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2 days ago

Mophie's Juice Pack for the Pixel XL adds Qi wireless charging

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Just because you chose Google's Android over every other rendition doesn't mean you should be left out of the wireless fun.

Mophie has concocted a clever solution for those of you who may adore your Pixel XL smartphones, but have been secretly ruing the day you abandoned your wireless charging privileges. The newly released Juice Pack case for the Pixel XL not only tacks on an additional 2950mAh battery, but it also adds Qi wireless charging capabilities.

The Juice Pack offers protective covering and up to 50 hours of additional talk time, claims Mophie. You can charge both the battery pack and the Pixel XL's internal battery via a Qi wireless charging pad, though Mophie also mentions compatibility with "other wireless systems." If you need even faster charging, you can plug in a USB Type-C cable instead and Juice Pack will prioritize re-juicing the Pixel XL first.

Perhaps the only drawback of the Juice Pack is that it tacks on an additional 3.8 ounces to your current load, making the Pixel XL an even bigger device. But if you need the extra energy and like the idea of tapping to charge, the Mophie Juice Pack for the Pixel XL sells for nearly $100.

See at Mophie

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2 days ago

MrMobile at Google I/O: Only boring if you're not paying attention

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Google! A giant among giants who other giants think are giant (yeah, how's that for writing?) Google's I/O conference this year has been plagued by the specter of yawns from journalists who wonder where all the fun of the previous year has disappeared to. But what were they expecting? It's a developers conference!

I'm Michael Fisher, AKA MrMobile, and while it's not splashy or gadget-heavy, there's a lot to be interested in coming from I/O this year. From simple things like easy ways to save battery life on your smartwatch, to the ease of the Kotlin programming language, to the 50 billion apps a DAY that Google scans for malware, there's a lot of cool things to do. Check out this video and Android Central's coverage of the event for all the reasons you should be excited about what we saw at Google I/O.

Stay social, my friends

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2 days ago

LG launches the X Venture, an affordable active smartphone

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Bear Gryll-types and the accident prone: if the Galaxy Active is too much for you, LG's offering a cheaper alternative.

Looking for a rugged device that won't break the bank? LG wants you to consider its second-generation X Venture smartphone. It's made for people who are active and it's cheap enough that, if you're on AT&T, you could probably grab one as a backup simply for adventurous weekends.

The LG X Venture features a 5.2-inch Full HD In-Cell touch display. It runs Android 7.0 Nougat and features IP68 water and dust resistance, a front-facing fingerprint sensor embedded into a physical Home button along with two other physical navigation keys, and a whopping 4100mAh battery. It also comes with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera.

Its other specifications may leave a bit to be desired, however, especially if you're eager for flagship-worthy specs. The X Venture is powered by a low-end Snapdragon 435 processor and 2GB of RAM, though it should be enough for traversing the trails and slogging through mud pits—if that's your thing. The LG X Venture is an AT&T exclusive for now.

The trickling news of LG's rugged smartphone appears to be perfectly timed with the alleged leaks of Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active hitting the scene. It's hard to ignore the similarities, too; Not only is the X Venture also an AT&T exclusive, but the X Venture is also equipped with a QuickButton on the side, which is similar to the Galaxy Active's own quick launch hardware button. LG's can be customized to launch your favorite app, too.

This particular smartphone is much cheaper, however. Rather than charge full price for a decidedly full featured phone, the LG Venture X is well-suited as a secondary device with its $260 price tag. It'll be available exclusively at AT&T beginning May 26.

See at AT&T

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2 days ago

Nest preparing new security camera with 4K video, fresh design

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Nest Outdoor Cam

Nest isn't resting, releasing a fresh indoor camera with new features.

Nest, perhaps known best for its popular smart thermostat, is reportedly ready to refresh its Nest Cam camera with new features and a higher resolution. The Google-owned company most recently refreshed its camera lineup with an outdoor-ready version near the end of 2016.

It's a 4K camera ... but you'll only get 1080p out of it in the end.

The new Nest Cam will have a sensor capable of recording in 4K resolution, but will use this new resolution to simply enable dynamic zooming while preserving a 1080p resolution stream to the user. When it detects motion, it will be able to digitally zoom in to a specific point for a better view.

The refreshed hardware will round out with a new USB-C power source, and the lens will get an LED ring around it to indicate it's recording. Android Police claims the design is similar to that of the current Nest Outdoor camera ... but the new camera is designed for indoor use. Pricing is reportedly set at a steep $300.

The new Nest Cam is expected to launch by the end of the month, so we'll find out all of the details soon enough.

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2 days ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap vs. Show: Which should you buy?

64
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

Updated May 2017: Added Modern Dad's take, a note on Tap's hands-free capabilities, and information on Echo Show.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences. And the new Echo Show adds a screen, and a whole new way of interactiveness.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Echo Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, and it can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

The Tap has also been updated to allow for an "always listening" mode, so it's now basically the same as the Echo and Dot in terms of control. Its portability is really what separates it from the others.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show is the next evolution of the Amazon Echo. Whereas Alexa could only tell you about stuff before, now she can show you. Before, you could simply listen to your flash briefing, which was dynamite — a quick overview of the day's news. Now you can watch your flash briefing, as well as YouTube videos. See where this is going?

Thanks to Alexa's new calling skill, you can also video call — hands-free — like it's the future. Calling isn't all it's for, since you can also see music lyrics, listen to music straight out of it, thanks to excellent Dolby processing, and you can even connect compatible security cameras, then ask Alexa to show you those cameras, so you can keep an eye on things from wherever you are in the house.

The Echo Show features eight microphones and noise cancellation, so it can hear you from just about any direction — even while music is playing.

Is it for me?

If you're looking for one of the most futuristic devices available that not only lets you control your smart home hands-free but also lets you take and make hands-free video calls, watch YouTube videos on the fly, see your flash briefing, and much more, with a well-balanced speaker to boot.

Echo Show is the perfect stationary Alexa vehicle, so if you're looking for something portable, go with one of the other options.

See at Amazon

How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

But if you want it all — and have the money for it — grab an Echo Show when it's released at the end of June.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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2 days ago

Google I/O 2017: Developers share their highlights

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Google I/O is a developers conference, after all, so we asked developers to tell us about what excited them this year.

*/ /*-->*/

What would Google I/O be without the mass number of developers congregating together in honor of one of the world's biggest mobile operating systems? Well, it wouldn't be much. After all, this is a developer's conference.

I went around and asked a few Android developers what they loved most about the Google I/O keynote and the conference this year. And interestingly, many of those who were queried had something to say about the addition of Kotlin for Android.

Voltrack Poltrack, Fat Russell

AC: What was your favorite part of the Google I/O keynote?

I'm excited to work on stuff for the Google Home. Something for world domination.

AC: What are you most looking forward to from the conference?

I'm excited about the Android Wear talks, but I'm biased. [Poltrack is a developer of Android Wear apps.]

Mike, Developer at Speedify

AC: What was your favorite part of the Google I/O keynote?

I'm really excited about the changes to Android Studio 3.0. So many awesome features — the new profiling features really look good. I'm also really excited for the Fabric and Firebase merger. We use Fabric all the time at work and I think it will be awesome to have a single console.

AC: Will that make developing easier for you?

It'll make detecting bugs to deliver a good, stable product much easier.

Lucia, N26 - The Mobile Bank

AC: What was your favorite part of the Google I/O keynote?

Kotlin, obviously. Kotlin is a smarter, more advanced language. Now that Google is going to support it officially, it's going to push the community to do much more with it. I'm very excited to see how this goes.

AC: Will that make developing easier for you?

Migrating Java to Kotlin is easy in a way because you can have both, but there is a learning curve…so I don't know about that, but let's see.

Jerrell Mardis, Ride Metra

AC: What was your favorite part of the Google I/O keynote?

Kotlin. It's an awesome language and it's an upgrade over Java.

Erik Hellman, Freelancer

AC: What do you develop?

Android, mostly. Sometimes I'm unfortunate enough to do stuff that is less interesting, but mostly Android.

AC: What was your favorite part of the Google I/O keynote?

The lady from YouTube with the Red Blazer. That was amazing.

AC: Did Google announce anything that would make development easier for you?

Tons of stuff. I'll be out of work soon because they're going to put Machine Learning in everything, so.

AC: What about Kotlin?

I've been doing Kotlin for a couple of months already, so it's nice to see it get official support.

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2 days ago

Your sweat won't affect these $10 Bluetooth headphones

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with some extremely affordable Bluetooth headphones you should try!

If you've been considering making the move to Bluetooth headphones but don't want to spend a ton to try them out, this may be the perfect set for you. Right now you can pick up Mpow's sweatproof Bluetooth headphones for just $9.99 with coupon code WQMZZ4LE, which is a savings of $23. Keep in mind that at this price you won't be getting Bose quality headphones, but if you are looking to try something out, or need a new set of headphones for the gym, these may be perfect for the job.

The headphones are lightweight and comfortable, and the non-slip rubber ear hooks help keep them in place. Odds are you can find sillier ways to spend $10 today, so why not give these headphones a shot!

See at Amazon

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

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2 days ago

Best motion controller games on PlayStation VR

PlayStation Move enabled games on PlayStation VR bring you into the heart of the game, and add an extra layer of immersion.

Many of the games on PlayStation VR only require you to use a DualShock 4 controller. However, there are a fair few that are either enhanced by using PlayStation Move controllers, or require them to play the game at all. Rather than taking away from the experience, Move controllers can really add to the immersion of PlayStation VR. That's why we've collected the best PlayStation VR games that use PlayStation Move controllers for you to check out.

Read More at VR Heads!

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2 days ago

Chromebook Keyboard Buyer's Guide

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The best keyboard you can buy for your Chromebook or Chromebox.

Like most any other laptop, your Chromebook works great with an external keyboard. It's incredibly easy to use an external display, mouse, and keyboard if you work or play from a desk and Chrome does a great job mirroring to a monitor or having one as an extended display. All you need is the right parts!

Chrome OS supports any USB (wired or wireless) or Bluetooth keyboard. There are differences in the default keyboard layout across the function keys and the addition of a dedicated search key (the Windows key on a standard 104-key keyboard will act as a search key) but you won't have any trouble typing out a web search or a term paper. We've looked at a lot of keyboards for your Chromebook and Chromebox, and here's what we think are the best ones to use.

Best overall

Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard

The Logitech K380 is not a dedicated Chrome OS keyboard, but even with that in mind, we think this is the best overall purchase for a Chromebook or Chromebox user because it works with everything and switching between up to three devices is as easy as pressing a button.

This compact keyboard has roomy keys with great feedback for typing and it automatically adapts so that the keys support the operating system of whatever it's paired with. All of your keyboard shortcuts work exactly as you would expect, even if what's printed on the key itself isn't what you would see on your Chromebook.

Pair it with up to three devices at once; Chrome OS, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV and Steam OS are all supported. You'll never need another keyboard for any of your devices.

See at Amazon

Best for Chrome OS

ASUS Chromebox Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Set

Built specifically for ASUS' Chromeboxes, this set (there's a Bluetooth mouse included) has the right keycaps for your Chromebook.

The keys are roomy and the battery life is great. It's also easy to connect to your Chromebook or Chromebox with a wireless USB receiver that supports both the keyboard and mouse. If you want a dedicated Chrome keyboard with the keycaps labeled so you won't ever have to look up a keyboard shortcut, this is the one to buy.

See at ASUS

Best value

Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

We mentioned that any USB or Bluetooth keyboard works fine with your Chromebook, and that means Logitech's excellently priced (around $20 US) combo will work out of the box.

A single 2.4GHz nano receiver (this is not the Logitech Unifying Receiver found on more expensive products) gives a 10-foot connection range and there are no drivers or additional software to fool with. Plug the receiver in and power on the keyboard, then you're good to go. Besides the great price tag, the MK270 has excellent battery life. A pair of AAA batteries provide about 6,000,000 keystrokes and the mouse battery (one AA) last up to 24 months.

This is a basic keyboard and mouse that will definitely get the job done, and it's our best pick for people in search of value.

See at Amazon

More: Best wireless mice for Chromebooks

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 days ago

Best apps for college graduates

5

Your future has arrived, and these apps will help you make the most of it.

You did it: you earned your college degree and graduated with a diploma in-hand. Which of course begs the question, what comes next? After you've graduated, and you're ready to join the real world, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out what precisely you are supposed to do next. There are resumes to be sent out, housing to acquire, and for many students, a leaning tower of School Loans that will need to be repaid over the next several years.

Have no fear though, these apps can help to ensure you hit the ground running!

Indeed

Once you've graduated and are figuring out what comes next, the first step ought to be starting to look for a position in your field. There are hundreds of different job search sites that you can post a resume to, but Indeed delivers a straightforward experience whether you are on a phone or computer.

Using Indeed you can upload your profile information, which is how prospective employers will find you. Once you've done that we suggest starting to look for the position that is right for you from the thousands of openings listed on Indeed. Since it automatically pulls from career boards, newspaper listings, and company career pages, you can even set up email alerts to notify you when a sweet new opening becomes available.

Download Indeed (free)

Hotpads

Along with finding gainful employment, you need to find a place to live. With dozens of different sites, there are plenty of ways to search for accommodation, but Hotpads makes it a better, easier experience to search for rental properties.

You can search a specific area, or look for your new home with specific parameters in mind. Once you've entered the criteria you are looking for, you will then be able to see properties in the area that fit your needs. You can also just click through properties, and get plenty of information on each one.

Download Hotpads (free)

Move Advisor

If you're planning to move away after graduation, Move Advisor is an absolutely free app that will help you to make sure that you are prepared for the big move.

Move Advisor acts as an in-pocket emissary to make sure your moves goes as smoothly as possible. To this end you can build a week-by-week moving schedule so that everything is packed and ready to go on the big day, as well as giving you a full inventory so that nothing gets accidentally left behind. It even helps to connect you to local moving services if you wind up needing a bit of extra muscle to get everything where it needs to go.

See on Google Play

Mint

One of the biggest challenges to leaving school entirely behind is learning to stand on your own two feet without (much) help or assistance. While you might still call your mom about how to make her prized meatloaf, or ring up your dad to ask the best way to clean out your gutters, your budget will be entirely in your own hands. Thankfully there are apps out there that exist to help you balance your checkbook before it goes diving into the red.

Mint is owned by Intuit, the same folks that run TurboTax, and they connect to help you file, too. With the app you can get bill pay reminders, build a budget, keep an eye on your credit score, and even keep track of your finances all in one place. If you're serious about building a budget and sticking to it, this is the best app you can find on Android.

Download Mint (free) {.cta .large}

Living Social

Whether you're back in your hometown after graduation or you've picked up and moved halfway across the country, you're going to need to occupy yourself with more than just your career. Finding fun, and affordable, ways to relax when you aren't really familiar with an area can be difficult at first.

That's where Living Social comes in. The app delivers tons of great deals on local food, entertainment, hotels, and more, all with some serious discounted rates. This means that by scanning the deals each day you might be able to snag a spa day, even when you are counting pennies on a budget. For anyone who likes to enjoy themselves without spending all of their extra income, this is a great one to check out.

Download Living Social (free)

Flipp

You may be broke, but you still need to eat. Flipp is a coupon app for the phone addict, parsing thousands of great grocery deals in one place. Not only does it save you money through virtual coupon clipping, but it does its own price-matching magic to ensure you get the lowest prices on the staples you buy every day.

Download Flipp (free)

What are your suggestions?

There are plenty of great apps out there that can turn your phone into a serious powerhouse for getting your life settled the way you want it. Whether you're trying to build a budget for the first time, looking for the perfect apartment to rent near your new office, or just trying to ensure that you can have a night out without feeling the hurt in the bank account the next day, there is most definitely an app for that.

Do you have a favorite set of apps that got you on track after graduation? Did we miss an excellent app for new graduates? Be sure to leave us a comment below and let us know about it!

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2 days ago

Keep your browsing private for life for $49

It's probably trite and a bit cliché at this point, but we increasingly live our lives online. Our bank information, personal information, likes, dislikes, and more are all over the internet — often whether we like it or not. That's all data, and nowadays, data's a commodity. You information is being bought and sold. Sometimes it's simply to show you catered ads; other times it's for the stuff that after school specials used to warn you about.

Block online trackers for life for $49 Learn more

What can you do to combat all of this online tracking? Do you turn to VPNs? Sure, but they don't necessarily block tracking in every sense. Did you know that there are services and apps that actually block online trackers in order to keep your data safe?

Disconnect is one of the best tracker blockers around. It blocks tracking requests from connecting to any of your devices, thereby keeping your data safe. It even masks your location so that you can access websites as though you're in another country (like a VPN). Apps like these have subscription rates, and some charge an arm and a leg. If you were to go directly to Disconnect for a lifetime subscription, you'd pay $500. Through Android Central Digital Offers, you'll pay only $49, a savings of 90%.

Disconnect is available for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac, so you can cover all of your devices and keep your browsing habits private. If you often deal with sensitive information or would rather just keep your internet habits completely your own, you'll need a quality tracker block, and Disconnect is one of the best around. Check it out at Android Central Digital Offers and save 90%.

Block online trackers for life for $49 Learn more

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2 days ago

Repair & upgrade your own gear with this 45-piece tech toolkit

2

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a tech toolkit that could help you save more money repairing the stuff you love!

The 45-piece TEKTON Tech Rescue Toolkit has dropped to $19. That's its lowest price in more than six months and second-lowest in its pricing history. It might not be a radical drop from its normal $25 price, but consider how much money you can save repairing your own computers or watches with the tools available in this kit.

Not quite into the self-repair game but sort of want to be now that you've seen this? Check out iFixit. It's a website all about repairing all that stuff you own. It's a great way to get started.

The kit comes with everything you'll need to access smartphones, laptops, and even video game controllers. Here's everything the set comes with, in case you're looking for something specific:

  • 3-pc. Flat: 1, 1.5, 2.5 mm
  • 6-pc. Phillips: #000, #00, #0, #1, #0 x 3 in., #1 x 3 in.
  • 3-pc. Star: T3, 4, 5
  • 8-pc. Tamper-Resistant Star: TR6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, TR6 x 3 in., TR8 x 3 in.
  • 2-pc. Tri-Wing: TRI 0, 1
  • 3-pc. Pentalobe: PL 0.8, 1.2, 1.5 mm
  • 4-pc. Triangle: TA18, 20, 23, 27
  • 3-pc. Hex: 1.3, 1.5, 2 mm
  • 5-pc. Nut Drivers: 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 6.5 mm (1/4 in.)
  • 1-pc. Aluminum screwdriver
  • 1-pc. ESD-safe tweezers
  • 1-pc. Flexible metal spudger
  • 1-pc. Nylon spudger/probe
  • 1-pc. 3-corner spudger
  • 1-pc. 35 mm suction cup
  • 1-pc. Magnetic parts mat
  • 1-pc. Zipper case

See at Amazon

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

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2 days ago

Android experiments bring out the weird side of Google I/O

2

A co-operative virtual reality game, an easily trainable neural network, and multiplayer Quick Draw! — come take a peek at some of the experiments on display at Google I/O 2017.

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What's the best way to show off Google's varying underlying technologies? Make them fun to use!

Every year at I/O, Google dedicates a portion of the show floor to experiments submitted by various developers from around the world. I managed to find some time to try a majority of them in the Experiments tent. Here are a few highlights, as well as links to where you can try out the Experiments for yourself.

OSP

Train your own neural network with this easy-to-program experiment.

Train your own neural network with this experiment, which utilizes Machine Learning and a Raspberry Pi. The wooden box shown here is actually a plug connected to a camera that you can use to program whatever is plugged into it. If it's a lightbulb, for instance, you can record gestures with the external camera that turns the light on and off. The MacBook Pro shown here was merely used to show how quick it is to program!

For more on this experiment, check it out here.

Konterball

Play Ping-Pong with a friend through the Chrome browser with Konterball.

All I've ever wanted to do in life is play Ping-Pong without the danger of losing the little plastic ball. Playing it in virtual reality is the next best thing. Konterball is a VR-enabled mini-game that lets you play Ping-Pong with a virtual wall, or a friend with another VR-enabled device. Best of all, this particular experiment showcases Chrome's new WebVR capabilities, which were officially announced this year at Google I/O.

For more on this experiment, check it out here.

Quick, Draw!

Draw — quickly! Or you'll lose the game.

Have you had a chance to play with Auto Draw? This experiment uses Machine Learning to identify what it is you're drawing on the screen. In this particular execution, you can play a multiplayer Pictionary-like game called Quick, Draw! with up to three people. Take heed: you really do have to draw quickly, or your score will suffer.

For more on this experiment, check it out here.

Giorgio Cam

Easily make music by taking pictures of objects.

This experiment is built with Machine Learning and it enables you to create a song by simply snapping a photo of an object. The app will then use image recognition to label what it sees, all while jamming out to a beat-laden Giorgio Moroder song in the background — hence the name Giorgio Cam. Giorgio Cam will give you lyrics, too, and it's surprisingly not that bad at piecing together words into thoughtful prose.

For more on this experiment, check it out here.

The Spirit

This gorgeous experiment was hard to snap a photo of, but it uses an Intel Edison board and Firebase to power it.

The unfortunate glare hitting the Experiments dome made this particular experiment a bit hard to parse, which is a bummer — but that was only because I couldn't see the full spectrum of color unfolding on screen. The Spirit enables you to use noise derivatives and Curl Noise to create weird, smokey shapes — think the smoke monster from LOST. It's powered by an Intel Edison board running Android Things and does a majority of its processing using the Firebase cloud.

For more on the experiment, check it out here.

Spot the Bot

I feel really bad — I could hardly manage to help this man effectively spot the robot.

Looking for your next cooperative game? Spot the Bot is fairly simple in terms of game mechanics, but I can see it immediately becoming a popular party game for anyone who has Daydream View in the house.

Spot the Bot ostensibly requires a friend with another device to help you spot the robot by describing its features and characteristics. But the onus is on you to locate it in the virtual reality world. I can imagine that this game is especially fun now that you can stream your Daydream VR experience to the big screen.

For more on the experiment, check it out here.

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2 days ago

Samsung's Galaxy S8, S8+ BOGO deal is infinitely better than T-Mobile's

53

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a Galaxy S8 deal you can't afford to miss!

We've seen it many times before, and it will continue to happen. New phones release and cellular carriers offer these ridiculous "Buy one get one free" promotions to entice people to purchase them, but most of the time the offers are quite terrible and require you to change plans, get small credits each month for 24 months and more. Samsung is currently running its own offer, which is actually a really great deal.

Here's how it works:

  1. Purchase 2 new Galaxy S8 / Galaxy S8+ phones from Samsung.com
  2. Activate a line on the T-Mobile Network on Samsung.com
  3. Samsung will issue a rebate to original method of purchase up to $750, 7-10 days after activation

Pretty simple, huh? No long waits for a mail-in rebate, no hoops to jump through. The offer is a bit confusing with the "activate a line on the T-Mobile network", but according to Samsung all you have to do is activate the included SIM card on any line through its site. Once your order ships and is delivered, you'll be able to click an activate button on the order status page, and then once it is done, you are set. The rebate is issued directly to the original payment method and is for up to $750.

You can opt to pay for the devices in full, or sign up for a payment plan, and both phones will qualify for the free entertainment kit from Samsung. The kit, which has 6-months of Netflix and a 64GB microSD card will be automatically added to your cart with the phones. You can mix and match with one S8 and one S8+ or grab two of the same, and you can choose between Midnight Black, Arctic Silver, and Orchid Gray for each.

If you're in need of two new phones on your T-Mobile plan and have been looking at the Galaxy S8, you won't want to miss out on this deal. Once you've got your new phone on the way, be sure to stock up on some USB-C cables and cases for it!

See at Samsung

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

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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2 days ago

Best Android Phone Under $700

Update, May 2017: The Google Pixel is still the best small phone you can buy, if you can find it, though we've also added the LG G6 to this list and removed the HTC 10.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

I have good news for those of you ruing the day that the first phablet was ever announced. Google's Pixel smartphone is a mere 5 inches, so those of you with smaller hands and diminutive pockets can rest easy knowing that there is flagship-level, feature-packed Android phone out there that doesn't take up so much room.

The Pixel is impressive on the inside, too. It's got the latest Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. You can purchase it with up to 128GB of storage, though if you decide to stick to the alternative 32GB option, Google will still offer unlimited Photo uploads for your pictures. The Pixel also boasts impressive camera performance that nearly bests the Samsung Galaxy S8's.

Bottom line: If you're looking for the smartphone that best represents Google's Android, go Pixel.

One more thing: You can purchase device protection insurance for your Pixel. It covers accidental damage from a drop or water ingress, as well as any general malfunctions for two years.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

It's everything Google could want in a smartphone.

The Pixel is unlike any smartphone that Google's collaborated on before. Lest you forget, the company doesn't actually manufacture its own smartphones. For this particular launch, Google enlisted the help of HTC, a company that's produced many a major Android hit though its financial health is still a bit weary. Regardless, there is nothing remotely HTC-y about the Pixel, unless you count its curved chassis and iPhone-like looks, like on the HTC U11.

Our very own Daniel Bader summed it up succinctly in his review of the smaller Pixel:

This is a well-made phone that performs its function as a mobile computer better than any Android phone currently available, and potentially better than any phone, period.

The Pixel isn't entirely defined by its chassis or its specifications, anyway. Google's more focused on advertising the fact that this device will grant you access to its all-powerful, all-knowing Assistant. If you like Google Now or were interested in the AI abilities of Allo, your ears might perk up at the mention of this particular feature. It still feels a bit "beta" in its implementation, but over time the feature is likely to get better as Google pumps more resources into it. And hey, it already has IFTTT integration.

The end of the Nexus era is a bittersweet one for many of us, but if you're aching to use Android just as Google meant it to be used, the Pixel is the way to go.

Best Second-best

LG G6

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

The LG G6 is the next best alternative for a sub-$700 smartphone, particularly if you aren't too interested in buying one of last year's Samsung devices as this year's daily driver.

Sure, LG was known to be chasing gimmicks with its flagship releases the last few years, but it's since changed its tune with the G6. This hand-friendly smartphone features an attractive design, great build quality, and a stunning, nearly bezel-less 5.7-inch display. It also features Qi wireless charging, water resistance, a rear-facing fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button, and a bevy of fun, wide-angle camera features.

If you're the kind of person who loves to go crazy with camera effects in your daily Instagram posts, then the G6 is a worthy buy. You can grab it unlocked in a variety of colors, including black, white, and platinum.

Bottom line: LG is back to making really solid smartphones and the G6 is a worthy buy if camera hardware is especially important to your.

One more thing: The LG G6 is only available in 32GB in the U.S. and Europe, so be sure to grab an additional microSD card for a bit of extra storage for your photos and such.

Best discounted, last-gen device

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

Since the Galaxy S7 was last year's best Samsung smartphone, you're likely to find it at quite a discount. And it's still a worthy wield: The Galaxy S7 is equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery pack. Its 12-megapixel rear-facing Dual Pixel camera is particularly impressive, and you'll appreciate its performance in low light.

Of course, as is the case with most versions of Android that aren't directly developed by Google, Samsung's version of Android is polarizing. The newly simplified offers some helpful features, but there are still too many extra software features. At the very least, you can disable and hide any apps you don't care for.

Bottom line: If you're looking to save some money, last year's Samsung phone is just as worthy of wielding as the Galaxy S8 that succeeds it.

One more thing: If the GS7's 5.1-inch display is too small for your liking, consider the Galaxy S7 Edge for its bigger screen and curved edges. The S7 Active is also a viable choice if you're a rugged outdoor person and an AT&T subscriber. And of course, Samsung offers an unlocked model that also works overseas.

Best for customizing

Moto Z

See at Motorola See at Verizon

It's always fun with a manufacturer tries something different. Motorola's trying out the modular smartphone thing with its Moto Z flagship. This svelte smartphone is an absolute sight to see: It's one of the prettiest phones on the market and is incredibly thin. Inside, it boasts a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 2600mAh battery. It also has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera.

If you're aching for features like more battery life or true-to-form optical zoom, you can invest in any of the Moto Z's modular accessories. For instance, there's a variety of power packs you can purchase for extra battery life, or you can buy the Hasselblad True Zoom for better smartphone photography.

Bottom line: The Moto Z is a worthy considering for anyone who wants a razor thin smartphone—or who believes modularity is the future of mobile devices.

One more thing: You can choose between the Moto Z Force if you're a Verizon subscriber and you're looking for a better camera sensor and a bigger battery, or the mid-range Moto Z Play if you're looking for something a little cheaper and a bit more basic. Both phones are compatible with Motorola's Moto Mods accessories.

Conclusion

We don't where Google's Pixel will rank another six months from now, but we know that right now it is still the best smartphone offered at the sub-$700 price point. It's not crowded with redundant applications like a Samsung device, nor does it come with extra gags you'll have to ignore. The Pixel is the smartphone that Google made and it's fit for both Android enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

I have good news for those of you ruing the day that the first phablet was ever announced. Google's Pixel smartphone is a mere 5-inches, so those of you with smaller hands and small pockets can rest easy knowing that there is flagship-level, feature-packed Android phone out there that doesn't take up so much room.

The Pixel is impressive on the inside, too. It's got the latest Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. You can purchase it with up to 128GB of storage, though if you decide to stick to the alternative 32GB option, Google will still offer unlimited Photo uploads for your pictures. The Pixel also boasts impressive camera performance that nearly bests the Samsung Galaxy S8's.

Bottom line: If you're looking for the smartphone that best represents Google's Android, go Pixel.

One more thing: You can purchase device protection insurance for your Pixel. It covers accidental damage from a drop or water ingress, as well as any general malfunctions for two years.

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