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1 week ago

Best Heavy Duty Cases for Samsung Galaxy S8

20
Best Heavy Duty Cases for Samsung Galaxy S8

Protect your new Galaxy S8 with a sturdy, rugged case, and have some peace of mind while you're at it.

The Galaxy S8 might not be here just yet, so no, we haven't had time to test out all the cases, but we know some dynamite brands that are sure to protect your Galaxy S8 from drop, bumps, scratches, and more.

Check out these awesome cases if you're looking for rugged protection. Consider these the… Guardians of your Galaxy.


Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro

The old standby of rugged cases, the Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro (around $18) is the utmost in heavy duty protection for your Galaxy S8. These three-piece cases feature a front cover, back cover, and a holster so that you don't have to carry a heavier phone around in your pocket. With that in mind, the Unicorn Beetle Pro doesn't actually add a ton of bulk to your phone, but there still is a difference. You want thin, go with a slim case.

The Unicorn Beetle Pro is made of tough polycarbonate plastic and provides extra protection in the corners — the killshot for just about any phone in the event of a drop. You have your choice of black, blue (doesn't match the S8 coral blue color), pink, and white.

See at Amazon


Zizo Static Series

Zizo Static

Zizo's cases are military drop tested, so they're actually guaranteed to protect your phone from drops, according to military standards. The Static Series features a fold-out kickstand and two layers of protection: a hard polycarbonate shell with a silicone layer to disperse impact and cushion your phone. This is especially necessary in the corners, which are incredibly vulnerable in a drop situation.

On top of excellent protection, the Zizo Static Series also looks really cool. You have your choice of seven color combinations, which feature a black layer and then a vibrantly colored layer. If you're looking for heavy duty protection for your Galaxy S8, along with a flash of style and a convenient kickstand, then check these out. Especially since they're only about $11.

See at Amazon

Caseology Legion

Caseology Legion

I love Caseology cases. They always fit well and they're fantastically protective. I generally use a Wavelength, and I had my phone knocked out of my hand onto a gym floor. After cleaning up my drawers, I picked up my phone and it was absolutely fine. That was a slimmer case, too. Check out the rugged Legion series. It features a layer of flexible a shock-absorbing TPU with an outer layer of polycarbonate. You're protected from hard bumps and scratches, as well as shocks and drops.

All the buttons are covered, but the coverings provide great tactile feedback, and your ports are completely accessible. You have your choice of black or orchid gray, which is meant to match the S8 color, though we haven't seen this one in person to verify that.

You can grab one straight from Caseology for around $20.

See at Caseology


Poetic Revolution

Poetic Revolution

The Poetic Revolution is a two-piece case that you sit your Galaxy S8 into, and then you snap on the front. Most Poetic cases have a screen protector, but this one doesn't because of the Galaxy S8's curved screen. That being said, the raised bezel around the front protects your screen when you lay it face-down, and the raised cutout around the camera protects the lens.

The inside of the Revolution is made of flexible TPU, which is designed to disperse impact and protect your S8 from scratches. The outside of the back is a layer of polycarbonate, which takes the brunt of any bump or drop. The outer edges of this case are textured to give it a great in-hand feel that isn't slippery, so you can hold onto your phone. You have your choice of black, a very vibrant blue, and pink.

Check it out for $15.

See at Amazon

Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen makes a phone case for every occasion and its Tough Armor series is perfect for heavy duty protection. It has an inner layer of TPU for shock absorption and to protect against scratches, as well an outer shell made from durable polycarbonate. There's also a handy kickstand on the back, so you can watch videos hands-free.

This may look a bit like Caseology's Legion, but the button layout is a bit different, with a space between volume up and volume down, so you can control your music on the go without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. The Tough Armor series comes in gunmetal, black, coral blue (which looks like it matches the coral blue S8, but we can't say for sure yet), and maple gold.

Pricing starts around $17.

See at Amazon


UAG Feather-light Rugged

Urban Armor Gear's Feather-light Rugged cases are a staple of the heavy duty case market. These composite cases are made from hard plastic (outer shell) and a flexible and durable TPU rubber (inner shell), which come together to provide protection against drops, as well as a good deal of shock absorption.

The main nicety of the UAG case is its oversize cutouts for the headphone jack and USB-C port. You shouldn't have to take the case off to listen to tunes or charge up your Galaxy S8, no matter the size of the cable.

There are 10 color options to choose from and pricing starts at $39.

See at Amazon

Mascheri Prism Series

Mascheri's Prism Series cases has a 5-star rating on Amazon, with 98% of 160 reviews giving it the full 5 stars. For around $13, all signs point to awesome. This is a fairly slim rugged case, and it's actually quite sexy, available in a sleek black and a soft rose gold.

This is another dual-layer case with a polycarbonate outer shell and a flexible TPU inner shell, offering the utmost in drop protection and shock absorption. Reviews also mention that it works perfectly with screen protectors, so if you're looking to protect your Galaxy S8 on all sides, this is a fantastic option.

See at Amazon


Looking for something a little slimmer or a bit different?

Best Cases for Galaxy S8

Got one yet?

Have you already picked up a case in anticipation for your Galaxy S8 pre-order? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated July 2017: Added the Mascheri Prism Series and UAG Feather-light Rugged (by popular demand).

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 week ago

Which phone accessories do you use every day? [Roundtable]

43

These are the things we need every day.

Gadgets nerds love accessories almost as much as the gadgets they are used with, and we're no exception. Really. You should see our Amazon order history.

But some of the accessories we use get a little more attention than the others and we really don't want to go without them. Check out the phone accessories we rely on.

Ara Wagoner

I am a recent convert on the whole Spigen Ring fad, but I'll admit that it does make it easier to one-hand increasingly tall and cumbersome phones. I am putting my ring on a Caseology case rather than on the phone itself, both because I am an ardent case-user and because it makes it easier to get it off when I need to take pictures.

Oh, and my most important phone accessory is, of course, my headphones. You'll be hearing more about those next week, so stay tuned!

Grab a Spigen Ring at Amazon

Andrew Martonik

I have so many gadgets, accessories, add-ons and doodads around that I could go on for days here. But there are a handful that I can guarantee I'll use just about every single day, no matter which phone I'm using.

On my desk, I have a Ventev 6-port charging station to keep all of my devices topped up when not in use. Rather than keep a Micro-USB cable around for older devices, I have these USB-C to Micro-USB adapters. I have so many different USB-C cables I haven't standardized on one brand, but I do like the styling and robustness of the OnePlus Dash USB-C cables. I'm wearing my Bose QC 35 headphones all day, every day.

When I'm out of the house, I've taken a liking to carrying this massive 26,800mAh battery from Anker because it can charge up everything, including my MacBook Pro. I've also been using the iOttie One Touch 3 car mount for my phone because it's sturdy and highly adjustable, and I'm now using Android Auto every time I drive.

Daniel Bader

Phone accessories are like potato chips: once you start, you can't stop. I usually buy a few good, solid cases for a new phone, but after swapping out a bunch in the early days and weeks I tend to settle on one, and that usually comes from one of two companies, Speck or Spigen. I love Speck's quality, and its Presidio case for the Galaxy S8 is the perfect blend of protection and unobtrusiveness. Similarly, I love Spigen's Liquid Air Armor for the Galaxy S8, which has held up incredibly well since I bought the phone in April.

To charge the phone, I've lately been lugging around this admittedly overpriced Nomad Powerpack battery, which combines USB-C fast charging with Tile Bluetooth locating into a compact, rugged package.

When I have a wall plug handy, my Anker six-port USB wall charger does the trick, and to listen I music I've recently been enjoying the heck out of V-Moda's Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones, which you must buy if you don't need noise cancellation. They're amazing.

Marc Lagace

My go-to phone accessory is a Spigen Style Ring, which I make sure to slap on any phone I use. Admittedly, a style ring is not for everyone and arguments that it ruins the flow of the design of a phone are totally valid. But it's just so handy on its own. I'm constantly using it as a kickstand to watch videos on a table, and I instinctively use it to keep my phone secure when taking a photo or talking on the phone.

Then there's the included car mount, which is one of the more minimalist options you'll find for mounting your phone on the dash. There are cheaper versions of the style ring available, but I trust the build quality that Spigen consistently delivers. Speaking of in-car accessories, I use the Flexsmart X2 Bluetooth FM transmitter to connect my phone to my ancient car stereo while the included USB port lets me charge my phone on the go. How well it works in your car will depend on the location of the 12V port in your car.

Jen Karner

I tend to go pretty simple with my day to day accessories. These include my Belkin USB-C car charger which works with both my Pixel XL and my Samsung Galaxy S8.

The only other accessory that I use on a daily is a case. I haven't found one for my S8 that I'm particularly fond of, but I used an Incipio case with my Pixel. I managed to drop it a half dozen times without so much as denting the case, and since I am the clumsiest person on the planet a solid case is a must have.

Jerry Hildenbrand

I don't use one of those Spigen Ring thingies, but now I think I might want to ...

Anyhoo, I use a lot of stuff but have very few single things that stand out. I have a mishmash of USB-C cables, but I really like this 10-foot braided USB-A to USB-C cable from iOrange and just leave it plugged into my desktop. It's great as a charger or when I need to copy something from a phone to my computer. I have the business end tucked into this slick little cable organizer. Best $7 I ever spent.

I also get a little (OK, a lot) OCD when it comes to smudgy screens. I have several of these microfiber mist sprayer screen cleaning things from AM and keep one in my laptop bag and the glove box in the car as well as on my desk. A couple of quick pumps of magic juice (it tastes horrible) then you wipe it clean with the little block and everything is clean and shiny. Until I touch it again and smear it. I swear I must have frog slime in my fingers or something.

What about you?

Take a minute to let everyone know your essential accessories in the comments. We'll probably use them for our wishlists!

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1 week ago

Protect your devices as they charge with these discounted Belkin Surge Protectors

1

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with some great deals on surge protectors to keep your devices safe!

Odds are you have to charge more than one of your devices every single day, which means that they spend a lot of time connected to a wall to power up the battery. Did you know that a power surge could come through and potentially ruin those pieces of electronics at any time? Wouldn't that stink? Well, luckily, protecting your devices isn't extremely expensive. Today, Amazon has some great deals on Belkin surge protectors that can prevent your devices from being affected.

The most popular option is also the smallest, the SurgePlus Mini travel swivel surge protector, which is down to just $11.99. It has 3 outlets, 2 USB connected, offers a 918 Joules protection, and comes with a lifetime warranty and $75,000 in connected equipment warranty. There is also the Belkin 8-outlet pivot-plug for $13.99 with protection against 2,160 Joules, and the Belkin 12-outlet power strip for $16.99, which has a 6-foot cord and the largest protection at 3,996 Joules.

These prices are good for today, July 14, only, so don't miss out. Trust me when I say that buying one of these is far less expensive than replacing a gadget that fries during a surge.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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1 week ago

Best Tempered Glass Screen Protectors for HTC U11

4

Want to keep your HTC U11 in pristine condition? That means you'll want to look into a tempered glass screen protector. The U11 has a slight curve around the edge of the screen, which makes pure edge-to-edge protection from a tempered glass screen protector difficult.

Nevertheless, if you pair a tempered glass screen protector with a quality case, you'll get supreme protection for your new phone. Here's a rundown of some of the best options for the HTC U11.

Supershieldz (2-pack)

This two-pack of screen protectors from Supershieldz is compatible with cases and features a black border with precise cutouts around the fingerprint sensor, ear speaker, and camera. It features hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings to protect against sweat and oil from your fingerprints.

The adhesive is around the edges, which is less than ideal and may lead to issues such as a rainbow effect when the screen is turned off. If that's not a dealbreaker for you, you can get two for under $10, and enjoy Supershieldz's no-hassle lifetime replacement warranty.

See at Amazon

Wimaha (2-pack)

Don't like the look of a black border on your screen protector? Consider this two-pack from Wimaha. As mentioned above, it does not offer full edge-to-edge protection, but does cover the entirety of the display and is compatible with cases for better protection.

This screen protector includes curved edges for a smooth touch experience and features cutouts around the fingerprint scanner and camera to avoid any weak points in the screen protector's design. The package includes everything you'll need to ensure a clean, bubble-free installation with both of the protectors included. Wimaha backs its product with a lifetime warranty.

Again, this is far from being the ideal edge-to-edge protection we all want in a screen protector, but unless phone manufacturers go back to a flat sheet of glass for screens, we're going to be dealing with this issue for the foreseeable future.

See at Amazon

Orzero (2-pack)

Another option comes from Orzero, with another two-pack of tempered glass screen protectors with black borders. They feature hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings with rounded edges and include a complete package for a bubble-free installation.

It goes right up to the curved edge of the screen but leaves a bit exposed — perfectly covered by a case. You'll want to take your time during installation to ensure all the cutouts are precisely lined up with the fingerprint scanner, ear speaker, and front-facing camera. Since it's a two-pack, you'll get two shots at getting it right, and it's backed by Orzero's lifetime replacement warranty.

See at Amazon

How do you keep your HTC U11 safe?

Have you tried out a different make of screen protector? Opting for a film protector for better coverage? Let us know in the comments below!

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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1 week ago

Best accessories for the Samsung Galaxy S8

9

The Galaxy S8 is a big deal on its own, but it's even better with some fantastic accessories. Here are some of the best you can find!

A phone, naked, is just a phone. A phone, accessorized, is a... well, it's a phone with a bunch of awesome stuff connected to it. From cases to battery packs to chargers, camera add-ons and other cool stuff, here's what you need to know.

Samsung Clear View Standing Cover

A case that doubles as a kickstand isn't anything new, but Samsung's Clear View Standing Cover does it right. Not only does the folio case protect the screen when not in use, but the cover is translucent, so you can see and interact with the phone while it's docked to answer calls and see notifications. When you want to watch some sweet music videos on the train home, the cover opens up and docks to a kickstand. Perfect.

See at Amazon

Spigen cases

Spigen is always on point with its lineup of cases for the latest smartphone releases, and it's rolled out a full line for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

If you've tried and loved one of their cases before, you'll be able to find the style that's right for you.

A deep dive into Spigen's Galaxy S8 case lineup

See at Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible

Samsung has completely revamped its wireless charger for the Galaxy S8 and it's pretty great.

The plush pad can charge the Galaxy S8 or S8+ wireless from pretty much any position, but the beauty of this new charger is in the name: you can prop up the phone on a desk to charge vertically, allowing you to peer at (and get distracted by) the Galaxy S8's awesome new always-on display while you work. It's really simple to change positions, and in either orientation the phone charges fast — almost as quickly as it would when plugged in.

And if you're not all that interested in a convertible charger, last year's fast wireless charger can be had for a steal over at Amazon.

See at Amazon

Anker PowerCore+ 21000

Your Galaxy S8 already comes with a pretty big battery, but if you're the type to carry a backpack wherever you go, putting this slim, lightweight Anker PowerCore+ 21000 pack in there is a pretty good idea.

The charger comes with two USB-A ports and a dual-direction USB-C port for charging your phone and the charger itself. Genius! And because there's so much room in the battery, it should top up your Galaxy S8 five or six times without needing to be topped up itself.

See at Amazon

Mophie Juice Pack

If a battery charging case is more your thing, Mophie has you covered. The Juice Pack line has been powering Galaxy devices for years, and this year's model is slimmer and more intelligent than ever.

The Juice Pack plugs into your Galaxy S8's USB-C port to top it up with 2950mAh of additional juice, and the case itself, like the phone, charges wirelessly using Qi technology, so you can use the same wireless charging pad you do for your phone.

Or, if you're looking for something a bit more unique, you can grab the Mophie Charge Force battery case and wireless battery charging pack, which is a little harder to buy right now, but if you should find it, it's probably a better product overall.

See at Amazon

Gear VR w/ new Controller

If you've never tried Samsung Gear VR before, you're in for a real treat. Samsung partnered up with Oculus to provide one of the best mobile VR experiences you'll find, with compelling games to play alone or with friends, tons of streaming video apps and VR exclusive experiences, along with its own functional social media platform.

Making things all the sweeter is the inclusion of the new touch controller, meaning you won't need to hold your hand up to the headset like you're Cyclops from the X-Men.

Everything you need to know about Samsung Gear VR

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch

The Gear S3 doesn't get enough love. It's an amazing smartwatch with tons of features that work really well with the Galaxy S8. And, if you're running it with Samsung's latest smartphone, you get things like Samsung Pay, which isn't available on other devices.

But more than that, Samsung has created a relatively affordable, long-lasting and feature-filled smartwach in the Gear S3, and one that, unlike most Android Wear products, will last more than a day on a charge.

See at Amazon

Which accessories have caught your eye so far?

What are your go-to accessories for a new phone? Anything you'll be picking up for your new Samsung Galaxy S8? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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1 week ago

10 Desk Accessories To Keep Your Office Cool During The Sizzling Summer

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Are you tired of roasting in your office every summer? Here are some great gadgets that'll keep you cool and refreshed through the sweltering heat!

Keeping cool can be tough, but keeping cool at the office can be nearly impossible.

You're always running around to meetings and appointments; you have to dress in more restricted, stuffy clothes; you're in tight, humid spaces with other coworkers; and that damn air conditioning just shuts off whenever the hell it pleases #imnotbitter.

If you're looking to cool down at your desk, here are a number of accessories that you can use to do just that!

1. Clip on this tiny fan on your desk and stay cool all day!

Seriously, you can even buy, like, 8 and clip them on your computer and all around your desk for maximum fannage.

2. Keep your drinks cold with this funky insulated water bottle!

It comes in 6 different fun colors, too.

3. Get icy with this Ice Body paper from Japan

Part all-over-body deodorant, part cool summer breeze in a package!

4. Look stylish and keep cool with this cooling bandana!

Yeah, that totally goes with your suit!

5. Warm wrists? We got ya covered!

This aluminum mouse pad is sure to cool down your overheated wrists.

6. Spritz, spritz, then spritz again

Seriously, this Mario Badescu facial spray will have you feeling refreshed and cooled down in an instant!

7. Cool down your laptop ASAP!

This aluminum cooling stand should do the trick...

8. Get some relief from the summer heat with a cooling mat!

You can put the mat on the ground by your feet to cool them off or on your char to chill out your bum!

9. Be not-sweaty with a S'well!

Seriously, these things can keep your ice cold and unmelted for up to 24 hours!

10. Mini USB fan + cooling humidifier feature = everything you've ever needed

Seriously, how can you be hot in the office with this little guy at your disposal?!

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1 week ago

The 8bitdo Zero is an excellent Bluetooth controller that fits on a keychain

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Game controllers are pretty big. But not this one, oh no.

It's called the Zero and it's from a company called 8bitdo, which is based in China and produces a lot of modern takes on old, retro gaming hardware. If you want a Bluetooth version of an original SNES or N64 controller, or perhaps want to use a wireless controller with an original NES system, chances are 8bitdo can take care of you.

The Zero isn't a modern take on a classic, though. It's an insanely small game controller that you can carry on a keychain and doesn't suck.

And it's only $17.

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1 week ago

Best Cases for the HTC U11

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HTC U11 case

Keep your HTC U11's lustrous chassis in perfect condition with these cases.

With a beautiful mirrored glass finish, the HTC U11 is one of the most striking Android flagships available today. But exposed glass isn't the most sturdy of materials, and if you use the U11 for long enough, it's inevitable that you'll start to pick up a few scrapes and scratches.

That's why we've rounded up the top few U11 cases for your perusal. Read on to find out more.

HTC Clear Shield case

ClearShield case

This is the same case that comes with the HTC U11 in many markets, protecting the back and corners of the phone, while keeping the side walls exposed for easy squeezability.

Plastic inner corners keep the U11 securely in place, while the clear plastic design lets you show off the phone from its most impressive angle.

At $19.99, it's not super cheap, but it's a pretty small price to pay to guarantee the back of your phone will stay free from wear and tear.

See at HTC

Spigen Liquid Crystal HTC U11 case

Spigen TPU Case

If TPU is your thing, this Spigen case gives you all-around protection, including cover for the buttons and side walls.

Meanwhile, a raised lip around the camera cutout and front bezel keeps the lens protected when the phone is laying flat, and the screen out of contact with surfaces when it's face-down.

Being a flexible TPU case, it's also fully compatible with HTC's squeezy Edge Sense features. And there's even a glittery version if you want to add a bit of extra glamor to the HTC U11's already shiny derrière. Check it out for around $11.

See at Amazon

Incipio Octane UTC U11 case

Incipio hard case

For more heavy duty protection, you might want to consider this Incipio offering, featuring a textured bumper and hard shell back. Despite the added heft of this case, it still works with Edge Sense, and the textured side walls provide a much more secure grip than the U11's metal trim.

Sure, you'll need to cover up much of the U11's eye-catching design if you go for this model, but you can rest assured the entire body of the phone will be protected from drops, knocks and scrapes.

For less than $25, that's not a bad deal at all.

See at Amazon

Olixar Genuine Leather HTC U11 wallet case

Olixar leather case

For many people, nothing beats the convenience of a wallet case, and Olixar has an affordable leather option that provides space for credit cards, while also folding out into a stand.

Olixar's "Executive Wallet Case" keeps the vulnerable areas of the U11 protected and the plastic side walls mean it's still possible to use Edge Sense without too much hassle.

This leather offering, complete with stand, adds a bit more bulk to the body of the phone, but you can't argue with the extra functionality it brings — particularly for $26.

See at MobileFun

Official HTC U11 leather-style flip case

Official flip case

HTC's official U11 flip case for the U11 is clad in a soft-touch exterior, with space for a single credit card, and the option to fold it out into a stand -- though unlike Olixar's offering, this one's not magnetic.

The U11's shiny back panel is secured in place with plastic corners, keeping these areas protected from drops, and the exposed side walls allow you to use Edge Sense with ease.

This model is also a good deal slimmer than most wallet cases, though it'll set you back a bit more too, with prices starting at $46.

See at MobileFun

Your favorite?

Let us know in the comments below.

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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2 weeks ago

You won't empty your wallet for studio-grade headphones with the Status Audio HD One's at $19

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time bringing you studio-grade headphones for much less!

Wireless headphones have grown in popularity lately, but wired headphones are still invaluable for many since they don't need to be charged, offer a more reliable connection and more. Over-the-ear headphones can range in price from around $10 to over $300, depending what you are looking for. If quality is the main concern for you, but you don't want to go broke buying a new set of headphones, we've got just the deal for you.

Status Audio, a company that specializes in high-quality affordable headphones, is currently offering its HD One wired headphones for just $18.99. This is the lowest price these headphones have ever been, and $5 less than our previous mention. You won't want to miss this deal.

So, you've never heard of Status Audio? Don't worry, these headphones have a 4.3 out of 5-star rating at Amazon with over 700 reviews, and the company's other headphones, the OB-1, maintain a 4.7 out of 5-star rating with over 70 reviews. These are actually on sale as well, and you can get them for just $49.99. This is a $30 savings.

With the HD One's you'll get:

  • THE STATUS AUDIO ADVANTAGE – No logos, no celebrities, just sound. Join the 100,000+ customers enjoying premium sounding, beautifully constructed headphones at a fraction of the price of the big name competition.
  • SLEEK AND MINIMAL – Prefer not to be a walking billboard? The HD One headphones are 100% free of logos and branding, and are coated in a rubberized matte finish that doesn't show fingerprints or reflect light. Perfect for a minimal look or for customizing.
  • STUDIO GRADE – 40mm drivers deliver an exciting sound signature that responds to all genres of music. Deep, articulated bass with a sizzling high end. Exceptional detail and clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum. This is the big, crisp sound you've been looking for.
  • FIT AND FINISH – On-ear design that is lightweight and comfortable for long-term use. A unique foldable design collapses into a small form factor, ideal for travel and commuting. Substantial, yet highly portable, these are your go-to headphones for your morning commute and throughout the day.

You don't have to take our word for it that you'll be impressed with the quality of these, though. Try them for yourself now for just $18.99, which happens to be the best price we've tracked on them, and let your ears show you just how good they are.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Prime members can grab Dash Buttons for $1 and still get a $5 credit for a limited time

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to grab Dash Buttons for just $1!

Amazon's Dash Buttons are an extremely easy way to reorder the supplies that you use the most in your house, and thanks to Amazon's Prime Day (which is now live), members can grab select ones for $0.99. Normally the buttons cost $4.99 each, and then you receive a $4.99 credit after using it for the first time, but right now you can pick up a discounted one and still get the same credit. That means that you'll effectively make $4 on each button that you buy and use (limit of 3), so be sure to check them all out.

Purchase each button separately and choose No-Rush Shipping at checkout to receive a free $1 digital credit with each one you buy. If you aren't already a member of Amazon's Prime service, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of this offer and others. Some of the discounted Dash Buttons include:

These discounted prices will run until Tuesday, July 11. If you want to get really crazy with it, you can even reprogram the Dash Buttons to do other tasks, so be sure to check that out as well.

See at Amazon

Prime Day 2017 is coming! Follow along with our live blog to discover the best deals first!

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap vs. Show: Which should you buy?

77
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences. And the new Echo Show adds a screen, and a whole new way of interactiveness.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Echo Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, and it can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

The Tap has also been updated to allow for an "always listening" mode, so it's now basically the same as the Echo and Dot in terms of control. Its portability is really what separates it from the others.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show is the next evolution of the Amazon Echo. Whereas Alexa could only tell you about stuff before, now she can show you. Before, you could simply listen to your flash briefing, which was dynamite — a quick overview of the day's news. Now you can watch your flash briefing, as well as YouTube videos. See where this is going?

Thanks to Alexa's new calling skill, you can also video call — hands-free — like it's the future. Calling isn't all it's for, since you can also see music lyrics, listen to music straight out of it, thanks to excellent Dolby processing, and you can even connect compatible security cameras, then ask Alexa to show you those cameras, so you can keep an eye on things from wherever you are in the house.

The Echo Show features eight microphones and noise cancellation, so it can hear you from just about any direction — even while music is playing.

Is it for me?

If you're looking for one of the most futuristic devices available that not only lets you control your smart home hands-free but also lets you take and make hands-free video calls, watch YouTube videos on the fly, see your flash briefing, and much more, with a well-balanced speaker to boot.

Echo Show is the perfect stationary Alexa vehicle, so if you're looking for something portable, go with one of the other options.

See at Amazon

How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

But if you want it all — and have the money for it — grab an Echo Show right now.

Updated June 2017: Make reference to the Echo Show being available for purchase.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Best cases for Moto E4 right now

2

The Moto E4 may be cheap, but it still needs to be protected. Here are the best cases you can buy right now.

The Moto E4 is pretty new and, cheap as it might be, there are still clumsy people out there who will need to protect its robust plastic exterior with a case (I am one of them!)

A word of warning before you venture out into that good e-night: there are two variants of the Moto E4, and they are different enough that cases from one won't fit on another. The North American version lacks a rear speaker and is a slightly thinner than the international model. Headphone jack and microphone placements also differ. Read this before you make the wrong decision.

With that, let's get to some of our top picks right now for the Moto E4.

Dretal Ultra-thin Armor

Dretal isn't a particularly well-known name in the case world, but the version it's made for the Moto E4 has some pretty great reviews, and is available in four fun (well, three fun and one black) colors!

It's a wrap-around variety made from soft-touch, flexible TPU plastic, and according to recent buyers the back, despite appearing to be textured and grippy, is quite slippery. Still, it's got a no-nonsense design that doesn't add much bulk, and for $8.98 you can't really go wrong.

See at Amazon

Cimo Premium Slim

Cimo is a well-known and respected brand in the case manufacturing world, and the Moto E4 version is about as simple as it gets. Featuring a flexible TPU material, similar to the Dretal, Cimo's version is slightly less bulky, and has a raised lip that prevents the screen from being damaged should the phone find its way to the floor through absolutely no fault of your own. Of course not.

At $5 (and $3 shipping), the case is only currently available in one (rather fetching) color, Matte Smoke, but by the end of July, it will be joined by Matte Pink, Matte Blue, and Matte Black.

Matte all the things!

See at Amazon

CircleMalls 2-Piece Hybrid

I'll admit to having less than 100% confidence in a company called CircleMalls, but this two-piece case comes with a free stylus and screen protector for just $9. Can't really go wrong.

Available in three colors — black, blue, and rose gold — like many other cases on the market this one sports an inner silicon lining and an outer reinforced plastic to absorb shocks. It's a bit bulkier than the average single-piece case, but if you're prone to dropping your phone a lot, this may be the one to get.

See at Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Braven Stryde 360 review: Bluetooth and waterproof never sounded so good

3

For $100, the Braven Stryde 360 just might be the best waterproof Bluetooth speaker around.

The Braven Stryde 360 is Braven's latest Bluetooth speaker offering from its "Active" series, which combines water resistance, excellent sound, and a price tag that's more than easy to swallow.

Here's my full review!

Audio quality

When I first unbox a Bluetooth speaker, I don't take stock of how it looks, the controls, or any other superfluous features. I immediately connect it to my phone and play my go-to test songs (generally any of my favorite songs of the moment that have wide dynamic range — this month it's One Good Piece Of Me by Big Wreck.

Android Central Choice Award

I was quite pleasantly surprised by how the Stryde 360 performed. It pumps out a rich, warm low end, thanks to its two passive radiators, which are located on each end of the speaker. Speakers of this size that favor bass generally overdo it and muddy up the rest of the mix, but the Stryde 360 provides a more-than-present midrange and high end, with crisp, clean treble. Many similar Bluetooth speakers also tend to become distorted at high volumes, but not this one (unless you pump your phone to max volume and the speaker to max volume, which is just silly if you want it to last longer than a day). If you like your music loud or need it loud for an outdoor party or what have you, the Stryde 360 will clearly pump out the jams without issue.

The Stryde 360 provides more than enough bass without overdoing it.

The big test, however, came in the shower. This is a water-resistant speaker; of course I'm going to use it in the shower. I have no tub, just a walk-in shower that's enclosed on all sides but the door. I've used other bass-favoring Bluetooth speakers, like the UE Wonderboom, which is a great speaker, but terrible for an enclosed shower — the bass muddies up everything. The Braven Stryde 360 performs exceptionally well in the shower. I stand it on an end, and since it has speakers on two sides, the mids and highs bounce off the shower walls, while the bass pumps out of the top and bottom, providing a great mix that's perfect for singing along.

Design

In a word: brilliant. The Stryde 360 is a sexy Bluetooth speaker looks at home on your desk, in the backyard, or by the pool. It comes in silver with green accents (the version I have) or a darker gray with red accents. Its cylindrical shape makes it perfect for toting along in your backpack's water bottle pocket, and it'll even fit in cup holders (like the ones that come on some pool floaties).

The rubber playback controls blend fairly seamlessly into the hard plastic body, and the ends have a ring of durable rubber so that you can stand your Stryde 360 up if your prefer. On the opposite side from the playback controls are two feet for standing and the very well-protected microUSB charging port, USB-A port, and 3.5mm auxiliary port. The rubber cover is even a little difficult to open, but I'd rather that than water damage.

All in all, it's a great-looking speaker that's clearly made for life, wherever it happens.

Features

Voice control is a great feature, especially if you want this for your shower.

For $100, you certainly get a lot with the Stryde 360. Playback control right on the speaker is a big thing for me, especially on one that I use in the shower (believe it or not, I have a couple Bluetooth speakers with only a power button — UGH). I hate having to constantly step out of the shower to change the song, drying my hands each time. Just hold down the volume up or volume down button to skip to the next track or previous track, respectively.

Voice control is another huge feature (though not uncommon to Bluetooth speakers), allowing you to use Google Assistant or Siri through the speaker itself. Take notes, change songs, make phone calls, whatever.


Battery life

Put it this way: I received the review unit over two weeks ago, charged it up the day I got it, and haven't had to charge it since. I use it in the shower almost every day, as does my wife. So yeah, battery life's pretty good.

The 2500mAh battery should power a party jam for the entire party and well into the night.


Should you buy it? Absolutely

For $100, you get more in the Braven Stryde 360 than you do in most other competitors around the same price or even higher. It sounds great, it looks slick, it has awesome features, and it's versatile to a fault (as far as something that plays music can be, anyway).

If you're looking for an excellent Bluetooth speaker that you can take with you anywhere, then I'd choose the Braven Stryde 360.

See at Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Grab the NVIDIA Shield TV for £169 in the UK

0

Get a £20 discount on the Shield TV for one day only.

As part of Amazon's Prime Day sale, the retailer is offering a £20 discount on the NVIDIA Shield TV, bringing it down to £169. That's for the model with 16GB of internal storage. If you're looking for the Pro variant with a 500GB hard drive, you'll have to shell out £279.

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2 weeks ago

Best Accessories For HTC U11

12

You have the phone, now gear it up with some accessories.

You may have some accessories from a prior phone that work with your HTC U11, but chances are you'll need at least a couple to address this phone in particular. When you're looking for everything to gear up your U11, start with this list and get the essentials before heading anywhere else.

Aukey dual USB port Quick Charge 3.0 car charger

You get a Quick Charge wall socket in your U11's box, but if you don't yet have a car charger with the newer fast charging tech you'll want to snag one for topping up on the go. Aukey sells a sweet little car charger that can actually charge two phones at once using Quick Charge 3.0, giving you extra possibilities.

The USB ports are obviously backward compatible to previous Quick Charge versions, or will charge up non-Quick Charge phones at standard USB rates. A solid deal for $20, especially considering how long you'll be able to keep it in your car and use it with future phones.

See at Amazon

Anker PowerCore Speed Quick Charge 3 10,000mAh battery

Just like the car charger, if you're getting a new portable battery to use with your U11 you'll want to get one that can charge it as fast as possible. Quick Charge 3.0 comes in batteries, too, and Anker makes an awesome battery to use with your U11 or any other phone. The PowerCore Speed battery has 10,000mAh in capacity — which is enough for over two full charges of the U11 — but stays super compact because it only offers one USB output.

There are bigger batteries and ones with many more USB ports or extra features, but if you need something that's compact, easy to carry around and will charge your U11 quickly, this is a great choice at just $35.

See at Amazon

LG Tone Ultra HBS-820 Wireless headphones

Without a headphone jack on the U11, there's a good chance that you'd prefer using Bluetooth most of the time rather than carrying around the USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone dongle. You can find Bluetooth headphones of just about every style, size and price, so we've picked a pair that are very middle-of-the-road and won't set you back too much — the LG Tone Ultra HBS-820.

You may not be the "neckbud" type, but they do have a nice balance of comfort, size, sound and battery life that save you from having big over-ear headphones or always-dead little earbuds. LG's been one of the leaders in this category for a while, and when it comes to an all-around set of neckbuds these are great. Give the LG Tone Ultra a look — at under $75 they're a good value if you like the form factor.

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal HTC U11 Case

The U11 comes with a case in the box, but it's extremely basic and gets roughed up very quickly. If you want a case that you can actually use regularly for protecting your phone, you should pick something else up. This Spigen Liquid Crystal case is thin and clear just like the case that comes in the box, but shouldn't get scratched up in the same way and will actually protect the sides of the phones as well. Even though it covers the sides this case won't hinder your ability to use the Edge Sense squeeze feature on the U11.

Going with a clear case lets you show off that awesome glass back of your U11 while also keeping it protected — whether you use the case every day or just when you expect it to get bumped around. And it'll only set you back $11.

See at Amazon

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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