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1 month ago

Get an Amazon Fire TV 4K when you prepay for two months of DirecTV Now

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Get an Amazon Fire TV 4K when you prepay for two months of DirecTV Now

Don't pass this up.

DirecTV Now is offering an Amazon Fire TV 4K at no additional cost when you sign up for its service and prepay for two months of service, even if you pick the $35 a month plan. While this offering isn't quite as great as the previous one, it's still a deal worth considering. Amazon charges $70 for the Fire TV 4K, but this bundle offers you two months of service on top of that.

You will need to be a new customer to take advantage of this offer and the Fire TV 4K will be shipped to you via FedEx within 2 to 3 weeks from the time you sign up. The offer is a little hidden, as usual, so to take advantage of it you'll need to begin the account creation process. Once you input your email and create a password you'll select a channel package and any add-ons that you may want, and then it will offer you the Fire TV 4K promotion.

How to sign up for DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now does automatically bill each month, so if you only want to do the two months for this promotion be sure to cancel the renewal once you complete the checkout process. If you'd prefer an Apple TV 4K, you can get one when you prepay for three months of service.

See at DirecTV Now

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7 hours ago

Flickr has been purchased by photo-sharing service SmugMug

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Flickr has been purchased by photo-sharing service SmugMug

Flickr has been purchased by photo-sharing service SmugMug.

According to a new report from USA Today, Flickr has been purchased by photo-sharing service SmugMug. The company says it plans to "[breath] new life" into Flickr by pouring in the necessary resources and focus.

For what it's worth, SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill sure seems bullish about the service:

Flickr is an amazing community, full of some of the world's most passionate photographers. It's a fantastic product and a beloved brand, supplying tens of billions of photos to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Flickr has survived through thick-and-thin and is core to the entire fabric of the Internet."

It's unclear just how much money SmugMug spent on this 14-year-old piece of the entire fabric of the internet, but it has already launched a landing page for SmugMug + Flickr.

SmugMug, which has been around longer than Flickr, says the two platforms represent "the world's most influential photographer-centric community." It seems the company plans to stand out from services like Google Photos, Facebook, and Twitter by focusing on its community of photographers both amateur and professional as well as its ongoing commitment to privacy.

Here's what MacAskill told USA Today:

We don't mine our customers' photos for information to sell to the highest bidder, or to turn into targeted advertising campaigns.

Hello, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. — you've just been called out.

MacAskill says he's not entirely sure about the company's long-term plans for Flickr but SmugMug users can rest easy. The company says its products aren't going anywhere.

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10 hours ago

Learn all about who you are and where you come from with the $69 23andMe DNA test kit

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Learn all about who you are and where you come from with the $69 23andMe DNA test kit

The 23andMe at-home Ancestry DNA test is down to $69 on Amazon. It normally sells for $99, but 23andMe is currently taking 30% off for a limited time.

You can also get the equivalent AncestryDNA testing kit for $59 if you buy from them directly. That's a better price but it's not on Amazon this low (yet).

Another option is to upgrade to the 23andMe Health + Ancestry personal genetic service for $139. That's down from a price around $199 and just $10 above its lowest price ever.

The first kit is strictly DNA testing. It'll tell you all about your family's history, your ethnic background, and maybe reveal some interesting facts about yourself you never knew. You'll also be able to connect with relatives based on your DNA from all around the world. If you want to, you'll be able to upgrade to the health screening later but it will cost extra. The second, more expensive option is the one that adds health screening. It will tell you everything your DNA tells them about your health, your traits, and what you might be at risk for.

See on Amazon

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11 hours ago

Here's what we're reading, watching, playing, and listening to this week

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Here's what we're reading, watching, playing, and listening to this week

How we're spending our leisure time.

Everyone has a bit of quiet downtime once in a while. Whether you're sitting quietly at home or trying to relax on a plane or just giving your busy mind and hands a break, it's important to relax.

A good way to do that is to read a book, listen to some music or watch a movie or show. See what's caught our attention for the week of April 20th.

Ara Wagoner

Awwwww, look at the little pink deathbringer!

Sword Art Online is back, and we've got new characters and a new dynamic inside a world that felt criminally underexplored the last time we saw it! Sword Art Online Alternate: Gun Gale Online (boy, that's a mouthful) is the latest entry into the popular franchise about VRMMO gaming and the multi-world hijinks its players come across. This year's model doesn't seem to have any "you die in the video game, you die for real" drama this year, bringing the stakes down and giving the show a bit more of a slice of life feel, which is a refreshing twist: instead of people dying for real in these beautiful fantasy games, we have a protagonist who finds an ultra-cute online avatar inside Gun Gale Online, one of the most hardcore VRMMOs on the market.

We're only two episodes in, but it's been a fun ride bordering on hilarious. LLENN is a newbie who only stuck around in Gun Gale Online because she'd finally found a cute, short avatar, and as a result, she's often panicked and seems to get by on amazing luck. GGO is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu, and whether you're a gamer or not, this is a show that will make you laugh and make you whoop.

Marc Lagace

One of my all-time favorite videos on YouTube is this gem from back when the first iPhone was released, where a woman with $16K in hand buy her way to the front of the line — only to learn that store policy only allowed them to sell one phone per customer. Meanwhile, the dude at the front of the line made off an extra $800 to put towards his new phone, plus accessories — instantly became an Internet legend that day.

Flash forward to 2018 and that same dude, Marc Rebillet, is carving out a new legendary status for himself as a YouTube musician/comedian/weirdo. He's got some real talent and has been steadily growing his channel in part by posting live-made music creations he calls "Idealogues" that are equal parts funny, bizarre, and catchy as all heck. To celebrate his channel reaching 20,000 subscribers, he live-streamed a 3-hour performance at the Deep Ellum Arts Fest which is pretty incredible to just watch unsuspecting people react to his art.

Check it out if you're into recording music at home or simply enjoy exploring some of the weirder corners of YouTube.

Joe Maring

During MoviePass's recent promotion that knocked down the monthly rate to just $6.95, I finally succumbed to its lustrous appeal and signed up for the service. As such, I've been seeing a lot more movies.

This past week, I saw Rampage and Isle of Dogs. The former is a great popcorn flick that has giant monsters wrecking Chicago and the latter is stunning work of art chronicling the story of a young boy that won't stop at anything to find his lost best friend. This is the first and only Wes Anderson movie I've ever seen, but it's already got me itching to check out the rest of his work.

Lastly, I also caught Back to the Future on the big screen last Sunday. I never got a chance to see the movie in theaters since it came out 12 years before I was born, so being able to finally do so was a pretty great experience. I tried hitting 88 Mph on the ride home, but I, unfortunately, didn't make it to the 1950s. Sigh.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Work, eat, Far Cry 5. Not necessarily in that order …

It's my favorite Far Cry yet because I get to run around and wreck cars, shoot guns, and go fishing -- things I'd just love to do all day in real life. I like to think of it as Grand Theft Auto: West Virginia.

Because I'm glued to a chair for the rest of my life I play a lot of video games and usually end up preordering whatever comes next. I also usually end up disappointed, but not this time. If you're a fan of the Far Cry series or just like to run around wrecking cars and shooting guns, it's worth the $55.

Hayato Huseman

I started up on Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet last weekend … I also finished it last weekend. The main plot is that Drew Barrymore's character randomly up and dies, then reawakens as a zombie who can only eat human flesh. Sounds like a cheesy '80s horror movie, I know, but it's one of the funniest damn shows I've seen in years, and season two just dropped last month. It's definitely worth your time.

As far as music goes, one of my new favorite albums of 2018 has to be Yeah Whatever by Owane. I love all of Owane's music, but I think his new album is his best work yet. On top of his usual chill jazz rock vibe, there's all kinds of crazy cool synth and saxophone arrangements.

Russell Holly

She's been called "the next J.K. Rowling" and to be honest I find that comparison underselling the experience you get with this book. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is an amazing story with a fascinating magical twist. It's honestly unlike anything I've ever read, complete with emotional characters and a healthy dose of action.

If you're looking for something different, and you're a fan of fantasy, pick this up. You can get the Audiobook on sale in the Play Store if you're not really up for a huge book like this right now.

See at Amazon

Tom Westrick

One of the few musicians I've seen in person is Rosanne Cash. She is the daughter of country legend Johnny Cash, and she's a superbly talented songwriter and musician in her own right. I saw her and her full band perform in December 2014, and saw her again this past weekend — this time it was just her and her husband, John Levanthal. Both concerts were fantastic mixes of history, storytelling and music. Photography wasn't allowed at the most recent concert, so I substituted in a video of one of Rosanne's most recent hits.

I've been getting back into Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I'm just starting season five. It's a hilarious show, and I'm glad to see the writers tackling complex issues surrounding racism is police forces. It's definitely worth a watch.

Your turn

What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments!

Update, April 20th, 2018: This is a weekly series where we tell you what we're into, so check back every Friday or Saturday!

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11 hours ago

Step up your sound with the $159 Elac B5 bookshelf speakers

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Step up your sound with the $159 Elac B5 bookshelf speakers

The Elac series is a classic, and this price is killer.

The Elac B5 Debut Series 5.25-inch Bookshelf Speakers are down to $159 on Amazon. The big brother Elac B6 speakers dropped to $200 on Amazon yesterday, so it makes sense the B5 have now become even cheaper. They normally sell for around $230 and have never dropped this low before.

The Elac B5 speakers have 4 stars from What Hi-Fi?. They have custom drivers designed by Andrew Jones, woven aramid-fiber woofers, and a custom deep-spheroid waveguide designed to improve control and shield the tweeter from cabinet diffraction. These speakers have 4.6 stars based on 115 user reviews.

See on Amazon

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11 hours ago

Today's best deals you won't want to miss

Today's best deals you won't want to miss

Whether you're looking for new tech gear or household items, we've got you covered.

Today you can get big discounts on Dyson air purifiers, portable chargers, smart plugs, electric shavers, and more! Don't pass these up.

If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

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11 hours ago

AT&T is working on a $15/month live TV streaming service

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AT&T is working on a $15/month live TV streaming service

There's one caveat — you won't find any sports channels here.

In the quest to give cable and satellite companies the boot, we've seen the market for Internet-based live TV services pop up like crazy over the past few years. Following the release of DirecTV Now in 2016, AT&T's now gearing up to launch another service called "AT&T Watch."

AT&T's other streaming service, DirecTV Now.

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced the new service while speaking during the company's antitrust court hearing regarding its want to purchase Time Warner Inc.

Although we don't know which channels will be available with AT&T Watch or which platforms it'll support, there are a few key details to take note of. Perhaps most damning for some customers, AT&T Watch won't have any sports channels. We saw Philo introduce a similar package last November, and also similar to Philo, AT&T Watch will be incredibly cheap — just $15/month.

That pricing would make AT&T Watch considering cheaper than YouTube TV ($40/month), PlayStation Vue ($39/month+), and even AT&T's own DirecTV Now ($35/month+). The lack of sports will be a deal-breaker for some, but for people like myself who could care less about that, the service sounds rather compelling.

Stephenson said that AT&T wireless subscribers will get Watch for free, and the service is expected to launch in the coming weeks.

Does this sound like something you'd be interested in?

Verizon's TV streaming service will consist of multiple standalone apps

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11 hours ago

These are the best PlayStation VR games!

These are the best PlayStation VR games!

Your PlayStation VR collection should include these titles!

Sony and their partners did a great job making sure there are plenty of great games for you to play in PlayStation VR. It doesn't matter if you're into shooting, flying, music, adventure, or silly games that involve putting bacon in a blender, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

That also means it's not entirely clear which games you should go for first, but we've been playing through all of them and have some suggestions for you! If you're starting a PlayStation VR collection, make sure these games are on your list!

Eve: Valkyrie

If you're a fan of flying through space and shooting things, either by yourself or with others, you need Eve: Valkyrie in your life. CCP Games expanded their Eve universe to put you in the cockpit of some incredible interplanetary fighters so you and your friends can really jump in and feel the action.

The VR view looks and feels amazing as you track your enemies by looking around you, and the environments you fight in are just plain beautiful. This is a must-have for every PlayStation VR owner.

See at Amazon

Job Simulator

Not a fan of running around and shooting or chopping things? Couldn't be bothered with horror games filled with jump scares? Owlchemy Labs invites you to play with mostly friendly robots instead! Job Simulator puts you in the future where there aren't many humans left, and the robots that have taken over are graciously giving you simple jobs to perform so you're not bored to death.

The game is silly, complex, and easily one of the best PlayStation VR experiences you can have with friends. Invite a bunch of people over so everyone can take turns, and you are guaranteed a night of laughs.

See on PlayStation Store

The Brookhaven Experiment

While other horror games are relying on cheap jump scares and loud noises to send you pulling the headset off in a cold sweat, The Brookhaven Experiment is legitimately terrifying. It's a stationary shooter that leans heavily on zombies and realistic-ish guns to get you hooked, but what really fills your nightmares is how well the spatial audio tells your brain there's something behind you.

This game will scare you in the middle of the day, but with Move controllers in hand you can really jump into the action and have some fun. Just be careful not to accidentally punch someone in the real world while pistol-whipping a zombie.

See on PlayStation Store

Farpoint

Chances are if you have a PlayStation VR and haven't been living under a rock, you've heard of Farpoint. Farpoint is what so many fans have been looking for from VR: a first-person shooter where you can wave a gun and shoot a bunch of baddies. It is likely to herald a new era of VR shooters as it is proof that you can do a first-person shooter in VR and not leave your players nauseated and uncomfortable.

You'll be playing on a desolate planet lightyears away from everything familiar while searching for the pair of scientists you were tasked with returning to Earth. In between you and them are a lot of arachnids, and they want you dead. You'll have to use your rifle, shotgun, and more to blast your way through them and find out where those scientists have gotten off to. With an intriguing storyline, the ability to play with a friend, and plenty of bugs to shoot through this is a game that shouldn't be missed!

See on PlayStation Store

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

If you are a Star Trek fan, Bridge Crew is most likely the game you've been hoping for ever since you learned Star Trek video games existed. It's the closest thing to a Holodeck simulation of a starship that we're likely to see any time soon, and it is extremely well done. Choose from the roles of Captain, Tactical, Helm, and Engineering, and work your station aboard the Bridge of the USS Aegis. Either play alone or with a crew of your closest friends as you explore uncharted territory, try not to get blown out of the sky by Klingons, and find a homeworld for the remaining Vulcan population.

Another popular feature: see how you fare on the famed Kobayashi Maru. In it, you will have to make compromises because you can't save everyone all the time, and not everyone can Kirk there way out of it.

See on PlayStation Store

Arizona Sunshine

There is something about zombie games that just translates extremely well to VR. Arizona Sunshine is a shining example of this. Using either the PlayStation Aim or PlayStation Move controllers to battle zombies for survival. The game is designed to have a longer campaign that can be played in short bursts, which is nice for people who have busy schedules, or who can't tolerate VR for long. This is definitely survival-focused, as you'll have limited resources to contend with, and though your friends can join you, that just means there are more tempting brains for your undead foes.

The game takes place in Southwestern America and features a variety of different environments to explore, including canyons and mines. You'll need to keep your ears and eyes opened for other survivors, who will make contact over the radio. And of course, few things compare to the joy of looting a bunch of zombies who just tried-- and failed-- to take you out.

See on PlayStation Store

Starblood Arena

If you're looking for fastpaced, zany arena combat, look no further than Starblood arena. Choose your pilot and vessel, and play by yourself or with up to three friends in Deathmatch or co-op modes. If you're an old-school gamer and loved to play Descent back in the day, this game is its spiritual successor. Navigate twisted maps to shoot at foes coming from every direction in a lightning-quick battle that will test your reflexes.

It also helps that the game is beautiful and quite fun to play. The map designs are solid, avoiding the perils of being so big that they're hard to learn, which allows you to better focus on the carnage at hand.

See on PlayStation Store

Statik

Statik is heralded as a "game about solving puzzles in a place you don't know, with a person you don't recognize, and hands that aren't completely yours." It features some truly inspired puzzle design that will leave you feeling challenged, but without falling into the pitfalls of some puzzle games where the solutions are so absurd that no reasonable person could solve them. The game's sense of humor will remind you a lot of Portal, and the game is very immersive.

It's clear that the developers spent a lot of time on the game, as it feels extremely polished. The graphics are great, but the true marvel is how well the game translates to the VR environment and uses it to make a truly unique puzzle-solving experience.

See on PlayStation Store

Resident Evil 7 VR

Google "Resident Evil 7" and you'll most assuredly find numerous articles and videos detailing how scary the game is, particularly in VR mode. The latest entry in the Resident Evil franchise has changed the concept a bit: no longer a third person experience, it is now a first-person game and VR helps in some key ways. It is also less about trying to fight your enemies, and more about evading them, and being able to look around corners and doorways with a quick move of your head is extremely helpful.

It wouldn't be a Resident Evil game without puzzles and secrets, and it's the latest incarnation will not disappoint. Plus if the YouTube reaction videos are anything to go by, you'll give your family hours of entertainment as you physically jump away from the virtual threats.

See on PlayStation Store

Rez Infinite

The original Rez received a lot of praise for its fun gameplay and it's catchy soundtrack, and the VR remake is no different. In Rez Infinite, you are a hacker, seeking to travel through cyberspace in order to repair Eden, the core of the Project-K program. Project-K was designed to combat rising crime rates.

To reach Eden, you must shoot your way through vector worlds accompanied by an intense soundtrack while using evolution spheres found within the levels to evolve to stronger forms. Rez Infinite is immersive and addictive, and you'll find yourself humming the soundtrack long after you stop playing.

See on PlayStation Store

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Looking for a great game to play with friends that will add fun and excitement to your next party? This is definitely the one for you! One player is tasked with defusing a bomb, the catch being that they have no access to information about the device. Instead, they are at the mercy of the other players to read the instructions to them from the TV screen, before they can try and execute them before the bomb explodes.

The tension of the game increases as the countdown ticks down, and it only gets more intense as you get to harder levels. It's also a great way to get friends involved who aren't gamers and might lack the manual dexterity and twitch reflexes to play other popular party games.

See on PlayStation Store

Sparc

Sparc aims to be a new competitive experience for VR, VSports. You're able to play against friends or random strangers, and the aim of the game is to chuck your balls and score goals. With angles to ricochet off of and shields that can let you block your opponents throw, this is a fun, fast-paced experience.

Sparc can easily have you working up a sweat, with its intense gameplay. Add to that the different modes of play which deliver a variety of skill levels for you to compete at, and there is plenty here to love. With Single Player Challenge Modes, you can ever perfect your game when there isn't anybody online to game with.

See on PlayStation Store

Skyrim

There are few games that are as massive, with so much to do, as what you find within Skyrim. While most of us have already become the Dragonborn we were destined to become, this fantastic game has arrived on PlayStation VR. It delivers everything you loved about the original game with some tweaks to make it playable in VR, and things are more immersive than ever.

You can access two different types of locomotion to ensure that you don't suffer from motion sickness, and the ability to dual wield spells has also been added. There are some issues, which are to be expected given that this is a 6-year-old game, but overall it delivers a great new way to experience the world you may already love!

See at PlayStation Store

Rec Room

Rec Room is a different kind of experience from everything else on our list, and that's because it's more like a dozen games all in one. You're transported to a Rec Center of old, where you can hang out with friends, meet new people, and play some table tennis. The big draw, however, is what is waiting on the other side of the doors that line the room.

Each door leads to a different mini-game. These range from charades, to paintball, to a gigantic soccer game. This means that you have tons of options of what to do, and you have the ability to get your friends together and dive in as a group!

See at PlayStation Store

The Inpatient

The Inpatient takes you into the Sanatorium where you go throughout to figure out who you truly. Discover why you ended up here, even though you have lost any memory you had of your past life.

Will you remember who you are in time to escape or is it too late for you? Try out the game for yourself and see if you will survive!

See at PlayStation Store

Moss

Moss introduced us to the cutest little companion we could've ever hoped for. Solve puzzles in order to get Quill to his uncle before it's all too late, and make sure to protect your friend from any enemies that might come his way.

Solve all of the puzzles and save your people from the wrath of evil around you. This truly is a game anyone can enjoy, as long as their over 12 years of age.

See at PlayStation Store

DOOM VFR

Head back into the Hell dimension we know as DOOM, as you take on familiar demons and make your way through the space station.Save the UAC station from this hell dimension and don't let it fall apart, as you are the last hope.

As the last known hope for the human kind on Mars, you truly are the only hope left on this hellish planet.

See at PlayStation Store

SUPERHOT VR

SUPERHOT, which was originally just a regular PlayStation game, takes all of the mechanics from the first game and adds a bit of difficulty to them. Standing in one concrete place, use your body to dodge bullets and take down enemies with various weapons.

If you're looking for a VR game that won't make you teleport, this is the game for you. Get that shooter feeling without having to also get that sick feeling.

See at PlayStation Store

What are your favorite games for the PSVR?

PlayStation VR is the first console-based VR system, and it delivers fantastic games in just about every genre. That means there is definitely a game out there for everyone. Is your favorite game on our list? Did we miss a gem that should be here? Tell us your about it in the comments below!

Updated April 2018: We've updated this post with awesome new games for PlayStation VR that shouldn't be missed!

PlayStation 4

Amazon

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11 hours ago

Huawei P20 series will likely be available in Canada on May 17

13

Huawei P20 series will likely be available in Canada on May 17

Currently no word on pricing.

The P20 lineup is one of the most impressive we've seen from Huawei in some time, and we've heard that it's bringing all three of the phones to Canada.

Beginning May 17, the Huawei P20, P20 Lite, and P20 Pro will be available on Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin Mobile, Koodo, and Videotron. Neither Huawei nor its carrier partners will confirm these details right now, but we believe these dates to be accurate.

There's currently no word as to how much the phones will cost in the country, but for comparison's sake, the P20 sells for around €680 while the P20 Pro goes for a steep €900.

We'll update this post with more information as it becomes available, but in the meantime, do you plan on picking up any of these phones when they're released?

Huawei P20 + P20 Pro review: Camera kings

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12 hours ago

Best Drones for Under $50 to Earn Your Wings

3

Best Drones for Under $50 to Earn Your Wings

Earn your drone pilot wings by starting small and mastering the basics.

Sure, we all want to get our hands on the latest and greatest drones. Those commercials always make them so easy to use, and that's true to an extent... until things go sideways and your drone takes off into the sunset (sorry, Mr. Mobile!).

The fact is, accidents happen — especially when you're relatively new to drones. If you've never flown a drone before, you need to spend some good time just understanding how to keep a drone in the air, make minute mid-air adjustments, and "become one with the drone" before moving on to bigger and better drones. Fortunately, there's no shortage of good training drones available for under $50!

Here are your best bets for snagging a fun drone to practice on. They're ideal for anyone interested in owning their first drone and learning how to fly for aerial videography, drone racing, or simply picking up a new hobby. Note that these drones are all recommended for ages 14 and up.

AUKEY Mohawk drone

AUKEY has been making some fun, budget drones for a while now and really offering some good options for beginners. The Mohawk is a mid-sized drone that's designed for novice pilots.

For starters, it features one-button takeoff and landing, because most crashes from novices occur just getting the thing into the air or safely onto the ground. It's mostly made of plastic so you will want to avoid any serious crashes if possible.

You can expect around 10 minutes of flight time per battery charge and a range of just over 350 feet. You'll probably want to stock up on a ton of replacement batteries, so you can extend your flight sessions.

See at Amazon

EACHINE E10 Mini Quadcopter

The EACHINE E10 Mini Quadcopter is a perfect first drone for someone interested in learning the basics of drone flight. This drone is a great option for kids, too, with a simple, kid-size controller and everything you'll need to practice drone flying.

This drone has some impressive features, including one-button 360-degree rolls and a return home function built into the directional control stick. There're also 4 LED lights on the underside of the drone, which help with visibility in low-light conditions.

Best of all is the price — just $33 for the E10C with a 2.0MP camera, these are ideal little drones for novice pilots still learning the basics. They are super portable and quite durable, and if they stop working after an epic crash, it's not the end of the world.

It's worth noting that you'll want to give the battery some time (at least 20 minutes) to cool down before recharging after a flight, otherwise you risk drastically shortening the lifespan of the battery and the drone.

See at Amazon

Hubsan X4 Quadcopter

The Hubsan X4 Quadcopter is a basic, palm-size drone that's a great option for beginners and kids. It features all the standard features you'd expect, including a 6-axis gyro system to help with flight stability and LEDs to help you keep the drone properly orientated while in flight.

A fully charged battery will deliver about 5 minutes of flight time, so you're probably going to want to invest in a set of spare batteries. If you buy the drone and the extra batteries, it'll still come out to about $50, except you'll get 5 times the flight time by swapping in fresh batteries.

See at Amazon

Holy Stone HS170 Predator Quadcopter

If you're looking for a cheap and reliable drone the Holy Stone Predator is a great option. It comes with its own controller that's simple enough for beginners to pick up and fly and is capable of pulling off stunts and withstanding light winds for outdoor flights.

The real bonus here is the size — it's small enough to allow for practice indoors if you've got the space, with blade guards built in for protection. A fully charged battery supplies 6 minutes of flight time; with replacement batteries really cheap and easy to swap in and out, this is a cheap drone with affordable accessories. Get this drone for just $40.

See at Amazon

UFO 3000 LED Drone

When you're learning how to fly a drone, crashes will happen. The UFO 3000 LED Drone helps to mitigate that by keeping the blades fully protected. Any novice pilot can bump into walls and whatnot while they learn how to zip around on low and high-speed modes, as well as perform flips with the simple press of a button.

Oh, and then there's how cool this drone is, with its blue and green LEDs creating four brilliant rings of light — it'll really look out-of-this-world when you fly it at night. Two batteries ship with this drone, with flight time averaging around 7 minutes on a full charge.

Light up the skies this summer for just $50!

See at Amazon

Cheerwing Syma Quadcopter w/ HD Wi-Fi Camera

The Cheerwing Syma offers the best value if you're after something a little more macho than a mini-drone. Featuring a pretty archaic camera for photos and video (fun for practicing but nothing you'd want to put on a demo reel), this is one of the cheapest camera drones you'll find.

This kit comes with everything you'll need to get flying and is probably a better place to start for someone who aims to own a drone like the DJI Phantom and wants to start off learning how to control bigger drones. Flight time is still under 7 minutes, which is standard for drones in this price range. Despite the low-res camera, you are able to test out some FPV flying if you're keen and have your own Google Cardboard headset.

Another benefit of this style of drone is the modular nature of the landing feet and blade guards. Once you've become confident with your piloting abilities, removing the guards will reduce the overall weight and allow for a decent boost of speed and maneuverability for practicing enhanced maneuvers.

See at Amazon

What's your favorite?

Got a favorite drone for under $50? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated April 20, 2018: Added the Aukey Mohawk and updated pricing.

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13 hours ago

The Best Keyboard Replacements for Chromebook and Chromebox

The Best Keyboard Replacements for Chromebook and Chromebox

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

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

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

Best overall

Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard

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

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

Pair it with up to three devices at once; Chrome OS, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV and Steam OS are all supported. You'll never need another keyboard for any of your devices. This keyboard is kind of expensive at $28, but worth it in the long run.

See at Amazon

Best for Chrome OS

Dell Multimedia Keyboard for Chrome

Built specifically for Chromeboxes, this keyboard has the right keycaps for your Chromebook.

The keys are roomy and all the standard Chrome shortcuts work perfectly. That's enough reason to recommend it, but this Dell keyboard is also built well and has a fully functional numeric pad. It's wired so there are no batteries to worry about but you instead have a wire to deal with. Having said that, it uses a full-size USB-A connection so if your Chromebook or Chromebox has a USB-C port be sure to snag an adapter. Best of all, it's only $13!

See at Amazon

Best value

Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

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

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

This is a basic keyboard and mouse that will definitely get the job done, and it's our best pick for people in search of value. This basic set only costs $19 so it's also a great value.

See at Amazon

More: Best wireless mice for Chromebooks

Update, April 20: These are our top choices for external keyboards for your Chromebook.

Chromebooks

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14 hours ago

Google's RCS 'Chat' plans are actually kind of brilliant

78

Google's RCS 'Chat' plans are actually kind of brilliant

Improving a standard is way, way better than creating a walled garden. Every time.

Did you hear? Google is releasing yet another unified messaging app at I/O this year, and is sunsetting the Allo app announced in 2016! How crazy is that?! Does anyone at that company have any clue what they are doing?!?!1!ONE?!!

Lets all take a deep breath for a moment and catch up.

Thanks to some absolutely stellar reporting from The Verge, we know Google is finally ready to admit its messaging strategy has not gotten better over the last couple of years. To attack this problem head on, Google appointed the guy who has been steering the Good Ship Photos into its place of dominance. The plan as it stands right now is to finish something Google started back in 2013, which is kill SMS once and for all. Instead of creating a new app and politely asking people to sign up for it, Google is pumping features into the text messaging app you already have on your phone and asking all of the carriers to support a unified approach to non-SMS messaging.

It's not exciting. It's not flashy, and it has nothing to do with competing against Apple's iMessage platform. And I'm pretty sure that's why it is going to work.

Here's the thing about SMS messaging - it's awful. On a technical level SMS messaging is deeply flawed. It was never actually intended to be a mass consumer messaging tool, and several mobile network engineers I've spoken to over the years have openly mocked it for being held together with the software equivalent of paper clips and bubble gum. It's expensive to maintain, and was never meant to be relied on in the ways it is today. The carriers have wanted a viable replacement to SMS for a long time now, but instead of building public alternatives, Google and Apple created platforms limited to Google or Apple login requirements. Apple has been a great deal more successful that Google with its messaging platform, but the underlying problems have not gone away.

The truth is, nothing about Google's plans for this new Chat experience is even remotely new. Most U.S. carriers have supported Rich Communication Services or RCS for a while now. The carriers offering early support had unique hacky features to make it unique, in an attempt to keep you using that carrier. To fix this, the Universal Profile was created to offer every user on every carrier a baseline set of features that worked no matter what system you used. Until very recently, the only major carrier to flat out refuse RCS support or Universal Profile implementation was Verizon Wireless. As the primary carrier of Google's Pixel phones, it was important for Google to change that. Now we know that change is coming.

Google is supporting a universal, feature-rich platform with no barrier to entry, and it's going to improve everyone's overall experience.

With all of the major carriers supporting RCS with Universal Profile, Google can now add features until the sun collapses and those features will be available to every Android phone. This creates a scenario in which the only major manufacturer actively leaning on SMS for messaging is Apple, which has also not supported RCS with its messaging platform. If the carriers want to eventually stop offering SMS (they do) and Apple is the only major company stopping them (it will be) Google has effectively turned the carriers into lobbying arms for getting Apple to support RCS. Whether Apple actually follows suit instead of digging in its heels to sell more iPhones is another matter entirely.

Personally, I'm excited by Chat. Google is supporting a universal, feature-rich platform with no barrier to entry, and it's going to improve everyone's overall experience. It also gives Google considerable leverage in feature implementation, since Android has well over two billion active users and Google wants to compete with iMessage and WhatsApp in a meaningful way.

It also makes a lot of sense for Allo to be "paused" while all of this is happening. A lot of the Allo experience is going to be folded into Chat, and there really aren't that many people using it to begin with. The end goal here is much larger than releasing a competing product, it's creating a platform carriers already want to support where Google has its hand on the scale for future development. That is going to be a much bigger deal in the not-so-distant future.

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14 hours ago

How to give your Android home screen a spring cleaning

6

How to give your Android home screen a spring cleaning

Spring is here, so it's time to get all the clutter and trash off your home screen that's collected there all year.

Spring cleaning is upon us, and everyone wants you to take stock of your entire life and throw out half your closet and your whole pantry and ain't nobody got time for that. Want to get some spring cleaning done that you'll notice every day? Spring clean your home screen and your app drawer, and it'll be easier to find apps on your phone and easier to get on with your life. Not to mention, opening your app to a clean, orderly home screen can help bring a sense of order and peace to your life.

So spring clean the thing you use most during your day: your phone!

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14 hours ago

AT&T cuts the prices of its best prepaid plans by $10/month

8

AT&T cuts the prices of its best prepaid plans by $10/month

There's also better multi-line discounts.

AT&T's prepaid plans are a great way to get reliable service without having to mess with pesky contracts, and today they're getting even better with lower monthly rates for people that sign up for automatic billing through AutoPay.

For $50/month, AT&T will sell you unlimited talk and text with 8GB of high-speed data. Starting today, customers that enroll in AutoPay will be able to take that price down to just $40/month. Additionally, the $65/month Unlimited plan is getting an increased AutoPay discount from $5 up to $10 – bringing the final price down to just $55/month.

Speaking of unlimited plans, the $85/month one (which can be taken down to $75/month with AutoPay) is getting upgraded to 10GB of monthly hotspot use each month from the previous 6GB allotment.

Lastly, AT&T is increasing its multi-line discounts. Paying for two active lines now sees a $10/month discount (up from $5/month) and four active lines now gets a $20/month savings (up from $15/month).

See at AT&T

Carriers

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.cta .shop { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.cta .shop, .devicebox a.cta .shop:link, .devicebox a.cta .shop:active, .devicebox a.cta .shop:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.cta .shop: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.cta .shop { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop: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.cta .shop { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop, .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop, .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop: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.cta .shop: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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15 hours ago

Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV: Which streaming player should you buy?

13

Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV: Which streaming player should you buy?

They're the same, only different.

Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV do the same things. They run a full version of their respective company's operating system. They run apps. They have access to their respective media libraries and can stream video and music and play games and control things via your voice.

So let us stipulate that Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are very similar products.

They're also wildly different in a number of ways.

Let's take a look.

It's the little things

Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV: The basics

There's no way we can't compare these things side by side, right? And immediately — actually, before you even buy one of these things — there's one huge discrepancy.

Apple TV 4K (which is the only one you should buy) starts at $179. (There's a $199 with extra storage, too.) Amazon Fire TV — which also can handle 4K video just fine — is, on a bad day, $69. And you often can find it for as low as $49.

That's as much as a $130 swing for a device that streams video and music and plays games and has apps and does smart stuff.

But it's the little things where Apple TV really starts to stand out in the specs department.

Category Apple TV 4K Fire TV Price $179/$199 $69 Form factor Set-top box HDMI dongle Operating system tvOS Fire OS 6 (Android) Processor A10X Amlogic S905Z Internal storage 32GB/64GB 8GB External storage No No RAM 3GB 2GB Resolution Up to 4K Up to 4K HDR10 Yes Yes Dolby Vision Yes No Dolby Atmos No Yes Remote control Yes Yes Bluetooth out Yes Yes Ethernet Yes No Wifi 802.11ac 802.11ac Buy See at Amazon See at Amazon

What really stands out here? First, the form factors. Apple TV is a set-top box. You'll need some room for it somewhere. Fire TV is an HDMI dongle that dangles off the back of your TV or receiver.

Apple TV has better hardware. Fire TV has more affordable hardware.

Then there's storage. While neither handles external hard drives, Apple TV starts with 32 gigabytes of on-board storage, with an option for double that for just $20 more. (We'd recommend springing the extra dough if you can.) Fire TV? A mere 8 gigabytes of storage. On paper, that's a big deal. In actuality? It depends on how you used these things. If you're not downloading movie after movie or loading up huge games and all you're doing is streaming video or music, 8GB might well be enough.

But still — more storage is always better.

Comparing processor and RAM is sort of an Apples-an-oranges thing. Capitalization there was on purpose, though. Apple's platform is simply more powerful. Period. And the matters in ways we'll talk about in a second.

Video is the other big standout. Apple TV can do both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The former looks OK. It makes colors pop. The latter really makes colors look brighter and dark spots look darker. (That's provided that you have a compatible television, of course.) If you have to pick between the two, you want something that can use Dolby Vision. Fire TV only does HDR10.

So, yeah. These are the same devices. Only not really.

Watch all the things

Apple TV and Amazon TV: The libraries

I tend to think this one's a wash these days. Mostly.

Yeah, iTunes was first and is huge. But Amazon's really not all the far behind it. And given that so much of what we watch and listen to these days is available on just about any and every streaming service — save for exclusive content, of course — it's mostly a push. Sure, you can find things Apple TV has that Amazon doesn't. Or you could point out that to watch, say, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel you'll have to load up the Amazon Prime Video app on Apple TV, when it's already built in to Fire TV.

You'll be hard pressed to find content that you can't watch on either of these devices.

If you use iTunes Match and want to play that music over your TV or entertainment system, then Apple TV is the way to go. If you don't care about local music in the slightest and just want to stream things? You can do that just fine on Fire TV.

All the major streaming services are available on both platforms. OK, sort of. You can't get iTunes content on Fire TV. But you can get Amazon content on Apple TV. Google content is out. But apps like Movies Anywhere bridge that gap a bit.

Really, this one's going to come down to the edge case. Do you already have a bunch of content purchased on one service? Then stick with their hardware, too. It's just easier and more enjoyable in the long run.

OK, and worse

Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV: The remotes

There's a good chance you're going to be spending a lot of time with the remote control in your hand. There's good news and bad news here. The Fire TV remote is functional. It won't win any awards for design, and it uses AAA batteries instead of having something internal and rechargeable. But it works, and it works well, and it also serves as a voice controller for Alexa.

The Apple TV remote is still bad.

Apple's "Siri Remote" — yes, they gave the damned thing a name — is a bad remote control. It lacks any economics whatsoever. It likes to pretend the Menu button is a Back button, except for when the Menu button is a Home button. Or when it's actually a Menu button. Or when you'll want to use the swiping not-a-directional-pad to bring down what otherwise would be considered a menu.

And the Siri Remote charges over Lightning, so it uses the same cable as your iPhone or iPad. That's fine if you're the sort of person who has Apple devices laying around. It's probably not fine if you bought an Apple TV because you prefer it but don't own a lot of other Apple stuff.

No. Don't use the Apple TV remote. At least put a rubber sleeve on it. But better yet is to just get a better remote control.

Siri vs. Alexa

Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: The smarts

Everything has to be "smart" and "connected" these days. (It doesn't actually have to be, and maybe it shouldn't be, but that's another thing for another time.)

So to that end, Apple TV has Siri baked in. You can do a lot of the things — but not quite all the things — that Siri can do on your phone or tablet. And Apple TV has the added bonus of being a HomeKit hub. Without getting too far into the weeds, that's a good thing and sometimes can save you from needing a half-dozen other little hubs connected to a half-dozen other smart devices.

Siri is integrated across devices, Alexa is ubiquitous.

On the other hand, Amazon Fire TV has Alexa. And if you've used Alexa at all in the past year or two, you know that it mostly just works. And everything — damned near everything works with Alexa these days. With a quick voice command, I can tell the Fire TV on my back patio to show me my doorbell camera. It's pretty cool.

So which one's right for you? Again, it kind of depends on which ecosystem you're in. Or are going to be in. If you're committed to HomeKit, Apple TV is the way to go. (And AirPlay beats the socks off of the screen sharing built into the Fire TV.) If you don't care? Fire TV is seriously economical.

Helping out

Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: Accessibility

If there's a leader in the accessibility space, it's Apple. That is, adding features that help the hard-of-hearing or visually impaired or some other physical thing — basically anyone who may need a little help to use a piece of tech.

And Apple TV has a wealth of accessibility options, from captions to VoiceOver (wherein it's reading screen items) to audio balance and video contrast.

Fire TV has a few accessibility options as well. There are captions, of course, and also it's own "VoiceView" screen reader, plus high contrast and a screen magnifier.

The bottom line

Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: Which one should you get?

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in tech. But Amazon also has the means to drastically undercut competitors.

Does that mean Amazon Fire TV is as good as Apple TV? No. It's not. I use both devices (on different TVs) almost every day, and I think it breaks down to this: Apple TV is what I'd call an everyday sort of TV box. It's fast. It's more flexible. Applications run quicker on it.

But Fire TV is also plenty capable. In fact, it'll work just fine for most folks, especially given how inexpensive it is. For me, it's great on a secondary screen. If it was going to be the box I'd be using the most, I think it'd be worth ponying up the money for something a little more powerful.

So, yeah. Two streaming devices that mostly do the same things. One just does them better — the other does them far less expensively.

Amazon Fire TV

Buy at Amazon

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