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6 months ago

Best Heavy Duty Cases for Google Pixel

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What are the best rugged cases for the Google Pixel?

The Google Pixel is quite possibly the best phone of 2016. It's a beautifully designed phone (and rather expensive to boot). If you've got one, you'll want to make sure you keep it protected.

And therein lies the problem with any new phone — should you forgo a case and risk scratches and scuffs or keep it looking brand new with a rugged case? If you fall into the latter category, we've got some great options for you and your new phone.

Note: These are cases designed for the 5-inch Pixel, not the larger Pixel XL.

Spigen Rugged Armor

We trust the cases Spigen makes, and you should too. Spigen's durable Rugged Armor cases are typically among the best heavy duty cases you can buy for your phone. For their Pixel case, Spigen has gone an extra step in incorporating some of the unique design elements of the Pixel right into the case.

Along with the tough TPU providing edge-to-edge protection of scratches and scuffs and military-grade drop protection in the corners, the back of the case around the fingerprint scanner is designed to look like the iconic glass sheet on the top third of the Pixel. That way people in the know will recognize you're using a Pixel even when you've got it covered in a case. This is the only one-piece case on this list, so if you'd prefer the added protection of a two-piece design keep reading.

For protection that's stylin', Spigen's got what you need.

See at Amazon

OtterBox Commuter

OtterBox is another trusted name in phone cases, and their Commuter case for the Pixel is equal parts rugged and stylish.

This two-piece case features a rubber slipcover and a polycarbonate shell to offer superior protection for both drops and scratches. On the back, the case features a smart, ergonomically-designed channel to help your finger quickly find the fingerprint scanner.

Amazon provides your best deal on this case, but as of writing it is currently out of stock. If you're not patient enough to wait, you should be able to get one right away from OtterBox .

See at Amazon

YOUMAKER Rugged Belt Clip

If protection is your top priority, this option from YOUMAKER offers layers of full-body protection along with an included belt clip if that's your style.

With a thick TPU shell on the back, and a hard polycarbonate front plate featuring a built-in screen protector, this case is as rugged as they come. Clipped into the belt clip, your phone is fully protected from everything, making this a great option if you work on your feet and need the phone to be accessible and protected. Precise cutouts keep all the ports and buttons accessible, and the big loop around the fingerprint scanner makes it quick to find without looking. It's a great option for those looking for quality protection and features at a reasonable price.

See at Amazon

Wellci Hybrid Dual Layer Armor

Sometimes the best way to prevent your phone from suffering drop damage is to make it harder to drop. The first thing you'll notice about this case from Wellci is the pattern on the back of the polycarbonate shell, which helps to make this one of the grippier heavy duty cases you can get for your Pixel.

The shell works with the TPU slipcover to provide impact resistance and protection against scratches and scuffs. It's also the cheapest case on this list, making it a great frugal option if you're still looking for quality protection for your new Pixel.

See at Amazon

Lifeproof FRE

One of the glaring features omitted from the Pixel's design was waterproofing. Considering the latest iPhone and Samsung devices have included it, some were a little disappointed Google didn't match those specs with the Pixel.

A guide to waterproofing your Pixel

If the threat of water ruining your phone is a major concern for you, you'll want to get a Lifeproof case. Their cases are some of the best you can get if you're willing to spend top dollar to keep your phone protected. Currently, the Lifeproof FRE is not yet available for the Pixel, but you can learn about it and sign up for an email alert when it's ready to ship.

Learn more at Lifeproof

Protection or style: What do you prioritize?

Are you the type to buy a case as soon as you get a new phone? Or do you prefer to show it off in it's full splendor? Let us know in the comments!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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7 months ago

Grab this compact waterproof Bluetooth speaker for $11 right now!

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Update: This deal is back, but only for the black version of the speaker this time! Be sure to act quickly if you are interested.

Right now, Vtin is offering its waterproof Bluetooth speaker for just $11 with coupon code 2WKKIATD at Amazon, a savings of $9. Whether you are looking for a speaker to take on the boat, near the pool or even in the shower, this is worth considering. It's powerful 5W driver will offer high-quality audio, and with its 800mAh battery you should get around 8 hours of playback per charge.

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7 months ago

MrMobile reviews the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

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What if I told you there was a Bluetooth headset with killer battery life, built by the same people who made the headsets for NASA's Apollo program? And what if I told you that this headset costs much less than the Bose QC35 I love so much?

I'm telling you now. The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 wireless headset is here, and it's on store shelves for a starting price of $199. That puts it in roughly the same territory as that Bose monster and the FIIL Diva Pro I reviewed last month – but at a much more accessible price point.

Find out if the sacrifices in size and build quality are worth the trade-off in MrMobile's BackBeat Pro 2 review!

Get social with MrMobile!

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7 months ago

How to recycle or donate your old Android phone

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Experts suggest that 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide every year. We need to make sure we're doing what we can to help manage it all.

How many phones are you in your house right now? I'm not just talking about the one(s) in your pocket, I'm talking about the ones stuffed in drawers, under other obsolete pieces of electronics that will likely never get looked at again until you wake up one morning determined to clean, and stuff everything in the garbage. Your house may benefit from a good electronics purge every once in a while, but unless these devices are exposed of properly, they usually end up in landfills, wasting the potential to recycle the rare metals and other components responsibly.

Here's how to do just that: recycle your old Android phones responsibly.

Get all your stuff

Recycling a phone should be treated the same way reselling one is — don't leave anything personal behind.

Turn the phone on one last time and give it a good once-over. Make sure you're signed out of any accounts, have uninstalled all the things you've accumulated since you first got it and make sure things like pictures and music are taken off the phone (and backed up safely somewhere!). Take care to make sure any on-device address book entries are erased and any credentials you need to log in have been removed.

Never get rid of a phone without clearing your data from it.

Pull out your SIM card and any SD cards you might be using. If you're recycling an Android phone, we recommend a factory reset and wipe once you're sure nothing is left stored on the phone.You should also let things restart and skip through the setup process so you can double check that everything is gone.

We're not trying to imply that anyone at a recycling center is eager to dig through your phone, but you should always protect your privacy.

Sorting it all

You'll want to separate the electronics from the rest of the stuff. The box, the papers that came with it and the incidental stuff you've accumulated and will never use again needs to be gone over so it can go into the proper recycle bin.

Papers, cardboard boxes, and plastic or rubber phone cases can go with your normal household recyclables. The charger, any cables and the phone itself need set aside unless you have a pickup for discarded electronics. You should leave the back of the phone on if it's removable, and there's no need to pull off any skins or screen protectors. Use your judgment for other accessories, and a good rule of thumb is that if it needs power from a battery or a cord, it needs to go in the same bin as the phone itself.

Where to take the rest

Not everyone has easy access to a recycling center and some private centers will charge you when they take your stuff. Don't be discouraged if this describes your situation and be tempted to just toss the whole kit and kaboodle into the trash with the rest of your household waste. Some of the stuff inside a phone — especially the battery — is pretty nasty and is not something we want to be buried in a landfill. Do you want roving bands of mutant super ants? Because that's how you get roving bands of mutant super ants.

Recycling your phone is easy and it does make a difference.

There are plenty of places that want your old phone. Besides all that nasty battery stuff there are also a number of internal materials worth money to the right person. Aluminum. Copper. Gold. All of these fetch a good amount of cash if you have enough of it. You won't find enough in one old phone to make it worth the time to retrieve it, but there are people and companies who collect enough old things to make it worthwhile for them. You don't even need to look for those folks because they have bins at places you probably already visit.

Chances are the place you buy phones, like your carrier, will also take old ones back. They don't want to have something with their name on it responsible for those super ants, and many of them have ongoing relationships with electronics recycling companies. Best Buy is another place that you can drop off an old phone, and you'll find a bin right at the entrance. And if you purchase by mail you can ask for a prepaid bag to send your recyclable phone back in. Samsung has its own electronics recycling program, for both its own products and others.

If all else fails, ask the people who pick up your recycle bins.

Canadians can donate their devices at most carrier stores, or at drop-off locations hosted by Recycle My Cell across the country.

If your phone still works

If you want to recycle your phone because it no longer works, the above directions are the right way to do it. But if your phone is still functional, just not desirable, there are plenty of ways to donate it to the right cause.

In the U.S., organizations like Cell Phones for Soldiers and Verizon's HelpLine are wonderful ways to donate old devices, either for people to use, or for them to sell to raise money on their own.

We've only got one planet. Until we figure out a way to pack it all up and fly to some place better we all need to do everything we can to keep it clean and super ant free. Taking five minutes to sort out a phone and charger from your everyday refuse is easy and finding some place to take it isn't difficult, either.

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7 months ago

Best Alcatel Idol 4S Cases

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Here's how to protect your Alcatel Idol 4S

What's the best case for Alcatel Idol 4S? Really, whatever's available!

The Alcatel Idol 4S isn't exactly a mainstream phone, and that's made rather apparent in the selection of cases available for it, or, rather, the lack of cases available for it.

That being said, the cases that are available will work just fine for you and your Idol 4S. Here's what's out there!

Incipio DualPro

Incipio

Incipio makes great phone cases and it's really the only bigger brand that's making cases for the Idol 4S.

The DualPro is a hard shell case, made from strong and durable polycarbonate, which protect your phone from bumps and scratches. The inside of the case is flexible TPE, which is soft and great for shock absorption in the event of a fall.

Incipio's DualPro cases come in black, gray, pink with gray accents, and rose gold with pink accents.

See at Amazon


Vinve flip case

Vinve

Vinve's flip folio case is made of synthetic leather and is for those who want their Idol 4s to look sophisticated while being protected from scratches and dings.

The flip cover folds back into a convenient stand for hands-free viewing, and all the necessary ports and buttons are uncovered for easy access. The opening in the cover also lets you check the time and see if you have notifications without needing to open the case.

The interior lining is soft, so your Idol 4S won't get scratched up, and your phone is securely place by the snap-on shell inside.

See at Amazon

J&D Tech

JD Tech

J&D Tech's case for the Idol 4S is a slim TPU bumper that's flexible, providing shock absorption in a fall.

Being so slim, this case won't add any bulk or weight to your Idol 4S, and it won't add a ton of rugged protection either.

The textured TPU won't feel slippery in your hands, so you won't feel like you're going to drop your phone every time you use it, and all the ports and buttons are left open so that you don't have to remove the case to charge your phone.

Comes in black, blue, and red.

See at Amazon

Mama Mouth PU leather wallet case

Mama Mouth

Mama Mouth's pleather wallet case is for folks who want their phone case to stand out, while also conveniently holding credit cards and a bit of cash, so they can ditch their wallets.

There are three slots for cards and ID and an inner pocket for a bit of cash, all held in by the flip cover and a magnetic closure. The PU leather is tear-resistant and will protect your Idol 4S from scratches.

There are eight gorgeous colors to choose from, and starting around $9, you might as well grab a couple and switch it up daily!

See at Amazon

Harryshell Dream Catcher wallet case

Harryshell

Another wallet case for your Idol 4S, Harryshell's is one for folks who like more than just solid colors. The dreamcatcher design on the front is striking, and the case comes with a handy mini stylus, which is great for certain games and other activities.

The front cover folds back into a stand for hands-free gaming or video-watching, and there are slots for two cards, as well as a larger pocket for a bit of cash. You can leave your wallet at home and just carry the essentials!

Your Idol 4S is held in place by a bumper that provides shock absorption, while the folio protects your screen from scratches, dirt, and bumps.

See at Amazon


Starhemei slim wallet case

Starhemei

Starhemei's wallet case is a slim addition to your Idol 4S that won't add too much bulk or weight, but will hold up to three cards and a bit of cash in the larger pocket. Cutouts at the top and bottom let you take calls with the cover shut, so you can answer and then close it up instead of awkwardly trying to hold and open folio case.

These PU leather cases have a magnetic closure, and the front cover folds back into a stand.

They're available in black, blue, brown, and red.

See at Amazon

What protects your Idol?

Are you using an awesome case with your Idol 4S that we didn't mention? Sound off in the comments below!

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7 months ago

Chromecast Ultra now on sale online with arrival as early as Nov 7

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Google's faster, more capable Chromecast Ultra is now on sale.

The $69 media streamer that's now faster, handles 4K video and has a bulit-in ethernet port can now be yours ... well, at least in a couple weeks. Sales are now live on the Google Store and Best Buy, with orders arriving as early as November 7 depending on the shipping method.

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7 months ago

Keep track of your fevers with this smart thermometer for just $15!

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Right now you can grab this awesome digital smart thermometer from Kinsa for just $15 at Amazon. If your family spends a lot of time on the go, this thermometer is a great addition to any bag so you can quickly and easily check your child's temperature if they aren't feeling great. To keep kids sitting still, the app offers a bubble-popping game, and the flexible tip makes it more comfortable in their mouth.

Beyond just telling you the temperature, the thermometer can also give you real-time guidance on what to do next, which is gathered from sources like Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. You'll be able to track your health history for each member of the family with ease, and all for just $15 right now.

See at Amazon

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7 months ago

What to look for when buying USB-C cables and adapters

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Buying a cable shouldn't be difficult. It doesn't have to be if you follow these simple tips.

USB standards have a long history, and they've gone through plenty of changes since first implemented in 1996. The premise behind it all is providing a way to standardize cables, connectors, communication, and power transfer between electronic devices. Some of the first equipment to use USB were the really old, brightly colored iMac and speakers. USB was designed to be the one standard that does it all, and that's pretty much how it all worked out.

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7 months ago

SanDisk's 200GB microSD card is down to just $59 again!

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Right now you can pick up a 200GB SanDisk microSD card for just $59 at Amazon, a savings of $20 from its regular price. Whether you need some extra storage for your phone, tablet, camera or other devices, you won't want to miss out on this deal. Having 200GB of storage may seem a bit excessive to some and just right for others, but at the price you really can't go wrong with having the extra storage available to you. It will allow you to save music, videos, movies and more locally so you don't have to rely on your mobile data in order to access it all.

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7 months ago

Aukey's 30,000mAh portable charger is a power user's dream gadget

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If you need lots of juice on demand and all the ways to deliver it to your phone, you just found what you were looking for.

Aukey sent me their humungous 30,000mAh portable charger to take a look at. I've been using it for a week or so as my primary way to keep the phones I'm using charged up, and can say wholeheartedly that this thing is just what the doctor ordered if you're a power user or on the go a lot. Or both.

Before we get into anything else, you have to know it's big. Not big like regular big, but big like GREAT BIG. And heavy. It's a hair under 6-inches long, 3.5 inches wide and just over an inch thick. On the scales, it comes it at 20.6 ounces with a full charge. It takes about 13 hours to charge it using the Nexus 6P charger. So basically, this isn't just a "regular" external battery pack. It's a beast designed for people who want or need a beast of a portable power station.

The operation is pretty simple. You charge it through a USB Type-C port or a Micro-USB port, or both. As mentioned, I used my Nexus 6P charger to bring it back to full power two of the three times I had to recharge, but I did try the turbo charge method using both inputs. That takes about 5 hours from darn-near-dead to full. I didn't notice any excessive heat, but it does get warm while charging. When it's fully charged the green LED stops blinking. Other than having two charging inputs that can be used at the same time, there's nothing crazy or exciting here. Plug it in, charge it up, and you have a box of juice you can use to recharge your phone. Or tablet. Or MacBook. It's a great big box of juice that will charge your things plenty of times and has everything needed to do it quickly.

This portable charger is big and heavy. But it holds so much juice we can't complain about it.

The outputs set it apart from many other portable power sources and external batteries. The AUKEY PB-Y3 30000mAh Power Bank (that's it's full name in scientific notation and stuff) has two USB outputs, a Micro-USB input, and a USB Type-C port. The Micro-USB input is only there to charge it. That's easy — plug it into a charger you would use for a phone or anything that has a Micro-USB plug and charge away. Unplug it later after it's finished. The other ports are more interesting.

The USB C port is a full USB Type-C interface that acts as both an input to charge the battery inside the charger and as a port to plug your phone or tablet in. It is a USB-C rapid charger and can top the Nexus 6P from a red icon low-charge state to about 70% in about 15 or 20 minutes. It will charge it to full in 90 minutes. It will charge a Pixel C from dead to full in about 2.5 hours. I don't have a MacBook here to test it with.

You can charge just about anything, and probably do it more than once.

The two USB outputs are color-coded. There's an orange port that uses Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 feature, and a green port that uses standard USB power delivery. The QC 3.0 port will charge my HTC 10 from dead to 50% in about 15 minutes. It slows down after that and takes between 90 minutes and two hours to charge it to full capacity. This is exactly how Quick Charge is supposed to work. The green port will charge a phone (I used my BlackBerry Priv on that port to test it) in about 2.5 hours, but there's no initial boost from any faster-charging tech. Both USB -A ports support Aukey's AIPower tech, which monitors battery feedback to charge things safer and faster.

There's also an LED flashlight built in, which you turn on and off by holding the power button.

Category Measurement Capacity 30,000mAh Micro-USB input 5V 2.4A USB-C input/output 5V 3A Quick Charge 3.0 USB output 3.6V-6.5V/3A, 6.5V-9V/2A, 9V-12V/1.5A Aukey AIPower USB output 5V 2.4A Nominal dimensions 5.9'' × 3.3'' × 1.1'' Nominal weight 20.4 oz

The real story is the capacity. You can charge a phone like the Galaxy S7 edge from dead to full five times. You can charge a Pixel C from dead to full two times. In both cases, you have enough left-over power to charge something with a smaller battery once or twice. On one charge of the Aukey portable charger, I was able to charge a Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, HTC 10, Galaxy S7 edge, a set of MotoRokr Bluetooth headphones and 5 batteries for my Sony camera. And I was able to charge the Nexus 6P and HTC 10 at the same time and use their fast-charging tech. There's 30,000mAh in there to do whatever you need to do with it. That's a lot of juice.

This Aukey portable charger is perfect for a trip or in your gear bag.

I wouldn't recommend this for someone who needs an external battery for Pokemon Go or Ingress. It's too bulky and heavy to carry around in your pocket, and there are plenty of other solutions that can work and aren't quite as cumbersome. But if you plan on going camping or on a road trip, or have a job that requires a gear bag filled with things that need to be charged, this is probably the best gadget you'll find to keep your phone topped up. I'd buy one with my own money, and am not afraid to recommend you do the same.

See at Amazon

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7 months ago

Grab this pocket-sized 5000mAh power bank for just $6

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For a limited time, you can pick up Kmashi's pocket-sized 5000mAh power bank for just $6 with coupon code S6Y8AMQO, a savings of $5. Being 5000mAh you'll be able to charge just about any phone or tablet that you are carrying around fully from the pack while out and about without needing to strap yourself to a wall. It outputs at a maximum of 5V/2A so it will deliver a quicker charge to your phone, and the bank itself recharges fully in around three hours.

If you find yourself running low on battery during the day, you should grab one of these for your pocket, purse, desk, bag, or anywhere else you can think to store one. Remember, you need coupon code S6Y8AMQO for the discount here.

See at Amazon

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7 months ago

Grab these five USB charging cables for just $8 right now!

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Right now you can grab a five-pack of Aukey's charging cables to keep you powered up for just $8 with coupon code 5AUCABLE, a savings of $6. Included in this bundle is four Micro-USB and one USB-C cable in various lengths so you can keep all your different gadgets charged up at any time. You'll get two 3.3-foot Micro-USB cables, two 1-foot Micro-USB cables and one 3.3-foot USB-A to Type-C cables so you'll have a few to keep at home, in the car, and in the office.

You can never have too many charging cables around, and this bundle is a great way to pick up a bunch of extra cables for a great price. Remember, you'll need coupon code 5AUCABLE for the full savings.

See at Amazon

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7 months ago

Save $10 on these magnetic Bluetooth headphones right now!

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Right now you can pick up a pair of Vtin's magnetic Bluetooth headphones for just $12 with coupon code 3ZNN27RG, a savings of $10. The magnets in these headphones allow for them to do additional tasks just by simply separating or placing the two together. For example, if you have the headphones connected to each other around your neck and separate them, it will automatically answer an incoming call. Putting the two back together with pause the music you are listening to or end a call for you. The lightweight headphones have a built-in battery that should provide around 7 hours of playback per charge.

If you are looking for a nice set of Bluetooth headphones that don't break the bank, you'll want to check these out. Remember, you need coupon code 3ZNN27RG for the full savings.

See at Amazon

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7 months ago

Grab this 5 port USB charging station for $16 right now!

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Right now you can pick up a 5 port USB charging station for just $16 with coupon code 5AUPOWER. It features a single Quick Charge 2.0 port and four 2.4A ports, and you can use them all at the same time to safely charge your various devices. If you have a bunch of different devices that you like to charge at the same time and don't want to be lugging around a bulky power strip, this is a great choice. The block has built-in safeguards to protect against excessive current, overheating and overcharging so you don't have to worry once you plug your cable into it.

Don't lug around all those wall plugs and power strips anymore, and instead, grab one of these. Remember, you'll need coupon code 5AUPOWER for the full savings here.

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7 months ago

Oculus disables Gear VR functionality on Galaxy Note 7 due to fire concerns

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Oculus, the Facebook-owned company that powers the software inside Samsung's virtual reality ambitions (as well as the Oculus Rift headset, sold separately), has disabled its app from working with the Galaxy Note 7 after a number of replacement phones reportedly caught fire over the weekend.

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