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22 min ago

Snag the excellent Ecobee3 smart thermostat at one of the best prices we've seen

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a great deal on an awesome smart thermostat!

If you're looking to add some extra smarts to your home and save a little money over the long-term, a smart thermostat is a great place to start.

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1 day ago

Amazon Prime members can score big savings on nearly all Kindle E-readers right now

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to save big on a new Kindle!

The summer is coming and there is no better way to read a book on the beach or at the pool than on a Kindle. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can score some pretty sweet savings, dropping the price of the e-readers down to as low as just $49.99. The whole line is discounted, from the most basic option to the newest, so you won't want to miss out.

Don't worry if you aren't already a Prime member, Amazon offers a free 30-day trial of the service so you can take part in these low prices. In addition to being able to save on these, Prime members can also pick one of six different books to get for free, so you'll always have something new to read.

Amazon also offers a great service, Kindle Unlimited, which gives you access to over 1 million books, thousands of audiobooks, and even current magazines on any of your devices for just $9.99 a month. With the money you are saving on the purchase, you can subscribe to a few months of the service, or grab yourself a nice case to keep your new e-reader safe.

See at Amazon

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

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2 days ago

PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?

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Which PlayStation 4 should I buy?

Anyone looking to buy a PlayStation for family now have three options that look very similar. You've got the original PlayStation 4, the new slimmer PlayStation 4 with the exact same branding on the box as the original, and the new PlayStation 4 Pro. Do they all offer similar experiences? Is there a downside to buying the original over the slim? There are a lot of unanswered questions here.

It's confusing by anyone's standards, so your best bet is to know what you need before you head into the store.

What's the difference?

Sony has a history of releasing a "slim" version of the PlayStation a couple of years after its initial release. In the past, those consoles have been labeled a little differently at launch to make it easier to tell the new version apart from the old one. These slimmer versions typically offer more a physical difference than a functionality difference, and this year is no different. The significant feature and performance difference comes with the PlayStation 4 Pro, and even then the difference isn't huge unless you own a 4K television with HDR support.

Category PlayStation 4 (2013) PlayStation 4 (2016) PlayStation 4 Pro Price $349 $299 $399 Dimensions 10.83in x 12.01in x 2.08in 10.43in x 11.34in x 1.54in 11.61in x 12.87in x 2.17in CPU AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) GPU AMD Radeon (1.84 TFLOP) AMD Radeon (1.84 TFLOP) AMD Radeon (4.2 TFLOP) Storage 500GB / 1TB 500GB / 1TB 1TB Optical out Yes No Yes AV out AV/HDMI 1.4 HDMI 1.4 HDMI 2.0 Power consumption 250w max 165w max 310w max 4K Streaming No No Yes USB USB 3.0 (x2) USB 3.0 (x2 ) USB 3.0 (x3) PSVR support Yes Yes Yes (Enhanced)

The biggest functional difference between the original PS4 and the new slimmer PS4 is power consumption. Sony claims the new PS4 has a max power draw of 165 watts, which sounds impressive next to the original 250w max of the first PS4 until you see most benchmarks. The original PlayStation 4 had an average power draw of 150w during its heaviest gameplay sessions, and never pushed anywhere near that 250w max. It is slightly smaller though, so there's that.

PlayStation VR performance is something altogether different.

As you can see, Sony is using the same CPU and a GPU that's a little more than twice the performance in the new PlayStation 4 Pro. There's also an updated version of the HDMI standard in the PS4 Pro, but there's no immediate difference in performance out of the box for video output. Games that struggled in the past to maintain 30fps or 60fps on a standard PlayStation 4 will be able to offer a more consistent experience with the PlayStation 4 Pro through its "boost mode" feature. This basically means games that appear a to stutter a little on a normal PS4 will look and play smoother on a PS4 Pro.

PlayStation 4 Pro also offers 4K video streaming and enhanced graphics on supported titles. Game developers will have the option to offer higher quality graphics to PlayStation 4 Pro gamers, which will be clearly labeled with PS4 Pro Enhanced on the box. Not only are most new PlayStation games being made to support this Enhanced ability, many of the more popular games from the past year are releasing updates to look better through the more capable console.

PlayStation VR performance is something altogether different. PlayStation 4 Pro was built to better support PlayStation VR (You know, Project Morpheus and PlayStation Neo kinda go together and all that) but even here the differences is subtle. Games available now look slightly better on the Pro, but game developers over time will use that added power to create more compelling VR experiences and that's going to be a much bigger deal.

Which should I buy?

Now that you know everything you need to know about the differences between these consoles, lets break it down!

  • PlayStation 4 — This is the PS4 most likely to be available at a considerable discount, or in a bundle with extra controllers and free games. If you're gaming on a budget, this is where you start.

See on Amazon

  • Slim PlayStation 4 — This is the PS4 you will see the most of on shelves this year, and it's the nicer looking of the three. If you care about that sort of thing, or you're just rushing in to grab a PS4 and nothing else, this is the version you want.

See on Amazon

  • PlayStation 4 Pro — If you own a 4K television, or you're interested in the best possible gaming experience from your PlayStation, this is the console for you.

See on Amazon

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2 days ago

Keep the party rolling all night with the UE ROLL 2 for just $55

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time saving you 45% on a UE Roll 2 speaker!

Looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that looks cool and sounds great? If so, you won't want to miss out on this deal at Amazon which scores you a UE ROLL 2 for $54.99, which is a savings of $45 from its regular price. The speaker is waterproof so you can use it out by the pool, on your boat, or anywhere else it may get wet, and it can maintain a connection from a distance of nearly 100 feet away. Per charge you'll get around 9 hours of playback time, so you can keep those late nights going with ease, and the aux audio input lets you connect older devices without using Bluetooth.

Best Buy is also running a deal on the speaker and offers the discounts on a few more colors. This is one of our favorite Bluetooth speaker options, and odds are it won't last long at this price, so be sure to grab one right now!

See at Amazon

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

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2 days ago

You can already buy Samsung Galaxy S8 cases

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If you know for sure you're getting the Samsung Galaxy S8, you can already buy some cases.

Samsung is set to officially unveil the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus on March 29, and is expected to start shipping out to stores and pre-orderers by late April — but that doesn't mean you need to wait to start shopping for cases.

Case manufacturers are often some of the first to receive concrete specs and design details for new phones so that they can have their own accessories and products ready to be sold on day one. Search Amazon for "Samsung Galaxy S8 Cases" and you'll find a whole bunch of options populating your search results, so you can start buying cases for your phone right now… But should you?

We've vetted a few case options that are up on Amazon right now if you're that eager, but we're still waiting a lot of major manufacturers to jump into the game yet.

Moko Heavy Duty Case with Holster Belt Clip and Kickstand

Moko offers cheap and rugged cases for phones, and this dual-layered case will offer some great protection for your brand new device — if you don't mind completely covering the sleek design.

There are ample cutouts around the charging port and headphone jack so you don't have to worry about your accessories not fitting, and there's a lip around the screen for added protection. Moko also includes a convenient kickstand for hands-free viewing on the back, along with a belt clip holster if you're into that sort of thing.

Available for $9, it's a cheap investment for those who absolutely want to keep their phone protected the minute they take it out of the box.

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Case

Another rugged case we've seen available so far is the Unicorn Beetle case from SUPCASE. We've recommended this case style before for other cases because it's got a heavy-duty build to it while remaining slim and stylish.

It's really the only other option we've seen on Amazon that's worth recommending so far.

See at Amazon

VRS Design Cases pre-order

VRS Design is showcasing its full line of Galaxy S8 cases on its website. They're all available for pre-order and will begin shipping out on April 3.

They offer a number of great protection choices for the S8 — from sleek and simple clear cases to stylish wallet folio options. You'll definitely want to check them out!

See at VRS Design

Spigen cases leaked

While not officially out yet, Spigen cases have started to leak out recently — Android Pure first leaked a render of the Spigen Rugged Armor case for the S8 and then later more Spigen case renders a few days later.

These cases are currently not available for purchase from either Amazon or Spigen's website, but they're clearly on their way. Spigen is one of our most trusted brands for cases, so if you love their styles, we recommend waiting until they officially go on sale.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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3 days ago

Best Replacement Watch Bands for Samsung Gear S3

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Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic

What are the best third-party watch bands for Samsung Gear S3?

The Samsung Gear S3 is one of our favorite smartwatches, and a great alternative to many of the Android Wear watches out there. The Gear S3 supports standard 22mm watch bands, making it really easy to upgrade with something new.

Here are a few of the best third-party watch bands to consider once you pick up your brand new Samsung Gear S3!

ArtStyle nylon strap

ArtStyle nylon strap

Keep things simple, fun, and functional with the ArtStyle watch band made from a sturdy nylon material and a durable metal buckle! The ArtStyle nylon strap is easily adjustable and is hypoallergenic, making it the perfect band to wear if you have sensitive skin. The material is also breathable and waterproof on top of being extremely comfortable to wear day-to-day.

On top of the ArtStyle's practical design, the watch strap comes in a ton of different, bright colors, including red, blue/yellow, black, black/gray, navy blue, gray, khaki, orange, army green, black/blue, black/green/red, black/gray/blue, black/gray/orange, black/gray/green, black/red.

See at Amazon

Rerii leather band

Rerii leather band

There's nothing more simple and stylish than a classic leather watch band, and Rerii nails it with their affordable 22mm leather band that the Samsung Gear S3! Made from a high quality and sturdy yet lightweight and soft leather, the Rerii watch band comes with an easy-to-buckle stainless steel clasp, making it the perfect day-to-day band. Unlike some other watch straps, the Rerii's design is super simple and void of all logos, so it's perfect for people who want a classic-looking smartwatch accessory.

The Rerii leather band also comes in a number of vibrant, eye-catching colors, like black, brown, coffee, black with white stitching, brown with white stitching, or coffee with white stitching.

See at Amazon

TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band

TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band

The Milanese look has been a staple with traditional watch designs for decades, so incorporating the TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band might be the perfect fit if that's the particular style you're after. This 22mm watch band is designed with a mesh, woven, stainless steel wire, and is adjustable for a variety of wrist sizes, so you never have to be uncomfortable while sporting your Samsung Gear S3.

To attach and detach your watch band, all you need to do is release a small spring bar, minimizing annoying tools. The TRUMiRR may not come in a ton of colors, but it does come in a shiny silver or a clean, classic black design.

See at Amazon

Barton silicone band

Barton silicone band

After garnishing its fair share of positive reviews online and coupled with an easy-release design, vibrant colors, comfortable feel, and much more, the Barton silicone band is a great option to check out while you're customizing your Samsung Gear S3. The Barton silicone watch band is designed with a textured back, making the slipping and sliding of most smooth silicone bands a thing of the past. The silicone design also makes it a great tool for working out, as you can easily remove and wash it if it starts to look dirty or stink.

To change your watch band, simply turn the band over and flip the switch — no tools are required! You can pick your Barton band from a number of vibrant colors, including black, white, turquoise, forest green, brown, gray, burgundy, yellow, navy blue, orange, peach, dark gray, and baby blue.

See at Amazon

Ritche stainless steel watch band

Ritche stainless steel watch band

The Ritche 22mm stainless steel watch band is an affordable, high quality strap that keeps your Samsung Gear S3 looking classic and clean without any clutter or useless accents of other watch bands. Unlike some other straps, the Ritche cannot be adjusted to fit individual wrists with a simple tightening system; rather, users will have to remove the links near the band's clasps in order to make the stainless steel Samsung Gear S3 accessory smaller.

To remove the Ritche, you will have to use a small tool which comes with the band. The Ritche only comes in one color, silver, but if you're looking for a watch with a similar style in a different color, then we suggest taking a peek at the Vetoo.

See at Amazon

Your pick?

Is there a third-party watch band that you think would be perfect for the Samsung Gear S3? Drop a link in the comments with a brief description of why you like it so that others can check it out as well!

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4 days ago

Make your next smartphone repair easy with this $29.87 toolkit today!

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Ever try to do an at-home repair on your phone or tablet only to realize that you don't have the right tools? Don't put yourself in that position again, and instead pick up iFixit's 64 bit driver kit to ensure that you have the right tools for your upcoming repairs. Right now you can pick up this kit for just $29.87.

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4 days ago

Best Drones Under $300

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Best drones for under $300

You don't need to break the bank to buy a fun, reliable drone.

Updated March 25: Added the Holy Stone Predator and updated copy regarding Canada's new drone regulations.

If you're looking to buy your first drone, whether for racing or just for the fun of it, searching for the top-rated drones might result in sticker shock. Sure, the DJI Inspire 1 looks AMAZING, but at nearly $3,000, it's not worth the investment if you're a novice hobbyist.

If you're a beginner, you'll want a drone that's easy enough to fly to get a handle on everything but also tough enough to survive a crash caused by human error or technical malfunction. Fortunately, there are a number of great drone options out there for under $300. They may include cameras (of lesser-quality, of course) and first-person view (FPV) flying options, as well as bumpers to protect the blades and hardware while you're still learning the basics. Then, once you're confident in your skills as a drone pilot, you can decide whether to upgrade to a more expensive, professional drone.

Three of these drones fall below both the FAA requirements for registration which only costs $5 per aircraft and will save you from dealing with fines (or worse) if the authorities catch you flying an unregistered drone. The same three are also light enough to avoid falling under Canada's new restrictive drone laws, so you'll be able to fly them in your local park without setting yourself up to be fined.

Aukey Black Sparrow

The Aukey Black Sparrow offers a great value for anyone looking to take control of a full-sized drone for under $100. Some assembly is required out of the box, as you'll need to install the landing gear and blade guards with the included screwdriver. You'll also need to charge the built-in battery for a few hours before it's ready to fly.

Once it is, you'll get an average of 10 minutes of flight time. The included 2.4 Ghz controller all plastic, but capable with switches for calibrating the drone and switching to headless mode for easier controls. It allows for over 1000 ft of range, and the bright LEDs on the bottom also make night flying an option. You definitely need to take this drone out to a wide open field and fly it far away from buildings, people and powerlines. That's sound advice for flying any drone, but especially for the Black Sparrow — due to its combined power and lightweight, you don't want to lose control of it and cause damage or injury. The on-board 6-axis gyro helps to keep the drone stable in flight — a must-have feature for novice flyers — but can be difficult to control in windy conditions.

While the Black Sparrow doesn't come with a camera, you'll notice a video port and threads for mounting a camera attachment in the bottom. A camera accessory is not currently available, but is featured in the user manual as an optional upgrade.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 21.3" x 21.3" x 6"
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Microdrone 3.0

Microdrone 3.0

The MicroDrone 3.0 raised over $3 million on IndieGoGo and, like the name suggests, is the smallest drone on this list, but don't let its small size fool you. This is a fully-capable drone with a ton of features jam-packed into a small, minimalist package.

Included in the full set combo, now available from Amazon, you get the drone, a 2.4 GHz handset, propeller guards, four replacement blades, four blades for inverted flying, the Wi-Fi Camera module, a smartphone holder that attaches to the handset, as well as a VR headset that holds most smartphones for FPV flying. Basically, it's everything you need to get started.

It's a capable flyer with three control modes (slow, fast, and insane), as well as a toggle switch for stunt mode, which lets you perform impressive flips and rolls. The camera literally snaps on in a second thanks to proprietary magnets that also deliver power to the camera. Connect your phone to the camera's Wi-Fi and control and record video through the Microdrone app.

Note that the folks behind the Microdrone are still working to fulfill their crowdfunding backers first, so you'll probably end up having to wait some time before it arrives.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5.7" x 5.7" x 1.9"
  • Weight: .12 lbs (56 g) without camera, .16 lbs (71 g) with camera
  • Camera: Yes — removable, shoots 720 x 1080 HD at 30 FPS
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes (without camera)
  • FAA registration required?: No

Syma X8G

Syma X8G

This is another great option for beginners. It flies well right out of the box with a gradual learning curve and a build that's reportedly strong enough to survive multiple crashes into trees. It's also the biggest drone on the list and comes with the best camera with the ability to swap in a GoPro.

You'll get up to eight minutes of flight time on a full battery charge, but you'll want to invest in multiple batteries because it takes up to 3 hours to charge the 2000mAh battery, which is by far the biggest drawback for this drone. Otherwise, given the build, size, and price, this is a fantastic option for a novice drone pilot or someone looking to get sweet aerial shots on the cheap.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 19.7" x 19.7" x 7.5"
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs
  • Camera: Yes — removable, 8 MP, 120p and 1080p video quality. Also compatible with GoPro cameras
  • Average flight time: 5-8 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Walkera Runner 250

Walkera Runner 250

If you're interested in the emerging world of drone racing, this would be the drone to start with — but it's not recommended for beginners. Made from lightweight carbon fiber, it's built to take a licking and keep on ticking. It doesn't look as pretty as the other drones on this list, but again, this one is built for speed over style and sure delivers on that front.

The Runner 250 is capable of going extremely fast — up to 24 miles per hour — while still offering good control with up to 1000 meters of range. Flying at those speeds, you'll want to make sure the battery is well secured, as it's been reported to come loose and cut power to the camera after major crashes. Everything comes assembled in the box, along with a tool set for making repairs as needed. Happy racing!

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 18.5" x 11.3" x 5.2"
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Camera: Yes (800TVL built-in)
  • Average flight time: 12-15 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

Parrot is a trusted name in drones, and the AR 2.0 is a fantastic entry point for someone interested in the hobby.

Unlike other drones on this list, this one is controlled strictly via a Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone; no handset is included. Simply download the Parrot control app to your phone and you're able to control and record video in 720p. There's also an optional Director Mode available for purchase within the app that allows you to set up cinematic shots if you fancy yourself an amateur filmmaker. There's even a USB plug in the base of the drone so you can record video straight to a removable drive.

The built-in sensors and navigation system allow the AR 2.0 to maintain stability, even in winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour, so you shouldn't lose control of your drone on a windy day. Even if you do, simply attach the foam blade protectors to help take the brunt of any crashes. Oh, and the Elite Edition means it comes styled in your choice of camo: jungle, desert, or snow.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 23" x 23" x 5"
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Camera: Yes — 720p HD video
  • Average flight time: 11 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

LaTrax Alias Quadcopter

LaTrax Alias Quadcopter

This one is a fine option for beginners and experts alike. Built with a solid, molded composite frame, this thing is both rugged and extremely lightweight.

Including a 2.4 GHz handset for controls, this thing is built for speed and stunting. There's no camera or options, so if that's an important feature for you, you'll have to look elsewhere. It does come with multiple flying modes, from easy mode that keeps the speed in check, to a full manual mode that puts you in full control of stabilization and everything.

While the LaTrax Alias lacks features found in other options on this list, the build design and price make this a great option for someone looking for something fast, cheap, and fun to fly.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 12" x 12" x 1.6"
  • Weight: .22 lbs (100g)
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: No

Holy Stone Predator

Holy Stone Predator

If you're brand-spanking new to drones and need a cheap drone to practice that avoids FAA registration or Canada's new drone laws, the Holy Stone Predator is a great option. It comes with its own controller that simple enough for beginners to pick up and fly, and is capable of pulling off stunts and withstanding light winds for outdoor flights. But the real bonus here is the size. It's small enough to allow for practice indoors if you've got the space. A fully-charged battery supplies six minutes of flight time; with replacement batteries really cheap and easy to swap in and out, this is a cheap drone with affordable accessories.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5.3" x 1.6" x 5.3"
  • Weight: 1.42 ounces (42g)
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 6 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: No

What did we miss?

Are you a drone enthusiast? Got any experience with the drones we've listed here? Got a suggestion for one that we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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5 days ago

Best Micro-USB cables

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Best Micro-USB cable

Wherein we help you pick a great Micro-USB cable.

Whether you have a smartphone, tablet or wearable, odds are that you've got a Micro-USB cable (or three) laying around. They're ubiquitous. Just in case you don't, here are some of our favorites.

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6 days ago

Best Galaxy S7 edge Cases

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If you want to keep your Galaxy S7 edge protected, check out these great options available!

Updated March 2017: This article has been with updated links and choices.

So you bought the Galaxy S7 edge but didn't bother to order a case, but now you really want one? Well, luckily there are already a bunch of different options that are available for the phone. From slim cases to clear ones, wallet cases and super protective, you can find just the right one for you.

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1 week ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: Which should you buy?

57
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, and Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the [Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50 (and right now, if you buy a 6-pack, you'll only pay for 5!).

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Since it is battery-powered, the Tap isn't always listening, so — as the name would suggest — you have to tap it to activate Alexa, which only works over Wi-Fi. It's kind of a pain in the keister.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, but you'll have to get up and tap it to do so (at that point, you might as well pull out your phone). It can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can still do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do; you just have to get off your duff and tap it to get it to work. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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1 week ago

Amazon UK is discounting the Echo by £15 for Mother's Day

0

The Amazon Echo is down to £134.99 in the UK.

As part of its Mother's Day deals, Amazon UK is discounting the Echo by £15, bringing the price of the voice-connected speaker down to £134.99. The deal is valid on both the black and white color variants of the speaker.

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1 week ago

Galaxy S8 DeX Station desktop dock leaks, shows off 4K support and built-in fan

29

The DeX Station sets the stage for the Samsung Galaxy Desktop experience.

Samsung's Continuum-like DeX desktop dock has leaked, showing off its design as well as the features on offer. The accessory will be called the DeX Station, and will allow users to dock their Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus via a USB-C port at the bottom of the unit. The dock has two full-sized USB 2.0 ports for connecting peripherals like a mouse and keyboard, an HDMI out that supports 4K resolutions at 30fps, and there's even a 100Mbit Ethernet port.

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1 week ago

Here's what the Galaxy S8's 5100mAh power bank accessory will look like

30

It's fair to assume that the Galaxy S8 will be arriving with a refreshed accessory lineup.

It's springtime (for some of us) and just as the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing through the meadows, so is Samsung preparing itself for its big flagship release later next month.

Practically everything about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ seems to have been revealed, but of course, we won't know if that's the case until an official announcement from Samsung. For now, we can speculate on the smartphone and what its accessories might look like, especially considering the company will have to ostensibly refresh its accessory lineup to work with the Galaxy S8.

Samsung might sell this curvy, oblong-looking battery pack along with the Galaxy S8. It's a 5100 mAh battery pack with 15W Fast Charging and USB Type-C compatibility. According to the source, it may come in Samsung's signature gray and blue aesthetic, and it may retail for €60. The new accessory lineup may also include a few new cases and screen protectors, too.

We'll know more after Samsung officially announces the Galaxy S8 on March 29.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 week ago

The best streaming video box for most people is a Roku

32

Sure, we tend to prefer Android TV around here. But beyond that, the best all-around streaming video box for most people absolutely is the Roku.

So you're cutting the cable TV cord. Good for you. And we've already established that the NVIDIA Shield TV is the best Android TV box. But what if you don't want to dive that far into Android? (Crazy, I know.) Which streaming box is the best? Easy answer. For most folks, Roku is going to be the best bang for your buck.

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First: Why a Roku? It pretty much has every streaming service available. (Everything except Apple content because Apple is why we can't have nice things.) It's got PlayStation Vue. Sling. Amazon. Google. Netflix. Chromecast. YouTube. So many different "channels" that for as long as I've had a Roku I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. (DirecTV Now is listed as coming eventually.)

Why a Roku Ultra, though, when there are sticks for a third of the cost? You get what you pay for. Yeah, the stick is cheap and can do a decent job, but if you want 4K resolution and HDR and USB media and a better remote and private listening and ... Basically it's way more future proof, and tended to handle the streams for me better. If you just want a test of how all this works, fine. A stick will do. But if you're serious about it, it's worth spending the extra money.

See at Amazon

Modern Dad

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