The House of Marley is an audio company that operates under the principles of superior quality, sustainability and a commitment to charitable causes. It uses mindfully sourced wooden accents, recycled plastic and aluminum to make all of its products; House of Marley will plant a tree for every product purchased. With that in mind, we took its Uplift 2 Wireless Headset out for a spin.
Normally I don’t talk about packaging too terribly much. I prefer to let the product speak for itself rather than focusing on the box it comes in, generally. But the Uplift 2’s packaging has a couple quirks that I think are worth mentioning. First, it’s completely recyclable; once you take it out of its package, you can just dump it into the recycle bin. Second, printed on the right side of the box is a message: “the purchase of this product will help plant one tree.”
While that’s a nice movement and sentiment, I feel it could have been taken a step further. Why not make the box itself plantable? Make the box out of cornstarch or something similar. Embed a small seed packet. Rather than letting us take the word of a manufacturer that they’ll plant a tree, let us plant one ourselves.
The Devil in the Details
Undoubtedly – and perhaps intentionally – the Uplift 2’s strength is in its aestheticism. With an all-aluminum gold chassis (with real wooden accents!) and a soft, braided cabling, Marley’s headset really cuts a striking figure.
And really, it’s the small details that make it pop. A magnetic clasp emblazoned with the Marley logo secures the cabling around your neck, so there’s no risk of it falling off. Each earbud is capped by a wooden accent plate engraved with that same logo.
The connector at each end of the cable is wrapped in soft rubber, reinforcing the connection. And while the “puck” that connects the two buds is plastic (albeit with an aluminum border), it doesn’t feel cheap. The MicroUSB port has a rubber cover, concealing it from view, and the three-button control panel hanging from the left bud is sleek and understated.
Of Wireless Standards and USB Ports
Most American-sold smartphones these days, especially flagship phones, use a USB-C port for charging. Almost none of them still use microUSB. As such, making accessories that still use the old standard comes across as cheap and out of touch. In the same vein, a Bluetooth accessory that ships with Bluetooth 4.1, three versions behind the new Bluetooth 5, comes across as very much outdated.
While the visual and tactile design of the Uplift 2 is fantastic, the design language is not. It looks great and feels great, but falls short under the hood.
Powering on the Uplift 2 is an easy affair, once you know how to do it. It took me an embarrassing amount of time for me to figure out that I needed to press the center button on the control panel to turn the thing on.
You’re welcomed by a cheerful little jingle, unlike many cold, robotic beeps you get from similar products. Oddly though, when you receive a call you get that exact robotic beeping. The headset immediately jumps into pairing mode, characterized by red and blue LEDs on the “puck.” Discovery and pairing was seamless and effortless, and reconnected with ease on subsequent uses.
The clarity of sound and levels of the Uplift 2 are quite impressive. Sound is immersive and complex, without the muddied feeling you get from many headsets. While the bass is disappointing, as it often is with Bluetooth headsets, the depth and richness of sound is a delight. Sound quality in a call is perfectly adequate, and the mic built-in to the control panel is acceptable, though not wonderful.
With a ten hour battery life, the Uplift 2 will almost always provide you with a full day’s use. It takes two hours to recharge from 0%, so if you’re a heavy user you’re probably best off charging it between uses. It’s not a small battery, per se, but it’s small enough to be aware of it.
At $79.99, House of Marley’s Uplift 2 is not quite a budget headset. With its aluminum chassis, wooden accents and braided cables, it has a premium build. And, with its antiquated connection standards and disappointing bass, it struggles to be a truly high-end Bluetooth headset. As such, it’s hard to justify that price based on performance. If you highly value aesthetics and a good-looking device, though, it might be for you.
The Uplift 2 is available from a number of retailers, including directly from House of Marley and Amazon.
Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends
Well folks, Nokia’s latest and greatest selection of phones is finally here. The company had a great 2017, and it looks like it’s planning on continuing that momentum into 2017. It has launched some excellent flagship devices, like the Nokia 8 Sirocco, but it is midrange phones like the Nokia 6 that could really make a mark on the overall smartphone landscape.
Of course, the Nokia 6 does have some serious competition, namely from devices like the Lenovo Moto G5S Plus. But which device is better? We put the two head-to-head to find out.
Nokia 6 (2018)
Lenovo Moto G5S Plus
148.8 x 75.8 x 8.2mm (5.86 x 2.98 x 0.32 inches)
153.5 x 76.2 x 8mm (6.04 x 3.00 x 0.31-inches)
1080 x 1920 (401ppi)
1080 x 1920 (401ppi)
MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 256GB
Yes, up to 256GB
Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
16MP rear, 8MP front
Dual 13MP rear, 8MP front
Yes, version 5.0
Yes, version 4.2
Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, compass
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity
Black/Copper, White/Iron, Blue/Gold
Lunar Grey, Fine Gold
4 out of 5 stars
Glancing at the specs, these two phones seem very similar, though not exactly the same. The Lenovo Moto G5S Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which is a very decent midrange chip. The 2018 Nokia 6, however, steps things up a little, by offering the slightly newer Snapdragon 630. The two chips will offer similar performance, but the Snapdragon 630 is an updated version of the Snapdragon 625, so will be slightly more powerful and energy efficient.
Apart from the processor, the phones are very similar. They both offer either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, along with either 32GB or 64GB of storage, depending on the model you get. Both phones also offer a MicroSD card slot, so you can expand upon the included storage if you so choose.
Because of the newer and better processor, the Nokia 6 is the winner here.
Winner: Nokia 6
Design, display, and durability
Neither the Nokia 6 nor the Lenovo Moto G5S Plus are flagship phones, and as such neither of them offer groundbreaking or overly interesting designs. That’s not to say they don’t look good — just that they don’t look all that interesting.
The Nokia 6 features a 5.5-inch display, with small bezels on either side, and a minimalistic design on the back, which is where you’ll find the camera and fingerprint sensor. The Moto G5S Plus, on the other hand, features a very Moto-esque design. It’s got the camera module on the back, with two sensors, along with a home button/fingerprint sensor combo on the front. Unlike the Nokia 6, on the bottom of the Moto you’ll find a MicroUSB port, and not a USB-C port, which is a little disappointing.
When it comes to the display, the two phones are identical. Both offer a 5.5-inch LCD display with a 1080p resolution and a pixel density of 401 pixels-per-inch.
The same is largely true when it comes to durability. Both phones have a metal frame and don’t offer water-resistance.
Because of how similar the phones are, it largely comes down to the slightly more modern design on the Nokia 6, along with the fact that it has a USB-C port.
Winner: Nokia 6
Battery life and charging
Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends
The similarities between the phones continue into the battery department. Both devices offer a 3,000mAh battery, and they’ll probably last a very similar amount of time given the fact that they have the same display. They also both offer a kind of quick charging technology. The Moto G5S Plus offers Motorola’s TurboPower, while the Nokia 6 features an unspecified fast-charging tech that will get you 50 percent charged in 30 minutes. Neither of the phones offer wireless charging.
Christian de Looper/Digital Trends
The camera is perhaps the biggest point of difference between these two phones. The Nokia 6 offers a 16-megapixel sensor on the back with an aperture of f/2.0 and phase detection autofocus. The Moto G5S Plus, on the other hand, offers a dual-sensor camera, with two 13-megapixel sensors. It also offers an f/2.0 aperture and autofocus.
When it comes to raw quality, we’ll have to do more testing to find out which is better. In our hands-on review of the Nokia 6, we noted that the camera seemed to offer decently good picture quality in bright light. In our Moto G5S Plus review, we found that while the camera was fine at taking standard pictures, using both sensors resulted in less-than-ideal results.
For now, this one’s a tie.
Christian de Looper/Digital Trends
Both of these phones feature Android, but they approach Android a little differently. The Nokia 6 is actually part of Google’s Android One program — which means that Google will push updates directly to the phone. This will include both security updates and larger software updates, and they’ll likely be released like clockwork once a month.
The Moto G5S Plus, on the other hand, features a slightly tweaked version of Android, and while Lenovo hasn’t been terrible with updates, it hasn’t been the best either. Out of the box, the Moto G5S Plus features Android 7.1, though there is an Android 8.0 update on the way. The Nokia 6 features the latest and greatest Android 8.0 right away.
We can’t really get past the clean Android One look and the super timely updates. That makes the Nokia 6 the winner here.
Winner: Nokia 6
Price and availability
So far, the Nokia 6 seems to be the real winner here — but it also seems like it’ll be a little more expensive than the Moto G5S Plus. How much more? Well, we may not find out until the phone makes it to the U.S., if it ever does. Looking at pricing in Europe, the phone will come in at 289 euros. That equates to around $350, which is quite a bit more than the $250 price tag on the Moto G5S Plus.
Then there’s the availability, and Moto wins that category too. The Moto G5S Plus has been available in the U.S. for some time now, and you can get it off the Motorola website if you want it. The Nokia 6, on the other hand, won’t be available anywhere until April 2018, and even then it won’t be available in the States.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus
Overall winner: Nokia 6
The Nokia 6 is the clear winner here, but there’s a trade-off: Price. If you’re looking for a great phone at around the $250 mark, then you really can’t do much better than the Moto G5S Plus. If, however, you’re willing to shell out a little extra cash and don’t mind waiting until April, the Nokia 6 is more powerful, more modern, and should get timely updates.
- Honor 7X vs. Nokia 6: Can Honor beat the Finnish veteran?
- Nokia 6 (2018) hands-on review
- HMD announces an all new Nokia 6 for 2018 at Mobile World Congress
- Here are all the Nokia phones HMD Global unveiled at MWC 2018
- Nokia 1 hands-on review
The torrent protocol is a convenient way to download large files quickly, and while it is often associated with piracy, you can find plenty of legal uses, like receiving Linux distributables, finding copyright-free music and media, and downloading libraries worth of free e-books. The only problem is that your PC can become vulnerable while you’re torrenting.
To stay safe while torrenting, you need an app that reduces risks by keeping your IP private and keeping viruses out. The problem is that these types of services are generally pricey and involve a subscription plan.
Right now, however, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on Streamza, an ideal app for torrenting safely. Instead of paying monthly subscription fees, a lifetime license will cost you only $40. That’s 91% off the regular price of $500!
You get 250GB worth of downloads each month that are added to a personal library, plus the included cloud storage means you can access your files from a number of other devices. Not sure what’s available? Connect with other Streamza users to see what’s hot or search the huge library of popular media.
This lifetime license includes all future updates to Streamza, so you can be sure you’re always using a current client. Ready to start torrenting safely? Grab Streamza now for only $40.
It seems that a range-extended Mazda electric car with a rotary engine is for real, and coming sooner than expected. An automotive news outlet from the Netherlands called AutoRAI spoke with Mazda’s European vice president for sales and customer service. He told the outlet that Mazda has an electric car coming In 2019, and it will be available with a rotary engine as a generator.
Among the details about this car and its powertrain, he said it would be similar in size to the Mazda3, and it might even be a crossover. It will also be based on Mazda’s upcoming modular small car platform. The rotary engine will only generate electricity and will only have one rotor. Not only that, it will be mounted horizontally. This is particularly unusual as every rotary Mazda has had the engine mounted upright.
We’ve reached out to Mazda representatives in the U.S. and Europe. An American representative couldn’t comment on what type of range-extender options may be coming in the future. We say this specifically because Mazda has confirmed previously that an EV with an available range extender is coming in 2019. We have not heard back from a European representative at the time of publishing.
Despite this, a return of the rotary as a range extender looks probable. Besides the dates fitting with Mazda’s electric plans, there are other tidbits from the past that support the idea. Mazda has been experimenting with the idea for years, and even created a functioning Mazda2 EV with a rotary range-extender. The company has also filed patents in the U.S. for the setup as recently as last year, and there have been other recent rumors.
Mobile World Congress 2018 has finally come to a close, and while this year felt more low-key than usual, there was still plenty to see and appreciate on the show floor. Samsung was here in full-force, Sony outed a pair of surprisingly compelling flagship phones, Vivo showed up with yet another kooky concept — the list goes on. As always, though, Team Engadget happened upon some other developments that captivated us more than we expected. That’s MWC for you — it’ll always catch you by surprise.
As we board our planes and begin our long treks home, join us for a final look at some of our favorite things — not just gadgets — from MWC. (Oh, and take a gander at our unnerving AR emoji while you’re at it.)
Edgar Alvarez, Senior Editor
Nokia x Kolon First Responders jacket
I don’t have to think about this once twice. My favorite thing from MWC 2018, by far, was Nokia’s smart jacket for first responders.
Not only does it have the potential to help cops or firefighters during emergencies with features like a removable heart rate monitor and body camera — it looks like it came straight out of a menswear runway show, too. Its fashionable streetwear looks are no accident either, since Nokia worked with Kolon (a South Korean fashion brand) to design the jacket. I’ll probably never own it, but at least I got to try it on for a few minutes here in Barcelona.
Cherlynn Low, Reviews Editor
Galaxy S9/S9+ AR emojis
Of all the new features of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, the most interesting is AR Emoji. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss this feature as an imitation of Apple’s Animoji, and the emoji themselves creep some people out. But the fact that they were controversial and invite participation makes this arguably the standout addition to the Galaxy S series. Technologically, the feature isn’t the most impressive — its depiction of faces varies wildly in accuracy, there are limited styles to choose from when customizing your avatar and the front camera struggles to pick up your facial movements and reproduce them.
Still, almost everyone on my team here made their own AR Emoji and some of them even clamored to try it out. We had a ball of a time doing impressions of each other, using the person’s avatar. Yes, the novelty of AR Emojis will eventually wear out, but for now it provided a hell of a lot of fun, and certainly cheered me up this cold, bleak MWC.
Mat Smith, UK Bureau Chief
The exaggerated death of the headphone jack
Any company that makes wireless headphones and buds might try to convince you that the future is set: get rid of those silly (cheaper, universal) headphones, and get some Bluetooth things instead.
However, MWC 2018’s graduating class of smartphones had only three devices that nixed the 3.5mm socket: Sony’s duo of Xperia XZ2 phones and Nokia’s new flagship redesign, the Sirocco 8. Options are good. Holding onto my reliable, wired, no-recharge needed earbuds is even better.
Nick Summers, Reporter
Huawei MateBook X Pro
I’m still searching for my dream Windows laptop. I like the Dell XPS 13, but the design is dull and the bezel between the hinge and the display is a little large for my tastes. I like the Surface Laptop too, but it’s expensive and the alcantara material worries me. That’s why I’m so intrigued by the Huawei MateBook X Pro that was announced at Mobile World Congress.
It has a simple, Macbook-esque look and the screen-to-body ratio is phenomenal. The pop-up webcam? It’s a nice idea, but I think the up-the-nose viewing angle is awful. Thankfully, I rarely take video calls. Otherwise, the MateBook X Pro seems like a solid ultrabook with plenty of power and an adequate selection of ports. Everything I want, basically, from a Macbook Pro replacement.
Chris Velazco, Senior Mobile Editor
The first wave of Android Go Edition phones
Android Go was first announced at last year’s Google I/O developer conference, but the first Go Edition phones just showed up here in Spain. In terms of hardware, none of them are particularly special, save for maybe the cutesy, familiar Nokia 1. Even so, I find Google’s commitment to building a more consistent kind of Android experience for people, no matter how much they paid for their smartphone, terribly admirable.
Google’s suite of Go-enabled apps are a pleasure to use too, and I’m pleased that vital features like Google Assistant are now available to just about everyone. It’ll take some time to really understand Android Go’s impact, but since Google has confirmed it will make Go builds for future Android versions, I think we just might be entering the golden age of cheap phones.
James Trew, Managing Editor
Nick and a smart hula-hoop is all my dreams come true. That is all.
Catch up on the latest news from MWC 2018 right here.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research report encouraging investors to keep their eyes on three products for 2018: the rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, AirPods, and a “more affordable MacBook Air.” The first two in that list have been widely discussed in recent weeks and months, but this is the first we’ve heard about an update to the MacBook Air.
We expect Apple (US) to roll out the new MacBook Air with a lower price tag in 2Q18. We forecast total shipments of MacBook models will grow 10-15% YoY in 2018 (vs. 0-5% YoY decline for the NB industry), up from 15.5-16mn units in 2017. While Quanta, Radiant, Catcher and SZS are likely to benefit from strong shipments momentum, SZS also stands to benefit from increased market share and a higher ASP.
Kuo doesn’t offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but the current models are certainly outdated as they haven’t had any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has cut back on available models including a complete discontinuation of the 11-inch model. The only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it’s still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe.
Aside from obvious internal upgrades like processors and graphics, another area that could see improvement is the display, as the MacBook Air currently offers a 1440 x 900 non-Retina display. We’ll likely also see some USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 upgrades and perhaps an overall redesign given the age of the current design.
Kuo’s claim of a second-quarter introduction points to the April–June timeframe, which could mean an announcement at WWDC in June, and we’ll likely hear more rumors as the time gets closer.
In a separate report, Kuo predicts that AirPods and the rumored high-end over-ear headphones are the future of Apple’s artificial intelligence and augmented reality ambitions. Kuo believes that compared to HomePod, Apple’s headphones offer more opportunities for reaching users quickly, personalization, and complementing rumored augmented reality glasses. Kuo is extremely optimistic about AirPods demand going forward, but less enthusiastic about HomePod given “mediocre” demand so far.
Related Roundups: MacBook Air, Apple VR Project, HomePod, AirPodsTag: Ming-Chi KuoBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Air (Caution), HomePod (Buy Now), AirPods (Caution)
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Dual wielding can be a drag — but it doesn’t have to be.
At some point in your life (especially if you’re around me), you’ve probably come across someone in possession of two phones. Maybe they were talking on one and browsing on the other (remember the days before VoLTE?). Maybe one was in their hand and the other was attached to a clip on their belt.
Maybe they were just walking around with both phones in their hands, paying no mind to where they were going and bumping into people on the streets.
Whatever the case, as strange as it seems, there are plenty of reasons to lead a two-phone life — we’ll get to that in a second — so how do you get on board and keep things running smoothly?
Why would you carry two phones?
So what would bring someone to carry two phones in the first place? After all, that’s twice as many batteries to charge, twice as many pockets to fill, and twice as many things to lose. Maybe you’re a phone reviewer who needs to carry and test multiple devices at a time.
… Wait, you’re not? Moving on then.
A more likely explanation is that you were given a phone through work. This makes it easier to keep track of business-related calls, and keeps you from having to give out your personal number to clients. Depending on your job, you might also deal with sensitive information that you’re only allowed to store on company property.
You might just spend a lot of time in areas with spotty coverage; maybe AT&T works great where you live, but only Verizon has service where you work. Hopefully this isn’t the case, since paying for two carriers obviously isn’t ideal, but on the bright side, if you’re able to get a phone through work you’ll probably get paid service as well.
There’s also the possibility that you’re simply an enthusiast who just wants to try more than one phone at a time. Say you want to carry Android and iOS simultaneously, or perhaps one of your phones has excellent battery life while the other takes amazing photos. Maybe you like a big phone for watching videos, but prefer a smaller phone for simpler things like texting.
Keeping both connected
No matter your reasoning, the point is that you’re living that two-phone life now, and the next step is figuring out how to keep both devices online. After all, what good is it to carry two phones if you’re only using one at a time?
As I mentioned before, you might be able to swing a free wireless account from work, but if that doesn’t pan out then there are still a few ways to get an active SIM in each phone. If you’re willing to shell out the extra cash each month, you could always pay for two wireless accounts, which minimizes the chance that you’ll ever be without service, but that’s just too much money to really justify.
If you’re satisfied with any one carrier’s coverage in your area, you could just open an additional line on your existing account to use with your second phone. Family plans are always more cost-effective than individual accounts, and you could save yourself some serious cash by going this route instead.
Assuming your data plan allows for it, you could also just create a mobile hotspot with your main phone to keep the secondary phone connected. It’s not exactly ideal, since tethering is known to be a huge battery drain and most carriers charge hefty fees for overusing this feature, but it’s a free alternative to paying for a second SIM card if you’re not a heavy data user.
About your phone number
This is where it gets tricky. Unless you have a separate phone number for work, you’ll probably want to be reachable with either phone, but phone numbers aren’t generally set up to work on more than one device at a time. Luckily there are a couple of ways to get around this.
The solution I’ve been using for years is Google Voice. You can port your main phone number to Google’s servers, then set up call forwarding with dummy numbers on your SIM cards. That way, whenever someone calls you, it’ll ring both phones, along with any computer with Gmail open. Of course, you can also set up text messaging, and these days Google Voice even supports MMS.
Another option might come directly from your carrier. Both AT&T and T-Mobile offer Voice-like services, dubbed NumberSync and Digits respectively, that let you sync phone numbers, call logs, text messages, and more just by signing into your account on the corresponding app.
Now that you’ve got both phones connected and figured out your phone number situation, it’s time to do something about all of those notifications. It’s great to know what’s going on at all times, but when you’re carrying two phones, every notification comes in twice, which can quickly drive you crazy on a busier day.
You might consider leaving one phone on silent at all times; this way, only one phone will vibrate when you get a new email or tweet, and you can just dismiss everything whenever you pick up the silent phone. If that sounds like too much of a daily annoyance, though, you can go a bit more in depth with notification management.
Consider disabling select notifications on each phone, based on what apps you use the most on each. For example, if you prefer typing on your smaller phone, turn off notifications from texting and instant messaging apps on the bigger phone. Maybe you’d rather only see emails on your work phone — disable email notifications on your personal phone. Experiment and find out what works best for you!
Do you carry two phones?
Have you ever had to carry two phones at once? Or have dual-SIM devices rendered the two phone lifestyle obsolete? Let us know in the comments below!
Here are some cases to help keep your PS4 safe as you travel.
There are times where you absolutely have to hit the road with your PlayStation 4. Maybe you’re headed to a friend’s house for a weekend of gaming or maybe you’re going to be doing some traveling for business and you would love to have your PS4 on hand in your hotel room. Whatever the reason for your travel, you are going to want to ensure that your consoles gets where it’s going safely.
One of the best ways to protect your PS4 is with a travel case. Let’s take a look at some of the best travel cases available for the PlayStation.
Best bang for your buck
If you’re looking for a case for your PS4 but you don’t want to break the bank, then you can’t do much better than this carrying case by CTA Digital. The modest exterior design of this bag is good for those who don’t want advertise that they are hauling around a PS4. There is plenty of room inside to house your console, a couple of controllers, all the needed wires, and a handful of game discs. You can pick it up for a meager $25.
See at Amazon
If you want a solution that offers a bit more protection and you’re willing to throw down a few extra bucks then you’re probably going to want a hard case. This Case by co2CREA offers comparable amount of storage as the previous entry with a much more durable exterior. Another bonus is the storage compartments which can be adjusted to suit your specific needs. You can get your hard case for about $40.
See at Amazon
For when you just need your controller
There may be some times times where you’re headed out to do some gaming and you don’t need to bring your whole console. If the only thing you need is your controller and you want to make your dual shock doesn’t take any shock then you might want to pick up this controller case from RDS industries. It’s a well-made little case which does exactly what it sets out to do. Your controllers will be protected from any bumps or abrasions. If this sort of thing suits your needs, then it can be had for only $14.
See at Amazon
For some folks, traveling with a PlayStation on hand is a must. If you are one of those people, hopefully these cases will help you to get where you’re going without your console taking any taking any damage. I wish you the safest of travels and the happiest of gaming sessions.
Why are we reviewing PlayStation 4 games on Android Central? Let us explain.
- PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
- PlayStation VR Review
- Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome
Expanding your Chromebook’s storage.
If you want to expand your Chromebook’s storage, you can use an SD or microSD card and boom, you’ve got more space. It’s not exactly the same because Chrome’s security model treats storage you can remove differently than storage you can’t, but an SD card slot means limitless storage space for photos, video, documents or anything else that you need to keep somewhere.
Whether you use a full-size SD card, a microSD card or a half-height SD card depends on your particular model of Chromebook.
- Full-size SD cards
- microSD cards
- Half-height SD cards
- An alternative
Full-size SD cards
Full-size SD cards are the largest SD cards in terms of physical size. Whether or not your Chromebook will fit a full-size SD card depends on the model and manufacturer.
Even then, a full-sized SD card may stick out of the SD card slot on your Chromebook and if this is the case, we don’t recommend that you use a full-sized SD card in your Chromebook all the time, since it could catch on something. Instead, insert it when you need to transfer files over or access files you’ve stored on it previously, then remove it again.
SanDisk Extreme Pro 512GB SDXC
If your Chromebook has a full-sized SD card slot, this is a no-brainer. The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card is the best SD card you can buy.
It has data transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s, so you can transfer those Blu-ray movies you’ve got sitting on your Chromebook’s hard drive without a problem. You’ll also find it available in models featuring 8GB of space up to a whopping 512GB version.
Like all full-sized SD cards, the SanDisk features write protection, which prevents you from accidentally erasing or overwriting your important files. No more worrying about accidentally erasing those old family pictures.
If you’re looking for a fast, reliable SD card, this is the one to buy. Pricing starts around $40 for the smaller models.
See at Amazon
MicroSD cards are much smaller in physical size than their larger SD card cousins — about as large as a fingernail whereas SD cards are about the size of a postage stamp.
Their smaller size doesn’t mean that they have smaller capacities than their larger brethren, however; they simply have a smaller form factor, and that means they’re typically used in smaller devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
For the most part, if your Chromebook can fit an SD card, it’ll take a microSD card. You’d just need an adapter, such as the Raspberry PI Shortening MicroSD Adapter to make things work with a full-sized slot.
SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSDXC
The SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD card is about as fast as they come, and with a 200GB capacity, it provides a lot of space for your files.
Transferring large files won’t be a problem with its rated 90MB/s transfer rate and with all of that space available, it can hold up to 20 hours of HD video. That’s right, 20 hours.
If you’re looking for an expandable storage option for your Chromebook that’s fast and has a large capacity, check out the SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD card. The 200GB model comes in around $70. If that’s more than you want to spend, prices start at just $13 for smaller capacities.
See at Amazon
Samsung EVO Plus 128GB microSDXC
Slightly slower than the SanDisk Ultra microSD card, Samsung’s EVO Plus 128GB is still fast enough for most uses and is correspondingly cheaper too.
While it doesn’t have as large a capacity as the SanDisk Ultra 200GB, the Samsung EVO Plus may have enough to suit your needs if you are looking for a bargain. Though it’s a little slower, you won’t notice much of a difference when transferring files or media.
These EVO cards are fast enough for most everyone, and $50 gets you 128GB of storage from Samsung.
See at Amazon
Half-height SD cards
Half-height SD cards, as the name implies, are SD cards that have a shorter form factor. They’re a great alternative if regular-height SD cards protrude from your Chromebook’s SD card slot and microSD cards aren’t compatible.
Transcend JetDrive Lite 330
The Transcend JetDrive Lite 330 comes in three capacities: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.
With a maximum rated read speed of up to 95MB/s and write speeds of up to 60MB/s, this half-height card is fast enough for downloading large files, and with its three capacity options, you can choose just the amount you need (and the price, too).
These aren’t cheap — the 64GB model is around $50, but If you don’t want to or can’t use a microSD card, the Transcend JetDrive may be the card for you.
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Shortening microSD adapter
If you have a fast microSD-card or want to buy a new one in your Chromebook, you can get a half-height adapter to keep things from hanging out of the side too far. Originally designed for use in a Raspberry Pi, these adapters from Adafruit work exactly the same as any high-quality full-sized adapter. There’s just less hanging out to snag on things. Best of all, they’re only $9.
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SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Maybe you don’t want to use an SD card at all but still want to expand your storage. The SanDisk Ultra Fit USB Flash Drive offers up to 128GB capacity and its low profile fits snugly against your Chromebook when it’s inserted. Its low price — $30 for 128GB — fits snugly against your heart, too.
Read speeds up to 150MB/s mean it’s ultra-fast and the design means you can leave it inserted so it’s always ready every time you boot up.
These are USB-A (bigger, older style socket) drives, so make sure you have the right USB ports!
For now, you can buy an adapter to use these smaller USB sticks on your Chromebook with USB-C ports, but that pretty much negates the small size benefits. There are also USB-C thumb drives available — this one from Samsung is highly recommended — but so far they have all been a little bigger. We expect that to change soon enough and when it does we’ll drop our recommendation right here.
See at Amazon
We’ve told you which SD cards we prefer, but what about you? Let us know in the comments below!
Updated February 2018: Updated with the latest recommended SD cards.
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A Chinese company called Leagoo made headlines at MWC for showing off its S9, a cheap Android phone that looks like an iPhone X and swiped Samsung’s flagship name. These kinds of clones have been a part of the industry forever, clogging up eBay and disappointing whoever buys them. The S9 is indeed the latest in a long line of clones, but as I discovered, the forces that brought it to market are more interesting than the facsimile itself.
After all, it seems odd that a company with the resources to build a portfolio of products and lock down a sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur FC would resort to blatant copying. And these copies aren’t much to write home about either. The S9s at Leagoo’s booth ran a very buggy version of Android, and the hardware felt chintzy and insubstantial. Those software issues should get worked out before launch, but honestly, this is exactly the kind of cut-rate experience you’d expect from a $150 iPhone clone. That said, the bits of the iPhone X Leagoo attempted to copy at least look correct.
The notch is roughly the right size, and the 13+2MP dual camera around back looks more or less spot-on, even if it doesn’t take particularly great pictures. The Leagoo S9 I played with seemed far from finished, but even at its best, it seems unlikely to thrill.
And the iPhone isn’t the only flagship Leagoo has attempted to ape, either. Off to the side of Leagoo’s booth at MWC was a plasticky phone with a dual camera and stripes etched horizontally high on its back. That was the company aiming at a domestic rival: Huawei’s high-powered Mate 10 Pro. In fairness, Leagoo designs and produces original smartphones as well — quite a few, in fact.
After a conversation with Leagoo Senior Vice President Zhijie Xie, things became more clear. For Leagoo, cranking out the occasional clone phone isn’t just a way for the company to capitalize on new trends in the industry. It’s about survival.
“For right now, the situation for the mobile phone business,” Xie said, his voice trailing off a little. “Especially [when you’re] like us — you just have to stay alive.”
The S9 then is pure marketing given physical form, a device meant to drive buzz in hopes of boosting the business as a whole. If this sounds familiar, well, it should: that’s the idea being the new Nokia’s string of retro phone releases.
“This one just makes some noise,” conceded Xie while gesturing to the S9.
The weariness in his voice was apparent, and he’s earned it. Leagoo is still a small company, with only a few hundred employees and two factories: one in Shenzhen and one in Sichuan province. And given the sort of global competition small companies like Leagoo face, carving out a space in the market is no easy feat. On a large scale, Apple and Samsung tend to dominate both smartphone conversations and market share to the point where even highly capable competitors are struggling to make an impact.
“Even for LG and Sony sales are going down every year,” Xie said. “We just [have to] stay alive and try to find some core-selling products.” Leagoo’s search for those core products has been a tricky one so far. Xie pointed out that the company’s M-series smartphones were doing well, but a recent release fizzled out because of performance issues related to its Spreadtrum chipset. These kinds of issues seem even more painful when you consider Leagoo’s limited reach. Despite its firmly Chinese origins, Leagoo doesn’t sell phones there at all. All of the companies efforts are concentrated in southeast Asia and eastern Europe, partially because standing up to China’s internal competition can be nearly impossible for upstarts.
“We never did China,” Xie added. “The competition is too strong. Huawei, Xiaomi, Meizu, they’re all there.” And beyond just being there, those companies have much more experience cutting deals with Chinese carriers and retailers, leading to a situation where smaller can be boxed out of their own home.
“At the beginning, we created this company and decided to only focus on overseas markets,” said Xie. “In China, you sometimes need relationships; we do not have the background, and so we chose fair markets. If you work hard, if your products are good, you can sell.”
I’ll admit to being surprised after playing with a few other Leagoo smartphones at the booth. They were perfectly passable devices. The low price tags involved meant they couldn’t stack up to many of the devices I regularly test, but the phones themselves seem sound. When it isn’t churning out clones, Leagoo seems to do decent work. Whether that’s enough to help Leagoo find its place in the world is a different story.
Catch up on the latest news from MWC 2018 right here.