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1 week ago

You'll soon be able to stream PlayStation 4 games with PlayStation Now

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The PlayStation Now catalog will be expanded with PS4 titles sometime in 2017.

PlayStation Now is a great way to play hundreds of PS3 games by streaming them right to your PS4 or your PC. Today Sony says that soon the catalog will be extended to include PlayStation 4 titles.

We're excited to announce that PS Now's catalog is set to grow even further, as we'll be expanding to include a new platform: PlayStation 4 games. All of the games in the service, including PS4 games, will be included with a single PS Now subscription. We'll share more information as we get closer to launch, so stay tuned.

There's no date attached saying when this is going to start, but Sony says that private testing will begin in the next few weeks. If you're a PS Now subscriber, keep and eye on your email to see if you are selected as part of the test group.

If you haven't tried PlayStation Now you can hit Sony up for a free seven-day trial and check it out.

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1 week ago

Galaxy S8 home screen goes ultra-minimal

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The Galaxy S8's launcher looks more futuristic than we initially thought.

We've seen plenty of the Galaxy S8's outside form, but what about the inside? I don't mean the heart — we know that, too — but the software, presumably based on Android 7.1.x, though judging from these leaks launcher screenshots, the resemblance is passing at best.

Thanks to screenshots retrieved from a leaked version of Samsung's upcoming Smart Switch app that will make it easy for old Galaxy owners to transition their contacts, calendars, apps, documents and photos to the new GS8, we now know basically what the Galaxy S8 home screen will look like.

What you see above is not exactly what users will be interacting with when the Galaxy S8 is released in April, since the icons lack context-specific text underneath, but it's a good approximation. Very sparse icon art, with broken or abstract lines depicting things like a phone or a camera, along with some other designs that are a bit harder to suss out. The contrast with Google's own set of much more well-defined and colorful app icons is stark, to say the least.

Broken lines and minimal colors comprise Samsung's vision of the home screen's future.

Finally — and we're not going to read anything into this until we know for sure — there is no app drawer on the home screen. This could mean that Samsung, like Huawei and LG before it, could forgo the traditional app launcher in favor of a more iOS-like Springboard design, where icons, folders and widgets live together on various home screens. Obviously, given that the second set of the screenshots depict an app drawer, the GS8 will support one, but it may have to be enabled after the fact. Update: Or, as smartly suggested in the comments, Samsung could mimic Google's Pixel Launcher and offer a swipe-up-to-access app drawer.

It's also worth pointing out that Samsung's on-screen navigation pictograph for 'home' is nearly identical to the one Google uses, and suggests vendors use, for multitasking. Not confusing at all.

Of course, everything evolves, and Samsung's updated launcher looks quite different to just five years ago when the company was gearing up to launch the Galaxy S3.

Do you see anything else new in these launcher screenshots? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

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1 week ago

Best Car Mounts for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge

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Best car mounts for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge

Holding your phone while driving is a horrible idea. Get a car mount for your S7!

Updated March, 2017: Added the iOttie wireless charging mount.

In many cases, it's illegal for you to hold your cell phone to your ear while you're driving, so a car mount is a great alternative. This way, you can throw up a Google Map before you embark and you'll be able to following your path like you would on any GPS device.

Get yourself a Bluetooth headset (or, better yet, a car with built-in Bluetooth) and you'll be able to answer calls, since pushing a button on your phone will be no different than pushing the buttons on your console.

If you've got the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, then we've got the car mount roundup you've been looking for.

Spigen Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount

Spigen Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount

Gone are the days of gooey adhesives that muck up the inside of your pristine automobile. Magnets are where it's at. No, the magnets won't mess up your phone; you'll just have easy on and off mounting, which is what we all want, isn't it?

This Spigen mount has two sizes of slits to fit almost any car air vent and you can pop your S7 or S7 edge on in any orientation. All you do is stick the metal plate to the back of your phone's case and boom, your phone's magnetic and good to go any time. You can even take the mount with you and use it as a kickstand for when you're watching videos on your phone.

Note: you should stick the metal plates to a case and not the back of the phone itself. If you need some help finding cheap cases, we've got another round-up with your name on it.

It should also be noted that having the metal plate on the back of your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge's case will hinder wireless charging, so you'll have to take it out of the case for that.

See at Amazon

EnergyPal HC84K Car Mount

EnergyPal HC84K Car Mount

This particular mount serves a dual purpose: it holds your phone and doubles as a car charger. The end of the mount plugs into your cigarette lighter and looks like most USB car chargers, but an articulating arm extends upward from the unit into a three-sided phone holder. It softly cradles your phone, leaving the bottom open so you can run your charging cable down to the USB ports.

This unit comes equipped with over-charge protection, so you won't fry your phone if your car decides to short circuit on you. The gooseneck-style end can be rotated to any orientation, so you can view maps in landscape format if you fancy.

The only downside of this particular mount will be where your lighter plug is placed. If it's kind of hard to get to, then this particular mount may not work out for you, since the neck is only about 5 inches long.

See at Amazon


Logitech Drive One-Touch mount

Logitech Drive

If you're into a minimalist mount, then the Logitech Drive will suit your needs nicely. It mounts with just a twist and only takes up about 2 inches of either your dashboard or windshield.

The adhesive metal disc attaches to either your phone or its case (definitely preferable) and it securly mounts to the Drive in any orientation you like.

See at Amazon


iOttie Easy One Touch Car Mount

iOttie Easy One Touch Car Mount

This is one of those mounts with a sticky gel pad that you stick to your dashboard, so if you're worried about damage, you may want to sit this one out. However, the nice part about it being a gel pad is its ability to stick to uneven and textured surfaces, making this mount ideal for even the most oddly designed vehicle interior.

You've got a telescopic arm that extends two inches and bends 180-degrees, to give you versatility in terms of where you stick your mount. It comes with a one-year replacement warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you just contact iOttie and they send you a new one.

If the gel pad on the back gets all dusty and gross and won't stick anymore, you can just rinse it under warm water, let it dry, and it'll be good as new.

See at Amazon

Nite Ize Steelie

Nite Ize Steelie

This mount is just plain cool as hell. You stick the magnet to the back of your phone or case, and it easily mounts to the magnetic ball that mounts to your dash. It takes up next to no space, and you can mount your phone in any orientation you want.

The magnet is strong, so there's no worry of your Galaxy S7 or s7 edge falling off (unless you plan on off-roading), and the adhesive won't leave a grody residue on your phone or dashboard.

See at Amazon

Spigen Style Ring

Spigen Style Ring

If you want to go as minimal as possible, then the Spigen Style Ring is the only way to go. It's an adhesive piece, no bigger than an inch, that sticks to the back of your phone, with an articulating ring that doubles as a kickstand (bonus!).

Then, there's another piece, about the same size, that adheres to your dashboard or your console and you just hang the ring on it. That's it. It takes up about as much space as the volume knob on your radio. If you're taking some wild turns, it may jostle your phone out of place, but it's otherwise quite secure, despite how it looks.

Make sure you stick it to your dash during warmer months, since the adhesive won't really take in the dead of winter.

See at Amazon

ProClip mobile mounting solutions

ProClip

For a completely customized car mount, direct your attention to ProClip. They offer a two-part car mount solution that you customize for your specific needs. Firstly, you select your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus from the menu, and indicate whether or not you want to factor in the case you use. You'll be given a variety of six to eight images to choose from with specs and details for each phone holder offered.

Once you've decided on your iPhone holder, you move on to the custom mounting base. Select the kind of base you want (dashboard, pedestal, and so on) and select the vehicle you drive. The bases you will be selecting from are designed to snap into the seams of your dashboard or grip the necessary panels, so no sticky pads or bolts are necessary. Eliminate the guessing by customizing every aspect of your car mount and know that it's going to fit just the way you want it to.

See at ProClip

RAM mount

RAM Mount

The RAM mount is a heavy duty twist-locking suction cup mount that mounts on your dashboard or windshield. Made of marine grade aluminum, the RAM is just about as tough as they come and sturdily holds onto your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge and won't let go.

The rubber-coated tips ensure that your phone doesn't slip, and the holder is spring-loaded, so you don't need to fiddle with the mount with both hands just to get your phone in there.

If you need a mount that holds onto your phone with kung fu grip, check out the RAM.

See at Amazon

iOttie HLCRIO132 wireless charging mount

iOttie wireless charging mount

This Qi-enabled mount is perfect for keeping your Galaxy S7 charged up on the go. The two-step locking mechanism is perfect for any type of dashboard, since one step is for smooth surfaces and the second is for textured surfaces.

This mount also features iOttie's great one-touch mounting system that make it easy to mount your phone and remove it quickly. It has a telescopic arm so that you can adjust and orient it in any way you like, and it comes with a Micro-USB cable, as well as a dashboard pad so that you can mount on even the most stubborn surface.

See at Amazon

Important to consider

Double-check the ol' law where you are and make sure that it's not illegal to mount anything on your windshield.

You'll also want to consider the absorbency of your dashboard, since some adhesives may leave stains.

What's your favorite?

Which car mount are you presently using for your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge? Sound off in the comments below!

See Galaxy S7 at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 week ago

Best photography apps for Android

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Pixel XL using Lightroom Mobile

The best camera is the one you have with you, and for most of us that means our go-to gadget for taking pictures is our smartphone.

Choosing a phone with a great camera is only part of the equation, though. The apps you use with it — and after the fact, by enhancing your photos — are equally important.

Here, as part of our series on Android photography, we present some of our top picks for taking great photos on your Android phone, making them even better, and sharing them with the world.

Google Photos

Google Photos

Google Photos is probably the best overall photo app on Android. You can automatically backup your photos and videos to Google's cloud, making them available on every device you own — including the web — and view highlights of each day, so you don't need to scroll through all your photos to find the best ones. This means that for folks who don't have a ton of storage on their phone, they can ensure that a photo is never lost or deleted accidentally. And because Photos has unlimited storage, you can feel safe deleting pics from your phone to free up that space.

One of Google Photos' best features is Auto Awesome. Take a bunch of photos and it'll periodically "gift" you enhanced versions of them to sit alongside the originals in your collections — think animated GIFs if you've taken a burst shot, Instagram-style filters and contrast-boosted versions of washed-out shots. Take a series of images from different perspectives and you might even end up with an auto-generated Panorama based on these pics.

Google Photos is full of great features to make storing and accessing your photos easier than ever

The Auto Awesome feature also lets you create video highlights reels based on a series of images and videos. And if you're going on vacation, Photos can sort your images and videos into a chronological story book of your trip, ideal for sharing on social networks. Photos even includes some of Snapseed's photo editing and filtering capabilities through its "edit" button, which is useful if you just want to tweak your shots or add filters without downloading a separate app.

Download: Google Photos

Instagram

Instagram

Instagram is the original filtered photo-sharing app, now owned by Facebook and pretty much synonymous with smartphone photography. It's also come a long, long, long, way since it was first introduced to users. They've added some excellent features that make sharing photos, and videos, an easier and more enjoyable process.

Instagram is pretty much synonymous with mobile photography.

New filters are being added all the time, and for the most part they do a good job of giving photos character without stomping all over them. In addition to controlling lux and the level of filtering, you can tweak photos' color temperatures, adjust highlight and shadow brightness, add a vignette, sharpen and even introduce tilt-shift effects. There is also video integration, so that you can take and share videos with your followers, and if you have a particular photo or video you want all of your followers to see, you can add it to your story as a pinned post of sorts. Of course, there's also Stories, a Snapchat clone that has proven an extremely popular way to share snippets of your day — if you're into that.

And from there, share to your timeline, or directly to specific people. Naturally, there's integration with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare, too.

Download: Instagram

VSCO Cam

VSCO

Popular on iOS before making its way to Android, VSCO Cam aims to be your one-stop shop for photography and image editing on your Android phone. VSCO lets you capture images, tweak and tune them to your liking, sync them across devices and share them with the world. You can even discover the best original photography from other VSCO users through the Grid feature.

Like the rest of VSCO, the built-in camera app is relatively simple, offering basic controls including grid lines and flash toggles. When it comes time to enhance your photo, the app brings an assortment of filters to the table, along with the option to buy even more through in-app purchases. That's on top of the usual combination of dials to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and other properties. There is also the ability to copy/paste batch photo editing as well.

VSCO has a fairly minimalist look when scrolling through photos that others have posted, showing you only the photo and the username of the photographer. This minimalism also translated over to the camera and editing functions. This makes it easier to concentrate on what you're working on without lots of extraneous things getting in your way.

Download: VSCO Cam

Snapseed

Snapseed

Google's Snapseed is one of the most accessible photo editing apps for Android, with a wide range of features for experienced users and newcomers alike. At its most basic level, Snapseed lets you scroll vertically through image enhancement options, then drag horizontally to control the intensity of the effect.

The range of features is pretty diverse: everything from basic automatic color and contrast enhancement to cropping and sharpening, to selectively adjusting color properties within a particular radius. And of course it wouldn't be a photo editing app without the obligatory filters and frames, which are controlled by swiping, just like Snapseed's image tuning features.

If you're after a photo editing app that's powerful yet simple to learn, Snapseed strikes a great balance between the two.

Download: Snapseed

Open Camera

Open Camera

Open Camera is a great option for anyone who isn't really a fan of the camera baked into their phone. This app is completely free, updated somewhat regularly, and absolutely bursting at the seams with features. It's also completely open source which is something that may perk your ears up.

It offers photo stabilization, taking photos remotely by using a command word or signal, GPS tagging, and so much more. Open Camera has just about any feature you can think of, and aims to be your one stop shop for taking photographs. You can also use it to record in HD, although users with some phones may find issues with audio not syncing up properly. Best of all you have access to manual settings for focus, ISO and exposure time. If you like having all the features, then this may be the app for you.

Download: Open Camera

PicsArt Photo Studio and Collage

PicsArt

PicsArt is its own tiny social media network that includes a robust photo editor. Of course it includes the usual tools, allowing you to adjust white balance, tone, cropping, and more. PicsArt goes a big step further though. You can purchase sticker packs to adorn your photos, add adjustable lens flares, access to filters, and even use what it calls 'magic' to apply Prisma-like features to transform your photos.

While some of the cooler features do require in-app purchases in order to use them, you still get tons of fun stuff to edit and share your photos with friends. When you're done editing your app you can save the photo privately, or share it on PicsArt. You can also make the photo free to edit, if you want to let strangers tweak your photos into something strange and new.

Download: PicsArt

Lightroom

Lightroom Moble

Lightroom is the photo editing software from Adobe Creative Cloud, and now it's available on Android. If you don't already have a Creative Cloud account, you can try out the trial version of Lightroom for free, but if you already pay for the service, all you need to do is sign into your account and you'll be good to go. Using Lightroom Mobile can take a few minutes to get used to, but after you figure out where everything is, it's a breeze to edit your photos wherever you are.

Lightroom Mobile also lets you take photos using the app

You're able to add photos to Lightroom so long as it's a photo saved on your phone. Once you've imported the photo that needs adjusting, just tap on it an the editing menu will open up. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a bar that has settings that can be applied with a tap. You just need to select the catergory of tool that you want to use from adjusting the look of the photo itself, to cropping it, or adding a gradient. This includes white balance, autotone, and black and white mode. You can also easily adjust the temperature, tint, contrast and exposure.

Lightroom Mobile also lets you take photos using the app. You can shoot in Auto, Professional, or HDR modes. Select phones can also capture and edit in RAW. There are a ton of features packed into Lightroom's shooting mode from adjusting the ratio, to including a grid when shooting, to geotagging your photos, and plenty more to boot.

When you're done adjusting your photo, it's also easy to save your edits and share it, You can save to your gallery if it's a personal photo, or share to your social media network of choice without any further hassle.

Download Lightroom Mobile

What are your favorite apps for Android photography?

There are tons of great apps on Android that can help you take and tweak photos of the people, places, and things that you love. Did we miss an amazing app that deserves to be here? What is your favorite photography app? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

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1 week ago

Pandora is finally prepared to launch premium streaming service

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Pandora is stepping up to directly compete with Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music.

Pandora was one of the first big players in the music streaming game, with it's one-of-a-kind Music Genome Project powering a song recommendation engine that blew our collective minds over 15 years ago, and it continues to impress to this day. But in the time since, the field has become extremely competitive, with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, and many others all jumping into the premium music streaming service, offering users the freedom to browse and listen to over 40 million tracks.

Now, Pandora is preparing to take everything it's learned from its internet radio business and transition it over to compete against the big dogs with Pandora Premium.

Pandora first announced Pandora Premium back in December and now, thanks to the folks at The Verge, we now know a whole lot more about what to expect from the service when it starts rolling out later this month.

For starters, if you're already a Pandora user, the Premium service will take all the songs you've ever given a thumbs-up to and intelligently create playlists out of them. Banking on its superior internet radio service is a really smart move and negates the need for the algorithmic or handcrafted playlists that you'll find with the competing services. You'll also be able to tap one button and have Pandora intelligently add songs similar to the one you're listening to to the playlist, so you spend less time building playlists and more time listening to music.

You should expect to get the same expansive library of songs as you'd find with Apple Music and Spotify, except Pandora has smartly gone ahead and culled any karaoke, tributes, and duplicate tracks from its catalogue. That move will help users find the actual songs they're looking for while clearing out some of the noise from search results.

Entering the premium music streaming segment this late might seem like a tough task, with over 100 million people already subscribed and committed to their streaming service of choice. But Pandora is hoping that its simplified interface, built off of its free internet radio service, which has been used by over 250 million users, will attract those who have yet to subscribe to a premium music service.

Pandora is planning a staggered rollout for its premium service on iOS and Android, with current Pandora users getting the first crack at trying it out. New users and those using Pandora's free radio service will get to try Pandora Premium free for 2 months, while subscribers to Pandora Plus will get a 6-month trial of the new service. Existing Pandora users will receive their invitations to try out Pandora Premium starting on March 15.

You can sign up to receive your invitation to Pandora Premium here, but keep in mind that the service is still only available to users in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

Will you be planning to check out Pandora Premium? Which music streaming services do you use? Let us know in the comments!

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1 week ago

Android 7.1.2 will likely be released April 3

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No joke — Android 7.1.2 may hit just after April Fools' Day.

At the end of January, Google released a beta version of Android 7.1.2 for a handful of Nexus devices, along with its new Pixel phones. The company said that it was "an incremental maintenance release focused on refinements," including "bug fixes and optimizations, along with a small number of enhancements for carriers and users."

It's been 6 weeks since that fateful day, and despite two new security updates for those on the regular track, users on 7.1.2 beta haven't heard much news. That's likely because, as VP of Android Dave Burke pointed out in the initial blog post, the company is readying a public release for "a couple of months" after its initial unveiling, which works out to be the end of March or beginning of April.

The largest carrier in Canada is set to release a big Pixel update on April 3.

That timeline is now reinforced by the fact that Rogers, the largest carrier in Canada, is calling for its Pixels to receive an update to enable VoLTE, along with the latest requisite security updates, on April 3. On its own, that wouldn't be a giveaway for a new wider Android release, but Rogers has been testing VoLTE service on its Pixels with the Android 7.1.2 beta; the latest Android 7.1.1 release, with a March 5 security patch, does not enable Voice Over LTE, despite there being a Rogers-only version.

While this is by no means a certainly, it makes sense that Google would release Android 7.1.2 at the beginning of the month, on the day usually reserved for security bulletins and new factory images. And while the new version itself is not particularly exciting, we know that one group of users — Pixel owners on Rogers — will at the very least be able to make crisper-sounding phone calls come April 3.

Android Nougat

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1 week ago

Sony Xperia XZ Premium tipped for June release at £649

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We'll have to wait a while and pay a lot for Sony's latest.

According to a listing at Amazon UK that has since been removed, Sony's new top-end phone, the Xperia XZ Premium, will release on June 1 at a price of £649. Though the Xperia XZ Premium was launched back at MWC 2017 at the end of February, Sony wasn't willing to give any sort of tips about pricing or availability — save for one mention of the phone coming "in the second quarter".

The June time frame makes sense, as its new Snapdragon 835 processor won't be available at volume for some time if the rumors are correct that Samsung is putting the new chip in its upcoming Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus — taking up most of Qualcomm's supply.

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1 week ago

Huawei Watch 2 review: No time for this half-baked sequel

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Huawei Watch 2

Huawei built up a lot of good will over the past two years, only to let it slide in 2017.

The original Huawei Watch was a go-to choice for those who wanted an Android Wear watch that was a bit sleeker and better built than most other choices throughout 2016. It was a bit on the expensive side, and yes it was thick, but it had a slick exterior and lugs that could adapt to just about any sort of band you wanted to put on it. When Android Wear 2.0 was readying for launch, fans awaited a refresh of the Huawei Watch for 2017 that could carry on that good will.

And then, we got this: the Huawei Watch 2. A watch so clearly not designed in any way to be a successor to the original Huawei Watch, and unfortunately also not built to the same hardware standards. The Huawei Watch 2 actually had a last-minute branding change from "Huawei Watch 2 Sport," and had Huawei kept that name it would have made a bit more sense overall — but still, the more classically built Huawei Watch 2 Classic doesn't exactly follow the original Huawei Watch's design or quality, either.

This is a clean break from the original Huawei Watch in terms of everything but branding. This is a big, feature-packed watch, but unfortunately one that takes a different direction in quality while retaining a high price. Does it have enough to stand out from what is already a growing crowd of 2017 Android Wear 2.0 watches? Our full review covers all the bases.

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1 week ago

Take your pick of 3 popular iOttie car mounts for $13 today only at Amazon

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time scoring you big discounts on popular iOttie car mounts!

It's no secret that you shouldn't be driving and using your phone in your hand, but people still do it. Instead of putting your life at risk to view an incoming email or driving directions, head over to Amazon and buy an iOttie smartphone car mount for less than $13. There are 3 different styles to choose from so you're bound to find one that works for you. As a price comparison, you'd normally pay about $20 per mount.

These universal mounts will accommodate nearly any size smartphone, with or without a case. iOttie makes the best car mounts on the market, period. Its Easy One Touch 2 (on sale for $12.77 today) is rated 4.3 out of 5 stars from more than 27,500 Amazon reviewers.

See at Amazon

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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1 week ago

Best Chromebox

Update, March 2017: This post has been updated with new formatting. All the choices have remained the same.

Best overall

ASUS Chromebox M004U

See at Amazon

Don't let the name fool you. The ASUS Chromebox M004U (generally known as the ASUS Chromebox though there are others from ASUS being sold) is dead simple to set up and use. Attach a monitor or television, a keyboard, and a mouse then turn it on. You'll be on the internet in just a few minutes.

The Haswell Intel Celeron 2955U CPU offers remarkable performance for the price, is energy efficient, and an industry staple in countless computers. Paired with a fast 16GB storage drive and 4GB of memory, you'll be able to enjoy everything Chrome has to offer, whether that means Facebook or a spreadsheet.

You also have the option to upgrade the ASUS Chromebox. Adding a larger storage drive or more memory is simple and well-documented. The ASUS Chromebox also makes an excellent HTPC as-is and can be an all-in-one media server with software like Plex.

Bottom line: The ASUS Chromebox M004U is powerful and capable. Chrome and everything you do present no challenges. If you want to explore other software options, upgrades are easy and inexpensive.

Why the ASUS Chromebox is the best

The ASUS Chromebox is the total package.

Chrome is a very lightweight and efficient, yet powerful, computing platform. On a computer like the ASUS Chromebox, you'll be able to experience everything there is to offer with nary a stutter once paired with good broadband internet service. Put the ASUS Chromebox under your TV for watching YouTube or Netflix, or use it at your desk to communicate or work from home. You can have confidence that this Chromebox can do it all.

If you're looking for more, you can upgrade the storage drive and RAM on the ASUS Chromebox using affordable and widely available off-the-shelf components without any complicated disassembly. If you are looking to install software like Kodi to build your own network streaming server, the ASUS Chromebox is widely recognized as the best value and is fully supported.

Best all-in-one

Acer Chromebox CX12-4GKM

See at Amazon

If you're looking for a complete setup and aren't interested in upgrading anything or installing any alternative software, the Acer Chromebox is a solid choice.

It offers a Broadwell 1.5GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 16GB solid state drive in a vertical standing enclosure that's not going to need a lot of real estate. The Acer Chromebox also comes with its own mouse and keyboard.

The Acer is a powerful package that won't crowd your desk or TV stand and is an excellent choice if you're OK with spending a little more and not tearing apart the case.

Bottom line: The Broadwell CPU is futureproofed and plenty powerful for everything you want your Chromebox to do, and many will find the included mouse and keyboard a useful addition

Best value

Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox

See at Amazon

The lowest priced Chromebox on our list is also a great combo package.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox is another Broadwell 15 watt Celeron CPU offering, and it too comes with 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The bundled mouse and keyboard will help you get up and running faster, and the ThinkCentre can be positioned either horizontally or vertically.

As the newest entry on our list, the ThinkCentre hasn't yet been proven to become our top pick, but the initial response looks great.

Bottom line: Great specifications, a bundled mouse and keyboard, and an attractive price makes the Lenovo ThinkCentre a compelling choice. If it stands the test of time, it has the potential to be our favorite.

Conclusion

Any of your choices for the best Chromebox are good ones. We had to consider what was the differentiator between and think long and hard about saying one was better than the others. In the end, the tried-and-true ASUS Chromebox won us over with its excellent support for advanced users and easy upgradeability. While all these Chromeboxes are worth considering, the ASUS is the best all around from features versus price point of view.

Best overall

ASUS Chromebox M004U

See at Amazon

Don't let the name fool you. The ASUS Chromebox M004U (generally known as the ASUS Chromebox though there are others from ASUS being sold) is dead simple to set up and use. Attach a monitor or television, a keyboard, and a mouse then turn it on. You'll be on the internet in just a few minutes.

The Haswell Intel Celeron 2955U CPU offers remarkable performance for the price, is energy efficient, and an industry staple in countless computers. Paired with a fast 16GB storage drive and 4GB of memory, you'll be able to enjoy everything Chrome has to offer, whether that means Facebook or a spreadsheet.

You also have the option to upgrade the ASUS Chromebox. Adding a larger storage drive or more memory is simple and well-documented. The ASUS Chromebox also makes an excellent HTPC as-is and can be an all-in-one media server with software like Plex.

Bottom line: The ASUS Chromebox M004U is powerful and capable. Chrome and everything you do present no challenges. If you want to explore other software options, upgrades are easy and inexpensive.

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1 week ago

PlayStation VR's Cinematic Mode received an update and it's better than ever

PlayStation VR's Cinematic Mode received an update and it's better than ever

Did the PlayStation 4.50 patch change PSVR?

PlayStation patch 4.50 is here, and with it comes a bunch of significant changes to the PS4, as well as a few changes to PlayStation VR. Cinematic mode and the Social Screen received notable upgrades, and you can now also watch 3D Blu-Rays within your headset. Let's take a deeper look at exactly what the changes bring and what they mean for PSVR.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Keep your internet browsing encrypted with VPNSecure, now 91% off

Banking information. Mortgage payment history. Your important documents. Nearly all of your life is online these days, and, while convenient, that can be scary. There are many people out there looking to act maliciously, and we need to be sure that is in the back of our brains at all times. While you can't avoid using the internet (in most cases), you can ensure that it is a secure connection when you do use it.

Secure your browsing sessions for less! Learn More

VPNs have become more and more popular as the time passes because people want to make sure that the information they are transmitting is getting to the right places. VPNSecure is a great option, and right now you can score a sweet deal on a lifetime subscription to the service. With it you'll be able to connect up to five devices at the same time, use unlimited bandwidth and more.

Some of the key features include:

  • Allows you to bypass geolocation blocks on your favorite streaming networks
  • Encrypts your traffic so hackers can't access your data
  • Hides your location & IP address
  • Supports torrents
  • Allows you to connect five devices simultaneously
  • Grants you the ability to choose Data Cipher
  • Uses Stealth VPN to render your VPN traffic unrecognizable
  • Delivers unlimited bandwidth
  • Does not keep any logs of your activity
  • Includes servers in 46+ countries & counting
  • Protects against DNS leak fixes, kill switches & more

Secure your browsing sessions for less! Learn More

You are getting a whole lot for your money here. VPNSecure normally costs $450 for the lifetime subscription, but right now you can pick one up for only $39. You'll want to hurry though, because this price won't last long.

Browsing the web can get you in loads of trouble if you aren't careful, so be sure to grab this at its 91% discount to secure your browsing sessions.

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1 week ago

This $7 car charger will look like it is built into your car

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again with another great deal, this time saving you big on a 2-port car charger!

Update: This popular deal is back again with a new coupon code. Be sure to use code AUKEYCAR at checkout for the savings!

Right now you can pick up Aukey's 2-port USB car charger for just $7 with coupon code AUKEYCAR. This car charger, unlike many others, sits pretty flush with most of the cigarette adapters, so you won't really even notice that it is there. Being relatively flush, there is less of a chance that you'll knock it out or bang it around by accident while moving in your car, and being able to charge two devices at the same time is a great feature.

Remember, you need coupon code AUKEYCAR to get the discount here. Odds are it won't last long at this price, so be sure to act quickly if you want one!

See at Amazon

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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1 week ago

Here's what to do when your Daydream controller won't charge

Dealing with a remote that won't charge is frustrating, but there is an easy way to deal with it.

Daydream View has taken mobile VR a leap forward by implementing a remote that allows you to interface with apps and experiences. This remote is necessary to do much of anything in a Daydream app, and it adds layers to the types of games that you can play. However, if your remote won't charge then you're in a rotten situation. Thankfully while this problem is extremely frustrating, there is a pretty simple way to troubleshoot the issue.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Android Central 327: Cutting the cord

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Audio-only stream below

It's becoming easier and easier to cut the cord, and Modern Dad is here to teach us how to do it.

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