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2 days ago

Google's fabric case for Pixel 2 is my favorite accessory in years

44

Google's fabric case for the Pixel 2 is expensive and maybe not the most practical, but it sure is a joy to use.

When it comes to materials used on phones these days, things have gotten pretty boring. More manufacturers are opting for glass and metal than ever before, and while this does make phones more "premium" in some people's eyes, it comes at the expense of devices that all end up looking and feeling the same after a while.

Becuase of this trend, I immediately fell in love with the Pixel 2 as soon as I picked it up for the first time. Although technically made out of aluminum, the special coating on the back allows for fantastic grip that's surprisingly difficult to find on a modern flagship. I didn't initially think the Pixel 2 could look or feel any better, but then I slapped on Google's fabric case.

This. Thing. Rocks.

If you've been following Google's products over the past year, you've likely noticed that a lot of them are made out of fabric. The Daydream View and Google Home that debuted in 2016 were the first to introduce this design trend, and that style was continued this year with the Home Mini, Home Max, and Pixel Buds. And, of course, the Pixel 2's fabric case.

Simply referred to as the "Pixel 2 Case" on the Google Store, you can buy the accessory in Carbon, Cement, Midnight, and Coral for the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. I opted for the Carbon (black) variant, and after using it on my Pixel 2 for the past few days, I can't remember the last time I was this impressed with a phone case.

Fabric might be impractical, but it sure does look and feel amazing.

One of the biggest reasons for this is, well, the use of fabric. Look — I get that this isn't the most durable material in the world and that it'll probably start showing noticeable signs of use after a couple of months. You know what, though? I don't care. Holding a material like this in my hands each and every time I pick up my phone is such a unique experience, and it's something you simply can't find with any other device (at least not to this quality). It's soft, decently grippy, and a pure joy to use.

The volume rocker is covered by the same fabric, but the power button cover is made out of a hard plastic. Not only do both buttons still feel great to press, but the different material choice between the two makes it easy to determine which one your finger is resting on without having to glance at your phone.

Google's Coral and Midnight colors for this case are particularly striking, but I've been really impressed with how good the Carbon option looks. The fabric material is still very noticeable even from a distance, but it does this while also looking classy and not overly flashy.

The only possible annoyance is the fingerprint scanner cutout.

Two other strong points for this case are that it's compatible with the Pixel 2's Active Edge feature and the slightly raised edges around the front help protect your screen in the event of a drop. My only real nitpick with the case is with the cutout for the fingerprint scanner. Because of the added thickness, it does feel like you have to "dip your finger in the hole" rather than just tap it on the back.

So, should you buy the fabric case for the Pixel 2?

I'll be the first to admit that the $40 asking price is a bit much, but it's well worth it. This is one of the most unique-looking and awesome-feeling cases I've ever had the pleasure of using, and it's currently one of the best ways to outfit Google's latest.

See at Google Store

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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2 days ago

Get a DualShock 4 controller in black or camo for just $39 right now

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Replace an old controller or just have an extra for some couch-based multiplayer.

This Sony DualShock 4 wireless controller is down to $39 on Amazon in Jet Black and Green Camouflage. The Jet Black version regularly sells for $44, and the Green Camo one sells closer to $49.

Most retailers plan to offer the controller for around $40 on Black Friday, and it's also a regular sale price we've shared a couple times before. However, it's limited to two colors right now. Best Buy, for example, is promising Magma Red controllers at $40, which might entice you to wait. But I imagine we'll see that on sale online, too, before next Friday.

Features of the DualShock 4 controller include:

  • Precision controller enhanced to offer players absolute control for all games on PlayStation 4.
  • Improved feel, shape, and sensitivity of dual analog sticks and trigger buttons
  • New multi-touch and clickable touch pad on the face of the DualShock 4 Wireless Controller opens up worlds of new gameplay possibilities for both newcomers and veteran gamers.
  • DualShock 4 Wireless Controller features a built-in speaker and stereo headset jack, putting several new audio options in the player's hands.

See at Amazon

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2 days ago

Here are leaked images of Alcatel's higher-end lineup for 2018

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A quick look at some of Alcatel's offerings for 2018.

Alcatel's not the most popular phone brand around, but the company has proven to be able to kick out some really solid handsets for not a lot of cash (one of the most recent examples being the Alcatel Idol 5). Evan Blass shared an image of the company's higher-end lineup for 2018 back in October, but we now have higher-resolution shots of all the handsets that were previously leaked.

(Left to right) Alcatel 5, 3V, 3X

The devices include the Alcatel 5, 3V, 3X, 3, 3C, and 1X – ranging from highest to lowest-end in that order. There aren't any accompanying specifications to go along with the images, but that doesn't mean we can't infer anything about what's being shown off here.

In regards to the most premium of the bunch, the Idol 5 features a pretty unique design that should help it to stand out a fair bit. There's a pretty large top bezel, but very slim ones on the bottom and sides. The phone appears to be made out of metal, but strangely enough, there's only a single camera. If you want dual cameras, you'll have to go with either the Alcatel 3V or 3X.

(Left to right) Alcatel 3, 3C, 1X

A glass construction appears to be present for the 3V, 3X, 3, and 3C, but the cheaper 1X features a plastic one. The 1X is also the only phone of the bunch that doesn't have a fingerprint sensor.

It's unclear when in 2018 Alcatel will release these phones or how much they'll cost, but if past devices are anything to go by, we'll be looking at competent Android handsets that are very competitively priced.

Alcatel Idol 5 review: One of Cricket's best

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2 days ago

How to set up PlayStation VR

Get the best start in life with PlayStation VR with our handy set up guide!

So you've picked up a shiny new PlayStation VR, and brought it home, excited about the possibilities of having a VR headset run on your PlayStation 4 console. Before you can put the headset on, and jump into your favorite game, you'll need to get everything set up. Everything that you need to get set up is sitting right inside that big blue box.

While Sony does include a fairly conclusive set of instructions in the box, there are some tips and tricks to ensure that your setup process is as simple and easy as possible.

Read more at VRHeads

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2 days ago

Best Android Phone Under $100

Best overall

Moto E4 (with ads)

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto E4 is a $130 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what those ads look like).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto E4 looks a lot like the Moto G5, but tones down some of the specs, offering a quad-core Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an 8MP camera powering the 5-inch 720p display. It all runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with some great Moto adds-ons.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $130 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

Why the Moto E4 is best

Amazon plugs the price gap with offers on your lock screen.

With ads from Amazon, or without ads from Verizon, the Moto E4 gets you a great core Android experience — fast software, thanks to Motorola's hands-off approach towards customization — and decent specs all-round.

It's not the flashiest or showiest smartphone, with a relatively generic design, but you don't expect pizzaz when you're paying a Benjamin for a full-featured smartphone. The phone also retains the impressive features of its more-expensive Moto G5 counterpart, including a great autofocus camera and a front fingerprint sensor.

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Best ad-free

Moto E4 Plus

See at Boost

You probably aren't surprised to see another Moto phone on this list, because they're just the pinnacle of value. For $99.99, you get a fast fingerprint sensor, some light water resistance (but not IP68, so don't go dunking the Moto E4 Plus in a pool), and a ridiculous 5000 mAh with fast charging. If Boost's pricing were available on the unlocked model, this phone would easily overtake the Prime-Exclusive Moto E4 as our top overall recommendation.

Bottom line: You won't find a bigger battery and cleaner software experience for the money.

One more thing: Boost offers an additional 10% off if you're ordering online, making the Moto E4 Plus an even better bang for your buck.

Best on Verizon

Moto E4

See at Verizon

If you're on Verizon prepaid, you can snag our best overall pick, the Moto E4, for even less than the ad-filled one from Amazon. While this version will be locked to Verizon, it's also just $70.

Bottom line: Trading ads for bloatware gets you Moto's best super-cheap phone for less — if you're on Verizon.

One more thing: Don't expect software updates to be as quick as the unlocked version.

Best on Cricket Wireless (AT&T)

LG Harmony

See at Cricket Wireless

If you want to get a prepaid phone from one of the big four carriers, your choices are limited, but AT&T's Cricket sub-brand has a great selection, including the LG Harmony for $100. It's got a big 5.3-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, 2800mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat.

Bottom line: LG's got a strong prepaid game these days, and the Harmony is no exception.

One more thing: Don't expect many updates with this phone. That's the price of prepaid.

Best on MetroPCS (T-Mobile)

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime

See at MetroPCS

MetroPCS's Galaxy J7 Prime has some pretty competitive specs for the sub-$100 price range. You're looking at a 1.6GHz octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of expandable storage.

Its display is on the larger side at 5.5" inches, and the 3300 mAh battery should be more than enough to last you through the day.

Bottom line: You get a large battery, an equally large screen, and Android 7.0, which is hard to beat at this price.

One more thing: The Galaxy J7 Prime is actually $139 upfront with a $40 mail-in rebate. This is how almost every phone at MetroPCS is sold, but you can get a little closer to $100 out of pocket with the Galaxy J3 Prime, which runs $109 upfront.

Best on Boost Mobile (Sprint)

Moto E4 Plus

See at Boost

You probably aren't surprised to see another Moto phone on this list, because they're just the pinnacle of value. For $99.99, you get a fast fingerprint sensor, some light water resistance (but not IP68, so don't go dunking the Moto E4 Plus in a pool), and a ridiculous 5000 mAh with fast charging. If Boost's pricing were available on the unlocked model, this phone would easily overtake the Prime-Exclusive Moto E4 as our top overall recommendation.

Bottom line: You won't find a bigger battery and cleaner software experience for the money.

One more thing: Boost offers an additional 10% off if you're ordering online, making the Moto E4 Plus an even better bang for your buck.

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Conclusion

You'll need to put up with the occasional ad, but Amazon's offer of a Moto E4 for under $100 is really hard to beat. But there are plenty of other great sub-$100 devices out there — you just have to put up with a few compromises.

Best overall

Moto E4 (with ads)

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto E4 is a $130 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what those ads look like).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto E4 looks a lot like the Moto G5, but tones down some of the specs, offering a quad-core Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an 8MP camera powering the 5-inch 720p display. It all runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with some great Moto adds-ons.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $130 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

Update November 2017: We've replaced the Moto E LTE with the Moto E4 Plus as the best ad-free option, and revamped some of the carrier choices because they were either no longer available, or no longer the best options.

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2 days ago

Pay what you want for a 10-course coding bundle!

0

To become a successful coder these days, it pays to have a well-rounded education. Only knowing one or two languages just won't cut it anymore, but it can be difficult to amass this type of knowledge without spending a ton of money.

Right now, however, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on a huge 10-course coding bundle. Valued at $1,479, you instead get to pay whatever you want. If you beat the average price, you get to take home all 10 courses. If you don't beat the price, you still get to take home an Introduction to R Programming course.

The other nine courses include:

  • Complete Python Web Course: Build 8 Python Web Apps
  • How to Make a Freaking iPhone App: iOS 11 and Swift 4
  • JavaScript for Beginners
  • The Complete PHP MySQL Professional Course
  • Learn React by Building Real Projects
  • Programming for Complete Beginners in C#
  • The Complete Java 9 Masterclass: Beginner to Expert
  • Beginner Full Stack Web Development: HTML, CSS, React & Node
  • Angular Crash Course for Busy Developers

If you're at all interested in becoming a learned coder, this bundle is no doubt quite appealing. The longer you wait, the higher the average price will climb; don't hesitate!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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2 days ago

Best Sleeves for Google Pixelbook

3

Need a great case or sleeve for your Google Pixelbook? We can help.

The Google Pixelbook is a very expensive Chromebook with an amazing display. That means you'll definitely want to protect your investment by slipping it into some kind of case or sleeve. Here are the ones we like.

Bellroy Sleeve for Google Pixelbook

Bellroy's Pixelbook sleeve is Google's official choice, and it's hard to argue that it's not one of the best.

Made from water-resistant fabric with genuine leather accents, to keep your Pixelbook safe and look good while doing it the Bellroy sleeve is custom built for the Pixelbook.

There's a loop for the Pixelbook Pen, and when your Pixelbook isn't inside it you can use it as a tablet stand by pushing in the top flap. the Bellroy case is a tight fit at first because it's designed to hold everything snugly, but like many other things, it gets better with a little age.

There's also a three-year warranty in case something rips or tears, which is great to see on any laptop sleeve that costs over $80.

See at Google

Mama Mouth PU Leather Folio

The Mama Mouth PU Leather Folio case is another that's specially designed for the Pixelbook and is a great way to keep things protected. It also comes in eight different patterns and colors.

Designed to protect from dust, dirt and bumps and bruises, this folio case is made of synthetic leather on the outside and plush microfiber on the inside. It's easy to take off if you want to go into tablet mode and the back and bottom serve as a stable platform for viewing anything on the screen.

it's also really affordable at a price under $20!

See at Amazon

Kroo Neoprene Protective Sleeve

The Kroo Neoprene Sleeve offers complete protection and is spill resistant.

It's a generic 13" laptop sleeve, but one sized right to fit the Pixelbook's 3:2 display. Featuring a padded interior as well as an external pocket for things like the Pixelbook Pen, the nylon zippers will keep your Pixelbook safe and sound inside its own padded cell.

The Kroo neoprene case comes in six color combinations and costs about $15.

See at Amazon

Tomtoc UltraSlim Sleeve

The Tomtoc UltraSlim sleeve is designed to fit 13-inch MacBooks, Surface laptops, and the Pixelbook and has room for a second device like your phone or an Amazon Kindle.

The external felt is hardened and durable while the interior felt is soft and gentle, and genuine leather accents make this one quite the looker.

The magnetic flap keeps everything closed up until you need to get to your Pixelbook, and there's a cutout on the side to top up the battery without removing it from the case.

The Tomotc UltraSlim Sleeve lives up to its name and will keep your Pixelbook safe. It costs about $20.

See at Amazon

CAISON Laptop Sleeve Case

If you're looking for good basic protection without any frills or fuss, the CAISON Laptop Sleeve is perfect.

Made of water-resistant nylon, it's also fully padded with a fleece interior and is designed to hold most any 13-inch laptop, including the Pixelbook. The zipper is also padded and there is a roomy external pocket to hold your phone or other small accessories.

The CAISON Laptop Sleeve comes in black, blue, grey or military green and costs about $15.

See at Amazon

Chromebooks

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2 days ago

Qualcomm achieves first end-to-end 5G system based on 3GPP Standard

4

A huge step for wide-spread 5G services.

As we move further and further into a world filled with streaming, cloud storage, and other data-reliant tasks, access to ultra-fast data speeds is becoming more and more important. Qualcomm's been one of the leading forces when it comes to building 5G-compatible hardware, and the company recently announced that it worked together with ZTE and China Mobile to achieve the first ever 5G Interoperability Data testing (IoDT) system that's fully compliant with the 3GPP R15 standard.

The demonstration of this system was done at China Mobile's 5G Join Innovation Center, and the system that was used took advantage of Qualcomm's 5G ZR sub-6 GHz UE prototype and ZTE's 5G NR pre-commercial base station. With these technologies working together, the system kicked out multi-gigabit per second peak speeds with much lower latency compared to what we currently have with 4G infrastructures.

Such fast and reliable speeds obviously mean big improvements for downloading large files, streaming 4K video content, and much more, but what's so significant about Qualcomm's latest test?

Thanks to the successful run of the 5G NR IoDT system, Qualcomm is now one step closer to pushing this tech at a much larger scale and will be able to focus on the continuous development of hardware that meets these 3GPP standards that are necessary for a 5G future.

Per Qualcomm Technologie's Vice President, Christiano Amon –

Achieving the world's first end-to-end 5G NR interoperable data connection is true testament to our 5G leadership, driving toward the timely launch of standard-compliant commercial networks. Qualcomm Technologies is committed to the continued success of China's wireless industry and we are excited to collaborate with ZTE and China Mobile to accelerate the path to 5G in China.

Qualcomm has managed to fit its once briefcase-sized 5G modem into a phone

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2 days ago

Mint SIM Introduces Revolutionary Way To Trial Wireless Service [Sponsored]

Thinking of signing up with Mint SIM but aren't sure about service or whether or not your phone will work? Download the Mint SIM app!

Mint SIM is changing the wireless service game with its no contract plans that you pay for up front. If you're thinking of signing up but aren't sure about coverage or even whether or not your phone will work on the network, then Mint SIM has the perfect tool to help you figure it out.

The Mint SIM app is available for Android and it'll let you check out the coverage map for your area. It'll also let you know if your phone is compatible (it probably is!). If you like what you see, then you can order a test kit that comes with two SIM cards for $5. One SIM is a test SIM, which gives you 100 texts, 100MB of data, and 60 minutes to make calls, zoom along on Mint SIM's fast LTE network, and text everyone about you're testing out Mint SIM and they should too. The Mint SIM app will tell you how much of each you have left.

If you dig the experience and want to sign up for a Mint SIM plan, then you can easily activate the second SIM card. The $5 you paid for the test kit converts into a credit toward the plan of your choice!

Mint SIM has affordable and flexible plans to suit your usage habits and needs. Sign up for 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months, and choose from 2GB of 4G LTE data/month, 5GB/month, or 10GB/month. All plans include unlimited talk, text, and 2G data!

If you're considering Mint SIM but aren't certain it's the right decision for you yet, download the app and order the test kit. Try the service, and then just activate the second SIM on the plan of your choice. Easy peasy!

Save big on your monthly wireless bill!

Download: Mint SIM (free)

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2 days ago

Google Assistant can help troubleshoot your Pixel 2

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If you own a Pixel 2, the Assistant can now help troubleshoot basic Bluetooth, camera, and battery issues.

The Google Assistant's list of various functions has grown far too large to list off every single one at this point, and while that's great, it also means that certain tricks can slip between the cracks every now and then. In the latest discovery, it appears that the Assistant (at least on Pixel 2 devices) can help troubleshoot some basic issues.

Initially spotted by Android Police, asking Assistant "why is my phone not charging" or telling it to "troubleshoot camera" will initiate a troubleshooting session where it'll ask you various questions about the issue you're having. If the Assistant can't help you resolve whatever problem you've run into, it'll ask if you want it to contact Google Support on your behalf.

The official Pixel Phone Help pages on Google's support site list the Assistant as a way for getting help with battery and Bluetooth issues, but the Assistant has also been discovered to aid with camera problems as well.

Troubleshooting with the Assistant is reported to work on Pixel 2 handsets running the Developer Preview for Android 8.1, but I also managed to get it working on my Pixel 2 running the latest November security patch for Android 8.0. However, no matter which version of Oreo you're running, this functionality does seem to be limited to the Pixel 2 for the time being.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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2 days ago

Dive into Rules of Survival, an epic last person standing shooter for Android!

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What are the latest games worth checking out in the Google Play Store?

Update November 17, 2017: This week, be sure to check out Rules of Survival, which is essentially PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for your phone! Also out this week is the cartoony PvP game Mighty Battles.

Rules of Survival

Despite still being in early access on Steam, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has quickly become one of the more popular games of 2017. It's a multiplayer online battle royale game where your goal is to outlast and survive an epic battle involving up to 100 players. Everyone gets airdropped onto the map unarmed and you must run around collecting weapons and supplies, hiding or engaging enemies as you go. As the game progresses, the "safe zone" on island gradually shrinks, forcing campers to keep moving as the survivor count dwindles down to just one.

Rules of Survival is a near carbon copy port of PUBG for Android that incredibly maintains the grandiose scale of combat — there's support for up to 120 players in a single match — while delivering impressive HD graphics. Despite also feeling like an early access game, Rules of Survival manages to play pretty smooth — matchmaking is quick and the core gameplay is on the money despite some controls. You're also able to drive vehicles but it's a real chore with the finicky touch controls.

Just like with PUBG, you're able to team up as a duo and squad with friends or go it all on your own, and there's in-game chat available if you're into that.

You've got to applaud the developers here for doing a pretty great job of transposing this trendy PC game to mobile. Since the game is still in its infancy most players use the same vanilla avatar which gives the game a bit of a 'battle of the clones' feel, but future updates should allow for more customization.

Download: Rules of Survival (Free)

Mighty Battles

Step onto the battlefield and prove your muster in Mighty Battles, a fun new PvP game from Hothead Games.

As the commander of your army, your mission is to strategically use your troops and cannon to destroy your opponent's base in a live battle. You're also able to defend your own base by sniping enemy troops from your base Gatling gun. Or use other defensive weapons like a rocket launcher or air strike to clear out multiple enemies.

If the gameplay sounds familiar, that's because it's another card-based lane tower shooting game, which is an emerging new genre for mobile that combines card casting battles with a first-person shooter. Similar to Ubisoft's Shadow Break (which still shows as unreleased in the Google Play Store), Mighty Battles takes the formula into a more cartoony direction that should appeal to a wider audience.

Download: Mighty Battles (Free w/IAPs)

Android Gaming

Best action games for Android

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2 days ago

Best Android Phone Over $700

Samsung Galaxy S8

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy See at Amazon

Samsung's big-screened flagship phone delivers just about everything you could want from a premium handset — and with outright prices approaching $1,000, you'd hope so. The centerpiece of the Note 8 is its gorgeous 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED display, which can reach a dizzying 1,2000 nits in bright daylight for maxium visibility. You also get Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor (or Samsung's latest Exynos 8895 processor outside North America), plus 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard.

The solid camera experience of the GS8 has been augmented by a second telephoto lens, the first zoom lens with OIS (optical image stabilization) in an Android phone. And that's backed up by all the core features you'd expect from a modern Samsung phone, like water resistance and fast wireless charging. And the S Pen is more useful than ever, with a bunch of new features.

Bottom line: The Galaxy Note 8 reigns supreme in the premium Android segment, with excellent performance across the board, only tarnished slightly by wonky fingerprint scanner placement.

One more thing:Want to pay a little less and get a slightly larger battery? Take a look at the Galaxy S8+.



Why the Galaxy Note 8 is the best

Samsung has successfully shrugged off the unfortunate legacy of the Note 7, returning with a fantastic handset that builds on the solid foundations of the Galaxy S8 series.

In addition to a slightly angular take on the S8's design, Galaxy Note 8 owners will get everything we loved about the S8+, with a bigger and better display, the added utility of the S Pen, and a dual camera setup that introduces some really fun and creative photo possibilities. A phone that demand such a high asking price needs to excel across the board, and the Note 8 lives up to the high standards we demand from a phone in this price category.

The only thing your money won't buy you is the latest version of Android Oreo out of the box — the Note 8's still on Nougat for now.

Best runner-up

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel XL

See at Verizon See at Best Buy See at Google Store

The Google Pixel 2 XL gets the number-two spot here, but its basically a coin toss between these two handsets. They're both really, really good.

Despite some controversy around display quality — for what it's worth, the Note 8 definitely wins in this area — the larger of Google's two second-gen Pixel phones is a force to be reckoned with. It packs top-tier specs, a unique painted aluminum chassis in either black or panda black-and-white colors. And the curved glass front, while not quite as bezelless as Samsung's current phones, looks sleek and futuristic.

The Pixel 2 XL also boasts the latest version of Android Oreo out of the box, with speedy updates to Android 8.1 and beyond. And the rear camera, with Google's HDR+ technology, ranks as the best smartphone camera out there right now.

If you want a cleaner Android experience, or the latest software, or if Samsung's designs just don't do it for you, the Pixel 2 XL is a great alternative.

Bottom line: For a clean, fast and simple Android experience with probably the best low-light camera on any phone, the Pixel 2 XL is a fantastic choice.

One more thing: Since you're likely buying the Pixel 2 XL unlocked anyway, consider Google's own carrier, Project Fi.



Best tough phone

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

Moto Z Force Droid

See at AT&T See at T-Mobile

Available on AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States, the Galaxy S8 Active is the latest ruggedized take on a modern Samsung flagship. Once again, building on the basis of the regular Galaxy S8, the Active model sports a chunkier, more durable chassis, loses the curved dispay and boasts an enormous 4,000mAh battery for epic longevity.

Add to that all your core GS8 features, likea great 12-megapixel rear camera, a bright screen and strong performance, and you've got the best tough Android phone you can buy.

Bottom line: It's not as pretty as the regular GS8, but the Active pulls ahead with a giant battery and a less accident-prone chassis.

One more thing: The Active is only available on AT&T and T-Mobile, so your buying options are much more limited compared to the Note 8 or GS8.

Conclusion

If you're looking to spend top dollar on a phone, our top choice is the Galaxy Note 8. It's followed closely by Google's top-end Pixel 2 XL, though, and if you need something tougher (and you live in the United States), you can consider the Galaxy S8 Active.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy See at Amazon

Samsung's big-screened flagship phone delivers just about everything you could want from a premium handset — and with outright prices approaching $1,000, you'd hope so. The centerpiece of the Note 8 is its gorgeous 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED display, which can reach a dizzying 1,2000 nits in bright daylight for maxium visibility. You also get Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor (or Samsung's latest Exynos 8895 processor outside North America), plus 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard.

The solid camera experience of the GS8 has been augmented by a second telephoto lens, the first zoom lens with OIS (optical image stabilization) in an Android phone. And that's backed up by all the core features you'd expect from a modern Samsung phone, like water resistance and fast wireless charging. And the S Pen is more useful than ever, with a bunch of new features.

Bottom line: The Galaxy Note 8 reigns supreme in the premium Android segment, with excellent performance across the board, only tarnished slightly by wonky fingerprint scanner placement.

One more thing:Want to pay a little less and get a slightly larger battery? Take a look at the Galaxy S8+.

Update, November 2017: The Galaxy Note 8 is our new winner, closely followed by the Google Pixel 2 XL. And the new best tough phone is the Galaxy S8 Active.

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2 days ago

Huawei Mate 10 Pro now on sale at Vodafone UK; first 1,000 orders get a free Huawei Watch 2

0

Huawei's latest flagship is now available from Vodafone UK.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is now up for sale from Vodafone UK. You'll be able to pick up the handset for £46 per month for 24 months when you pay an upfront fee of just £10, which gives you access to unlimited texts, calls, and 4GB of monthly LTE data . Vodafone is incentivizing the launch by giving away a free Huawei Watch 2 to the first 1,000 customers.

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2 days ago

How much storage have you used so far on your Pixel 2?

23

Thank goodness for generous storage amounts.

One of the smaller changes that Google made this year with the Pixel 2 was the amount of storage available for the base model. Unlike last year's Pixel that came with a minimum of 32GB, the Pixel 2 comes equipped with 64GB at the very least. That's a healthy amount of space for most folks, but if you really need the added room, you can still increase it to 128GB for an extra $100.

Some of our forum users recently got to talking about how they've been using their local space with the Pixel 2 so far, and these are a few of the responses.

*/
Almeuit 11-14-2017 12:31 PM “

I will lose this most likely (jk.. I know I will haha) but how is your storage working for you on your Pixel 2/XL? I have the 128 GB Pixel 2 XL and I have loaded up a good amount of media. Mainly just my playlists from Google Play Music, anime from Netflix, and some movies I enjoy from Vudu/etc. I do have unlimited data (Verizon) so I still stream certain things (such as Crunchyroll - an...

Reply
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Ca_lvn 11-14-2017 12:58 PM “

My primary means of storage on this phone will be photos, I plan on exploring the camera a lot more, at that point most likely I'll have to delete from the phone. I kept it on a budget with the 64 gigabyte drive. Surprisingly I have 85 apps installed, kind of hard to believe I have that many on the phone. Google photos is my guaranteed safe backup so I'm confident that will meet all my...

Reply
*/
paradroid 11-14-2017 01:48 PM “

24 out of 128 gigs used. I don't watch cartoons so none of those stored. For movies I wouldn't waste watching a good one on a 6 inch phone screen, I'd use my 65 inch Ultra Hi Def TV with surround sound. If I did need to watch a movie on the go (flying overseas) I'd use my tablet or laptop for the bigger screen. Downloaded music from google play takes minimal space. My 500 albums are all...

Reply
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Almeuit 11-16-2017 03:39 PM “

I currently have 42% free space on my 128 GB variant :).

Reply

Now, we'd like to pass the question on to you – How much storage have you used on your Pixel 2?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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

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2 days ago

HTC U11 Life (Android One) review: Keep it simple

5
HTC U11 Life

HTC's first Android One device has everything you want from a mid-range phone — with highlights including Oreo out of the box, and a surprisingly capable camera.

Android One has arrived in Europe, and HTC is one of the first manufacturers to ship an affordable, Google-branded phone. The Android One badge made its debut in India and parts of Asia, as Google emphasized quality software on super-cheap hardware. But with its latest round of "One" handsets, the prices are higher, the products more premium, and the hand on the software rudder a little firmer.

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