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19
Jan

Slither.io brings the popular browser game to Android (Review)


Overview:

Slither.io is a port of the popular browser game of the same name. While it can be a challenging multiplayer experience, it’s simple and fun to play over and over again.

Developer: Lowtech Studios

Cost: Free (With ads, $3.99 ad-free version)

Impressions:

Slither.io is already a well-established and popular browser game on desktop computers. It is similar to a few other games, like Agar.io and Diep.io that involve a competitive online multiplayer game based around growing your character by consuming other players. In Slither.io, you play as a worm or snake-like creature which you guide with your finger, to collect orbs to grow while trying to defeat other players by making them collide with you without being defeated yourself. The main objective is to reach the top of the leaderboard and survive for as long as possible.

Slither.io is a simplistic game with cutesy graphics and basic one finger gameplay. There is a bit of customization involved, with skins based on flags, colors, and other silly things to make your worm stand out. The real challenge in Slither.io comes from outmaneuvering and outplaying others in order to make them destroy themselves and allow you to absorb them. The game can be downright infuriating at times, with large players dominating the map for long periods and aggressive people out to get the smaller players. However, it’s very addicting and offers a sense of sweet victory when you defeat someone and use their remaining energy to grow. Thankfully the game also offers an AI mode if you don’t want to play online with others.

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Slither.io offers a few different control schemes if the default one is too difficult for you. There is a joystick mode, which allows you to steer with an on-screen joystick and two different drag modes where you guide with the tip of your finger. There is also a boost mode that consumes energy to speed up, which can be used in different ways to either attack or survive.

There isn’t too much to Slither.io, besides its simplistic concept and harsh challenge at times. Compared to similar “.io” games, it’s one of the least complex but definitely one of the more fun ones to play. Thankfully there are no microtransactions to speak of, but there are ads. The ads themselves are harmless, but there is a “premium” no ads version of the game for $3.99 which is laughable seeing as the game doesn’t have egregious ad placement and the desktop version is exactly the same and 100% free. Do yourselves a favor and don’t bother with the paid version at all as it offers no added value unless you truly hate advertisements. Also, sometimes the connection when playing online can lag and cause stutter which may inadvertently cause you to die. An unfortunate situation but understandable when dealing with a large-scale multiplayer game spanning hundreds of players at once.

Conclusion:

I really like Slither.io. I’ve played both the desktop and now the Android version and it is a satisfying game when you do well, and offers a challenge that few games of this caliber can offer especially on mobile. I’d recommend it to anyone but younger kids may have a hard time and also the player nicknames can sometimes be a bit NSFW, so be wary of that if you let your kids play. Solid game, be sure to check it out!

Download Slither.io on the Google Play Store

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19
Jan

Don’t miss out on this smart plug for its lowest price yet!


Right now you can pick up one of TP Link’s smart plugs for just $35, its lowest price yet. If you’re looking to make your house or apartment a bit smarter, this is the perfect way to get started or add to your existing setup. From being able to schedule when the power at the outlet goes on and off to having remote access to it, this is an awesome way to make things work better for you.

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This deal won’t last long, so you should act quickly if you are interested in it. Make your house smarter with only a small investment, you’ll be thankful you did later.

See at Amazon

19
Jan

The Belkin Wemo Mini makes your home that much smarter


A question your friendly neighborhood Modern Dad gets a lot is this: Are connected lights worth it? Sure. But there’s a great alternative.

And that alternative is a smart outlet. And we’ve got a brand new one here from Belkin, called the WeMo Mini.

Here’s the gist: It’s a power outlet that, uh, plugs into your power outlet.

[CUE XHIBIT YO DAWG MEME.]

It also plugs into your router, which is how it gets smart. Well, as smart as an outlet can get, I guess.

You can turn it off and on with your phone.

wemogif.gif?itok=zfba7uc_Or your voice. It works with Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. But not Apple’s HomeKit. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t work on iOS — it just doesn’t use Apple’s fancy implementation with Siri.

Why a smart outlet? Why not. It’s brilliant (BRILLIANT!) for lamps in hard-to-reach places. I LOVED having my Christmas tree plugged into one so I could just stumble to bed at night and mutter “Alexa, turn off the Christmas tree.”

And the new Wemo Mini makes things even better by slimming down the outlet itself, so you can use two at the same time. It’s a much better shape than the old favorite.

The only real down side here? Belkin’s Wemo app isn’t great. It’s the same on Android as it is on iOS, which is fine and all. Setup is still kind of a pain. And the app is only meant to be used in a single location. (There are third-party options that can help with that, though.)

But all in all? This is a really flexible product. So long as it’s in range of your Wifi and fits on the outlet, it’ll work great. And now in this smaller form, it’ll fit in more places.

See at Amazon

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19
Jan

U.S. carriers could begin Galaxy S7 Nougat update in early Feb


Nougat could hit GS7 units in the U.S. as early as February 8.

For millions of U.S. Galaxy S7 and S7 edge owners, the alluring scent of Android 7.0 Nougat has been wafting through the window like a basket of freshly-baked cookies (sorry, so hungry) for a few weeks now — ever since the company released a beta version for a few (hundred) thousand people.

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Canadians have also been looking forward to the same thing (h/t MobileSyrup), but there are just far fewer people in the country to get excited. Nevertheless, Koodo, one of Canada’s discount carriers, which happens to be owned by the country’s second-largest telecom, Telus, posted and then removed a notice of update for the Galaxy S7 line: February 8.

Given that the U.S. and Canadian carriers tend to stick to a fairly rigid update schedule for Samsung devices, it wouldn’t be a big leap to suggest that providers like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T would begin rolling out their versions of Nougat updates around the same time.

It’s about time, too: our own Alex Dobie took the GS7 Nougat update for a spin and found it to be exactly what the doctor ordered for these impressive flagships — and the next.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
  • Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
  • Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

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AT&T
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T-Mobile
Verizon

19
Jan

VR experiences that work no matter what headset you own


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Cross-platform games and apps are slowly being introduced to make them more accessible no matter what VR headset you own.

There are tons of amazing apps, games, and experiences just waiting for you to enjoy in VR. It can be frustrating when you find an awesome new game that isn’t available for your VR headset. That’s where cross-platform apps come in to make things easier for everyone. While there aren’t a ton of cross-platform apps that are currently live, more of them will be cropping up moving forward!

Read more at VRHeads.com

19
Jan

Best Android Phones Under $300


Equip yourself with a solid set of specs for the bare minimum.

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Best overall

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

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See at Amazon

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini’s price tag has finally dipped below $300. This stylish aluminum device is essentially a mini-me of its regularly-sized flagship, the Axon 7, but don’t expect to move mountains with its mid-range hardware.

At the very least, the Axon 7 Mini’s 16-megapixel camera is capable enough to capture the dazzling colors of a winter sunset. Its vibrant 1080p display and capable stereo speakers will also fool anyone into thinking this thing costs more than it does. But before you bring home this seemingly all-for-less package, remember that you’ll have to contend with is ZTE’s MiFavor UI, which isn’t the best translation of the Android operating system.

Bottom line: All the basics are available in the ZTE Axon 7 Mini if you’re aching to upgrade but you’re desperate to avoid spending an arm and a leg.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini does not work particularly well with CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon.

Why the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is the best

One of the bummers of purchasing a budget device is that you’re often trading in form for functionality. The ZTE Axon 7 Mini gives you the best of both worlds, however: It comes outfitted in a stylish silver or gold aluminum dressing, complete with perforated speaker grills for added flair. And not only is it actually pocketable, its 5.2-inch display is just as watchable as the one your friend looks at on her iPhone.

The Axon 7 Mini may not be the kind of workhorse you’d find exhibited by its flagship counterpart, but it is a worthy consideration precisely because it can keep up with everyone else. And sure, it may not have the most user-friendly interface available, but with a little love from a third-party launcher, you can easily fake the Google experience while relishing in the fact that you paid a fraction of the price.

Best for naval-gazing

Honor 6X

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See at Amazon

If your lifestyle is living loudly, wildly, and all over the internet, the Honor 6X should be your first choice for a budget smartphone. It’s equipped with all the necessities, including a dual rear-facing 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel camera that’s packed with a bevy of camera modes, a substantial 3000mAh batter pack, and a 1080p display for editing all those photos before posting them online.

Bottom line: The Honor 6X is truly a smartphone made for the kids: It has great battery life, camera hardware that’s substantial for social media, and a non-partisan design that will blend in with the rest of ’em.

One more thing: Like the Axon 7 Mini, the Honor 6X is not compatible with the major CDMA networks in the U.S.

Best for really tight budgets

Moto G4 Plus

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See at Amazon

Here’s a phone that’s truly unlocked: the Moto G4 Plus boasts compatibility with all four of the major networks, including Verizon and Sprint. You won’t get near the kind of performance you’d get with a pricier device, but you will get plenty of storage, a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 3000mAh battery pack.

Bottom line: The Moto G4 Plus is the practical way to go if you’re interested in just the basics.

One more thing: There are two options for the Moto G4 Plus: a 32GB variant, which only comes with 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB variant, which comes equipped with 4GB. At the time of writing, there is around a $30 price difference between the two on Amazon, but we’d suggest springing the cash for the extra memory.

Best overall

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

axon7mini-%285%29.jpg?itok=nK9FSme8

See at Amazon

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini’s price tag has finally dipped below $300. This stylish aluminum device is essentially a mini-me of its regularly-sized flagship, the Axon 7, but don’t expect to move mountains with its mid-range hardware.

At the very least, the Axon 7 Mini’s 16-megapixel camera is capable enough to capture the dazzling colors of a winter sunset. Its vibrant 1080p display and capable stereo speakers will also fool anyone into thinking this thing costs more than it does. But before you bring home this seemingly all-for-less package, remember that you’ll have to contend with is ZTE’s MiFavor UI, which isn’t the best translation of the Android operating system.

Bottom line: All the basics are available in the ZTE Axon 7 Mini if you’re aching to upgrade but you’re desperate to avoid spending an arm and a leg.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini does not work particularly well with CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon.

19
Jan

Score an unlocked Galaxy Note 4 for just $349 right now!


Daily Steals is currently offering the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for just $349 with coupon code GALAXYSALE. This deal is for a new in box unlocked T-Mobile unit. While it may not be the latest and greatest Android phone, it is the last in the Galaxy Note line to feature a removable battery, something that many still desire in a phone. It comes with 32GB of internal storage with the ability to expand it with a microSD card, a 16MP camera and much more.

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Remember, you’ll need coupon code GALAXYSALE to get the additional savings. Will you be picking one up in black or white? Let us know in the comments!

See at Daily Steals

19
Jan

NVIDIA Shield Android TV: Top tips and tricks for your set top box


nvidia-shield-android-tv-table-accessori

The NVIDIA Shield Android TV is a powerful set top box with plenty of advanced capabilities.

You may initially buy the Shield Android TV for a basic set of tasks, but it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll want to do more with it when you discover all that’s possible with this box. Between its expandable ports, extra software, solid peripherals and gaming capabilities, the Shield Android TV can grow with you.

To help you make the most of your box, we have a great list of tips and tricks for you to check out and put to good use in your entertainment system.

Add storage with a USB drive

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Even though the Shield Android TV no longer has a microSD card slot (unless you buy the Pro model), that doesn’t mean you can’t expand on the 16GB of internal storage. You still have two USB 3.0 ports on the back of the box to work with, and the system will be happy to use the storage of any USB device you attach. That could be a flash drive or a full-on external hard drive — the only thing to think about here is speed.

Because the Shield Android TV has USB 3.0 it’s highly recommended that you use a 3.0 drive, as using a slower drive could cause performance issues when it’s adopted into the system. Thankfully it’s easy to find a good 3.0 drive, whether it’s a simple 32GB flash drive or a larger 1TB spinning hard drive — either one will integrate seamlessly into the system.

Once you attach a drive, just go into the Shield Android TV’s settings, select Storage and tell it you want to adopt the drive. There’s just one important thing to remember: once you adopt a drive, you wont be able to remove and reattach the drive or use it on any other machine until you format it. So choose you drive wisely and commit to it!

The Shield Controller works with headphones

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The new version of the Shield Remote no longer has a headphone jack for private listening, but the feature has been retained in the new Shield Controller. When you plug any headphones into the controller all audio that would normally go out to your TV is sent to the headphones instead, whether you’re playing a game or just watching Netflix.

The bonus of using the controller is that it has much longer battery life than the remote. NVIDIA claims 60 hours of gameplay with the controller before needing to recharge, so you should be able to get far more than that if you’re just using it for private listening without other functions.

Your controller and remote can control your TV

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The new Shield Controller and Remote added a few new features, but one of the unsung heroes here is the addition of IR blasters on both accessories. So now even though the new Shield Android TV itself is controlled over Bluetooth, you can use the controller or remote to control the power and volume of other parts of your entertainment center including your TV and AV receiver.

To set this up, head into your settings, display & sound then either volume control or power control to get started. The Shield will do its best to identify the TV its plugged into, then give you steps to find the right IR code to manage volume and power of the TV or receiver you have.

Rearrange app tiles

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The Shield Android TV’s new Nougat software simplified the home screen by dropping the “NVIDIA” subsection, leaving you with just Apps and Games. At first these lists will be short and simple, but as you install more apps and games to the box they can quickly get out of hand. Fear not, you can rearrange them!

Move around the interface with either your controller or remote to highlight the app or game tile you want to move, then press and hold the select button until the rest of the interface fades away. Move the app around with the directional pad and watch the apps around it move out of its way. Once you found the right spot, press the select or home button and the tile will stay put.

Apps and games will remain in this custom order until you move them around, and extra apps and games that are installed after the fact will continue to just be added to the end of the list.

Use the quick app switcher

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Android 7.0 Nougat for Android TVs added a neat little feature: a quick app switcher. The problem is, you wouldn’t know about it unless someone told you … so we’re telling you. To access it, double press on the home button of either your controller or remote and you’ll see the interface give away for a horizontal-scrolling list of your recently used apps.

Click left and right to find what you want to switch to, and select it to launch straight into that previous app. It can be much quicker to use this method than jumping all the way back to the home screen to find a previous app. (As an extra tip, if you feel like you need to forcibly close an app, you can do so by highlighting it in the app switcher and pressing down on the directional pad twice.)

Connect to your PC via USB

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NVIDIA removed the Micro-USB port from the Shield Android TV in its 2017 refresh, but that doesn’t mean it removed the ability to connect a PC to the box. The feature has been retained simply using one of the two USB-A ports on the back of the box. You’ll need a lesser-used USB-A to USB-A cable, but once you have one it’ll work just like you expect — giving you access to the box via your PC for all sorts of fun.

To get started, with the cable connected to both your Shield Android TV and PC go into the Shield’s settings, select storage & reset then flip the switch for Shield storage access using USB.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

  • Read our Shield Android TV review
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19
Jan

Tilt Brush creations can now be exported to other projects


Now what you make in virtual reality can be exported into real life.

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Google announced that it’s released the Tilt Brush Toolkit, an open source library that lets you bring those Title Brush creations over to other projects.

Tilt Brush is one of the more creative apps available for the HTC Vive — after all, it essentially allows you to paint your world. The toolkit comes equipped with Python scripts and a Unity SDK that enable you to turn those creations into movies, interactive stories, games, music videos, or whatever else you can think up with the apps and services in your arsenal.

The brush shaders, audio code, and file format conversion utilities are all a part of the package so that you have a relatively stress-free transition over to a new project. Now get to painting! Virtually, that is.

Watch a man virtually recreate a car from memory using Tilt Brush

19
Jan

Researchers have found a way to pair cells to smartphones


Wearables, fitness trackers and other medical devices are extremely useful for gathering basic health data, but existing electronics aren’t so good at communicating directly with our bodies’ biological systems. The simple fact is that there’s a disconnect between organic cells that communicate via hormones or nutrients, and electronic devices that communicate via electrons. According to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Communications, however, researchers have devised a way to reprogram bacterial cells to recognize electronic signals. The system could one day allow our smartphones or other devices to communicate directly with cells in the body.

The key is harnessing “redox” molecules, which move electrons in biological systems through chemical reactions. Using an electrode connected to an electronic device, the researchers were able to flip the redox molecules between oxidized and reduced states, two of the study’s co-authors wrote in Scientific American. By genetically modifying bacterial cells to respond to the redox molecule pyocyanin, the team could then control the bacteria’s protein synthesis. And because the protein produced glows a fluorescent green, the team was about to watch as they flipped the cells on and off like a light switch.

In another example, the research team was able to create a bacteria that would swim forward when “switched on,” but would remain in one spot when “off.” And in a third example, the team was able to influence the collective behavior of an entire colony of cells. Moving forward, the researchers envision autonomous devices (or even just a feature of your smartphone) that could spot and treat diseases by reprogramming bacteria to produce helpful compounds and “issue new directions to the biological system.”

Via: Scientific American

Source: Nature Communications

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