2 years ago

Draco Hydra aluminum bumpers for the Galaxy S4 and HTC One


It's time for a quick look at the Draco aluminum bumpers for two of the hottest Android phones available — the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. These are nicely crafted combinations of plastic and metal that wrap around your smartphone in the usual bumper style, leaving the screen and the back of the phone exposed. 

And they do so with a premium price. You need to know that up front. The Hydra bumper for the Galaxy S4 runs $99 direct, and the Draco One bumper is $79. These aren't cheap. But neither do they feel cheap. That's evident as soon as you pull them from their boxes.

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2 years ago

The new Nexus 7: Wireless charging feature


The new 2013 Nexus 7 uses the same wireless charging standard as the Nexus 4 -- and the same chargers.

If you were one of the lucky ones who was already able to score a new 2013 Nexus 7, you might not know about a great feature -- Qi wireless charging. It doesn't charge your new tablet fast, and it still requires a cord be plugged into the wall, but it is a great feature for the nightstand or your desk. While the tablet is sitting there not being used to play games, surf the web, or browse your favorite social media network -- all things it does very, very well -- it can be collecting a few charged electrons to keep the battery bumped up. And it makes a great nightstand clock with the Dashclock extension and Daydream feature activated.

We've got a handful of Qi chargers laying around, so I've been fiddling with them all morning. I want to see which ones work the best out of the bunch, and fans of the Nexus brand will be pleased with the result -- the Nexus Charging orb is a perfect match for your new Nexus 7.

They all work. Nokia's charger seems to work fine on my tablet, but offers no compelling reason to choose it over any others. The big Energizer Qi charging mat works fine, too, but it's ugly as sin and life is too short for ugly accessories. The LG puck works really well, and the fact that the charging coil is mounted directly in the center of the back cover of the Nexus 7 makes it easy to place and it stays put. But that blinking light will drive you bonkers at night.

Enter the Nexus charging orb. You new tablet grips the funky rubber surface of the orb just fine and won't slip, and the angle it keeps your Nexus 7 resting at makes that big, beautiful screen easily viewable while it's charging. Combined with some of the great Daydreams available in Google Play, it's the perfect solution. And it's powered by holo. Ok, not really, but it does say NEXUS on the face of it.

If you've got a Qi charger laying around, by all means use that one with your Nexus 7. If you have to buy one, because come on, you have to, grab the Nexus Orb from Google Play. You can use the link above. There are a couple pics after the break, and plenty of room for all your comments.

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2 years ago

SD card showdown: Testing the SanDisk Extreme


Earlier in the month we told you about a new SanDisk SDcard that offered the fastest speeds available. Those were some big words, and anytime we hear claims like that we have to try it for ourselves.

It just so happens that I'm the perfect test subject for this. I don't use SD cards in my phones, so I have no bias or preconceived notions about any brand or products. I do use SD cards in my cameras, so I understand how important fast read, and more importantly fast write, speeds are for users.

So I pitted two pricey models and one budget model against each other, to see how things measured up in the real world. Armed with my trusty Nikon and a Samsung Galaxy S4, I put things to the test. Read through, and see how things worked out.

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2 years ago

Anker announces 'highest efficiency' 12000mAh backup battery


Astro3 offers 80-percent efficiency and charging for three devices at once

Anker, maker of phone accessories and backup batteries, has just announced its most efficient mobile battery to date -- the Astro3. This 12,000mAh battery pack, which Anker calls "flask sized" (4.4 x 3.3 x 1-inches), offers charging for three devices simultaneously over USB. The pack outputs up to 4a in total across the ports, meaning you'll have more than enough juice to power a tablet and two phones if necessary. There is also a circular LED power indicator that shows how much power is left in the pack, which is a nice touch.

Anker says that the Astro3 is the highest efficiency backup battery it has made, with 80-percent efficiency on its capacity offering a quoted 6-7 charges for most modern phones before it has to be recharged itself. For the road warriors among us this would be a great solution. The Astro3 is retailing for $49.99 and can be purchased from Amazon at the source link below.

More: Anker Astro3 on Amazon

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2 years ago

Belkin announces Android compatibility for their WeMo automation products


In the future, home automation is going to be common place. Our Android phones can already control our TV's and unlock and start our cars, and now they can turn our lights on and off. Using Belkin's WeMo line of Wifi enabled switches and receptacles and the corresponding smartphone app, you can sit in your comfortable chair and control appliances and lights around your house using your local home Wifi or cellular network. The Android app is set to release today at 1PM PT today on Google Play, and be available right here

In addition, the products are compliant with IFTTT to enable a complete web app solution limited only by your imagination. This sounds really cool. So cool in fact, that I just ordered two of the switches and we'll have a closer look at how they work (provided I don't electrocute myself installing them). Stay tuned for that, and find Belkin's press release after the break.

More: Belkin

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2 years ago

The HTC One official car dock


Here's a quick look at the official HTC One Car Dock. It's a car dock, for the HTC One. And if you're at all familiar with HTC's car docks for its other devices, you should be right at home here. 

There's nothing grossly different about the functionality here. It's got a substantial base that either suctions itself to your windshield, or to your dash via an adhesive disc. (I usually opt for the windshield, but then again I swap devices more than most normal folks.) You twist the textured ring at the base of the dock to trigger the suction mechanism. (It's easier to do when you're actually mounting the dock, so don't worry if you can't just get it to work in your hands.) There's a ball joint to allow for a full range of movement and positioning of your phone, and there's just enough friction to keep things from moving when you don't want them to.

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2 years ago

Exogear ExoLife S4 battery case


Doubles your Galaxy S4 battery life, protects your phone at the same time

Here's a quick look at the ExoLife S4 battery case from Exogear. As the name implies, it's a battery case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 that packs an external 2,600 mAh battery into a fairly svelte case. 

It's a simple enough design. The case comprises as thin front that snaps onto the beefier rear. The phone slides into that rear search and connects via microUSB, just as you'd expect. It's a pretty good fit, and at no point were we worried about the case coming apart. We had no problems with sharp edges or anything like that. Nice build quality. Just make sure you get it snapped in place all the way around.

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2 years ago

Sony rumored to be prepping 'lens and sensor' accessory for smartphones


High-quality imaging as an accessory could be Sony's answer to latest 'cameraphones'

Here's a crazy (but plausible) rumor for a Friday afternoon. While other manufacturers are releasing camera-centric smartphones — such as the Galaxy S4 Zoom and Lumia 1020 — Sony might decide to take a different route and offer high-end imaging as a smartphone accessory.

The latest rumors from Belgian camera site SonyAlphaRumors suggest that the manufacturer is preparing a lens with built-in imaging sensor and battery, that will mount to a smartphone and communicate wirelessly, after pairing over NFC. The device would also be usable on its own, though renders of the purported gadget seem to lack a screen of any kind. As such, the main use case involves attaching it to the back of a smartphone and viewing a live, wirelessly-beamed feed.

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2 years ago

Incipio announces Galaxy S4 3100mAh battery case


An additional 10.5 hours of talk time and some rugged protection all in one

For those who need a little extra juice and don't want to carry around separate batteries to swap in-and-out, Incipio has just released a quite large 3100mAh battery case for the Galaxy S4. The aptly-named "offGrid" battery case is a two-part ordeal that consists of a back plate and a rubber bumper that come together around the phone, which provide both protection and a quoted 10.5 hours extra talk time when fully charged. The case slits into the Galaxy S4's USB port on the bottom, and then has its own USB port for charging, along with an LED battery status indicator on the front.

Just like the other battery cases we've seen from other case manufacturers, you're certainly going to feel the extra bulk of this case. But for those who need the extra battery life and protection, it's a worthy tradeoff. The Incipio offGrid battery case has just gone up for pre-order with an estimated ship date of 3 weeks, and rings up at $89.99. You can see a few more pictures of the case after the break, or head to Incipio's site to pre-order now from the source link below.

Source: Incipio

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2 years ago

Review: Motorizer over-the-ear headphones from Motorheadphones


'We told them what to do very specifically. And we threatened them with terrible violence if they didn't get it right, so I'm sure they got it right.'  Lemmy Kilmister

Looking for a set of high-quality headphones that were designed for screaming rock music instead of music with over-processed and overdriven bass tracks? Enter the Motörizer Over-the-Ear Headphones from Motörheadphönes. Designed by rock 'n' roll legend Lemmy himself, these can will make your ears bleed with delight.


They're your typical set of studio-style headphones on the outside (with a little bit of Motörhead branding, of course), but they're built from quality materials. They sport velvet ear cups instead of that horrible fake leather that gets your ears all sweaty, flat woven-cover cords, and a solid closed-back design. They're auto-adjustable, with a thick two-piece rubber headband to fit anyone's noggin. They're fairly heavy at 8.4 ounces, but they're comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Most of us use earbuds with our phones, but if you're like me and appreciate a good set of DJ-style over-the-ear headphones, you'll love the way these fit. If you like your music hard and heavy, you'll love the way they sound.

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2 years ago

Contest winners: Element Case Galaxy S4 cases!


If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know we always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. Winners of our contest sponsored by Element Case are posted below, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up to get your info. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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2 years ago

SanDisk releases world's fastest 64GB microSDXC card


SanDisk's new high-speed, high-capacity microSD cards were designed with the smart phone user in mind

SanDisk has a new product in their popular line of microSD cards, the SanDisk Extreme microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-I cards. Designed for users who need fast storage for their smart phone, tablet or camera, the new microSD cards offer read and write speeds that are perfect for taking multi-shot high resolution pictures, as well as full HD high framerate video.

In SanDisk's testing, the 64GB model reached read speeds of 80MB/second, and write speeds of 50MB/second. Speeds like this allow you to do things like take more shots in a row using your camera's burst mode, or take beautiful high-quality HD video. Of course, file transfer speeds are also greatly increased, letting you copy those images and videos, or music or ROMs from your computer even faster. 

Ultra-fast, high capacity ​microSD cards are a perfect match for Android phones that support removable storage. Stuart Robinson, director of handset component technologies service at Strategy Analytics puts it succinctly:

Most high-end smartphones are now driven by high-speed quad-core processors, which deliver Full HD content and applications to large, high-resolution external displays. Such applications require high memory bandwidth which is ideal for the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card, the world's fastest microSDXC memory solution.

We know you all like big, fast SD cards, and this one looks like a winner. To be sure, we had SanDisk send us the 64GB SDXC model and I'm going to see if it lives up to the hype. We'll run it through the benchmarks, but also try it in real-world situations like in an Android phone, a computer, and a DSLR. Look for the results soon! In the meantime, the full press release is after the break. Read through it, and discuss.

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2 years ago

Sony Smartwatch 2 not coming to the UK July 15


Clove has updated information suggesting watch won't be available until September

Announced on June 25 along with the Xperia Z Ultra, the new Sony Smartwatch 2 features NFC pairing support, as well as the ability to remote-control certain apps on supporting Android smartphones. UK retailer Clove had originally stated they would be selling the Smartwatch 2 from July 15, and has been accepting pre-orders based on this information. Now though, an updated release schedule suggests that it will not be available until September 9. 

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2 years ago

Garmin developing a HUD accessory for your smartphone


Device offers navigation directions, speed data, traffic information and more -- all displayed in your field of vision

Garmin has sent out a press release about an upcoming product that has a cool factor off the charts. This small HUD (Heads-Up Display) unit connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth, and beams pertinent navigation information on to a small screen attached to your car windshield or to an included reflector screen. 

Using the Navigon app for Android (starting at $29.99, price based on included maps), the Garmin HUD can tell you directions, your speed, ETA, traffic and safety tips, and even offer lane assist to help keep traffic flowing at busy highway interchanges. Along with easy to see turn indicators, the Garmin HUD will help keep your eyes on the road instead of on your phone's display. To round out the features, the HUD even offers USB power pass-through to keep your phone charging while using the system for navigation.

Not yet officially available, the device has not yet received FCC certification. Garmin must be pretty confident that the unit will be approved, as they are sending out press releases. The unit will retail for $129.99 and be available online this summer from Garmin. We're curious to give this one a closer look. See the full press release after the break, and follow the link below for more information.

More: Garmin

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2 years ago

Motorola S11-Flex HD Bluetooth Stereo Headset review


There are a lot of Bluetooth headsets available, in countless configurations. You've got plenty of selection, even if you're more interested in listening to music that you would be taking calls. The holy grail is finding one that's great at both. Enter the Motorola Flex-11 HD Bluetooth Stereo Headset, which fits the bill nicely.

They're stylish, they fit well, and most importantly they deliver high quality sound both for calls and the music you listen to on your Android phone or tablet. I've been testing my pair for a while, and I have to say I'm pretty pleased.

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