Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Samsung Galaxy S8: AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint | Unlocked

Headlines

4 days ago

Google Home: Top 10 Tips & Tricks

24

Get the most from your Google Home by starting with these tips and tricks.

Using Google Home is fun. That's not unique to just Google Home — telling any computer, no matter what size or shape, to do stuff by talking is fun. And the more you talk to your Google Home the more things you'll find out about what it does and what it doesn't do.

Here are some of the cool things you can do with Google Home once you get it home!

1. Set up IFTTT

Home automation and the world of tomorrow will be really cool when everything finally works with everything else, but in the meantime, there's IFTTT.

The IFTTT service takes the things you say to your Google Home and sends commands to the other smart things you have, even if the two don't talk the same language out of the box. Setting things up is easier than you think, and the list of smart devices supported by IFTTT is huge.

When I wake up in the morning, saying hello to Google Home has my Hue lamps (Hue applet) glowing a nice soft yellow, music playing through my stereo (Harmony applet) and a pot of coffee brewed, hot and ready (WeMo applet) when I step out of the shower. All because of IFTTT and Google Home. Your smart stuff can be just as cool if you set it up.

2. Find the settings

The settings for your Google Home are kind of hidden in the Google Home app. To find them, open the hamburger menu (the three lines in the upper left corner) and look for Devices in the list. You'll see your Google Home there. Open its menu by tapping the three dots in the upper left corner and choose Settings.

Everything you need to get the most from your Google Home is in there!

3. Set up Guest Mode and Multi-user support

Your Google Home is a Chromecast Audio target, too. You can tell it to play a song and it will play through its own speaker if you didn't tell it to play the music on another cast ready device.

Setting up guest mode lets anyone connect to your Google Home once they enter a four-digit PIN provided by the app. Do it while you're poking around in the settings.

Multi-user support is also now available on Google Home, allowing it to easily differentiate between the people in your house who want to use this awesome accessory. Each person will need to teach Google Home their voice, but once you've done that you'll be good to go!

4. Give it a new name

In the settings, you'll see an entry for Name. It's exactly what you think it is and you can rename your Google Home any time you like.

You can have fun with it, but if you have more than one it's pretty handy for the name to describe where it sits like "Living Room" but you can name it whatever you like. Remember that anyone you give guest mode access to can see the name — even your mom.

5. Set up your preferences

We're still in the settings here, and we're looking at what's in the More listing.

Here's where you tell Google Home things like which music service to use when you want to play a song or two and which news sources to use when you want to know what goes on in the outside world. It's also where you set your address and tell Home what to call you.

Look through them all to make sure Home does things the way you want it to.

6. Check your activity

One last thing in the More settings — scroll to the bottom and tap the My activity entry.

A web page will open with everything Google Home (and Assistant on your phone if you have a Pixel) has recorded, sorted by date and time. You can go through the list and play back exactly what Home heard, get the details about the recording or delete them.

As mentioned at the top of the page, only you have access to these records. But remember, Google "heard" what you said when Home tried to interpret it even if they can't see the handy list.

7. Give your Chromecasts an easy name

You change the name of a Google Chromecast-ready device the same way you changed the name of Google Home. Now that you're talking to send movies or music to them, make sure you give them a name that's easy to remember and recognize.

Like Google Home itself, anyone with guest mode access will see this name so keep that in mind.

8. Play a movie

Settings can be boring so let's close them.

Tell Google to play a movie from your chosen source or a video from YouTube on your cast ready TV, or tell it to play a song, playlist or genre from your music source on a cast ready device.

You can adjust the volume with your voice (say volume up or set volume to 50%) and tell it to stop playing when you're ready to turn things off.

If you don't have another Google cast device, you can always play music on your Google Home itself. It has a half decent speaker inside and can get plenty loud.

9. Mute the mic

Sometimes you might not want Google Home to be listening. It doesn't care that you sing along to 80s music or about those sexy time sounds you make, but you might not want it to even be an option.

There's a button on the back of Google Home — it's the only button and it has a microphone on it — that toggles the mic. Press it and Home will tell you Microphone off and present four amber lights up top. Press it again and it tells you Microphone on and goes back to always listening mode.

10. Get your agenda

Google Home makes a pretty good assistant, too.

Ask Google to Tell me about my day and it digs through your data and uses the internet (and your settings) to tell you the time after a friendly greeting, give you your appointments for the day, tell you about any traffic issues if it thinks you might be driving to one of them, the weather and reads news from the sources you defined in step five above.

There's plenty more things you can have Google Home do and say. Be sure to talk about what you're doing with it in the comments!

Updated July 2017: This article was last updated to correct outdated information and to offer the best tips possible.

Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

From blah to blob: The history of Android emoji

27

A reflection on the yellow-bellied emoji that many of us have come to love over the years.

If you've been following along with what's to come in Android O, then you've likely heard that Google is retiring its line of blob-like emoji. Plenty of loyal Android users have expressed their joy over the upgrade to circular emoji, conforming to the rest of the emoji standards set forth in the mobile world, but there is also a host of us who had long rued the day that this would happen. That day was World Emoji Day, which the Internet celebrated with great fanfare this week. It's the day that Google reminded us it's still retiring the blobs to that Great Big Emoji Farm in the sky. #blobvoyage

But Android didn't always employ yellow blobs as its emoji schtick. A long time ago, in the heydays of Android, you were lucky to have emoji at all — and if you did, they looked nothing like iOS's. But when those yellow blobs came along, they were the perfect response to what was once a homogenized world of skeuomorphic smiley faces and peaches resembling butts. 🍑

From cutesy to blobby to conventional

Android has a unique emoji history, partly because it didn't even widely support them until much later in its lifecycle. In its early days, Android's emoji were essentially antenna-eared doppelgängers. They were cutesy and mod-like, though they were also kind of silly compared to Apple's more realistic glyphs.

What Android's emojis looked like back in the day compared to iOS. (Via Emoji Blog)

Google only added native emoji support in 2013 with the release of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and that's when it revamped the glyphs to look like the yellow blobs we know today. They were pudgier back then, but eventually evolved to be just as expressive and as relatable as the iOS variants that had become a craze.

Android's blobs were favorable, too, because they weren't all overtly emotive like on the iPhone. Some of the characters were ambiguous enough that they passed off as double entendres, and though that's part of why Google is revising the emoji anyway, it also gave Android users a sense of identity they didn't have before: The identity of an amorphous blob that could be interpreted as needed.

The evolution of Android's emoji, per Emojipedia.

The blobs were refined over the years, and Google eventually added more human-like emoji as the Unicode standard expanded so that blob was not always the only option. You can imagine the shock, then, when Google announced it would introduce a new aesthetic to an emoji system that seemed nearly perfect.

Google's Rachel Been explained the overhaul of the emojis in a blog post after Google I/O 2017:

Our original emoji style was simple and flat with bold pops of color. The flat design became Android's signature style, differentiating us from other platforms.

Over the years, as additional emoji were added across all of the categories, the set became stylistically divergent. Our design system wasn't equipped to provide standards that unified the look and feel of all the illustrations across the many emoji categories. As a result, our emoji became inconsistent between old and new designs, making it difficult to quickly scan the keyboard to find the right emoji.

It's a fair point. I've often reverted to using emoticon ;) to express my like or disdain in a text message knowing very well that my Android emoji didn't express the same sentiment on the iOS side.

The revamp of the emoji from blobs to conforming circles modifies the meaning behind some emoji.

The blog also cites the fact that Google is attempting to address "cross-platform emotional consistency" — that is, that Android's emoji communicate the same message regardless of the platform. "We wanted to assure the user that when they sent an emoji to a friend, the message was communicated regardless of whether they are on iOS, Windows, Samsung, or any other platform," wrote Been.

But what about how it changes the way that Android users communicate? The revamp of the emoji from blobs to conforming circles modifies the meaning behind some emoji. Take the face with cold sweat emoji, for example, which The Verge also references in its ode to the blob. This particular emoji is often used to denote nervousness or anxiety because of the sweat bead accompanying its decidedly blank expression. Android O changes the meaning entirely, however, offering up a more sickly interpretation instead. The emoji no longer shows nervousness, but tiredness, which is not the same thing.

On the left is the old style of the "face with cold sweat" emoji; on the right is as it appears in the Android O beta.

You'll notice that the frowning face is also in line with the way it appears on Apple's iOS, and that's the real kicker here. Just like the Google Pixel was made to look like the iPhone, so will emojis have to conform to what iOS users see on their end. It is the way it is, and it's the best way to sell devices to a crowd who often lament that Android doesn't have what iOS does. But in the process, we all lose our identity as Android blobs.

Fortunately, we can choose which emoji to display by downloading other keyboard apps from the Play Store, or even by switching phone manufacturers. And if you're an Allo user, you can download the blob sticker pack to keep the tradition going long after the blobs are out of commission.

Android O

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

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

Get these awesome weather-proof Bluetooth Earbuds for just $25!

14

It's summer time, which means that people are taking advantage of the beautiful weather and getting outside more. Whether you're just going for a walk to the local park or hitting the pavement for some run training, it's always better if you're able to bring your own tunes along with you. But who wants to deal with headphone wires? No one, that's who!

Get great new earbuds for just $25! Learn more

Right now, you can get these awesome FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth Earbuds for just $25. We're sure You'll be impressed with the features jammed into these little buds.

These Bluetooth buds are connected by a wire so you won't lose one if it pops out of your ear during a workout. They're sweat and water resistant and designed to fit snuggly in your ear, with a battery that takes 90 minutes for a full charge and lasts for 10 hours of playback. But what really sets these apart from other Bluetooth earbuds are the magnetic features that keep them secure around your neck, and automatically connects to your phone via Bluetooth when you disconnect them.

Get great new earbuds for just $25! Learn more

The only thing that's cooler than these headphones is the price — at $25, you're saving 79% off the regular price of $119.99, it's quite the deal.

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

Samsung brings Coral Blue Galaxy S8 to the U.S.

23

Coral Blue is coming to the Galaxy S8, and to you, starting July 21.

Samsung is bringing its popular Coral Blue color to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ starting July 21.

The new handset color will be sold exclusively at Best Buy stores and online, as well as at Samsung.com. Customers will be able to get the fresh color in AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and unlocked versions.

Best Buy is offering a nice promotion, too: customers who buy the AT&T model of the phone can get a second unit free if they're a DirecTV customer, which is technically a $400 savings, according to Samsung. Samsung's website is also offering a promotion for the next few days, discounting the unlocked model by $150, bringing the Galaxy S8 itself down to $575, the lowest price we've seen for the unlocked model so far.

See at Best Buy

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

Best HDR-capable TVs under $500

29

HDR video needs the right display, and you can get a great one for under $500.

HDR can make a dramatic difference in how things on your TV look when you're watching, and since more and more HDR content is being produced and released, your next TV should support it. Paired with a Chromecast Ultra, you can have your own theatre experience right in your home.

That doesn't mean you have to break the bank, though. There are a few great HDR-capable sets that check in under $500 to give you the higher contrast, better color accuracy and wide color gamut used to display HDR content.

More: What is HDR?

Hisense 50H8C 50-inch

Hisense may not be a common household name in many places, but that doesn't mean you should overlook its television sets. Over the past few years, the company has made huge improvements to its sets, adding a number of key features that people look for when buying their next television. From its built-in smart features to HDR compatibility and more, you get a whole lot more than you would imagine when buying the Hisense 50H8C.

From PCMag's review of the TV:

The Hisense 50H8C offers very good performance at a very low price for a 4K television. Even with its excellent color accuracy, though, it fails to stand out in the rapidly expanding budget 4K category. Hisense's Linux-based, Android-like smart TV interface is a bit awkward compared with the more accessible systems used in Roku TVs, and the fact that only half of the HDMI ports are HDMI 2.0 (and those ports are the less conveniently placed ones) hinder this otherwise strong television.

It may not offer all the bells and whistles that some other sets do, or the best performance, but for the price it is hard to beat this one. You can pick up the 50-inch Hisense for just $500 at many retailers, making it quite a deal.

See at Best Buy

LG Electronics 43UJ6300 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

LG makes televisions for just about any budget. The 43-inch UJ6300 brings LG's famous display technology, a sizeable display and a great price tag in addition to 4K HDR capability.

The UJ6300 is the 2017 update of the 43UH6100, which received great reviews. Rtings.com has this to say about the UJ6300:

The motion handling of the UJ6600 is good. It has a fast response time, resulting in only a short trail following fast moving objects. The backlight flickers by default, and there is, unfortunately, no option to reduce this frequency and clear up fast-paced content. Movies from a Blu-ray player or DVDs are smooth, but some minor judder is present when movies are watched from a HTPC or cable. Most people don't notice this so it isn't an issue.

They love the lack of input lag, but ding the set for non-uniform black levels and brightness. It rates a 7.1 out of 10 on their scale and is great for mixed use.

The LG UJ6300 gives you 4K HDR capability paired with the webOS operating system, and is a great value if you're looking for an HDR smart TV under $500.

See at Amazon

Samsung Electronics UN40MU6300 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Most any list of best TVs will have Samsung representing a model that fits the category. Of course, they have a compelling 4K HDR TV that checks in under $500.

The UN40MU6300 is a 40-inch set that brings Samsung's UHD color management, backlit LED panel and connectivity options through the Samsung One Remote. It's also a smart TV with access to Samsung Apps and the SmartView mirroring service so you can share content from your Samsung phone.

Rtings.com likes the contrast ratio and no input-lag response, but dings the set for picture quality when sitting at an angle. The end score is 7.4 out of 10. They had this to say about the set overall:

It has a great contrast ratio, which means it has deep and even blacks that are essential for a great picture. The MU6300 also has low input lag, making it a good choice for a gaming TV. It doesn't have the widest viewing angles, but it deals with reflections and gets bright enough to be suitable for most environments.

At the price point, the Samsung UN40MU6300 will give you one of the best 4K HDR TVs you can buy.

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

If you have a favorite HDR TV that checks in under $500, be sure to drop a link in the comments so everyone can have a look.

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

Designing a game for virtual reality is kind of like writing a movie

We talked to two of the creators of Virtual VR, about the process of developing the game for a mobile headset and how many drafts it took to get the story straight.

Take it from me, and the rest of the brains behind the site you're currently perusing: writing a story is hard work, and writing one for other people to experience and enjoy is even more laborious. A good story requires more than relatable characters and a plot to hook the readers; it also requires iteration.

It's the same process writing the plot for a game set in virtual reality. I talked to Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro, two of the creators behind the award-winning Virtual VR, about how designing and writing a narrative-driven game is kind of like putting together a play, or a movie. The Daydream VR-exclusive tells the story of a virtual world where robots are officially using humans for fun. The final product is an outstanding example of how effective VR storytelling can be, even if the device is small and the story is short.

Read more at VRHeads

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

Satiate your hunger with a scrumptious food-themed wallpaper!

1

I like food.

Food is delicious, sometimes nutritious, and comes in so many shapes, forms, colors, tastes, and types. Food is everywhere, a lot of people take it for granted, and with the right tools, you can turn even the simplest and most popular foods into an edible art form. Sounds a lot like one of my other loves: Android theming. So it's only right that we bring the two together and make your stomach growl the way mine does every time Lammes Candies' talks about Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

GRRRRROOOOOOOWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

False alarm, sweetie, they're not coming back 'til the fall.

Read more and comment

 
4 days ago

OnePlus 5: Top things you need to know

22
OnePlus 5

It's hard to ignore the importance of this phone in the Android world.

The OnePlus 5 is the most expensive phone the company has ever made, and subsequently has the highest expectations. The base plan to meet those expectations is to double down on the formula that has at least got OnePlus this far: high-end specs, solid hardware and super-fast software. Then there's the extra bit of marketing thrown behind its camera setup, which is the first substantial change to the formula of previous OnePlus phones.

The best place to get up to speed with the OnePlus 5 is right here — here are the top things you need to know about this phone.

A whole heap of top-notch specs

OnePlus 5 storage and RAM

For another generation, OnePlus is giving us just about all of the top-end specs we want to see in a high-end phone today. It starts with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, and continues on with a standard 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There's also an optional 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model for just $60 extra.

You'll also see an above-average 3300mAh battery inside despite the phone's 7.25 mm thickness, and it offers quick charging that can match or exceed how quickly other phones charge up with their Quick Charge 3.0 tech. You get USB-C connectivity, of course, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack — unfortunately, an increasingly rare item these days.

More: Spec comparison: OnePlus 5 vs. OnePlus 3

We're missing waterproofing, though

But of course, a phone that starts at $479 can't do it all. There are still a few specs and features "missing" here that you could find on other phones ... but the biggest one is waterproofing.

Yup, you won't find an IP rating at all on the OnePlus 5, and that's something you find in just about all of the flagship competition. No matter that those phones are $150-250 more than the OnePlus 5, because OnePlus is definitely framing its latest phone as a competitor to those flagships.

Some things remain unchanged from the OnePlus 3 and 3T

OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 3

For all of the advancements in the OnePlus 5, some parts of its experience have remain unchanged — or imperceptibly changed — from its predecessor, the OnePlus 3.

Much of what you find on the OnePlus 5 was introduced in 2016's OnePlus 3.

Some key parts of the hardware experience are the same now as they were before, including the 5.5-inch 1080p display, the one-touch fingerprint sensor below the screen, the great "Alert Slider" on the left edge, and the Dash Charge fast charging system. The phone's dimensions are also near-identical, with the OnePlus 5 being marginally thinner and narrower, and just shy of 2 mm taller.

The Android 7.1 Nougat software on the OnePlus 5 is also very similar in features to the OnePlus 3, particularly if you've dabbled in any of the beta builds for the older phone where the new software has been in testing. The experience of using the phones side-by-side today is hardly different, and the small differences can (and should) be brought to the OnePlus 3 in due time.

In many cases the stagnation isn't a bad thing, but it is worth noting that the OnePlus 5 has strong continuity with the phone that came before it.

OxygenOS is one of the best software experiences today

After a few early stumbles with its execution, OnePlus has created one of the best software experiences available on an Android phone today. OxygenOS, as OnePlus calls it, is based on the latest Android Nougat build from Google but also integrates several super-useful features that so many people desire in their phone.

You can tweak all sorts of little things like the status bar, launcher, theme, icon packs and the notification LED. But you can also change larger areas like choosing between on-screen or capacitive navigation keys, and adding screen-off gestures to launch specific functions and apps.

More: The OnePlus 5 is filled with great little software customizations

The best part about all of these changes is that they don't get in your way if you don't want them, and don't detract from the overall clean experience offered by Android the way it comes from Google. Performance on the OnePlus 5 doesn't suffer, either, which we can all be happy about.

You now have two rear cameras

A substantial area of change when compared to the OnePlus 3 is the OnePlus 5's camera setup. The new phone has a new 16MP camera, a faster f/1.7 lens and new image processing techniques, but has lost OIS (optical image stabilization) in the process. The main camera feels like an overall upgrade from the OnePlus 3, and it's capable of taking some great photos. But its lack of physical stabilization hamstrings it in scenes with mixed or little light, and the results end up being a bit grainy or blurry if you're not careful with stabilizing your hands.

Dual cameras give you new options — and one important omission.

Sitting right next to the "main" camera is another camera as well: a 20MP sensor with an f/2.6 lens that has a longer focal length — around 40 mm equivalent to the main's 24 mm. You can tap the "2x" button in the camera app to quickly switch to this lens and take photos with a unique perspective — and because it has 20MP of resolution you can even digitally zoom in a tad without losing much fidelity.

More: The OnePlus 5 has a DxOMark Mobile score of 87

The big reason for including the second camera is "Portrait Mode," which is a way to use both lenses at once to create a faux background blurring effect to try and mimic what you'd see in a DSLR. It can be hit or miss (this software is really hard to do right), but when it works you get a cool-looking photo that's different from what you'd see from either camera on its own.

It works just about anywhere in the world ... but not Verizon

OnePlus 5 SIM tray

OnePlus surpassed a pretty big technological hurdle to be able to ship one model of the phone with radio support for 30+ countries — particularly in facing the Chinese market that uses many bands you don't find anywhere else. That means you can take your phone to most places in the world and have it work on the local carrier, which is great for international travelers. There are also two SIM slots, giving you even more possibilities.

More: There's one OnePlus 5 version for the whole world

The one shortcoming, speaking purely from a U.S. perspective, is its lack of support for Verizon and Sprint. Even though the OnePlus 5 technically supports some of the necessary LTE bands for the carriers, OnePlus is making no claim of testing or certification for those networks. It's annoying and frustrating, but you shouldn't buy the OnePlus 5 expecting to use it on Verizon or Sprint.

If you bring the OnePlus 5 to T-Mobile you'll find it works great, including support for both VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. Unfortunately those advanced calling features aren't available on AT&T — you'll get the basic voice and data services there.

Dash Charge is awesome, but has some requirements

The in-house developed Dash Charge charging system helps your OnePlus 5's battery charge up incredibly fast. But because of the way the charger has to interact with the phone to perform the fast charging without generating much heat, it requires a special charger and cable. You must use a OnePlus-made Dash Charge charger and cable, or it just won't work. OnePlus includes the correct charger and cable in the OnePlus 5's box, and also offers extra wall chargers and car chargers on its website.

The only frustrating part about Dash Charge is that it isn't cross-compatible with other fast charging systems, like the widely used Qualcomm Quick Charge or the more generic USB-C Power Delivery spec. That means if you plug into another charger (or use another cable) it will likely top out at about 5V/2.4A — which is pretty fast, but not nearly as fast as Dash Charge is.

Read our review and other coverage

Get to know the OnePlus 5 in detail by reading our comprehensive review, as well as our second take review. You can see how the OnePlus 5 compares to the Galaxy S8 and then how their cameras compare, too.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Honor 9 Premium with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage now up for sale in Europe

5

Honor 9 Premium is available in select markets in Europe for €499.

Honor is rolling out an upgraded version of the Honor 9 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage in select markets in Europe. The phone is called the Honor 9 Premium, and it is retailing for €499. There's also a variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage that is available for €450.

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

'Lawnchair' is the best new Android launcher you (probably) haven't tried yet

58
Lawnchair

New open-source launcher brings Google Now and Pixel Launcher capabilities to all phones — along with a huge loadout of customization features.

I'm usually pretty lazy when it comes to customizing my home screens. For the most part, I tend to stick with the stock launcher on whatever phone I'm using, and I don't go over-the-top tweaking absolutely every setting on my home screen.

Yet with the discontinuation of the Google Now Launcher, I've been on the lookout for a replacement, because so few third-party launchers include support for the Google Feed. (And for those that do, hacky workarounds are required.)

Enter Lawnchair which started out as an effort to bring Google Feed support to the Google's basic Launcher3 — the home screen app included in open-source Android. After gaining momentum on XDA, this curious little side project has become surprisingly polished, growing a bunch of new features from the Pixel, Android O and beyond — and porting over many Google Pixel design elements in the process.

And although Lawnchair, with its slightly goofy name, currently exists as a test release, outside the Google Play Store, it's well worth checking out. Developer Deletescape recently posted build 818 — a significant update with many performance enhancements and new capabilities.

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Deal: Save 20% off your first six months of cell service at TPO

If you're looking for a sweet deal on a new phone plan, look no further than TPO.

TPO (The People's Operator) — an alternative carrier that runs off Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S. — is currently offering 20% off your first six months of service with new activations. You can activate a new number and a new device, or keep your current setup, to save on their 500MB, 1GB or 2.5GB plans. The best part is that 10% of your monthly spend goes to a charity of your choice!

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Google's mobile search app now has a personalized news feed

5

Google launches a news feed of its own within its mobile search app.

Google is increasingly looking to make its products more social, and its latest attempt is to create a feed within its mobile search app that will show you news stories, sports scores, and videos, all based on your previous searches. The company introduced news stories in the Google app back in December, and today's update sees Google building upon that by leveraging its AI smarts and rolling out new actions.

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Bixby Voice now available for every Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the U.S.

86

It's time to start talking to your phone (even more).

A full three months after the Galaxy S8 and S8+ launched in the U.S., its voice-powered assistant Bixby Voice is available for everyone to use. An OTA update with the necessary new software is heading out to every U.S. Galaxy S8 and S8+ starting today, July 19, and once it arrives on your phone you'll have the same voice control features that many people have been testing the past few weeks as part of a limited beta program.

Bixby Voice is genuinely useful for many functions on your phone, but much of the luster of the feature has worn off as development delays meant it wasn't ready to launch with the phones themselves back in April. With many of those kinks worked out now to the point of being ready for a consumer launch, Samsung will have to really start its campaign of advertising Bixby Voice as a selling point of the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

The cold truth is the entire Bixby ecosystem just hasn't taken off with consumers.

Of course the goal of Bixby Voice is to be just one part of a larger set of Bixby features, which up to this point also haven't really caught on. The Bixby Home interface, often opined as a poor man's version of Google Now, feels weak and rarely useful. And Bixby Vision doesn't have the data set or algorithms to be a truly useful part of the camera experience. From what we've seen of Bixby Voice, however, there's at least something there that's properly unique — it's meant to help you control things on your phone, not just head out to the internet and answer questions for you. It's a proper differentiator from the way Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri work.

If you're one of the many in the U.S. who have a Galaxy S8 or S8+ and are curious about this whole Bixby experience, it really is worth checking out Bixby Voice once the latest software hits your phone. It could be enough to make you appreciate Samsung's hard work on the features, and even think that that hardware Bixby button under your volume rocker was worth it after all.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Huawei Watch 2 Classic review: Leather is better

13

With the Huawei Watch 2 Classic, a metal body and leather strap make all the difference.

It's no secret that we weren't big fans of the Huawei Watch 2, a plastic-and-ceramic successor to a metal legacy that left us feeling dejected and a little confused over the company's seemingly half-baked plans for wearables.

Well, after having used the Huawei Watch 2 Classic for some time, I can safely say the issue lies largely with branding and marketing than with the series itself. While the Classic is by no means a true visual successor to one of 2015's best Android Wear devices, its use of actual metal around the frame and replaceable 22mm bands certainly gets it close.

Like the Watch 2, the Classic is equipped with a bunch of top-notch specs for a modern smartwatch, including a super-sharp 1.2-inch OLED panel at 390x390 pixels, a Snapdragon 2100 processor, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage (which can be used to store and play music offline), a heart rate sensor, a GPS radio, IP68 water resistance, and a 420mAh battery that's quoted for two days (but is closer to a day and a half).

All it lacks compared to the Watch 2 is an integrated LTE radio and eSIM, which provides 4G service with a compatible carrier.

But here's what you gain: a much more attractive and "public-friendly" timepiece that, at just 60.5 grams, is considerably lighter than much of the competition. And while I don't love the fake chronometer bezel that doesn't spin despite looking like it should, overall I find the Huawei Watch 2 Classic extremely easy to wear, and quite enjoyable to use.

Android Wear 2.0 was worth the wait.

Of course, it comes with Android Wear 2.0 included out of the box, which took some time getting here but the wait was worth it: this is a much more polished experience than what debuted in 2014. Google took its time to figure out exactly what was needed from its nascent wearables ecosystem, and the result is a platform that can stand on its own — with GPS you can take this running sans phone and record a run while listening to locally stored music — but is best when paired to an Android phone.

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic does come equipped with a quick release mechanism for its included leather band, which is appreciated since the inclusion of a second button on the right side and a GPS radio primes the watch for running, which doesn't go so well with the leather strap.

Huawei's included Workout app, which launches with a press of that bottom button (say that five times fast!), is quite impressive, though Google Fit Workout and Runtastic were also included on my version.

Any other app that isn't included can be downloaded directly from the now-local Play Store, a move that, as mentioned, brings additional independence to the Android Wear platform.

In reality, the only real differentiation here is something I'd rather try to overlook: the watch faces that don't fit at all with the Watch's aesthetic. They're garish and skeuomorphic and feel out of place on this still-sporty metal design. Instead, I'd recommend diving into the deep, deep library of available third-party watch faces.

Of course, notifications are still Android Wear's strong suit, and the Watch 2 Classic performs that duty with aplomb. Without delving too deep into the app or workout side of things, I was able to stretch the Classic's battery life to just over a day and a half.

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic makes up for the missteps of the mainline Watch 2, and that's good enough for me to keep it on my wrist for the next little while. I prefer to it the gargantuan size of the LG Watch Sport, and though I could live without the fake chronometry around the admittedly large bezels, the fundamentals are excellent.

At close to $360 on Amazon right now, this is not a small investment, but if you're looking for a high-end Android Wear watch in 2017 with a GPS and a reasonable footprint, the Huawei Watch 2 Classic is your best bet.

See at Amazon

Read more and comment

 
5 days ago

Casio ProTrek Smart review: Adventure watch

2

Casio gets a lot more attention than some other watchmakers on the MrMobile channel, and that's because it's one of the few companies doing something different with Android Wear. Last year, I reviewed the company's feature-packed but pricey WSD-F10 outdoor smartwatch, and this summer's sequel has ditched the clunky model number for a (slightly) streamlined brand name.

Much else is familiar though; the ProTrek Smart keeps the chunky frame, water resistance and the high price point – not to mention the confusing lack of both a heart rate monitor and an ambient light sensor. But there's one major addition that puts the Casio ProTrek Smart firmly in "what last year's model should have been" territory: baked-in GPS.

Does the addition of standalone navigation make this colossal chronometer worth its price tag? Tune in for the Casio ProTrek Smart Review by MrMobile to find out!

Featured Items

Stay social, my friends

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages