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1 week ago

The best smart home accessory discounts on Prime Day

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Smart homes continue to grow in popularity, but transforming your home to make it smarter can be quite expensive. Amazon has a bunch of popular accessories discounted right now as part of its Prime Day celebrations, making it easier to afford to outfit your home with the gear. From smart bulbs to outlets, garage door openers and more, you'll want to check these out.

There are likely to be more smart home deals available throughout Prime Day, so be sure to check back often for the most up-to-date list!

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1 week ago

You won't empty your wallet for studio-grade headphones with the Status Audio HD One's at $19

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time bringing you studio-grade headphones for much less!

Wireless headphones have grown in popularity lately, but wired headphones are still invaluable for many since they don't need to be charged, offer a more reliable connection and more. Over-the-ear headphones can range in price from around $10 to over $300, depending what you are looking for. If quality is the main concern for you, but you don't want to go broke buying a new set of headphones, we've got just the deal for you.

Status Audio, a company that specializes in high-quality affordable headphones, is currently offering its HD One wired headphones for just $18.99. This is the lowest price these headphones have ever been, and $5 less than our previous mention. You won't want to miss this deal.

So, you've never heard of Status Audio? Don't worry, these headphones have a 4.3 out of 5-star rating at Amazon with over 700 reviews, and the company's other headphones, the OB-1, maintain a 4.7 out of 5-star rating with over 70 reviews. These are actually on sale as well, and you can get them for just $49.99. This is a $30 savings.

With the HD One's you'll get:

  • THE STATUS AUDIO ADVANTAGE – No logos, no celebrities, just sound. Join the 100,000+ customers enjoying premium sounding, beautifully constructed headphones at a fraction of the price of the big name competition.
  • SLEEK AND MINIMAL – Prefer not to be a walking billboard? The HD One headphones are 100% free of logos and branding, and are coated in a rubberized matte finish that doesn't show fingerprints or reflect light. Perfect for a minimal look or for customizing.
  • STUDIO GRADE – 40mm drivers deliver an exciting sound signature that responds to all genres of music. Deep, articulated bass with a sizzling high end. Exceptional detail and clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum. This is the big, crisp sound you've been looking for.
  • FIT AND FINISH – On-ear design that is lightweight and comfortable for long-term use. A unique foldable design collapses into a small form factor, ideal for travel and commuting. Substantial, yet highly portable, these are your go-to headphones for your morning commute and throughout the day.

You don't have to take our word for it that you'll be impressed with the quality of these, though. Try them for yourself now for just $18.99, which happens to be the best price we've tracked on them, and let your ears show you just how good they are.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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1 week ago

Amazon Prime members can grab Dash Buttons for $1 and still get a $5 credit for a limited time

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to grab Dash Buttons for just $1!

Amazon's Dash Buttons are an extremely easy way to reorder the supplies that you use the most in your house, and thanks to Amazon's Prime Day (which is now live), members can grab select ones for $0.99. Normally the buttons cost $4.99 each, and then you receive a $4.99 credit after using it for the first time, but right now you can pick up a discounted one and still get the same credit. That means that you'll effectively make $4 on each button that you buy and use (limit of 3), so be sure to check them all out.

Purchase each button separately and choose No-Rush Shipping at checkout to receive a free $1 digital credit with each one you buy. If you aren't already a member of Amazon's Prime service, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of this offer and others. Some of the discounted Dash Buttons include:

These discounted prices will run until Tuesday, July 11. If you want to get really crazy with it, you can even reprogram the Dash Buttons to do other tasks, so be sure to check that out as well.

See at Amazon

Prime Day 2017 is coming! Follow along with our live blog to discover the best deals first!

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1 week ago

LG Q6 launches as affordable mid-range sibling of the G6

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LG's ready to round out the lineup with some G6 style.

After a handful of rumors pointing to a "Lite" or "Mini" version of the LG G6 launching, LG has announced the new device as the LG Q6. The whole goal of the Q6 is to offer many of the design traits and features of the G6 at a lower price, hoping to capitalize on what has clearly been a successful flagship launch for LG.

The LG Q6 offers the same style of "FullVision" 18:9 display as the G6 with small bezels to carry on the flagship phone's looks. It's slightly smaller at 5.5-inches diagonally and has bumped down to 2160x1080 resolution — an expected drop for a phone landing beneath the LG G6. The metal frame is still made out of 7000 series aluminum to be particularly robust and LG says it's still subjected to "demanding" battery tests.

Capitalizing on the G6's style while cutting back on the specs.

Internally, things are run by a Snapdragon 435 processor, and there's a 3000mAh battery to coincide with its smaller overall size. The overall capabilities expectedly take a step back as well, with the Wi-Fi maxing out at 802.11 n and the Bluetooth at 4.2 — obviously considerable drops from the LG G6's specs. LG moved to a single 13MP camera on the back, but left a 100-degree wide 5MP camera on the front. It also dropped a fingerprint sensor.

But of course because we're talking about LG, the Q6 is actually a "family" of devices subdivided into the LG Q6+, Q6 and Q6α (that'd be "alpha" to you and me). Each one offers a different level of specs in the same body, hoping to hit an even wider potential market with the "same" phone.

The Q6+ has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, actually matching the G6 (or beating it, in some regions), the main Q6 has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and the Q6α has 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage. The colors available on each model also slightly differ, with each one getting a different color option in addition to black and platinum.

LG will start selling the Q6 family in "key markets" throughout Asia in August, followed by an expansion to Europe, Latin America and North America thereafter. Specifics on which Q6 model will hit each area isn't yet known, along with pricing — considering the specs, we can expect something pretty competitive.

LG G6

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Press release:

LG Q6 BRINGS FULLVISION DISPLAY TO NEW SMARTPHONE LINEUP

LG's Newest Q Series Brings the Essential Features of LG's Premium Devices and Elegant Design to a Mid-Range Portfolio

SEOUL, July 11, 2017 ― LG (Electronics) today announced that the LG Q6, part of its new Q series, will be the first smartphone to offer the FullVision display following the LG G6. The Q series offers many of LG's most sought-out premium features at a competitive price.

LG's Q series is the company's latest line of powerful, mid-range smartphones boasting the essential features of LG premium phones at exceptional price points. As the first in the Q series to be announced, the LG Q6 features some of the most desired innovations from LG's premium G6 smartphone and packages them in a sleek, stunning body highlighted by its FullVision display with minimized bezels. The Q6 family consists of the Q6+, Q6 and Q6α. The three variants cater to different user groups in terms of memory and storage: the Q6+ comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of ROM, the base Q6 delivers 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and the most affordably-priced Q6α comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB of ROM.

At a time when minimized bezels are an emerging trend in premium smartphones, the Q6 is the first smartphone in the mid-price category to bring this feature to the masses. The unique 5.5-inch FHD+ FullVision display in the LG Q6 with its 18:9 aspect ratio makes video browsing, gaming and multi-tasking more immersive. The smartphone's "bezel-less" form factor was designed to maximize the screen while still preventing accidental touching of the screen when being held.

And the LG Q6 looks good with its minimalist and sleek design. With no unsightly camera bump and sleek appearance, the Q6 features attractive curves with rounded corners of the body matching the corners of the display. Packaged in a stylish metallic frame, the Q6 manages to be both lightweight and sturdy for a more durable day-to-day usage experience.

And not only does the Q6 look good, it is extremely easy to use. Benefiting from ergonomic research during the development of the LG G6, the Q6 is also comfortable to hold and use with one hand. In another nod to user convenience, LG's proprietary Face Recognition feature allows owners to unlock the Q6 faster and with less hassle than other facial recognition technologies currently available.

As expected, the LG Q6 carries on LG's heritage of excellence in optics. The smartphone incorporates a 100-degree wide angle selfie camera that allows shutterbugs to include a large group of friends and family in the shot without effort. The camera's improved LG UX 6.0 takes full advantage of the 18:9 aspect ratio of the FullVision display. Square Camera Mode makes it easy to "share your squares" or create photo collages using multiple square images.

The LG Q6 is also quite durable. The metal frame surrounding the Q6 is constructed of ultra-strong 7000 series aluminum, one of the highest strength aluminum alloys available and used extensively in industries such as aerospace. The device is subjected to LG's demanding regimen of over 20 battery tests which include heat, penetration and shock, conditions more stringent than international testing protocols.

"The LG Q6 is a blend of premium features, great performance and attractive pricing, a combination that is extremely important to us as we look at the way consumers are using smartphones around the world," said Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "The Q series is our way of getting the superb experiences with the essence of the LG's premium line-ups to more consumers' hands and pockets."

The LG G6 will go on sale in key markets in Asia starting next month to be followed by availability in Europe, Latin America and North America onward.

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1 week ago

Have you had trouble with the $200 Galaxy S8 trade-in deal?

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Earlier this summer, Samsung offered a $200 trade-in deal with the Galaxy S8. But it turns out not everything was as clear-cut as it appeared.

Back in May, Samsung started selling an unlocked version of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ on its e-commerce portal, and with it offered $200 towards the phone with a valid trade-in. The beauty of the deal was that Samsung didn't (at least not on the surface) put a limit on what phones could be considered for the trade-in; any device, as long as it was in good working order, would be valid.

See at Samsung

But soon after the program began, and people started shipping their older phones to Samsung, they received rejection emails telling them that phones they thought would be eligible for the program weren't, and they would be charged $175 and wouldn't get the traded phone back — even phones deemed ineligible for the program are worth $25.

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msp1518 07-02-2017 02:34 PM “

This deserves its own thread. I am really stunned that they could be so incredibly stupid. Yeah, some people would try to take advantage of the 200 trade in offer on the S8's and some did. Loudly so. But rejecting phones that actually do qualify is a bad bad move. People who sent in good condition, working iPhone 4's, Galaxy S6's, Note 5's ,etc. were rejected and then charged $175. Some...

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The issue mainly stems, according to people in our forum and on Reddit, from the inconsistent application of Samsung's trade-in terms and conditions, which states that all units submitted to the program must be of good working order, and must have a functioning display, no cracks or breaks, not be on a carrier blacklist, not have any reactivation locks, and must have clean, factory-reset software.

These things all seem obvious, but some people have received emails that stated their seemingly "good working order" phones were ineligible for the deal, and because Samsung has the last word on the decision (and keeps the phones) many users have been frustrated by the opaqueness of the proposition (which is now over, for what it's worth).

Some, however, have fared better:

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clownin72 07-03-2017 06:39 AM “

I did this promo about 3 weeks ago on the at&t variant and was really skeptical about it. After reading everywhere and a chat with Samsung support I sent in an old old HTC phone. Got an email last week saying it was accepted. I guess I was a lucky one.

Reply

Many people decided, perhaps justifiably, to sit the deal out, despite its tantalizing proposition:

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trucksmoveamerica#AC 07-02-2017 06:30 PM “

I stated in another post that this is a disaster in the making, I was told that any phone is OK so it won't be an issue. I stand by my initial post, this has disaster written all over it, anything that involves Samsung directly is a disaster coming. I won't deal with Samsung directly ever again, the last $99 promo for the S8 sucked, I got my promo, but it was a rough ride and a lot got...

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What about you? Have you experienced a problem with this deal?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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1 week ago

The NVIDIA Shield Android TV is $20 off at Amazon right now

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Get a nice discount on the best Android TV experience around.

Amazon UK gave us a bit of foreshadowing with its £20 discount on the Shield Android TV earlier today, but now we have an equivalent $20 discount on the Android TV box over in the U.S. The $20 discount is exclusive to those with Amazon Prime memberships for Prime Day, and is applied for both the standard (regularly) $199 Shield Android TV and the "Pro" model with its 500GB hard drive.

Though $199 feels like a steep price for a set top box when others are available for closer to $100, we can definitely say that the Shield Android TV is worth the price. Not only does it offer the best performance on any Android TV box, but it also has plenty of extra features like 4K output and considerable gaming chops.

If you're unsure which model to buy, you're probably going to be best served by the cheaper — but still fully capable — standard model. If you think there's a chance you could be convinced to drop the extra $100 on the Pro model, be sure to read our comparison of the two before buying. We're not sure how long the $20 discount will last, but we wouldn't wait too long.

See at Amazon

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

Amazon

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1 week ago

Verizon offering Google Pixel for just $360, Pixel XL for $480 with unlimited plan

8

If you're OK with the fine print, this is a solid deal.

Google Pixel deals aren't a regular occurrence thanks to its limited retail availability, but Verizon is running a pretty great deal for both the Pixel and Pixel XL right now so long as you're willing to play by its fine print. The deal, as advertised, will get you a standard Pixel for just $360 or a Pixel XL for $480 — that's $290 off in either case.

But here's the fine print: the deal is only available for those who have, or are willing to switch to, a Verizon "Unlimited" plan. You also have to pay for the phone on its financing plan over the course of 24 months in order to get the full discount — as is often the case, you pay for the full MSRP of the phone monthly, and are refunded equal installments over the two years to get $290 back.

If you're happy on your limited plan (or it's price) but still want to get a Pixel or Pixel XL, Verizon is actually still offering a discount, though it's much smaller. With any non-unlimited plan, but still financing over 24 months, you'll get a Pixel for $460 or Pixel XL for $580 — honestly, still a really good deal for what is still a desirable phone today.

See Pixel at Verizon
See Pixel XL at Verizon

Getting the $190-290 savings may not be worth being locked into Verizon for two years, but for those who know they're going to be with the carrier for a while anyway should seriously consider this deal.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 week ago

Google Home now on sale for $99, second-gen Chromecast just $25

5

Solid savings on what is still a super hot smart home addition.

Google is making another big promo push with the Google Home, knocking its price down to just $99 (from $129) at a few different retailers. The immediate $30 discount is available at Best Buy, Verizon and the Google Store, and likely elsewhere as well.

For those who are looking to grab a Google Pixel, the Google Store is also currently running a deal to give you a Google Home completely free with purchase of the phone. Just add both the phone and a Home to your cart, and the discount for the Home will be automatically applied. That's pretty sweet.

To add to the fun and give your Home a nice companion on the TV, Google has also discounted the second-gen Chromecast and Chromecast Audio by $10 across retailers as well, dropping the price to $25 each. That's absolutely an impulse buy kind of price, and a great way to link up TVs and speakers that don't yet have one.

So, who's buying a nicely discounted Google Home now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

See at Best Buy
See at Verizon

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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1 week ago

Amazon Prime Day Live Blog: All of the best deals in real-time

Prime Day 2017 is finally here, and the Thrifter team will be covering all 30 hours of it with you right here!

That's right. Team Thrifter will be bringing you complete coverage of all things Prime Day right here, and we hope you'll join us. Our live coverage of the fun will begin on July 10 at 7 p.m. EST. Amazon will have a mix of all-day and Lightning deals going on, and we don't want you to miss out on any of them, so we've created this live blog to help everyone out. Lightning deals have been known to sell out in just minutes (sometimes less), so this is the quickest way to be alerted of these deals as they are happening!

Read more at Thrifter

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1 week ago

Best Motorola Phones

14

Motorola continues to make compelling phones in a few different categories

The last year has been one of quiet overhaul for Lenovo-owned Motorola, bringing all of its disparate product lines, from the inexpensive Moto E to the premium Moto Z, into a familiar aesthetic. While the Moto Z2 Play, the newest member of the family, continues the tradition of Mods compatibility, it's the completely redesigned Moto G and E series that is worth considering if you're in the market for a budget phone.

And with new phones like the Moto Z2 Force and potentially a new entry into the Moto X lineup, there's plenty of reasons to be excited about Motorola in 2017 and beyond.

Moto Z2 Play

Released June 2017 Motorola followed up the Moto Z Play pretty quickly, and the Moto Z2 Play is a worthy sequel that tries to bridge the gap between the more affordable Play and the regular "Z" flagship from last year. The phone features a much sleeker design than its predecessor, shaving a full millimeter of thickness, but doing so cuts down on the battery by 15%.

Aside from the improved, all-metal chassis, the Z2 Play sports a much-improved 12MP camera with a wider aperture and Dual Pixel Focus technology, as well as a newer version of the oft-lauded Moto Display feature that we've grown to love so much.

Of course, the Z2 Play also supports Moto Mods, and was announced alongside three new add-ons that are also compatible with older versions.

Moto Z2 Play review

See at Motorola

Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus

Released June 2017 As with the company's Moto G lineup, the Moto E series has received a big revamp for 2017. Aligning with the visual flair (or lack thereof) of the more expensive Moto Gs, the Moto E4 and E4 Plus are aimed at the budget market while retaining many of the company's best qualities, including excellent software with worthy additions to Android 7.1.1, along with better-than-their-price cameras and battery capacities. In fact, the Moto E4 Plus has a 5,000mAh battery that should last two full days on a charge.

Moto E4 review

See at Amazon

Moto C and Moto C Plus

Released May 2017 The Moto C and C Plus are entry-level Android phones that Motorola introduced back in May to satiate the need for high-quality, affordable handsets in parts of Europe, Asia and South America.

While they won't be coming to North America anytime soon, the Moto C and C Plus feature bare-bones specs — MediaTek chips, between 1GB and 2GB of RAM, and the choice of 3G or LTE models depending on the region — for as little as €89. They retain Motorola's signature look and feel, as well as its excellent Android 7.0-based software, but they're for people who don't want to spend a fortune on what is perhaps their first, or backup, smartphone.

More details on the Moto C and C Plus

See at Motorola

Moto G5 and G5 Plus

Released March 2017 The newest version of Motorola's most popular product line, the Moto G series, features two models of differing size, capability, and price. The Moto G5, which is not officially available in the U.S., cuts costs by sticking with plastic and only a splash of metal, while the G5 Plus goes decidedly mid-range with its Snapdragon 625 chip and up to 4GB of RAM. Both models feature improved cameras and batteries, but the G5 Plus manages to compete with devices twice the price thanks to a large-pixel sensor and a wide-open lens.

The Moto G5 and G5 Plus also reinforce a recognizable design language that began in 2016 with the Moto Z and Z Force. A wider, easier-to-use fingerprint sensor (now on the cheaper model, too), rounded sides and a circular camera module maintain visual continuity with the Moto Z line, and the metal makes both phones feel very good.

Moto G5 Plus review

See at Amazon

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Moto Z

Released July 2016 Motorola brings its own take on a modular design with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The first flagship devices to be launched since Lenovo bought the Motorola brand, the Z family uses detachable backplates called Moto Mods to add more functionality.

While the Moto Z launched as a Droid Edition on Verizon, it has since expanded to be sold unlocked from Motorola directly, compatible with carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.

Motorola's take on a modular system looks to be a novel approach. With no disassembly required, your baseline Moto Z can transform into a battery beast or a mini home stereo just by switching the backplate. Though the early examples of Moto Mods are quite successful, the real potential is what hardware entrepreneurs can cook up.

The Moto Z Force continues to be a Verizon exclusive, much to our chagrin, because its ShatterShield technology and 21MP camera are truly impressive, as is its bigger battery.

Moto Z review

See at Motorola

Moto Z Play

Released September 2016: Like the Moto Z, the Play began its life as a Verizon-exclusive Droid Edition, but expanded to be sold unlocked directly from Motorola.

A little portlier than its Moto Z counterpart, the Play has a massive two-day battery, and cuts down on costs with a slower Snapdragon 625 chip, 3GB of RAM and a lower-resolution 1080p display. The 16MP rear camera also lacks OIS, but otherwise this phone is nearly identical to the Z line, right down to the support for Moto Mods.

Moto Z Play review

See at Motorola

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1 week ago

Google Daydream: The Ultimate Guide!

Google Daydream delivers an excellent way to enjoy VR from the comfort of the couch.

Google is continuing their efforts to deliver a superb VR experience that is accessible with just your phone, through a new platform they call Daydream. The first Daydream headset is absurdly comfortable, and already has access to tons of great games and experiences for you to explore. With Cardboard, they introduced a new generation of users to simple and inexpensive VR. With Daydream it's obvious refining the goal was to refine that experience into something stellar for everyone.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Amazon working on big expansion of in-home gadget setup service

1

Sometimes the best way to get things done is to hire someone.

Amazon knows the "smart home" isn't always user-friendly and is expanding an internal program that will actually send someone to your home to get you started. The program has actually already been running in a few U.S. cities, but Amazon is reportedly poised to dramatically expand it as it sees very high return rates for smart home tech.

Not unlike the famous house calls made by Best Buy's "Geek Squad" technicians, for a fee Amazon will send a vetted expert in the tech you're trying to install and walk you through the process. The emphasis is of course centered around making sure people get their Amazon Echo properly installed but expands to other areas of the smart home where Amazon also sells a whole lot of products.

Amazon understands that bypassing the initial frustration of configuring an Echo (or three) to work with your other smart home components is critical to long-term customer satisfaction. The in-home service is already available in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and Orange County — but expectations are the service would expand beyond the West Coast, as Amazon is currently hiring for "field technicians" in a variety of cities.

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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1 week ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap vs. Show: Which should you buy?

77
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences. And the new Echo Show adds a screen, and a whole new way of interactiveness.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Echo Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, and it can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

The Tap has also been updated to allow for an "always listening" mode, so it's now basically the same as the Echo and Dot in terms of control. Its portability is really what separates it from the others.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show is the next evolution of the Amazon Echo. Whereas Alexa could only tell you about stuff before, now she can show you. Before, you could simply listen to your flash briefing, which was dynamite — a quick overview of the day's news. Now you can watch your flash briefing, as well as YouTube videos. See where this is going?

Thanks to Alexa's new calling skill, you can also video call — hands-free — like it's the future. Calling isn't all it's for, since you can also see music lyrics, listen to music straight out of it, thanks to excellent Dolby processing, and you can even connect compatible security cameras, then ask Alexa to show you those cameras, so you can keep an eye on things from wherever you are in the house.

The Echo Show features eight microphones and noise cancellation, so it can hear you from just about any direction — even while music is playing.

Is it for me?

If you're looking for one of the most futuristic devices available that not only lets you control your smart home hands-free but also lets you take and make hands-free video calls, watch YouTube videos on the fly, see your flash briefing, and much more, with a well-balanced speaker to boot.

Echo Show is the perfect stationary Alexa vehicle, so if you're looking for something portable, go with one of the other options.

See at Amazon

How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

But if you want it all — and have the money for it — grab an Echo Show right now.

Updated June 2017: Make reference to the Echo Show being available for purchase.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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1 week ago

What's in MrMobile's bag for 2017?

8

It's been a full year since I last gave you a peek into my pockets for a tour of MrMobile's Everyday Carry. That's equivalent to four years on the planet Mercury, seven years for the common canine — and roughly a century when it comes to mobile technology. In that time, I've traded Windows Mobile for BlackBerry; shed the Microsoft Band in favor of some even bigger smartwatches; and upgraded to the new iPad Pro, while leaving my MacBook as-is. Oh, and I bought a wallet at a comic book store. Because YOLO, or something.

So whether you're seeking early ideas for Prime Day or just wondering what populates the pockets of a crazy contrarian like me, come check out the gadgetry that gets me where I'm going — in MrMobile's 2017 Everyday Carry!

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Stay social, my friends

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1 week ago

Strap the Pokémon Go Plus to your wrist for just £34.99

0

Today is Amazon Prime Day and in the UK you can grab a Pokémon Go Plus today for just £34.99!

Pokémon Go took the world by storm when it released on Android and iOS, and if you're still playing today (or are simply getting started) there's a killer deal over at Amazon on the Pokémon Go Plus accessory for £34.99!

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