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31
Jul

Deals: AirPods for $144.99, 4K iTunes Movies Sale, and Latest Anker Discount Codes


Apple’s AirPods are seeing a rare and notable discount today at two retailers, with the wireless earphone accessory marked down to $144.99 at both Amazon and Adorama.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Straight discounts on AirPods don’t come around very often and these are all-time-low prices for the accessory at both retailers, although they have been slightly cheaper for those using sitewide discount codes at places like eBay. So if you have been waiting for a price drop on AirPods, head over to Amazon or Adorama and place your order soon.

We’ve also got a new collection of Anker discounts to highlight today:

  • True-Wireless Earphones Soundcore Liberty Lite – $64.99 with code SDCLBT66, down from $79.99 (exp. 8/5)

  • PowerWave 7.5 Pad, 7.5W Fast Wireless Charger – $31.99 with code POWERAAA, down from $39.99 (exp. 8/5)

  • SoundBuds Slim+ Wireless Headphones – $21.99 with code SDBUDS01, down from $29.99 (exp. 8/7)

  • PowerLine+ Lightning Cable (6ft, Red) with Pouch – $12.74 with code ANKER229, down from $16.99 (exp. 8/14)

  • Roav Bluetooth Receiver – $15.99 with code ROAVB288, down from $22.99 (exp. 8/14)

As it does every Tuesday, Apple today updated the iTunes Movies store with a new crop of film releases and discounts to help boost your iTunes Movies library. There are a few notable discounts on recent 4K releases, as well as many Disney films marked down by $5-$10, which you can check out below:

  • Ready Player One (4K) – $12.99, down from $19.99

  • Blockers (4K) – $9.99, down from $14.99

  • Early Man (4K) – $7.99, down from $14.99
  • Isle of Dogs (4K) – $9.99, down from $19.99

  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure (4K) – $9.99, down from $14.99

  • Bolt – $9.99, down from $19.99

  • Frozen – $14.99, down from $19.99

  • The Princess and the Frog – $14.99, down from $19.99

  • Tangled – $14.99, down from $19.99

  • Mulan – $14.99, down from $19.99

Costco members, also remember that if you’re looking to buy some of these movies on sale, you can stock up on iTunes credit at a discount this week with $100 iTunes gift cards for $84.49 and $25 gift cards for $21.49. Head over to our full Deals Roundup for more information on the latest sales going on as we enter August.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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31
Jul

Workplaces Increasingly Seeking Freelancers With Xcode and UIKit Expertise


Upwork, the largest global freelancing website, today shared a list of the top 20 fastest growing skills in the U.S. freelance job market, providing a closer look at trends in the industry.

Apple’s design framework for iOS and tvOS apps, UIKit, and its development tool, Xcode, both made the list in the second quarter of 2018:Blockchain
Google Cloud Platform
Volusion
Risk management
Product photography
Rapid prototyping
Google App Engine API
SCORM
GitLab
Go development
Apple UIKit
Enterprise architecture
Tensorflow
Atlassian Confluence
Apple Xcode
eLearning
Customer retention
Articulate storyline
Node.js
Scala developmentUpwork says more companies are seeking freelance developers with Xcode knowledge to build their apps, causing an “increase in demand” for experience with the tool. UIKit also saw “high growth” last quarter, making its first appearance on the list.

Upwork shared a list of relevant online courses for each skill listed, including UIKit and Xcode, for those interested in getting started.

Tags: Xcode, UIKit
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31
Jul

Twelve South Launches ‘AirSnap’ Leather Carrying Case for AirPods


Twelve South today revealed its latest Apple accessory called the “AirSnap,” which is a case made for AirPods and aimed at making the wireless headphones easier to keep handy thanks to an attached metal clip.

AirSnap is made from full-grain leather and helps to protect both the AirPods and AirPods case while on-the-go. The bottom of the case has a cutout so that you don’t have to remove the AirPods from the AirSnap to charge them.

Twelve South says one of the main features of AirSnap is the carabiner style metal clip:

AirSnap features a carabiner style clip allowing you to attach this little case to a backpack, purse, keychain or anything else that goes wherever your AirPods need to go. By connecting AirSnap to your bag, you’ll know both your AirPods and Charging Case will be with you. The black carabiner also swivels, making it easy to grab or put your AirPods away.

Those interested can purchase AirSnap from TwelveSouth’s website for $29.99 in Deep Teal and Black, and a Cognac version is available to pre-order and should ship the week of August 6.


The AirSnap follows the launch of Twelve South’s last product, which was also designed for AirPods, called “AirFly.” That accessory acts as an adapter so that you can use AirPods (or any Bluetooth headphones) where only wired headphone jacks are available, like on a plane, at the gym, or with the Nintendo Switch.

Tag: Twelve South
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31
Jul

Apple Releases Fourth Public Beta of iOS 12


Apple today seeded the fourth public beta of iOS 12 to public beta testers, giving non-developers a chance to test the software ahead of its upcoming fall release. The fourth iOS 12 public beta, which comes two weeks after the third public beta, corresponds to the fifth developer beta released earlier this week.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program will receive the iOS 12 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.

Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple’s beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. Before installing a beta, make sure to create a full encrypted iTunes backup or an iCloud backup and be sure to install iOS 12 on a secondary device because beta software is not always stable and can include bugs.

Today’s iOS 12 beta introduces several new bugs that testers should be aware of:

  • After restarting a device, paired Bluetooth accessories might not function correctly or might be displayed using the device’s address instead of name.
  • Using Apple Pay Cash to send or request money via Siri might result in an error.
  • When using CarPlay, Siri can’t open an app by name. Shortcuts that involve opening an app won’t work, and Shortcuts that require confirmation might not work.
  • Some Shortcuts requests might not work.
  • When multiple ride-sharing apps are installed, Siri might open an app instead of providing an ETA or location when asked. Apple suggests asking again as a fix.
  • Users might not see custom UI when using Siri Suggestions Shortcuts with built-in intents.

Several existing bugs have been addressed in the update, including error messages in the App Store when attempting to install an app, an inaccurate cellular signal bar on iPhone X while on Lock screen or Home screen, a bug that caused Wallet to crash on launch, and a failure for Screen Time usage and data settings to sync between devices. Shortcuts will also mostly work in CarPlay now, and will be restored from iCloud backups.

Other changes in the new iOS 12 beta: Screen Time in the Settings app no longer lists family members who aren’t children, it needs to be reenabled after updating to the new beta, and there are hints of a future HomePod software update that will enable phone calls directly from the speaker. For more details on the beta, check out our iOS 12 beta 5 developer article.

The iOS 12 update introduces major changes like Group FaceTime, local multiplayer shared AR experiences, new Animoji, and a Memoji feature that’s designed to let you create a personalized Animoji that looks just like you.

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Animoji, stickers, text, and more can be used in FaceTime and the Messages app through the new Effects camera, and there’s a Screen Time feature to help customers understand and manage the amount of time they’re spending on their iOS devices. There are options to limit app time and it includes comprehensive controls for parents.

New Do Not Disturb features make it easier to manage notifications, as do interactive notification options and notification grouping on the Lock screen.

Siri has been improved in iOS 12 with Siri Shortcuts, a feature designed to work with third-party apps to let you create voice-activated automations, and Siri is also smarter and able to provide info on motorsports, food, and celebrities. Later in the year, Apple will launch a Shortcuts app so you can create your own shortcuts.


Under-the-hood improvements to iOS 12 will make everyday tasks on the iPhone and iPad faster and more responsive, with the camera launching up to 70 percent faster and the keyboard showing up to 50 percent faster.

iOS 12 also includes a rebuilt Maps app with a new Apple-designed Maps engine that’s available in Northern California at the current time. When iOS 12 launches in the fall, it will additional locations across the United States.


The revamped Maps app displays foliage, pools, buildings, pedestrian pathways, and other map elements more accurately, and it brings improvements to traffic, real-time road conditions, construction notices, and more.

iOS 12 will be available to developers and public beta testers as a beta for the next two months to allow Apple to work out bugs and other issues ahead of a fall launch alongside new iPhones.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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31
Jul

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 12 to Public Beta Testers


Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 12 update to its public beta testing group, giving non-developers a chance to try out the new software ahead of its fall public release. Today’s fourth beta comes two weeks after Apple released the third tvOS 12 public beta, and it corresponds to the fifth developer beta released earlier this week.

The tvOS 12 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under “System.” “Get Public Beta Updates” will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.

tvOS 12 introduces long-awaited support for Dolby Atmos, and when tvOS 12 launches this fall, iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies. As with the launch of 4K HDR, previously purchased content will be upgraded to include Dolby Atmos on all supported titles at no cost.

tvOS 12 features a zero sign-on option that lets cable subscribers watch live channels and on-demand programs they’re entitled to through their cable subscription simply by being logged into their home internet networks. This feature will be limited to Charter Spectrum users to begin with, but Apple plans to expand it to additional providers in the future.

Other tvOS 12 features include the ability to autofill passwords from the iPhone to sign into Apple TV apps more quickly, and support for Home Control systems like Crestron and Savant, which will be able to be used to control the Apple TV.

Apple has also made the Apple TV Remote a default option in Control Center on iOS devices with the iOS 12 beta, there are new aerial screensavers created with help from the International Space Station, and aerial screensavers now offer up location information.

tvOS 12 will see a public launch this fall, and until that time, will be limited to developers and public beta testers as Apple works out bugs and other issues.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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31
Jul

OnePlus 6 camera review


In our OnePlus 6 review we described the  phone as a possible spiritual successor to the Nexus lineup, because it brings forth a premium experience at a hard-to-beat price. Nexus, and eventually Pixel devices evolved in features, specs, prices, and especially camera quality. Has the OnePlus 6 done the same?

OnePlus cameras aren’t typically considered outstanding. These shooters have never been up to par with the best in the industry, and the OnePlus 6 camera no exception. It’s good at being average. You can’t ask for top-tier performance from a phone starting at $529, especially considering how few design compromises it features.

Related Articles

Best OnePlus 6 cases

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OnePlus 6 review: the spiritual successor to the Nexus

The OnePlus 6 packs improved camera components, but are they enough to satisfy your photo needs? I took the OnePlus 6 for a couple days of camera fun around San Diego. Let’s go over how it fared.

Photos have been resized for quicker loading times, but that is the only editing these images have undergone. If you want to pixel peep and analyze the full resolution photos, we have put them in a Google Drive folder for you.

OnePlus 6 camera specs

Rear cameras:

  • 16MP Sony IMX 519 sensor with 1.22μm pixels
  • ƒ/1.7 aperture
  • OIS/EIS
  • 20MP secondary Sony IMX 376K sensor with 1.0μm pixels
  • Dual LED flash
  • 4K at 30 or 60fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps, 720p at 30fps, Super Slow Motion video at 1080p
  • Shooting modes: Video, Photo, Portrait, Slow motion, Pro Mode, Time-lapse, Panorama, Shutter lag, HDR, 2X zoom

Front camera: 

  • 16MP Sony IMX 371 sensor with 1.0μm pixels
  • ƒ/2.0 aperture
  • EIS
  • 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps

OnePlus 6 camera app

OxygenOS is very much like the stock Android experience found in Pixel devices, and so does the camera app. It looks nearly identical to Google’s app. You are welcomed by a clean viewfinder with three buttons at the bottom: shutter, picture preview, and camera rotation.

The camera app also has a Pro Mode, which many camera buffs will enjoy. In Pro Mode you can control white balance, ISO, shutter speed, exposure, and more. You can move from left to right to switch between video, photo, and portrait mode. There are additional settings along the top, as well as within the preview. Pull up from the bottom (or side, if you are shooting in landscape mode) and you will also find a slew of shooting modes.

There is not much to complain about. The app doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, staying true to its plan to keep its software as simple as possible. That doesn’t mean it lacks features, though.

  • Ease of use: 10/10
  • Intuitiveness: 9/10
  • Features: 9/10
  • Advanced Settings: 7/10

Score: 8.8/10

Also read: Smartphone photography tips: 16 handy tricks you should know

Daylight

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

It’s hard to mess up photos taken in broad daylight. The OnePlus 6 did a good job exposing the shot, grabbing detail from the sculptures, capturing texture, and displaying vibrant colors. The sky is bright blue in both instances, and we can see a good amount of detail in the clouds, which is always a feat.

We wish the OnePlus 6 offered better dynamic range. Automatic HDR was turned on for all photos, and in multiple instances detail is pretty much absent in strong shade. Most phones have a hard time with this one, though. Overall, we believe the OnePlus 6 did an exceptional job, just like most good phones in healthy lighting.

Score: 9/10

Color

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

Here is more proof the OnePlus 6 hardware and software are not bad at handling exposure and colors in direct sunlight. In the first couple images we see well-exposed frames, vibrant hues, and overall striking images. However, the camera didn’t handle shade too well here, though it could also be the result of excessive post-processing.

The OnePlus 6 camera produced some pretty photos here, but they looked a bit over processed. The colors are a bit too saturated, and the shades look dark as a result of too much contrast. This makes for a very enticing image with less detail. To say the least, these photos don’t exactly look “true to life.”

Take the camera indoors and things start to change, though. While colors on the third and fourth photos are good, they lack the vibrant hues we saw in direct sunlight. Furthermore, there is a bit of a hazy effect.

Score: 8/10

Detail

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

Most good camera phones can take an image that looks amazing from afar. Start zooming in and all the problems show up. Such is the case with the OnePlus 6 shooter. It captured the texture of the sand well, but zooming in revealed a loss in detail and signs of over-softening.

The same applies to the second image, in which the clearer hair pretty much becomes a white blotch. We can only see good detail in the hair around the eye, where the focus point was. The rest of my guinea pig’s body is blurred out.

The last two shots follow the same pattern, good detail from afar, but closing in doesn’t quite help.

Score: 6/10

Landscape

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

The whole idea of taking a landscape photo is being able to capture a scene with multiple layers and a plethora of elements. The camera needs to do a good job evenly exposing the photo, which can be a bit hard when a strong light source like the sun is in the frame, like the photo to the left.

Given the circumstances, the OnePlus 6 did a pretty good job getting details from the sky and the faraway cliffs in the first image. The rocks in the front are a bit underexposed, but that is to be expected unless you have some heavy-duty HDR. Most phones can’t handle an HDR shot with high contrasting exposure levels (such as this one) very well. Given the circumstances, this is not a horrible shot.

The phone handled the other photos much better. The images are evenly exposed, and we can find pretty good detail even in the shade.

Score: 8/10

Portrait Mode

oneplus 6 portrait mode camera review
oneplus 6 portrait mode camera review
oneplus 6 portrait mode camera review
oneplus 6 portrait mode camera review

Something in the OnePlus 6’s Portrait Mode processing gives images washed out hues, funny color palates, and a heavy amount of softening. We are not the biggest fans of this effect, but these soft backgrounds aren’t horrible.

The OnePlus 6, much most other phones’ Portrait Modes, produces these pictures by determining the distance between objects in a frame using multiple lenses. This is a good technique, but it is not foolproof. Many phones struggle deciding where the draw the line to keep certain objects focused and others blurred out. Zoom in right under the female model’s armpit and you will see part of the background is in focus, when it shouldn’t be, though this is a small mistake, and hardly noticeable.

I must say the OnePlus 6 actually did a good job here. Nothing looked off enough to really catch my attention unless I really looked hard. It even did a good job outlining my hair, which is something only a couple phones have been able to do well. I was going to give this category a score of 6, but the outstanding job outlining subjects gives the OnePlus 6 an extra point.

Score: 7/10

HDR

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

Previously shown photos have proven the OnePlus 6 is not the best at handling dynamic range. For these images I forced HDR on and the results were pretty disappointing.

High dynamic range evenly exposes a frame with multiple levels of light. Traditionally it’s done by mixing multiple photos taken at different exposure levels. The end result was an image with reduced highlights, increased shadows, and an even exposure.

To see HDR performance we have to look closer at the shaded areas of the frame, as well as the more lit ones. It should bring them closer together to make a more evenly exposed shot. In the first image we can see the food truck to the right is too dark, as is the area under the arches, in the back.

The second shot was taken from inside the garage, looking out, where there is direct sunlight. As you can see, HDR performed so poorly part of the ground outside is blown out. The shaded areas in front of the car are also pretty harsh.

Difference in light in the third shot was quite extreme. The sun was blowing in from a window, only iluminating part of the table and the items over it. The OnePlus 6 actually did a very good job with this one, but it is the only shot that kept us satisfied.

Score: 5/10

Food

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

Instagram foodies will be sad in this section. The OnePlus 6 could have definitely done better at shooting these tasty bites. The picture of the In-N-Out burgers is a disaster; the white balance is off, detail is scarce, and the colors are a bit too saturated. The environment and lighting didn’t help much, though, so I decided to give it another shot somewhere else.

I went to Extraordinary Desserts in downtown San Diego, where lighting is leveled and the food was right under downward-pointing bulbs. The OnePlus 6 did a much better job here. You can see detail in the tart’s texture, as well as the burnt cream. The chocolate cupcake doesn’t fall behind, either.

The best shot is probably the one featuring tacos, but the phone didn’t have to work too hard for this one. We were sitting outdoors, where sunlight was plentiful.

Score: 7/10

Lowlight

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

A camera phone’s real capabilities are most apparent in low light. Though the OnePlus 6 wasn’t perfect, it handled itself alright.

Editor’s Pickrelated article

Best Android smartphone cameras (April 2018)

In recent years, smartphones have effectively replaced point-and-shoot cameras, and many even outperform them. For many of us, these portable computers have become our main camera, making photo quality a priority when picking a new smartphone. …

The picture of San Diego’s skyline has good detail in the buildings — it is better exposed than in real life, to be honest. Everything looked darker in person. We can see some noise, but that’s expected. Personally, I prefer noise to over softening. Detail in the water and clouds is lost, but this is still a very good-looking shot.

In the right we can see “Nude” by Christian Rohlfs, a painting in the San Diego Museum of Art. I liked it as a test shot mostly because the brushstrokes were very pronounced, and the lighting around the frame was scarce. I like how much of the painting’s detail the OnePlus 6 managed to grab, but that’s about all it did well. The shadows under the frame are way too harsh, and in the left side there should be a wall corner — it’s only visible if you stare at the picture for a long time, and very closely.

The last two photos were shot in a park, with artificial yellow light, which is obviously apparent. The camera had a hard time finding white balance in these shots, not to mention loss of detail in the flowers, as well as under shades.

Score: 7.5/10

Selfie

oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review
oneplus 6 camera review

Selfies with the OnePlus 6 are passable, but nothing extraordinary. They are well exposed and color reproduction is accurate, which is already a win in terms of front-facing camera standards. There is some artificial softening going on here, as well as problems properly exposing the desserts. However, it’s a selfie camera — a drop in quality is to be expected.

Score: 8/10

Video

A combination of OIS and EIS makes fore a rather smooth video. Sure, you can see the swings from side to side when recording while walking, but similar tests on other phones look very jittery. It is not up there with the best of them either, though.

Colors are vibrant and blacks are deep, but not over the top. Things also look pretty crisp. OnePlus managed to capture a look that seems closer to real life than other over-processed samples from competitors. We can’t find much to complain about, but we also don’t see anything to write home about. It is a pretty average video shooter.

Score: 7/10

Conclusion

oneplus 6 camera sensors back fingerprint sensor

Overall score: 7.4

The OnePlus 6 is not the phone to buy for its camera. Its hardware is average, and the software could use some improvements. However, the OnePlus 6 can perform in almost all other categories, especially considering its price. This is a high-end device with value, and the manufacturer definitely cut some corners to make it so. Sadly, one of the areas where OnePlus cut costs was the camera (though a 7.6 rating is not too bad).

This camera will take a nice shot, and if you are a photo buff you will certainly enjoy Pro Mode. Just don’t expect it to compete against the big boys in the block — and try not to crop.

Next: OnePlus 6 vs Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X camera shootout

31
Jul

Mint Mobile makes it easier to try before you buy with money-back trial


Mint Mobile wants to make it easier for customers to try out its phone service. To that end, the company announced that its $5 starter kits are now risk-free. In other words, those interested in trying out Mint’s service but not quite sure if its right for them can now try Mint for seven days for $5 — and if they don’t end up liking Mint, they get that $5 back.

Mint Mobile already has some pretty interesting ideas for its service. The company allows customers to buy three, six, or 12 months of service up front and at affordable prices. After that introductory period, prices do go up — but they don’t go up much more than other carriers. According to the company, it saves customers an average of 50 percent on their monthly phone bill — though that’s likely to change as customers start paying higher prices when their introductory offer runs out.

“A huge part of Mint’s success is our transparency,” Aron North, Mint’s senior vice president of Marketing and Creative, said in a statement. “Our customers know exactly what they’re paying for — unlimited talk and text and a right-sized data package — and they appreciate that. We want to share that love with as many people as possible, which is where the risk-free trial program comes in.”

So what are those introductory prices? Well, three-month plans range from $15 per month to 2GB of data to $25 for 10GB of data. Six-month plans start at $18 per month for 2GB of data to $30 per month for 10GB of data. Twelve-month plans come at the same price as three-month plans, though for 12 months instead.

Once that initial period is up, prices may jump depending on the plan you choose to go for — which is something to be aware of if you’re thinking of switching to Mint. You can pay month to month for between $35 and $60 per month, or you can once again buy in bulk — with buying 12 months getting you 2GB of data for $15 per month, or 10GB of data for $25 per month.

The network isn’t bad either. Mint Mobile works on T-Mobile’s network, and while that’s one of the smaller networks out there, if you have coverage where you need it you’ll likely enjoy faster speeds than most of the other networks.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Xfinity Mobile will throttle streaming resolution to 480p, hot spots at 3G
  • Ecobee’s Peak Relief saves money, reduces energy use when demand is high
  • Dainese’s Custom Works motorcycle suit is one even Iron Man would envy
  • AT&T’s ultra-affordable new WatchTV streaming service is now available
  • AT&T gives wireless customers free streaming TV, fueled by Time Warner purchase



31
Jul

Do updates come to Amazon Prime Exclusive phones at the same time as other models?


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The short answer: It depends.

No one could blame you for looking into Amazon’s Prime Exclusive range of phones. They’re the same phones you’ve probably been eyeing anyway, with a reduced price in exchange for putting up with a few pre-installed Amazon apps — don’t worry, the vast majority of them can be either uninstalled or disabled.

Aside from the bundled Amazon services, there’s no difference in the software experience of a Prime Exclusive phone compared to the standard model, so in theory this should mean that you’ll get software updates at the same time as everyone else … right? This is still Android we’re talking about, so of course, the update situation is complicated.

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It’s hard to definitively say yes or no, since neither Amazon nor its partnered manufacturers have given a concrete answer on the matter, but we can get a pretty decent idea based on how updates have rolled out to its lineup so far.

The Moto X4 has been one of Amazon’s most popular Prime Exclusive devices, and despite Motorola’s poor track record with updates, we saw the Moto X4 get updated to Android 8.1 Oreo just last month. While Android updates are typically staggered and come to different devices at different times, the update began rolling out at the same time to both Amazon Prime and standard variants of the phone. That’s definitely a good sign.

See Moto X4 at Amazon

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Likewise, when the standard Moto G4 got updated to Android 7.0 Nougat on March 31st of last year, the Prime Exclusive version began receiving the update just three days later. At the very least, it looks like Motorola updates its phones at about the same pace, regardless of their Prime Exclusive status.

When it comes to other manufacturers, things are a bit less consistent. The unlocked LG G6 was updated to Android 8.0 Oreo just last month, but it took until the beginning of July for the Prime Exclusive version to receive the same update. Similarly, the Prime Exclusive Nokia 6 took about a month longer than its standard counterpart to get Oreo.

See Nokia 6 at Amazon

Unsurprisingly, your phone’s manufacturer has more say in the matter than Amazon itself — they’re the ones making the software in the first place, after all. If you use a Prime Exclusive phone from Motorola, it’s safe to say that you’ll probably receive updates at about the same pace as those who paid wholesale pricing, but with other manufactures, it may be more of a tossup.

As nice as the upfront savings can be on Prime Exclusive phones, they might not be worth it if the end result is slower software updates. Before jumping on a Prime Exclusive deal, do some research on the update trends of that phone’s manufacturer.

Have you experienced slow software rollouts on your Prime Exclusive device? Let us know in the comments below!

31
Jul

Are you living the dongle life or using wireless audio accessories?


The choice between dongles and Bluetooth is upon us.

Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen some really excellent smartphones come out — including the Pixel 2, Huawei P20 Pro, Essential Phone, and others, However, for all of these phones and more, there’s been an undeniable trend to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack.

pixel-2-vairous-headphones-dongle.jpg?it

This is a decision that’s proven to be controversial ever since Apple had the courage to do it in 2016 with the iPhone 7, and in mid-2018, there are still more phones without headphone jacks than those with the legacy port.

So, with that being the world we live in, are you living the dongle life or have you moved over to wireless headphones?

avatar758074_111.gifAlmeuit
07-30-2018 10:27 AM

No dongles for me. Bluetooth all the time.

Reply

avatar1065439_2.gifbhatech
07-30-2018 11:06 AM

I have couple of usb C to 3.5mm dongle lying around my desk. I have never even opened the dongle from the pixel box. Mostly use Bluetooth earbuds but if I need a dongle I have it handy. Luckily I haven’t lost it till now.

Reply

default.jpghallux
07-30-2018 07:10 AM

I still have my original one, it’s attached to the AUX cord in my car. I use Bluetooth headphones for any other listening needs.

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avatar118648_7.gifPaulQ
07-30-2018 09:23 PM

I bought a second one through Verizon. Now, I will leave one in the car, one on my wired earbuds. I’m not traveling anytime soon. So – this time they should not disappear. If they do, there is an evil force in my home.

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What do you prefer? Dongles or wireless audio?

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31
Jul

Best Replacement Thumb Grips for PlayStation 4 Controllers


Hardcore or casual, it doesn’t matter.

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It’s no secret that the DualShock 4’s weak point is its analog sticks. The symmetrical layout is one thing and really is just down to preference, but it’s tough to argue that the design of the analog stick’s surface leaves a lot to be desired. A combination of slippery material and a dome-shaped design makes it hard to keep your thumbs on the sticks in your most intense moments.

Enter thumb grip replacements. These little works of engineering genius fit themselves onto the top of your PlayStation 4 controller’s analog sticks to give you an entirely different grip and feel. If you’re in need of something like this to help you step your game up, let us help you. These are the best replacement thumb grips for your PlayStation 4 controller.

Best Overall

KontrolFreek Performance for PS4

See at Amazon

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KontrolFreek’s performance thumb sticks offer the best grip suitable for any gamer. Its chief design feature is the concave shape of the rubber grip. The surface of the grip is studded with raised dots to help your thumbs stay in place. The thumb grips add an extra 10.1mm of height to your controller, which could improve your accuracy and range of motion. It’s not the cheapest thing at $16.99 for a pair, but KontrolFreek has a reputation for quality.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking to improve your game, KontrolFreek is one of the best ways to do it.

One last thing: KontrolFreek’s grips have a claw-like attachment mechanism to ensure they won’t slip off mid-game.

Why the KontrolFreek Performance for PS4 is the best

KontrolFreek’s analog thumb grips not only add a better grip for your thumbs but also a slightly raised height to give you a greater range of motion. The grip stays firmly attached thanks to a tight clasp that tugs on the underside of the analog sticks to ensure it doesn’t move.

Alongside potentially heightening your performance, KontrolFreek’s grips also offer a boost in comfort. The raised height is said to help reduce strain on your wrist and hands, while the surface won’t irritate your thumbs. It’s said to be able to keep your thumbs from slipping when sweat builds up in your hands, too.

Best for First Person Shooters

KontrolFreek FPS Freek Vortex for PS4

See at Amazon

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This is an interesting option for those who can’t get off the shooters. KontrolFreek’s FPS Freek Vortex has a design meant to help you get better results in shooter games. The left analog stick is shorter (6.1mm) with a concave grip, while the right analog stick is raised a bit (12.6mm) with a more dome-like grip. This setup is supposed to allow you a greater range of motion than if you were to use the analog stick as default, so acquiring the headshot might be easier in your next round of Call of Duty. If you like this funky design then it’s yours for just $16.99.

Bottom Line: There’s a real benefit to be had from a raised analog stick grip, and these are as good as it gets.

One last thing: If the eye-bleeding orange is too much for you, look around and you’ll be able to find these in a couple of other colors.

Best On a Budget

Insten Silicone Analog Thumb Grips

See at Amazon

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Don’t have much to spend? Consider Insten’s package. The company is asking just $5.99 for two pairs of silicone thumb grips. These fit over the DualShock 4’s existing analog stick like a glove and offer a more consistent surface to make sure your fingers don’t slip. That surface is wide with dozens of raised, rubbery bumps to improve your track and feel. And because it’s more of a cap than it is an extension, installation is as simple as turning it inside out and pushing it down onto the analog stick.

Bottom Line: These are inexpensive and effective, and you get to hook an extra controller up with improved thumb grips or keep a pair as backup.

One last thing: There are four different colors you can get: blue, red, white, and green.

Best for Customization

BeautyMood 40PC Silicone Thumb Grip Caps

See at Amazon

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If you’re into whacky colors or just have a whole lot of controllers you need to improve, this package by BeautyMood is hard to beat. They’re offering as many as 40 silicone thumb grip caps, which means you’ll get 20 pairs, all for a low price of $8.77. While you lose a bit of effective surface area, the sheer value of this package should make up for it. You can easily swap them out to match your mood or outfit, and if you lose a few of them then you’ll have more than enough to replace them.

Bottom Line: You won’t find more grips for the money, so this makes a great package for those who need flexibility.

One last thing: These can fit many other types of analog stick, including those on the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch controllers, so these are perfect for the gamer who has it all.

Conclusion

There are tons of thumb grips out there to consider, with many of them fitting like loose-fitting socks or not quite getting the “grip” part right. We’re confident that these are the best thumb grips you can buy for your PlayStation 4 controller. KontrolFreek offers the best of the best, though. While pricey, their raised design and tight grip give you all the control and comfort you need, all the while protecting the material on the original analog sticks from wear and tear.

Best Overall

KontrolFreek Performance for PS4

See at Amazon

kontrolfreek%20performance.jpg?itok=wVbm

KontrolFreek’s performance thumb sticks offer the best grip suitable for any gamer. Its chief design feature is the concave shape of the rubber grip. The surface of the grip is studded with raised dots to help your thumbs stay in place. The thumb grips add an extra 10.1mm of height to your controller, which could improve your accuracy and range of motion. It’s not the cheapest thing at $16.99 for a pair, but KontrolFreek has a reputation for quality.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking to improve your game, KontrolFreek is one of the best ways to do it.

One last thing: KontrolFreek’s grips have a claw-like attachment mechanism to ensure they won’t slip off mid-game.

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

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