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19
Feb

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?


Time may be on the side of the Rolling Stones but for the rest of us, maximizing the number of hours in a day has turned into a daily struggle. Mere minutes and seconds are treated as a valuable commodity, which is why we aim to get to our destinations as fast as possible. Sometimes finding the best route and avoiding traffic can be tough.

Thankfully, modern technology exists so our smartphones can give out turn-by-turn directions that allow us to navigate with relative ease. Yet despite the ease of use, time is still the deciding factor for many when choosing which navigation app to use, which is why Google Maps and Waze are the creme de la crème of map apps.

Google Maps and Waze are perhaps most popular because they both consistently deliver accurate directions and are straightforward to use. They’re also both owned by Google. Personal preference dictates whether you choose Google Maps or Waze but it does bring up the question — which one is actually better?

Let’s break it down.

What are Waze and Google Maps?

Waze: A turn-by-turn car navigation app, Waze acts like a crowdsourced social network while also giving drivers directions. With Waze, users can alert others to accidents, alternative routes, road closures, police officer sightings, and other such driving impediments. Google bought Waze in 2013 but it is still different from Google Maps mainly for the social network aspect and interface.

Google Maps: More of a standard navigation app, Google Maps is not just for car directions as it also provides route options for using public transit, biking, and walking. Google Maps can also be used to search for different businesses like places to eat.

What are the differences between Waze and Google Maps?

Waze

  • Live traffic reporting provided by users
  • Plethora of voice navigation options, including celebrity voices
  • Remembers commonly used routes, frequent destinations, and commute times
  • Traffic jam time countdown
  • Police notifications
  • Spotify integration
  • Advertisement supported

Google Maps

  • Offers directions for driving, biking, walking, and using public transportation
  • Voice navigation choices for driving, biking, and walking
  • Google Street View integration
  • Turn-by-turn directions still offered during offline mode
  • Built-in Google search provides information on businesses and lets you know if a business will be closing soon
  • Lane designation lets drivers know which lane they should be in before turns
  • Drivers can find their parked cars easily since the app saves parking locations
  • Navigation backlit change based on day/nighttime
  • Offline functionality

Which app will get you there faster?

The answer to this question, unfortunately, isn’t that simple.

For city driving, Waze excels at finding alternate routes around accidents or traffic jams, especially since it alerts drivers way in advance if an incident is near. Waze’s police reporting is also quite advantageous as it helps drivers to monitor their speed and avoid getting a ticket. However, to save time, Waze tends to take drivers down roundabout routes through residential neighborhoods. This could be ideal for longer drives but annoying and not really that significant of a timesaver for shorter trips.

Meanwhile, Google Maps will still get you to your destination in a timely fashion and alerts drivers about accidents and traffics jams. The alerts aren’t as informative as Waze, though, mainly because Google Maps doesn’t have a social aspect. Google Maps, however, does have a larger and more informative map view, which allows drivers to see routes more clearly.

So which app is better?

Like the last question, the answer isn’t that cut and dry. Mainly because personal preference heavily factors into a driver’s decision into what app they use.

If you like engaging in the social aspect of Waze, then that is the navigation app for you. However, if the interface is more important for you, Google Maps should likely be your preferred navigation app. Check out our guide on how to use Google Maps for some handy tips on getting the most from it.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google Maps will now tell you when to get off the train or bus
  • Learn how to use Google Maps with these handy tips and tricks
  • Google’s lightweight Maps Go app is built for low-end Android devices
  • Snapchat continues to seep outside the app with Snap Map on the web
  • Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Which is best?


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19
Feb

‘Florence’ is a superb meditation on love from the designer of ‘Monument Valley’


App Attack is a weekly series where we search the App Store and Google Play Store for the best apps of the week. Check out App Attack every Sunday for the latest.

Video games rarely capture the act of falling in love with any degree of authenticity. Most of the time, two characters are simply deemed destined for one another. Their love exists because it has to (see: Mario/Princess Peach, Link/Princess Zelda, etc.). We don’t see the beautiful mess that is falling in love unfold organically very much at all in games. Since games are an interactive medium, that blind spot is particularly upsetting. This week’s app, Florence, fills that void and then some, offering one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt experiences I’ve experienced on a mobile device.

The debut title from Mountains, designed by the man behind Monument Valley, can be finished in less than an hour. Within that brief span, though, Florence delivers a razor sharp tale that, on the surface, is about falling in and out of love. But beneath the surface, Florence illuminates an even more universal and critical theme: loving yourself. Clever little puzzles connect you with the story in small, but meaningful ways to elevate the experience.

At the start, the titular character is 25. A typical day for Florence: she hits the snooze button on her alarm multiple times, rides the bus to work with her face glued to her phone, spends her day balancing company numbers in a cubicle, eats dinner in front of her TV, watches more TV, and then goes to bed. The game quickly conveys that Florence, like many people, feels alone. Her most intimate interactions come in the form of phone calls with her mother that never end well.

Soon Florence comes across Krish, a cellist playing a gorgeous tune in the park. And almost immediately, the makings of a relationship begin to bloom. We see their first date, the first time Florence has him over to her apartment, we see them push each other to reach towards their respective dreams. We witness their first minor squabble, we see a map of all the places they’ve been and people they’ve met together. Six months later, he moves in. And everything is perfect, until it’s not.

I know, none of this sounds inventive. A couple falls in and out of love in their mid-twenties. So what? That happens to almost everyone. Why yes, it does, and that’s one of the reasons Florence’s story strikes a chord. It doesn’t offer an artificial Hollywood-esque story of love to foolishly aspire for; it presents a character study of a young person who might as well be you or me.

If you have gone through heartbreak, specifically the kind that sneaks up on you when you thought this person, this relationship, could really be the one, you’ll find much to relate to here.

But don’t be mistaken — Florence also imparts a moving message of hope. There’s happiness to be found after heartbreak. And as corny as it sounds, true happiness really does come from within. Florence stresses this common theme without devolving into cliché.

What makes Florence especially poignant, however, is not the story as told by the developers, but the way the interactive elements manage to bring you closer to the game’s defining themes. Best described as an interactive comic book, Florence uses a restrained yet beautiful color palette that stitches together its moving pieces brilliantly with the help of a wonderful soundtrack.

Some panels have you merely tap an object on the screen, such as the blaring alarm clock, to make progress. Other times, you turn clock hands round and round to advance time. Occasionally, you rub the screen to reveal a picture, or drag a frequency bar until the scene comes into focus.

At first, the extremely minimalistic approach to gameplay disappointed me. And that minimal requirement of me, the player, mostly remained through the credits. Yet, I grew to appreciate what the game asked of me.

Florence’s puzzles won’t stump you. They aren’t meant to. Instead, they work hand-in-hand with the story to convey underlying emotions that sometimes become obscured by words. When Florence and Krish speak, you fill in the dialogue bubble by piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. The number of pieces and their shape directly correlates to the situation. When they first meet, its hard for Florence to converse, so there are more pieces. As the date goes on, the puzzles have less pieces. This ingenious mode of portraying human interaction works so well that actual dialogue — of which Florence doesn’t have — is rendered unnecessary.

When they move in together, you unpack a box onto various shelves by dragging and dropping household items, but not all of them can fit.  You have to decide which belongings to keep in storage. And when the relationship dissolves, you have to pick which possessions stay behind.

After subtly inviting you into its focused story, Florence deftly gets you to interact with its moving parts just enough to encourage you to trace through your own experiences with love. 

 Florence is available on the App Store now for $3. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • ‘The Shape of Water’ review
  • ‘Detroit: Become Human’ hands-on preview
  • ‘Black Panther’ review
  • Here’s everything we know about Hideo Kojima’s mysterious ‘Death Stranding’
  • ‘SOS’ hands-on preview


19
Feb

‘Alto’s Odyssey’ aims to amplify adventure, without sacrificing serenity


App Attack is a weekly series where we search the App Store and Google Play Store for the best apps of the week. Check out App Attack every Sunday for the latest.

It’s been three years since Alto’s Adventure was released, and the sequel to the highly-praised infinite runner will soon see the light of day. On Thursday, video game developer Built By Snowman will launch Alto’s Odyssey, which takes Alto from the snowy climes to the majestic desert.

For those unfamiliar with the mobile game, Alto’s Adventure mirrors the atmosphere of snowboarding. The player taps on the screen to navigate Alto through various elements while also completing goals and collecting rewards. It also includes stunning visuals that act as a calming force within a fast-paced game.

With Alto’s Odyssey, lead artist and developer Harry Nesbitt and the team at Snowman — who refer to the collaboration as “Team Alto” — wanted to appeal to its existing fans as well as those who have yet to play the game. It was decided that mechanically, the game wouldn’t involve having to adjust to new control schemes. The ability to play comfortably one-handed was an important aspect of the game to adopt from its predecessor — making it more approachable and less complex for all types of players.

Team Alto ultimately wanted to build on what became the central part of the DNA Alto — which gave an extreme sport like snowboarding, a more relaxing flow through its design and controls. With its parabolic curves and propulsive downhill motion, the game allows you to build up speed, gain points, and crush obstacles in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re doing too much at once.

“We are constantly surprised and humbled by the fact that players will depict fan art of our characters or send in letters that Alto maybe helped them cope with some stress or some illness, and that’s something we never really could ever have foreseen when making that first game,” Eli Cymet, producer at Built By Snowman, told Digital Trends. “I think we really were thinking about what to put on the cutting room floor and what to advance to the next stage in terms of mechanics … we always had that player appreciation in the back of our minds around like, ‘Is this going to make the game more stressful?’”

Incorporating a calming nature into the gameplay, meant there was room to push boundaries elsewhere — specifically with Alto. In Alto’s Adventure, there was a cozy feel to it as users explored his home mountain — careening down hills amidst the forests with its lantern lit homes and villages, all blanketed with snow. This time around, it was important to create a new space filled with variety, which meant branching into territory that was uncharted — and creating multiple versions of a particular setting.

“We want every time you pick up the game to feel fresh and to feel like you’re experiencing a slightly different part of the world that you maybe played last time,” Harry Nesbitt, lead artist and developer of Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey, told Digital Trends.

Since the mountain is the one natural space that you spend time in while playing the game, the team has added about a triple of the number of visual content and sites to see as it did in Alto’s Adventure. Ranging from snapping vines, rushing water inside the temple zone, wind tornadoes that propel you into the air, and more, the sequel sets out to amplify the experience of being in the desert through its unique mechanics.

Incorporating more hidden gems and details into Alto’s Odyssey also allows players to make the experience their own. “Hopefully the player projects certain narratives on their progression to the space based on the play session that they have. When they got a high score while they were boarding through a palm grove or something like that, that’s going to help it feel like it belongs to them,” Nesbitt explained.

As Alto’s Odyssey approaches its launch date, Team Alto isn’t looking to out-do themselves in comparison to the success of Alto’s Adventure. While they hope it will resonate in a new way with existing fans, both versions are meant to act as stand-alone experiences so that those who have never played Alto’s Adventure can jump right in without feeling confused. Both versions are meant to co-exist peacefully.

“I hope that players come away thinking of them both as these little places they can go for a few minutes of time each day. Depending on what mood they’re in and what kinds of emotions they wanna stir in themselves, maybe they’ll choose one over the other,” Cymet said.

Alto’s Odyssey is currently available for pre-order on the App Store and will cost you $5. It will officially launch for iOS on February 22.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • TCL’s Alto audio line arrives at CES 2018, headlined by the Roku Soundbar
  • ‘Florence’ is a superb meditation on love from the designer of ‘Monument Valley’
  • ‘SOS’ hands-on preview
  • ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ Remake review
  • ‘Sea of Thieves’ hands-on preview


19
Feb

Get wireless phone charging for as little as $10 with these Qi chargers


There are plenty of ways to charge your phone sans cables, but, sadly, the best wireless chargers rarely come cheap. A quality Qi charger — like Grovemade’s recently-launched cork offering — can easily run an upwards of $100, though there are more affordable options on the market if you know where to look. Thankfully, David Cogen of TheUnlockr did the digging on your behalf.

Note: As a way to reduce cost, these chargers do not come with an AC adapter. They will work with any you might have lying around, though.

Cogen found cheap Qi chargers in two places: Amazon and through Chinese manufacturers. The three chargers from Amazon are all Prime-eligible, meaning you don’t have to spend extra on shipping, even if Amazon recently raised the subscription fees. The ones from China are a bit cheaper, but the cost to ship them across the globe is occasionally more than the cost of chargers themselves. As a way to eliminate some of the wait times and shipping costs associated with these chargers, Cogen is offering the Chinese chargers on his website.

TheUnlockr

The Chinese-made Qi chargers are similar in many ways, but differ in a few key areas. The Qi Charging Disk (Style 1) is essentially a plastic disk with a rubberized circle on the top, which is designed to stop your smartphone from sliding off the platform. It’s currently available in black-and-white, and includes a Micro USB cord.

The Qi Charging Disk (Style 2) is smaller than the Style 1, but is more customizable. It comes in blue, black, orange, and white. The charger’s smaller size also means it can disappear under your device, allowing for a cleaner look. Our third pick, the Qi Charging Wooden Disk, combines functionality with a trendy wooden design.

Additionally, there are two Chinese Qi chargers that offer fast charging: The Qi Fast Charging Stand (Style 1) and the Qi Fast Charging Stand (Style 2). Both chargers also hold your phone upright, though, the Style 2 is a bit smaller and more rectangular in shape.

Amazon

As far as the chargers on Amazon go, you have two solid options. The first, the Yootech Qi charger, features a triangular design and less logos, making for a unique look that will run you about $13. Also priced at $13 is the Amazon Crew Omoton, a slim disc that comes in either black, gold, or rose.

The cheapest of all of these wireless chargers — that is, assuming you have Amazon Prime — is the ALOOK Qi Charging Pad. For only $10, this no-frills disc will charge any compatible device you lay on top of it. It will also work with thin smartphone cases.

Obviously there are other charging alternatives besides these, but we consider these to be some of the better Qi charges, especially when it comes to affordability. Apparently, you don’t have to break the bank in order to bring your charging game into the 21st century.

David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.


19
Feb

High cost of OLED displays spells trouble for Samsung


Apple and Samsung are major rivals in the smartphone space, so one might expect that the latter would be pleased to hear of the weak demand for the iPhone X. However, it turns out that Samsung provided the OLED displays for the iPhone X, and Nikkei Asian Review reports that those low sales have sent the South Korean electronics giant looking for new buyers.

Samsung increased its production of the OLED panels in order to meet Apple’s expected demand, but lackluster sales of the iPhone X have left Samsung with a surplus of OLED panels and few buyers. Samsung was likely hoping that other smartphone makers would transition to OLED displays, but many are choosing to go with the less expensive LCD displays.

Many of the major Chinese smartphone companies focus on the mid-range market, and few of them can afford to make extensiveuse of OLED displays. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of smartphones made by Oppo and Vivo make use of OLED displays. The problem is, once again, the cost. These panels can cost, on average, 40 percent more than LCD displays. Given that the budget and mid-range smartphone markets often compete on price, it is understandable that many would prefer to go for the cheaper panels.

Cost appears to be the major issue for Samsung’s OLED displays. The panels offer bright colors and can be bent to narrow a phone’s bezels, but these displays can cost more than a $100, which is more than twice what the company’s LCD displays cost. The high price of the OLED displays were part of the reason the iPhone X retailed for $1,000.

The expensive OLED displays are also causing trouble for Samsung’s own smartphone division. Not all of its phones make use of the pricey panels, but its flagship models do. IHS Market, a British research firm, noted that Samsung’s internal use of OLED panels declined in 2017.

Worst of all for Samsung is that its market dominance may be coming to an end. The company currently controls 95 percent of the OLED market, but that is likely to change in the coming years. LG Display is preparing to increase production of its own OLED displays. as are Chinese rivals BOE Technology Group and Tianma Micro-electronics.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Samsung could make $22 billion from OLED displays for the iPhone X
  • Apple iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more
  • Apple raked in more than half of all global smartphone revenue last quarter
  • The most expensive, in-demand phone in China right now isn’t the iPhone X
  • Analyst suggests customers prefer cheaper iPhones to the iPhone X


19
Feb

Google teams up with 911 to locate emergency callers more easily


Vbaleha/123RF

In an emergency, every second counts. So the last thing a 911 dispatcher wants to waste time over is establishing the precise location of the caller, because in those vital, wasted seconds, lives can be lost.

In a bid to address the issue, Google has been testing its technology in conjunction with a number of 911 centers to develop a system that helps to automatically identify the precise location of someone calling from a cellphone, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Throughout December and January, Google hooked up with 911 centers in Texas, Tennessee, and Florida, allowing the dispatchers to use the tech giant’s data to pinpoint the location of individuals calling on mobile phones.

As the Journal points out, such data is usually provided by the wireless carriers, but it can be inaccurate, leading to slower response times. According to federal regulators, getting first responders to an emergency scene just 60 seconds earlier could save an estimated 10,000 lives a year.

According to data collected during the two-month trial, in 80 percent of cases the location information provided in the first 30 seconds by Google was more accurate than that provided by the carrier in the same time frame.

Google’s data pinpointed a caller’s location within an average radius of 36.8 meters (121 feet). That compares to an average of 159 meters (522 feet) for the carriers. Significantly, Google’s data also came through to the dispatcher more quickly than the carrier data.

Automatic and accurate detection of a 911 caller’s location becomes all the more important if their English-language skills are lacking. Also, if the emergency involves a particularly traumatic event, the caller may not be in a fit state to clearly explain everything to the dispatcher, or they could even communicate erroneous information in the heat of the moment.

The system, which Google has already launched in a number of other countries, uses Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell tower data to determine the caller’s location. Current systems use cell tower location and assisted GPS only, leading to less focused location information.

With Google’s technology appearing to perform well in the recent tests, further discussions are planned with a view to incorporating it into the system of more 911 centers.

Google improved the situation to some extent in 2017 by adding a location card to the display of its Phone app when a user makes an emergency call. The information includes a map, GPS coordinates, and the location address, though these need to be read off by the caller when the dispatcher asks.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • This A.I. eavesdrops on emergency calls to warn of possible cardiac arrests
  • Today, A.I. helps detect tiny earthquakes. Tomorrow, it might predict the big one
  • Qualcomm is working on patches to address Meltdown and Spectre flaws
  • Common iOS 11 problems and advice on how to handle them
  • OK Google, what is Android Auto? Here’s everything you need to know about it


19
Feb

Uber focuses on safety improvements as it battles to regain its London license


Uber lost its operating license in London in September 2017 but can continue to operate ahead of an appeal in the spring.

Regulator Transport for London (TfL) told Uber that it is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license,” citing a number of issues, including its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses.

But with the appeal hearing just a few months away, Uber is keen to fix those issues to show itself as a responsible operator for the estimated 3.5 million Londoners who use the service, and the 40,000 drivers who make a living from it.

The ridesharing giant on Friday announced a number of measures, including how it reports suspected crimes to the police.

“While we previously encouraged and supported individuals to report to the police serious incidents related to a trip booked through our app, we will now proactively make the reports,” Tom Elvidge, the U.K.’s general manager, wrote in a post explaining the changes.

Elvidge promised that Uber will now “pass directly to the police information about any serious incident reported to us by riders,” adding that it will also do the same for drivers if they would like the company to make a complaint on their behalf rather than in person.

The new policy is already live in London with plans to launch it in other U.K. cities following discussions with local police departments.

The company is also making plans for a 24/7 helpline for both riders and drivers. “Whenever there’s an issue like an incorrect cancellation fee, riders and drivers alike often find it’s easy and simple to get it sorted through the app,” Elvidge said. “But drivers and riders have told us that they would like the option to give us a call, especially if something more serious happens.” Uber will soon begin training new recruits for the service, which will launch “later this year.”

Other changes include the introduction in the Uber app of a live map for drivers so that a family member or friend can see where they are when they’re on the road, a feature already available to riders.

Uber’s announcement came the day after TfL unveiled a set of stringent guidelines for any app-based taxi service seeking licensing in the capital, with Uber already addressing some of them.

Despite TfL’s severe criticisms of the ridesharing service in 2017, Elvidge insisted “the safety of riders and drivers using Uber is a top priority.”

“Over the last few years we’ve led the way with pioneering technology which enhances safety, like GPS tracking of every trip and our two-way rating system. But we recognize we can use our technology to go even further in setting a higher standard for private hire and other transport options.”

He added that Uber will “carry on listening and plan to make other improvements over the coming months.” We’ll have to wait and see whether its renewed efforts are enough to persuade TfL to renew the company’s license.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Lyft capitalizes on Uber’s no good, very bad year, reports a stellar 2017
  • Uber’s competition in Japan heats up thanks to Didi, Softbank, and Toyota
  • Ridesharing giant Uber’s rise has been meteoric, anything but trouble-free
  • Uber wants riders to consider more carefully how they rate drivers
  • To combat fatigue, Uber will force U.S. drivers to take a break after 12 hours


19
Feb

Best Accessories for the Moto X4


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These are the essential accessories you need for your Moto X4!

The Moto X4 is a solid mid-range phone and one of the latest phones added to Google’s Android One program. It’s perfect for anyone looking for Motorola’s celebrated software and great build quality around the $400 range.

Take your Moto X4 to the next level and keep it functional and protected with these great accessories.

  • Lenova Touch Flip Cover
  • Spigen Liquid Crystal
  • Samsung 128GB MicroSD EVO Select
  • Anker 20100mAh PowerCore 20100
  • Supershieldz tempered glass screen protector (2-pack)

Lenovo Touch Flip Cover

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There aren’t a ton of first-party cases for the Moto X4, but one of our favorites is the Lenovo Touch Flip Cover. The case snaps onto your phone with a durable material that promises to keep you protected from any unwanted bumps or scratches, and when the case is folded up, you’ve got rock-solid protection on the front and back.

The front easily opens so you can use your Moto X4 like normal, but even when the case is closed, you can still interact with the display to see and accept/reject incoming calls thanks to the transparent design. It’s the most expensive case on this list at nearly $15, but it’s well worth it.

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal

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The Spigen Liquid Crystal is a clear case for the Moto X4, and it does an excellent job of showing the sleek look of the X4’s back. The case is made out of a durable and anti-slip TPU material, and in addition to keeping your phone nice and safe, it still manages to remain light as a feather.

Spigen uses a dot pattern for its case, and unlike a lot of cheaper clear options, this helps to drastically cut down on the smudges it picks up. For just under $13, this is a fantastic choice.

More: The best cases for the Moto X4

See at Amazon

Samsung 128GB MicroSD EVO Select

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The Moto X4 offers a microSD slot for expandable memory. If you’d like to take your massive music library with you, or want to load up some movies or TV shows to watch on a flight, here’s the best way to do it!

The 128GB card is your best value at just $40, but you could save some money if you don’t think you’ll need that much space and settle on a 32GB card for $12 or a 64GB card for $20.

See at Amazon

Anker 20100mAh PowerCore 20100

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As Andrew Martonik pointed out in his Moto X4 review, one of the few shortcomings of this mid-range phone is its battery life. If merely average battery life isn’t going to make it through a full day’s usage for you, your best bet is to use a portable battery pack so you’re never left with a dead phone in your hands.

The Anker PowerCore 20100 is a great option. It’s got a massive 20,100mAh contained in a sleek and compact casing. It weighs as little as a can of soup and can be easily kept in a purse, backpack or even slipped in a jacket pocket so you always have it on you if you need it. There are two charging ports so you can share with a friend, too. It comes with a Micro-USB cable for recharging the pack, along with a travel pouch and an 18-month warranty.

Get yours for just $40 on Amazon!

See at Amazon

Supershieldz tempered glass screen protector (2-pack)

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Motorola built the Moto X4 with Gorilla Glass 3, which is so 2014. Gorilla Glass 3 is still plenty tough, but if you’re a known phone dropper you might want to add an extra layer of protection for your screen.

Your best bet for screen protectors is always a tempered glass option, so why not consider this two-pack from Supershieldz, one of the more trusted brands for smartphone screen protectors. These screen protectors include a black border around the screen which should help with lining it up for a clean installation.

Along with all the standard features like hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings, there are some smart design decisions like the notch cut out around the fingerprint sensor at the bottom — makes sense because if they had designed the screen protector to go around it, that bottom strip of tempered glass would be the first bit to get cracked or damaged.

Get this two-pack for just $8!

See at Amazon

What are your go-to accessories?

How do you accessorize your Moto X4? Got any recommendations? Drop us a line in the comments!

19
Feb

The Fitbit Ionic is (still) a better fitness tracker than smartwatch


If you’ve read Daniel Bader’s excellent Fitbit Ionic review from September you already know that the device boasts a bold (if polarizing) design, backed up by one of the best health-tracking platforms on the planet, but mated to a somewhat sub-par software build. After a couple weeks of my own spent with the Ionic, I can report that that set of attributes – and the $299 price point – has remained mostly unchanged since. 

What has changed is the landscape of wearables surrounding the Ionic. With Android Wear all but frozen in a purgatory of mediocrity, Samsung Gear lacking a strong app ecosystem and the Apple Watch only compatible with iPhones, there still exists a gap for a fourth player to fill with an excellent smartwatch. Given the success of fitness trackers in general (and Fitbit’s in particular) the Ionic should be that device, a convergence gadget that bridges the gap between fitness band and smartwatch. As you’ll see in the video above, though, we’re still not quite there yet. Join me for the MrMobile review of the Fitbit Ionic.

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19
Feb

How to sell your Galaxy S7 or S8 and upgrade to the Galaxy S9


Own a Samsung phone and want to upgrade to the Galaxy S9? Here’s what to do.

We’re just a few short days away from the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9, and although we’re expecting it to look a lot like the Galaxy S8, there’s still a lot to be excited about. Based on what we know so far, the Galaxy S9 will have even slimmer bezels, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor, an upgraded rear-facing camera with a variable aperture, and more. When it comes to iterative upgrades, this is one worth getting excited about.

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If you’re currently the owner of a Galaxy S8, S7, or another Samsung phone and want to make your upgrade process to the S9 as seamless as possible, you may not know where to turn. Thankfully, by following a few easy tips, you can ensure you get the most out of your current device and score the best deal possible on the Galaxy S9.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Sell your current phone

Before buying the Galaxy S9, we recommend selling your current phone to help mitigate the cost of Samsung’s latest and greatest. Selling phones used to be something of a nightmare a few years ago, but there’s now an abundance of services at the ready to help you get the most cash for your device while also minimizing the chance for any headaches.

Selling phones online is fairly easy once you get the hang of it, but if you’re new to this sort of thing, there are a few important steps you’ll want to be aware of — such as factory resetting it, putting everything back in the box it came in, etc. For more information on this, check out the first part of our guide below.

More: Selling your Android phone: Everything you need to know

With that said, if you’re comfortable with selling things online and want to know which services are in your best interest to use, we recommend the following.

eBay

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eBay is one of the biggest names when it comes to buying things online, and while you can purchase items direct from big-name companies, you can also list your own items for people to browse and buy. eBay is often bad-mouthed for having high seller fees, but the fact of the matter is that this is where you’ll get the most possible eyes on what you’re selling.

Listing an item is fairly easy. Simply click on the “Sell” tab, type in the name of what you’re selling, and then fill out all of the required information. Be honest when listing your device’s condition, mention any included accessories/insurance your phone comes with, and upload plenty of photos so potential buyers have a clear picture of what they’re getting into.

How much will you get for your phone on eBay? The amount you can ask largely depends on the condition your phone is in, if it comes with any accessories or insurance, and how much internal storage it has. With that said, these are the average selling prices at the moment:

  • Galaxy S8 – Between $350 and $450
  • Galaxy S7 – Between $150 and $220
  • Galaxy S6 – Between $100 and $150

Tl;dr – Use eBay if you want access to the largest pool of buyers and the most control over how your sale is run.

Learn more at eBay

Swappa

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Swappa isn’t nearly as popular as eBay, but if you’re okay with pitching your offer to a smaller audience and potentially waiting a while longer before making a sale, it offers one of the best online selling experiences around.

This is the site I personally turn to when I have a phone that needs to be sold, and one of the reasons Swappa is so great is that you don’t have to deal with any seller fees. Buyers pay the sales fee as it’s included in the listing price of your phone, meaning all you have to pay for is shipping. Also, while Swappa has since expanded as a marketplace for smart home gadgets, video games, and more, it started out as a place for people with Android phones to sell that didn’t want to bother with eBay.

Becuase of the lack of seller fees, you’ll typically make more profit when selling on Swappa. There are still plenty of variables you’ll need to take into consideration to determine just how much you’ll get for your old Galaxy phone, but with that said, this is what Galaxy phones are fetching right now:

  • Galaxy S8 – Around $480
  • Galaxy S7 – Around $250
  • Galaxy S6 – Around $200

Tl;dr – Use Swappa if you’re okay waiting a while for your phone to sell and want to make as much profit as possible.

Learn more at Swappa

Gazelle

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If you don’t want to do deal with the hassle of listing your phone and waiting potentially weeks for someone to buy it, we recommend checking out Gazelle. You won’t make as much money selling your phone on Gazelle as you would with eBay or Swappa, but for folks that are impatient and just want to get some cash in their pocket ASAP, it’s hard to beat.

After selecting the phone you have, what carrier it’s on, and the condition it’s in, Gazelle will ship you a box to place the phone it, you ship it back, and once Gazelle receives it and confirms that everything is in order, you’ll receive your payment in the form of a check, PayPal transfer, or Amazon gift card. It really is the easiest way to sell a Galaxy phone online, and you can expect to get the following rates for your current phone:

  • Galaxy S8 w/ 64GB: Up to $230
  • Galaxy S7 w/ 32GB: Up to $125
  • Galaxy S6 w/ 32GB: Up to $90

Tl;dr – Use Gazelle if you want to sell your phone as quickly and easily as possible.

Learn more at Gazelle

Tips for buying the Galaxy S9

Once you’ve sold your current Samsung phone, it’s time to buy the one you’ve been waiting for — the Galaxy S9.

Right now, there’s not much you can do in these regards. Samsung won’t announce the Galaxy S9 until Mobile World Congress in Barcelona towards the end of the month, but once that happens, pre-orderes should open up soon after.

In addition to Samsung’s website, pre-orders should also be available from Best Buy, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. There will likely be a number of bonuses and promotions available, so check back here once those are announced to ensure you get the best deal possible on your shiny, new phone.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Latest Galaxy S9 rumors and info!
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 launch event set for Feb 25: ‘The camera. Reimagined.’
  • The Galaxy A8+ gives us an early look at Galaxy S9 design cues
  • Do you plan on getting the Samsung Galaxy S9?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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