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1 hour ago

Android 7.1.2 beta now rolling out to the Nexus 6P

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Android 7.1.2 is out for the Nexus 6P. Here's how to get it.

The Nexus 6P: Great phone, but occasionally left out of some of the recent Android beta fun.

Last month, when Google announced Android 7.1.2 for a bevy of Nexus devices, along with the Pixels, the Nexus 6P was conspicuously absent from the list, without explanation from Google. Even its cheaper, slower counterpart, then Nexus 5X, was invited.

It's been a long month for those Nexus 6P owners waiting for their near-1.3GB update, but it's here, along with the requisite bug fixes and performance improvements that came with it. The build is NPG05F.

I've been running it on my Pixel XL since day one and have yet to experience any problems — and I sidestepped the soon-to-be-resolved Bluetooth dropout issues at the same time, thank goodness — so I'd say if you're itching to try it, go right ahead.

How to sign up for the Nexus 7.1.2 beta

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Nexus 6P

Google Store Huawei Best Buy

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2 hours ago

Google is shutting down Spaces after only nine months

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The messaging app was no match for Google's confusing messaging strategy.

Remember Spaces? The group messaging app that was sort of, kind of aimed at developers? It launched last May around the time of Google I/O and featured a bright, colorful tile interface. Each tile would have a bevy of Chrome, YouTube, and Google search links attached to it.

Well, Google's retiring Spaces to the old app farm in the sky, as confirmed by Google's John Kilcline. The app will alert you of its imminent irrelevance and subsequently link to a support page with all of the details. So, uh, finish up what you were doing on Spaces before it goes read-only on March 3. You'll be able to reclaim your data until April 17.

Did you use Spaces? Tell us about it.

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6 hours ago

Two-factor authentication: What you need to know

25

You should use two-factor authentication on every account that offers it. Here's an explainer of what it is, and why you want it.

In light of the recent data leak from Cloudflare, we refreshed this content on February 24, 2017.

You see a lot of talk on the internet about two-factor authentication (or 2FA as it's commonly called) but most times its just people like us telling you to use it. And we'll continue that trend and start this bit of prose by telling you to use 2FA whenever and wherever you can. But we're also going to let you know what it is, and why it's important that you use it. Read on.

What is two-factor authentication?

To put it in simple terms, 2FA means that you need to present two different things from two different sources that prove who you are. Generally, there are three different types of ID that can be used for 2FA purposes when it comes to online accounts:

  • A thing that only you should know. Things like a password, a PIN, an account number, your street address or even the last four digits of your Social Security number fit the bill here.
  • A thing that you can hold in your hands. This means your phone, an authenticator fob like this one or a USB security key.
  • A thing that is part of you like your fingerprint, retina pattern or voice pattern.

When you have 2FA enabled on an account, you need two of these three things to get access.

You've been using 2FA for most of your adult life. The companies who process credit card payments for online retailers usually force you to enter the three-digit code on the back of your credit card as well as the card number, then provide the billing address. The numbers on the card (both front and back) are a way to make sure you have the card in your possession for the first method of authentication, then the address you provide has to match what the card issuer has on file as a second way to prove who you are. That's 2FA. Back when the world still used checks to pay for things, most businesses wanted two forms of physical ID from a well-recognized place like your state DMV or your school as a way to make sure you are the person whose name is on the top of the check. That's also 2FA. And to get those IDs usually requires multiple things from different places to prove who you are.

You've been using 2FA all along and probably didn't realize it.

Using 2FA for your online accounts is a little bit different, but still uses the same principle — if you can provide more than one method to prove who you are, you probably really are who you claim to be. For an account somewhere like Google, or Facebook or Amazon you need to supply a password. Your password is something only you should know, but sometimes other people can get hold of it. When you add a 2FA requirement — like an authentication token sent to your phone or a USB security key that you plug into your computer — a password is no longer enough to get into your account. Without both pieces of authentication, you're locked out.

Is two-factor authentication secure?

Yes and no. Using 2FA on an account is a lot more secure than not using it, but nothing is really secure. That scary thought aside, using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your "stuff" unless you're a high-profile target or really unlucky.

Using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your onlione accounts and services.

On the positive side, if you're using 2FA and some fake phishing email manages to get you to supply your password they still can't log into your account. The way most people use 2FA for online accounts is to have a token sent to an app on their phone and without that token, the email scammer isn't going to have any luck getting access. They will enter your account user name or ID, then the password, and then they need to supply that token to go any further. Unless they have your phone, the work involved in bypassing the second ID requirement is enough to get the bad guy to say "forget it!" and move to someone else.

On the other hand, if you are someone like President Obama or Mick Jagger, it's worth it to try and get into your accounts. And there are ways. The communication between the people supplying the authentication token and your phone are safe for the most part, so attackers go after the website or server asking for the credentials. Auth tokens and cookies can be hijacked by very clever folks, and as soon as one method gets patched they start looking for another. This takes a lot of knowledge and hard work so that means that the end result has to be worth it all. Chances are you and I aren't worth the trouble, so 2FA is a good way to secure our accounts.

How do I use two-factor authentication?

It's easier than you might think!

Setting up 2FA on an account is a three step process. You need to provide your current credentials by typing in your password again (this helps keep someone else from adding it to your account), even if you're currently logged into the service. Then you go into the account settings and enable 2FA on your account. This lets the server that manages your login know that you want to enable it, and they will get everything ready on their end after they ask what type of authentication you will be using — most common are codes sent to your phone as an SMS message or through an authenticator application. Finally, you affirm the change by supplying a token back to the server. If you're using an app this might be a barcode you have to scan or manually entering some information into the app. If you chose to use SMS a code will be sent that you need to enter on the website to finish things up.

The next step happens when you want to log into that account again. You'll enter a username or ID, then a password, and then be asked to supply an authentication number. That number is sent as an SMS if that's how you set things up, or in the app on your phone if you decided to go that route. You type that number into the text field and you have access.

Most services will store an authentication token on your phone or computer, so the next time you want to log in you won't have to supply the code again. But if you want to set up access from another place, you'll need a code.

Read more: How to set up 2FA on your Google account

The process for each service that offers 2FA will be slightly different, but this is a good example of how things will work.

Wrapping it up

Now that you know a little more about 2FA, we hope you're inspired to set it up and use it wherever you can. Most popular services — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Steam and more — offer 2FA. It's fairly easy to set up and the peace of mind you'll have makes it well worth it.

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6 hours ago

New lawsuit could restrict game sales for the Oculus Rift

1

The suit would also affect titles for the Samsung Gear VR.

The saga continues in the great copyright infringement battle between Facebook's Oculus contingent and ZeniMax.

ZeniMax, which earlier this month won a verdict of half a billion dollars against Oculus, has now asked the federal judge to block Oculus from using the code in its products, according to Reuters. For its part, Oculus has asked the judge to set aside the verdict, citing it as "legally flawed and factually unwarranted."

If the injuction is granted, it could limit the number of titles sold for the Oculus Rift VR headset. This would also affect any games meant for Samsung Gear VR, which is developed in part with Oculus. If this happens, Facebook's best bet would be to settle, lest game sales and subsequent marketing for Oculus products become severely limited.

We'll update you when we hear more on the matter. For now, the injunction has been filed to the same Dallas court that ruled in favor of ZeniMax.

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8 hours ago

Best gaming controllers for the Amazon Fire TV

13
Best Controllers for the Amazon Fire TV

Gaming on your Amazon Fire TV? You have more controller options than you might think.

Looking to invite friends over for a multiplayer session on your Amazon Fire TV but not sure what controllers are compatible with it? Well, for starters you're going to have an easier time connecting third-party controllers if your still rocking the first generation of Fire TV.

But worry not. We've broken out a list of some of your best controller options for the Amazon Fire TV — and chances are you may already own something that's compatible without knowing.

Updated February 24: Added the Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad and Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad to the list.

Amazon Fire TV Gaming Controller

Amazon Fire TV Bluetooth controller

An obvious but necessary inclusion on this list, if you enjoy the gaming controller that came with your Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition, you can buy extra controllers from — where else — Amazon.

The Amazon Fire TV controller connects via Bluetooth and has a number of features specifically designed to get the most out of your Amazon Fire TV box. For starters, it includes a built-in microphone, which gives you full access to Alexa features and allows you to search for games, movies, music, and more information, using only your voice.

The controllers also feature a headphone jack, so you can fully immerse yourself in a movie or game without bothering the people around you. This will also be your best option if you have a second generation Fire TV, as support for third-party game controllers with the newer Amazon box is spotty at best compared to its predecessor.

The Amazon Fire TV controller takes two AA batteries, so you should stock up on those if you plan on becoming a heavy gamer.

See at Amazon

Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad

Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad

There's a number of features that makes the Matricom G-Pad a compelling third-party Bluetooth controller to buy for your Amazon Fire. For starters, it's powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery which means you won't need to stock up on AA batteries, and if you're running low you can plug the mini-USB cable to your Amazon Fire and play wired.

Since it's Bluetooth, it'll work just fine with your Samsung Gear VR, other Android devices and, of course, Matricom's own G-Box Android TV box. If features dual modes for control, so you can switch over to mouse emulation whenever you may need it. Best of all, it's the cheapest controller on the list offering a comfortable and lightweight design for a budget price. Given it's near-universal compatibility and simple-yet-conventional design, Matricom's G-Pad Wireless gamepad is worth your attention.

See at Amazon

Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad

But since we're talking about third-party controllers for the Amazon Fire, we gotta include this smaller option from Mad Catz — a household name in third-party gaming accessories. This is a compact option, and probably the smallest controller on this list, but it is jam packed with features you'll love.

For starters, Mad Catz claim the Micro C.T.R.L.R. is "future-proof", featuring dual-mode Bluetooth that works with Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Smart devices. That helps this controller achieve near-universal compatibility, with controller modes specific to the device you're connected to: Mouse Mode, PC Mode, and GameSmart Mode (for near-universal compatibility with laptops, tablets and smartphones). It also features built-in media buttons for controlling your favorite media streaming services including Netflix, Youtube and Hulu Plus, so you can use this little kitty for nearly everything on your Amazon Fire.

For great quality and versatility that won't break the bank, you can't go wrong with this travel-sized controller.

See at Amazon

Xbox 360 Wired Controller

Microsoft Xbox 360 Wired Controller

The wired version of the Xbox 360 controller works nearly flawlessly with the first generation of Amazon Fire TV. Simply plug in the controller to the USB port on the back of your Amazon Fire TV and you're good to go. With the second generation, you may need to go into settings and ensure that USB debugging is turned off before the system will find the controller.

Looking to attach more than one USB controller? It's as simple as first plugging in a USB hub then plugging in up to four controllers. If you've got a couple plugged in, you'll even notice the player indicator lights will light up properly — a small but reassuring feature.

There's a whole bunch of third-party controllers that work with the Amazon Fire, including the wireless versions of the Xbox 360 controllers, but the reason why we're not recommending the wireless variant is because you'll also need to own Microsoft's Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows.

If you happen to already have a few of the wireless Xbox 360 controllers around, the dongle receiver may be the better option. If you don't, the wired variety are your best bet, as you won't have to worry about batteries or connectivity issues.

See on Amazon

DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller (for PS4)

PS4 DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller

The DualShock controller has been an industry standard and trailblazer since first being introduced for the original PlayStation back in 1998. While the technology inside the controller has improved, the overall design has remained largely unchanged and it's clear to see why — it's incredibly comfortable to hold.

Sony's DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller is a great option that's compatible with your Amazon Fire TV. It's quick to pair — simply go into the Amazon Fire TV's Bluetooth controller settings, then hold down the Share and PS button on the DualShock controller to start the pairing.

The DualShock 4 controller is a surprisingly versatile controller; beyond using it with your PS4 and Amazon Fire TV, it's also compatible with Windows for PC gaming.

See at Amazon

SteelSeries Stratus XL

SteelSeries Stratus XL

The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a great controller that works for gaming on your Windows PC, Android phone, and Amazon Fire TV. SteelSeries has basically taken the best features from the DualShock and Xbox 360 controllers and combined them to create the Stratus XL.

It connects via Bluetooth and plays for up to 40 hours on two AA batteries. It's got nearly perfect weight to it and has been designed to fit comfortably in your hands for marathon gaming sessions.

Starting at over $60, the price might give you pause, but you really can't go wrong with this versatile, comfortable controller.

See at Amazon

Logitech Gamepad F310

Logitech Gamepad F310

If you're looking for a cheaper USB controller option, the Gamepad F310 from Logitech is a good choice.

It features the same analog stick layout as the DualShock and a cord that should be long enough to reach from the Amazon Fire TV to the couch. This one is also plug-and-play, meaning you shouldn't have to worry about setting things up.

And since this is a cheaper option, starting at $19.99, you could stock up on a couple of them, along with a decent USB hub and always be prepared for some multiplayer action.

See at Amazon

What's your preferred controller?

Do you have a favorite Amazon Fire TV gaming controller that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comments!

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Best Buy

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8 hours ago

Cloudbleed: What you need to know and what you need to do

5

Cloudflare has had a sizeable data leak. Here's what that means for you.

On February 17, 2017, vulnerability researcher from Google's Project Zero Tavis Ormandy stumbled across what looked like a really nasty data leak from Cloudflare, a web performance and security company. He quickly contacted the "right" people at Cloudflare and the situation was addressed in less than an hour.

Any data breach can be significant. Especially when a service has over one billion users. We'll direct you to the Cloudflare incident report for the full details of what happened (warning: it's pretty technical). In layman's terms, data was leaked that was potentially sensitive. This data was available to anyone, even web spiders used by search engines. SSL keys were not leaked.

The Cloudflare features that used the affected HTML parser (email obfuscation, Server-side Excludes, and Automatic HTTPS Rewrites) were in use by a lot of companies. Most likely companies that you have online accounts with, This means your data may have been exposed.

Mobile Nations uses some of Cloudflare's services. In fact, you'll find us on the list floating around of sites potentially affected. We have verified that the affected services aren't in use nor have ever been used on any Mobile Nations sites.

We also received notice from Cloudflare about the leak and they had this to say:

Your domain is not one of the domains where we have discovered exposed data in any third party caches. The bug has been patched so it is no longer leaking data. However, we continue to work with these caches to review their records and help them purge any exposed data we find. If we discover any data leaked about your domains during this search, we will reach out to you directly and provide you full details of what we have found.

Look for a similar statement from other places you have an account with for information about your data that may have been exposed.

What should I do

Like most big security instances, we'll never know the full details of what was and wasn't leaked out. We can confirm that we aren't using the services that were mentioned as vulnerable, but we don't know how anything else on Cloudflare's servers might have been affected. Every Cloudflare customer is in the same boat.

That means it's time for you to get proactive.

Change the password for all of your online accounts

Yes, this sucks, but know what sucks more? Having someone get your details and have access to stuff you don't want them to have access to. Use a password manager and let it make crazy passwords and remember them for you if you don't have your own password management routine. If you haven't used a password manager in the past but wanted to check one out, now is a perfect time.

More: Best password managers for Android

Now is also a good time to remember that you should be changing your passwords regularly, which makes a password manager a must if you have a lot of accounts.

Enable two-factor authentication on every account that has it available as an option

If you have two-factor authentication enabled, someone else with your login details still won't be able to access your account. Two-factor authentication can also be a pain in the butt sometimes, but it's the best way to protect yourself when a big data breach happens, like the one we're seeing now.

Here are some resources on two-factor authentication.

Nothing we can do will prevent these kinds of data leaks. The important thing is what we can do to protect ourselves when they happen,

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9 hours ago

Best New Games for Android

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What are the latest games worth checking out in the Google Play Store?

There are thousands and thousands of games available in the Google Play Store, with more being added every month. With so much content hitting the app store, it can be damn near impossible to keep up on the latest releases and determine which games are worth your time.

Here at Android Central, we want to help. We'll be using this space to let you know about the latest gaming releases for Android that we think deserve your attention. We'll be checking in and updating this page weekly as new games are released, so refresh often!

Update February 24: Archer Dash 2, Rogue Castle, and Island Delta are three new games for Android that are very worthy of your attention!

Archer Dash 2 - Retro Runner

This week's releases feature two retro-style games, and we'll start with the most retro of them all, Archer Dash 2. This game takes the endless runner format found in games like Ancestor and adds its own wrinkles to the gameplay by allowing you to slow down time and shoot down enemies and snag out-of-reach diamonds with your mighty bow as you run.

This game is downright tough, and doesn't even let up after you lose — expect to be taunted mercilessly. The game plays smoothly even when you're slowing down time to target enemies with your bow, but it will take some time to get used to the controls. Once you've got them down, however, you'll be able to collect diamonds and take down enemies with one well-launched arrow

There are several bosses you'll face as you go, or you can challenge them directly by spending diamonds. This game features in-app purchases to buy more diamonds, but there's a ton of diamonds scattered throughout each run if you're down for the grind. There are 15 unique retro archers to unlock, along with a bunch of different color palettes to choose from in the settings menu. Oh, and we just have to mention the 8-bit soundtrack, which is absolutely glorious.

Download: Archer Dash 2 (Free w/IAPs)

Rogue Castle: Roguelike Action

What do you get when you combine a knight with a ninja? A kick ass rogue-like platformer called Rogue Castle.

This fast-paced action game offers up a real challenge as you explore two castles filled with nasty monsters and bosses. As you progress through your journey, the game ups the difficulty level, so you'll need to collect as much loot as possible to upgrade your ninja knight to keep up. Prepare use all your skills to shoot, double-jump and dodge deadly obstacles as you work through each level.

Featuring retro graphics and smooth platformer gameplay, this is a great choice for anyone who loves some nostalgia with their gaming. Rogue Castle is a free download from the Google Play Store.

Download: Rogue Castle: Roguelike Action (Free)

Island Delta

Island Delta is the latest game published by the fine folks at Noodlecake Studios, which means it's definitely worth checking out. Developed by Mantisbite out of Finland and released for iOS in late 2016, Island Delta brings its top-down action-adventure-puzzler fun to Android. You're tasked with exploring a mysterious retro-futuristic island with your heros, Zoe and Baxter, as you try to take down the evil Doctor Gunderson and his army of henchmen.

Using your anti-gravity gun, you must work your way past mechanical minions, traps, and guards as you solve puzzles to make it through to the end of each level. At times Island Delta feels like a stripped down, third-person version Portal, which is something I wasn't aware I needed in my life. The cartoony graphics and outstanding level design will immediately draw you in, though like with some newer releases, the game is not without the occasional bug you might run into. Fortunately, the game is fairly forgiving with checkpoints, so even if the game glitches out, you won't lose any of your progress. It's available for $2.99 from the Google Play Store.

Download: Island Delta ($2.99)

Android Gaming

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9 hours ago

Verizon takes top spot in latest RootMetrics nationwide report

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Another carrier report, another win for Verizon... but the gap is closing

T-Mobile's been jumping up and down claiming it's the best network now, pointing to an OpenSignal report in some of its most recent bragging. This week, we have another report from RootMetrics, which claims, as it has claimed for a while now, that Verizon is still top dog nationally in each of their six categories. So, who's right? Who's wrong? Who's best? Who's worst?

Well, like a lot of statistics and reports, it comes down to the method for collecting the data.

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10 hours ago

How to make your Android look like a BlackBerry

61

Ain't no theme like a BlackBerry theme!

I've shown you how to make your phone feel like a Nexus, a Windows Phone, even an iPhone. Next up was BlackBerry, but in all honesty, some things just can't be replaced and replicated. Don't get me wrong, there are a few tweaks that bring back a little of that old BlackBerry magic — and I'm gonna share them with you — but there's no magic icon pack or launcher that just pulls it together into a real complete BlackBerry theme.

That's a testament to BlackBerry's unique design — and its (sometimes painful) simplicity.

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10 hours ago

Is your Pixel randomly shutting off Bluetooth? You're not alone

28

My Pixel's got the Bluetooth Bug Blues...

The Google Pixel has been a bit buggy after this month's February update, and Google has identified a fix for one of the more noticeable ones: your Bluetooth randomly shutting itself off. Listed in the Pixel's Product forum, community leaders say that a fix has been identified and that it will be pushed out in a coming release, hopefully alongside the March security update.

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10 hours ago

Our new forums are here!

13

We've redesigned our Forums to make them more accessible to more users — all while maintaining what made them great for our seasoned community members to start!

We want more people reading and engaging with the great content that is being produced in our Forums. Here is an overview of some of the biggest changes - a big thank you to Gio Martinez in particular for absolutely crushing it in coding these new designs, and to our community for helping us with feedback throughout - more on that later.

Speed

In our tests we see a 35% boost in how fast the pages load with the new templates. This was one of the most important aspects of the redesign and something we will continue to improve on. Sometimes we still see badly behaving ad units that slow things down and while we try to tackle this they appear — it's often like a game of whack-a-mole, but we're doing everything we can on our end to make our codebase as quick as possible.

Clarity

More than 80% of our Forum traffic comes from Google, and to be frank, a user coming into the forums blindly for search wouldn't have a good experience. We saw issues with how far you had to scroll to see the content you came for and a lack of visual queues telling you this was a conversation.

Hierarchy

In the old forums everything had the same 'weight' and demanded the same amount of attention. In our new design we have a clear idea about what we want to stand out and what can be in the background. This means that some actions that were previously exposed and very clear to the experienced VB user are now slightly more hidden.

Our priority — what we want a visitor to immediately grasp — is that they are in the right place (Forum Thread Title) and that this is a conversation (Avatar + Post that looks like a message). Everything else can take a back seat.

Recognition

Our forums are built off of VBulletin, a long-standing software that underpins many other large and popular communities. The problem is that the base styling, which we also had based our old interface on, was also old and long-standing. The old-school style of forums is no longer the only way that people engage in serious conversations online. The kind of discussions we see in our Forums also happen in Facebook comment threads, Quora, Twitter replies, and a host of other group messaging apps. It made sense for us to at least visually move towards the look and feel of these hugely popular platforms — they're not just modern, they're simplified from the masses of forum controls in a very smart way.

By the Community

This has been the most extensive user testing we've ever done and we believe it's paid off. Since late November 2016 a group of select Forum users have been giving us nonstop feedback through slack — a BIG thank you to all of you! In late December we also opened up access to volunteers who have been helping us out with additional feedback in this forum thread.

I seriously cannot stress enough how important this feedback process has been — it's the best decision we've ever made.

Dark Theme

Sorry it took us so long! Enough said :)

You can find the Dark Theme inside Your Menu at the very bottom right - hidden away behind a moon icon like a little Easter egg.

Mobile with all the Trimmings

We wanted you to have all the same tools you enjoy on the desktop while using a mobile phone. This also means our Moderators and Ambassadors have the ability to do their work more easily on the go than before.

Small tweaks and Fixes everywhere

In addition to the huge overall changes we've made a bunch of smaller changes throughout the forums. You might not notice them for a while, and many are back-end tools that will make life easier for our volunteer Moderators. It's been a big project for us and we are really happy with the attention to detail it forced upon us. We are suitably humbled by the complexity of doing any changes to a tool many of you spend hours in every day.

Lastly, we fully expect there to be more issues and for our members to have better ideas than we have on how to improve the Forums. Please engage in the conversation over here in this forum thread — we really want your feedback, good and bad, so that we can continue to improve these forums for you.

Thank you!

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11 hours ago

Pick up an unlocked Moto Z at Best Buy for just $449 today only!

3

Our friends at Thrifter are back with another great deal, this time saving you $250 on a Moto Z at Best Buy!

Best Buy's Deal of the Day scores you an unlocked Moto Z for just $449, which is a savings of $250 from the regular price. This brings it down to the same price you'd normally pay for a Moto Z Play, but allows you to grab the model with higher specs instead. The Moto Z is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor that is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Inside, you'll find a 2600mAh battery that recharges via USB-C.

One of the big appeals of the Moto Z line is the Moto Mods, which allow you to add a battery pack, speakers, a projector and more to the back with ease. This deal is only good for today, February 24, so don't wait too long to make your purchase or you'll be stuck paying the full price!

See at Best Buy

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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11 hours ago

How to accessorize your Black Onyx Galaxy S7

2

Black is always in style.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 looks absolutely gorgeous in black. Like really good. So good, you may want to make sure that all your accessories for it match.

So we've collected our favorite accessories that'll not only look smashing alongside your black Galaxy S7 but also add a ton of added functionality for your phone. Let's dive right in!

Samsung Gear VR

While the best VR experience is still to be had with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, Samsung is arguably leading the mobile VR sector with the Samsung Gear VR. This updated headset is designed to work with the Samsung Galaxy S7 along with USB-C devices such as the now-defunct Note 7. The 2016 edition is all-black, which fits perfectly with accessories that match your black S7.

Virtual Reality is an entirely subjective experience, and it's possible that VR is just not your bag. But if you've got the itch to dive right in and see what VR has to offer, the Samsung Gear VR is a great entry point. Available for well under $100, it's the best value for VR you'll find. And make sure to check in with our pals over at VRHeads.com, who have a growing list of the best games for the Samsung Gear VR. You're definitely going to want to invest in a few games to show this thing off to friends and family.

See at Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charging Pack

There are a number of great external battery packs that'll work great with your Samsung Galaxy S7, but carrying around a separate accessory and cable to keep your phone charged is cumbersome.

The Samsung Wireless Charging Pack is a case that not only offers basic protection from your phone from drops but will also help keep your battery topped up throughout the day with an extra 3,100mAh of extra power available via wireless charging, which also leaves your ports at the bottom of the phone completely open. Buying a battery case can be tricky because they often add a ton of extra bulk to your phone. That's not an issue here, as Samsung has designed perhaps the slimmest battery pack you'll find. It's also available in black, of course.

See at Amazon


Samsung S-View Flip Case

When it comes to cases for your phone, you got options — like a ton of great case options depending on your needs. But in keeping with our theme of accessorizing your black Galaxy S7, we got to give the nod to this proprietary case from Samsung that offers a bunch of added functionality that will keep your phone protected yet accessible at all times.

Using the Samsung ID chip, your phone knows when the case is closed and will display specific information that can be viewed through the frosted front of the case and will allow you to interact with the phone through it. This lets you cool things like answer calls without having to flip the front cover open. Your phone snaps in quick and easy into the hard plastic back plate, which also features extra protection in the corners — a particularly vulnerable area for your phone to fall. You can get yours in black to match your phone.

See at Amazon


Spigen Style Ring (black)

This one is always a somewhat contentious accessory pick because not everyone is down with adding a mounted hook on the back of your expensive phone. We get that. But, the Spigen Style Ring is seriously one of those accessories that will not only grow on you with time, you'll absolutely come to rely on the added functionality it provides.

It works as a kickstand for hands-free viewing, includes a very handy mount to install in your car for hands-free calls and directions as you drive, and also comes in real handy when inserting and removing your phone from your Samsung Gear VR. It comes available in multiple different colors and is fairly painless to remove without leaving any marks or residue on the back of your phone. It will impede with some NFC functionality and wireless charging, so if those are important features for you, then you're best off slapping it on the back of a case instead. It's just a super versatile accessory that seems unconventional at first but becomes essential in short time.

See at Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

This wireless charging pad from Samsung is a great accessory for your black Galaxy S7 for a number of reasons; it'll charge your phone faster than any other QI wireless charging pad, you don't need to worry about plugging or unplugging your phone at your desk and, perhaps most important of all, it lets you show off your beautiful phone to all your office mates.

This is an upgrade over Samsung's older wireless charging pad, which laid flat on your desk. Having your phone tilted up at a 45-degree angle lets you easily keep tabs on notifications and incoming calls while offering a bigger charging surface and a grippier rubber surface to keep your phone in place. AC's Andrew Martonik summed it up quite well in his official review:

"Combine the easier positioning with the subtle improvements in the charging status LED, while also keeping the same fast wireless charging tech inside, and this is quite easily the best wireless charger that Samsung has ever made."

See at Amazon

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11 hours ago

How to enable VR for Elite: Dangerous

Are you ready to sit in your favorite ship?

One of the greatest things about Elite: Dangerous is the ability to set your own pace and theme. If you want to wander around and explore the stars, occasionally delivering packages to pay for upgrades to your ship, you can do that with no problem. If you want to fly around and show everyone just how great a bounty hunter you are, leaving wrecked ships in your wake as you sail, you have everything you need. As the player, you get to choose your experience, which is awesome.

You also have some control over the level of immersion you have in the game. You can play on a laptop in a coffee shop with a gamepad, at a wide screen desktop with flight sticks, or dive fully into a VR rig and have everything move with your head. Here's a quick guide on how to enable that last part!

Read more at VR Heads!

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12 hours ago

Nintendo Switch Protip — Get discounts on game pre-orders!

12

Save yourself some cash and plan out your Nintendo Switch games.

Not everyone likes pre-ordering games, especially launch games for a new console. Many people wait for game reviews to decide whether they want to participate in the excitement, and those aren't always available as the first wave of games come out for a new console.

If you're already planning to get a Nintendo Switch, and you know you're going to want at least one or two of the games, you should pre-order those games now. Even if you aren't planning on getting the console the day it is available to everyone, pre-ordering Nintendo Switch games will save you a considerable amount of money.

Amazon pre-orders

Did you know everyone with an Amazon Prime subscription gets 20% off the cost of a game when you pre-order through Amazon? It's a feature Amazon has offered for a while now, but it's not something you see on the site unless you go to a specific game and look at the final price.

Under the listed price of the game, you'll see a Prime Savings flag. That tells you the price at checkout, which is 20% lower than the listed price. For Nintendo Switch games, it means the $59.96 price tag is lowered to $47.99.

Even if you don't think that's a huge savings for a single game, when you add up the savings across the new Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and that crazy new ARMS punching game you almost have a free game in savings!

Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked

The gaming service at Best Buy has offered exclusive rewards certificates and points towards discounts from every purchase for a while now, but the $30 every two years upgrade to that service quickly pays for itself when a new console is launched.

The Gamers Club Unlocked subscription gives you 20% off pre-orders for any games, 20% off the e-guides for those games, and a 10% increase on your trade-in value if you decide you're done with the games you currently have.

Best Buy includes a sign-up form on its website, and if you've never had an Unlocked subscription before you get special coupons towards your first purchase as a thanks you for joining. Not only is this great for your wallet now, but the points you earn on purchases can be used to take the price down on your next console as well!

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