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1 week ago

Google is focusing on 180-degree video for VR headsets

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Depth is more important than the sphere.

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For several years now, 360-degree cameras have been seen as the best way for consumers to capture something for VR. It started with Photospheres, and slowly the cost of multi-sensor fisheye sphere cameras came down enough that it was reasonable for people to pick them up for fun. And it's true, you can have a lot of fun capturing a 360-degree photo or video to share on Facebook.

Sharing on Facebook or streaming live to Twitter are very different experiences from recording something that is fully enjoyable in a VR headset. To do that well, you need depth. To capture depth, at least in video, you need a second camera to act as the other eye. This year Google is working with multiple manufacturers to make capturing for VR in the less common 180-degree format much, much easier.

Meet VR180

Lots of VR events are recorded professionally now with special 180-degree cameras, including NFL and NBA games through companies like NextVR. These cameras fully immerse the viewer in what is happening directly in front of them, but there's typically nothing going on when you turn around with the VR headset on. The advantage here is you can sit still and become absorbed in what you are watching, instead on constantly being on the edge of your seat in case you need to turn around to follow the action.

Google has worked with several camera manufacturers to offer several options for VR180 capture later this year, offering a special app that works with many of these cameras out of the box. This new VR180 app will make it easy to connect to the cameras and share what you've captured quickly. These cameras are all designed to be held almost like a phone or rested on a tripod, and when you hit record everything on the sensor side of the camera is recorded. This allows the camera operator to hide a little, eliminating those awkward super up-close selfies and constant shots of the knuckles of whoever is holding the camera.

You can expect to see these cameras later this year:

Lenovo Mirage Camera

This camera is designed to be highly portable and very easy to use, with single-button activation for photo, video, and live broadvcasting. Wi-Fi Direct is built in so you don't need to connect to your phone to upload or share your photos or videos, but you can and the connection will be faster and more stable than Bluetooth. If you do choose to connect to your phone, you'll be able to use Google's new VR180 app to act as the viewfinder.

Lenovo boasts this camera weighs in at just 139 grams, and small enough to fit in your pocket. Expect to see it on shelves in Q2 of this year for under $300.

YI Horizon VR180 Camera

The second consumer-focused VR180 camera working with Google makes it easy to interact with the new VR180 app for quick sharing and livestreaming. This camera is expected to be available later this spring, and we'll add more details as we get them.

Google is also working with LG, Panasonic, and the Z Cam K1 Pro for a few different options for every kind of videographer, all expected to be ready later this year.

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1 week ago

Lenovo Mirage Solo hands-on: The first Daydream headset that doesn't need a phone

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The next phase in Google's VR strategy starts today.

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You can do a lot with Daydream today, but it has been clear since Google's last developer conference that the company had greater ambitions for its nascent VR platform.

Using a lot of the spatial logic the company gained from Project Tango, Google announced an expansion called Daydream Standalone. The goal was a headset that didn't need a phone because it had its own hardware inside, and instead of standing still like you would with Daydream this headset would allow you to safely walk around.

We learned recently the first Daydream Standalone headset would be made by Lenovo instead of HTC, and now those plans have turned into something real. Meet the Lenovo Mirage Solo, the first Daydream Standalone headset.

Lenovo's design for the Mirage Solo is wildly different from the all fabric all the time design Google has taken with Daydream up tot his point, and with good reason. This headset contains its own display, battery, cameras, and controls on the side of the headset. That means it needs to distribute weight a little differently in order to avoid feeling too front-heavy.

This is accomplished with a halo-style head strap, similar to what is used with a PlayStation VR and most Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Because the headset is a little larger and heavier than a Daydream headset, this more structured head strap makes the Mirage Solo much more comfortable. And best of all, the is design doesn't apply any pressure around your eyes.

This particular Daydream Standalone headset is almost entirely white plastic, including the inside. The white plastic on the inside isn't usually done with VR headsets, because the white can reflect light that sneaks in through the nose gap or through the sides. With black material that light is a lot less noticeable, which is why it is more commonly used. In our brief time with the headset it was clear the white amplified the light leak enough to be noticeable, but the seal against your face is enough that we didn't experience it much even in a brightly lit room.

Like those other halo-style headsets, you can quickly put the Mirage Solo on and move around without worrying about the headset sliding around. That's a big deal in this case, because you're going to want to move around a lot more than you would with a normal Daydream headset. Google's "WorldSense" capabilities in Daydream Standalone means you are going to be dodging, jumping, and ducking as you interact with new games design for this all-new experience.

The Mirage Solo promises PC-class tracking, but in the demos being offered right now, you're not doing much in the way of walking around. That doesn't mean you won't be able to; in fact, in our tests, it was clear Daydream had a sort of boundary system where you needed to recalibrate if you stepped out of bounds. It's not quite as safety-focused as the digital walls you see in a Rift or a Vive, so questions remain about what the software will do to keep you from walking into walls.

If you've been waiting for something a step above Daydream without sacrificing portability, this is it.

Not every app and game you explore in this headset is going to offer that WorldSense capability, at least not initially. Google promises all 250+ Daydream apps and games from the existing headsets will be available to use in this headset at launch, complete with a Daydream Controller to explore those apps, but those are not WorldSense experiences. For that, Google promises a showcase will be available at launch. Since the headset is powered by the Snapdragon 835 with 4GB of RAM, it's clear these new WorldSense experiences are going to be quite different from what we're used to seeing in Daydream.

While headphone jacks are disappearing on phones, making the latest version of Daydream through the Pixel 2 a little more complicated in the process, Mirage Solo comes with a jack on the side. It sits opposite the USB-C port used for charging. You're going to need headphones, since there are no speakers on the headset, and if you decide wireless is the way to go it supports Bluetooth 5.0 as well. One thing you won't need to worry about is storage; Lenovo has included 64GB on board like you'd expect with any decent phone, and there's a Micro-USB slot onboard to expand as high as you like. Combined with the USB-C port, you will also be able to add videos to your headset whenever you choose.

Finally, the battery. Google's whole vision for Daydream has been to make it possible for people to enjoy VR for longer than you would a simple Cardboard experience. With a phone, you're still limited by the desire to use your phone as an actual phone either before or after a VR experience. Mirage Solo packs a 4,000mAh battery, larger than you'll find in most phones, and with the supposedly lightweight Daydream OS version of Android, that battery is expected to deliver up to seven hours of use.

If you've been waiting for something a step above Daydream without sacrificing portability, this is it. Google and Lenovo plan to make the Mirage Solo available for under $400 in the second quarter of 2018, and so far it looks like the headset will only be available in the one color.

Google Daydream

Google

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1 week ago

6 High-capacity Power Banks that are Great for the Traveling Techie

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These aren't your pocket-friendly power banks, but they can be your lifeline when battery life runs short across multiple devices.

Given today's power-hungry phones and tablets, any power pack under 20,000mAh shouldn't be considered high-capacity. While the majority of these beefier backup batteries aren't suited for storing in your pocket, they're still compact enough to toss in a backpack, suitcase, or laptop bag for a quick charge when you need it. Check out these five power banks that provide enough battery to keep up with the most demanding tech-lover.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 Quick Charge / PowerCore+ 26800 PD

Anker brings two versions of the PowerCore+ 26800 to the market, one with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and one with USB PD (Power Delivery). Both offer a whopping 26,800mAh capacity and are only 7.1 x 3.1 x .9 inches in size. This is a power bank that you probably can fit into your pocket!

The Quick Charge model also features PowerIQ so that non-Quick Charge devices can still charge at up to 3 amps and can be fully recharged in about 6.5 hours. It's priced around $74.

See at Amazon (Quick Charge)

The USB PD model features a 30-watt USB-C port capable of charging laptops like a MacBook or Chromebook as well as your phone. It can be fully charged in about four hours and costs right around $120.

See at Amazon (USB PD)

EasyAcc Monster 26,000mAh Power Bank

If you're after more than just a pair outputs to keep your phones and tablets charged up, the EasyAcc Monster packs a 26,000mAh capacity and provides four USB ports as well as two Micro-USB inputs on the side that can work in tandem decrease recharge time up to 50%. With a total output of 4.8 amps, the more devices connected means a slower charge, but the overall convenience, functionality, and capacity outweigh reduced charging times.

Next to the USB outputs is a built-in LED flashlight that's handy for seeing in the dark, and on top are four tiny lights that indicate how much battery life remains in the power bank. EasyAcc has added plenty of safety features to prevent any damage to your connected devices, too. You'll pay about $47 for the EasyACC Monster.

See at Amazon

RAVPower USB-C 26800

The new USB-C RAVPower 26800 can output 30 watts through its USB-C port and has two "regular" USB ports that feature its iSmart technology to charge at up to 2.4 amps each. RAVPower says that its iSmart 2.0 system will automatically sense the correct charging current so that your devices that don't use a fast-charging standard will still charge as fast as they are able. The USB-C port charges a MacBook at the same rate as the included charger, and can charge a Nintendo Switch while you're playing.

Using both charging inputs, you can fully charge the RAVPower 26800 in 4.5 hours. The USB-C RAVPower 26800 costs about $80.

See at Amazon

ZeroLemon ToughJuice V3.0

This beastly backup battery rocks an impressive 30,000mAh capacity that's able to provide power to phones, tablets, and even laptops. It has a total of five USB ports three standard 1-amp outputs, one Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 output and one USB-C output so it's compatible with almost everything.

It also features a rubber outer shell that makes the ZeroLemon ToughJuice V3.0 the most rugged power bank you're likely to see. You'll pay about $70 for it.

Remember, this power bank is too big to carry on a plane in the U.S. without talking to your airline first.

See at Amazon

EcoFlow Tech River

This behemoth packs a wallop and comes at a steep price (about $700), but it's your source for power when you wanna go totally off the grid for a while. This is the charging station you need for everything you take with you anywhere. It houses a 412Wh (that's watt-hour) battery and features 11 independent outputs: 2 AC plugs, 4 USB ports, 2 USB-C ports, 2 DC ports, and a car charger.

It also has a solar panel, so you can take it anywhere and it'll juice itself up (albeit incredibly slowly). Just note that, despite its AC outlets, the River won't power a hair dryer or coffee maker (heating elements are no joke!). That being said, our own Marc Lagace went into the forest and played electric guitar and did a whole bunch of other wild things; read his full review:

The EcoFlow Tech River: Portable power wherever you need it

Note: You definitely cannot take this on an airplane with you.

See at EcoFlow Tech

Kenruipu

The name may sound a little funny, but the Amazon reviews don't lie: this 24,000mAh power bank is great. It features four USB ports, and it has two ports to charge the bank itself: one Micro-USB and one USB-C, so you only need one charger to charge this and your Android phone.

The Kenruipu charger comes with its own AC adapter, comes in black or white, and costs around $31. If you're looking for a quality budget option, then this is your best bet.

See at Amazon

A note on air travel: What you need to know

While traveling in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration allows you to carry a device (like a power bank) with up to a 100 Wh capacity. You are also able to carry a limit of two spare batteries between 101 Wh and 160 Wh with prior approval from your airline. All lithium batteries must be in your carry-on bag and can't be stowed with checked luggage.

Most power banks list their capacity in mAh (milliamp-hours) and not Wh (watt-hours). Let's do some conversion using a 3.7-volt average. You can calculate from Wh to mAh using this formula:

(mAh)/1000 x (V) = (Wh)

After some rounding off, that means you can bring a 26,800 mAh power bank on your flight. With approval, you can bring up to two 43,240 mAh (again, some rounding is used) along as well. Just be sure not to put them in your checked luggage!

Other countries may have different regulations, so you should check before you travel outside the U.S.

Updated January 2018: Updated pricing for each item and added the EcoFlow River and the Kenruipu portable charger.

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1 week ago

Qualcomm's president says Spectre and Meltdown aren't big areas of concern

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Qualcomm's new president talks about the latest CPU threats.

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Earlier this week, news broke about two processor vulnerabilities by the names of Spectre and Meltdown. These two vulnerabilities essentially reveal weaknesses for just about every gadget with a CPU, including the likes of computers, laptops, and even your phone.

Qualcomm's President Cristiano Amon was asked about his thoughts on Spectre and Meltdown during a press conference at CES 2018, and according to Amon, neither vulnerability serves as a serious threat to mobile devices since Qualcomm has already worked with its many partners to get patches pushed out that have hardly any impact on device performance.

More specifically, Amon said:

There are a few things that are unique about the mobile ecosystem. Users download from an app store. On top of that, the impact you had on Android and ARM — we had patches that got released as early as December to some OEMs.

Following this, Amon ended his response by saying:

Specifically, when we look at the fixes that are available, especially when you look at memory mapping, the global ecosystem has adapted. This is not an area of concern for us and the mobile ecosystem.

Qualcomm appoints Cristiano R. Amon as its new president

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1 week ago

Zagg has the curved display screen protector you've been looking for

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It's called the InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite, and it costs $50.

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There were a few different smartphone trends that we saw in 2017, but one of the biggest was curved displays. Samsung went big with curves with the Galaxy S8, and after this, phones like the LG V30, Note 8, and Pixel 2 XL followed suit.

Curved displays look fantastic and feel great to the touch, but one area where they flat out suck is with screen protectors. You can find plenty of screen protectors on Amazon and Best Buy to purchase for these devices, but unless you're willing to spend 20 minutes messing with LOCA glue and UV lights, they're all pretty much useless.

However, that might soon be changing thanks to Zagg's latest screen protector – the InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite. The InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite has a gel-based adhesive surrounding the entire surface, and this is what sets it apart from other screen protectors released by Zagg and competing brands. Rather than only having the adhesive around the edges or putting it everywhere else but here, Zagg potentially eliminates any lost touch responsiveness or ugly halo effects that are often seen with other protectors.

Zagg will be selling the InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite for $50, and it'll first be available for the Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8. It's possible Zagg will release it for other devices, such as the Pixel 2 XL, but that's yet to be confirmed.

Honor 7X will get its own face unlock feature in Q1 2018

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1 week ago

Samsung is finally merging all of its IoT apps into SmartThings

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Three years later, Samsung completes the SmartThings merger.

When Samsung bought SmartThings back in August of 2014, it was quickly clear the plan was to make that brand the one everyone associated with Samsung's smart home products. And over the last couple of year, that is exactly what has happened. Everything Samsung does with the smart home gets released under the SmartThings brand, but if you owned products from before the SmartThings integration happened you still had to use the older Samsung apps.

Those days are over, because Samsung has finally decided to merge all of its IoT apps into the SmartThings app.

According to Samsung, more than 40 apps are being consolidated into SmartThings right now. The big ones Samsung users will most likely be familiar with are Samsung Smart Home and Samsung Connect, but any other company or product Samsung has acquired along the way that once had its own app will soon be consolidated into SmartThings. As SmartThings is embedded in more products, rolling everything into one app was inevitable.

Alongside this consolidation will be a huge UI overhaul, expected to be available for both Android and iOS this spring. Developers are being promised SmartThings is still a highly open platform with support for custom in-app panels. These panels let developers customize the UI and create scripts to pull their products deeper into specific functions, and according to Samsung there are over 300 of these panels for many of the devices SmartThings integrates with.

This change has been a long time coming, but it's clear with the combination of improvements coming to SmartThings this spring that Samsung still has big plans for making your home smarter.

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1 week ago

Sony's adding Google Assistant to lots of its older headphones

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Five headphones in total are getting some Assitant love.

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To no one's surprise, CES 2018 has been home to announcement after announcement of new speakers, headphones, TVs, and more that ship with Google Assistant built-in. This new tech is great, but if you own Sony headphones that have already been released, you'll get a taste of this Assistant action, too.

First reported by the folks at Android Police, Sony will be releasing software updates to multiple existing headphones to add Google Assistant functionality. You'll need to have your headphones connected to your phone in order for the update to download and install, and models that will receive this treatment include:

  • WF-1000X
  • WI-1000X
  • WH-1000XM2
  • WH-CH900N
  • H.ear on 2 WH-H900N

Sony hasn't announced exactly when these software updates to add the Assistant will be pushed out, but even so, it's still great to see a company adding new features to "old" tech.

Hisense announces two Android TVs with Google Assistant and Alexa

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1 week ago

Best games for Google Daydream

What are the best games for Google Daydream?

For many people, Daydream View is more than Google's take on VR. It's the first VR headset for a lot of Pixel owners, and that means there's plenty of room to explore and have some fun. It also means there are a lot of apps in the Play Store asking for some money from you without a whole lot of assurance that the game will be worth the cash.

While there's plenty of fun to be had with the free apps available for Daydream, some of the other experiences are on an entirely different level. Here's where you need to start if you're looking for quality games for Daydream.

Justice League VR: Join the League

Just about anyone can admit to wanting to know what it feels like to be a superhero. While I believe you don't need this because you already are, being able to experience super powers in VR is pretty cool. Justice League VR gives you 6 opportunities to be your favorite super hero with fun little objectives to challenge yourself with. Race around in the Batmobile, sword and board as Wonder Woman, fist fight an ocean monster as Aquaman, stop a bomb as The Flash, or take down enemy drones as Cyborg.

Truly this game has a bit of everything in it, and highly recommended. You can't save the world alone, so pop on your headset and join the League!

See on Google Play

Ultrawings

It's time to take a breather, put on our aviator hats, and our leather gloves. Ultrawings is here and this game is ready to teach us how to fly or fill our vision with cartoon stars trying. Using your Daydream Controller you'll navigate an aircraft with your handy-dandy joystick. Take flight from an island air port and get a good view of that sweet, sweet deep blue virtual reality ocean.

While there aren't any multiplayer options available, you'll have plenty of fun completing the goals an objectives to become a better pilot.

See on Google Play

Hunter's Gate

If you're a fan on dungeon crawlers, you'll like Hunter's Gate. Choose between the hunter or the sorcerer, and take down hordes of evil creatures as you run through a series of maze-like levels from a unique, almost 2.5D perspective. Your Daydream Controller gives you control of a set of crosshairs you can use to guide your character's fire, and as you complete levels you can enhance your character to better handle the next wave of baddies.

The best part of this game is the potential for multiplayer raids. This game is being updated on a weekly basis with new content, and all of it is aimed squarely at giving you a greater challenge and encouraging you to play with friends.

See on Google Play

The Arcslinger

As the squire to one of the greatest warrior heroes in the land, you've got a pretty sweet gig. That is, until he dies through totally no fault of your own and it's up to you to save the town from bandits and monsters! Take up arms with your Daydream Controller as your trusty pistol and learn about Arc magic as you shoot your way through an amusing storyline filled with weird and wonderful characters!

See on Google Play

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

There's a bomb in front of you, and you need to disarm it before the timer goes off. One problem though — you have no idea how to disarm a bomb and one wrong move will end it all. You're going to need help with this one, and the only way you're going to get that help is by talking to someone with the manual to all of the explosives. This is a co-op party game, and usually works best if someone prints out the explosives manual, but if you're looking for a fun party game this is absolutely something you need to have in your library!

See on Google Play

VR Space Stalker

Nothing is quite as intense as fighting battles in space while your comrades frantically call for your help. In VR Space Stalker you get just that, along with some pretty stellar graphics of intergalactic life. Dodge meteors, shoot down enemy ships and try not to die in this spectacular adventure in this war zone.

See on Google Play

Evil Robot Traffic Jam

This is a clever take on Tower Defense gaming, done well in VR. Evil Robot Traffic Jam puts you in control of a robot arsenal bent on destroying all of the vehicles trying to pass through your turf. Drop turrets, score power-ups, and be prepared to rain down fire on anything trying to slide past you.

Evil Robot Traffic Jam has a fair bit of challenge to it, but it otherwise a great game for all ages.

See on Google Play

VR Haunted House 3D

Maybe your idea of fun involves having your heart skip a beat on occasion and you're looking for another thriller to add to your collection. Well, you're in luck. VR Haunted House not only gives you the ambiance of a haunted mansion, but it brings you zombies to boot. No, literally. In this game you work your way through a clearly abandoned home to shoot the zombies now infesting it.

Bust out your survival kits because this time, superstition is totally the way.

See on Google Play

Wands

Arm yourself with your favorite spells, and journey into the catacombs for a one on one dual against fellow sorcerers! This is one of few Daydream games focused directly on competitive multiplayer, and it works so well in this game. Your strategies and how quickly you cat switch between spells with your Daydream controller will determine who wins. All you have to do is make sure that wizard is you!

Visually this game is a lot of fun, and once you're able to try out the spells that work well for you this will quickly become something that keeps your in VR for quite a while.

See at Google Play

Virtual Virtual Reality

In the future AI Robots have taken over and one of the few jobs for humans is to act as Artisinal Human companions to robots who need help with something. If that sounds completely off the wall and ridiculous, you'd be right. Virtual Virtual Reality is a fun and absurd game based around having you complete tasks for your employers, and possibly rebel against them if you are so inclined.

A mind bending experience that has layers of ridiculous levels to keep you occupied, this is a great game for anyone who enjoys laughing at their games in VR. Check out our full review for more details!

See at Google Play

What's your favorite?

With new games and apps being added to the Play Store each week, there are bound to be plenty more additions! Is your favorite game for Daydream on our list? Is there an excellent game we need to check out? Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know, or check out the forums.

Google Daydream

Google

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5T: Details, Specs, Problems, and Price!

6

This is everything you need to know about the OnePlus 5T!

OnePlus has settled into a six-month cycle for its phones: in the summer, its flagship gets a new design language and number, while in the winter that same phone gets tweaked and the letter "T" added to stand out from its predecessor. OnePlus continued this tradition in late 2017 with the OnePlus 5T replacing the OnePlus 5. This is everything you need to know about the OnePlus 5T!

Check out our reviews

We've had our hands on the OnePlus 5T since its unveiling, and we've spilled plenty of digital ink to cover it. Check out our video review above, and read our written reviews linked below:

OnePlus 5T review: Come for the value, not the excitement

OnePlus 5T India review: Hitting all the right notes

Flagship specs for less

OnePlus's mantra has always been offering flagship-level internals coupled with minimalist software, all for significantly less than similarly-specced devices. The OnePlus 5T has all the right stuff you'd expect for late 2017: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 6-inch, 18:9 screen, and a dual-camera. Check out the full spec sheet below!

Category Spec Operating system Android 7.1 Nougat Display 6-inch Optic AMOLED, 2160x1080 (18:9 aspect ratio) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core
Adreno 540 GPU Storage 64/128GB UFS 2.1 RAM 6/8GB LPDDR4X Rear camera 1 16MP (IMX 398), 1.12-micron pixels, f/1.7
Dual LED flash, 4K 30 fps, 1080p 60 fps, 720p 120 fps video Rear camera 2 20MP (IMX 376k), 1-micron pixels, f/1.7 Front camera 16MP (IMX 371), 1-micron pixels, f/2.0
1080p 30 fps video Battery 3300mAh
Non-removable Charging USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance No Security One-touch fingerprint sensor Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, aptX HD
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo Network 3xCA, 256QAM, DL Cat 12, UL Cat 13
FDD-LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/ 19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
TDD-LTE Band 34/38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA Band 34/39
HSPA Band 1/2/4/5/8 Dimensions 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm
162 g Colors Midnight Black

More: OnePlus 5T: Should you pay extra for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage?

About those cameras…

LG has used a secondary lens for wide-angle shots, Huawei uses its second lens for black-and-white shots, while OnePlus is using the second lens in the 5T to better capture low-light shots. Really low light. Under 10 lux, which is is where most phone cameras start to struggle. The user doesn't need to do anything to change which lens is in use; the camera software will automatically pick based on the ambient light.

Unfortunately, low-light photos from the 5T aren't particularly good. Andrew noted his photos had a good bit of grain and strange artifacts from the camera software trying to smooth things out. In fact, the main camera took better low-light shots than the secondary lens. There's no OIS in either lens, which would have gone a long way towards making those low-light shots better. The OnePlus 5T takes great shots when there's ample light, but don't count on it for your concert photos.

More: OnePlus 5T gets numerous camera improvements and December security patch

You can unlock it with your face

Android phones have been able to unlock with the user's face since the Ice Cream Sandwich era, but the feature was never particularly consistent or secure. OnePlus has solved the first problem with the 5T, with a face unlock system that is ridiculously fast. There aren't special camera sensors like on the Galaxy Note 8 or the iPhone X, and the face unlock on the 5T isn't as secure as it is on those phones. But it can't be fooled with a photograph, which should be secure enough for most users. Even better: OnePlus has started rolling this feature out to its older devices, back to the OnePlus 3.

More: OnePlus 5 now has Face Unlock with OxygenOS Open Beta 3

There's a Star Wars edition

The Force is strong with OnePlus fans, at least in India. The company released a special edition of the 5T in India for ₹38,999 ($600), and it looks gorgeous. Rather than the matte black used on most 5T's, the Star Wars edition has an all-white color scheme with a sandstone finish. Accenting the white paint job are the Star Wars and OnePlus logos, Alert Slider, power button, and volume rocker all in red.

More: OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition launches in India for ₹38,999 ($600)

There's also a Sandstone White version

For those of you outside India, don't fret: OnePlus now makes mostly the same device, just without the Star Wars branding. You get the same sandstone texture, the same pure white color, and the same red accents. Be careful with it though: Alex found the device got dirty after only a few days. The phone regularly picked up black and blue coloring from being in his jeans pocket. While it's not difficult to clean for now, be wary of the long-term durability of this coating. The Sandstone White OnePlus 5T is available for the same $499 that the black version is.

More: The OnePlus 5T in Sandstone White is gorgeous, and probably won't stay that way for long

Oreo is on its way

One oddity (or maybe not) with the OnePlus 5T is that it launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, rather than the more recent Android 8.0 Oreo. That'll change soon, though: the company has already started fielding beta builds of Oreo through its Open Beta program, with a stable launch in the coming weeks. The OnePlus 5 began receiving its Oreo update before the update was paused, so hopefully the 5T will receive the update once OnePlus gets things figured out.

More: Oreo update cancelled for OnePlus 5 due to unnamed bug

Compared to other devices

The OnePlus 5T's main selling point is its lower price for mostly the same experience compared to the big names in the Android world, and it holds up favorably. Against the Pixel 2, you get a larger screen and battery size, similar light software experience with some genuinely useful additions to vanilla Android, and (most importantly) a headphone jack. Things look even more favorable when comparing the 5T against the Pixel 2 XL, which has the same screen size and dimensions but costs $350 more. Where the 5T is lacking is water resistance — there isn't any — and the camera. Again, the 5T has a good camera, but the Pixel 2 crushes it in low-light photography. If those are important to you, it may be worth the extra money for Google's flagship.

The 5T is also a great phone for Windows 10 Mobile converts. The lighter software will be easier to adjust to than heavier versions of Android that come from Samsung and LG, OnePlus's features don't get in your way if you live in Microsoft's ecosystem, and the lower price is also welcome.

More: Should you get the Pixel 2 or OnePlus 5T?

More: Why the OnePlus 5T is the Android for Windows phone converts

Check out our forums!

Want to know more about the OnePlus 5T? Our forums are full of awesome users who can answer your every question.

More: OnePlus 5 & 5T forums

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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1 week ago

Learn how to get rich off of cryptocurrency for $24

News of the increasing price of Bitcoin has spread like wildfire over the last little while, but many of the uninitiated have no idea what exactly cryptocurrency is or whether or not it's even a real thing. Rest assured; cryptocurrency is real, and it's making many of its early investors very rich right now. Now's a great time to get in on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, since prices are still relatively low when you consider other trading options like the New York Stock Exchange. But how and where do you even get started? It's best to educate yourself before blowing your wad.

The Complete Cryptocurrency Investment Bundle is your full education in cryptocurrency investment. You get a lifetime subscription to five courses on how cryptocurrency works for only $24, while they regularly retail for $479 altogether. You save 94%!

You'll get an education in the following aspects of cryptocurrency investment:

  • Cryptocurrency Wealth: How to Trade & Invest Like the Pros
  • The Ultimate Bitcoin and Blockchain Course & Audio Book
  • Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals
  • The Complete Ethereum (Cryptocurrency) Guide
  • Complete Steemit Course: Earn Cryptocurrency for Free

These courses will take you through everything you need to get started on your road to riches in cryptocurrency, and the focus on Bitcoin couldn't come at a better time, with it recently hitting record prices. If you're at all interested in investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, then check out the Complete Cryptocurrency Investment Bundle at Android Central Digital Offers and save 94%!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 week ago

Pro Drybag 2.0 Is Built To Protect Your Gear In Extreme Conditions

0

Take all your favorite tech with you on all your adventures!

Mobile technology has gotten better and better over the years, so when you set out on an adventure into the great wide wilderness, you'll want to take your favorite tech along with you. So what makes a great gear bag? It's got to be well-designed and customizable to keep your gear organized and secure, and it's got to be rugged and durable enough to withstand anything life throws at you.

The folks at Subtech Sports have a great solution with their latest Pro Drybag 2.0 series of bags. After a successful campaign launching the original Pro Drybag, they're back with improved models that are an ideal bag choice for extreme athletes, extreme tech geeks, and everyone in between. There are actually three bags released here — a commuter-sized tote bag, a medium-sized bag that includes a shockproof inflatable system, and a full-sized bag with a fully adjustable internal pack system. All bags are built to be waterproof with an air-tight zipper designed to keep your valuables dry and safe.

Thanks to their previous Kickstarter product, Subtech has received real-life feedback from athletes and adventurers around the world who have taken these bags to all corners of the earth. Just like its predecessor, the Pro Drybag 2.0 has already crushed its Kickstarter goal, but there's still time to score your own for a great discounted price. You can snag the tote bag model with a pledge of $49 (over 50% off), or opt for the floating carry-on bag or the larger Pro Drybag with a pledge of $199. It's worth noting that Subtech is based out of Sweden, and the prices are listed in Swedish currency, and will presumably be shipping from Sweden — and shipping costs are not included in the pledge price.

This is the third Kickstarter campaign for the team behind the Pro Drybag, so you'll be buying a product that's been refined over years. The bags are set to start shipping in June 2018 — perfect timing for any summer adventures you may be planning — and there's still three weeks remaining to get in on this deal. Whether you're a thrill-seeking adventurer, or simply a frequent traveler that wants peace of mind when you pack up all your valuable gear, you'll need to look into the Pro Drybag 2.0 Series.

See the Pro Drybag 2.0 Series on Kickstarter

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1 week ago

Honor 7X will get its own face unlock feature in Q1 2018

3

The face unlock clones keep coming.

*/ /*-->*/

Since the launch of the iPhone X, it seems like everyone and their cousin wants to try their hand at facial recognition. OnePlus first launched its Face Unlock feature on the 5T before rolling it out to the 5, Asus announced its take on this with the ZenFone Max Plus, and now Honor will be releasing its own facial unlocking system on the 7X.

Honor says face unlock will come to the 7X "beginning in Q1 of 2018", and this will happen thanks to a future software update. Honor hasn't dived into specifics of how its face unlock system will work, but seeing as how there aren't special sensors like on the iPhone X, it'll likely work similarly to what we've seen so far with the OnePlus 5T.

The Honor 7X already offers way more phone than one would expect at the $199 price point, and while face unlock might not be a necessity, we certainly aren't complaining that it's making its way to such an affordable handset.

Honor View 10 goes international Jan 8, Honor 7X announced in limited-edition red

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5T Sandstone White is now available for purchase for $559

9

You'll probably want to act fast.

The OnePlus 5T is an excellent phone is a lot of different areas, and it's definitely the cleanest and most polished-looking phone OnePlus has released to date. The 5T's only been available in a sleek Midnight Black color in most markets since its launch in November, but now you can finally buy the phone in Sandstone White.

OnePlus announced the new Sandstone White color on January 4, and January 9 marks the first official day that you can actually buy the thing.

You'll pay $559 for this version of the 5T, and in addition to the unique color and texture, you're also getting 8GB RAM and 128GB storage compared to the $499 Midnight Black unit that comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage.

It's unclear how long OnePlus will keep the Sandstone White 5T around, but the "limited edition" branding leads up to believe that you'll want to get your orders in sooner rather than later to ensure you don't miss out on securing one for yourself.

See at OnePlus

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 week ago

Razer Phone is first to support HDR and Dolby Digital 5.1 on Netflix

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Available soon with a future software update.

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The Razer Phone's a pretty mixed bag, but without a doubt, two of its most rewarding features are its display and speaker combo. The 5.7-inch Quad HD LCD display is plenty sharp, and the industry-first 120Hz display is a joy to look at. On the audio side of things, the two front-facing stereo speakers are some of the best you can find on a phone right now.

Thanks to a new partnership with Netflix, these two components are now being used to their full potential to offer the best mobile Netflix experience yet.

As part of a future software update, the Razer Phone will get support for both HDR and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. This marks the Razer Phone as the first mobile device to support both of these standards with Netflix, and the 5.1 rating will work with both the external speakers and the included 3.5mm dongle that's THX-certified.

Razer hasn't said exactly when this update will be pushed out, but it should be here sooner rather than later.

Razer Project Linda turns your phone into a laptop

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1 week ago

How to make your old Android phone secure against Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

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What you can do to try and keep your data safe from prying eyes.

Worried about the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, but not ready to buy a new phone just yet? You're not alone and there are a few things you can do to keep "safer" from exploits on the phone you love (and already paid for).

The first thing you need to know is that both Meltdown and Spectre aren't anything that has been seen outside of a Google research lab. They're fairly serious bugs, so you shouldn't ignore them, but you do need to remember that they were found, patched and then announced by the Project Zero team at Google and not something anyone found through suspicious activity or others using them to hack any data.

Of course, that doesn't mean nobody will try to use the flaws to hack others, so due diligence is still required.

A software update is the only real fix

Unfortunately, the only way to make your phone inherently secure against side-channel memory exploits is with an operating system update.

Not everyone is ready to install an unofficial OS on their phone, and that's OK.

For some phones, that's just not going to happen. Even for phones that were well supported when it came to updates and security patches — once they reach what's called end-of-life no more are going to come. For Google's phones that means anything older than the Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X aren't going to get a patched version of Android. Other companies will have different policies here, and you should check with the company who made your phone if you think it's new enough to still be supported.

There are other options, though. If your phone has an unlocked bootloader and you're feeling a bit adventurous you might find a community-built open-source version of Android made for your phone. Nexus phones and Samsung phones are popular models with "good hackers" and oftentimes community software is just as stable and feature-rich as the factory version. Once in a while, even more so.

We're not going to suggest that everyone try to load an alternative OS onto a phone. but if you have the basic computer know-how to give it a shot head to XDA developers and search to see what might be available.

Search for your phone at XDA Developers' forums

You'll find plenty of phones from Google, LG, Samsung, OnePlus, and more listed, and there's a good chance you'll find a new OS to install that is patched against Meltdown and Spectre.

The common sense approach

For most people, this is the way to go. Both Meltdown and Spectre are native exploits against computer hardware (remember, your phone is a tiny computer!), but both still require some sort of malware to be installed to do anything.

Thankfully, keeping yourself malware-free isn't nearly as difficult as some would want you to believe. Make sure you have a lock screen and encryption enabled on your phone so apps can't do anything while the screen is off, then follow three simple rules:

  • Only install software from Google Play
  • Read and understand any permissions an app asks for
  • Only use a web browser you can trust when it comes to security

The first is easy — stick to Google Play for all your apps. There are plenty of other trusted places to get Android apps, but when it comes to keeping safe from a security issue that's in the spotlight sticking with Google is the easy way to do it. And while every now and then you'll hear stories of apps slipping through official app stores from Apple and Google, these are rare instances and don't discredit the advice that sticking with those official stores is still the best practice. Sticking to Google means you have their tools in your corner, and things like Play Protect are nothing to sneeze at.

App permissions often don't make sense without some background information. Ask someone to be sure.

Permissions can be a bit more tricky. Apps written for phones running Android Marshmallow or newer will ask you for permissions before they do anything and your phone has a spot in the settings where you can grant or block any app permissions. Software written for older versions will ask you before you install the app, but once you say yes and install it assumes you really meant it and the app can do everything it asked to do (because you said it could!). If you see anything that looks strange when it comes to an app asking to do something on your phone, ask someone why before you say yes. An ounce of prevention and all that ...

There's no easy way to say a web browser is secure when it comes to internet malware. As people learn newer tricks to try and mine your data, web browsers might need to be updated to prevent it. That means the web browser that came with your phone might not cut the mustard here. This is important always, but the side-channel memory exploits used for Meltdown and Spectre could be embedded in a script you run through your browser.

Google and Mozilla are both in front of the Meltdown and Spectre exploits and doing all they can to keep you safe.

We can recommend both Chrome and Firefox for anyone looking for a secure browser that is still feature-rich. Chrome goes the extra step of using Google's safe-browsing service to filter out any websites that contain malware so you won't even visit them. Both Chrome and Firefox have announced that they are doing all they can to protect users against Meltdown and Spectre, and the companies behind them — Google and Mozilla — are great at minding the store here.

There are plenty of other web browsers available in Google Play and both user feedback and company announcements can help you see which are ready to protect you against web malware.

Download Chrome from Google Play

Download Firefox from Google Play

You are the weak link

Like all things when it comes to security on our phones and connected gadgets, the user is the most important and most vulnerable part of the picture.

In an ideal world, companies would spend the money and update all of their products whenever something like this happens, but that's just not going to happen. At least not without some stricter consumer protection laws when it comes to technology. And not everyone can afford to, or even wants to, run out and buy the new thing every year. That means it's on us once the company who got our money is done supporting a product.

Be mindful of what you install and follow a few sane practices while you use your phone and you'll be doing all you can to stay safe!

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