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2 weeks ago

Evening brief: More Note 7 bans, Android Wear's holding pattern and Spotify keeps growing

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Here's all of the important news you may have missed in the Android world today.

The Note 7 recall story just keeps rolling along, with the MTA (New York) and NJT (New Jersey) transit organizations telling riders not to use their Note 7s on trains, no matter how unenforceable that may be. In other news about products that people don't use, Android Wear watches from Google's biggest partners won't be coming until 2017, according to a new report.

On the upside, Spotify now has 40 million subscribers and is easily the biggest music streaming service in the world. Qualcomm has announced some new camera tech that promises better photos (as soon as manufacturers use it), and Google is ponying up the big bucks for hackers who can find exploits in the Nexus 6P and 5X. Here's all of the biggest news for you to get caught up on.

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2 weeks ago

FIIL Diva Pro Review: The Bluetooth headphones from the future

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Thanks to Apple's war on the headphone jack, wireless headsets are about to blow up in a big way – and the FIIL Diva Pro has the specs to stand out from the crowd. With touch-sensitive controls, active noise cancellation, 4GB of onboard storage and a stylish illuminated logo, the Diva Pro blends beauty with brains. (It's even smart enough to pause your music when you take it off your ears, and resume when you replace it.)

But at almost $300 before discounts, the Diva Pro is entering a space heretofore reserved for more established players like Bose. Does this futuristic headset live up to the challenge? Find out in MrMobile's FIIL Diva Pro review!

PRODUCTS FEATURED IN THIS VIDEO

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2 weeks ago

These are the top Samsung phones you need to know

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These are the top Samsung phones you need to know

In the world of smartphones, it's impossible to ignore the influence of Samsung.

Since its explosion into Android with the launch of the Galaxy S2 globally, Samsung has firmly held on to the top spot in Android devices sold — and though the playing field has leveled off some in recent years the Korean manufacturer still has one of the most recognizable lines of phones out there today.

The "Galaxy" name gets spread around to its entire lineup of Android phones (and beyond), but when it really comes down to it there are just a handful of Samsung's high-end devices that you need to know about. Let us introduce you to the top phones from Samsung.

This article is updated periodically with the latest information. The latest update was made in September 2016.

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2 weeks ago

Add some royal flair to your phone with these castle wallpapers

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Whether you're stuck in the city or the suburbs, we all want to escape.

Some want to escape to the beach, some want to escape to the mountains, but you know where you should really want to escape? A castle. Castles are majestic, they're powerful, and they're well-fortified against revolutionary uprisings or zombie apocalypses. Okay, your mileage may vary on that one, but nevertheless, castles are for more than pretty princesses, and we've got some castle wallpapers for every kind of aspiring royal.

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2 weeks ago

Don't miss these awesome deals on Kmashi's portable battery packs!

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Right now you can score some sweet savings on Kmashi's portable battery packs at Amazon with a coupon code. For as little as $9 you can grab a 10000mAh power bank to charge your favorite gadgets while on the go without tethering yourself to a wall. The batteries are rather small and high capacity, with both 10000mAh and 15000mAh units available. Both have two USB outputs to charge multiple devices at the same time if needed, and recharge via microUSB.

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2 weeks ago

No new Android Wear watches from Huawei, Moto or LG this year

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Android Wear 2.0

Google and ASUS might be the only big tech brands to release any Android Wear devices in late 2016, reports CNET.

While Android Wear hasn't been a runaway success, some of last year's Android smartwatches have shown promise. However relatively few Android wearables have emerged from the usual suspects — that is to say, phone makers — in the past twelve months. Instead, devices from more traditional watch brands like Casio and Michael Kors taking their place.

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2 weeks ago

You can now pre-order the second-gen Amazon Echo Dot for $50

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Amazon has officially unveiled the second-generation of its Echo Dot and you can place your pre-order for it now. Refining the hardware a bit, the Echo Dot allows you to play music, control smart home devices and much more with just your voice. The seven far-field microphones allow for it to hear you from across the room or in noisy environments, and the built-in speaker works as an alarm clock, an assistant and much more.

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2 weeks ago

Best Android phone for kids

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The time has come. You've decided your kid needs a phone. These are their best options!

Russell has been covering Android since the G1, and has had his head in VR headsets since the first Oculus Rift dev kit. Managing editor at VRHeads, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Twitter @russellholly. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at russell@androidcentral.com

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Best overall

Nexus 5X

See at Amazon

Google's Nexus line offers the latest security updates on the least complicated version of the Android operating system, and the Nexus 5X is one of the best vehicles for this experience. Under that plastic casing you'll find an incredible camera, reasonable battery, and one of the fastest fingerprint sensors available today. It's a little overkill for "My First Smartphone," but given its common price point, and knowing it will last for quite awhile, you can buy it with confidence for your kid.

Bottom line: This is a great phone before you look at the price tag, which makes it that much easier to recommend.

One more thing: Nexus 5X comes in Carbon (Black), Quartz (White), and Ice (Mint Green) depending on where you shop.

Why Google's Nexus 5X is the best

For many people, buying a smartphone is all about getting the most important features at the most reasonable price. When purchasing a phone for their children, parents have a tendency to emphasize price over features. The Nexus 5X is a phone that genuinely lets you have both. While not quite as capable as the more expensive Nexus 6P, LG's partnership with Google has created an incredible phone by just about any standard. On top of guaranteed security updates, so you know your kid is using a phone that will keep their data safe, you're giving your child a great overall experience. This is hands-down the best phone for the money right now, and it's a phone that will work on any U.S. carrier should you decide to pack up and leave your current provider.

Best Value

Moto G4 Amazon Edition

See at Amazon

Maybe you're a parent who believes your children should save up their own money and buy their own phone. Or maybe you don't want that new phone to hit your wallet too hard. Either way, sometimes it really does come down to price. The Moto G4 has always been a decent phone for the price, but Amazon has taken that one step further by offering a special version with their lockscreen ads on board for $50 cheaper than the standard retail version. It means you get a phone for cheap that delivers a decent overall experience, and it works on all of the U.S. carriers.

Bottom line: This is a decent phone on its own, but if price is the biggest feature for you this is where you need to be.

Best on Verizon

Samsung Galaxy J3 V

See at Verizon Wireless

If you find yourself sitting in a Verizon Wireless waiting to add a phone to your account for a little one, there's a good chance you'll have iPhones and Droid Editions and several other phones recommended to you by the folks in the store. Before you put any money down, ask to see the Galaxy J3V by Samsung. It's a simple phone which claims 10 days of standby time and an extreme battery save mode that ensures your child should always be reachable. It's also only $7/month on Verizon's payment plan, so anyone can afford it.

Bottom line: If you need a Verizon phone and aren't looking to spend a lot, this is what you need.

Conclusion

Smartphones give you a little more information regarding where you kids are and what they're doing, but they also give your kid some freedom to have a little fun or get in some trouble. If you want the best for your kid, the Nexus 5X is where you need to be. If price is a real concern, Amazon's version of the Moto G is fantastic. Verizon Wireless subscribers who would rather buy in a store, be sure to ask about the Galaxy J3 V from Samsung.

Best overall

Nexus 5X

See at Amazon

Google's Nexus line offers the latest security updates on the least complicated version of the Android operating system, and the Nexus 5X is one of the best vehicles for this experience. Under that plastic casing you'll find an incredible camera, reasonable battery, and one of the fastest fingerprint sensors available today. It's a little overkill for "My First Smartphone," but given its common price point, and knowing it will last for quite awhile, you can buy it with confidence for your kid.

Bottom line: This is a great phone before you look at the price tag, which makes it that much easier to recommend.

One more thing: Nexus 5X comes in Carbon (Black), Quartz (White), and Ice (Mint Green) depending on where you shop.

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2 weeks ago

Grab Seneo's fast wireless charger for 50% off right now!

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Right now you can pick up Seneo's fast wireless charging pad for just $20, a 50% savings with coupon code 8WXEUCWC. The charging pad stands the phone in an upright position so you can easily see notifications as they come in, and other stuff on the screen without having to lift it up. Being a fast wireless charging pad, this will get your battery powered up around 1.4 times faster than a standard pad.

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2 weeks ago

Honor 8 in blue facing UK stock shortage

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Other colors unaffected.

Fresh from the news that 1.5 million units have been sold worldwide, there's word that the Honor 8 will face stock shortages in the UK — at least in the popular blue color option.

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2 weeks ago

Digital Offers: Get a year's worth of movies and TV shows for only $19!

 Get a year's worth of all the movies and TV shows you can handle for only 9!

There's Netflix, there's Hulu, there's CraveTV, there's Crackle, there's Shomi – there's too many! If you subscribe to only one streaming service, then you're probably missing out on reliving many of your favorite shows and you may not be discovering all the new favorites that you don't even know you have! Sure, you could subscribe to all of them, but then you might as well pay for cable!

You need a streaming service that has it all: every TV show you could ever want, every movie you never even knew you wanted to see, and even some live channels and pay per view options. How about radio stations too? You need a one-stop shop so that you're not having to create a bunch of accounts and having to keep track of passwords and login information. And wouldn't it be great if that service worked with just about every browser you can think of?

SelectTV has it all. Formerly Rabbit TV, SelectTV features over 10,000 movies, 250,000 TV episodes, 50,000 radio stations, and much more, from over 150 countries. If you feel like listening to some latin music, don't settle for local AM radio – listen to radio stations from Mexico or Cuba! Don't limit yourself to North American programming; SelectTV opens you up to a literal world of TV and movie possibilities. You can even stream concerts, live sports, right from a full calendar, all provided with your subscription.

Usually, a 1-year subscription to SelectTV is $36 (even compared to $9 a month at Netflix, that's still a great deal), but right now through Android Central Digital Offers, you can get access to global entertainment for a year for only $19. If you want to save even more, go for a 3-year subscription for only $49.

The most popular streaming services are fine – until you run out of things to watch. Subscribe to SelectTV and never be left wanting for TV, movies, live sports, world radio, and concerts ever again.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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2 weeks ago

Gmail: Boost your productivity with these tips and tricks

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Master your inbox with these Gmail tips and tricks.

We covered the basics of Gmail for Android in an extensive guide, and now it's time to take a look at features that extend the functionality of the email client. Whether it's creating labels to categorize your email or using filters to automatically sort incoming mail, Gmail offers a variety of tools aimed at managing your inbox clutter.

If you haven't already, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. Two-factor authentication works by combining something you know (a password) with something you have (your phone), effectively doubling your account's security.

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2 weeks ago

Qualcomm introduces new Clear Sight dual camera system

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Qualcomm is taking the wraps off their latest imaging product today, and the new Clear Sight system promises "astonishing results that mimic human vision."

We've seen dual-camera setups on phones before, and Qualcomm has been at the front of the pack with phones like the LG G5 and its excellent dual camera configuration. Today's news promises to improve the next generation to make things even better. Clear Sight will use two camera lenses — one color and one black and white — along with new software to allow the Spectra image signal processor to grab both images simultaneously and merge them instantly. The camera sensors are identical, outside of one important difference — a color filter. By doing this, you'll be able to take great pictures with even less available light than we can today.

One lens and its corresponding sensor has been designed to capture full-color image data, while the other takes a black and white version of the same view. Without a color filter, the black and white sensor is able to capture more of the available light. This image data will be sharper, have less noise and faster to focus. Once the two sensors are fired and the Spectra ISP gets to work, data from both cameras is combined to produce a picture that has vibrant color and is also very sharp. The package has both camera sensors and lenses on a single integrated module ready to drop in and get to work.

Clear Sight is available for the Snapdragon 820 and 821, but we have no word on which company will be the first to use it. Google has a couple of phones to show us soon, and CES is right around the corner, so chances are we won't have to wait too long to give Clear Sight a closer look.

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2 weeks ago

I stand by my Galaxy Note 7 review

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Galaxy Note 7

I haven't changed a word in my Note 7 review, and I won't.

Samsung's global recall of the Note 7 is easily the biggest recall of a single phone model, and one with a serious amount of danger behind it. In the past two weeks we've seen this story progress from theoretical small possibilities of failing batteries up to legitimate damage being done to people and property in dozens of cases around the world.

And as the news surrounding the Note 7 recall escalated, so have the calls for Android Central (among other sites) to revisit our review of the Note 7 in light of the new information. In short, I completely stand by every single word I wrote in my Note 7 review — the only change that has been made to it since the recall began was a notice at the top pointing potential owners and buyers to the recall information.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Echo + Echo Dot now available to pre-order in the UK!

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Amazon Echo

Order before 5 p.m. September 16 and get a £50 off your Echo.

Amazon is bringing its Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers to the UK and Germany, two years on from the gadget's U.S. launch. The speakers, equipped with Amazon's "Alexa" assistant AI, are now available to pre-order ahead of the September 28 launch date for the Echo. The Echo Dot will arrive October 20, and both speakers will be available in a new white color option.

Both Echo models allow you to interact with Alexa using your voice, and connect to a wide number of supported devices and services. The new European Echo benefits from many of the partnerships Amazon has struck up over the past two years, including integration with Uber, Philips Hue, WeMo and SkyScanner. When it comes to the UK it'll also support popular British services like Just Eat and Sky Sports. If Alexa's U.S. presence is any indicator, there'll be more to come in the future. And that's all in addition to basic functionality like music playback, news and weather updates.

More: Amazon Echo review

The Echo's arrival in Europe this month could be significant — we're expecting Google Home to be officially launched within weeks, and Amazon will be looking to get out ahead of Google's Assistant-powered competitor. Check the links below for the UK listings of Amazon Echo.

New and existing Prime members who purchase before 5:00pm on 16 September save £50 on Amazon Echo at checkout (offer limited to one unit per customer).

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