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4 months ago

It's a damn shame the Pixel doesn't have a Nexus-style 'carpet' case

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Nexus carpet case

I need that carpet in my life, Google.

With each hardware release, Google trots out a whole new set of accessories and cases. Some are bigger hits than others, but you can point to each Nexus release of the past few years and find a couple of truly uniquely designed cases or covers that actually approach being worth the super-high prices Google charges.

Last year, that was the Nexus 6P and 5X case affectionately referred to as the "carpet" case. It was a hard silicone case that offered plenty of protection for the phones, but on the back had something you don't see every day: soft carpet. The material that you wouldn't be surprised to find in a rug store had a neat geodescent pattern and "Nexus" lettering across the bottom.

The case stood out for sure, and gave you a feeling you couldn't find elsewhere. It was a bit of a polarizing design, but I love the design of that case. And when the Pixels launched, I was sad to see that the carpet case had died with the moving from the Nexus brand to Pixel.

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4 months ago

LG's latest audio product is a speaker you wear around your neck

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How about a speaker that you wear around your neck?

LG is all set to unveil two interesting audio products at CES. The first is the LG Tone Studio, which is a neckband with built-in speakers that blasts music up at your ears. The Tone Studio has four speakers — two at the top and two vibrating speakers at the bottom — that provide a "personal surround sound experience when watching a movie, playing a video game or simply streaming music."

LG says that it collaborated with DTS to bring a "realistic theater-like sound for a cinematic experience wherever you may be." The idea is intriguing, but it's hard to imagine anyone putting up with a neckband solely for streaming audio particularly when there are so many decent portable Bluetooth speakers around.

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4 months ago

Ring in 2017 with 25% off all the best Android accessories!

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Looking to spread a little more cheer while ringing in 2017? What better way is there to celebrate than with 25% off all the best accessories for your favorite Android device with coupon code END16?! Whether you are in need of a new charging cable, a new case to protect your phone, or even a Bluetooth speaker, we've got you covered.

There are tons of great accessories in stock for a variety of different phones right now. From the HTC 10 to the Google Pixel, Galaxy S7, and even the OnePlus 3T, you can find what you need at ShopAndroid. You can save now through January 1 with coupon code END16, so don't wait too long to pick up what you need.

See at ShopAndroid

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4 months ago

How to spend that Amazon Gift Card you received this Holiday Season

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Amazon Gift Cards make post-Christmas shopping a breeze.

There's a few different ways to send and receive Amazon Gift Cards — by e-mail, printed out as a card, or a gift card purchased from a store.

Regardless which method you received your Amazon Gift Card this season, we'll show you how to load it up to your Amazon account — while also pointing you towards some of our picks for the coolest tech and hottest deals you'll find on Amazon.

How to load an Amazon Gift Card onto your account

The main thing you'll need to redeem your Amazon Gift Card is the 15-digit claim code found on the back of the physical card, or in the email you received. You can add the balance of the gift card to your Amazon account, or spend it immediately by entering into the it during checkout. You'll see the entry field when you get to the payment methods of the checkout process

If you've received your Amazon Gift Card via email, it's super easy to add your gift to your account right from your phone. Simply open your email, tap the link, enter your Amazon credentials, then add the gift card to your account balance. You'll also find your claim code in the email if you'd rather enter it during checkout for a bigger purchase.

Go to Amazon's page for redeeming gift cards

How to spend your Amazon Gift Card

You can find a bunch of great gift recommendations available from Amazon in the Android Central Holiday Gift Guide. Here's some of the best from our list, along with some other cool deals you might not want to miss out on!

Honor 8

The Honor 8 is one of the best phones released in 2016, and a great option if you're looking for a new phone for the New Year. The Honor 8 gives you almost everything you expect in a flagship phone, but does it at a dramatically lower price. You get all of the top-end specs, great features and excellent camera performance. It's a great buy, for you or someone else.

See at Amazon

Nextbit Robin

If you're looking for something even more affordable and unique, the Nextbit Robin is worth considering. Its cloud-based storage offers 100GB of space, including 32GB onboard, for your apps and data. With a 5.2-inch screen and a very good 13MP camera, it's a capable device — and it's also currently on sale via Amazon for under $150.

See at Amazon

UE Boom 2

The UE Boom 2 is a tough and compact Bluetooth speaker that's even waterproof. It features excellent battery life and delivers incredible sound for its size. You can also pair two of them together to fill an entire room with music.

See at Amazon

Roku Premiere+ Streaming Media Player 4K

The Roku Premiere+ is a capable streaming box available for under $100. You'll find apps for all your favorite streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Video, Pandora, and many more. The Roku Premiere+ is compatible with 4K televisions and includes a lot of really awesome features, such as an included Wi-Fi remote control with a headphone jack, so you can watch your favorite shows without disturbing anyone else in the room.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot

Make your home smarter with the power of Alexa. The Amazon Echo Dot comes in a small package, but comes with the power of Amazon's Alexa. The Dot is so cheap you might as well buy one for your kitchen, one for the living room, and one for the bedroom — all for the cost of the full-size Amazon Echo. Once you get yours set up, there's a lot you can do with the Amazon Echo.

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Best Galaxy S7 Cases

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What's the best case for Galaxy S7? These should do the trick!

The Galaxy S7 is Samsung's best phone and you'll want to protect it with a great case.

Here are our favorites!

Spigen Liquid Crystal

You don't have to hide the beauty of your phone to keep it protected, and the Liquid Crystal case from Spigen proves that. This case offers protection without sacrificing the ability to see the color choice that you made on your initial purchase.

You'll get a nice form fit from this case, and the embossed buttons are easy to press while the case is on the phone. You can grab one on Amazon for just over $10.

See at Amazon


LifeProof FRE

For the ultimate protection, LifeProof is a brand that sits at the top. While the Galaxy S7 may already be waterproof, some additional waterproofing along with drop protection is a no-brainer for many.

The case is designed this time around to be thinner than previous generations, while still providing the same amount of worry-free protection for your phone. You'll pay for the added protection, but it beats the constant worry about breaking your new investment.

See at Amazon

Speck Candyshell

If you want to keep your phone protected, but also want it to be as stylish as possible, you may want the Speck Candyshell case. Available in a variety of different patterns, Speck does a great job of combining style and protection in their cases.

The single piece construction makes it easy to slide your phone in, and keep it protected. From a clear case to show off the beauty of the phone itself, to a fully decorated floral pattern, there is a case here for just about everyone.

See at Amazon

Urban Armor Gear

Urban Armor Gear is known for its rugged designs and great protection with a unique style. The company has announced a variety of cases for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, including one that will also double as a wallet with a place to store some of your credit cards. You can order your case now, with shipments starting around the release date of the phone.

See at Amazon

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro

Searching for something a little more on the rugged side? The Unicorn Beetle Pro provides front and back protection for the Galaxy S7, including a durable swivel holster for quick-draw access at your side. On the front is a built-in plastic screen protector that's surrounded by a thick rim to keep the display raised from flat surfaces. The case itself utilizes a shock-absorbent TPU and durable polycarbonate to handle harsh impacts. The Unicorn Beetle Pro's rugged design is great for enhancing grip, too, with plenty of texture on each side of the case. This protective bundle is only $10 and available for pre-order right now.

See at Amazon

Ringke Fusion Crystal Case

For those who prefer to protect their Galaxy S7 with a case while still showing off the phone's sleek appearance, Ringke's Fusion crystal case is definitely one the best options out there. Its simple design is protective enough to handle common drops without bulking things up. Port plugs on the bottom help to keep out dirt and debris, but can always be permanently removed if they're more of a nuisance. Side buttons are easily accessible through the clear flexible plastic along the edges, and the smooth polycarbonate shell sports a large cutout for the S7's camera features.

See at Amazon


Vena vCommute

This is probably the most innovative wallet case I've come across. It's basically a fusion-style case, featuring a TPU bumper and a PC shell, with a wallet slot on the back. The slot is covered by a strong magnetic flap that's three-tiered, so you can open it just a smidge to grab something quickly or open it all the way to fill it up.

I comfortably fit three cards in this one, but you can snugly fit four, though it's a little difficult to get a card out when they're that tight. If you have three, however, it's incredibly easy to remove cards, right down to the last one.

This case is the perfect blend of wallet and protective cover.

Comes in gold/black and silver/black.

See at Amazon


Spigen Tough Armor Case

Spigen's Tough Armor case rocks military-grade protection with its dual-layer design and Air Cushion Technology. The inner skin features a webbed design that the Galaxy S7 rests on, including air pockets in all 4 corners that help handle shock. The raised lip around the front ensures the Galaxy S7's display is always clear from rubbing on flat surfaces, and the glossy bezel around the camera grants clear photos at all times. Unlike the Spigen Slim Armor, the Tough Armor case comes without a flimsy kickstand, leaving a smooth look and feel to its exterior plastic shell. This case comes in gunmetal, champagne gold, and black, starting at $19.

See at Amazon

Samsung S View Cover

Samsung's S View Cover series for the Galaxy S7 is just about as cool as it gets for phone cases. So long as you have NFC enabled on your phone, you essentially get a small window to your Galaxy S7 that lets you answer and decline calls, view message previews, activate the camera, and a bunch more.

Your Galaxy S7 clips into the bumper inside and then you just fold the cover over and, though the display is turned off, the preview screen still shows up through the window. Many folks want a flip cover to protect their phone, but it can be cumbersome to pull it out and open it up, and it's definitely conspicuous in class or at a meeting.

The S View Cover is available in black, gold, and silver to match your Galaxy S7. If you want a super cool, interactive case that does a lot more than just protect your Galaxy S7, then the S View Cover is definitely worth a look.

See at Amazon

Caseology Wavelength

Caseology's phone cases are excellent. I have yet to come across one that doesn't fit perfectly and doesn't feel great in the hand.

The Wavelength series has a wavy pattern on the back (duh!), which offers a wonderfully textured grip. The buttons are covered, but the tactile response is very present, so you're not pressing multiple times wondering if you're even hitting a button.

If you want a great-fitting case with precise cutouts, at phenomenal price (about $15), then check out the Caseology Wavelength. In fact, check out its whole collection — you can't go wrong!

Comes in five color combinations.

See at Amazon

What's your favorite Galaxy S7 case?

Those are just a handful of the best cases to consider protecting your Galaxy S7 with. If you're holding out for a different case, we'd love to hear about it!

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4 months ago

How to spend the Google Play gift card you received this holiday season

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Looking for the best way to spend your new Google Play gift card? Here are some great ways!

Google Play gift cards are awesome gifts, and if you got some for presents this holiday you should be very thankful. Having them is only half the battle though, spending them in the best way is the other half. There are lots of things you can use those great gift cards on, and getting creative helps out.

Some like to play games, other prefer to watch movies or listen to music, and luckily your gift card can assist with all of it. Here are some of the best ways to spend those new gift cards in the Play Store on things you won't regret.

Apps

There are tons of awesome apps available in Google Play. So many that sometimes it can get overwhelming trying to find the best ones for what you need. There are generally a bunch of options that do the same or similar things, but sometimes some of them do it a bit better. Whether you know what you need or are looking for something completely new, here are some of the best out there.

Games

Not everyone likes to game on their phones, but it can actually be a great way to pass some spare time. Whether you are looking for something you can pick up and put down as you want, or something you can get lost in for hours on end, there are tons of options that you will like.

Media

Google Play has more than just apps and games. There are tons of movies, TV shows, and albums available to explore as well. From full series to individual episodes, new movies to old ones, you'll likely be able to find your favorites with ease. Google Play allows you to not only own the titles but also rent a bunch of them. This is great for those random family movie nights, or those times when you aren't sure you want to own it but still want to watch it.

There is a lot to look through, and it is always being updated with new content. Google often times offers various sales, so be sure to check frequently to score some sweet deals.

Subscriptions

Did you know you could use your gift cards to pay for a Google Play Music or YouTube Red subscription? How cool is that?! This is a perfect way to try things out for a month or more, depending on your balance, without having to spend any of your own cash.

Your favorite?

Do you have a suggestion that isn't listed here? If so, be sure to share it in the comments so others can check it out as well!

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5 months ago

SnapPower Guidelight and a USB charger is a smart way to fix a dumb outlet

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Never fear the dark again — or have a dead phone — with this ingenious way to make the most out of your home's power outlets.

Seriously, the SnapPower Guidelight is one of those simply little things you'll wonder how you lived without. I got in on the Kickstarter campaign, so I've had them for a little while and saved a little money in the process. (They're great, but they're not necessarily cheap.) I've got them spread out through my house in the hallways and in dark rooms someone might stumble into late at night.

If you've never seen these before, they're replacement faceplates for your power outlet that leach the electricity off the terminals. That means you don't have to do any rewiring, which is great! You literally just unscrew the old one, snap on the new one (I see what they did there!!!) and screw it back in. There's even a USB charging option, if you want. (It'll trickle charger, which is definitely better than nothing.)

Check 'em out!!!

See at Amazon

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5 months ago

The Pixel C is almost a laptop with this USB-C dongle

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The Pixel C is almost a laptop with this USB-C dongle

Sometimes the addition of a single accessory can change your perspective on a device.

Even a year on, Google's own Pixel C remains on sale and for many is just enough of a productivity machine that it can sometimes replace a large and cumbersome laptop. I've actually taken quite a liking to the Pixel C after completely writing it off for the first six months of its life, but its shortage of ports limits its viability for the kinds of things I so often do on a laptop. USB-C itself isn't the issue, actually — it's the fact that the Pixel C offers just a single port. As anyone with a new Apple MacBook will tell you, having a single port isn't all that great.

As I awaited the delivery of my own new MacBook Pro, which of course only has USB-C ports, I actually took to using a couple of my new USB-C dongles with my Pixel C. In what shouldn't have been a surprise, the dongles "just worked" exactly as intended. And with the addition of one of these multi-function adapters, the Pixel C has become more of a laptop for me than ever before.

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5 months ago

R.I.P. Pebble: What to wear next

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Why, why, why?!

Pebble has bought the farm, as Fitbit has bought Pebble, so they could pay off all the debts they acquired from buying the farm. Since Pebble has gone to that big wrist in the sky, you're going to need to know what's ready-to-wearable.

MrMobile and special guest Joshua Vergara of Android Authority team up to talk about the good times and bad, the bright and the dark of what was once Kickstarter's King. They'll also suggest alternatives; because, like the ticking of a clock, life goes on.

Stay social, my friends

And don't forget our friend Joshua at Android Authority +Joshua's Twitter +Android Authority's YouTube +Android Authority

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5 months ago

Don't miss out on these great Bluetooth headphone deals!

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Amazon is currently hosting a large sale on Bluetooth headphones, slashing the price by more than 50% on some sets. There are some in ear, over the ear, around the neck, completely wireless and more from brands like TaoTronics, SoundPEATS, Mpow and several others. Whether you are looking to spend under $20 on a pair, or more than $100, you'll likely be able to find one here that will meet your needs.

Some of these can still be delivered before Christmas, so be sure to try out Amazon Prime to get free two day shipping on your order. Which pair will you pick up? Let us know in the comments!

See at Amazon

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5 months ago

6 awesome tech gifts Amazon can still deliver before Christmas

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Time is running out! Good thing Amazon delivers quickly.

We've all been there. You waited a little too long and now you don't have a gift for someone, right? Don't panic, don't stress, there is still a way out of this. Amazon carries some of the best gifts out there and offers some pretty quick shipping methods. If you're still shopping for people on your list, and need some fresh ideas, here are six great tech gifts you can still have delivered in time for Christmas.

Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on all eligible orders, and cheap upgrades on some to get it the next day. If you aren't already an Amazon Prime member, you should really sign up for a 30-day trial to get the benefits and help save the holiday!

Aukey 30000mAh Quick Charge 3.0 power bank

You can never have too much battery power to make it through the day. Phone batteries have become much better over the years, but there are likely still times that people could use some more power, and this is a perfect solution to that. Avoid having your friends and family stuck sitting next to a wall, and let them charge from anywhere.

This particular one has a 30,000mAh capacity and offers a Quick Charge 3.0 output so you can charge quickly while on the go. Thanks to its huge capacity you should be able to charge your phones and tablets up to 10 times per charge of the pack. It has two USB outputs and charges through Micro-USB or Lightning.

See at Amazon

Nextbit Robin

If you've got a friend still holding on to an old smartphone and you want to get them an upgrade, there is still time. You don't need to know their account information or anything (as long as they aren't on Verizon or Sprint), because you can just grab them an unlocked phone. Want to be one gift that stands out above the rest? The Nextbit Robin may be just the perfect one.

The unlocked phone has a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of local storage and 100GB of cloud storage. It is available in both midnight and mint color options, and if you act quick you can score a really sweet deal on one. Don't let them continue thinking that their current phone is "good enough" and let them see what owning something better feels like!

See at Amazon

Choetech Quick Charge 3.0 car charger

Whether just a few minutes or a few hours are spent in the car, having a charger in there is a great idea. These days we rely on our phones for just about everything, so you don't want to get in the car with a low battery and no way to charge it. Whether you want to use it to listen to music, find a place to eat, or have it navigate you to a new place, all of it uses battery heavily.

Quick Charge 3.0 allows phones to charge up to four times faster than traditional chargers, so this is the one you'll want to have in your car. The distance or time of your commute won't matter when every minute that you are plugged in you are getting the fastest charge for your phone.

See at Amazon

Sonos Play:3

Bluetooth speakers are convenient in some ways and annoying in others. They are great for playing music louder than your phone can, but as soon as you walk away with your phone the music stops. With Sonos speakers that isn't the case, making them a bit more useful for many people. With Sonos, Pandora, Google Play Music and other streaming services, you can set music to play and have it keep going for the whole day, whether you keep the phone there or not.

The speakers are connected to the internet, meaning they can be updated and they won't be left behind next year. Sonos does a great job of continuing to support its whole line, even when it releases something newer. You'll pony up some extra cash to get these, but in the long run it is likely well worth it.

See at Amazon

Fitbit Alta

After Christmas comes New Years, which means people are trying to get back on track with new resolutions. Often times people set new fitness foals for themselves, and here's a great way to support their goals. With Fitbit's Alta you can not only track how many steps you've taken but how you are sleeping, the number of calories that are burned and much more.

Unlike many other fitness trackers, the Alta is actually pretty nice looking, so odds are most people wouldn't mind wearing it every day. It comes in a few different colors, and three different sizes to pick between.

See at Amazon

Mpow Cheetah Bluetooth headphones

We've started seeing some phones released without headphone jacks, so now may be a great time to get the people around you moving over to Bluetooth options. Mpow's Cheetah headphones are great for running, working out, and sweating at the gym without getting ruined. The behind the ear design ensures that they will remain in place, even when you don't, and they offer no-lag when listening to music or making a call with the built-in microphone.

Sure, they may not be Jaybird or Bose headphones, but they also don't carry the same type of price tag. With nearly 4,000 reviews on Amazon, these headphones hold strong at 4 stars with lots of positive remarks.

See at Amazon

Your favorites?

Do you have a favorite tech gift that isn't listed here but can still arrive before Christmas? If so, be sure to drop a brief description along with the link so that others can check it out!

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5 months ago

Best Gifts for Android Lovers

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What will you get the Android fan in your life?

You've come to the right place. After all, who would know better what to get an Android fan than the editors at Android Central, right? Here are our suggestions for those friends who love the world's best operating system and aren't afraid to show it.

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5 months ago

Save up to 40% on a new Anker portable charger!

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There are a few Anker portable chargers currently on sale in the UK, which are more than ideal for adventures and trips out the front door. If you're heading away this holiday season and may find yourself low on power without access to an outlet, simply plug your smartphone into a portable power bank and you'll be good to go in no time at all.

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5 months ago

Best Tech Gifts for Kids

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Buying for kids isn't easy, but this is a good place to start!

No two kids are alike, but chances are if they know you there's a tech streak in there somewhere that will let you appreciate gadgets together. Sometimes that means playing a game together on your favorite console, and sometimes that means running around outside while a 360-degree camera grabs your failed cartwheel at just the right angle. Yeah, that one's going on YouTube.

What about gear that's just for the kids, though? Stuff that will not only be fun for them to use, but in some small way actually be good for them? That's where this gift guide can lend a helping hand. You'll find everything you could possibly want to gift that will make kids smile and think at the same time. Enjoy!

This post was updated in December 2016 with the latest information!

Kano Computer Kit

They say kids appreciate things more if they've built it themselves, so why not make that thing a computer? The Kano Computer Kit lets a child build a small PC that connects to any HDMI screen and learn the basics of user interaction and programming. It's a simple, fun kit that can be expanded to include a separate portable screen for a little more, but the real challenge is in the teaching. This kit helps kids understand how the individual components function, and includes a huge variety of apps and games once everything is set up.

The truth is this isn't much more complicated than a Raspberry Pi with a wireless keyboard and a special casing. To a child looking to learn, that simple kit could mean a great deal more.

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Maybe a Smartphone?

Deciding to equip a kid with a smartphone is no small thing, and that decision has requirements that vary wildly from parent to parent. It doesn't matter if your kid comes home and says they're the only one in the class who doesn't have a phone or that they're the first, the choice is yours and there are some great options for younger users.

We've assembled the perfect list of the best smartphones for kids, so you can make the most informed decision possible!

More: The Best Android phone for kids

littleBits: Rule Your Room Kit

Every parent wants to see their kid be a creator, and there have never been more tech options available to help make that possible. Free programming apps are all over the place, digital drawing has never been more accessible, and then there's littleBits. These are kits for the little engineer in your life, giving them the tools to build everything from simple alarm clocks to a pressure sensitive switch for whatever they can think of.

The Rule Your Room Kit comes with step-by-step instructions and all of the materials for eight different inventions, as well as access to a community of builders that have used this same kit to build a lot more.

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The Starter Smartwatch

Kids tend to emulate the adults in their lives, and if you're walking around all day with a computer on your wrist there's a good chance your kid wants one to be just like you. That's not always a good idea, especially if your watch is one of the pricier Android Wear offerings, but that doesn't mean there aren't options out there built for kids to fill the need. Whether your kid has a smartphone already or just wants something colorful to be like you, there are some great smartwatches out there for kids. Here's our take on the best available today!

More: The Best smartwatch for kids

Code-A-Pillar

There's no such thing as being too young to enjoy a good gadget, and there's no such thing as being too young to learn how you think about programming. The Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar is proof of both of these statements, and it's pretty great. The little wiggle worm "learns" the pattern you put in its back, and travels based on those instructions. This teaches kids how to think about step-by-step instruction assembly, which can be very helpful later on in life.

The standard Code-A-Pillar can be upgraded with expansion modules that add new instructions, so even if your kid quickly masters this critter there are ways to keep things fun and continue the education!

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View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer

Generally speaking, kids under 13 should be careful to not spend more than an hour in VR at any given time. That being said, there are some incredible VR experiences that you can manage by making them only available when you put your phone inside of their special headset. Mattel's futuristic View-Master Deluxe is where you start, and everyone who uses it is going to fall in love.

This VR viewer comes with a couple of special educational discs for View-Master field trips to different locations all over the world, but it's also a Google Cardboard viewer. That means you can watch 360-degree videos on YouTube, play VR games from the Google Play Store, and in this improved model connect whatever headphones you want for a more complete experience.

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5 months ago

Star Trek Combadge: Is This The One To Beam Up?

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Bluetooth. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship MrMobile. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new tech, to seek out new devices and new iterations, to boldly go looking for super neat things.

We couldn't resist. But is this bluetooth Star Trek combadge is worth your hard-earned latinum? Watch Michael Fisher bring it all down to Engineering and figure out if this will make you look and feel like the Grand Nagus, or if you're really taking a spin on the Dabo wheel with this one.

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