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5 days ago

The One Card Any Serious Phone Nerd Should Carry

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'Always be prepared' isn't just for the Boy Scouts anymore.

Relying on your phone to do everything you need it to takes some forethought. If you're downloading a lot of apps, creating documents, or storing data on your phone, you've probably invested in multiple microSD cards to expand your storage. If you travel frequently, for work or pleasure, you may have multiple SIM cards to use in different parts of the world. All these small components are hard to keep track of and losing any of them can seriously hinder your ability to get stuff done. How do you make sure that doesn't happen?

SIMCases Slim SIM Card holder case

The SIMCases Slim SIM Card holder case is the ultimate accessory for any serious phone nerd. This credit card-sized accessory will help you keep track of those small cards and tools you carry around to utilize your phone everywhere you go.

With room for up to four Nano SIM cards, you'll never need to worry about not having to lose the SIM card you need when you travel. Do you switch between various devices a lot? That's no problem! The SIMCases Slim SIM Card holder case also comes with one micro SIM adapter and two standard size SIM adapters, so you'll be able to put your nano SIM cards into any device you come across. Plus, it also comes with a SIM card removal tool, so you can stop looking around for the nearest paperclip every time you need to swap SIM cards.

The SIMCases Slim SIM Card holder is extremely useful for people who carry around extra storage for their phones. The case itself can hold up to two microSD cards at one time and even comes with a USB reader, allowing you to plug your microSD cards into a computer whenever you want to transfer files.

For only $10, you'll never have to worry about losing those small, pesky cards and tools again. You can slip the SIMCases Slim SIM Card holder into your wallet and carry everything you need with you at all times.

See at Amazon

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5 days ago

Samsung Pay support comes to more banks in the UK

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Samsung Pay now available for HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank customers.

Samsung Pay's UK rollout continues today, with the addition of three new banks for Samsung's mobile payment service. From today, customers of HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank can use Samsung Pay on supported devices, in addition to launch partners MBNA, Nationwide, and Santander.

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5 days ago

Galaxy Note 8 could debut in late August without in-display fingerprint

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Samsung logo

August 26 could be Note 8 day — but the phone may miss out on the much anticipated in-display fingerprint sensor.

According to two separate reports, Samsung looks set to unveil the Galaxy Note 8 at a late August event. Reuters says a Note 8 with a display "marginally larger" than the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus will break cover towards the end of August in New York City. Korean outlet Naver pins the date down to August 26, just days before IFA 2017 in Berlin — a major electronics trade show which has hosted several Note launch events over the years.

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5 days ago

Best Android Games for the NVIDIA Shield TV

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What are the best games to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV from the Google Play Store?

As NVIDIA proclaims in every ad, their new Shield Android TV box is "the streamer for gamers". So which games are worth checking out?

Well, for starters we're not going to dive into NVIDIA's GeForce Now subscription service, or NVIDIA Gamestream. We'll touch on those services later.

For now, we're just going to highlight some of the best games available via the Google Play Store, specifically adapted to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV. So let's dive right in!

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5 days ago

Grab three of these USB-C adapters for just $7 right now!

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a deal to make your transition to USB-C even easier!

Aukey is currently offering a three-pack of its Micro-USB to USB-C adapters for just $7 with coupon code AUKCBA23, a savings of $3. With these adapters, you can turn those old cables you have laying around into something that can charge your new Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Google Pixel or other compatible phone. The adapters are quite small so you could easily fit them in your pocket or maybe even your wallet, and always have one with you so you are never without a cable to charge up with.

Odds are this deal won't hang around too long, so be sure to act quickly if you are interested. Don't get stuck with only old cables around and a dead battery! Grab these adapters now and thank yourself later. If you are only looking to grab two of them, you can pick up the 2-pack of aluminum adapters for just $4.99 with coupon AUKCBA92.

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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5 days ago

All about Android O's Notification Channels

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Android 8 comes with the power to take control over your notification tray so you can sort out just what you want to see.

One of the bigger changes and features coming with Android O is the new Notification Channels system. It can also be a little confusing to talk about, since it's not something we're used to seeing on our phones. But when you cut through all the fancy technical words and developer language, they're not hard to understand at all!

What are Notification Channels

Coming with Android O, Notification Channels are something a developer uses to break down the notifications his or her app can give to us by type. The channels are decided by the people doing the developing, and the idea is to give us a way to separate out the notifications that are important to us from the ones that aren't, then decide how they will be shown. Some apps will have a lot of different channels. Some will have just a few and some will have only one.

How a notification is prioritized is no longer left for the app developer to decide.

In versions of Android before O, a developer used what was called a priority level to decide how to show you a notification. If they felt the notification was important, they could set it to peek (show a visual indication on your screen) or make a sound, or both. If they felt it wasn't it would just be placed in the tray for you to see the next time you went through them.

Now they break things out into channels and we get to decide how each type of notification is displayed. All notifications of the same type (for example, a reply on your Twitter feed) are placed into the same channel without any other types of notification grouped with them.

As a bonus, apps that allow us to use more than one account can have channels for each combined — your personal email and work email can follow the same rules and show you things the same way no matter which account received the notification.

Notification Channels developer documentation from Google

How we can set things up

The whole reason for the change is so that we have better control and can see the things we want to see. That means we need to have ways to filter all the different channels and the notifications that come with them. Through the settings, we can see every channel an app has for notifications and change how they are delivered with the following settings:

  • Importance: Urgent will make a sound and show on the screen. High makes a sound. Medium makes no sound. Low makes no sound and gives no indication that it's been received.
  • Sound: Set any supported sound as the notification tone for the channel.
  • Lights: Whether the notification should trigger a hardware notification light.
  • Vibration: Whether the notification should vibrate your phone.
  • Show on lock screen: Decide if a notification should appear on the lock screen.
  • Override do not disturb: Decide if a notification should bypass any do not disturb settings for sounds.

Most of these are self-explanatory. That's a good thing because this isn't really better if it's difficult to understand.

YouTube is a great example

If you have the Android O beta installed on your phone, you already have an app that's using notification channels: YouTube. It's also a really good example because there are only two channels — Standard notifications and offline notifications.

In the image above, the left side shows the two channels and the right side shows the individual settings for a channel. You'll find these settings in Settings > Apps and notifications > App info. Choose the YouTube app and tap App notifications.

This is an easy way for us all to see how notification channels work because the YouTube app has such simple notification settings. But this will all scale to something like Facebook or Gmail that will possibly have more channels. And if an app only needs one channel, it only has to use one. The whole idea scales well and should be a great way to help us sort through all the distractions!

Android O

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5 days ago

How to use Alexa for traffic updates

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Nobody wants to get stuck in traffic, and Alexa can help.

Traffic is the bane of existence for anyone who's ever been late to a meeting because of gridlock. While you can use your phone, the radio, or the internet to check on traffic before heading out of the house, you can also ask Alexa. She'll let you know what your commute looks like; all you need to do is let her know where you're going.

Alexa can let you know about traffic

From within the Alexa app on your phone. you can add an address and from then, on all you need to do is ask Alexa what traffic on your commute looks like. She'll let you know the status of traffic, approximately how long it will take there, and the fastest route to get you there. Once you've got your destination address set in the Alexa app, you can check on your commute by asking "What does my commute look like?", "What is traffic like right now?", or "How is traffic?" to ensure you know what the roads look like before you even leave the house.

Since you can just ask Alexa what your commute looks like, this is a great way to save a few minutes in the morning when you're running around, trying to get out the door to start your day!

How to add a destination in the Alexa app

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, tap settings.

  4. Tap Traffic.
  5. Tap add address.
  6. Type in the address of your destination and tap save changes.

    Tap Traffic, tap add address, type in the address and tap save changes.

Questions?

Sound off in the comments below.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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5 days ago

The Galaxy Tab S3 is now available in India for ₹47,990

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The Galaxy Tab S3 goes up sale in India for ₹47,990 ($745).

The Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet currently available, and starting today, Indian customers will be able to get their hands on the tablet.

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5 days ago

Xiaomi Mi 6 review: A new beginning

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Xiaomi Mi 6 review

If you're willing to look past the lack of a 3.5mm jack, the Mi 6 is a fantastic phone.

Quick take:

The Mi 6 gets a lot of things right — powerful hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 835, dual rear cameras with 2x optical zoom, and a gorgeous metal-and-glass design, all at a price that's nearly half that of the Galaxy S8. The phone isn't without its drawbacks: availability is limited to China, and there's no 3.5mm jack. That said, the Mi 6 is Xiaomi's best showing yet.

The good

  • Snapdragon 835
  • Excellent display
  • Great design
  • Exciting dual cameras
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat

The bad

  • No 3.5mm jack
  • Availability
  • No microSD slot
  • Limited LTE bands

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6 days ago

Google selling select Pixel and Pixel XL cases at half-off

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Save 50% on the "Pixel case" models from Google for either size Pixel while supplies last.

One of the first things you'll notice when you take a new Google Pixel out of the box is that there's a lot of glass involved. Unless you're super careful and lucky, that means there's a good chance you'll scratch things up. Or even have a phone that looks like it stormed a beach during a war or something. Seriously, I don't even.

Regardless, even tiny scratches that normal users can create are no fun. Because of this, most people want to put a case on their new Pixel. Google's making this easier by putting the really nice "Pixel case" line on sale for half-off.

This is only for the Pixel case line. Not any live cases or Otterbox cases or anything else. It's for both the regular Pixel and the Pixel XL, and the cases will set you back $17.50 each in either size. The available colors are gray, blue, green, peach, coral and clear. This only lasts until they run out, so hit the Google Store up right away to make sure you get the color you want.

See the Pixel case at Google

See the Pixel XL case at Google

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6 days ago

HTC's vibrantly colored Solar Red U11 will be on sale beginning tonight

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The company is kicking off its summer sale with a new color for the U11 and deals on a bunch of other stuff, too.

As if almost perfectly timed with the rampant heat waves rolling through the greater part of North America, HTC has announced that the extremely attractive (the author's own opinion) Solar Red U11 will be on sale starting tonight.

HTC has been slowly teasing the sale of the highly coveted, almost fire-like variant of the U11 on Twitter for the past few days:

The new Solar Red color morphs ever-so-slightly from a bright, bustling orange to a fiery, reddish-gold, depending from which angle you look at it. It utilizes the same "liquid glass" surface as the rest of its brethren, including the cool-as-a-cucumber "amazing silver" model we reviewed earlier this month.

If you're on the fence about whether to log on and join the rest of the gang in purchasing HTC's latest device, take a gander at our review. Android Central's own Andrew Martonik was particularly impressed with the phone's responsiveness:

HTC continues to offer the smoothest, most consistent software performance outside of a Pixel or Nexus. Through what is surely a combination of obsessive software engineers and plenty of licensed technology, the U11's interface performance is immaculate. It's a sort of subconscious fluidity that's tough to describe. Touch response is perfect, scrolling feels just right and apps are blisteringly fast. No stutters, no hiccups, no issues at any point — no matter how smooth my other phones are sometimes, they're never this consistently perfect.

HTC is also launching its "Kick off to Summer" sale. There will be discounts for the HTC U Ultra, HTC 10, and HTC Bolt. Accessories such as JBL's Reflect Aware Type-C headphones will also be on sale for half-off with the purchase of a new device. Check it out.

See at HTC

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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6 days ago

Project Fi's latest offer gives you a free Google Home if you buy a Pixel

13

The offer is good through July 29.

Who doesn't like free stuff? And who doesn't like smart little virtual assistants you can talk to? Google Home is both, and you can get one in your own home if you purchase a brand new Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone through Project Fi.

You can read up on the terms for the free Google Home promotion here. The Pixel starts at $649 at Project Fi's online storefront. You can buy one outright or pay for it over the course of 24 months.

Project Fi is a phone carrier offering from Google. It offers mobile data service on three mobile networks, and it uses Wi-Fi to make calls and send texts. It's also a prepaid carrier, and you pay ahead for the month of use rather than after — as is common with a standard mobile operator.

If you're wondering if Project Fi is something worth subscribing to yourself, be sure to take the Fi Fit Quiz.

See at ProjectFi

Google Project Fi

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6 days ago

Google Pixel 2 rumor roundup

300

What do we want from the Google Pixel 2?

It's June, which means that we're only a couple of months away from a new, delicious version of Android, and if history is any indicator, 4 to 5 months away from brand new Pixel phones.

Up until recently, we thought this year's crop was to be a fairly predictable update to last year's — two devices built by HTC with improved specs and a newer version of Android. But things change.

Walleye and Muskie

After the Pixel and Pixel XL were released in October, the rumor mill reformed to contribute some logical and some less logical propositions.

The first rumor that made sense was that HTC would once again be the manufacturer of two Pixel 2 models in 2017 and that perhaps the company had signed a multi-year contract with Google for the privilege.

The second rumor somewhat corroborated the code naming trend of previous years: references to devices named "walleye" and "muskie", two freshwater fish native to parts of the U.S. and Canada, continued the aquatic animal-based naming conventions of many Nexus devices as well as the Pixel and Pixel XL. Those devices were codenamed "sailfish" and "marlin", while the Nexus 5X was "bullhead" and the Nexus 6P "angler".

Both "walleye" and "muskie" were expected to be HTC-built devices, with updated designs similar to that of the original Pixels.

And until March, that's how we left things, until "taimen".

Taimen

A Taimen in the wild

In March, it came out that a third potential Pixel device was being produced, codenamed "taimen", likely bigger than both "walleye" and "muskie".

At the time, we didn't know much about the device, but in recent weeks it's come out that "taimen" would be built by LG, not HTC, and would be larger than the "XL" version of HTC's Pixel sequel, "muskie." It was then revealed that Google in fact cancelled the "muskie," the larger of HTC's Pixels, for "taimen," leaving one HTC- and one LG-built Pixel phone for 2017.

We still know very little about what this LG-built Pixel looks like, or its specs, but we can speculate as to why Google added LG to the equation this year.

A long history of collaboration

Google and LG have a long history of collaborating, all the way back to 2012 with the Nexus 4. LG has built three Nexus devices over the years (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X) and was the first manufacturer to boast a new phone running Android 7.0 Nougat in 2016 with the LG V20.

So the relationships are there, and the comfort is there. And with LG reaffirming its dedication to quality control — Google was also affected by the bootloop issues on the Nexus 5X — with the LG G6, Google probably feels more comfortable letting the Korean company take another stab at the project.

LG Display

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Google wants to spend nearly a billion dollars with LG Display to secure OLED panels for its upcoming Pixel phones.

LG Display is a separate company from LG Electronics, which creates phones, but the two are connected, and it stands to reason that Google would give the latter a manufacturing contract to ensure the success of the former.

OLED displays are the future of screens, and Google wants a piece of the market.

OLED displays are the future of mobile optics, and LG is ramping up production for its own devices and to compete with Samsung Display, which largely has the market cornered. The first Pixel phones were affected by enormous and frustrating manufacturing delays, and though Google never specifically pointed to a shortage in OLED displays, experts believe that is exactly what was keeping the phone off the market for so long. With its sequels, Google wants to avoid that problem, and giving LG the rights to manufacture one of its Pixels goes a long way to making sure that happens.

Design

Right now, we know almost nothing of the Pixel 2's design(s). One GFXBench listing implies that at least the smaller "walleye" will sport a 5.6-inch QHD display with a 2:1 aspect ratio — the same as the LG G6 — so it's expected that both units will have a low-bezel design, likely with a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone.

That larger screen should address the main design criticism of the original Pixels: their large bezels, which look even sillier now that the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are on the market.

Whether the new Pixels will be waterproof, have wireless charging, or possess dual cameras remain to be seen, but it would not be too off-base to assume that waterproofing would be on the table this year, given that both the HTC U11 and LG G6 are at least nominally water-resistant.

Specs

Expect at least a Snapdragon 835, if not something newer.

As for specs, we know a few things about the phones: that they'll run at least the Snapdragon 835 SoC — it's possible a newer Snapdragon 836 will be on the market by then — and have 4GB of RAM, which the market has settled on as the norm for most flagship smartphones.

It's also safe to assume that the camera will be another point of pride for Google this year — even with two different manufacturers, it's likely the "walleye" and "taimen" models will sport the same camera sensor, or sensors, and be optimized using Google's increasingly good HDR+ algorithms.

And given that the phones will have larger screens this year — the smaller Pixel 2 is expected to be 5.6-inches at a 2:1 aspect ratio, so expect a larger 5.9- or 6-inch "taimen" model of the same shape — it's possible they'll have larger batteries. The Snapdragon 835 has already shown itself to have considerably better efficiency than the 821 found in the original Pixels, so even with the same-sized batteries the new Pixels should have improved uptime, but we should also see slightly larger cells as well.

As for storage breakdown, it's expected that Google will keep the default size at 32GB, offering a 128GB model for $100 more. Last year's Pixel XL costs $120 more than the smaller version, and that difference isn't likely to go down this year, especially given the change in manufacturers. Expect the "taimen" version of the Pixel 2 XL to be $120 to $150 more than the "walleye."

Software

Like last year, the Pixel 2 series should launch with Android 8.1, a version that will remain exclusive to the phones for some time.

That strategy allowed Google to roll out some great new features for all phones running Android 7.0 Nougat while keeping some exclusive features for the Pixels, which ran Android 7.1 when they launched a few months later. At the same time, Google's excellent Pixel Launcher remains unique to the lineup, as does Project Fi support, which should fall over to the phones, too.

We don't know anything specific about what we'll see in Android 8.1 right now, but we're keeping our ear to the ground and will update this as we know more.

Pricing and availability

Another piece of the puzzle for which we're waiting to hear more is pricing and availability. It wouldn't be out of order to think that the Pixel 2 lineup will debut towards the end of October or the beginning of November, and will maintain a $649 / $749 price point for the smaller and larger phones, respectively.

We're hoping that Google ups the default storage to 64GB and that all of our spec wishes come true, but we only have a few more months to wait before we find it all out.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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6 days ago

Google Play Music's exclusive station for the Galaxy S8 is a Top 40-lover's dream

14

Whether you love Danish pop or Nickelback (why?), the New Release Radio plays all the popular hits.

I made a very, very big mistake while shuffling through the Samsung-exclusive radio station on Google Play Music. I forgot that there are a limited number of skips for those of us without monthly subscriptions — and then my last skip landed me on a Nickelback song.

Anyway, if you haven't already heard from the Android subreddit, there is a Play Music radio station called New Release Radio curated especially for Galaxy S8 and S8+ users. (Except that it's not because there is apparently a run-around to get it permanently added to your Play Music account.)

The radio station was actually announced back in April, by way of the official Google blog:

…with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on new Samsung phones and tablets globally. We're also collaborating with Samsung to create special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers.

The radio station is curated specifically for broadcasting mainstream music releases from around the world. If you're into the latest pop music, like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, or I guess Nickelback, it'll keep you privy to what's new from them and any other related artists. You'll also get a couple of hits from overseas; I myself encountered Danish pop. If you're more into the niche genres of music, however, or perhaps you simply abhor popular culture, New Releases Radio might not be something you'll have on repeat.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

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About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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6 days ago

Best Smartwatch For Kids

Best overall

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX

Find on Amazon

Instead of a tool for connecting to a smartphone, VTech created an experience that is mostly toy but partially useful. Amid all the games and onboard camera tricks you'll find a functional calendar for appointments, a voice memo app, and several other tools that work well with the smartwatch aesthetic. For $50, this is a great way to get kids thinking about using technology for more than entertainment without completely pulling them away from the shiny world of fun things.

Bottom line: If you have a youngster who wants a smartwatch just like you, this is a fantastic place to start.

One more thing: This watch comes in Blue and Purple, depending on what color you think your child will prefer.

Why VTech Kidizoom is the best

Smartwatches are already luxury accessories, and for kids they become little more than toys. VTech's smartwatch for kids has a few games, but also lets them take photos from their wrist and have some fun with the photos. It's a fun way for a kid to emulate their smartwatch-wearing parent without needing to be tethered to a smartphone, and it actually includes some tools that could be useful. Calendar access, for example, gives you an teaching opportunity. Calculator apps let children explore math on their own. There's plenty of fun to be had here, but the need to charge the watch regularly in order to use it and the availability of actually useful apps could become tools for teaching children how to care for their hardware and use it properly.

Best value

Supvin U80 Smartwatch

Find on Amazon

U80 is a barebones traditional smartwatch. It pairs to a phone via Bluetooth 4.0 and acts as notification sync. It's a limited experience, but one that covers the basics of smartwatch use and fitness or sleep tracking. It's simple, and the biggest feature here is the $16 price tag. If you're looking for a very basic smartwatch, this is where you start.

Bottom line: This is the beginner smartwatch you buy for a kid on their first smartphone, who really wants something inexpensive.

Only on Verizon

GizmoPal 2

Find on Verizon Wireless

LG's GizmoPal 2 is a wrist-mounted phone with some simple features for both parents and children. For kids, pre-programmed messages and emoji can be sent to a list of approved contacts. Two-way calling ensures your child can reach and be reached when necessary, and there's a fitness function onboard for jump rope or step counting. The big feature for parents is real-time tracking through the Android app, which gives you GPS coordinates and offers notifications if your child strays from GPS boundaries you have set up. The only real downside here the is the $80 you need to shell out to get set up, and of course the monthly cost of adding this to your Verizon Wireless bill.

Bottom line: This is a simple, friendly watch for kids who aren't ready for their first phone yet.

Conclusion

While there are certainly some great Android Wear watches out there, these are the best options for most kids. VTech offers a great fun accessory that doesn't require a phone. U80 is an inexpensive way to offer base smartwatch features. If you'd prefer the smartwatch be more for your peace of mind than your child's entertainment, Verizon has you covered with the GizmoPal 2 exclusive.

Best overall

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX

Find on Amazon

Instead of a tool for connecting to a smartphone, VTech created an experience that is mostly toy but partially useful. Amid all the games and onboard camera tricks you'll find a functional calendar for appointments, a voice memo app, and several other tools that work well with the smartwatch aesthetic. This is a great way to get kids thinking about using technology for more than entertainment, without completely pulling them away from the shiny world of fun things.

Bottom line: If you have a youngster who wants a smartwatch just like you, this is a fantastic place to start.

One more thing: This watch comes in Blue and Purple, depending on what color you think your child will prefer.

Update, June 2017: This article was updated to remove the AT&T Filip 2 which is no longer available.

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