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6 days ago

How to upgrade to a new Philips Hue Bridge

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If you've been using Hue bulbs for a while, you should upgrade your Bridge.

Philips has been roilling out lots of exciting new updates to its Hue lights, including the recent integration with Razer's Chroma lighting platform for gamers. There's a lot more coming, but not all of those features are going to be compatible with the original round puck that came with your Hue lights. Fortunately, Philips includes a feature in the Hue app that makes transferring your lights and settings super easy.

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Here's how it works!

How to transfer lights and settings from your old Bridge to your new Bridge

  1. Leave the old Bridge plugged in and connected to your network.
  2. Connect your new Bridge to power and Ethernet.
  3. Open the Hue app.
  4. Tap the Settings gear.
  5. Tap Hue bridges.
  6. Tap the information icon next to your Bridge.

  7. Tap Transfer settings.
  8. Tap the orange Prepare Transfer button.
  9. Press the button on your old Bridge.
  10. Press the button on your new Bridge.
  11. Tap Start transfer

  12. Tap blink lights to confirm the transfer worked.
  13. Tap Next when everything works.
  14. Press the reset button on your old Bridge (you'll need a pen or paperclip or something) to wipe your old Bridge.
  15. Unplug your old Bridge.
  16. Tap Done.

Once you see the Congratulations screen, all of your lights have been successfully transferred to the new bridge and your app will behave exactly the same way it always has. Everything should work in the app as though nothing has changed. Outside of the stock Philips Hue app, you may run into some confusion. Here's how you deal with it.

Another phone on the network can't use the Hue Bulbs now

Sometimes the transfer doesn't register on other Hue apps, or the connection just isn't registered because the phone wasn't connected to the network when the change happened. Either way, the fastest way to address this problem is to re-connect to your Hue Bridge. To do this:

  1. Open the Hue App.
  2. Tap on the Settings gear.
  3. Tap Hue bridges.
  4. Tap the Plus icon to add a new Bridge.
  5. Press the button on your Bridge when prompted.

Once you have connected your Bridge to this app, it should no longer have any problems communicating.

A third-party Hue app won't talk to my Hue bulbs anymore

Not every Hue app is created the same way, and some misbehave after switching bridges. There are two ways to fix this, depending on the app.

  • Option 1: Find the Bridge feature in your app and re-connect to your Hue Bridge
  • Option 2: Uninstall and Reinstall the app

Your mileage may vary on this one due to how many third-party Hue apps there are, but so far these solutions have worked with everything we've tested.

Google Home no longer activates Hue commands

If upgrading caused Google Home or Google Assistant to no longer be connected to the Hue lights, all you need to do is re-add the lights to your Home app.

How to set up Philips Hue integration in Google Home

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1 week ago

Facebook Messenger Kids comes to Amazon Fire tablets

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A new way to keep an eye on who your kids are talking to.

Last December, Facebook launched Messenger Kids as an app for youngsters to safely communicate with one another and family members. Following this, it's now expanded to Amazon's line of Fire tablets.

Messenger Kids is targeted at kiddos 13 years and younger, and it allows them to have access to a lot of Messenger's regular features in a more secure environment. They can send GIFs, use stickers to add to photos that they take, and even make group calls over Wi-Fi.

The UI's been tweaked to be brighter and more kid-friendly, and to help give parents/guardians some added peace of mind, messages can't be deleted or hidden and you have full control of contact lists to ensure your young ones aren't talking to people they shouldn't be.

Facebook Messenger Kids is available to download from Amazon now.

Amazon Fire tablets

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1 week ago

Yup, the LG V30 is beautiful in its new 'Raspberry Rose' color

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LG V30 Raspberry Rose red

I wish more manufacturers took risks with colorful phones like this.

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LG just announced it was making a new V30 color, dubbed "Raspberry Rose," a week ago — so naturally, we tracked it down at CES 2018 to see what it was all about. And yes, it's absolutely stunning in this new color.

Now most people would agree the V30's design is quite good, and the combination of shining glass and smooth lines suits it in just about any color. But this new Raspberry Rose is so different from the rest of the current crop of V30 colors that it's wonderful to see.

The only bad part about the Raspberry Rose V30 is that it won't be available worldwide.

Oddities with custom brand names for colors aside, "Raspberry Rose" is actually a pretty accurate description of what this color looks like. It definitely isn't just a plain red, nor is it light enough to be considered pink. In regular lighting at a glance it's more like a light raspberry color, but with less light it gets very deep into a nice red rose color. The color-shifting property comes mostly in the back glass, which actually sports a bit of texture underneath for a neat effect when it shines in the light.

Of course the metal frame is also a matching red shade, though without some of the color shifting properties it has a narrower range of color depending on lighting. It's just barely noticeable when you're holding the phone from the front, but from some angles you do get those little glimpses of the red, reminding you that your V30 is special.

The only sad part about the Raspberry Rose V30 is that it's seeing a limited release in only certain markets — a fate bestowed on so many of the best "special edition" colors. South Korea gets it first, of course, followed by a wider Asia expansion and then parts of Europe. No plans are being made for a North American release.

LG V30

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1 week ago

WhatsApp group chat security flaw: What you need to know

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Relax, nobody is going to be hacking your WhatsApp messages, at least not this way.

A lot of talk went down recently about a new way to exploit WhatsApp and bypass the end-to-end encryption the company likes to mention that it has whenever it can. I've seen tweets and comments that run the gamut from "it's FUD" to talking about some backdoor that Facebook had installed.

The good news is that it's neither. In fact, it's not really one of those things you need to be concerned about and instead is one of those things that make you wonder how it ever happened in the first place because it's pretty sloppy. But don't worry — it will be fixed long before anything happens.

What it is

Researchers Paul Rösler, Christian Mainka, and Jörg Schwenk at Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany released a research paper (.pdf link) that found a peculiar flaw in WhatsApp's group chat administration. WhatsApp offers the same end-to-end encryption for group chats that it does for individual chats, and that usually means we should be able to feel safe in knowing that the things we say won't be read by anyone who shouldn't be reading it unless one of the group members lets it happen.

Apparently, it's theoretically possible for a stranger to add themselves to a group chat on WhatsApp. "Theoretically" and "possible" being the key words here. I'll explain.

WhatsApp offers group messaging that uses strong end-to-end encryption.

In a WhatsApp group chat one or more of the original members is an administrator. From the server's point of view, that means that these people are able to add and remove people from the group. Everything is good so far, even though the way it works — an administrator sends a signal to every member of the group with his or her signing keys and in return, each member sends a return message with their signing keys then the originator of the message notifies each member that there is now a new person in the group — is a bit of a kludge in order to create a good user interface. If you're not an administrator, the only thing you know is that you see a message that Jerry is now a member of the group. You can either accept that or leave the chat.

A similar flaw was found with group messaging through Signal.

The problem is that WhatsApp isn't properly authenticating these group management requests on its own servers. A WhatsApp server needs to properly ID the sender of a message that would add a person to a group chat. The person sends a message that IDs both the group and the member it wishes to add and the server checks to make sure the person who sent it is actually a chat administrator. These messages aren't end-to-end encrypted, and instead use standard transport encryption — the message coming from a chat administrator and going to a server that requests a user be added to a chat is not signed by the sender with their encryption key.

This means a WhatsApp server can add any user it wants to any group, at any time. The server can, not another user. That's important, and it means any privacy expected in a WhatsApp group chat depends solely on trusting the WhatsApp chat server. That defeats the entire purpose of end-to-end encryption, which is designed so that privacy is guaranteed even if a server is compromised because only the sender and recipient can decrypt a message.

And then the internet loses its collective mind because that's what the internet is really good at doing.

This won't happen but still needs fixing

The only way this flaw can be exploited is by someone with access to the server doing it. That means a server gets compromised, or an employee goes rogue, or a three-letter government agency files a warrant. Any of those things could happen, might have happened in the past, and could even be happening right now. But one other thing needs to be considered — you'll know if it happens to your chat.

You are notified whenever a person is added to a group chat, encrypted or not.

The first thing that a server does after a member is added is notify every other member of the group that "Jerry was added to the chat." You will see the message telling you someone was added, and so will everyone else. When Jerry arrives to the private chat party with his bad jokes and cheap beer, and nobody invited him, that's going to be a sign that something's wrong and nobody should consider anything they are about to type as private. Pack up and move to another chat without Jerry and maybe even a different service that won't let him crash.

So nobody is going to be able to secretly check out your encrypted group chat, but this still undermines end-to-end encryption in every possible way. It needs to be fixed right away, and maybe even the whole group management method needs to be revamped. At the bare minimum, we all need to scratch our heads and wonder how something like this slips by programmers and code auditors. It's a ridiculous premise that will never be exploited, but still.

What you need to do

Nothing, really. Appreciate the work done by Rösler, Mainka, and Schwenk in finding this flaw because security researching is a thankless and often mind-numbing job, but past that you don't really need to change your routine at all. A method of authenticating the request to add a member to an encrypted group chat will be sorted out by the folks who keep WhatsApp's wheels spinning shortly and this will change from a flaw that will never be exploited to a flaw that can no longer be exploited at all.

What's important is that you were paying attention, because the next flaw might very well be one that does need action on your part. And there will be another flaw, so make sure you keep paying attention.

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1 week ago

LG will stop releasing new phones every year

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A new strategy to cope with 11 quarters of consecutive losses.

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While Samsung and Apple dominate the global smartphone market, LG continues on its never-ending struggle.

The company's mobile division has been losing money for 11 consecutive quarters at this point, and in an attempt to try and fix this, LG's Vice Chairman, Jo Seong-jin said that the company will be shifting away from releasing new flagship phones every single year.

As a response to a question regarding the LG G7, Sung-jin said:

We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do. We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.

A few days before this, a spokesperson for LG said that the company would be ditching its G-series branding in favor of something new for the G7 in an effort to help boost sales. Sung-jin's mention of the G-series has us uncertain what's going on with the name of the phone, but no matter what happens there, this is a big change for LG.

Yearly flagship releases have become a norm of the industry, and in some cases with companies like OnePlus, a bi-yearly thing. We aren't sure what to expect from "more variant models" of LG's phones, but supporting current models for longer than other companies is something that we're sure some our readers will be able to get behind.

LG G7 (2018 flagship) rumor roundup: Everything you need to know

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1 week ago

Best Touchscreen Gloves for Winter 2018

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Best Touchscreen Gloves for Winter

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

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

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

Mujjo double-layered touchscreen gloves

Mujjo

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

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

See at Amazon


Agloves

Agloves

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

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

See at Amazon


The North Face Etip

North Face ThermoBall Etip

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

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

See at Amazon


Glove.ly Cozy Touch Screen Glove

Glove.ly

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

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

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

See at Amazon


Moshi Digits

Moshi Digits

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

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

See at Moshi


Elma Italian leather gloves

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

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

See at Amazon

Women's Gloue gloves

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

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

See at Amazon

Nanotips

Nanotip

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

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

See at Amazon


Got a favorite?

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

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

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1 week ago

Google Play Music: Everything you need to know!

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

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

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1 week ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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1 week ago

Oculus Go: Everything you need to know!

1

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

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

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

What is Oculus Go?

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

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

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

Read more: Lenovo Mirage vs Oculus Go

Whats the difference between Oculus Go and Gear VR?

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

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

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

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

When is it launching?

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

Get notified about the launch date at Oculus

How much will it cost?

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

Are you excited?

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

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

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1 week ago

Google purchased a company that turns displays into speakers

27

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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1 week ago

Best microSD Cards for Galaxy S8 as of January 2018

33

What are the best microSD cards for the Galaxy S8?

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

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

Performance options

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

SanDisk Extreme 32GB

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

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

See at Amazon

PNY U3 Pro Elite 128GB

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

See at Amazon

Samsung 256GB EVO Select microSD

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

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

See at Amazon

Value options

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

Samsung EVO 128GB microSD

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

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD

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

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD

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

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

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

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

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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1 week ago

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

3

Available now for pre-registration on the Play Store.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1 week ago

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

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

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

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

Features include:

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

This device has 4.1 stars based on 560 user reviews.

See on Amazon

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1 week ago

Best Android apps for learning a language in 2018

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

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

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

Learn languages: Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download: Rosetta Stone(Subscription required)

Duolingo

Duolingo

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

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

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

Download: Duolingo(Free)

Babbel

Babbel

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

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

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

Download: Babbel(Subscription required after free trial)

Questions?

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

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

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1 week ago

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

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Thankfully, this 'feature' will be removed soon.

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

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

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

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

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

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

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