HTC's themes get a lot of things right… and a couple of big things wrong.
HTC Themes are thoroughly customizable, which is great. They're not all-or-nothing like the all-or-nothing kits offered by Samsung. You can choose your own colors, your own images, your own icon pack, and build the theme you want. You can even break them free of the traditional home screen grid on the new HTC 10. The problem is, an unfortunate amount of the material in the HTC Theme store wasn't uploaded by its creator.
And when those rightful owners have come calling for their work to be taken down, they haven't gotten much from HTC.
What at first seemed like a throwaway feature on yet another battery case ends up making it a realistic charging option.
As you may recall, I'm not the biggest fan of battery cases. They're cumbersome, come with a load of compromises and in the end don't add much of a charge to your phone. At the same time, the Galaxy S7's larger battery removes the need for a battery case for most people.
Samsung launched a new style of battery case with the Galaxy S7, which at the time seemed a little confusing. Rather than plug into the USB port like every other battery case, it uses Qi wireless charging to keep your phone powered up. Initially I wrote it off as a superfluous feature addition that didn't make a whole lot of sense for a case that's attached to the phone.
But then I used it, and it makes so much sense I can't believe it wasn't done before.
This week, Canadian operator Rogers' flanker brand chatrintroduced a new promotional plan that purportedly offers unlimited data, along with Canada-wide talk and text, for a meagre $40 per month. In a market where it's not unheard of to spend upwards of $100 for a couple of gigabytes of data, such a deal is worth taking a closer look at.
16GB isn't a lot of space. You might need a way to add more.
While Chromebooks are mostly cloud-centric machines, there are still quite a few offline packaged apps available. Sometimes, when you have a lot of those installed alongside media like music, video and pictures, there's not much room left. Add in Google Drive syncing, and running out of space is a real possibility — especially on the 16GB storage models.
There are a few things you can do to help if you ever hit the storage wall. Let's have a look at some of them!
Adding an SD card or USB thumb drive is an easy option
This one is simple. Your Chromebook has an SD card reader on the side, and if you add a card to it, all the space on the card is available to the operating system for storage. The same goes for a USB thumb drive.
There are a couple issues to be aware of here. The first is that you might not want half of an SD card or a USB thumb drive hanging off the side of your Chromebook where it can get broken. There's an easy solution — use half-height drives or cards.
Your Chromebook can read and write to SD cards or USB drives formatted as FAT32, vFAT and exFAT. Your Chromebook can format or reformat an SD card, but it will only do it using the FAT32 file system. There is a 4GB file size and 8TB partition size limit using FAT32, so if you need to read and write files (like movies) bigger than 4GB it's best to format the card on another machine. You can do that on a demo computer at Best Buy if you need to.
Lastly, tinkerers might want to use an ext file system on their portable drives. Besides issues with file permissions you might run into, remember that journalizing may cause flash storage to wear out fast.
A less portable solution — A USB hard drive
Like portable flash storage, your Chromebook can use a USB hard drive for a lot more storage at the cost of portability. Most any USB hard drive will work, so look for the fastest one (USB 3) you can afford, even if your Chromebook doesn't have USB 3 ports — your next one will.
Your Chromebook can access files on a USB hard drive using these file systems:
FAT (FAT16, FAT32, exFAT)
HFS+ (read-only on journaled HFS+)
You'll not be able to easily format a USB drive in Chrome OS, so you'll need to do that on another computer. Also note that there is no defragmenter in Chrome OS, so if the drive gets "clogged" up you'll need to do that on another computer, too.
Protip: Your Chromebook can also read files (like media in any of these formats: 3gp, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mp3, .mkv, .ogv, .ogm, .ogg, .oga, .webm, .wav ) from a USB CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, so it might be worth burning your videos and music to a disc if you have room to tote a USB drive around.
Use a second Google Drive account
And don't sync it offline with your Chromebook.
It's easy to switch users on Chrome OS, and downloading a file to a removable drive through the file manager means it can be available for all users. Every account gets 15GB of free Google Drive storage, and it will show in the file manager where you can easily access any of it.
Of course you can also choose to not sync your Google Drive files offline to save even more space from the Google Drive app settings.
You might be able to put a bigger drive in your Chromebook
This is a little more extreme than any of the other options, and most Chromebooks don't support it because the internal storage is soldered directly to the board.
Some notable models that can be upgraded with a bigger storage drive include the Acer C710, the Acer C720, the HP Chromebook 14, The Samsung Series 5 (and Series 5 550) and the Cr-48.
It's easy to do on some models like the Acers or the Samsungs, and very difficult to do on the HP 14 — but it can be done.
You also might need a specific drive like an M.2/NGFF SSD and it's best to stay away from drives bigger than 128GB. We swapped out the SSD on a trusty C720 if you want to see what you might be up against.
When you buy a $200 laptop that's built to be lean and speedy, you shouldn't expect a 500GB spinning disk drive under the hood. You wouldn't be happy with the performance even if you did. That's just not how Chromebooks are designed, and even the most expensive models only come with a 64GB SSD installed.
With tempered and well thought out expectations, and these few tips you should be able to manage all of your storage needs. I'm building a new desktop workstation for the office, and I have 6.5TB of storage sitting here to go in it. One day, I'll need to worry about it getting full, and I'll have to pay closer attention to what I save and where I save it. No computer is immune.
We have a feeling that Chromebooks with bigger storage sizes are coming, as it will soon be more expensive to spec out 16GB drives instead of 32GB. In the meantime, be sure to keep everything backed up somewhere, and learn to delete the things you'll never need again.
This offer from Spigen is the two-piece type that has a flexible body with a harder plastic edging. Normally, those hard plastic outer edges don't fit the softer silicone properly, but in the case of this… case… the fit is superb.
The phone feels solid and neither the rim nor the silicone impede any functionality of the edge features. Sometimes the plastic has a habit of being a bit loose, so if you push near the power or volume buttons, they'd engage. Not with the Neo Hybrid Crystal; everything fits snugly and the buttons are only pushed when you want them to be.
It should be noted that the outer plastic piece could become loose over time, since it is rather flexible; however, if you aren't constantly taking the case off your S7 edge, you shouldn't have a problem.
The reason we chose this case over Spigen's Ultra Hybrid, which doesn't have the harder outer plastic piece, is that you can't feel any seams on the Neo Hybrid. The Ultra Hybrid has a rather sharp seam that's just uncomfortable.
The Trianium Clear Cushion is a great option for those of us that love a 100 percent clear case that's seamless and sleek, while offering the necessary protection. With the S7 line-up being notorious for shattering when dropped on a corner, Trianium offers some peace of mind with its thicker corners and lifetime warranty. If you start to notice imperfections, then you can apply for a new one.
The Clear Cushion fits great and is less than a millimeter thick, so it's almost like your phone's wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all…
The case is slim, but it's also proportioned in all the right places; the edges come up just enough to block you from accidentally hitting buttons, but they don't block the edge features at all. Use the edge when you want to, not when your case fits poorly.
You also have the added benefit of Trianium's scratch-resistant coating, so your pretty phone stays pretty longer.
Just watch out if you have a screen protector on your edge, as the Clear Cushion fits so snugly that it might curl up the edges.
Another great one-piece entry, the Abestbox Crystal Clear is a solidly built case and when they say, "crystal clear," they mean it. It's really clear, which is great if you're someone that can't stand having to case your phone, but understand that it's probably a good idea.
Once again, this is another great fit that does not impede any edge function at all, and the super slim design doesn't add any bulk or weight to your phone. It's not slick, so you'll have no trouble gripping your S7 edge and holding on to it.
If you're looking for heavy duty scratch resistance, then this is the case for you. It's rated 3H (pencil hardness) for scratch resistance.
Actually, i-Blason is great for all-around scratch protection, since its raised front bezel makes it ideal for phones with screen protectors. The raised bezel is also good idea, just in case you drop your S7 edge on its face.
Once again, the Clear Hero Series is really clear, leaving the beauty of Samsung's flagship on display.
EasyAcc's clear case is as minimalist as we can get while still talking about a case that offers solid protection. This is the most flexible entry in our round-up, so if you like the grippy rubber feeling of TPU, then this is the one for you.
It's totally seamless and tear-resistant, so you need not worry about it being too flexible. The edges of EasyAcc's case are raised just enough, just in case you drop your phone on a flat surface.
This case is ideal if you're looking for something incredibly minimalist with great grip. Just beware of stretching, since it is so flexible and also be aware that the case may yellow over time, since TPU absorbs light very easily.
With all the poor S7 and S7 edges that have been dropped on their corners and turned into spider webs come LUVVITT's interesting and effective answer: air.
There are small spaces for air in each corner of their ClearView case, which offer more impact support while not affecting the fit in any way. You'd think that space in a case would make it loose, but that's just not the… case (how many more can I fit into this post?).
There are raised lips on both the front and back of the case to protect your screen and the hard plastic back. The harder plastic makes for a clearer view of your S7 edge, while the rubber edging cushions impacts well.
LUVVITT offers a lifetime warranty, so if you start to notice imperfections that may compromise protection, let them know. The rubber edge is made of TPU, so keep in mind that it may yellow over time.
Speck's Candyshell is a dual-layer case that has a hard polycarbonate exterior and a soft acrylic interior so it's kind of like a bike helmet for your phone. There's less risk of these materials turning yellow, so your S7 edge will shine through for a long time to come.
Unlike most polycarbonate cases, this one has a slim build and doesn't add a ton of bulk to your phone, though it can be a tad slippery, especially if your hands are dry. It's also not as clear as other cases we've mentioned, but it still offers solid protection while showcasing your S7 edge.
The Speck logo is etched into the inside of the case, so you can kind of see it on the lighter-colored S7 edges, but on block it's not horrible visible.
If nothing else, you should probably just pick up this case for the name! The Supcase Unicorn Beetle hybrid is for those of us who want something rugged that can withstand more than a little jostle.
I should point out up front that this case isn't totally clear but more translucent. The outer edge is black as well, so if you really want to show of your S7 edge, this may not be the case for you. However, if you want rugged protection and would still like to see your phone if you can, then have at 'er.
You've got a shock-absorbent TPU bumper around the outer edges and a hard polycarbonate back panel that come in a rather slim design for a "rugged"-style case. The corners are all reinforced and there's a raised lip on the front that protects from a faceplant while still allowing for full edge functionality.
If you want to appreciate the craftsmanship of your S7 edge while truly feeling the protection, then this case is ideal for you.
According to a new document, it appears as though Telus may be preparing to roll out the Marshmallow update for both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4. The Marshmallow rollout has been a slow one, but we have seen lots of different phones get updated recently.
Are Microsoft and Google entering a new era of cooperation? A new report states the two companies are going to work together to resolve any issues among themselves before bringing in outside regulators.
Indian import export website Zauba shows that Motorola has imported a phone into the country with the codename Affinity. The screen size is listed as 5 inches, and the retail value at ₹5,164 ($78) suggests this may well be the Moto E 2016.
AT&T has slashed the price of the BlackBerry Priv by $60, dropping it down to $639 off contract. While this isn't a huge savings, it exceeds the $50 cut that BlackBerry recently did on the phone. If you are in the market for a new phone or have been eyeing the Priv but waiting for the price to drop a little, this may be your time to pick one up.
If you are looking to get an HTC 10 and Three is your carrier of choice, you will be excited to hear that the carrier is now accepting pre-orders of the phone. From the 5.2-inch QHD Super LCD display to the 3000mAh battery and the USB-C connector, this phone has just about everything you could want. It runs Android 6.0.1 out of the box, and is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 4GB of RAM.
How good it will actually be is still the number one question.
Is the VR dream that you can put on what amounts to a regular pair of glasses and be transported into a whole new world? The Dlodlo (pronounced do-do, don't ask why) V-One claims to be the first product of its kind that will do just that. Transport you into a virtual world wearing a fairly regular sized pair of glasses. I've been careful to say "claims to be" because as of the recent CE China event in Shenzhen, there was no working sample to put to the test.
The actual product will be launched in New York City at some point later in 2016. And while there are many, many questions to be answered, here's what we know about it so far.
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