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16
Jan

Syllable D9X – a pair of truly wireless earbuds with a quirky design and spotty performance


Design

Just to give you some fair warning, dear Android Guys, this is going to be something of a rant, design-wise. I have many nits to pick with Syllable’s D9X, and a good number of them are likely petty and/or highly subjective. You’ve been warned!

The D9X Bluetooth headset have a truly unique design, in that it features a removable battery in each earpiece that can essentially be hot-swapped on the fly in seconds. These little 80mAh “tabs” – for lack of a better word – can be stored and charged in a 400mAh case (four batteries are included in the retail unit) and the whole setup itself can then be stored in a hard-sided carrying case or felt bag (also included).

Frankly, the whole thing is just a bundle of madness. Every time you want to use the D9X, you have to remove the two earpieces and charging case from the carrying case (which, yes, means you have to have a case to hold the case), then remove and insert a battery for each earpiece (making the whole process quite difficult unless you have a flat surface on which to assemble it).

Carrying Case

The carrying case is too large for a pocket – it’s meant to be attached to a bag via carabiner – and since the charging case hold the batteries but not the earpieces, that means you either have to stick the earpieces in your pocket separate from the charging case, or put all three pieces in the felt bag and put that in your pocket. It’s all very inefficient.

That said, though, the carrying case itself is surprisingly well-made. It’s got a high-quality zipper that never snags or catches, a soft-but-sturdy outer shell, and a precision-molded interior padding that holds each piece loosely in place. There’s a Syllable logo on the cover – the only splash of color on the entire package – but the logo itself is so unidentifiable you’d be hard-pressed to name the brand if you saw it.

Charging Case

If there’s a true highlight to the design of the D9X, it’s the way the charging case feels. The black aluminum chassis feels great in-hand, and the clear plastic lid clicks open satisfactorily.  While the two charging slots for the batteries feature a magnetic connection, the two storage slots do not – which means the extra batteries have a tendency to pop out willy-nilly. I wish the case had a spot for the earpieces themselves – as mentioned above it makes transportation something of a challenge – but overall the charging case is a highlight of the D9X.

Earpieces

As impressive as the charging case is for the D9X, the build of the earpieces is that disappointing. The chassis is made of a gross gloss plastic, which clashes awfully the second you connect a battery – made of that same classy black aluminum as the charging case – to the earpiece. The single button design of the earpieces means you can’t do a whole lot with them, but on the other hand I much prefer it to the multi-button design of some other Bluetooth earbuds.

Attaching a battery automatically powers on the D9X, and removing the battery obviously powers it off. The batteries secure easily enough, though the connection is mostly magnetic – and as such, a slight bump will knock it clean off. Wearing the D9X is comfy – the various sizes of Silicon buds and earhooks make for a custom fit, and finding the right combination of sizes makes for a custom-fit that holds well even when working out. The earhooks are especially nifty, slipping on right over the buds and fitting on a small bulge between the chassis and bud. Of all the Bluetooth earbuds I’ve tried, I think these fit the best.

Performance

Generally speaking, when it comes to Bluetooth earbuds of the truly wireless variety – especially sub-$100 ones – you pay the price for portability and price. Depth of sound is often lacking, volume rarely tops out at something that’ll blow brain matter out your nostrils, music often has a tinny (not to be confused with tiny) quality, and mic performance often makes you sound like you’re talking from far, far away – which, yes, is often the case, but it shouldn’t sound like it. Truly wireless earbuds are a relatively new technology, and it’ll likely be a long while before its performance catches us up with the tried-and true technology of its wired companions.

And the D9X is no exception. In addition to the dubious design decisions details above (my oh my, that alliteration), Syllable’s earbuds suffer from finnicky connection and lackluster maximum volume. Surprisingly, though both the clarity and depth of sound in the odd little buds is great – for a sub-$100 headset, that is.

My personal experience with the D9X got off to a rocky start. The two earbuds took more than a minute to “find” one-another, and an additional 30 seconds to pair up with my phone. Subsequent connections were much more convenient, but that initial pairing process was pretty rough. The maximum volume output of the D9X is noticeably lower than others of its kin; in my quiet room with just the clackety-clack of my mechanical keyboard filling the silence, that volume level was just perfectly adequate. But outside, or in a busy workplace – let alone a crowded bus – it’s severely lacking.

As a result, and with most products like it, the D9X performs well in some aspects and rather flawed in others. It’s far from perfect – but at $79.99, can you even reasonably expect anything close?

Battery/Charging

In terms of battery life per individual charge, the D9X is pretty strong. Each 80mAh tab is good for 2 hours of playback – not bad at all in the Bluetooth earbud arena. But when you take into account the two sets of included batteries and 400mAh in the charging case, you wind up with almost 10 hours of playback – excellent for Bluetooth earbuds. If there’s one aspect of performance where Syllable’s earbuds truly excel, it’s battery life. It has its design flaws and its performance isn’t top-tier, but if battery life is your niche, the D9X is your Huckleberry. Beyond the battery mechanics themselves – which I whined about ad nauseam above – the only knock I have on the D9X in terms of battery is the Micro-USB port on the charging case. It’s time to join us in the USB-C era, Syllable (though to be fair, few Bluetooth manufacturers have yet to jump aboard that bandwagon).

Get the D9X on Amazon for $79.99

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16
Jan

Customer details may have been stolen from the OnePlus web store


OnePlus has opened an investigation into its web store’s payment methods after it emerged that some of its customers had been hit by credit card fraud shortly after making a purchase.

The issue arose when a user by the name of Superdutynick noticed that both of his credit cards had gained fraudulent charges after he made two separate transactions on the OnePlus store. Noting that the only common denominator was the OnePlus store, he started a poll on the official OnePlus forums asking other users had experienced a similar problem. When a significant percentage replied that they had and it was quickly followed by a similar post on Reddit that attracted hundreds of concerned comments, it became obvious that OnePlus was going to have to act fast.

The company did, in fact, react quickly. It responded with a forum post of its own explaining the situation, and later disabled all credit card payments on the website while the investigation was taking place. OnePlus team member Mingyu seems fairly certain what isn’t the cause of the leaks, saying that the recent Magento hack is not to blame, since the OnePlus website has been rebuilt since 2014, and had never included the Magento payment module on the previous Magento ecommerce site. Mingyu also did not believe it was as a result of a breach of OnePlus’s security, since no card details are stored on their servers.

Information security website Fidus seems to disagree with that idea, noting that OnePlus itself is not PCI-DSS compliant, and that while no information is stored on OnePlus’s website, there is a single page still hosted on OnePlus’ infrastructure where card details could be stolen, if an intruder has access. At this time, this seems to be the most likely culprit for the breach, though it’s worth waiting to see what OnePlus’ own investigation turns up.

OnePlus has been one of Android’s major success stories, with the company coming out of nowhere to become an established name within smartphones. It recently released its OnePlus 5T to great acclaim, and while no stranger to controversy, has generally had good press on its side. Thanks to its swift and decisive action to fix this issue as soon as it became apparent, we’re sure OnePlus will bounce back from this.

At this time, it seems that anyone who paid for their purchases via PayPal is in the clear, but OnePlus is urging anyone who has previously made a purchase on its webstore using a credit card to check their statements and get any unauthorized charges reversed wherever possible.

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16
Jan

Hutch can help you redesign your home, and the CEO is here to prove it


This Hollywood CEO isn’t just talking the talk about her interior design app Hutch — she’s now walking the walk, too. After all, what better way to convince customers to use your product than to be its champion yourself? To prove Hutch’s mettle when it comes to designing and decorating the home of your dreams (and of course, to improve the product by some hands-on testing), Hutch co-founder and CEO Bea Fischel-Bock decided to use the app in designing their own homes. The result? A fully redone pad and a series of new Hutch design filters to help others realize their home goals, too.

The Hutch app combines 3D technology with online shopping to help you virtually decorate your home. You only need to upload a photo of your space, or choose a Hutch template that closely resembles your room. Then, use Hutch’s 3D designer tool to try on new furniture and decor. Once you have figured out what goes where, use the Hutch app to start shopping — the company promises free shipping, free returns, and a price-match guarantee. While this all sounds well and good, Fischel-Bock wanted to ensure that her product was doing everything it promised, and put it to the ultimate test in an attempt to “adultify” her West Hollywood Spanish-style bungalow.

Fischel-Bock sought to create a more feminine, elevated, but relaxed aura. By browsing Hutch’s selection of content and filters (like the Elegant Entryway or Contemporary Eclectic Family Room), and swapping out specific products, she was able to visualize various styles for her home. For example, in her bedroom, the co-founder wanted to leverage the vertical square footage with lots of wall art and shelving. “My mom is an artist so I have picked up art throughout the years from my travels and visiting local flea markets,” Fischel-Bock told Digital Trends. “I used Hutch to find the newer art, and mixed and matched styles and mediums to give the wall a collected feel.”

She also used Hutch to search for neutral linens and various accents, like wooden side tables and woven rugs. “I would say my design style is California contemporary collected. I gravitate towards neutrals for key pieces and like to bring in color with accents and art,” Fischel-Bock told us. “My goal was to create a space where I could relax and unwind.”

After just a week, the Hutch CEO had completed her project, transforming her house into a new home, and had also helped to create three new filters for the app: Petite Boudoir Bedroom, Collected Feminine Living Room, and Textured Tulum Dining Room.

While redesigning your home may seem like a daunting task, having the ability to do some trial and error with an app and some 3D technology might make things a bit easier. So put down those color swatches and pick up your phone — Hutch may just be the tool you need.

 

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16
Jan

Wi-Fiber is creating safer cities by combining wireless tech, smart streetlights


A small company based in Camp Springs, Maryland, is using two very different platforms to give cities and communities all over America a major upgrade. Wi-Fiber was named Best in Show in the Smart City category at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and is poised to transform cities like Las Vegas with a combination of cutting-edge wireless technology and an interconnected smart surveillance network.

The company has been very successful in deploying seamless gigabit-capable Wi-Fi networks. In Ballston, a neighbornood in Arlington County, Virginia, a mere half-hour away from Wi-Fiber’s headquarters, the company has deployed Blinked, a free Wi-Fi network that creates a seamless, wireless mesh around an entire area. Wi-Fiber’s solution in Boston consists of 32 access points placed on the tops of buildings eight to 20 stories tall. The company has deployed a similar solution in such underserved communities as government-assisted housing projects in Arlington, Virginia.

“To date, we’ve seen success by listening to the needs of the municipalities, their employees, and the citizenry,” said Chase Donnelly, one of the founding partners and now chief experience officer for Wi-Fiber. “Our wireless expertise has allowed for some remarkable deployments, but we’ve allowed ourselves to venture into previously uncharted territories at the behest of our clients and prospects. We’ve succeeded to date primarily from filling obvious gaps in the market often resulting from the realities of free-market principles. With each new deployment, we’ve deepened our understanding of the mechanics  of the market, the fiber routes of disparate cities, the challenges those cities often face, and the near- and long-term road maps of their smart efforts.”

Building a better city with a single, intelligent solution

These smart Wi-Fi networks are just one side of Wi-Fiber’s plan to transform cities. What made a big splash at CES was the company’s new “Intelli-Platform,” a cutting-edge smart surveillance system. The device connects onto existing streetlight poles, and in as little as 30 minutes, connects to power lines and activates the platform’s true purpose.

The modular housing consists of LD lighting with strobe and color-changing capabilities, two-way microphones, speakers, 4K cameras with facial and license plate recognition functions, as well as a gunshot detector, all with IoT, 2/5G Wi-Fi, and LTE connectivity. To round out the solution, Wi-Fiber integrated Zigbee’s IoT platform, allowing the unit to access or include virtually any device on its frequency.

This advanced surveillance system is completely modular, allowing system operators to snap in new components without replacing the entire unit. This simplified deployment saves users time and money by integrating lighting, communications, and surveillance into one unit.

A smarter, safer Las Vegas

The Intelli-Platform’s capabilities recently drew the interest of Dr. Michael Sherwood, the director of information technology for the city of Las Vegas, which in October suffered the largest mass shooting by an individual in American history. Sherwood has been proactively working to broaden law enforcement’s tool kits and is working with Wi-Fiber to keep Las Vegas safer by partnering with Wi-Fiber.

“Wi-Fiber offers more than just a lighting system,” Sherwood said at CES last week. “It’s a complete ecosystem that really allows us to look at our streetlight network as a real network now. As the city grows and evolves, the platform can grow and evolve with us. It’s a foundation for a complete sensor network to be built around it.”

In the case of the recent shooting, Donnelly notes that additional data points and a more complex surveillance platform may have saved additional lives.

“With just a single device, our gunshot sensors could have triangulated the gunshots, minimizing the time taken to locate the shooter,” he explained. “The video feeds could have offered real-time visual data on the ongoing concert and the built-in speakers could have issued auditory warnings or recommendations assisting in the fallout. The Intelli-Platform’s built in network could have served as a data offload, reducing the number of people unable to make calls, and could have fed live video or emergency warnings to mobile devices.”

For their part, Wi-Fiber’s founders look to their roots at Georgetown Prep, their alma mater, and its credo “Women and Men for Others,” for guidance moving forward.

“We look to build solutions offering a better tomorrow,” said Donnelly. “From here, our mission is simple: to socialize and realize all that is possible with Wi-Fiber’s proprietary mesh capabilities and one-of-a-kind approach to smart connectivity. Here at CES, we recognized the vastly different approach we’re taking to these core concerns held by municipalities. We feel driven to deliver, not only to expand our business but more importantly, to solve problems, to interconnect endless technologies, to safeguard the innocent, assist in the capture of those looking to do harm, and to create a better tomorrow.”

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16
Jan

Everything you can do on the Overwatch League app, and how to use it


Blizzard’s Overwatch League kicked off in January, and it instantly dominated game streaming service Twitch, with hundreds of viewers tuning in to watch their favorite teams from around the globe compete in nail-biting matches. For fans who would rather watch on their phone, Blizzard’s official Overwatch League iOS and Android apps allow you to keep up with league easily. You can every match on the go, check scores and overall standings, view replays, check up on news, and even set alerts for when your favorite team is about to play. Let’s take a look at all the things you can do on the Overwatch League app, and how you use them.

Sign into the app and adjust your settings

If you plan to follow the Overwatch League regularly, the first thing you’ll want to do is sign in with your Blizzard ID, A.K.A. your Battle.Net account. You can use most of the Overwatch League app’s features regardless of whether or not you connect your Blizzard account, but signing in will give you the ability to follow your favorite teams and get phone alerts to remind you of scheduled game times.

To sign in, hit the user icon in the top left corner of the app and you’ll come to a page asking you to sign into your Blizzard account. Use the same username and password you use to sign into Blizzard’s Battle.net service — despite the name change, they are one and the same — and your account will be connected automatically.

From here, hit the “settings” option and you’ll be able to toggle match spoilers on and off – if you want to watch matches after they air, it’s best to hide them – as well as set match alerts as push notifications on your phone. You can also change your stream language to French or Korean instead of English.

Go back to the user page, and you’ll see a tab for “followed teams.” Click this and you’ll see a list of every team in the Overwatch League. Hitting the star by any team will follow them, giving you alerts for their matches, a shortcut to their page at the top of the app, and automatically syncing them to your account on the Overwatch League website.

Home page

Select the clock symbol at the bottom of the app to go to the home page. This gives you a snapshot of everything happening in the Overwatch league, including upcoming matches, videos, and news.

All matches taking place on the current day will be selectable at the top. Just scroll from side to side to select the match you’re interested in, and you’ll be taken to a page for that particular match, which shows the teams’ rosters. To set an alarm for the start of the game, tap the alarm in the top right corner, or ellipses symbol next to it, which you can use to add the match to your phone’s calendar.

Matches page

The scoreboard symbol at the bottom of the app will take you to the “matches” page. This is broken up by the four “stages” in the regular season, which you can change using the arrow at the top of the page – you can also set alerts for any matches you’re interested in here.

Click on any complete match (those with a score shown next to the teams’ names) to go an individual scoreboard page: On these pages, you can watch on-demand replays of each match. If the match hasn’t taken place yet, you’ll see the alarm symbol next to the teams’ names, instead, which you can also use to set an alert.

Standings page

The trophy symbol at the bottom of the app will take you to the “standings” page. This page is the most basic of the three, showing the current division leaders for the Pacific and the Atlantic, as well as those who would qualify for a wildcard spot in the playoffs should the season end today – a blue dotted line underneath these teams denotes those who would not make the playoffs in this scenario.

By default, this page shows the wildcard standings. Select “division leaders” and you’ll see the two divisions categorized separately, and selecting any team will take you to their organization’s page, complete with a schedule, videos, news, and a look at their roster.

If you click the three-lined icon in the top right of the standings page, you’ll see a menu which allows you to view the standings by particular stage, the playoffs, the grand finals, or even the “all-star weekend.” Each stage’s page also features the dotted blue line: In this case, it shows which teams will compete for the top prize in that particular stage, which earns teams a cash bonus.

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16
Jan

How to browse and add Alexa skills from any computer


How can I control Alexa from the web?

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

  • How to browse for Alexa skills in your browser
  • How to add Alexa Skills from your browser

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

How to browse for Alexa skills in your browser

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

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

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

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

How to add Alexa Skills from your browser

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

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

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

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16
Jan

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


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

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

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

More isn’t always better.

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

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

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

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

16
Jan

Never forget another password with a subscription to Dashlane!


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

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

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

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

See at Android Central Digital Offers

16
Jan

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


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

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

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

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

Photos

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Although OneDrive has a dedicated Photos section and can handle your camera backups and other folders, a dedicated app that mirror’s the features and content on the Windows 10 Photos app would be a welcome addition, replacing the default gallery on Android or Google’s own Photos app.

The OneDrive app for Android, when set up properly, will match the contents of your Windows 10 Photos app as long as you’re syncing in a chronological timeline. However, the editing features, including some of the more powerful ones that feature inking and video clip editing are missing on Android. It would be nice if we could get a dedicated app that would allow us to edit or continue editing projects across both PCs and phones, syncing via our Microsoft accounts.

Movies & TV

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This is a fairly big, continuing oversight that might be linked to licensing issues. However, if Microsoft is still serious about its digital movies and TV business, an Android (and iOS) version is an absolute must-have.

On Windows 10, Mobile, and Xbox One, you can view your movies and TV purchases at any time, and on Windows, you can download the media for offline playback, which is great for long commutes and other situations where you might not have a larger device in hand. Why this isn’t on Android already is a mystery, but as Microsoft cuts the head off its mobile efforts, the fact we can no longer access our digital content on the go is supremely annoying.

Xbox

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While there already is an Xbox app on Android, it’s painfully slow, with needlessly long transition animations. Messages on your own account and any Clubs you’re part of load at a snail’s pace, and the app generally feels unresponsive and, well, strange compared to similar tools. This could be a byproduct of how bloated and overly complex it is, attempting to incorporate tons of features, but then if it is, the experience overall is degraded as a result.

Microsoft might benefit from splitting up the Xbox app between its different use cases. For example, a dedicated app that handles Xbox clips, editing, and downloading, with a separate speedy app that handles messages and Clubs. As it stands, Discord’s speed and usability will continue to steal communication share from Xbox Live for external use. This needn’t be the case.

SMS sync/calling for PC

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Cortana for Android is supposed to notify you of incoming texts and missed calls on a synchronized Windows 10 PC, but in my experience, she only works about 30% of the time for this feature.

At CES 2018, Dell revealed an exclusive tool for its upcoming PCs, that would allow a full-blown companion experience for users of its computers on Android. Full app mirroring, calling, SMS, and more, directly from a UWP app to your phone. Naturally, for those of us not using Dell PCs, at the very least, reliable SMS and calling between a Windows 10 PC and Android should be a baseline feature at this point. Cortana has simply proven to be unreliable, in my experience.

What else?

There’s a range of other features I miss from Windows 10 Mobile as a Windows Phone refugee. Most of them were offered by UWP apps like MyTube, offering background YouTube audio, for example. I also miss live tiles. While interactive, Android widgets are ugly, non-standardized, and rarely fit the look and theme of your phone. Also, while this doesn’t necessarily affect me as a Blackberry KEYone QWERTY keyboard user, I’ve heard complaints that Microsoft’s SwiftKey Android keyboard is but a shadow of Wordflow on Windows 10 Mobile.

If you already made the switch, what apps and services from Windows 10 Mobile do you find yourself missing? Let us know below.

16
Jan

How to use Bluetooth headphones with Google Daydream


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

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

Hear everything

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

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

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

What to look for

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

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

  • FIIL Diva Pro
  • Bose Quiet Comfort 35
  • LG Tone HBS-910
  • Pixel Buds

Conclusion

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

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

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