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1 week ago

Here's how HTC's new Vive Tracker works!

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HTC announced a new wave of accessories headed to Vive owners later this year, but the one that stands above the crowd is the new Vive Tracker. HTC has built a small Vive controller with a data port on the bottom that third-party accessory manufacturers can add to just about anything, making it possible to then add that physical object to the virtual world you're playing in.


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1 week ago

There's now a smart band specifically for Ingress addicts


Take your Ingress further with the Ingress Mod Band based on the new Nex Evolution smart wearable.

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If you're into Ingress — the smartphone-based AR game that formed the basis for Pokémon Go — you'll be happy to know that there is now a wearable that works alongside it.

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1 week ago

Chromebooks are making a huge comeback in 2017


And they both look fabulous.

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We've seen very high-end Chromebooks before. The HP Chromebook 13 G1 or the Dell Chromebook 13 could be configured with the best hardware available, and we can't forget the Google Chromebook Pixel. They were really good laptops and using any of them let you know they were premium products. But what we've seen from CES 2017 (so far) is what happens when companies get serious and deliver specs that we need for the best experience.

Chrome is a little different that a traditional operating system. Windows and MacOS — both really good "desktop" operating systems that plenty of people are using — have different needs than Chrome. Extras like huge amounts of RAM or super-CPU configurations are wasted on Chrome, while features that make Chrome better and storage space have been mostly ignored. In 2017, ASUS and Samsung seem to get it, and their new offerings look pretty awesome.

Samsung is the undisputed king of adding features to almost everything they make. The things they do with Android phones put them in their own class and really shouldn't be compared to anything else out there. Their new Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro bring one of Samsung's best features to Chrome — the Digitizer Pen.

When you make a Chromebook that folds over on itself and becomes a tablet, you need to consider the different ways people can use it. Software and specific features become more important, and having a stylus that's integrated into the OS is something people have found useful — just ask anyone who loves their Microsoft Surface. Chrome needed an injection of Samsung here, and that's what we get.

You have the premium Chromebook hardware that you expect from a pricey model — the Pro comes with a 2.2GHz Intel Core M3 6Y30 and a 12.3-inch 2400x1600 LED touch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio — and software to make it great with the Pen. Notes, spreadsheets and other work "stuff" will benefit from having a better input device and app developers will find new ways to make good use of the hardware and fancy intelligent machine-learning software that drives the Pen. This will be very useful and very cool.

ASUS addresses the biggest issue with every other Chromebook available: they offer 128GB of storage on their new high-end Flip.

The rest of the specs are no slouch — a core M3 or core M7 CPU, 4GB or 8GB of RAM and a 12.5-inch FHD (1920x1080) 60Hz display — but all that means nothing when you run out of space because your expensive Chromebook only came with 16GB of storage. Add Android into the mix (the new Flip runs Android apps out of the box) and storage becomes even more important. In the near future we'll be saying 128GB isn't enough, but right now the Chromebook Flip 302 is the champ when you need room for all of your stuff.

One thing both of these products have in common is a price tag that is a good bit higher than most every other Chromebook out there. Neither Samsung or ASUS has offered complete details on pricing at the time this was written, but we know the base configurations start around $450 for Samsung's lower-tier Chromebook Plus and $499 for the base model ASUS Chromebook Flip 302. When you're used to seeing Chromebooks cost a few hundred dollars less this can be a bit of a shocker.

One thing both of these new Chromebooks have in common is a big price tag.

We can't argue. Chrome runs well on a $250 Chromebook Flip and the Acer Chromebook 14 is able to offer that "premium" feel with a price tag under $300. Not everyone needs a $500 Chromebook and even fewer people will want to pay the price that will come with the Chromebook Pro or full-spec Asus Flip 302 (think close to a grand in both cases and you won't be shocked when you see it). But this hardware is expensive.

The base model of either the ASUS Chromebook Flip 302 or the Samsung Chromebook Plus has a processor that costs $281 per unit when you buy in bulk. That's about 20 bucks more than the smaller Chromebook Flip C100 costs. Big and beautiful touch-enabled displays aren't cheap either. Add in the costs to build the aluminum body and special hinges and memory and storage and everything else and you'll find that the price doesn't come from an insane markup from the people making them. It's mostly because the parts being used are just really expensive. People who want or need this kind of hardware won't find it any cheaper no matter what operating system is running on it.

2017 has just begun and we'll see more Chromebooks from more companies throughout the year. So far, we like what we see because it means that companies are more serious about selling Chromebooks for people who want to buy one as a luxury purchase or for a better machine to work from.


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1 week ago

Amazon Fire Tablet 7 vs Fire Tablet Kids Edition: Which should I buy?


You want to get your youngsters an Amazon Fire Tablet, but which version is right for you?

The Amazon Fire Tablet 7 is a great buy at $50, especially for the kids. It's capable enough to keep them entertained while not costing enough to pull your hair out if it gets accidentally destroyed. You can also get all the (non-Google) major content services on there as well as a dedicated kids mode to keep those little fingers from buying a new laptop on your Amazon account.

But, when you go to buy, there's both a 'regular' 7-inch and a Kids Edition. Underneath they're both the same, 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet with the same hardware specs and the same software. So what's the difference and which should you buy?

Let's break it down.

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1 week ago

5 fitness apps that you'll actually use for New Year's resolutions


Get fit with a little help from your phone!

Fitness doesn't have to mean going to the gym anymore, and that's because of the great fitness apps available on our phones. Now you can bring the feel of the gym to wherever you are, which means more easily fitting it into an over burdened schedule. We've found some of the best fitness apps out there, and we've collected them for you. Whether you are looking to track your progress, or find the perfect workout, we've got 5 apps that are worth checking out.

Pocket Yoga

Yoga has been around for centuries, and it's health benefits are no joke — yoga can help with flexibility, muscle strength, posture, and much, much more. Not everyone has the time or money to make it to classes at a yoga studio though, and that's where this app comes in. There are five sets of workouts, each one in a different background, which they call "environments". You choose the duration, your difficulty level, and your environment. During each workout there is a running animation showing you proper posture, along with audio instructions as though there were a yoga instructor there with you. If you want to practice specific poses, there is a massive list to choose from. Each pose includes an infographic listing off category, difficulty, description and benefits. For every 15 minutes worth of practice, you'll earn a Karma point. These points are used to buy new environments, each for between 3 and 27 Karma points.

Finding a few minutes to be with yourself and concentrate on your health and fitness can be difficult. More to the point, not everyone is in a place where working out in a gym is feasible. Spending some time working on yoga poses each day has measurable health results without being high impact or stressful on your body like some workouts. You also get the added benefit of a little slice of peace of mind while you go. This app runs in at $2.99, and is definitely worth taking a look at.

Pocket Yoga ($2.99)

Progression Fitness Tracker

The gym isn't a scary place for everyone, and for those who like to keep track of all their workouts, Progression Fitness Tracker is a great tool. Build customized workouts for from hundreds of exercises, which can be filtered alphabetically, by equipment required, or by muscle group targeted. There are also pre-built workouts if you don't want to build your own from scratch. Each exercise has an infographic page which includes instructions on proper form, equipment required, links to videos on YouTube of the exercise performed correctly, and the muscles targeted. The app is certainly meant to be used during your workout, since it tracks how long it take you to complete each rep. It also clocks in your full workout duration, and your calories burned and can be synced up with Google Fit.

This app definitely seems developed for people who already have some idea of what they are doing at the gym, especially with their emphasis on including equipment heavy exercises. However, with the instructions and links to videos it's still friendly to novices. If you're going the gym route then Progression is a fantastic choice. Progression Fitness Tracker comes in two forms. We've been talking about the free version today, but for $3.99 you can go pro. The Pro version lets you see stats from every workout session you've ever input, all of your statistics, the ability to import and export data, and the knowledge that you will have a pro membership forever. If you've been looking for a good tracking app for your workouts, Progression is a fantastic app to take a look at.

Progression Fitness Tracker (Free)

Calorie Counter-MyFitnessPal

Whether you're trying to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain where you are at currently, tracking your calories is definitely advantageous. You could be working out like a beast 6 days a week, but if you don't know what kind of calories you're eating each day, you're probably not going to hit your goals — which is where the Calorie Counter from MyFitnessPal comes in. When using the app, it'll ask you to sign up or log in to my fitness pal, and then gets your height, weight, and activity level. From what you input about your fitness goals, the app will come up with a calorie goal for you to try and hit each day.

You can log all your meals, as well as snacks, and can get the app to remind you about logging your meals each day. You can add your favorite foods or recipes so you can add them to your daily count. If you aren't motivated enough to input your own recipes, there are hundreds upon hundreds of foods, each with a breakdown of it's nutritional information for you. There is even a tracking tool to help keep you on track for your weight and measurement goals.

This Calorie Counter also connects with plenty of other fitness-related apps like Fitbit Tracker, and RunKeeper, as well as Misfit devices. We're not sure anybody ever has fun tracking their calories each day, but this app definitely makes it simple and easy to do. No charts necessary here, just find your food, add it to your meals for the day and you're done. Counting calories can definitely help to keep you on track to meet your fitness goals, and Calorie Counter from MyFitnessPal does an excellent job of it. The app is absolutely free, but you can upgrade to a pro membership for $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

Calorie Counter-MyFitnessPal (Free)

Fitnet Personal Fitness Video

Fitnet Personal Fitness Video aims to bring the gym — and it's trainers — to you. This app is built around videos you use to work out, and each of them includes a trainer talking directly to you just like they would if they were running a class in a gym somewhere. The videos fall into one of three categories — Cardio, Strength, or Mind and Body. You also choose between light, moderate or intense difficulty levels.

Each video is part of a larger series with multiple videos in each series, and each individual video comes in at between 4 and 6 minutes long. You can use the app to make and schedule a fitness plan with sets of the videos, set goals for your length of activity each week, and track the number and type of workouts you finish each week. You can even pick a trainer, which means you'll get messages from that trainer, along with their workout videos, and help from them in creating your schedule of workouts each week.

Fitnet is fantastic for those who don't want to leave the house to get a good workout. The videos mean that you can easily see proper form for each exercise, and the trainers definitely bring the feel of the gym to your phone. Each video is short enough that you can easily fit them into a busy schedule, or take the time to work through an entire series each day. The app itself is free, but there are some in-app purchases available for special workouts: the current set Learn and Burn includes 5 days of workouts for $0.99. If you're looking for the feel of the gym, and it's expertise without leaving the house, Fitnet is definitely the app for you.

Fitnet Personal Fitness Video (Free)

Sworkit Lite

Sworkit brings you circuit training in bite sized pieces. Sworkit is designed to fit into your schedule, which means that you can set how long you'd like to workout—whether you've got a full hour to spare, or just 5 minutes. They have pre-made workouts in 4 main categories: Strength, Cardio, Yoga and Stretching. You also have the ability to build your own personalized workout from dozens of exercises, or copy a popular workout from one of their lists. There are over 160 exercises to choose and build with, and over a dozen workouts you can copy and customize. If you choose from the Sworkit workouts you have several options like what part of the body to focus on, and how long you'll be going for. During the workout you'll get a video of each exercise to help ensure you have proper form.

Sworkit Lite is the free version of the app, and is fantastic in it's own right. You can also pick up Sworkit Pro for $2.99 which gives you more exercises, the ability to save more custom workouts, adjustable interval lengths between exercises, a complete workout history, and the ability to sync with MyFitnessPal or Google Fit. This app is fantastic for anyone with a busy schedule, since it's designed to get you workouts in just five minutes. If you're just getting started, this is a great place to get moving with.

Sworkit Lite (Free)

Fitness definitely doesn't have to be difficult when it comes to keeping track of things, or getting started. You're supposed to sweat while working out, not beforehand! Hopefully these apps can help to track your fitness, and help you to meet all of your goals whether you're just getting started, or you're well on your way. So what do you think, did we hit the nail on the head or are we missing a few? Let us know in the comments.

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1 week ago

Top eight features of MIUI 8


Here's what you need to know about MIUI 8.

MIUI 8 is the largest update to Xiaomi's operating system in several years, introducing much-needed visual flair in the form of a bold color palette and a host of new features. The operating system has over 200 million users globally, and with Xiaomi soliciting feedback from its community for new features, it is a continually evolving platform.

This update rolled out earlier this year for several devices, including the Mi 5, Redmi Note 3, Mi Max, and others, and with most Xiaomi phones now making their way to Marshmallow, it's time to take a look at some of the new features on offer.

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1 week ago

These headphones will stay in your ears even when active for just $14


Looking for a new set of headphones but aren't quite ready to make the jump to Bluetooth? If so, TYLY's Tunz headphones may be a perfect set to consider. The headphones are made for active people so they will stay in your ear, and there are three different sized gels to ensure you get the right fit. You can pick from five different colors on the headphones, and right now you can pick up a pair for just $14.

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1 week ago

CES 2017 Day Two: New laptops, new phones, and old ideas made new


CES 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Update all the laptops

Thinner, faster, lighter, stronger.

With new 7th-generation Core chips from Intel landing in the months before CES, it was time for a seemingly every PC manufacturer to update their lineup. In the cards for everybody: thinner, lighter, marginally faster, longer-lasting batteries, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, and a notable decrease in bezels.

The new BlackBerry that's not made by BlackBerry

BlackBerry's back, alright!

From the looks of the BlackBerry Mercury you'd think that BlackBerry hadn't changed at all. But this is a phone from TCL, the new licensee of the BlackBerry brand, even if it looks and feels every part a BlackBerry. We're still light on practically every detail, from specs to the actual production name, but we're still kind of excited to see that the shifting of the BlackBerry brand doesn't mean the abandonment of the classic keyboard.

Honor's Magic is a design showcase as a phone

Curved all around, because they can.

Huawei's never been a manufacturer that shied away from making crazy hardware, and their Honor sub-brand has generated a phone that's a truly beautiful piece of design: the Honor Magic. The glass is curved in every direction more substantially than any phone we've seen before, married to a thin metal frame. As Android Central's Andrew Martonik described it, it's similar to the "Galaxy S7 edge, but it's even more impressively thin and compact." More impressive, however, might be the software: Honor baked in artificial intelligence to help the phone predict what you'll want to do, such as dynamically rearranging your home screen.

The first Chromebook designed for Android apps

Google and Samsung partnered up to design an impressive new pair of Chrome OS devices: the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro. These convertible Chromebooks are the first designed with running Android apps in mind, and as such they're equipped with full motion sensor suites. Beyond that, Samsung also built in their stylus tech — pop out the docked pen and you'll be able to write and draw to your heart's content on the hi-res 12.3-inch display.

ASUS announces two new phones with four cameras

ASUS took to CES 2017 to unveil their newest ZenFone devices: the ZenFone 3 Zoom and the ZenFone AR. The ZenFone 3 Zoom is the follow-up to the unique if flawed optically-zooming ZenFone Zoom, and its ditching of the mechanical optical zoom is both a disappointment and not a surprise. In its place are a pair of cameras — one standard, one telephoto, not unlike the iPhone 7 Plus. On the flip side is the ZenFone AR, which uses its cameras and sensor array to scan your surroundings in full 3D. It's not the first phone to do this, but it's certainly the most compact Google Tango phone we've yet seen.

NVIDIA's Shield TV box has been something of a sleeper hit — those that know it love it, but it's never really got a heavy push behind it. We don't know if that's going to change with the latest update, but we do know it's an impressive update. Coming to the Android TV party is Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings integration, HDR video, and a whole bunch of new games.

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1 week ago

Xiaomi India's revenues exceeded $1 billion in 2016


Xiaomi sold a lot of phones in India in 2016.

Xiaomi has announced that it crossed $1 billion in revenue in 2016 from its Indian unit. The last two quarters of 2016 were particularly fruitful for the company as it set new sales records in the market. The Redmi Note 3 was very well received in India, with Xiaomi selling over 2.3 million units in just six months. The entry-level Redmi 3S also made a strong start following its debut in the third quarter.

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1 week ago

LG G6 won't have a modular design as focus shifts to 'aesthetics and usability'


No one liked the LG G5's modular design, so LG is ditching it.

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LG's audacious plan to offer a modular design with the LG G5 failed, and with the company's profits taking a turn for the worse, it is going back to the basics. At CES, LG has announced that it will ditch the modular platform for its upcoming LG G6, instead focusing on "aesthetics and usability."

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1 week ago

Huawei Mate 9 arriving in the U.S. Jan 6 for $599, will add Alexa support in a future update


Huawei's massive and impressive Mate 9 will be coming to the U.S. this month.

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Huawei's indomitable quest for world domination continues this week as it has announced its latest oversized flagship, the Mate 9, would be coming to the U.S. on January 6 for a very agreeable $599 through various online retailers including Amazon and Newegg.

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Google Assistant is coming to Android TV


Google Assistant is making its way to more devices.

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Right now, Google Assistant is available on the Pixel, Google Home, and messaging app Allo, and Google has now announced that it is bringing Assistant to Android TV devices and set-top boxes "in the coming months." NVIDIA's latest Shield streaming box — which was announced earlier today — will be one of the first devices to include the Assistant.

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1 week ago

NVIDIA Spot peripheral extends the Shield Android TV's Google Assistant throughout the home


A simple accessory expands the capabilities of the new Shield Android TV throughout your home.

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To partner with the announcement of the brand-new Shield Android TV, NVIDIA is hoping to leverage its new power and Google Assistant smarts throughout your home with the NVIDIA Spot, a Wi-Fi-connected microphone/speaker peripheral. Rather than holding computing power and software in itself, the NVIDIA Spot is a small — roughly golf ball-sized — peripheral that can be placed anywhere and connect to your Shield Android TV over Wi-Fi.

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1 week ago

New NVIDIA Shield Android TV box includes Google Assistant, 4K HDR streaming


NVIDIA's latest set-top streaming box is a must-buy, even at $199.

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NVIDIA has announced an updated Shield streaming box — the one that debuted last year running Android TV — with updates to the hardware design, including the popular controller, and significant improvements to the software.

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1 week ago

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom hands-on: Focused on being more than just a camera

Asus ZenFone Zoom

The second 'Zoom' model isn't quite as impressive optically, but makes more sense practically.

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After some pretty audacious engineering marvels going into the last ZenFone Zoom, ASUS has taken a decidedly simpler approach with the new ZenFone 3 Zoom. Rather than being a majority camera-focused smartphone, this is aimed at being a solid mid-to-high-end device overall that also happens to great photos with top-end camera specs.

ASUS effectively gave up on the huge, cumbersome and trade-off-heavy optical zooming solution of old and instead chose to go with a dual-focal length camera setup not unlike the iPhone 7 Plus. And while the camera setup still seems quite impressive based on the specs — dual 12MP 1.4-micron sensors with f/1.7 lenses — and company's claims, it's also a dramatically smaller package that let the rest of the ZenFone 3 Zoom round out as a "normal" smartphone.

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