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6 days ago

Best Android apps for your Chromebook

31

An injection of over 1,000,000 Android apps does a great job filling in the holes in Chrome.

Updated April 2017: This post was updated to make sure it's full of awesome apps for your Chromebook.

A few Chromebooks already have Android apps through Google Play. More are scheduled to get them, and most new Chromebooks will ship with the Play store working from day one. Android app support has also been announced for several Chromeboxes and the Chromebit. It's a slow process, but it is happening.

Android apps will change how you use your Chromebook. They have already changed things like how much storage is enough or how useful a touchscreen is on a small laptop. They fill a void that many people needed to be filled before they would purchase a Chromebook because they needed support for a particular app or just wanted a bigger selection. Android apps also help when developers who have a Chrome app aren't offering all the features with it and the Android app has them. They'll also expose more people to Chrome OS which will make native Chrome apps even better because developers will need to pay more attention to it. Android apps on Chrome are good no matter how you look at it.

Of course, some apps fill that void better than others. Here is the best of the best when it comes to Android apps for your Chromebook.

Slack

You might not use Slack, but you probably should. It's a cross-platform service where you can chat with friends or co-workers with necessary features like private chats (including private group chats) and voice/video calls. You can even program bots for your channel(s). We use it here at Mobile Nations as our primary way to communicate.

And the Android version of the Slack App is great! It's far better than the native Chrome offering and runs flawlessly in its own resizable window on your desktop. It's also integrated perfectly and notifications come in the same way all your Chrome notifications do. Slack is the first icon I click when I open the lid on my Chromebook.

See at Google Play

Quik

Quik is a great lightweight video editor built for Android phones and tablets. It's not a replacement for Final Cut Pro X or Sony Vegas or any other professional-level video editing environment nor does it pretend to be. But it is a really easy way to build a very nice video from a bunch of short (or long) clips.

Quik is from GoPro and works great with GoPro footage through the Android app or from the GoPro Plus service. But it can also pull videos from your gallery or Google Photos or Facebook until you hit the 75 clip limit. The editor has automated tools for things like smart cuts and highlights, but you can also do everything by hand. It's free, so why not check it out?

See at Google Play

Pocketcasts

There are ways to manage your podcast feeds via the web or through Chrome, but none of them are half as good as Pocketcasts.

Pocketcasts is one of the best ways to download and listen to the latest episodes from all of your podcasts on Android, and it works the same way on your Chromebook. You can let your list play in the background while you're doing anything else, and a click in the notification tray brings up media controls if you need to skip ahead or backward. It's also a good bit cheaper than the web version, though it's worth just as much.

See at Google Play

Unclouded

Now that you can use the Unclouded app for Android you have a way to access all your stuff in the cloud.

Chromebooks work really well with Google Drive. With a fast connection, it's just like working in an office where folders are on a central server but integrated into your files, too. If you use Google Drive for all your stuff you're set. But most of us use other services, too. Unclouded will put Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and Mega into its file explorer and you can open, download, upload and whatever just like you were working on a PC with an app from the company.

Just be careful you don't download everything if you have a Chromebook with limited storage.

See at Google Play

Firefox

You can't install another browser built to run on Chrome OS, but you can install one built to run on Android.

You can sync with other devices running Firefox, have the same privacy settings that you have on any other version of Firefox, and can use the same extensions across every installation. You can run the Android version of Firefox full-screen and set things to always serve the desktop page instead of mobile.

Chrome is a great browser. But it's not the only great browser.

See at Google Play

Microsoft Office

Microsoft may be struggling in mobile, but they rule the roost when it comes to the basic productivity tools we call an office suite.

Google Docs works great for most people. But Microsoft's offerings for Android do, too. You can install Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for Android on your Chromebook and get the same app you would have on a full-sized Android tablet. Which means they are pretty darn good. In fact, it's better using them on your Chromebook because you have a keyboard every time you open them. They still backup your documents to the cloud so your files are available from anywhere, and they're hundreds of dollars less than the versions for Windows or Mac — free.

Almost every app in Google Play will run on a Chromebook that has the Play store enabled. Be sure to tell everyone what apps you're using on your Chromebook that fill your app gap so we all can check them out!

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6 days ago

Google and Huawei taken to court over Nexus 6P performance issues

89

Suffering boot loops and severe battery drain? A lawsuit filed in Texas alleges the same, and that Google and Huawei have offered little help on the matter.

The Nexus 6P battery drain and boot looping issues have happened to so many people — my husband and myself, included —that there's now a lawsuit filed against Google and Huawei over the device's numerous issues.

According to a press release from the firm behind the lawsuit, Chimicles & Tikellis, the complaint is that there are two outstanding defects with the Nexus 6P: it has "bootlooping" issues and it suffers from "severe battery drain." The former is described as a "death-spiral," which frankly is exactly what it feels like when an Android device is stuck in that mode.

The complaint also claims that while Google has told users to seek warranty coverage from Huawei regarding these particular issues with the Nexus 6P, Huawei has been "largely unhelpful and often stonewalls attempts to obtain warranty coverage, telling consumers the problem is not the phone or the battery, but instead it is a problem with Google's software."

You can read the entire complaint (PDF link) as it was filed at the law office's website. It's important to note that this particular lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, an infamous venue for patent trolls. But it's doubtful that this case falls into that category considering these issues with the Nexus 6P have been bubbling up for some time.

It'll be interesting to see what the outcome of this case is, considering this has been a known issue with the Nexus 6P and neither company has done much to address the issues. It'd also be nice to see some better consumer protections come out of this, too, particularly when it comes to warranties.

Nexus 6P

Google Store Huawei Best Buy

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6 days ago

How long does it take to unlock the Galaxy S8?

42

Face recognition, iris scanning, and fingerprints — regardless of which unlocking mechanism you choose, there's a method to all this madness.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 offers a variety of unlocking mechanisms. It may seem overwhelming to try to set one up at first, especially if you don't know which one to choose. After using the smaller Galaxy S8 for about a week, I can say there are definitely some key differences between each of these three unlocking methods, including how quickly each method unlocks the phone.

You can still choose to employ Android's native unlocking mechanisms (PIN, pattern unlock, and password), but here we'll be covering the new options offered specifically by Samsung on the Galaxy S8.

Note: If you're planning on utilizing either the iris scanner or face recognition abilities, know that you can only employ one of these methods at a time. You'll see the disclaimer displayed in the settings panel when you're setting it up.

You cannot use both the face unlock and iris unlock methods at the same time to unlock the Galaxy S8.

Unlocking with the iris scanner

The Iris scanner is easy to set up. All you need to do is hold the phone about 10-14 inches away, directly in front of your face. The infrared sensor and front-facing camera will simultaneously start to scan you in — it may even surprise you at how quickly it registers. Just be sure to set things up in a well-lit room and not outside or in direct sunlight.

Also, be aware that if you wear glasses or contacts, it may be harder for the iris scanner to identify you.

The Galaxy S8 with Iris scanning.

It is very difficult to do this and shoot with the DSLR at the same time.

There are two options for unlocking the Galaxy S8 with your irises. The first method requires you to press and hold the virtual Home button to trigger the scan. The second fires up the scanner immediately as soon as you turn on the screen, and it's this method that's the quickest at unlocking your phone since it doesn't rely on that extra step.

I grabbed a stopwatch (my Pixel XL) to count how long it takes to unlock the phone with the iris scanner. I started the timer with the phone on my lap while sitting down at my desk. It took 8.14 seconds before the Galaxy S8 unlocked to the Home screen. I could see the red light flash in rapid succession as it looked for my eyes, though it took a second (quite literally) for me to properly orient the device.

The iris scanner's masks are actually quite cute.

This has nothing to do with how quickly the Galaxy S8 can unlock, but I did want to share that you can add an overlay mask to the top portion of the screen where your eyes are detected. Anecdotally, I also want to share that this screen didn't seem to pop up as often if you're unlocking the phone straight from when the screen turns on.

Unlocking with face recognition

You also have the option to unlock your phone using facial recognition. To do so, you must first register your face under Lock screen and security option in the settings panel. Practice the same best practices for usin the iris scanner, including setting up your face recognition indoors and away from direct sunlight.

When you're ready, hit continue. Your face will register and you'll see a percentage status fill up around the headshot as it finishes it up. After it's registered, you can choose from the same setting as the iris scanner to unlock the phone immediately when the screen turns on. This is also how I'll conduct my speed test.

The Galaxy S8 with face recognition

This is pretty quick if you're not holding a camera at the same time.

With the Galaxy S8 on my laptop and the face unlock featured turned on, it took just 5.91 seconds before the phone launched to the Home screen. I had no idea the feature was working, though. It uses the front-facing camera to scan your face, which doesn't offer an indicator light so you know it's chugging along.

In my testing period, I haven't had an easy time unlocking the Galaxy S8 with the facial recognition feature. I found the method to be quite finicky to use in low light environments, particularly at night when I don't have as much natural light shining in from the outside. Also, you can try unlocking it with a picture of yourself if you like.

Unlocking with your fingerprint

If you've had time to read the numerous reviews of the Galaxy S8, then you know that the placement of its rear fingerprint sensor is odd, to say the least. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally attempted to scan in my fingerprint on the camera lens instead. Hilariously, the camera app will alert you if you've smudged up the lens too much to snap a photo.

The Galaxy S8 with fingerprint scanner.

If the fingerprint sensor feels like it's in an odd place, you're not alone in thinking this.

To register your fingerprint, head into the settings panel. Unlike the last two unlocking options, you can scan in your fingerprint as a backup when either the iris scanning. We'd also suggest you scan in more than one fingerprint — at least one on each hand — so that there is a backup for whatever reason. And to that end, if you want a backup for when the fingerprint sensor doesn't work, set up a pattern or PIN unlock. Isn't it nice to have so much choice?

I cleaned the sensor thoroughly before scanning in. From my lap, I placed my left index finger on the backside of the Galaxy S8 and scanned in my fingerprint. It took a second before it registered, though it was the fastest method to the Home screen at 5.36 seconds. Overall, the performance of the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ depends entirely on how clean your smartphone and your fingers are. Seriously. If there's too much gunk in between— whether it's finger grease, food, dirt, or any other sort of residue — that will affect the sensor's ability to scan you in.

What's your fave?

Of these three somewhat futuristic methods of unlocking the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+, which do you prefer? Leave a comment.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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6 days ago

How to set up your Gear VR

0

You got a free VR headset with your new phone! Here's how you use it.

Jumping into VR with your new headset is super easy, but there are a few quick things you need to do before having fun in another world. This guide will show you everything you need to do before putting on the headset, so you're guaranteed to have a good time!

Read more at VR Heads!

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6 days ago

We wrapped the Galaxy S8 in Spigen's newest cases, and found there's something for everyone

36

We finally wrapped a Galaxy S8 and S8 + in a Spigen's newest cases, and they feel great.

We finally have our hands on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, which means we can finally test out how all those Spigen cases feel and look on the phone itself. If you're still on the fence about which cases is best fit for your Galaxy S8 and S8+, take a good look at all the great cases Spigen has in its lineup.

Slim Armor

If you're looking for a phone that maximizes protection while keeping the slim profile of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ intact, Spigen's Slim Armor case is the ideal choice for you. It adds rugged protection and increased tactility to a phone that's beautifully designed, but might also be slippery to hold. Spigen's slim Armor is available in multiple colors such as gunmetal, black, coral blue, maple gold, and more.

The two-piece design fits securely around your phone, offering edge-to-edge protection and bezels around the screen and camera. The buttons are kept flush with the case, which should still provide good feedback and are easily accessible. The TPU body offers protection from drops and falls by providing some shock absorption, while the hard polycarbonate shell protects from scratches and scuffs. The reinforced metal kickstand is perfect for watching media handsfree and is sturdy enough to keep the phone in place even if you bump the table it's standing on.

The Spigen Slim Armor is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Neo Hybrid

Spigen's Neo Hybrid case features a brand new look from the last generation, and now that I have finally seen it on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, I can definitively say it's the case I personally like the most.

Still providing dual-layer protection but with a slimmer profile, the Neo Hybrid case is comprised mostly of a TPU body with a subtle polycarbonate bumper frame to reinforce the corners and the edge of the phone.

The first thing you'll notice is how nice case feels in hand. While the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is a smooth, silky feeling phone, the Neo Hybrid gives your device a more rugged, textured feel. This texture will no doubt give the phone a more solid feel in your hand, so you wouldn't have to worry about your new Galaxy slipping away from you.

Another great addition to the Neo Hybrid case is the redesigned bumper. It now cuts into the back of the case instead of just going around the edges. This allows the bumper to lie completely flush with the TPU body, meaning you won't have to deal with any sharp plastic edges when you're slipping your phone in and out of your pocket.

The Neo Hybrid comes in a wide variety of colors such as, gunmetal, shiny black, burgundy, violet, and more, so whatever you'll be able to match your personal sense of style.

The Spigen Neo Hybrid is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Neo Hybrid Crystal

If you're looking for a case that offers quality protection, but still keeps the natural beauty of your Galaxy intact, Spigen's Neo Hybrid Crystal is a great option for you.

The Dual-Layered design that uses three materials makes this clear case withstand some bumps and bruises. The back of the Neo Hybrid Crystal is made of a hard clear polycarbonate, while the sides —along with the button covers — are made of a flexible TPU. The bumper that reinforces the edges of your phone is also a hard polycarbonate piece and it comes in four colors: gunmetal, coral blue, maple gold, and orchid gray.

Both the TPU and polycarbonate around the edges have precise cutouts for all the buttons and ports, making it easy to retain 100% functionality of the Galaxy at all times.

The Neo Hybrid Crystal is avaiable for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+

Liquid Air

Made up of just a singular TPU shell, the Liquid Air case does have textured pattern on the rear of the case to improve your grip. Plus, all the ports are free and open, so you don't lose any functionality of your phone and the buttons along the sides are all covered to protect you from dust.

The Liquid Air and Rugged Armor are super similar, the biggest difference is in appearance. The Liquid Air offers you a much more uniformed look and is perfect for people who love a more modest look.

Spigen's Liquid Air is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Slim Armor CS

Who says that convenience can't also be protective? Spigen's Slim Armor CS case laughs at the notion wallet cases aren't tough.

Comprised of a dual layered system made up of a TPU cover and a polycarbonate back plate, the Slim Armor CS offers the same great protection you'll find in Spigen's protective lineup. Shock-absorption will help protect your phone against tumbles and falls, while the durability of the polycarbonate will resist any scratches or scuffs! Plus, it has a sliding-door compartment in the back where you can fit two cards, or a couple of bills, or a combination of both, meaning you won't have to always carry your wallet around.

Most wallet cases can feel really bulky around your phone, but Spigen's Slim Armor CS lives up to the slim part of its name. Even with a couple of cards and a few bills in the back, the case doesn't lose it's shape or have any unsightly bulges.

Spigen's Slim Armor CS is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ today.

Thin Fit

This form-fitted polycarbonate shell will easily snap onto your Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, and it's perfect for all you minimalists out there. With a few different colors to pick from such as gunmetal, coral blue, black and more, Spigen's Thin Fit case is more like a colorful skin than anything else.

An added bonus of Spigen's Thin Fit case, is it's compatible with magnetic car mounts, as the case has space for a QNMP plate on the inside. Plus, there is virtually no extra bulk added to the phone, making the Galaxy S8 and S8+ very easy to slide in and out of your pockets.

Spigen's Thin Fit is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ today.

Liquid Crystal

Made from a soft TPU, Spigen's Liquid Crystal case for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ is a little prone to fingerprints. Don't worry, you get an installation guide and cleaning cloth in the box so you won't have nasty oil smudges on the inside of the case.

With a raised lip around the camera cutout, Spigen's case offers protection for your lens when your phone is on its back. If you prefer setting your phone on its front, a raised bezel along the top and bottom edges of the case keeps your screen away from any damaging surfaces.

Spigen's Liquid Crystal is available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ today.

Which case are you wrapping around your Galaxy?

Let us know what cases you like in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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

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6 days ago

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S8+

58

Opting for the larger Galaxy S8+? You'll want to keep it protected!

Update April 20: Added the Lifeproof FRE case as well as Speck's Presidio line of cases for the Galaxy S8+.

The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is a big, beautiful phone with a gorgeous screen and stunning glass backing that looks great in whichever color you choose to get.

If you care about keeping your phone looking 'like new' for as long as possible, you'll want to slap a case on it as soon as you can. If you still want to show off the design of your brand new phone, you've got some options there, too.

Samsung Clear View Standing Cover

We'll start off with one of Samsung's own cases for the Galaxy S8+. The Clear View Standing Cover offers a really slick way to fully protect your phone without affecting it's functionality.

The case features a translucent matte cover that completely covers the screen while still allowing you use Always On display, answer calls, control your music and more through the front cover. It can also be folded to create an adjustable stand for binge watching Netflix or YouTube.

Since this case is designed by Samsung itself, you can buy confidently knowing that the fit will be spot-on and you won't have any issues accessing the physical buttons, headphone jack and charging port.

You can preorder your own case (along with your Galaxy S8+ if you haven't done so already) from Samsung, though as you might expect a high-end case like this doesn't come cheap.

See at Samsung


Spigen Neo Hybrid Clear Case

So you want your phone to be well protected… but you also don't want to cover it up with a layer of thick black plastic. The Spigen Neo Hybrid Clear Case offers the perfect balance of protection and style, with its crystal clear polycarbonate backing letting the stylish design of the phone shine right through.

But just because it's slim and clear doesn't mean it's not protecting your phone. This two-piece case doubles up around the edges with flexible TPU hugging your phone with raised edges at the top and bottom to offer you that crucial screen clearance when you place your phone face down on a table. It's capped off with a PC bumper — available in clear or black options — to provide added drop protection.

See at Amazon


Spigen Ultra Hybrid Clear Case

If you're looking for a clear case that offers a bit more functionality, Spigen also has the Ultra Hybrid case for the Galaxy S8+. It's made of the same crystal clear materials as the Neo Hybrid and offers a very similar look and in-hand feel.

But unlike the Neo Hybrid, the Ultra Hybrid is a one-piece case that still combines a strong PC back with a flexible TPU bumper wrapping around the edges of your phone. But what makes the Ultra Hybrid extra special is the built-in kickstand on the back for hands-free viewing. Because with such a beautiful display, you're going to want to show it off.

See at Amazon


Silk Base Grip Case

A common issue with bigger phones is maintaining a steady grip. Some phones are so big it can be hard to hold them with one hand! That's where the Silk Grip Case for the Galaxy S8+ comes in.

This case features Silk's patent pending grip texture around the perimeter of the phone, which should greatly enhance your ability to keep hold of it. Other valuable features include air cushion corners to help absorb the shock of a drop, natural feeling buttons that still give you that click feedback when you press them, and lay-flat screen guard design to keep that brilliant display protected.

All in all, its a fairly sleek and simplistic look with thoughtful design to help keep your phone in your hand.

See at Amazon


UAG Monarch Case

Some people buy a case to make their phone look all snazzy, while others buy cases that offer maximum protection because hey, buying the latest flagship device ain't cheap and you want to protect that investment.

Enter the UAG Monarch case. UAG is known for making some really rugged cases, and the Monarch is the most rugged case they offer. Despite its ultralight design, they've packed five layers of protection into this case, including top grain leather and alloy metal. On the inside, your phone is protected with a soft impact-resistant core that also wraps around the front of the phone a bit to offer protection for the screen.

Along with the PC plate on the back, the Monarch features honeycomb patterns along the edges which will help with grip. This case isn't cheap — but then again, neither is your Galaxy S8+, so spend a little more and keep it well protected.

See at UAG


SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle PRO

So you want to keep your Galaxy S8+ secure with a rugged case, but you also don't want to spend a lot to do so. The SUPCASE offers a slim-yet-rugged case, the Unicorn Beetle PRO, which offers full protection for a very reasonable price.

This three-piece case features a dual-layer back casing that combines impact-resistant TPU with a hard PC shell, and also includes a protective front casing that offers ample protection around that beautiful new screen, and completely covers the bottom bezel of the phone.

On top of all that protection, it also comes with a 360-degree holster to clip onto your belt, if you're into that look.

See at Amazon

Lifeproof FRE Case

We see the debate raging in the comments. There are those who don't believe they need a case, and those who absolutely need that extra protection.

If you fall into the latter category, you'll maybe want to consider the Lifeproof FRE case. Sure, it's expensive and offers additional waterproofing for a phone that's already designed to withstand water and dirt pretty well, but if you're planning to spend a decent amount of time outdoors this summer, there's something to be said about the extra peace of mind that a LifeProof case provides.

This case is designed to withstand everything that life throws at it, and includes a microfiber cloth and headphone adapter so you can listen to your favorite music without impeding the case's ability to keep water and dust out.

This case is currently unavailable, but you can check it out on the Lifeproof and sign up to be notified when it goes on sale.

See at

Speck Presidio Cases

Speck was named by a few commenters as their preferred case, so who are we to disagree?

In their Presidio line, Speck offers a bunch of different styles that are drop tested to survive falls of at least 8 feet and precisely designed with ample cutouts for the ports. Each case also features a bezel around the edges to protect the screen and a scratch-resistant finish so your case will look great while keeping your phone looking great.

We've featured the Presidio Grip case on the right and in the link below because we like it's slightly more rugged design and the texture on the back. If that's not your style, you should be able to find all the other styles of cases that Speck sells for the Galaxy S8+, including clear cases and more flashy options.

See at Speck

What's your preferred case?

How are you planning to protect your Galaxy S8+? Do you have a case you're eyeing that isn't on our list? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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6 days ago

Sprint offering Galaxy S8 2-for-1 deal until April 27, so long as you open a new line

9

New Sprint customers and upgraders can get a solid deal when picking up two Galaxy S8s this week.

The Galaxy S8 launch hype is real, and Sprint is capitalizing on the buzz with a two-for-one deal that gives you two of the hottest Samsung phones for the price of one. The caveat, of course, is that this deal comes by way of Sprint's "Galaxy Forever" lease program, meaning you're actually signing up for two leases, but only have to pay for one.

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6 days ago

Best browser themes for Chromebooks

8
Best themes for Chromebooks

Update April 20, 2017: We've added a new comic book theme, as well as some awesome new Star Wars themes.

What are the best themes for Chromebooks?

Since your Chromebook uses the Chrome browser, you can customize the look and feel of it to suit your mood and interests. The Chrome Web Store is packed with myriad themes, so we went in a pulled out a few of the best, just in case you didn't feel like slogging through.

These themes won't change your Chromebook's background or layout, but they'll definitely make your Chrome browsing experience more enjoyable or more functional, depending on your preference.

Remember: You don't have to use the same theme on all of your devices that have Chrome! You can have a different theme to suit every experience and every purpose.

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6 days ago

Google Home multi-user support lets you connect up to 6 accounts simultaneously

42

Now everyone gets a properly personal Google Assistant in the home.

From the beginning Google Home wasn't going to make much sense if it was tied to a single account, and now several months after launch we have proper multi-user support for the connected smart speaker. Google Home will now connect to six Google accounts simultaneously, and tailor responses based on the voice profile of the person who asked the question.

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6 days ago

BlackBerry KEYone now available for pre-order at Carphone Warehouse

19

Pre-order today for delivery by May 5th, priced at £499.

UK retail giant Carphone Warehouse has today kicked off pre-orders for the new BlackBerry KEYone. BlackBerry Mobile's new keyboard-toting device is available to order SIM-free for £499. That'll get you a security and productivity-focused handset with a full QWERTY keyboard, Android 7.1.1 Nougat and BlackBerry's full loadout of apps, including BlackBerry Hub and DTEK.

On the inside, it's running one of the Android Central team's favorite mid-tier chips, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625, and that's paired with a 3,505mAh battery — a combination that bodes well for extreme longevity. And around the back, the KEYone boasts the same 12-megapixel Sony IMX378 sensor used in the Google Pixel, a solid foundation to build upon. You'll be dealing with a slightly unusual aspect ratio to allow space for that full keyboard though — 4.5-inch, 1620x1080 panel that sits above a row of capacitive keys.

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6 days ago

Moto G5 Plus can't make emergency calls on Verizon's VoLTE service

6

Lenovo has offered a temporary solution, with a software update fix coming next week.

If you own a Moto G5 Plus running on Verizon's network, this news is for you. In a recent post on Lenovo's support forum, the company says it has identified a software issue that affects the Moto G5 Plus' ability to connect to 911 emergency services when using Verizon's Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service.

Obviously, this is a pretty big safety concern that needs to be addressed pronto. Lenovo is looking into the issue and plans to release a software update within the next week to fix the issue. But in the meantime, it recommends turning off Verizon's Enhanced 4G LTE Mode in the phone's settings:

  1. Tap Settings from the home screen or app drawer.
  2. Scroll down and tap the …More option.
  3. Tap Wireless & Network.
  4. Tap Cellular Networks.
  5. Ensure that Enhanced 4G LTE Mode is turned off.

By disabling the VoLTE feature, you will not be able to use voice and data at the same time, but you will be able to call 911 in case of an emergency. If you don't see the Enhanced 4G LTE Mode in your phone's settings, you may want to contact Verizon to check whether said features are activated on your plan.

Lenovo says they are committed to fixing this issue in a timely fashion. If you have a Moto G5 Plus and you're running on Verizon's 4G LTE network, you'll definitely want to go into your phone and switch off this setting, for now, then keep an eye out for next week's software update. Don't try calling 911 to see if your phone connects, unless you're dealing with an actual emergency — this should be common sense but we'll say it here anyways.

Moto G5

See at Amazon

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6 days ago

What color Galaxy S8 or S8+ should I buy — black, silver, or orchid gray?

37

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are now available. Time to figure out which of its color options suits you best.

Did you hear? The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are both available for purchase and you can choose between three stunning color choices in the U.S. for either device. There's Arctic Silver, Midnight Black, and Orchid Gray.

Samsung fans overseas have access to an additional Coral Blue and Maple Gold version of the flagship in either size. It's a bummer we won't be seeing those two options stateside, but perhaps the Orchid Gray will be enough to tide over those of you looking for a smartphone that's just a bit different from the status quo. It's really quite pretty.

Galaxy S8 in black

gs8 black

Black car, black sunglasses, black three-piece suit — all you need to finish out accessorizing that ensemble is a black Galaxy S8 or S8+. Yeah, it's a pretty basic color, but there's a reason so many manufacturers produce their smartphones in black — it goes with everything. A black chassis also means scratches and nicks will be less obvious in the long run.

Samsung's really keen on the bezel-less smartphone life, and those lack of bezels are especially apparent on the all-black Galaxy S8 and S8+. You won't see the rounded corners unless the screen is on, and the effect makes it appear as if the screen really is an infinity display. There's also thin black buttons on either side that blend in ever-so-nicely with everything else — like a black car with black rims.

Who is it for?

Anyone who wants to keep it simple, as well as anyone who really doesn't like the reflectiveness of the other Galaxy S8 and S8+ color combinations.

Galaxy S8 in silver

gs8 silver

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ in Arctic Silver are definitely cool looking, but that depends on how much you enjoy seeing your reflection every time you pick up the phone. At least you can use it to check your makeup.

Regardless of whether the Arctic Silver variant is hyper-reflective and hyper-distracting, it's still an attractive offering. However, if you end up choosing this variation, you may find it's safer from the elements inside a case. Scratches and fingerprints become grossly obvious against this kind of sheen.

Who is it for?

Anyone who doesn't care what color their carrier representative grabs for them from the stock room.

Galaxy S8 in orchid gray

Galaxy S8 in Orchid Gray

Finally — a little something different from the status quo. Rather than launch the standard gold, silver, and black trio of devices, the company opted for this attractive, lilac-toned gray hue in lieu of gold. It's called Orchid Gray, and like a real life orchid, it's just as rewarding to look at as it is to take care of it. You'll definitely want to wrap this up in some sort of case.

It's also good to see a typically feminine color skew a bit toward the masculine. Orchid Gray works for anyone, and it's a nice addition to Galaxy S8 color lineup.

Who is it for?

Orchid Gray is for anyone who wants to stand out. You'll want to hold out for this one if you're looking for something special.

The colors you won't see in the U.S.

Galaxy S8 in all color variations

Remember that gorgeous Coral Blue Galaxy Note 7 that was offered overseas before the whole battery fiasco recalled it? It's back on the Galaxy S8, though it's still limited to certain markets. It's a bummer, too, because the pigment in the coral blue variation is truly impressive. Hopefully, the future of smartphones means brighter, bolder colors.

Maple Gold is also an offering for Galaxy S8 fans overseas, and it's similar to the gold variation of last year's Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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6 days ago

Bell launches support for near-gigabit LTE speeds in Canada

7

Near-gigabit speeds are coming to one Canadian carrier.

Bell, the third-largest carrier in Canada, has announced that it now supports quad-band LTE Advanced in some parts of Canada, enabling speeds of up to 750Mbps.

The company launched tri-band LTE Advanced a couple of years ago, but now that the Galaxy S8 is approaching release, and with the support of gigabit LTE speeds with 256QAM and 4x4 MIMO, Bell is taking the opportunity to re-ignite the wireless speed war that was active with Rogers a few years ago.

Bell is leveraging four separate wireless bands — Band 4, Band 7, Band 12 and Band 13 — to achieve speeds of up to 550Mbps across the country, with supported hardware. Toronto and cities in Atlantic Canada can reach speeds of 750Mbps with support for 256QAM on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

Most people won't necessarily notice this huge surge in wireless speeds, especially on the data-limited plans that many Canadians have to deal with, but it's good to see that carriers are still adding functionality to their networks to not only make them faster but more efficient. The more important upside to this announcement is the additional efficiencies gained from quad-band aggregation, which allows customers to source wireless signal from the fastest possible route.

Carriers in the U.S. such as Sprint and T-Mobile have also rolled out similar upgrades to their networks in order to approach speeds of 1Gbps, but they're not widely available just yet.

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6 days ago

These 2016 flagships are great Galaxy S8 alternatives

95

Many of last year's high-end Android phones have stood the test of time.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are phenomenal phones — two of the best out there right now. But they're also expensive phones, especially if you're buying outright.

So if you're looking to save some cash, you might look at some of the previous year's flagships, many of which are speedy, well-built and have been upgraded to Android Nougat. Most importantly, some of these are now available for as little as half the price of Samsung's latest duo.

Let's take a look at four of the best.

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6 days ago

Mastercard introduces a credit card with a built-in fingerprint reader

31

Mastercard's latest credit card comes with a biometric zone that stores your fingerprints.

Mastercard has rolled out a credit card that has an integrated fingerprint scanner, making it easier to authenticate purchases at retail stores. The card stores two fingerprints, and features an embedded sensor that lets you authorize payments instead of having to sign or use a PIN.

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