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30 sec ago

Best Memory Cards for Amazon Fire Tablet

9

Best Memory Cards for Amazon Fire Tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10
Fire Tablet
SanDisk 400GB

Amazon Fire HD 10

The Amazon Fire Tablet is a great investment, but it can run out of storage space pretty fast. That means it's time for a microSD card. Here are some you should definitely check out.

Whether you have a Fire Tablet for yourself or your kids, you've probably noticed that the internal storage doesn't go very far. You can easily fill it up with some games, a few apps, and media, which is a bit disappointing. Instead of trying to figure out what to delete, and how to better manage the storage, why not make things easier and add a microSD card so it can hold more?

There are tons of great microSD cards out there, and not all of them are expensive. Depending on your needs, you can get cards with as little as 8GB or as much as 400GB. Spend whatever you're comfortable spending. Figure a 32GB card will be the bare minimum you'll want, and frankly getting anything less is just a waste of a shipping fee. But if I were you, I'd get whatever's on sale in the highest capacity you can afford. (Because this is the sort of thing you can use anywhere, not just in an Amazon tablet.)

Whether you are waiting for your brand new Amazon Fire tablet to arrive, or are using the previous generation, here are some great options you will want to consider.

SanDisk 64GB microSD

SanDisk is a well-known brand when it comes to portable storage, and its cards are almost always highly recommended. The company offers a bunch of different cards in different storage capacities, and this one is specifically made for the Fire Tablets and Fire TV. For most of what you will do with your Fire Tablet, the microSDXC UHS-I will be fast enough to meet your needs. It may take a few seconds longer for the initial transfer of information to the card, but after that, you won't notice much of a difference.

With 64GB of extra storage, you'll easily be able to install a ton of new apps, save music and movies locally to access whenever you want, and much more. Priced at around $22, it's hard to find a much better value than this microSD card.

See at Amazon{.end}

Samsung 32GB microSD

Samsung has been making storage products for quite some time and has been offering extremely affordable microSD cards as well. You won't find the smaller sizes, like 8GB or 16GB from Samsung, but from 32GB all the way up to 256GB, you'll find great deals. This high-performance card offers transfer speeds of up to 80MB/s, and they're built to last. These cards are water-, temperature-, magnetic-, and even X-ray-proof.

All of these good things must mean that it is on the pricey side, right? Wrong. A 32GB card will only set you back around $14, which is less than many people pay to go see a movie.

See at Amazon{.end}

Silicon Power 64GB microSD

Silicon Power's 64GB microSD offers speeds you'd expect out of a memory card for this price, with nothing crazy that makes it stand out. It can work in a variety of devices and comes with a lifetime warranty, so you shouldn't have to worry much about it. Another great feature of the cards is the included SD adapter which allows you to put the microSD card in your computer, camera or anything else that takes a full-sized SD card.

Coming in at around $17, you can't go wrong with adding one of these to prevent the inevitable running out of storage.

See at Amazon{.end}

PNY Elite 128GB microSD

If you are looking for more storage, PNY may make the card for you. The company makes a variety of different sizes at different price points, and the 128GB sits at a pretty sweet spot. It may be more than you need initially, but having extra space is never really a bad thing. With it you can load tons of movies, endless amounts of apps and pictures, and have to worry very little about filling it up.

Of course, the more storage you get the more it will cost. PNY is quite reasonable with pricing, having this card listed at around $45 right now.

See at Amazon{.end}

SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD

200GB is the largest capacity that the Fire Tablet is meant to use, and you may just want to purchase a microSD of that size to put in and forget that it is there. Sure, 200GB is a lot of space to have, but do you want to have to worry about storage ever again? A few years ago it would have cost a fortune to put that much storage inside your tablet, but now it is totally affordable.

You can usually find a pretty good deal on this card, making it run anywhere from $55 to $60, which is a great price for how much it can hold. If you don't want to worry about what you have on the tablet or deleting one thing to install another, you'll want to get one of these right now!

See at Amazon{.end}

SanDisk Ultra 400GB

SanDisk 400GB

Sure, 200GB is cool. But you know what's really cool? Twice that much storage. Nearly half a terabyte of storage. So much storage that your storage has storage. Because, yo dawg.

Seriously, this is a ridiculous amount of removable storage. It's a Class 10 card, with transfer speeds up to 100MB a second. And that's good, because there are a LOT of MBs on this thing. It's also not inexpensive, at upwards of $185.

See at Amazon{.end}

Your favorite?

Do you have a favorite microSD card that isn't listed here? If so, be sure to drop a link and brief description of why you like that one so others can check it out as well!

Updated, July 2018: Updated pricing. These are still the best microSD cards for your Fire tablet!

18 min ago

BlackBerry KEY2 Lite shown off in hands-on photo

0

BlackBerry KEY2 Lite shown off in hands-on photo

The phone will come in red, blue, and copper colors.

Even though the KEY2 was just released earlier this month in the U.S., that apparently hasn't stopped TCL from working on new BlackBerry hardware. Thanks to a new report, it looks like we'll soon be getting a BlackBerry KEY2 Lite.

Evan Blass took to Twitter on July 18 to share the photo to the right. Along with this, Blass says it's:

Alleged BlackBerry Luna, a.k.a. the "KEY2 Lite" (Lite and not Mini 'cuz they supposedly have the same form factor). Said/shown to come in red, blue, and copper.

Those color options certainly sound exciting, but if the red variant shown here is anything to go by, it'll act more as an accent color than anything else (though we've yet to see how the paint job affects the front of the phone).

Also, seeing as how this will be a "lite" version of the KEY2, expect lower-end specs across the board and a more affordable price. The current KEY2 is powered by the Snapdragon 660 and costs $549, so maybe the KEY2 Lite will have a Snapdragon 429 or 439 with a $400 price tag? Who knows.

What are you hoping to see in the BlackBerry KEY2 Lite?

Where to buy the BlackBerry KEY2

BlackBerry KEY2

Buy the BlackBerry KEY2

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30 min ago

Best Android Phone Under $700 in 2018

Best Android Phone Under $700 in 2018

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Best overall

Google Pixel 2

See at Best Buy

The smaller of Google's Pixel phones is fantastic, thanks to a no-nonsense design and plenty of features to get enthusiasts and average users alike excited. For a starting price of $649, the Google Pixel 2 mirrors the last 5-inch flagship with a manageable size and sleek hardware.

But it has a laundry list of upgrades, including a faster processor, more default storage, a better-calibrated OLED display, and, of course, a stupendous 12MP camera that beats just about everything else on the market. Plus, the latest version of Android first — and for three years.

The battery life can be a little weak compared to larger phones, but considering it's $200 less than the Pixel 2 XL it's easy to say the standard Pixel 2 is a better overall value.

Bottom line: There's nothing quite like the Pixel, which marries hardware and software into an exceptional Android experience.

One more thing: Verizon touts the Pixel 2 as an "exclusive" device, but you can buy it unlocked to use on whatever carrier you wish.

Why the Google Pixel 2 is best

If you weren't a fan of the first Pixel's looks but enjoyed everything else about it, the Pixel 2 is for you. Available in three awesome colors with a soft-touch metal finish that's perfect to hold without a case, the Pixel 2 is easy to use in one hand, extremely performant and reliable, and easily has one of the best cameras on the Android market today.

Not only does Google give its Pixel phones first dibs on updates to the latest version of Android, but it's also promising three years of updates, which is unprecedented in the Android space. Google has done a lot to improve the reliability of the Pixel 2 (despite some early software issues) and battery life has also improved considerably over the first version.



Best for battery life

Moto Z3 Play

Moto Z3 Play

See at Amazon

From the beginning, Motorola's Z Play lineup has been all about battery life, and the latest Moto Z3 Play is no exception. With a sealed 3000mAh battery and a power-efficient Snapdragon 636 processor, the Z3 Play is able to last though the day with ease as-is — but once you attach the included 2220mAh Moto Power Pack Mod, its battery life stretches even further, reaching as far as eight hours of screen-on time.

The Z3 Play isn't a one trick pony, either; when you don't need the extra battery life, you can attach other Mods to the phone that add better speakers, pico projectors, Polaroid printers, and more. If you don't mind carrying a few Mods around, the Moto Z3 Play is an incredibly versatile device that can morph to fit your needs.

Maybe best of all, Motorola's software experience is clean and simple, with a near-stock build of Android 8.1 that gains a few useful shortcuts thanks to the Moto Actions suite. Just don't get your hopes up for Android P any time soon, since Motorola's track record for software updates is a bit shaky.

Bottom line: The Moto Z3 Play doesn't have the most powerful processor, but the included battery Mod makes it the longest-lasting phone on the list.

One more thing: You can grab the Z3 Play for less than $500 through Amazon's Prime Exclusive program.

Best for less

OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6

See at OnePlus

There's no better value for the spec-obsessed than the latest OnePlus phone. Even as prices gradually rise year over year, the OnePlus 6 is an incredible deal at just $529 — for that money, you get a Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. For just $50 more, you can bump up the RAM to 8GB and double the storage.

OnePlus's OxygenOS software is a blazingly fast and customizable take on Android 8.1, and lag is basically nonexistent thanks to the phone's top-of-the-line specs. Add to that great front and rear cameras, a huge and vibrant display, and a sleek glass design available in a myriad of finishes, and the OnePlus 6 is pretty tough to beat at its price point.

Bottom line: The OnePlus 6 offers flagship-tier specs and performance for hundreds of dollars less.

One more thing: It doesn't work on CDMA carriers, so Sprint and Verizon customers will have to look elsewhere.

Best in compact size

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

See at Best Buy

Sony's new Xperia XZ2 comes in a "Compact" size, and that also brings with it a smaller price — just $649 retail. The 5-inch 18:9 display and rounded body make this feel like a more modern phone than previous Sony models, albeit at the cost of some of that distinctive Sony design language. On the other hand we get water resistance, a rear fingerprint sensor and stereo speakers — making this a phone with very few compromises.

Internally, the XZ2 Compact has top-notch specs despite its smaller size. A Snapdragon 845 processor runs the show, and all of the supporting cast is here to offer up a flagship-level experience — and a 2870mAh battery should be enough for most people. The 19MP rear camera is a good improvement over the last generation as well, even though it still lacks OIS.

Bottom line: For a lower price, you get a little less phone — but this is absolutely a flagship in every way but screen real estate, and some may even prefer its manageable size.

One more thing: The Xperia XZ2 Compact is only available unlocked in the U.S., and won't be fully available until mid-May.

Conclusion

The Pixel 2 is a fantastic phone with so much going for it, and it happens to be under $700 as well. For a larger size and longer battery life you can pick up a Huawei Mate 10 Pro for about the same price, and for something smaller you can go with the Xperia XZ2 Compact.

Best overall

Google Pixel 2

See at Best Buy

The smaller of Google's Pixel phones is fantastic, thanks to a no-nonsense design and plenty of features to get enthusiasts and average users alike excited. For a starting price of $649, the Google Pixel 2 mirrors the last 5-inch flagship with a manageable size and sleek hardware.

But it has a laundry list of upgrades, including a faster processor, more default storage, a better-calibrated OLED display, and, of course, a stupendous 12MP camera that beats just about everything else on the market. Plus, the latest version of Android first — and for three years.

The battery life can be a little weak compared to larger phones, but considering it's $200 less than the Pixel 2 XL it's easy to say the standard Pixel 2 is a better overall value.

Bottom line: There's nothing quite like the Pixel, which marries hardware and software into an exceptional Android experience.

One more thing: Verizon touts the Pixel 2 as an "exclusive" device, but you can buy it unlocked to use on whatever carrier you wish.

Update July 2018: The Google Pixel 2 is still our top choice in the sub-$700 segment, but we've replaced the Huawei Mate 10 Pro with the Moto Z3 Play as a good choice for a larger size and longer battery life. The OnePlus 6 also joins the list as a great choice for even less money.

54 min ago

The EU Antitrust case against Android sucks for everyone, especially you

2

The EU Antitrust case against Android sucks for everyone, especially you

Google's explanation of how Android is open isn't passing the smell test anymore.

The European Union just told Google it has 90 days to pay €4.34 billion ($5.06 billion) for violating its antitrust rules, claiming the company has been forcing manufacturers to bundle Google Search, Chrome, and the Play Store as a bundle in phones that ship with Android. Since most people use the apps that are included on the phone, this move supposedly encourages people to use Google products without ever trying anything else. Google is appealing the ruling, claiming Android gives people more choice and creates a firm ground for developers to build for the largest possible audience. While there's undoubtedly going to be some conversation in the coming weeks over what that appeal is going to look like, it's clear Google's explanations for how Android functions openly is no longer enough, and things are probably going to have to change.

And, if you ask me, that sucks.

How we got here

In the early days of Android, Google let manufacturers put basically whatever they wanted on the phone as long as some minimum system requirements were met for the Android Market. And manufacturers did, in fact, install whatever they wanted. We had phones launch in the U.S. with over 100 pre-loaded apps; phones launch with Bing as the default search engine; and so many other generally terrible and user-hostile offerings to please the companies funding the launch — mainly carriers and manufacturers. These phones were terrible, and remained terrible when they didn't get a single software update. It was a bad time, and made recommending anything that didn't have the Nexus branding on the side pretty difficult.

Around 2013, Google stepped up and added restrictions to its Google Mobile Services agreements. Those restrictions included what could be placed on the home screen someone sees when the phone first starts, how many apps could be pre-installed, and a bunch of other very specific details. These agreements are all private between Google and its partners, but every once in a while details are made public for these agreements. Basically, as long as the manufacturer follows those rules it gets access to Google's Play Services and suite of apps like Chrome, Search, YouTube, Maps, and so on.

This is where things get a little iffy. Several versions of this agreement have required Google apps to be front and center on that initial home screen. Google's Search bar needed to be there, and folders with Google's apps needed to be there. And if you look at any new Android phone today, that initial home screen is pretty much identical across the ecosystem. Google's placement is prominent, specific, and consistent across the Android landscape right now — as long as that phone ships with the Play Store.

What the EU sees as wrong

The claim against Google right now is that, in forcing manufacturers to put these three apps front and center, it strong-arms its partners, prevents suppresses competition, and keeps people from looking at other options. Specifically, the EU says including Google Search, Chrome, and the Google Play Store as mandatory apps in the Google Mobile Services bundle is wrong. Many analysts have likened Android today to how Windows looked before Microsoft lost its own antitrust cases in the mid-90's. If people don't know there are other choices, they won't go looking for them. There are a few problems with this comparison, but the overall claim is Google has forced people to use its apps and is reaping the benefits of that enforcement.

Android is only as good as it is now because of the Google Play Store.

Google's response makes a lot of sense. Anyone can uninstall or disable the pre-loaded apps and replace them with different apps from any developer. Many manufacturers make their own versions of Google's apps and install them right alongside Google's. And if manufacturers want Android itself to come with no strings attached, manufacturers don't need to use the Play Store. Android is free code that anyone can fork or alter, as Amazon has been doing for years. But the Google Play Store and its related apps do have some big rules to follow. That distinction has never really been clear to the public, because while Google wants people to know Android is open it also wants people to know Google and Android are one and the same.

There's a lot about this EU ruling which is troubling. First, the EU seems to only care about three of the eleven apps Google is including in its bundle. There's no call to strip Google Maps, for example, only Search, Chrome and the Play Store. Second, this decision fundamentally misunderstands how deeply integrated into one another these systems are and seems to intentionally observe them as standalone apps. Android is only as good as it is now because of the Google Play Store and Play Services. Through this, Google enforces security across the platform and wraps up a majority of the new features you hear about when a new version is announced. Android without Google services isn't just Android without apps, it's an entirely different and significantly less functional experience.

The appeal being made by Google is essentially claiming the environment it created within Android allows for more choice instead of less. Developers can build for a single platform and get a consistent experience across thousands of different devices, which manufacturers can give users access to by following Google's rules. With all of these manufacturers competing on such even software footing, the hardware-based feature fight has caused the price of hardware to go down which Google says is also good everyone. By creating a single platform for all of these manufacturers to compete against Apple, Google claims its decisions have been a net positive.

The future might suck a lot if Google loses

When Microsoft was slapped with antitrust fines, it reacted by removing Internet Explorer entirely and giving users multiple browsers to choose from. The company later backed down from this and went back to including its own browser but making it very easy to install others, but the overall decision did not make Internet Explorer more or less popular. That browser already had lots of problems and even more competition, and without pointing fingers at other popular mobile platforms it is a nontrivial detail that Google allows you to set any app as the default, such as the browser.

Chrome, inside Android, encourages a lot of choice for users.

Android is overall a little different from Windows anyway. The mobile platform tightly integrates a lot of things, and Chrome is much more than just an app. Micro versions of Chrome exist in many Android apps, because developers recognized this mini Chrome was much more stable and functional than building their own in-app browser. Chrome is the underpinning for things like Android Instant Apps, which directly encourages developers to build tools that make it easier for users to try new apps and move away from the installed default. Chrome, inside Android, encourages a lot of choice for users. Taking that away will absolutely make Android users less likely to try new things and just stick with what is installed.

Assistant is another thing that will suffer if this decision forces Google to disconnect its apps from the central nervous system of Android. Access to Google's knowledge graph is what makes Assistant so powerful, and Search is arguably the most important part of that. Bing is never going to integrate into Google Assistant to provide results, even if those results were worth using. There's no arguing Assistant is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition right now because of its ability to deeply yet safely integrate into the lives of its users, and removing that key component could take a very long time to functionally work around.

Google has been building toward this grand unified experience for a while now, and a lot of that work will take several steps back as a result of this decision if it is enforced. Here's hoping the appeal yields positive results.

1 hour ago

OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know!

46

OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know!

OnePlus 6 Mirror Black
OnePlus 6 Midnight Black
OnePlus 6 Mirror Black
OnePlus 6 Mirror Black
OnePlus 6 Midnight Black

Unlock the secrets.

The OnePlus 6 is now available, and it's a compelling option for someone looking for an unlocked phone at a reasonable price — starting at $529 to be specific. But price aside, it's a great choice for anyone, even those considering more expensive options, thanks to a combination of hardware and software, and a community that continues to support the company and one another.

Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6!

The latest OnePlus 6 news

July 18, 2018 — OnePlus 6 Android P Developer Preview 3 adds bug fixes and tweaked UI

On July 18, OnePlus announced its third developer preview of Android P for the OnePlus 6.

This update mainly focuses on big fixes, with some of the highlights in the changelog including improved system stability, fixed issue with mobile hotspot, better camera functionality with third-party apps, and improved overall image quality with the camera. Also included is the July 2018 security patch.

Our friends at 9to5Google recently got their hands on the beta, and as they spotted, this preview includes a few UI changes — most notably the recents page/app switcher.

The cards on the recents page have a more rounded appearance and appear to be smaller than Android P on Google's Pixel phones. There's also a menu button near the top of each app that lets you quickly hop into split-screen mode. Other chnages include a redesigned settings page and a white paint job for the Shelf.

July 10, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 Red is now available for purchase

The day has finally come! You can now buy the striking OnePlus 6 Red exclusively from OnePlus's website.

This limited edition model of the phone costs $579, and for that price, you're getting the most powerful configuration with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus is making a limited run of this color, so once it's gone, it's gone.

See at OnePlus

July 3, 2018 — OnePlus shows off different colors/patterns it was testing for the OnePlus 6

OnePlus recently launched the lustrous OnePlus 6 Red, and while there's no doubt it's one of the most gorgeous phones on the market right now, it was just one of many designs that the company was toying with before ultimately selecting the red we now have.

PCMag was recently invited to tour OnePlus's headquarters in Shenzen, China, and during the visit, got a chance to look at some other colors OnePlus was testing for the 6. As you can see in the video above, OnePlus was messing with glass backs that had subtle patterns, gradiant designs, and much more.

The video also showcases early prototypes of not only the OnePlus 6, but other OnePlus phones, too. I'm a big fan of the OnePlus 6 we ended up getting, but it is cool to see what could have been.

July 1, 2018 — OnePlus is adding a limited-edition red OnePlus 6 to the mix

Late on Sunday night in the U.S., OnePlus is announcing a limited-edition red OnePlus 6, which is coming to North American and European markets on July 10 for $579. The model will just be available in the now-common 8GB/128GB RAM and storage combination, and only from OnePlus.com.

Following the launch of the critically acclaimed OnePlus 6, which sold over 1 million units in just 22 days, OnePlus is bringing a new limited-edition color to Europe and North America, the OnePlus 6 Red.

The OnePlus 6 Red is designed to match power with style, with attention to detail paramount. The metallic red shimmer coupled with the red, mirror-like fingerprint sensor elegantly contrast the silver accent around the camera.

Six panels of glass make up the back of the OnePlus 6 Red. With this variant, OnePlus has added an additional anti-reflective layer to create a sense of depth by allowing more light to reach the bottom layers before being reflected off the device. A translucent orange layer has been intermixed with the red base layer to achieve a radiant and glossy red, unique to OnePlus design.

OnePlus also says that the Bullets Wireless headphones will also be restocked on July 10.

More: The OnePlus 6 in red

June 14, 2018 — One million units of the OnePlus 6 were sold in just 22 days

We expected the OnePlus 6 to sell like hotcakes, but I don't know if anyone was anticipating demand on this level. On June 14, OnePlus confirmed that it crossed one million sales of the OP6 just 22 days after it launched.

OnePlus notes that this demand is a "sharp upward hike from even the OnePlus 5T", and as such, the OnePlus 6 is now taking the title of the company's best-selling product to date.

For comparison, both the OnePlus 5 and 5T each crossed one million units sold within three months of launching.

June 14, 2018 — OnePlus 6 comes with Dirac's latest sound optimization solutions

Swedish-based audio technology company Dirac works with the likes of OPPO and Xiaomi to provide optimized audio solutions, and the company announced that its latest technologies are baked into the OnePlus 6.

Dirac Power Sound is a micro-speaker tuning technology that optimizes the performance from the built-in speaker to deliver a clearer, more natural sound with richer details and more powerful bass.

Dirac HD Sound, meanwhile, is a sound optimization solution that tweaks impulse and frequency response to improve sound quality. Dirac says it has worked closely with OnePlus to ensure that the sound output coming out of the 3.5mm jack is "optimized to the highest level, while also capable of producing sound characters tuned to OnePlus users' preferences."

June 12, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 in Silk White is back on sale for a limited time!

If you missed out on the opportunity to grab a sexy OnePlus 6 in sexy Silk White, now's your chance — though it will probably sell out pretty quickly.

See at OnePlus

June 6, 2018 —Bullets Wireless earphones and Silk White OnePlus 6 sell out in 24 hours

Just 24 hours after they were made available for purchase, both the $69 Bullets Wireless earphones and $579 Silk White OnePlus 6 both sold out.

If you didn't get a chance to grab either of these yesterday, OnePlus says the Silk White OP6 will be back in stock on June 12 with the Bullets Wireless following shortly after.

June 4, 2018 — Silk White OnePlus 6 and Bullets Wireless earphones launching June 5 @ 10:00 AM ET

About two weeks following the OnePlus 6's launch, the limited edition Silk White version of the phone and OnePlus's Bullets Wireless earphones are officially going on sale.

The Silk White OnePlus 6 is "the company's boldest design to date" featuring six layers of white glass that have been mixed with pearl powder and gold accents for the frame, fingerprint sensor, and more. It's a downright stunning look and will cost $579 USD with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage "while supplies last."

Along with the Silk White OnePlus 6, the excellent Bullets Wireless earphones are launching, too. Andrew recently gave these a glowing review, praising them for their surprisingly great sound quality, USB-C charging, comfortable design, and competitive $69 price tag.

Both the Silk White OnePlus 6 and Bullets Wireless will be available on June 5 at 10:00 AM ET.

May 31, 2018 — Battery percentage coming to the status bar, fix for rear camera autofocus issue, and more

As part of a Q&A session OnePlus held of its forums, the company answered a lot of burning questions on users' minds. You can read through the full rundown here, but the highlights include:

  • The three dots in the status bar will be removed in the next update.
  • A battery percentage is coming to the status bar in the next update.
  • Scheduled Do Not Disturb will be added in the next update.
  • The next update will fix low volume for calls and notifications.
  • Future updates will correct issues with the rear camera's autofocus.
  • Your network will properly work when using an IDEA as a non-data card in the next update.
  • A fix in the next update will resolve an issue that causes sound to stop working when switching to the speaker from the earpiece.

May 29, 2018 — JerryRigEverything tears down the OnePlus 6 to see how waterproof it really is

It was expected that OnePlus would have to cut a few corners in order to keep the OnePlus 6's price as low as it is, and one of those cuts came in the way of a proper water resistance rating.

Unlike other flagship phones, the OnePlus 6 doesn't come with a proper IP rating. However, OnePlus does note on its website that the phone "is well-equipped to survive a drop in the sink or a spilled glass of water."

To test out just how "water resistant" the OnePlus 6 actually is, JerryRigEverything cracked open the phone and determined it's about as protected as other phones that have a proper IP rating. Check it out above!

May 23, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 is now available!

It was only announced a week ago, but the OnePlus 6 is now available to order from oneplus.net starting at $529 USD.

Are you ordering?

Read our review and watch the video

First thing's first, watch the video and read the review. There's plenty about the phone to learn, even though much of it is familiar. But the essential question a review tries to answer is, Should you buy this thing? And the response is an unrestrained, Yes.

The OnePlus 6 is the company's finest phone ever, with excellent design, build quality, battery life and, for the first time, cameras.

Read the review

Review the specs

Once you're done reading the review, you should, ahem, review the specifications. The phone is powerful — like one of the most powerful on the market today — with plenty of headroom and legroom (it's proverbially spacious is what I'm trying to say) for whatever you want to throw at it. Apps-wise, not like object-wise.

OnePlus 6 specifications

How does it compare to other phones?

Of course, the OnePlus 6 doesn't exist in a bubble — you have to compare it to other devices if you're going to decide whether you should buy it. Thankfully, we've done most of the work for you, comparing it to the best flagships on the market right now.

What about to other OnePlus phones?

Yeah, OnePlus owners like to keep it in the family, so to speak, so it wouldn't be surprising to see many upgrading, or thinking of upgrading, from an existing OnePlus device, like a 3, 3T, 5, or 5T. Of course, with the company releasing two phones a year these days, it won't be long until the next upgrade cycle hits, but that also means that the existing phones age quite well, thanks to frequent software updates (the joys of not going through carriers).

If you have a OnePlus 5 or 5T, you can probably hold onto those phones for a bit longer — unless you need the camera improvements. OnePlus's 2016 phones, on the other hand, may be getting a bit long in the tooth and could use a replacement.

Is the OnePlus 6 camera that much better than before?

This photo was taken in nearly pitch-dark conditions. OnePlus ramps up the light sensitivity to ISO6400, which would normally produce a lot of grain, but this photo is totally usable thanks to better software processing.

Yes! The OnePlus 6 has a larger 16MP sensor than previous OnePlus devices, with pixels that are 19% bigger, so low-light photography is immensely improved. It's not going to overtake the Huawei P20 Pro or Pixel 2 for Low Light Champion Of The World, but it's reliable in all conditions, and that's more important than anything else.

The camera is probably the biggest improvement over previous OnePlus models.

The phone's main sensor is aided by a fast ƒ/1.7 aperture, so true depth of field is a thing, along with drastically improved image signal processing from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845. Together, the phone is able to detect the correct settings more quickly, take multiple shots if necessary, enable HDR mode automatically, and reduce or eliminate grain in dark conditions.

There's also Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which was in the OnePlus 3 line but removed in last year's series for unknown reasons. It's back now, and paired with a larger sensor and faster main lens, the results speak for themselves.

On the other hand, the OnePlus 6's secondary camera has less to do — it's a 20MP sensor with an ƒ/1.7 lens, but its main purpose is to facilitate portrait mode which, while good, isn't enough reason to have a second sensor in the first place.

Is the notch distracting?

The notch is what it is. You may hate it out of an aversion to all things Apple, or you may learn to live with it and forget it's there. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle — it's a character trait, like a freckle or a certain hairstyle.

What it does, though, is open up spme additional real estate on the 6.28-inch screen, which is great. But it also limits the number of icons that can be seen in the notification area, which is a bummer. Plus, the clock on the left side of the notification bar will never make sense. If you watch the video below, though, you can see ways to tweak the notification area to your liking. And you can also disable the notch altogether if you want to.

How's the software?

It's good! Running Android 8.1 Oreo, OxygenOS has turned into one of the most enjoyable, reliable versions of Android to date. OnePlus has also added a number of additions to make the whole thing run more smoothly, especially if you're looking to maximize your screen real estate.

One of the more interesting changes to the software is a set of gestures that eliminates the bottom navigation keys, relying on swipes up from different areas of the bottom edge to go back, home, and enter multitasking. It's different, but not bad. You'll have to try it yourself.

As for tips and tricks, we've already got that list going, so if you're looking to make the most of your OxygenOS experience, we have you covered.

What's it cost?

The OnePlus 6 starts at $529 USD for the base model and goes up to $629 for additional RAM and storage. There are three configurations and three colors, and here's a breakdown of which one to buy.

Here's how the pricing breaks down in various regions.

Device USD EUR GBP CAD 6/64 $529 €519 £469 $699 8/128 $579 €569 £519 $769 8/256 $629 €619 £569 $839

See at OnePlus

Tell me more about the colors

There are four colors: Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White, and Red.

  • Mirror Black is going to be the most common, since it's the only color offered in the cheapest tier. It's shiny, reflective glass, so it gets fingerprint-y, but that's OK because you'll likely put the phone in a case (see below). It's also a little slippery, which is to be expected. Mirror Black is offered in 6GB / 64GB configurations for $529.

  • Midnight Black is the color we've come to expect from OnePlus over the years, though the matte-looking finish belies a glass back, too, like the Mirror Black. Midnight Black is only available in 8GB / 128GB and 8GB / 256GB configurations for $579 and $629, respectively.

  • Silk White is one of the more limited of the four colors. It's also covered in glass, but like the Midnight Black model it has a matte finish and is easier to grip. Its white back has rose gold accents, and it's definitely the nicest and most unique of the three colors. It's only available in the 8GB / 128GB configuration for $579, and once the run is sold out, OnePlus is not making any more.

  • Red is also a limited edition color and is easily the most vibrant of the four that are available. It has a similar shiny finish like Mirror Black but uses a translucent orange layer and red base layer to create one of the most powerful reds we've ever seen on a smartphone. Sales open on July 10 and it'll be available with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage for $579.

What color OnePlus 6 should you buy?

I heard there's an Avengers version — TELL ME EVERYTHING

Yes, you heard right: OnePlus has once again worked with Disney on licensing a special version of the OnePlus 6 for the Chinese and Indian markets. Last year, OnePlus offered an understated Start Wars variant of the OnePlus 5T, and now the Avengers version takes advantage of the hype behind the recent film release.

The Avengers version comes in a unique box and includes an Iron Man case and a OnePlus/Avengers co-branded medallion, which is neat. And while there's a familiar glass back on the Avengers Edition, it has a Kevlar-style design underneath. Because Kevlar=superheroes, or something.

While the special edition isn't coming to the U.S. officially, I'm sure that some entrepreneurial Indian and Chinese resellers will do the dirty business of importing some of them at a huge premium to this side of the world.

This is the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Edition

The OnePlus 6 doesn't work on Sprint or Verizon

The OnePlus 6 technically supports the CDMA bands for Verizon and Sprint in the U.S., but the phone lacks certification for their networks, so those users — just under half the smartphone-wielding U.S. population, is out of luck.

We've got your full technical explainer below.

The OnePlus 6 doesn't work on Sprint or Verizon

Do you like cases?

As it does with all of its phones, OnePlus has unveiled a series of first-party cases for the OnePlus 6, and they're all pretty great.

This year, there's a fancy new protective bumper made of woven nylon, and while it adds a bit more bulk than the typical snap-on, I think it looks and feels awesome.

These are the official OnePlus 6 cases you can buy at launch

What are your thoughts on the OnePlus 6?

Let us know in the comments!

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OnePlus 6

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Updated July 3, 2018: Added the OnePlus Red to the list of colors!

1 hour ago

Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: Mesmerizing mid-range protection

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Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: Mesmerizing mid-range protection

Caseology Parallax

Caseology's hybrid case brings depth, drama, and drops of sweat to your Galaxy S9+.

Lightweight cases like the Ringke Air Prism and Spigen Liquid Crystal are great for showing off the Samsung Galaxy S9's gorgeous glass back, but lightweight cases also mean light protection, and sometimes we just need more durability than that. Caseology's Parallax Case for the Samsung Galaxy S9+ offers dual-layer protection without sacrificing style, covering its dark TPU back with a shallow triangular texture that gives the illusion of depth and sophistication.

Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+

Parallax

Price: $14.99

Bottom line: This dual-layer case offers decent protection and prestige without getting too bulky or too boring.

The Good

  • Rich colors and mesmerizing texture pattern
  • Wide port cutouts and wide slope to fingerprint sensor

The Bad

  • Sweat pools on the textured back
  • Slick hard-plastic frame feels slippery at times

See at Amazon

Pops of purple

Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+ What I like

Caseology makes awesome cases, and their precision and experience shows. The seams of the Parallax's two layers are perfectly flush. The port cutouts are wide and well-sculpted, and the slope leading up to the fingerprint sensor is wide, shallow, and the hard plastic makes it feel smoother than the TPU slopes on most other cases. The hard plastic around the cameras and heart rate sensor offers a higher level of protection around the vital sensors as well as adding an extra pop of color to draw the eye toward the camera when you're lining up subjects to take a shot.

The Parallax's texture is shallow and grippy enough that it's quite easy to use it with a phone grip, which is good news for those of us who need to use one with big phones like the Galaxy S9+. The pattern is simple but iconic, reminding me of many a geometric wallpaper and lending the case's back the same illusion of depth.

Sweat and smears

Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+ What I don't like

Unfortunately, this textured back and its surface texture tend to collect sweat and smudges. I used the case for not even 20 minutes before the back of the case felt wet to the touch, and when I flipped over, I saw sweat already collecting into several sizeable droplets across that triangular texturing. That sweat also pools on the hard-plastic edges of the case, making it a little harder to keep a sturdy grip on it.

In addition to collecting sweat, the Parallax seems to pick up smudges and fingerprints almost as quickly as the Caseology Skyfall case I reviewed previously. They're not quite as noticeable on a solid case as opposed to the Skyfall's crystal clear back, but they're there.

Parallax perfection

Caseology Parallax Case for Samsung Galaxy S9+

The Parallax is great for those looking for a little bit of style and texture while still having the stability and grip to use with a phone grip, magnetic mounts or wireless charging. Its texture is functional, fashionable, and nostalgic in equal measure, and the buttons and ports are all seamless and sturdy.

4 out of 5

The Caseology Parallax Case is a prime patterned hybrid case that comes in a color suited to every variation of the Galaxy S9+, including the Rose Gold. Admittedly, the blue model could be a bit brighter, like the bright pop of color on the Lilac Purple version, but it's still beautiful and adds some dark depth to its look.

See at Amazon

2 hours ago

Final Fantasy 7 Remake for PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake for PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know

Missed out on Final Fantasy 7 when it first released? Just want to revisit your favorite classic? Here's everything you need to know about the Final Fantasy 7 Remake

I still remember when the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer debuted on Sony's stage at E3 2015. I remember the disbelief at its existence; the utter awe of its cinematics; the complete euphoria of the crowd when the word "remake" appeared at the end of the trailer, squashing all thoughts that what they had just watched was for a movie or half-hearted remaster. It's a complete remake, and Final Fantasy 7 deserves nothing less. (Hello Final Fantasy 7 PS4 port! At a time when the remake was kept under wraps, you were the last thing that people wanted.)

Whether you're a new fan to the legendary JRPG franchise or returning to Midgar, here's everything you need to know about the remake.

What is Final Fantasy 7

I'm sure for many that this title needs little introduction. Final Fantasy is one of the most iconic series in gaming, and Final Fantasy 7 is arguably its crown jewel, defining the childhoods of fans around the world when it first released over twenty years ago in 1997. The attention surrounding it is probably why it was such a notable absence at E3 2018. The FF7 Remake is very much an evolution. In fact, it looks similar to what Capcom is doing with Resident Evil 2.

The story so far

Seeing the number 7 in its name may be intimidating, especially in a series that just released its 15th main installment, but don't let that deter you. Final Fantasy 7 is very much its own independent, standalone story. Following mercenary Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy 7 features a battle of epic proportions between the rebel eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE and the corrupt Shinra corporation, hell-bent on destroying the planet for its own gain.

The developers have hinted at slight story alterations or just adding more depth to its narrative in certain spots, but the main story beats will stay the same.

I don't want the remake to end as something solely nostalgic. I want to get the fans of the original version excited. We'll be making adjustments to the story with this thought in mind.

Though these weren't explained thoroughly, I'd imagine these adjustments may be some added dialogue or filler cutscenes to flesh out the world and characters more. They want it to surprise players while still retaining what made it so special to begin with. So yes, you'll still get one of the most shocking deaths in gaming history at the hands of Sephiroth.

Visuals: Midgar never looked so good

The graphics are being completely remade from the ground up using Unreal Engine 4. You won't just be getting a slight bump in resolution or better texture quality. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake will look and feel like it was originally designed in the present, not over two decades ago. A far cry from its pixelated 1997 counterpart. This is a high-definition remake, meaning the visuals will be more realistic than ever. Still, Square Enix is working hard not to sacrifice some of its stylized nature. If you need a comparison, think closer to what Final Fantasy 15 looks like.

Every location and character will look just how you'd imagine them to be. No more polygonal messes. When you think of what Midgar would look like today if Square Enix had designed it in 2018, that's what you're getting.

A lot of us tend to remember our favorite childhood games through rose-colored glasses, conveniently forgetting how rough they looked and how janky they played. Our imagination is clouded by our nostalgia, but it soon it'll be crystal clear.

Gameplay: A controversial evolution

Final Fantasy 7 originally featured an evolution of the turn-based combat system called Active Time Battle (ATB), which was similar to turn-based but with a few tweaks accounting for the timing of your actions. While turn-based combat was a staple of JRPGs, this is controversially changing in Final Fantasy 7's remake. It will feature real-time action, though the "ATB gauge and Limit Breaks will appear with new ways to be used," according to Producer Yoshinori Kitase.

Save for cutscenes and battles, the original gameplay was a mix of top-down/isometric viewpoints. Gameplay of the remake shows it will be more modern with a 3rd-person over-the-shoulder camera angle that is used in many action-adventure games today.

Wait, the game's being split up?

As it turns out, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake won't release all at once. At least, that's what Producer Yoshinori Kitase seemed to state. In an interview with Dengeki Online, Kitase said "The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning. We still can't share more information about its multiple parts, but please look forward to future announcements."

The interview is originally in Japanese, but Gematsu has provided the proper translations.

Series creator Tetsuya Nomura further went on to explain that fitting everything into a single release and dedicating the appropriate time to do that would mean condensing certain aspects of the game and cutting out parts entirely. To mitigate this as much as possible, the decision was made to release in multiple parts. Nomura even refers to these sections as "episodes."

Granted, this interview is from a few years ago, and the ever-changing technological landscape could have certainly affected these plans, but the studio has never communicated any differently up until this point. So for now, the game is being separated into different parts for release.

When can you play it?

If I could put that shrug emoji here, I would. Despite being announced over three years ago, we don't have a firm release date for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. In fact, we don't even have a release window.

Game Director Tetsuya Nomura is currently focused on Kingdom Hearts 3, though that should change once KH3 finally launches on January 25, 2019. Final Fantasy 7's remake is still very much in active development in the meantime, we just don't have a solid timetable to go on.

Its reveal trailer interestingly noted that people would be able to "play it first on PlayStation 4," with this specific wording calling into question whether it was merely a timed exclusive on Sony's platform. Right now it's only been confirmed for PlayStation 4, but a potential Xbox One release has not been ruled out.

While it doesn't have a release date we can look forward to, you can pre-order the Final Fantasy 7 Remake for $59.99. Just don't expect to jump into it soon. Right now you'll have to settle for its Standard Edition as Square Enix has not announced any special or collector's editions.

(The listing of December 31, 2018, on Amazon is a placeholder date, and is not indicative of its actual launch date.)

See on Amazon

2 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone: Rumors, Images, Details, and More!

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Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone: Rumors, Images, Details, and More!

Samsung foldable display
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S6 edge
Galaxy X render concept
Galaxy X render concept

Samsung foldable display

This will be the next big thing ... at some point.

The mobile industry has been tracking this rumored Samsung "Galaxy X" prototype phone for several months, gradually pushing back the supposed launch timeline for what's apparently to be a successor to the general "Galaxy S" line. But as waves of details about the upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9+ come in, we're still struggling for details on what this supposed Galaxy X with a foldable display will be. Here's the latest information.

The latest Galaxy X news

July 18, 2018 — Galaxy X reported to fold in the shape of a wallet, might cost over $1,500

A report from The Wall Street Journal surfaced this morning outlining a few key details we can expect from the Galaxy X. When describing the design of the phone, part of the report notes that:

The screen can be folded in half, like a wallet, these people said. When folded, the exterior of the phone boasts a small display bar on the front and cameras in the back, they added.

Furthermore, it's said that the Galaxy X has a screen that measures in at 7-inches diagonally.

As for pricing and availability, WSJ notes that the Galaxy X has "taken on a greater sense of urgency in recent months" and that its price tag could reach well beyond $1,500. The phone's expected to be released at some point in early 2019.

All the big details

Some background on Galaxy X rumors

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S6 edge

No, you didn't miss an announcement — Samsung didn't have anything public to say about the Galaxy X (if that is its real name) at CES 2018. But as many companies do, Samsung took the opportunity of having so many high-up industry people together to show off what it's working on to partners. According to The Investor, this year that included the Galaxy X. The device in question has a 7.3-inch display that can fold in the middle — multiple versions were shown, with different capabilities such as folding both inwards and outwards.

The inward-folding model (protecting the screen when closed) is reportedly the design with the most traction at the moment. The outward-folding one, on the other hand, includes "more advanced next-generation technology," whatever that entails. The rest of the specs of the phone aren't yet known, and considering how far out we are from a potential release — reportedly as late as early 2019 — those can and will change between now and then.

How will a 'foldable' phone actually work?

Samsung has of course been putting curved panels in production phones since the Galaxy Note Edge that eventually spawned into a phenomenon that has become a hallmark of Samsung's high-end devices. The company has been experimenting with bendable OLED panels for years, going so far as to show them off publicly as technology demonstrations. But the question is whether it could make devices with displays that could be actively bent or folded thousands of times as a regular part of use. The display would have to be very robust, but then you also have the issue of what covers the display panel — typical Gorilla Glass wouldn't do the trick.

Galaxy X render concept

LetsGoDigital has worked up renderings based on reports and patent filings that show the Galaxy X as a vertical-orientation phone, but with a hinge mechanism built into the sides of the phone. The phone would be rigid (and what looks to be extremely tall as well) when the display is extended and flat, but you could pull the top and bottom apart to expose the hinge to then bend while the screen follows suit.

Further renders show the phone while closed, which leaves a gap around the hinge portion not unlike a Microsoft Surface Book laptop. Large internal components would of course split between the top and bottom halves of the phone by the hinge.

Galaxy X render concept

Early rumors pointed to a Galaxy X with a hinge and two displays, but now we're talking about just one panel.

Early rumors of the Galaxy X pointed to some sort of announcement or teaser as early as late 2017, which obviously didn't happen. But those same rumors questioned whether the Galaxy X was truly a "bendable" phone with a single screen, or simply a hinged device with two distinct panels — like the ZTE Axon M, for example. It seems now that Samsung's going to attempt a full-on single bendable display. Other rumors also had indicated Samsung had a more tablet-shaped device with this bendable display technology in place, and that may still be on the table in different future devices, but in terms of the "Galaxy X" it looks to be a traditional vertical phone orientation.

When it will be announced

Our next best bet for when we'll hear more about the Galaxy X will be MWC 2018, which kicks off at the end of February. That's where Samsung has already said it will unveil the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and perhaps that will come along with a tease or some sort of information on what's coming after that. Fingers crossed.

As for the full reveal, it's more likely that we'll be waiting until the second half of 2018. In its Q4 2017 earnings release, Samsung said it would be placing a higher emphasis on foldable OLED displays going forward and that those plans included debuting a foldable phone very soon. Based on this statement being made in January, it's a good sign the Galaxy X could be revealed in 2018. An actual sales date could easily push into 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S9: Rumors, Specs, Release Date, and More!

Update February 2018: Updated with the latest rumors and information that has leaked in the past month.

3 hours ago

Get the training required to pass the CompTIA Security+ exam for just $59!

Get the training required to pass the CompTIA Security+ exam for just $59!

When it comes to data security, CompTIA is the golden standard of certification. If you're interested in a career in data security, you'll need to pass the Security+ (SY0-501) exam

The problem here is that the training covers a broad range of topics and the courses required are usually not cheap. Right now, however, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on the 2018 CompTIA Security Certification Training Bundle, you'll pay just $59. That's 98 percent off the regular price!

This training bundle contains 14 courses with over 140 hours of content included, which covers everything from everything you need to know to pass the various IT certification exams.

If you're interested in becoming a certified data security specialist, this is the course you need. Don't wait too long — this price is only here for a limited time.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

3 hours ago

Best Verizon Wireless Deals & Promotions

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Best Verizon Wireless Deals & Promotions

No matter what T-Mobile says, you can actually find some pretty great deals on Verizon.

Verizon Wireless has some of the largest coverage for customers in the United States, and although T-Mobile likes to continually poke fun at the carrier for having high monthly rates, there are actually some really solid deals to be found if you know where to look.

You can typically find quite a few deals being run by Verizon at any given time, but if you only want to look at the best of the best and don't have time to sift through the garbage, that's where we come in.

These are best deals on Verizon Wireless right now.

Buy one top Android phone, get another for free!

As awesome as flagship smartphones are, their high prices are a pain in the butt — especially when buying more than one at the same time. Thankfully, Verizon's got you covered no matter what you've got your eye on.

Right now, you can buy one flagship phone and get another one for free or with a heavy discount — no trade-in required. This promotion is available for the Google Pixel 2/2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, LG G7 ThinQ, Galaxy Note 8, and more.

The one caveat to this deal is that you'll need to add one new line of service in order to be eligible, but assuming you need to add another line to your account or are looking to switch to Verizon, this is a great offer.

See at Verizon

Score $50 off the JBL Link 10, Link 20, and Link 300

Bluetooth speakers are essential for making the most out of your summer, and to help you do just that, Verizon's offering $50 off the JBL Link 10, Link 20, and Link 300. As such, prices work out to $99, $149, and $199, respectively.

This offer is good through the rest of July, so be sure to act quickly if you want to take advantage of it.

Also, since none of the speakers require a data connection of any sort, you can purchase them and still get the discount even if you're not a Verizon Wireless subscriber!

See at Verizon

Take $150 off the Galaxy Tab S3 w/ purchase of an Android phone

Android tablets may not be all that popular these days, but if you're in the market for one, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best you can buy.

The Tab S3 is still pretty expensive on Verizon with a price of $599 on a two-year contract, but you can take $150 off when purchased with any Android phone.

That brings the tablet down to just $449, and while still not cheap, is a heck of a lot more affordable.

See at Verizon

Save $50 - $150 on the Asus ZenPad Z10

If the Galaxy Tab S3 is still more expensive than what you're looking to spend on a new tablet, you may be interested in Asus's ZenPad Z10.

The Z10 isn't quite as flashy as the Tab S3, but it's still worth a look thanks to its 10-inch IPS 2K display, DTS-HD premium audio, and up to 20 hours of battery life with regular use.

When you make 24 monthly payments on the ZenPad Z10, you can get it for just $11.66/month for a total savings of $50. If you don't mind signing a two-year contract, you can pick it up for only $179.99 ($150 off the regular $329.99 retail price).

See at Verizon

Updated July 2018: Added new deals for July!

Carriers

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3 hours ago

Treat yourself to a refurbished Acer Chromebook 15 for just $225

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Treat yourself to a refurbished Acer Chromebook 15 for just $225

A refurb worthy of your purchase!

Amazon currently has the Acer Chromebook 15 on sale for $224.99 in certified refurbished condition. It's being sold directly from Acer's recertified store and comes with a minimum of 90-days of warranty coverage in case you run into any issues, but each one is tested to work and look like new before as part of the refurbishment process. It has a 15-inch display, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and obviously runs Google's ChromeOS.

There may not be a ton of local storage, but keep in mind that Google offers 100GB of Google Drive space to help keep your files backed up in the cloud. This price is good for today only, so be sure to grab one now!

See at Amazon

3 hours ago

Best Cheap Bluetooth Speakers Under $50 in 2018

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Best Cheap Bluetooth Speakers Under $50 in 2018

Want to fill your house with lovely music? Check out these wireless speakers!

Nothing makes a party better than some music. And nothing makes playing music easier than a Bluetooth speaker, especially as more and more phone manufacturers omit the 3.5mm headphone jack. Fortunately, you don't need to spend a fortune just to make your tunes louder.

These are the best cheap Bluetooth speakers under $50!

Anker Soundcore 2

Anker leads the pack when it comes to inexpensive accessories, and they have four great cheap speakers to choose from. "Cheap" doesn't mean "junk"; these are well-built products that can withstand your day to day use. The best speaker for most people will be the standard Soundcore 2: this is a compact speaker that offers 24 hours of battery, 12 watts of sound, and surprisingly good bass for the size. The speaker is rated IPX5 water-resistant: don't expect it to survive a raging river, but it's fine to take in the shower. This speaker charges with Micro-USB, and features a 3.5mm input in addition to Bluetooth 4.2.

Anker's Soundcore 2 speaker is available in black for $40, and in blue or red for $42.

See at Amazon

Anker Soundcore mini

If you need something even more compact, Anker still has you covered. Its Soundcore mini has a shorter battery life, doesn't get as loud or as bassy, but is more compact in return. The cylindrical speaker fires your music up, with play/pause and volume buttons on the front. Around back you'll find the Micro-USB charging port, 3.5mm input and microSD slot, and you can, of course, connect to your phone with Bluetooth 4.0. The battery allows for 15 hours of playtime, more than enough for most parties. There's no official IP rating, so exercise caution if you want to use this while you shower.

The Anker Soundcore mini is available in black, gold, grey and pink for $30.

See at Amazon

Anker Classic Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

If you want a bit of a different design, Anker's Classic Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is for you. This speaker is shaped like a cube instead of a cylinder, but the speaker still fires up to fill out your space. The play/pause and volume buttons are still accessible on the front, and the Micro-USB port, 3.5mm jack and power switch are still located on the back. The battery is good for between 15 and 20 hours of playback, depending on your volume. Once again there's no IP rating, so don't try to take this near the pool.

Anker's Classic Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is available in black for $28.

See at Amazon

AUKEY Bluetooth Stereo Speaker

AUKEY is another big name in the accessory space, and it offers great Bluetooth speakers as well. Its Bluetooth Stereo Speaker sounds great and looks classy, the two most important things for speakers to do. Playback controls are located on top, with the speakers facing outward to blast through your rooms. The Micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm input jack are located on the back, and you can, of course, connect to your phone with Bluetooth 4.0. Battery life is weak at only ten hours, so you'll be making frequent use of that charging port. There's no IP rating, so be cautious of where you use this speaker.

AUKEY's Bluetooth Stereo Speaker is available in silver for $44.

See at Amazon

AUKEY Outdoor Speaker Wireless Bluetooth

If you need something with super long battery life, something that can take a beating — or both — AUKEY has another speaker just for you. Its Outdoor speaker offers 30 hours of playback and a rugged design that'll gladly accompany you on a trip to the lake or up in the mountains. The Micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm audio jack are hidden behind a rubber door, and playback controls are on top. The speaker even features a threaded hole for mounting it to a tripod, bicycle, or another compatible accessory. There's no official IP rating, but AUKEY says the speaker is "water-resistant."

AUKEY's Outdoor speaker is available for $47.

See at Amazon

ELEGIANT Bluetooth Computer Speaker

If you're looking for something a bit more permanent — or need a speaker to pull double duty at your computer desk — ELEGIANT has the speaker for you. This speaker can be permanently placed to output music from your desktop, or it can come with you for parties. Battery life isn't great at between five and ten hours, but if you keep this plugged in at your computer station a majority of the time that won't be an issue. This can connect to devices with either Bluetooth 4.0 or a 3.5mm jack. Playback controls are on the back, but volume is controlled with a lovely knob on the right side. ELEGIANT doesn't mention any sort of water resistance, so keep this away from the river.

ELEGIANT's Bluetooth Computer Speaker is available for $40.

See at Amazon

What's your pick?

Which cheap speaker do you like the most? Let us know down below!

3 hours ago

The Amazon Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot, and Instant Pot were this year's Prime Day best-sellers

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The Amazon Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot, and Instant Pot were this year's Prime Day best-sellers

More than 100 million products purchased worldwide.

Now that the huge 36-hour event is over, Amazon is offering us a quick look inside some of the successes of Prime Day 2018. As we expected, this was the biggest shopping event that Amazon has ever had, beating out previous Prime Day events, as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday when comparing the same lengths of time. During the 36 hours, Prime members purchased over 100 million products around the world, and while the best-seller list varied by region, there were some clear standouts.

Amazon's Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot lead in overall sales for the whole day, which isn't overly surprising given that the deals were available 12 hours before the event started and Amazon had slashed the prices by around 50% on each. Philips Hue lights, Instant Pots, SanDisk SD cards, and more were popular across several regions, and Amazon says it welcomed more new Prime members on July 16 than any other single day in its history.

Last night we broke down the most popular items as purchased by you, our readers. That list included:

  1. Amazon Fire TV Stick
  2. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
  3. SanDisk 128GB microSD Card
  4. Amazon Echo Dot (2nd-Gen)
  5. Toshiba 50-inch 4K Fire TV Edition
  6. Instant Pot DUO60 6-Quart
  7. Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera
  8. Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader
  9. Roku Streaming Stick
  10. Amazon eGift Cards

Overall, our list is quite similar to Amazon's but there are a few differences. The Toshiba 50-inch Fire TV was quite popular amongst our readers, and while Amazon said it was the best-selling TV deal to date, it didn't make the top sellers list for the day. Other devices, like the Roku Streaming Stick, Cloud Cam, and even the Kindle weren't on Amazon's list either. Keep in mind, the gift card likely only made the list because Amazon was offering a $5 credit with the purchase of a $25 card, so it was basically free money.

3 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Watch rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!

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Samsung Galaxy Watch rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!

The Galaxy Watch could be Samsung's best and boldest smartwatch yet — here's why.

It's been a hot minute since Samsung released the Gear S3, and while the Gear Sport did a nice job at holding us over for a while longer, it's time we get a proper sequel to one of 2016's best smartwatches.

The rumor mill suggests that this year will see Samsung release the successor we've been longing for, but instead of a traditional Gear S4, reports are coming out that the new gadget will be called the "Galaxy Watch" and use an operating system Samsung hasn't dabbled with since 2014.

What is the Galaxy Watch and why should you care about it? Here's everything you need to know!

The latest Galaxy Watch news

July 18, 2018 — Galaxy Watch to launch with the Note 9, Tizen now expected to be the OS of choice

Up until now, we've been unsure as to when Samsung will be announcing the Galaxy Watch. The possibilities include the Note 9 event and IFA, but according to a new report from ZDNet, it'll be the former of those two.

The Note 9 launch is scheduled to take place on August 9 in New York City, and along with this, ZDNet also says pre-orders will go live just a few days later on August 14 with an official launch following on August 24.

Furthermore, both that report and one from SamMobile claim that the Galaxy Watch will actually run Tizen and not Wear OS like we've heard from other rumors. This does seem more likely considering the time and money Samsung's invested into Tizen, but maybe we'll still see a special edition of sorts that does run Wear OS? Who knows.

July 10, 2018 — New logo confirms the Galaxy Watch name

Looks like that Galaxy Watch branding is the real deal.

A few short days after that name popped up for the first time, the above logo was spotted going through the Korean Intellectual Property Office — essentially confirming that Samsung's next watch will be called the Galaxy Watch and not the Gear S4.

July 6, 2018 — Samsung's next smartwatch might be called Galaxy Watch and use Wear OS after all

The back and forth continues! About a month after Evan Blass put the Wear OS rumors to rest, reliable Samsung tipster Ice Universe shared on Twitter that Samsung's next smartwatch — named the Galaxy Watch — will run Wear OS after all.

Additionally, it's also noted that the Galaxy Watch will have a 470 mAh battery, a blood pressure measurement system, and will utilize "new UX interaction" — possibly something to replace the rotating bezel we've had since the Gear S2.

June 7, 2018 — Those watches running Wear OS were just "one-offs" from Google

False alarm, folks. A few days after the Wear OS rumor popped up, Blass took to Twitter with the following update:

May 23, 2018 — Samsung smartwatches have been seen running Wear OS, not Tizen

Samsung's own Tizen operating system has been the go-to choice for almost all of the company's wearables, but according to a new rumor from Evan Blass, that could change this year.

Per to a tweet Blass shared, some Samsung employees have been wearing Gear watches that are running Google's Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear).

The last time Samsung released a watch with Google's wearable OS was back in 2014 with the Gear Live, so it's very interesting to hear that Tizen could be put on the shelf this year in favor of something else.

All the big details

What's with this talk about Wear OS?

Almost all of Samsung's wearable products have used the company's own Tizen operating system, but with the Galaxy Watch, that could be changing.

Back in late May, it was reported that some Samsung employees had been seen wearing Gear watches running Google's Wear OS (previously called Android Wear). That rumor was put to rest a couple weeks later, but then on July 6, another tipster stated that the Galaxy Watch will, in fact, use Wear OS instead of Tizen.

While that may seem like a ball out of left field, this wouldn't be unheard of for Samsung. In 2014, one of the very first Android Wear watches to come out was the Samsung Gear Live.

However, on July 18, another report popped up claiming that Tizen will actually be the operating system of choice — not Wear OS.

We're still not entirely sure what's going to happen here, but a Wear OS watch from Samsung would be a huge win for the platform as a whole. Google needs big names to back Wear OS, and who better to support it than one of the largest companies on the planet?

When will the Galaxy Watch be released?

Samsung's yet to release any teasers or press invites for the Galaxy Watch, but according to the rumor mill, we'll see it announced alongside the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9.

Current rumors point to the Galaxy Watch launching on August 24.

Following the August 9 announcement, pre-orders for the Galaxy Watch will follow on August 14. From there, the gadget will officially launch on August 24.

Should that rumor turn out to be false, the next logical announcement will likely come during IFA in Berlin in late August / early September.

How much will the Galaxy Watch cost?

Now, most importantly, let's talk price.

As much as we loved the Gear S3, its price tag wasn't the easiest to swallow at the time at $349. However, compared to today's market, that's not really unheard of.

A Series 3 Apple Watch with GPS and LTE will set you back at least $399. If you get the model without LTE, you're still looking at a minimum of $329.

With that in mind, we'll probably see the Galaxy Watch sell for around $300 - $350 depending on whether or not it has LTE.

That's certainly not cheap, but if Samsung knocks it out of the park with its design and features, it should be able to hold its over (if not trump) what Apple's currently offering.

Android Wear

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 July 18, 2018: Updated Wear OS and release date sections to reflect current rumors/reports.

*/ /*-->*/
4 hours ago

Google defends Android following $5 billion fine from European Commission

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Google defends Android following $5 billion fine from European Commission

The EC claims Google is too heavy-handed with its services on the OS.

Less than a week ago, a report claimed that the European Commission was in talks to fine Google for heavily pushing its software/services on Android. The EC has since made that news official and is charging Google €4.3 billion (around $5 billion USD).

Margrethe Vestager is one of the people leading this charge against Google, and according to her, Google's acted illegally by requiring Android OEMs to pre-load Google Search and Chrome onto Android phones, pay manufacturers to exclusively install certain Google apps over competing ones, and prevent them from selling any sort of smart device that runs a "forked" version of Android.

Google's since said it plans on appealing the fine, and shortly after it was issued, CEO Sundar Pichai published a blog defending his company's treatment of Android.

As Pichai notes:

The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission's own market survey confirmed. It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones.

It's still unclear what sort of repercussions the European Commission's actions will have here, but if Google fails to change its business practices within the next 90 days, it'll be faced with an additional fine of up to 5% for its global daily turnover.

What's your take on this? Should Google be fined for pushing its services on Android, or does it have a right to seeing as how it owns the operating system? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below.

Google Duplex will begin testing in the real world this summer

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