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13 hours ago

HTC U11 hands-on: MrMobile's new squeeze

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By now you've seen the HTC U11 hands-on treatment: the smudge-prone but beautiful backplate; the conventional face; the interface that reacts to a squeeze as well as a swipe. But thanks to some canceled flights and some overzealous NYC security guards (long story) I got to spend a little longer with the HTC U11 than I might have, and as a result I was able to produce a slightly more in-depth hands-on than would otherwise be possible. That's thanks to Android Central, whose HTC U11 review unit I took for a spin around Mountain View during Google I/O, so be sure to give Android Central's HTC U11 Preview a look once you're through watching MrMobile's hands-on ... and stay tuned for much more coverage on the smartphone you can squeeze in the weeks ahead!

Stay social, my friends

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13 hours ago

How (and when) to clear app cache or data on Android

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Apps sometimes can misbehave. If it happens to you, here's something to try.

Update May 2017: This post has been updated to be in line with newer versions of Android.

Every Android smartphone has an application manager that you can get to through the settings menu. It's usually in the top level somewhere, though it can vary a little by phone. But once you get to it, you're at the heart of the matter. This is where you can see every application that's installed on your phone or tablet. And it's a handy place to clean things up a bit should they go wonky. Here's what's up:

Clearing the app cache

As you use applications, they start storing files for reference later. These files are stored in an app "cache." For instance: When you're using the Android Central app, it'll save images and other pieces of the stories you've read so that they don't have to be downloaded each and every single time the app needs them. This saves you time and data.

But maybe you want to clear an app's cached data, either to regain some used space or to try to fix a misbehaving app. This is where you can do it. Just tap into the app, and then tap the "Clear cache" button.

The next time you use the app it will download everything it needs from the internet like it did the first time you used it. Clearing cached data does not clear other data like logins or saved games.

This often fixes things, especially when an app pulls its content from a website that always changing and adding more content. If this doesn't work, move to the next step.

Clear app data — or resetting an app

Clearing app data is a little more drastic. You're wiping the cache, but also clearing any and all settings that go along with that app. You're basically starting that app over, from scratch, and it'll behave as it did the first time you installed it. This is generally a last resort type of thing. If you clear app data on, say, the Facebook app, you'll need to log back in. If you clear data on a game you've been playing, you'll be back at the beginning, as if you'd never played it. (And let's hope that game is properly saving your place to the cloud.)

Next, open the app and sign in or do anything else you need to get started using it. With no "old" data in place — either stored settings or cached — you're essentially running the app for the first time again. See if your problem is resolved and if so you're golden.

One nice thing to do if this fixes any weirdness with an app is let the developer know. It's mighty hard to keep track of versions and data conversion and everything else about making and publishing a great app and they'll appreciate the heads up if you found a bug that affects everyone.

When to clear cache or data ...

So when should you clear an app's cache manually? Chances are you'll never need to. But should an app start to "feel" sluggish or otherwise start misbehaving, this is where I'd start. Clear the cache.

And should an app really go haywire — or if you just want to start it from scratch — you can go all out and clear its data and start over from the beginning. Just tap the "clear data" button. You'll get a warning asking if that's really what you want to do. Confirm that, and you've reset the app to scratch.

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14 hours ago

Best Android Phones of 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8

Update, May 2017: The Galaxy S8 takes the top of the list, while the rest of the group pushes down one spot. The new Moto G5 Plus has been added as an affordable option.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 has slick redesigned hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera.

Yes the fingerprint sensor is slightly awkward to use, but the GS8's iris scanner is dramatically improved to make up for it. And it only takes one look at the industry-leading display to start to forgive Samsung's decisions on the back.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming to novices, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Of course, you can always pay a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.

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Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

Samsung's Galaxy S brand carries considerable weight in the mobile world, and the Galaxy S8 continues to both leverage that brand while also offering a fantastic overall smartphone experience that today's consumers want. Once again, Samsung took its core principles of great hardware, a top-end display, waterproofing, solid cameras and mounds of features and updated it all for 2017.

The result is a fresh design that shrinks down the display bezels and really smooths out all of the sharp edges to give you a sleek, thin phone with a really large display that doesn't feel that large. The extra-tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio comes in at 5.8-inches across on the Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inches on the Galaxy S8+, and in both cases feels quite a bit smaller than the numbers would lead you to believe.

The sleek body still packs in top-end specs, of course, starting with that magnificent Super AMOLED display and backing it up with a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895, 4GB of RAM, larger 64GB of storage (plus an SD card slot), a new USB-C port and locking it all down with waterproofing. The batteries are no bigger than last year's models, but battery life hasn't taken any hit. On the other side of the hardware, there's one big downside: Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to an awkward position on the back next to the camera, leaving you with the less-consistent and less-convenient face scanning and iris scanning instead.

Samsung continues to make phones with all of the design and features people are clamoring for.

The camera experience has actually changed more on the front than the back with a new 8MP unit that packs auto focus. But the 12MP rear camera is still no slouch — Samsung has improved its processing to get even more out of this setup, and it remains a competitor for the best overall smartphone camera out there.

The ongoing point of contention when it comes to Samsung phones is the software, and that's the same once again on the Galaxy S8. Samsung continues to put in a massive number of features without removing any from years prior, leaving you with lots of things to get in the way and confuse you when you're trying to get the basics done. On the other hand, it's hard to find someone who can't get done what they need to get done right out of the box on this phone. It truly is aimed at being relevant to as diverse a set of consumers as possible, and it succeeds on that point.

By putting up with a few of the out-of-the-box quirks and taking some time to set it up how you like it, the Galaxy S8 can do anything you want and get it done at a fast pace while looking great as well.

 

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Best clean experience

Google Pixel

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel does almost everything right. Its metal body is well-built and easy to grip — in either the 5-inch or 5.5-inch size — and its spec sheet is still capable, featuring a Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM powering its QHD display

But the Pixel really makes its case because Google owns both the hardware and the software. Even the best manufacturers can't achieve what Google has with its first-party powerhouse. It's fast, clean and lovely to use with Google's apps and services. The downside is the Pixel can't match the others in terms of raw features.

Then there's the camera, which continues to be one of the best in the business, helped along by Google's exemplary electronic stabilization that gives you silky smooth video recording.

Bottom line: Google doesn't compete in the raw number of features, but offers a sleek, consistent and holistic experience that absolutely deserves praise.

One more thing: The Pixel is available unlocked through Google's store in most countries, but if you're in the U.S. we suggest considering buying through Google Fi.

Best for less

LG G6

LG G6

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at B&H

The LG G6 uses a tall 18:9 display and tiny bezels (hey, it even came out before the Galaxy S8) to give you a larger screen in a smaller body. The all-new metal-and-glass design may not be totally inspired, but it's built amazingly well and incorporates lots of little features — like waterproofing — to help it hold up over time.

All of the internal specs you expect are here, even though the battery isn't removable like its predecessors. The one downside here is regional differences: the higher-quality Quad DAC is exclusive to Asia, while wireless charging is only for the North American market.

LG's dual camera setup has returned but with a refined emphasis on the wide-angle camera so it packs the same sensor as the standard camera. The main camera takes fantastic photos to go toe-to-toe with the best of them, and the wide-angle shooter adds in something that no other phone offers.

Bottom line: This is LG's best flagship phone to date, and going a step further it's one that comes in at a notably lower price than the Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel XL.

One more thing: Shop around a bit before buying, as different retailers and carriers can have varying pricing schemes.

Best for basics

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3

See at OnePlus See at Amazon

OnePlus took an interesting approach at the end of 2016, choosing to bump the specs of its flagship OnePlus 3 and make a new model: the OnePlus 3T. The new version has a slightly faster Snapdragon 821 processor, optional 128GB of storage, a larger 3400mAh battery and new front-facing camera.

What it doesn't offer are some fringe features — you won't find waterproofing, fancy camera processing, an iris scanner or a bunch of software features that blow you away. It hits the basics, and hits them really well. That's it.

The update keeps the OnePlus 3T relevant for that much longer, and it still stands as an excellent option that competes with the rest of the flagships at a much lower price — even though it is a tad more expensive than the original, at $439. The hardware, camera and software can all stand up to the competition that retails for $200 more.

Bottom-line: Though it doesn't have some of the fringe features you'll find elsewhere, the OnePlus 3T offers the best value in a high-end Android phone today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3T's Dash Charge fast charging solution isn't compatible with any other quick charging standards, so you'll need to invest in new chargers if you want to top up quickly.

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Best inexpensive

Moto G5 Plus

Moto G5 Plus

See at Amazon

The Moto G line no longer really resembles its first couple of models, and now focuses on trying to offer a bit of a flagship experience at a much lower price point. The Moto G5 Plus, starting at just $229, aims to offer some high-end, interesting features in both hardware and software.

A Snapdragon 625 processor and 3000mAh battery give you fantastic battery life and performance, and you get up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage inside along with a couple other solid features like a fingerprint sensor and fast charging. The software is typical clean and useful Moto, though a couple of its features have started to reach toward the "gimmick" range.

Yes this is a phone launched in 2017 still using the older Micro-USB charging port, lacks NFC and isn't exactly the most beautiful phone to look at. But what you're getting here for a price of $229 or $299 is great.

Bottom-line: For a really good experience that isn't going to cost you a bunch, it's hard to beat the Moto G5 Plus.

One more thing: While you can get a lower-end model with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, we strongly recommend pitching in $70 more for the 4GB/64GB model.

Conclusion

For most people, the Galaxy S8 will serve as the best possible choice with its excellent design, top-end hardware, great camera and piles of software features. It's hard to go wrong with this phone, whether you're choosing the Galaxy S8 or the larger Galaxy S8+.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 has slick redesigned hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera.

Yes the fingerprint sensor is slightly awkward to use, but the GS8's iris scanner is dramatically improved to make up for it. And it only takes one look at the industry-leading display to start to forgive Samsung's decisions on the back.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming to novices, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Of course, you can always pay a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.

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15 hours ago

How to prepare your Galaxy S8 for Google Daydream

The countdown to Daydream with a Galaxy S8 has begun, are you ready?

Samsung's Galaxy S8 will soon be the only phone capable of using both forms of high quality mobile VR, so if you've been eager to see if the grass really is greener on the other side you'll soon be able to see for yourself.

Just like the Gear VR, you need to do a few things to make sure your phone is good to go for Daydream. Here's what you need to know!

Read more at VRHeads.com

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15 hours ago

Fixing Play Music: How Google can improve its streaming music service

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How can Google Play Music improve? Let us count the ways...

I'm not exaggerating when I say this: Google Play Music is the first app I use every morning and it is the last thing I see before I put my phone to sleep at night. And no, that's not just because Google Play Music is my alarm clock. Music is what keeps me sane during chaotic work days, and it's what cheers me up when life inevitably happens. Google Play Music always has been my most-used app, and it's changed a lot since it launched in 2011.

Not all of those changes have been good, and there are more that still need to happen. Here are the biggest things still missing in one of Google Play's most important services.

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16 hours ago

How to prepare your HTC Vive for Star Trek: Bridge Crew

 Bridge Crew

Is my Vive ready for Star Trek: Bridge Crew?

Star Trek: Bridge Crew, the hotly anticipated game that many VR and Trek fans have been waiting for forever is finally dropping May 30, 2017. The ability to sit on the bridge of the USS Aegis and work as a team with your friends on Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR is bound to be popular, but how can you get your Vive ready for what promises to be an authentic Trek experience? Here are a few tips to ensure your bridge station is as good as possible.

Read more at VR Heads!

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16 hours ago

Best Android Camera

Update, May 2017: The Google Pixel is still our top camera, followed closely by the Galaxy S8. The LG G6's dual cameras join the group, taking over from the V20, and the new HTC U11 hops on as a great camera in its own right.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google

Google's Pixel phone comes out on top when you look at photo quality and simplicity of shooting. Interestingly, it does this with what would normally be considered middle-of-the-road camera specs. You get a 12MP sensor and f/2.0 lens without the support OIS (optical image stabilization), but that isn't an issue for the Pixel.

It also has a simple camera interface that doesn't have a ton of features, but makes up for it in terms of overall quality. Just point and shoot, and you're going to get a great photo every single time. Daylight shots are crisp and bright with just the right amount of extra saturation, and low-light shots are surprisingly smooth and lack the extra noise that other phones often introduce.

Add in the extra perk that the Pixel includes unlimited full-resolution photo backup with Google Photos, and it's a truly great smartphone camera.

Bottom line: For the best possible photos from every type of situation, the Pixel is your best choice.

One more thing: For the same camera experience in a larger size with a bigger battery, consider the (more expensive) Google Pixel XL.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

After years of Nexuses with hit-or-miss cameras, Google finally delivered on its promise with the Pixel — and it's doing it with a similar formula we first saw in the Nexus 6P and 5X. You don't get OIS (optical image stabilization), but instead a 12MP sensor with really large pixels that can take in extra light and HDR+ software that does the extra work to bring multiple exposures together.

The results are absolutely fantastic, no matter the shooting situation. As Alex Dobie said in our Pixel review:

Captures are quick, there's plenty of fine detail in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and Google's Auto-HDR+ trickery produces photos with excellent dynamic range in situations where many rivals stumble. Colors are punchy, but not excessively saturated. And even in challenging lighting conditions, such as dark restaurants at night, a good amount of fine detail and color detail is preserved.

The Pixel doesn't offer a ton of shooting modes or lots of tweaking options in the camera interface, but that doesn't really matter to most people — the end result when you press the shutter key matches or beats the competition, and offers amazing consistency from shot to shot. Photos are crisp with just the right amount of punchy color, and when the light is at a minimum it manages to still take smooth shots anyway. It's incredibly impressive what Google was able to do in the Pixel, and the results are to your benefit every time you open the camera.

Best runner-up

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

Samsung's new Galaxy S8 (and the larger Galaxy S8+) has an extremely iterative camera experience from the Galaxy S7, but when you're coming from such a great shooter as before it's easy to see why. This is still a 12MP sensor with 1.4-micron pixels and an f/1.7 lens, which are all specs that stand up strong in 2017. What's changed is Samsung's processing software.

The Galaxy S8 takes excellent photos in just about every situation, leaning on those bigger pixels and bright lens to make the most of dark scenes. Samsung's new processing is a bit less saturated and more balanced than the GS7, but still steps away from "neutral" and leans toward "pleasing to the eye" instead — that's not an issue, but simply a characteristic of Samsung's cameras. The GS8's edge detail and sharpening are much improved all around from last year.

The camera app is still blazingly fast to open and consistent, adding in a whole bunch of shooting modes and a few neat features that enhance the experience.

Bottom line: Anyone would be happy to shoot with the Galaxy S8, and it's tough to find fault in this formula.

One more thing: Samsung's front-facing camera also offers auto focus, which is a nice-to-have feature you don't get everywhere.

Best for tweaking

LG G6

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at B&H

LG has taken the dual camera setup from the V20 and vastly improved it with the G6. Both sensors are identical 12MP units, leading to increased quality of the wide-angle shots and more similar shots overall between the two. This makes the dual camera setup more valuable, as you can lean on the 125-degree wide-angle lens in the same way as the standard 71-degree one.

Despite having relatively small 1.12-micron pixels, the main camera takes amazing photos paired with its f/1.8 lens. During the day it's quite neutral and true to life, while at night it does well to recreate the scene without adding light that isn't actually there.

LG's camera app can still be a little slow and isn't as fast as Samsung's or simple as Google's, but gets the job done. And as a trade off it also offers a whole heap of manual controls so you can tweak anything you want.

Bottom line: With a main camera that can challenge the competition and an extra wide-angle shooter, the G6 offers many great options for photos.

One more thing: The LG G6 is also the cheapest phone in this lineup, offering perhaps the best value for your money when looking at the cameras.

Best balanced

HTC U11

See at Amazon See at Sprint See at HTC

HTC's 2017 flagship, the U11, sort of splits the difference between the Pixel and the Galaxy S8. Like the Galaxy S8 it has a 12MP sensor with 1.4-micron pixels and an f/1.7 lens — which HTC dubs "UltraPixel 3" — but HTC's camera app is simpler, leaning a bit toward Google's. The U11's camera offers advanced shooting modes and hyperlapses, for example, but no filters or anything of that sort to get in your way.

When it comes to photo quality HTC will tout its DxOMark Mobile score of 90, but the proof is in the pictures: this thing absolutely competes with the top-end phones released in 2017. HTC's continued focus on accurate photos is at play here giving you shots that are attempting to be true to the scene, but reproducing them with just a little punch and plenty of sharpness and clarity.

Bottom line: The U11 offers a great overall camera experience, with excellent photo quality and also extra features without being overwhelming.

One more thing: We highly recommend buying the U11 unlocked from Amazon or HTC — it works on any U.S. carrier.

Conclusion

Google still has the best camera when it comes to photo quality, but it's followed closely by three other phones that all have their own perks. The Galaxy S8 is fast and feature-packed, the LG G6 has its dual cameras and HTC offers a nice mix of features and quality.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google

Google's Pixel phone comes out on top when you look at photo quality and simplicity of shooting. Interestingly, it does this with what would normally be considered middle-of-the-road camera specs. You get a 12MP sensor and f/2.0 lens without the support OIS (optical image stabilization), but that isn't an issue for the Pixel.

It also has a simple camera interface that doesn't have a ton of features, but makes up for it in terms of overall quality. Just point and shoot, and you're going to get a great photo every single time. Daylight shots are crisp and bright with just the right amount of extra saturation, and low-light shots are surprisingly smooth and lack the extra noise that other phones often introduce.

Add in the extra perk that the Pixel includes unlimited full-resolution photo backup with Google Photos, and it's a truly great smartphone camera.

Bottom line: For the best possible photos from every type of situation, the Pixel is your best choice.

One more thing: For the same camera experience in a larger size with a bigger battery, consider the (more expensive) Google Pixel XL.

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17 hours ago

Tracking your pet with TrackR creates a false sense of security

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Using a TrackR device to keep tabs on your pet works, although it's not as convenient and easy as you may expect it to be.

It's spring time, which means we're all itching to get outside and enjoy the warm sun — and that goes double for your pets. Whether you try to keep close tabs on your pet or keep them fenced in your backyard, there's always a risk that your furry friend might make a break for it and go for a wander around the neighborhood.

Few moments are more nerve-wracking as when you realize your pet is lost.

Few moments are more nerve-wracking as when you realize your pet is lost. It was the fear of that moment that inspired me to test out using the TrackR Bravo as a means of keep tabs on my feisty feline — and assist me in tracking her down if she manages to get out.

TrackR produces a line of small and simple-to-use tracking devices that use Bluetooth and your smartphone using the TrackR app. It's slim enough to be tossed in a wallet or added to a keychain so that you can track down those vital items if you misplace them in your home.

What I found is that the TrackR technology certainly works for tracking pets, but not quite at the level was hoping it would.

Great in theory, flawed in practice

Setting up the TrackR in the Android app is easy. You're able to add and manage multiple trackers with labels for different items you may want to track — including pets!

So I went in, set up my tracker for my cat Shelley and then attached it to her harness. Given the slim size of the tracker, she barely noticed it was there which is great. It really does just look like any other dog tag, so we were off to a great start.

The TrackR Bravo's size makes it ideal for adding it to your pet's collar.

Once I was all set up, it was time to run my first tests. I threw the cat outside — and by that I mean I opened the back door as she darted between my legs — and went back to my office to work, with the TrackR app open at my side. From my window, I could still see my cat exploring the backyard, and could also see her location on my phone.

I did this same thing for a few days before it finally happened: I looked outside and Shelley was nowhere to be found. "Great," I thought, "now is the perfect time to really test the TrackR app."

So I loaded it up and… the cat and TrackR were out of range of my phone's Bluetooth radio. I was able to see her last tracked location, which was in my backyard about five minutes before I noticed she was missing, so I knew she couldn't have gone far. And lo and behold, when I opened the back gate, there she was waiting to be let back into the back yard. I found it took a bit of time for the app to reconnect with the TrackR again.

In the tracker settings, you're able to turn on features like "Device Separation Alert", which will have the TrackR alarm ring if you leave it behind — or in this case, when it walks out of range from your phone. But due to warnings of false alerts and increased battery consumption I left that feature off as it didn't seem like it would be effective for my needs.

Ideally, I was hoping the pet settings would include a feature that let me set an acceptable location range for the tracker, and if the app detects the TrackR has left that outlined parameters I get a warning alerting me that my cat is trying to make a break for it. Unfortunately, it seems like the pet icon is nothing more than a label, and the app treats a TrackR Bravo attached to your pet's collar the same way it would a set of keys.

It's better if we work together!

TrackR sporting some battle scars after Shelley's great escape.

All told, using the TrackR on my pet didn't work the way I expected it would, though my expectations were probably set a little too high going in. It does give me some added peace of mind, though, that if she does get out and lost I've got some technology to help track her down, and for that reason, I'm going to keep it on her collar going forward.

The crowdsourcing feature has the potential to be really useful — as long as TrackR beats out the competition.

This actually brings me to a key feature built into TrackR that will be really helpful if you plan to use their technology to track your pets — crowdsourcing. Like competitor Tile, TrackR relies on its users to create a sort of network of devices around your city or area to help pinpoint the location of its trackers. So let's say your dog runs away, but your neighbor down the block has the TrackR app on his or her phone. In theory, their phone will recognize your dog's TrackR and update its last known whereabouts in your app.

To this end, if you're planning on using a TrackR device to track your pet, your best bet may be to try and coordinate with other pet owners in your neighborhood to get them in on the plan with their own TrackRs, or at the very least have the app running on their phone. The more devices running the TrackR app, the better the odds of getting updated pings if your pet gets loose.

Beyond that, if you don't want your cat or dog to run away, common sense pet ownership still reigns supreme. Tie your cat up with a harness if you want to give them some unsupervised time outside, or better yet keep an eye on them yourself and enjoy some quality time outside.

See at Amazon

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17 hours ago

LeEco is set to lay off over 85% of its U.S. workforce

2

LeEco is getting ready to lay off a majority of its U.S. workforce following exec reshuffle.

LeEco's debut in the U.S. didn't go according to plan, and it looks like the company is gearing up for a round of massive layoffs. Earlier this week, LeEco founder Jia Yueting announced he would step down as CEO of Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp Beijing, the company's publicly listed unit.

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18 hours ago

Moto G5S leak shows off all-metallic chassis and three color options

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Motorola is getting ready to launch an upgraded variant of the Moto G5.

Motorola's leaked roadmap for 2017 revealed the existence of a Moto G5 variant dubbed the G5S, and we're now getting a first look at the device courtesy of Android Authority. The publication got a hold of press renders of the upcoming phone from a "trusted source familiar with Lenovo's plans," showing off the color options on offer.

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18 hours ago

How to enable iris scanning and face unlock on the Galaxy S8

10

How do I unlock the Galaxy S8 with my face?

The Galaxy Note 7 (RIP) was the first Samsung device with biometric unlock, but along with iris scanning, the Galaxy S8 brings back an old trick: face unlock. Both are fast and secure, and make up for the awkward placement of the fingerprint sensor. Here's how to use them to unlock your phone.

Biometrics on the Galaxy S8 explained

How to enable iris unlock on the Galaxy S8

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Iris scanner.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Register irises.

  7. Agree to the disclaimer.
  8. Tap continue.
  9. Look at the front-facing camera to register irises.
  10. Tap Turn on if Face unlock is already enabled.
  11. (Optional) Enable Iris unlock when screen turns on to speed up unlock process.
  12. (Optional) Enable Samsung account to use iris to unlock Samsung account.

How to change the screen mask you see when unlocking the phone

Samsung has included a number of interesting (and a few child-friendly) masks that you can use to spruce up the iris unlocking feature. Here's how to change to one of them from the default.

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Iris scanner.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Preview screen mask.
  7. Select new mask pattern.

How to enable Face unlock on the Galaxy S8

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Face recognition.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Register your face.

  7. Tap continue.
  8. Look at front-facing camera to register face.
  9. Tap Turn on if iris scanner is already enabled.
  10. (Optional) Enable Face unlock when screen turns on to speed up unlock process.

That's it! But there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to improve your iris scanning or face unlock experience

Even though the iris scanner and face unlock on the Galaxy S8 are fast and secure, there are ways to improve the experience.

  • When registering irises, take off glasses or remove contacts. This makes it easier for the system to see the real you. You know, inside.
  • Make sure your eyes are open fully — if you're in the sun, move to a shady area so you don't have to squint.
  • Don't try to unlock with your iris in direct sunlight. If you're going to be outdoors for a long period of time, switch over to face unlock, which is faster in good lighting conditions.
  • Don't try to use face unlock in low-light situations. If you're going to be indoors for a long period of time, switch over to iris scanning.
  • This seems obvious, but don't smudge up the front-facing camera or any of the front sensors.
  • If you're getting a lot of failures on either iris scanning or face unlock, remove the registered data, move to a better-lit area (indoors, with good light) and try again.

That's it! Hopefully your biometric unlocking experience is great, but if it's not, there's always the rear fingerprint sensor to fall back on. You have set that up already, haven't you?

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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