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2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro review: A great phone with one major drawback

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Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro review

Samsung gets a lot of things right with the Galaxy C7 Pro, but outdated software and a high price prevent the phone from achieving greatness.

The Indian handset segment saw a lot of changes over the last two years. One of the key trends was the influx of Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, and Lenovo, which siphoned off market share from local manufacturers. Chinese brands now account for 50% of all handset sales in the country, and that number is only set to increase as competition intensifies and new players make their entry.

In all this time, the one constant has been Samsung. The South Korean manufacturer not only managed to retain its position as the number one phone brand in the country, but it also successfully increased its market share. The reason it was able to do so was because of its competitiveness across key segments — the Galaxy S series and Galaxy A series targeted the high-end and mid-tier categories, whereas the Galaxy J and Galaxy On series catered to budget buyers.

While the Galaxy S series undoubtedly occupies a majority of the mindshare, it is the Galaxy J series that leads the way for Samsung in India — over the last two years, Samsung sold tens of millions of devices in this segment, allowing the brand to solidify its position as the leading smartphone vendor in the country.

That leaves us with the Galaxy C series. The lineup sits one tier below the Galaxy A series, and there are a few key differences — the Galaxy C7 Pro isn't water-resistant, and there's no Samsung Pay. The upside is that the C7 Pro is available for ₹25,990, or ₹7,500 less than the Galaxy A7 2017. Does the C7 Pro have what it takes to hold its own in a segment that's dominated by the OnePlus 3 and 3T?

Let's find out.

About this review

I (Harish Jonnalagadda) am writing this review after using the Galaxy C7 Pro for two weeks in Hyderabad, India, on Airtel's 4G network. The phone came with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box and picked up the May 1, 2017 security update midway through the review.

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro review

Metalhead

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro Hardware

Samsung has been offering gorgeous metal-and-glass designs with the Galaxy S series for a few generations now, with the Galaxy S8+ showcasing the best that the manufacturer has to offer. The Galaxy A series offers a similar design ethos with a glass back, but with the Galaxy C series, the company went with an all-metallic chassis that looks great.

The front of the phone is dominated by a large 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display. It's not a QHD panel like the Galaxy S8, but it makes up for it with vibrant colors and excellent viewing angles. Having used the C7 Pro after the Galaxy S8, I didn't notice any major issues with the panel.

The earpiece sits above the display and is flanked by the front camera and the notification LED. There's a Samsung logo underneath the earpiece for good measure, and you get a physical home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor that lets you store three prints. As always, the multitasking key is to the left of the home button, with the back button located to the right.

The power button is located on the right, and the SIM card tray is located right underneath. The C7 Pro has a hybrid SIM card slot, which means you can use a single SIM card along with a microSD card, or two SIM cards. The volume buttons are to the left of the device, and they offer decent travel. The phone features a USB-C port at the bottom, flanked by a 3.5mm jack and a microphone to the left and a speaker to the right. There's a secondary microphone located at the top of the phone.

The Galaxy C7 Pro is built like a tank.

Round the back, the C7 Pro has antenna lines that run across the top and bottom of the device. The camera sits in the middle and protrudes slightly from the surface of the phone. While the C7 Pro may lack the design aesthetic of the Galaxy S8, it is built like a tank. It certainly feels much more durable than Samsung's current flagship, and the build quality is top-notch, as one would expect in this segment.

The phone is available in two color options — gold and navy blue, and the blue variant looks better thanks to the all-black front plate. The gold version has matching accents for the earpiece and the fingerprint sensor at the front, giving the phone an added visual flair.

The highlight of the C7 Pro is its svelte profile, with the phone coming in at a thickness of 7mm. The sleek chassis makes it comfortable to hold the phone, but its sheer size makes it difficult for one-handed use.

Performance

The Galaxy C7 Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 626 — the same chipset as the Moto Z2 Play. There's 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, and Samsung's memory management is still way too aggressive, closing down apps in the background with wild abandon.

The Snapdragon 626 is more than adequate for everyday use, and while you'll notice the odd stutter in visually intensive games, there are no issues with day-to-day performance when using the device.

Continuing in the same vein, the 3,300mAh battery on the C7 Pro easily lasts a day on a full charge.

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro review

Burn it down

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro Software

If you've used a Samsung phone in the last two years, the UI on offer with the C7 Pro will feel right at home regarding the sheer number of features available. The interface itself has picked up a fresh coat of paint, and it looks much more modern. The phone also offers an always-on display mode that shows the time, date, and unread notification icons.

The leftmost home screen is taken up by Flipboard, but it can be disabled if you're not a fan of the Briefing feature. There's a standard app drawer, and Samsung continues to offer horizontal scrolling for the launcher. You'll be able to sort apps alphabetically or in your own order. There's also a blue light filter, which is useful when viewing the screen at night, and you also get a theming engine that allows you to customize the look of the UI.

The main drawback with the Galaxy C7 Pro is that it's still running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. In mid-2017, there really isn't an excuse to not offer Nougat out of the box, particularly in this segment. Samsung has done a great job of rolling out the Nougat update to its high-end devices in the country — India is usually one of the first markets to pick up the update for the Galaxy S series — but the company continues to ignore its mid-range offerings.

In mid-June, there's no mention of when the Nougat update will be available for the device. That said, Samsung offers a ton of features out of the box, including a multi-window mode, one-handed mode, ability to lock apps with your fingerprint with S Folder, S Health, power-saving features, and much more. And unlike the Galaxy S8, you can quickly launch the camera by double pressing the home button.

Reverse Batman

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro Camera

The Galaxy C7 Pro has a 16-megapixel camera at the back that features an f/1.9 lens and PDAF along with a dual-tone LED flash. Samsung offers multiple shooting modes, including a food mode that makes objects in the foreground stand out. There's also a panorama mode, a night mode, HDR, and a manual mode that lets you adjust the ISO, white balance, and exposure settings.

Images taken with the C7 Pro tend to look good for the most part — photos in daylight conditions offer a lot of detail and accurate colors. The camera struggles in low-light conditions, taking too long to dial in on a subject. The front 16MP camera is decent as long as you're sharing images on social media.

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro review

It is what it is

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro Bottom line

The Galaxy C7 Pro has a lot of strong points — the build quality is great, the Full HD AMOLED display is excellent, the overall performance is adequate, and the battery life is amazing. The lack of Nougat is a major downside, and it doesn't look like an update is forthcoming for the device any time soon.

There's no Samsung Pay as well, a noticeable omission considering it is available on the Galaxy A5 and A7. The C7 Pro is tailored for multimedia, and in that role the phone excels. The large screen is great for viewing content, and the battery life ensures that the phone lasts a full day.

Should you buy it? Your call

It would've made a lot of sense for Samsung to release the Galaxy C7 Pro offline. After all, the manufacturer can leverage its distribution network to boost sales of the device at offline stores, making it a viable contender to what OPPO and Vivo have to offer in this segment.

However, that isn't the case. The C7 Pro is up for sale on Amazon India, where it is going up against the likes of the OnePlus 3T. The phone doesn't offer nearly as much value as the OnePlus 3T, but Samsung is targeting the likes of the Moto Z2 Play with the C7 Pro. Samsung's offering wins out in that context, offering much better display and class-leading battery life.

See at Amazon India

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2 weeks ago

Xiaomi's phones, LED lights, and accessories are heavily discounted right now

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Dozens of Xiaomi products are on sale right now.

Chinese retailer GearBest is running its mid-year sale, offering lucrative discounts on a variety of Xiaomi products, including phones, tablets, smart home accessories, audio products, and much more. With most of Xiaomi's offerings limited to China, it isn't always easy to get a hold of its products outside the country, making this sale that much more enticing.

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2 weeks ago

Deal brings Moto Z down to $499 with 2 years of extended warranty

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There's a pretty great deal on the original Moto Z right now.

Motorola knows how to sell unlocked phones. To wit, the company has discounted its excellent Moto Z — the OG Z, if you will — to $499.99 and is throwing in an extended 2-year warranty called Moto Care, which offers up to three (!!) low-deductible exchanges and free shipping back and forth.

So should you get a Moto Z right now, especially when the Moto Z2 Play is coming soon at the same price? Well, the Moto Z is more powerful and has a better camera, and while it doesn't yet sport the software updates that come with the Z2 Play's Android 7.1.1 build, it's likely that it will get it at some point (we've reached out to Moto to confirm).

Nevertheless, the Moto Care addition costs $75 on its own, so even if the phones themselves are a wash, if you are clumsy and expect to need to replace your phone's screen, this deal is pretty attractive.

You'll need to enter the coupon code MOTOZ200OFF at checkout to get the discount and warranty extension. Who's buying?

See at Motorola

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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2 weeks ago

South Park is going to destroy your phone later this year

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Slipped in among the latest console and PC game news at its E3 press conference, Ubisoft has announced a brand new South Park game for mobile. Phone Destroyer marks the first time the long-standing franchise has been in a mobile game, and will be on Android and iOS later on this year.

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2 weeks ago

Qualcomm solidifies its role in medical tech with connected glucose meters

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The company has teamed up with Johnson and Johnson's Diabetes Care Companies to help bring wireless capabilities to an oft-used blood glucose meter.

Qualcomm's subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, Inc., announced that it is taking steps to help solidify its role in medical tech by hooking up with the makers behind connected blood glucose meters.

Qualcomm plans to bring better wireless capabilities to LifeScan's OneTouch Verio Flex, which already syncs data through Bluetooth. The technology will essentially help streamline the current wireless process so that those who suffer from diabetes don't have to feel constantly tethered to their personal monitors.

From the official press release:

By using Qualcomm Life's medical-grade 2net™ solution, physicians will be able to conveniently access all of the patients' blood glucose data from Lifescan's OneTouch Verio Flex blood glucose monitoring system with built-in Bluetooth Smart Technology, which wirelessly sends data to the OneTouch Reveal cloud-based application. Prior to leveraging Qualcomm Life's 2net solution, the data capture process was manual and cumbersome for physicians, requiring multiple cables and software versions. This new connected diabetes care provides streamlined access to a patient's historical and recent blood glucose levels, empowering physicians and the care team to make more proactive, informed care decisions based on data trends.

Both Qualcomm and Lifescan plan to debut the upgraded glucose monitoring system later this year and expand the program globally in 2018.

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2 weeks ago

A larger version of Google's Pixel XL may be in your future

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It's probably not going to be called the Pixel XXL, but wouldn't that be fun?

What's better than a big smartphone? An even bigger one. And with the Galaxy S8+ and iPhone 7 Plus making waves in their own right, it's possible Google hopes to jump on that bandwagon, too.

According to Android Police, there are rumblings that Google has shelved its plans to release one of its upcoming Pixel smartphones in favor of a larger device.

The device, which was originally codenamed Muskie, was supposed to be the followup to the Pixel XL. Instead, we'll be met with Taimen, according to a rumor put out earlier this year by Droid Life. It's expected to have a larger display and chassis compared to the Muskie.

The Walleye is likely still making its way into your hands later this year, as that's the codename behind the smaller second-generation Pixel device Google will introduce. We'd reported a few months back that the moniker had already been mentioned in the Android Open Source Project's gerrit, or code repository.

For those who aren't aware, Google typically chooses the name of a water-dwelling creature as the alias for any upcoming smartphone and tablet.

Android O

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2 weeks ago

The OnePlus 2 isn't getting Android Nougat, company confirms

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OnePlus 2

Marshmallow is the end of the road.

Confirming what we all expected, Android 7.0 Nougat won't be coming to the OnePlus 2 after all. It was just about this time last year that the OnePlus 2 was getting Marshmallow, but a similar platform jump won't be made in 2017 according to a OnePlus representative who confirmed the news to Android Central.

Despite not moving up to Nougat as the OnePlus 3 and 3T did, the OnePlus 2 had received incremental Marshmallow updates as recently as two months ago, which kept hope alive. But alas, Marshmallow is indeed the end of the road.

The first platform update is all but guaranteed — it's the second one that's a question.

For a phone that is just shy of its second birthday, it's a tough bit of news for the extremely dedicated OnePlus owner base to take. Phones are typically expected to get a single major platform update, but as we all know the second big Android update is far from guaranteed. There's little doubt that the enthusiast community surrounding OnePlus will continue to release custom ROMs for the OnePlus 2.

OnePlus has of course updated the OnePlus 3 and 3T to Nougat, arriving very quickly after Google's release, and the company has confirmed that Android O will come to those phones as well. If there's one positive that could be picked out here, it's that OnePlus has seriously improved its update reliability and cadence since the OnePlus 3 was launched.

Of course OnePlus has always had a reputation for focusing on looking forward — with the launch of the OnePlus 5 just a week away on June 20, it will be just about all hands on deck for the release of the latest phone.

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2 weeks ago

Everything we know so far about Fallout 4 VR

Everything we know so far about Fallout 4 VR

What do I need to know about Fallout 4 VR?

At E3 2017, Bethesda released a new trailer for the highly anticipated Fallout 4 VR. There are still quite a few questions that need answering, but we already have a good idea of what the game is going to look like. Here's everything we know so far.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 weeks ago

Google flexes machine learning muscles with new features for Gboard

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Gboard update includes new enhancements to make typing and searching easier.

Google has added some fun and helpful new features to Gboard, which highlight its latest machine learning capabilities. In a blog post, Google showed off a new doodle-search function for emojis, predictive phrase suggestions for texting, and enhanced results for searches made from within the keyboard.

Look for the enhanced feature to pop up in the latest update for Gboard in the Google Play Store.

The feature you're likely to use most often is the new predictive phrase feature, which is integrated into the same space as word predictions. It is currently exclusive to the English keyboard and offers up logical phrase suggestions to help complete your current sentence. For instance, if you type "looking forward" Google will suggest "to seeing" or "to it" as popular options to complete or build on the thought, and saving you the time of having to type it all out yourself.


Search integration has also been improved and will now display multiple search results making it easier to use the Gboard to find and share information on the fly while in any other app. Since it's built into the keyboard, you have access to smarter search results from Google, including better integration with Google Maps and YouTube where applicable. The intention here is to make it easier to pull up information from Google without having to back out of the app you're currently using.


Last but certainly not least is the new drawing function for searching for emojis. When you tap to search for emojis with the latest Gboard, you'll find a drawing pad underneath the search bar that allows you to quickly sketch out an emoji. While it's clearly the most fun feature added here and might feel a bit gimmicky to some, it's also one of the clearest examples of how Google has been using its A.I. Experiments projects to develop smart new tools for users. In this instance, the fun little drawing game Quick, Draw! has transformed into a fun way to save time searching for the perfect emoji.

It's cool to see how Google can package an interactive machine learning experiment into a fun, viral game and then turn around and use all that data to create an intuitive new feature that's both fun and useful. Google announced that Gboard now supports over 200 languages and is bringing features like suggestions and gesture typing to more and more languages, including Azerbaijani (Iran), Dhivehi, French (Belgium), Hawaiian, Maori, and Samoan.

See at Google Play Store

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2 weeks ago

How to turn off screen overlay on Samsung Galaxy S8

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Galaxy S8 screen overlay

It's an odd warning message, but it's fixable.

There's an interesting issue that crops up now and then on Samsung Galaxy phones pertaining to "screen overlay" settings preventing you from using some apps. It's an issue most people aren't used to seeing all that often, and to be fair the settings for screen overlay are deep and not explained very well.

The issue has been mitigated some in the last year, it seems, but the settings remain in the Galaxy S8 in case you're running into issues running some apps and seeing this screen overlay error message. Here's how you can fix it.

To provide a bit of background, "screen overlay" is the system by which an app can overlay elements on top of other apps. The most popular example would be Facebook Messenger's "Chat Heads" feature that lets little bubbles persist as you change apps, but other apps can use the feature in many ways. These apps need your permission to run screen overlays for security reasons — for example, an unwanted app could put a button on top of another button, unbeknownst to you, getting you to select something you didn't mean to.

You may run into situations in which you'll have to head into your settings to enable screen overlay so an app like Facebook Messenger can provide a feature, but more likely to happen seemingly randomly is the requirement to disable screen overlay so the foreground app can work properly. In either case, here's how you can manage screen overlay on an app-by-app basis so everything works.

How to turn on or off screen overlay

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Apps.
  3. Tap the overflow menu button in the top-right corner and tap Special access.
  4. Tap on Apps that can appear on top.
    • See how this is confusing? "Screen overlay" wording isn't used consistently.
  5. Find the app you expect to be causing issues, and tap the toggle to turn it off.
    • Or, to keep screen overlay enabled, tap the toggle to turn it back on again.

Galaxy S8 screen overlay

Now in the case of needing to enable screen overlay for an app, you'll have a good idea of which app to toggle on. But in the case of needing to disable screen overlay to use a different app, you may have to play the guessing game a bit. Toggle off apps one by one as you go back to the primary app you're trying to use, and you'll eventually find the culprit.

Unfortunately due to the security concerns highlighted above, there's no full-on "fix" for the issue of screen overlays blocking the use of other apps. If the app you're using doesn't permit the use of screen overlay while running, you'll just have to use these toggles more frequently.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below if you continue to have these problems on your own Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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2 weeks ago

Is the Galaxy S7 edge still an essential buy in the Galaxy S8 era?

31

The Galaxy S7 edge may be getting up there in age but it's still a great phone.

Now that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have been around for a few months, we've been exposed to the best and worst traits of the company's new phones. Along with that big, beautiful Infinity Display and slightly more power from the Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 comes a host of compromises, from a higher base cost to a fingerprint sensor that may be more trouble than it's worth.

One forum member poses a question that's worth thinking about these days: with the Galaxy S7 edge on the same software track (for now), and available for much less money, is it worth considering buying over the Galaxy S8 given that it's still a powerful, well-made product?

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hidinho97 06-10-2017 09:23 AM “

So im from england where the s8 is about £750 and s7 edge is around £570. I want to know if payin almost £200 more for the s8 is worth it rather than buying the s7 edge.

Reply

In markets like the UK where phones are typically purchased outright, the price difference between the Galaxy S8 and the S7 edge is substantial. One member follows up with his thoughts on why the S8 is a better buy, raising a good point about the fewer accidental touches on the curved display.

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TylerLV76 06-10-2017 09:38 AM “

The curved edges on the S8 are substantially better and far fewer accidental touches. The battery life on the S8 is on par with the S7 Edge but the S8 runs smoother and cooler. Cameras are basically the same. S8 uses facial recognition and iris scanning for security but the FPS is still in a weird place for my tastes. Aspect ratio is a personal preference. Some like the new ratio, some dont. ...

Reply

Another member brings up the fact that if camera performance is a top priority, the S7 edge offers practically the same experience. But casual users of both phones may not notice the difference between the S8 and the S7 edge, so it really comes down to whether you need that bigger, taller screen and slightly faster performance.

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Matty 06-12-2017 01:27 AM “

A lot comes down to personal preference. If you like big curves, then the Galaxy S7 Edge is for you. Otherwise, the more tame curves on the S8 is the one to get. 😃 Is the S8 worth £200 more? I would say no (for the average user) It's definitely an improvement in the screen and processing departments but if you just a casual user then it won't make that much of a difference. The cameras are...

Reply

What do you think? Would you purchase a Galaxy S7 edge today, or jump straight to the Galaxy S8 or S8+?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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2 weeks ago

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

19

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

15

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

13

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

0

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!

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