Recent Articles

Headlines

17 hours ago

Best ways to customize and decorate your Oculus Go

0

Best ways to customize and decorate your Oculus Go

Art can make anything beautiful, including your VR headsets!

Most of us love the sleek look of a plain gray headset, but some of us like a little more spark or a little more silliness. From custom art to safe stickers, I'm gonna show you how to make your Oculus Go one of a kind.

By the time you're done checking out all your options, your creative energy will be bursting at the seams to put it to good use and get rid of all of that gray! So without further ado, here's how to give your Oculus Go that one-of-a-kind look you've been dying for.

Not interested in giving it a paint job? There are other options!

Give your Oculus Go a custom paint job

Of all the options that were available for customizing my headset, I personally decided to just go ahead and paint a design of my choosing on it. By no means am I a super artistic person, but I like to think I can get the job done if I need to.

If you're worried about not having a steady hand or you've never drawn more than a couple of stick figures, don't worry. You can always print out a stencil to make the whole process go that much smoother.

Usually, when people give custom art to their tech (like with controllers or Game Boy) they'll use spray paint. That is not an option in this case. It's only safe to use in those circumstances because you can actually it apart and put it back together. You can't take the frame of the Oculus Go off, so using spray paint only risks getting paint into all the tiny holes and crevices.

Alchohol based ink paint

When I say, "Give your Oculus Go a custom paint job," what I really mean is, "Give your Oculus Go a custom ink job." You want to use the same ink paint that is used to paint model cars or miniatures for DND.

If you're still apprehensive I can personally attest that I use my Oculus Go almost 2-3 hours at a time, even after the paint, and have experienced no issues. You can find it on Amazon for $14.20.

See on Amazon.

What you'll need

You'll probably find most of what you need in your house already. This includes things like a pencil, a paper plate, a plastic cup, rubbing alcohol, some paper towels and a good source of light.

The rest of what you'll need are some fine point paint brushes, solvent-based enamel paint, and blue painters tape. If you don't have painters tape (and don't want to order any) I used masking tape and got away with it just fine.

Fine point brushes

You're going to be painting on a much smaller surface than what you normally have on a canvas. For better detailing on the small pieces, you'll want to make sure you have a few fine-point brushes laying around. You can get a set of 15 off Amazon for $10.97.

See on Amazon.

Cover all of the important bits

First things first, get out your tape and cut it into small sections. You'll want the pieces of tape to be large enough to go over all the buttons, holes and then some. If what you want to paint will require you getting close to the buttons make sure you're very careful.

I purposely picked a design that wouldn't go anywhere near the buttons on my headset to avoid the risk of the paint causing things to stick together or get clunky. If you trust your steady hand a lot more than I trust mine then go for it! Just be very cautious of the crevices you'll find along the rim of the face and on the bottom of your headset.

Rough drafts and the first base

The best part about the surface of your Oculus Go is the ability to draw on it with a pencil. If you don't like how something turned out, or change your mind all-together, you can erase the entire thing with nothing more than a slightly damp paper towel.

With my project, I chose to do only a mild outline. Freehanding the Cookie Cats in the background was the best-worst decision I've ever made. Don't be like me, draw out your outline. It'll save you so much time.

Don't worry about the clunkyness. As you can see from the second image I've provided in this section, the base of my art was very lumpy, uneven and even some of my colors mixed while I was painting. Don't let it get to you. You'll need to do a second coat of your paint anyway. If you do make a serious mistake all you have to do is wrap the pointy end of your paintbrush with a paper towel, dip it into some paint thinner (if the paint has dried) and wipe it off. There are no mistakes here, only happy accidents.

Finishing the job

Once you're done with your base you should be able to go right into your second base. This paint dies wicked fast, making the whole process go pretty quick. Adding your second base will smooth out the paint and allow the colors to become more vibrant. Then all you have to go is go through and finish detailing!

When all is said and done, and you're happy with your work, get your enamel finish out. I got the spray can version of this, but I did not use the spray directly on my headset. Instead, I sprayed it into a cup and painted it on with my brush. Topcoat for nail polish might seem like a good idea, but don't do that. You need something that's safe for temperatures, and outdoor enamel paint is usually perfect for this job. All you have to do is cover the paint, not the entire headset.

Want to change the image up every few months? Skip out on sealing it with enamel. This way you can wipe off your art with paint thinner and do something else with it at a later date. Yes, this means the art will go through the usual wear and tear. But, if you like a constant change you can just use it as motivation to paint again!

Other options

If you're not the artistic type there are more ways to customize your Oculus Go. Instead, you can try a few of these other options to spice up your VR headset life. One of my personal favorites are the hilariously silly googly eyes. With minimal effort, you can enhance your VR experience forever with constant laughter.

Googly eyes

Nothing, I repeat, nothing will make me laugh more than seeing a pair of Googly eyes on a VR headset. For $6 you can find these stickers on Amazon and have a grand ole' time with them. Get one of your friends to try out your Oculus Go with a pair of these babies on and strap them into the most physical game you can think of. The results will be endless laughter and great memories, I promise.

See on Amazon.

Other than that there is a decent variety of decal kits you can find online. These are a little bit of a pain to work with, but that might just be my OCD talking. I can almost never seem to get them to line up properly that I end up peeling off and sticking back on so many times it just stops working. I bet you're better at this than I am, so you should get one for yourself and test it out!

Decal kits

If googly eyes are a little too silly for you there are a few more options. Amazon is carrying decal kits for your Oculus Go and there are quite a few choices to choose from! For $15 you can grab your favorite design and turn your headset into an absolute masterpiece. (Now with half the work!)

See on Amazon.

So how did you decorate your Oculus Go?

Whether you gave it your very own paint job or found some amazing sticker decals, I wanna hear all about it! Tell me in the comment section below, or shoot me a Tweet @OriginallSluggo. What are your plans for spicing up your headset?

18 hours ago

Every PlayStation VR game with HOTAS support

Every PlayStation VR game with HOTAS support

If you're going to fly in VR, you might as well go all in and pick up a HOTAS.

In the same way racing wheels with pedals make driving games in VR feel a lot more realistic, flight games in VR are improved dramatically when you add a Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controller. These controllers allow you to really punch the throttle forward or quickly flip your ship around when fighting in space. You could do these things with a normal controller but, if a game supports HOTAS, the difference in how that it feels in VR is drastically different.

You can get a HOTAS controller for the PlayStation 4 for fairly cheap, but not every game supports this hardware. Here's a quick list of the PlayStation VR games offering HOTAS support now, planning to offer support later, or launching later this year with support planned out of the box.

Not sure which HOTAS you want for PlayStation VR? We've got you covered!

Games you can play right now

There are a couple of PlayStation VR games you can buy right now, plug in your HOTAS controller, and everything will just work.

Ultrawings

Ultrawings is an adorable obstacle in a cartoon world. Take on quests from flying challenges to shooting challenges and see if you can win all of the gold metals! You can find this game on the PlayStation for $24.99 and it's worth every penny.

See on PlayStation Store.

End Space

The United Trade Consortium has entrusted you with some of their best equiptment to fight an ongoing war. Are you prepared to test your skills? You can find this title on the PlayStation Store for $19.99. While HOTAS support is available there has been reports that it's not quite perfect yet.

See at PlayStation Store.

Eve: Valkyrie

The first epic space combat game for PlayStation VR has a lot of experience with HOTAS controllers, and adding one to this game makes space combat feel incredible. The best news? You can get it on Amazon for less than $20.

See at Amazon.

StarBlood Arena

More combat focused than space flight focused, this game is all about arena combat and lightning reflexes. A HOTAS controller could be the difference between victory and defeat in online multiplayer. Find this title on Amazon for $14.99!

See at Amazon.

Space Rift

This game already exists for PlayStation VR and HOTAS support was promised shortly after it's release. Finally, you can play Space Rift with your favorite HOTAS controller! Find it on the PlayStation Store for $19.99

See at PlayStation Store.

Ace Combat 7

This franchise has a long history of quality flight experiences in both classic and modern combat planes. Ace Combat 7 is on Amazon for $59.99. The price might seem steep, but the game is truly worth it!

See at Amazon.

Games promising HOTAS support later

Stay tuned for when we hear about more games promising HOTAS support later!

Thoughts?

Which HOTAS experience do you most like in your PlayStation VR? Sound off in the comments or send me a Tweet @OriginalSluggo

Update August 2018: We've added Ultrawings, End Space, Eve: Valkyrie, and Starblood arena as the new games with HOTAS support. Space Rift and Ace Combat have now upgraded to support HOTAS as well!

PlayStation 4

Amazon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
19 hours ago

Nintendo Switch games, Cooler Master keyboard combos, SanDisk microSD cards, and more are all discounted today

Nintendo Switch games, Cooler Master keyboard combos, SanDisk microSD cards, and more are all discounted today

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

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on these Cooler Master keyboard and mice combos, Nintendo Switch games, SanDisk microSD cards and more! Most of these prices will be gone when the day ends, so don't miss your chance to save big!

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!

19 hours ago

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 Dashboard Car Mount Review: The perfect driving companion

0

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 Dashboard Car Mount Review: The perfect driving companion

Whether you use your phone for navigation or music while driving, this is an essential accessory to keep you as safe as can be.

In an ideal world, nobody would use their phone while driving. In the real world, this simply isn't the case.

While there's never any excuse for checking Twitter, texting, or watching YouTube videos while on the road, you might need to use your phone for turn-by-turn directions, answering an incoming call, or controlling your music while you drive.

To help make these quick interactions as safe as possible, there's the iOttie Easy One Touch 4. Dashboard mounts for phones aren't anything new, but if you're in the market for one and want something that'll just work while keeping you your phone as safe as can be, iOttie's option should be at the very top of your shopping list.

iOttie Easy One Touch 4

Price: $24.95

Bottom line: A simple accessory that does a fantastic job at keeping you (and your phone) safe while on the road.

The Good

  • Easy installation
  • Works on dashboards and windshields
  • Use your phone vertically or horizontally
  • Phone is held securely

The Bad

  • A little pricey compared to some other brands

See at Amazon

Everything just works

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 What I like

Seeing as how this is the first car mount I've ever purchased, I was a little hesitant going into the installation process as I wasn't really sure what to expect. Thankfully, iOttie makes installing the car mount as easy as can be.

After attaching the phone holder to the actual mount, all you have to do is place a circular pad on your car's dashboard or windshield. Let it rest there for about half an hour, place the mount on top of it, push the suction lever, and it sucks onto the pad with a force to be reckoned with. No tools or prior mount knowledge are required to get this installed, and that creates for a great first impression of a product that ticks almost every box possible.

Once the mount is attached to your car, using it is dead simple, too.

There are a few different knobs you can loosen/tighten to adjust the position of the mount's arm to get the perfect fit for your car. It can be moved up/down, the arm can be extended/shortened, and you can turn the phone holder so that your phone is held vertically or horizontally.

To place the phone in the mount, push the two horizontal tabs inwards. This causes the arms to open up, and once they do, just push your phone against the large button with the iOttie logo. The push of this button results in the arms closing up against the sides of your phone, and to help accommodate phones of all sizes, the bottom feet can be extended if need be.

You'll want to make sure you get everything tightened up before heading out on the road, but once you do, the mount stays in place and shows no signs up moving/loosening up even when driving on Michigan's notoriously bad roads.

The price of being the best

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 What I don't like

When talking negatives, the only downside I can think of for the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 is its price. $25 isn't a lot of money on its own, but a quick Amazon search will show many competing phone mounts for $8 to $10.

I can't speak to the quality of those, but if you're on a particularly tight budget or just feel like spending as little as possible, the One Touch 4 might not be for you.

iOttie Easy One Touch 4

There are hundreds of dashboard mounts everywhere you look nowadays, but if you've got $25 and want something that'll just work, it's hard to do better than the One Touch 4.

The installation process is simple, you can adjust/customize just about every aspect of it, and your phone is held in place with more than enough security.

5 out of 5

Some buyers might see this mount as a bit overkill compared to the cheaper options out there, but after driving with this mount in my car for the past week, I couldn't be any happier with it.

See at Amazon

21 hours ago

Best Wireless Charging Pads for Samsung Galaxy S9

2

Best Wireless Charging Pads for Samsung Galaxy S9

Keep your Galaxy S9 charged without the charging cables.

If you're upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S9 in 2018, you're going to want to try out the wireless charging functionality. There's a large number of options out there for wireless charging, but not all are made equal.

If you want a reliable wireless charging pad that won't let you down, check out these great products!

iOttie iON Wireless Qi Charging Pad Mini

Top Pick

From iOttie comes this stylish charger that's Qi-compatible with a charging zone capable of 5V/1~2.4A output. Available in Ash Grey or Ruby Red fabric, this is a wireless charger that will look great on your office desk or end table. Get yours for just $30.

See at Amazon

The iOttie iON Wireless Qi Charging Pad Mini features a non-slip ring to hold your phone in place on top while it charges,

It supports Wireless Fast Charging up to 10W for Samsung Galaxy S9, and with an 18W USB-C input you'll be able to wirelessly charge one phone and then charge a second device with the included USB-A port. A great pick at a great price!

Samsung Fast Charge Convertible Wireless Charging Pad

Best Design

Samsung's wireless charging pad combines the best wireless charging technologies packed into a really sleek design. Launched alongside the Galaxy S8, it features a premium leather-like appearance and ingenious design which allows you to easily convert this pad into an angled charging stand.

See at Amazon

The Samsung charger also comes with a spare Fast Charge wall adapter, which is a key accessory to ensure your phone charges both quickly and safely. You can snag one of your own from Amazon now in black for $50.

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

Most to Offer

Samsung's old style of the wireless charging pad is still a reliable option for the Galaxy S9. These charging pads look like mini-UFOs and are Fast Charge-compatible. It also ships with a Samsung 2A wall charger — always great — and comes with a standard one-year warranty. Get yours for $33.

See at Amazon

This is a great option if you're looking to set up wireless charging at your home and at work because they're so cheap right now — only $33. You can also get the older style as a charging stand for around the same price if you prefer the angled look instead.

You may also want to consider this bundle which includes Samsung's car charger along with two cables (Micro-USB and USB-C) for just $37.

Anker Qi-Certified Wireless Charger Budget Pick

Budget Pick

Our cheapest choice on the list spares no quality or features. Anker, a well-known brand, offers a 7.5W Qi wireless charger that is extremely thin and low-profile but charges your Galaxy S9 quickly for just $20.

See at Amazon

At $20, the Anker Qi-Certified wireless charger has overheating protection with its larger coil that spreads the heat over a wide surface area, and a low-profile 5mm thickness that will practically disappear on any desk or bedside table.

For even faster charging, Anker offers a 10W wireless charger for $22, too.

Spigen Qi Wireless Charging Stand

Best for Office

Spigen's charging stand is angled, making this a great option for your office desk so you can easily see your display while your phone is charging. Pick yours up for $25 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

Spigen's option comes with three charging coils so your Galaxy S9 will charge whether in vertical or horizontal orientation. Do not that unlike other options on this list you will need to supply your own wall adapter with this charger.

Update August 2018: Updated the pricing info and shop links for our picks. These are still your best options for wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Amazon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
22 hours ago

Top Anker Nebula Mars II tips and tricks: Get the most from your portable projector

0

Top Anker Nebula Mars II tips and tricks: Get the most from your portable projector

Try these tips to make your portable projector even better!

Anker's Nebula Mars II is great for just turning on and streaming your favorite videos, but you can do a few extra things that make it a more versatile device than most projectors.

Here are some tips and tricks for using the Nebula Mars II!

Sideload applications

One of the benefits of Android is that you can get applications from places besides the Google Play Store, and install them without too much hassle. This means for devices like the Mars II that don't have the Play Store, you can still install apps that Nebula's store is missing. As always, make sure you get your APK files from a legal and safe source.

  1. Make sure you have the APK file saved to a USB drive (formatted as FAT32), or use the included WebView browser to download the APK from your source. Protip: a USB mouse makes the web browser so much more enjoyable to use.
  2. Open the File Manager from the projector's home screen.
  3. Select APK across the top banner.
  4. Select the APK file you'd like to install.
  5. Select Install.

Once the app is done installing, you can either go back to the home screen or open the app directly. And that's it!

Adjust the picture

The Mars II will automatically adjust its keystone and focus every time it's moved, so your picture won't be blurry or off-kilter. This means you can just turn the projector on, set it down and get to watching your favorite shows on a big screen. But, there are a few options if you want to adjust the picture yourself.

  1. Open Settings from the projector's home screen.
  2. Select Projector.

You get a few options, like changing the color temperature, image mode — Standard Mode for full power, Battery Mode for saving juice — disabling the auto focus and keystone correction, and changing the projection mode.

Pair Bluetooth speakers

The speakers inside the projector are great for the space, but it's not hard to pair the projector to bigger, better sounding Bluetooth speakers, or enjoy some privacy with Bluetooth headphones.

  1. Open Settings from the projector's home screen.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Enter pairing mode on your Bluetooth speakers or headphones.
  4. Select your speakers or headphones from the list of available Bluetooth devices.

That's it! As long as your speakers or headphones are turned on, any sound from the projector will be routed there. There is also a 3.5mm jack on the speakers if you prefer a wired connection.

Use the Mars II as a Bluetooth speaker

Of course, the Mars II will get louder than your phone's built-in speaker. This makes the projector great to bring along to cookouts or bonfires. Fortunately, using it as a speaker isn't difficult.

  1. Press the power button on the remote.
  2. Select Bluetooth speaker.
  3. You can also press the Bluetooth button on top of the projector to switch into speaker mode.
  4. Give the projector a moment to switch to Bluetooth speaker mode. Once the projector lens turns off, it will be fully switched over.
  5. Navigate to Bluetooth settings on your phone, and select the device labeled as Nebula.

That's it! Now your tunes will come from the projector's speakers instead of your phones. When you're ready to switch back to using the projector as a projector, just press the Bluetooth button on top.

What say you?

What tips do you have for using the Nebula Mars II? Let us know down below!

See at Amazon

1 day ago

Best Alexa-enabled speakers of 2018

1

Best Alexa-enabled speakers of 2018

Eufy Genie
Invoxia
Sugr Cube
Sonos One
Vaux Cordless Home Speaker

Get what Alexa has to offer without having to put up with an Echo's subpar sound.

If you want everything that Amazon Alexa has to offer, but don't actually want to put up with the Amazon Echo's mediocre sound, you can get other speakers with Alexa built in!

Here are our top picks.

Sonos One

Sonos is the number one name in wireless home audio, with great sound and ridiculously easy setup, and the Sonos One is the first of its speakers to have Alexa built in. Six mics mean it can hear you from far away, but at its core, it has the Sonos signature — which means it sounds incredible. Get it for $200.

See at Sonos

The Sonos One is the best Alexa-powered speaker you can buy. It sounds amazing, with awesome deep bass, smooth highs and blissful mids. Sonos has added AirPlay 2 to the Sonos One, too, and Google Assistant support is coming soon, too, but it works best with Alexa. Pair it with a second Sonos One for a true stereo pair.

Sugr Cube Minimalist

Get this one mainly for the looks, because at $230 it's expensive and doesn't sound all that great. But it's beautiful in either cherry or maple wood, and that is more than enough for most people. There's also a massive battery, making it portable.

See at Amazon

Despite the mediocre reviews, Sugr Cube Minimalist is exactly as its name suggests: minimal. It looks great, and operates as an Alexa-powered Wi-Fi or DLNA speaker that can take with you throughout the house.



Eufy Genie

While it looks a lot like the Echo Dot, this tiny speaker has better sound and a lower price tag. Eufy is an upcoming name in smart speakers, and the Genie is a great option.

See at Amazon

If you want something that's more like an Amazon Echo Dot but comes in even less expensive, then you need to check out the Eufy Genie. It's currently listed at a mere $35 — or about half the cost of an actual Echo Dot. And you get a pretty good experience from it. I still think I looks better than the Dot, and it performs reasonably well despite having fewer microphones with which to listen for you.

It's a really inexpensive way to get into the whole Alexa thing, and it's worth checking out.

Libratone Zipp

Libratone's Zipp sounds incredible, and while it came to market as a Bluetooth or AirPlay speaker, it has since been gifted Alexa support. You'll need to pair it with an Echo speaker, but it's worth it — just look at it! Grab it for $299.

See at Amazon

Libratone is a brand that focuses as much on design as it does on performance, the Zipp speaker has both in spades. While its main function is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth speaker — it has DLNA and Spotify Connect support, as well as AirPlay compatibility — it pairs with an Echo or Echo Dot for Alexa.

VAUX cordless home speaker

This thing is genius. It uses an existing Echo Dot's AUX port to improve its sound quality by a lot. Essentially it swallows the Dot and its Alexa integration and makes it into a better-sounding Echo. Grab it for just $40.

See at Amazon

VAUX is a name you'll see associated with innovative solutions to improve existing products. Why buy a separate speaker with Alexa installed when you can spend just $40 to add a great speaker and a 6-hour battery to your existing Echo Dot? Win-win!

Amazon Echo

See at Amazon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
1 day ago

4 Best Smart Plugs for Alexa, Google Home in 2018

19

4 Best Smart Plugs for Alexa, Google Home in 2018

Save on your summer energy costs with the right smart plugs that work with both Google Home and Alexa.

Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers are so popular these days that we've crossed over from the early adopters to each finding a place within the mainstream culture. Both are functional if you're like me you might not be convinced which assistant is right for you — that's why I've got both Alexa and Google Home speakers set up in my home.

If you're also figuring out which is right for you, be sure to buy smart home accessories that are compatible with both AI assistants. One of the best places to start is with smart plugs that let you control the stuff already in your house, such as lamps, TVs, and air purifiers. We've rounded up the best options for smart plugs that work with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Samsung SmartThings

See at Amazon

Samsung's SmartThings is a very capable and customizable home automation system that's a great place to start for both Alexa and Google Assistant users. The starter kit includes a Hub for connecting different smart sensors for monitoring your home, which is a reasonable $160.

The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit comes with a Hub, two Multipurpose Sensors, a Motion Sensor, and an Outlet. You can configure them however you like in your home, then get instant notifications if anything is out of the normal. You can also buy additional sensors, including an Arrival Sensor and a Water Leak Sensor, along with more smart plugs for controlling different lamps and devices around your home.

Since SmartThings works well with both Google Assistant and Alexa, it's a great starting point for building out your wireless smart home system. The Hub starter kit is a good place to start, as many other smart devices are compatible with the SmartThings Hub, plus you'll get some smart sensors to play around with, too. Samsung has also begun consolidating all of its smart home products under the SmartThings umbrella, so just another great reason to start with SmartThings when setting up your smart home. The whole kit is $160.

See at Amazon

The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug offers two separate outlets that let you set up and control two separate devices while leaving the second outlet free. The outlets work with either Alexa or Google Assistant and thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi technology, no hub is required to get things connected. Grab it for a reasonable $35.

TP-Link offers a line of smart plugs and switches that allow you to convert the lamps and appliances you already own into smart devices you can automate to power on or control with your voice. Alternatively, there's the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini for just $26 that's a bit more compact and still leaves that second outlet open.

See at Amazon

You're able to control devices plugged into the D-Link Smart Plug via the D-Link app on your phone from anywhere, but more importantly, you'll be able to use and control things with your voice with your Amazon Echo or Google Home While not as compact as the TP-Link mini plug, the D-Link is still a great option for any room in your house and starts at $30 on Amazon.

D-Link is another brand that offers a smart plug that doesn't require a hub to connect to either Alexa or Google Assistant.

AWAIR Air Filtration Smart Plug

See at Amazon

AWAIR has combined a smart plug with its own air filtration technology to create an uber-functional smart plug. The AWAIR Glow is the coolest device AWAIR sells — it plugs right into an outlet and can be set up to turn on an appliance such as a dehumidifier or air filtration system at a specific time or when levels get a bit high. Once connected to Google Home or Alexa, you're also able to use the AWAIR Glow to control whichever device you have plugged in using just your voice. The Glow is currently available for just $99.

According to AWAIR, the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than outside, and that can end up aggravating allergies or asthma, affecting your concentration or sleep quality, and much more.

To combat this, AWAIR has developed a line of smart products that monitor the air quality in your home. Each device monitors five aspects that determine air quality — temperature, humidity, CO2, airborne chemicals, and dust. AWAIR monitors all these factors and churns out a quick guide that gives you a good idea of how clean the air is in your home at a glance and will also send tips to your smartphone offering tips and suggestions.

Did we miss any?

Got a favorite smart plug that didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments and we'll check it out!

Updated August 2018: This month, the SmartThings kit and we've updated the TP-Link entry with their latest two-outlet product.

2 days ago

How to clean your PlayStation 4 console

11

How to clean your PlayStation 4 console

Keeping your console clean is mandatory for the best gaming experience!

Your PlayStation 4(PS4) is a behemoth when it comes to delivering awesome games, movies, and even VR content. However, you may start to notice some slow down if you let dust build up over time, and nobody wants that. To keep your console running as efficiently as possible you definitely need to keep it clean. Thankfully, this is an easy task that should only take about 10 minutes of your time so long as you keep up with the maintenance.

Aside from cleaning processes we also have some tips to help you keep your PS4 clean and ready at all times. Check out everything below and happy gaming!

Get yourself a can of compressed air

One of the things that all tech gurus should have available is a can of compressed air. It's not only handy with your PlayStation 4, but a lot of your tech gear as well. Thankfully you can grab a pack of Amazon for about $11. That might seem like a high number for a few cans of air, but they're going to last you quite a bit of time (or at least be massively useful enough to make up for the price)!

See at Amazon.

Using compressed air to clean your PlayStation

Your PlayStation 4 is covered with vents that are located at the front, sides, and back of the system and they have a tendency to get absolutely covered in dust. To take care of this all that you need to do is go ahead and point the nozzle of the can at those vents and then spray in short measured bursts. You ought to see the dust clear out of all the vents very quickly, and since PlayStation 4 consoles are black it's easy to see where the dust has evacuated the system.

Make sure you aren't shoving the air tube too far into the console. You want to make sure it's close enough to get that burst of air, but by no means doe it ever needs to make it's way directly in the vents. Also, make sure to hold the can upright so no moisture comes out when you spray it. Moisture is incredibly bad, especially if it gets into the inner components. Likewise, you want to ensure that you hit all the vents on the system so you don't miss built up dust somewhere. By cleaning out all of the vents, you're ensuring the system is able to expel excess heat which helps reduce strain on the internal components.

Get yourself a microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloths are another endlessly useful tools when it comes to cleaning all of your tech gear. When you think about them you usually only assume they're good for glasses, screens or computers, but that's not true! There's plenty of uses for them with your PlayStation 4 as well. You can stock up on microfibre clothes for cheap with this Amazon Basics 24-pack for $13.50. After that you can read on below to see how to use them to keep your console clean!

See at Amazon.

Using your microfiber cloth to clean your PlayStation

Now if your system frequently turns gray with dust, you might be tempted to hit it with a wet wipe of some kind. Do not, we repeat, do not do that. You never want to introduce any kind of moisture to the system. Instead, what you'll want to use is a microfiber cloth. Using the cloth you'll want to wipe the entire system down. This includes the top, sides, front, and back. Depending on how you have your console set up, wiping down the bottom isn't a bad call either. If you're dealing with a lot of dust you may need to clean the cloth off a few times, but the shiny black of a clean console is very easy to differentiate.

It's not a bad idea to give your controllers a quick wipe down either! Save those for last though, as they might be oily from your hands and you don't want to transfer that oil to the actual console. Another recommended tip is to wipe the console down with the cloth after you've sprayed out the vents with your compressed air. This way all the dust particles are already out and in the open for you to banish forever!

Cleaning your Dualshock 4 controllers

Much like your system, if your controllers sit on a rack all day long they are going to accumulate dust. All that you need to do is go ahead and use a cleaning cloth to wipe down the controller. While wet wipes are still a general no-no, they can be used on the controller so long as you are avoiding the headphone jack, and charge port. When wiping down the controller you'll want to pay special attention to all of the buttons, the analog sticks, and the light bar at the back of the controller.

Specifically, you want to ensure there's no dust or grime blocking that light bar, especially if you are playing PlayStation VR games since the camera needs to be able to properly see that light bar. Likewise, nobody wants to use a controller with sticky buttons caused by dust or debris. If that's exactly what you're dealing with, your best bet is to turn off the controller and then use a wet wipe to clean away the dust and grime. This can also be particularly handy for those times when you can't actually see what is causing a button of the analog stick to get stuck. Just ensure that the controller has plenty of time to dry out before use, and limit the amount of moisture as much as possible to avoid damage.

If you're still a little anxious using that kind of moisture on a controller, your best bet is to use the compressed air on the buttons and analog sticks. Keeping it at a safe distance where you're still able to blow out the dust, this will be the easiest way to get the dust out. It's great for your controllers, and there is less of a chance of any harm to them since it's much harder to get to the inside of them.

Cleaning your PlayStation Move controllers

The first thing that you want to do is pick your compressed air back up. With controlled bursts, spray all of the ports and crevices on the controller to make sure there isn't any dust hiding in a sneaky spot. From there, all you need to do is go ahead and wipe down the rest of the controller with a microfiber cloth. If there is any sticky residue, use a slightly damp paper towel or wet wipe while avoiding all ports.

If you have a pair of Move controller that you want to bust out, but is particularly dusty, there are a few things to remember. The PlayStation camera reads Move controllers by tracking the lights in the bulb of each controller, so you want to ensure that they are as clean of dust and debris as possible. Likewise, cleaning out the ports, and around the button ensures that you won't get distracted while playing a game.

Tips

It's basically impossible to keep your system entirely clear of dust, but there are a few things that you can do to help minimize the amount of dust or debris you need to clean. Just keep in mind that the PlayStation 4 console is essentially a dust magnet thanks to that shiny black exterior.

  • Keep it away from pets: If you have dogs or cats, try to keep the console as far from the floor as possible so that animal hair isn't getting stuck on your system.
  • Avoid glass entertainment centers: Glass already has a tendency to attract dust, so if you set up your PS4 on a glass entertainment center you can expect your system to need a good cleaning about once a week or so. You can set your system in a vertical orientation or invest in a dust cover to help keep the dust to a minimum.
  • Don't store in an enclosed space Not only can this cause the system to overheat, but dust will also gather up in these spaces.
  • Don't smoke in the house: Cigarette smoke causes faster dirt accumulation, and this definitely includes your console.
  • Don't take your PlayStation apart to try to clean the inside: Not only will this completely void your warranty, there is a higher chance of hurting your PlayStation, especially if you're not a professional.

Keep it clean

As you can see, PlayStation 4 consoles are going to get dirty; it doesn't matter if they are sitting up on a shelf or hanging out on the entertainment center. What matters is knowing how to properly clean it up and get it back up and running in tip-top shape after it's gone gray with dust. Armed with just a microfiber cloth and some compressed air, you can easily dispatch the army of dust bunnies that have taken up residence on your console and its controllers. Do you have a particular tip for cleaning your system? Is there something we missed? Be sure to drop us a comment below and tell us about it!

PlayStation 4

Amazon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Updated June 2018: We've updated this guide with all the latest information for keeping your console clean!

3 days ago

Best Chromebook for Students in 2018

Best Chromebook for Students in 2018

Chromebook Flip
Chromebook Flip

We are a team of experienced and knowledgeable Chromebook experts that test every model that comes out. We are also parents, so we know what students need in a laptop.

The Lenovo Chromebook 500e is a great educational device. It's cheap and offers robust software experiences and access to school services. It's easy to manage and use, versatile and attractive and comes with a stylus for taking notes. It's the best of all worlds for a student.

Our pick

Lenovo Chromebook 500e

Top Pick

$309 at Lenovo

The Lenovo Chromebook 500e is built like a tank with a reinforced shell and rubber bumpers that make it MIL-STD 810G compliant so it's going to survive banging around in a backpack. The Chromebook 500e is designed for educational use but still has the options we want to see in our best pick. It's exactly what a busy student needs.

Why you should buy this Chromebook

The Chromebook 500e was built for students to carry back and forth to class without worry because of its rugged build. Features like a 360-degree hinge and excellent pen support make it the best Chromebook for any student. Lenovo's long history of making excellent laptops shines through with the keyboard and trackpad and the display is specially bonded to work excellent with the built-in Wacom EMR pen.

Inside, you have plenty of power to get things done with an Intel processor and ample 64GB or storage. And Android app support is an added bonus that means a student will be able to find the app they need to be productive in class.

Reasons to buy

  • Fantastic build quality
  • 360-degree hinge
  • Included pen
  • Great battery life
  • Powerful processor
  • Lots of storage

Reasons not to buy

  • Trackpad isn't great
  • A bit heavy

There are plenty of great alternatives for students

The Lenovo Chromebook 500e is an amazing Chromebook, but there are plenty of other options, especially if you're looking for something a bit smaller or thinner.

For younger students

Acer Chromebook Tab

For Younger Students

$345 at Amazon

The Chromebook Tab is light and easy to hold, is great for more interaction with learning materials, and helps young students learn spelling and grammar by being more hands-on. While many Chromebooks can fold into a tablet, the Chromebook Tab 10 is a tablet.

Not quite a Chromebook, not quite an Android tablet, the Chromebook Tab is great for youngsters who need to learn by touching and doing.

Our budget pick

2018 Acer Chromebook 11

Best on a budget

$270 from Amazon

Acer's new Chromebook 11 is an affordable and dependable Chromebook that has no aspirations to be anything else. The beautiful blue body doesn't flip over into a tablet, there is no touch display or pen input — it's a Chromebook.

The Acer Chromebook 11 is a throwback to the days when a Chromebook was just a great, inexpensive laptop. That makes it simple to use and easy on your wallet.

Bottom line

Students have some incredible options these days when shopping for a Chromebook. They can go the traditional route by getting something like the Acer Chromebook 11, or go in the complete opposite direction and buy a Chrome tablet that is super portable.

But we think the Lenovo Chromebook 500e is a student's best bet right now.

Update, August 2018: The Lenovo Chromebook 500e is the best choice for a student because it's tough and offers excellent performance

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
3 days ago

Best External Hard Drives for PlayStation 4

6

Best External Hard Drives for PlayStation 4

The days of cracking open a PS4 for expansion are over!

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 owners have no shortage of choice when it comes to storage expansion. Popping out the internal drive is fairly easy, but if you don't want to go through that trouble there's an alternative. Just plug a USB hard drive into your console, and instantly you have all the storage you could ever need.

All you need now is to pick the right drive for your needs. Here are some solid options available to you today.

Seagate Portable 2TB

If you are looking for a boost in storage space from a that has a small footprint, This Seagate drive is a great option. It's super thin and can fit just about anywhere. Not only that, but it has a perfect design that will fit right in with the black and blue styling of the PlayStation.

You can one up at Amazon for a mere $86. It also comes in a 4TB flavor for $115.

See at Amazon

Western Digital WD Elements

People who want to massively upgrade the storage on their PS4 but don't want the hard drive to take up a lot of space aren't left with a ton of options, but one of the better choices comes from Western Digital. The WD Elements series isn't small enough to be pocketable but can be concealed on most entertainment centers. Most important of all, it's a 2TB drive, so you're unlikely to fill it with your PlayStation 4 games anytime soon.

See at Amazon

WD Elements do also come in 1TB and 3TB variants, but for $80 the 2TB model is the most competitively priced and will be more than enough for most PS4 owners.

Seagate Expansion

If all you really care about is storage, and you want to make sure you never have to worry about running out of storage on your PlayStation 4 ever again, the Seagate Expansion series has you covered. These external hard drives will go up to 5TB in capacity but is one of the few 3TB options for under $100 if you're also concerned with your budget.

See at Amazon

These drives are big, so don't grab one thinking you're going to be able to easily hide it next to your PlayStation 4. As long as that isn't a problem for you, these $82 drives will get the job done.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Drive)

Not everyone needs to buy a whole new external drive to expand a PlayStation 4; you just need a solid enclosure to put an existing drive in. If that's you, the Inateck enclosure is everything you need. It's USB 3.0 enabled, offers an aluminum body to better handle heat dissipation when under stress, and doesn't require any additional software to set up.

See on Amazon

Drop your drive in, connect to your PlayStation 4, and you're done. Not bad for $27, assuming you already have a drive you aren't using.

Update August 2018: Updated with current prices and new drive options!

Why are we talking about PlayStation 4 stuff on Android Central? Let us explain.

PlayStation 4

Amazon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
3 days ago

Cavalier Maverick speaker review: Nails everything but the bass

1

Cavalier Maverick speaker review: Nails everything but the bass

If you're looking for a great-looking alternative to the Amazon Echo, there's none better.

I'm a huge fan of portable Bluetooth speakers. As I've been reviewing them over the last two years, I've amassed a solid collection, and I've tried everything from the absolutely abysmal to the jaw-droppingly marvelous. The Cavalier Maverick, however, is my first Wi-Fi enabled portable speaker, and when I was offered the chance to review it, with its elegant good looks and Alexa integration, I pounced.

I'll say this right now: this thing rocked my socks, but didn't quite knock 'em off. This is the Cavalier Audio Maverick.

Cavalier Audio Maverick

Price: $299.99

Bottom line: It's a sleeker, sexier Amazon Echo that's missing a couple features, but not enough to make it a non-buy.

See at Cavalier

Pros

  • It's the best-looking Bluetooth speaker I've seen
  • Alexa integration is simple and works well
  • Setup is simple and it easily switches between modes
  • Responsive touch control

Cons

  • The bass is lacking
  • Missing some key Alexa features, like texting
  • $299.99 is pretty expensive, even for what you get

Echo's sexy cousin

Cavalier Audio Maverick Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker What I like

I don't want to come across as shallow, but daaaaaaamn this thing is fine. I received the "Indigo" version, which features blue mesh with a real brown leather accent and matching charging base. The colors complement one another beautifully, and nothing about this speaker feels cheap.

It's somewhat weighty — not heavy, but it feels substantial. The volume knob on top keeps things simple with a very responsive touch control (tap once for play/pause, twice for skipping tracks, three times to go back a track), and the five LEDs are there to indicate connections, battery level, and Alexa, with multicolor LEDs that are effective, good-looking, but not ostentatious.

This is as much a statement of style as it is of functionality.

That genuine leather strip on the front isn't necessary, but this is as much a statement of style as it is of functionality. Speaking of function, the fact that both the charging base and speaker have a USB-C port is refreshing and a show of foresight. Every other Bluetooth speaker I have around the house still has Micro-USB, despite having only come out in the last year or so.

The Alexa integration in the Maverick is a delight. It works just like an Amazon Echo, with a few caveats that aren't deal-breakers for me: you can't change the wake word and you can't send text messages. Other than that, it works like a dream — I was just about instantly able to connect to some smart plugs I have and use them flawlessly, and the Maverick's microphone is responsive and quick. It's basically just a sexier, better sounding first-gen Echo.

Where this has the leg up on the regular Echo is that you can remove the Maverick from the charging base and take it anywhere. The ability to start playing Spotify in the kitchen while I'm making dinner and then just grab the speaker and head into the living room, while maintaining full control through Alexa, is dynamite.

All about that treble

Cavalier Audio Maverick Wi-Fi Bluetooth speaker What I don't like

The list of things I dislike about this speaker is short, but important in relation to whether or not I would buy this for myself. The Maverick lacks a present low end. That's not to say the tone of the speaker is tinny, because it isn't; it's actually white warm and lovely. But there is absolutely no punch to the bass.

The Maverick's tones aren't tinny, but there is no punch to the bass.

You can adjust the EQ in the Cavalier app, but cranking the bass up as high as it goes has very little effect. I tried it with audio from multiple sources (Spotify, music physically on my phone, my Mac), and I actually found that things sound better over Bluetooth than over Wi-Fi. I have a cheap VTIN Royaler speaker with incredible sound, so I tend to hold very expensive speakers at least to that standard, and I find the Maverick's low end quite subpar. That being said, when I compared the two speakers side by side, I found the Maverick's sound to be far more well-rounded — mids are more present, and the high end is very clean.

All that being said, after listening for more than my test songs, I came to find that I really like the Cavalier's tone, if I do find it a little off-putting when normally bass-heavy tunes don't quite pack the kickapow that I like.

The only other thing I'm kind of "meh" on for the Maverick is the Cavalier app; it's clunky and not exactly intuitive. Getting to certain settings that should just be in a settings menu is awkward, and you have to first tap the speaker you're using and then there's your Alexa, audio, and other settings. I suppose it does make sense, since you can connect multiple Mavericks together to get a whole-home audio system going over Wi-Fi, but it's rather inelegant.

It would also be really awesome if the Maverick supported Google Home as well as (or instead of) Alexa, since that's my personal preference, but there are so few third-party Google Assistant speakers right now that I really can't fault Cavalier.

Cavalier Audio Maverick

If I were looking for a third-party alternative to Amazon Echo devices, this would probably be the one I'd buy… If I had the money for it. $300 is a big ask for what you get (in my frugal opinion), but the fact that you get a stunning speaker that sits on its leather-clad charging base and can go anywhere with you is gold.

The Maverick is easy to set up and control, and I can even get past its fairly absent low end, since you don't really notice after a while.

4.5 out of 5

If you have $300 to spend and basically just want a sexier Echo, then have at the Maverick. Execution alone makes this a buy.

See at Cavalier

4 days ago

Best Bands for the Samsung Gear Fit 2 in 2018

5

Best Bands for the Samsung Gear Fit 2 in 2018

Update the look of your Gear Fit 2 with these stylish band options!

The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is a pretty good fitness band that includes a feature typically found on smartwatches: the ability to swap out the 22mm bands for other colors or styles.

If you prefer to wear yours 24/7, having a couple extra bands can help you accessorize your Gear Fit 2, whether you're attending a formal affair or just like to spice things up with a fresh splash of color. There's a number of great, affordable options out there, so let's dive in!

MoKo Soft Silicone Replacement Sports Bands

MoKo offers a wide range of color options for their silicone straps for the Gear Fit 2. Each strap is adjustable to fit small or large wrists (4.96" - 8.38") via the same style of metal plug used on the strap that came with the Gear Fit 2. Bands can be swapped in and out quickly with the one-button quick release for locking the watch band, making it convenient to have a fresh strap to swap out after a sweaty workout.

With a price of only $10 compared to Samsung's stock replacement for the black, you can economically afford to get a couple of these in your favorite colors, then keep them in a bit of a rotation so your wrist always feeling fresh and looking fine.

See styles at Amazon

Moretek Fit 2 Wrist Straps

Moretek offers two different styles of wristbands for the Gear Fit 2: a more traditional strap available in 12 different color and pattern options and a rugged strap (pictured) that offers impact protection for your tracker's watch face. Everything is made of a skin-friendly silicone material and held on your wrist with a traditional watch strap buckle. The rugged bands are definitely going to add some bulk to your wrist, but whether you're playing a high-impact sport or simply prone to banging it against doorways, that extra protection might save you from incidental damage. Get yours in a funky style for just $10.

See at Amazon

V-Moro Metal Replacement bands

If you're after a metal strap option for a more stylish look, V-Moro has you covered with two distinct styles — a classic metal link band and a Milanese loop band featuring a magnetic clasp. Both styles are available in silver or black, with the Milanese band (pictured) sold in small and large sizes, so choose accordingly.

The metal band includes a tool for adding and removing links for adjusting sizes. Both are great for incorporating your Gear Fit 2 as an accessory in a professional wardrobe. V-Moro also offers a medium-sized silicone strap on the same Amazon listing. In stark contrast to the stylish metal offerings, these are extremely utilitarian and offer that "classic" fitness tracker look, with five color options to choose from. Get yours for under $20.

See styles at Amazon

Maxjoy Metal Replacement Straps

Not everyone digs the rubber strap look. While it might be ideal for getting sweaty at the gym if you're planning to wear your Gear Fit 2 out on the town you might be after a classier look.

Maxjoy has a line of stylish metal replacement straps for your Gear Fit 2 that includes Milanese loop bands as well as metal link bands made of high-quality stainless steel. The Milanese bands are available in black, silver, and rose gold for just $17, or you can choose between a black or silver metal link band for just $20. All bands are backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and a 12-month warranty which means you can buy with confidence.

See at Amazon

MDW Security Clasps

Not digging the band recommendations above? We get it. Frankly, it's quite alright to love the band that came with your Gear Fit 2. However, there have been reports of bands coming unclasped or otherwise falling off people's wrists. Maybe this has happened to you.

Allow us to share this recommendation from the comments. You can get a 7-pack of these colorful security clasps for just $6 that fit over the band and ensures your band never pops off. They should offer the extra protection from your Fit 2 falling off your wrist while also letting you add a splash of color.

See at Amazon

How do you accessorize your Gear Fit 2?

Are you a band swapper? What's your favorite style for your Gear Fit 2? Let us know in the comments!

Updated August 2018: Updated pricing and buy links for our selections. These are still your best options for accessorizing your Gear Fit 2!

4 days ago

Google Advanced Protection Program: Everything you need to know

3

Google Advanced Protection Program: Everything you need to know

For some people, two-factor authentication just isn't enough.

Google takes account security very seriously. You may be giving up more of your privacy than you like by using Google services and hardware, but that's not the same thing as account security — and Google takes some pretty big steps to keep unauthorized users out of your account. The company also has some tools and policies designed to keep you from letting an unauthorized user in, like Chrome blocking websites that host malicious content. Google depends on you trusting them with your personal data as its business model. Playing fast and loose with security is a great way to lose that trust and Google knows it.

What Google can't control is phishing and social engineering. It's surprisingly easy to trick a lot of people into sending their account credentials by pretending to be a legitimate login or by claiming to need them to troubleshoot a problem. Random phishing attacks are in the news every now and then — and can happen to any one of us at any time — but some folks are at greater risk and are often targeted because of the data they might have access to. For those folks — politicians, journalists, activists, or any other high-profile public figure or executive — Google offers what it calls the Advanced Protection Program.

How does the Advanced Protection Program work?

Advanced Protection works by adding a physical identity layer to your account security through the use of security keys. This prevents a hacker or anyone from logging into your Google services even if they happen to have your password.

Advanced Protection provides a new way to prove that you are really you.

When you first sign-in to a webpage or app that acts as an access point to a Google service, you'll need to authenticate using one of these physical keys. That means you need a key to sign into Gmail or Google Photos. It also means that if I send you an invite to a Google Doc that requires you to sign in, you'll need the key. Same goes for any service that wants to access any part of your data that Google stores.

Advanced Protection also enhances Chrome's real-time protection by automatically blocking a request for your Google account details unless it comes from the correct web server. If I build a site to try and trick you into entering your Google name and password, Advanced protection will refuse to connect through Chrome. And if you enable Advanced Protection, only Chrome will work to access your Google account data via the web.

What all this does is make sure that only a person with the right username, the right password, and the right security key in their hands can log into your Google account.

How much does it cost?

Advanced Protection is free, but you will need to purchase two security keys.

What is a security key?

A security key is a type of dongle. They are small devices that have electronics inside that can be part of a very strong authorization program, like Advanced Protection. When you insert a key into a USB port or activate it over Bluetooth or NFC, it sends a unique identifier to whatever software asked you to use the key. If that identifier is exactly the same as what the software expects, the check has passed.

For your Google account using Advanced protection, this replaces any two-factor authentication you may have enabled and you will be required to use the key(s) to authenticate instead. It's not longer optional — it's the only option.

You'll need two keys to set up Advanced protection, and Google recommends these:

  • Feitian MultiPass FIDO Security Key. This key works over Bluetooth, NFC, and USB on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Because it uses Bluetooth it's currently the only way to use Advanced protection on iOS, while Android can use both NFC and Bluetooth. This will be your main key and the one you keep with you.
  • Yubico Security Key - U2F and FIDO2. This is your backup key and works on any computer with a USB port. It may work over USB on Android phones (with an adapter, of course), but you shouldn't expect it to. You'll put this key in a safe place in case you lose your main key.

Other security keys probably work, but these are what Google recommends as part of the program sign-up.

Drawbacks to Advanced Protection

Advanced protection is a dedicated security solution for people who need one. That means you'll need to make compromises if you want to use it. In this case, that means you're restricted to only using official Google apps for access to your account data.

Google can only allow apps they explicitly trust to access your account if you use Advanced Protection.

This means you'll need to use Chrome instead of Firefox, Safari, or Edge. You'll need to use the Google Gmail app, the Google Drive app, and all other official Google apps to access any of those services — third-party apps aren't compatible. For iOS users, it means that the iOS mail, contacts, and calendar apps will not work when using a Google account secured with Advanced protection and the Google versions will need to be installed through the App Store. It also means that desktop programs like MailPlane or Outlook won't work, and you'll need to visit Gmail on the web, using Chrome. (It should go without saying that Chrome OS works just fine.)

This is because of trust. Not the kind of trust you or I mean when we loan a friend $5, but explicit trust from Google for an application to act on their behalf and present itself to you as Google would. It doesn't mean that Google doesn't trust Apple when it comes to Safari. It only means that the two companies haven't worked together to make Safari 100 percent compatible with the program. Yet.

It's very possible that more software will fall under this umbrella of trust in the future, or maybe none will. You just need to know before you begin that your favorite app might not work if you enable Advanced Protection.

Should I use Advanced Protection?

If you need to ask, the answer is probably no. I'm not saying this to look like an online elitist jerk, but because it's true — Advanced Protection is a major overhaul to how you use your Google account and most of us don't need it.

Google makes it clear that this is an option because high-profile public figures have been hacked and need a better way to keep their accounts safe. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, would need Advanced Protection on his personal Google account (if he has one) but chances are nobody is targeting you or me and we don't need it. But we could use it if we liked and outside of the listed restrictions, all of our data is as accessible as it ever was.

For most of us "regular" folk, a better option is a strong password and two-factor authentication. You can even use a security key for two-factor authentication if you like, but Advanced Protection is probably overkill for the average Joe or Jane.

4 days ago

Best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Cases

9

Best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Cases

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has just been officially announced — and as you would expect, there are already some great cases available for those of you who have already placed a pre-order.

We'll be sure to keep this list updated with the best options as more case makers make their products available, but at launch these are your best bets for cases for your Note 9

Samsung Case Accessories

Best from Samsung

Samsung offers five different case styles for the Note 9, but we'll highlight the LED View case because it's the most unique to Samsung and offers the best protection for the display along with the rest of your brand new phone. The case should be available for around $50.

See at Samsung

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro Rugged Holster Case

Most Rugged

The Unicorn Beetle Pro is a case you can trust no matter which phone it's protecting. This rugged-style case is designed to keep your phone well protected with a built-in screen protector for the display. An optional belt clip holster is also included if you're interested. You can get this case for just $28 direct from Supcase, where you'll find four other case styles, too.

See at Supcase

Spigen Liquid Crystal Clear Case

Best Clear Case

For those who are after a minimalist clear case to show off the Note 9's design, Spigen has you covered with this ultra-thin clear case. This one-piece case is made of a flexible TPU material that's easy to install and will keep your phone protected from scratches and basic drops, and is thin enough to support wireless charging. Get this case for just $11 from Amazon, or as a glitter case for just $12.

See at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor case

Most Slim Protection

For those who don't want to sacrifice pocket space for protection, Spigen's Rugged Armor case is a great option.

This sleek, one-piece case is rugged and sleek with carbon fiber accents that looks great on all phones, but especially big phones like the Note 9. It's made of rugged TPU material so it's easy to install and features a matte finish. You can get this reliable case for just $13 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

ProCase Leather Wallet Case

For those looking for an extra functional case, you should consider this leather wallet option from ProCase. Not only is this case designed to carry multiple debit and credit cards along with a cash pocket but it also delivers great protection for your phone. Made with genuine leather, this case screams premium design with top-notch craftsmanship and can be yours for $28.

See at Amazon

Which cases are you going to buy?

There's bound to be a ton of accessories released for the Galaxy Note 9, but we want to know which are your favorites. Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

AT&T Verizon T-Mobile Samsung

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/
Show More Headlines

Pages