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23
Mar

MIT’s latest invention pulls clean drinking water out of thin air


MIT

For people in the world without easy access to drinkable water, the idea of being able to pull it straight out of the sky, even in the driest of desert regions, would quite literally be a lifesaver. That is something that researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been working on with a revolutionary new water extraction system.

The device uses a custom metal-organic framework (MOF) to seek out water and trap it in the form of vapor. It then uses a source heat, such as the sun, to separate the vapor molecules from the metal-organic framework. Thanks to condensation, what results is drinkable water — and an astonishing bit of technology.

We covered the team’s work in 2018 when they had just demonstrated the technology as a proof of principle. Now they’ve put it through its paces by field testing it in the dry air of Tempe, Arizona to prove efficacy. The extremely promising results bring the project one step closer to its exciting conclusion.

“The advancement we have achieved over our proof-of-concept demonstration last year is the testing of a small-scale prototype in desert conditions where we believe absorption-based water harvesting systems are most practical,” Sameer Rao, a post-doctoral research associate who worked on the project, told Digital Trends. “In addition, we have made several design improvements which enabled operation at greatly improved efficiencies. By careful design and optimization, we developed a device which is well suited for operation in arid conditions and under negative dew points in which competing commercially mature technologies such as refrigeration-based dewing cycles are infeasible.”

While they are still using a miniature prototype for testing purposes, the researchers believe that a scaled-up version of the extraction system could output more than a quarter-liter of water per day per kilogram of MOF.

“We are currently working on developing a large-scale prototype, one that would be able to sustain the drinking water needs of a family in remote and arid areas,” Rao continued. “There are certainly interesting questions we are working to answer and enable higher operational efficiencies and simultaneously demonstrate the scalability of our approach.”

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23
Mar

Hands-on with Oculus Go, the game console you wear on your face


The right fit. The right quality. The right price. This is going to be a hit.

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Great standalone VR experiences are quickly defined by how comfortable the headset is, the volume and quality of available games, and the price of the headset. Oculus has been working hard to make sure its upcoming Go headset ticks all of these boxes, and at GDC 2018 the Oculus booth puts this headset front and center to demonstrate how successful that experience will be.

After a few minutes in these demos and some conversations with developers bringing games to the new headset, it’s clear Oculus is gearing up for this launch to be a huge success.

The Hardware

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Oculus Go is a standalone headset, which means the computer is built in. There’s no phone to insert, no computer to connect to, and no accessories to attach. You push the the power button on the top of the headset, and the software immediately springs to life. It doesn’t get much simpler.

Whatever Oculus has done to make these speakers work is impressive, because they are fantastic and people are going to love them.

Because the computer is baked right in, the headset is a little heavier than you might expect by looking at it. Oculus Go has a largely plastic body, with a little bit of fabric and rubbery material where you put your eyes. It doesn’t scream “premium” when you look at it, but the design is undeniably Oculus. Right down to the unique shapes made by the straps and the rails on the sides, this looks like the younger brother to the Oculus Rift — which helps add some surprise when you lift the body and discover it’s about the same weight.

With the power and volume buttons up top and the Micro-USB port exposed next to the headphone jack on the side, it’s clear the design is less about aesthetics and more about functionality. What you won’t find on the body is side buttons for navigating the Oculus UI. Everything you do inside the actual headset is controlled through the included Three Degrees of Freedom (3DoF) controller. If you’ve ever used the Gear VR controller, it will feel familiar enough, but this design is a little more cylindrical, with buttons more flush against the body.

While the headset has a headphone jack, you might never feel the need to use it. Oculus Go has spatial audio speakers built in, and possibly the greatest trick to this design is how well those speakers are hidden. You won’t see any obvious speaker holes in the design because they’re built into the straps. They’re loud, too. Sitting in a noisy convention center hall did very little to stop them from totally immersing me in the game I was playing. Whatever Oculus has done to make these speakers work is impressive, because they are fantastic and people are going to love them. At the same time, I’m very happy there’s an actual headphone jack for private VR sessions.

The inside of the Oculus Go is just about as close to perfect as you can get with something this size. The lenses are surrounded by a dark, matte black material that works hard to keep light from reflecting around it. This is a problem with a lot of other headsets, and it’s refreshing to see it so well done here. Very little light leaks into the headset from outside, and very little light from within illuminates the surface around the lenses. This means you get nice deep black borders around the lenses, which helps make them feel larger than they are. They don’t seem appreciably different from the Gear VR lenses on the outside, but when you combine the way Oculus Go increased the eye buffer to 1280×1280 (Gear VR is 1024×1024) with the way it decreased light problems on the other side of the lenses, you get a more immersive VR experience.

Oculus Go feels like the culmination of years of research from prior Oculus releases, including many Gear VR and Oculus Rift revisions. The headset itself feels almost minimalist compared to its other designs, no doubt an effort to keep costs down, which makes every inch of this headset useful in some way. Even the face gasket, the part which rests on your skin, feels somehow more purposefully designed. The rubbery material will be easy to clean, and the way the material flexes helps keep you from tightening the headset down too far on your face.

The Software

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Put simply, we don’t know much about the software yet. Oculus wasn’t allowing anyone to take a trip through the home UI, but there are a few things we do know for sure. First, this headset is built on a custom version of Android most people are never going to see. When you turn the headset on, expect to see a very Oculus-like store and navigation panel. Think of the interface on a game console made by Oculus, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect when this headset is finally available.

We also know Oculus is focusing hard on three big things for the launch of this headset. The first we learned back at Oculus Connect 4 last October: the company wants developers to bring as many Gear VR games as possible to Oculus Go so the store looks nice and full at launch. Second, Oculus has been working with third-party developers to create experiences that encourage users to put the headset on every day. This can be competitive games, replayable games, or apps with a deeply social aspect, but either way, Oculus wants to make sure people have lots of reason to make sure the headset is constantly used and people want to bring it with them places. Third, Oculus wants to keep the social momentum going with Oculus Go. Being able to play games, watch moves, or just chat in a visual space with friends have all been cool ideas on the other headsets, but on Go these experiences will take priority.

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To help drive these ideas home, the big Oculus Go demos this week are Catan VR, Anshar Online, and They Suspect Nothing. Catan VR, as the name suggests, lets you play the Settlers of Catan board game with up to four other people. The “board” includes a real-time chat system, and works cross-platform with Gear VR and Oculus Rift. They Suspect Nothing is a clever, funny robot infiltration game with a ton of replayability due to the random nature of the challenges. Anshar Online, a continuation of the excellent Anshar Wars VR franchise, is a space dogfight game you can now play with lots of other people in spectacular space battles that encourages you to spin all around and blow up everything.

The gameplay for each of these examples felt higher quality than what you would normally get on a Gear VR, but not by any massive amount. The visuals were nice, the text seemed clearer and the “corners” of the display lacked the blur you normally see with the Gear VR. The graphics themselves didn’t seem any better, but visually the games played a little smoother and felt a little sharper.

There’s obviously a lot more about the software to explore as the Oculus Go comes closer to launch, but these hand-picked Oculus demos paint a great picture of what this headset can do.

Get excited now

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While the headset looks a feels minimalist, the experience this headset is delivering for $200 can’t be beaten. A standalone headset is infinitely more practical than a headset you put your phone into for a lot of people, if only because it’s difficult to be OK with giving 50% of your phone battery to something that isn’t critical to your day-to-day activities. But when the headset has its own battery, you can treat it like a portable game console or a tablet and enjoy it without real consequences. For that standalone experience to not only be more practical than a phone-based system, but also generally more visually appealing, is damned impressive.

There will be folks out there eager for more capable standalone VR experiences, like the Oculus Santa Cruz prototypes or HTC Vive Focus or Daydream Standalone headsets, but Oculus Go is going to own the “entry level” VR market for a long time based on the experiences I’ve had today. This is a great experience at a killer price, and I will absolutely be standing in line to pick one up on launch day.

Check out more on the Oculus Go!

23
Mar

Top 5 things I’d change about the Galaxy S9+


The Galaxy S9+ is great out of the box, but there’s room for improvement.

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Samsung decided to take a conservative route with the Galaxy S9 series, with the phones featuring the same design aesthetic as last year’s Galaxy S8 while offering a few select upgrades. The camera now sports variable aperture, the Quad HD Super AMOLED display is 15% brighter, and the devices feature the latest hardware in the form of the Snapdragon 845 and the Exynos 9810.

Essentially, the Galaxy S9 series is a refined version of last year’s flagships, with improved cameras and minor design tweaks. That said, there’s still room for improvement in a few areas. Here’s what I’d change in the Galaxy S9+.

Decoupling the fingerprint sensor

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Located underneath the camera module, the fingerprint sensor is at a much more sensible location when compared to last year. However, Samsung stuck with the same rectangular housing as the Note 8, with the sensor attached to the camera module. Only this time around, the camera sensors are arrayed vertically.

While the move makes it easier to reach the sensor — particularly on the larger S9+ — it still isn’t located quite where your index finger rests at the back of the phone. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s one Samsung could have avoided by decoupling the fingerprint sensor from the camera module.

Throwing in a larger battery — and adding Quick Charge 4.0

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Samsung hasn’t increased the battery capacity from last year, and as such the standard S9 comes with a 3000mAh battery while the larger S9+ sports a 3500mAh unit. Having used the Exynos 9810 variant of the S9+ for over two weeks, it’s clear that Samsung should have fitted a larger battery.

I averaged up to four hours of screen-on-time spread over 14 hours, and on days I was on cellular data predominantly, I had to plug in before 8 p.m. With the S9 sporting a similar hardware, it’s unlikely the phone will last a day on a full charge.

Then there’s the fact that Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging is still based on Quick Charge 2.0 speeds. With standards like OnePlus’ Dash Charge offering up to a 60% charge in just over 30 minutes, Samsung’s fast charging protocol needs an overhaul, and fast.

Making the Bixby button configurable

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A year after Bixby made its debut, it still feels half-baked. You can get Google Assistant to perform most of the same tasks, but one area where Bixby shines is navigating the complex user interface. If you’re looking for an option that’s hidden under several layers of menus in the phone’s settings or if you’re interested in opening apps with voice commands, Bixby is relatively useful.

But for a majority of users, Bixby is another one of those services that needs disabling when setting up the S9 or S9+. What’s particularly irksome about Bixby is that the service has a dedicated hardware button that can’t be reconfigured for anything else — by disabling Bixby, you’re essentially nullifying the button’s functionality.

Having the option to launch another app or use it as a shutter button for the camera would be a valuable addition from a usability standpoint.

Getting rid of the legacy features

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Samsung overhauled its user interface last year, and there haven’t been many changes on that front with the Galaxy S9. If you’ve used a Samsung phone over the last 12 months, you’ll feel at home with Samsung Experience 9.0.

Because Samsung is the largest Android manufacturer around, it needs to cater to a wide-reaching audience with varying usage patterns. Over the years, Samsung has added a ton of features to its interface, and although the design has received an overhaul, there are several legacy features still baked into the interface.

Ideally, it takes a few hours to set up the phone to your liking. It’s great that Samsung offers a ton of customization options, but a lot of the legacy features aren’t really that useful. For instance, Samsung has a duplicate set of apps for most Google services, and while features like swiping your palm across the edge of the display to take a screenshot sounds cool, it doesn’t work most of the time and you’re better off sticking to the usual method.

The interface doesn’t feel anywhere near as fluid as that of the Pixel 2 or even the OnePlus 5T, which costs $300 less. To its credit, Samsung allows you to disable a lot of the pre-installed apps, but the fact that they’re there is the main issue.

Bringing back the old camera interface

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Alongside the new imaging sensors, Samsung overhauled the camera app, bringing an iOS-style interface that lets you can scroll through the available modes by swiping left and right. More often than not, you’ll just end up switching shooting modes when you’re trying to interact with the interface, like changing the focus or manually adjusting the exposure levels.

Your turn

How are you liking your Galaxy S9/S9+? Is there anything you’d like to change on your phone? Let me know in the comments.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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23
Mar

Some Galaxy S9 owners have unresponsive touchscreens


Samsung’s looking into the issue.

It’s not uncommon for a new gadget to launch with a few bugs here and there, but the severity of these often varies from phone-to-phone. Even a company as large as Samsung still manages to drop the ball here and there, and according to a number of customer complaints, something wonky is going on with the Galaxy S9’s touchscreen.

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The issue at hand has to do with the responsiveness of the Galaxy S9’s screen. People are experiencing “dead spots”, meaning that swiping or tapping on the display doesn’t result in anything happening the way it should. This issue has been reported for both the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and even some of the Android Central forum members have fallen victim to this.

default.jpgAndroid Central Question
03-22-2018 03:45 AM

Hi I am facing display issues on my S9+ bought 3 days back in india. It was working fine but suddenly the top area of the display stopped working. Resetting is not helping. How many are facing this issue.

Reply

default.jpgAndroid Central Question
03-22-2018 08:44 AM

It does respond on the top right area of the screen to taps and swipes down, however does respond if you swipe up. Not sure what the reason is. Is it hardware software. Still persist after factory reset.

Reply

Samsung has since issued a statement saying that it’s “looking into a limited number of reports” regarding the situation, but as it stands, it’s unclear just how “limited” this really is or isn’t.

Until then, however, we’d like to hear from you – If you’ve got a Galaxy S9/S9+, have you experienced dead zones on the screen?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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23
Mar

How to get the perfect PlayStation VR room setup


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Making the most of your space isn’t as difficult as you might think.

So you’ve just picked dup that shiny new PlayStation VR, and you’re dying to open it up and get it set up, but you have a few questions. Between all of the cords, the way that the PlayStation camera needs to be set up, questions about light calibration, and finding the right amount of space to play, things can get a little bit overwhelming.

That’s where we’re here to help. We’ve got everything you need to set up your PlayStation VR so that it works fantastically, along with answers about space, lighting, and even where to set up your system in an already cramped apartment!

Get set up

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The first thing that you need to do before you even consider moving furniture, or rearranging your house, is figuring out where you plan on playing PlayStation VR. You’ll need the space to set up your console, television and PlayStation Camera, along with having enough space to move around without crashing into anything fragile or breakable.

If you already have your PlayStation 4 set up in a decent area, then all you’ll need to do is plug the new additions from your PlayStation VR. This includes adjusting HDMI cords, plugging in the processor unit, and making sure everything has a snug connection. There are a lot of cords to take in, but they’re all numbered in an attempt to make it easier on you.

Read more: How to set up your PlayStation VR

How much room do I need?

The second thing you need to take into mind when you are initially getting set up is how much room you’ll need to play. While PlayStation VR does run off of your PlayStation 4 console, you’re gonna need quite a bit of room to get the best experience possible. Sony recommends a playspace of about 10 feet long, by 6 feet wide but you can shave that down just a little bit if you’re playing in cramped quarters.

With 6 feet of space you’ll have the room to move forward and backwards.

Even so, you’re going to need a minimum of 6 feet by 6 feet if you want to enjoy your new VR system. This is primarily because there is a 2 foot ‘dead zone’ directly in front of the camera where it won’t properly read you while standing. With 6 feet of space, you’ll have enough room to move forward and backward, without the camera losing you on its sensors. When you first start up PlayStation VR should show you what the PlayStation camera is seeing.

This means you’ll be able to see where it can read you, as well as anything in the room that might trip you up once you’ve put your headset on.

Light calibration matters

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Unlike some other VR systems, PlayStation 4 uses light calibration in order to see you while you are playing in VR, so keeping an eye on the lights near where you plan to play is pretty key. This is specifically because bright lights like LED monitors in the background, or morning light streaming through a window can actually throw everything off.

This is why you’ll want to take a look around the room that you plan to play in, and ensure there isn’t anything that is going to distract your PlayStation Camera. PlayStation VR works best in a dim room, where the lights from your headset, and the lights on your PlayStation Move controllers are bright and easy to see.

Read more: How to get the best light calibration for your PlayStation 4

Adjust your space

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Depending on your living situation and where your PlayStation VR is set up, you might be having issues finding six feet of uninterrupted space. This is especially true for the folks playing in apartments, weirdly shaped rooms, or homes with roommates. While it will take a little bit of wiggle work, there are a few things you can do to help.

When you set up your camera for the PlayStation VR, make sure it’s placed in a way that gives you access to as much free space possible. This might mean placing the camera on top of or to the side of your TV. By making sure that the camera is facing towards the largest amount of open space, you can avoid having to rearrange your living room to make it more amenable to VR.

It’s also worth it to remember that while it might seem counter intuitive to have the PlayStation camera pointing in a weird direction, the only thing that really matters is that it can read your movements. You won’t have to keep an eye on the TV, which may open up options for where to point that camera to score 6 feet of space for VR.

Even in a small or narrow room, you can usually clear out enough space to play.

There is, of course, always the option to go ahead and permanently rearrange your furniture. By doing this you will ensure that you don’t need to move things out of the way every time you want to turn on your PlayStation VR. This might mean ensuring that all couches are against the wall, or completely removing your coffee table from the middle of the room.

The third option is to just move things out of the way when you are getting ready to play. Even in a small or narrow room, you can usually clear out enough room to play without running into anything. This may make life more difficult for anyone else who is in your home at the same time, but it will get you the room you need to play safely.

No matter how you adjust your space, you’ll want to make sure that no animals or people are going to be running into your playspace. Make sure that roomies know you can’t see or hear anything going on in the real world when you are playing. Likewise, if your pet likes to curl up at your feet when you are playing video games, you may want to put up some kind of barrier. That way you won’t accidentally step on the dog’s tail when you are trying to score a goal in Sparc. The same goes for toddlers, minus the carrier and tail part — just make sure they won’t crawl over into the area where you play.

Take advantage of PlayStation VR games that let you sit

There is a final option for making sure that you have enough room to use your PlayStation VR. Many of the games that are available will allow you to play sitting down. As long as you are playing a game that allows you to sit down, you won’t need quite as much space to play.

This won’t be possible with every game since some of them do require you to stand, but If you’re in seriously cramped conditions, this can ensure that you don’t lose out on using VR entirely. You’ll just need enough space to reach your arms out while sitting on a chair or stool.

If this is the route you decide to go, we suggest investing in a decent swivel chair. This way it’s easy to turn, or look behind you while in VR.

Use a spare room

Your best option is to have a room that is dedicated to VR. For most people, though, this isn’t really feasible. After all, if you live in a place, it’s doubtful there is an entirely empty room just lying around waiting for you to fill it up with your brand new VR adventures.

Your best option is to have a room that is dedicated to VR.

If you’ve just had a roommate move out, or you’re in the process of moving into a new place, you may well have a spare room; you’re looking at the best case scenario. This way you can easily set up your PlayStation VR, PlayStation 4, and television without having to worry about moving or rearranging the room.

What kind of room do you have?

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Whether you have access to an entire room, or you’re just sitting at the edge of your bed, there are plenty of ways to jump into a VR experience. Have you had to rearrange your room? Did you have issues finding enough space for PlayStation VR? Be sure to drop us a comment below, or pop into our forums to talk about it!

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
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23
Mar

Does phone brand loyalty still matter?


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Why constrain yourself to only one manufacturer or software experience anymore?

In 2011, I remember setting up my first Android phone, the HTC Inspire, after trading my iPhone 4 away on Craigslist. I loved my iPhone at the time, but I’d spent so many hours watching videos and reading reviews on various Android devices that I just had to have one, and the Inspire looked like the perfect option.

I signed into my Google account, set up Facebook and Twitter, and got started with HTC Sense — complete with that giant clock widget everyone was infatuated with back then. Save for a few hardware downsides (battery life wasn’t great, and the door to swap batteries was next-to-impossible to open), I was in love. Who could’ve imagined an enormous 4.3″ display could actually fit in a hand or pocket? And the download speeds were so much faster than the iPhone!

HTC is still making gorgeous phones, but they don’t stand out like they used to.

A lot of people seemed to agree with my sentiments, given the massive popularity of the more powerful Sprint variant, the HTC Evo 4G. With a kickstand, Sprint’s WiMAX technology, and a front-facing camera (something my Inspire lacked), the Evo was one of the best-selling Android phones at the time, and it looked like HTC was on course to rule the smartphone world.

Fast-forward seven years and, well, that’s not the case. Despite once moving mountains of units, HTC now struggles to make even its top-end phones stand out against the likes of Samsung and Apple, and it’s hard to imagine the company ever returning to its former glory. People just aren’t buying HTC phones anymore — and admittedly, I haven’t either since the One M9.

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I’ve been on just about every side of every camp; I traded my Inspire for a Motorola Atrix, traded back shortly after, swapped out again for a Galaxy S2, then on to a Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, and so on — I’ve been changing phones since long before I was ever paid to. After trying almost every OEM’s software interface, I stuck with stock Android for a while; I carried the Nexus 4, Moto X, Nexus 6, etc. Beyond just hardware and OEMs, I had developed a brand loyalty for Google’s software.

But how much is that loyalty even worth anymore? Once I started flashing custom ROMs, I didn’t really need to buy a Nexus or other Google-branded device anymore. I could put the stock Android software I loved on the hardware I wanted — no matter who made it. Likewise, there’s no longer a need to store your personal information with a particular brand; my carrier can try all it wants to get me to use its services to store my contacts, but storing them on a neutral site like Google ensures I’ll be able to move that information over to any device on any network.

When every phone is good at the same things, why stick with just one brand?

Personal convictions can be easily swayed pretty easily by simply experiencing the other side. During my time as a phone sales rep, I spoke with countless customers who swore up and down that they’d never even consider using a particular brand again — yet sure enough, once you show them some of the newer models and get their hands on one, 9 times out of 10 they’d at the very least be more willing to talk about it.

OEMs are starting to run out of ways to keep you around. These days, almost every phone does exactly the same things as the next one, with few unique features setting it apart. Some brands have gotten creative, like Motorola with its Moto Mods, but that’s just more money to spend on an already expensive phone — admittedly, it keeps you fairly locked into the ecosystem once you’ve bought a few Mods, but it’s hard to entice someone in the first place with additional expenses. Apple does a great job at retaining users by keeping iMessage exclusive to its products, but I’ve been seeing an increasing number of tweets lately from iPhone owners saying they’d otherwise jump ship.

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A lot of it comes down to hardware preferences. If you like glass phones with curved sides, you should buy Samsung for the foreseeable future. If you prefer the cold touch of aluminum, these days your choices are pretty limited but there are still some great options from companies like OnePlus and Honor. Of course, there are still software quirks between brands, but with so many third-party launchers and apps these days, it’s easy to make just about any phone look and feel like your dream phone.

I’ve been pretty happy with using whatever phone I have on hand. I’ve recently gone back to using an iPhone after nearly a decade on Android, and I’ll be moving into a Galaxy S9 soon. I still have preferences and biases, as does everyone, but paying little mind to brand loyalty opens up my options when shopping for a new phone, and makes switching from one experience to another quick and easy.

Do you stay loyal to any particular brand, or are you more or less brand agnostic? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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23
Mar

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!


Here’s everything we know about the Galaxy Note 9!

Now more than ever, Samsung’s Galaxy S+ phones are becoming eerily similar to the Note series. The Note used to be Samsung’s way of touting all of the latest and greatest tech it had to offer, and while this is still the case, the same can be said for this year’s Galaxy S9+.

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Samsung needs more than just the S Pen to make the Note 9 stand out from its own phones and the rest of the competition, and luckily, all signs are pointing to something exciting for this year’s release. Here’s what we know so far!

March 23, 2018: A new report suggests that the Note 9 will have an in-display fingerprint sensor

As bezels continue to shrink, the mobile industry is being forced to come up with new ways to implement biometric security systems. This means moving fingerprint sensors to the back of phones, and in some cases, replacing them entirely with face-unlock setups.

According to a report from The Korea Herald, Samsung will use the Galaxy Note 9 as its first phone to ship with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Per a source that spoke with The Herald –

Samsung Display has prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display, and both are seriously considering one of the solutions.

In addition to this, the anonymous source also noted that –

The delay in deciding on the final concept for the Note 9 is due to the work in adopting the in-display fingerprint sensor. A final decision on adoption of the technology will be made by this month.

Previous reports from earlier this month have indicated that Samsung would skip out on an in-display sensor for the Note 9, so it’s hard to say for sure what’ll come of this considering the back-and-forth we’ve heard. The Galaxy Note 9 would be a perfect showcase for this new technology, but if the sensors don’t meet Samsung’s criteria quite yet, we may not see this tech arrive on a Samsung phone until the S10.

February 27, 2018: Bixby 2.0 could make an appearance on the phone

During MWC 2018, Samsung’s chief of mobile, DJ Koh, spilled some beans regarding Bixby 2.0.

Bixby 2.0 is expected to be a big improvement compared to its current iteration, offering things like a more natural-sounding voice and availability on more devices. Speaking to ZDNet, Koh said –

At this speed, I think we will be able to unveil Bixby 2.0 when we launch the Galaxy Note 9.

When will the Galaxy Note 9 be released?

Samsung typically releases its Galaxy Note series in the second-half of the year, often in mid-to-late August.

There’s been no reason for us to believe that Samsung will change its release cycle for the Note 9 this year, so we can likely look forward to an August release date once again in 2018.

How much will the Galaxy Note 9 cost?

Pricing for the Note series has steadily been going up each year, as has the majority of the smartphone industry.

The Galaxy Note 8 costs $950 unlocked, and I’d expect the Note 9 to cost either the same or slightly more. Apple proved with the iPhone X that people aren’t afraid to shell out $1000+ for a new smartphone, and I don’t consider it to be out of the question for Samsung to follow suit with the Note 9 – especially if it adopts newer technologies like an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9+: Everything you need to know!

23
Mar

Cancel your weekend plans for Shadowgun Legends and PUBG Mobile!


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You have to play these games.

Update March 23, 2018: The big news this week was the release of PUBG Mobile for Android — but almost lost in the shuffle was the release of the epic RPG shooter Shadowgun Legends!

PUBG Mobile

Far and away the biggest game release for Android this week, if you haven’t checked out PUBG yet make sure you do this weekend.

If you missed my review earlier this week, here’s what you need to know. PUBG is a battle royale-style game where 100 players are dropped onto a large island map with no supplies. You must quickly search for loot and then kill or survive until you’re the very last man standing.

This is a very good port of the original game that has been optimized for mobile without taking anything away from the core gameplay. The learning curve is steep, but the tiered ranking system means you shouldn’t run into too many elite players in your first couple games.

It’s free to download and play with no ads and no pay-to-win elements and comes highly recommended.

Download: PUBG Mobile (Free)

Shadowgun Legends

While PUBG Mobile has been stealing all my free time this week, another pretty massive shooter also just launched on Android that’s just as epic in terms of graphics and scope.

Shadowgun Legends is a massive RPG shooter looks amazing on mobile. Made by the fine folks at MADFINGER Games, you’ve perhaps played the original Shadowgun game, or its multiplayer spin-off Shadowgun: Deadzone. Legends takes the game into exciting new territory allowing you to play an epic story campaign and connect and play with or against friends all in the same game.

There are over 200 missions spread across four planets for you to complete, collecting loot and other cosmetic items along the way to customize your fighter. After you’ve built your character up through the main campaign, join forces with friends for co-op missions and raids or take on other players in the PvP arena.

This is a crazy polished game that maintains a solid framerate despite how beautiful everything looks. The default controls are super stripped down and basic, but they can be tweaked in the settings if you desire a bit more of a challenge. It’s free-to-play without being pay-to-win, with in-app purchases available for cosmetic upgrades if you’re down with that. Also available to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV.

If PUBG’s style just ain’t for you, check out Shadowgun Legends instead!

Download: Shadowgun Legends (Free w/IAPs)

23
Mar

Best Car Chargers for Samsung Galaxy S9


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Never run out of battery while you’re on the go!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is designed to let you do more — as long as your battery doesn’t run out!

With USB-C and wireless charging capabilities, there’s more than one way to keep your Galaxy S9 topped up while in the car. Make sure you arrive at the party with a fully charged phone by getting a car charging accessory for your new phone.

  • Samsung Fast Charge Dual-Port Car Charger
  • Anker Power Drive 2
  • iOttie Easy One-Touch 4 QI Wireless Charging Mount
  • Aukey Dual USB Car Charger w/ Quick Charge 3.0

Samsung Fast Charge Dual-Port Car Charger

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If you’re concerned with compatibility issues, you may want to consider the Samsung Fast Charge Dual-Port Car Charger.

This is a great car charger if you regularly drive with a passenger who might also like to charge their phone, or if you need to charge multiple devices on the go. If the space around your car’s 12V port is tight, Samsung sells a compact single-port car charger. ($22) that should fit nearly anywhere. If you’re more trusting of first-party charging accessories — as you should — it’s definitely worth spending a bit more for something directly from Samsung.

You can get yours from Amazon for $16.

See at Amazon

Anker Powerdrive 2

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Anker is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to charging your phone, and the PowerDrive 2 is one of the best car chargers you can buy, earning accolades from the Wirecutter as the best USB car charger you can buy.

The PowerDrive 2 sports two USB ports and while it doesn’t support Qualcomm Quick Charge, it instead uses Anker’s proprietary PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies to offer up to 4.8 amps or 2.4 amps per port, which both can be used to safely charge two devices simultaneously.

Available in your choice of black or white and backed by Anker’s 18-month warranty, you can get the PowerDrive 2 for just $9 on Amazon — although you’ll need to supply your own USB-C cable.

See at Amazon

iOttie Easy One-Touch 4 QI Wireless Charging Mount

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The Galaxy S9 allows for wireless charging, so why not take advantage of that fact while charging your phone in your car?

This car mount from iOttie is one of the best I’ve tested, and worked quite well with the Galaxy S8 — even with a case on. It includes a 12V adapter with a hardwired cable for supplying power to the mount that includes a secondary USB port for charging an additional device the wired way.

With a telescopic arm and mounting options for the dash or windshield, this is a very versatile car mount that will charge your Galaxy S9 as you drive.

See at Amazon

Aukey Dual USB Car Charger w/ Quick Charge 3.0

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This car charger from Aukey includes a USB-C port that’s Quick Charge 3.0 compatible. That means you’ll need a USB-C to USB-C cable to take full advantage of the charging speeds.

This charger offers great compatibility as you’ll be able to fast-charge your Galaxy S9 and any other devices that use USB-C, while the included USB-A port allows you or your friends to also charge their older devices, too, although not at rapid charging speeds.

Aukey backs its products with a 24-month warranty and you can find it on Amazon for just $17.

See at Amazon

What car accessories do you trust?

These are our top pics, but we want to know which car chargers you trust. Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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23
Mar

This Tacklife USB rechargeable electric arc lighter is only $10


A safe and easy way to light things on fire.

This Tacklife USB-rechargeable electric arc lighter is down to $10.12 with code TEKPK6SU on Amazon. In January this lighter was selling as high as $19. It has since dropped down to around the $13 price, but this code brings it down to an even more fantastic low price.

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This arc lighter is very similar to a model we’ve shared many deals on before, except this one has an extended neck. The flexible section can rotate as well, so you can fit it in the weird and awkward spots you might need to light something, like the stove or grill or a candle where you can’t quite reach the wick. It has a 220mAh built-in battery that can be recharged via USB more than 200 times and gets you more than 400 lights per charge. The lighter automatically shuts off after 10 seconds and has no spark, no smell, and never needs gas. Tacklife backs it up with a two-year warranty.

See on Amazon

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