console is very easy to differentiate. You can stock up on microfibre clothes for cheap with this Amazon Basics 24-pack.

See at Amazon

Cleaning your Dualshock 4 controllers

Much like your system, if your controllers sit on a rack all day long they are going to accumulate dust. All that you need to do is go ahead and use a cleaning cloth to wipe down the controller. While wet wipes are still a general no-no, they can be used on the controller so long as you are avoiding the headphone jack, and charge port. When wiping down the controller you'll want to pay special attention to all of the buttons, the analog sticks, and the light bar at the back of the controller.

Specifically, you want to ensure theres no dust or grime blocking that light bar, especially if you are playing PlayStation VR games, since the camera needs to be able to properly see that light bar. Likewise, nobody wants to use a controller with sticky buttons caused by dust or debris. If that's exactly what you're dealing with, your best bet is to turn off the controller and then use a wet wipe to clean away the dust and grime. This can also be particularly handy for those times when you can't actually see what is causing a button of analog stick to get stuck. Just ensure that the controller has plenty of time to dry out before use, and limit the amount of moisture as much as possible to avoid damage.

Cleaning your PlayStation Move controllers

The first thing that you want to do is pick your compressed air back up. With controlled bursts, spray all of the ports and crevices on the controller to make sure there isn't any dust hiding in a sneaky spot. From there, all you need to do is go ahead and wipe down the rest of the controller with a microfiber cloth. If there is any sticky residue, use a slightly damp paper towel or wet wipe while avoiding all ports.

If you have a pair of Move controller that you want to bust out, but that are particularly dusty, there are a few things to remember. The PlayStation camera reads Move controllers by tracking the lights in the bulb of each controller, so you want to ensure that they are as clean of dust and debris as possible. Likewise, cleaning out the ports, and around the button ensures that you won't get distracted while playing a game.

Tips

It's basically impossible to keep your system entirely clear of dust, but there are a few things that you can do to help minimize the amount of dust or debris you need to clean. Just keep in mind that the PlayStation 4 console is essentially a dust magnet thanks to that shiny black exterior.

  • Keep it away from pets: If you have dogs or cats, try to keep the console as far from the floor as possible so that animal hair isn't getting stuck on your system.
  • Avoid glass entertainment centers: Glass already has a tendency to attract dust, so if you set up your PS4 on a glass entertainment center you can expect your system to need a good cleaning about once a week or so. You can set your system in vertical orientation or invest in a dust cover to help keep the dust to a minimum.
  • Don't smoke in the house: Cigarette smoke causes faster dirt accumulation, and this definitely includes your console.

Conclusion

PlayStation 4 consoles are going to get dirty; it doesn't matter if they are sitting up on a shelf or hanging out on the entertainment center. What matters is knowing how to properly clean it up and get it back up and running in tip-top shape after it's gone gray with dust. Armed with just a microfiber cloth and some compressed air, you can easily dispatch the army of dust bunnies that has taken up residence on your console and its controllers. Do you have a particular tip for cleaning your system? Is there something we missed? Be sure to drop us a comment below and tell us about it!

PlayStation 4

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2 days ago

Best Clear Cases for Moto G4 + Moto G4 Plus

2
Best clear cases for Moto G4

Your phone doesn't have to be an expression of your true self. You can cover it up with something clear from this list.

You bought the Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus in your favorite color. You shouldn't have to hide it behind a colored or patterened case. Choose a clear case to show off your hardware and protect it from the elements.

Orzly FlexiCase

Orzly FlexiCase

It's slim, it's cheap, and it'll protect your Moto G4 or G4 Plus from dirt and scratches. The Orzly FlexiCase is laser cut, so it fits snuggly on your device, and offers access to all ports, buttons, and cameras. It's made of non-slip, flexible plastic that's resistant to scratches. It's display covers are affordable and protective, too, so be sure to add one of those in tow for extra protection.

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Cimo Wave Slim protective case

Cimo Wave Slim protective case

The Cimo Slim Protective Case is worth adding to your Amazon cart of stuff. The case is made of flexible plastic and features a slight wave design on the backside for some added flair. It's available in four different tints, including a light teal and neon pink. If you're feeling attracted to more than one type of case from the available selection, it's affordable enough that you could probably purchase all four to start yourself a little collection of coverings for your Moto G4 or G4 Plus.

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Poetic Affinity Protective Bumper case

Poetic Infinity Protective Bumper Case

Just because you didn't pay a fortune for the Moto G4 or G4 Plus in your hand, doesn't mean that the phone has to suffer when it falls. Give it a bit of a buffer between its frame and the ground with the Poetic Affinity Protective Bumper Case, which offers protective protrusions on either sides of the chassis to help the G4 absorb any impact. It's available in three clear varieties and features raised edges so that it's never touching the surface it's laying on.

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Ringke Fusion

Ringke Fusion

Prefer a hard shell clear case? The Ringke Fusion is a sure bet. It's shock absorbant and offers certified military grade drop protection. It's got a sightly raised design, so when you lay the phone down it's never touching a surface. It also features the appropriate cut-outs for all the ports and cameras of the Moto G4 and G4 Plus. And if you'd prefer it, this particular case comes in a smokey black color.

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A clear choice

Are you currently sporting a clear case on your Moto G4 or G4 Plus? Tell us about it.

Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Moto G4:

Amazon Motorola

Moto G4 Plus:

Amazon Motorola

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2 days ago

Bose QC35: Wireless, noise-canceling, and near-perfect

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If you fly a lot — or maybe even just a little — you need a good pair of noice-canceling headphones. My new go-to cans absolutely are the Bose QC35.

First Serenity Caldwell, then MrMobile, and now Modern Dad. At this point I think it's safe to say the Bose QC35 wireless noise-canceling headphones have reached a trifecta here.

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I've been using Bose buds on planes for years. I've burned through two sets of the QC20 earbuds. They're great, too. But I wanted something wireless. And I wanted something more comfortable for those REALLY long flights.

The QC35 fit that bill. They're wireless with Bluetooth for use with your phone. They've got a cable and airplane adapter for when you want to use them for in-flight movies. And I've yet to kill the battery at an inopportune time. (20 hours is more than enough to get me from one end of the world to another.)

There's a companion Android app that you might be tempted to skip — but don't. Bose is using this to push firmware updates. They take a few minutes — like, 20 — to download and apply. But it's great to see a product like this get some fairly regular upkeep.

The only real negative I have here is that my ears can get a little sweaty after a couple hours inside the cans. Is that the headphones' fault, or poor design of the user? Pick your poison.

See at Amazon

Modern Dad

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2 days ago

Best Google Pixel Cases

Google's new phones are beautiful ... but can be fragile.

Not everyone uses a case on their phone, and those who do may not even use a case every day. But one thing is certain: your Google Pixel or Pixel XL is a very expensive piece of hardware, and that means you should consider the options for protecting it.

We're not just talking about a drop from shoulder height onto concrete. There are also just little bits of daily life that can leave your phone looking less than pristine after a few months or a year. Now that the Pixels have been out for a while you have plenty of great case options that can help you keep your phone looking great for longer. Here are a few of our favorites.

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2 days ago

At just $23 you won't be afraid to try some tricks with this mini drone

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Update: This popular deal is back again with a new coupon code. Be sure to use code HEBVQMG4 at checkout for the savings!

Right now you can pick up Aukey's mini-drone for just $23 at Amazon with coupon code HEBVQMG4, a savings of $6. You can control this drone with your smartphone, allowing you to fly it just about anywhere, and once you get good at flying it you can even start performing some tricks as well. It takes off and lands easily with just a single tap, and the controls are super responsive so you won't have to worry about delays. It comes with two extra sets of propellers, just in case you happen to crash and break one.

Being so small you can pack in just about any bag so you can keep it with you at all times. Remember to use coupon code HEBVQMG4 for the full savings. Will you be learning to fly with Aukey's drone? Let us know in the comments!

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 days ago

Sony launches the 'world's fastest' SD cards

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Sony's latest SD cards are designed for photographers shooting in 4K.

Sony's upcoming SF-G series of SD cards will be the fastest in the world, according to the company. The SD cards will be debuting sometime in the month of March, and will be available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage configurations. The cards feature read speeds of 300MB/s and write speeds of 299MB/s, which Sony says will come in handy not only for shooting 4K content, but also for transferring large amounts of data to a computer.

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3 days ago

Amazon is offering $8.63 off nearly any purchase of $50 or more today only!

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Amazon has topped the charts on the annual Harris Poll for corporate reputation, and to celebrate you'll be able to save $8.63 on any purchase of $50 or more. Using the coupon code BIGTHANKS you can save yourself on that purchase you've been holding out on. Whether you are in the market for a new case to protect your phone, a battery pack to keep it charged, or even a better way to get Wi-Fi through your whole house, you'll want to make sure you get $50 in your cart to save with this promo.

Some great ways to use your discount include:

Remember, this discount is only good for today, and there are a few exceptions to it. You won't be able to use the coupon on orders placed through Alexa or Prime Now, and it doesn't apply to video games, digital content or Amazon Gift Cards. Be sure to check out all the details at Amazon and then load up your cart with the stuff you want so you can save today!

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For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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3 days ago

Grab this great battery pack for under £17 right now at Amazon UK

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In need of keeping your phone and tablet topped up while you're away from home? How about this whopper from RAVPower, available from Amazon UK for one day only at £16.49. The battery pack comes with a substantial 16750mAh capacity with a pair of 2.1A USB outputs. That'll be enough to charge most phones about four times.

Despite its capacity it's still a fairly portable battery pack with a neat power level meter and, as ever, an included flashlight. It comes in either white or black and as it's a deal of the day the price will go back up real soon.

Grab it while it's hot!

See at Amazon

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4 days ago

Best cases for Google Pixel XL

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Protect your larger Pixel with a quality case.

The Google Pixel XL is a big, beautiful phone, and if you have one, you'll definitely want to keep it protected from scuffs and daily wear and tear along with bumps and drops.

Fortunately there are a number of great case options available that, depending on the option you go with, will keep your phone safe while also adding some style and/or functionality to your device.

Google Live case

We just have to start with Google's proprietary smart cases, which are available in a plethora of different style options, depending on your tastes. You may choose from a collection of cases designed and inspired by a number of great artists, upload your own photo, or map out your favorite place in the world and design your own custom case. Each case comes paired with a live wallpaper for your Pixel XL, for a 360-degree style for your phone.

This case also includes a programmable shortcut button on the back. Connecting via NFC, you can use the added button to quickly turn on the flashlight, toggle Wi-Fi, or launch the camera or another app on your phone. Folks have had mixed results with this feature, so this should only be considered a cool perk and not the prime feature of this case if you're interested in buying.

AC's own Andrew Martonik initially had some troubles getting a Live Case shipped out for his Pixel XL, but when he finally got one for the smaller Pixel he seemed quite happy with it. If you're willing to pay a premium price for complete customization and some added functionality from the shortcut button, this case will do you right.

See at Google Store

X-Level PU Leather Luxury case

If you're sick of the look of plastic cases and want to style things up, you can't go wrong with this slim and stylish offering from X-Level. This case is made from tough polyurethane and features a snug fit with decently sized cutouts for all your ports and of course the fingerprint scanner on the back, but it's got the look and feel of leather. This not only helps protect your phone but also makes your Pixel XL a little easier to hold in your hand. It's available in three different color options: black, Dark Coffee, and a pink gold option,

Our very own Phil Nickinson got the Dark Coffee option and offered his thoughts on this leather case back in December and was quite happy with the value he got from this relatively inexpensive case:

"A couple weeks into this one and so far it's been money well-spent. The cutouts for the camera and fingerprint sensor aren't over-sized. There's a little bit of daylight visible from the front where the 3.5mm headphone jack sits, but that's a minor fit-and-finish thing. The case itself fits snug enough and hasn't once tried to come off."{/quote}

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal

If you're the type that prefers to show off the actual design of your phone, then the Spigen Liquid Crystal is the clear case you want. Featuring precise cutouts and a snug fit, this minimalist case lets you see the unique design of your phone while keeping it safe from scuffs and scratches. There's a slight lip around the perimeter of the screen, which allows you to put your screen face-down on a table without worry.

The corners feature Spigen's Air Cushion Technology, which helps to absorb the impact if your phone falls on its corner — typically a disastrous scenario for any phone. Frankly, this clear case is so good at what it does, you might forget it's even there, but you'll be glad it is if anything bad happens.

See at Amazon


Lifeproof FRE

One of the biggest shortcomings that people mention regarding the Pixel and Pixel XL is the lack of water and dust-proofing. It's a feature found on a growing number of flagships and for some it might actually be a deal-breaker.

Fortunately, Lifeproof has come out with its FRE case for both the Pixel and the Pixel XL. If you're unfamiliar with Lifeproof cases, they offer complete protection from water, dust, snow, and drops of up to 6 feet. If you lead an active lifestyle and need your phone to be able to withstand anything that nature might throw your way, your choice is clear. Invest in the Lifeproof case for your Pixel XL and give your phone the best protection available.

See at Lifeproof


Spigen Rugged Armor

While this rugged case from Spigen doesn't offer the waterproofing or complete coverage of the Lifeproof case, it's a quality-built case that just looks great, featuring all the heavy duty protection you expect from a Spigen case with a sleek design. Spigen's Rugged Armor is a great option for your phone. Best of all, the design on the back of the case mimics the two-part design of the phone itself, so even though your phone will be protected by TPU, it'll still look like a Pixel in your hand.

There are carbon fiber-style accents on the back, which also improve your ability to keep a grip on your phone, and the case is affordably priced considering the premium build and quality.

See at Amazon


UAG Plasma Feather-Light Rugged case

Made from a silicone sleeve with rubber bumpers along the sides and in the corners, this UAG case for your Pixel XL is lightweight but offers heavy protection for your phone.

This is a transparent case, available clear (Ice) or tinted (Ash), and it adds some much-needed texture to the outside of your phone to help with grip. It's also thin enough so as not to interfere with NFC compatibility, so if you're using your Pixel XL with Android Pay, that won't be impeded. Keep your phone secure without adding unnecessary bulk with the UAG Plasma Feather-Light Rugged case.

See at Amazon


Caseology Body Shield case

This is another very popular case option for the Google Plxel XL — and for good reason. It blends the shock absorption of a soft TPU sleeve with the rugged design of a hard plastic shell, and wraps it up in an elegant design that really fits the aesthetic of the Pixel XL.

It features a matte black finish along the back with a panel of carbon fiber texture along the camera sensors. That means that it'll be easier to hold in your hand while still providing great protection against drops, scratches, and daily wear and tear.

See at Amazon


What are your favorite cases?

Have you tried any of the cases we've highlighted? Got one you love that didn't make the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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4 days ago

Best Universal Car Mounts

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Best universal car mounts

Keep your phone safely in sight and secure with a car mount.

When you're on the go, your phone is more than just a tool for keeping in touch. It's your road trip playlist and your GPS, too. For safety's sake, mounting your phone to your dashboard, windshield, or air vents is the best way to keep it in view while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. We've gathered up a list of some excellent options for universal car mounts, and trust us, there's no shortage of choices out there.

iDoo Qi Car Charger Mount

iDoo Qi car charger mount

The car mount from iDoo is one fantastic multitasker. It offers wireless charging for your Qi-enabled phone, or space for a charging cable if you need to plug in.

You have three installation options: dashboard mount, air vent clips, or windshield mount. Take the time to experiment a little with the best sight lines for your phone when you're ready to get set up so you'll know which variation works for you. The cradle arm is completely adjustable, so you can avoid glare, and the frame rotates 360 degrees. No matter where you put it, the mount will be an essential part of your commute.

See at Amazon

Affordable Universal Car Mount

Affordable universal car mount

This offering from Affordable is as minimalist as they come, and you know what that means: no obstructed view. It's ideal for dashboard or windshield installation.

It's simple to install and remove when you're switching vehicles. Bonus points are also awarded to this mount for living up to the name Affordable. It's also been favorably reviewed for some time now; it won't drop your phone when you're travelling bumpy roads, and potholes won't shake it's grip.

See at Amazon

Koomus CD-Eco Car Mount

Koomus CD dash mount

Remember when you kept stacks of CDs in the backseat so that you'd always have your favorite tunes close by? Well, your phone takes care of the songs these days, but your CD player can still be put to good use. The Koomus mount uses it to hold your phone in a very convenient place.

The low-profile mount is easy to install, and your CD player won't be damaged or even recognize that it's in use. The flexible clamps hold your phone securely with or without its case. You can also rotate your phone 360 degrees for easier viewing.

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iOttie Easy One Touch XL Car Mount

iOttie One Touch XL car mount

iOttie's car mount is available in a few different versions, but we're going to spotlight the XL. The suction cup is tough, and won't budge from your dashboard or windshield. If you favor dashboard mounts, you can choose to add their Sticky Gel Pad for some extra grip, although most users say they don't need it. The windshield mount won't obstruct your view, either.

The XL is an especially solid choice if your phone case adds a little extra bulk, since the cradle is designed to hold larger phones to begin with. Your phone can rotate 360 degrees, and if you need to remove the mount and put it in a different vehicle, a quick rinse and dry of the suction cup makes it good as new again.

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New Trent Arcadia Magnetic Mount

New Trent Arcadia car mount

For something completely different, check out the mount from New Trent. It holds your phone with a strong magnet, and installs onto your air vents. You don't have to worry about snapping your phone into a cradle, just stick it to the magnetic pad and you're on your way.

The base mount is available in black or blue, and comes with two magnetic plates you can stick to the back of two devices, especially handy if you share your car with other family members. The magnetic plates are thin enough to fit into your phone's case, and strong enough to adhere to the base without having to constantly removing the case every time you get in the car.

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WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Mount

WizGear universal car mount

Wizgear produces another magnetic car mount we're a fan of.. The magnet is strong on this one, and if you take the mount out of the car, it doubles as a kickstand for your phone. The magnet can be concealed inside most phone cases, so you won't have to constantly remove the case before sticking your phone to the mount.

The air vent clips keep your phone highly visible without obstructing your view. The base swivels your phone into your preferred position and promises to keep it there until you move it, even when going over rougher terrain. It's perfect if you just need to jump in the car and go with your phone at the ready.

See at Amazon

Spigen Style Ring

Spigen Style Ring

An inexpensive alternative for car mounts is the Style Ring. The mount is a tiny black hook that sticks to your dashboard, and the ring sticks to the back of your phone. If you're not wild about sticking things to your car or device, this may not be the right choice for you, but it's convenient.

The ring that attaches to your phone doubles as a kickstand in both portrait or landscape. It hooks to just about anything, so you might find yourself hanging your phone from a variety of places. Positioning the car mount might take some patience to get it just where you'd like it to stay, but it works well for hands-free calling and accessing music. Your phone snaps into place and swivels 360 degrees. It's the smallest car mount you can find, so if space on your dashboard is at a premium, the Style Ring is a solid option.

See at Amazon

The bottom line

First and foremost, you need to know the details of your local laws, in terms of whether or not you are allowed to mount anything on your windshield. Next, you need consider how often you'll use a car mount and where in your vehicle it's going to be. Each of these car mounts have distinct advantages all their own, but we think that versatility and durability are the most important qualities to look for.

Which universal car mount are you using these days? Tell us about it in the comments!

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4 days ago

Jaybird X3 may be the perfect sport buds for Android

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Wherein ye olde Modern Dad discovers the Jaybird X3 are a great companion for the gym, a quick jog, or really for whatever ...

There are three kinds of people at the gym: Those wearing huge over-the-air headphones, folks with wired earbuds — and then there are those with proper wireless buds. I've long been one of those people who don't mind plugging in at the gym. But it's 2017, and time for some proper wireless headphones while I'm working out.

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The Jaybird X3 aren't the least expensive headphones I've ever used. But for as much as I've been enjoying them day after day, the $129 price tag seems just about right. The fit is just fine (with plenty of options for customizing that.) The sound is really good considering they're in-ears. And the wireless connection has been excellent for me. Battery life has been good, charging just about once a week or so. (YMMV depending on how often you use them, of course — I'm getting a good 7 or 8 hours or more every week.)

There's a companion Android app, too, that allows for a bunch of EQ customizations. You can choose from any of the branded ones, or make your own — and save your presets. (I've just been sticking with stock, though.)

What don't I like about 'em? Only real thing I can think of is the charging dongle. But that's not a huge deal by any stretch of the imagination. For me these wireless buds have been excellent for the gym, or while I'm out walking. Highly recommend.

See at Amazon

Modern Dad

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4 days ago

Updated Amazon Fire TV Stick brings Alexa to TVs in the UK

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Amazon's Alexa-powered Fire TV Stick is coming to the UK in April.

The updated variant of Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa integration has made its way to the UK for £39.99. The device is currently up for pre-order on Amazon UK, and will be releasing on April 6. The new Fire TV Stick comes with a redesigned user interface, a faster processor, and a remote powered by Alexa.

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5 days ago

Verizon celebrates Presidents' Day with $30 off Daydream View, UE Roll 2 for $49 and more

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Verizon currently has a variety of its accessories on sale in celebration of Presidents Day. From wearables to Bluetooth accessories, portable batteries to VR viewers, there are lots of great deals here that you'll want to check out. Whether you are looking for something to go with your new phone, or need a gift for someone else, now may be the perfect time to make your purchase.

Some of the deals include:

Verizon is also running a number of other deals right now that are worth checking out. When switching to Verizon's new unlimited plan and trading in your old phone you can grab a Galaxy S7, Google Pixel, LG V20, or other select phones for free, and if you spend $200 on accessories Verizon will give you a $50 Visa prepaid card. You'll need to use code STOCKUP50 when checking out to get it.

See at Verizon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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