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21
Dec

Satechi’s Aluminum Power Strip charges up to 8 devices simultaneously [Review]


20151221_134751As we see more and more USB charging hubs released on the market, Satechi looks to stand out by offering a product that kills two birds with one stone. The Satechi Aluminum Power Strip features four standard AC outlets and four USB ports, to tackle all your charging needs.

Design

20151221_134703Satechi clearly put time and effort into the design of this power strip. As the name suggests, it is crafted from aluminum and just looks and feels premium. The four additional USB ports are set on the end of the power strip, which is a nice change from other such products that lead to USB cords sticking straight up when plugged into the face of the strip.

20151221_134946The simple design aesthetic is maintained throughout the power strip, as the light gray aluminum stops only to make way for the plastic faceplate that houses the four AC outlets. A standard on/off switch can be found at the end of the power strip, next to the main power cable. Around the back of the power strip are two mounting holes, just in case you feel like mounting it onto a wall.

Overall, I was very impressed with Satechi’s design choices here. Given that this particular product serves only to charge devices and power whatever is plugged into it, I was glad to see that the team at Satechi kept the design minimal. In some cases, too many bells and whistles can be overwhelming, and Satechi definitely took that to heart with this power strip.

Usage & Performance

Using the aluminum power strip is inherently easy, as is expected. The four AC outlets work as well as you could imagine, powering whatever standard device you feel like plugging into them. I found myself using only two of the outlets, one for a lamp and the other for a laptop charger. Of course, the AC outlets are surge protected, so all your electronics will be safe.

20151221_134736The four USB ports along the side are where it gets interesting. Satechi’s branding and product page suggest that the ports are pf the “smart super charger” variety, although in my testing I found that the ports charge at a standard rate. While there is no mention of Qualcomm Quick Charging, it’s interesting that the “super charger” ports don’t seem to provide any more power than a standard charger.

Satechi did build in smart IC technology, so the power strip allocates power as needed, giving each device just the right amount of charge and maximizing charging speeds. The strip provides up to 6A of power to the USB ports, which is just enough to properly charge four devices overnight.

Summary

20151221_134740Satechi did a great job with this power strip. It is designed very well, and it quite simply does what it was made to do. For $27.99 on Amazon, it may be a little pricey for a power strip, but I would say the convenience makes up for the price tag. It eliminates the need for an extra USB hub, and it provides four extra AC ports for non-USB devices as well.

The post Satechi’s Aluminum Power Strip charges up to 8 devices simultaneously [Review] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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21
Dec

Satechi’s Aluminum Power Strip charges up to 8 devices simultaneously [Review]


20151221_134751As we see more and more USB charging hubs released on the market, Satechi looks to stand out by offering a product that kills two birds with one stone. The Satechi Aluminum Power Strip features four standard AC outlets and four USB ports, to tackle all your charging needs.

Design

20151221_134703Satechi clearly put time and effort into the design of this power strip. As the name suggests, it is crafted from aluminum and just looks and feels premium. The four additional USB ports are set on the end of the power strip, which is a nice change from other such products that lead to USB cords sticking straight up when plugged into the face of the strip.

20151221_134946The simple design aesthetic is maintained throughout the power strip, as the light gray aluminum stops only to make way for the plastic faceplate that houses the four AC outlets. A standard on/off switch can be found at the end of the power strip, next to the main power cable. Around the back of the power strip are two mounting holes, just in case you feel like mounting it onto a wall.

Overall, I was very impressed with Satechi’s design choices here. Given that this particular product serves only to charge devices and power whatever is plugged into it, I was glad to see that the team at Satechi kept the design minimal. In some cases, too many bells and whistles can be overwhelming, and Satechi definitely took that to heart with this power strip.

Usage & Performance

Using the aluminum power strip is inherently easy, as is expected. The four AC outlets work as well as you could imagine, powering whatever standard device you feel like plugging into them. I found myself using only two of the outlets, one for a lamp and the other for a laptop charger. Of course, the AC outlets are surge protected, so all your electronics will be safe.

20151221_134736The four USB ports along the side are where it gets interesting. Satechi’s branding and product page suggest that the ports are pf the “smart super charger” variety, although in my testing I found that the ports charge at a standard rate. While there is no mention of Qualcomm Quick Charging, it’s interesting that the “super charger” ports don’t seem to provide any more power than a standard charger.

Satechi did build in smart IC technology, so the power strip allocates power as needed, giving each device just the right amount of charge and maximizing charging speeds. The strip provides up to 6A of power to the USB ports, which is just enough to properly charge four devices overnight.

Summary

20151221_134740Satechi did a great job with this power strip. It is designed very well, and it quite simply does what it was made to do. For $27.99 on Amazon, it may be a little pricey for a power strip, but I would say the convenience makes up for the price tag. It eliminates the need for an extra USB hub, and it provides four extra AC ports for non-USB devices as well.

The post Satechi’s Aluminum Power Strip charges up to 8 devices simultaneously [Review] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

21
Dec

Kim Kardashian cashes in with her own emoji app


If you know someone who lives vicariously through Kim Kardashian West’s life of endless photo ops and reality TV shows, brace yourself: you’re about to get an eyeful of her in your phone chats. She just released Kimoji, an app that (surprise) gives you over 250 Kim-related emoji and stickers for your messaging apps. There’s even a keyboard, in case you need to slip that “break the internet” magazine cover into a conversation.

Naturally, Kim isn’t doing this out of the goodness of her heart — this is a profit-making endeavor from day one. You have to drop $2 to get the core app, and there are promises of additional packs that will no doubt cost extra. This isn’t likely to be as much of a money pit as Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but it could get expensive to keep up with the… yeah, you know.

Via: Kim Kardashian West (Instagram), i-D

Source: App Store

21
Dec

Talking it out: Why I’m switching from Verizon to Google Fi


I’ve been a loyal Verizon customer since the mid-1990s when I got my first StarTac. Heck, I even work for them, technically. And for the duration of that two-decade relationship, despite the company’s excruciatingly lackluster customer service, my fealty to Big Red never wavered — even as my bill monthly slowly bloated. It was a gradual increase, barely noticeable with the company’s auto-pay feature. In fact, it wasn’t until I recently renewed my two-year contract and found myself conscripted into Verizon’s EDGE program that things got out of hand.

Suddenly, I found myself paying just north of $130 a month for a single line and 6GB of data (even though I rarely use more than 3GB) on last year’s Nexus 6. Even with my 25-percent Verizon employee discount I was still shelling out $113 every billing cycle. That’s absurd. Even crazier, if I reduced my data allowance from 6GB to 4GB — you know, to save some cash — I would somehow end up spending $2.50 more each month. It was clearly time to show Verizon the door, but who was I to use instead?

After looking into the alternative services, I zeroed in on Google’s Project Fi. Its coverage is strong in San Francisco, Fi works on the same phone that I already have, and it’s far less pricey than Verizon. By my calculations, I’d only spend around $40 to $50 a month for Fi’s basic service and 2-3GB of data — saving me $60 to $70 monthly. Also, my colleague Nicole swears by it and she’s way more competent at this sort of thing than I am.

Unfortunately, Verizon is not about to let me switch that easily; I would have to pay off the $432.64 balance of my Nexus 6 first (because that’s how the EDGE program works) if I wanted to take it with me, plus zero out my remaining service bill before leaving. Here’s how the math broke down:

Verizon says I owe $545.64 in total ($113 for the December billing cycle plus $432.64 for the phone balance) if I want to keep my Nexus 6. My initial thought was to simply pay that amount and wash my hands of Verizon in one fell swoop. Bad call. Why would I spend $432 to buy out a phone that is already a year old when I can get the new Nexus 6P for the same price? Seriously, Google just trimmed $50 off the 6P as part of a holiday promotion, bringing the price of the 32GB model that I was eyeing down to $450.

That means if I give Verizon back the Nexus 6 and buy a Nexus 6P from Google, I’m basically getting a model upgrade for $18. I’d still have to shell out a couple hundred bucks for the handset but at least it’s for a new phone.

Wait, no I wouldn’t. Because I’m a proper, financially responsible adult, Google will let me to pay for the phone in 24 monthly installments. It’s just like Verizon’s EDGE program but, you know, less expensive and for a superior product. Whereas I was paying $27 a month for the Nexus 6, I’d only have to give Google $18 for the 6P. Best of all, I don’t have to put any money down which means I won’t have to raid my savings account or give Verizon any more cash than I absolutely have to.

So, in the end, I figure I’ll have to shell out just $154 initially ($113 to Verizon for December and around $40 to Google for the taxes on the 6P purchase) and, at most, $60 a month for service, data and paying off the handset itself. That’s still half (half) what I’ve been paying Big Red. I just wish I’d thought to do it sooner.

21
Dec

Thimble wants to ship you tinkering kits every month


A Kickstarter project aims to be the perfect solution for the DIY crowd. Thimble, which has already beat its pledged goal of $25,000, says it wants to deliver different electronic kits to tinkerers every month, with the first of the series being a WiFi robot. Those of you who are interested can use these do-it-yourself care packages to learn to code, build and hack, helped by guided tutorials and a community Thimble hopes to grow over time.

Thimble’s currently offering up to 12-month subscriptions for backers, or there’s also an option to pledge $59 for the lootcrate that includes the parts to build the aforementioned WiFi robot. If you’re into it, you may want to get in on it as soon as possible, as most of the Early Bird Specials seem to be flying off the shelves.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1891856541/thimble-learn-and-build-electronics-w-monthly-deli/widget/video.html

Source: Thimble (Kickstarter)

21
Dec

Lawsuit demands the right to resell Steam games


One of the biggest gripes about downloadable games (unless you’re a developer) is that you can’t typically resell them — that title is yours forever, even if you’ll never play it again. French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir is doing something about it, though. It’s suing Valve to demand resales for Steam games. Its policy violates the European Union’s right to resell legally purchased software, according to the group. As proof, it points to a 2012 Oracle case where a judge ruled that there was no difference between reselling disc-based copies and their downloaded equivalents.

The outfit also blasts Valve’s self-given right to reuse user-made Steam content, and argues that it should refund any leftover credit if you close your Steam account.

Whether or not Que Choisir wins the day is far from clear. A German group didn’t have any success trying a similar feat. And even if the French lawsuit leads to an EU-wide resale policy, you shouldn’t expect it to spread to the US. Downloads are typically considered licenses in the country, not sales, and wouldn’t be subject to the same scrutiny. Even so, this is a step forward for anyone hoping to thin down a massive Steam library… and make some spare cash in the process.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: UFC-Que Choisir (translated)

21
Dec

Cortana for Android update removes “Hey Cortana” feature


cortana-for-android-app-logo

Microsoft yesterday updated Cortana for Android, removing the “Hey Cortana” feature from the version available in the US market. This comes just a few days after bringing Cortana for Android out of beta and officially launching the full product.

The Redmond-based company hasn’t released an official statement yet, but initial reports indicate that the “Hey Cortana” feature was having conflicts with the device’s microphone.

There was already hints that the “Hey Cortana” feature wouldn’t work properly on Android, which is largely because of developer restrictions.

Microsoft is partnering with Cyanogen to offer Cortana for Android in its fullest form on Cyanogen-powered smartphones, which is as close as Android will get to seeing this function, for now.

This update to Cortana for Android also brings some stability enhancements as well as improved call and text features.

Cortana for Android is available to download for free from the Play Store.

Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: Cortana for Android update removes “Hey Cortana” feature

21
Dec

Pinball Labs wants to bring classic gaming tables to VR


Pinball Labs is a Kickstarter project that marries old school cool with cutting edge tech. The project is attempting to release a true-to-physics pinball simulator for PC, a variety of virtual reality platforms such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and multi-screen virtual cabinets.

The project is banking on support from the already vibrant communities associated with keeping the pinball flame alight in the modern world. Virtual pinball enthusiasts have designed and shared simulated pinball games to play on computers, and homebrew pinball fans are using tech like 3D printing and laser cutting to build their own custom pinball machines. Pinball Labs hopes to win over both audiences by letting users have an unprecedented level of immersion with VR as well as giving them the tools to design and share their own virtual tables with ease.


Google cardboard best vr appsSee also: 7 best Google Cardboard VR apps and games5

Pinball Labs is being built with the Unreal Engine 4 and hopes to be complete by July 2016. The Kickstarter has reached $5,000 of its $18,500 goal. Supporters pledging $20 or more (in limited amounts per donation tier) will receive a digital download of the final game.

With VR technology looming over the commercial market, it’s looking like more immersive gaming is going to be the Next Big Thing. However, Oculus Rift and other VR platforms still have a relatively small library of games available. 2016 looks like it may be a turning point for VR gaming, so it’s no surprise that software developers are looking to get into the action.

What are your thoughts of Pinball Labs? Does it excite the pinball wizard inside you or just evoke a shrug? Let us know in the comments below!

Next: Best cheap Android phones (December 2015)

21
Dec

Marshmallow hits NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1


aa-shield-k1 (1)

Shield Tablet K1 owners rejoice! Marshmallow is finally available on your favorite NVIDIA tablet. NVIDIA had promised that Android 6.0 Marshmallow would be arriving on the device before New Year’s, and today they’ve made good on that promise.

At its core, Marshmallow is more an array of tweaks and improvements on Lollipop than it is an overhaul. Marshmallow’s UI streamlines a lot of Android’s basic functions, and the update offers a set of features that are designed to improve battery life on devices across the board: good news for Shield Tablet K1 power users.


shield wireless controller aa (6 of 8)See also: NVIDIA Shield Tablet Review (Update: back in stock as Tablet K1)10

However, the thing that has most users excited about Marshmallow is Google’s Now on Tap function. Now on Tap expands on Google Now, an Android feature that brought a whole new deck of cards to the table back in KitKat. The location and context-sensitive launcher provides users with information and shortcuts before they even ask for it.

Google Now on Tap makes this functionality even more relevant by finding content and anticipating your needs based on which app and what information is currently on the screen. For instance, if you’re reading an article about Kevin Bacon, launching Google Now on Tap might show you some more information about Kevin Bacon.

If you’re ready to update to Marshmallow on your NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1, head over to Settings > About > Check for Updates. Once you’re updated, be sure to come back around to gloat about your new Marshmallowy operating system.

Are you a Shield Tablet K1 owner? Are you the owner of a different tablet, and you’re still stuck waiting around for Android 6.0 Marshmallow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next: Best cheap Android tablets

21
Dec

Customizing your icons is easier than ever with the latest Action Launcher 3 update


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Action Launcher 3 has been one of our favorite third-party launchers on Android for some time now, and today it’s getting even better. In the latest update that’s rolling out as we speak, developer Chris Lacy has added a few new features that will make customizing your smartphone a breeze.

The headline feature here is called Quickedit, which is a much simpler way to edit shortcuts. On your home screen, simply long press on the icon of your choosing, release, and a little menu will show up with suggestions for icon alternatives based on the icon packs you currently have installed on your device. If you don’t have any icon packs installed, you can quickly jump to Google Photos, Dropbox and more to create your own icons, or quickly jump to the Play Store for more information on that particular app.

Also in this update is a feature called Smartsize (currently in beta). Smartsize will automatically resize your icons to fit the Material Design icon grid. Trust me, your home screen will look a lot better after this feature has been turned on. Take a look:

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There’s also a handy new addition that will correctly display the current day of the month for the Google Calendar icon. Pretty cool, right? That’s not all. There are a ton of additional fixes and features in this update, all of which you can check out in Chris Lacy’s Google+ post. For a full rundown of all the new features in this big update, you’ll want to watch the promotional video for this update:

The update is now live in Google Play, so hit the Play Store link below to grab the latest version. How are you liking the new Quickedit and Smartsize features? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Download Action Launcher 3 from Google Play

Next: 15 best launchers of 2015

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