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50 min ago

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

3
OnePlus 5T

Everyone wants more, but that's usually dependent on cost as well.

Like the OnePlus 5, we once again have two distinct models of the OnePlus 5T, giving you a choice of RAM and storage options for a nominal increase in price. You can stick with the default 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is plenty for most people and more than many other phones, or you can bump up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for just $60 more.

Which model should you buy? Here's the information you need to make a choice.

Choosing storage: more is usually better

OnePlus 5T

It wasn't so long ago that we were still arguing over whether phones should still be shipping with 16GB of internal storage, and now many high-end phones — like the OnePlus 5T — come with 64GB internally. That's a lot of storage, and probably "enough" for most people. Unless you store lots of music or video locally, you're unlikely to fill it up — as I write this, I'm using just shy of 12GB of my OnePlus 5T's storage.

If you can afford the $60 extra, your future non-frustrated self will thank you.

Then again, when it comes to storage it's always better to have more when the phone doesn't offer an SD card slot that would let you expand it later. If you plan on keeping your OnePlus 5T for a while, it's going to incrementally use more and more storage as you use and download new apps or save even more music playlists and YouTube videos.

Sure you could aggressively manage your storage so you never hit 64GB, but OnePlus is offering to double that storage for just $60 at purchase. Look at your current phone and how much storage it's using. If you're maxed out on your 32GB phone, or pushing over 40GB used on your 64GB phone, pony up the extra few dollars and buy the higher-end OnePlus 5T with 128GB of storage. Your future non-frustrated self will thank you.

What does 8GB of RAM actually do?

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus doesn't let you choose RAM and storage independently, so if you drop the extra $60 to get 128GB of storage you automatically get 8GB of RAM as well. That's 2GB more than the stock 6GB, which in itself is higher than most phones released in 2017.

It will be extremely difficult to see any difference in use with 8GB of RAM.

The value of having 8GB of RAM in a phone is rather dubious, at least at the end of 2017. Google designed Oreo (which isn't even on the OnePlus 5T yet) for its own Pixel 2 phones with just 4GB of RAM in mind, and there's no reason to think you can't use a OnePlus 5T to its fullest potential with "only" 6GB of memory inside.

Even with the lesser memory option, OnePlus is able to do some great things with its software to make sure the home screen, camera and other critical functions are available at a moment's notice, even when you're using heavy apps or games. With my typical usage, I averaged just 5.1GB of RAM usage on my own 5T, and never experienced aggressive background app closures.

Whether you have 6GB or 8GB of RAM, your OnePlus 5T has plenty of headroom to operate all of the latest apps throughout 2018 and beyond. I wouldn't recommend spending $60 for the higher-end 5T model just for the extra RAM — think of it as an extra perk when you buy the upgrade for the 128GB storage alone.

See at OnePlus

Did you choose to buy the more expensive OnePlus 5T for the extra memory and storage? Let us know in the comments!

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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1 hour ago

YouTube is back on the Echo Show, in a browser, with ads (and Bing) in tow

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The best reason to buy an Echo Show is back, even if it's not quite as good as it was originally.

Our long national nightmare is over. The Amazon Echo Show — Amazon's $229 Alexa-powered Echo with a touchscreen — can watch dog videos on YouTube once more. Or cat videos. Any videos, actually, on YouTube.

The return (as spotted by VoiceBot and TechCrunch) comes a couple months after YouTube unceremoniously disappeared from the Echo Show, presumably because the native experience bypassed in-video ads. Now you once more can ask Alexa to play something on YouTube.

The result isn't nearly as immersive, though. Search results don't look as nice as they one did, and they're powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine. (That should pretty much tell you all you need to know about how talks went with Google, right?) Choose a video and you're taken into a rudimentary browser window. You'll have to enter a full-screen mode on your own, and you're greeted by all the display ads — in addition to in-video advertising — that you'd expect from this sort of view.

That's at best a weak compromise, but it's still better than nothing. The real question is how it'll stand up against Google's rumored "Quartz" device — a Google Home with a screen.

Amazon Echo

See at Amazon

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1 hour ago

HTC U11 and U11+: Everything you need to know!

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The HTC U11 and U11+ represent a new direction for the Taiwanese company, featuring an all-glass build, great camera and squeeze input.

HTC has, to put it lightly, seen better days. And years. In 2017, the company is trying an all-new design language to entice customers. Gone are the solid metal builds from the HTC One lineup, replaced by slick, reflective glass. On the inside, the HTC U11 and U11+ feature standard flagship components for 2017, and the company can finally stand toe-to-toe with competitors' cameras.

Here's everything you need to know about the HTC U11 and U11+.

Read and watch our reviews

The U11 was released in spring of 2017, with the U11+ coming out in the fall. Both are similar enough on the inside, with the U11+ featuring a more modern, small-bezel design. Be sure to check out our review of the U11 and hands-on preview of the U11+.

More: HTC U11 review: Back in the running

Check out the specs

Phones need something inside to make them go beep, and the U11 and U11+ both feature the best internals for 2017:

Category HTC U11 HTC U11+ Operating System Android 7.1.1 with HTC Sense
Android 8.0 upgrade rolling out Android 8.0 with HTC Sense Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Network 4G LTE Cat. 16 4G LTE Cat. 16 RAM 4 / 6GB (Varies by region) 4 / 6GB (Varies by region) Storage 64 / 128GB UFS
microSD up to 2TB 64 / 128GB (Varies by region)
microSD up to 2TB Dual SIM Some regions. Hybrid SIM2/SD slot Some regions. Hybrid SIM2/SD slot Display 5.5-inch Quad HD SuperLCD 5
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 6-inch SuperLCD 6, 2880x1440
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Main Camera 12MP, 1.4μm pixels, f/1.7 lens, OIS, EIS
UltraPixel 3, UltraSpeed AF, HDR Boost 12MP UltraPixel 3, 1.4-micron pixels, f/1.7
UltraSpeed Autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS, Dual LED flash Front Camera 16MP, f/2.0 with UltraPixel mode 8MP, f/2.0, 85-degree field of view
BSI sensor, HDR Boost Water/Dust Resistance IP67 IP68 Battery 3,000mAh
Quick Charge 3.0 3930mAh
Quick Charge 3.0 Audio HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi
HTC USonic
USB-C + noise cancelling headphones HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi
HTC USonic
USB-C + noise cancelling headphones
Qualcomm aptX HD, LDAC 24-bit high resol Colors Ice white, brilliant black, sapphire blue, solar red, amazing silver Brilliant black, translucent

The U11+ has a sweet translucent variant

HTC isn't one to shy away from exotic colors on its smartphones. The U11 has a fiery red version and I always wanted to pick up the awesome blue HTC One M7. For the U11+, HTC went in a slightly different direction. There's the standard glossy black variant, but also a really intriguing translucent variant. It isn't completely clear, but you'd be able to pick out the NFC antenna and other components on board.

More: HTC U11+ hands-on preview: More screen, more battery, translucent body

The squeeze feature is surprisingly useful

While squeezing the side of your phone may sound gimmicky, it's actually quite practical. Users can map a short or long squeeze to two separate actions, including custom actions within applications. For example, you can set a short squeeze within Google Maps to zoom in on the map, while a long squeeze could start navigation home. Squeezes can also be used for system functions like launching the camera app, toggling the flashlight or taking a screenshot.

More: The HTC U11 is the most solid phone of 2017 so far

The U11+ is kinda, sorta related to the Pixel XL 2

Smartphones take about 18 months to develop from start to finish, and along the way, things can get complicated due to supply constraints or a different focus within the company. There were rumors earlier this year that we'd see three Pixel phones: what we now know as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and a third device slotted somewhere in the middle. That rumored device had a lot of similarities to the Pixel 2 XL, with a 6-inch 18:9 screen, a rear fingerprint sensor, and the same general proportions. But some of that is table stakes: the Pixel 2 line and the U11+ use similar internal components because they're using the standard 2017 flagship parts. It's fun to think about, but it's unlikely the U11+ was meant to wear the Google badge.

More: HTC U11+ started life as a Google Pixel 2 XL project — but the story isn't that simple

Be sure to check out our forums!

Want to know more about the U11 and U11+? The Android Central forums are a treasure trove of information, so be sure to stop by there and ask any remaining questions you have!

More: HTC U11 on Android Central forums

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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2 hours ago

OnePlus 5T launch event: A spectacular new view to remember

On November 16, all eyes were on OnePlus in Brooklyn.

The sun was poking through the clouds on a cold, windy day in New York last week, but there were dozens of fans and enthusiasts lined up outside Villain, a converted warehouse in Brooklyn, to get a chance to meet the OnePlus 5T.

Once inside, fans mingled with tech press and YouTubers, drinking coffee and opening the sweet swag bags they got with the purchase of each ticket.

Then came the main event. The lights went down and members of the OnePlus team came on stage, first to talk about the past — including some mistakes and lessons along the way — and about the future. One big part of the future is the way OnePlus works with its community of closed and open beta testers to make its phones as great and intuitive as they can be. Another is, when designing phones, to give users the best technologies as soon as they are available.

An attendee trying out the phone.

The fingerprint sensor is incredibly fast, but you'll be blown away by Face Unlock.

Hence, the OnePlus 5T. Made out of a beautiful piece of machined aluminum, the OnePlus 5T has a gorgeous 6-inch Optic AMOLED display with an expanded 18:9 (or 2:1) aspect ratio. The screen is vibrant and lush, with incredible color detail — way better than some of the other 6-inch screens out there right now 😉.

To accommodate that bigger display, OnePlus moved the fingerprint sensor to the back, which is totally fine because it's still super fast and incredibly reliable. And to add to the fun, OnePlus added Face Unlock, an awesome alternative to the fingerprint that just works — you turn on the power button and look at the screen and you're in! It takes roughly 0.4 seconds to get into the phone; it's so fast you can barely see it working.

Of course, the OnePlus 5T doesn't skimp on any other features, especially given its $499 price point. You get the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (for an extra $60), a huge 3300mAh battery and Dash Charge to give it half a day's use in just 30 minutes, as well as features we shouldn't have to point out but will like a headphone jack and an awesome speaker.

The OnePlus 5T's all-new dual camera setup.

Then there's the all-new dual camera setup, which continues OnePlus's legacy of amazing photo and video quality with a new 20MP secondary sensor tuned for low light. You'll have to see it to believe it, but this thing will make sure your food shots are superb even with the lights off.

Here's the thing, though: these are all just words on paper until you get to see them in person. Which is why OnePlus invited a couple hundred of its closest friends to the launch event to try out everything that the 5T can do, from Face Unlock and Gaming DND Mode.

The features were displayed at four stations around the room, with neon lights decorated to look like -- what else -- a phone. It was pretty rad. But the stations weren't just there for show and tell; after a few minutes, OnePlus started giving away free phones to participants, which is super cool. Everyone else who attended also got $40 off the cost of the OnePlus 5T!

Carl Pei, OnePlus co-founder, on stage to talk about the company at the 2017 launch event.

All in all, there was a lot to like about the awesome OnePlus 5T event. Few companies make their executives available to chat with fans and press in the same room, but Carl Pei, Co-founder of OnePlus, and Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, are so approachable that it's not a big deal.

For OnePlus's first live event, it's pretty safe to say it was a big success, mainly because it brought fans together with their tech heroes in one place. The phone is great, but it's the people surrounding it -- the community -- that make OnePlus such an important company in the tech space today.

What was your favorite part of #ANewView?

The OnePlus 5T is available today, November 21, at oneplus.net/5t starting at $499. If you're thinking of waiting, don't — there are a bunch of special offers available for the launch!

See at OnePlus

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2 hours ago

Why spending $1000 on a Pixelbook was the right decision

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The Pixelbook is the best view of Chrome today, with an eye towards what the platform will become in the future.

"It's absurd to spend $1,000 on a web browser."

That's what I've been hearing a lot in relation to Google's new Pixelbook laptop. But calling Chrome OS "a web browser" is a plain wrong, though I do understand the sentiment. A Chromebook doesn't do all the same things a Windows or Mac laptop can do. That's fine when we're talking about a $200 machine, since Macs don't exist in that price range and Windows laptops in that range are an exercise in frustration.

But let's say you're the type of person who knows a Chromebook is the perfect fit for you. You may have used a Chromebook through high school or college, and you're already familiar with the strengths and limitations of the Chrome platform. You may also be like me and already have a desktop for all your heavy-duty needs, but want something lightweight and fool-proof for mobile use.

For the past few years, this mobile device may have been an iPad or Android tablet. That's perfectly sufficient for most people, but a Chromebook would allow access to Android applications and a full desktop browser on the same device. That may sound trivial, but it makes for a great all-round device that can go anywhere and do almost anything.

Enter Pixelbook.

The Pixelbook represents Google's tablet future.

There's also another angle from which to consider the Pixelbook: Android tablets have, by and large, failed. Android on tablets has been reduced to that $50 Amazon Fire tablet that's near the checkout aisle in Best Buy next to snacks, soda, and other crap nobody really wants or needs. Android's tablet-esque future isn't on "traditional" tablets; it's on Chromebooks. Manufacturers need a halo device for this context, and developers need a machine to build their applications for. In the past, we had the Nexus 7. Now have the Pixelbook.

The standout Chromebooks this year have been the Asus Chromebook C302 and the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro. I've used all of these at some point during the year, and they're great devices. However, they're not without compromises. Both of these feel like laptops first and tablets second. This is particularly true of the Asus Chromebook, which has a 16:9 aspect ratio screen. This aspect ratio is great when the device is used as a laptop, but it makes the device too tall as a tablet.

The Pixelbook is much more comfortable as a tablet than other convertible computers.

The Samsung Chromebooks are better in this regard, but not without their own issues. The 3:2 aspect ratio of the display makes them much better as a tablet, and the display is gorgeous, but the keyboard is awkwardly cramped and not backlit, and the trackpad always left me wanting. Are these huge issues? Not really, but the keyboard and trackpad are the elements you'll interact with most on a laptop.

The Pixelbook has two elements you want from a high-end laptop: a beautiful screen, and a fantastic keyboard.

I've been using the Pixelbook for at least three hours a day since purchasing it from Best Buy on release day. I already knew I liked Chrome as an operating system before buying it, and I would suggest anyone interested in the Pixelbook to at least try a less expensive Chromebook first.

What about the Pixelbook itself makes it worth trying? It's a lot of little things. The screen is drop-dead gorgeous (though using the same panel and tuning as the Samsung Chromebooks). The keyboard has just the right amount of firmness and travel. I use a mechanical keyboard with typist-friendly Cherry Blue switches at my desk at home. Whenever I used to write out a long-form article or review, I'd always write at home with my full keyboard. Now, I'm just as happy using the Pixelbook's keyboard as I am my mechanical keyboard, and that's no small feat. And the silicone wrist rest around the keyboard is dirt-free, though I'd expect that to change in the years to come.

The Pixelbook keyboard and trackpad are the best I've used on any laptop.

Similarly, the trackpad is the best I've used on any device — Windows, Chrome or Mac. I used to bring a wireless mouse with me everywhere I went with my laptop, and I still have my Logitech M720 Triathlon paired to my Pixelbook. After the first time I paired it though, I never used it. The trackpad is that good. Gestures are effortless, scrolling is nice and smooth and the larger size of the trackpad makes it a joy to use.

The Pixelbook feels lighter than any other Chromebook I've used, and I've used a lot.

Then there's the flip side. Literally. The specs sheet for the Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook Plus list them at the same 2.4 lbs, but the Pixelbook feels so much lighter. I don't know what voodoo Google did with the weight distribution of this device, but it doesn't feel anywhere near that heavy. That may sound like a minor detail, but it goes a long way when using the device as a tablet, or even just when carrying it around. It's hard to get this across in a review, and while this sounds like a cop-out, it really needs to be experienced to find out how dramatic of a difference it is compared to other devices.

In terms of general performance, there's nothing that stands out about the Pixelbook compared to other Chromebooks. An Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM is absolutely overkill for Chrome, and it doesn't start up or perform noticeably better than a $250 Acer Chromebook 14. The most intense Android game I've played so far has been Monument Valley 2. I'm sure a title like Asphalt 8 would be more smooth on the Pixelbook than a lower-end Chromebook, but I don't play games like that. Battery life is sufficient, but not earth shattering: I get an average of 10 hours of screen on-time with five or so tabs open at a time, or about eight hours of video watching.

As mentioned previously, I don't have any desire to use the Pixelbook pen. If it were included I'd probably give it a try, then put it back in the box. I also don't care that the Pixelbook is the first Chromebook with Google Assistant. It's great for Google, but Assistant is the kind of service that will come to other Chromebooks. For me, my phone is always close enough to use for Assistant. Other complaints include the lackluster front facing camera (which records at only 720p), and speakers. I can also understand some users wanting a USB Type A port for older flash drives and mice dongles, but that would have been too thick to include in such as svelte chassis.

The Pixelbook design mirrors that of the Pixel phones.

One last note is that the Pixelbook will be Google's platform for new features for Chrome going forward. For those that like to tinker (and I'm one of them), this may be an important point. I don't think it should weigh into anyone's buying decision though. Buy a device for what it does today, then be happy with new features that get added in the future.

In the end, I can't recommend the Pixelbook to anyone. At least, not without them trying a less expensive Chromebook first. If that Chromebook meets that person's needs for a mobile device, and they're willing to spend the money for a fantastic keyboard and trackpad, the best Android tablet experience out there, and the great design, then I'd say go for it.

The Pixelbook is the perfect laptop for me, and if you're already a fan of Chrome it's probably the perfect laptop for you.

See at Best Buy

Chromebooks

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2 hours ago

Tips and tricks for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

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If you want to get the most from your villagers in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, we've got some tips and even a few tricks to help you win the day!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is about more than just running tasks for your animal friends. It's also about planning, strategizing, and making the most out of your chats with villagers.

If you're new to the game, be sure to run through our beginner's guide, but if you're looking for some more advanced tips and tricks, this is the guide for you.

Download Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (free)

Your Market Box

In Pocket Camp, you have your own personal seller's market; there, you can either sell items to the Marketplace for a low price, or try to get a few Bells more by selling them to your friends. For example, you can sell a peach to the in-game Marketplace for 10 Bells, or list it for players at 100 Bells. While that seems ridiculous, remember that players need different materials for their game: 100 Bells can be a small price to pay for a player trying to get something they can't quickly farm themselves. When you sell to friends, those items in your Market Box can be seen and purchased by players whenever they want.

Here are some tips for listing items for sale in your Market Box:

  • List items that players can't farm fast: Bugs and fish replenish often, but fruit only drops from trees every three hours. List a couple of oranges, peaches, or pears and you're more likely to sell them than a stack of Horse Mackerel.
  • Sell semi-rares: If you are lucky enough to farm semi-rare items that you don't need, like a Red Snapper or Horned Dynastid, list them in the Marketplace for friends to earn a few extra Bells. It's slightly harder to find these items, and players may be willing to pay the extra cost to get these items quickly instead of attempting to farm them themselves. That being said.
  • Don't fill up your Market Box with ultra rare items: No one is going to want to buy your 30,000-Bell, ultra-rare Jewel Beetle. Listing it in your Market Box is just going to fill up a space that could be used to sell cheaper, more useful items to other players. Currently, no animal asks for super rare items, even at the higher levels, so they're not highly sought after by players. If you are lucky enough to find an ultra rare item, keep it in case future animals request it, or sell it to the in-game Marketplace if you really need the room
  • Don't sell large quantities of the same item in one box: Most people only need a couple of items at any given time, and won't necessarily want to spend the extra dough on your stack. Drop two or three of the same items into a Market Box at maximum.

Animal friends want to help you out

Pocket Camp runs in cycles. Every few hours, tasks renew, the Market changes, and your animal friends move in and out of the campground. It's important to know where your animal friends are in order to get the most out of their friendship.

First, get to know your animal friends. Each new animal you meet will give you materials as gifts. These materials are used to craft items, which are needed to welcome more animals to your campsite. Each camper offers different materials. So if you run low on a specific type of material, you can visit that friend and complete tasks.

Campsite chats happen every hour. The countdown triggers after you talk to the first animal at your Campsite. If you swap out someone from the Campsite before the end of the countdown, the countdown is triggered again and you won't be able to chat with any animals in your Campsite for another hour. Talk to everyone in your Campsite after the countdown has ended and before you swap out any animals.

To get the most out of your animal friends, rotate the ones that offer materials you need between your Campsite to the campground for the chance to get more items from them. Here's how: While in your campsite, complete any requests they need, then kick them out of your campsite just before the cycle changes (and the animals move). If those friends then spawn in the campground, you can complete three more tasks from them. Once you've done that, add them back to your Campsite so that you have the chance of getting items from them every hour; it can possibly double the number of materials you get from any one animal.

Here's an example of the best way to make use of an animal that has materials you need:

I keep Jay in my Campsite because he gives Preserves. I talk to Jay once per hour while he's in my campsite in order to try to get as many Preserves from him as possible (he doesn't always give Preserves, but he's there to chat with once per hour). Just before the animal move cycle changes, I chat him up one last time, then kick him out of my Campsite. I check the campground after the cycle changes to see if Jay is in one of the locations. If he's there, I'll talk to him to complete his tasks. Then, I immediately put him back into my Campsite so I can continue talking to him every hour. If he doesn't spawn in the campground, I put him back in my Campsite immediately so I can continue talking to him every hour.

Human friends can help, too

Don't be picky about accepting player friendships, or asking for them. The more friends you have, the more opportunities you have to buy and sell items in the Marketplace. You'll also need friends in order to enter the Shovelstrike Quarry without having to spend precious Leaf Tickets. You'll need five friends to agree to help you per entry. Agreeing is simply a matter of tapping "yes" when asked, but that means your friends need to play the game within the timeframe of your request and notice your request and agree.

Giving Kudos as part of your daily goal is the only way to earn Friendship powder, which is a material needed to craft certain items, so be sure to make new friends and give them Kudos whenever you come across them in the game.

Upgrade your tent before your animal friendships max out

Each amenity (tents or activity areas) has three tiers, and each of those tiers can be upgraded a certain number of levels. Before you move to the next tier, you must upgrade the current tier to its max level. For example, the Natural tent has three levels to upgrade before you can unlock the Picnic Set. The Picnic Set has five levels to upgrade before you can unlock the Tree House, which also can be maxed out to level 5.

If you find that your animal friends are maxed out - that is, you can't be any friendlier with them - it's likely because your Campsite tent needs to be upgraded or you need to build a specific style of tent. In order to unlock higher level friendship max, upgrade your tents!

It's important to note that you have to build or upgrade the type of tent that a particular animal prefers. If an animal prefers "cool" stuff, upgrade the cool tent. If an animal prefers cute stuff, upgrade the cute tent.

Upgrading tiers takes a long time, so plan ahead. You don't want to have a bunch of maxed out friendships and days before you can increase their level cap.

  • It takes 12 hours to build a new themed tent.
  • The Tier 1 upgrade takes 24 hours.
  • The Tier 2 upgrade takes 48 hours plus another 48 hours for level upgrades.
  • The Tier 3 upgrade takes 72 hours.

I recommend you build all four types of tents to start. That way, your max friendships across all animals will be level 7. Then, upgrade your tents as you have materials.

Miscellaneous tips

Cosmetic furniture

While the 250 Leaf Ticket cost for each of the special Tom Nook and KK Slider chairs are cool, they are nothing more than a cosmetic addition to the game. If you buy and place Tom's chair. He'll show up in your Campsite to sit in his chair and sleep. KK will show up and play music. They're cool additions, but absolutely unnecessary to the overall game progression. If I had to pick one, I'd go with KK because he plays music.

Also, if you have both Tom and KK's chair in you Campsite at the same time, only one of them will show up at a time. You won't get both KK and Tom in your Campsite together.

Amenities

You can have two different types of amenities at your Campsite. For example, you can have the Cool tent and the Natural Picnic Set or the Sporty tent and Cute tent side-by-side. You're not locked into a theme. Have fun!

Making the most of maxed out friendships

If an animal friend is maxed out, you won't get any more experience points for them. It's a good idea to "trap" them in your Campsite so tasks around the campground can be freed up for lower-level friendships.

Bonus points

When you unveil a new Amenity, five random animals in your Campsite will get 5 Experience Points. If any animals in your Campsite are maxed out, kick them out and replace them with lower-level friends so those animals have a chance to gain the +5 points.

Collect fruit later

  • Shake the fruit off of trees but leave them on the ground. If you don't immediately need fruit you've shaken off of a tree, you can leave it behind, saving storage for other items. You can then go back and collect the fruit later. In the meantime, the fruit tree timer will already be counting down to replenishment.

Miscellaneous tricks

A big shout out to the ACPocketCamp subReddit for finding these great in-game tricks and Easter eggs.

  • If you set up your campsite with nothing but lamps, your visiting campers will each walk up to one of the lamps and turn them on and off.

  • Log into the game on your birthday to get birthday wishes from all of your animal friends.

  • Closets have framed photos on their backsides, so you can use them to create interesting looking walls in your campsite or camper van

What are your favorite tips and tricks?

How do you get the most out of villagers in Animal Crossing: Pocket camp? Put your suggestions in the comments to help us out!

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2 hours ago

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp — Beginner's Guide

0

New to the Animal Crossing kingdom? Don't worry, we'll help you through the basics!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is now available on iPhone, iPad, and Android. If you're new to the Animal Crossing kingdom, there's a lot to learn.

For the most part, you'll pick up on the basics fairly fast. Without some background knowledge, though, you might make some big mistakes early on that you wish you could go back and change. That's were we come in. We've got a comprehensive beginner's guide to help you avoid mistakes and explain some of the leveling activities that might not seem obvious to you at first.

Download Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (free)

Sign in with your Nintendo Account

If you've played Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, or any game on a Nintendo device, its likely you have a Nintendo account. When you first start the game, you'll be asked to sign in to your Nintendo Account or Nintendo Network ID. This is the only way to save your game data, so be sure to sign in. If you don't have a Nintendo account. Now is the time to get one. You can follow the on-screen instructions to create a Nintendo account before starting the game.

Create your character

After your sign into your Nintendo account and pick your theme, you'll be able to create a character. This is your avatar that you use to play the game. You can pick a boy or girl, select a particular hair style and color, and a specific eye style and color. Everything can be changed at any time after you start the game except the gender of your character.

You can later change the hair style and color or eye style and color by tapping More in the bottom right corner of your menu screen. Then select Settings and tap on Edit Character.

Choose your style

At the beginning of the game, you'll meet Isabelle She'll ask you a question about your ideal campsite. Depending on how you answer the question, she'll suggest a particular theme for your campsite. You can choose Natural, Cool, Cute, or Sporty. This doesn't mean a whole lot, but it does determine the items you'll receive for your starter Campsite setup. Don't worry, you'll be crafting materials for all of the themes, and can completely change how your Campsite looks any time you want. But, this is just the starting point. The style you pick determines the first camper to join your Campsite. Starter villagers are as follows:

  • Apollo: Cool
  • Goldie: Natural
  • Jay: Sporty
  • Rosie: Cute

The basic gameplay

Your role in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is the acting manager of a campground. Your job is to help out visiting animals (AKA: villagers), getting them the items they want in order to make their stay with you comfortable and pleasant.

In exchange for your help and generosity, villagers will give you materials. Use these materials to craft items that you can place in your campsite or camper van.

One of the goals of the game is to invite villagers to your Campsite. Villagers will only visit your Campsite if you own certain "creature" comforts. Each animal has a specific list of items they'd like before they will visit your Campsite.

You can get these furniture and edible items by crafting them. Once you've crafted all of the items an animal requests, it will visit your Campsite and stay (unless your Campsite is already full). You can rotate different villagers in and out of your Campsite once you've welcomed them.

Crafting costs materials. You can earn materials as rewards by completing tasks for villagers at your campsite and in the campground. Villagers will ask for items like fish, fruit, and bugs. You can farm these items at different locations in your campground.

In exchange for fish, fruit, and bugs, villagers will give you materials like cotton, wood, steel, and preserves. Use these materials to craft the necessary items to convince an animal to visit your campsite.

Once you meet a villager, you become friends with it. The villager's happiness level will increase the more you help out your new friend. The goal is to level the happiness to 20 for each of the animals in the game. This is not an easy feat. The higher the happiness level is, the more difficult the tasks the villagers ask you to complete. You may only have to get a couple of shells for a friend that's at level 3, but at level 10, you'll be asked to find rare items or a larger quantity of items, which makes growing your friendship much more difficult.

You'll also receive special rewards for performing timed goals and stretch goals. Timed goals include things like giving other players "kudos" at their campsite or collecting a certain number of specific items. Stretch goals are available throughout the existence of your game and include such things as expanding the size of your van or making a certain number of friends in the game.

Check the map

Your campground is made up of eight locations. There are four farming locations, the Market Place, OK Motors where you can upgrade your camper van, your campsite, and Shovelstrike Quarry where you can play a mini-game to earn a large quantity of a specific type of materials.

Each farm location has one animal in need of attention and yields a specific type of materials. Check the map when you first log in to see which animals you can help out. There will be a check mark next to the animal if you already have the materials needed to help them.

You can tap on an animal to get more details on what they want. If you tap on Kid Cat and see that he is requesting a Monarch Butterfly, you can hop on over to Sunburst Island to gather the necessary materials to help out.

Each farming location also has a player visiting. Talk to players in order to visit their campsite to give Kudos, buy from their Market Box, and get some decorating ideas for your own campsite.

Your Campsite

Your campsite is the main hub of activity for the game. One of your biggest goals is to get your animal friends to want to visit you, which is a little harder than you might think. Your new friends won't visit your campsite until you've crafted certain items for them. You don't have to keep the items in your campsite, but you'll need the items they requested just until you've welcomed them. You can then remove them.

I recommend using the automatic placement and removal of setups for welcoming new friends. That way, you don't have to mess with your perfectly crafted campsite.

You can have up to eight friends in your campsite. Here's where things get interesting: In order to level up your friendships, get the most materials, and increase your character's level, you'll need to figure out which friends to keep in your campsite and which ones to send away.

You can add and remove any friend you've welcomed. If there is no more room in your campsite after you've welcomed someone, they will head out to the campground where you'll be able to help them with tasks in the wild. Whenever you want to move a friend into your campsite, just kick someone out and invite them in. They don't have to be within the campground to invite them back once you've welcomed them the first time. Just invite them and they'll appear in your campsite.

The key to getting through the game with all the materials you could possibly need is to know what material each animal gives as a reward and maintain your in-campsite/out of campsite relationship closely.

Lost Lure Creek

Lost Lure Creek is one of two fishing spots. As soon as you enter this location, your character will pull out a fishing pole. You can expect to find fish in the creek, but you can also pick fruit from the trees. You can only pick fruit in each location every three hours, but you can fish much more often. Every few minutes, the creek will replenish with new fish.

Pro Tip: Rare fish can be recognized by their size. The shadow of a rare fish is always larger than smaller fish in the water. Olive Flounder are the exception. They are flat, wide fish, and so look large in the water, too.

To see which types of fish you can catch in Lost Lure Creek, tap the Found Here icon on the map next to the name banner.

Breezy Hollow

Breezy Hollow is where you do most of your tree picking. Here, you'll find peaches, cherries, apples, oranges, and pears. You can only pick fruit from the trees every three hours unless you use a Fertilizer to reset the fruit tree immediately.

Pro Tip: You can only pick fruit every three hours. If you shake a tree but don't pick up the fruit that has dropped, the countdown for the replenish will begin immediately, but you won't have to fill up your item storage with fruit until you need it.

To see which types of fruit you can pick in Breezy, tap the Found Here icon on the map next to the name banner.

Saltwater Shores

Saltwater Shores is the other fishing spot in the campground. You can also pick up coconuts and three different types of shell. While the coconut only replenishes every three hours, shells and fish replenish every few minutes. If you're in need of one of these items, clear the beach and wait just a couple of minutes and the Shore will be filled with items again.

To see which types of fish you can catch or shells you can pick up, tap the Found Here icon on the map next to the name banner.

Sunburst Island

At Sunburst Island, you can collect butterflies and beetles. There is also one coconut tree at this location. Similar to the speed that fish replenish, bugs replenish every few minutes, too. The key is to make sure you've collected everything on the island, though. If you need more Monarch butterflies, grab the fruit beetles off of the trees, too, or the other bugs won't replenish. Grab everything.

To see which types of bugs you can catch while in Sunburst Island tap the Found Here icon on the map next to the name banner.

Shovelstrike Quarry

All of the map locations are free to visit and interact with except one: The Shovelstrike Quarry. To enter this area, you'll need to either pay 20 Leaf Tickets (which are premium in-game currency) or convince five of your friends to help you out.

When you enter the Shovelstrike Quarry, you'll play a mini-game where you get to break open five rocks. You don't get to keep the swag that is inside the rock, but the Quarry manager will pay you for your hard work with whichever materials are part of the reward at the time. The quarry rewards change every few hours.

The Market Place

In the Market Place, you can buy or sell premium items. The booths change every few hours, so you can shop for different items throughout the day. Select from an array of clothing and accessories, or deck out your campsite or camper van with some unique furniture.

OK Motors

Your campervan starts out as a vintage van (not unlike the VW Westfalia #vanlife!), which you can upgrade with a new paint job (first one's on the house!). As you level up, you can expand your van into a small camper. You can also increase the space inside. None of the animals will visit it, but decorating your camper van is part of the fun of playing ACPC.

Power Tip: When you have Giovanni upgrade your van, he won't tell you how much it costs. Instead, he'll do the work and create a loan for you.

Crafting items

In order to convince animals to visit your campsite, you'll need certain items. You can find out what items a camper wants by tapping on their name in the Contacts section. Crafting takes time and materials. Different items will need different materials, and harder items will need more and rare materials.

You can have up to three items crafting at a time, plus you can make or upgrade a new tent. Some items are finished fast, while others can take half a day.

You can tell what you've got in your item storage and what you still need to craft by noting the tiny bag icon next to them. If you have a crafted item, you'll see the bag. If not, you won't see it.

You can also tell when you have enough materials to craft an item because you'll see a big banner next to it that reads, "Craft It!."

Your Market Box

You'll pick up, fairly quickly, that your item storage will fill up fast. You can make space by selling surplus items either directly to the game's Market Place or to other players in the game. The first way, through the Market Place, yields you a relatively low return, about 10 Bells per item. The other way, you can raise the price of items and place them in your Market Box. These items will be available for other players to purchase when they need to. You can sell items at such prices as 100 Bells for one item, and players will pay for it if they're in need.

The problem with selling items to friends from your Market Box is that, once they go into the box, you can't get them back. If you don't sell the items, and you need to make room to sell more, you have to throw those items away.

My recommendation: Sell fruits like oranges and apples. Sell them in small amounts (players aren't going to have enough storage for 10 fruit), about three or four per stack.

Don't sell your super rare items, like the Football Fish, in your Market Box. No one needs them (at least so far in the game, no one has come across a task that requests them), and no one is going to pay 30,000 Bells for one. It'll take up space in your Market Box and you'll just have to throw it away when you need the extra room.

Upgrade your campsite to increase max friendship levels

You will start your campsite with one standard tent based on the style you choose when talking to KK at the beginning of the game. Before you upgrade or build a different type of tent, your friendship levels will max out at seven. To increase the max friendship levels, you'll need to upgrade your current tent or build a different style of tent.

Friendship level caps are based on the type of tent and style of the friend. Friends that prefer cool stuff needs a cool tent, cute friends need a cute tent, sporty friends need a sporty tent, and so on.

As your animal friends get closer to maxing out their friendship level, it's time to start planning your tent building. It takes 12 hours to build a new tent, so plan ahead.

I suggest saving up as much of the necessary materials as possible right from the start. By the time you need to build the various tents, it won't be so painful on your pocketbook (in other words, you won't have to fork over as many Leaf Tickets).

Taking out loans

If you're going to go big as far as your campervan is concerned, it's going to cost you a lot of Bells. Luckily, for some big-ticket items, like an upgrade to your camper van's interior size, you can take out a loan and pay it off when you have a few extra Bells. Your loan can be found in the More tab under Loans. When you've got money to spare, drop $1000 - $5000 on your loan until its paid off. You can't get any more upgrades until a loan is paid off, so be sure to make payments on it whenever you can.

Campervan size increases significantly from one to the next. You'll be paying off the biggest upgrade for a very long time.

Call Cards and Request Rickets

Call Cards allow you to call an animal that is not within the campground at the time. These cards can be useful if you want to invite a camper to your campground, but that animal is not nearby.

Request Tickets reset the task list for an animal. If you're in need of a certain number of materials and this one camper can get you to the number you need with just a few more tasks, use a Request Ticket to trigger a new list of items that animal wants and will reward you for.

The game runs in cycles

As the day grows long, your game will also change. Daytime, evening, and nighttime are represented in the game. Additionally, you'll notice the seasonal changes in the game, too. As fall gets into full swing, the leaves on your trees will turn a beautiful shade of red.

But, that's not the only cyclical changes that take place in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The game's activities also run in cycles. Whether you're waiting for your animal friends to move around on the campground or you want to check out the Market Place for new items, the basic structure of the game changes every few hours. Below is a list of the cyclical changes in the game.

  • Shovelstrike Quarry: Every 24-hours
  • The Market Place: Every 6 hours
  • Animal request/movement: Every 3 hours
  • Campsite animal chats: Every hour

Stay tuned for more!

We've got some Animal Crossing tips and tricks to getting the most out of your game. Keep an eye out for more.

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2 hours ago

Grab the Withings Smart Body Analyzer for just $79 at Amazon

1

It's time to be smarter about tracking your weight.

Is this deal for me?

The Withings Smart Body Analyzer is now down to just $79 via Amazon. This deal features this product's lowest price ever and saves you around $30 off its average price.

The Smart Body Analyzer can not only keep track of your weight, but also your heart rate, the air quality, and more. It can connect to the free Withings: Health Mate app so you can view your results and track your progress from anywhere, and it's even compatible with other fitness and health apps too, like RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal and more.

  • What makes this deal worth considering? - This price drop marks a new all-time low on this item and is significantly lower than it has sold for recently. The average selling price on this smart scale is closer to $111, so you won't want to miss out on this deal. There are apps for both Android and iOS that allow you to view your results and track your progress.
  • Things to know before you buy! - Withings makes one of the best smart scales out there. I've been using one for years to track my weight, and love that you can set user profiles for different people in the family. Beyond your weight, this scale can keep track of your heart rate, the air quality, and more. This discount is available for only the black version right now.

See at Amazon

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2 hours ago

Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is now available to download

5

Hope you weren't planning on being too productive this week.

Updated 11/21/17 – Despite making an official announcement that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp would be launching on November 22, Nintendo has released the game a day early. Download it by clicking the button below and get to playing!

Following Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heros, Nintendo's proven to know a thing or two when it comes to mobile gaming. The company's third title – Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – was hit with a delay in January of this year with a new launch date anywhere between April 2017 and March 2018.

Thankfully, according to Nintendo's official Twitter account, we'll finally be able to get our hands on the game beginning Wednesday, November 22.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp places you in a campground setting within the Animal Crossing world, and it should play out a lot like other entries in the series. You can go fishing, decorate your home, hang out with virtual friends, complete tasks for villagers, and plenty more.

Players will be rewarded for logging in daily like in other Animal Crossing games, but there will also be microtransactions. We're crossing our fingers that Nintendo uses these properly, because as we've seen with a certain other game, mishandling them can cause for a whole lot of trouble.

Best zombie games for Android

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3 hours ago

Nova Launcher 5.5 adds adaptive icons, Google search in dock, and more

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The 5.5 update is live on the Play Store now.

Nova Launcher is widely considered to be one of the best launchers around, and the recent update to v5.5 adds a lot of long-awaited features – including adaptive icons, the ability to put the Google search bar in your dock, and much more.

Starting first with adaptive icons, these are supported as long as you're using Nova Launcher on a device running Android 5.0 or later. Adaptive icons have been available as part of the Nova Launcher beta since September, but this is the first time they've made their way to a public build.

You can access adaptive icon settings by going to Settings -> Look & feel -> Adaptive icon style. From here, you can change your icon shapes to round, squircle, rounded square, square, and teardrop.

Also new is the ability to have your Google search bar placed in your dock (either below or above your apps here) to mimic the look of Google's Pixel 2. However, Nova Launcher takes things a step further by allowing you to customize the look of the search bar and even replace it with another widget.

Lastly, Nova Launcher 5.5 adopts Android 8.1's slightly changed popup menu and adds some general optimizations and bug fixes for an overall better experience.

The 5.5 update for Nova Launcher is live on the Google Play Store right now.

Top 5 things to do after switching to Nova Launcher

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3 hours ago

Here are all the official OnePlus 5T cases

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OnePlus is a phone maker, but it's also well-known for its excellent cases, too.

Over the years, OnePlus has refined its product strategy: it started by releasing one phone every year along with a couple of in-house accessories, and has since expanded to two phones a year with a suite of cases, headphones, backpacks and other swag.

For a company selling phones for such razor-thin margins, this strategy makes sense: the cases are between $20 and $30 each, which isn't a huge number in the case world, but the company makes a considerable profit on each one. Rinse, repeat.

That brings us to the OnePlus 5T. As with every previous device in its arsenal, OnePlus is issuing a bunch of cases, and we're going to take you through them right now.

Sandstone case

The Sandstone case harkens back to the early days of the OnePlus One, offering the same ultra-grippy sandpaper-like texture from the company's first phone. It's my favorite snap-on case, as it's both adequately protective, extremely low-profile, and lightweight. This style is also available in Karbon coloring (see below) and comes in at just under $20.

See at OnePlus

Karbon Bumper case

The Karbon Bumper case is one of the more protective ones available for the OnePlus 5T, with a hard plastic shell that covers all the sides fairly well. At $30, it's not cheap, but its carbon fiber pattern (hence the name) is quite attractive.

See at OnePlus

Ebony Wood case

OnePlus's wood cases are among the nicest out there. The Ebony version is darker and has a more defined, almost feline pattern that the Rosewood case. There's a plastic lip around the front to protect the screen, and it's done so that it's not distracting. At $30, it's excellent value.

See at OnePlus

Rosewood case

Rosewood is my favorite of the OnePlus case styles. It blends beautifully with a wooden desk (seen here at a local coffee shop 😂) and its lighter tone looks fantastic. It's not that protective, but the plastic bumper around the front definitely helps protect the Gorilla Glass of the OnePlus 5T.

See at OnePlus

Silicone case

The Silicone case definitely looks familiar, but if you're cloning an iconic design, you might as well do it right. OnePlus does, and at $20, charges significantly less for the privilege. The Silicone case wraps around the back of the phone and feels awesome to hold. Very grippy, too.

See at OnePlus

Your favorite?

What's your favorite official OnePlus case? Let us know in the comments!

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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3 hours ago

OnePlus 5T is now available for purchase, starts at $499

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OnePlus's best (and most expensive) phone is here.

The OnePlus 5T was officially unveiled just a few days ago in New York City, and the phone is already available for purchase from OnePlus's website if you want to be among the first people to own the company's latest and greatest.

Just like with the OnePlus 5 earlier this year, there are two models of the 5T to choose from – the 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage variant will set you back $499, but upgrading to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will increase the price to $559. There's only one color to choose from this time around (Midnight Black), and placing your today, November 21, will allow you to get 50% off the Early Bird Bundle.

OnePlus's Early Bird Bundle comes with either a Sandstone or Karbon protective case, as well as a 3D tempered glass screen protector. This bundle usually costs $39.90, but you can get it now for just $20.08 when ordered with a new 5T.

Also, for all of the students out there, OnePlus is offering 10% off the 5T. Once you've verified your studentship through the program OnePlus is using, you'll be able to pick up the 5T for as little as $449.

Both models of the OnePlus 5T are slated to ship out within four days of placing your order, shipping is free, and OnePlus offers a 15-day return period for some added peace of mind.

See at OnePlus

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3 hours ago

HTC's Blackest Friday sale offers $50 off U11 and free $200 JBL earphones

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The sale is live now and will be available until November 29.

Although we're still a few days away from the official Black Friday, there are more than a few sales and promotions that you can already take advantage of. HTC recently launched its "Blackest Friday" campaign, allowing customers to get discounts and freebies on some of HTC's latest handsets.

Probably the best deal being offered here is on the U11. HTC is offering $50 off the phone to bring the price down to $599, and along with this, you also get JBL's Reflect Aware C Earphones (a $200 value) and HTC's Fetch accessory ($25 value) for free.

The HTC Fetch is also included with the purchase of an HTC U11 Life or HTC Bolt, and similar to a deal that was running earlier this month, you can pick up the Bolt for as little as $200.

Along with these deals, HTC is also offering 50% off an accessory of your choosing with the purchase of any phone, as well as $5 cases for the HTC One M8, M9, and A9. The sale is live now and will run through November 29 at 12:00 AM EST.

See at HTC

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3 hours ago

Skyrim on PlayStation VR: Tips and tricks for survival!

Skyrim can be an unforgiving place, but these tricks ought to help you thrive.

Skyrim has arrived for PlayStation VR allowing you the ability to really feel like you are traveling the world. This huge, open world game has dragons, magic, combat, necromancers, vampires...and a whole lot more. While it is true that you can do, well, just about anything, having a few tricks up your sleeve can definitely help keep you alive. Whether this is your first visit to Skyrim, or you're returning for the umpteenth time, these tips and tricks should help you survive the journey.

We've got the tricks to survival in Skyrim VR for you here!

Read more at VRHeads

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4 hours ago

Please don't buy a crappy cheap tablet on Black Friday

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You owe it to yourself to avoid buying something terrible.

We've all been there, scrolling down the list of sales online or flipping through the heap of ads that arrive in the newspapers that week. A tablet that was "regularly priced at $199" is going to be available for $50, but only to the first 20 people in line who ask for them. That tablet never cost $199. The store probably didn't spend $299 to get those 20 units into the store to trick you into buying in the first place. If you go stand in line for that tablet, you will come home to find little more than sadness in the box.

Let's get this out of the way right here and now — there is no such thing as a good cheap tablet on Black Friday. They don't exist, and any company trying to sell you one knows you're going to get more use out of the box that tablet comes in than you will the hardware contained within.

If you are dead set on purchasing any kind of technology on Black Friday, here's what you need to know.

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