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4 days ago

Best Samsung Gear VR games with controller support

What Gear VR games need a controller?

Samsung built the Gear VR so it didn't have to rely on a separate controller, and most of the time that is awesome. The touch panel on the side of the headset lets you move around quickly and swipe to perform many different actions in apps and games, and it's a lot of fun. Sometimes, either because you don't want a single arm getting tired from playing for an extended period of time or because you want to be a little more discreet, a controller is what you need.

Here's a quick look at the games we like best when played with a Gear VR controller in hand, so you can have more fun in VR for longer.

Read more at VR Heads

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4 days ago

How to fix a broken Galaxy S7 edge screen

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Here's what you need to know if the screen on your Galaxy S7 edge breaks.

Chances are you will break the screen on your phone one day. If it hasn't happened to you yet, you have it to look forward to. They're glass — which is pretty fragile — and we carry them around all day every day in our pocket or bag or even in our hand. No matter how careful you are, your phone is bumped and squished and dropped. If you break the screen on your Samsung Galaxy S7 edge you'll want to get it fixed. Here's what you need to know about repairing or replacing the screen.

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4 days ago

Where to buy the new NVIDIA Shield Android TV

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Where can I buy the new NVIDIA Shield Android TV?

As was expected, NVIDIA announced a new version of the Shield Android TV at CES 2017. While internally all the specs remain untouched from the original Shield, NVIDIA has made some tweaks to the box's look and feel and made it even more enticing with new accessories and software.

The new Shield is roughly 40% smaller than the original, and ships with a remote along with a redesigned controller. The new controller has been refined with a slimmer profile and textured joysticks to improve the gaming experience. NVIDIA has also ditched the capacitive touch controls for the back and home buttons and added proper physical buttons, and also made sure the controller is ready to be enabled with always-listening microphones once the Shield's software is updated with Google Assistant.

Like the original, the new NVIDIA Shield Android TV is available with two storage capacity options, priced accordingly — $199 for the 16GB model, and $299 for the 500GB Pro model (which also comes with a microSD card slot). NVIDIA is already taking orders for the new boxes, and you can get one shipped out quickly from one of the links below.

Amazon

Amazon was one of the primary places to buy the original NVIDIA Shield console, and it is of course carrying both the Shield and Shield Pro. Both are available at the previously set prices of $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 500GB Pro model, and are eligible for Prime Shipping.

See at Amazon

Best Buy

Best Buy offers both the standard NVIDIA Shield and the Shield Pro at the base price with free shipping. You have the option to add 2- or 4-year Geek Squad protection plans to your order — but you'll probably be good to go without it. If you have a Best Buy credit card, you can get take advantage of financing and cash-back rewards options.

Best Buy shipments should begin arriving by January 17.

See NVIDIA Shield at Best Buy See NVIDIA Shield Pro at Best Buy

NVIDIA

If you're the type of person who just prefers to buy your tech from the source, you can also order your Shield from NVIDIA yourself, although there's really no perks included for doing so. But it is an option.

See at NVIDIA

NVIDIA Spot

You'll need an NVIDIA Shield Android TV to process requests from NVIDIA's Spot, the first third-party microphone/speaker peripheral to use Google Assistant, which you'll be able to set up simply by plugging them into wall outlets throughout your home. NVIDIA Spot and the added functionality of Google Assistant will be coming to both the new and original NVIDIA Shield Android TVs later this year.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

Amazon

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4 days ago

How to enable fingerprint gestures on the Honor 6X

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This is how to turn on the magic of the Honor 6X's rear-facing fingerprint sensor.

The Honor 6X may be cheap in price, but it's an appealing buy precisely because it packs a few features you'd normally see paired with a flagship.

The 6X comes able with a few fingerprint gestures, including the ability to use the rear-facing sensor as a shutter button for the camera app. You can also use it to swipe down on the notifications shade, for those times when you've only got one finger that's mobile. Here's how to enable these gestures and four others.

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4 days ago

Nougat update starts rolling out to the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium

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Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium pick up Nougat.

After rolling out Nougat to the Xperia X, Xperia XZ, and the Xperia X Performance, Sony is now bringing the update to the Xperia Z5 family. As noted by Xperia Blog, the Android 7.0 update is now rolling out to the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium, and will make its way shortly to the Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z3+ and Xperia Z4 Tablet.

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4 days ago

Android Wear 2.0 rumored to launch on Feb 9

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Wearables are about to get exciting again.

We know that Android Wear 2.0 is coming next month, and a tweet from Evan Blass suggests a launch is on the cards for February 9. Google is rumored to unveil two Nexus-branded smartwatches, so it is likely we'll see them early next month.

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4 days ago

Samsung launches Galaxy C9 Pro with 6GB RAM in India

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6-inch Full HD display, 4000mAh battery, and stereo speakers.

Samsung has launched the Galaxy C9 Pro — the company's first phone with 6GB of RAM — in India. The phone was unveiled in China last October, and will be up for sale in India next month for ₹36,900 ($545). Pre-orders for the handset will go live starting January 27, and Samsung is throwing in a one-time screen replacement service for free to those pre-booking the device. The service will be valid for one year from the date of purchase.

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5 days ago

HTC One A9 gets its Nougat update

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Good news for a phone that desperately needs some.

Owners of the strange, better-than-we-thought-but-worse-than-we-hoped 2015 "flagship," the HTC One A9, will begin receiving Android 7.0 through an OTA update beginning late January 16.

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5 days ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: Which should you buy?

54
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, and Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the [Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50 (and right now, if you buy a 6-pack, you'll only pay for 5!).

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Since it is battery-powered, the Tap isn't always listening, so — as the name would suggest — you have to tap it to activate Alexa, which only works over Wi-Fi. It's kind of a pain in the keister.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, but you'll have to get up and tap it to do so (at that point, you might as well pull out your phone). It can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can still do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do; you just have to get off your duff and tap it to get it to work. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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5 days ago

Galaxy S8: 5 things the GS7's Nougat update reveals about Samsung's next flagship

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Galaxy S7 Nougat

We don't yet know for sure what Samsung's next big thing will look like — but the Galaxy S7's Nougat update gives us a few important clues.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Android 7.0 update has just started rolling out to some users, giving GS7 owners a taste of Nougat. In addition to new Android OS features, Samsung is giving GS7 owners an early look at its updated TouchWiz UI, which builds on the work we saw in the Note 7.

The update provides a useful window into what to expect from Samsung's next big thing, the Galaxy S8. Just as 2015's GS6 Marshmallow beta foreshadowed the UI we would eventually see on the Galaxy S7 at launch, the GS7 Nougat update gives us a few clues about what to expect from the Korean company's 2017 flagship.

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5 days ago

Best Heavy Duty Cases for Moto G4

2
Best heavy duty cases for Moto G4

Which heavy duty cases are best for the Moto G4?

You've just picked up your shiny new Moto G4 and you're looking for a good protective case for it. That's where we come in: here are some picks for the best heavy duty cases for the Moto G4.

Cimo Moto G4 hybrid case

Cimo Moto G4 hybrid case

Coming in a variety of colors, the Cimo Moto G4 Hybrid case offers good protection while enhancing the look of your Moto G4.

Composed of two layers, a soft flexible inner layer and a hard outer layer, the Cimo Moto G4 hybrid case protects against drops and shocks. Additionally, it has a grippy texture on the back that helps you keep hold of your Moto G4, preventing you from dropping it. It also has raised bezels around the edge to protect the screen and the camera lens from getting scratched when you lay your phone down.

Like most heavy-duty cases, the Cimo Moto G4 hybrid case does add to the thickness of your phone; however, that is to be expected from a case that's supposed to protect it from damage.

If you're looking for a good protective case for a decent price that's comfortable to hold and is nice looking, then the Cimo Moto G4 hybrid case is for you.

See at Amazon


Tudia Extreme Protection case

TUDIA Extreme Protection case

The Tudia Extreme Protection case is a protective case that easily snaps on your Moto G4 while also keeping it looking sharp.

The Tudia Extreme Protection case is made out of two layers: a hard polycarbonate outer shell that fits over a soft thermo-plastic urethane (TPU) inner shell. The two layers form a protective shield against shocks and drops, as well as keep out dust and dirt.

It's stylish, too: it comes in four different colors — black, slate, mint and rose — so choose the one that suits you best.

If you're looking for a stylish yet protective case for your Moto G4, the TUDIA Extreme Protection case is a great option.

See at Amazon


Day Joy Moto G4 case

DAYJOY Moto G4 case

If you want a rugged case that makes your Moto G4 hard to drop, and you want a kickstand that you can prop up at any angle, then the DAYJOY Moto G4 case is the one you want.

Like other heavy-duty cases, the DAYJOY case has two layers: a hard polycarbonate outer layer and a soft inner layer made of flexible thermo-plastic urethane (TPU). This dual-layer construction helps to protect your device from the shocks associated with drops and well as preventing it from getting scratched up.

The back features ridges along the upper half to help you maintain your grip when you are holding your Moto G4, while the bottom half is smoother and contains the kickstand. The kickstand is able to rotate 360-degrees, so you can prop your device up at any angle that's comfortable for you to read, play games, or watch videos.

See at Amazon


J&D Moto G4 kickstand case

J&D Moto G4 kickstand case

The J&D Moto G4 kickstand case is just what it says on the tin: a protective case that comes with a kickstand.

Made of a hard polycarbonate outer shell and a soft silicone inner shell, the J&D G4 kickstand case protects your Moto G4 if you drop it and prevents scratches.

The kickstand allows you to prop your Moto G4 up for reading, playing games, or watching videos in comfort, and it's ruggedly stylish, with an opening in the back to display the Motorola logo. Carry your phone with pride.

If you're looking for a rugged case with a kickstand that has an opening in the back for the Motorola logo, then the J&D kickstand case is on the top of your list.

See at Amazon


Oeago Defender case for Moto G4

OEAGO Defender Moto G4 case

The Oeago Defender case for the Moto G4 is a protective case with a grippy back that helps you maintain hold of your Moto G4.

Composed of a hard outer shell and soft core, the Oeago Defender protects your device against scratches and drops. It covers the buttons of your Moto G4 in the soft core material, shielding the weak points from damage. Don't worry, though, the button coverings don't interfere with their functionality in any way.

Additionally, the Oeago Defender has a kickstand that can open to a 45-degree angle for comfortable reading, gaming, or for watching videos.

If you're looking for a solid case for your Moto G4 that has a kickstand and helps you grip your device, then choose the OEAGO Defender.

See at Amazon


Poetic Revolution

Poetic Revolution

Poetic makes a fine phone case and the Revolution is an excellent rugged option for your Moto G4. Comprising flexible TPU and hard polycarbonate, this case is the perfect blend of shock absorption and all-around protection from bumps and scratches.

Your ports and buttons are all covered, but there's still a tactile response from the buttons, and the ports can be accessed quickly enough, while keeping dirt and dust out.

Your choices are black, blue/gray, and pink/gray.

See at Amazon


Let us know

Did we miss any awesome cases? Let us know all about in the comments below.

This article was originally published on September 28, 2016. It was recently updated in January, 2017 with the following changes: Added the Poetic Revolution case.

Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Moto G4:

Amazon Motorola

Moto G4 Plus:

Amazon Motorola

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5 days ago

LeEco starts selling its phones and TVs on Amazon

15

When you need to sell consumer electronics, it's hard to ignore Amazon.

Just a week after expanding its U.S. sales to include Target's online store, LeEco is now selling its latest phones and TVs on Amazon. To kick it off LeEco is selling its higher-end Le Pro3 and Le S3 in two colors, as well as its 43-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch 4K TVs at a nice $100 off discount as of the time of writing.

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5 days ago

Samsung to state obvious: Batteries were the main cause behind Note 7 fires

43

Closing the final chapter of the hottest story of 2016.

A source familiar with Samsung's investigation into the exploding Note 7 issue says the South Korean tech giant has concluded that batteries were to blame for the spontaneous combustions that led to two recalls and the ultimate demise of the flagship device, Reuters reports. In other news, grass is green and the sky still appears to be blue.

Joking aside, this news reaffirms what everyone already already assumed: catastrophic battery failure was the leading cause behind the Note 7 fires. While we wait on an official response from Samsung — which the source says should come in the days before the company releases its fourth quarter numbers — we would like to see the final report address what specific issues caused the Note 7 batteries to spontaneously combust.

As you'll recall (pun not intended) when the Note 7s first started to explode, Samsung was quick to offer a solution in the form of a different battery supplier, assuring the public the issue was with those particular cells. Given that the problems persisted despite the new batteries, it will be very interesting if Samsung concludes that it was solely a supply chain issue and not with the Note 7 itself.

And it's going to be imperative for Samsung to not leave any lingering questions in the air with the Galaxy S8 launch expected in the first half of 2017, as I'm sure we'd all like to put the Note 7 saga behind us once and for all.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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5 days ago

How to fix a broken Galaxy S7 screen

15

Here's everything you need to know if you cracked the screen on your Galaxy S7.

Broken screens happen. Mix a big piece of thin glass (no matter how many Gorillas were involved) and something that will be dropped and bumped and otherwise gently abused and the outcome is broken displays. If this happens to your Galaxy S7, you'll probably want to get it repaired or replaced. There are several different things that can be done depending on how broken your screen is. Let's take a look at what to do to get your Galaxy S7 back in action.

Get a good screen protector

If the display is badly scratched or has hairline cracks but still works, you can usually get away with covering the whole screen with a good glass screen protector. Think of this as a way to delay the inevitable worsening of cracks in the glass or damage to the actual display. Over time the cracks will get bigger and those dark pixels will expand, but a glass screen protector will really slow things down and gives you a smooth surface while you're waiting.

It's important that you get a real glass one. They are stronger and hold the pieces in place. A more flexible screen protector isn't going to do much to help. If you're reading this before your screen breaks, a glass screen protector goes a long way in keeping your display from getting broken in the first place! After looking at a few and asking folks what they have and how they like it, I think the aFilm Bye-Bye Bubble tempered glass screen protector is the one to buy.

See at Amazon

Getting it repaired

This is the route that most of us will take. Having people who know what they're doing when it comes to taking expensive phones apart is generally a wise decision. But finding the right people to do the repair can be a little tricky.

If anyone besides Samsung fixes your phone you'll lose your warranty, and water resistance.

The first thing to do is take it back to the place you bought it from and see what they have to say. For most of us in North America, that means a carrier store. No matter the carrier, they will be able to help get the phone repaired or replaced under insurance or a warranty. They can start the official repair process, and even if they need you to call Samsung yourself it's smart to have a record of talking to the folks whose name is on the device first. Be sure to mention any warranty from your credit card or third party program, and let them know if you or purchased the Samsung Protection Plus package.

If you bought your phone outright, you're going to be mostly on your own here. Don't worry, that's not a big deal in this case. Get things started by starting a repair ticket at Samsung.com or calling Samsung customer service at 1-800-SAMSUNG (726-7864). They'll get the paperwork started and tell you where and how to send your phone to them, give you an estimate of the cost and let you know approximately how long it's going to take. Generally, it costs about $200 and takes 14 days. The web is full of folks with horror stories, but those aren't the rule and you likely won't have any surprises if you send it off to Samsung.

There are also plenty of other places that repair Samsung screens, and there's a good chance you even have one within driving distance. There are also some good nationwide options for people in the United States, and we can recommend two:

  • UBREAKIFIX is a well-known company that has both walk-in and mail-in service. Visit their website to see if you have a local store or your options for sending it in. This is also the company Google uses for their Pixel repairs for Project Fi insured phones.
  • Office Depot has a lot of locations that do phone repairs for Samsung phones. Their work has a full one-year warranty and they offer a price match guarantee with same-day service in many cases. They don't handle mail-in repairs, but it's worth a look to see if you have one of their repair centers in driving distance.

If you decide to go local, ask around and see which service the local phone reps at your carrier store use. Also, make sure you get a confirmation of any guarantee and warranty up front and in writing from any place that's going to take your phone apart. Most local "fix it" centers for cell phones have a person or two who is pretty good at doing things like fixing screens, but it's always better to be sure of everything in advance.

Do it yourself

If you've got the know-how and the patience, you can repair the screen on your GS7 yourself. Like most newer phones, the Galaxy S7 isn't very repair-friendly but the display can be worked free of the adhesive.

We're not saying it's easy. There's always the chance you'll break something else taking a phone apart or that you won't be able to get it back together again. You'll need to start from the back and disassemble everything between the back cover and the display, including removing the mainboard itself.

There are plenty of in-depth tutorials about changing your GS7 screen on YouTube. You should start with Jerry Rig Everything's video where he repairs the screen and charging port.

You can pick up a kit that includes the complete digitizer and screen assembly and the tools to do the repair for about $150 so you're not saving very much money. But you will save time versus mailing your phone off to a repair center.

See at Amazon

Have questions?

Do you have questions about getting your screen repaired? Or if you know of a good repair option in your neck of the woods, or can tell us how your repair went we'd love to hear it!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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5 days ago

New NVIDIA Shield Android TV: Everything you need to know

79
NVIDIA Shield Android TV

The latest Android TV box continues to drive the industry.

NVIDIA made a splash at CES 2017 when it unveiled a new version of its extremely popular Shield Android TV box. The new Shield Android TV has a similar design, identical internals, same price and similar value proposition as the original, and isn't even getting a distinctive name to separate it from the first model.

So what has changed, and what can you expect to get in the new Shield Android TV? Well there's still plenty to unpack here.

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