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2 weeks ago

Workout in style with these Jaybird headphones on sale for $100

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Our friends at Thrifter are back with a pair of great deals on Jaybird Bluetooth headphones.

Update: We first shared this deal on May 8 and it expired shortly after. It's back now from both Amazon and Best Buy!

The Jaybird X3 and Jaybird Freedom F5 wireless headphones are both on sale for the same $100 price right now. That price matches the lowest drop for both headphones. It's the first time since December the Freedom F5 have seen a price drop and only the third time in the X3's history that it has dropped at all. Both deals are great and it really comes down to what you need out of your headphones.

The Freedom F5 headphones distinguish themselves from the X3 with a battery clip that adds extra charging time. The clip is detachable if you don't need it for a quick run, but it's a way to add a few extra hours of charge time if you're going to be out for a while.

The X3 is the follow-up to the highly praised Jaybird X2 and has earned a few great reviews itself, like 4 stars from CNET. Both the X3 and the Freedom F5 have access to the MySound app, which lets you customize the sound from each device.

You can also find this same deal price for the X3 and Freedom F5 at Best Buy.

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

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2 weeks ago

Moto E4 and E4 Plus specs: Not quite a G thing

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What magic do the Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus have inside? Here's what you need to know.

Bringing the success of the Moto G line down to more affordable price points, the Moto E4 and E4 Plus are tactical moves intended to fill out gaps in Motorola's market coverage. Both phones maintain similar looks to the earlier Moto G line, and to all of Motorola's current-generation phones in general, but pare back much of the spec sheet to keep the price as low as possible.

Here's what we're looking at with the Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus.

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2 weeks ago

Show your Pride with our rainbow theme pack

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How do I theme my phone for Pride?

It honors the Stonewall Riots from 1969. There are memorials and ceremonies nationwide to honor those in the LGBTQIA community who have been lost throughout the year. There are parades and parties throughout month to celebrate the progress that has been made and to savor the freedom to live as we wish, in the sun as once we could only in the shadows of secrecy. But this year Pride Month has a bit more meaning. June 12th now marks the worst mass shooting in American history, and it was a direct attack on the LGBTQIA community.

To honor them, and the entire community, here are our favorite wallpapers, icon packs, widgets and more customizations to celebrate Pride Month!

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2 weeks ago

Star Trek: Bridge Crew - How to run the whole bridge on your own

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These AI are here to help run your Bridge. Let them.

You may not always have three friends around to play Bridge Crew, and sometimes the online matchmaking puts you with people who are just plain not fun to play with. If you need your fix, but would prefer to play by yourself, solo gameplay is an option. You just need to know how to run a bridge by yourself and actually have fun in the process. Here are some tips!

Read More at VR Heads

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2 weeks ago

Keep an eye on things with a Wi-Fi camera for $60

Getting a home alarm system is great for security and keeping in touch with loved ones via text is effective, but being able to keep an eye on your home and belongings while on the go is even better.

Keep an eye on things for $60 Learn more

Wi-Fi security cameras let you look in on things from anywhere in the world via Wi-Fi. You just need the camera's companion app on your phone or tablet and you'll be able to watch a live feed from any device with a screen and an internet connection. These cameras can be quite costly, though, which is where Android Central Digital Offers comes in.

The Sinji Panoramic smart Wi-Fi camera captures lives video at a resolution of 960p, so you can keep an eye on indoor spaces in HD. It even has infrared technology built in so that you can get a good view in the dark. Straight from Sinji, this camera is $139.99, but at Android Central Digital Offers, it's $59.99, a savings of 57%.

Using the Sinji app, you can zoom in on or rotate images in the app so that you can see finer details. You can also connect multiple cameras to monitor different rooms at the same time, within the same app. If you'd like to record footage, you can add a microSD card (up to 128GB) to save recordings. The best part is the two-way audio function, which lets you hear and talk to whomever's in the room, be they family or burglars. If you don't feel like staring at your phone, you can get push notifications whenever there's movement.

If you're looking for a way to keep an eye in the ol' homestead, check out the Sinji Panoramic smart Wi-Fi camera at Android Central Digital Offers and save 57%.

Keep an eye on things for $60 Learn more

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2 weeks ago

2017 Graduate Gift Guide

It's that time of year again: graduates are donning caps and gowns and marching off, some more confidently than others, into the future. Well, load them up with as much essential gear as possible to make them a little more comfortable in that brave new world.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The ultimate graduate gift is a new phone, and no phone is better than the Galaxy S8 right now. It's got everything you need, including a big, bright, vivid 5.8-inch display, all-day battery life, and one of the best cameras in the game. If you want your graduate to love you forever (or at least until the next big thing), the Galaxy S8 is your top choice.

from $725 Buy Now

Acer Chromebook R 13

For most people, life after graduation starts with a new laptop, and Chromebooks are increasingly part of the story. While they can't do everything a Mac or Windows laptop can, it's getting pretty close, and if your grad is a Google fanatic, you can't do much better than the Acer Chromebook R 13, with an awesome 13-inch touch display and the ability to fold into a "tent" design for late-night movie watching, or whatever else they're up to.

from $390 Buy Now

Sony Alpha A6300

For the grad that just wants to keep her head behind a viewfinder, the Sony Alpha A6300 is one of the best options around. It's portable and lightweight, but well-built and supports custom lenses. Not only can it take some amazing photos, but Sony's legendary video capabilities are front and center here, too. Amazing for YouTubers and selfie-takers, too.

$998 Buy Now

NVIDIA Shield

Doesn't matter if your grad's TV is old and busted or shiny and new, an NVIDIA Shield with Android TV is just as important. Running the latest version of Google's TV interface, the NVIDIA Shield is not just for watchers but gamers too. In the box is one of the best controllers we've used on a console, and the gaming lineup is improving every week.

$199 Buy now

UE Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker

Ultimate Ears' Wonderboom takes everything we love from UE's more expensive Boom and Megaboom speakers and shrinks it down into a little floating cube that stays waterproof while sounding great. It's seriously one of our favorite things, and the perfect graduate gift for the music lover.

$99 Buy Now

Sonos Play:1

Sonos is the ultimate music gift. If your grad loves music, the Sonos Play:1 is the gift to get. One is more than enough, but if you combine it with a birthday, you can pair a couple of them for whole-room sound.

$199 Buy Now

Google Home

For a Google/Android fan, Google Home is a no-brainer. It's got all the makings of Alexa, in the proper ecosystem, with the full force of Google behind it. It plays music, answer questions, and now even orders pizza.

$129 Buy Now

Amazon Echo Dot

A smaller Echo, the Dot is easy to set up around the house — and because they're significantly cheaper, you can get a few and pepper them around the house. A great gift, in packs of one, or six!

$49 Buy Now

TCL 43S405 4K TV with Roku

Every graduate needs a TV, and this one from TCL (the makers of Alcatel and BlackBerry Mobile phones) is an amazing deal. A 43-inch 4K display with built-in Roku (that's an Android TV competitor that holds its own) compatibility for $349? You really can't go wrong.

$349 Buy Now

V-MODA Crossfade 2 wireless headphones

Bose? Sennheiser? Sony? Nah. Your grad wants something that looks good and sounds amazing, and that leads us to the V-MODA Crossfade 2 wireless headphones, which come in three standard colors, and through the company's website, as many variations as you want. What an awesome gift!

$349 Buy Now

Oster Titanium rice cooker

It's not fancy, it's not high-tech, but it's necessary: every grad has to eat. This Oster rice cooker is just over $25 and features a steamer for veggies (or dumplings) and plenty of room for rice or other grains. Make it a stocking stuffer of sorts, but this may be the best thing you will ever buy your young person.

$26 Buy Now

Aeropress Coffee Maker

Aeropress makes a great cuppa, because it is simple: grind the beans, pour it in the cavity and press. Easy to pick up but difficult to master, Aeropress emulates espresso for a fraction of the price. Coffee is the most important meal of the day, so do it right, and cheap.

$30 Buy Now

Samsung Gear VR

Along with your grad's Galaxy S8, get him or her into mobile VR with the excellent, and completely affordable, Samsung Gear VR. It's got plenty of video content, lots of games, and now with the included controller, it's even easier to use. A must-have.

$105 Buy Now

Nintendo Switch

Of course your grad needs a gaming console, and the Nintendo Switch is the one to buy right now. It's fun, unique and portable, and has some amazing games, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You'll thank us later!

from $299 Buy Now

Fitbit Charge 2

No one really needs a smartwatch, but you do want your grad to keep aware of their fitness. That's why a Fitbit Charge 2 is such a good option: it's thin and lightweight, water resistant and has a week-long battery. And it supports phone notifications, all the while counting the steps they will — or won't — take.

$150 Buy Now

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} } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub { width: calc(50% - 40px); } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { padding-left: 50%; width: calc(100% - 40px); } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) p:first-of-type { position: absolute; height: 100%; left: 0; padding-bottom: 0; top: 0; width: 50%; } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) p:last-of-type { left: calc(75% + 10px); } } @media all and (max-width: 600px) { .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub { padding-bottom: 70px; width: calc(50% - 20px); } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { padding-left: 50%; width: calc(100% - 20px); } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub h2 { font-size: 150%; margin: 10px 20px; } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub p:last-of-type { font-size: 175%; } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub a.cta.shop { font-size: 66%; padding: 10px 15px; vertical-align: 2px; } .article-body-wrap .expando .ggsub:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { padding-top: 10px; 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2 weeks ago

Moto E4 and E4 Plus hope to bring a touch of class to the entry level

11

Motorola is on a hardware tear, revealing two new entry-level devices in the Moto E lineup.

Motorola has unveiled yet another set of phones this week, after the entry-level Moto C series in May and the near-flagship Moto Z2 Play in early June.

Moto E4 Plus in Iron Gray

These ones, the Moto E4 and E4 Plus, fit somewhere in the middle of the company's lineup, and reinforce a design language that debuted with the new Moto G lineup in March.

We'll start with the Moto E4: it looks a lot like the Moto G5, with a 5-inch 720p display, a quad-core Qualcomm 425 (or 427 on Sprint) or MediaTek6737 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera, and a 2,800mAh removable battery. It's not entirely metal but, like the Moto G5, has metal accents.

The Moto E4 Plus is a bit more substantial, adding more aluminum to the design along with a larger 5.5-inch (still 720p) display, 2-3 GB of RAM, and a massive 5,000mAh battery that Motorola claims lasts two days on a charge. Around back is a 13MP rear camera, with a 5MP front-facer, along with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 in the U.S. and MediaTek SoC in the rest of the world.

Moto E4 and E4 Plus specs

Both phones will be available in the U.S. and a number of worldwide markets. The Moto E4 is even coming to U.S. carriers through Verizon, Sprint and MetroPCS. The Moto E4 starts at $129.99 USD and €149, and will also be an Amazon Prime Exclusive later this summer. The Moto E4 Plus starts at $179.99 and €199 and will mainly be sold unlocked in the U.S.

Who's buying?

Read: Moto Z2 Play review

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2 weeks ago

New Amazon Fire 7 is a modest upgrade and still a top cheap tablet

10

Amazon's latest revision to its cheapest tablet is definitely the best it has ever been.

That the 'all-new' Amazon Fire 7 would be a good, cheap tablet was probably never up for debate. We've been recommending its predecessor for some time because you can actually spend just $50 and get a good tablet.

That hasn't always been true of the Android hardware ecosystem, and the Fire 7 is still probably unique in its recommendation at that price point.

So, Amazon made it a little bit better and kept the price the same. It's a modest upgrade, but an upgrade nevertheless, though whether you should ditch your old one is a tougher question to answer.

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2 weeks ago

6 reasons to use the Samsung browser on your Galaxy S8

48

The Samsung Internet browser is a formidable choice for a mobile browser and it has a number of features that make it worth using over Google Chrome.

The bundled applications aren't usually our favorite part of Samsung's smartphones, but with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the Samsung Internet browser is worth using.

It's nothing new: the browser has long been optimized specifically for use with Samsung's smartphones, which is partly why it's such a solid choice for a browser, particularly if you're glued to the Samsung ecosystem. And like Google Chrome, the Samsung Internet browser is linked to your Samsung account, which unlocks a host of features you won't find in Android's default browser. Here's a look at some of those features.

No pop-ups

The Samsung browser gives you access to a variety of ad blockers.

Obstructive pop-up advertisements have officially become a nuisance on Chrome for mobile, so it's nice to know that the Samsung Internet browser will let you enable a Pop-up blocker from inside the advanced settings panel.

You can also download an extension to rid of those follies before they even surface. Samsung's browser features a variety of content blockers, including Adblock and Adblock Fast. At the very least, they'll help rid of any rampant advertisements that may take over your mobile browsing experience.

Extensions

Samsung's browser has other extensions, too, including the Amazon Assistant, which offers product matches as you're browsing through the browser for things to purchase. There's also a QR code reader, a video assistant overlay to help with browser playback controls, and a feature called CloseBy, which offers information and recommendations based on nearby Bluetooth beacons.

It's better on DeX

The latest version of Samsung Internet features enhancements specifically for running the app on Samsung DeX. There's also a secure mobile payment feature built into the Samsung browser for DeX. According to its developer documentation:

DeX also enables a new desktop shopping workflow. When presented with the option to pay for something in the browser in desktop mode, you can use biometric authentication to finalize the payment, using the fingerprint or iris scanner capabilities of the phone.

Anecdotally, I can say I was surprised at the relatively smooth experience of using the Samsung Internet browser on DeX versus using Google Chrome. Websites seemed to load faster, while multitasking mechanisms like copy and paste were easier to use with the mouse input.

It has a super Secret mode

Samsung's browser offers a Secret mode that's a bit more discrete than Google's incognito mode. Granted, Google also won't track your whereabouts on the web or log any URLs into the history, but Samsung's browser will let you password protect any webpage data you might want to save after your browsing session. The password is different from your initial login code and it can be as short as four letters.

It offers a reading mode

Reading mode on the Samsung browser.

Like Safari on the desktop and some Chrome extensions, the Samsung browser offers a quick-convert reading mode for turning the cluttered text on webpages into legible, linear paragraphs. It takes a second to show up in the search bar and only works with certain pages, but it pairs exceptionally well with the Galaxy S8's rounded corners.

It works with Google

Just because you're using Samsung's browser doesn't mean you're opting out of what Google has to offer. You can set it as the default search engine, for instance, so that you're always querying Google.

You also don't have to stop using Chrome on the desktop. Download the Samsung Internet extension for Chrome so that your bookmarks stay synced across platforms.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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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2 weeks ago

How hot is your Android smartphone?

19

We used the FLIR One Pro to measure how hot the LG G6, Galaxy S8, and Pixel XL become when they're charging or running applications.

Naturally, when you're equipped with a thermal imaging camera, you want to point it at all the things. The FLIR One Pro thermal imaging camera is certainly fun to play with, even though its battery life is finicky. I rounded up a couple of the latest Android-powered smartphones I had laying around, including the LG G6, Galaxy S8, and Pixel XL, to see how hot they become (if at all) when they're plugged in and running a benchmark. Why the heck not?

Note: I'm using a version of the FLIR One Pro thermal camera that's running on beta software.

As they lay charging

galaxy s8lg g6pixel xl

The temperatures of the Galaxy S8 (left), LG G6 (middle), and Pixel XL (right) as they're charging with the screens on at high brightness.

It took a while for the FLIR One Pro to charge up enough to shoot the three smartphones. I pointed the One Pro at a Galaxy S8 as it charged through a USB-C cable connected to an Aukey power strip. It measured in at about 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The LG G6 measured in around 84 degrees. Both had their screens set on to full brightness.

The Pixel XL measured in surprisingly warmer at nearly 94 degrees. It was charging from the same power strip, with the screen brightness on full blast. The FLIR One Pro simply reinforces what I've been thinking for the past eight months: the Pixel XL runs hot.

While they're benchmarking

Have you ever seen how hot a smartphone becomes when it's plugged in, throttling, and running a graphics-intense benchmark at the same time? That's what the FLIR One Pro can show you. In this case, we have a very warm set of phones, all of which are running the 3DMark benchmark suite while charging from the same power strip.

The G6 and Galaxy S8 benchmarking, side-by-side.

Here's the Pixel XL benchmarking (left), as well as the Pixel XL running Snapchat (right).

Of course, we can't overlook the fact that there are two different processors at play here. The Pixel XL and LG G6 are both running on a Snapdragon 821 processor, while the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Snapdragon 835. Both processors have different GPUs, too, though none of that seemed to really affect the temperature of either device while it was powering through 3DMark and filling up on battery. In fact, the overall heat output of each phone seem to correlate more with the brightness of each screen. For instance, perhaps the G6 measured the lowest because its screen was the dimmest of the three.

What about a smartwatch?

What about a smartwatch? Unfortunately, it was not a warm-enough day for me to show how truly heated an Android Wear watch like the LG Watch Style gets — or at least, seems to get, based on my own anecdotal experience — but it sure is dormant when it's not being bombarded with app notifications. Interestingly, when it's charging, it measures in at about the same temperature as the Pixel XL.

The LG Watch Style, in thermal mode.

Where else should we feel the heat?

Got ideas about what we should shoot for next?

Not only is thermal imaging such great fun, but we're also still in the midst of testing out the FLIR One Pro. We're planning to shoot plenty more gadgets with it. Perhaps a networking module like Google Wi-Fi, or the NEST camera while it's on? We're taking requests!

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2 weeks ago

Honor 9 goes official with 6GB RAM, Kirin 960 chipset, dual rear cameras

32

Honor 9 picks up key upgrades for 2017.

Right on schedule, Huawei sub-brand Honor has unveiled its latest flagship phone in China. The Honor 9 will go up for sale in the country starting June 16 for the equivalent of $340, continuing the brand's tradition of offering enticing hardware on a budget. There isn't a lot to visually differentiate the Honor 9 from its predecessor, with Honor offering a similar metal-and-glass design. The key change is the position of the fingerprint sensor, which is now located at the front of the phone.

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2 weeks ago

HD HomeRun modernizes the old-school over-the-air TV game

10

HDHomerun is the perfect over-the-air addition to an already excellent Android TV experience.

The thing about being a cord-cutter is that you're always trying to plug holes. It doesn't matter what streaming video service you ultimately go with — there's almost always something missing. For many of us, that hole comes down to local channels. And while services like YouTube TV are trying to fill that hole, there's still something to be said for a good, old-fashioned broadcast antenna.

This generally is simple enough. You stick an antenna somewhere, and it plucks the local broadcasts out of the air and pumps them directly into, well, wherever. (Generally that'll be a TV, but hang on a second ...)

There are a couple problems with this, though. First is that if you're going straight from the antenna into a TV (assuming it still has a tuner, and not all models do these days), you're pretty limited. One antenna, one TV. Second is that broadcasts can be pretty directional, especially if it's on a VHF frequency. In other words, if the antenna isn't pointing the right way, you might well be missing channels.

So the key here is flexibility. I've dabbled in wireless antennas. But as many have pointed out, there's a better way. A much better way.

Enter HDHomerun. Or, more specifically, HDHomerun Connect.

Here's the gist: You plug your antenna into this little gem of a box, which then connects to your router via Ethernet. From there, it spits out the broadcast channels over your wireless network, to be picked up by the HDHomerun app, or any number of third-party apps — on nearly any platform you can think of. The box has dual tuners, so you can watch on two devices simultaneously, and it downloads channel listings, too, so you're not guessing what's on. (Like we had to do in the bad old days of OTA TV.)

If it sounds like I'm skipping some setup steps involving scanning and networking, well, I'm not. This has been one of those rare products that just works. Plug in the antenna. Plug in the Ethernet cable. Install the Android app on a phone or tablet or Android TV. Watch local TV, for little more than the expense of the HDHomerun box ($99 and change), and an antenna. As an added bonus, it works great with Android TV's Live Channels app, keeping more things in one place.

HDHomerun fills the content gap on nearly every platform and is ridiculously easy to set up.

What can you watch on? Damned near everything. Mac. Windows. Linux. (!) Android. iPhone and iPad. Xbox via the Media Center app. You can record what's coming in through any number of methods, including Plex and HDHomerun's own DVR service. That ups the complexity of this little endeavor by a decent amount, and you can venture down that rabbit hole just as far as you want. If all you want is live TV, though, it couldn't be simpler.

Now's the time to mention that there are three products here, actually — HDHomerun Connect, Extend — which includes a hardware transcoding which makes recorded playback easier on your network — and Prime, which is meant for Cable Card situations. For me, Connect has been just fine.

Yeah, it's another expenditure in the quest for cheaper TV. But in this case it's absolutely been well worth it, plugging what for me was a pretty big hole in my lineup.

See at Amazon

Modern Dad

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2 weeks ago

Essential Phone will be carrier-exclusive to Sprint in the U.S.

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The Essential Phone will be prominently showcased at thousands of Sprint stores across the country.

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone will be available to buy unlocked direct from the company's website, but if you're looking to go the carrier route in the U.S., then your only option is Sprint. The phone itself supports all four major carriers in the U.S., but when it comes to picking up the device from a retail store, Essential is going with the "network of the future."

See at Sprint

Essential president Niccolo de Masi revealed to USA Today the reasoning behind choosing Sprint as its exclusive carrier partner in the U.S.:

We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was. I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.

It's certainly conscious for us to work with partners that can make an investment in supporting our brand ambitions...(and) it's an approach that obviously Andy Rubin has been very successful with in the past as well as a lot of our management team.

Andy Rubin is a close friend of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, and with the Japanese telecommunications giant owning 83% of Sprint, it's not hard to see why the two companies decided to team up. Rubin is also an advisor to the SoftBank Vision Fund — a $100 billion technology fund with investments in AI, IoT, telecom, mobile apps, and much more.

For its part, Sprint is saying that the Essential Phone will be prominently displayed in its retail stores, with the carrier offering "premium space" for the device. The phone won't carry any Sprint branding as well. Although Sprint lags behind Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, the deal gives Essential the ability to showcase its phone at thousands of retail stores across the country.

As of now, there's no mention of when customers will be able to pick up the device from Sprint's retail stores. The Essential Phone costs $699 unlocked, and Rubin mentioned that it will start shipping out to customers by the end of this month. We should hopefully have more details soon.

What do you guys think of Essential's decision to team up with Sprint?

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2 weeks ago

You can now buy the Daydream View VR headset in India for ₹6,499

2

Google's mobile VR headset is now available in India exclusively on Flipkart.

Google has launched the Daydream View VR headset in India. The headset is available exclusively on Flipkart for ₹6,499 ($100), and comes with a one-year warranty. Currently, the Daydream View is compatible with the Pixel and Pixel XL as well as the Moto Z, with Google stating that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will pick up support shortly.

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2 weeks ago

Xbox One X versus PlayStation 4 Pro: Which high-end console brings the better hardware?

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Microsoft's new Xbox One X brings some beefy specs.

Tonight at E3 in Los Angeles Microsoft introduced the new Xbox One X and it's time to compare their best to Sony's latest and greatest.

The Xbox has become more than just a game console as Microsoft has focused on making it another part of the expansive Windows platform. Meanwhile, Sony has focused on adding features to the PlayStation to bolster the gaming experience as well, though they don't have software expertise of Microsoft. But for many, the whole thing boils down to which console will play the games and movies we want, and look the best while doing it.

While the hardware won't tell the whole story, here's what we know so far.

Category Xbox PlayStation 4 Pro Price $499 $399 Dimensions Smallest Xbox ever 11.61in x 12.87in x 2.17in CPU 8-core AMD custom Scorpio Engine
Liquid-cooled vapor chamber AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) GPU 40 custom AMD GCN cores (6 TFLOP)
12GB DDR5
326GB/s memory bandidth 36 AMD GCN cores (4.2 TFLOP)
8GB DDR5
218GB/s memory bandwidth Storage 1TB 1TB Optical out Unknown Yes AV out HDMI 2.0 HDMI 2.0 Power consumption 245w max 310w max 4K Streaming Yes Yes USB USB 3.0 USB 3.0 (x3) VR support No Yes (PSVR Enhanced)

Sounds like a beast! Your move, Sony.

We'll keep updating as Microsoft reveals more information about the Xbox One X.

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