1 week ago

Samsung offering iPhone owners a Galaxy Note 5 to 'Test Drive' for 30 days [update]


Update: Due to "overwhelming" demand, Samsung has run out of Test Drive phones to loan out. The company is now working to have more available for trial. A Samsung spokesperson had this to say:

The response to Samsung's Ultimate Test Drive has been overwhelming and exceeded our expectations. We are excited to see how many people are eager to try something new. In just a few hours, all of the kits earmarked for this program were reserved by customers looking to try our latest and greatest devices. We're now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people.

Original story: With in-store sales of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ kicking off, Samsung has launched a new promotion called the "Ultimate Test Drive" aimed at getting iPhone owners to switch over to a Galaxy phone. Through this promotion — limited to U.S. residents — Samsung will be giving out a Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Galaxy S6 edge (sorry, no standard GS6) to use completely free, including cellular service, for 30 days. (Sound familiar?)

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1 week ago

Catch Phil talking the Internet of Things on Portland's KOIN 6


Android Central's own Phil Nickinson recently made an appearance on Portland's KOIN 6 to talk about using your smartphone to keep your home safe with the Internet of Things.

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1 week ago

How to get better battery life on the LG G4


LG has come out with yet another amazing flagship phone which also claims amazing battery life.

While a good amount of G4 owners agree with that claim, there are many members in our forums that are constantly unhappy with their phone mainly because they are forced to charge it in the middle of the day. There are dozens of different reasons why someone might not be getting the best experience from their phone's battery but here are six things that can be quickly done to help extend the G4's battery life.

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1 week ago

Three UK ditching All-in-One 15 plan for pay as you go customers


UK carrier Three has announced that it is ditching its All-in-one 15 pay as you go add-on, leaving £10, £20, and £25 options as the three plans left for pay as you go customers.

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1 week ago

OnePlus 2 tips and tricks


Despite it's Nexus-ish outer appearance, the OnePlus 2 experience is fairly unique. There's some interesting hardware and software here, and when you really dig into OxygenOS and start poking around at the settings you'll find new ways to use this phone.

To save you some time, we've assembled this quick guide for things that are lurking in OxygenOS on the OnePlus 2 you might be interested in.

Take me to the guide!

Map your whole fingerprint for better accuracy

OnePlus did a great job with the fingerprint sensor on their latest phone, but not so much with the instruction manual for recording your fingerprint. To get the most accurate setup, make sure you are mapping as much of your finger as possible. That means move all across your thumb when pressing it to the sensor during the capture process. The sensor records 15 different imprints of your thumb during this process, so the more of your thumb it can record the greater your chances of success will be when unlocking your phone.

It's a simple thing, but the difference it makes is huge.

Edit your LED colors to fit your needs

OxygenOS is all about personalization, right down to the color of the LED on the front of your phone. You can set a special color for nearly dead, charging, fully charged, and of course notifications. The menu for this is tucked away with the Dark/Light theme settings, and adds a tiny bit of personal flair to the outside of your phone.

Head to Settings> Customization> LED notifications and you'll be able to select a color out of the available grid for each option.

You can use the hardware home sensor with software buttons

Like its predecessor, the OnePlus 2 lets you choose between soft buttons on the glass and software buttons on the display. It's a nice feature to have, but this time around there's a fingerprint sensor where that home button goes. Since a lot of folks are already bringing their thumb down to that hardware home sensor anyway, OnePlus included a setting that lets you have software buttons and the hardware home sensor on at the same time.

It may seem a little counter-intuitive to have a pair of home buttons on the phone, but the setup quickly becomes comfortable if you're already using the fingerprint sensor. If it ends up not being your thing, the setting is just as easy to disable.

Pay attention to your SIM card position

If you've never used a dual-SIM phone before, the OnePlus 2 is going to seem a little strange. If you live in the US and you think you'll just take the phone to your local carrier store and they'll help you set it up, you're only half right. Carrier stores will try to help, but with no instruction manual things can get strange.

To make things easy, remember to always have your primary SIM in Slot 1, which on the OnePlus 2 is the card that goes deepest into the phone. You don't have to have anything in Slot 2 if you don't want to, but remember if you do there's an entirely different set of settings for controlling and monitoring that second SIM.

Check out Double Tap Actions for more launch options

OxygenOS on the OnePlus 2 includes this feature called Double Tap Actions, which basically lets you set additional commands to the back and multitask buttons on this phone. There's a huge list of options available to you here, including the ability to launch the camera with a double tap which can be pretty useful.

Like any soft touch or software key setting, if the phone wakes in your pocket you run the risk of accidentally launching things. Avoiding this is fairly easy with a lock screen, but it's important to keep in mind.

OnePlus 2


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1 week ago

Stay on track with the Driver Watch Face on Android Wear


Accessing all the info you need by just glancing down at your Android Wear device saves you time everyday. The Driver Watch Face gives you the time, date, and two readouts of the time along with 3 customizable widgets for the rest of your info. Combined with a design that gives you options, it's got undeniable style.

The Driver Watch Face has a clean, and fairly simple design. The top of your screen has 3 widgets, all of which can be adjusted in the settings. The bottom right quarter gives you the battery readout for your Smartwatch, a digital readout of the time, and the date. The rest of the watch face is analog, with a second counter around the edges.

From your watch there aren't many editing options. The ability to change colors is all you get. All of the real settings are available only through your phone. Your options are all on the same vertically scrolling menu, with a preview of what the watchface will look like with your changes. Driver Watch Face is jam packed with options, so that you can adjust things until they are a perfect fit. As far as appearance goes you can change the background of the watch, the dials that hold the widget info, the type of hands on the analog face, and the color of the borders, background and text. Those are just the beginning.

Scroll down and you'll find you can change the Widgets that are displayed at the top of the watch face. You can set the widgets to show you your daily step count, the number of unread Gmail messages, number of missed calls, the weather, your Smartphone's battery and plenty more. You can also adjust how often the Driver Watch Face will refresh for weather, or heartbeat info. The last few settings are at the bottom in general settings. This includes changing the timezone on the digital display, choosing your weather unit, deciding between 12/24 hours, and several more as well.

Driver Watch Face is available on the Google Play Store for $0.99 and considering all the options, it's certainly worth checking out. Everything works quite well, and depending on the settings you choose you can easily change the look of the face drastically and keep it looking new. In ambient mode the only info that isn't visible are your widgets, and even that can be adjusted in settings. If you've been looking for a watch face that gives you tons of information, options to tweak it on style and presentation, and does it all with a great design then you should definitely check out the Driver Watch Faces.

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1 week ago

The Android-powered BlackBerry Venice slider is starting to look real

BlackBerry Venice Slider

For months now, there have been rumors that BlackBerry is working on an Android-powered device but until recently, there was very little evidence to back those rumors up outside of a single render provided by @evleaks. Since the initial rumors began, the folks at CrackBerry have been tracking blurry cam images, as well as a bunch of renders, which all appear to point to an Android powered BlackBerry becoming a real thing.

This is the latest on what we know, what we don't know, and what we think.

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1 week ago

International variant of the ZUK Z1 will come preloaded with Cyanogen OS


Cyanogen has struck another deal with a phone manufacturer, this time landing its OS on the upcoming ZUK Z1 smartphone. The international variant of the phone will feature Cyanogen OS 12.1 at launch, and will be ZUK's first phone to come preloaded with the software. ZUK, the Lenovo-backed company, recently announced its Z1, which will feature USB Type-C, a 4,100mAh battery, along with a Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM.

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1 week ago

The Meizu m2 note (a mini-review)


Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu announced m1 note towards the end of last year, and in a surprisingly quick evolution announced the m2 note in China just a couple months ago. There are few nifty additions and improvements, like the new home button, but otherwise the m2 note is a progressive upgrade of its predecessor.

Let's see how it fares over its predecessor, and where it stands against other budget smartphones in the market.

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1 week ago

Jolla Tablet pre-orders begin in 'limited quantities' starting at €267


Finnish manufacturer Jolla has officially started taking pre-orders for its first tablet, several months after it launched a campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for the product. However, the company says that "limited quantities" of the tablet will be available at first, and just in a few countries.

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1 week ago

Google Photos' latest feature will take you on a walk down memory lane


Google is now rolling out a feature to Google Photos that should help you relive awesome moments from the past. Going forward, on any given date, Google Photos can show you pictures that were taken on that date in past years so you can take a brief walk down memory lane.

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1 week ago

Yahoo Weather will now alert you to approaching rain


Yahoo Weather has been updated, adding new weather alerts to make sure you never get caught in the rain. The app's new alerts will tell you 15 minutes before rain or snow is expected to start so you can be prepared.

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1 week ago

These are the official Galaxy Note 5 accessories from Samsung


Take a gander at Samsung's latest and greatest accessories for the Galaxy Note 5 that are soon to hit stores.

Whether you're holding out for that new fast charge wireless charger or a new OEM case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, you can't go wrong with accessorizing your new device. With the Note 5's launch just around the corner, now's the time to gear-up and get ready. Let's take a closer look at the accessories for the Galaxy Note 5 straight from Samsung.

Read on: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 accessories

Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad

As long as wireless charging has been around, we've mostly accepted its convenience over the subpar charging speeds. Finally we're starting to see some improvement, and this new fast charge wireless charging pad from Samsung is leading the way. While this model will most definitely work with all other Qi-compatible devices, its fast charge feature is strictly for the new Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+.

Available in white and black sapphire, it comes bundled with a microUSB cable and charging block — strongly suggested for optimal performance. The multi-colored LED halo indicates your charging status, similar to the previous version.

Buy from Samsung ($69.99)

Samsung S-View Clear Flip Cover

It's no surprise we're seeing a new S-View Clear Cover for the Galaxy Note 5 — its quick access to key features without ever opening the case makes it a great option for flip-case enthusiasts. The new cradle design provides simple installation along with extra protection around each corner of the Note 5.

As soon as the front flap is closed, the built-in Samsung ID chip provides instant access to your most important information through the case. Accept or reject calls, manage alarms, check the weather — it's all done easily while your Galaxy Note 5 stays completely protected. Available colors include black sapphire, clear gold, and clear silver.

Buy from Samsung ($59.99)

Samsung Level U Wireless Headphones

Samsung's Level U wireless headphones are an over-the-neck design that manages to stay fairly lightweight when worn. When used with Samsung's Level App, you can adjust different audio levels to suit your needs. Off a complete charge you can expect around 10 hours of music playback or 21 days of standby time.

The 12mm speaker units provide excellent sound quality, while dual-mic noise reduction and echo cancellation block outside banter during those important calls. When the earbuds aren't in use, they are magnetically attached together for a clean look.

Read our Level U Headphones review

Buy from Samsung ($69.99)

Samsung Clear Protective Cover

Those after simple protection for their Galaxy Note 5 that allows the original look to shine through, this clear OEM hard case is one to consider. Its simple snap-on design is great, providing complete access to everything including the camera, stylus, and charging/auxiliary ports. Each edge of the case is slightly thicker to add extra protection around the major impact points. This clear cover is available in gold, silver and black sapphire.

Buy from Samsung ($34.99)

Samsung Fast Charge Battery Pack

Packing a 5,200mAh capacity, this OEM power bank is designed to offer compatible devices an efficient way to juice-up on the go. Devices such as the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, Galaxy Note 5, and Galaxy S6 edge+ can all utilize this backup battery's snappy speeds, while others will charge at a normal 2A rate.

Unfortunately, Samsung's unusually high $70 price tag for this power bank is a bit absurd. The Aukey 10,000mAh Power Bank with Quick Charge easily doubles the capacity at half the cost, adding an extra USB port for simultaneous charging. Maybe with a larger battery and more USB outputs with fast charging capability this power bank would be worth the investment.

Buy from Samsung ($69.99)

Samsung S-View Flip Cover

Proving a clear window to manage the basics, the Galaxy Note 5 S-View Flip Cover sports a pebble grain texture with access to all the device's features. Similar to its clear sibling, this S-View Case allows quick access to key features without ever opening the case. Take pictures, record video, accept or reject calls — all through its front window. There's plenty of protection against minor drops from front to back, adding a thick plastic around the corners. You can grab this cover in black sapphire, white, gold, and silver.

Buy from Samsung ($49.99)

Samsung Glitter Cover

Samsung's Glitter Cover for the Galaxy Note 5 adds shimmer and shine to really make your new device stand out. The edges sport the solid color of your choice with access to all ports and buttons, leaving the back as the real star of this case. It's smooth to the touch, slim in design, and is available in gold, silver, teal, and red.

Samsung Keyboard Cover

This Galaxy Note 5 case has unique written all over it. The slim hard cover snaps around the device, providing just enough protection against minor drops, while the keyboard cover snaps on top. The QWERTY keyboard is designed for those that prefer the textured press, adding a dedicated UI when snapped into place. When you're finished using the keyboard, pop it off and snap it to the back of the case. Although the response of this particular cover hasn't been too positive thus far, there may be room for improvement.

Samsung Level On Wireless Pro Headphones

As Samsung's Level lineup continues to grow, so do the design and features of each product. These new wireless on-ear headphones feature Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA), boasting a sound quality that's better than that of a CD. "Talk-in Mode" allows you to enjoy your tunes as well as ambient sound simultaneously. Packing Bluetooth 4.1, aptX technology, and NFC pairing, these new headphones provide up to 10 hours of consistent music playback while noise cancelling is active, and 20 hours turned off. Samsung's original Level On Wireless Headphones were some of the best we've ever used, so these certainly seem promising if the price is right.

Samsung Flip Wallet

Wrapped in Samsung's signature polyurethane leather, this wallet case for the Galaxy Note 5 sports a single storage slot inside for a card, cash, or ID. With complete coverage on the front and back, the Note 5 stays secured inside with your essentials. When opened, the auto-wake feature activates your display for quick and easy access. This flip case is available in white, gold, silver, and black sapphire.

Buy from Samsung ($34.99)

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1 week ago

Travel through time with Fist of Awesome on Android TV


If you've ever looked at a 2D side scrolling fighter game and wished there was a mode in which you could punch bears, your wish has been granted. You can now play a time traveling lumberjack tasked with saving the world by punching one bear right after another. We know, it sounds ridiculous, and it absolutely is. Even better, Fist of Awesome is available to be played on Android TV.

Fist of Awesome is the story of Tim, a Lumberjack who sort of falls into adventure. By adventure we mean that he loses his family, his house is set on fire, and he finds a single weapon against the evil bears and other fauna of ill intent — the Fist of Awesome.

This Fist is alive and aware, explaining that Tim is no longer where he was. In this world, Bears rule and they are not fans of humans. Tim must now travel through time punching bears in the face to fix the timelines. You travel through the woods, the city of Bearhattan, and a cave filled with dinosaurs and prehistoric bears in the year 10,000 B.C. Those are just the first few levels!

When you aren't punching bears, the game is filled with puns and jokes from Tim and the Fist alike. The rest of the gameplay is fairly standard 2D action. You combat your enemies by punching them, kicking them, using special powers, or flying leaps. The graphics are pixelated, but it really does just add to how over the top, ridiculous, and dare we say awesome this game really is.

At the end of each level, you'll get scored. You will get experience to go up levels, your score, the time it took to complete the level and your hit accuracy. Since throwing more punches can help you to up your chain bonuses, you really need to decide between accuracy or a killer chain. When you go up a level, you'll also be able to improve one of your traits. The traits are Health, Power, Speed, and Special. Special unlocks extra special powers aka new moves that your Fist will show you.

Fist of Awesome is the only game from I Fight Bears, and will easily consume a weekend if you sit down to play it. Whether you share Tim's newfound disdain for the furry monsters of the woods or you've had a bad day and need something silly, sitting down to travel through time as a lumberjack with a magical Fist of Awesome is a great choice. It's simple, fun, absurd, and absolutely worth the $3.99.

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1 week ago

LG G Watch R gets Wi-Fi with Android Wear update!


The LG G Watch R will be gaining Wi-Fi functionality thanks to the recently-announced Android Wear update. With this, the watch will be able to communicate with your phone, even when the two don't have a direct Bluetooth connection. Wi-Fi functionality was enabled on many watches in the previous Android Wear update, but it is only just now coming to the G Watch R.

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