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5 hours ago

Amazfit Bip review: A $79 smartwatch that does it all

1

Amazfit Bip review: A $79 smartwatch that does it all

Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip

Look no further if you're in the market for an affordable smartwatch.

Amazfit Bip

The smartwatch segment is in continual decline, and although Qualcomm announced the Wear 3100 platform, we haven't seen mainstream brands like Motorola or LG launch devices powered by the chipset yet. Wear OS in general is looking more and more like it is about to fade away into irrelevance, but it's not the only option available if you're in the market for a wearable.

Fitbit makes a range of fitness trackers and smartwatches that do a decent job of mirroring notifications to your wrist, and in recent years Xiaomi has gained a lot of momentum in this segment thanks to the affordable Mi Band. The Mi Band is currently in its third generation, and it's safe to say that the fitness tracker is one of the best value-for-money wearables you can buy today.

For $30, the Mi Band 3 offers an OLED panel, heart rate monitor, automatic activity tracking, and two-week battery life. The fitness band is manufactured by Huami, which is the same company that makes Amazfit smartwatches. That's what makes the Amazfit Bip such an exciting product: it carries Xiaomi's ethos while delivering a new set of experiences.

The 2018 Pebble

Amazfit Bip

Amazfit Bip

$79 at Amazon

The best smartwatch you can get under $100.

The Amazfit Bip does everything you'd expect from a smartwatch but at a much lower price point. If you've used a Pebble in the past and were looking for a device that offers a similar set of features and weeks-long battery life, the Bip is a great alternative.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Sunlight legibility is good
  • Comfortable fit
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Non-actionable notifications
  • Doesn't track all workouts

Amazfit Bip

Amazfit started out three years ago as Huami sought to branch out into the smartwatch segment, and is headquartered in Mountain View. Its products are available officially on Amazon in the U.S. as well as a host of other markets, and like Xiaomi's wearables, the trait that makes Amazfit's smartwatches stand out is affordability.

Coming to the watch itself, the Amazfit Bip is made out of polycarbonate with a 2.5D curved display backed by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. You get a soft rubber removable strap in the box, allowing you to switch out the default band for more colorful options (it uses standard 20mm lugs). The 1.28-inch display has a resolution of 176 x 176, and you also get a heart rate sensor, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, built-in GPS, IP68 dust and water resistance, and incredible 30-day battery life.

The design of the Bip is very similar to that of Pebble, but where Amazfit wins out is in delivering value. Retailing for just $79, the Bip doesn't have a whole lot of competition. The watch itself is very lightweight at 32g, and it doesn't feel uncomfortable to wear throughout the day.

The Amazfit Bip is the spiritual successor to the Pebble.

The best part about the Bip is that it connects to Xiaomi's Mi Fit app for notification syncing and tracking your daily activity. The Bip does a great job mirroring content to your wrist, but unlike Wear OS, the notifications aren't actionable. The Bip doesn't offer much in the way of third-party app support, but you do get the option to choose from various watch faces from within Mi Fit.

The built-in GPS allows the Bip to accurately map activities like walking, cycling, or running, but you have to manually enable the workout from the watch itself. There's also no option to track swimming although it has an IP68 rating. On the plus side, you get a heart rate sensor and sleep tracking.

What sets the Bip apart from other smartwatches is the battery life. Amazfit quotes a 30-day battery life between charges, and that holds up in real-world usage. I've only had to charge the smartwatch once in over a month's worth of constant use, and while the display isn't as vibrant as what you get on Wear OS smartwatches, it is easily legible under harsh sunlight.

It's not difficult to get your hands on the Bip as the smartwatch is officially available in the U.S., UK, and India. The Bip is available for $79 in the U.S., and you'll have to shell out £64.99 ($85) to pick it up in the UK. In India, the Bip is sold officially on Flipkart, where it is available for ₹5,700 ($78).

4.5 out of 5

If you're looking for an easy way to mirror notifications and calls from your phone onto your wrist, the Bip is the ideal smartwatch for the job. The amazing battery life alone justifies the cost, and you get an array of features that includes a heart rate sensor, IP68 rating, and GPS connectivity.

See at Amazon US See at Amazon UK See at Flipkart

12 hours ago

YouTube Gaming app is shutting down in March, moving to a web portal

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YouTube Gaming app is shutting down in March, moving to a web portal

There's a new place to watch all of your favorite gaming YouTubers.

Back in 2015, Google launched its YouTube Gaming app to give gamers their own platform for separate features like Game Pages, Super Chat, and Channel Memberships. Since then, many of those features made their way to YouTube as a whole, and it seems as though YouTube Gaming no longer needs its own standalone app.

The YouTube Gaming app will be shutting down as of March 2019, but that doesn't mean the entire platform is going away. Instead, YouTube Gaming is moving to its own site starting today at youtube.com/gaming. Google says that while it has a strong audience on the YouTube Gaming app, it can reach an even larger audience directly on YouTube, with over 200 million gamers and 50 billion hours of gaming content in the last year.

At the new YouTube Gaming webpage, you can search and sort by particular games to find related videos, ongoing live streams, and other games from the developer. You can also subscribe to specific games, and YouTube Gaming highlights creators on the rise to help boost new and existing channels.

Of course, there's the standard fare of discovery features we're all used to, as well; trending videos, upcoming live streams, and recommended videos all populate the home feed, along with any gaming-related videos from channels you already subscribe to on YouTube.

Android Gaming

Best action games for Android

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13 hours ago

The Kindle Paperwhite is down to $80 during this Prime exclusive sale

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The Kindle Paperwhite is down to $80 during this Prime exclusive sale

Chapters on chapters.

Amazon has its Kindle Paperwhite on sale for only $79.99 right now. This deal is valid only for Prime members, so click here if you need a free trial. Usually this would run you $120, and the reviews are stellar. As an alternative, you could get the Kindle for $50, but that model lacks a backlight and it doesn't have as good of a battery life either.

The Kindle Paperwhite is available in both black and white. Its touchscreen display is easy on the eyes with no screen glare and feels akin to reading words on actual paper, as opposed to regular mobile device screens which can cause eye fatigue after staring for some time. A single battery charge can last for weeks which is pretty awesome too. As a bonus, it doesn't have the built-in distractions that a smartphone does, so you will actually get some reading done and not end up crushing candies or running through temples.

As an aside, if you're an eligible American Express Membership Rewards cardholder, you might be able to get your Paperwhite for just $40. Your mileage may vary.

This isn't the only offer available to Prime members right now. You can also get great deals on the Fire 7 Tablet and the Fire TV 4K.

See at Amazon

13 hours ago

Anker charging accessories, mobile device storage, Zolo truly wireless earphones and more are discounted in Canada

Anker charging accessories, mobile device storage, Zolo truly wireless earphones and more are discounted in Canada

Whether you're looking for new tech gear or household items, we've got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on a range of Anker charging accessories, Zolo truly wireless earphones, mobile device storage, Contigo travel mugs and much more...

Each day, the Thrifter Canada team scouts out and shares amazing deals on products you know and love, helping you find the best prices on the 'net.

For more Canadian deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter CA and follow the team on Twitter.

13 hours ago

Amazon's Fire 7 tablet, standing desks, Sugru moldable glue, and more are all discounted today

Amazon's Fire 7 tablet, standing desks, Sugru moldable glue, and more are all discounted today

Whether you're looking for new tech gear or household items, we've got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on Amazon's Fire 7 tablet, Flexispot standing desks, Sugru moldable glue and much more!

If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

14 hours ago

Take control of your smart TV with the new Logitech K600 keyboard

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Take control of your smart TV with the new Logitech K600 keyboard

Time for some 70-inch gaming.

Logitech is no stranger to wireless keyboards, and the newest product is just improving on what the company already does best. Available in October for $69.99, the new Logitech K600 TV Keyboard is designed especially for use with Smart TVs. You can check to see if your TV is compatible here. You can also get your pre-orders in. Remember that this will work just as well with other Bluetooth-compatible devices like your computer.

This has a trackpad along the side of the QWERTY keyboard as well as a ton of buttons for media controls. You can even use the directional pad to make your keyboard a full remote control. The K600 also has a 15-meter wireless range and a year-long battery life. While the new model will be pricier than its predecessors, such as the K400 keyboard, the additional price is arguably worthwhile since it takes your keyboard from a regular old wireless model to one with way more features. Make sure to sign up for the Thrifter newsletter to be alerted when it goes on sale, and remember that you can pre-order now if you're interested.

See at Logitech

14 hours ago

Google partners with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to make in-car infotainment less awful

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Google partners with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to make in-car infotainment less awful

We should start seeing the results of this deal in 2021.

It's no secret that the various dashboards and infotainment consoles in cars are almost universally bad, plagued with clunky software and laggy performance. Android Auto tackled this problem by letting your phone take over the in-car display, but it's hard to beat a system that just works on its own.

That's why Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the largest automotive alliance in the world whose member companies sold over 10 million vehicles just last year, is partnering with Google in a multiyear agreement to integrate Android services into its vehicles' infotainment systems.

Scheduled to start in 2021, the systems in new vehicles made by Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi will run on Android, featuring services like Google Maps, Google Assistant, and even the Play Store. Just as you'd find different forked versions of Android on phones from different manufacturers, each brand will have the freedom to customize the Android experience to their liking — for better or worse.

This shift towards Android and Google services is part of the Alliance's 2022 mid-term plan to better equip its vehicles with "next-generation technology," which it's hoping will help reach its increased sales goal of over 14 million units per year by the end of 2022.

All About Android Auto

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14 hours ago

Vizio's new Dolby Atmos home theater sound system makes its debut at $500

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Vizio's new Dolby Atmos home theater sound system makes its debut at $500

Your favorite films and shows get even better with these stellar sound bars.

Earlier this year, Vizio announced that it would begin offering Dolby Atmos and Google Chromecast audio support integrated into three new sound bars. While two of the sound bars have yet to see a release, the first has just been made available for order at select retailers such as Best Buy.

The first release from the new line is Vizio's 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar System. At the $500 price point, it's one of the more affordable Dolby Atmos sound bars on the market currently compared to options like Sony's HT-Z9F sound bar and the LG SJ9 sound bar. It features two upward-firing speakers that send sound above and around you for a more realistic surround sound experience, while its wireless subwoofer along with the five front-firing speakers help to balance the sound further.

The new sound bars also feature Google Assistant built-in for voice control, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Chromecast so you can stream your favorite tracks directly to the speakers. Their metal-finished woven covers provide a sleek look for your entertainment setup, and there are also one-touch controls on the sound bars themselves in case you don't have the remote or the Vizio SmartCast Mobile app handy.

The 5.1.2-Channel version of Vizio's Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos is now available at Best Buy for $500; Sam's Club has it too with an exclusive $50 discount, though it's currently out of stock there. Soon enough, you'll also be able to locate 3.1.2 and 5.1.4-Channel versions priced at $800 and $1,000 respectively via Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

See at Vizio

15 hours ago

How to enable spoken announcements in Google Fit

How to enable spoken announcements in Google Fit

It can be a bit distracting to have to check your phone to see how far you've been biking. Fortunately, it's easy to get Fit to just tell you your progress.

If you're spending the day riding your bike, it's natural to want to know how far you've ridden so far. But trying to open your phone when you should be focusing on the road is always a bad idea. Thankfully, it's not hard to have your progress spoken to you.

Products used in this guide

How to enable spoken announcements on your smartphone

  1. Open the Google Fit application.
  2. Tap Profile in the lower-right corner.
  3. Tap the Settings icon in the upper-right corner.

    Tap Profile. Tap the Settings icon. Tap Spoken Announcements. Select how often you want the announcements.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the list.
  5. Tap Spoken announcements.
  6. Select when you want the announcements.

That's it! Google Fit will let you know what your progress is, either through your phone's speaker or your headphones.

How to enable spoken announcements on your Wear OS watch

  1. Open the Google Fit application**.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Workouts.
  4. Tap Spoken announcements/
  5. Select when you want the announcements.

Our top equipment picks

If you're all in on Google Fit, it's worth getting a Wear OS watch to track your workouts right from your wrist.

The best watch for Google Fit

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro

$250 at Amazon

The best Wear OS watch is also the best for tracking your workouts.

The Ticwatch Pro features a GPS tracker, heart-rate monitor, and NFC payments.

The Ticwatch Pro is a genuinely good watch even if you don't care about fitness tracking. If you do, it's even better. There's a GPS chip to better track your jogs, a heart-rate monitor for keeping your beats in check, and an NFC chip so you can leave your phone at home and still use Google Pay.

16 hours ago

Best 5 cheaper alternatives to the Bose QC35

Best 5 cheaper alternatives to the Bose QC35

We've shown a lot of love for the Bose QC35s here on Android Central, and while we definitely recommend checking them out, we also understand that not everyone is willing to throw down $350 on a pair of headphones. If you still want a pair of quality cans but also want to save some cash, these are our five favorite cheaper alternatives!

For the bass lovers

Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones

The XB950N1 pack a big punch despite being $100 less than the QC35s. These have the most bass out of any other headphones on our list, there's Bluetooth and NFC support, and all settings can be configured via the Sony Headphones Connect app.

$248 at Amazon

Available in three unique colors

Cowin E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones

The Corwin E7 is Amazon's Choice for noise canceling headphones, and for good reason. Available in three colors (black, white, and purple), the E7 offers 40mm large-aperture drivers, deep bass, active noise canceling, and Bluetooth + NFC connectivity. The battery's also rated for 30 hours of use on a single charge!

$69 at Amazon

The cheapest pick on our list

TaoTronics Active Noise Canceling Headphones

TaoTronics' headphones punch way above their $50 price tag. The noise canceling works great, the ear cups swivel 90° so you can get the perfect fit, and the 30 hours of battery life is fantastic. The dual 40mm drivers are powerful and a built-in mic allows for voice calls.

$53 at Amazon

The QC35s' closest competitor

Sony WH1000XM2 Noise Canceling Headphones

For around $50 less than the QC35s, Sony's WH100XM2 are considered to be some of the best headphones you can buy right now. You get 30 hours of battery, top-of-the-line noise canceling, Bluetooth and NFC, and plenty more.

$298 at Amazon

24-hour battery life and great Bluetooth range

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Last but not least, Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 offers a lot of value for well under $200. You can listen for up to 24 hours on a single charge, the Bluetooth range is up to 100 meters, and you get a free travel case. Plantronics also touts natural mid-tones rich bass, crisp highs, and superior noise cancelation.

$172 at Amazon

You've got options

If you're on a particularly tight budget, the Cowin E7 and TaoTronics headphones offer some of the best bang-for-your-buck around. They might not be the most premium headphones ever, but they sound great and definitely get the job done. The Sony WH1000XM2 are still pretty expensive, but as we mentioned above, they're widely considered to be among the best headphones at any price. No matter what you end up choosing, you really can't go wrong.

17 hours ago

Osmo coding toys are coming to Amazon Fire tablets soon

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Osmo coding toys are coming to Amazon Fire tablets soon

High tech at a lower cost.

Up until recently, Osmo products were only compatible with iPads, but no longer. Osmo products are coming for Amazon's fire tablets. You can pre-order the Creative Kit for $70 or the Genius Kit for $100. Character-themed expansions include the Incredibles 2, Mickey & Friends, and Disney Princesses. The two base kits will start shipping in November, and the other items will be available sooner.

This is a pretty big development for the popular STEAM toy manufacturer, and it is especially nice considering the money you'll save. While it's true that the base kits themselves cost a bit more than your average toy, they're totally worthwhile. However, it can be hard to justify buying a $600 iPad for your kindergartner. Right now Amazon Fire 7 Tablets are only $35. Even if you want to go all-out and purchase the Fire 7 Kids Tablet, you'll still only be spending $100 and you'll be getting a no-questions-asked warranty. This is a fantastic solution for parents who want their kids to have smart learning tools without spending an arm and a leg.

Osmo takes your tablet and turns it into a fantastic learning tool. Math, spelling, phonetics, shape recognition, motor skills.... the list goes on and on. Since they're also getting screen time and playing fun games, kids won't even realize how much they're learning. The kits can be adjusted based on skill levels and a storage system is included for any little pieces. Be sure to head to Amazon to pre-order yours.

See at Amazon

17 hours ago

How to change the quick settings in your notification drawer on Android Pie

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How to change the quick settings in your notification drawer on Android Pie

Make your quick settings shortcuts even more convenient by having what you want in place.

Everyone loves the quick settings feature on their smartphone. There will always be a short list of things we'll want or need to change often enough that digging into the device settings to do them becomes a chore so the "one tap" solution of a quick setting toggle is a lifesaver. Since everyone has different things they need and different ways to use their phone, it pretty awesome that you can set those quick settings up to best fit you.

Here's how you do that on Android Pie!

Pull down twice

You change everything about the quick settings from the notification shade of your phone. That's not obvious at first because like previous versions of Android, the notification shade has two stages. You pull it down to see the top row of settings and any notifications you might have, but you can pull it down again to expand the card and see more. You'll need to do that to make any edits to your quick settings.

  1. Pull down on the notification shade twice as described above to expand the card.
  2. Tap the pencil icon in the bottom right to open the quick settings menu.
  3. Long press any icon to allow you to move it to any slot in the quick settings lineup.

    • The first six icons are visible without expanding the notification shade with a double-pull.

  4. Near the bottom, you'll find quick setting icons that aren't displayed while you aren't in editing mode.
    • You can hold and drag these icons to add them to your quick settings card.
    • You can drag any icon there to remove it from your quick settings card.
  5. At the very bottom of the edit interface are quick setting icons added by third-party applications. These can be added to your quick settings card the same way built-in icons are.

Other important information

This describes the method to change quick settings icons for the Google Pixel and other phones that run the "standard" version of Android Pie. Manufacturers are able to implement a different way of altering the quick settings card so your phone might not use the same method. If this is the case, we'll have a separate guide about the process that you can find using the search feature on our home page.

Android 9 Pie

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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; 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margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop, .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop, .devicebox a.cta .shop:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.cta .shop: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.cta .shop: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;} -->

17 hours ago

This is the Google Home Hub that'll launch with the Pixel 3 in October

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This is the Google Home Hub that'll launch with the Pixel 3 in October

Google's take on the Smart Display will ship with a 7-inch screen.

This past August, a report surfaced claiming that Google was planning on launching its own Smart Display this fall with shipments expected to exceed 3 million units. Now, we've got our very first look at the device.

The images come courtesy of MySmartPrice who claim the gadget is called the Google Home Hub. The Home Hub reportedly has a 7-inch LCD touchscreen display and a speaker setup that'll probably be comparable to the screenless Google Home.

Similar to the Lenovo Smart Display and JBL Link View, the Google Home Hub is powered by the Google Assistant. That means you can use it to find out about the weather, add events to your calendar, make calls, and more. Thanks to the addition of the screen, you can also use it for watching YouTube, HBO, and videos from other content providers.

We still aren't sure how much the Home Hub will cost, but it's very likely we'll learn that on October 9 when Google announces the Pixel 3, Pixelbook 2, and its other big hardware for 2018.

Google Pixel 3: News, Rumors, Release Date, Specs, and more!

18 hours ago

HQ Words: Everything you need to know

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HQ Words: Everything you need to know

This is where we go next after HQ Trivia.

The team behind HQ Trivia is readying to deliver a brand new game for 2018, and this one is for the word nerds. According to reporting from Digiday, the new game will be called HQ Words. Based on Wheel of Fortune format, players will be tasked with guessing phrases one letter at a time while competing live against other players. The game is expected to launch sometime in October.

It's been just over a year since the world was first introduced to HQ Trivia, a daily trivia game show that you play on your phone. After a few months of iOS exclusivity, it eventually launched on Android by the end of 2017 and has maintained a cult following throughout 2018 thanks to its mix of charming hosts, challenging trivia, and of course the prospect of winning real cash.

One key to HQ's success has been strategic partnerships with brands and film studios, along with piggybacking on major events such as the Super Bowl, national holidays, and big award shows — such as last night's $100,000 last-man-standing game tied into the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Details of how the new game will work are scant at this point, but much of the core gameplay seems to be stripped straight from phrase guessing games like Wheel of Fortune — or perhaps Hangman if there's no actual wheel involved. Players will be given a blanked-out phrase with a clue and a list of letters to choose from, with points awarded for selecting the right letters and strikes given out if you guess wrong. The top player or players with the most points will split the daily jackpot. According to Digiday's reporting, HQ Words is but one of several new show concepts that the HQ team is working on at it's New York headquarters.

There's no word whether the game will be available for both iOS and Android right at launch, but we'll keep you up to date with the latest news and information as it becomes available.

HQ Trivia for Android: Everything you need to know

18 hours ago

Can I use a Galaxy Watch even if I don't have a Galaxy phone?

Can I use a Galaxy Watch even if I don't have a Galaxy phone?

Best answer: If you have an Android phone, even one not made by Samsung, your Galaxy Watch will work great with it.

Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Watch ($350)

If you have a modern Android phone, you can use a Galaxy Watch

In the past, Samsung locked its wearables to the Samsung experience. You needed to have a Samsung phone, and a fairly new one at that, to use its watches and fitness bands. The biggest reason for this was integration. Samsung has special software on its phones that only works when you have a Samsung account, and it's a lot of work to guarantee every phone would have the ability to run the additional Samsung apps without running into other problems. Instead of supporting the entire Android ecosystem, it was easier for Samsung to support only its own products. Since Samsung is the top Android manufacturer in the world, there was a good chance most of the people buying these wearables already had a Samsung phone.

But the Galaxy Watch is a continuation of some forward progress in Samsung's support of more than just itself. During the announcement of this watch, Samsung made it clear there was support for more than just Samsung phones. On its website, a terribly incomplete list of supported devices exists to show you it works with more than just Samsung phones. For example, Samsung lists the Google Pixel is supported, but not the newer Pixel 2. It also lists the budget-focused Moto G4 Play and Moto G5 Plus, but none of the more capable Moto Z phones which all work just fine with the Watch in our testing.

How can you be totally sure your phone works with the Galaxy Watch if it's not on this list? As a general rule, if your phone was released within the last two years you have nothing to worry about. If your phone is a little bit older, it may be worth checking our Forums to see if someone else has tried using that combination before making a purchase.

How does the Samsung Galaxy Watch pair with non-Samsung phones?

As mentioned earlier, Samsung uses special custom software to make some of its features work particularly well with Samsung phones. For the same experience on a non-Samsung phone, there needs to be a little bit of extra work done on another. On a Samsung phone, all you need to do is install the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app from the Google Play Store. This app gives you all of the basic connection assistance for pairing to the watch, as a well as a manager tool for doing things like choosing your preferred watch face and shopping for new apps to install on the watch.

On a non-Samsung phone, after you install the Galaxy Wearable app you'll be prompted to install something else. This app is called the Galaxy Watch Plugin, and its job is to handle all of the data syncing from non-Samsung experiences. Things like Google Hangouts, Calendar, Location Services, and anything else your Watch may need would be accessed through this other app so the Watch can behave the same way it would on a Samsung phone. This plugin also allows Bixby and Samsung Pay to function, neither of which work when paired to an iPhone because a plugin like this doesn't exist on that platform.

This Galaxy Watch Plugin app won't be seen from the App Drawer like the Galaxy Wearable app once it is installed, but it is nonetheless a vital part of making the Galaxy Watch work well with every Android phone.

Our pick

Samsung Galaxy Watch

$350 at Amazon

A watch that could almost replace your phone.

It's a high-end fitness tracker, a powerful connection to everything on your phone, and even a little game console if you really wanted it to be. Samsung has stuffed every possible feature into this watch, and it looks nice too.

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