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1 week ago

Your PlayStation VR experience is best with a charging dock

This all-in-one charging and display stand for PSVR will solve a few problems.

Charging, displaying, and storing your PlayStation VR gear can be a hassle. You need dual Mini USB cables for the Move controllers, you need a Micro-USB cable for the DualShock 4 controller, and you need a safe place to keep the head-mounted display (HMD) and its cables. Without a charging and display solution, you'll have an unsightly mess of cables in your VR space, and might get stuck waiting for a controller to charge while you could be in VR.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Chrome Web Store adds support for Cuba starting October 19


Google has sent out an email to registered Chrome developers to let them know that support for free extensions, themes, and apps will be extended to Cuba on October 19.

The default language for the Cuban Chrome Store and any content with multi-language support published there will be Spanish, and any app, theme, or extension currently published to "All Regions" will be automatically published to Cuba's Chrome Web Store.

If content is not marked for All Regions it will be excluded from the Cuban store by default. Developers are encouraged to check and adjust their publishing settings as needed, as well as internationalize their store listings if they intend to distribute to multiple regions or with multiple language options.

Relaxation of U.S. export controls and sanctions towards Cuba allowed Google to distribute Chrome in late 2014, and as relations continue to improve between the two countries we should see more companies providing their services for the people of Cuba as public internet access continues to grow.


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1 week ago

Join the Honor 8 incentive program to earn prizes, discounts and more!


Thanks to Honor, Android Central is offering a great way for our members to earn incredible prizes, including its latest phone, the Honor 8.

Entering is easy! Simply jump into our Honor forums and contribute your expertise, knowledge, and interest in smartphones. For your efforts, you'll have an opportunity to earn discounts, free products did we mention the brand new Honor 8, and maybe even a trip to an Honor event later this fall! Excited? Here's how you can started earning valuable prizes!

Start a thread in Honor 8 forum!

  • Everyone that starts a new thread in the Honor 8 forum prior to September 30th, 2016, will receive a coupon code for $50 off Honor products on! Offer is limited to one coupon per user, cannot be combined and must be used by October 3rd, 2016.

Post regularly in the Honor forums

  • The member with the most posts (total) across all Honor forums on Android Central each week, will receive a free Honor selfie stick on Honor products. Offer is limited to one coupon per user. Gifts will be shipped to winners every month.Promotion valid through December 16th, 2016

Post quality and helpful answers to questions

  • The member with the most 'best answers' to questions across all Honor forums on Android Central during each calendar month will receive a coupon for one pair of Honor Engine earphones! Offer valid through December 16th, 2016

Kick up great discussions

  • If you start the most talked about thread (most replies to a thread you start during any ), you will receive a free Honor Band Z1! Offer valid through December 16th, 2016

Write clever and appreciated posts

  • Every month, the member with the most 'likes' within the Honor forums on Android Central will receive a free Honor hybrid earphones! Offer valid through December 16th, 2016

Post consistently

  • Every month, the member with the most days-in-a-row with at least 1 post in any Honor forum on Android Central will receive a free Honor 5X. Offer valid through December 16th, 2016

Get active in the Honor forums

  • Six (6) of the most active members in the Honor Forums will be chosen by Android Central to participate in a review panel. The panel will receive a free Honor 8 device! The member with the most activity (most threads and posts) in the Honor forums over the next five months (ending December 16th, 2016) will have the opportunity to attend an Honor event in person! This includes a ticket to event, airfare and accommodations.

In all cases above, ties will be broken by member post count, and like count if needed.

Yes, you've read this correctly. We're going to give you free stuff just for taking part in the world's best Android forum! Head over to the Honor forums and start earning great prizes today!

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1 week ago

The Pixel's secret weapon: Unlimited full-resolution camera backups


When you buy a Pixel Google lets you back up all the pictures and video you shoot for free, at full resolution. That's a pretty big deal.

Google has made much fuss about the camera on the Pixel and Pixel XL (they share the same specs). A hearty endorsement from DXOMark, samples from the camera development team, and even some 4K footage with image stabilization have people interested because a great camera is one of those things we want the new phone we buy to have.

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1 week ago

ZTE Axon 7 Mini is under $300 and ready to pre-order in the U.S.


There's clearly no better time to launch a stylish, affordable Android smartphone than on Halloween. ZTE is pushing forward with the launch of the Axon 7 Mini, though there's nothing scary about it.

This is the smaller, mid-range equivalent to the 5.5-inch Axon 7. The Axon 7 Mini comes with a Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of onboard storage, in addition to expandable memory. It's also equipped with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, as well as an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. And unlike its larger counterpart, the Axon 7 Mini is only 5.2-inches, though that's still a bit bigger than some of the flagship competition on the market, like the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S7.

The Axon 7 Mini is available to pre-order through ZTE for $300, though Best Buy has listed the device on sale beginning October 31. It's also offering a 60-day exclusive on the gold variant.

See at Best Buy

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1 week ago

Batman: Arkham VR is a childhood fantasy come to life!

Wear the cowl. Be the bat. Live the dream.

If there's one PlayStation VR experience that stands out as an attention grabber, it's Batman Arkham VR. A console exclusive for now, Arkham VR gives Batman fans something no other game has been able to before.

You are Batman.

It's a little short and it's not quite the full Dark Knight experience, but it's one of the early PlayStation VR must-buy titles.

Because you're Batman.

Read more at VR Heads

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1 week ago

Lenovo Yoga Book review: The future is (almost) here


It's easy to say that using the Lenovo Yoga Book feels like living in the future, but with its inclusion of (literal) pen-and-ink technology and an all-touch keyboard reminiscent of the first Microsoft Surface, it's just as accurate to call it a leap into the past. The result is an intriguing contradiction that only gets more interesting as you delve deeper into the custom Android software on this tiny tablet/notebook crossover.

Join MrMobile for the Lenovo Yoga Book review!

Get social with MrMobile

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1 week ago

These are the best free apps for PlayStation VR

There aren't many out there, but the free apps on Playstation VR are nothing to scoff at.

Sony launched PlayStation VR with a bang, including a ton of amazing games from nearly every genre. If you haven't spent any time lurking through the PlayStation store since setting up your PlayStation VR, then you might not realize that there are a handful of free apps available for download right now. At the moment, the pickings are a bit slim, but that's to be expected since we're only a few short days past launch day. Well, don't worry about searching through the PlayStation store because we've got the details on the best free apps on PlayStation VR.

Read more at VR Heads

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1 week ago

Save up to 25% on select unlocked Sony phones today only!


Today you can score up to 25% off a variety of unlocked Sony phones at Amazon. Included in the deal is the Sony Xperia XA, Xperia X, Xperia X Performance and others in a variety of colors, so be sure to check them out before the savings are gone. Whether you are looking for a fun color or just like a good deal, you won't want to miss out on this one. The Xperia XA is down to just $199 unlocked, and it is the U.S. version of the phone so it comes with a warranty as well.

These discounts of up to 25% will only be available for today, October 17, so don't wait too long to make your purchase. There are a variety of models and colors available, so be sure to check them out now and pick one up before the price jumps up again.

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Moto Z Play review: The best phone you'll probably overlook


The Moto Z Play does way more right than it does wrong, but it's nestled in a very competitive category of $400 smartphones. Can it rise above?

The quick take

It's hard out there for an OEM. Companies are forced to innovate relentlessly, to reinvent the way we use phones or risk being labelled old news.

When the Moto Z debuted earlier this summer, first as a Verizon exclusive and subsequently as an unlocked model available for AT&T and T-Mobile customers, the market didn't know what to think. Here's this phone, thin, light, well-made, with up-to-date specs and a whole lot of innovation thrown in there — and an ecosystem of modular components that can attach to the back to augment the core functionality. To me, it was one of the more exciting announcements of the year, and I still think the phone is an overlooked gem, albeit one with a few critical flaws for the price.

So then Moto Z Play debuts in late August, with an early September release date, and the reaction is... muted. I was a bit stunned, to be honest — I thought the prospect of taking a Moto Z, giving it some extra battery and muddling the spec sheet just enough to bring down the cost by close to half would be enough to make people stand up and notice it. Alas.

The Good

  • Incredible battery life
  • Great performance for the price
  • Consistently good daylight camera quality
  • Moto Mods support

The Bad

  • Some undesirable bloat on the Verizon model
  • Camera isn't great in low light
  • Fingerprint sensor is distracting

Moto Z Play About this review

This review was written after spending two weeks with the Verizon version of the Moto Z Play Droid on both Verizon's network in the States and Bell's network up in Canada.

I then transitioned to an unlocked Canadian Moto Z Play meant for the local market, which was better tuned for Bell, the network on which it remained for the balance of the testing.

Moto Z Play Hardware

If you've used the Moto Z or Z Force you know what to expect here: a slab of aluminum with a big 5.5-inch display. Solid. Dependable. Ford.

But I digress: the Z Play does make some drastic changes from its thinner, more expensive counterpart: its back is all glass, instead of a fusion of glass and metal; and it is quite a bit thicker, owing to the 3,510mAh battery inside. There are, of course, Motorola's 16 pins for attaching a Moto Mod accessory or, at the very least, a Style Shell cover to protect the glass.

The phone feels incredibly well made, easily on par with the OnePlus 3 or Honor 8. Buttons are properly calibrated and clicky, and there's even a headphone jack for those who aren't living the future.

More: Moto Z Play specs

Like the Moto Z, the Play has a USB-C port to charge with — a TurboPower adapter is in the box, because you're not an animal — and there's a squarish fingerprint sensor on the front, just below the 1080p AMOLED screen. It's not my favorite implementation of the feature; in fact compared to Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google, Honor, LG, Sony -- practically any other OEM -- I think it's pretty horrid. Why? Because it's small, and very close to the virtual home button. That said, it does the job.

And, even though I know Motorola thinks it is being helpful here, pressing down on it for a second turns off the screen. Normally that would be great, except that I end up doing just that when logging into apps that use the fingerprint sensor itself. Moto seems to have forgotten it's a system-wide setting that cannot be disabled.

That 1080p display is fine, on par with the OnePlus 3, and not much of a downgrade from the higher density AMOLED screen on the Moto Z.

That 1080p display is fine. It's certainly on par with the OnePlus 3, with which the Play shares a number of philosophical similarities, and it's not much of a downgrade from the higher density AMOLED screen on the Moto Z. Of course, the Play has something important over the OnePlus 3, and any other phone: Moto Display. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you value notifications — and if you're using an Android phone, you likely do — Motorola's screen-off implementation is the best there is.

When comparing the phone to the OnePlus 3 or ZTE Axon 7, the Play's Snapdragon 625 processor is likely to be compared negatively to their Snapdragon 820, but don't let the numbers fool you: unless your intention is to spend your days playing graphics-intensive games, you won't likely notice a difference. Qualcomm hit a home run with this chip, the successor to the ubiquitous Snapdragon 615 from a couple of years ago, except that this one is actually good.

It's also much more efficient, which gives the Play its two-day battery life. I'm incredibly impressed with the longevity of this phone, and if battery life is a priority it is by far the best mid-range option on the market right now. Let me give you some use cases: I used the Moto Z Play as my main device for two weeks straight, going through my daily routine — email, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — without actively stressing it. It lasted two days.

I then used the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot for my other devices, and it lasted 13 hours. I taxed it and taxed it, and it wouldn't die, and then I when its battery eventually depleted I charged it quickly using the TurboPower adapter, or I used the Incipio Moto Mod that has become an almost-permanent attachment to this incredible phone.

I have to say a few words about this combination of Moto Z Play and Incipio OffGrid power pack: with a combined 5,720mAh capacity, the two add up to so much more than their individual parts. Not only does the OffGrid add wireless charging capabilities to the Z Play, but it intelligently charges the phone using the customizable Moto Mod software.

I'm incredibly impressed with the longevity of this phone, and if battery life is a priority it is the best mid-range option on the market right now.

The experience is seamless and absolutely intuitive, and so, so useful for travel. Together, they add up to a not-so-svelte 13.2mm thickness and 250 grams, but a rounded design and textured back make it much more comfortable to pocket, and hold, than those numbers belie.

Moto Z Play Software

I love Motorola's take on Android. But for the Nexus (and now Pixel) line, I don't think any company interprets Google's original vision for Android — taking the core code and improving upon it without adulterating its emphasis on speed and simplicity — better than the Chicago-based company. Of course, it helps that this ethos was born while Motorola was a Google company, and has thankfully not been ruined under Lenovo, but I just think the Moto Z Play's software advantage is worth far more than the perceived (or lack thereof) performance differences between a Snapdragon 820 and a 625.

Except for the Nexus line, I don't think any company interprets Google's original vision for Android better than Motorola.

Of course, some will point out that you get most of what I'm talking about, plus a Snapdragon 820, on the OnePlus 3, and those people will be right. The difference, to me, is Moto Display, which no other Android maker, not even Google with its Ambient Mode, successfully emulates. It's not even close. I just hope that Motorola brings Nougat to the Moto Z Play as quickly as possible.

Moto Display brings me back to Motorola phones in a way no other software feature lures; it has workflow advantages, battery advantages, and aesthetic advantages. It's the original smartwatch. Being able quickly check notifications by bringing a hand close to the screen or picking up the phone is incredibly useful.

Elsewhere, the various gestures embedded as Moto Actions — double-twist to open the camera; double-chop to turn on a flashlight — are just as useful as ever, but no longer unique, as they're much more easily to recreate than Moto Display.

The real advantage to Motorola's adherence to what we know as "stock" Android — albeit with a fairly sizeable delay in updates; the Play is on currently on Android 6.0.1 with September 1st security update — is that it generally feels fluid, even months or years after its release. I occasionally bust out my original Moto X from 2013 to see how it's doing, and it works as well as it did the day I got it. You just can't say that about many Android devices after three and a half years.

As much as I like the Moto Z, I'd be tempted to buy a Play and a couple of Mods with that extra money.

I also have to commend Motorola on the seamless integration with the growing ecosystem of Moto Mods that I have had the pleasure of using over the past few weeks. I disagree with my colleague Russell Holly in a number of ways when it comes to Motorola's latest series of releases, impressed that all three devices — Moto Z, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play — are compatible with the same adds-ons. The Play, especially, arguably benefits more from each of these products given its lower asking price. As much as I like the Moto Z, I'd be tempted to buy a Play and a couple of Mods with that extra money.

Moto Z Play Camera

The 16MP camera on the Moto Z Play is comparable to many in its $400-ish range: good in daylight, with fast autofocus and vivid colors, eking plenty of detail; and mediocre in low light.

I have to commend Motorola for vastly improving its camera app; it has doubled down on simplicity, but added the manual settings and easy-access controls that many enthusiasts covet.

One area the Snapdragon 625 chip does lag behind the 820 found in many other $400 phones today is camera IQ: the shutter isn't quite as instant as the OnePlus 3, and the 4K video capture isn't as smooth. Still, it's an imperceptible difference in most cases, and I'm pretty amazed that the sequel to the maligned Snapdragon 615 produces footage this good.

The phone also has a pretty great selfie camera, along with a front-facing flash for those times you need to be well-lit indoors. The only real knock I'd give against the camera is that it defaults to a 16:9 aspect ratio, which lowers the overall resolution to 11.9 megapixels in exchange for a fuller viewfinder. Motorola makes so many smart decisions elsewhere in its software; I wish it would wise up to this one, too.

Moto Z Play Odds and ends

As I said, I used two different versions of the Moto Z Play, the Verizon-exclusive Droid and an unlocked version of the Canadian SKU. Both of them held solid connections to the various networks I attached them to, and the front-facing headpiece, which pulls double duty as a speaker and earpiece, sounded pretty great in almost every situation except the most challenging — a loud room.

Learn about Moto Mods

Moto Mods are some of the most interesting and unique add-ons you can buy for your Moto Z Play. From a projector to a speaker to a battery add-on, there are so many interesting things you can do.

Read our overview of the Moto Mods ecosystem in our Moto Z review

As Phil mentioned in his review, you're getting some gnarly bloatware on the Droid version of this phone, much of which isn't removable. For more on that, you can check the preview I wrote when the phone was first announced, but the upside is this: you can disable most of it. On the Canadian variant, there was no bloatware to speak of, and while that may not be indicative of the retail version, I've never been offended by apps installed by Canadian carriers. They just tend to respect their customers more in that regard.

The Play supports Category-7 LTE through the Snapdragon 625 processor, and that's good for download speeds of 300Mbps and upload speeds of 150Mbps. You won't get close to that unless it's the middle of the night and no one else in your neighborhood is using the network, but it's nice to know you're not stuck with a phone that isn't futureproof.

Speaking of future proofing, the combination of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, plus microSD expansion, should suffice for most people. Again, I noticed no major performance difference between this and the Moto Z, and that should speak volumes to both Qualcomm's and Motorola's commitment to optimization.

The bottom line

Moto Z Play Buy it

I love this phone. I think it does everything right, and sacrifices little on the way. Moto Mods are terrific additions to the Moto Z ecosystem, but I cannot say emphasize this enough: they are not necessary to enjoy this phone.

Of course, it's battery life that brings you in the door here. I haven't ever felt this confident about leaving my phone unplugged overnight, and if you're a heavy user, or just wants a bit of breathing room, the Moto Z Play is the phone for you. Heck, spend an extra $60 and get the 2,220mAh Incipio Moto Mod and unplug for half a week if you're sparing. You just can't say that about another phone on the market today.

See at Motorola Canada

From the vivid AMOLED screen to the ultra-efficient and performant Snapdragon 625, to the considerate software additions and promise of faster-than-the-non-Google-competition updates, this phone is almost certain to get overlooked in a sea of competitors — but it shouldn't. It's just that good.

Even better — it will soon be available directly from Motorola for $450, unlocked and compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. Until then, it's slightly cheaper at Verizon at $408.

See at Verizon

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1 week ago

Best Car Mounts for Google Pixel


What's the best car mount for Google Pixel?

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are gorgeous and you're going to want to hold onto them all the time, but that's just plain unsafe when you're driving, and in most cases, it's illegal. You need to pick up a great car mount and we have some favorites to share with you!

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1 week ago

SanDisk's 200GB microSD card is down to just $59 again!


Right now you can pick up a 200GB SanDisk microSD card for just $59 at Amazon, a savings of $20 from its regular price. Whether you need some extra storage for your phone, tablet, camera or other devices, you won't want to miss out on this deal. Having 200GB of storage may seem a bit excessive to some and just right for others, but at the price you really can't go wrong with having the extra storage available to you. It will allow you to save music, videos, movies and more locally so you don't have to rely on your mobile data in order to access it all.

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1 week ago

3 exercises to get your fitness app in shape!


This guest post was written by Mary Liz McCurdy, Health & Fitness Lead at Google Play.

It's an exciting time to be a health and fitness app developer. With people shelling out on fitness more than ever before, we're seeing record high levels of gym memberships and attendance, the rise of boutique fitness, and an emphasis on connected devices.

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1 week ago

Digital Offer: Get lifetime access to 1TB of cloud storage for only $39!

 Get lifetime access to 1TB of cloud storage for only $39!

Our current, tech-obsessed world demands a storage solution for your multimedia data, the most convenient being cloud-based storage which you can access from anywhere. Most cloud-based storage services charge a monthly fee, which, over time, adds up to quite a fee.

Those of you sick of subscription fees need a storage solution that requires a single payment for a lifetime of access. More importantly, you need cloud storage that is encrypted and can be accessed from all your devices.

Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on 1TB of cloud storage from Zoolz — a single payment of $39 gives you lifetime access. Does this seem cheap? It is! This is 98% off the regular price of $3600.

You will never be charged any extra fees, and you can access your cloud storage from multiple devices. Your data is protected with 256-AES encryption to better safeguard your stuff, and you can schedule backups and throttle bandwidth during uploads. Place files you know you won't soon need in cold storage — takes three to five hours to access — or place files you frequently need in standard storage that can be accessed instantly.

Considering 1TB of storage from other popular services costs about $10 per month, this deal will pay for itself in four months, and you can keep using it forever. Even if you don't think you need it now, you probably will need it in the future. Don't miss this great opportunity to snag 1TB of cloud storage for only $39!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 week ago

Lenovo Yoga Book review: Almost amazing

Lenovo Yoga Book

The Lenovo Yoga Book is the closest thing to the greatest Android convertible ever made, for whatever that's worth.

Lenovo's clever hardware is a great deal more functional than you'd think it could be, but have Android apps grown up enough to handle tablets and convertibles?

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