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6 days ago

How to connect a PlayStation Aim Controller to your PlayStation VR

Connecting your aim controller to PlayStation VR is a simple process.

The PlayStation Aim controller is the newest accessory for PlayStation VR, allowing you to really feel like you are in the middle of the action when shooting baddies in a game. However before you go shooting anything that moves, you need to make sure that your Aim controller is properly paired and connected to your PlayStation 4 console.

Getting connected will only take a moment or two though, and we've got the details on how to do it.

Read more on VRHeads.com

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6 days ago

Verizon cancels sales of the LG Watch Sport

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You won't find the Verizon variant on LG's site either.

Verizon users who were looking forward to talking to family member through their wrists — a la Inspector Gadget — you're out of a luck. Verizon has cancelled the sale of the LTE-connected LG Watch Sport, in addition to pre-orders, and this is after the smartwatch had already experienced a significant delay.

From Verizon:

The LG Watch Sport has been cancelled and we are offering anyone who pre-ordered it $100 off a connected smartwatch of their choice.

The cancellation of the sale of the Watch Sport seems especially coincidental if you consider the fact that Verizon's own LTE-connected Wear24 went on sale just last week. The Verizon-compatible watch option for the Watch Sport has also been removed from LG's website.

Android Wear

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6 days ago

Best Front-facing Camera

Updated May, 2017: It's a new year of flagship smartphones! That means we've updated this post with our list of the best devices with improved front-facing cameras.

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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

Samsung knows how to equip you with what you need to take a selfie. Not only is the Galaxy S8 packed with some of the best front-facing camera hardware — an 8-megapixel camera with auto focus, to be exact — but it also offers a number of extra software features that'll help sustain your vanity. For instance, the camera app offers Snapchat-like features baked right in, in addition to a robust beauty mode that buffs out your imperfections and makes you look like the freshly airbrushed model you wish you could be. The filters also work on your friends' faces in group selfies, and if you can't fit them all into the shot, you can easily switch into the wide-angle selfie mode.

Bottom line: You'll win at narcissism with the Galaxy S8's fine front-facing hardware and its accompanying software features.

One more thing: If you need something bigger, the larger Galaxy S8+ shares the same hardware, not to mention it also offers a bigger screen for you to view the end results.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

Let's riff on the Galaxy S8's specifications for a second. The new Galaxy S8 features an 8MP front-facing camera with auto focus capabilities— even in the high end, most phones don't have auto focus capabilities on the front-facer. The front-facing camera also shoots with a f/1.7 lens, so it takes decent low-light photos, just like the rear-facing camera. It also has HDR capabilities, a selective focus mode for portrait shots, and you can download additional modes as you see fit.

The point is: The Galaxy S8 is not only equipped with an impressive front-facing camera, but it also offers a host of fun software features that'll keep you snappin'.

Best Non-Samsung

Google Pixel/Pixel XL

See at Verizon See at Google

I've been using the Pixel and Pixel XL to take snaps of me and my pals for the past few weeks. Its 8MP front-facing camera is a phenomenal performer, though it only shoots at an aperture of f/2.4. It also doesn't have as many extra feature offerings as Samsung's smartphones, though you can download a third-party app like the BestMe Selfie Camera to have some fun with your friends.

Bottom line: If you'd rather go Google because software updates matter more to you than an abundance of camera features, the Pixel is a bona fide selfie shooter.

One more thing: The Pixel also utilizes the helpful double-press-to-launch shortcut like the Galaxy S8.

Best Budget

Honor 8

See at Amazon

Huawei is particularly keen on boasting about its selfie capabilities — and for good reason. The Honor 8 is an entry-level smartphone with an 8MP front-facing camera. It shoots at an aperture of f/2.4 and comes bundled with features like the "Perfect selfie," which stores your customized beauty settings.

Bottom line: If you don't want to pay full price for a premium phone, but you still want a worthy selfie-snapping sensor, the Honor 8 is a worth considering.

One more thing: The Honor 8 also has dual 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras on the back, so you won't be compromising your main camera performance either.

Conclusion

Samsung knows selfies. It's been attempting to perfect them since the Galaxy S III, likely because it's a major selling point. And this year, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have had their front-facing cameras overhauled with better features and more capabilities, making either one the most compelling choice for the most vain of smartphone users.

But for the most part, the best smartphone for selfies is the one you already have your hand. So get to snappin'!

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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

Samsung knows how to equip you with what you need to take a selfie. Not only is it packed with some of the best front-facing camera hardware — an 8-megapixel camera with auto focus, to be exact — but it also offers a number of extra software features that'll help sustain your vanity. For instance, the camera app offers Snapchat-like features baked right in, in addition to a robust beauty mode that buffs out your imperfections and makes you look like the freshly airbrushed model you wish you could be. The filters also work on your friends' faces in group selfies, and if you can't fit them all into the shot you can easily switch into the wide-angle selfie mode.

Bottom line: You'll win at narcissism with the Galaxy S8's fine front-facing hardware and its accompanying software features.

One more thing: If you need something bigger, the larger Galaxy S8+ shares the same hardware, not to mention it also offers a bigger screen for you to view the end results.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

Let's riff on the Galaxy S8's specifications for a second. The new Galaxy S8 features an 8MP front-facing camera with auto focus capabilities — even in the high end, most phones don't have auto focus capabilities on the front-facer. The front-facing camera also shoots with a f/1.7 lens, so it takes decent low light photos, just like the rear-facing camera. It also has HDR capabilities, a selective focus mode for portrait shots, and you can download additional modes as you see fit.

The point is: the Galaxy S8 is not only equipped with an impressive front-facing camera, but it also offers a host of fun software features that'll keep you snappin'.

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6 days ago

Android Things Developer Preview 4 adds full support for Google Assistant

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The new update also features support for more development platform and a few other minor tweaks.

With Google I/O just around the corner, it seems like every Google property is getting a boost of oomph in preparation for the big developer event. Android Things Developer Preview 4 is next to get a bump with full support for the Google Assistant SDK for every compatible development platform, rather than just limiting it to the Raspberry Pi.

Google has also added more hardware and driver support. From the official blog post:

We are now adding a new Board Support Package for the NXP i.MX7D, which supports higher performance than the i.MX6UL while still using a low power System on Module (SoM) design. Support for Inter-IC Sound Bus (I2S) has been added to the Peripheral I/O API, now enabling audio drivers to be written in user space for sound hardware connected via an I2S bus. The AIY Voice Kit sampledemonstrates how to use I2S support for audio. We have also provided the ability for developers to enable/disable Bluetooth profiles at run time.

Furthermore, if you're interested in Android Things but are looking for some context on how it all works together, you can look at the code for the Edison Candle, the first in a series of production samples put out by Google that showcases how the software and hardware work together.

You can find links to all the relevant information at the official post on the Android Developers Blog. Or if you're ready to dive into it, you can download the system images here.

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6 days ago

Review: LG's Tone Ultra neckbuds are as good as it gets

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LG Tone Ultra

LG is still the best neckbud company out there.

Love them or hate them, Bluetooth earbuds you wear around your neck aren't going anywhere. They're inexpensive enough to be purchased on an impulse, the battery will never not last you a full day, and the connection to your phone is usually pretty strong. LG has dominated this category for years now with its quality and price, and after a week with the LG Tone Ultra (HBS-820) it's clear that isn't changing anytime soon.

See on Amazon

It doesn't get much more generic-looking than the LG Tone Ultra. When you imagine neckbuds, this is basically the image that appears in your mind. A small flexible band connects a pair of plastic shafts with buttons on either side, and an earbud resting at the end of each tip. When you pull on the earbud you get a short shot of retractable cable, allowing you to connect to your ear regardless of head size. The earbuds have adjustable rubber tips for different ear sizes, and the inside of the plastic shafts have a soft rubber coating with ridges to help with airflow and discomfort against your neck.

The most important part of the design here is the buttons. Each button is a physical, tactile button, which is important. There are no touch surfaces here, nothing to swipe across or tap. You get a Play/Pause button, a Call/Google Assistant button, switches for volume and track skipping, and that's it. There are no accidental button presses here, every button is nice and tactile so you know what to expect when you reach up to adjust something. The setup is simple, easy to learn, and there are no surprises when using these neckbuds throughout the day.

Audio from the LG Tone Ultra isn't going to blow you away, but it's decent.

The software is just as simple. When you turn the Tone Ultra on, a voice will let you know what the battery status is and either connect to your phone automatically or let you know it is ready to pair. Once connected to your phone, you can control audio from either the neckbuds or the volume toggle on your phone. There's not much else to do here, no need for an app to add features or settings.

Audio from the LG Tone Ultra isn't going to blow you away, but it's decent. APTx is supported, so as long as you have a phone that also supports that tech, you'll notice a difference in audio quality. As long as you're streaming music from a source offering higher quality audio or playing a decent file locally, these earbuds are just about as good as comparably priced wired earbuds, which is great. The dual MEMS microphones in these neckbuds are great as well, even in windy environments.

LG Tone Ultra

LG's big battery claims with these neckbuds include 13 hours of music listening time, 14.5 hours of talk time, and 30 days of standby. My use found the music listening time hovered right around the 12-hour mark before I was hearing battery low warnings every couple of minutes, and standby in my nine days of testing seemed excellent. Where I wasn't at all impressed was in the operating range. LG claims the Bluetooth 4.1 headset can deliver up to 33ft, when in most cases for me the range was closer to half that before connection issues started. In some cases, that range was closer to 10ft before audio stutters appear, which isn't great if you're walking around a room with your phone on a charger.

There's a lot to like about the LG Tone Ultra if what you want is a decent set of relatively inexpensive neckbuds. LG isn't trying to be gimmicky with touch surfaces or NFC pairing, but at the same time there's really nothing remarkable about these neckbuds. They get the job done, and for a lot of people, that's all these neckbuds need to be. Personally, I'd prefer a better operating range and a USB-C port so I can charge directly from my phone instead of continuing to rely on microUSB, but in every other way these neckbuds exceeded my expectations.

See on Amazon

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6 days ago

Watch our HTC U11 hands-on video preview!

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Is squeezing your phone the next big thing in mobile? HTC certainly thinks so. Its new flagship phone, the U11, is built around this simple but convenient gesture.

But this phone is much more than just a quirky, gimmicky shortcut feature. There's also a beautiful, shimmering, liquid glass design encasing hardware that'll provide all the power you crave — along with upgraded camera and audio hardware.

As the name suggests, this is the direct successor to the 10, but it's also a member of the new HTC U family, which started with the U Play and U Ultra back in January. But honestly, forget about those phones. The U11 is where the HTC U brand story should have begun.

The design is a considerable refinement of the liquid glass aesthetic that HTC introduced earlier in the year — metal flowing directly into glass, with tight tolerances and joins. And the phone comes in five gorgeous, shimmering colors, including two impressive new hues — "amazing silver," which shifts between a sky blue and silvery gray, and the fiery "solar red," my personal favorite.

HTC also hits all the necessary points for a current high-end handset: A Snapdragon 835 processor, plenty of storage and RAM, IP67 water and dust resistance, and an upgraded UltraPixel 3 camera which ranks as the current DXOMark champion.

Find out more about the HTC U11 in our hands-on video feature. And hit up our full hands-on preview for a detailed breakdown of what's new, what's great, and what's not so great.

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6 days ago

Best Small Data Plan

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A good small data plan does exist, even if nobody advertises them.

Unlimited plans get all the press and all the glitter, but most people don't need one. That's why small data plans still exist and are popular options.

Shopping for a phone plan is unnecessarily difficult, especially now that all four big U.S. carriers want to force you to the more expensive unlimited data offering. But there are alternatives if you dive deep into a carrier's website, and some of them are a decent value.

We did the digging, and here's what we found.

AT&T

AT&T offers unlimited and "data share" postpaid plans for customers who are buying a phone (they are required as part of the NEXT program). If you bring your own phone, you will need to use its prepaid goPhone plans.

Price Features $45 per month 6GB LTE data
Unlimited talk and text in the US
Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico
Roaming in Mexico & Canada (Talk, Text & Data)
Unlimited text to over 100 countries

Once 6GB of data is used, you'll be slowed down to 128kbps data speeds for the remainder of the month. AT&T also offers a discount for multiple lines on one account. You save $5 for each line up to a maximum of five (a $20 total).

For comparison's sake, this same plan with unlimited data is available for $65. AT&T also offers a $30 monthly plan with all the perks above and no bundled data allotment. Data packages are $5 for 250MB.

See plans at AT&T

Sprint

In addition to its prepaid plans, Sprint offers a postpaid option for folks who only use a small amount of data each month.

Price Features $40 per month 2GB LTE data (including tethering)
Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited international text

Sprint advertises its 2GB plan as "The lowest price entry plan among national carriers." However, Verizon offers a 2GB plan for $35, and in many cases a few dollars more gets you a plan with double the data.

For reference,Sprint's single-line unlimited data plan is $60 per month.

See plans at Sprint

T-Mobile

T-Mobile's only postpaid plan for new customers is its unlimited offering. It does have several prepaid options available.

Price Features $45 per month 4GB of LTE data (including tethering)
Unlimited talk and text
Music Unlimited (stream music without using your data)
Wi-Fi calling

T-Mobile also offers the same plan with 6GB of LTE data for $55 per month. International talk and text packages are extra and start at $5 per month.

The fine print for T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid plan has a few things that need mentioned. You are given 50MB of out-of-network roaming each month, and calling plan options only support a two-party conversation; Conference calls may cost extra.

For reference, T-Mobile's unlimited prepaid plan is $75 per month.

See plans at T-Mobile

Verizon

Price Features $35 2GB of LTE data (including tethering)
Unlimited Talk and Text
Rollover data (30 days maximum)
Additional data for $15 per Gigabyte

Verizon offers this plan with more monthly data in two other options: 4GB of LTE data for $50 per month and 8GB of LTE data for $70 per month.

All postpaid plans allow you to continue to use data at lower speeds once your monthly allotment is reached. These postpaid plans do not include any equipment fees if you need to buy a phone from Verizon.

*See plans at Verizon

The best small data plan

There are a few things in common with all four carriers: The listed prices in all advertisements are for customers who use autopay for their monthly bill. Each carrier slows down your data to 2G speeds once you hit a cap on data, which is right around 20GB per line. And no carrier guarantees great coverage, no matter what their coverage maps might say.

Verizon offers the best small data plan in the U.S.

Overall, Verizon has the best small data plan you can buy in its 2GB for $35 option or the 4GB for $50 option. Here's how we reached the decision.

  • Which companies offer the coverage you need? Having a cheap cell phone bill isn't so great if your phone doesn't work where you need it to work. Verizon has the best coverage of any U.S. carrier. We're not basing this on surveys or coverage maps; this is based on real-world use all over the country. While there are some places where you won't have a Verizon signal but will have coverage from another carrier, these are few and far between.

  • Extra data at $15 per GB makes a big difference. If you're looking for a plan with just a bit of LTE data, knowing that you can buy more at any time is great. When paired with a $35 monthly plan and Verizon's coverage, it's hard to beat if you don't use much data. With the 4GB plan for $50, you also have a great option if 2GB just doesn't cut the mustard.

  • Unlimited low-speed data and 30-day rollover for unused data are great features. While it would be nice to see Verizon refund you for unused data each month, carrying it over to the next month is the next best thing. And while low-speed data on Verizon can be frustratingly slow, it's fast enough to let you check your email or read Twitter (or order another Gigabyte online if you need more for the month).

Coverage, coverage, coverage. Even if you only use a little bit of data each month, you need to know you'll have a good connection when you need it. Coupled with the low cost of the entry level 2GB plan and the $15/GB buy up, this is the best small data plan you can buy in the U.S. The only time you should consider anyone else is if you're streaming music and use a service that's covered under T-Mobile's Music Unlimited feature and live where T-Mobile has great service.

The best news is that everything here is subject to change at any time! Because the market has become so competitive for unlimited data, companies will constantly be adjusting prices and features. When one company makes a move the rest will soon follow with their own new pricing or other offers.

We'll keep things updated here as changes happen and maybe next month we'll be recommending a different company.

See at Verizon

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6 days ago

Latest Instagram update adds face filters and more

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Instagram lands another blow in the battle for social media dominance.

A new update is rolling out for Instagram today which adds a bunch of new features — including a few more borrowed from Snapchat. The big new feature is face filters, which works just like Snapchat's version does, but will also work with other Instagram features like Boomerang. You're able to use either the rear or selfie cam, then send your recording or pics to friends via Instagram Direct or add it to your story.

The addition of face filters comes as little surprise. Love them or hate them, it seems like every social media app is adding these face filters these days — and they're even popping up in the photo apps of the latest phones.

Other new features added in the update include the ability to record videos and then play them in reverse (again, similar to Snapchat), as well as the ability to add hashtag stickers, or simply type a hashtag using regular text. Anyone watching your story will be able to tap the hashtags and explore other tagged posts. There's also a new eraser tool as well as a color fill tool, so you're able to snap a photo, cover it with a color and then use the eraser tool to creatively reveal parts of your photos.

Have you checked out these new features? Between Snapchat and Instagram, which platform do you prefer — or neither? Let us know in the comments!

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6 days ago

Best Leather Cases for Galaxy S8 and S8+

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Add a touch of class to your phone with a leather case!

The debate on whether or not to slap a case on the Galaxy S8 or S8+ rages on. On one hand, the phone is downright classy and beautiful all on its own, but on the other, it's made of glass and is, therefore, prone to taking damage.

A nice compromise is a leather case, which looks much nicer than other cases made of plastic and rubber. Leather cases are offered by a number of manufacturers and often include some type of wallet functionality as well. We've collected a range of options for you to consider, so let's dive in!

Spigen Wallet S

Spigen's Wallet S case is a great option for those looking for a folio-style wallet case. Made of synthetic leather with an embedded TPU casing, this case blends protection with functionality by including three card slots, a pocket for cash, and the ability to fold it over into a kickstand for hands-free media viewing.

This case is available for both the Galaxy S8 (linked below) and the S8+ in both black and coffee brown. You can buy with confidence knowing that Spigen is one of the most trusted names in phone cases.

See at Amazon (for Galaxy S8)

FYY Genuine Leather wallet case

All too often case manufacturers misuse the word "leather", when in fact their case is actually made of polyurethane material that's made to look and feel like leather. More often than not, we're okay with this, but if you're looking for a case made of genuine leather, FYY has you covered with its case for the Galaxy S8.

Available in five different color, FYY's wallet cases are handcrafted out of real leather for a premium look and feel that you just won't get from many other cases. You'll find three card slots and a cash pocket on the inside across from the phone itself. It also offers RFID protection to prevent someone from reading your debit or credit card information with an RFID reader.

If you're looking for a case made from real leather, look no further than FYY.

See at Amazon

FlyHawk Slim Leather Back wallet case

Not a fan of the folio-style wallet cases but still yearning for that classy leather look? Check out this slim, leather-backed case from FlyHawk. It offers protection around the edges of your phone while keeping the buttons and ports wide open along the sides and bottom of the phone. It's one of the slimmest cases on this list, giving your phone a classy leather finish without adding too much unnecessary bulk.

Available for both the Galaxy S8 and S8+, you can get one in your choice of six different color options.

See at Amazon

Ringke Flex S Leather-style phone case

If you fall into the "hell yes, give me a case to protect this expensive phone" camp and also want a stylish leather case for your Galaxy S8 or S8+, you'll definitely want to consider this stylish case from Ringke.

This one-piece case is made with a mix of flexible TPU and PU leather to create a slim and stylish case for your phone. It's lightweight and streamlined to fit snugly on your phone, while still providing precise laser cutouts for all your phone's buttons, ports, and camera. You get that great leather in-hand feel without skimping on protection for your GS8. Check it out!

See at Amazon

X-Level Vintage PU Leather case

X-Level has managed to combine a slim and minimalist case with the leather look and feel you desire — the ultimate case for many of you we're sure.

Made of PU leather and featuring a weathered and vintage look, this case will look great on your Galaxy S8 or S8+. It's form-fitted and flexible for easy installation, with cutouts around the buttons and ports at the bottom and offering a touch of added protection for the camera on the back.

It's available in three colors — black, brown, and gold — for both phones; just be sure you've selected the right option for yourself before heading to check out.

See at Amazon

What's your favorite style of leather case?

Got any opinions on the cases we've highlighted above? Did we fail to include your favorite one? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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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6 days ago

This wall charger packs a 5000mAh battery inside to keep you powered up from anywhere for just $22

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a pair of charging accessories you'll want to check out!

Battery life is something that continues to improve in phones and tablets, but not everyone can make it through the whole day on a single charge. Sure, you can carry around a spare wall charger and cable, or a battery pack, but what about if you could combine those into one? That's what Anker's PowerCore Fusion does, and right now you can pick one up at Amazon for just $21.99. This is a savings of $4 from its regular pricing.

It looks like a large wall charger, but it actually has a 5000mAh battery inside as well. This allows you to plug it into the wall to charge your phone if you are in the office, or charge it on the go with the battery inside. In addition, it offers:

  • The Ultimate 2-in-1 Charger: A hybrid high-capacity portable battery and dual-port wall charger in one sleek package.
  • High-Speed Charging: In the wall or on-the-go, Anker's exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies ensure that all devices receive their fastest possible charge. Does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge.
  • Charge-and-Go: Charge your device and PowerCore Fusion's internal battery via a wall outlet, then take it with you for up to 3 phone charges—any place, any time. Boasts a foldable plug to ensure maximum portability

Whether you travel a lot, or just like to pack really light, you will want one of these for your phone. Stop carrying around multiple chargers and battery packs, and instead consolidate them into a single device! If you're looking for just a power bank, Chuwi is offering its 10050mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 for just $16.99 when using coupon ADCENTER at checkout.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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6 days ago

A Beginner's Guide to Elite: Dangerous

Getting started with Elite: Dangerous? Here's what you need to know!

If you're looking to start exploring in the deep void of space, Elite: Dangerous is the ultimate experience among both traditional games and virtual reality experiences. Here's what you should know getting started.

Read more at VR Heads!

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6 days ago

How do apps work on Samsung DeX?

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A full-featured desktop operating system embedded into your smartphone? It's nearly possible with Samsung DeX.

The idea of using your smartphone to unlock a desktop operating system might sound absurd at first, but what if you could do that for a bit of extra money?

For $150, you can purchase the Samsung DeX dock to unlock the desktop operating system hidden deep within the depths of the code on your Galaxy S8 or S8+. The DeX dock features ports for all the necessary peripherals, including an HDMI input for an external monitor and USB for a mouse and keyboard. Once you have everything set up, you can start using the full-fledged desktop experience to get things done, just as you would on a Mac or PC.

The good news is that Samsung launched DeX with a variety of compatible, popular apps that make getting work done an actual possibility. There's also added Android app functionality, so that you can use every app you already have installed on the Galaxy S8. Here's a look at some of the apps that come readily available to use on the Samsung DeX — and some of those that are best avoided.

Every app is already there

With Samsung DeX, every app you already have installed on your Galaxy S8 will have a launcher icon available in the app drawer, as it were. Any apps that were previously open will show up in the dock — or taskbar — at the bottom of the interface, though you can also switch between active tasks by tapping the Recent Apps button in the bottom left side of the screen.

The desktop interface on the Samsung DeX.

This is what happens when an app isn't optimized for DeX — this one is Facebook Messenger.

Since the Galaxy S8 comes prepackaged with Samsung's own apps, you'll see shortcuts to those immediately available on the desktop. You may not regularly use them on the phone, but you'll want to considering getting into the habit of sparking these up when you get into DeX, since they've already been optimized for a larger display and desktop interface. Many of the other apps are merely emulated and will work best if they were already optimized for a tablet interface.

Some Android apps are fine, though, and work accordingly, even without the fancy optimization. Adobe Clips, for instance, is easy to use and exports videos to the phone's internal storage just fine. The Microsoft Office and the Google Docs app suite are all a cinch to use, too, and you might find you appreciate the fact that you can hook up a full-size keyboard to get some actual writing done. Even Snapchat works just fine, and I was able to post and scrawl away with the mouse and keyboard input.

Not all apps will work properly, and some won't even launch at all.

Not all apps will work properly and some won't even launch at all. My favorite app, Pokemon TCGO, doesn't work on Samsung DeX because it requires touch input (by comparison, the Android app works fine with the mouse or touch input on the Chromebook Flip). Spotify won't work either, and DeX will tell you it's because it wasn't optimized for multiple screen sizes (you can't launch into the browser version of the web app either). I also found that some apps aren't even worth using on DeX because they won't work in the background, like some of my favorite indie music radio apps put out by smaller developers who probably didn't even consider that this was a thing to develop for.

Full-service apps

For those of you looking for the full desktop experience, DeX is compatible with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions like VMWare Horizon Client and Amazon Workspaces. You have to download the apps from the Google Play Store and have a valid license to use the desktop emulating clients.

It might look cramped, but it worked!

I was curious about how this particular ability works, so I tried the next best remote desktop experience I could think of: Chrome Remote Desktop. I tried it on DeX by connecting to my MacBook Pro and though the implementation was a little weird — the mouse and keyboard input abilities don't translate as well as they would if I were using the app from a browser through Chromebook, for instance — it works fine and I was able to navigate around macOS with no lag.

Samsung also worked with Microsoft and Adobe behind the scenes so that their Android apps are solid on the DeX interface. Like the VDI clients, all you have to do is download the apps from the Play Store to get to editing apps and writing TPS reports. When you save a file, it's stored to the phone's internal file system.

More app functionality to come

We still need to spend some time with DeX before offering a full verdict.

The Samsung "desktop experience" is still in its nascent stages, so it'll take some time before all the kinks are worked out of DeX OS. If you'd rather not download an app but still want the functionality, you can do trial by fire with the varying web apps and services you might typically access through the web. Just bear in mind that not everything works.

We've still got quite a bit of diving to do into the DeX experience before we can offer a full verdict on whether it's worth the cash. But if you've brought a DeX home and you're playing around with it, let us know what you think about the apps experience by leaving a comment below.

See at Amazon

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6 days ago

Follow Android Central at Google I/O 2017!

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Google I/O 2016

The next best thing to being there yourself.

There's something special about Google I/O, and with the conference's move to an outdoor venue starting last year it has become even more quirky and festival-like than ever before. Only a small number of Android fans get to attend Google I/O alongside the droves of developers who are there to learn about the latest technology from Google, but the Android Central team is lucky enough to have a handful of people in attendance this year.

You'll see all of the Google I/O 2017 news right here on Android Central, but for all of the smaller things — the experiences, the people, the fun, the after-hours shenanigans — you'll want to follow us all on social media. Five of us from Android Central will be at the conference, and we'll also have MrMobile (Michael Fisher) in tow to see everything Google has to offer over three days in sunny Mountain View.

Alex Dobie: Twitter | Instagram

Andrew Martonik: Twitter | Instagram

Daniel Bader: Twitter | Instagram

Florence Ion: Twitter | Snapchat

Jerry Hildenbrand (Cowboy): Twitter

Michael Fisher (MrMobile): YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat | Facebook

For a single-follow experience that will make you feel like you're there with us, be sure to follow the official Android Central Twitter account and Android Central Instagram account — you won't be disappointed!

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6 days ago

Samsung Pay finally lands in the UK

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Samsung Pay makes its long-awaited debut in the UK.

Samsung Pay is finally going live in the UK. The app is now available to download from the Galaxy Apps Store, and is available on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are also eligible as long as they're running Nougat.

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6 days ago

Galaxy Note 8 once again rumored with dual cameras and 3x optical zoom

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The Galaxy Note 8 will be the first Samsung phone with two cameras at the back.

Samsung tested dual rear cameras on the Galaxy S8, but the company is said to be saving the feature for the Galaxy Note 8. A rumor from last month stated that the phone may feature a 12MP wide-angle lens paired with a 13MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, and a new report out of South Korea corroborates the claim.

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