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14
Jul

Apple Outlines 2018 MacBook Pro Repair Options and Parts Availability


Apple has outlined repair options and parts availability for the new 2018 MacBook Pro in an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday and obtained by MacRumors.

If a defective 2018 MacBook Pro is taken to an Apple Store, the Genius Bar will be able to mail it to an off-site Apple Repair Center, which will be able to repair minor components beginning in late July, and major components beginning in late September, according to the document, which doesn’t specify the minor-major distinction.

Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will only be able to perform limited on-site repairs until service inventory of replacement parts becomes available, as is often the case with a new Apple product:

  • Apple says the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models have a “new” power adapter, with replacements available in late July. The adapter is still 61W, according to Apple’s website, and its external design seems to remain the same, so any potential changes may be internal.
  • Keycap kits will be available in mid-August. Hopefully they will be needed less, as iFixit discovered the 2018 MacBook Pro has a thin, silicone barrier underneath each key, which they believe is to prevent dust and other particulates from causing keys to stick, repeat, or function inconsistently.
  • Other service parts will be available in late September.

MacRumors received this information from a reliable source, but repair options and service parts availability may vary based on store or repair shop, region, and so forth. These are only guidelines that are subject to change.

To initiate a repair, head to the Contact Apple Support portal, select Mac → Mac notebooks, select the category and type of issue, select Bring in for Repair, and book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. There are also phone, chat, and email options for troubleshooting.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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14
Jul

2018 MacBook Pro Models Now Available for In-Store Pickup in the United States


Apple retail stores in the United States have received supplies of the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, which means stock configurations are available for in-store pickup and walk-in purchase as of today.

Both 13 and 15-inch models are available in many Apple retail stores around the country, but not all stores appear to have full stock at this time.

When the MacBook Pro was announced on Thursday, Apple said the new machines would be in retail stores later this week. The first orders placed on Thursday have also started arriving to customers, with Apple shipping some out as early as Friday.

In addition to the United States, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is also available for in-store pickup in the UK, Germany, and France, but retail locations don’t yet appear to be stocking the 15-inch model. In-store pickup is not yet available in Canada, Australia, or countries in Asia.

Pricing on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro begins at $1,799 for the entry-level 13-inch model with a 2.3GHz 8th-generation quad-core Core i5 chip, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Pricing for the 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 for a 2.3GHz 6-core 8th-generation Core i7 chip, a Radeon Pro 555X graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Beyond the two stock 13 and 15-inch models, there are several customization options available for an additional price, with the top of the line 13-inch model priced at $3,699 for a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD.

The ultimate 15-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $6,699 for a 2.9GHz Core i9 processor, a Radeon Pro 560X, 32GB RAM, and a 4TB SSD.

Custom configurations are not generally in stock at most Apple retail stores and will need to be custom ordered from Apple’s website. Custom orders placed today will arrive in approximately 10 days.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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14
Jul

Best BlackBerry Phone in 2018


  • Best Overall
  • Best for simplicity
  • Best for less

Best overall

BlackBerry KEY2

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BlackBerry is legendary when it comes to mobile device management and security, and follows that trend when using Android to power its phones. With the KEY2, you also get the keyboard experience that only BlackBerry can offer. The KEY2 is a great way to enjoy Android for people who still want a physical keyboard on their phone, and peace of mind that knowing a company is concerned about security.

The KEY2 is the perfect successor to the KEYone and brings better specs, Android 8.1 Oreo, and a redesigned keyboard that’s even better for typing.

Bottom line: BlackBerry continues its reputation for excellent mobile security and having a great keyboard with the KEY2.

One more thing: BlackBerry Mobile also takes device security very seriously and claims the KEY2 is the “Most secure Android phone”.

Why the BlackBerry KEY2 is the best

The keyboard form factor you love.

BlackBerry’s iconic candy bar keyboard design has been merged with Android, bringing you the best of both worlds with the KEY2.

The KEY2 has everything a BlackBerry fan would want or need. A big bright screen, all-day battery life, a good camera and the legendary BlackBerry keyboard. With Android and BlackBerry’s comprehensive suite of productivity and security applications, you’ll get more done and be able to stay in touch with business and personal contacts across social media as well as through email. And when the workday is done, you’re able to enjoy over a million apps from Google Play.

The KEY2 is the best BlackBerry you can buy.

Best for simplicity

BlackBerry Motion

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The BlackBerry Motion resembles the KEYone at first glance if you were to remove the keyboard.

This 5.5-inch phone has the bells and whistles — IP67 water resistance, a fast fingerprint scanner, a great camera, etc. — that you expect and BlackBerry’s reputation of security in a more traditional smartphone package. The Snapdragon 625 with 4GB of RAM means it can handle both work and play, and Android 7.1 with BlackBerry’s enhancements will keep you secure while doing any of it.

It’s not available in the U.S., but Canadians can buy one right now!

Bottom line: The BlackBerry Motion brings the security you want in a modern and familiar package.

One more thing: The Motion’s 4,000 mAh battery will keep you up and running all day plus!

Best for less

BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition

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See at Amazon

The release of the BlackBerry KEY2 also means that the price of another truly great BlackBerry has dropped signifigantly, and you’ll find the BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition for sale with a nice hefty savings.

The Black Edition KEYone coems with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is a welcome bump up in both categories from the original Silver Edition. You’ll also have that great BlackBerry Keyboard as well as access to BlackBerry Mobile’s excellent communications hub to make staying touch — for business or pleasure — easier and better than ever. The KEYone is still a great phone and seeing it available under $450 means it’s one you should look at if you’re trying to save a few dollars.

Bottom line: The BlackBerry KEYone brings the iconic BlackBerry style at a great savings in 2018.

One more thing: The KEYone is expeted to be updated to Android Oreo in July 2018 and will include all the features and security enhancements that come with the newest version of Android.

Conclusion

There aren’t that many BlackBerry phones available anymore. When TCL took over the manufacturing of BlackBerry’s handsets, it decided to focus on why people bought the phones back in the late 2000s: keyboard, battery life, and security. The KEY2 represents all of those things really well, and the BlackBerry Motion takes those things and exchanges the keyboard for IP67 water resistance and a larger battery.

Best overall

BlackBerry KEY2

blackberry-key2-review-7.jpg?itok=J9Xbgy

See at Amazon
See at Best Buy

BlackBerry is legendary when it comes to mobile device management and security, and follows that trend when using Android to power its phones. With the KEY2, you also get the keyboard experience that only BlackBerry can offer. The KEY2 is a great way to enjoy Android for people who still want a physical keyboard on their phone, and peace of mind that knowing a company is concerned about security.

The KEY2 is the perfect successor to the KEYone and brings better specs, Android 8.1 Oreo, and a redesigned keyboard that’s even better for typing.

Bottom line: BlackBerry continues its reputation for excellent mobile security and having a great keyboard with the KEY2.

One more thing: BlackBerry Mobile also takes device security very seriously and claims the KEY2 is the “Most secure Android phone”.

Update July 2018: The KEY2 is not just a great upgrade of the KEYone, it’s also the best BlackBerry phone overall.

14
Jul

Battlefield V for PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know


Return to the frontlines of World War 2.

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Battlefield fans rejoice: the series is returning to World War 2, but this time with the power of the Frostbite engine behind it. This should make for the most realistic and action-packed World War 2 multiplayer shooter we’ve ever seen. Everything you need to know about Battlefield V is straight ahead.

What is Battlefield V?

We weren’t sure which direction DICE would go with Battlefield V after the previous entry – Battlefield 1 – took the series back to its World War 1 roots. With a new mainline entry, we thought the company might look to go with a more modern approach or go a completely different direction with a war they have yet to explore, but it appears they were eager to apply their World War 2 expertise to the new Frostbite engine.

Battlefield V will be a familiar game in that regard. It’ll be a beautiful first-person shooter that should capture that old wartime feeling like no other. The game will be all about multiplayer, but there’s still a bit of fun to be had for those who aren’t in it for the competitiveness.

Single Player

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With Battlefield 1, DICE tried something a bit different with their single-player component. Instead of a single lengthy campaign that follows one story that retells the same iconic battles that have been told 100 times, it focused on smaller multiple stories, ones which don’t often get the same kind of attention as, say, the D-Day landings in World War 2.

Expect that to continue in Battlefield V. We’re not yet sure which stories will be told, but if Battlefield 1 is anything to go by then we know they’ll often follow individual soldiers or smaller brigades. DICE is likely to use each individual campaign as an opportunity to deliver vastly different gameplay experiences. One might have you marching on the frontlines to storm an enemy foothold, while you might be taking to the skies to dogfight in another.

We’re also getting a cooperative mode called Combined Arms, a separate set of stories designed to be played with up to four people.

Multiplayer

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As you’d expect, multiplayer will be the bread and butter of Battlefield V. There aren’t many games that deliver the level of large-scale that these games do while maintaining a high level of immersion.

In typical Battlefield fashion, a mix of infantry and vehicular combat will make for unpredictable and exciting matches. It’ll have all the staple elements of the series, including massive maps, tons of players, and destructible environments.

You’ll do battle on a variety of game modes, including Domination, Conquest, Frontlines, Team Deathmatch and Breakthrough.

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Grand Operations, an epic, large-scale warfare mode, also returns. Our own Reb Valentine spent time with the mode at E3 2018. As she describes it:

Grand Operations is a massive battle that takes place over three days. Your team’s success, either as attackers or defenders, will determine your resources on subsequent days, such as troops, ammo, and medkits. On the final day, no one is able to respawn, allowing the fight to determine the ultimate victor of the battle.

Battlefield V: Everything you need to know about Grand Operations

Fans of Battle Royale games like Fortnite and PUBG will be happy to learn that Battlefield V will have a Royale mode of its own. We’re told to expect all the classic tropes of the genre, but with all the stuff that makes Battlefield special.

While multiplayer elements mostly remain unchanged – you defend or capture some sort of objective, or simply aim to kill everyone in sight – there is one new mechanic worth pointing out. You can now build fortifications such as trenches, sandbag walls, and barbed wire hazards. Another change is that the revive mechanic can now be used by any class, and you can drag your teammates to safety before going to revive them.

Class changes

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A big part of Battlefield are the various classes you can play as in the game. You have Assault, Medic, Support, and Sniper.

The Support player specializes in building fortifications, repairing vehicles, and supplying ammo to teammates. In previous games, the ammo supply mechanic wasn’t handy for anything other than replenishing your explosives, as firearm rounds were plentiful. DICE is looking to lessen the amount of starting ammo you get to make the class more meaningful (though players can also pick up extra ammo off of fallen enemies and comrades). You’ll be able to build advanced fortifications that other classes can’t, such as a machine gun nest.

Medics are still focused on healing or reviving allies. Any player can revive a teammate, sure, but that teammate has to be in your squad, and they’ll only get a partial health pool on recovery. Only the medic can revive or heal a teammate to full health using their medkit. Their healing action will also be faster, giving you an excellent reason to play the role if you want to keep your squad healthy.

DICE hasn’t detailed changes to the other two classes, but Snipers are typically only focused on picking off foes from afar and will have a range of tools to keep them safe wherever they decide to hole up. The Assault class, meanwhile, will provide the best balance of firepower and utility.

You can customize classes by changing your exact gear, guns, loadouts, and attachments, but there are also new cosmetic customization options that’ll let you stand out even more. You can now change your gender, race, add face paint, change clothing, and use cool new headgear. You can also give your vehicles a different look with skins and modifications.

Free DLC

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Battlefield V will have free post-launch DLC, DICE has confirmed. That means new maps and modes will be accessible to all players without the need to buy them individually or buy a season pass. This is a great move that will solve the issue of community fragmentation.

DICE plans to make up for the money lost through battle packs, which is their cute name for loot boxes. These should only offer cosmetics for the class customization options mentioned above.

Where to pre-order

Pre-ordering Battlefield V? You can get an exclusive in-game outfit, special assignments, and five weapons to use right now in Battlefield 1, and if you pre-order early enough, you’ll be able to get in on the Battlefield V beta earlier than anyone else.

See at Amazon

There’s an $80 Deluxe Edition, too. You’ll get the game three days early for buying this version, as well as more special assignments paratrooper outfits, and 20 weekly airlifts that contain supplies and customization items.

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When can you play it?

Battlefield V launches October 19th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Get the Deluxe Edition to play it three days early, on October 16th.

PlayStation 4

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  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

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14
Jul

Microsoft’s Surface Go can learn from past Chromebook blunders


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There are plenty of bad ideas and bad implementations in the Chromebook world, and Microsoft should be looking at all of them.

Have you checked out the Surface Go? If you haven’t, it’s Microsoft’s latest answer to the iPad and Chromebooks and while it’s not yet available, it’s already doing a lot of things right.

We’re going to talk a bit about it here today, not because I’m interested in using one, but because it’s a smart move that will be good for the entire tech industry the same way Chromebooks have been. Maybe you’re not interested in using one, either, but you can bet that a good many people will be, which means Microsoft has a chance to disrupt. That means Google and Apple have to shake things up a little bit, too, and when things get all shaken up, a product or idea that we really love will be born. When the big dogs scramble and fight over our money, we, the consumers, always win in the end. Except for the release of the Surface RT, that is.

A strong showing from the Surface Go means the next Pixelbook has to be even better.

And the Surface RT is the very first thing I thought about when I heard the news about the Surface Go. Not because the two are similar — the Surface Go will be an Intel product that can run real Windows applications instead of some unloved bastardized hybrid like the Surface RT was. I thought about it because I know Microsoft had to have spent a lot of time and money to make sure they didn’t make the same mistakes. Microsoft needs this to compete in both the education market as well as the low-cost PC market.

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There are also a number of blunders from PC makers when it comes to Chromebooks that Microsoft needs to study. Every company makes mistakes, and every new product has a few things that need improvement in the next version. But seeing the list of things consumers didn’t like from products of days past is always a great way to keep from making them again. I already see one or two things I’ll think could be improved on the Surface Go because I’ve used a Chromebook (or a few) for a while. I also see a lot of things I think Microsoft did right, and for the same reasons.

I like most of what I see in all the hands-on reviews of the Surface Go even if the product isn’t for me.

My list of problems is minor — I think the cramped keyboard people who have used it mention could be fixed by excluding some keys or by tying them to a function key. I really think the keyboard should be part of the purchase like was done with HP’s excellent Chromebook X2, even if it bumps the price by $20. I also think they should have gone with a 12-inch screen instead of a 10-inch screen. I’m sure someone at Microsoft hashed all this out and they have a good reason for doing it this way, but as a user, I still have likes and dislikes. So will you.

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Some other things, though, are definite no-nos. It’s awesome that companies like Qualcomm and Google are working to design an ARM processor that is specially designed for a lightweight laptop to use. It’s more awesome that Microsoft didn’t go that way just yet and the Surface Go uses an Intel chip. I’ve used plenty of ARM-powered Chromebooks and the ARM architecture has improved at least 100% in just a few years. ARM chips in a fanless laptop don’t run too hot, they don’t throttle as much and aren’t the bottleneck they used to be. But they also can struggle, especially with new ideas from the people who write software, as well as being compatible with the old ideas from people who write software.

Sales numbers don’t lie — some Chromebooks just weren’t great.

We also saw things like companies making HD Chromebooks that didn’t have the right components to drive them or releasing new hardware built from old components (Chromebooks with spinning hard-drives just suck) thinking we wouldn’t notice or care. We noticed. We cared. Companies stopped doing most of these things even if it meant a minor price increase.

There are countless things about every existing product, whether it be a Chromebook or anything else, that customers didn’t love. Google and its partners already went through the growing pains with Chromebooks and found that making affordable laptops that people love isn’t as easy as it looks on paper. Microsoft can look back at these blunders and make sure they aren’t repeated. I want the Surface Go and Windows 10 S to be things we love because the companies who make the things I buy will need to get better.

Microsft doesn’t want to end up clinging to the Xbox in order to stay relevant. I don’t want it to, either.

Microsoft knows that it can’t become another Sony and stay alive in the consumer space because of console sales. It needs a new hook, something to bring in the funds so the company can continue to work on new ideas without trying to make them profitable before they are ready. I believe the “cheap” PC market is that hook and think Microsoft and its partners can make a dent in Chromebook and iPad sales if things are done right.

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Chromebooks in education: Everything you need to know
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

14
Jul

What you missed this week on CordCutters.com


Streaming sports is getting better, but still has room to improve.

screenshot_20180713-130429_framed.png?itBy the time you read this, the World Cup will be over. Or nearly over. It’s almost over, anyway. France and Croatia. Not exactly the final most were expecting. (My money’s on France.) For the most part, the streaming experience of the World Cup was pretty good. Fox had a chunk of the games — which was great, given that it’s a broadcast network, and thus free for a lot of folks over the air. And that they were willing to air games in the middle of the day is always a nice surprise.

And FS1, of course, is available on all the major streaming services. Now we’ve just got to up the resolution and quality a bit. Fubo attempted to streaming the quarterfinals on in 4K, to varying degrees of success. YouTube TV crashed and burned in the England-Croatia semifinal. (They’re very sorry about that. YouTube TV, that is. England has no one to blame but itself for not showing up in the second half.)

Me? I opted for a tried-and-true over-the-air antenna. It’s one of the best improvements I made to my house in the past couple of years. (Especially paired with an HDHomerun Duo.)

But now the soccer’s almost over. Time for baseball, finally, I suppose. It is summer, after all.

Here’s what else you missed this past week on CordCutters.com:

  • We put NVIDIA Shield TV up against Roku Ultra. It’s an interesting fight, and closer for many folks than I’d have expected.
  • Apple TV vs. NVIDIA Shield TV really comes down to one or two things, though.
  • We’ve updated our list of the best over-the-air antennas for 2018 with a new entry.
  • Seriously. Spend a couple bucks and rig up a good OTA antenna.
  • The AT&T/Time Warner deal isn’t done yet. This is the new Apple-Samsung slog.
  • Still a bunch of days left to win an Amazon Fire TV Cube.
  • Xbox One X and One S are getting Dobly Vision. That’s a big deal.

Introducing CordCutters.com

  • The hardware you need
  • All about streaming services
  • What channels are on which service
  • FREE over-the-air TV
  • How to watch sports
  • Join the discussion

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14
Jul

Best Android Games in 2018


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Don’t settle for anything less.

If you’re looking for the best new games available in the Google Play Store, you’ve come to the right place. We update this list whenever a new game comes out that’s worthy of being added to this list, so you’ll always know about the latest and greatest games.

Whether you’re new to Android and need some fresh, new games to start building out your Google Play library or simply looking for the latest trendy games that are worthy of your time and attention, these are the best Android games as of July 2018!

  • Evoland 2
  • The Room: Old Sins
  • PUBG Mobile
  • Dissembler
  • JYDGE
  • HQ Trivia
  • Death Road to Canada
  • Stranger Things: The Game
  • Reigns: Her Majesty
  • Causality
  • Framed 2
  • Fire Emblem: Heroes

Evoland 2

Evoland 2 is one of those premium games for Android that you just don’t want to put down. Initially released in 2015 on Steam, Evoland 2 is a fantastic sequel to the first Evoland and follows suit with graphics and gameplay that evolve as you progress through the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Evoland game for Android and one of my few criticisms of the game was that the story was a bit short. That’s not the case with Evoland 2, which features over 20 hours of gameplay.

While the first game in the series explored the evolution of RPGs, Evoland 2 has expanded its nostalgic scope by incorporating even more gaming genres into the game. It starts out as a pretty typical action RPG, but as you progress through the story both the graphics and gameplay take dramatic shifts which work wonderfully for keeping the game feeling fresh.

Evoland 2 will have you laughing as it constantly breaks the fourth wall and there are more gaming and pop culture references than you can shake a stick at. This is another great game for fans of RPGs and video game culture and well worth the cost to play.

Download: Evoland 2 ($6.99)

The Room: Old Sins

The Room: Old Sins is the latest epic puzzle game from Fireproof Games and the 4th in the award-winning ‘The Room’ puzzle game series. You are exploring the home of an ambitious engineer who has gone missing when you find a rather peculiar dollhouse in the attic.

Using a sophisticated eyepiece you’re able to explore different rooms in the dollhouse that are filled with incredibly sophisticated puzzle boxes and contraptions. There’s something really weird going on here, so maybe if you can solve all the puzzles you’ll figure out what happened to the missing engineer and his wife.

If you’ve never played a game from “The Room” series before, just get ready for one of the more engrossing games you’ll ever play on a mobile phone. The graphics and audio come together to create a wonderfully creepy vibe as you carefully inspect intricate objects and unlock secrets to help you on your journey.

If you want to catch up with the other games, you can snag The Room, The Room Two, and The Room 3 at discounted prices.

Download The Room: Old Sins ($4.99)

PUBG Mobile

It’s pretty incredible how well PUBG Mobile plays on Android. This is a massive PvP battle royale game that pits 100 players against each other on a massive island loaded with weapons, ammo, tactical gear, and vehicles. You drop in as a solo player or as part of a team and must use all your best skills to take down your opponents until you’re the last man standing.

It’s not unheard of for a popular PC or console release to find its way to Android, but you’ll be surprised at how well PUBG plays on a smartphone. The developers have made it easier for mobile players to pick up and manage items, and have also added bots in the lowest ranks to help ease players into the game experience. Bluetooth controller support would be a nice addition, but the touch controls are some of the best I’ve seen for a shooter on mobile.

It also allows you to scale back the graphics so you can enjoy smooth gameplay even when playing on an older device. If you’ve got a newer device, crank those settings to the max and enjoy one of the best looking mobile games I’ve played in a long while.

PUBG Mobile somehow delivers all the epic moments you’d expect the PC game scaled down perfectly for mobile devices. Best of all, it’s free to play and currently devoid of any in-app purchases. Get your squad together, and I’ll see you on the battlegrounds!

Download: PUBG Mobile (Free)

Dissembler

Dissembler is a colorful and abstract game that, from the outset, might seem like another standard tile-swapping match three game. Instead, Dissembler unravels itself to be one of those puzzle games that almost transcends the genre, offering a relaxing exploration of patterns in abstract designs.

It starts out nice and easy as the game lays out the basic principles before gradually presenting you with more complex puzzles — check out the trailer above to see what I mean.

With over 120 puzzles to play with no time limits, move limits, or in-app purchases or ads to deal, this game absolutely deserves a spot on this list.

Download: Dissembler ($2.99)

JYDGE

JYDGE is a gritty and violent top-down twin-stick shooter that is an absolute blast to play. You are the JYDGE, a cybernetic enforcement officer who uses his Gavel (see: BIG freaking gun) to dole out RoboCop-style justice.

Each level features different challenges that are required to progress but never feel like a slogging chore. Confiscating illegal cash along the way, you’re able to upgrade JYDGE and his gavel with a deep selection of accessories. In that way, JYDGE retains the rogue-like element from its predecessor Neon Chrome by encouraging you to replay levels with different upgrade combinations until you complete all the challenges.

With a game that has you replay levels over and over again, it’s imperative for a game to find that mix of great gameplay with an interesting soundtrack that isn’t super annoying or repetitive — and JYDGE absolutely delivers.

Check out my full review if you need more convincing.

Download: JYDGE ($5.99)

HQ Trivia

It’s the app that started the new craze of live trivia game shows on your phone HQ Trivia is a daily trivia game show where you simply need to answer 12 questions to win a split of the pot. The daily weekday cash pot has risen to $5,000 with a Sunday evening game that usually around $25,000.

It has turned regular host Scott Rogoswky into an internet celebrity as he provides an entertaining performance as the quiz master extraordinaire. The app itself has steadily improved since launching last year, with new features letting you play along with friends in the app. Millions of people play each week because it’s free and you just might win some cash!

That’s right, you’re playing for real cash via PayPal. Even if you only win a few bucks you can cash out at any time and buy yourself a coffee.

HQ Trivia for Android: Everything you need to know

Download: HQ Trivia (Free)

Death Road to Canada

Death Road to Canada is a $10 game — I want to open with that just to get the sticker shock out of the way before I talk about how awesome this freaking game is. (It’s currently on sale for a dollar, though, which makes it an even better purchase.)

Facing a zombie apocalypse, you must lead a scrappy squad of somewhat interesting characters on a deadly mission to the relative safety of Canada. Along the way, you’ll need to explore and loot places for supplies, while also managing your team’s health and morale.

Everything in Death Road to Canada is randomly generated, making every play-through a unique experience in this dynamic road trip action-RPG. You can randomly generate your character and buddy or custom design your starting characters with different attributes to help them stay alive, but you probably don’t want to get too attached unless you’re a really good shot.

The controls admittedly take some getting used to, and there’s a pretty steep learning curve as you learn which weapons are most effective and which times it’s better to fight or run. And you will die, early and often, although that’s part of the fun of a zombie apocalypse, right?

There’s a ridiculous amount of depth in this game, including 10 different game modes to unlock. The price might seem a little steep, but if you’re a fan of rogue-like zombie games, it’s well worth the investment!

Download: Death Road to Canada ($9.99)

Stranger Things: The Game

Stranger Things: The Game is the tie-in mobile game that other companies wish they could churn out. It’s a full-fledged action adventure game with a full cast of playable characters, tons of collectibles, and a retro graphical style that fits into the show theme and setting.

The game presents the entire town of Hawkins, Indiana along with the adjacent Mirkwood Forest to be explored. It plays like a classic Zelda-style adventure game, with the ability to switch between characters lending itself to creating complex puzzles.

Credit Netflix’s marketing team for spending the time to make sure the developers at BonusXP Inc. delivered something special for fans of the series. They’ve created a real winner here, and a true contender for game of the year — and I’m not even a huge fan of the source material.

The controls are optimized for mobile and there’s great game design on display here. The overworld is vast and filled with secret areas to explore and familiar items from the show scattered throughout as collectibles.

There’s just so much to appreciate here. Not only is it a faithful adaptation of the show, it’s available for free with no in-app purchases or ads — although you can certainly count the game itself as being an ad for the second season of Stranger Things. Here’s hoping it ushers in a new trend of substantial mobile games based on TV shows and movies.

Download: Stranger Things: The Game (Free)

Reigns: Her Majesty

Reigns was one of the best games of 2016 and actually won the first ever Google Play Indie Games contest. So needless to say we were pumped to check out the sequel.

In Reigns, you play as the monarch of the land and make decisions that affect four aspects of the kingdom: the church, the people, the army, and the royal wealth. Your goal is to keep all four in balance — if any meter fills to the max or is entirely depleted your reign is over… and a new reign begins!

The sequel plays nearly identically to the first game, except this time you play as the Queen instead of the King, complete with new characters to interact with and multiple branching storylines to discover. The gameplay is as easy as swiping left or right on cards and if it’s anything like the first game there’s a ton of great easter eggs to find along the way!

I would hate to spoil anything for this new game, but if you played the first one and are afraid that it’s going to be too similar, I can assure you there are plenty of new mechanics to make this one of the best titles of 2017.

Download: Reigns: Her Majesty ($1.50)

Causality

Causality is a mind-blowing puzzle game that’s all about manipulating time. This is just a brilliant game where you control time and make adjustments to the level and alter the sequence in such a way that you help your stranded astronauts reach their goals.

Set in simplistic-yet-beautiful alien landscapes, this stylish game will have you wracking your brain as you try to figure out how to guide each astronaut to their color-coded exit within the allotted time. Of course, you have full control over the timeline and can jump to any point in time and change an aspect of the level. There are 60 mind-bending puzzles to unlock and complete in this outstandingly polished and challenging game.

Download: Causality ($1.99)

Framed 2

Get ready for more comic book stylized fun in Framed 2! This is a standalone prequel to groundbreaking mobile game Framed developed by Hideo Kojima back in 2014.

As the story unfolds, you control the action by rearranging the comic book panels to help your character make his way through each section. It’s a totally unique way to play a game and is unlike anything else you’ve likely played on Android. It’s got a cool noir look and feel to it, with an engaging story to keep you hooked.

If you love the format, you can pick up the first Framed game for just $3. Really worth your time if you’re into unique puzzle games.

Download: Framed 2 ($4.99)

Island Delta

Island Delta is a very stylish top-down action-adventure-puzzler developed by Mantisbite out of Finland. Explore the mysterious retro-futuristic island lair of Doctor Gunderson as our heroes, Zoe and Baxter.

Using your anti-gravity gun, you must work your way past mechanical minions, traps, and guards as you solve puzzles to make it through to the end of each level. At its best moments, Island Delta feels like a stripped down, third-person version Portal, which is something I wasn’t aware I needed in my life. The cartoony graphics and outstanding level design will immediately draw you in.

You can read our full review here before deciding to buy it. It’s available for $2.99 from the Google Play Store.

Download: Island Delta ($2.99)

Fire Emblem: Heroes

Fire Emblem: Heroes represents Nintendo’s first foray into developing games for Android (ignoring last year’s Miimoto app) and is the eighth title in the popular strategy-RPG franchise to be released on North American shores.

Heroes brings all of your favorite Fire Emblem characters together for a brand new story that pits the noble Askran Kingdom against the power-hungry Emblian Empire, which wishes to rule all worlds. You play the role of a mighty summoner who has the power to bring Fire Emblem’s best heroes together to help defend the kingdom. Battle takes place in arenas where you must strategically move your Heroes around to attack and defend against your opponents.

Play through the Story Mode to unlock new game modes, including Special Maps, Arena Duels, and the Training Tower. Arena Duel is the multiplayer aspect of the game that will keep you busy beyond the single-player campaign.

You can read our full review to learn more.

Download: Fire Emblem: Heroes (Free w/IAPs)

Updated July 2018: Added Evoland 2 to our list. These are the best games for Android that you should be playing this month!

Android Gaming

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  • Best Android games
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  • Best action games for Android
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  • All the Android gaming news!

14
Jul

Best Amazon Prime Day Deals 2018


The celebrations have already begun!

Amazon Prime Day doesn’t officially begin until July 16 at 3pm ET, but that hasn’t stopped the company from beginning the deals a little bit early. Alongside the announcement, Amazon stated that a few deals would be available instantly for Prime members, and there are a few that you definitely won’t want to miss. In the coming days, we expect to see more deals leak, and our continuously updated tracker will highlight all the best Amazon Prime Day deals.

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Be sure to check back often, as this page will be constantly adding fresh new deals. If you’re looking for deals on Amazon’s Echo hardware, Kindle Unlimited, Prime Pantry and more, we’ve got you covered.

Prime Exclusive Deals of the Day

In the lead-up to Prime Day, Amazon has switched over its Gold Box deals of the day to be all Prime member exclusive deals. Unlike some of the offers below, these prices expire at the end of the day, so you won’t have much time to think about them.

Today’s deals include:

  • Calvin Klein jeans, shirts, and more – Starting at $13
  • Women’s swimwear – Starting at $9
  • Amazing Grass Organic Powder – Starting at $14
  • Elegiant USB Powered Sound Bar Speaker – Down to $22
  • Aaron Leather Business Portfolio for iPad and iPhone – Starting at $64
  • iHome Color Changing Bluetooth Speaker for Echo Dot – Down to $42
  • Caolion facial skin care products – Up to 25% off

Echo Hardware

To kick things off, the company slashed $100 on the price of the Echo Show, dropping it down to just $129.99. This is the lowest we’ve ever seen it go and makes it the same price as the smaller screened Echo Spot. We’ve seen Amazon offer Voice Shopping exclusive deals in the past during Prime Day, so if you don’t have an Alexa device, or want another, this is a no-brainer purchase.

The Echo Dot is also down to $34.99, which is the lowest we’ve seen it hit this year.

Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Music Unlimited

If you’ve yet to try out Amazon’s Music Unlimited service, you can get a four-month membership for just $0.99. That’s right, all four months of unlimited access to all the music in the company’s library (which is rather extensive) for just one dollar. Prefer to read books instead of listening to music? No worries, Amazon has three months of Kindle Unlimited available for $0.99 as well. This gets you access to over a million book titles, and you can read as many of them as your heart desires during that time frame.

You can also go all-in on a Kindle Unlimited subscription and save 40% when you checkout with the coupon code PDKU18. This drops the one-year subscription down to $80.32 and the two-year subscription to $143.86. If you want to just buy a few books, you can get $10 towards any Kindle, print, or Audible book purchase when you buy any Kindle book for $5 or more before July 15.

Audible

Through the end of July, Amazon is offering Audible subscriptions at just $5 per month to new and returning members. The deal will remain active for three months, after which the service will begin billing you at its regular monthly price of $14.95. You can also choose to cancel the service at any time if you decide it’s not for you.

Amazon’s In-house brands

Amazon has a bunch of its own brands, and right now it’s offering 20% off home, kitchen, and other AmazonBasics gear, 30% off Amazon Elements multivitamins, and up to 25% off Stone & Beam furniture. There are a bunch of other Amazon brands from AmazonFresh to Mama Bear and Goodthreads that will also have discounted items available.

Twitch Prime Games and Gear

For the gamers out there, Amazon is offering a free PC game each day through July 18 via Twitch Prime. There are popular titles like Pillars of Eternity, Q.U.B.E, Hue, and more. You’ll also get exclusive in-game look for Warframe and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and if you’re looking to load up on Twitch apparel, the merch is 50% off right now.

Prime Credit Cardholder Offers

Normally, the Amazon Prime Store Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card extend shoppers 5% cash back on all Amazon.com orders. You can put the cash back rewards towards your monthly statements or a future Amazon purchase.

Last year during Prime Day, Amazon upped its cash back offer from the standard 5% to 20% on thousands of items exclusively for cardholders. That means smart deal hunters with an Amazon Prime Store Card or Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card were essentially saving an additional 15% on Prime Day. Eligible items included GoPro action cameras and Garmin fitness trackers. In fact, Amazon’s already running some bonus cash back offers for cardholders including 10% back on LG 4K OLED TVs and 20% back on the GoPro Hero action camera.

What’s more, Amazon is sweetening the pot by throwing in a free gift card upon approval. New Prime Store cardholders will receive a $20 gift card, while Prime Rewards Visa cardholders will get a $70 gift card. Both the credit card and gift card are automatically loaded into your Amazon account following the approval process, meaning if you apply now both will be ready to use during the big event.

American Express Rewards points

We already know that we will see millions of deals across the world on Prime Day, but did you know that you could drop the prices even lower by just shopping with your American Express points? Amazon frequently offers an additional percentage off select purchases when you checkout and pay for part of the transaction using your Rewards points, and come Prime Day, the company is offering 20% off on a variety of items.

When it comes to saving money, this may be one of the easiest ways you’ll be able to do it on Prime Day. The first step is to head to this page and click to activate the offer. Once the offer is activated, you’ll want to make sure that your American Express card is one of the payment methods in your account, and that you have linked your accounts successfully. The last, and easiest part, is to find an eligible item, add it to your cart, and pay using at least one American Express Reward point.

This discount can be redeemed on any item physical goods that are sold and shipped by Amazon. You won’t be able to redeem it on items sold by third parties, digital goods, or Amazon gift cards. It can only be redeemed once and has a maximum benefit of $100. The offer is currently live, so if there is something you want to buy now, you can save 20%. The promotion can end at any time, so be sure to activate the offer now and link your accounts to avoid missing out.

Of course, to take advantage of any of these offers you need to be an Amazon Prime member. If you aren’t already, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial so you can access all these deals and save during the big event.

The Thrifter team is going to be covering ALL things Prime Day, and you won’t want to miss out. Sign up now to have tips, tricks, deals, and more delivered right to your inbox.

14
Jul

This 21-year-old’s 3D-printed aquatic jetpack makes scuba fins look prehistoric



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Exterior. An expensive hotel in somewhere like the Amalfi coast that costs more per night than you or I make in a couple of months. Bored, bronzed beautiful people are doing laps in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Suddenly, here comes our man: ruggedly handsome with a mischievous streak and a pair of pricey La Perla swimming trunks that leave little to the imagination. On his back there’s what appears to be a jetpack, designed by the world’s greatest carmakers.

He dives into the pool and, suddenly, the jetpack propels him through the water like a missile. At the other end he climbs out and walks into the poolside bar; dripping wet and still naked apart from said jetpack and expensive swim trunks. His appearance causes a scandal amongst a group of stuffy middle-aged accountant types. There’s shock, but also begrudging admiration, and definitely some envy. Especially about that jetpack.

“What’ll you have?” says the bartender, pleased that his mundane day has been disrupted in this manner. “A beer for me,” says our man, as he takes his jetpack off and places it on the barstool next to him. “And something dry for my friend.”

The name’s jetpack, underwater jetpack

Actually, it’ll probably be a line that’s cooler than that. But you get the idea. Anyway, it doesn’t matter yet because the ad’s not been made. Heck, the product this imaginary advert is there to advertise is only in its embryonic stages. But that’s exactly the kind of ad you inevitably start imagining when Archie O’Brien tells you about the thing he’s building.

“I want this to be something so cool that you’re wearing it when you’re not even using it,” O’Brien told Digital Trends. “You feel like James Bond.”

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As you’ve probably picked up, O’Brien has created an underwater jetpack: a pair of words about as exciting as any two that you could put together in the English language. The CUDA jetpack was lovingly 3D-printed over the course of several months for a final year project in his Product Design class at the U.K.’s Loughborough University. And soon he wants to sell it to you for an as-yet-unconfirmed price in the vicinity of $6,000.

“By this time next year, I’m planning on having the production model,” he continued. “I’ll be going around doing promo videos around the world. I plan to get sponsored by GoPro and Red Bull… The idea is to be able to produce this one, get enough funding to reinvest it into the company, and try and make a much cheaper model. That’s almost working it like Tesla did, with something that really grabs people’s attention, and then bringing that price down to something people can afford more.”

The path to get here

O’Brien’s journey to the potential Elon Musk of the watersport propulsion world began when he saw a promotional video for the SEABOB, a handheld aqua scooter that’s half jet-ski and half one of those foam floats they used to give the kids at school who couldn’t swim properly. He liked what he saw — at least, with the exception of its $17,000 price tag.

 “I was so surprised to find that there really wasn’t anything like this that you could wear on your back.”

Fortunately, O’Brien had just found out about 3D printing, and the idea occurred to him that, if he couldn’t afford a SEABOB, he might just be able to build his own.

He began poring over research papers like “Numerical Analysis of a Waterjet Propulsion System,” cover to cover. He hooked up with 3D Hubs, a manufacturing platform that provides affordable and fast 3D printing, CNC machining and injection-molding services. He studied the design of high-end cars made by Lamborghini, Mclaren, and Aston Martin, which he wanted his product to resemble aesthetically.

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Things were progressing nicely until a friend gave him a copy of Daniel Wilson’s 2007 non-fiction book Where’s My Jetpack: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived. Suddenly the project parameters changed. Handheld devices were out. Underwater jetpacks were in.

“I’ve always wanted to fly, and I just thought that if you can make the experience hands-free it’s a lot better for many reasons,” O’Brien said. “I was so surprised to find that there really wasn’t anything like this that you could wear on your back.”

“Think of it like an airplane. If it’s not moving you can’t turn. It kind of feels like you’re a little underwater airplane.”

The final CUDA is almost exclusively 3D printed, with the exception of the battery and electronics. Because he wasn’t able to get permission to test it in public spaces, he’s so far put it through its paces in private swimming pools — although he hopes this will change in the future.

He hasn’t yet been able to decisively measure a top speed, either, due to the lack of a speedometer and limited testing space. It’s definitely faster than regular swimming, though. “Oh yeah,” he assured us. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” It needs to go fast because it won’t steer properly unless you’re going quickly. “I’m still learning how to use it,” he admitted. “It seems that the faster you go the easier it is to turn. Think of it like an airplane. If it’s not moving you can’t turn. It kind of feels like you’re a little underwater airplane.”

The commercial version will be even faster, he explained, since the current prototype doesn’t have the more powerful battery pack he’s hoping to add. “It would have taken me an extra week and I didn’t have a week to do it,” he said.

The leader in watersports propulsion

Archie O’Brien has big plans for his product. As noted, he’s currently targeting Q2 2019 for the first CUDA production models. It won’t stop there, though. This is just product one of a larger water sports brand.

“I’ve got many more ideas I’m not working on at the moment, but I’ve got draft drawings for to expand this brand,” he said. “I’ve got a very clear vision of where this can go. The plan is to be the market leader of watersports propulsion.”

Where do you go after the awesomeness of an underwater jetpack? We’re excited to find out!

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14
Jul

Best Honor Phone in 2018


  • Best overall
  • Best alternate pick
  • Best budget choice

Best overall

Honor 10

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See at Honor UK

The Honor 10 builds on the foundation of the Honor View 10 and offers a shimmering glass back that reflects light striking its surface. The pattern at the back makes the Honor 10 one of the most distinctive devices of 2018, and it packs a punch when it comes to the hardware side of things.

The phone is powered by the Kirin 970 — the same chipset used in the likes of the P20 Pro — and it comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage as standard. Then there’s the camera — the dual 16MP + 24MP sensors are some of the best Honor has included on a device yet.

Bottom line: When it comes to sheer value, the Honor 10 is one of the best phones the brand has released to date.

One more thing: You can pick up the Honor 10 in blue or green to get the shimmering effect at the back, and there’s also a grey variant if you want a more subdued design.

Why the Honor View 10 is the best

A whole lotta phone for 400 quid.

Touting the same processor as the much more expensive Mate 10 Pro, the Honor 10 can hold its own against any other flagship in terms of benchmarks and performance. It is now the fourth phone to sport Huawei’s flagship chipset, and is also the most affordable yet to do so.

The highlight of the Honor 10 is the color-shifting back, dubbed Aurora Glass. The result is achieved by a 15-layer optical coating underneath the glass panel, and the phone reflects various hues of blues based on the angle of the light striking its surface.

The camera is one of the best Honor has introduced to date, and while the phone is missing some of the features of the Huawei P20 Pro, the AI-assisted camera tweaks make a tangible difference to image quality.

Though Honor’s software interface isn’t for everyone, the manufacturer has made considerable changes to EMUI that make it much more palatable to a Western audience. The hardware on offer combined with the gorgeous design and impressive cameras make the Honor 10 one of the best phones you can pick up today for under £500.

Honor View 10

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See at Honor UK

If you’re not sold on the idea of the notch, the Honor View 10 is a great alternative. It also comes with a Kirin 970 chipset and up to 6GB of RAM, and features the same Neural Processing Unit as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, strengthening its camera and AI features. The dual cameras are capable of fantastic photos, with ample shooting modes including portrait mode and monochrome.

On the outside, the aluminum unibody design is as well-built as any other, and the 6-inch 18:9 display is bright and relatively sharp with a FHD+ resolution. It’s running Android Oreo out of the box, augmented by Huawei’s EMUI 8 software.

Bottom line: For £449.99, the View 10 is one of the best mid-range flagships around, with high-end specs and performance.

One more thing: Like the rest of Honor’s 2018 lineup, it doesn’t look like the Honor View 10 will be debuting in the U.S.

Best budget choice

Honor 7X

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See at Amazon

Honor’s latest phone to launch in the U.S. is its more affordable offering, the Honor 7X. Inside, it packs an efficient Kirin 659 processor and up to 4GB of RAM in a metal body, with a surprisingly good 1080p LCD display. There’s 32GB of storage built in (internationally you can choose between 32 and 64GB), and Android 7.0 Nougat (and EMUI 5), while not new, runs as well as you’d expect.

What’s more, you’ll also get a great rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for biometric security — a feature that’s still missing from many phones at this sub-$200 price point.

Bottom-line: The Honor 7X is a decent phone with metal construction and a fingerprint scanner for comfortably less than $200.

One more thing: There’s no word yet from Honor when the 7X will be updated to the newer EMUI 8 or Android 8 Oreo.

Conclusion

All of Honor’s phones are competitively priced, but the flagship Honor 10 is the one to aim for. You’ll get flagship-tier performance and build quality, a gorgeous Aurora Glass design, impressive cameras, and all-day battery life for considerably less than the bigger brands are charging.

Best overall

Honor 10

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See at Honor UK

The Honor 10 builds on the foundation of the Honor View 10 and offers a shimmering glass back that reflects light striking its surface. The pattern at the back makes the Honor 10 one of the most distinctive devices of 2018, and it packs a punch when it comes to the hardware side of things.

The phone is powered by the Kirin 970 — the same chipset used in the likes of the P20 Pro — and it comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage as standard. Then there’s the camera — the dual 16MP + 24MP sensors are some of the best Honor has included on a device yet.

Bottom line: When it comes to sheer value, the Honor 10 is one of the best phones the brand has released to date.

One more thing: You can pick up the Honor 10 in blue or green to get the shimmering effect at the back, and there’s also a grey variant if you want a more subdued design.

Updated July 2018: This article was updated to add the Honor 10 as the best overall pick.

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