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1 year ago

These are the first things to turn off on the LG G4

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We really do hate starting out on a new phone with a negative, but sometimes it just has to be done. And such is the case with the new LG G4. There are a few features that you're probably going to want to do without, and sooner, rather than later.

So with that, these are the first few things we'd turn off on the LG G4.

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1 year ago

Where's the Weather app on the Galaxy S6?

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Samsung will happily show you the weather all over the Galaxy S6, but there's no icon in the app drawer.

While you may have a favorite weather app to turn to for what is happening near you, a lot of folks rely on whatever app is handy. For some that means the weather notifications through Google Now are perfect, while others rely on that quick glance baked into their favorite clock widget. Like most Android phones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge offers a clock widget with weather built in that pops up as soon as you hit the home screen for the first time. This same weather information is available on the lock screen, as well as the Information Stream on the Galaxy S6 edge. It's powered by Accuweather, and works reasonably well for offering up a quick glance at your current weather.

The only thing missing is the actual app. At least, that's how you'd probably feel if you went looking for this app in your launcher. What you're seeing here is another example of Samsung's integrated apps, which means you've got a couple of options for accessing and using the app to get your weather.

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1 year ago

Getting started with Android Auto

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Android Central Choice Award

Android Auto is devilishly simple. Google's done a great job even in its first iteration.

Android is everywhere. In your pocket. On your wrist. Occasionally (and unfortunately) on your face. In your living room. Even in your kitchen. And now Android is in your car. In 2014 Google announced Android Auto. And in 2015 it finally became a reality.

Android Auto is devilishly simple. You plug your phone into a compatible receiver — either the infotainment system that comes with your car, or an aftermarket head unit — with the same sort of cable you use to charge. Your phone — and the apps you already have — then push information to the large display that's in your car. No more horrible user interface. So many new features, all with one goal at hand — keeping your phone out of your hand, and you safer behind the wheel.

We get that you might be a little wary of using a smartphone — a tool that by definition is distracting — in the car. But Google's done a great job even in its first iteration. So let's walk through the basics of Android Auto, and what you can expect when using it.

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1 year ago

What it's like to use Amazon Prime Now

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Amazon Prime Now

Amazon's same-day delivery service is slightly awkward, but incredibly useful.

I am well and truly embedded in the Amazon shopping ecosystem. Having things shipped to my door, often within 36 hours of having placed the order, is something I use several times a week nowadays. It's useful for regular day-to-day items, but incredible for last minute birthday and Christmas stuff. When Amazon announced Prime Now, an extension of their shipping service that allowed for same-day — even same-hour — delivery, I was plenty excited. Since I live in the suburbs, just about 35 minutes without traffic from Amazon's Baltimore facility, it seemed unlikely I'd be able to participate in the service anytime soon.

Last week, however, the Prime Now app lit up and claimed I could order things and have them delivered to my house within an hour. It turns out Prime Now and Prime offer wildly different experiences, and choosing between the two for orders in the future is going to be its own unique little first world problem.

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1 year ago

How to use Theater mode on Android Wear (and why you might want to)

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One of the complaints many early Android Wear users had was actually a complaint from everyone around those users: their watches kept lighting up in a dark theaters.

My variant on this complaint was a little bit different. I like to dance in my bedroom, in the dark. Totally in the dark, I will turn on Google Play Music, and I will have a little dance party. And every time I raised my wrist, every time my watch brushed my skin, it would light up and totally kill the mood. Then came the Android Wear 5.0 update and with it came the end of those bright screens with the arrival of Theater mode.

So, how do you turn it on, and what else is it good for?

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1 year ago

You can now send yourself a note or set an alarm from a Google desktop search

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With some new commands you can now set alarms and send notes to your Android device, right from a Google desktop search.

Google recently added the ability to send directions to your phone right from a desktop search on your computer, and now they have added even more options. You can now set an alarm on your Android device as well as send notes to it, all right from a Google desktop search.

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1 year ago

Do I need a Samsung Account on my Galaxy S6?

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For better or worse, the Galaxy S6 really wants you to have a Samsung Account.

Much like a Google Account is basically required if you want to make the most of any Android phone, a Samsung Account is starting to become an integral part of owning a Samsung phone. Creating or signing into your Samsung Account is baked right into the setup process for the Galaxy S6, and while you're technically able to skip on past it, you're really best off signing in.

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1 year ago

The Galaxy S6 edge: Here's what that crazy curved display can do

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The curved display on the Galaxy S6 edge can do quite a bit. But what you see is up to you.

As the name implies, the big selling point for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (and that "edge" indeed is lowercase, boys and girls) is, in fact, the edge. Or, rather, the edges. Both of them, sloping down from the top of the phone into the thin metal band that is the side of the phone.

But is it merely form? Or is there actually some function to the edge?

The answer, of course, is both. Here's what all you can do with those curved parts of the Samsung Galaxy 6 edge.

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1 year ago

How to use Easy Mode on the HTC One M9

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If you love the idea of the HTC One M9 but can't handle everything the Sense 7 launcher throws at you, then Easy Mode might be the right choice for you.

Launchers are powerful things these days. They're your portal to all the apps and widgets and information your smartphone has at its disposal. But for some folks, the options can be a bit too much. And to that end we've seen manufacturers include a more simple launcher on their devices.

That's true on the HTC One M9, which sports an "Easy Mode" alongside the full Sense 7 launcher. And here's how to use it.

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1 year ago

The Galaxy S6 has extra camera modes you'll want to try

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Samsung Galaxy S6 camera modes

The Samsung Galaxy S6 camera is good. Darn good. But you can make it better by downloading a few extra modes from Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 camera is impressive in its own right. It shoots excellent pictures out of the box, with very little fuss. But it can do more. Much more.

Samsung actually pared back some of the features in the camera app this time around. That makes the initial experience easier — no more overwhelming feature lists — but it does mean you're lacking things that were built in before. Say, the ability to record an animated gif, for one. The good news is these features are pretty easy to get back. Here's how.

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1 year ago

How to change the home screen app grid size on the Galaxy S6

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A big reason for choosing a new launcher is to increase the density of the app grid — now the Galaxy S6 lets you do it, too.

Samsung added the ability to move from a standard 4x4 app grid to a larger 4x5 or even 5x5 within its stock launcher, and it's super easy to do as well. While you'll still have to go to another launcher if you want something more advanced, if you just need to get a little higher information density the stock launcher has you covered — let us show you how it's done.

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1 year ago

How to take better photos with the HTC One M9

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HTC One M9

A few simple tips and tricks to help you to take great shots on your M9

The HTC One M9 marks a change in course for the Taiwanese manufacturer, as it relocates its Ultrapixel camera around the front, and settles on a traditional high-megapixel shooter for the main camera. The M9's 20-megapixel shooter has been one of the main points of contention among HTC fans and critics since the phone's arrival. It's not a bad camera, but it does require a little tweaking in order to get the best results.

We'll take a look at some basic tips for getting the most out of your M9's camera after the break.

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1 year ago

How to block calls on the Samsung Galaxy S6

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Every now and then you're going to need to block a call. Here's how to do it on the Samsung Galaxy S6.

More and more of us are getting rid of our landlines and turning to our smartphones as our only connection. But that means the spammers and scammers and robo-calls follow. (And just wait until election season.) So there are any number of reasons why you might want to not just reject a caller, but block that number outright. And it's pretty easy. Samsung refers to its call blocking as "rejection," so we'll be using that term interchangeably with "block."

And there are a few ways to block calls on the Samsung Galaxy S6. Let's rap.

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1 year ago

How to block app notifications from your Android Wear watch

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Always know when - and how - to block.

Smartwatches can keep us more connected than ever, bringing notifications to our wrists, but that blessing can turn into a curse.

An intrusive or overbearing app can make your Android Wear experience a pestilence, whether it means to or not, but thankfully, there is something you can do about it. It's called the Block app notification list — but we just call it the blacklist — and you can use it to screen apps from your watch and make sure that when your wrist buzzes at you, it's something important, and not just a reminder that you're regenerated all of your lives in your game of the week.

Here's how to banish an app from your watch.

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1 year ago

The first things to do when you get a new Android phone

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What's in the box?

A few tips to make the first hours easier ... and more fun.

Setting up a new Android can be fun. It can also be easy — just follow the setup application when you first start the phone. This will get you where you need to be with little or no fuss. The folks making our phones have really worked out ways to make setup easy and frustration-free.

Of course, you don't have to follow the manufacturer setup process and can do things in your own order. In the end, you'll have everything you want working the way you want. That's what Android is about — flexibility. If you're a power-user, or just want to jump in and start using your new gadget without wading through the set up process, we've assembled a guide to get you started. We might know a thing or two about setting up phones.

In either case, these tips and tricks are a great resource for everyone.

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