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2 days ago

The best tech deals that you don't want to miss out on

Our friends at Thrifter post some great deals every day, and here are the best ones available right now!

From mobile phones to general tech, home goods and much more, the team at Thrifter is scouring the web every single day to find the best deals. Whether something hits a new all-time low, gets discounted for just a limited time, or has a new coupon code available for it, you won't want to miss out any of them. If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

So, what are the best deals that you should be looking at right now? Well, let's take a look at them so you can see which ones are best for you!

Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 router - $89 (Normally $109)

Having a good router in your home can make all the difference in the speeds that your wireless network is delivering to your devices. You may think that a router is a router and that there is no need to pay a bunch of money to get a new one, but you'd be wrong. Netgear's Nighthawk AC1750 (R6700) is an extremely powerful, highly-rated dual-band Wi-Fi router, and right now you can pick one up for just $89 when clipping the on-page coupon. This is a $20 savings from its regular price.

See at Amazon

SanDisk 256GB Flash Drive - $34.99 (Normally $49.99)

If I didn't have a drawer filled with miscellaneous USB drives containing tiny bits of information from old college presentations to photos I've long-since forgotten about, I'd probably get this Cruzer Glide for $35. SanDisk is a reliable name for storage, and there's a lot you can do with 256GB that fits in your pocket. The $35 price matches its lowest price ever, and it has been selling above $50 for most of the year.

See at Amazon

Best Buy Memorial Day Sale

Memorial Day weekend often indicates the start of summer for many, and Best Buy is celebrating with 4 days of discounts. From smart lights to televisions, home security cameras to new computers, there are tons of deals here worth checking out. Many of the prices we are seeing bring items down to some of their lowest prices, and easily beat prices we are seeing from other retailers.

See at Best Buy

More great deals!

For even more great deals, and to see these discounts as they become available, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 days ago

The great Virtual Reality buyer's guide

Pick the experience that best suits your needs.

Don't let this secret slip out, but there's actually no such thing as "the best VR headset" or "the best AR headset" right now! There are new things in hardware and software being built almost every week, and while it's easy to look at the newest or shiniest thing and slap a blue ribbon on it there's a lot more going on.

At the same time, there are a lot of folks eager to try VR or AR and want to know where to best spend money, and we're here to help. This guide contains all of the most compelling strengths for each of the headsets you can buy today, as well as links to our ultimate guide for getting the most out of those experiences.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 days ago

Gifting on Google Play: What you need to know

3

I just want to send someone a gift card...and on Google Play, that just got a lot harder.

We've talked about how Google was missing the ability to gift content before, and there's a little good news on that front: you can now gift books through Google Play. Now there's a bit of bad news, too: you can't buy Google Play gift cards on the Google Play app anymore. If you want to add credit to your Google Play balance, you'll need to go hunt one down at a brick and mortar store or answer some Google Opinion Rewards.

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2 days ago

Nova Launcher Beta adds Android O style notification dots, but Dynamic Badges are better

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Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges.

Notification badges have made huge strides on Nova Launcher in the last few months. We got Dynamic Badges to replace the hum-drum numeric badges back in March, and now, Nova is letting us downsize our badges and try out the more simplistic Android O-style dots in its latest beta update. And while I'm all for bringing the latest Android goodies to older versions, this is one bit of O-ey goodness I will be skipping.

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2 days ago

Best Accessories for Samsung DeX

3

Equip your desktop-wannabe with the right peripherals for taking it on the road with the Galaxy S8.

The Samsung DeX helps unlock the desktop experience that's hidden deep within the code in your Galaxy S8 or S8+. If you've purchased one with the intention of getting work done on the road, however, you'll want to equip it with the right stuff. Here are some suggestions on what to grab if you're grabbing the Samsung DeX.

Logitech MX Anywhere 2

The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 wireless mouse has been my favorite since its first-generation iteration many years ago. This portable mouse works anywhere – on a desk, on glass, on high-gloss finishes, and even on your naked knee. It also offer dual wireless connectivity, so you can connect it to the DeX with the tiny Pico Unifying receiver or simply pair it via Bluetooth.

This mouse also features switches on the bottom, so you can pair up to three devices at a time, making it easy to switch between the DeX and your actual desktop computer. Best of all, it doesn't require batteries, and you can easily charge it from any powered USB port with merely a Micro-USB cable.

See at Amazon

Arteck HB030B wireless bluetooth keyboard

In need of something slim and chic that won't break the bank? This Bluetooth-connected keyboard from Arteck features thin chiclet keys and barely weighs 6 ounces. It's compatible with both Mac and PCs, too, and it features seven different backlight colors that you can sort through depending on your mood. When the keyboard is losing steam, you can quickly charge it via the DeX with the included USB charging cable. Arteck even offers a 24-month warranty with purchase.

See at Amazon

Anker SoundBuds slim wireless headphones

Unfortunately, the Samsung DeX dock doesn't come with its own headphone jack, so you'll be stuck listening to music or conducting conference calls through the Galaxy S8's built-in microphone and speakers. But you don't have to get stuck making everyone listen to your life! Get a pair of affordable Bluetooth-connected headphones like the SoundBuds from Anker. They support Bluetooth 4.1 and they're lightweight and thin enough to cart around in your pocket. They're also water-resistant, if that's your sort of thing, and they feature an in-line microphone and remote.

See at Amazon{.cta .shop}

Tera Grand retractable HDMI cable

Be ready to connect the Samsung DeX to any TV set or monitor you lay your eyes on. This retractable HDMI cable ensures you've always got 4 feet of cord on you when you need it without requiring too much room in your bag. This HDMI cable also supports resolutions up to 4K, if you're into that sort of thing, as well as dual direction 1080p. Best of all, it's cheap enough if you want to get a couple of them to toss into the emergency cords box somewhere in your house. (I know you've got one. We've all got one.)

See at Amazon

Bagsmart Electronics Travel Organizer

You don't need to bring a bag like this on the road with you to hold your stuff, but it is a good idea if you plan to travel with the Samsung DeX. This organizer case from Bagsmart is made of durable and water-repellant nylon and features well-passed covers. There's also two longer and one shorter velcro divider packed on the inside so that you can customize your own compartments, as well as a zipper section with a small SD card pouch.

See at Amazon

Got a suggestion of your own?

Leave it in the comments and we might include it the next time we update this page!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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2 days ago

The difference between Oculus Touch, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR controllers

Are all VR motion controllers the same?

It doesn't matter if you're a PlayStation VR owner, an Oculus Rift Day One backer, or exploring the universe in an HTC Vive, there are now controllers for each that allow you to reach out with your real arms and interact with the virtual world.

But are all of these controllers equal? Does it really matter if you're using the aging PlayStation Move controllers instead of the futuristic Oculus Touch? If an app was built with Vive controllers in mind, is the experience identical everywhere? Is there such a thing as a "best" motion controller? Let's take a look!

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 days ago

PES2017 is the best soccer game for mobile! [Best New Games for Android]

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

Updated May 26, 2017: Take to the pitch in PES2017! Take to the skies in Zombie Gunship Survival! Take a trip down memory lane with Shadow Warrior Classic Redux! Three great new games for Android to enjoy this Memorial Weekend!

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 with all 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!

PES2017: Pro Evolution Soccer

Most people know FIFA as the king of video game soccer, but in the mobile space, Konami's version of the beautiful game has just made a huge splash.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (also known as Winning Eleven in Japan) has landed on Android and offers the purest soccer experience you'll find on Mobile. Unlike FIFA Mobile Soccer, which offers really limited gameplay that's hamstrung by EA's "Ultimate Team" mechanic and "VS Attack" multiplayer, PES2017 offers a much more open gameplay experience with the option of building out your own team and playing a full campaign against the best teams in Europe, South America, and Asia. You're also able to play live PvP matches against online opponents or challenge your friends to a local match.

PES2017 really shines on the pitch, with traditional touch button controls or Konami's new swipe controls to choose from. The animations are great as players realistically battle for the ball, and you're able to trigger a goal celebration every time you score. There's plenty of fun to be had here, which is only limited by your "energy level", which you spend to play matches, and it refills over time.

There's also a slew of events to play to earn in-game currency — yes, there's a freemium model at play here to keep the game free, but it's much less restrictive here than with FIFA.

Download: PES2017: Pro Evolution Soccer (Free w/IAPs)

Zombie Gunship Survival

Zombie Gunship Survival is the long-awaited sequel to the first game that let you destroy wave after wave of the living undead from the relative safety of a high-powered gunship.

This game plays out after a zombie apocalypse has taken over the world as you help to secure an airfield shelter with your small team of survivors. You must provide support for your ground troops as they embark on missions to find news supplies, unleashing a hellfire of bullets and rockets at zombies.

The same stylized visuals are here from the original, with the shelter-building mechanic adding to its replayability. As you play, you'll unlock a fearsome collection of weapons to aid you in your survival. Do you have what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse?

Download: Zombie Gunship Survival (Free w/IAPs)

Shadow Warrior Classic Redux

If you're old enough to remember the days of gaming on MS-DOS, you might remember Shadow Warrior. First released 20 years ago by 3D Realms, the game follows the exploits of modern ninja warrior Lo Wang as he fights against hordes of demonic enemies in search of a mythical sword.

The game plays similar to Duke Nukem 3D — complete with a quick-witted protagonist and plenty of gratuitous violence. With Shadow Warrior Classic Redux, you get a remastered version of the classic game that features two episodes from the original game along with two expansion packs: Wanton Destruction and Twin Dragon. The game features customizable touch controls along with game controller support and is a nice blast from the past for old-school gamers.

You can snag this classic FPS for the sale price of just $0.99 in celebration of its launch on Android.

Download: Shadow Warrior Classic Redux ($0.99)

Android Gaming

Best action games for Android

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2 days ago

HTC U11 review: Back in the running

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HTC U11

HTC needs something to get it back in the conversation with today's flagships.

The launch of HTC's new "U" series of phones came with a flagship-sized hole in the middle of the lineup. The U Ultra was too big and too expensive, while the U Play was underpowered and short on value for the money.

With the launch of the U11, HTC is not only filling that flagship spot in the 2017 U series but also trying to create a proper successor to the HTC 10 to be the leading device of the year. Just a couple months after the U Ultra launched, the U11 arrives with a faster processor, improved battery life, a more compact body, better camera and perhaps most importantly a proper price.

With the big improvements, not only does the U11 make you wonder why the U Ultra exists — but it also makes you start considering it right alongside the flagship competition of 2017. That's something that happened only briefly with last year's HTC 10, and we're going to see if the HTC U11 has what it takes in our full review.

See at Amazon

About this review

I, Andrew Martonik, have been reviewing a Taiwanese SKU of the HTC U11, running on T-Mobile in both Mountain View, CA and Seattle, WA for 9 days. Due to radio band limitations, I did not have complete network coverage that would normally be provided by a proper U.S. phone. The software is version 1.03.709.4 with the April 1, 2017 security patch, and was not updated during the review period. The phone was provided to Android Central for review by HTC.

A recap

HTC U11 Video review

For a concise recap of everything you need to know about the U11, be sure to watch our video review above. When you're done, you can see my complete thoughts on the phone in the written review below!

HTC U11

Historic beauty

HTC U11 Hardware

Time after time, HTC shows how to execute its hardware designs perfectly. The "liquid surface" glass on the back stands out like no other glass-backed phone, coming down to the way it curves off of the edges and how the color is embedded in the glass rather than coated on the inside. No matter which of the five colors you pick up (the "amazing silver" is shown here), the colors shift and change as you move it around — it's a striking and unique design that stands out.

More: HTC U11 specs

The entire phone is beautifully crafted and assembled, with a satisfying heft you get from few phones — but expect from one with "HTC" on the back. That continues into the perfect curve of the glass on both sides of the phone, the way the buttons click and how solidly the haptics vibrate. These are things that are so often overlooked in order to achieve mind-bending designs, but HTC sticks with as important parts of the experience. HTC has also arrived fashionably late to the party with IP67 water resistance, which is a welcomed addition nonetheless.

From the front, the U11 feels like a phone from last year ... or even 2015.

For as beautiful as the U11 is, you don't look at the back of your phone all that often — you interact with the front every single day. Up front, the U11 feels like a phone of yesteryear. The display is surrounded by above-average bezels, punctuated by capacitive navigation keys on the bottom (whyyyyyyyy). Front-on the U11 looks the same as any generic phone released last year — if not in 2015. There are real usability concerns around a phone that's wider and taller than it "needs" to be, but importantly to snagging sales it also gives a weaker first impression than the Galaxy S8 or LG G6.

The 5.5-inch display itself is definitely up to modern standards, though. The latest Super LCD 5 panel at QHD resolution is at the top of what you can get from an LCD today, even though it comes up a bit short of Samsung's AMOLED panel (which I regard as the top of the industry). Everything is amazingly crisp and colors are great, and surprisingly for an LCD it's even manageable in bright direct sunlight. The screen doesn't quite get as dim as I'd like at night, but that's a small complaint about an otherwise great screen.

How the HTC U11 was made

There's an amazing amount of work that goes into making a phone like the U11. From the research and design up to final assembly, we were able to see inside the buildings where the U11 was built — be sure to read our first-hand account of the process.

Made in Taiwan: How HTC designs, manufactures and tests its new U11 flagship

HTC U11 headphones

You shouldn't look at an HTC phone today expecting it to have a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. What you will get in return is an audio experience that's a step above the competition. That starts with the in-box USonic headphones, which sound better than your typical bundled earbuds and now include active noise cancellation powered by the phone. It's a nice treat to actually get good, feature-filled headphones in the box (along with a USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter), but it's still baffling to me that they aren't actually standard USB-C headphones that work on any other phone, tablet or computer I've plugged them into. These are headphones for the U11 only (well, or the U Ultra / U Play) ... and for some people that's just an added frustration on top of not having the 3.5 mm jack.

HTC's new BoomSound speaker setup is also here, which combines both the front-firing earpiece speaker and down-firing loudspeaker for a better sound stage. Despite the complaints from longtime HTC fans that prefer the full-on dual speaker approach, the U11 sounds better than your typical phone — not only does it get louder than anything else on my desk, it sounds better through the full range. I don't see this as a big drop-off from the "proper" stereo speakers of older HTC phones.

HTC U11

Maintenance mode

HTC U11 Software and experience

HTC Sense feels like it's in maintenance mode at this point. For better or worse, the interface on the U11 isn't far removed from what you see on a One M9. At its core that's not really a bad thing, because HTC has long had a relatively clean interface that has removed a whole lot of cruft, duplicate apps and bloatware.

Much of what remains is a lightly tweaked version of Android 7.1.1, with some default apps replaced by HTC's consistently (albeit a bit tired looking) designed offerings. This is very much a "light touch" approach to shipping Android, with large swaths of the interface unchanged from what you'd see on a Pixel today.

HTC U11 softwareHTC U11 softwareHTC U11 softwareHTC U11 softwareHTC U11 softwareHTC U11 software

Some people, particularly those coming from a Samsung or LG phone, will say "where's the rest of it?" — because HTC chooses not to pile a ton of features on its phones. You'll simply find some subtle, helpful tweaks — like its audio tuning, the new "edge sense" squeeze feature and its camera app.

For me, the lack of extra features is actually a good thing. Loving the software experience on my Pixel XL, I want software as close to that as possible — and the U11 isn't far off. I don't have to go through the interface and turn off all of the things I don't want or wade through features I'll never touch. I installed a different keyboard on the U11, and that was it — I could just use it as is and be happy. Every basic feature I want is here, and it's executed properly; anything more I want I can get from Google Play.

Edge sense: Just squeeze your phone

The one big feature (or gimmick, perhaps) of the U11 is its "edge sense" technology, which has been at the core of HTC's marketing for the phone — that's why you're seeing the word "squeeze" so damn often. Yes, when you squeeze the U11 things happen, and HTC's positioning it as a new way to interact with your phone that's better than just an extra hardware button or two.

HTC U11 edge sense settingsHTC U11 edge sense settingsHTC U11 edge sense settings

The feature works simply enough: just tell the phone what you want to happen when you squeeze it, and then what happens when you squeeze it a bit longer (not to be confused with squeezing harder). You can configure and test until you hit a squeeze level that works for your hands, and adjust it at any time.

Squeezing your phone is not unlike Moto's gestures or BlackBerry's convenience key.

I left the short squeeze on its default setting of launching the camera, and changed the long squeeze to a screenshot. You can make either one launch Google Assistant, take a screenshot, toggle the flashlight, turn on the voice recorder, launch the Sense Companion or toggle the Wi-Fi hotspot — if you don't like any of those options, you can have it just launch an app of your choice.

Being able to squeeze your phone to launch an app or toggle a system function isn't much different than Motorola's set of hand gestures or BlackBerry's convenience key. It's a neat thing that works well but isn't going to completely change the way you use a phone — and if you don't like it, you can even turn it off entirely.

Performance

HTC continues to offer the smoothest, most consistent software performance outside of a Pixel or Nexus. Through what is surely a combination of obsessive software engineers and plenty of licensed technology, the U11's interface performance is immaculate. It's a sort of subconscious fluidity that's tough to describe. Touch response is perfect, scrolling feels just right and apps are blisteringly fast. No stutters, no hiccups, no issues at any point — no matter how smooth my other phones are sometimes, they're never this consistently perfect.

This is Pixel-like performance and fluidity.

So long as a phone performs like that I'm not particularly bothered by what's inside, but HTC knows people care about specs and delivered accordingly. The latest Snapdragon 835 is inside running the show, supported by 4GB of RAM and an ample 64GB of storage plus an SD card slot. Those specs are right in line with the competition, and should serve the U11 well for a good 18 months — let's hope HTC keeps its software updates rolling accordingly.

Battery life

A 3000mAh battery wasn't exactly acceptable on the massive U Ultra, but is a more appropriate cell size in the 5.5-inch U11. When paired with the power savings of the Snapdragon 835 processor, battery life on the U11 is solid. The phone could easily handle my typical day that involves lots of Wi-Fi time, keeping up with email and social networks and roughly 3 hours of screen-on time — all with about 20% battery to spare.

I only once had to dip into the "power saver" mode before bedtime, and it was on a travel day where the phone eventually lasted just over 12 hours after over 5 hours of screen-on time and just as many hours playing podcasts over Bluetooth. That's really good, and it's tough to expect much more from a flagship today — I've had plenty of phones die well before that point when I travel.

Speaking somewhat selfishly as someone who was really getting used to wirelessly charging their Galaxy S8 every night, I do wish that the glass-backed U11 integrated at least Qi charging. I know it's a rather niche feature, but for a high-end phone with a glass back you sort of expect the feature. Luckily Quick Charge 3.0 is here for when you plug in over USB-C, and that 3000mAh battery charges fast.

HTC U11

A nice rebound

HTC U11 Camera

As a side effect of the HTC 10's overall lack of traction in the market, we generally forgot that it had a pretty good camera. Thankfully the U11 not only one-ups the U Ultra's camera, but steps beyond the HTC 10 at the same time. A new "UltraPixel 3" camera offers 12MP of resolution, 1.4-micron pixels, an f/1.7 lens and switches from laser to phase detection "UltraSpeed" auto focus.

HTC is very proud of this camera, and is happy to tell you it has the "highest ever" DxOMark Mobile score of 90, but more important than any number is how it actually holds up in real use. When I spoke with HTC's camera engineers ahead of the launch, they said they like to aim for "true to life" photo reproduction, then kick up the punch just a little bit — and I found that to hold true.

The U11 takes really good photos, and they indeed lean toward real-life reproduction with just a little extra pop and contrast to make them pleasing to the eye. Leaving the phone in HDR Auto, as I typically do, I didn't run into the same sort of low dynamic range issues that I typically have on HTC's phones. It was good enough that I didn't even turn on the tap-to-expose option in the settings, though in a few situations I felt HDR didn't do enough to brighten up dark portions of scenes — but of course that would've been unnatural looking, which isn't what HTC wants its cameras to do.

HTC is back in the discussion with the top smartphone cameras out there.

In daylight, photos were just about pristine and right on par with the Galaxy S8, Pixel XL and LG G6. Colors were just right, edges were sharp and there was plenty of contrast available. When the lights got dimmer, things weren't as perfect, but no phone is in these situations. The dynamic range was again good enough to handle most scenes with mixed lighting, and I think HTC makes good decisions in leaving some grain in dark areas and not over-sharpening lines to the point of making them soft. In low light, where shutter speeds were sometimes a little on the dangerously low side, optical image stabilization (OIS) compensated just fine.

This camera is miles ahead of the U Ultra's, thankfully, and I have no issue setting it right alongside the top-tier competition in 2017. Having so many flagships just in the first half of the year offer great cameras is wonderful.

HTC U11

On the right track

HTC U11 Bottom line

When I reviewed the U Ultra, I could see the potential in the design and hardware execution — that phone was just unfortunately saddled with multiple issues including its size, a couple bad internal spec choices, a subpar camera and a far-too-high price. HTC has remedied nearly all of those issues just a couple months later with the U11. It has a more manageable size, ditched the second screen, improved battery life, overhauled the camera and lowered the price to $649.

If the U11 doesn't sell well, it will have nothing to do with the outright quality of the phone itself.

With those issues out of the way you can appreciate what a beautiful phone the U11 is, with a design that's truly unique to look at and solid to hold. You can also appreciate the ridiculous speed, fluidity and consistency of the software that beats everything but Google's own phone. And if you're a fan of the spartan approach to features and apps as I am, you'll like what HTC is doing here. Even if the interface isn't demonstrably changed from two years ago, at least the design is solid and you're not saddled with tons of cruft that's constantly in your way.

I don't think anyone was expecting HTC to come out swinging with a flagship smartphone that can steal a large number of sales from the big names out there, particularly in North America and Western Europe. But if the U11 doesn't sell well in 2017, it will have nothing to do with the outright quality of the phone itself. It's a really great phone that does so much right with so few missteps along the way. HTC has just lost so much ground in market share and brand awareness that it's fighting an uphill battle no matter what it puts out.

The U11 has everything it needs to be a challenger to the top crop of phones in the market today — now HTC just needs people to get to the point of giving its phones a chance again.

HTC U11

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2 days ago

Grab the complete C++ coding bootcamp for $45!

Learning to code can be difficult, especially diving head first into C++ coding. If you are looking to create apps, develop websites or just learn some new skills, you could spend tons of money and dedicate lots of time to learn more about it. Luckily, you don't have to go broke or spend all of your free time studying just to learn some new skills.

Learn to code with C++ on the cheap! Learn More

For a limited time, you can purchase this $45 Complete C++ Programming Bundle that will get you started. You'll have access to 8 different courses that will help you understand APIs, better understand arrays and collections and much more.

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  • C++ Programming from Zero to Hero: The Fundamentals
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  • C++: From Beginner to Expert
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Normally priced at over $600 you won't want to miss out on this great savings for these 8 courses. You'll have access to over 60 hours of materials and can really push your career to the next level with this bundle.

Save 92% right now! Learn More

You won't have long to pick this up for just $45, so if you are interested you'll want to act quick.

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2 days ago

How to customize Hello Bixby on the Galaxy S8

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Make the most of Hello Bixby with a little customization.

Bixby is Samsung's take on the virtual assistant, offering a similar experience to Google Now on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. You can access Bixby either by swiping right on the home screen or by pressing the Bixby button (on the left of the S8, below the volume buttons) at any time.

But Bixby is only going to be useful if you make it your own. Here's how to customize your Bixby experience.

How to customize your Hello Bixby cards

Feeling overwhelmed by all the content displayed when you check Bixby? It's set to display content from all supported apps by default to showcase everything it can do. Fortunately, it's quick and easy to customize your Bixby experience

  1. Press the Bixby button or swipe right to access Hello Bixby.
  2. Tap the settings icon in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Hello Bixby cards.

  4. Tap the switch next to all Apps
  5. Tap the switch next to the apps you want to see on Bixby.

Bixby only currently supports a limited number of apps, and as you might expect, they're mostly Samsung's stock apps. If you use Google apps such as Gmail or Google Photos, you're out of luck for the time being.

How to re-organize Hello Bixby cards

Want the weather card or any other card to be at the top of your Hello Bixby menu? You can customize the order of your cards to fit your needs.

  1. Press the Bixby button or swipe right on the home screen to launch Hello Bixby.
  2. Tap the menu button on the card you want at the top. It looks like three dots in a vertical line.
  3. Tap Pin to top.

It's just that easy. You can pin multiple apps to the top, but just know that the last card you pin will go straight to the top, so order your cards accordingly.

How will you customize Bixby?

Personally, I decided to turn off almost everything, even mostly useful features like Flipboard briefing. While I generally liked the content it was providing, I always find that Bixby cuts off the full headline and that's really annoying.

What do you think of Hello Bixby so far? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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2 days ago

Red, white and blue sale: Save 25% on Android accessories!

In honor of the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country, we're offering 25% off all Android accessories at ShopAndroid.

Starting today until Wednesday, May 31, you can pick up a new case, quick charger, screen protector or wireless charger for your Android device and enjoy a 20% savings by using coupon code: MD17 at checkout. There's an extensive selection of Android accessories to choose from, along with a convenient 60-day return policy and free shipping on all orders over $50 in the US and Canada.

Save big on accessories for the latest devices including the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Google Pixel and OnePlus 3. Haven't upgraded just yet? No problem — we're fully stocked on accessories for favorites like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S7, Droid Turbo 2 and many more!

Take your time, browse, and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

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2 days ago

Hello Motorola: The oldest phone maker plots its grand comeback

92

Motorola is aggressively trying to court phone buyers with old ideas and new tricks.

By Motorola's own admission, it wasn't in a great spot just a year ago. Its third-generation Moto X line hadn't sold quite as well as previous years despite enormous technical improvements, and the integration into newish owner Lenovo had been hitting some bumps.

Chief among them was how to integrate Motorola's brand equity and enormous technical mastery into Lenovo's sprawling worldwide distribution network. Would Motorola be subsumed into Lenovo, leaving just remnants of the world-renowned phone maker, or would Lenovo let Motorola stand on its own, as previous owner Google managed to do.

When the company unveiled its Moto Z lineup last June, consisting of the ultra-thin Moto Z and ultra-strong Moto Z Force, more emphasis was placed on the accompanying modular attachments — Moto Mods, as they're called — than the phones themselves. Sure, the Moto Z was the first phone in the U.S. to remove the headphone jack, reportedly necessitated by its ultra-slim design, but design aside, the story was more about the platform than the hardware.

The unveiling itself was also new for Motorola, as it was part of Lenovo's annual Tech World showcase; previous hardware unveilings had been separate, even well after the Chinese company's acquisition of Motorola from Google in 2014. It seemed likely that, while the Moto brand was to live on in the phones themselves, Motorola as a phone company would slowly disappear, subsumed into its parent company's market dominance.

But that isn't happening. According to Jan Huckfeldt, Motorola's chief marketing officer, Motorola is not only poised for a comeback, but the entire Lenovo smartphone strategy is rallying around the brand, which, he says, is one of the most recognizable in the world.

The Motorola name isn't going anywhere. In fact, soon it's all you'll see.

"A year ago, we weren't in a good spot," he tells Android Central during a press briefing in New York in late May. "We didn't really handle the challenges [of being integrated into a larger company] well." Despite the success of phones like the Moto G series in countries like Brazil, where Motorola holds over 20% market share, the company lacked a unifying message for all of its smartphones. Was it a Lenovo Moto G? A Motorola Moto Z? Or just a Moto X, no company necessary? In India, for example, Lenovo and Motorola not only sold side by side, but in some areas competed; the Moto E3 Power went up against Lenovo's Vibe K6, while the more expensive Moto G series stood next to the Lenovo Z2 Plus.

Technology companies are generally comfortable disrupting and cannibalizing their own product lines as long as the sales stay within the company, but Huckfeldt acknowledges that a lack of a unifying message was confusing consumers in a market that was already overwhelmed by choice.

"On average, people consider two brands when shopping for something like a phone. They go in and they have something in mind already." Motorola, he says, is distinctive and has a heritage that people like. They know the brand, but more than that they have good memories of it — a simpler time, before smartphones and social media and information overload.

So Motorola is going all in on… Motorola. On phones, it's phasing out the Lenovo name in all countries but India, where the Chinese vendor has significant marketing sway, and it's no longer going to hide the brand that brought you the RAZR. Don't worry, Lenovo's tablets and laptops aren't going anywhere.

"Where they zig, we're going to zag."

Huckfeldt also points out that Motorola is not resting on nostalgia alone; while the current advertising campaigns harken back to the good ol' days of "Hello Moto," the assets themselves have been refreshed and made more colorful and aggressive. He notes the industry's tendency to follow Apple into minimalism; Motorola is pushing back against that, choosing to align itself with what Huckfeldt calls "techcentrics," the early adopters that lead a brand out of obscurity. Because as much as Motorola has maintained its identifiability, its smartphone share has dwindled in North America as Samsung and LG have become the de facto Android brands.

"Where they zig, we're going to zag," he says. "When less is more, we want 'more is more.'" Huckfeldt believes that, along with better phones themselves, two elements are going to capture people's attention: the well-regarded "batwing logo," which like the Motorola name itself has been repurposed with a more flexible, modern aesthetic; and the aforementioned "Hello Moto" pneumonic device, which is not only present in every television commercial but (annoyingly) front and center each time a Moto phone boots up.

Relying on its well-worn brand assets while unifying its product line appears to be working. Motorola has sold more Moto G5s in Latin America than all the previous Moto G versions combined, and had the best first-day sales in India to date.

Some of the marketing efforts haven't been particularly well received — a most recent ad called The Designers imagines two German designers throwing darts at an iPhone-like phone cutout to decide what to change next — but the message is clear: your phone is probably boring, and Motorola has something exciting.

That something exciting, the Moto Z line, is, a year later, still fairly fresh, though it remains to be seen how the company supports the Mods program in 2017 and beyond. Curiously, Motorola likely knew it was painting itself into a design corner when it committed to support the Moto Mods platform on the current Moto Z line for at least two years, which means we already know the size of the next flagship, for better or worse. And while Motorola has found some success with the Moto Z, boasting sales of two million units between the Z, Z Force and enthusiast favorite, Z Play, those numbers are still quite small even compared to its own far more conservative Moto G lineup.

If rumors and recent announcements are to be believed, Motorola will take steps to further unify the look of its Moto line this year, so a €99 Moto C should be visually indistinguishable from a $699 Moto Z. "We want everyone to immediately recognize a Motorola phone," says Huckfeldt. He also wants everyone to recognize a Motorola commercial, a Motorola logo and a Motorola soundbite.

You're going to see more Motorola in 2017 than ever before. And that's by design.

The idea in 2017, he says, is to overwhelm people with Motorola — to remind phone buyers and technology fans alike that the company is present, innovative, and relentlessly different. That alone isn't going to sell phones, but it's true that the Motorola name is considerably more ubiquitous than it has been since it was acquired by Lenovo, and despite significant executive overhaul there are enough people at the top with experience and wherewithal enough to understand what needs to change and what doesn't.

Even a year in, it's not clear how history will treat Motorola's decision to bet the farm on snap-on modules, but what is clear is that the company is already hedging. While nothing has been shared publicly just yet, a leaked slide from what appears to be in internal presentation shows what appears to be the impending launch of a new Moto X, which would sit above the mid-range G line while eschewing the modularity of the Zs. Along with a newly-launched Moto C and rumors of a refreshed Moto E, Motorola could have, by year's end, a suite of similar-looking, uniformly-branded phones, catering each one for a particular market.

"We wanted to make better use of what we had," says Huckfeldt, referring to the Motorola name and logo as world-class assets.

"This is a premium brand. People respect it."

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2 days ago

OnePlus 3T will continue to be on sale in India until 'later this year'

2

OnePlus 3T isn't getting discontinued in India.

OnePlus announced yesterday that it would discontinue the OnePlus 3T in global markets to make way for its 2017 flagship. With the OnePlus 5 slated to launch sometime next month, OnePlus is undoubtedly looking to ramp up production of its upcoming phone.

While the OnePlus 3T won't be available once the current stock runs out in global markets, Indian customers will be able to pick up both the 64GB and 128GB variants of the handset from Amazon India, OnePlus' own website, and its retail store in Bangalore until "later this year."

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2 days ago

Grab the 128GB Xiaomi Mi Note 2 with global LTE bands for just $429

23

This is the lowest price we've seen for the global variant of the Mi Note 2.

The global variant of Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is currently on sale for just $429 at GearBest. The phone debuted at the end of last year, and is the first Xiaomi handset to offer global LTE bands. It has 37 LTE bands in total, and is compatible with most GSM networks around the world, including T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S.; EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone in the UK.

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3 days ago

What's on MrMobile's phone?

11

As we approach the one-year anniversary of MrMobile's launch, it seems only right to fulfill one of the most common viewer requests. You see a variation of the question in the comment section of nearly every video: "what's on your phone, MrMobile?" And while I personally find my app selection really predictable, I figure there's probably a gem or two in here that some of y'all haven't heard of yet. So dive on in to the How MrMobile Works catalog to take in my Top 40 Apps video – and if you agree with me that this collection could use some spicing up, drop a comment down below with your top app alternatives!

Stay social, my friends

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