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4 days ago

Amazon is offering $8.63 off nearly any purchase of $50 or more today only!

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Amazon has topped the charts on the annual Harris Poll for corporate reputation, and to celebrate you'll be able to save $8.63 on any purchase of $50 or more. Using the coupon code BIGTHANKS you can save yourself on that purchase you've been holding out on. Whether you are in the market for a new case to protect your phone, a battery pack to keep it charged, or even a better way to get Wi-Fi through your whole house, you'll want to make sure you get $50 in your cart to save with this promo.

Some great ways to use your discount include:

Remember, this discount is only good for today, and there are a few exceptions to it. You won't be able to use the coupon on orders placed through Alexa or Prime Now, and it doesn't apply to video games, digital content or Amazon Gift Cards. Be sure to check out all the details at Amazon and then load up your cart with the stuff you want so you can save today!

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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4 days ago

Using an Android watch with multiple Google Accounts

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LG Watch Sport

People with multiple accounts have some extra steps in Android Wear now.

Where previous versions of Android Wear acted as an extension of your phone, anything running Wear 2.0 is designed to work like it's a standalone Android device. A big part of setting up this experience is moving your Google Account over to the watch from your phone.

This is a fairly trivial thing to do with a single account, but if you use multiple Google Accounts on your phone and need information from multiple accounts to live on your watch, there're a few new things you're going to need to know about using Android Wear.

What does it mean to use multiple accounts on Android Wear?

Android Wear

When you move more than one Google Account to the watch, each becomes an option for Google's core services in Android Wear. For starters, it means you can install apps as either of your accounts from the Google Play Store app on the watch. Like the Play Store on your phone, this affects how you manage your apps, as well as where paid apps live when you buy them. Only one account exists at a time in these Wear apps as the "primary" app, allowing you to switch back and forth as you need.

It's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

The good news is notifications works seamlessly once you've moved your accounts over. If you get a notification from an account that isn't set as primary, you still receive it like you would any other notification and can interact without needing to manually switch between those accounts. This setup is a little more complicated than what was previously available for Android Wear, but it gives you a lot more flexibility and control regarding the notifications that show up on your watch and the things you can do with apps on your watch.

A good example of why you would need to switch accounts on a regular basis is Google Assistant. Even with multiple accounts available on your watch, you only want to use Assistant with a single account. Additionally, Assistant settings on your watch can only be adjusted on the phone with whatever account you currently have enabled on the watch. Since Google pulls data from the account you currently have selected, it's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

How to switch accounts on Android Wear

Most Google Apps on your phone have the ability to quickly switch between your Google Accounts. Watch apps aren't quite as functional, especially those that have not been updated to Android Wear 2.0. For all of Google's core functions, including Assistant, the default account is whatever you currently have enabled in the Play Store on your watch. This means, in order to set the correct Assistant for your watch, you need to have that account set on the Play Store.

Making the switch is simple.

  1. Go to the Play Store on your watch.
  2. Swipe down to access the Play Store settings.
  3. Tap the Accounts icon, and whichever account has green text next to it is the default account.
  4. To switch accounts, tap the account you want as the default, and you'll be returned to the Play Store.

Anything connected to Google on your watch will now use that account as the default.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Android Wear

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4 days ago

Grab this great battery pack for under £17 right now at Amazon UK

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In need of keeping your phone and tablet topped up while you're away from home? How about this whopper from RAVPower, available from Amazon UK for one day only at £16.49. The battery pack comes with a substantial 16750mAh capacity with a pair of 2.1A USB outputs. That'll be enough to charge most phones about four times.

Despite its capacity it's still a fairly portable battery pack with a neat power level meter and, as ever, an included flashlight. It comes in either white or black and as it's a deal of the day the price will go back up real soon.

Grab it while it's hot!

See at Amazon

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4 days ago

Honor V9 debuts in China with 5.7-inch QHD display, 6GB RAM, and 4000mAh battery for $435

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The Honor V9 has everything you'd want from a high-end phone in 2017.

Huawei's sub-brand Honor unveiled its 2017 flagship in China, and like the company's offerings in the past, the Honor V9 offers high-end specs for the equivalent of $435. The phone features a 5.7-inch QHD display with 2.5D curved glass, and is powered by Huawei's latest Kirin 960 SoC, which has four Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.4GHz complemented by four 1.8GHz Cortex A53 cores and a Mali G71 GPU.

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4 days ago

Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 could be heading to India and Vietnam [Update: Not really]

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Update: A spokesperson for Samsung India has confirmed that the company won't sell refurbished units of the Galaxy Note 7 in the country: "The report on Samsung planning to sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 smartphone[s] in India is incorrect."

Original story follows:

Samsung announced the findings of its Galaxy Note 7 investigation last month, detailing that two separate battery issues were to blame for the device catching on fire. With Samsung now recovering most of the Note 7 units sold worldwide, it looked like the device's troubled tale has reached its conclusion.

However, a new report out of Korea suggests that Samsung is looking to sell refurbished units of the Galaxy Note 7 in India and Vietnam as a way to recoup some of its losses. Samsung has recovered 98% of Note 7 devices sold globally, and used 200,000 devices to conduct battery tests, leaving the company with 2.5 million units in its inventory. Instead of disposing the devices, Samsung will fit smaller batteries in the range of 3000mAh to 3200mAh, and sell them in emerging markets.

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4 days ago

Verizon's Moto G5 Plus breaks cover in new leak

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The Moto G5 Plus is heading to Verizon.

Verizon has shunned the Moto G series for a few generations, but it looks like that won't be the case this year. According to noted leaker Evan Blass, the Moto G5 Plus will be available on Verizon.

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5 days ago

The latest Facebook spam wave is all thanks to deceptive UI

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I just spammed all of my friends and family to install an app I had just uninstalled.

Installing new apps is a part of the job. It is rare that I will go through a whole day without deciding to check out an app I haven't heard of before, and a lot of my friends will recommend stuff either for my opinion or to share a new cool thing. It's rare that a new app finds a permanent home on my phone, but I like trying new things so I usually dive in without a ton of research.

Today that had an unfortunate side effect, and it's actually part of a nasty spam wave hitting Facebook right now.

I got a notification from a friend to try out Chatous via Facebook. Tapping the link takes me right to the Play Store, where I see it is a messaging app that lets you talk with random people in your immediate physical area. It's a simple enough app; you see a bubble with an avatar on it show up in a radar and tap to interact. There's very little personal information shared in the account creation process, making it easy to be fairly anonymous while enjoying a conversation that could very well end in discovering shared interests with a local person. Overall, not the worst idea.

I quickly sent a message to my friends asking them to ignore it.

During the account setup process, Chatous pings your Facebook account and asks if you want to invite your friends into the app. I have never once in the history of ever wanted to do this, so I quickly dismissed the screen and went on to test some of the features of the app. There was only one person in my area using the app, and he seemed mostly interested in showing me photos of dog genitals, so I moved to uninstall the app. Alongside my Uninstall Complete notification was a new notification from Facebook, where a friend was asking me for more information about this app I had just sent them.

That's right, even though I explicitly told this app to leave my friends alone, every single one of them got a notification from me inviting them to install this app.

I quickly sent a message to my friends asking them to ignore the previous notification and stay away from the app, and that's when I saw this was not an isolated incident. Some of my friends had been getting this recommendation from others all day long, and a little further research revealed this was not isolated to Chatous. This is a common UI trick designed to spam people into installing your app, and the origin of the spam isn't even aware this is happening unless someone tells them.

There's not much that can be done about this right now, aside from letting your friends know not to trust app recommendations on Facebook, even from trusted friends. This user-hostile experience is an unfortunate form of notification spam that gets used because it works, and it's the kind of thing that keeps people from trying any new apps at all.

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5 days ago

The Galaxy S8 won't follow Google's advice for its virtual buttons

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Samsung is going to try to recreate its hardware navigation button layout with software buttons on the Galaxy S8.

We always knew the day would come (or did we?) when Samsung would do away with its capacitive navigation buttons and physical home button for something a bit more... flexible. Now, it looks like exactly that is happening, based on earlier leaked photos and some illustrations from the upcoming Galaxy Tab S3 manual.

The Galaxy S8 will indeed have on-screen navigation buttons, but according to leaked images, they will be reversed from the standard format found on most Android devices today — and in accordance with Samsung's reverse order that it maintained for so many years. While this makes sense from a continuity perspective, it also finds Samsung continuing to go against the grain of the rest of the Android industry. Perhaps there will be an option to reverse them, as many devices from the likes of Huawei and LG offer.

The illustration, which cannot be confirmed as genuine right now, depicts the Galaxy S8 with a rear fingerprint sensor next to the camera, too.

Finally, the manual shows the Galaxy S8 sitting in its Dex computer dock, ostensibly used to interface with a laptop or desktop computer. With the Galaxy S8 expected to be one of the most powerful devices released this year — a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 9 chip depending on region — it should have plenty of performance to power a desktop environment.

What do you think of what you've seen of the Galaxy S8 so far?

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5 days ago

Google testing Voice over LTE support for Project Fi

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Project Fi is testing VoLTE support via T-Mobile's network

If you're a Project Fi customer, you may have noticed improved call quality over the past few weeks. That's because Google has been quietly testing Voice over LTE (VoLTE) for a subset of Project Fi users, formally announced in a post on the Project Fi Help Forum. If you're curious to know if you're one of the fortunate testers for this new service, you can find out by looking for the signal indicator to continue displaying LTE when making or receiving a call.

VoLTE allows you to make calls over a data connection without using any of your data allocation. You also get the added benefit of faster data browsing during an ongoing call — perfect for those times when you need to look up directions on Google Maps while talking to someone. You'll also get faster call setup for a smoother overall call experience on your phone.

If you're curious to know more about Project Fi and how it works, it's Google's phone carrie, which offers you mobile data service spread across three mobile networks: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Carrier. Your phone will intelligently switch between the different networks to find the strongest connection, and it will also automatically use Wi-Fi for calls and texts wherever available.

Project Fi is restricted to Google's devices — the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Nexus 6p, and Nexus 5X — and VoLTE support for Project Fi is also limited to T-Mobile's network, as it's currently the only partner network to fully support VoLTE.

Google hasn't set a timetable for when VoLTE will roll out to all Project Fi users, but testing will continue and we're sure we'll hear updates as things progress.

Are you one of the lucky Project Fi VoLTE testers? Let us know your experiences so far in the comments below!

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5 days ago

What is T-Mobile Digits and why do I want it?

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T-Mobile's Digits brings phone calls and texts into the 21st century, but at a time when people care little about those things, will it make a difference?

T-Mobile has unveiled a new service called Digits, making phone numbers less reliant on a SIM card, and expanding the simple phone number into the smartphone age.

But for all of its big talk, Digits is a bit confusing, so let's break it down.

What is Digits?

At its core, Digits is T-Mobile's way of utilizing its new IMS (IP Media Subsystem) backend to dynamically direct calls to any device, or store multiple numbers on a single device.

Basically, without the technical mumbo jumbo, it's a way to free the phone number from its legacy place, and to utilize the flexibility data-based nature of Voice over LTE and Voice of Wi-Fi to allow a call to take place, or to be received, in the most convenient place. This is very similar to Google Voice, and to many other Voice over IP services like Viber and Skype, but T-Mobile has one major advantage: it owns the network, and it distributes the phones.

So what can Digits really do for me?

Provided you're on one of T-Mobile's compatible postpaid plans (yes, this is yet another way for T-Mobile to upsell you), Digits can make it easier to manage phone calls in the increasingly inevitable situation you have multiple devices.

The basic idea is that if you receive a call on your traditional T-Mobile number, your phone should ring, along with any device — another phone, a computer, a tablet, even a connected smartwatch — at the same time. You can also make calls from any of those same devices without your phone nearby, and without the need to have a SIM card.

A secondary but for many people equally important feature is the ability to have more than one number available on a single device. So instead of having separate personal and work phones, you can have a single smartphone make and receive calls from two or more numbers.

This sounds a lot like Google Voice

Yes, it does. The major difference here is that T-Mobile is committing to a couple of things that even Google, which creates both Android and Google Voice, can't do:

  • It is integrating Digits directly into the Android phones it sells, working with manufacturers like Samsung to seamlessly add Digits support into devices like the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 and Gear S3.
  • It is making it easy to do so-called "SIM replication," which allows you to duplicate a phone number onto a second device, such as another smartphone or a connected smartwatch.

This is in addition to the Google Voice-like Digits app that's available for Android and iOS, to make and receive calls and texts from any device, anywhere. There's also a Digits portal on the web for people who sit in front of a computer all day and want to be able to initiate communications that way. And because the app is available natively and through an app, devices with SIM cards from AT&T, Verizon or Sprint — any carrier, really — can access Digits messages. If you lose your phone, for instance, you can download the Digits app onto a friend's device and make and receive calls and texts from there, too.

Like many cross-platform messaging services, call logs and messages also sync in real-time between devices, which is a huge boon to productivity if you don't always have your phone in front of you.

It's tailor-made for Android

Android is the only platform on which T-Mobile can rely to help Digits grow.

Digits is a cross-platform play, sure, but it is tailor-made for Android. Not only does iOS have its own cross-device communications protocol in iMessage, which may mess with Digits' ability to route texts, but Apple doesn't allow for any system-level alterations, rendering one of Digits' primary use cases moot.

Indeed, Android is the only platform on which T-Mobile can rely to help Digits proliferate, but by potentially limiting half of the population to merely an app-based experience, it is almost immediately cut off at the proverbial knees. Still, Digits has a five-device limit, and can easily be tuned to be used on an iPhone or iPad, especially since as of iOS 10 VoIP apps can take over the lock screen like a regular dialer.

The best Digits experience will always be on Android, and initially is only natively available on the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge +, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge or Note 5 purchased through T-Mobile.

So should I sign up?

Digits, while free during the beta period, won't be afterwards, and T-Mobile isn't saying how much it will cost.

Digits is an intriguing product, and an example of what it looks like when a carrier turns next-generation core technology like IMS and HLR (which works to virtualize SIM data on the core network) into something that is truly compelling to consumers.

There are a couple of caveats, though: Digits, while free during the beta period, will not be afterwards, and T-Mobile isn't saying how much it will cost. It's likely going to be just a few dollars per month, but users already need to have one of the carrier's postpaid plans such as T-Mobile One or Simple Choice. And only the primary account holder can actually sign up for a second line in order to carry two on a single device; secondary users can merely share their existing number across multiple devices.

During the beta period, which is indeterminate but should go into next year, T-Mobile will ask users to provide feedback on the service. This is a complicated thing, despite its upfront simplicity, and bugs will need to be worked out.

In the long run, though, Digits is coming to market at a time when the phone number is likely the least important aspect of a smartphone user's experience. Data, and the avenues to the internet it provides, is the backbone of the mobile experience. Phone calls and rich texts sent over a carrier network, even one as advanced as T-Mobile's, still feel somewhat anachronistic.

Nonetheless, the Digits beta seems like a great option for T-Mobile users running select Samsung phones on Android, and we look forward to trying it out!

See Digits at T-Mobile

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5 days ago

Best cases for Google Pixel XL

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Protect your larger Pixel with a quality case.

The Google Pixel XL is a big, beautiful phone, and if you have one, you'll definitely want to keep it protected from scuffs and daily wear and tear along with bumps and drops.

Fortunately there are a number of great case options available that, depending on the option you go with, will keep your phone safe while also adding some style and/or functionality to your device.

Google Live case

We just have to start with Google's proprietary smart cases, which are available in a plethora of different style options, depending on your tastes. You may choose from a collection of cases designed and inspired by a number of great artists, upload your own photo, or map out your favorite place in the world and design your own custom case. Each case comes paired with a live wallpaper for your Pixel XL, for a 360-degree style for your phone.

This case also includes a programmable shortcut button on the back. Connecting via NFC, you can use the added button to quickly turn on the flashlight, toggle Wi-Fi, or launch the camera or another app on your phone. Folks have had mixed results with this feature, so this should only be considered a cool perk and not the prime feature of this case if you're interested in buying.

AC's own Andrew Martonik initially had some troubles getting a Live Case shipped out for his Pixel XL, but when he finally got one for the smaller Pixel he seemed quite happy with it. If you're willing to pay a premium price for complete customization and some added functionality from the shortcut button, this case will do you right.

See at Google Store

X-Level PU Leather Luxury case

If you're sick of the look of plastic cases and want to style things up, you can't go wrong with this slim and stylish offering from X-Level. This case is made from tough polyurethane and features a snug fit with decently sized cutouts for all your ports and of course the fingerprint scanner on the back, but it's got the look and feel of leather. This not only helps protect your phone but also makes your Pixel XL a little easier to hold in your hand. It's available in three different color options: black, Dark Coffee, and a pink gold option,

Our very own Phil Nickinson got the Dark Coffee option and offered his thoughts on this leather case back in December and was quite happy with the value he got from this relatively inexpensive case:

"A couple weeks into this one and so far it's been money well-spent. The cutouts for the camera and fingerprint sensor aren't over-sized. There's a little bit of daylight visible from the front where the 3.5mm headphone jack sits, but that's a minor fit-and-finish thing. The case itself fits snug enough and hasn't once tried to come off."{/quote}

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal

If you're the type that prefers to show off the actual design of your phone, then the Spigen Liquid Crystal is the clear case you want. Featuring precise cutouts and a snug fit, this minimalist case lets you see the unique design of your phone while keeping it safe from scuffs and scratches. There's a slight lip around the perimeter of the screen, which allows you to put your screen face-down on a table without worry.

The corners feature Spigen's Air Cushion Technology, which helps to absorb the impact if your phone falls on its corner — typically a disastrous scenario for any phone. Frankly, this clear case is so good at what it does, you might forget it's even there, but you'll be glad it is if anything bad happens.

See at Amazon


Lifeproof FRE

One of the biggest shortcomings that people mention regarding the Pixel and Pixel XL is the lack of water and dust-proofing. It's a feature found on a growing number of flagships and for some it might actually be a deal-breaker.

Fortunately, Lifeproof has come out with its FRE case for both the Pixel and the Pixel XL. If you're unfamiliar with Lifeproof cases, they offer complete protection from water, dust, snow, and drops of up to 6 feet. If you lead an active lifestyle and need your phone to be able to withstand anything that nature might throw your way, your choice is clear. Invest in the Lifeproof case for your Pixel XL and give your phone the best protection available.

See at Lifeproof


Spigen Rugged Armor

While this rugged case from Spigen doesn't offer the waterproofing or complete coverage of the Lifeproof case, it's a quality-built case that just looks great, featuring all the heavy duty protection you expect from a Spigen case with a sleek design. Spigen's Rugged Armor is a great option for your phone. Best of all, the design on the back of the case mimics the two-part design of the phone itself, so even though your phone will be protected by TPU, it'll still look like a Pixel in your hand.

There are carbon fiber-style accents on the back, which also improve your ability to keep a grip on your phone, and the case is affordably priced considering the premium build and quality.

See at Amazon


UAG Plasma Feather-Light Rugged case

Made from a silicone sleeve with rubber bumpers along the sides and in the corners, this UAG case for your Pixel XL is lightweight but offers heavy protection for your phone.

This is a transparent case, available clear (Ice) or tinted (Ash), and it adds some much-needed texture to the outside of your phone to help with grip. It's also thin enough so as not to interfere with NFC compatibility, so if you're using your Pixel XL with Android Pay, that won't be impeded. Keep your phone secure without adding unnecessary bulk with the UAG Plasma Feather-Light Rugged case.

See at Amazon


Caseology Body Shield case

This is another very popular case option for the Google Plxel XL — and for good reason. It blends the shock absorption of a soft TPU sleeve with the rugged design of a hard plastic shell, and wraps it up in an elegant design that really fits the aesthetic of the Pixel XL.

It features a matte black finish along the back with a panel of carbon fiber texture along the camera sensors. That means that it'll be easier to hold in your hand while still providing great protection against drops, scratches, and daily wear and tear.

See at Amazon


What are your favorite cases?

Have you tried any of the cases we've highlighted? Got one you love that didn't make the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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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5 days ago

Best Microsoft apps for Android

102

Microsoft apps have come a long way on Android.

Microsoft essentially shunned Android and iOS for several years, but with Satya Nadella taking the helm in 2014 and adopting a mobile-first stance, the company has turned its attention to bringing its apps and services to rival platforms. From heavy-hitters like Office to side projects developed by employees in their free time under the Microsoft Garage label, Microsoft has a lot to offer on Android.

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5 days ago

HTC U Ultra Video Review

15

For years, the name HTC was synonymous with solid smartphones. If you bought a high-end HTC, you knew you were getting a classy metal chassis, slick and sporty software, and better audio than any other smartphone. But the company's reward for all that quiet consistency was a customer base that slowly evaporated as its competitors cleaned up. So last year it shook things up a little with the well-received HTC 10. And this year, everything's different — except the price tag. I'm MrMobile, and this is the HTC U Review.

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5 days ago

Best Android Video Camera

Update: As of February 2017, the LG V20 still provides the best overall video experience. The Pixel is in a close second place.

Best overall

LG V20

See at T-Mobile See at AT&T See at Verizon See at B&H

The LG V20 builds on its predecessor's vision of offering a fantastic imaging experience — and that goes for both still shots and video. Right from the start the V20 stands out because it offers you both a standard and wide-angle lens, giving you unique shooting options — you can even switch between the two in the same video if you want.

Beyond that, you're getting the highest quality available — 4K shooting and HDR video are included here. And if you keep it locked to 1080p, you get the V20's advanced electronic image stabilization to smooth out otherwise-shaky video when you're on the move. No matter how you record, you're getting the best possible audio here as well, with mics that can record the loudest noise of any phone out there.

The biggest feature for video junkies is the Manual video mode, which lets you tweak any setting you can imagine for some pro-level stuff if you want to go all-out and mount the V20 on a tripod rig.

Bottom line: For the most video options and the best possible quality, the LG V20 is the phone you want.

One more thing: The LG V20 also offers some pretty impressive picture capabilities — you don't have to give up much photo quality for all of these video features.

Why the LG V20 is the best

When it comes to recording video, the LG V20 really has it all. Not only does it work well for the basics like just tapping record and watching whatever's in front of you unfold, but it can also go far beyond that with manual controls and advanced features.

It's an excellent all-around video camera without any compromises.

For the basics, the V20 offers 4K video recording as well as HDR, and when you shoot in the standard 1080p resolution you get LG's most advanced electronic image stabilization (in combination with the hardware OIS) to smooth out video when you're moving around. It's quick to start capturing and video looks great. You also get your choice of a standard or wide-angle lens, which can offer interesting shooting styles that you don't get from any other phone.

And what really makes the LG V20 stand out is its Manual video mode. This mode has everything you want, and a bunch of stuff that even the pros won't need to touch. You can change your shutter speed, ISO, focal distance, bitrate and more. You also get hi-fi audio recording from the built-in mics, which can handle even the loudest concerts or sporting events that you want to capture.

The LG V20 is an excellent all-around video camera without any compromises, and it's also paired with some great photo capabilities to boot. If you need a phone that does great video, the V20 is your choice.

Best stabilization

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

Though the V20 still takes our top spot because of its vast number of manual controls, the Google Pixel is a close second thanks to its amazing electronic image stabilization. Rather than using OIS (optical image stabilization) to physically smooth out the lens movement, Google's software reads the Pixel's various sensors to adjust and stabilize the picture completely in software.

The results are amazing, to the point where video shot on the Pixel looks like it's being stabilized by a tripod even when they're shot by hand. The video stabilization works automatically, even when shooting in 4K resolution. Beyond the stabilization, the Pixel can also shoot slow-motion video at up to 240 fps, which is extremely impressive.

Bottom line: For the smoothest possible video without any additional accessories, the Google Pixel is the best choice.

One more thing: For the exact same video experience in a larger size (with a higher price), consider the 5.5-inch Pixel XL.

Best for simplicity

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

The Galaxy S7 is one of our favorite overall cameras, and for many of the same reasons it's a runner-up here as a video camera pick. The Galaxy S7 has a great sensor and lens that can handle 4K and HDR video, as well as electronically stabilized 1080p video. It's amazingly quick to start up and get to your recording, and has lots of built-in shooting modes for features like slow-mo and timelapse.

The Galaxy S7 falls to number two on this list because it doesn't offer the manual shooting offerings of the LG V20, nor does it have the same level of electronic stabilization or the audio recording capabilities that the top pick here does. That doesn't mean the Galaxy S7 isn't a great video camera — it just means it isn't the absolute best. If you're looking for the best combination of both pictures and video, the Galaxy S7 is still worth considering.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 offers all of the best video features you want, but doesn't have the more advanced shooting modes and audio recording of the V20.

One more thing: The Galaxy S7 is a bit too small for some people, so if you want the same video capabilities in a larger 5.5-inch display, consider the Galaxy S7 edge.

Conclusion

For the best possible video recording, from quick shots to long planned-out movies, the LG V20 has everything you need. It's a great phone for photos, too, making it a complete package.

Best overall

LG V20

See at T-Mobile See at AT&T See at Verizon See at B&H

The LG V20 builds on its predecessor's vision of offering a fantastic imaging experience — and that goes for both still shots and video. Right from the start the V20 stands out because it offers you both a standard and wide-angle lens, giving you unique shooting options — you can even switch between the two in the same video if you want.

Beyond that, you're getting the highest quality available — 4K shooting and HDR video are included here. And if you keep it locked to 1080p, you get the V20's advanced electronic image stabilization to smooth out otherwise-shaky video when you're on the move. No matter how you record, you're getting the best possible audio here as well, with mics that can record the loudest noise of any phone out there.

The biggest feature for video junkies is the Manual video mode, which lets you tweak any setting you can imagine for some pro-level stuff if you want to go all-out and mount the V20 on a tripod rig.

Bottom line: For the most video options and the best possible quality, the LG V20 is the phone you want.

One more thing: The LG V20 also offers some pretty impressive picture capabilities — you don't have to give up much photo quality for all of these video features.

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5 days ago

Best Universal Car Mounts

65
Best universal car mounts

Keep your phone safely in sight and secure with a car mount.

When you're on the go, your phone is more than just a tool for keeping in touch. It's your road trip playlist and your GPS, too. For safety's sake, mounting your phone to your dashboard, windshield, or air vents is the best way to keep it in view while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. We've gathered up a list of some excellent options for universal car mounts, and trust us, there's no shortage of choices out there.

iDoo Qi Car Charger Mount

iDoo Qi car charger mount

The car mount from iDoo is one fantastic multitasker. It offers wireless charging for your Qi-enabled phone, or space for a charging cable if you need to plug in.

You have three installation options: dashboard mount, air vent clips, or windshield mount. Take the time to experiment a little with the best sight lines for your phone when you're ready to get set up so you'll know which variation works for you. The cradle arm is completely adjustable, so you can avoid glare, and the frame rotates 360 degrees. No matter where you put it, the mount will be an essential part of your commute.

See at Amazon

Affordable Universal Car Mount

Affordable universal car mount

This offering from Affordable is as minimalist as they come, and you know what that means: no obstructed view. It's ideal for dashboard or windshield installation.

It's simple to install and remove when you're switching vehicles. Bonus points are also awarded to this mount for living up to the name Affordable. It's also been favorably reviewed for some time now; it won't drop your phone when you're travelling bumpy roads, and potholes won't shake it's grip.

See at Amazon

Koomus CD-Eco Car Mount

Koomus CD dash mount

Remember when you kept stacks of CDs in the backseat so that you'd always have your favorite tunes close by? Well, your phone takes care of the songs these days, but your CD player can still be put to good use. The Koomus mount uses it to hold your phone in a very convenient place.

The low-profile mount is easy to install, and your CD player won't be damaged or even recognize that it's in use. The flexible clamps hold your phone securely with or without its case. You can also rotate your phone 360 degrees for easier viewing.

See at Amazon

iOttie Easy One Touch XL Car Mount

iOttie One Touch XL car mount

iOttie's car mount is available in a few different versions, but we're going to spotlight the XL. The suction cup is tough, and won't budge from your dashboard or windshield. If you favor dashboard mounts, you can choose to add their Sticky Gel Pad for some extra grip, although most users say they don't need it. The windshield mount won't obstruct your view, either.

The XL is an especially solid choice if your phone case adds a little extra bulk, since the cradle is designed to hold larger phones to begin with. Your phone can rotate 360 degrees, and if you need to remove the mount and put it in a different vehicle, a quick rinse and dry of the suction cup makes it good as new again.

See at Amazon

New Trent Arcadia Magnetic Mount

New Trent Arcadia car mount

For something completely different, check out the mount from New Trent. It holds your phone with a strong magnet, and installs onto your air vents. You don't have to worry about snapping your phone into a cradle, just stick it to the magnetic pad and you're on your way.

The base mount is available in black or blue, and comes with two magnetic plates you can stick to the back of two devices, especially handy if you share your car with other family members. The magnetic plates are thin enough to fit into your phone's case, and strong enough to adhere to the base without having to constantly removing the case every time you get in the car.

See at Amazon

WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Mount

WizGear universal car mount

Wizgear produces another magnetic car mount we're a fan of.. The magnet is strong on this one, and if you take the mount out of the car, it doubles as a kickstand for your phone. The magnet can be concealed inside most phone cases, so you won't have to constantly remove the case before sticking your phone to the mount.

The air vent clips keep your phone highly visible without obstructing your view. The base swivels your phone into your preferred position and promises to keep it there until you move it, even when going over rougher terrain. It's perfect if you just need to jump in the car and go with your phone at the ready.

See at Amazon

Spigen Style Ring

Spigen Style Ring

An inexpensive alternative for car mounts is the Style Ring. The mount is a tiny black hook that sticks to your dashboard, and the ring sticks to the back of your phone. If you're not wild about sticking things to your car or device, this may not be the right choice for you, but it's convenient.

The ring that attaches to your phone doubles as a kickstand in both portrait or landscape. It hooks to just about anything, so you might find yourself hanging your phone from a variety of places. Positioning the car mount might take some patience to get it just where you'd like it to stay, but it works well for hands-free calling and accessing music. Your phone snaps into place and swivels 360 degrees. It's the smallest car mount you can find, so if space on your dashboard is at a premium, the Style Ring is a solid option.

See at Amazon

The bottom line

First and foremost, you need to know the details of your local laws, in terms of whether or not you are allowed to mount anything on your windshield. Next, you need consider how often you'll use a car mount and where in your vehicle it's going to be. Each of these car mounts have distinct advantages all their own, but we think that versatility and durability are the most important qualities to look for.

Which universal car mount are you using these days? Tell us about it in the comments!

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