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1 week ago

HTC 10 review 2017: The forgotten classic

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When I first reviewed the HTC 10, I called it "the best Android smartphone you're not buying." A year after its release, both of those assertions continue to hold water: the HTC 10 is still a really solid phone ... but it's still not selling well enough to stave off the regular flow of bad news.

Maybe that's because even a "really solid phone" isn't good enough to capture the public's imagination in the current climate of curved-screen contraptions, or maybe it's because the HTC 10 is still priced pretty high compared to similarly-specced competitors like the OnePlus 3T. Whatever the reason, an HTC 10 review for 2017 seemed appropriate before the company launched its next big flagship ... so an HTC 10 review for 2017 is just what you're gonna get. Click the video above for the latest Review Re-Do from MrMobile!

Still on the fence? Take a glance at Android Central's original review and all of their coverage of the HTC 10!

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1 week ago

Every Daydream app you can install right now, and a look at what comes next

Just go ahead and install all of them. You know, for fun.

Google's first Daydream headset is finally shipping to people who purchased the first Daydream phone, and are quickly finding it's not easy to locate the whole list of Daydream apps from the Play Store. While we've been having a lot of fun showing you the best free Daydream apps and the Daydream games everyone should have installed, the act of browsing for apps and then waiting for them to install while in VR isn't a good time.

To make it a little easier, we've tracked down the first wave of Google Daydream apps that are available to install now, so you can load up your Pixel with VR goodness and see what this new experience is all about.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Chrome's WebVR moves to Google Cardboard at the new WebVR Experiments site

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Now almost every Android phone can experience VR on Chrome through Google's new WebVR Experiments site.

Previously available for Google Daydream View headsets and the phones that power them, Google has followed up on the promise to expand the VR experience in Chrome, and in typical Google style they kicked off an entirely new website. At WebVR Experiments you'll find content for both Google Daydream and Cardboard, Android VR experiments, A.I. experiments and even what they call Art and Culture experiments.

If you don't have a VR viewer, you can order a Daydream View or Google Cardboard viewer from Google. In the meantime, you can view the experiments on your phone in 360 degrees by flicking your finger to move the virtual camera.

The new VR website launches with 13 different interactive, virtual things (we hesitate to call them videos), expanded from the original five. Google says more are on the way and you can even submit your own to make sure Google sees them. If you're a fan of VR this is one to keep an eye on.

Google Daydream

Google

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1 week ago

Galaxy S8 Impressions: 5 things you probably didn't know!

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In the weeks since the announcement, we've all had a chance to form our opinions on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. And there's a lot to get to grips with: a wealth of new features, gigantic screens and an even bigger price tag.

Nevertheless, many areas of the new phones remain misunderstood or under-appreciated, and so I've rounded up the top five misunderstood Galaxy S8 features — things you might not know about. (Or things you might even be wrong about!) Does Bixby suck? Will the Galaxy S8 have worse battery life than the S7? Is the camera the same as last year? How bad is that rear-mounted fingerprint scanner? And will the extra-large Galaxy S8+ mean there's no need for a new Note this year?

Check out my thoughts above, and be sure to subscribe so you don't miss our full Galaxy S8 video review in the near future!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 week ago

Save up to 50% on your first month of service with The People's Operator

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The People's Operator is currently offering up to 50% off your first month, and is donating part of your bill to charity!

Thinking of making the move to an alternative carrier but aren't sure what the experience will be like? The folks at The People's Operator (TPO) are currently offering 50% off your first month of service on select 4G plans, making it even more affordable to give one a shot. There are a number of different plans available in this promotions, starting with the Kind Plan that includes 500MB of data and 1000 minutes a month for as little as $8 the first month. If you need more data and minutes, TPO offers plans as high as 3GB of data with unlimited minutes and texts, and the first month of service would run just $31.50.

You may be wondering what makes TPO different, and why you should consider them? Well, the alternative carrier actually donates 10% of your bill to a cause you love, which is something other carriers out there are not doing. Additionally, it offers GSM and CDMA coverage to make sure you have the best service available where you are, and the customer care is U.S.-based and available 7 days a week. You can give it a shot and see how things work out for you, or you can go all in and port your current number over with ease. This promotion runs through April 16, so don't miss out.

See at The People's Operator

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1 week ago

Best Battery Cases for Samsung Galaxy S6

Choosing a battery case for your Galaxy S6

What's the best battery case for Galaxy S6?

Updated April, 2017: Added Alpatronix's BX410. The other battery cases are still the best around for your Galaxy S6.

The Galaxy S8 is upon us, but if you're not ready to let go of your Galaxy S6, you may want to look for ways to extend battery life. Hell, you may have been looking for that from the start. If you're not ready to upgrade, check out one of these stellar external battery cases to help keep you charged up on the go.

Mophie Juice Pack (3,300 mAh)

Mophie Juice Pack

Mophie is sort of the gold standard when it comes to battery cases, and while that started with iPhone battery cases, it has smoothly transitioned to models for popular Android phones as well. There are two distinct Juice Pack models to fit the Galaxy S6 or S6 edge (and different color choices), but in either configuration they offer full device protection with a single case that also integrates a battery.

The Juice Pack is dramatically better made than any of the offerings here, as you'd expect for the increased price. It has a hard plastic shell that's rigid and tough, and on the inside has a soft touch coating to hold the phone tightly.

The Galaxy S6 fits in it with amazing precision, with just a very small lip over the front of the phone. It's just as large as any other battery case, and while the hard plastic coating is slicker it does have some grip to it. There's a standard "chin" at the bottom where the USB port joins up with the phone, and because of its thickness there's a headphone extension jack to use if you don't have headphones with a small jack on them.

The 3,300 mAh capacity lands between the other cases in this roundup, and Mophie gives it the claim of "up to 100 percent" additional battery for your GS6. Just like your phone's internal battery, it's rated for 500 full recharges, and you choose when to have it powering your phone with a convenient hardware switch on the back.

We tested the Juice Pack's capacity just the same as the others and found it added 90% battery to the phone in just under three hours, even while the phone was in use on mobile data. That's not bad — it charged more and faster than the other cases, despite having a smaller overall capacity. That just shows what you can get from the higher quality components in the Juice Pack.

It's pretty clear that if money is no object, the Mophie is the best choice, simply due to its fantastic build quality, slick design and highly-rated battery. Of course price is a factor for most picking up a battery case, and $99.95 is a steep asking price for something you may not want to use all of the time.

See at Amazon

PowerBear Extended rechargeable battery juice pack (3,500 mAh)

PowerBear

PowerBear's 3,500 mAh juice pack is a one-piece case that allows you to charge it and your Galaxy S6 simultaneously, all in a sleek and slim package that won't add a ton of weight to your pocket, which is really what you want out of a battery case, since they're supposed to be "power on the go".

PowerBear claims that you get an extra 130% charge out of this case, but it's more like the ZeroLemon case in this roundup – you're more likely to get about 50%, taking anywhere from three to four hours to charge.

This case has a handy on/off switch, so that you're not wasting power when you don't need to, which makes it a great everyday case or an excellent emergency case.

The PowerBear's design is pretty typical, but it's still fairly thin for a battery case and it fits quite seamlessly, so if you like your Galaxy S6 to be in a case but not feel that way, then the PowerBear is likely the best choice for you.

If you regularly kill your phone before day's end and want a battery case that will last you a while, then check this one out, since PowerBear offers a 2-year warranty, which should get you through the lifespan of your Galaxy S6 until you upgrade.

See at Amazon

ZeroLemon Slim Power battery case (3,500 mAh)

ZeroLemon

The ZeroLemon Slim Power Battery isn't quite the same setup as the others, as its battery and case are actually separate. The 3,500 mAh battery is a self-contained slab that has two USB ports on it — one for input, the other output — and a removable U-shaped USB connector so that it nestles up against the back of a Galaxy S6. The case is just a basic rubber affair, but it's designed so that the battery and phone can be held together inside comfortably while charging.

The battery is fully operational with other cables and can be used without the case, though the implication is that you'll be using the whole thing together most of the time. The case itself wraps the whole phone for a bit more protection than others, but the design means that the ZeroLemon setup is larger than others and offers a lower capacity. It also ships with a headphone jack extension cable due to its size, which is burdensome to say the least.

It has similar charge rates to the others, and when combined with the simple 3,500 mAh cell it was only able to charge up the Galaxy S6 by 50% — and that took about 3 hours and 45 minutes to do it. That's not very fast, and for a battery case that's bigger (and more expensive) than some of the others we expected to get a little more out of it.

The one benefit ZeroLemon has going for it is an explicit 180-day warranty — how much value you actually put in that is up to you.

See at Amazon

Alpatronix BX410 (3,500 mAh)

Alpatronix BX410

Alpatronix's case is relatively similar to the other options here, but it's still one of the best battery cases you can get for your Galaxy S6. Alpatronix doesn't make any bold claims of charging your phone "130%", but instead says that you'll be able to charge your phone up to 100%, which is fairly accurate, considering its 3,500 mAh battery. Your results may vary, depending on your usage.

As far as battery cases go, this one is pretty slim, adding minimal bulk and weight to your Galaxy S6. The camera cutout on the back is ample so as not to obstruct the lens, and you'll also find LED indicators on the back to let you know when the case itself if charged or losing power.

Alpatronix provides a lifetime warranty, so if there are any defects during the life of this case, you can let Alpatronix know and it'll be replaced.

See at Amazon

How do you stay juiced?

Got a favorite battery case that's still keeping your Galaxy S6 going? Let us know in the comments below.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Amazon Verizon AT&T Sprint T-Mobile

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1 week ago

Burger King's latest ad prompts your Google Home to deliver Whopper facts

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Turn the volume high enough and your in-home assistant will tell you all about the flame-broiled Whopper.

Update: Google has apparently disabled the Burger King advertisement. Now when you ask it about the Whopper, it merely cites Wikipedia.

We were positively ecstatic when Google initially announced the voice-activated, Assistant-enabled Google Home. Finally, a little gadget for our homes that harnesses the power of Google's search engine and it's external capabilities, the same way that the Echo became an extension of Amazon's shopping and media experience. But that dream is slowly dissipating as we realize these little gadgets aren't always used for altruistic purposes. Now that brands have caught on, they're becoming another way to deliver advertisements.

Burger King: "It's a cool way to connect directly with our guests."

Burger King is the next major company to showcase Google Assistant's ad-delivering capabilities, though it's important to note that the company did not launch this ad in tandem with Google. In a statement to Buzzfeed, Burger King President, José Cil, said the company saw Google Home "as a technology to essentially punch through that fourth wall." He added that it's "a cool way to connect directly with our guests."

Is it a cool way to connect? You be the judge. Here's the ad, and if you want to experience it fully, we suggest you turn your volume up so that Google Home — or your Pixel, for that matter — is triggered.

This isn't the first advertisement of sorts to appear on Google Home, though the Beauty and the Beast audio spot that debuted a few weeks ago wasn't nearly as abrasive. If you asked the Home about your day, the device offered a mention to remind you that the live action remake of the fabled Disney film was playing in theaters. And anyway, Google didn't consider this an ad. In a statement to The Verge, the company had said that "the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales." In this case, it was Burger King's chance to tell the tale of its flame-broiled Whopper.

Burger King assaults Google Assistant on your Pixel, too.

It really hasn't been a good week for brands, and though Burger King hasn't physically assaulted anyone here, it's natural to feel personally assaulted by advertisements in the home on a device you had originally thought was for personal use.

At this stage in the game, however, it's a wonder if we should really be surprised. Google is a search and advertisement company first and foremost, and as long as brands are around, they'll leverage whatever they can to tell us to buy their products.

Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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1 week ago

The Moto Z2 Force looks like a Moto Z with two cameras and a sensible fingerprint sensor

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We're getting our first look at the new Moto Z design, and it looks a lot like last year's model.

Motorola is readying its follow-ups to the unique Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which were announced last summer. We've already seen hints of the branding, suggesting that the sequels will be predictably assigned Moto Z2 and Z2 Force, and now we're seeing the first press render, if Slashleaks is to be believed.

What lends credence to this particular render is that the company has boxed itself into a specific design until at least 2018 thanks to its Mods ecosystem, which attach to the phone's back by a set of pins. You'll notice on this picture that the so-called Moto Z2 Force has two cameras on the back, which aligns with previous rumors, and a redesigned fingerprint sensor on the front, matching that of the Moto G5 series from earlier this year.

We already know that the Moto Z2 series should run a Snapdragon 835 platform, thanks to demoes it did with Sprint, and that at least one model will be available from a carrier other than Verizon, which is nice. The render also shows a 'Lenovo' insignia on the phone's side which, while perhaps not the most egregious placement of a company's logo, could certainly be better positioned.

Thoughts on the Moto Z2 or Z2 Force?

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 week ago

Nex Band review: What I really wanted instead of a smartwatch

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Nex Band

Finally, a wearable that does exactly what I want it to do.

Android Central Choice Award

I hate what we're doing with smartwatches right now. I don't want to talk at my wrist; I couldn't care less about a cellular connection; and I'm not interested in a smaller version of my phone giving me turn-by-turn directions in a place that still requires me to look away from the road. If I turn off the features I don't care about, set my notifications so my wrist isn't being buzzed every 12 seconds, and drink a little to forget there's a keyboard in there now, I can make a smartwatch do most of the things I want it to do.

That's a lot of unnecessary work for a watch that I still have to charge every day. I needed a better solution, and the folks at Mighty Cast have spent the last couple of weeks trying to convince me their Nex Band is the thing I've been looking for. Here's what I've found.

Nex Band

Glossy plastic and rubber, so hot right now

Nex Band Hardware

Instead of a traditional display with its own UI and apps and emoji, the face of your Nex Band is five small touch panels with LEDs underneath. When you touch a panel, it lights up in its corresponding color, and aside from the single physical button on the side that's really all there is to this thing. There's no text, no scrolling wheels, and no desire to spend any more than half a second glancing down at it when you're doing something. It's a few colorful panels with a single button and a vibration motor for getting your attention. And Bluetooth.

It feels a bit cheap, but I overlooked that because it does what I want it to do.

The Nex Band comes in two colors, a white band with a gold body and black band with a black body, and the most important thing to know about both is that they feel really cheap on your wrist, and there's very little you can do about that. The plastic body and "sporty" rubber band are fused together with no way to separate them, so if you're not a fan of that kind of band this won't be for you.

The plastic button clasp does a reasonable job keeping the band secure on your wrist, but the band itself doesn't close all the way on smaller wrists unless you're willing to trim the band yourself. On larger wrists like mine, it fit comfortably enough and remained in place on my wrist no matter what I was doing.

The bottom of the band doesn't have a heart rate monitor or a skin sensor for wireless payments, but it does have the charging pins. Instead of a standard charging port, you need to snap an awkward charging clasp on the back of the band and connect a Micro-USB cable to that clasp. I can't overstate how easy it is to lose this attachment, especially if you're planning to travel with it. Be careful, because right now they aren't easy to replace.

Nex Band

I thought we were past this kind of behavior.

Fortunately, you won't need to worry about carrying the charging clasp with you everywhere because the battery on this band is actually pretty decent. On average, I'm getting a little over two full days of use without recharging, and it's pretty safe to assume my usage is a little heavier than average.

Overall, this band is not going to impress just by looking at it. There's no nice way to put this: it even looks kind of cheap. It's unlikely I'd wear this when going to an important meeting or to a special function. Every day, however, it's the first thing I reach for when getting out of bed.

Nex Band

Dancing lights on your wrist

Nex Band Software

Out of the box, these five touch panels don't do anything at all. There are no features programmed to these buttons. Notifications from your phone will cause all five to light up in cute animations and color patterns so you know what kind of notification you just received, but otherwise it's a blank slate. A glorious, completely customizable, blank slate that can be set up to do just about anything.

Every day, however, it's the first thing I reach for when getting out of bed.

From the Nex app, each of these panels can be assigned a function. You can launch media controls, start a remote shutter for your camera app, trigger a fake phone call, and really just about anything else. Nex calls these "hacks" but really they're all just simple scripts that run when you activate one of the panels on your wrist.

If you don't see a pre-written hack that suits your need, you can quickly make one yourself through IFTTT. Anything you can do with IFTTT can be activated by a panel, including control over things like smart lights and other connected home gear.

Hacks don't have to be activated through touching a panel; some can be contextual. Nex will let you use your location, the number of steps you've taken in a day, and proximity to another Nex user as triggers for hacks as well. There's a ton of flexibility by default, and while that means you're going to spend a little extra time setting this band up when you first take it out of the box, it also means you're going to have the exact experience you want when finished.

Each panel can be configured to a long press command and a double-tap command, so you have ten potential programs you can run from your wrist. The ridges between the panels make it easy to activate one without looking down at the band, so you're able to either remain focused on someone talking and be discrete about controlling the world around you.

Nex even gives you control over the lights and vibrations during notifications, so if you'd prefer Twitter to flash green and never vibrate your wrist but you'd like an email from your boss to look like KITT from Knight Rider on your wrist with a constant vibration you totally can. The light system in the Nex app gives you total control over how everything looks and behaves, making this band exactly as simple or complex as you choose.

Nex Band

Ditch the Dick Tracy look

Nex Band Conclusion

There's a lot to like about the Nex Band, especially if you're a fan of flexibility and have local friends that would also wear one of these bands. Nex allows you to send custom animations to people in your Nex friends list, and this micro social network doesn't care if you're using Android or iOS. It's not useful for much more than getting your friend's attention from across the table or letting a significant other know you're thinking about them, but that's probably enough for most people. It's also nowhere near a requirement to use, like everything else in the Nex ecosystem.

Nex has taken the things I wish smartwatches did better and made them its biggest features, while removing all of the extra maintenance involved in using a smartwatch. It works well in every situation, including direct sunlight, and I'm not compelled in any way to try talking at my wrist. I'd be happier with build materials that were a little less sporty and plastic, but so far Nex has done a great job getting the important things on the inside right.

Should you buy it? Yes.

Where most wearables worth talking about start at the $200-$250 price range, you can grab a Nex Band in either color for $80. That's a great price for something that gets you multiple days of battery and can be tweaked to do whatever you want it to do, so if you have any interest in wearables at all I'd suggest this over just about anything else right now.

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Put some Spring in your step with these wallpapers!

0

April showers bring spring flowers.

Spring has been sprung, and Easter Sunday is coming — and so are the Monday-after candy sales! The world is showing the beauty of nature around us as the wildflowers bloom, the gardens grow, and the whole world outside your window seems to be green with new life. As most of us can't spend these spring days frolicking in a field, we'll have to get that burst of spring energy somewhere else — like our home screen. These wallpapers are sure to put some spring in your step.

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1 week ago

Best Samsung Galaxy S8 Deals for April 2017

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Where is the best place to buy a Galaxy S8 right now? Let's find out!

Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the company's latest smartphones, and as of right now they haven't even hit the market. If you're the type that likes to stay on the breaking edge of technology, you're probably looking to get your order in sooner than later, so that you can have one when it becomes available. Whether the smaller one is what interests you, or the larger display that pushes the limits even further speaks to you, the last thing you want to do is not find the best deal to buy one.

Pre-orders are available already at a number of retailers and carriers, so let's take a look at who is offering what, so you know where to go to when you're ready to place your order. Currently, Samsung's big promotion is a free Gear VR & Oculus Controller, but some retailers are offering other incentives as well.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Your favorite deals?

Have you come across any deals that aren't listed here? If so, be sure to drop a note in the comments with a link to the deal so others can check it out as well!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 week ago

Samsung Gear 360 (2017) vs. Gear 360 (2016): What's different, what's better

3

One of these things is clearly not like the other.

It doesn't take more than a passing glance to see there are some substantial differences between the new Gear 360 Samsung announced alongside the Galaxy S8 and the model from last year. The old one was built to have the processor and battery between the lenses so you could mount the camera just about anywhere, while the new one was built to be held like most of the other 360-degree cameras out in the world today. This difference is significant from a usability perspective, but what else is different about these two cameras?

Here's a quick look at how things have improved from one generation to the next in the Gear 360 lineup.

More than a specs sheet

Anyone familiar with the original Gear 360 will look at this new model and be a little suspicious that it's actually an upgrade, and that has a lot to do with the specs sheet. The older version of this camera has twice the number of megapixels to work with, captures in a wider aperture, and offers a slightly larger battery for recording video. Here's the whole breakdown.

Category Gear 360 (2016) Gear 360 (2017) Size 60.1mm x 66.7mm 100.6mm x 45.1mm Weight 152g 130g Aperture f/2.0 f/2.2 Still image resolution 30MP (2x 15MP sensors) 15MP (2x 8.4MP sensors) Video resolution (dual lens) 3840 x 2160 (24fps) 4096 x 2048 (24fps) Video resolution (single lens) 2560x1440 (24fps) 1920 x 1080 (60fps) External Storage MicroSD (up to 200GB) MicroSD (Up to 256GB) Battery 1350mAh 1160mAh Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.5GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.5GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.1 Charging MicroUSB (USB 2.0) USB-C (USB 2.0)

So this new camera has a smaller battery, no NFC, and takes photos with less detail and resolution? There's a lot more to it than that in practice. The biggest "feature" of this new Gear 360 is the more than 20mm it lost between the two sensors. That decrease makes stitching together images and video much easier, which means the camera itself can take more realistic 360-degree photos. Even with twice the pixels to capture with, the previous Gear 360 frequently appeared distorted where the two halves of the image were stitched together. This smaller body makes it easier to take better photos, and as we know from smartphones more megapixels does not mean a better image.

The lack of NFC in the new model is kind of a bummer if you frequently use that feature on your phone, but the truth is Samsung has already done a great job making it easy to connect to the Gear 360 from inside the app. It wasn't worth the extra space it took inside the body of this camera. Removing that feature likely also helped a little with battery life — not that you'll notice any huge difference in performance between these two products. The only thing you're likely to notice here is the USB-C port, which will let you connect a cable straight to your phone if your camera is in need little top-off.

It's not all negatives, either. Despite having smaller sensors, this new and appreciably lighter Gear 360 is capable of taking both higher resolution and higher frame rate video. You have the ability to take higher resolution videos to share with Facebook and YouTube, but the higher frame rate videos make this camera ideal for capturing a lot of intense motion for VR. Capturing a roller coaster ride at 120fps or a dashcam-style video at 60fps makes these videos much easier to watch with a headset on, which is a big deal when thinking about who you are recording video for.

New features are where it's at

Not only is the new Gear 360 easier to hold, there are some important new things you can do with it. New camera features that offer quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to how you use this camera and when you might think about carrying it around.

  • Landscape HDR - As the name suggests, this lets you capture multiple still photos back to back at different exposures so you can enjoy a photo with greater dynamic range. It's perfect for capturing a sunrise over the ocean or a wide open space at midday with the sun bearing down.

  • Looping Video - Instead of worrying about running out of storage, this mode will record over itself when the microSD card is full. It'll continue doing this until you tell it not to, so you can in theory record for an entire day while connected to power and be able to look back and the last couple of hours when you return to your camera.

  • Little Planet - It's not challenging to turn any 360-degree photo into a Little Planet, where the perspective is inverted and the horizon line is no longer the focal point, but the new Gear 360 lets you see a preview of this mode before taking the photo, and even letting you mess around a little with the sizing and proportions before taking a photo.

You can't do any of these things on the previous Gear 360 as native features, and they make a big difference in the day-to-day use of this camera if your goal is to wander around and explore 360-degree photography. These aren't likely to be features you use every day, but they are really nice to have around when you're experimenting.

Which should I buy?

What you're getting between these two cameras is a lot of small differences that really add up depending on how you decide to use your camera. If you want a Gear 360 you can mount somewhere and take great big photos, the original Gear 360 is still a great camera. If you want something you're more likely to want to carry around with you, and you're interested in exploring what is possible with a 360-degree camera, the new Gear 360 will be what you want to buy when it goes on sale.

Either way, you're going to have a lot of fun with this weird buy fun way of taking photos.

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1 week ago

What was your first phone? Taking a walk down cell phone memory lane

290

Forget the smart little powerhouses we have in our hands today. We're throwing it back to the olden days, before unlimited anything.

I've officially reached the point in my life that I can now look back nostalgically at my technology past. And since we've been talking about escapism, I thought it would be fun to start off the week with a trip down memory lane.

Lately, I've been thinking about my first cell phone, the Motorola StarTac. It was a dull, clunky flip phone with a retractable antenna. (I'm chuckling as I'm recalling it.) I tried desperately to cover it in stickers and make it look cool, but it was still relatively utilitarian-looking. I remember it was marketed more towards business folk and contractors rather than socially awkward teenagers like me. I needed something hip to fit in with the masses, like a Nokia 3310, but it wasn't offered by Verizon at the time. And anyway, the StarTac was a hand-me-down that was initially meant as a tracking device.

Via DeviantArt user Redfield-1982.

Each minute of talk cost a whopping 30 cents.

Per my parents, the StarTac was only to be used to call for a ride home. I wasn't allowed to text anyone or make phone calls without permission because the phone was on a severely limited plan. Any time I spent on the phone had to be carefully counted because each minute of talk cost a whopping 30 cents.

Eventually, I lobbied for a better deal. Rather than spend $3 for 10 minutes of talking, I argued, why not switch the plan so that I'm primarily texting instead? It's quieter for everyone at home, it's cheaper, and it was the cool new way to communicate with friends. My parents agreed to this, and it felt like the path had cleared for my ever-so-slightly burgeoning social life.

My friend's Motorola T900 2-Way Pager.

I spent a few months texting back and forth with one friend in particular. She was on a text-only device: the Motorola T900 2-Way Pager, which came with a miniature QWERTY keyboard. She was not only more thorough in her replies, but she sent longer messages, too, which counted against my allowance. I would reply to her the next day, in person, because I didn't want to scare her away with the realities of my messaging limitations. Or rather, I didn't want it to get out that was all my parents would pay for.

By my 16th birthday, I was better equipped for socializing in high school. My parents used an upgrade on their account and allowed me to pick out the phone. It was the Motorola T720 and it was the cutest little thing. It could download apps, play games, and go on the internet, in addition to making phone calls and sending text messages — and it did all this on a color display! I didn't have to cover it in stickers to make it look decent, either. Instead, I bought translucent neon face plates for it from a kiosk at the mall, like the rest of my friends did with their Nokia 3310s.

An original advertisement from 2001 for the Motorola T720.

What was your first cell phone?

For fun, I put out this question on Twitter to see what the replies might be like. I've pasted a few below, though you can view the whole thread here. Unsurprisingly, I received many replies about a Nokia cell phone being the first mobile device.

Alright, I've told you my story and a few others have told you theirs. Now it's your turn: What was your first mobile device? Tell us about it in the comments! We'll showcase some of your answers in a post later this week.

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1 week ago

Wi-Fi calling is coming soon to Pixel, Pixel XL on India's Jio

2

Wi-Fi calling is coming with Android 7.1.2 Nougat to the Pixel and Pixel XL on Jio.

Google added VoLTE support for the Pixel and Pixel XL on Jio back in December, and will soon offer Wi-Fi calling via an upcoming Nougat update. The update will make it easier for customers to make calls using Wi-Fi in situations where they don't have great cellular coverage in their homes. The call will be routed through your phone number, but instead of mobile data like VoLTE, it uses your Wi-Fi connection.

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1 week ago

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Battle of the subbrands

These two MVNOs are a little different from the rest and can offer something most other MVNOs can't: Unlimited LTE data.

Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless aren't like most MVNOs. Instead of buying service in bulk from another carrier and reselling it at a low price, they are actually owned by a bigger, more familiar name when it comes to cellular service: Boost Mobile is a part of Sprint and Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T. This unique arrangement works well for every company involved and may even work well for you.

Let's compare Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless and see which might be better for you.

Boost Mobile background

Who owns it? Sprint

Which network does it use? Sprint 3G CDMA and 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2001, acquired by Sprint in 2006

Tethering allowed? Yes with qualifying plans or as an add-on

Cheapest plan: $30 for 1 month: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and 2G data

Cricket Wireless background

Who owns it? AT&T

Which network does it use? AT&T EDGE, HSPA+, and 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 1999, acquired by AT&T in 2013

Tethering allowed? Yes with qualifying plans or as an add-on

Cheapest plan: $30 for 1 month: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and low-speed (128kbps) data

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Boost plans

Boost Mobile offers two tiers of single line and family plans: a 2GB LTE package and an unlimited LTE data package. Unlimited 4G LTE data is something most MVNOs don't offer, but because it's fully owned by Sprint, it's one of the ways Boost can differentiate itself.

Single line 2GB LTE Unlimited GBs (up to 23GB LTE) Price $35/month $50/month With Auto Re-Boost $30/month No discount Extras Streaming music without data charges Unlimited HD streaming for $20/month Family plan 2GB LTE Unlimited GBs (up to 23GB LTE) Primary line price $35/month $50/month Primary line with Auto Re-Boost $30/month No discount Secondary lines (up to 5) $30/month $30/month Extras Streaming music without data charges Unlimited HD streaming for $20/month

Note: Data is not shared between lines on a family plan. Each line gets its own allotment, based on its plan.

Unlimited plans use mobile-optimized streaming for video, games, and music. Full speed media streaming is available for an extra $20 per month.

Add-ons

Extra data:

  • 1GB/month: $5
  • 3GB/month: $10

International services

Todo Mexico Plus: $5 per month gets you unlimited calls to Mexico (including mobile numbers) and unlimited calls to all of Canada except the Northern Territories. You'll also get 8GB of data roaming while you are in Mexico and calls from Mexico to the US are free. Unlimited international texting is also included.

International Connect PLUS: Includes everything from Todo Mexico Plus and unlimited calls to landlines in over 70 countries and 200 minutes of calls to mobile numbers in 50 countries.

International Minute Packs allow you to purchase a bundle of minutes to use for calling select countries. See this list for pricing and availability.

International Text Messaging can be added at the cost of $0.10 per text (inbound and outbound).

Media and entertainment

Unlimited plans use mobile-optimized streaming for video, games, and music. Full speed media streaming is available for an extra $20 per month.

Boost TV packages are available starting at $10 per month. See the list of channels and packages here.

Tethering packages

The $50 unlimited plan (single line and family) offers tethering. If you use the $30 plan you can purchase tethering packages: $25 per month for 1.5GB of LTE data or $50 for 10GB of LTE data.

Cricket plans

Cricket Wireless offers several tiers of service for people with different LTE data needs. Like Boost, their unique position as a company owned by AT&T allows them to offer unlimited data on the highest tier plan.

Cricket also does LTE (and HSPA "4G") data a little differently than anyone else. Download speeds are capped at 8Mbps while using LTE and 4Mbps while using HSPA "4G". Once you reach your monthly limit of high-speed data, download speeds will be reduced to 128Kbps.

8Mbps speeds are more than sufficient for doing anything but streaming a 4K video without buffering. Most users won't be able to tell the data speeds are capped during normal use. But you still need to know.

1GB Basic (3GB LTE) Smart (8GB LTE) Unlimited (22GB LTE) Price (monthly) $30 $40 $50 $60 With Auto Pay $25 $35 $45 $55 Extras Basic, Smart and Unlimited plans eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount

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Family Plan

Cricket also does family plans a little differently. If you have two or more qualifying lines on the same account you are automatically enrolled in what Cricket calls Group Save. The qualifying plans are: $40 with 3GB, $50 with 8GB, $50 with 5GB (grandfathered), $60 with 12GB (grandfathered), and Unlimited.

The discount you'll receive depends on how many lines of service you have.

  • The primary line is always full price
  • The second line will get a $10 discount
  • The third line will get a $20 discount
  • The fourth line will get a $30 discount
  • The fifth line will get a $40 discount

These discounts are cumulative. If you have three eligible lines, you save a total of $30. If you have five eligible lines you save a total of $100 each month, which is the maximum discount.

Add-ons

Extra data:

  • 1GB/month: $10

International add-ons:

  • Cricket International: Unlimited calling to landline numbers in 36 countries for $5 per month.
  • Cricket International Extra: Unlimited calls to landline numbers in 36 countries, unlimited picture and video messages (MMS) to 36 countries, 1,000 minutes of mobile-to-mobile calling to 32 other countries. The list of approved countries and full details are here.

Tethering:

Users on the $50 8GB LTE data monthly plan can add the Mobile Hotspot feature. You will need a supported phone and it costs $10 per month to share your connection with up to 6 other devices. Extra LTE data can be added for $10 per GB.

Boost phones

Boost Mobile allows you to bring your own phone as long as it is on their list of approved models.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Special Edition
  • Sprint and Verizon-branded iPhones 5 to 7

They also sell phones for use on their network and have popular models from Apple, LG, Samsung and more.

Note: While it's possible to enable Boost service on unsupported phones from Sprint, this is against the terms of service.

Cricket phones

You can bring your own phone to Cricket if it meets two requirements:

  • It is network compatible GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ with 3G bands 2 and 5 (1900/850) and LTE bands 4G LTE Bands 2, 4, 12, 17 (1900/1700abcde/700bc). If you're not into the technical terms and numbers you can check your phone here.

Cricket also offers devices from popular companies like Apple, HTC, and Samsung. You can shop for a new Cricket phone here.

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Which should I go with?

Both Boost and Cricket offer a selection of plans for casual users and power users alike. They also have the luxury of being able to offer unlimited LTE plans at very competitive prices that undercut their parent company by a large margin. Even the add-on services are similar. Which is best for you depends on three things:

  • Coverage. A great phone plan does you no good if you can't use it reliably. This is always a consideration and we think it should be your first consideration. Cricket has a much better network in parent AT&T than Boost on Sprint.
  • Uncompressed media streaming on Boost costs an extra $20 per month.
  • Cricket caps your LTE speeds at 8Mbps.

Do you need data with download speeds faster than 8Mbps? If so, Boost is probably better for you. If you want to stream media at full resolution without paying extra, Cricket is probably better for you. Both companies support the most popular devices and have nationwide coverage, but we can say from experience that Cricket is a better choice for most rural customers.

Both choices are good choices and we can recommend either, so pick the one that better fits your usage when it comes to data speeds and streaming caps.

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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