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3 weeks ago

HBO Now, Food Network and Travel Channel apps add Chromecast support

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Chromecast owners who also have a subscription to the recently-launched HBO Now stand alone service can now stream content to their Chromecast. It's one of many app updates for Google's HDMI dongle that have now become available.

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3 weeks ago

Urban Armor Gear reveals its Galaxy Note 5 case

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With plenty of Galaxy Note 5 cases certainly on the way, Urban Armor Gear (UAG) has unveiled its first case for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which combines protection and style. The case, which is now available to be pre-ordered, will come in a variety of colors such as Magma (translucent red), Ice (clear), Ash (translucent gray), black, white and orange.

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3 weeks ago

Cover-Up's natural wood grain cases for Android

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These wood grain cases keep your Android looking good while adding grip and protection.

Hand-crafted in the UK, each WoodBack Snap Case is designed to resist stains with their special finish made from vegetable oils and waxes, changing slightly in appearance as the wood ages. We got our hands on a few of these unique cases for the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, and HTC One M9 to see how they look up close.

Cover-Up offers different wood grain options for a variety of devices including the Nexus 6, Galaxy Note 4, HTC One M8, and many more outside the ones we're looking at here. Since they're quite slim, wireless charging is never an issue, and there's ample room to access your camera, side buttons, and charging/auxiliary ports. Along the edges of each case is a smooth black polycarbonate that helps to enhance grip, too. The company states that the wood they use for these covers is sustainably sourced and laser cut before being hand-sanded. No matter what grain you go with, the cut will always be different for a truly unique appearance.

READ NOW: Cover-Up's natural wood grain cases for Android

Carpathian Elm Burl for Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

This cut sports a more rich, and darker look compared to the others. You can pinpoint the small knots in the wood along with slight crevices where the wood has opened up. The blend of light and dark brown looks amazing from top to bottom.

Buy from Amazon ($29)

Cherry for HTC One M9

For a lighter, more subtle grain is the Cherry option, which we're using on the HTC One M9. While this case definitely isn't as busy in pattern, its linear look makes the case seem even slimmer than it already is.

Buy from Amazon ($26)

Cedar for Samsung Galaxy S6

Similar to the Cherry, the Cedar case presents a linear look but with slightly darker accents and more knotting. There are even hints of light streaks throughout that make this cover pop.

Buy from Amazon ($26)

Would you go wood?

These cases aren't made to provide heavy duty protection, but rather casual coverage that doesn't bulk up your device with multiple layers. They're not scratch resistant, however imperfections are much harder to spot on the wood grain. I've been rocking the Carpathian Elm Burl on my Galaxy S6 edge for a couple weeks now, and I'm interested to see how its look develops over time. If these style covers are your thing, take a look at the other options available and let us know which ones you like best!

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3 weeks ago

This is the PLAYBULB Garden Solar LED Light

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The PLAYBULB Garden provides unique lighting features for any special spot in your yard.

Since our first hands-on with the PLAYBULB Rainbow Light, we've had a chance to check out the rest of Mipow's fancy lighting lineup. The outdoor option we're looking at here is the PLAYBULB Garden — a solar LED light that stakes claim anywhere outside you see fit for novelty nighttime lighting. Included with the Garden are 2 monopods that can be fitted together for extra height if needed. Snap that into place underneath, stick it in your preferred location, and let the sun do the rest.

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3 weeks ago

A quick look at the Body Glove ShockSuit Case for LG G4

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The ShockSuit Case is built to battle, but isn't quite what Body Glove claims as "shockingly slim."

Using both TPU and polycarbonate materials, this rugged case is built to MIL-STD-810G military standards and has been drop tested for your G4's safety. The ShockSuit Case comes in two pieces — the hero being the chunky back cover next to the screen shield sidekick. We also know what your leather battery door means to you, and you'd never consider covering it up with a case like this (or any case at all), but rest assured that this brute is only friendly with the plastic G4 battery cover.

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3 weeks ago

The Amazon Echo speaker can now also be purchased from Staples.com

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People who want to purchase the Amazon Echo connected speaker now have another option besides Amazon itself. It is now for sale on the Staples website for the same price of $179.99.

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3 weeks ago

Best Android gadgets of the week: Moto Surround, Amazon Dash Button, and more!

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This weekend we're rounding up the best new Android accessories to hit the market again. Amazon pulled the trigger on the public launch of their incredibly convenient shopping button, while Motorola offered up two new pairs of headphones. There's plenty more, so dive in!

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3 weeks ago

CHOETECH 15600mAh Dual-USB Quick Charge power bank

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Feed the need for Quick Charge speeds.

Weighing in at 12.5oz, this power bank is solid in design, featuring a glossy black finish that's a real stickler for fingerprints. You'll find the power button on the top, along with a series of LED lights that provide percentages of remaining battery life at any given time.

What's unique about the CHOETECH power bank is its ability to be charged using either a microUSB cable or Apple Lightning cable. Both ports are featured on the front lip of the power bank next to 2 USB ports — 1 standard and the other Quick Charge 2.0 certified. Both inputs charge at a max rate of 2.1A, regardless of what cable you end up using to replenish the power bank. Output 1 (standard) provides 1A, and output 2 (QC 2.0) at 2.4A. Bundled with the power bank is a single 4ft. microUSB cable for charging your phone or the portable battery.

To completely charge the power bank, you're looking at approximately 7 hours using a Quick Charger, or about 10 hours with a standard charger. It comes with the standard protection features built-in, including over-current, over-charge, and short circuit protection. It happily charges 2 devices simultaneously, as long as you have an extra USB cable laying around. Given the brute size of this power bank, it's definitely not ideal for pocketing, but would still do well for traveling or weekend camping trips. Just keep it away from water, because this isn't a rugged power bank meant for that kind of abuse.

Our take

$39.99 Buy Now

It's got plenty of backup power with its 15600mAh battery, dual-USB ports, a Quick Charge 2.0 option, and can be charged up with a microUSB or Lightning USB cable. It's quite the beast for its $39.99 price tag. If you're really only keeping one device alive for a trip, you could probably go with something a bit slimmer like the Aukey 10k Quick Charge Power Bank. For 2 or more devices though, this is a pretty solid option.

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4 weeks ago

How to use Tasker to shuffle your playlists on Sonos by voice

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If there are two things we love in the modern home, it's Tasker and Sonos. Tasker is an absurdly powerful Android app that can fire off actions when certain triggers are met. Sonos is a polished lineup of connected home speakers that talk to each other seamlessly and plug into every streaming music service out there.

Without an IFTTT channel, it can be a little hard dealing with your Sonos using anything but the official apps, but with a bit of elbow grease you can get Tasker to play nice with your beloved sound system. Here we'll break down how to get a fresh, random playlist started with the bare minimum of fiddling with your phone.

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4 weeks ago

Android Central's summer accessory guide

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The best summer accessories

Gear up for the summer!

We've spent a little over a week diving into phone accessories that are perfect for the summertime. Now we're ready to wrap it all up. There's been a big focus on rugged and waterproof accessories to handle your extreme adventures, though you're likely to find many of these useful year-round.

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4 weeks ago

Hands-on the Case-Mate Naked Tough Case for LG G4

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This hard case rocks transparent, dual-layer protection against damage for your LG G4.

It's hard to find a decent case for the LG G4 that's compatible with the leather battery door. Many claim they'll fit, but end up putting way too much pressure on the leather, stretching it out, and just looks terrible. We got our hands on Case-Mate's Naked Tough Case this time around, and found that while installation is certainly easier on the plastic back of the LG G4, the fit around the leather was surprisingly good.

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1 month ago

LifeProof FRE case review for the Samsung Galaxy S6

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LifeProof has made a name for itself by making some of the best-known waterproof phone cases out there. We took the FRE case for a dip with the Samsung Galaxy S6 to see just how well it fared.

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1 month ago

This portable wireless charger doubles as a 10400mAh power bank

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Great for home and travel, the Vinsic 2-in-1 charger keeps you cable-free.

Wireless chargers come in all shapes and sizes, but more often than not, you'll see the traditional flat pad style similar to the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad or ZENS Wireless Charger. The 45° angled design of the Vinsic 2-in-1 Charger makes using your Qi-compatible devices quick and easy while it's getting juiced up. And to be honest, it's refreshing to see — especially when they're built well.

Weighing slightly less than a pound, the charger does have some bulk to it, but still looks great on any desk or coffee table. It features a circular rubber pad on top that keeps your device from sliding every which way, and a matching pad underneath that keeps the entire charger in one place — regardless of how smooth the surface is. On the front are 6 tiny LED lights in total; 4 of which are green and signify how much life of the internal 10400mAh battery remains. The last 2 shine blue — one for power and the other when wirelessly charging. Even with every light on it's not bright, and they compliment the entire charger's aesthetics. Not to mention, once your device is sitting pretty it covers up the lights anyhow.

On the back of the charger is a USB and microUSB port. Vinsic only includes a single 28-inch microUSB cable, which can be used for both charging its power bank or a second device. As I expected, anything charged via the wireless pad gets a slow-going 1A rate, but if plugged directly into the USB port on the back you'll get a more acceptable 2.1A. While simultaneously charging with both, Ampere measured approximately 350mA on the pad and 1000mA connected. So if you're in a hurry, skip the cable-free convenience.

To turn the charger on, simply tap the power button located on the right side. It will instantly light up, showing how much battery life is left. You can tap the power button at any time to check this, too. When you place your Qi-compatible device on the charger, you'll get an audible beep to let you know when it's recognized.

The verdict

$49.90 Buy Now

It's definitely not a bad deal with both the wireless charger and 10400mAh power bank features bundled together. It's case-friendly, which is kind of a big deal in my book, and doesn't blind you while at your bedside. For $49.90, I think Vinsic could have tossed in a 2nd (longer) USB cable and AC adapter, though. The Vinsic 2-in-1 Charger also comes in white, if the black doesn't suit your current setup.

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1 month ago

Razer Serval Gaming Controller makes its way to the Google Store for $79

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Google has added the Razer Serval Gaming Controller to its lineup in the Google Store for $79. While there are already a few gaming controllers available, like the Gamepad for Nexus Player, the Razer Serval has a dedicated holder for your phone built in. The controller is the same one that comes included in the Razer Forge TV Gaming Bundle, except now you can grab just the controller for half the price.

If you are a big mobile gamer, this controller is for you. The minimum requirements to use it is Android 4.2 or above. You can purchase the Razer Serval controller from the Google Store for $79 now, with free shipping.

Purchase the Razer Serval Gaming Controller for $79

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1 month ago

OnePlus will soon sell anyone its USB-C cable for about $5

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The OnePlus 2 is one of the first phones to be announced with a USB-C port, and that means OnePlus had to have a USB-C cable in the box. It didn't just take any old USB-C cable off the shelf, though — it designed its own cable from the ground up and it's pretty awesome. With so few vendors currently offering USB-C cables OnePlus thought it was a good idea to sell it directly, though, and it plans to do just that.

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