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1 week ago

Best Touchscreen Gloves for Winter 2018

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Best Touchscreen Gloves for Winter

What are the best touchscreen gloves? The ones that keep your hands warm and actually work!

There are still a few weeks left in winter, and that means that using your phone outside is uncomfortable and makes for frigid digits. That is, unless you have some awesome touchscreen gloves that let you use your phone with toasty phalanges.

Not all gloves of this nature work very well, so here are the best of the best to keep you texting even when Jack Frost is nipping at your butt.

Mujjo double-layered touchscreen gloves

Mujjo

These dual-layer gloves are Mujjo's response to customers asking for something a bit thicker for colder climes. They added a layer of wool (just like grandma used to do!), so you can now have your phone and keep your hands warm too. For $35, that's not a bad deal at all.

Silicone grips all over the palms of these gloves make sure your phone doesn't slip out of your hands in slippery weather, and Mujjo has made it so that you can use any fingertip, knuckle, and even the palm or heel of your hand. It's almost like you're wearing nothing at all… Nothing at all… Nothing at all!

See at Amazon


Agloves

Agloves

These acrylic gloves have ten-finger functionality, meaning you can use any finger to use your phone, while keeping warm.

They come in black, red, brown, navy, or white and in a few different sizes depending on the color you choose, with pricing starting around $7. These aren't the thickest gloves around and probably won't do the trick when temps drop below zero, but what are you doing standing around long enough to use your phone when it's that cold anyway?

See at Amazon


The North Face Etip

North Face ThermoBall Etip

As a Canadian, I can attest to The North Face's quality. The Etips are a little on the bulky side for touchscreen gloves, so movement is somewhat difficult, but they work exceptionally well, even in colder weather.

They come in men's and women's sizes and styles, so there's an for everybody, with pricing starting around $40. Pricing starts around $40.

See at Amazon


Glove.ly Cozy Touch Screen Glove

Glove.ly

Glove.ly Cozy gloves (around $9 to start) let you use any part of your hand to control your phone. They're not for arctic temperatures, but they're warmer than most of the thinner touchscreen gloves you might find.

If your screen gets smudged and dirty, you can use the built-in microfiber label to keep it clean, and magnets hidden under the logo help to make sure you don't lose a glove.

They come in small or medium/large, so make sure you choose the right size.

See at Amazon


Moshi Digits

Moshi Digits

Moshi's gloves are nice and thick and woolly, making them perfect for places where the winter game is strong. The $30 Digits are the Wirecutter's top pick, since they work well while also keeping your hands toasty, and in their testing, they found that the raised rubber lines and dots provide such good grip that they could use their phone one handed.

If you're looking for the best in touchscreen gloves, these may be just that for you. Only available in light gray, but at least it goes with everything?

See at Moshi


Elma Italian leather gloves

If you love the luxurious feel of genuine Italian Nappa leather and wouldn't mind only paying $25 for that feeling, then have I got the gloves for you.

These gorgeous gloves come in a few different colors and come lined with either fleece or cashmere (for $10 more). Amazon reviews say that the touchscreen fingers work incredibly well, the gloves fit well, look awesome, and keep your hands nice and toasty. Hell, for $20-$30, you could grab a few pair. Just make sure you choose the right size before checking out.

See at Amazon

Women's Gloue gloves

These cashmere-lined gloves come in red and black are just for the ladies. They feature a touchscreen forefinger and thumb and come in red or black, starting at only $14 for the red pair.

The stylish button cuffs with a bit of the lining visible make these really stand out and the price is right to grab both!

See at Amazon

Nanotips

Nanotip

Don't feel like buying a brand new pair of gloves? Nanotips makes it so you don't have to. Just paint a coating onto the thumbs and fingertips of your favorite gloves and they become touchscreen gloves.

The efficacy of Nanotips really depends on the what material your gloves are made of, and you may see varying results with different pairs of gloves. Nanotips does make a leather formula and one for fabric/acrylic, so make sure you choose the correct formula. Pricing starts around $17.

See at Amazon


Got a favorite?

Do you have a favorite pair of touchscreen gloves? Do you even use them? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated January 2018: Added pricing for each item, removed the 180s Sustain, and added the Elma and Gloue gloves to the list.

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1 week ago

Google Play Music: Everything you need to know!

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There is more music than you can imagine right at your fingertips.

While there are many apps that stream music, and stream it well, Google Play Music is Google's music service, and as such is an app that comes on millions and millions of devices. While the app has gotten clunkier in recent years, the app is still undoubtedly one of the most useful on the Android scene, and with generous benefits to both paid and free users, it's an app worth getting to know.

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1 week ago

OnePlus wants to begin talks with U.S. carriers, Snapdragon 845-powered phone coming in Q2 2018

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The next OnePlus phone will also be here in late Q2.

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Ever since the launch of the OnePlus One in 2014, OnePlus has always sold its phones unlocked through its website to customers in the United States. Buying unlocked typically makes the most economic sense in the long run, but there's no doubt that availability on wireless carriers results in greater visibility and considerably more sales.

In an interview with CNET, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed that the company is interested in beginning talks with U.S. carriers this year and that "if the right opportunity and right timing come along, we'll be very happy to experiment." Along with this, Lau also said that the next OnePlus phone — powered by the Snapdragon 845 — is scheduled for a release at some point in late Q2 2018.

Huawei, another China-based company that's much older than OnePlus, recently tried launching its Mate 10 Pro smartphone on U.S. carriers and was met with less than desirable results. AT&T was the first to back out of the deal, and Verizon shortly followed suit.

OnePlus already sells its devices on wireless carriers in other countries (such as O2 in the United Kingdom), but following the recent Huawei situation, OnePlus could be faced with a similar uphill battle.

Assuming OnePlus can make a deal with carriers in the United States, which one(s) would you like to see it partner with?

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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1 week ago

Oculus Go: Everything you need to know!

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We now have a third headset on the way from Oculus.

At Oculus Connect 4, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Oculus is working a new headset that sits in a "sweet spot" somewhere between Gear VR and Rift.

Officially called Oculus Go, this headset requires no phone and no cables running to the PC. It will be able to play movies, run games, and help you meet up with friends in VR. We've got the details for you here!

What is Oculus Go?

Oculus Go is the third headset from Oculus, and it's meant to sit between Gear VR and Oculus Rift. A cordless headset, you'll no longer have to strap in at your PC, or have enough juice on your phone in order to play in VR.

It is built to be lightweight, has a new mesh foam interface, and it supposedly has the best visual clarity so far seen in VR, thanks to new lenses and a WQHD LCD fast-switch display with a higher fill-factor than OLED. We learned at CES 2018 that Oculus Go is going to be made by Xiaomi, and it will be run by a Snapdragon 821 processor making it more than capable of playing the awesome games that are going to be available.

Oculus says this headset lives somewhere in between the Gear VR and Oculus Rift, but it leans much closer to the Gear VR than you might expect. This is a standalone headset, meaning the computer is inside the headset with the display, but it's still an Android-powered headset. The good news is this means it will run many of the apps currently available for the Gear VR. That means the headset will not let you walk around and do much. Functionally, this will be very similar to the Gear VR.

Read more: Lenovo Mirage vs Oculus Go

Whats the difference between Oculus Go and Gear VR?

To begin with, Oculus Go is a stand-alone headset. This means no need to be wired into your computer like Oculus Rift, or the need for a top of the line phone like with Gear VR. It's a middle of the road option that is priced affordably in an effort to draw in new users to help Oculus reach their goal of one billion VR users.

Instead of including headphones with the headset, a spatial audio experience is built right into the headset. That is spatial speakers that are built on the rails of the headset to let you hear what's going on clearly without headphones. Of course, if you'd rather go with classic headphones, you can plug a set of your own into a 3.5mm jack. Oculus Go will have a controller similar to that of Gear VR, meaning devs can create apps that work on both platforms.

Indeed, a lot of the Gear VR's best apps will be available for the Oculus Go from day one. The controller employs three degrees of freedom (DoF), which is the same as the Gear VR controller. It's interesting to note that the Go headset will also use three DoF. To put that into perspective, the Oculus Rift uses six DoF.

Oculus Go will also have access to its own catalog of games and apps to dive into on launch day. While ports of Gear VR games are sure to show up, you'll be getting access to new content with Oculus Go. From the photos we've seen of Oculus Go, there is also a fairly pared down look compared to Gear VR. No touchpad on the side of the headset, and only two buttons on the top; volume controls, and a power button.

When is it launching?

For the time being, we don't have a solid release date. This headset was announced at Oculus 4 in October of 2017 with the goal of an early 2018 launch. We haven't heard anything about a release date quite yet, but hopefully, that will be changing soon.

Get notified about the launch date at Oculus

How much will it cost?

While we don't have an exact launch date yet, we do know how much Oculus Go is going to cost. You'll be able to pick up this standalone headset for a tidy sum of $199. Considering Gear VR alone costs $129.99 and requires a top of the line smartphone, this is pretty exciting news!

Are you excited?

For now we don't have a ton of information about everything that Oculus Go will be able to offer, but that should be changing soon. However, the details we do have are definitely worth getting excited about, especially since this is a stand-alone headset, with an affordable price tag. Are you excited about Oculus Go, or are you sticking with another Oculus headset? Let us know about it in the comments below!

January, 2018: We've updated this post with new information about Oculus Go including the price!

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1 week ago

Google purchased a company that turns displays into speakers

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Is this a sign of things to come on the Pixel 3?

Right ahead of the Pixel 2's unveiling last fall, it was announced that Google purchased a heap of smartphone engineers from HTC to spearhead smartphone projects for the coming years. According to a report from Bloomberg, Google made another purchase about a month before this for UK-based company Redux.

If you haven't heard of Redux, you're not alone. The company hasn't actually released any consumer-facing products, but the tech it's developed is awfully intriguing. Redux's technology uses vibrations with displays for a variety of different things, and the most notable use of this is the ability to harness these vibrations to turn displays into functioning speakers.

The folks at Mashable got a chance to go hands-on with a tablet demoing this at MWC last year, and in the video you see below, all the sound is coming from the display – not a traditional external speaker.

Along with this, Redux can also use these vibrations to create haptic feedback when interacting with a display that tries to mimic the feel of touching buttons and moving sliders/dials. This sounds an awful lot like what Apple's been doing with its Taptic Engine, and if you've ever messed around with a device that uses it, you know just how awesome it really is.

It's unclear if/when Google will integrate this tech into products of its own, but there's a very real possibility we could see a Pixel 3 next year with a display that acts as a speaker and some of the best haptic response yet on an Android device. We might be getting a little ahead of ourselves with that thought, but only time will tell where Google ends up going with this.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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1 week ago

Best microSD Cards for Galaxy S8 as of January 2018

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What are the best microSD cards for the Galaxy S8?

Following in the footsteps of the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 offers support for microSD cards so you can increase the storage of the phone. This time around, however, Samsung has increased the onboard storage from 32GB up to 64GB, so many people may find that more than enough. But if you're worried about filling that 64GB up with music, video or pictures, you should grab a microSD card and put it all there so you can easily access it.

Here are some of the best options to put in your new Galaxy S8, divided into performance and value options.

Performance options

These cards are all rated U3, which is a speed classification shorthand for UHS Speed Class 3, offering a minimum sequential write speed of 30MB/s. Why does this matter? Because without a card this fast, the Galaxy S8 can't record 4K video to an external card.

SanDisk Extreme 32GB

If the 64GB that Samsung gives you inside the Galaxy S8 isn't enough for your daily needs, adding a bit more doesn't have to cost a ton. SanDisk's high-performance microSDHC UHS-I Card ($19) offers transfer speeds of up to 80MB/s and with its U3 rating it is capable of handling 4K video.

Adding 32GB of storage to a 64GB phone may seem a bit weird, but if you aren't looking to spend a lot this may be the way to go at under $20 for the card. If you want a bit more storage, you can get the 64GB SanDisk Extreme for just under $32.

See at Amazon

PNY U3 Pro Elite 128GB

If you're planning to do a lot of 4K video recording, you'll want a fast and reliable card in your phone. PNY's U3 Pro Elite 128GB card adds plenty of storage and the speeds you need. Classified at U3, it is great for video, and it is capable of up to 95MB/s read and 90MB/s write. At around $60, this is a relatively inexpensive option, and it is highly-rated and reliable.

See at Amazon

Samsung 256GB EVO Select microSD

Samsung's own 256GB EVO Select microSD card (around $150) is one of the best to go for if you are ready to just go all out on storage. With read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s you can quickly and easily transfer files to and from the phone. It's also U3 classified which makes it perfect for 4K video.

With the speed and storage capacity comes a larger price tag on this card, but if you want the biggest on the market this is the way to go.

See at Amazon

Value options

If you don't care about 4K video capture and just want a card that stores media for playback, or captures exclusively 1080p video on the Galaxy S8, these cards cost significantly less than U3-speed options.

Samsung EVO 128GB microSD

Samsung's EVO 128GB microSD card (about $55) isn't the company's top offering, but it comes with decent speeds and a price tag to match. With up to 48MB/s read and write (Class 10 or U1 classification), it can handle 1080p video without a problem. If you want a Samsung-branded card that doesn't break the bank, this is the one to go with.

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD

SanDisk is a well-known company when it comes to memory cards and storage products, and cards like this show you why. The SanDisk Ultra 128GB (around $44) is a Class 10 card that comes with a 10-year warranty and has quick transfer speeds (up to 80MB/s), so it should check many of the boxes that you look for in a microSD card.

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD

If you're looking to add a lot of extra storage at a relatively low cost, the SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD card (around $75) is the way to go. This Class 10 card provides transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s and can record Full HD video. If you like to keep your digital library with you at all times, you'll want one of these.

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

Do you have a favorite microSD card that isn't listed here? Be sure to drop a comment below and let us know which card it is, and why you like it!

Updated January 2018: These are still our top picks for microSD cards for your Galaxy S8 if you need some extra storage for the new year!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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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.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link: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.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link: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.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link: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.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 week ago

Star Wars: Rivals is a PvP shooter coming soon to Android

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Available now for pre-registration on the Play Store.

Ever since The Force Awakens came out in 2015 and kicked off yearly movie releases, the Star Wars hype has been in full "force." This has resulted in a heap of Star Wars titles flooding the Play Store, and the latest to enter the ring is Star Wars: Rivals.

Star Wars: Rivals is being marketed as "the first real-time Star Wars competitive action shooter for mobile devices," and as someone that hasn't been all that interested in previous Star Wars mobile games, this might be the first to get my attention.

The gameplay is centered around cover-based action, with a big focus on online PvP battles. You can fight on a variety of planets, including Bespin, Scarif, Jakku, and the Death Star, and joining a faction will allow you to get increased damage, health, etc.

Heros can be swapped in and out of battles at any given time, and there are quite a few to choose from – including Darth Vader, Captain Phasma, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Jyn Erso, Chewbacca, and others.

You can pre-register for Star Wars: Rivals on the Play Store now, and when the game's made available to download, Android users will get exclusive access to Death Troopers that'll act as fire support during online matches.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is an RPG coming to Android in 2018

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1 week ago

If your phone powers wirelessly, RAVPower's $33 charging pad will do it fast

3

Use this whether you have a new iPhone or Android phone.

This RAVPower fast charging Qi wireless charging pad is down to $32.99 with code ZDWIRECH on Amazon. The charging pad is $45 without the code, but that's a very recent drop. It actually sells at $50 far more frequently. This price is a match for a deal we saw in late December.

This charging pad works with the newest iPhones and Android phones. It also comes with a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter for phones that can handle it.

Features include:

  • 7.5W wireless charging for newest iPhone X / 8 Plus / 8 is enabled in the latest iOS 11.2 update - faster than traditional 3.5W-5W wireless chargers
  • Compatible with All Qi-Enabled Phones: Includes iPhone X, iPhone 8, 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus; non-Qi enabled phones are still compatible but will require a Qi wireless charging cover to power up
  • Fast & Free 24W QC 3.0 Adapter: Includes a powerful Quick Charge 3. 0 adapter that boosts the max output to 10W so selected Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, or Microsoft Lumia phones can charge even faster
  • Portable, Practical, Stylish, and Safe: Lightweight, take anywhere size with silicone anti-skid design to prevent sliding; smart battery indicator; built-in over-current, over-voltage, and over-temperature protection systems

This device has 4.1 stars based on 560 user reviews.

See on Amazon

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1 week ago

Best Android apps for learning a language in 2018

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Learning a new language doesn't have to happen in a classroom.

A new year means new resolutions, and for some folks, that means sitting down and deciding to learn a new language. After all, in a world that is becoming increasingly multicultural, being multilingual is a handy skill. If you've been trying to figure out if there's a good app that will let you learn while commuting or at home, then we've got good news for you.

We've collected the best language learning apps on Android for you right here!

Learn languages: Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is already well known as a great way to begin learning a new language, but you may not have realized that it was available on your phone. With access to 28 different languages, a slow and steady pace that is great for building up your confidence, and optional live tutoring, there is a reason that Rosetta Stone is king when it comes to language learning apps. Whether you're aiming to learn for fun, or you want to become fluent, this is a great place to start. This program will let you learn how to speak, write, and read in a new language, with an emphasis on building confidence in pronunciation and the ability to sync progress across your desktop and mobile devices.

When it comes to language apps, Rosetta Stone may already be the first software you think of. There's a good reason for that too. For years Rosetta Stone has dominated language learning on PC and its mobile version is just as solid. While getting access to the full program is a bit pricey, if you're motivated to really learn a new language it's worth the hit to your wallet in the long run.

Jill Duffy of PCMag gave it high marks for a foundation in a new language.

"Rosetta Stone is a wonderful, polished, and technically competent language-learning program, especially for beginners who are looking to build a foundation of knowledge on their own time."

While Rosetta Stone does have it's limitations, for those without a background in the language they're trying to learn, this is the most solid all-around program. While it can be repetitive, that's to make sure that your new vocabulary sticks in your brain. At higher levels, you'll also be able to read to the program while it listens to your pronunciation. Additionally, it employs games like bingo to help your association between individual words and their meanings.

One of the biggest perks to Rosetta Stone is how they introduce everything. Immersion is the key to learning with Rosetta Stone, combined with deductive reasoning. At time you'll need to guess a new word, but it's made easier by giving you choices of other words that you've already learned.

Download: Rosetta Stone(Subscription required)

Duolingo

Duolingo

While price isn't an option for some people, if you're looking for the best way to begin learning a new language on a budget then Duolingo is definitely the best bet. This free app has access to over 20 different languages to learn from Vietnamese and Irish to Spanish and German. Unlike most other programs, Duolingo employs XP and leaderboards so that you can learn with your friends and turns language into a game to be played.

Each language is a little bit different, and the more popular languages do have access to far more module lessons. Each one starts out the same though. You'll deal with the basics before moving on to phrases and language-specific lessons. The leaderboards will show you which friends on Facebook use the app and will let you compete against each other. By completing modules you'll also earn EXP and Lingots which you can use to purchase extra modules. If you're learning with friends, you can also start clubs which allows you to turn learning a language into a group activity.

Duolingo makes learning a language fun, and with its social aspects, it's easy to learn a language with friends. Absolutely free, you never need to pay a penny in order to learn everything it has to offer. It even also allows people coming back to a language to test past the basics and jump right back into learning new content.

Download: Duolingo(Free)

Babbel

Babbel

If you're looking for a solid middle of the road option for learning a new language, then Babbel ought to be your go to. It offers a subscription for access to the full catalog, but it isn't nearly as expensive as picking up a copy of Rosetta Stone. Each language is made up of a variety of courses from beginning vocabulary to grammar and writing in the language you are learning.

Each lesson must be downloaded to your phone, but they only take a moment or two and then you can properly jump in. Those lessons are also fairly short, making them easy to rock through when you're sitting on the train during your commute. There are currently 14 languages in the Babbel arsenal, from Spanish to Brazilian Portuguese.

Babbel offers an affordable middle of the road option for learning a new language. There are 14 different languages available, with plenty of courses to get you working towards fluency in a new language. Each language must be downloaded as a different app, which can be a bit bulky if you download more than one at a time but this does make it easier to stick with a language once you get started.

Download: Babbel(Subscription required after free trial)

Questions?

Whether you're looking for a free option that will let you learn in your free time, or you're willing to go all in and pay for a subscription, you've got options when it comes to learning a new language. Unlike days past, you won't need to head into a classroom because everything that you need is right on your phone! Is your favorite language learning app on our list? Is there another app that we ought to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated January 2018: We've updated this post with new features for the best language learning apps on Android!

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1 week ago

OnePlus 3T on OxygenOS beta was sending clipboard data to Alibaba servers

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Thankfully, this 'feature' will be removed soon.

There's no such thing as a perfect company, and that's something OnePlus learned firsthand throughout 2017. During just the last few months of the year, it was discovered that certain OnePlus phones had a root backdoor and that the company was collecting an exorbitant amount of user data without giving customers a clear way to opt out of it.

In the latest entry of this saga, a user on the OnePlus forums has discovered that a system app by the name of "com.oneplus.clipboard" was collecting information from their OnePlus 3T's clipboard and sending it back to servers owned by Chinese company Alibaba.

This app was found on a 3T running the latest OxygenOS Open Beta with the December 1, 2017 security patch, and after Android Police reached out to OnePlus to get more information about what the heck was going on, this was the response they received:

Our OnePlus beta program is designed to test new features with a selection of our community. This particular feature was intended for HydrogenOS, our operating system for the China market. We will be updating our global OxygenOS beta to remove this feature.

While we are glad to see that this app is being removed, we aren't sure that this is something we'd refer to as a "feature." There's only been a report of this being found on the OnePlus 3T, but we wouldn't be surprised if this made its way to the 3 as well.

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

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1 week ago

Sacrifice one plug for three USB ports with this $19 Topgreener charger outlet

7

Plug it in, plug it in.

This Topgreener 3-port USB charger wall outlet is down to $19.17 with code U9UNVPWK on Amazon. This deal saves you about $6 off the average street price.

Essentially you'll be able to replace one outlet with three ports for charging USB devices. That's a good trade if you ask me, considering most of the things we plug in these days are power adapters for USB cables.

Features include:

  • USB charger outlet with three USB ports (total output of 5.8A, 29W, 5VDC) and one 15A tamper-resistant receptacle. Replaces standard wall outlet for high-speed charging without adapters
  • USB module part simplifies color changes and outlet replacement, so you can do it yourself, cutting out electrician and replacement costs. Instead of replacing an entire TU11558A3, replace just the USB module and it's good as new!
  • Smart Intellichip Technology, built into the USB ports, reads the power need of the connected smartphone, tablet, or device to safely and efficiently charge it without overcharging or overheating the device
  • Tamper-resistant power outlet complies with 2011 NEC Article 406.14 and provides child safety from preventing the insertion of unwanted objects into the outlet; ideal for home, office, school, airport, hotel

While it comes with a plain white wall plate, you can add your own to match your home decor, like a black one for $4 or brushed nickel for $8.

See on Amazon

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1 week ago

Zolo Liberty+ wireless earbuds review

16

This could have been a shining review of a more-than-capable set of truly wireless earbuds that retail for a mere $150. Instead, it's a cautionary tale.

I was genuinely excited for the Zolo Liberty+ earbuds. Zolo's an audio-centric offshoot of Anker, the company that makes pretty much everything, makes it relatively inexpensive, and makes it reasonably well. So a Kickstarter campaign for $99? I was in, saving about $50 off the retail price in the process. A few months later (plus a little extra time because white earbuds are hard, apparently), and I was exercising with a new set of Bluetooth buds, and without a connecting wire snagging my neck.

See at Zolo Audio

The format is simple at this point. You've got two independent — as in truly wireless — earbuds, and a case for charging and carrying them around. You charge the case, the case charges the buds. (And you can, of course, charge the case and the buds at the same time.) Zolo says to expect 3 hours or so of playback time before the buds need to be charged again, but that was fairly moot for me, since I'd just pop 'em back in the case when I was done with my workout, and they'd charge right back up for next time. The charging case itself is supposed to get you more than 48 hours of use. But, again, I'd just plug it in once I got home, and we'd be back to 100%. Because when it comes to hitting the gym with no music, you don't mess around.

  • Price: $149 (retail)
  • Tech: Bluetooth 5.0, AAC, SBC
  • Drivers: 2x 6mm graphene dynamic
  • Battery life: 3.5 hours before recharge, 48+ with charging case (microUSB)
  • Water resistance: Sweat-proof IPX5
  • Apps: Android, iOS

The buds and case are nicely constructed. The only real complaint here is that the case uses Micro-USB for charging — a step backward for anyone expecting "the future" of USB-C to actually take hold at some point. (Wireless charging would have been great, I guess, but it's not too surprising not see that as an option.) Hell, even the in-box experience is nice. I'll gripe about Micro-USB, but also enjoy the fact that Zolo included a braided yellow (because branding!) cable for charging.

Fitting the buds was simple enough. Just stick it in your ear hole, and twist a little to fit. I didn't have any issues with it falling out while on an elliptical or with light jogging. But if you do need to fiddle with the fit a bit, you've got options in the box. Nice touch.

Sound quality was just fine, too. I wasn't expecting the best for $150, but wasn't disappointed at all either. There's decent passive sound isolation as well. There's an option in the included Zolo app for "transparency," with which the microphone is used to feed in sound from the outside world. It was worthless in the gym, though — just too much noise from the overhead music and weights clanging, so I just left it off. There are a few built-in EQ presets, but none of them really suited me, so I just stuck with the default.

The buds themselves have the basic one-button operation going on. I don't do much beyond play/pause and picking up the occasional phone call, so that's simple enough, but it also ties into Google Assistant on Android, or Siri on iOS, which is just fine.

All in all — perfectly usable, truly wireless earbuds at a decent price. Of course, post-purchase is where companies really start to stand out, right?

Don't lose the charger. Or an earbud. Because you'll be SOL.

Admittedly, I screwed up. I grabbed the Liberty+ case as I was getting out of my car, forgetting to extract the buds and leave the charger behind. I realized that, and didn't bother walking 50 feet back to the care to lock the case inside. Instead, I left it in an open-face cubby, along with my sweatshirt and keys. I'm pretty sure the case was at least partially visible. And when I finished my workout an hour or so later, it was gone.

The joke's on whomever ganked the case, I guess, because the earbuds were safely in use in my ears. But I was left without a way to charge them.

Time for a little detective work. Not to have my YMCA check security footage — ain't nobody got time for that, and Karma's a bitch. No, I wanted to see how the upstart Zolo Audio handles this sort of thing.

That you can't actually buy the Liberty+ yet — it's still listed as "coming in 2018," though Zolo says to expect it at the end of January — wasn't a good sign. And there's no "buy a spare charger" listing on the site, either. That's no good.

I emailed customer service, which promised to get back within 48 hours. Three days later (Saturday evening, no less), I got the bad news. There's no way to buy a spare case. You'll have to buy a whole new set. (Same goes for earbud tips, I presume, which also aren't listed on the site anywhere.)

How does this compare to other players in the space?

Apple will replace a single AirPod for $69 and the charging case for $69. That's reasonable.

JayBird — whose X3 wired Bluetooth buds I had (and in the interim have been) enjoyed — sells a new charging case for $69, a spare earbud for $59, and new tips for $9. Also completely reasonable. (I've since ordered the $179 Run buds — more on those at another time.)

Bose's more expensive $249 SoundSport Free has a spare charger for $49, and tips for $9.

The first-gen Jabra Elite Sport (new ones were just announced at CES) has a spare charging case for $99, and a replacement but for $79.

Sony's WF-1000X buds? Nothing.

The bottom line

Good earbuds are one thing. Good earbuds at a good price are another. But it's worth remembering that the purchase is just one part of the product lifecycle, and really should be just a part of your decision to buy. I was happy spending money on the Zolo Audio Liberty+ — especially at the discounted Kickstarter price. (Remember, they'll retail at $150.)

A good product can fall apart if post-sale support falls flat.

The earbuds worked great. I didn't have any problems with the audio cutting out, they sounded great, and worked really well.

But accidents do happen. And if I do something dumb — like leaving the case out where someone might happen to walk off with it — then I should also have the opportunity to redeem myself, without having to pay full price for a full new product. That's where companies can (and do) differentiate themselves.

And there's where an upstart like Zolo Audio fell flat in this case.

See at Zolo Audio

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1 week ago

Essential starts selling a few new accessories

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Replacement fast charger, new USB-C headphones, a carrying case for the Essential 360 Camera, and more.

The Essential Phone was a difficult device to recommend when it first launched at $699, but following the price cut down to $499, it's now a fairly decent purchase as long as you know what you're getting into. If you recently picked up an Essential Phone and are looking to outfit it with a few new accessories, Essential now has you covered.

The company announced on Twitter that it was finally selling official accessories on its website, and while there's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, it's still worth checking out. You can pick up another 27W fast charger in either black or white for $39, and $15 will get a backup USB-C to 3.5mm dongle in those same colors if you happen to lose the one that comes included with the Essential Phone.

Earphones HD (left) and Earphones Mini (right).

If dongles aren't your thing, you can also buy two new USB-C headphones. The cheapest of the two is the Earphones Mini at $49, and they come with USB Audio Class 2 support, small, medium, and large earbud tips, and an included carrying case. Stepping up to the Earphones HD will cost you $99, and the main difference with these is that they have 9.2mm drivers with Hi-Res Audio support.

Lastly, the accessories page also shows a new carrying case for the Essential 360 Camera that comes in both black and red. There's no word on price or availability, with the website merely saying that it's "coming soon." Essential's Phone Dock charger is here as well, but it's also still not available to buy despite being announced back in May of 2017.

See at Essential

Essential Phone

Amazon Best Buy Sprint Telus

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1 week ago

HDHomeRun Connect DUO+ adds a hard-drive for an all-in-one cord-cutting solution

7

SiliconDust, makers of the HDHomeRun, unveiled a new product at CES that'll make cord-cutting even easier.

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The HDHomeRun Connect is a great product for folks wanting some freedom from cable subscriptions while keeping their entire household entertained with TV. At CES 2018 the latest product in the lineup has been announced, the Connect DUO+. And the big story here is that it comes with a built-in DVR.

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1 week ago

Ultrawings VR Review: Become the Pilot You've Always Wanted to

5

A flight simulator comfortable for the whole family

Gaming in VR is all about immersion, and one of the best ways to take advantage of that sensation is to climb into vehicles you otherwise wouldn't. One of the best examples of this for PlayStation VR is UltraWings.

Here you can put on your aviator helmet and hop into one of three aircraft of your choosing. The controls aren't as intricate as they are in games like Aerofly FS 2, but in my opinion that's preferred as it will feel less like a job to play. The bright, smooth and cartoon-like graphics make this ideal for lighthearted flying time with the friends and family.

A bit slow to progress

I'd like to get into the cons first, because surprisingly enough aren't many. The game play and tests you must complete while flying your aircraft are difficult, but also fun. The problem, however, resided in the fact that all the tests were all pretty much the same and the progression of the game was remarkably slow.

So, while I don't see this being a game you'll play on a day-to-day basis, I imagine it being quite a fun time to bust out on game nights. Besides, a flight simulator should be on every VR consumer's game library to experience in a first-person 3D setting.

See at PlayStation Store See at Oculus Store See on Play Store See on Steam

Experience

The main menu resides in the office of an airport and, throughout the game, you can unlock more islands and airports to explore! There are two different types of "Flight Controls" that change your gameplay type. I personally prefer "Simulator", but if you are prone to motion sickness when playing VR you should definitely sick to "Arcade" version or have a light blowing fan on you to help.

Besides Flight Controls, you have the option to adjust your Comfort Mode as well. These options will change the way your cockpit looks. Comfortable is the default mode that makes it seem as if you are in a real cockpit. The Clear option lets you keep the frame of your cockpit, but opens the view to make it easier to see the scenery around you! And, finally, the last option is to have "None" which eliminates the view of the frame almost entirely.

If I'm being perfectly honest when it comes to adjusting your Comfort Mode it makes no difference regarding motion sickness. Seeing more of a drop-down in view might be a little more visually terrifying but it's rather simple to get used to. Since the art is not hyper-realistic it's actually pretty easy for your brain to remember it's just a game.

Dealing with nausea in virtual reality

Controls

Ultrawings has a more laid-back touch to it than other flight simulator games like Aerofly FS 2. Now, there are still a few dashboard controls to help make your gameplay more intricate compared to others, but most are only used when starting your plane. The only switch relevant during flight is the one that controls the angles of your aircrafts wings.

While I appreciate not having to memorize a thousand different buttons and switches in the cockpit I found the overall controls were kind of difficult. After 3 hours of playing I was still not able to lift off my plane in even a semi-straight line. Once you're in the air the controls get easier, but it surely takes some getting used to.

As for consoles, I recommend using the Oculus above all. This game was truly meant for the Touch controllers. It's not terrible to play on the other consoles, so don't worry if the Oculus is not an option for you!

Graphic

As mentioned above, the artwork of this game doesn't even try to be hyper realistic, and that's not a bad thing. The smooth cartoon graphics are like the type of graphics that Job Simulator uses and it works pretty good. Now, the islands could use more animals or something to add to the visuals. Even if they were little cubes with animal faces, let's face it that would be hilarious, anything would have been better than just trees and rocks.

Speaking of visuals, each plane comes complete with a small VR tablet. The tablet, located somewhere obvious on each aircraft, is capable of being removed and used to take pictures. Of, you know, you can just take the easy way out and use your PlayStation VR to take a screenshot and upload it to your friends from there. Which is absolutely recommended considering how much glitchy complications you'll deal with while using that tablet.

Fear of crashing?

One of your fears while playing a flight simulator in virtual reality is probably how terrifying crashing might be, right? Well, in my opinion I believe that Ultawings has handles this graphic well. Don't get me wrong falling to the ground is still pretty terrifying, but the animation they use makes it quite bearable.

There is about a .5 second delay before the crash scene where the screen goes entirely black that really makes a difference. Then, instead of a crash simulator of broken glass and other terrifying things, you are shown cartoon knockout stars as the hue of what you are seeing changes color.

It's safe to say while your stomach might drop, your heart won't skip a beat and that's amazing.

Hopes for the future

Chris Stockman, game developer for Bit Planet Games, has expressed an interest in adding a multiplayer option to a future sequel of the game. Without getting anyone's hopes up I want to mention his quote states "if" they do one, so there is a possibility for either outcome. One thing that has been confirmed they are adding a new aircraft and new island, so at least we have that to look forward to!

See at PlayStation Store See at Oculus Store See on Play Store See on Steam

Thoughts?

Have you tried out Ultrawings? Do you have any awesome screen captures or videos to share with us? Tell us in the comments below!

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