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2 days ago

Amazon Fire TV gets new features for live TV programming

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Live TV for your Fire TV.

Amazon's Fire TV is in the news once again, and this time it's (thankfully) not about Google removing more content from the streaming platform. Instead, Amazon is finally bringing live television programming to it.

If you're subscribed to Amazon Channels (more on this in a bit), you'll see a new row on your home screen that's titled "On Now." This is where you'll see a list of any shows that are on the air at that given moment, and clicking on a program will let you start watching it instantly.

Clicking the Options button on your Fire TV remote will bring up a more traditional guide to view what's airing now and what'll be on later in the day, and you can browse upcoming content up to two weeks into the future. Channels are presented vertically, and you can favorite your top ones so that they appear above everything else.

And, of course, you can control all of this with Alexa. Just say, "Alexa, tune to HBO" or "Alexa, go to the Channel Guide," and you can go through all your content without having to mash away at buttons on your remote.

As mentioned above, this live programming is powered by Amazon Channels. Amazon Channels is reserved for Prime subscribers, and it allows you to sign up for and watch services such as HBO, Starz, CBS All Access, Showtime, and others right within your Amazon account. It's an odd take on live Internet-based TV streaming, but with these new features rolling out to the Fire TV, it's possible Amazon will start building it up into a more viable competitor to the likes of YouTube TV, Sling TV, etc.

Firefox now available on Fire TV with support for YouTube

Amazon Fire TV

Buy at Amazon

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2 days ago

Get two 6-feet USB-C to USB-A Anker Powerline+ cables for just $9

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Keep some spare cables around the house. Can't hurt!

This 2-pack of Anker USB-C to USB-A 2.0 6-feet cables is down to $9.49 on Amazon. It normally sells around $12 and has never dropped this low through a direct price drop before.

It's definitely worth pointing out that these are USB 2.0 cables, not the more modern 3.0. While that might mean some slower transfer speeds for whatever you use these for, they're still high quality nylon-braided cords that will last you a long time.

Features include:

  • Lasts 6X Longer: Double-braided nylon exterior, toughened aramid fiber core and laser-welded connectors equip PowerLine+ with superior toughness from end-to-end.
  • Fast Sync & Charge: Charges phones and tablets with USB-C ports at high speed. (Does not support high-speed charging for Google Pixel or Motorola Nexus.)
  • Supreme Compatibility: Tested in-house with countless USB-C devices; proven to provide a fully compatible, secure and reliable fit.

These cables come with a lifetime warranty.

If you absolutely need USB 3.0, you can get two 6-foot USB-C to USB-A 3.0 cables for $22.38 when you redeem the on-page discount and add two cables to your cart. These are $28 without the promotion.

See on Amazon

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2 days ago

How to use Bluetooth headphones with Google Daydream

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Audio is an integral part of enjoying Google Daydream, make sure you get the best experience possible.

Being able to clearly hear what is going on around you when you are enjoying yourself in VR is key to really fall into the experience. So it's pretty common to want to invest in an awesome pair of Bluetooth headphones so that you don't have to worry about wires getting in your way while you are playing. Unfortunately, Bluetooth headphones don't tend to work particularly well in VR. It isn't impossible, and we've got the details for you on how to get the best audio experience.

Hear everything

Hanging out in VR is all about immersion, and clearly hearing what is going on around you is a huge part of that. You need to be able to tell when something is sneaking up next to you or hear the gunfire that you need to avoid while playing a game. Unfortunately, this is where the problem with Bluetooth headphones becomes pronounced. That's because almost across the board Bluetooth headphones have problems with properly syncing up in VR.

This means that you might get mauled from your blindside, because you didn't hear a warning growl in time or that watching shows on Netflix or HBO becomes difficult since the audio and video are out of sync. That's why we actually suggest that you don't use Bluetooth headphones. For now, at least, they just don't offer the superior audio experience that you deserve while enjoying VR.

You won't be searching in the dark for a good pair of headphones though. Just take a look at our guide to The Best Headphones for Google Daydream.

What to look for

Not everybody has multiple pairs of headphones or the money to throw at a new pair after picking up Google Daydream. If you hate wired headphones or only have wireless headphones, you can still use them. Just remember that the quality of sound is not necessarily going to be on par with a pair of wired headphones. There are also a few things to look for in wireless headphones, in order to get a better experience.

Make sure that your headphones support at least Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX. This will ensure that you get the best possible connection to your phone from your wireless headphones, as well as giving you better quality sound. Additionally, make sure to aim for the lowest possible latency. Having a lower latency rate will mean that lag is eliminated as much as possible. However, even with all three of these things, you may still have issues when playing on Google Daydream. That's why we've got a handy list of the Bluetooth headphones you may want to consider.

Conclusion

While wireless headphones aren't the ideal accessory for Daydream, they can definitely still get the job done. We've picked out your best options, but finding the right pair is really a personal decision that nobody else can make for you. Do you use wireless headphones with Google Daydream? Have you found the perfect pair? Be sure to drop us a line in the comments below!

Updated January 2018: We've updated this post with the most up-to-date suggestions for Bluetooth headphones to use with Daydream!

Google Daydream

Amazon Echo Dot

Google

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2 days ago

Some OnePlus customers have reported fraudulent credit card activity (Update)

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A friendly reminder to always keep track of what's going on with your card.

Updated 1/16/18 – A day after publicly announcing recent credit card fraud, OnePlus has since removed the option to use a debit or credit card directly on its website to make a purchase. For the time being, you'll have to rely on PayPal for making any payments.

Over this past weekend, some OnePlus customers reported that they'd discovered unauthorized activity on credit cards that had been used to purchase items from OnePlus's website (oneplus.net). Stolen credit card info is never fun, but OnePlus was quick to issue an official response on its forums to address what's going on.

First and foremost, reports of unusual card activity post-purchase from OnePlus have come from those that added their credit/debit card directly to OnePlus's site rather than making a payment through PayPal.

Credit card information is sent to OnePlus's unnamed payment processor through an encrypted connection rather than saved on the company's site itself, and even if you used the site's "save this card for future transactions" feature, you shouldn't have too much to worry about. All this does is save a handful of digits of your card's number and a random set of symbols (AKA a "token") to OnePlus's payment processor, and OnePlus has no way to decrypt this information and access your full card info.

OnePlus says that it's actively investigating the issue and talking with all of those that have been affected to get to the bottom of what went wrong. If you notice any unusual activity on your credit or debit card, OnePlus recommends contacting your bank/card issuer directly before doing anything else.

While we're happy to see that OnePlus was so quick to address this matter publically, we'd like to hear from you – does this affect your decision to make future purchases from the company? Let us know in the comments below.

OnePlus 3T on OxygenOS beta was sending clipboard data to Alibaba servers

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2 days ago

Microsoft made Android Windows-friendly — but the work is far from done

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I'm a big fan of Microsoft's services and support on Android, but there are still too many Microsoft ecosystem apps and services that are either half-baked or simply not available. Here's what I'd like to see Redmond do next.

For Windows 10 Mobile users, it has been a painful couple of years. After months of virtual silence, Microsoft unceremoniously announced it was leaving its phone users high and dry, as Windows 10 Mobile entered maintenance mode. No more features are planned for Microsoft's zombie phone platform, save for security patches to support the company's dwindling mobile business portfolio.

Thankfully, for those invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, its support of Android is fairly good. The clean and speedy Microsoft Launcher app make it easy to access all of your services at a glance. Cortana can replace Google's own assistant, and you can set up and sync Microsoft Edge as your browser, too. OneDrive, Office, OneNote, and Office Lens are available in force, and even Xbox has an app.

However, for users switching across from Windows 10 Mobile, there are still a few services and apps that I've missed. Here are just a few.

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2 days ago

Never forget another password with a subscription to Dashlane!

Keeping all your online accounts secure is so crucial these days — but then with so many different accounts to keep track of, it can be hard to keep things straight while avoiding one password to use for all accounts (never do this).

If improving the security of your accounts is one of your goal for 2018, you should consider checking out a top-rated password manager such as Dashlane Password Manager.

Built with patented security architecture, Dashlane is available across all platforms and browsers and makes it a breeze to log into all your favorite websites and apps. Dashlane will remember all your passwords and autofill them when it's time to log in, and also allows you to generate a brand new strong and unique password with a single click. And since Dashlane does all the remembering and auto-filling, you don't have to remember a dozen different cryptic passwords.

Right now, first-time users can save 50% off a yearly subscription to Dashlane, which are available in one-year ($19.98), three-year ($59.94), and five-year terms ($99.90). With a Dashlane subscription, you'll be able to manage and secure 500 different accounts at one time, which gives you the peace of mind to focus on the things you want to do without getting bogged down trying to remember your own password. You'll want to act now, as this deal is only here for a limited time!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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2 days ago

Verizon's TV streaming service will consist of multiple standalone apps

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If this is true, Verizon's approach will be very different from the likes of DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, etc.

Internet-based live TV streaming services have exploded over the past three years, and one of the latest companies to get in on this action is Verizon Wireless. There's still a lot that's unknown about Verizon's offering, but according to a report from TechCrunch, we at least have a general idea of how things will work.

Verizon will reportedly bundle multiple channels together and offer them as standalone themed apps. For example, there may be separate apps for sports, news, comedy, etc. Content will come from properties that Verizon owns through Oath (such as The Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunch) in addition to premium content that's offered by third parties. Pricing details are still unknown, but it sounds like there may be options for both ad-supported and paid content.

More isn't always better.

Compared to what we've seen in this market so far, Verizon's service sounds quite different. Whether you're using AT&T's DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sling TV, or even smaller services like Philo, the setup is very similar to cable and satellite companies in the sense that you use one app for watching all of your content in one place – whether it be through a guide of live programming or on-demand shows.

I sort of understand Verizon's want to stand out from what's already being offered, but having to use multiple apps to watch all of my favorite channels sounds like a nightmare.

What about you? Based on what we know so far, are you interested in Verizon's TV service?

T-Mobile is getting into the streaming television business with Layer3 TV acquisition

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2 days ago

How to browse and add Alexa skills from any computer

1

How can I control Alexa from the web?

While the Alexa app on phones and tablets is the default for setting up and managing an Amazon Echo, you can do quite a bit with Amazon's website if you prefer. Just like shopping for anything else on Amazon, you can search for Skills to add to your personal Alexa and take advantage of the larger screen in the process. All you really need is the ability to log in to your Amazon account, and you can use any browser to manage your Alexa Skills.

Want a shortcut? Here are our 10 favorite Alexa Skills!


How to browse for Alexa skills in your browser

The key here is remembering Amazon has a dedicated section for Alexa Skills you can access from the homepage of its website. From there, assuming you've used Amazon to shop before, everything should feel familiar.

  1. Open your web browser and go to Amazon.com
  2. Hover your mouse over the Departments tab in the top left corner of the home page
  3. Move your mouse down to the Echo and Alexa section to expand your options
  4. Click on Alexa Skills under the Content and Resources section

The Alexa Skills section of Amazon gives you several navigation options. There's a banner for some of the most popular promoted Skills, individual categories for popular questions, and a full breakdown of every category on the far left. If you're just browsing for what is available, your best bet is to pick a section and read on.

If you have a more specific idea of what you are looking for, the search bar at the top of the screen will now only show you Amazon Skill-related results. You can search for anything, and if there's a skill for it you'll get some results.

How to add Alexa Skills from your browser

Once you have found an Alexa Skill you'd like to try for yourself, all you need to do is enable it. Since Alexa Skills are added to all of your Amazon Echo accessories at the same time, the only requirement on the web is that you be logged in to your Amazon account from the browser you are using. Once you are signed in, enabling a Skill is easy.

  1. Click on the Alexa Skill you want to enable
  2. Click the Enable button on the right side of the page
  3. Confirm the skill has been enabled by speaking one of the test phrases listed on the page

Once you have confirmed the Skill has been enabled, you're all done! If you have decided this Skill doesn't do quite what you were hoping, you can also use this same page to remove a Skill. As soon as you click the Enable button, it will change from orange to gray and now say Disable on it. Clicking this will remove the Skill from your account, and you'll be right back where you started.

Amazon Alexa

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2 days ago

AT&T being urged to stop its commercial relationship with Huawei

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This would prevent AT&T from working with Huawei on 5G developments.

This past week has been a rough one for Huawei. The company's plans to launch its Mate 10 Pro flagship phone on AT&T and Verizon were scrapped during CES 2018, and shortly after this, a bill was proposed to prevent all government agencies from using Huawei's network equipment.

According to a new report from Reuters, lawmakers in the United States are now trying to convince AT&T to cut its commercial ties with Huawei as a result of national security concerns.

This might not sound like a big deal for consumers, but this has the potential for some hefty repercussions. By eliminating its commercial relationship with Huawei, AT&T would no longer be able to work with the company on developing new 5G network technology or sell any Huawei phones on Cricket Wireless (AT&T's more affordable MVNO).

Following this report, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said:

We hope that China and the United States can work hard together to maintain the healthy and stable development of trade and business ties. This accords with the joint interests of both.

In addition to targeting Huawei, lawmakers are also pressuring AT&T to stop any potential business plans with China Mobile – a wireless service provider in China that applied (and was rejected) to do business in the United States back in 2011.

New bill aims to block U.S. government agencies from communicating over Huawei or ZTE network equipment

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2 days ago

Honor 8 won't be updated to Android Oreo

27

Honor is blaming "hardware and software limitations" for Oreo's no-show.

The Honor 8 was a truly fantastic mid-range handset when it launched in August of 2016, and following the update to Android Nougat in February of last year, it was made even better. We were crossing our fingers for Oreo to come to the phone in the near future, but those dreams have now been crushed.

Honor's Twitter account in India recently replied to a user asking about Oreo for the Honor 8, and this was the response:

Honor sites that "hardware and software limitations" are preventing Oreo from arriving on the Honor 8, but that doesn't seem like a valid argument in my book. The Honor 8 is powered by a more than capable Kirin 950 processor and 4GB of RAM, so I'd be interested in getting more specifics about what sort of "limitations" the company is faced with.

It is mentioned in another tweet that the Honor 8 will continue to receive security patches "when needed", but even so, I don't imagine many people will be happy with this news.

Android Oreo

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2 days ago

A beginner's guide to virtual reality

With so many virtual reality devices available, it can be difficult to even know where to start. Our beginner's guide breaks down some of the big questions you need to ask before getting your first VR device.

Big name players from a variety of industries are all racing towards a VR goal, all of them using slightly different approaches. From price to specs to space available in your home or office to equipment you already own, there are a number of factors that help you decide which device is best for you.

This isn't an exhaustive list of virtual reality devices or a spec showdown between VR powerhouses. This is a guide to the big questions you'll have to ask yourself before you get your first VR device.

Should you go mobile or PC-powered?

The first big decision anyone has to make when it comes to VR is what type of headset they're going to get. PC-powered VR headsets are powerful, generally well-built, and are often high-end, giving you the ultimate VR experience. Their power and capabilities utilize the PC powering them and, if you have the funds and the proper setup, can give you a holodeck-like experience.

A downside of PC-powered devices is that they're often tethered to a PC and that hardware has to be fairly powerful to run high-end VR, or even run the device at all. But that restriction has become slightly less of an issue recently. While PC-powered VR headsets have to be connected to a PC, that connection doesn't have to be wired. TP-Cast has a wireless adapter for the HTC Vive and HTC showed off its own wireless adapter at CES 2018. Additionally, you can run high-end VR off of some laptops and even a PC that fits in a backpack. These computers aren't cheap, but they mean that you have options that provide more mobility than VR used to have.

If you're starting completely from scratch, you'll have to buy both a VR device, which can range from $100 to around $600, plus an entire gaming rig, which can range from relatively affordable to absurdly expensive depending on what you're looking for.

Mobile VR offers the distinct advantage of being portable. You can pop on a Gear VR or Daydream headset and use it anywhere you want. You can easily bring it to a friend or family member's house or into your office. They work by just attaching your phone and, depending on the VR device, have a relatively wide range of compatibility with phones. You have to have a fairly new and high-end smartphone to use Google's Daydream, but you have multiple options that fit the bill. Samsung's Gear VR requires a Samsung device but you don't have to have the latest flagship to make it work.

The downside of these phone powered devices is that they don't stack up to PC powered VR in terms of power. And while mobile powered headsets are built well, they aren't as beefy as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Additionally, if you don't have a phone that can run VR you'll have to buy one. This is less of a hurdle for many people because phone carriers make it easier to get high end devices and if you go the buying outright route most people are used to buying new phones every couple of years.

If you're in the market for a new phone and are interested in checking out VR, it's worth grabbing a handset that can handle virtual reality. The phone makes up the bulk of the expense when it comes to phone-powered VR.

How much space do you have available?

Before you get any device, you need to look at the space you'll be using it in. A device can go to waste if it's not in an environment to thrive.

There are two approaches to immersive VR: devices that require sensors mounted in the room and devices that have all required sensors built in. The two main options for setups requiring mounted sensors are the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift comes with two sensors but a full room setup requires an additional censor to be purchased.

If you are mainly using VR at your desk, you don't need the full room setup.

Devices that have all of their sensors built in are generally powered by Windows Mixed Reality. These headsets scan the room you're in and can incorporate your surroundings in VR and AR.

If you are mainly using VR at your desk, you don't need the full room setup. The Oculus Rift is well suited for desk-based or seated virtual reality and also comes with a lower price tag. The HTC Vive can be used at a desk as well, but you'll have to decide if it's worth the price jump to get a device that you wouldn't be using to its full potential. Windows Mixed Reality headsets can also be used while seated or while utilizing an entire room.

What equipment do you already own and how much are you will to spend?

VR isn't the cheapest field to jump into. Computers or phones that can power VR aren't usually cheap, the VR headsets themselves have a price tag, and the software you run on them can add to the price. It's worth it of course if you can afford it. And how much you can afford is one of the biggest dictators of what device you should look to purchase.

If you're a PC gamer and just want to add VR to your gaming setup, prices likely won't surprise you. Similarly, if you have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro and want to get into VR, you can look at PlayStation VR. But if you're just a casual user who wants to jump in, you can easily, and affordably, enjoy VR with a high-end smartphone.

The entry-level price for VR is the most affordable it's ever been. Google's Daydream can be purchased for only $69. Samsung's Gear VR is slightly higher but is still only around $100 with a controller. But these devices' low prices don't mean that much if you need to spend $600 or more on a phone to run VR.

PlayStation VR is closer to PC-powered VR pricing at around $360, but if you already have a PlayStation 4, that isn't as much of an investment.

Equipment you already own affects your budget the most on the PC-powered side of things. The Oculus Rift is available with Touch controllers for $399, and even if you want to add more sensors, they're only $79 each. The HTC Vive recently had its price dropped to an alluring $599 and with that you get an extensive setup. Windows Mixed Reality devices vary more in price, ranging from $399 to $499. None of these is a small investment, but perhaps something many could afford. But if you have to tack on a full gaming PC, you'll be looking at a total in the thousands rather than hundreds depending on the specs you want.

Summing up your decision

VR is an expanding industry that many are going to want to be a part of. But deciding what type of device you get isn't cut and dry. After weighing your financing, space available, equipment you already own, and looking at how you'll be using your device, you can cut down your choices to a few options.

Once you've decided the type of device you want, check out some of our head-to-head comparisons to help you pick a specific headset:

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2 days ago

Mod-1 Headophones Review: Bring the bass

3

Simplicity sold me on my new favorite headphones and made me realize what I had been missing.

It's easy to be distracted by features on headphones right now. Google Assistant, instant pairing, and "dynamic" noise cancellation are fun things to play with, but each of these features sees the price slowly creep up while leaving behind the fundamentals of a good pair of headphones. In my search for what should be considered table stakes for any good $100+ pair of headphones, I came across Modular and its first set of wireless headphones. Dubbed Mod-1, I found them good enough to bring with me everywhere for the last couple of months.

About this review

I have been testing an early production Mod-1 in the Gunmetal color for two months. These headphones were provided by Modular, and have been tested on five phones, two tablets, and multiple computers during my evaluation.

Bent to my will

Mod-1 Headphones Design

As wireless headphones go, Mod-1 does very little to stand out in the crowd. They look like a dozen other headphones, with ports on the underside of the left cup and a simple button-based navigation system on the right. I quickly found a pair of extension rods on either side of the headband to fit the cups to my ears, with matte and glossy plastic surrounding everything. Extending the rods revealed a rigid metal piece connecting the cups to the headband, and Modular confirmed that metal band extends all the way across the headband. In fact, that metal band is a feature — you are directly encouraged to bend that band to the shape that is most comfortable to your head. One of several things to make this headset "modular" in its design. I found the headset comfortable enough out of the box, but with a few tweaks, the headphone cups hugged my head well.

Connecting the headphones may not be instant, but the NFC pairing on the side of the headphones works well. The positioning of the NFC tag is a bit awkward if you have a large device with its NFC emitter in the center, but for most phones, it's easy to make the connection. Once you have that connection, it works just like any other Bluetooth headset.

The cups for this headset are plenty plushy and feel nice. I prefer a pleather material to foam because it's easier to clean, and the padding around my ears made the headphones comfortable enough to wear for hours. The circular cup isn't quite big enough to really be "over-the-ear" size for my ears, but unlike most on-ear headphones there's no unbalanced pressure to make a part of my ears hurt over time. Best of all, the headphone cups are removable, and Modular plans to make them easy to replace with other options if you so choose.

Mod-1 stands out by being headphones I can comfortably use everywhere.

While I find myself using these headphones wireless more often than I do wired due to the dearth of headphone jacks in my mobile accessories, I appreciate the headphone jack and the Micro-USB port resting on the same side of the headphones. It means I'm not tangled up in cables, and because my laptop has its headphone jack on the left side it's a convenience for me. What did catch me by surprise was being able to use the Micro-USB port and the 3.5mm jack at the same time, meaning I could charge my headphones for wireless use later while still using them at my desk. This doesn't work with a surprising number of headphones, and it's nice to see Modular offering me the option here. I find myself using this feature more than I'd like to admit, thanks to forgetting to charge the headphones at night.

In spite of their fairly generic appearance, Mod-1 stands out by being headphones I can comfortably use everywhere. The design allows the headphones to collapse well for travel. I was able to literally bend the headphones into the perfect fit for me, and the cups are not only easy to clean after a workout but designed to be replaced when I inevitably wear out the material covering the cups. I'm not saying a nice electric blue or royal purple would make them more comfortable, but it sure would add a little flash to an otherwise solid design.

These cost how much?

Mod-1 Headphones Sound

Some quick background on me — before I started using these headphones I was splitting my time between the portability-challenged Sennheiser HD 598 Cs and the amazingly portable but fairly limited Trekz Titanium bone conduction headphones. I haven't touched either in at least a month, and it's due entirely to how well the Mod-1 headphones have done in replacing the pair for my daily needs. The only caveat there is because it's been so cold here this past month I haven't been running outside much. I'm happy with Mod-1 at the gym, but for outdoor activities, I'd still prefer to hear the cars around me.

Mod-1 delivers a warm sound with lots of bass. In fact, maybe a touch too much.

Mod-1 delivers a warm sound with lots of bass. In fact, maybe a little too much. I tweaked my equalizer on my phone a little to tone it down a bit and found myself very happy with the results. These sound like nice $100 wired headphones, which is difficult to pull off over Bluetooth even with things like aptX HD and Bluetooth 5.0, neither of which is available on these headphones. The 40mm driver in these headphones is just plain good, especially if you enjoy more than a little bass.

The rest of the sound profile for these headphones isn't warm enough to be muddy at high volumes, but the highs aren't quite as sharp as they are on my Sennheisers and people in spoken word podcasts come through sounding a little deeper-toned than I'm used to hearing elsewhere. I really enjoy the sound, but if accuracy is what you dig, these probably aren't for you.

A "whole day" of sound

Mod-1 Headphones Experience

Starting my day at around 5am, I'm usually wearing headphones for about 9.5 hours of my day. On a busy travel day, I might put headphones on as soon as I get out of the shower and not take them off until I'm climbing into bed that night. I did quite a bit of travel with these headphones during my testing and found myself repeatedly reaching for them the next day. I like how easy it is to travel with these headphones, how easily I can wear them for a full day, and how nice they sound. These are the basics, and it's surprising how many feature-packed headphones sacrifice these things for the latest buzzword.

These are great, simple wireless headphones, which for some reason has become difficult to find.

That having been said, there are a few things I'd like to see these headphones do a little better. The battery in full wireless mode gets me just shy of eight hours on my Pixel 2 XL, and almost a full hour less on my Galaxy S8 and iPhone X. That's not quite "all day" like the marketing promised, but it is very close and considering you can actually charge while using the headphones in wired mode I can overlook that on most days. The same goes for the "noise isolation" promised on the packaging. There's no tech here like you find with noise cancellation, just clever engineering in the way the headphone cups hug your ears to provide some external dampening. Not a deal-breaker, but a solid suggestion for the next effort.

My only real criticism of these headphones is the microphone. Saying these headphones have a mediocre microphone would be putting it nicely. I rarely had calls go well through the headset because I either sounded distant or garbled because the microphone is placed in an awkward spot away from my mouth and just plain isn't very good.

There's little else about these headphones I would change. I like having physical buttons to press instead of a touch interface, I'm glad they don't light up or flash status lights all over the place, and I enjoy not needing to learn a voice or beep interface to access features. These are great, simple wireless headphones, which for some reason has become difficult to find.

Get in on this, now.

Should you buy it? Absolutely

While a lot of the big names are making $150 gadgets that also play music, Modular made headphones that nail the basics and sound like it deserves its price tag. These aren't for audiophiles or people who want every feature ever crammed into a set of headphones. These are for everyone else, especially if you like to fill your ears with bass.

Best of all, Mod-1 has launched these headphones as part of an Indiegogo campaign with Early Bird offerings where you can pick them up for $50. These headphones are great at the normal $150 price tag, but for $50 if you're looking for new headphones you'd be silly to not give these some serious thought.

See at Indiegogo

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2 days ago

This discounted 3-pack of USB-C adapters brings new life to your old cables

1

Don't ditch your old cables completely.

The transition from micro-USB to USB-C has been a pretty positive one for most, but that means that a lot of our old cables are no longer useful to charge our gadgets. Odds are you have tons of old cables laying around that you don't want to get rid of, and luckily you don't have to.

Right now you can pick up Aukey's micro-USB to USB-C adapters for just $5.99 at Amazon when you check out using the coupon code AUKEYA23. This is a 3-pack of adapters so you can keep one at home, one at your office, and one in your pocket for those times you may need it at a friends house.

  • Charge and Sync: USB-C (male) to Micro-USB (female) adapter allows you to charge and sync USB-C devices with a micro-USB cable. 480Mbps USB 2.0 data transfer speeds
  • Safe Charging: Safe, configured charging output ensured by high-standard components, including a high-power 56 kilo ohm resistor
  • Wide Compatibility: Reversible USB-C connector that plugs in either way up. Compatible with Macbook Pro, Chromebook Pixel, ASUS Chromebook, Nexus 6P/5X, and other USB-C smartphones, tablets, and laptops
  • Easy Use: No driver is required to use this adapter. Just plug & play

Aukey backs the adapters with a two-year warranty.

See at Amazon

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2 days ago

Samsung Galaxy S9: Rumors, Specs, Release Date, and More!

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Samsung Galaxy S8+

The Galaxy S9 is on its way, and this is everything we know so far about Samsung's next flagship.

Even today, there's no denying that the Galaxy S8 is still one of the best-looking phones on the market. Its Quad HD AMOLED Infinity Display is a thing of beauty, its camera takes excellent photos, and even Samsung's software is finally enjoyable for once. All of the greatness found with the Galaxy S8 has put a lot of pressure and expectations on the S9, and although it probably won't be as big of an upgrade as the S8 was from the S7, it'll still likely be one of the best phones of 2018.

Here's everything we know about Samsung's upcoming flagship launch!

The Galaxy S9 will look a lot like the S8

If you were hoping for a big design upgrade with the Galaxy S9, you better stop now before you get your hopes up too much. A CAD render of the Galaxy S9 reveals what will most likely be the final look for the device, and although it's not a big change from the S8, that's really not a bad thing. The GS9 will have extremely tiny bezels around its display with a metal frame and glass back, but there is a change to the placement of the fingerprint sensor.

We still don't understand Samsung's reasoning for putting the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8 where it did, but with the S9, it will be placed below the camera lens. In other words, unlocking a Samsung phone with your finger will no longer make you want to rip out your hair. Woohoo!

Bezels are going to keep shrinking 😮

Speaking of that Infinity Display, the Galaxy S9 is expected to make it even more impressive than it already is on the S8. The screen-to-body ratio of the Galaxy S8+ is still a thing of beauty at 84%, but according to a tip that SamMobile received, the S9+ will kick things up a notch with a screen-to-body ratio of 90%.

A 6% increase might not sound big on paper, but this will result in a virtually nonexistent bezel for the Galaxy S9's chin and a top bezel that's even smaller than the bottom one found on the S8. Nobody's complaining about the GS8 having big bezels, so the fact that the GS9 could reduce their size even more admittedly has us quite giddy.

The Galaxy S9 will be announced on February 26

During CES 2018, Samsung's president of mobile confirmed that the Galaxy S9 will be announced in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The convention officially begins on February 26, and according to a C-level executive at a case-maker that Evan Blass spoke with, this is the exact day when the Galaxy S9 will launch. Pre-orders for the phone will be quick to follow on March 1, and shipments will then go out a couple weeks later on March 16.

This would see Samsung releasing the phone about a month earlier than it did with the Galaxy S8 last year, but you won't find us complaining about that at all.

Iris scanning improvements to take on Face ID

Samsung might have been first to market with face/eye scanning technology as a way for biometrically unlocking your phone compared to Apple, but it's no secret that Face ID is superior to Samsung's iris scanning technology that's found on the Galaxy S8. Unsurprisingly, Samsung will be improving its iris scanning system on the Galaxy S9 to either meet or beat Apple's solution.

A report from The Korea Herald says that Samsung will be upgrading the front-facing camera on the S9 from 2MP up to 3MP, and this will allow for faster scanning even when users are wearing glasses or in dark environments. The time it takes to unlock the S9 using iris scanning will be shorter than the current one-second time ont he S8, and there will also be improvements on the software side of things to make iris scanning just as (if not more) secure than Face ID.

Only the S9+ will get dual rear-cameras, but both will have a variable aperture

Only the larger GS9+ will get dual-camera love, but both will have a much more accessible fingerprint scanner.

Samsung's first phone to ship with dual cameras was the Galaxy Note 8, and as expected, this is a feature that'll trickle over to the Galaxy S9 release. However, only the larger Galaxy S9+ is reported to receive this treatment. The regular GS9 will retain a single camera, and while we don't expect it to take bad photos, this disparity between the smaller and larger variants is new for Samsung. On that same note, the Galaxy S9+ will also receive a small performance boost with an upgraded 6GB of RAM compared to the S9's 4GB count.

Reserving the dual-camera system for just the larger Galaxy S9+ is certainly a bummer for those that prefer smaller handsets, but no matter if you choose the S9 or S9+, it looks like you'll be able to use something even cooler – variable aperture.

A leaked image recently surfaced showing the back of a retail box for the Galaxy S9, and next to "Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP OIS" it says "F1.5/F2.4." We've been able to digitally change aperture settings on phone cameras for some time now, but this would suggest that the Galaxy S9 has an aperture that can be physically changed. This is something that Samsung showed off with its W2018 flip-phone in China last December, and it too had a variable aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4. Assuming this is actually present on the Galaxy S9, we'll be looking at a phone that should offer exceptional low-light camera performance.

Don't worry – the 3.5mm headphone jack will remain

Samsung Galaxy S8

The 3.5mm headphone jack is here to stay 🙏

One trend we've seen throughout 2017 is the rapid removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. This is something that the likes of Apple, Google, Motorola, and HTC have all been more than willing to follow suit with, but we shouldn't have to worry about this with the Galaxy S9.

Venture Beat's same source supposedly confirmed that the Galaxy S9 will keep the headphone jack, and this lines up with a leaked case render for the phone that shows a covered section for the coveted port. Additionally, the CAD renders mentioned above also show the Galaxy S9 with this.

Battery increase of 200 mAh 🔋

There's not much to dislike about the Galaxy S8, but aside from the phone's awkward fingerprint sensor, one area that can be an annoyance is battery life. The S8's battery isn't bad, but it's also not the best we saw on a phone in 2017.

According to someone that supposedly has a test unit of the upcoming device, the Galaxy S9 will come equipped with a slightly larger battery of 3,200 mAh. That's not a huge increase compared to the Galaxy S8's 3,000 mAh pack, but a larger battery is still a larger battery. Additionally, this larger pack should also be accompanied by Quick Charge 3.0.

512GB storage option

Yep. When you go to buy a Galaxy S9 next year, you may very well have the option of purchasing one with 512GB of internal storage.

Samsung announced on December 5 that it had begun mass-producing the mobile industry's first 512GB chips, and although not directly mentioned, we wouldn't be surprised to see this extra storage make its way to the S9/S9+. Larger internal storage will always have the benefit over expansions with microSD cards, so with this much space to work with, it'll be interesting to see if Samsung tries axing the microSD card slot like it did with the S6 in 2015.

What about the Galaxy X?

Galaxy X render

Many rumors about the Galaxy S9 have also been peppered with bits of information on the rumored Galaxy X foldable phone, which is supposed to slot in above the Galaxy S line with a crazy foldable display. At this point it's seeming unlikely that the Galaxy X would make any sort of appearance alongside the Galaxy S9 and S9+ when they're announced, and at best we'll get some sort of a mention from Samsung that something else is coming later in 2018.

Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone: Rumors, Images, Details, and More!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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Updated January 16, 2018: Added new information from Evan Blass about release schedule.

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2 days ago

Face Unlock now available for OnePlus 3/3T with OxygenOS beta

3

Part of Open Beta 30 for the OnePlus 3 and Open Beta 21 for the 3T.

Right before 2017 was officially over, OnePlus announced that Face Unlock would be making its way to the OnePlus 5 with a future software update. The company also teased that the OnePlus 3/3T would see similar treatment in the near future, and now with the latest OxygenOS Open Beta for these two phones, that day has come.

Open Beta 30 for the OnePlus 3 and Open Beta 21 for the 3T have arrived, and the biggest addition with this update is Face Unlock. Just like on the OnePlus 5 and 5T, you'll now be able to use the 3 and 3T to unlock your phone by simply looking at it. Since Face Unlock doesn't require any special hardware sensors like Face ID on the iPhone X, it should work just as good on the 3 and 3T as it does on the 5T.

In addition to this, the built-in launcher is also getting some new tweaks. Folders will automatically be named when similar apps are added to them, the clock icon is dynamic and moves to show the actual time, and you can now view new categories when you use the search function in the app drawer.

Also new is Airtel VoLTE support in India, the OnePlus Switch app for moving information from one phone to another, and other general bug fixes and optimizations. You'll get the new software as an OTA update if you're already enrolled in the beta, but if not, you'll need to manually flash the file to your phone.

Some OnePlus customers have reported fraudulent credit card activity

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

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