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1 week ago

Huawei MediaPad M3 tablet: Which storage size should you buy?

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Picking the right tablet can make a difference.

Picking out a new tablet can be difficult, but after you've done the hard work of picking out the Huawei tablet, you have another just as important question that you need to answer before you can pick it up. That is, of course, figuring out what storage size is the right one for you. Huawei's MediaPad M3 tablet comes in two different sizes, but knowing which one is the right one for you can be hard.

That's why we've broken down the differences between sizes for you, so that the choice is easy to make.

What sizes are available?

The Huawei MediaPad M3 comes in two different storage sizes. You can snag a 32GB model for $299 or the 64GB model for about $350.

Aside from the differences in storage size, both models of this tablet have all of the same specifications. This means you no matter which size, you'll get an awesome Kirin 950 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 5100 mAh battery.

Why do I need more storage?

So if both models have the exact same specifications, why bother spending the extra $50? Well, the answer really depends on how you plan on using your tablet, and that makes this a choice that only you can make for yourself. There are a number of things to keep in mind.

If your tablet is only going to be used for a handful of apps, or if you want to purchase a microSD card, then opting for the 32GB model is a solid choice and it ought to have plenty of space. If you're looking for a new device to use every day for work, videos, fun, and photos, then you're probably going to want to snag the 64GB model.

The big thing to remember here is that for an extra $50 you double the space that you get with your Huawei MediaPad M3, which translates to more room for movies, games, photos, and updates down the line. If you prefer to pick up a good tablet and use it until it breaks, then the more space you have available. This means you can spend more time enjoying your tablet, and less time figuring out what you have to delete in order to update an app.

Which one should I pick?

Both models of the Huawei MediaPad M3 deliver a great experience, with a solid price tag. With two choices for storage, you can make the choice that's best for how you're going to use this tablet, or best for your budget. Have you picked up a MediaPad M3? Let us know which size you picked in the comments below!

See 32GB Huawei MediaPad M3 at Amazon See 64GB Huawei MediaPad M3 at Amazon

Huawei MediaPad M3 review: Great hardware, but the software needs improvement

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1 week ago

Are you using a screen protector on the Note 8's curved display?

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The Note 8's curved display looks great, but it makes applying a screen protector nearly impossible.

There's a lot we can say about Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, but one of its hallmark features is its massive 6.3-inch curved AMOLED display. This display is a true beauty for watching movies, playing games, and browsing the web, but as some of our forum users are quickly discovering, it's not necessarily the most practical thing in the world.

Because of the Note 8's curved edges, a lot of our forum users are having a tough time trying to apply a screen protector to the thing. This is an issue that all phones with curved displays are susceptible to, but it's even more pronounced on the Note 8 due to its ginormous size.

Here's what some of you have had to say.

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pasva007 11-01-2017 04:05 PM “

After several attempts with tempered glass and film screen protectors, I give up. The curved screen seems to make it impossible for the screen protectors to adhere for any length of time. Aside from not adhering, the tempered glass screen protectors I've tried caused a significant reduction in response to the touchscreen. Looking at reviews, it doesn't appear there is any screen protector for...

Reply
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durandetto 11-01-2017 06:57 PM “

I haven't used a screen protector since the s8+ they make the experience with the phone unbearable. That and it was costing too much money trying to find one that worked. I do however have a little nick in the screen on the curve. It's not really noticeable, but I know it's there. Still not as bad as dealing with a crappy screen cover.

Reply
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Morty2264 11-02-2017 10:23 AM “

I understand what you are saying, OP. My phone has a curved screen too; which definitely affects the placement of the screen protector. I would recommend a plastic one, as they are less expensive and wouldn't set you as far back; but after going from plastic to tempered glass, myself, I definitely understand that you'd wanna stick with glass if anything. How cautious are you with your...

Reply
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bassjo 11-02-2017 08:09 PM “

Yeah, I've been looking through it and have only seen lots of recommendations for the use of screen protectors... I got a screen protector at the Verizon store when I bought the phone and in two weeks the corner started to peel. I didn't realize it was doing this until I noticed the lack of sensitivity when trying to drag the notification bar down. Since then I ripped it off and have rocked it...

Reply

If you're rocking Samsung's latest, we'd like to know – Are you using a screen protector with the Note 8?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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1 week ago

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review: The best fitness tracker for most people

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Samsung's latest waterproof fitness tracker is smarter — and cheaper — than many smartwatches.

It's taken a few years, but Samsung's wearable strategy has settled — as has much of the industry — on fitness as its primary selling point. This year's crop of wrist-worn products from the Korean giant include the excellent Gear Sport, along with the Gear Fit2 Pro, both with the intention of making it easy to track steps and workouts while receiving notifications.

In other words, the value proposition hasn't changed dramatically from the original Gears of a few years ago, but the 2017 refreshes put an emphasis on durability, longevity, and comfort.

See at Amazon

Gear Fit2 Pro What you'll love

The Fit2 Pro is the direct successor to last year's Fit2, and besides the new strap design, the two could be interchangeable — at least on the surface. With a 1.5-inch vertical OLED display that gets really bright, the Tizen-based interface — black background throughout to lengthen battery life — is easy to understand and extremely touch-friendly. Samsung has this down pat.

  • Display: 1.5 inches 216x432 pixels
  • OS: Tizen
  • Price: $169.99
  • Processor: Dual Core (1GHz Exynos 3250)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Weight: 34 grams
  • Size: 25 x 51.3 x 12.6 mm
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Sensors: Heart rate, Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer
  • Battery: 200mAh (three to five days)
  • Water resistance: 5ATM
  • Colors: Red+black, black
  • Compatibility: Android + iOS

While 2016's Gear Fit2 had a built-in GPS it was only IP68 water resistant, not waterproof, which has since been corrected in its sequel. Not only can the Fit2 Pro plumb the depths of your average pool, it's certified waterproof to 5 atmospheres — even if you dive to the bottom of a pool, it'll survive. The red plastic casing has two buttons on the right, one to go back to the previous screen and the other to enter the app drawer, and they're both clicky and responsive. No complaints there.

The Fit2 Pro lives up to its name: it effortlessly tracks workouts, automatically after 10 minutes or as directed by you when engaging in something specific like a bike ride or swim, and records a number of worthwhile metrics including heart rate, steps taken, floor climbed, and more.

It actually takes heart rate measurements constantly throughout the day, similar to the latest Fitbits, and does so with accuracy; I wore a Fitbit Ionic on another wrist for a day and found the metrics to be close enough to satisfy me. I'm no athlete; I just want a fairly robust approximation of my steps taken, calories burned, and route taken. That the Fit2 Pro is comfortable enough to wear the whole day without noticing it is helpful, too.

All of those things are table stakes for a so-called fitness tracker, but the Fit2 Pro emulates a smartwatch in a number of impactful ways; it shows notifications in a dedicated area to the left of the watch face, and even allows users to action them — reply to a text message, for instance — in certain situations. Generally, if you can reply to a message on an Android Wear watch, you can do the same here (though only with a selection of canned responses or emoji).

Notifications are easily one of my favorite aspects of the Fit2 Pro; it's ostensibly a fitness tracker, but it conveys what's happening on your phone better than the more-expensive Fitbit Ionic, and about as well as its "real" smartwatch counterpart, the Gear Sport. Yes, the long-and-thin screen wraps sentences oddly at times, but it requires less scrolling as a result, and the touchscreen is capable of keeping up. I missed the Gear Sport's rotating bezel, but not as much as I thought.

Finally, battery life is the cherry on this smart milkshake. It's really, really good — like three days plus from this little 200mAh cell. Mind you, I didn't regularly run with GPS turned on because I always have my phone with me, but Samsung promises nine hours when engaging the GPS. That's pretty good, but not remarkable when compared to the Gear Sport or Fitbit Ionic.

Gear Fit2 Pro What you'll hate

Don't expect to track your sleep properly with this tracker — rather, use it as a bedside clock.

I don't think you'll hate anything about the Gear Fit2 Pro, but here's what you'll leave wanting, especially if coming from an Android Wear or Apple Watch — apps. While the tracker comes with a handful of decent first-party and third-party apps from the likes of Under Armour (MapMyRun and Endomondo) for tracking runs, and Speedo Go for tracking swims, the Galaxy Apps "store" is, as it is on the Gear S series, a wasteland of expensive, poorly-designed watch faces.

The actual app downloading and update procedure is less than convenient, too, showing just how far Samsung still has to go when it comes to designing and curating its software experiences. Even the sparse Spotify app, which for some reason isn't pre-installed on the tracker, is basic to a fault and difficult to use.

On the tracking side, you'll probably find fault with the sleep tracking, should you choose to use it. I wore the Fit2 Pro to bed for a week or so and found the metrics to be almost useless.

Moreover, the screen doesn't automatically turn itself off once it detects you're snug in bed, which makes for constant disruption unless you explicitly enable Do Not Disturb — which requires disabling it in the morning. These things are automated on Android Wear.

I'm also not a huge fan of the rubbery, cheap-feeling strap. While the latch design is an improvement over the more sporty (and uglier) button clasp that shipped on last year's Fit2, the 24mm replaceable straps on the Fit2 Pro are neither robust nor attractive. Thankfully, Amazon has plenty of alternatives that look and feel better.

Finally — and this is no big deal, really — I dislike the plasticky charging dock that, somehow, always seems to fall over when the tracker is magnetically latched to it. Didn't Samsung test it?! At least, when properly supported, the Fit2 Pro dock doubles as a nice bedside clock.

Should you buy it? Yes!

I really like the Samsung Fit2 Pro. Yes, it's not as robust a smart thing as some other trackers out there, but at its current price of $170, it's a steal. The screen is out-of-this-world good, and the tracking is fantastic for those who'd rather be reinforced with kind messages and automatic number crunching than to-the-millimeter perfection.

At the same time, the notification system on the Fit2 Pro is better than some smartwatches (coughFitbitIoniccough), and even most of the negatives are nitpicks.

The Fit2 Pro goes up against the Fitbit Blaze, Garmin Vivosport, TomTom Spark 3 Cardio and a Series 1 Apple Watch, and it largely comes out ahead against all of them. If you're looking for more accurate fitness tracking or better sleep metrics, you're better off with a Garmin or a Fitbit, but nothing touches Samsung for an all-around experience.

And, wow, that screen.

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear Sport review: The company's best smartwatch yet

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1 week ago

Grab a 64GB Moto G5 Plus without Amazon's ads for just $225

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Leave the ads behind and pay less!

Is this deal for me?

Amazon currently has the 5th-gen Moto G down to $224.99, which is a savings of $75 from its regular price. This deal is on the more powerful variant of the phone, which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as opposed to the 2GB of RAM and 32GB that the $209.99 version has. Previously, the most affordable way to purchase this phone was to buy the Prime-exclusive version which was loaded with Amazon's ads, but this discount makes the unlocked one even cheaper.

We've seen the 32GB version drop to $180 before, but the 64GB version has never been this low. Being an unlocked phone, it is compatible with Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, as well as other prepaid carriers in the U.S.

TL;DR

  • What excites us about this deal: There are actually two configurations of this phone, and this is the better one. It has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is double what the other has in both aspects, and you are only paying $15 more for the better specs. Amazon also sells an ad-powered version of this phone, but even that one is $10 more than this deal, and with this one, you won't have to deal with any of that extra stuff that Amazon loads.
  • Things to know before buying: This phone is unlocked and will be fully compatible with all four major U.S. cellular carriers. It has 64GB of storage for your apps, media and more, and you can also add a microSD card if you want to have even more space available.

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Free Google Home Mini promo codes now going out to Pixel 2 and 2 XL buyers

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Free Google Home Mini codes are going out to Pixel 2 customers.

Google threw in a free Google Home Mini with all Pixel 2 and 2 XL purchases, and the company is now sending out promo codes via email to those that picked up either handset. You'll see a link in the email which will take you to the Google Store, where you can choose the color variant of the Google Home Mini — it's available in Chalk, Charcoal, or Coral.

The Google Home Mini is a competitor to Amazon's Echo Dot, offering the full capabilities of Google Assistant in a compact package. Early units had a bug that recorded conversations 24/7, but Google rolled out a fix that permanently disabled the touch-activated listening feature.

The Google Home Mini costs $49, and the discount should be applied automatically as long as you're signed into the same Google account you used to purchase your Pixel 2 or 2 XL.

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1 week ago

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2: Everything you need to know!

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Xiaomi continues its dominance in late 2017 with a high end, bezel-less phone: the Mi Mix 2.

In late 2016, Xiaomi released the Mi Mix: a high end phone with a stunning, bezel-less design, ushering in characteristics now seen on the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and iPhone X. Xiaomi beat all these big players to the punch, and is back in 2017 to refine the formula further with the Mi Mix 2.

This is everything you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2.

Check out our Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 review

We've had our hands on the Mi Mix 2 for a while now, and we've loved what we've seen. Be sure to read our full review to get a long-term look at the phone's design, software and usability.

More: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 review: Astounding, audacious, accessbile

It actually works in the United States

Xiaomi has long been known for offering high-end specs at lower prices than other phone manufacturers, in part because it makes up for this with revenue from its software services in its primary markets. These low prices have made Xiaomi phones attractive for consumers willing to import them, but carrier compatibility has been a mess.

Fortunately, with the Mi Mix 2 that has changed. The phone is fully compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States, with support for 42 total LTE bands. If you're hoping to use the Mi Mix 2 in your home country, odds are good that it'll work.

More: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2: In pictures

The camera is pretty damn good

Xiaomi stuck with a single rear camera this year, rather than follow the dual camera path that other manufacturers have gone down. Despite this, the camera is pretty great: it bests the similarly-priced OnePlus 5 in most daylight and nighttime conditions.

In our comparison with the two phones, the Mi Mix 2 is able to pick up finer details in most scenarios. The front-facing camera is still on the bottom bezel, which is still awkward in third-party apps that use the camera such as Duo or WhatsApp.

More: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 vs. OnePlus 5: How much do you care about bezels?

There's no headphone jack

If you're interested in the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, you'll also be interested in some Bluetooth headphones.

It's available in India

India is Xiaomi's second-largest market, so its only fitting the Mi Mix 2 would be available in the country. The only variant available in India is the 128GB storage/6GB RAM configuration for ₹35,999 and it is available exclusively on Flipkart and in Mi Home stores.

More: Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage lands in India for ₹35,999

Check out the forums!

Have any other questions about the Mi Mix 2, or any other Xiaomi phones? Be sure to check out our super helpful forums!

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2 weeks ago

It's official: Twitter is rolling out 280-character tweets to everyone

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Twitter is doubling its 140 character limit.

After Twitter announced it would be testing out a new feature — a doubled character limit — with a "small group" of people, the company is now rolling out the change to users across the world.

The company said 140 characters don't give users enough space for folks to express themselves. In a blog post, Twitter shared some of its product research regarding the 140 character limit. It seems nearly every language supported on Twitter — save for Japanese, Chinese, and Korean — runs up against that 140 mark time and time again.

In languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French. … We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). … Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese.

The company said it spent time collecting data and feedback from its test group before it making the change. The feature will be rolling out to all supported languages, except for Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

How do you know when you've received the 280 character limit?

Once the switch is made (server-side), instead of the familiar 140-character counter you'll see a circle with a progress indicator. Over time, the progress indicator will fill up, showing you about how much space you have left.

Instead of showing you exact character counts — which may challenge you to use as many characters as possible — the progress indicator is a subtler way to show you how many more characters you can fit in a tweet.

Thoughts?

Are you looking forward to having more characters to express your thoughts (and hot takes) on Twitter or do you wish they'd stuck with 140 characters? Give us a shout in the comments or — even better — over on Twitter!

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2 weeks ago

The kid-friendly Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is now down to $70

2

Hand your little miscreants their own tablet without sacrificing yours.

Is this deal for me?

Children love technology just as much as we do, but watching a kid play with an expensive tablet can be scary at times. Today only, you can stop worrying and pick up an Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet for just $69.99, the lowest price its ever been thanks to Amazon's Deals of the Day. This saves you $20 off the average price.

This is a fully functional Amazon Fire 7 tablet housed in a kid-proof case (in your choice of blue, pink or yellow). It features a 7-inch display, 16GB internal storage and an eight-hour battery life. You'll be able to purchase apps and games for your child and easily setup parental controls to keep them from charging your card while you're not looking.

You can add a microSD card of up to 256GB for extra storage space. This 64GB one by Samsung is currently available for just $23.

Amazon includes a two-year worry-free guarantee so that if this device gets broken, you can have it replaced free of charge with no questions asked. A year of FreeTime Unlimited is also included with your purchase, which gives you and your child access to over 13,000 kid-friendly apps, books, movies, games and more for free.

For a limited time, you can also grab the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition for $89.99, which is its lowest price ever. That one features an 8-inch display with 32GB storage and a 12-hour battery life.

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? - The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition has never dropped this low in price before. You're saving $20 off the average cost.
  • Things to know before you buy! - The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is also on sale for $20 more! It features a slightly larger display and double the storage space.

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter:

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

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2 weeks ago

CrossOver on Chrome OS lets you run Windows apps on Chromebooks

25

Supported on Chromebooks running Android 5.0 or later with x86 processors.

Over the past year or so, Chrome OS has gone from an affordable computing solution for the classroom into something that's also practical as a daily operating system for a lot of people. Chrome OS's biggest limitation still remains with a lack of powerful desktop applications compared to the likes of Windows and macOS, but CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta is hoping to bridge that gap.

CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta was previously existing as an invitation-only application called CrossOver Android Technology Preview, but with the rebrand to CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta, anyone can now download the app to their Chromebook from the Google Play Store.

However, there is a slight catch.

In order to run CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta, you'll need to be using a Chromebook with an x86 processor and running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later. A lot of current Chromebooks should meet these two requirements, but not all will (such as ARM-based models of the Samsung Chromebook Plus).

Once CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta is downloaded to your Chromebook, you'll be able to search for and download more than 13,000 Windows applications that are compatible with the service. There are already a lot of big names here, such as Microsoft Office, Quicken, and Steam, and you can always try downloading other apps within CrossOver if they aren't officially supported.

CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta is currently free to download for anyone that wants to give it a shot, but once the service does exit the beta stage, you'll likely need to pay a fee in order to keep using it. Pricing and an ETA for the end of the beta have yet to be announced, but in the meantime, it can't hurt to give this thing a whirl.

Chromebooks

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2 weeks ago

The Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 smart watch is a bargain for $105

12

It's hard to beat this many features for such little money.

Daily Steals has a new Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 smart watch for $104.99 with code THRFTRS2. This price compares to $180 at other retailers like Amazon and B&H.

The Gear S2 has been discontinued and replaced with a newer model, the Gear S3, but that watch costs $300 on a normal day. We have broken down some of the big differences between the Gear S3 and the S2 and talk about which one you might prefer.

The Gear S2 got some heat when it was first released back in 2015, but a lot of the issues reviewers didn't like back then have since been fixed. Three of the biggest ones were a lack of apps, a lack of iPhone support, and the price. The Tizen software the watch uses continues to get better and better with the release of more watches that use it, Samsung added iOS support long ago, and the problem with the price is fixed right here!

Features include:

  • Send and receive texts, calendar notifications, news updates and more right on your wrist. Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configuration and device usage.
  • With rotating bezel and unique circular interface, easily access your apps and notifications.
  • With a circular design and stainless steel construction, the Gear S2 matches your style.
  • Thousands of third party apps available.
  • Interchangeable bands and hundreds of available watch faces. Please refer the User Manual before use. It doesn't have speakers, hence use Level U bluetooth headphones to hear music

This watch comes with a one-year warranty.

See at Daily Steals

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2 weeks ago

13 essential Nova Launcher tweaks you need to know

40
Nova Settings

Getting the details right matters in a launcher, and no details are more important than your settings.

Nova Launcher is one of the best launchers on the market, with users praising its reliability, customizability, and its ease of use. And once you've gotten the hang of Nova Launcher, it is indeed quite easy to find your way around the launcher, but it's no secret that Nova Settings can be a bit daunting to new and casual users. Never fear! We've searched every submenu and found our favorite settings and some of the best secrets hiding in Nova Settings.

Nova Launcher review: still king of the mountain

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2 weeks ago

Best Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S8

53

The Galaxy S8 is one of the most exciting phones of the year, so if you want to keep it pristine, grab a case!

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has been around for a few months now, and there's no question that it's one of the best-looking phones on the market right now. But there are two sides of curved Gorilla Glass, which means that any drop, even from a short distance, could damage it. If you're looking for a case for your new Galaxy S8, we've got you covered!

Samsung S-View

If you're after a case made by Samsung, you'll definitely want to check out the S-View case. A perennial favorite for the latest Galaxy phones, the S-View case will keep your phone with that front cover that also adds some functionality to your sleeping phone.

This case is compatible with wireless charging and offers full protection for your phone, but the best feature (and where it gets its name) is the ability to see the time and notifications with the front flap closed.

Available starting at $29 for black and up to $48 for the gold version, you'll be able to find one that perfectly matches the color of your phone. Since it's made by Samsung, you can be sure of the fit, and it's well worth the money for all the functionality packed in here.

See at Amazon

CM4 Q-Card case

The Q-Card case from CM4 stands out from other wallet-style cases with its back pocket for storing cards. Made of premium fabric, it offers a nice texture for your hand and allows the card pocket to expand and accommodate up to three cards and some cash. This texture is also along the edge of the case which helps to make this a very grippy case in your hand.

This case also features all the protective elements you'd want from a case, including air-cushioned corners to help disperse shocks away from your phone, a bezel around the front to protect the screen, and even includes a slim slot along the edge that can be used with a credit card to create a kickstand for hands-free media viewing.

Get yours for either the Galaxy S8 or larger S8+ for just $23!

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal

The best clear cases offer protection for your phone without drawing attention to the fact that you've got a case on your phone. The Spigen Liquid Crystal is an ideal clear case that'll keep your phone safe while letting the design of your Galaxy S8 shine through.

Made of lightweight and flexible TPU material, this single-layer case is easy to pop onto your phone while adding next to no bulk to the phone. Precise cutouts and buttons mean that your phone's functionality is never affected, and it's thin enough to allow for wireless charging, too.

You can get this case for your phone for just $11.

See at Amazon

Otterbox Commuter Series

The OtterBox Commuter Series has garnered a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best cases for keeping your phone well protected while maintaining a slim design.

Like most OtterBox cases, this is a two-piece case that features a soft inner sleeve paired with a hard outer shell that helps to absorb impacts while providing great all-around protection for your phone. The case features port covers over the headphone jack and USB-C charging port, which just adds extra protection against dirt, dust, and pocket lint.

Typically we'd also recommend OtterBox's Defender Series, which typically offers more rugged protection with a built-in screen protector. However, OtterBox made the curious decision to not include a screen protector with their Defender Series case for the Galaxy S8. Both cases are compatible with screen protectors but the Commuter Series is probably your best bet, as it's $10 cheaper and offers most of the same protection — although it lacks the Defender Series' belt clip holster.

You can grab the OtterBox Commuter for around $25.

See at Amazon

Ringke Flex S Series

If you like your case's name aligning with your phone's, the Ringke Flex S is a great option. (It's also a damn good case.)

The main attraction here is the exceptional protection gleaned from the combination of a flexible TPU layer cushioning the phone itself, which is covered by a hard polycarbonate layer. That's a familiar combination, but Ringke's version is very attractive, with a grippy, textured back that looks great as it protects.

You can pick up a Flex S case for around $14 and it comes in four colors.

See at Amazon

VRS Design Cases

VRS Design has a full collection of cases available from its site for the Galaxy S8, but we'll highlight one of the more minimalist options here.

The Single Fit case offers a minimalist option for keeping your phone safe. It's a one-piece case made of TPU that snugly fits around your Galaxy S8 without adding too much bulk to that sleek design. Unlike the phone itself, this case is fingerprint resistant and also provides better grip than the slippery Gorilla Glass on the Galaxy S8. You get nice protection around the camera and fingerprint sensor on the back, and a subtle lip around the screen, along with the ample cutouts and precise buttons to ensure your phone's functionality is unaffected.

Check out the Single Fit case for around $20.

See at VRS Design

Spigen Liquid Air Armor

Spigen consistently delivers cases that combine great design and quality protection for a stylish product that keeps your phone safe. We've gone hands-on with their latest batch of cases for the Galaxy S8 and can report back that they're as good as ever on Samsung's latest device. Whether you like their Tough Armor series or their minimalist Thin Fit cases, you're sure to find a case that you'll love.

We're big fans of the Liquid Air Armor, one of the most low-profile cases that actually protects your phone. It's a great combination — a flexible TPU, not too thin, plus a textured back for extra grip.

Best of all, the case is just $10, which is a steal for one of our favorite cases for the Galaxy S8!

See at Amazon

Nomad Leather Folio Wallet

Nomad's Galaxy S8 folio case is like nothing else on the list. It uses Horween leather from the oldest tannery in the United States that is meant to show its age. On the inside of the light brown case is a holder for up to six cards plus cash, and the phone insert is there to keep your Galaxy S8 steady in the case of a drop.

This is one of the nicest-looking folio cases we've seen to date, and we're looking forward to seeing how it looks in three or six months!

See at Nomad

What case are you rocking?

We want to know how you plan to keep your Galaxy S8 protected. Let us know which case you're getting in the comments!

Update November 2017: This list has been updated with new options and up-to-date links.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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2 weeks ago

Chrome: Everything you need to know!

14
Chrome

Chromebooks, apps, browser extensions, you name it. If it's about Chrome, here's the place to start for anything and everything you need to know.

You know Google Chrome. It's on your phone, on your computer and might even be powering your laptop. It's one of Google's most ambitious projects and it plays a big part of their strategy for the web and mobile. Chrome is everywhere.

In typical Google fashion, Chrome also encompasses a bunch of things that we normally don't think of as being related. Google likes to unify stuff. Unifying things is good for development and is a great way to force innovation — making things do something new and work with other things is usually a good idea. But that can get confusing for people who just use products and services and don't need to know — or care — how the sausage is made.

That's where we come in. We love knowing how the sausage is made and we use Google's products and services. We can help you know everything you ever need to know about Chrome.

Chrome is a web browser

Chrome

Google Chrome is the most popular web browsing software worldwide. Desktop and laptop computers use Chrome 60% of the time when they are on the internet. Mobile and tablet devices also use it 60% of the time. Even folks using an iPhone love Chrome.

Chrome is the most popular web browser on the desktop and mobile.

Chrome is using a special version (known as a fork) of the WebKit engine developed by KDE in 1998 known as Blink. Apple Submitted major changes to the original in 2002 that were needed to allow the rendering engine to run on OS X and weren't fully compliant with the software license KDE required and this forked the project. Google had been a major contributor to Apple's version of the WebKit engine until they forked off Blink. With Chrome using the Blink engine, all Chrome-specific code — javascript hooks, platform code, build system tools and the like — has been removed from WebKit. Opera uses the same codebase as Chrome, and they too use the Blink engine. Amazon's Silk browser and Android also use the Blink engine for HTML rendering. Blink is just a refinement of the WebCore component of WebKit, and few if any issues are likely to arise for developers. All versions of Chrome on all platforms use the Blink engine except for the iOS version which uses Apple's Safari-exclusive version of WebKit.

Download Google Chrome for Android or iOS

Download Google Chrome for your computer

Chrome's biggest draw is the way it syncs with your Google account. You can share bookmarks, open tabs, form data and more across every device that uses Chrome. This was a boon for mobile use and a big part of the adoption numbers.

Chrome is secure and Google sync works on every platform.

The Chrome browser also has support for sandboxed instances. Things you see or type in one tab are not normally visible to other tabs or other applications. Browser extensions work through the main Chrome instance and can affect every sandbox, but generally, things are kept separate. This can cause a high memory footprint as each tab occupies its own space in your RAM. It's a security feature that we depend on even if we don't realize it's there. The internet is not a very safe place, and every security feature helps. Other security features include a blacklist of sites that are potentially harmful and warnings when visiting sites that use a non-secure connection method.

Chrome is standards compliant, has a familiar and user-customizable interface and offers support for browser apps and extensions. This, as well as synchronization and security features, help make it the most popular web browser available.

Chrome is an operating system

Chromebook

Chrome is also a popular operating system for laptops, mini-PCs, and HDMI stick computers. Chrome OS includes the Chrome browser as a major component but it also has a long list of features of its own.

The Chrome browser runs better on a Chromebook that it does on more expensive computers. It was built from the ground up to be this way.

Chrome OS was designed from the ground up to be very lightweight. Like Android, it's a Linux-based system that Google has adapted to perfectly fit their needs. Chrome OS is responsive and capable on computers with specs that will barely support other operating systems, yet is scalable to take advantage of the most powerful components available. Using specially tweaked versions of standard Linux memory and process management tools like zRAM and a task scheduler, Chrome OS can take advantage of everything inside the computer it's running on for user tasks instead of operating system overhead. We still recommend you buy a machine with as much RAM and storage as you can, but it's important that the requirements are low. This is especially important now that Android applications can run on Chrome OS, since certain applications like Netflix and Plex will let you store videos offline. More storage means more movies, and more movies means more fun.

Besides running well on inexpensive hardware, Chrome can do everything most people want a computer to do.

Chrome is a complete operating system with platform support for third party applications. Multimedia features, GPU acceleration, human input device standards and more mean you can code applications specifically to run on Chrome and take advantage of the same hardware the system itself has access to. Security features and sandboxing also apply here, and applications are unable to directly interact with other applications or collect their data. The Chrome browser is a major component of Chrome and offers the same features available on Windows or Mac with a better performance to hardware ratio. This has to do with how the operating system handles the main Chrome process as well as child instances from tabs and other applications. In Chrome, things were designed with this in mind while the Chrome browser on other platforms has to work with the system calls and APIs exposed to it. The Chrome browser is a native application on Chrome OS, and it shows when you're using it.

The best Chromebook apps

Android and Google Play was recently introduced to Chrome OS. Running in a standard Linux container, Android is in its own sandbox while an abstraction layer handles communication between Android apps and the operating system. In layman's terms, you can think of Android as a separate section of Chrome with equal access to resources. There are very few Android apps that do not run on Chrome, and outside of things like launchers or icon packs most cases are because they aren't enabled by the developer. No changes to existing code are needed to run an Android app on Chrome, though developers are encouraged to be sure they have a pleasant layout designed for a much bigger screen and that their apps work well with a mouse and keyboard.

These are the Chromebooks that can run Android apps

Google Play support is available on select Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, and there is a long list of other models that have support in the works. Future devices should run Android by default and include hardware (like sensors or a gyroscope) that make Android apps run even better.

Chrome OS has many great native applications, and the addition of Android will fill in the gaps for many of us. This, combined with the inexpensive prices, security, and ease of use are why we think Chromebooks are a great tool for almost everyone.

A Chromebook is now the best Android tablet

Chrome is built from open-source code

Chromium

Both the Chrome browser and Chrome OS are built from open-source code. The Chromium and Chromium OS projects are very much like the Android Open Source project.

Everything needed to build a complete and fully-functional browser or operating system is available for anyone to use as they wish. Commercial distributions need to adhere to software license requirements, but outside of that, the code is fully modifiable and very easy to build. Open source releases of the Chromium project happen monthly and the project fully supports Chrome applications and extensions. Many popular Linux distributions offer Chromium because it's open and doesn't depend on closed proprietary code or binary files.

Chrome and Chrome OS are not open source. Like Android, where Google uses the open-source version with additions to build the software for the Pixel, Google and hardware partners take Chromium and use it to create the Chrome browser and use Chromium OS to build Chrome OS. Unlike Android, where device manufacturers are able to alter the software in ways that harm the platform, Chrome OS is controlled by Google. Hardware partners for Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices help make sure things like the display and touchpad are compatible and extras like support for the ASUS cloud or HP device support can be added, but Chrome itself must ship as built by Google. This ensures a pleasant and familiar experience for everyone.

Chrome comes in a wide range of hardware

Chromebit

You can have a complete Chrome experience on an $80 Chromebit. You can also spend $1,700 dollars on an Google Pixelbook that has the latest hardware available. While one will handle more tasks at once than the other, the experience is exactly the same.

We're big proponents of Chromebooks around here. Unless I'm rendering a video or playing a game, there's a good chance I have my Chromebook in front of me when I'm on the computer. This includes my everyday work — I'm writing this post on my Chromebook sitting at a desk with a fully specced desktop that scores completely off the chart for Steam VR on it. Chromebooks are simple, intuitive and can do almost anything I need them to do. We think that for a good many people, the same will apply and a Chromebook is the best way to do computing safely and efficiently.

The best Chromebook

Chromeboxes are also pretty cool. Most are the same size as something like a Mac Mini and offer relatively high-end hardware at a very reasonable price. They make an excellent box in your entertainment stand that turns every TV into a smart TV, and when paired with a good monitor, mouse, and keyboard can offer a complete desktop experience for most everyone. They are also a great base for anyone who wants to roll up their sleeves and set up a media server or stand-alone firewall and router box.

The best Chromebox

A Chromebit is awesome for a traveler or anyone who is doing a business presentation. All you need it a TV with an open HDMI port and a small USB or Bluetooth input device and you have the entire web available with zero effort. They are a great way to have full access to your Google Play library, Amazon Prime library, Netflix and any other web-based service in your pocket, and Google Docs makes projecting spreadsheets or slideshows on a big screen simple. They are also great for the bedroom or anywhere space is at a premium. The fact that they are inexpensive is just a bonus!

Chromebox vs Chromebit — which should you buy?

Something for everyone

Chrome is Google's way to get more people online and part of the internet age. Whether you use the Chrome browser on your phone or PC, or have a Chromebook as your primary computer, or even carry your Chromebit with you everywhere you go, Chrome is there to make things easy.

Chrome Buyer's Guide

Chrome is powerful, secure and easy to use. While it isn't the best solution for every task, we think you'll find it's very well rounded and suits most needs. The future for Chrome looks bright, and we're all going to be part of it together!

Update November 2017: This page was updated to reflect the latest news and information about Chrome.

Chromebooks

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic Edition available in 100 countries for $50

2

Available in more markets, but at a higher price and with fewer features.

Amazon's Fire TV lineup is one of your better options out there when it comes to streaming boxes/dongles, and on November 7, the latest entry in this series was announced as the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition.

With a name like "Basic Edition" at the end of it, you kind of know what to expect from this "new" Fire TV Stick. The HDMI-dongle plugs into the back of your TV, and once you power it on, you've got access to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and all of your other favorite streaming applications.

The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote costs $10 less and has all the power of the Alexa AI.

The Fire TV Stick Basic Edition comes equipped with a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage for all of your apps/games, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There's also support for 1080p HD video streaming with the High Efficiency Video Codec, as well as Dolby Audio for a higher-quality audio experience.

Amazon's big goal with the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition is to bring the product to as many countries as possible, and with it being sold to over 100 different regions, the company certainly has that part of the plan down pat.

However, what we can't understand is why Amazon didn't just make the Fire TV Stick with the Alexa Voice Remote available for additional markets instead of essentially rebranding the first-gen Fire TV Stick and increasing its price. The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote only costs $40, and as its name suggests, comes with a remote that has Alexa built-in.

The Fire TV Stick Basic Edition costs $10 more and lacks Alexa functionality.

In any case, if you're interested in buying the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, it's available for purchase now and will start shipping out tomorrow, November 8.

See at Amazon

Amazon Fire TV

Buy at Amazon

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2 weeks ago

This is the essential NaNoWriMo survival kit

16

These tools can help you to survive NaNoWriMo.

November has dawned, and while for many people this means No Shave November or prepping for the holidays, for me and hundreds of thousands of other fiction writers around the world, November is for writing a novel. For us, November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, where we try to write a complete novel of 50,000 words or more inside of a month without losing our minds in the process.

We're six days into the chaos, so I've collected my survival kit. These include the technology, apps, and accessories that I use to survive when I'm spending hours each night staring at a screen and manically typing.

Dabble Writer

The most important aspect of NaNoWriMo is having a writing program that is easy to use and does absolutely everything that you want it to. In years past I've used Google Docs, Scrivener, Word, and even one year where I tried to write by hand. Out of all the programs I've played with, though, my experience with Dabble Writer has been the best, hands down.

This is a web program that lets you manage your novel, add chapters, scenes, edit and adjust your plotline, and so much more. It's all online, and while there isn't a mobile app available quite yet, it does everything you need it to without getting in the way of your actual goal — writing a novel. There is even a special mode for NaNoWriMo, which will automatically sync your word count with the main NaNo website, making keeping your word count up to date simple and easy. There's even a feature to export to word to back up your manuscript, and since everything is saved on the cloud you can bounce from one computer to the next without having to worry about losing work in the process.

Dabbler usually requires a monthly subscription of about $4.99, but they're running a trial for anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, which will give you free access through December 6th. Additionally, NaNo participants can 20% off for the year, and NaNoWriMo winners can grab it for 50% for a year.

Download: Dabble Writer ($4.99/month)

Starbucks app

During November, I tend to spend basically every spare moment tucked into a corner typing away towards that 50k goal. Doing that without something to keep me going can be pesky, so I tend to drink coffee. A lot of coffee. To make sure that I get that perfect latte, and that I'm not wasting perfectly good writing time waiting in line, I use my Starbucks app.

I can order ahead and pick up my drink when I arrive, and I can get as much espresso as will fit into a cup, to make sure that those neurons are still firing properly. It's also easy to load up a caffeine budget on the app, and since I'm a gold member, I even earn myself free goodies in the process.

Download: Starbucks (free)

Evernote

Trying to keep track of everything that my brain throws at me for a new story is never an easy prospect, and in the days before smartphones, you could generally find me carting around a folder filled with printouts, scrawled notes, pictures I'd taken, and anything else I thought I might need during the course of my writing.

Evernote made that so much easier. I can add notes, create Notebooks to hold information for characters or settings, and save photos to those Notebooks as well. With the web clipper for Chrome, I can also snag important snippets and save links, and it's all synced between my mobile device and computer. I can even draw doodles for family crests of chunks of map that pop into my head at an inopportune moment.

Download: Evernote (free)

Chromebook

While apps and programs to write with are all handy, they don't do me any good if I don't have a solid device to do the actual writing on. While I have a desktop and a MacBook that I could be using, I've found that my Chromebook gets the job done so well that I haven't touched either of them since Halloween.

My Chromebook is light, easy to use, and when it comes time to go hunting for inspiration it's a convertible, so I can use it more like a tablet. While the first few hours of writing without a caps lock was a little bit jarring, once I got into the swing of things I never looked back. Because I only open the window I'm writing in, there aren't really any distractions to keep me from working on my novel.

While I'm using an Asus Chromebook, the one that will do you the best is the Samung Chromebook Plus. Convertible, light, easy to use, and available for about $425, it does an awesome job of letting you strike out distractions and just get right to work.

See at Amazon

Spotify Music

Getting into the right mood for whatever scene I'm working on can easily be the most difficult part of sitting down to write each day. That's where music comes in. While I've got a solid 30GB of saved music on an external drive, in the last few years I've made the jump to Spotify Music. I pay $14.99 each month for the family plan, and it's worth every last penny.

I've got access to an absolutely massive collection of just about every genre, with playlists that Spotify creates from my listening trends, and thousands upon thousands of playlists for a specific genre or mood. It's also easy to transfer my own music into Spotify through local files so that I can listen to everything all from one place. Being able to jump between radio stations, playlists, local files, and even top music around the world, all without ever being interrupted by a commercial makes it easier to jump into my story and get to work.

Download: Spotify (free, subscriptions)

Are you writing?

NaNoWriMo is a non-profit that aims to get people writing and telling the stories that matter to them. While writing a novel is always difficult, doing it in just 30 days is a marathon, and having some help makes it easy to hit your goals everyday. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? Do you use any of these apps to help you write? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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