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6
Aug

Have you reserved the Galaxy Note 9?


The phone will finally be announced this Thursday.

Following months of seemingly nonstop leaks and rumors, this Thursday is when we’ll see Samsung finally announce the Galaxy Note 9.

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We already know quite a lot about the phone, including its design, specs, and some of the new features that’ll be available for the S Pen. As such, Samsung’s letting people sign up to “reserve” the phone even before it’s been officially unveiled.

Looking through the AC forums, it appears that a lot of our members have already done just that.

avatar38444_5.gifTechNut79
08-01-2018 02:23 PM

I got it to work. A confirmation email followed.

Reply

avatar2597654_1.gifBlues Fan
08-01-2018 03:41 PM

I reserved an unlocked note 9. Im trading un the s8 plus in my drawer and it gives me 400 buck! I did it anyway since I didn’t have to put a credit card in.

Reply

avatar710602_5.gifMorty2264
08-01-2018 04:53 PM

Oh wow! That’s super exciting! Can’t believe it’s pre-order season already!

Reply

avatar10953_2.gifjinxygrrl
08-01-2018 02:28 PM

Thanks. I restarted my phone, went back in, and it said that I had reserved it. Hmmmm, this will probably get cancelled because I’m sure I would rather pick a color. Oh well, I guess we will see how this plays out in the near future. (still haven’t gotten an email confirmation though)

Reply

What about you? Have you reserved the Galaxy Note 9?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!
  • Is it best to buy the Galaxy S9 or wait for the Note 9?
  • Do you plan on upgrading to the Note 9?
  • Galaxy Note 8 review
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

6
Aug

Google Pixel 3: News, Rumors, Release Date, Specs, and more!


Everything we know about what’ll likely be one of the year’s best phones.

Google first introduced its Pixel series in 2016, and since then, has been hard at work to establish itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. Google may be one of the most powerful and iconic companies in the world, but when it comes to hardware, is still very much a newcomer.

We saw vast improvements with the Pixel 2 compared to the original Pixel line, and we’re expecting to get that again with the Pixel 3. Google’s quickly learning what it takes to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple, and seeing as how the Pixel 2 was one of 2017’s best phones, there’s a lot riding on this year’s entry.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 3.

The latest Pixel 3 news

August 6, 2018 — October 4 launch date leaked for the Pixel 3

While we’ve seen plenty of leaked renders and specs for the Pixel 3, talk about its release date has been fairly quiet. That is, up until now. As spotted by Brandon Lee from the YouTube channel This is Tech Today, the Pixel 3 is shown to be released on October 4 according to the website Famebit.

Famebit is a website that allows companies to connect with content creators and work out deals to create sponsored content for YouTube videos, Instagram posts, etc. An ad on the site was recently created by Google and asks for Canadian creators to switch to the Pixel 3 and then making a video talking about their experience.

In this listing, it’s stated that “The Pixel 3 phone is launching October 4, 2018.”

While there’s no way to confirm if this ad really was created by Google, that October 4 date is what we were previously expecting anyways. That’s the same day Google used to announce the Pixel and Pixel 2 before, so it makes sense that it’d keep the trend going this year.

July 30, 2018 — Clearly White Google Pixel 3 XL shows up in new leak

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We just got our best look at the Google Pixel 3 XL courtesy of XDA. The images in question show off the Clearly White color option, and the live photos confirm a cutout at the front and a single rear camera. We can also make out a single speaker located below the display.

The XDA leak once again reaffirms the presence of a glass back on the Pixel 3 XL, with the finish alternating between glossy and matte. A glass back opens up the possibility for wireless charging, but for now there’s no further information as to whether the feature will make its way to the device.

When will the Pixel 3 be released?

In 2016 and 2017, Google held its hardware event on October 4. We don’t have a concrete date for this year’s event quite yet, but there’s no reason to believe Google will deter from this pattern.

Another October 4 event isn’t out of the question seeing as how that falls on a Thursday this year, but at the very least, we should be looking at some point in early October.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 3 will likely open shortly after it’s announced that same day with shipments going out at least a couple of weeks later.

How much will the Pixel 3 cost?

Over the past couple years, pricing for Google’s Pixel phones has remained mostly the same. The MSRP for the Pixel and Pixel 2 series is as follows:

  • Pixel w/ 32GB — $649
  • Pixel w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel 2 w/ 64GB — $649
  • Pixel 2 w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel XL w/ 32GB — $769
  • Pixel XL w/ 128GB — $869
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 64GB —$849
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 128GB — $949

I imagine we’ll see similar numbers with the Pixel 3, but don’t be too surprised if we get a Pixel 3 XL variant that crosses the $1000 threshold.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

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6
Aug

Best Chromebook as of August 2018


  • Best overall
  • Best on the go
  • Best on a budget
  • Best for the pro

Best overall

HP Chromebook X2

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See at Best Buy

HP’s Chromebook X2 is the first detachable Chromebook, and the category is starting off with quite the bang. This powerful Chromebook does double-duty as a tablet, and Android apps make the X2 something you might also consider if you’re looking for a new Android tablet.

Add in its light weight, beautiful display, and long battery life and the HP Chromebook X2 is the best Chromebook you can buy overall.

The bottom line: Clamshell or tablet, the HP Chromebook X2 is a winner no matter how you use it.

One more thing: Like any Chromebook worth its salt in 2018 you’ll find an excellent Pen for drawing and note taking.

Why the HP Chromebook X2 is the best

Dollar for dollar you can’t beat what HP has to offer here.

HP has built a powerful Chromebook that can moonlight as an awesome tablet with the Chromebook X2. We love the Intel Core M3 processor and the 0.3-inch thickness and the functional features like Assistant and Google Lens. But as we’ve seen before in the Chromebook world, the display steals the show.

The display on the HP Chromebook X2 is the very same 12.3-inch 2400×1600 IPS touch panel that you’ll find on the Pixelbook or Samsung Chromebook Pro. It’s beautiful to look at and supports a stylus, which is included and stows in a handy loop on the keyboard.

You’ll have plenty of power for the browser or to pull up spreadsheets and presentations in Google Docs and Android apps while you’re working. Or play something from Netflix on the gorgeous screen when you’re not.

With a more power-hungry screen than many other Chromebooks, the Chromebook X2 still has great battery life. It will last most people a full workday (8-10 hours) on a single charge. And when it’s time to charge the battery, you’ll appreciate the standard USB-C charging instead of a proprietary input. With the right cable, your Chromebook X2 will charge anywhere your phone does.

The HP Chromebook X2 is a great all-around package, and right now it’s the best Chromebook available.

Best on the go

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C101)

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See at Amazon

The ASUS Chromebook Flip was rather unassuming and a little confusing when it was first unveiled, but turned out to be a hit and spawned a great successor with the Flip 101. This little laptop with its 10.1-inch display and folding design that turns it into a pseudo-tablet is the go-to choice for anyone that wants a good, inexpensive and hyper-portable Chromebook.

For less than $300 you’re getting a 1280 x 800 touch screen, a metal build, great battery life and solid performance. If you’re always on the move and looking for a great Chromebook, you can’t do much better than this.

Bottom line: The Chromebook Flip is also one of the first models slated to pick up Android app compatibility through the Google Play Store, which could tip the scales a bit for folks looking to be ready for the new feature addition.

Best on a budget

Acer Chromebook R13

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See at Amazon

The Acer Chromebook R13 is a mid-range offering that seems like it should cost more. It has a 1080p IPS touchscreen for interaction with Android apps, can fold back into various modes for an all-touch experience, and charges using the new USB-C standard rather than an older connector.

The standout feature of the Chromebook R13 is the great way it’s built. It’s solid and well machined and not something you would expect from a sub-400 dollar laptop. The Chromebook R13 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a premium product without a premium price.

Bottom line: The Acer Chromebook R13 looks and feels like a laptop that would cost a lot more, and is a great choice for savvy shoppers.

Best for the pro

Google Pixelbook

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See at Best Buy
See at Google

Anyone who needs a dependable laptop to use all day, every day, and wants it to be a Chromebook should have a look at Google’s Pixelbook.

It’s thin and sleek, and oozes “premium” when using it, has the best keyboard and trackpad of any Chromebook (and as good or better than you’d find on a MacBook) and a gorgeous touchscreen. It was also designed from the ground up for Google Play and use as an Android tablet, and it excels at it.

If you want or need the very best and are willing to overpay for it, the Pixelbook was made for you.

Bottom line: You’re paying double the price of the Samsung Chromebook Plus, but for some it will be worth it.

Conclusion

There’s a Chromebook to satisfy most any need that you may have. Whether you’re buying for yourself, as a gift, or giving guidance to someone else for their own purchase, be sure to start here before making a buying decision. For most people, though, most of the time, the Samsung Chromebook Plus is the overall best bet.

Best overall

HP Chromebook X2

hp-chromebook-tom-9.jpg?itok=Rrbl1eFl

See at Best Buy

HP’s Chromebook X2 is the first detachable Chromebook, and the category is starting off with quite the bang. This powerful Chromebook does double-duty as a tablet, and Android apps make the X2 something you might also consider if you’re looking for a new Android tablet.

Add in its light weight, beautiful display, and long battery life and the HP Chromebook X2 is the best Chromebook you can buy overall.

The bottom line: Clamshell or tablet, the HP Chromebook X2 is a winner no matter how you use it.

One more thing: Like any Chromebook worth its salt in 2018 you’ll find an excellent Pen for drawing and note taking.

Update, August 2018: The HP Chromebook X2 is the first convertable Chromebook and the best you can buy.

6
Aug

Save big on Netgear’s Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 camera kits and accessories today


Add another layer of protection to your home!

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Amazon has a variety of Netgear’s Arlo security cameras on sale today, as well as some accessories that you’ll want to use with them. You can get started with a 3-camera Arlo Pro 2 kit for $449.99, or the 5-camera Arlo Pro kit for $549.99 depending how many cameras you need at your house. If you already have a kit and just want an extra camera, you can pick one up for $99.99.

Not sure what the difference is between the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Our pals at iMore broke it down for us and point out that the video quality (720p vs 1080p), Activity Zones, and a few other small features are what set them apart.

There’s also a selection of mounts and skins available for as little as $15 today. Be sure to check out all the deals and grab one before the price runs out.

See at Amazon

6
Aug

Best PlayStation 4 games under $30


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Want to save some money while you buy great games? Check these titles out.

There are certain painful occasions where money management has to take priority over buying every hot new game that comes out for your PlayStation 4. However, just because you are being a responsible adult doesn’t mean that you have to forgo great games altogether. With a little patience and some smart shopping, you can find killer deals on amazing games.

If you want to keep the heat on and have an awesome new video game to play, then hopefully this article will help you to achieve your goals. Here are some of the very best games available on PS4 that can be had for under $30

  • Uncharted 4
  • inFAMOUS Second Son
  • Bloodborne
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Fallout 4
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition
  • Life Is Strange
  • The Last of Us Remastered

Uncharted 4 – $20

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Nathan Drake’s final chapter is a journey that everyone should experience, and thanks to PlayStation Hits, it’s now affordable to almost anyone. If you like story-focused action-adventure games, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t play this game.

Travel across the world in search of pirate Henry Avery’s long lost treasure. Just be careful who you trust.

See at PlayStation

inFAMOUS Second Son – $20

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Another exclusive jumping into the PlayStation Hits catalogue, inFAMOUS Second Son is a popular franchise developed by Sucker Punch Productions. What’s cooler than being a rebellious youth with superpowers and a whole city to explore at your disposal?

Choose your path and take on the Department of Unified Protection. Your actions define you, whether they be good or evil.

See at PlayStation

Bloodborne – $20

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Bloodborne offers the greatest difficulty to dollar ratio on this list. Take the mechanics and brutality of the Dark Souls franchise and drop it into a gothic, horror-themed setting and you have Bloodborne.

If you are looking for a game to beat you up for the lowest price possible then this is your go-to

See at PlayStation

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – $20

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If you’ve squeezed every last drop out of Skyrim and you still need some Dungeons and Dragons-esque gameplay then The Witcher 3 is here for you.

Play as the monster slayer Geralt as you search for elvish heir, Ciri. There is plenty to do in this gorgeous open world and plenty of monsters to slay.

See at Amazon

Fallout 4 – $20

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The Fallout series has been around since the late 90’s. There have been 8 entries into the post-apocalyptic RPG series but Fallout 4 is the largest, both in terms of map size and content.

Step into your cryo chamber and awake after the Great War to a post-apocalyptic retro-future. Your main objective is to find your son but you are bound to get into plenty of other adventures along the way.

See at Amazon

Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition – $20

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New IP can be hit or miss, but Guerrilla Games struck gold with Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s got robotic dinosaurs, compelling characters, satisfying gameplay, and a surprisingly impactful storyline.

Discover your past to save the future in its post-apocalyptic world.

See at PlayStation

Life Is Strange – $20

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Want a great independent game to play on your PS4 but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg? Check out the fantastic graphic adventure Life is Strange.

Take an independent coming of age film, mix in some superpowers and a killer story and you end up with one heck of a game.

See at PlayStation

The Last of Us Remastered – $20

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If you’re looking for some survival horror action at a low low price, then you can’t do much better than the remastered version of The Last of Us.

Zombies have overrun the earth and it’s your job as Joel to protect a young girl named Ellie. It’s a thrill ride that just so happens to sport a great story.

See at PlayStation

Why are we reviewing PlayStation 4 games on Android Central? Let us explain.

Update, August 2018: We’ve updated this article to include more great games for under $30!

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • 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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6
Aug

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


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

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

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

August 6, 2018 — S Pen features, camera improvements, and more highlighted in huge Reddit post

Even though we already know a great deal about the Galaxy Note 9, one Redditor that’s close with a Samsung employee recently took to Reddit to talk about a lot of smaller features/improvements that are coming to it.

There’s a lot of info about the new S Pen, with one of the most interesting tidbits being that Samsung will actually sell S Pens on their own so you can mix and match with the different colors that are going to be offered. Tying into this, the color of your S Pen will be the color used when taking screen-off memos.

It’s also noted that the Bluetooth-equipped S Pen can be used as a camera shutter with its button and that just 40 seconds of charging will give you 30 minutes of use with it.

As for the Note 9 itself, it apparently has a very similar footprint compared to the Note 8, has new AI features for the camera app, and will no longer require a DeX Pad or DeX Station to use Samsung’s desktop interface.

If you want all of the nitty-gritty details, you can read through the full post here.

August 6, 2018 — Samsung to offer 15,000 V-Bucks with Galaxy Note 9 pre-orders

The Galaxy Note 9 will officially be announced this Thursday, and along with learning more about the phone itself, we’re also expecting to hear about the long-awaited Android port of Fortnite. We already know that Fortnite for Android will be a limited-time exclusive to the Note 9, and thanks to XDA Developers, we have more information regarding the V-Bucks pre-order bonus we learned about late last month.

As discovered in the code of Epic’s website, there’s mention of “Samsung Preorder 15000 V-Bucks Promo.” In other words, you’ll be able to get 15,000 V-Bucks when pre-ordering the Note 9.

15,000 V-Bucks is equal to $150 United States Dollars, and while it might seem silly to give away virtual points as a pre-order promo for a phone that’ll likely cost $800 – $900, that should be quite appealing to fans of the game that are looking to upgrade their phone.

What will the Galaxy Note 9 look like?

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Quick answer — a lot like the Note 8.

We’ve seen one collection of renders for the Note 9 so far (pictured above), and save for the fingerprint sensor being moved below the rear camera sensor, the phone’s shaping up to be nearly identical to last year’s model.

As such, we can expect a large Infinity Display with slim bezels, an all-glass back, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Samsung’s event teaser suggests that we’ll get at least one bright yellow color option, but I’m still crossing my fingers the Galaxy S9’s Burgundy Red gets a wide release on the Note 9 🤞.

What specs can we look forward to?

Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones are always home to some of the best specs around, and the Note 9 shouldn’t be any different.

Based on the current rumor mill and what we’ve seen from other 2018 flagships, here’s what we think we’ll see this year.

Operating system Android Oreo
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810
Screen 6.4-inch Quad HD (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED panel 18.5:9 aspect ratio
Rear camera 1 12MP f/1.4 and f/2.4 adjustable aperture
Rear camera 2 12MP f/2.4 Optical zoom
RAM 6GB / 8GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Expandability microSD up to 1TB
Battery 4,000 mAh
Connectivity USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack
Security Fingerprint sensor Iris scanning Face unlock
NFC Yes

What’s going on with the S Pen?

The S Pen has always been one of the biggest draws to the Galaxy Note phones, and this year with the Note 9, we’re expecting Samsung to give the accessory one of the biggest updates we’ve seen in years.

One of the biggest changes this time around is that the Note 9 S Pen is rumored to come with Bluetooth. On one hand, this means the S Pen will need to have a battery and be charged somehow. Although we can’t confirm this, it’s likely Samsung will design a system that allows the S Pen to charge up while it’s inside the Note 9.

On a more exciting note, Bluetooth could allow for the S Pen to be useful even when it’s not in direct contact with the Note 9. Its button could act as a camera shutter, slide-show clicker, give you better alerts when it’s away from your phone, and more.

There have also been hints at some sort of gaming-specific features, but it’s unclear how exactly these will pan out.

When will the Galaxy Note 9 be released?

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The Galaxy Note 9 will be announced on August 9, 2018, at an Unpacked event in New York City.

We can expect retail availability to come in a 1-2 week time frame after the announcement, if any previous launches are any indication.

How much will the Galaxy Note 9 cost?

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

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

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

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!
  • Is it best to buy the Galaxy S9 or wait for the Note 9?
  • Do you plan on upgrading to the Note 9?
  • Galaxy Note 8 review
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

Updated August 3, 2018: Updated spec sheet with latest available info.

6
Aug

Alto’s Odyssey for Android review: A perfect follow-up adventure


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Another dreamy classic from Team Alto.

Alto’s Odyssey was my most anticipated game on the Android release calendar since it was released for iOS back in February. Rather than having to wait a full year as we did for Alto’s Adventure, Odyssey arrived just six months later thanks to the fine folks at Noodlecake Studios who have delivered another absolute gem for Android gamers.

Alto’s Odyssey is a simple endless runner game that has you dashing down desert dunes, wall riding rock formations, and exploring ancient ruins, but the gorgeous sound design, soothing soundtrack, and shifting color palettes will keep you coming back for more adventure.

Download: Alto’s Odyssey (Free w/IAPs)

Here’s a short video showing of Zen Mode, which lets you play the game with no distraction scores and no game overs — just you and the endless desert dunes.

Expanding on everything we loved from the first game

Creating a sequel to a celebrated game like Alto’s Adventure is no small challenge, as you want to capture the quirkiness of the original game’s premise while building on the core concepts that made the game such a joy to play. Here, Team Alto did a great job of not just changing the scenery, but justifying the decisions by incorporating brand new gameplay mechanics that feel right at home because they’re built right into how you interact with the environment.

Gone are the snow-capped mountains and runaway llamas. Instead, Odyssey takes us to more tropical locals with Alto swapping his snowboard for a wall-riding sand board. There’s more interaction with the environment here, too, with mini tornados tossing Alto high in the air, hot air balloons offering movable targets for grinding and bouncing, and much more to explore as you progress through the game.

This game is downright gorgeous with its shifting landscapes rendered beautifully with vivid colors — taken with the cinematic musical score and you get a pristine gaming experience. It’s also not particularly resource heavy so even someone rocking an older phone can enjoy it.

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New additions help the game feel fresh

As much as I love Alto’s Adventure, it was important to me that Odyssey offers enough new content to justify itself. Fortunately, there’s a ton to unpack and discover for hardcore fans and anyone who’s coming into the franchise alike. The main game mode is back with plenty of goals to go after each run and characters and features to unlock, and the fan favorite zen mode is also included here for those times where you just want to kick back and relax.

Each playthrough is unique in that the terrain is always procedurally generated, which is perfect for an endless runner such as this. Because there are so many new elements in play here, you’ll always discover new ways to link combos and reach new heights.

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The free-to-play model executed to perfection

Just like the first game, Alto’s Odyssey is free to play with ads on Android, or you can play an in-app purchase to remove the ads. When I interviewed Ryan Holowaty of Noodlecake Studios I made sure to ask him about this decision as the Alto games are paid apps for iOS.

Holowaty said the decision to make the Alto games free to play on Android was based on the download and buying habits of Android gamers. In that case, Team Alto must have been pretty satisfied with the performance of Alto’s Adventure on the Google Play Store because they went the same route here with Odyssey. While some might prefer paying for a game of this quality from the outset and never having to deal with annoying ads, I appreciate the ability to test drive a game before I invest cash and have found this to be a perfect compromise.

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Final Thoughts

Alto’s Odyssey has lived up to all my expectations by delivering more of the core gameplay I loved from the first game while layering on added depth and more rewards for progressing through the main game. Best of all, this isn’t a game to replace Alto’s Adventure but rather a new game that compliments the previous title.

Both Adventure and Odyssey offer familiar-yet-unique experiences, and my only question now is whether there’s a third journey in the cards for Alto and pals.

Download: Alto’s Odyssey (Free w/IAPs)

Android Gaming

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  • Best Android games
  • Best free Android games
  • Best games with no in-app purchases
  • Best action games for Android
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6
Aug

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


The Galaxy Watch could be Samsung’s best and boldest smartwatch yet — here’s why.

It’s been a hot minute since Samsung released the Gear S3, and while the Gear Sport did a nice job at holding us over for a while longer, it’s time we get a proper sequel to one of 2016’s best smartwatches.

The rumor mill suggests that this year will see Samsung release the successor we’ve been longing for, but instead of a traditional Gear S4, reports are coming out that the new gadget will be called the “Galaxy Watch” and use an operating system Samsung hasn’t dabbled with since 2014.

What is the Galaxy Watch and why should you care about it? Here’s everything you need to know!

The latest Galaxy Watch news

August 6, 2018 — Galaxy Watch to come in two sizes, have 7-day battery life, and not include MST for Samsung Pay

Samsung hasn’t commented at all on the Galaxy Watch after accidentally publishing the listing on its website last month, but thanks to one Redditor that’s reportedly close with an employee at the company, we now know a lot more about what to expect from the impending wearable.

First thing’s first, Samsung will apparently offer two different sizes of the Galaxy Watch to accommodate both smaller and larger wrists — including 46mm and 42mm options. Also, despite being similar in size to last year’s Gear Sport, the Galaxy Watch is said to last an impressive “7 days” on a single charge.

That rose gold variant we saw on Samsung’s site is a new color option that’ll be sold, and if you’re into fitness, the Galaxy Watch will come equipped with a total of 40 workout modes out of the box.

Unfortunately, while Samsung Pay will be present on the Galaxy Watch, it’ll only work for NFC payments with no support for MST transactions.

July 23, 2018 — Samsung accidentally lists the Galaxy Watch on its official website

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I think this is about as official as we’re going to get until the Galaxy Watch’s unveiling.

A screenshot was recently sent in to CNET showing a search result on Samsung’s website for “Wearables”, and right next to the Gear S2, the unannounced Galaxy Watch popped up alongside it.

This is our very first look at the watch, and to not much surrpise, it follows a similar design language to the Gear Sport and Gear S3 with a circular display, metal body, and two physical buttons on the right.

The model shown here is a 42mm rose gold option, and seeing as how Samsung specifically calls this out as a Bluetooth model, it’s likely we’ll also see an LTE variant.

All the big details

What’s with this talk about Wear OS?

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Almost all of Samsung’s wearable products have used the company’s own Tizen operating system, but with the Galaxy Watch, that could be changing.

Back in late May, it was reported that some Samsung employees had been seen wearing Gear watches running Google’s Wear OS (previously called Android Wear). That rumor was put to rest a couple weeks later, but then on July 6, another tipster stated that the Galaxy Watch will, in fact, use Wear OS instead of Tizen.

While that may seem like a ball out of left field, this wouldn’t be unheard of for Samsung. In 2014, one of the very first Android Wear watches to come out was the Samsung Gear Live.

However, on July 18, another report popped up claiming that Tizen will actually be the operating system of choice — not Wear OS.

We’re still not entirely sure what’s going to happen here, but a Wear OS watch from Samsung would be a huge win for the platform as a whole. Google needs big names to back Wear OS, and who better to support it than one of the largest companies on the planet?

When will the Galaxy Watch be released?

Samsung’s yet to release any teasers or press invites for the Galaxy Watch, but according to the rumor mill, we’ll see it announced alongside the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9.

Current rumors point to the Galaxy Watch launching on August 24.

Following the August 9 announcement, pre-orders for the Galaxy Watch will follow on August 14. From there, the gadget will officially launch on August 24.

Should that rumor turn out to be false, the next logical announcement will likely come during IFA in Berlin in late August / early September.

How much will the Galaxy Watch cost?

Now, most importantly, let’s talk price.

As much as we loved the Gear S3, its price tag wasn’t the easiest to swallow at the time at $349. However, compared to today’s market, that’s not really unheard of.

A Series 3 Apple Watch with GPS and LTE will set you back at least $399. If you get the model without LTE, you’re still looking at a minimum of $329.

With that in mind, we’ll probably see the Galaxy Watch sell for around $300 – $350 depending on whether or not it has LTE.

That’s certainly not cheap, but if Samsung knocks it out of the park with its design and features, it should be able to hold its over (if not trump) what Apple’s currently offering.

Google Wear OS

  • The best Wear OS smartwatches
  • Discuss Android Wear in the forums!

Updated July 18, 2018: Updated Wear OS and release date sections to reflect current rumors/reports.

6
Aug

MoviePass: Everything you need to know


Here’s your one-stop-shop for all the MoviePass news, controversies, and more.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a thing or two about MoviePass. Although the company was founded way back in 2011, it’s picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so with its too-good-to-be-true offer of allowing you to see one movie per day for just $9.95/month.

MoviePass has become one of the most disruptive companies of recent memory, and whether you’re looking for the latest controversies or want to learn more about the service before you sign up, you’ve come to the right place.

Without further ado, this is everything you need to know about MoviePass!

The latest MoviePass news

August 6, 2018 — The new MoviePass plan will remain at $9.95/month but limit subscribers to 3 movies per month

Just about a week after MoviePass announced that it was raising its monthly subscription cost to $14.95/month, the company has since issued another press release to outline a tweaked version of its business model that’ll hopefully allow for better sustainability.

Starting on August 15, 2018, MoviePass’s new plan will officially go into effect. It’ll still cost $9.95/month as usual, but instead of subscribers being able to see up to one new movie per day, they’ll be limited to just 3 movies each month. The plan will “include many major studio first-run films”, and after you see your 3 movies, you’ll be able to get up to a $5 discount on additional tickets you purchase through the app.

Additionally, subscribers of the new plan won’t have to deal with the controversial Peak Pricing or the Ticket Verification system that requires you to take a photo of your ticket before you can see another movie.

If you’re currently subscribed to any of the exisitng monthly or yearly plans, you won’t be transitioned to the new model until your plan is up for renewal. In other words, you’ll still be able to see one movie per day but will have to put up with Peak Pricing, Ticket Verification, and being limited from seeing new releases.

July 31, 2018 —MoviePass is raising its price to $14.95/month, First Run Movies will be limited in availability for the first two weeks

In an official press release issued by MoviePass’s parent company Helios & Matheson, a few big changes were announced as an effort for MoviePass to cut its cash burn by 60%

Perhaps the biggest change is with the service’s cost. The iconic $9.95/month plan that allows you to see one new movie per day will be increased to $14.95/month within the next 30 days. Even with the higher monthly rate, Peak Pricing isn’t going anywhere.

It was also confirmed that “First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens” will see limited availability during their first two weeks of release unless the studio makes a promotional deal with MoviePass. From the way the press release reads, that sounds like yet another limitation on top of the restrictions we heard about yesterday for movies like The Meg and Christopher Robin.

All the important details

There are two plans to choose from

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Right now, you’ve got two options to choose from if you want to get MoviePass — MoviePass and MoviePass Unlimited.

The former of those two costs $7.95/month and lets you see three movies per month.

While it’s nice that MoviePass has this available if you want to save a couple bucks each month, I’d recommend going all the way with MoviePass Unlimited. For $9.95/month, you can watch one new movie per day in theaters every single day.

Both plans are billed monthly and can be canceled at any time.

See at MoviePass

E-ticketing makes everything easier

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MoviePass is regularly partnering with more and more theater chains to support e-ticketing, and if you happen to live near one that offers this, you’re in for a real treat.

For theaters that don’t support e-ticketing, using MoviePass requires you to be within 100 yards of the theater you’re going to, check-in to the showtime on your phone, and then swipe your card to get your ticket. If the showing happens to sell out by the time you get to the theater, you can either choose another movie or call it a night.

However, if there’s a theater near you that does support e-ticketing, the process is way simpler. Once you find the showtime you want to go to, a “Get E-Ticket” button will pop up instead of the “Check In” one.

E-tickets can’t be canceled once you buy them, but they do have the added benefit of allowing you buy them wherever you are. Also, if you’re theater supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, you can even choose your seat right from the MoviePass app! Once you get to the theater, just type in the redemption code for your e-ticket or scan the QR code.

Right now, e-ticketing with MoviePass works at Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, and MJR Theaters.

Only 2D movies are supported, at least for now

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As it currently stands, you can only use your MoviePass to watch regular 2D movies. In the near future, however, that will soon be changing.

By Labor Day (September 3), MoviePass will allow you to pay an upgrade fee to see RealD 3D, IMAX 2D, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies.

That fee will range between $2 – $5 depending on what kind of premium show you’re seeing.

You can’t rewatch movies

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As good of a deal as MoiePass is, it’s not without a few limits here and there — the first of which is the fact that you can’t rewatch movies.

MoviePass experimented with letting people rewatch the same movie over and over again for a few months but eventually decided to revoke the right to prevent ticket-scalping and other misuses of the service.

It would certainly be nice to have the option of seeing a movie again that you particularly like, but don’t expect this to come back anytime soon.

You can still benefit from your theater’s loyalty program

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If your theater has a loyalty program that rewards you with points for buying tickets and concessions, you can link it up to your MoviePass account and still get rewarded for the tickets you “buy” with your MoviePass subscription.

As it currently stands, you can link loyalty programs from Goodrich Quality Theaters, D Place Entertainment, and Starlight Cinemas.

It’s an admittedly small list right now, but it’s one that should only grow more and more as time goes on.

What’s the deal with Peak Pricing?

MoviePass is always trying to find ways of adapting its business model as more and more people join, and one of those latest efforts is seen with Peak Pricing. On June 22, MoviePass said the following:

Under this plan, if the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher, subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an alternative date or film.

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In the MoviePass app, showtimes that are affected by Peak Pricing will be indicated by a red lightning bolt icon next to them. If a showtime isn’t currently in Peak Pricing but might enter it soon, you’ll see a grey icon.

The surcharge you’ll need to pay is entirely dependent on the movie and time, but as a point of reference, the screenshots MoviePass shared show a surcharge of $3.43. Thankfully, MoviePass will launch Peak Passes in the coming weeks that’ll allow you to waive the Peak Pricing fee once per month.

Peak Pricing officially launched on July 5 and is rolling out to users over the coming weeks. If you’re currently subscribed to an annual or quarterly plan, you won’t have to deal with Peak Pricing until your plan ends and renews.

Be mindful of the device authorization limit

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If you’re someone that lives the two phone life or frequently goes from device to device, you’ll want to keep MoviePass’s device authorization limit in mind.

To “keep your account secure”, MoviePass only allows you to be signed into the MoviePass app on one phone at a time. However, if you do get a new phone or need to sign into another one for whatever reason, you can log into your account on another phone every 30 days.

Just download the app, enter your credentials, and confirm that you want to use that as your authorized device.

Updated July 12, 2018: Updated the plan information now that the iHeartRadio promo is over and added more details about premium movies.

6
Aug

Galaxy Tab S4 vs. HP Chromebook X2: Which one should you buy?


This is the ultimate battle between Android and Chrome OS.

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Android tablets have taken a backseat for the past couple years as larger and larger smartphones have diminished the need for them, but even so, that hasn’t stopped Samsung from releasing the large, beautiful, and powerful Galaxy Tab S4.

The Tab S4 is easily one of the best Android tablets you can buy in 2018, offering a stunning Super AMOLED display, snappy Qualcomm processor, and all sorts of accessories that turn it into the ultimate productivity machine. However, during the absence of Android tablets, Chrome OS has quietly risen as the replacement for work and play on the big screen.

One of the most enticing Chrome OS laptops/tablets to come out this year is the HP Chromebook X2, and with similar features and a lower price compared to the Tab S4, looks like the clear winner.

However, how do these gadgets truly stack up to one another? Let’s find out.

Specifications

Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo Chrome OS
Display 10.5-inch 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED 16:10 aspect ratio 12.3-inch 2400 x 1600 WLED 3:2 aspect ratio
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-core 2.35GHz + 1.9GHz 7th gen Intel Core m3-7Y30 Quad-core 1GHz
GPU Adreno 630 Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB or 256GB 32GB
Expandable Yes (microSD slot up to 400GB) Yes (microSD slot)
Battery 7300 mAh 4-cell 48 Wh
Rear Camera 13MP 1.12µm pixel size f/1.9 aperture 13MP
Front Camera 8MP 1.12µm pixel size f/1.9 aperture 5MP HP Wide Vision
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac USB Type-C 3.5mm headphone jack Bluetooth 4.2 Intel® 802.11b/g/n/ac (2×2) USB Type-C (x2) 3.5mm headphone jack
Security Iris scanning Face unlock N/A
Dimensions 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm 292.1 x 210.82 x 8.4mm
Weight 482g 725g

What the Galaxy Tab S4 does better

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Samsung’s been the top dog when it comes to screen technology for years, and with the Galaxy Tab S4, the company’s prowess in this field is shown off yet again. While the Chromebook X2’s LED display looks great, the Tab S4’s sharper resolution and Super AMOLED panel result in a superior viewing experiencing whether your playing games, watching a movie, or browsing the web.

On top of that, Samsung pairs its AMOLED screen with four fantastic external speakers. All of them are AKG-tuned and support Dolby Atmos technology. Daniel got a chance to check these out during his hands-on time with the Tab S4 and said they’re “some of the best-sounding speakers you’ll hear on a tablet today.”

When it comes time to get some work done, Samsung has a unique approach for overcoming Android’s poor optimization for large form factors. The company’s DeX interface can be run directly on the Tab S4, allowing you to run multiple apps at once in their own windows, drag and drop content from app-to-app, use keyboard shortcuts, and more. You can hop into DeX at any time and pair it with your own Bluetooth keyboard or spring for the official $150 Book Cover Keyboard that automatically launches DeX when it’s connected.

Lastly, if you enjoy having a fast way to securely unlock your tablet, the Galaxy Tab S4 gives you the choice between iris scanning and face unlock — two things you won’t find on the Chromebook X2.

See at Samsung

What the HP Chromebook X2 does better

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The Galaxy Tab S4 offers a powerful combo of features, but when you add everything together, things get very expensive very quickly.

The base configuration with 64GB of storage costs $650. While you do get the S Pen included for free, you’ll need to hand over another $150 for the official keyboard cover — bringing the final price up to a staggering $800.

While the HP Chromebook X2 does have half the internal storage at 32GB, its $650 price tag includes both a stylus and detachable keyboard. Speaking of which, if you plan on doing a lot of typing with your next tablet/laptop hybrid, the X2’s keyboard takes the lead with a built-in palm rest, adjustable display angles, and is easier use on your lap. While the Tab S4’s keyboard cover feels like a keyboard accessory, the keyboard for the X2 really does transform it into a proper laptop.

Also, while we appreciate Samsung bringing DeX over to the Tab S4, Google’s been making big improvements with Chrome OS over the last few months (with plenty more to come). Chrome OS still has better Android app support, works great with progressive web apps, can run Linux software, and is expected to get deep integration with Android phones in the near future.

See at Best Buy

Which one should you buy?

If money isn’t an object, you live in the Samsung ecosystem, and/or want a machine that can be used well for both productivity and entertainment, the Galaxy Tab S4 really is an impressive piece of tech. Its AMOLED display and speaker setup make it a phenomenal media-consumption device, and while its official keyboard accessory is pricey for what it offers, the ability to run DeX directly on the tablet gives you a lot of flexibility for how you can use it.

With that said, the HP Chromebook X2 is a much better purchase if you value getting your money’s worth. Despite being $200 less than the Tab S4 with the keyboard cover, the X2 still offers solid performance, a really great display, and one of the best 2-in-1 designs you can find.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 hands-on preview: The two-faced tablet

HP Chromebook X2 review: Great Chromebook, better Android tablet

Chromebooks

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  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

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