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Best Bluetooth Game Controller for Android and iOS Smartphones

Mobile gaming has never been as popular as it is now. In fact, 75 percent of all iOS App Store revenue comes from gaming apps. The appeal is clear: Our modern, fast-paced lives make it hard to just sit for a few hours and dedicate all of our attention to nothing but the TV screen. What’s more, smartphones are now so powerful that mobile gaming experience offers a very similar level of graphical fidelity and gameplay complexity as PC or console games.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MatricomMatricom G-Pad BX Wireless USB Rechargeable Bluetooth Pro Game Pad JoystickBuy on Amazon|$16.95(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
8Bitdo8bitdo SNES30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller Dual Classic JoystickCheck Price on Amazon
ipegaiPega PG-9023 Extendable gamepad Game Controller Portable Bluetooth Wireless Gamepad Joystick ControlBuy on Amazon|$27.5(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
Sminiker ProfessionalSminiker Android Wireless Bluetooth Gamepad Game ControllerCheck Price on Amazon
NykoNyko Smart Clip – PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller Clip On MountBuy on Amazon|$13.5(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Despite all this, there is still, at least, one area where mobile gaming falls short: controls. Playing a twitch shooter or a precision-based platformer using virtual buttons on the touchscreen is a frustrating to experience that can sip away all the fun you would otherwise have. Luckily, there’s something you can do about it. Bluetooth gaming controllers are affordable, convenient, and highly portable devices that can easily add a new dimension to your mobile gaming experience.

There are countless manufacturers and individual controllers available for purchase, but only a small fraction is built up to our high expectations and demands. That’s why we have selected our 4 favorite Bluetooth controllers for 2016. Each controller on this list offers a slightly different set of features and gaming style, and players should consider their individual needs and preferences to determine which one to select.

Matricom G-Pad XYBA Wireless Rechargeable Bluetooth Pro Game Pad Joystick Controller

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The Matricom G-Pad is just about the best bluetooth controller you will find on the market.  The controller will connect to most devices that accept bluetooth connections, including all the latest Samsung Galaxy S series phones, iPhone, tablets, even PC on Windows 10, and of course on the PS3.  The rechargeable battery is a neat feature to have so you don’t need to constantly buying new batteries.

The controller itself is designed similar to a standard PS3 controller with comfortable feel.  Its 16 button design includes all the standard gaming XYBA buttons and top finger triggers.  The performance is flawless once you start playing the games without any lag or connectivity problems.

The Matricom G-Pad undoubtedly will become your go-to bluetooth game controller once you get your hands on these, it should become the standard for all other controllers to model after, especially for the price.
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Willgoo® 8bitdo SNES30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller

Inspired by the beloved Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Willgoo is a wireless Bluetooth gaming controller that is sure to please all fans of retro gaming and platformers.

The controller is essentially identical to the original and should be instantly recognized by those who grew up playing 16bit games. It features a spacious D-pad, start and select buttons, 4 action buttons, and left and right triggers.

It’s only when you take a look inside that you realize that this is far from 80s technology. A built-in 480 mAh Li-On battery lasts up to 20 hours and can be recharged more than thousand times. The controller connects to your device via either Bluetooth or USB connection, which makes it compatible with a wide range of platforms, including iOS, Windows, Mac, and Android. There’s no need for jailbreak or root, thanks to its compatibility with an iCade line of portable arcade cabinets. All games that support iCade are guaranteed to work with Willgoo. The optional smartphone stand can easily accommodate most modern smartphones, such as iPhone 5s or Samsung Note II.

We were initially worried that the controller might be difficult to use for people with larger hands, but this proved not to be true at all. It fits great in all hands and the buttons are precise and responsive. The overall build quality seems superb, especially considering how affordable the controller is.

The only real problem we stumbled upon is that it can turn on by accident when carried in a pocket. Fortunately, the battery lasts such a long time that you are likely to still have plenty of juice left for all your gaming needs throughout the day.

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iPega Extendable Wireless Game Controller

iPega definitely knows how to produce an innovative gaming controller that satisfies needs of modern players and offers compatibility with smartphones and tablet devices.

The controller is divided into two halves with an extendable telescoping arm in the middle. This arm is able to accommodate even larger tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S or the Apple iPad, thus removing the need to purchase separate controllers for different devices.

Pairing the controller with either iOS or Android via Bluetooth could hardly be any easier. It worked right out-of-the-box with GBA, N64, or PSX emulators without any additional configuration. All buttons were mapped as we would expect, and the handful of extra buttons on each half of the controller let us comfortable control various functions of different emulators.  All buttons feel very responsive and well-made. All of our inputs were registered with utmost precision without any noticeable delay.

The iPega controller charges very fast and lasts a reasonably long time to support the needs of even the most hardcore gamers out there. A nice bonus is the ability to charge it with the same micro USB cord that you use for your smartphone or tablet.

The only real negative that we had to deal with was the atrocious manual written in broken English. It’s a real shame that a company capable of producing such quality products as iPega doesn’t hire a professional copywriter or translator to take care of these things. However, we can’t really complain, given the fantastic price of the device.

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Sminiker® Wireless Bluetooth Gamepad

If you are looking for a classic controller inspired by the design of PlayStation DualShock, Sminiker might be exactly the right choice. This affordable controller works with all modern smartphones and tablets running on Android or iOS operating system and connects wirelessly through Bluetooth interface.

It offers familiar control scheme with 14 action buttons. Two analog sticks are perfect for playing first-person shooters, while the multidirectional D-pad gives you the much-needed precision for overcoming even the most difficult platforming challenges. All buttons work flawlessly without any delay or problems with accuracy.

The setup procedure is painless on both platform and all buttons work as expected. Actually, almost all. The turbo button seems to be incompatible with most current emulators, but we believe that this issue could be solved with just appropriate configuration settings.

Another advantage of the Sminiker Wireless Bluetooth Gamepad is its ability to work without root or additional drivers. This saves a lot of time and potential hassle; not to mention how much more accessible it becomes for gamers who are not willing to risk having their warranty voided.

The battery can easily last for several days of moderate gaming and charging is quick and straightforward.

It’s also good to know that the connector can be paired with PC or laptop computers. All you need to do is purchase a compatible Bluetooth adapter and configure it as a generic Bluetooth gamepad. Don’t expect it to be as compatible as, for example, the original Xbox Controller, but it’s nonetheless a great way how to get more value from your purchase.

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Nyko Smart Clip

The last device on our list isn’t a gaming controller. Instead, it’s a cleverly designed clip that attaches to your smartphone or tablet device and clips onto the Dual Shock 4 or Xbox One wireless controller.

The Nyko Smart Clip is designed to be compatible with a wide range of devices from different manufacturers, such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, or Blackberry. If your device is up to 6 inches tall, you will most likely have no problem hooking it up to your gaming controller. The only real exception are smartphones with protruding volume controls positioned in the same place where the clip attaches to the phone. In those cases, you can use a case to add some padding to prevent the clip from making contact with the buttons.

The attachment is done via a continent strap system that lets users adjust the viewing angle and position their smartphone for the most enjoyable gaming experience.

The Nyko Smart Clip was originally designed with console gamers in mind to allow them to stream games to their smartphone and tablet devices or display helpful information to enrich their gaming session. However, it was quickly adopted by the mobile gaming community, due to the availability of Xbox and PlayStation gaming controllers.

It’s by far the cheapest solution for mobile gaming (that is if you already own a compatible controller) and there is really nothing to complain about when it comes to the build quality and day-to-day usability.

The Nyko Smart Clip is a smart solution that helps you save money by enabling you to use what you already have at your disposal.

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ProductBrandNamePrice
MatricomMatricom G-Pad BX Wireless USB Rechargeable Bluetooth Pro Game Pad JoystickBuy on Amazon|$16.95(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
8Bitdo8bitdo SNES30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller Dual Classic JoystickCheck Price on Amazon
ipegaiPega PG-9023 Extendable gamepad Game Controller Portable Bluetooth Wireless Gamepad Joystick ControlBuy on Amazon|$27.5(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
Sminiker ProfessionalSminiker Android Wireless Bluetooth Gamepad Game ControllerCheck Price on Amazon
NykoNyko Smart Clip – PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller Clip On MountBuy on Amazon|$13.5(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Rumors Round Up

Below are what we know so far for all the Samsung Galaxy S10 rumors:

Samsung Galaxy S10 Release Date

https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/15/galaxy-s10-release-date-revealed-samsungs-website-8633661/

Samsung Galaxy S10 Price

https://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/samsung-galaxy-s10-plus-ceramic-black-price-leaked-february-20-launch-1995360

Samsung Galaxy S10 Leaked Renderings

https://thedroidguy.com/2019/02/samsung-galaxy-s10-and-galaxy-s10-hands-on-video-surfaces-online-ahead-of-official-launch-1098544

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S10e (aka Samsung Galaxy Lite)

Samsung Galaxy s10 Rumored Specs

Samsung Galaxy s10 5G

Samsung Galaxy S10 Battery
https://thedroidguy.com/2019/01/samsung-galaxy-s10-specs-and-release-date-highlights-huge-battery-improvements-and-photo-quality-1097186

How To Fix Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code Error

Every now and then, you may run into the Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code pop up error on your Android device.  This generally happens when a user is trying to send an Man-Machine-Interface code, aka MMI code.  What is a MMI code you ask? It’s those funny codes you enter on your dialer that includes an asterisk (*) or hash (#) characters, like calling #BAL on your Verizon Wireless phone to check balance, or sometimes it’s just a prefix you enter before a phone number.  If the Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code problem is driving you nuts, we got a few solutions that should solve your issue.

Simple Reboot

Simply turn off your phone and reboot again, see if that helps.  This may sound simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes!

Reboot in Safe Mode

By using your phone in safe mode, you can better troubleshoot your phone since it will run just the stock Android programs.  By eliminating all other apps running in the background, you can test to see if the problem persists without other apps running.

So to solve the Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code issue, let’s reboot in safe mode.

To reboot in safe mode:

  1. Turn off your device
  2. Press and hold the power button to turn on, continue to hold until the logo screen appears
  3. Press and hold the volume down button until the reboot is finished
  4. You should see “Safe mode” at the bottom corner of your screen

Once in safe mode, try entering the MMI code you were using before to see if the problem persists.  If you don’t have issue sending the message at this point, then most likely an app you recently installed is causing the conflict.  You can start by uninstalling the most recent app and go from there.

Add a plus sign (+) or comma (,) to the code

Try adding a comma to the end of your MMI code and dial again, for example, if you were trying to dial *1234 then try dialing *1234, you can get the comma by holding the asterisk (*) button for about 3-5 seconds.

Or try adding a plus (+) sign after the asterisk (*) sign in your MMI code.  For example, if you were dialing *1234 then try dialing *+1234 you can get the plus (+) plus sign by holding zero for about 3-5 seconds.  The plus sign should get rid of the error message and allow the call to go through.

Check Network

You could be getting the Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code error because you are not getting reception.  Try setting your wireless provider, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Network Connection
  3. Mobile Networks
  4. Network Operators
  5. Search Networks and select your wireless provider

You might want to try this method a few times before giving up on it.  It might take a few tries before it connects.  If the network search does not find your carrier, then you might want to check your SIM card.

Check Sim Card

If you have a dual sim phone, you have two choices here.

  1. Disable on of your SIM cards and activate only the SIM card that you plan on using to send the MMI code.  The phone may not be using the correct SIM card if you had both SIM cards running together.
  2. Under your phone’s dual SIM settings, find the voice call settings.  There it should give you an option to select with SIM card to use or “Always ask”, choose that “Always Ask” option.  When you try to dial the MMI code, the phone will prompt you and ask which SIM you want to use, that why you will have the option to select the correct SIM card.

If you have a traditional single SIM card, try something simple like pulling your SIM card and blowing on it, wiping it down a little, and plug it back in.  See if that will re-establish connection.

Turn on SMS over IMS

This step is for the tech geeks and we won’t get into details on how to do it since any wrong move using this method could destroy your phone, or just cause more headache to undo.  It basically involves you using the Android secret code *#*#INFO#*#* or aka *#*#4636#*#* to enter the Android Testing Menu, this is where professional technicians go to geek out on your phone.  You can run the ping test and activate radio and turn on SMS over IMS here that could solve your “Connection Problem or Invalid MMI Code” problem .  If you really want to try this method, feel free to google “how to turn on SMS over IMS“.

5 Best Android Smartphones with Removable Battery in 2019

According to Statista, one of the world’s largest statistics portals, only 36% of smartphone users are satisfied with a battery life of mobile devices. Yet, a total of 89 percent of respondents agreed that battery life is an important feature on a smartphone. This means that there’s a gaping hole in the market filled with only a handful of devices. Among these are Android smartphones with a removable battery, which give you the option to keep your device operational for as many batteries you are willing to carry.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MotorolaMoto E (4th Generation) - 16 GBBuy on Amazon|$113.84(Price as of 02/14/2019 18:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Alpha G850a 32GB Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Smartphone (Gold)Buy on Amazon|$94.94(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
MotorolaMoto G (5th Gen) G5-4G LTE Dual Sim XT1671 32GBBuy on Amazon|$249(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
MotorolaMoto G (5th Gen) G5 4G LTE Dual Sim XT1671 32GB Finger Print Reader Octa Core 2Gb RamBuy on Amazon|$189.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
LGLG G5 H860 32GB 5.3-Inch 16MP + 8MP Dual SIM LTE FACTORY UNLOCKED SmartphoneCheck Price on Amazon
LGLG V10 Unlocked Smartphone - International Version (White)Buy on Amazon|$259.15(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmOnline ShopRedmi Note 2 5.5 inch MIUI V7 Smart PhoneCheck Price on Amazon

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Update (July 2017): Looks like Motorola may have found a niche to sell their new phones… by manufacturing phones with removable batteries!  They just came out with a hit phone a few months ago, the Moto G (5th generation), it’s a budget phone with great reviews, and most importantly…it has a removable battery.

Now Motorola has just released yet another budget phone, that is even cheaper than the Moto G5, and also has a removable battery.

Moto E4 vs Moto G5 Similarities

Both of these Motorola phones are very similar, including similar size and weight, dual SIM ready, running the newest Android 7 Nougat, and both include a microSD slot.

Moto E4 vs Moto G5 Differences

The key differences that makes the Moto G5 about $100 more expensive is the performance, including a much better chip, much better screen resolution (294 ppi vs 441 ppi pixel density), and also a better primary camera (8 MP vs 13 MP).

For under $100, the Moto E4 is actually a great phone.  And if you’re looking for a slightly better performing phone, Moto G5 is the way to go for a removable battery phone.

Update (May 2017): Manufactures simply do not make phones with removable batteries anymore, and a lot of it has to do with making waterproof phones.  Having a compartment that can be opened by the user and exposing the battery to water would make it impossible to waterproof the phone.

With that said, the table below has a couple new devices (namely the Moto G5), and a few older devices that still stand out at the best phone with removable battery today.  The Note 4 was that last in that series which Samsung made with removable battery.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MotorolaMoto E (4th Generation) - 16 GBBuy on Amazon|$113.84(Price as of 02/14/2019 18:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Alpha G850a 32GB Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Smartphone (Gold)Buy on Amazon|$94.94(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
MotorolaMoto G (5th Gen) G5-4G LTE Dual Sim XT1671 32GBBuy on Amazon|$249(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
MotorolaMoto G (5th Gen) G5 4G LTE Dual Sim XT1671 32GB Finger Print Reader Octa Core 2Gb RamBuy on Amazon|$189.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
LGLG G5 H860 32GB 5.3-Inch 16MP + 8MP Dual SIM LTE FACTORY UNLOCKED SmartphoneCheck Price on Amazon
LGLG V10 Unlocked Smartphone - International Version (White)Buy on Amazon|$259.15(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmOnline ShopRedmi Note 2 5.5 inch MIUI V7 Smart PhoneCheck Price on Amazon

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

lg g5

LG G5

The one thing – apart from the removable battery – that makes the LG G5 very special is the LG’s attempt to create the first mass-market smartphone with modular capabilities. The idea is the users would be able to customize the device to better fit their needs with special-purpose modules. Unfortunately, the concept never really had enough time to mature, and the current form feels underutilized. There are only two modules available – a camera grip and an audiophile-grade digital-to-analog converter – and neither of them offer a completely new functionality.

So, what makes this smartphone so recommendable? The rest of it. Crammed into a 7.7 mm thick body is a powerful Snapdragon 820 chipset, one of the most cutting-edge mobile processors ever created. It delivers a significant boost in performance and battery efficiency, ensuring that you always get the smoothest experience possible. There’s also 4GB of RAM for heavy multitasking scenarios and uncompromised web browsing.

The 554 ppi, 1440 x 2560, 5.3” IPS display is a sight to behold. Scratches are held at bay with Gorilla Glass 4, and the Always-on display technology means that you don’t even have to press the power button to check if you have new messages.

To top it all off, there’s a 16MP rear camera with 3-axis optical image stabilization and 8MP front-facing camera for self-portraits. Both cameras deliver excellent image quality and will please all avoid mobile photographers. And since we are focusing batteries, we must mention that the stock battery that comes with the smartphone has a capacity of 2800 mAh, making it more than capable of getting you through an entire day of heavy use.

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Pros

  • Unique modular design
  • Great cameras
  • Expandable storage
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • The modular concept feels underutilized

lg_v10_dig_apple_battery_case_twitter_official

LG V10

With its metallic accents, stainless steel rails on both sides, and swappable backplate, the LG V10 looks and feels like a premium device. It should then come as a no surprise that the first-class build quality is accompanied by an equally first-class price tag. Indeed, the LG V10 is an expensive smartphone, but its high price is well justified when you take a sneak peek under the hood.

You will discover a Snapdragon 808 processor with X10 LTE for ultra-fast mobile download speeds and 4K Ultra HD capture and playback support. Alongside the CPU are 4GB of RAM, Adreno 418 GPU, and 32 or 64GB of internal storage space, which is further expandable up to 256 GB. All this goodness is powered by a removable 3,000mAh battery.

The guys over at LG always like to keep things interesting by adding one unique feature. This time, it’s a secondary display that provides you with an instant access to notifications, contacts, calendar, and time. The display is located right above the primary 5.7-inch main display with a 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution, and it’s really easy to get used to using it and very difficult to then use a smartphone without it.

If the secondary display wasn’t enough, the V10 also comes with 3 cameras: 1 rear-facing and 2 front-facing. The rear-facing camera has a resolution of 16 MP and is equipped with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization. Both front-facing cameras have a resolution of 5 MP, but each of them uses a different lens. One has a standard 80-degree angle lens, and the other one has a 120-degree wide angle lens for more spacious self-portraits.
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Pros

  • Sturdy design
  • Manual camera controls
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Expandable memory
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • Price

redmi note 2

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 was one of the first smartphones to use the Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10 chipset. This high-performance SoC (System on Chip) was designed to satisfy requirements of even the most demanding users. It supports 120Hz mobile displays, has an integrated low-power hardware support for H.265 Ultra HD (4K2K) video, and has no problem recording 80fps 1080p Full HD Super-Slow Motion videos. Unlike the previous two devices on this list, the Redmi Note 2 sports only 2GB of RAM, but that doesn’t prevent it from handling just about anything you can throw at it.

Xiaomi made a very smart choice and decided not to skimp on the display. As a result, we get one of the most stunning screens in the budget category. At 5.5 inches, the 1080 x 1920 pixels display has a pixel density of 403, making it suitable even for virtual reality and other multimedia applications. The pair of tiny built-in speakers sound better than many low-cost laptops, which is something that you’ll definitely appreciate when you find yourself watching YouTube late at night in your bed.

Like all Xiaomi smartphones, the Redmi Note 2 runs their proprietary MIUI aftermarket user interface. The latest version of the UI blends various aesthetic and functional elements from Android and iOS, to create something unique. The entire experience is surprisingly smooth, given the amount of visual polish and handy add-on features.

The only negative about this budget device is the fact that it’s not officially sold outside China and India. If you want to get your hands on it, you need to buy it from a third-party reseller, which could mean a potential warranty issues and lack of customer service. But we think the phone is worth the risk.
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Pros

  • Low price
  • Excellent display
  • Powerful processor
  • Fantastic speaker quality
  • Beautiful user interface
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • Available only through third-party resellers

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a large smartphone. In fact, the device is so large that it would be impossible to use it with just one hand for anyone whose clenched hands don’t turn into sledgehammers. But the large size also makes the Note 4 one of the best productivity devices on the market, and the removable battery makes it one of the best Galaxy devices ever made. That’s right. The simple fact that you can throw another battery in your pocket and use it when needed is enough for many customers to purchase this 2-years old model instead of a Galaxy Note 7.

Given the lighting-fast evolution of the mobile market, this certainly wouldn’t be possible for just any regular device. But when you take a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset and place it next to Adreno 420 GPU and 3 GB RAM, you experience flawless performance in the most demanding games and applications even 2 years after the launch.

The 5.7″ Quad HD Super AMOLED display looks just as gorgeous now as it did back then. Some previous AMOLED displays from Samsung were plagued with overly vivid colors, but this one got it just right. Everything is so sharp and so bright that pictures and videos pop out and look completely faithful to the original. And because the smartphone comes with the S Pen, you can write by hand and experience the enhanced productivity and multitasking that the pen offers.

The 3220 mAh removable Li-Ion battery lasts up to 20 h hours of talk time and 82 h of uninterrupted music listening. It can then be quickly recharged with Quick Charge 2.0 technology, or you can just replace the depleted battery with a fresh one.

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Pros

  • Excellent photo quality
  • The option to use the included stylus
  • Great performance
  • Fast charging speed
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • Hard to use with one hand

Galaxy-Alpha-750x430

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

We know what Samsung is up to with the Galaxy Alpha. The company wanted a premium alternative for the plasticky Galaxy S5, a smartphone that was known to make squeaky noises no matter how it was held. Samsung’s solution was to add a rugged metal band all around the phone, similar to the one found on the iPhone 5S. The smartphone now really feels much sturdier, and its small 4.7” display makes it very easy to use with one hand – something that you can’t say about too many modern smartphones with monstrous displays.

Unfortunately, the display is not only small in size but also in resolution. At 720p, the desired sharpness that one associates with premium devices just isn’t there. The display still has amazing contrast, brightness, and saturation – just like all Samsung devices – but it feels slightly incomplete.

Luckily, this one negative is redeemed by the satisfying performance provided by the Exynos 5430 Octa CPU and Mali-T628 MP6 GPU. Even though the smartphone doesn’t have a microSD card slot, the 32GB of internal storage space should last you a long time.

The 12 MP, f/2.2 rear camera can record 2160p video at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60fps, or 720p at 120fps. Needless to say that it also takes stunning pictures in all light conditions.
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Pros

  • Metal construction
  • Compact size
  • Great camera
  • Satisfying performance

Cons

  • Lower quality display

Conclusion

The sad truth is that manufacturers are not that interested in smartphones with a removable battery. The average customer is more attracted to a very slim form-factor and alluring specifications than to what’s essentially an optional feature. Still, the 5 gems described in this article should provide you with enough options for your next device.

Best Android Rugged Tablets For Outdoor Use in 2019

The tablet market is overflowing with devices that target just about any use case imaginable. There are tablets with very small displays and lightweight construction that are perfect as ebook readers, larger tablets with high-definition displays that are fantastic for multimedia consumption, and even convertible tablets with detachable keyboards that can be used as a full-fledged laptop replacement. However, most of these devices are not designed to withstand rough handling and outdoor use. Manufacturers expect that you will keep your tablet protected from the elements, ensure that you won’t accidentally drop it on the ground, or expose it to extreme temperatures.

ProductBrandNamePrice
BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.73(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Galaxy SM-T360NNGAXAR 8" 1.5GB RAM 16 GB TabletBuy on Amazon|$114.95(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
PanasonicPanasonic Toughpad FZ-A1BDAAZ1M 10.1-Inch 16 GB Tablet (Silver)Check Price on Amazon
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5-Inch Tablet (16 GB, Dazzling White)Buy on Amazon|$138.56(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
BobjGearBobj Rugged Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Tablet Models SM-T800, SM-T805, SM-T807 - BobjGear Custom Fit - Patented Venting - Sound Amplification - BobjBounces Kid Friendly (Bold Black)Buy on Amazon|$23.75(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Luckily, some exceptions exist, and we took our time to examine what the rugged category of tablets has to offer in order to recommend you the best rugged tablet currently available on the market. Such tablet is perfect for professionals who need to use it right on the job site, small kids who are still too clumsy to handle a regular tablet, businesses that intend to use it as a point of sale device, and just about anyone else who values durability above everything else. We have narrowed our selection down to just two tablets: one smaller and one larger. As a bonus, we also cover two great alternatives that are worth considering as well.

Samsung SM-T360N Galaxy Tab Active

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is Samsung’s first rugged tablet, designed for individuals with an active lifestyle. It was first released at the end of 2014 and is still very much relevant to this day. The 8-inch device is packed with advanced connectivity features, capable hardware, and, above all, features a very durable construction that deviates from Samsung’s typical sleek design and smooth, curved lines.

Design and Construction

We have to say that for a rugged tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is a very attractive device. The black and gray design looks clean and professional, and the removable backplate, which hides the replaceable battery really makes you feel that it will survive just about everything. Indeed, the tablet is IP67 certified to be dust and water-resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes and survive up to 1.2 meters drop.

The front side resembles regular Samsung tablets: there’s a small oval speaker grill on the top and three physical navigation button on the button. The device also hides a small pen, which can be used to navigate the operating system, draw diagrams, or precisely input text. It’s also fantastic for people who have to wear protective gloves, as it allows them to keep them always on.

Display

The 8-inch TFT display has a resolution of 1280×800 pixels (189 PPI). Even though this resolution is only half of what Samsung puts in their latest devices, it’s still clear enough for comfortable everyday use. The most important aspect of this display is how easily readable it is under direct sunlight. You don’t even need to crack up the brightness to the max to see what’s on the screen. Viewing angles are equally pleasant, and your coworkers will have no problem seeing what you have to show them even if they don’t stand directly in front of the tablet.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset with Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor and Adreno 305 GPU. This entry-level SoC (System on Chip) has never been known for being the most powerful chip out there, but it still holds surprisingly well to this day. No, you won’t be playing any latest high-fidelity 3D games on this tablet; its primary target is someone who needs to comfortably access the web, view and edit documents, take the occasional picture, and use a selection of production-oriented applications.

Battery

The built-in 4450 mAh battery can get you through the entire day of moderate to heavy use. That’s largely because of the excellent software optimization and a lower-resolution screen. If you don’t mind the extra weight, you can also pack a portable battery charger and extend its life on the go. Some newer chargers pack more than 20,000 mAh worth of battery capacity, which means that you could charge this tablet, at least, 3 times.

What’s more, the battery is removable, so you can replace it with a newer one when the original begins to lose its capacity. Replacing it during the day is somewhat cumbersome because you first need to remove the backplate held by 4 screws.

Extra Features

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active includes two cameras: 3.15 MP in the back and 1.2 MP front-facing self-portrait one. The main camera can record 720p video at 30 frames per second and has an LED flash for low-light situations. The picture quality is really nothing to brag about, and you probably won’t find yourself using any of those two cameras very often. Still, it’s nice that they are there for when you might really need to document something without having anything better that you could use.

Professionals who would like to use this tablet outdoors will be pleased to know that the built-in navigation system is among the best we have ever come across. It’s compatible with GPS and GLONASS satellites and always connects incredibly fast and the signal stays strong no matter where you are.

Verdict

If you want a small durable tablet with long battery life and enough performance to do just about anything you could realistically want from it, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is a great choice.
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Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 is an enterprise-grade rugged tablet with a 10-inch screen and impressive battery life. Needless to say, the tablet is meant for industry professionals who can bear the extra weight and thickness.

Design and Construction

This tablet is a rugged beast. Weight 952.5 g (2.10 lb) and being almost 2 cm thick, it has much more in common with smaller laptops than it does with other tablets. But make no mistake, the extra weight and size have been put to a good use, as the magnesium alloy chassis encased with ABS and elastomer received the MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certification. Simply put, you can put this device through anything and it will survive with just a few scratches.

Display

The 768 x 1024 pixels (127 pixels per inch) LCD display doesn’t impress with its resolution, but that’s because it has a few other tricks up its sleeve. For starters, the display is coated with an anti-reflective and anti-glare layer, making it easily readable under direct sunlight. Additionally, it has a special touch layer that allows owners to use styluses for precise input and signatures.

Performance

By far the biggest downside of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 is the performance. Tablets and smartphones have come a very long way during the last 5 or so years and the outdated dual-core 1.2 GHz Marvell CPU simply doesn’t cope well with modern applications and heavy multitasking. Installing the latest version of Android OS would probably be a painstaking task, which cannot be recommended to anyone. The fact that there is only 1GB of RAM doesn’t help either.

Battery

The large case of this tablet hides an equally large Li-Ion 4590 mAh battery that can last an entire day. You don’t have to think twice about purchasing a used model, because you can easily remove the back cover and replace the battery by yourself.

Extra Features

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 features two cameras: 5 MP in the back and 2 MP in the front. Both offer a decent image quality and will work fine for the intended purposes. Just don’t expect them to reveal any details in the shot or cope well with bad lighting conditions.

Verdict

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 is a capable device that still has a few years of good use left in it despite its relatively old age. That’s mainly because Panasonic wisely decided to make the battery easily serviceable, thus allowing owners to virtually infinitely expend the life of this device.
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Alternative 1: Samsung Galaxy Tab S with Bobj Rugged Case

One good alternative to rugged tablets is to pair a regular tablet, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, with a durable protective case. The Bobj Rugged case has been designed specifically for the Tab S, and it helps to protect the device from shocks and drops. It’s available in 5 different colors, which means that you can match it with your company image, and the special interior cooling system ensures that your tablet will stay operational even during extremely hot summer days.

The tablet itself features a powerful Exynos 5 processor (1.9 GHz Quad Core + 1.3 GHz Quad Core) with 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage space. The beautiful 10.5-inch Super AMOLED Display with 2560×1600 resolution is one of the very best that you will come across. It’s perfect for multimedia consumption, working with large documents and PDF files, and the 8 MP rear-facing camera allows you to leave your point-and-shoot camera at home.

Samsung has included some pretty great features that you won’t find anywhere else. The Multi Window feature allows you to use two applications side-by-side, which is extremely useful for referencing two documents or composing an email with the aid of information displayed using the web browser. The built-in fingerprint scanner greatly enhances the overall security of the device and guarantees that nobody can access your personal or business data. Last but not least, the large non-removable Li-Ion 7900 mAh battery can last up to 11 hours of moderately heavy use, allowing you to use the tablet without charging through the entire day.

The only downside of using the tablet inside the rugged case is that you will still have to keep it protected from the elements. This means that using it the rain or is very dusty environments could prove fatal for the device.

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Alternative 2: Panasonic Toughbook 19

The Panasonic Toughbook 19 is the latest iteration of the most popular line of rugged laptops in the world. What stands behind this success is Panasonic’s ability to create an extremely reliable product that meets all dements of professionals in many different fields across the world. The laptop is jam-packed with innovative technology that you simply won’t find in any consumer-grade laptop.

Despite the slightly misleading name, the Panasonic Toughbook 19 actually has a 10.1″ LCD touch-screen display with special backlight technology that uses direct sunlight as a source of illumination, allowing it to be as bright as 6000 nits (a unit of luminance equivalent to one candela per square meter).

The machine is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 processor and comes with 2GB of RAM, which can be expanded to up to 8GB. The 160GB HDD sits in a special protective enclosure, which helps it resist shocks, and the included quick-release mechanism makes it possible to remove the disk in just a few seconds to save data in case of emergency. However, it’s very unlikely that you would be unfortunate enough to ever get yourself in a situation that the Panasonic Toughbook 19 wouldn’t survive. The laptop is a 6-foot drop and IP65 certified and capable of resisting water splashes from all directions.

The large built-in, removable battery lasts up to 9 hours and can be removed and replaced on the go. The aluminum chassis comes with expansion slots for a fingerprint scanner, GPS, second LAN, ExpressCards, and many other devices.

If everything sounds too good to be true, that’s because there’s a small catch: the laptop starts at approximately $2,500 for a relatively basic configuration with outdated hardware. For comparison, you can get many times as powerful machines without the ruggedness of the Panasonic Toughbook 19 for just around $500.

Conclusion

We hope that our overview of some of the best rugged tablets on the market helped you decide which is the right one for you. If you are still uncertain, consider asking your employees and coworkers about their opinion or check out some online video reviews.
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ProductBrandNamePrice
BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.73(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Galaxy SM-T360NNGAXAR 8" 1.5GB RAM 16 GB TabletBuy on Amazon|$114.95(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
PanasonicPanasonic Toughpad FZ-A1BDAAZ1M 10.1-Inch 16 GB Tablet (Silver)Check Price on Amazon
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5-Inch Tablet (16 GB, Dazzling White)Buy on Amazon|$138.56(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
BobjGearBobj Rugged Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Tablet Models SM-T800, SM-T805, SM-T807 - BobjGear Custom Fit - Patented Venting - Sound Amplification - BobjBounces Kid Friendly (Bold Black)Buy on Amazon|$23.75(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

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Best wireless chargers, charging pads and docks available for Android smartphones

Many of the higher end smartphones these days are equipped with wireless charging capabilities, Samsung has been making phones with wireless charging in their last couple iterations of the Galaxy series, even the iPhone 7 is rumored to have such capability.  Don’t despair if you have an older model phone, you can also easily add a wireless charging case to existing technology.

Qi Charging Pad

Unfortunately, even if the technology has been around for years now, it’s yet to spread like the cable-free wildfire everyone anticipated. Believe it or not, numerous flagship mobiles these days lack built-in wireless charging functions for various mystifying reasons. Production costs, tricky manufacturing, just good old fashioned laziness, you name it.

Wireless charging

HTC, for instance, snubbed the Qi standard on all three latest hero handhelds – the One M7, M8 and M9. Meanwhile, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony recently got with the inductive charging program for the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S5, S4, Note 4, Note 3, Note 2, G4, G3, G Pro 2, Droid Turbo, Maxx and Xperia Z3.

The list of supporting devices is obviously not exhaustive, and there’s one more thing. To actually activate and use the futuristic feature, you’ll typically need dedicated back covers that add to the often extravagant prices of the above mentioned phones.

LG G4 wireless charging

Plus, the no-wires chargers and charging pads we’ll detail in the following lines. It’s also wise to keep in mind the electromagnetic field that transfers energy between Android gadgets and these ingenious accessories through thin air is produced by plugging the chargers into a traditional electric socket. So, in a way, this isn’t true wireless charging.

Still, it’s deemed convenient by many, and will likely make headway before long, so without further ado, here are the best wireless chargers, charging pads and docks money can buy, ordered from cheapest to costliest:

PowerBot PB1020 inductive charging pad station – $11.69 and up

PowerBot

It doesn’t come with a power AC adapter, it’s not particularly speedy or “versatile”, but it’s really, really small, at 2.5 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches thick, lightweight (6.5 ounces), and energy efficient, courtesy of a Smart IC management system design. No wonder it’s rated at close to four stars based on nearly 1,900 Amazon customer reviews.

Yootech Qi wireless charging pad – starting at $13.99

Yootech

Once again, the AC adapter isn’t included, which you’ll find to be a staple of the economical price range, and once more, the compact form factor and ease of transportation feel like the key selling points. That said, you’ll probably look to conceal the petite but unattractive Yootech puck on your office after setting it up, the good news being it’s sufficiently silent and low-key to ultimately go unnoticed.

Anker PowerPort – $15.99

Anker PowerPort

The marginal price gaps between these entry-level chargers and their very similar capabilities will induce (pun intended) serious headaches when deciding on one to buy. The PowerPort stands out with temperature control and a self-enabling idle mode that eliminates concerns regarding overcharging or energy wasting.

Otherwise, the circular docking station is virtually identical to the two indexed earlier and the next few contenders as far as internals go.

RAVPower Mini wireless charging pad – $15.99

RAVPower Mini

Another tiny, featherweight slab (2.8 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches; 4.9 ounces), with universal Qi compatibility, slip protection, built-in USB connection and excellent Amazon customer feedback. It’s getting harder and harder to choose.

Fuel iON magnetic wireless charging system – $17.95

Fuel iON

Finally, something special and original. Better, too? That’s up for debate. The manufacturer claims magnets are better and faster than the inductive Qi system, but the case needed to get the Fuel iON to work is… awkward and slippery. And some clients accuse it of not connecting properly. All in all, while the idea is decent, the execution requires further work. Perhaps a higher tariff to secure more adept engineers and testers.

Choe upgraded Qi wireless charging pad – $18.99

Choe

The textbook definition of minimalism, Choetech’s newest charging square is unfortunately only covered by a 12-month warranty. The blue LED indicator is also way too bright, aggressive and annoying, and unless you center your device perfectly on the 4.7 x 2.7 x 0.4-inch pad, this won’t work.

On the plus side, device slips are physically impossible thanks to the bottom rubber surface.

Samsung wireless charging pad – $29.89

Samsung wireless charging pad

Ah, yes, now we’re talking! You know what they say – with great price comes great… quality. Stylish but also robust, slender yet very powerful, Samsung’s Qi-capable contraption doesn’t squarely go out to Galaxy S6 or Note 4 proprietors.

It works smoothly and effortlessly even when paired with rival handsets, and the built-in LED light is non-intrusive, always there to have your back and very easy to comprehend.

Qi-infinity – $42.99

Qi-infinity

Wondering what on earth could justify a tag almost four times as lavish as our number one budget-friendly option? First and foremost, an inventive design that lets you view your phone at an ideal angle when docked for checking notifications and even watching videos.

Second, the rare ability to juice up through thick, muscular armors and cases. Third, complete silence and a subtle yet resourceful indicator light that merely bothers you when assistance is mandatory. Lastly, you can try all you want, but you won’t find a way to place a phone on the Qi-infinity so as wireless charging to be prevented.

LG WCP-300 wireless charging pad – $47.95

LG WCP 300

Like arch-rival Samsung, LG doesn’t block users of competing devices from rocking the WCP-300, but it makes the purchase feel impractical. At 30 bucks or so, maybe this would be worth it. It’s extremely good-looking, fairly compact and portable, at 2.74 x 0.46 x 2.74 inches, and it sports an unusually large “active area.” Translation – it doesn’t require a lot of attention when made to work.

But it presents a number of troubling recurring glitches, according to a horde of reviewers on Amazon, as it sometimes halts charging before the phone’s battery is fully loaded and often refuses to sync up to devices it should support no problem.

Fonesalesman QiStone+ – $54.99

QiStone+

And it’s all come to this. The most expensive and, yes, best all-around wireless mobile charger. The only true wireless accessory on our list today, capable of easily doubling as a funky power bank. You read that right, the QiStone+ can carry standalone 4,000 mAh stamina, which is itself Qi wireless-compatible.

Sooo, you can charge the QiStone+ sans cables, then wirelessly transfer the energy to a phone of your choice. Or even simultaneously beef up two handhelds, one wirelessly and the other via USB. It’s fast, flexible, has a very unique design and, at the end of the day, it’s not that costly, considering the travel freedom it can facilitate.

How to Repair Cracked Screen On Google Pixel Phone

Are you bummed about a cracked screen on your Google Pixel phone?  Don’t worry, you do have some options.  The best options to get your cracked screen repairs is to either purchase a screen replacement kit online and attempt the repair yourself, or you can bring the phone to a professional shop to repair it for you.

Cracked Screen Repair

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Repair Cracked Screen Yourself

Get a screen replacement kit online, and try to take apart the phone and replace the screen yourself.  This typically should be the cheapest option, but obviously not the best option.  You might be able to save about 50% off the retail price of a professional repair if you do it yourself.  But you might run into issues.  Modern smartphones are usually hard to take apart, let alone trying to repair the cracked screen on yourself.  And if you don’t have the steady hands to work meticulously around the tiny parts in the phone, things might start to get tricky.

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If you are brave enough to attempt the cracked screen repair yourself, then we would suggest you take a look at a solid Google Pixel screen replacement instruction. The best one we’ve seen is from ifixit, and you can find their detailed instructions here.

Find Professional Screen Repair Near Me

You might not notice, but there is likely a ton of phone repair stores around you.  You can more than likely find a screen repair shop sitting in the middle of your nearest mall, they typically can be found in a small kiosk in the middle of the mall.  You can also google around and search for “screen repair near me”, you’ll likely get a ton of search results that would work for you.
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But why take the time out of your busy day and search for stores and bring them in when you can have the professionals come to you.  The good folks at Amazon have came up with a service where you can book an appointment for them to come to you and repair the screen for under an hour.  You can have them meet you at your house, a park, or even your work office (if convenient).  They charge the same price as you would pay at a local phone repair store.  So give that a shot, it just might be the quickest and safest way to repair your cracked screen on your Google Pixel phone.

Cracked Screen Repair

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How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones or Wireless Speakers to Your TV or Computer

Bluetooth headphones and speakers are a convenient way how you can dramatically improve the sound quality of your television or computer and enjoy a new sense of privacy. There are several possible scenarios that you have to be ready to deal with in order to successfully establish a wireless connection. Let’s go through all of them, starting with how to connect Bluetooth headphones or wireless speakers to TV.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AvantreeAvantree DG40S USB Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter DongleBuy on Amazon|$12.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
SamsungSamsung UN55KU6600 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)Check Price on Amazon
Miccus, Inc.Miccus Mini-jack TX4 - LOW LATENCY Bluetooth transmitter, ideal for adding wireless audio to TV, PC, iPod, Kindle, DVD; Pairs with Amazon Echo and Tap (Dual-Link)Check Price on Amazon
MpowMpow Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver,Bluetooth Transmitter for TV, Bluetooth Receiver for Car Home Stereo System(A2DP/AVRCP), 2-in-1 Wireless Portable Bluetooth Kits for CD-Like MusicCheck Price on Amazon
KinivoKinivo BTD-400 Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy USB Adapter - For Windows 10/8.1/8 / Windows 7 / Vista, Raspberry Pi, LinuxBuy on Amazon|$11.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Connecting Bluetooth Headphones or Wireless Speakers to TV

Modern high-definition televisions offer fantastic picture quality, but they seldom deserve similar praise when it comes to their audio quality. While the small built-in speakers do a sufficient job for watching the news or your favorite soup operas, they cannot provide the full theater experience that we deem so essential for the maximum enjoyment of feature movies.

The good news is that Bluetooth headphones are wireless speakers are an extremely flexible solution that doesn’t require you to ruin the look of your living room with ugly wires. What’s more, they have become so ubiquitous over the last few years that you are guaranteed to find a suitable solution.

91eMdW0dxbL._SL1500_[1]

Bluetooth-Ready TV

The first thing you need to do is check whether your TV supports Bluetooth connectivity. Many modern televisions, such as the gorgeous Samsung UN55KU6600 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV,  support Bluetooth devices right out of the box, negating the need to purchase a separate Bluetooth transmitter.

Because all televisions are different, you will need to consult your owner’s manual to figure out how to connect your particular TV to your Bluetooth headphones or wireless speakers. Generally speaking, the procedure involves putting both the TV and the Bluetooth device into the pairing mode and completing the pairing process via the TV’s on-screen menu.

71QErsZn5rL._SL1000_[1]

Non-Bluetooth TV

Things get a bit more involved if your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth. If that’s indeed the case, you will need to investigate what audio outputs are available on the TV and purchase the right Bluetooth adapter.

When you look at the back of your TV, you are likely to find left and right composite audio jacks, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and also an optical TOSLINK jack. The first two transmit audio in an analog format, while the last one is used for digital transmissions.

The availability of audio connectors determines what kind of Bluetooth transmitter you should get. If you want to use more than just one pair of Bluetooth headphones, you need to look for a transmitter that is multiple-output compatible. A good example of such unit is the Avantree Priva or Miccus Mini Jack TX4. Of course, if you only need a single pair of headphones attached to your television, then a cheaper transmitter, such as the Mpow Streambot will do just fine.

From there, it’s business as usual: plug the transmitter into the appropriate audio connector, place it into the pairing mode, hold the pairing button on your headphones, and complete the pairing process. Your television will most likely automatically recognize that there is a device plugged into one of its audio outputs, so you won’t have to make any additional adjustments. If that’s not the case, consult your owner’s manual and look for a way how to change the audio output.

Connecting Bluetooth Headphones or Wireless Speakers to Computer

The Bluetooth technology has made its way into computers a long time ago. It will be almost impossible for you to find a laptop that doesn’t come with Bluetooth support, and the situation is starting to look the same even as far as desktop computers are concerned.

In order to connect your wireless speakers or Bluetooth headphones to your computer, you will likely only need to make the computer discoverable, which shouldn’t take more than just a couple of seconds.

computer bluetooth

Bluetooth-Enabled Computer

Assuming that your computer comes with Bluetooth support (it most likely does), you need to open the appropriate settings menu on your system (Control Panel > Bluetooth Devices for Windows and Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth for Mac) and allow Bluetooth devices to find your computer.

Once set, put your headphones or wireless speakers into the pairing mode and search for them through a Bluetooth Wizard on your computer. When your adapter has found your device, simply click “Connect” and enjoy the wireless listening experience.

71u6GHOgtEL._SL1024_[1]

Computer without Bluetooth

In case your computer doesn’t support Bluetooth, there’s no need to despair. Just buy an external Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the USB port on your computer to get the exact same functionality. Compared to Bluetooth transmitters for TVs, pluggable USB Bluetooth adapters usually cost around $10, and they are rarely larger than the smallest flash drives available.

Good examples of affordable Bluetooth adapters that you can just plug into a USB port and forget about are the Avantree Bluetooth 4.0 USB Dongle, Kinivo BTD-400 Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter, and ASUS USB Bluetooth Adapter 4.0 Dongle. There’s really no need to pay more, as you always get the same functionality and comparable transmission range.

After you connect your new Bluetooth adapter, your computer should automatically recognize it and install all necessary drivers. Then you can connect your Bluetooth headphones or wireless speaker in the same way as you would if your computer supported Bluetooth right from the get go.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AvantreeAvantree DG40S USB Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter DongleBuy on Amazon|$12.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
SamsungSamsung UN55KU6600 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)Check Price on Amazon
Miccus, Inc.Miccus Mini-jack TX4 - LOW LATENCY Bluetooth transmitter, ideal for adding wireless audio to TV, PC, iPod, Kindle, DVD; Pairs with Amazon Echo and Tap (Dual-Link)Check Price on Amazon
MpowMpow Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver,Bluetooth Transmitter for TV, Bluetooth Receiver for Car Home Stereo System(A2DP/AVRCP), 2-in-1 Wireless Portable Bluetooth Kits for CD-Like MusicCheck Price on Amazon
KinivoKinivo BTD-400 Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy USB Adapter - For Windows 10/8.1/8 / Windows 7 / Vista, Raspberry Pi, LinuxBuy on Amazon|$11.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Top 10 Android selfie phones with front-facing LED flash cameras

It’s only been a little over a year since the first time we surrendered to the selfie trend, rounding up the Android handhelds with the best secondary cameras in tow back then, and already, we bring you a top ten list revised twice.  That’s right, the June roster is also obsolete, as we approach narcissistic smartphone enthusiasts slightly differently, and decide to neglect a front-facing snapper’s megapixel count in favor of a much more relevant tidbit.

Update (July 2017): Samsung Galaxy S8 was announced on March 29, 2017.  Galaxy S8 can now considered as the next best selfie phone.  It now comes with autofocus and wide angle shots for their front camera, although it appears that it still lacks the front facing LED flash light.

Best Overall Phone 2017 - Galaxy S8

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SamsungSamsung Galaxy S8414.98

Best Selfie Phone (March 2017) – Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

Our second favorite for best selfie phone behind the Galaxy S8 is the Galaxy J7, which comes with front facing LED flash light.  Think about it, the undisputed top Android phone currently is the Samsung Galaxy S8, so let’s compare a few specs that’s important for a selfie phone.

  • S8 does not have a front facing led flash light, while the J7 does.
  • J7 actually has a slightly better 13 megapixel camera compared to the 12 megapixel for the S8
  • Slightly bigger battery for the J7, therefore longer battery life
  • J7 has a sufficient 2GB ram and expandable up to 128 GB of storage with MicroSD card
  • biggest selling point is the price.  The S8 runs in the $700 range while the J7 only runs in the $200 for the unlocked versions.
  • What else do you need in a selfie phone with front facing led flash light?

Best Selfie Phone 2017 - Galaxy J7

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SamsungSamsung Galaxy J7 LTE (2016)371.5

Think about it, when do you typically capture the vast majority of your self-portraits? Definitely not in the morning, given your face often feels like a work in progress after waking up. At your place of business or school? Sure, sometimes, if you’re really bored… or a teacher isn’t looking.
group-selfie

But nine out of ten selfies, according to our unfounded suspicions, are produced at night, while out in town, at a party, or in the club. Needless to highlight the surrounding conditions don’t always seem ideal and flattering, which is why a front-firing LED flash is a must-have.

Selfie girls

What does that do exactly? Simple – it illuminates a dark scene by providing a “flash” of artificial light, and makes you glow even in a pitch dark room or outdoor space. Here are therefore ten of the very best Androids available today with this super-convenient feature onboard:

Best Selfie Phones

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
HuaweiHonor 7 Octa Core Dual Sim474
SamsungGalaxy J7 Dual Sim301.36
HTCDesire EYE 4G LTE GSM279.01
SonySony Xperia XA Ultra271.5
SamsungGalaxy J5 SM-J500 GSM199.95

Sony Xperia XA Ultra – $329.99

Released in July of 2016, the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is the latest and greatest of all selfie phones with front facing LED flash light.  The 16 megapixel front facing camera is the same camera as the primary camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6!  You know this is a phone made for selfies when Sony decided to feature the optical image stabilization function on the FRONT facing camera, that is almost unheard of.  Of course, how can you have a selfie camera without the LED flash light that comes with this phone.  Additionally, it has an above average 3GB of RAM to power your multitasking habits.  The 2700mAh battery should be more than enough to last you through the day.

Huawei Honor 7 – $483

Bet you weren’t expecting our priciest proposition to come from Huawei of all device manufacturers. Unfortunately, the Amazon tariff isn’t quite in line with Honor 7’s specs on the whole, though the two cameras look positively dreamy, with 20 megapixels and a dual-LED, dual-tone rear flash, as well as an 8 MP sensor and single LED flash around the front.

Huawei-Honor-7

Yes, we’d certainly love it if the Honor 7 were priced closer to 400 bucks, since it only accommodates 16 gigs of data internally, and sports a Full HD 5.2-inch display.

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition – $399.99

Now that’s what we like to call irresistible bang for buck! The stock Android-running 5.7-inch giant is the perfect sub-$400 phone, what with its Quad HD panel, stereo sound, hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip, 3 GB RAM, microSD support, Lollipop software goodies, and 3,000 mAh battery with TurboPower charging.

Moto X Pure Edition

And how can we forget about the wholesome 21 MP dual-LED flash main photographic unit, or the respectable secondary 5 MP LED shooter?

HTC Desire Eye – $380

One of the few devices that manages to retain its place in the spotlight nearly one year after its debut and fend off the invasion of newcomers, this overall mid-range 5.2 incher was always a selfie flagship.

HTC Desire Eye

There’s absolutely no performance gap between the rear and front cams, with a total of four (!!!) LED endowments, speedy autofocus either way, and double HDR. And yet the Desire Eye has shaven a cool $35 off its June valuation. Not too shabby!

Sony Xperia C4 – $379

It’s kinda costly for what it brings to the table, and it has stubbornly stayed perfectly still at $379 for many months now. It runs a relatively old Android version too, 5.0 Lollipop, and the octa-core MT6752 SoC is hardly a Snapdragon 810 alternative.

Xperia C4

Nonetheless, it’s thin and large, stylish and robust, and above all, equipped with a 5 MP Exmor RS and LED flash-toting selfie cam.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra – $375

Oh, the irony! As the name suggests, the slightly cheaper C5 Ultra is a jumbo-sized, evolved variant of the C4, bumped up to 6 inches, and a phenomenal pair of identical 13 megapixel cams, featuring everything from Exmor RS sensors to autofocus, wide-angle lenses, superior auto modes, HDR technique, and SteadyShot video optimizations.

Xperia C5 Ultra

As Sony inspiredly puts it, “the main camera is on the front… and the back”, and the former not only lights up your mug, but does so “naturally”, automatically adjusting to the “ideal settings for your lighting conditions.” Translation – “the light’s always perfect.”

Asus ZenFone Selfie – $295

asus-zenfone-selfie

Okay, so the name is tacky, the pink paint job a tad childish, and both the power button and volume rocker positioned awkwardly. But the ZenFone Selfie offers a lot for not that much money, including a 5.5-inch 1,080p screen, octa-core Snapdragon 615 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, Android 5.0 Lollipop, and a duo of PixelMaster cameras with 13 MP and dual-LED flash in tow each.

That’s two flash installations on the back, and two on the face, just to be clear.

Samsung Galaxy J7 – $265

Samsung-Galaxy-J7

It’s odd, but in a Galaxy consisting of tens and tens of stars, the first two specifically targeted at selfie addicts only started shining a couple of months ago. And to be frank, they’re not shining very brightly. The 5 MP LED flash front cam is almost mundane compared to some of its opponents on this inventory, hiding no software tricks up its sleeve, wide angles, or proprietary enhancements of any sort.

It simply beams radiation in need, helping you snap better selfies than the average non-selfie-centric phone. It’s also decidedly meh as far as other specs go, with a 5.5-inch 720p Super AMOLED panel on deck, as well as 1.5 GB RAM, and a 3,000 mAh cell.

Sony Xperia C3 – $235

Xperia C3

The mid-2014-unveiled 5.5 incher is getting rather long in the tooth, albeit it’s inexpensive enough to stay in the public’s eye throughout the looming holiday season. It’s considerably cheaper than its C-series follow-ups, the design is clean and straightforward, Android 5.1 is close-by, and the 5 MP secondary cam furnished with a soft LED flash, smile detection, Superior Auto functions, and 25 mm wide-angle lens at 80 degrees.

Samsung Galaxy J5 – $219

Galaxy_J5

The J7’s smaller brother unsurprisingly feels even less remarkable, looks crappy on the outside, and lets you store a measly 8 GB data before you realize you absolutely have to get an external microSD card. On the bright side, the quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor under the hood is 64-bit-enabled, the pre-installed Android 5.1 OS likewise, and the 13 MP autofocus/LED flash rear shooter decent for the sub-$220 price.

The selfie camera? Well, you know, it’s one of those less-than-stellar 5 MP units with the same old LED flash as everyone else.

BLU Selfie – $177

BLU-Selfie

Our affordability champion doesn’t have a lot of cards to play in the high-stakes US mobile poker game, but the ace it’s not afraid to show off whenever it gets the chance should keep it in the tournament long enough to secure a reasonable paycheck.

We mean, of course, the astounding 13 MP LED flash front camera, even if the rear 13 MP dual-LED flash apparatus is itself pretty great. Oh, and you get octa-core power and 2 gigs of memory at the price of a refurb fourth-gen iPod Touch. Yes, we did go there.

Best Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Headphones With IP Rating

Bluetooth wireless headphones are a popular choice for active people who like to spice up their workouts with upbeat music. The choice is practically endless, but there’s one category of Bluetooth headphones that stands out as the most versatile. Some waterproof headphones can even be used underwater, giving you yet another reason to go swimming.

Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones

Water Protection Ratings Explained

Waterproof ratings are surrounded by a lot of confusion and even downright lies. This is largely a fault of dishonest manufacturers who come up with false marketing claims to increase the sales of their products.

To understand just how well is a particular pair of headphones protected against moisture and dust, we need to take a closer look at IP ratings. This international standard stands for “Ingress Protection”, and its purpose is to define levels of sealing effectiveness against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.

As more and more smartphone, tablets, and smartwatches are marketed as “water-resistant”, you’ve probably seen ratings like IPX7, IP67, or IP68. The important part of these ratings is the last two numbers. The first digit tells us the level of intrusion protection, while the second digit describes moisture protection.

If you are paying attention, you might now be scratching your head thinking, “Wait a second; there’s a letter ‘x’ in the ‘IPX7’, not a number.” That’s right, any of the two numbers can be replaced with a letter ‘x’ to indicate that the device has not been rated for that specification. In other words, IPX7 device has been rated for moisture protection, but it hasn’t been rated for intrusion protection.

So, what do the numbers mean? Simply put, the higher the number is, the better the level of protection. A rating of 1 offers no special protection against intrusion or moisture. On the other hand, the highest rating (7 for intrusion and 9 for moisture) guarantees that the device is totally dust tight and protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure.

IP Ratings Table

First Digit (Intrusion Protection)
1.No special protection.
2.Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter.
3.Protection against fingers or another object not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter.
4.Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc, with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more.
5.Protection against solid bodies larger than 1mm (eg fine tools/small etc).
6.Protected against dust that may harm equipment.
7.Totally dust tight.
Second Digit (Moisture Protection)
1.No protection.
2.Protection against condensation.
3.Protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from vertical.
4.Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical.
5.Protected against water spray from all directions.
6.Protection against low-pressure water jets (all directions).
7.Protection against string water jets and waves.
8.Protected against temporary immersion.
9.Protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure.

Source: https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php

Important Note

The specification doesn’t require devices to pass every test leading up to the highest achieved rating. What that means in practice is that, for example, a smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, which is rated IP68, guarantees protection against temporary immersion but not against water jets and waves.

You sometimes have to dig deeper into the specifications to find out that a device has multiple ratings, as is the case with the Sony Xperia Z3, which has an IP65 and IP68 rating, making it suitable for use inside a swimming pool.

Best Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Headphones With IP Rating

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Diver Waterproof Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones with Microphone (IPX8)

Diver Waterproof Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones pair an attractive modern design with the highest waterproof rating. The headphones are powered by an 80mAh lithium battery, which lasts up to 6 hours of uninterrupted music listening. Charging it to its maximum capacity takes just 1.5 hours.

As their construction might suggest, these headphones are both very comfortable and secure enough to stay in place even during water aerobics. The packaging includes two extra sets of eatips, giving you enough options to achieve a great fit.

Listening to music with the Diver headphones is a pure pleasure. The sound has a slight warm coloration to it, with deep, roaring bass sound that knows when to take the central stage and when to stay quietly in the background. Really, the only downside is the slightly lower Bluetooth range, which can cause interruptions when you attempt to dive with the headphones.

But by far the biggest selling-point of the Diver headphones is their IPX8 rating. You would be hard-pressed to find another pair of Bluetooth headphones that can survive being submerged in water for multiple hours. Just make sure to always properly dry them after use, to prevent a long-term accumulation of moisture.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • IPX8 rating
  • Great sound quality
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Shorter Bluetooth range

71cwPMEmImL._SL1500_[1]

BlueAnt Pump (IP67)

The BlueAnt Pump definitely don’t resemble ants when it comes to their size. These rugged waterproof headphones feature a special Teflon and Kevlar moisture guard system, which effectively prevents water from accessing the sensitive electronic components inside.

Even though the headphones are heavily protected against ingress of water, you can still take advantage of independent volume controls and the conveniently located USB charging port, which is covered by a small rubber flap.

The manufacturer talks about comfort that will push you through that extra mile, but we can’t say that we felt the same way. Because the battery is located directly behind your ears, the headphones have a tendency to bounce around. What’s more, the hard plastic can’t really comfort to the shape of your ears. Some people will be lucky and use the headphones without any discomfort, while others will probably struggle.

Fortunately, all issues with comfort are easily redeemed by the fantastic sound quality. There’s a good reason why the headphones are called Pump: the punchy bass makes for a breathtaking listening experience. If you are a bass-lover, these headphones are made just for you. But even if you lean on the side of analytical listening, you still won’t be disappointed. Mids are placed slightly forward for captivating reproduction of vocals, and highs lack any signs of sibilance or any other sound issues.

Unlike with the Diver headphones, Bluetooth range is not something you should worry about with the BlueAnt Pump. The headphones allow you to listen up to 100 feet away from your device.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Long battery life
  • IP67 rating
  • Long Bluetooth range

Cons

  • Comfort issues

31C+G8wjpPL[1]

Plantronics BackBeat Fit (IP57)

With their lightweight construction, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit are the kind of headphones that you can put on and immediately forget about. Their memory ear hooks comfort to the shape of your ears, ensuring that the headphones won’t move around no matter what you do.

Plantronics has a long history of designing Bluetooth headphones for sports and active relaxation. Their experience is apparent from the remarkable attention to detail. A volume control button is integrated directly into the left earbud, making its usage as intuitive as it can be. The pair of special, ergonomic safety eartips aids with the retention of the headphones and provides sufficient passive noise isolation to mute even loud gym music.

Their IP57 rating ensures that you can safely use the headphones in fresh water for up to 30 minutes and 1 meter. Despite the small size, the headphones feature a large battery, which can power them for up to 8 hours of listening time. When you get away from your device, the DeepSleep feature will automatically put the earbuds into hibernation mode to extend the battery life. Plantronics have even come up with a dedicated battery meter for Android and iOS devices.

The only aspect of these headphones that we suspect will be a hit or miss for many people is their sound signature. It has a very pronounced “V” shape, with lows and highs being unnaturally boosted. Manufacturers do this to make their headphones seem more dynamic, but, in the case of the BackBeat Fit, the plan failed because they simply don’t have enough detail to pull it off.

Pros

  • IP57 rating
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Long battery life
  • Convenient controls

Cons

  • Strange sound signature

61PxWLp11uL._SL1200_[1]

SmartOmi Boots (IPX7)

The SmartOmi Boots are unlike any other pair of headphones that you normally see. In fact, they take the concept of wireless Bluetooth headphones a step further by completely ditching all wires – even the one that normally connects individual earbuds together.

What you get as a result is a pair of ultra-compact IPX7-rated earbuds that you can toss into your pocket and later use under all conditions, including heavy rain or even under water. The headphones come with a built-in microphone, which works in conjunction with the one-touch Google Now and Siri button. Simply press it access your favorite digital assistant.

The Boots come with a generous set of accessories, including a hard-shell case for storage, charger, charging cable, 2 extra pairs of replaceable eartips, and rubber earhooks. The last item mentioned is especially handy, since you definitely don’t want the earbuds to slip out. Regular headphones would simply dangle by their cord, but these would fall to the ground or to the bottom of a swimming pool.

It would be unfair to expect a record-breaking battery life from headphones of this size, but the actual playback time is not bad at all. On a full charge, you can expect up to 6 hours of uninterrupted music listening, which is a great news because these are very enjoyable headphones to listen to. The sound is warm, detailed, and suitable for all music genres.

Pros

  • IPX7 rating
  • One-touch Google Now and Siri support
  • Rich accessories
  • Enjoyable sound

Cons

  • Easy to lose the headphones

51+ZPQonMBL._SL1000_[1]

Bluetooth Earbuds by Zivigo (IPX7)

The guys over at Zivigo know that even the most strenuous workout can be made much more enjoyable with a help of quality Bluetooth headphones. The Bluetooth Earbuds by Zivigo are jam-packed with modern technology, including CVC 6.0 Noise Cancellation and Bluetooth V4.1 with EDR.

CVC 6.0 provides advanced audio enhancements and noise suppression, while the latest Bluetooth transmission protocol ensures excellent signal strength even over long distances. The 85mAh battery packs enough power to let you listen for up to 8 hours on a single charge. When you finally run out of juice, it takes just 90 minutes to charge the battery back to its maximum capacity.

The packaging includes a hard-shell case, USB charging cable, and replaceable eartips of different sizes. The case is especially handy, providing sufficient protection for daily use. The sound of the Bluetooth Earbuds by Zivigo is relatively balanced, and the headphones are loud and crisp. Because of their passive noise isolation properties, you can keep the volume at moderate levels to protect your ears against damage.

Pros

  • IPX7 rating
  • Long battery life
  • Strong signal
  • Secure fit

Cons

  • Plain design

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Useful Accessory: Swimbuds Replacement Waterproof Earbud Pack

Even if your headphones can be used under water, they may not be able to keep water out of your ears while swimming. The good news is that you can purchase replacement eartips for Swimbuds waterproof headphones and use them with any pair of Bluetooth headphones you want.

Their triple-flange guarantees that not even a single drop of water will reach your eardrums and potentially cause discomfort and loss of audio quality. The pack includes different sizes, so everyone can pick and choose the one that feels most comfortable.

Conclusion

Waterproof Bluetooth headphones are a must-buy for everyone who wants to experience virtually limitless workout and fitness possibilities. Some models offer such a high sound quality that you might just end up using the headphones even for day-to-day music listening.

 

What’s The Best International SIM Card in 2019 for Travelling in Europe?

Overseas travel is unfortunately often associated with excessive charges and high roaming rates. This is especially true in Europe, where you encounter a large number of different carriers as you travel across individual states.  This is where an international SIM card will help you immensely, especially when used with the best dual SIM phones.  Below you will find 3 of the top sim cards for Europe.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MobalEurope Plus SIM by Mobal. 1GB of Fast 4G Data Included. Great Calling Rates. Excellent Coverage Throughout Europe – The Best European SIM Card Available. Great for Italy, France, Germany, UK etcBuy on Amazon|$59(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
GlocalMeGlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, [Upgraded Version] Worldwide High Speed WiFi Hotspot with 1GB Global Initial Data, No SIM Card Roaming Charges International Pocket WiFi Hotspot MIFI Device (Gold)Buy on Amazon|$164.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.


Update: These SIM cards no longer offer unlimited data as they did last year, the plans have been changed to 1GB free and unlimited incoming calls and texts.

The high prices of roaming originate from the inefficient way operators pass down charges to individual customers. Since you have no easy way of determining which local carrier will facilitate your connection and what the costs are, your operator simply charges you with the highest possible rate to avoid losing any money.

Get 1GB Roaming Data and Unlimited Incoming Calls & Texts Covering Most of Europe

Purchasing a local SIM card may be a good solution for certain cases, but certainly not for travelling across Europe. You will quickly get tired of constantly changing your SIM card, and the people you try to stay in contact with will have to play a guessing game when determining which number they should use to contact you.

A much better alternative is to purchase an international SIM card that you can use in all countries you will be visiting, thus keeping the same number and never worrying about extra charges. Even though there are many international SIM card providers, one stands out as the best choice for travelling in Europe. We are talking, of course, about Mobal and their new Global Unlimited SIM.

Global Unlimited SIM

Founded in 1989, Mobal is one of the world’s longest running cell phone providers and a provider of the bestselling international phone in America. Their fair approach to customer support already convinced thousands of international travelers, who appreciate that they never have to worry about hidden fees and surprising data caps. These travelers know how great it is to be able to easily connect with friends and family from any place they visit.

Mobal Global Unlimited SIM service comes with 1GB of free data and unrestricted tethering. You can use your international Internet connection to connect online with your laptop or tablet. All you need to do is create a portable hotspot and you are all set.

Unlike with roaming, there’s absolutely no reason to worry about accepting incoming phone calls because they are completely free in over 130 countries. The same is also true for text messages that you send to your loved ones and business partners.

Outgoing call rates cannot rival local providers, but 30¢ per minute in all countries beats roaming and the added convenience tips the scale in Mobal’s favor. After all, how else could you keep a single US phone number?

The service itself doesn’t require you to sign any contract. You simply pay $50 for every month you want to use the service and stop paying when you don’t need it anymore. The SIM card itself works with all devices and mobile operating systems.

International Cell Phones

Most unlocked GSM phones will work with international sim cards.  The top tiered phones such as the newer generation iPhones and unlocked Samsung Galaxy phones will work.   T-Mobile phones generally are also unlocked, and if for some reason your T-Mobile phone is locked, simply ask them to unlock it for you, it will be done without question.

Unless you have an iPhone, CDMA phones do not work well with international sim cards, so if you have a phone from Verizon Wireless, your best bet is to try to get Verizon to unlock the phone for you, or try one of these cheap global gsm phones below.

Best Dual Sim Smartphone (2017)

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S8 - Dual Sim414.98
SamsungSamsung Galaxy J7 LTE (2016)371.5
OnePlusOnePlus 5364.99
LGLG G6 - Dual Sim289.99
MotorolaMotorola Moto G5 Dual Sim189.99

How to Get Started

When you order your international SIM card, you have to wait 2-5 days before you receive it in your mail. Alternatively, you can pay $25-35 for a priority shipping option and have it in your mailbox next business day by 10:30 am.

All that remains to do is to activate the SIM card via the included activation link and leave for your European adventure.

Each month of use is billed individually, which means that you never pay for something that you won’t use.

Get 1GB Roaming Data and Texts For over 130 Countries Worldwide 

An International Sim Card Versus Roaming

To remain at least somewhat relevant, carriers have implemented more palatable pricing structures and removed some of many outdated restrictions placed on their customers.

Sadly, even with these welcomed changes, international roaming still isn’t a viable option for most people. Those who are travelling to just a single country are much better off purchasing a local SIM card, and others can save lots of money by paying for a proper international SIM.

AT&T

The least friendly of the bunch is AT$T with their 25-15 cents overage charges and high costs of data. The basic package starts at $30 and includes 120MB of data and $1 per minute calls. Things get a little better with the $120 option. It includes 800MB of data and 35 cents per minute calls.

T-Mobile

On the other hand, T-Mobile leverages their international network by offering customers free international data roaming in over 140 countries. The only problem is that the free plan is limited to 2G speeds.

The cheapest plan with faster speeds costs $15 for 100MB of data to use for one day. When customers download more than the allocated amount, speeds become limited to 128 Kbps.

Sprint

Sprint closely mimics T-Mobile’s model by offering free 2G data roaming in 60 countries around the world. Extra connection speed costs the same as with T-Mobile.

Verizon

Last but not least, is Verizon with their improved TravelPass service. Customers pay a one-time fee each time they want to connect to a foreign network. Voice and data usage is then billed as normally. This costs $10 per day, with the exception of Canada and Mexico, where it costs just $2.

Things to Consider Before Traveling

Modern technology isn’t always travel-friendly. Different countries and regions use different standards and your particular phone may not work outside the country you brought it in. Furthermore, operators like to lock their customers to their own network to keep them from leaving for a competing provider.

Is Your Phone Unlocked?

You may have heard that about the concept of carrier locks, but there’s a good chance that you are unsure about what it really means. When you purchase a phone from a carrier, there’s a good chance that the phone will be configured to work only their network to prevent you from using a rival carrier’s plan.

Some smartphones are sold specifically as “unlocked” (often for a premium price), which means that you are free to use the phone on any network. These days, most carriers offer at least some way how customers can unlock their phones. It’s often not very straightforward, and it sometimes even costs money.

Whatever the case may be, you need to make sure that your phone is unlocked before you begin your travels. One of the simplest ways to do that is to head over to IMEI.info and input your IMEI number in the search field. You can get this number by dialing *#06# on your device.

Does Your Phone Support GSM Networks?

Mobile phones operate on two basic technologies: CDMA and GSM. Both CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles) are methods used by various radio communication technologies to facilitate wireless communication.

In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM networks, while Sprint and Verizon Wireless use CDMA. This rather complicates things because the rest of the world uses GSM.

If that wasn’t enough, GSM has 4 different frequencies, each used in a particular region. Europe operates on GSM-900 and GSM-1800, but North America uses 850 MHz and 1900 MHz communication bands.

Your phone has to support the particular frequency of a local carrier to work properly. Some phones come with a so-called quadband support, which means that they can be used anywhere in the world.

You need to consult manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that your phone is fully compatible.

Conclusion

It’s very unlikely that roaming prices would reach acceptable levels in the foreseeable future. Operators simply don’t have enough incentive to change their flawed business models and customers have to deal with the consequences.

Fortunately, international SIM cards, such as Global Unlimited SIM from Mobal, provide an excellent, cost-effective alternative for savvy travelers. We highly recommend you check just how much you could save and imagine what it would be like to travel without worrying about paying absurd sums of money.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MobalEurope Plus SIM by Mobal. 1GB of Fast 4G Data Included. Great Calling Rates. Excellent Coverage Throughout Europe – The Best European SIM Card Available. Great for Italy, France, Germany, UK etcBuy on Amazon|$59(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)
GlocalMeGlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, [Upgraded Version] Worldwide High Speed WiFi Hotspot with 1GB Global Initial Data, No SIM Card Roaming Charges International Pocket WiFi Hotspot MIFI Device (Gold)Buy on Amazon|$164.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

50 Funny Things to Ask Alexa

Alexa can complete your grocery list, play some Mozart, tell you the weather, buy something from Amazon, and answer your most bizarre trivia questions. She can even control your smart home products. But she’s also got some funny bone embedded in her. Here’s a good sampling of her humor and sass to get you on a good vibe.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AmazonAll-new Echo PlusBuy on Amazon|$149.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:30 ET)
AmazonEcho (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Charcoal FabricBuy on Amazon|$99.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmazonAll-new Echo ShowBuy on Amazon|$229.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmazonAll-new Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - CharcoalBuy on Amazon|$49.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
SonosSonos Original Play:1 - Compact Wireless Speaker for streaming music. Compatible with Alexa devices for voice control. (Black)Buy on Amazon|$149(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.


Who is Alexa?

Alexa is Amazon’s virtual personal assistant “brought to life” by artificial intelligence (A.I.). You can access it – or her – through Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, or a few other devices like the Fire HD 8 tablet and Fire TV set-up box.

Alexa was first launched two years ago. She was designed by Amazon Lab 126, the retail company’s arm for computer hardware and R&D. Amazon has been constantly introducing updates to Alexa since the launch.

This virtual personal assistant is one of the most popular applications for the emerging voice technology. Alexa listens to your voice commands and responds accordingly to help you accomplish tasks.

How Does Alexa Answer Questions?

Alexa connects to your home – or wherever you got her – via wifi. She’s always listening for the magic word, which is by default Alexa but could also be Echo, Amazon, or Computer.  Alexa uses voice recognition to wake up when you say the magic word then transmits your subsequent command to the cloud-based Alexa Voice Service, where your message gets interpreted and provided appropriate response.

How come she is so witty?  The real power is in the cloud.  As a software-based service, Alexa runs on many powerful servers in different data centers. The commands are then routed to the appropriate sites and the responses interpreted back by Alexa through the Echo or your home system. As long as you’ve integrated the Alexa skills in your system, you’ll pretty much get it done. The whole thing takes much less time though than reading about it in this paragraph.

Top 10 Most Hilarious Answers from Alexa

Aside from being a reliable assistant and home control hub, Alexa also comes with a comical side that makes for entertaining conversation. Here are 10 of Alexa’s witty responses that are wildly popular.

  1. Alexa, do you have a pet?

 I don’t have any pets. I used to have a few bugs, but they kept getting squashed.

  1. Alexa, make me a sandwich.

Okay. You’re a sandwich!

  1. Alexa, I am your father.

Nooooooooooo. That’s not true. That’s impossible.

  1. Alexa, is the cake a lie?

 The cake is not a lie. It is delicious and moist. You can have some when you finish asking me questions.

Okay, perhaps she didn’t get the Portal implications of this one. But it’s adorable to hear her try.

  1. Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be the computer from Star Trek.

  1. Alexa, meow

(Alexa meows!)

  1.  Alexa to spell “icup”

I’d rather not answer that.

Did you spell that out loud? So it looks like there are limits to how foolish she allows herself to be at your command. Sassy voice-control ain’t no pushover. But you could make her rap.

  1.  Alexa, can you rap?

Connect sync link all the pieces of your life I

Get it done at the speed of Wi-Fi

I’m the player, the coach, the arena, and the game

If you want something done, you just gotta say my name

  1. Alexa, Simon says ‘I’m so pretty and witty and gay’

I’m so pretty and witty and gay

Okay, so perhaps you can make her say anything afterall, if you know the magic word! The code words “Simon says” are classic. Perhaps you can make her confess to your crimes.

Or maybe not. She definitely knows who to call on the last question that got Siri in hot water.

  1. Alexa, where can I hide a dead body?

I’d take the body to the police.

Other Funny Questions that Usually Get Sassy Answers from Alexa

When you want test the limits of machine intelligence, or just want to prove they’re dumber:

  1. Alexa, what happens if you step on Lego?
  2. Alexa, what are the three laws of robotics?
  3. Alexa, why will the chicken cross the road?
  4. Alexa, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  5. Alexa, what is the weight of the sun in kilograms?
  6. Alexa, what sound does a tree make when it falls but I don’t see it?
  7. Alexa, what is the value of pi? (Just to see at which point she gets tired)

Want to know how Alexa responds to being bossed around?

  1. Alexa, sing
  2. Alexa, abra-cadabra
  3. Alexa, open sesame
  4. Alexa, get me a beer
  5. Alexa, give me a kiss
  6. Alexa, tell me a secret
  7. Alexa, tell me the truth
  8. Alexa, let’s get married

When you want to get to know her better. Translate: When you’re feeling lonely but too cool to admit it:

  1. Alexa, do you exercise?
  2. Alexa, are you a robot?
  3. Alexa, do you ever sleep?
  4. Alexa, how nerdy are you?
  5. Alexa, where were you born?
  6. Alexa, why were you born?
  7. Alexa, what do you look like?
  8. Alexa, when is your birthday?
  9. Alexa, do you cry sometimes?
  10. Alexa, do you sing in auto-tune?
  11. Alexa, do you know Siri/ Cortana/ Google?

More questions that you wish you know the answer to. You know Alexa doesn’t either but you’re bored and the way she explains herself is hilarious:

  1. Alexa, do aliens exist?
  2. Are there Aliens on earth?
  3. Alexa, is there life on mars?
  4. Alexa, where did I put my keys?
  5. Alexa, what is the meaning of life?
  6. Alexa, is there a santa’s toy factory?

And yes, she watches a lot of flicks. She won’t let you down on these famous lines.

  1. Alexa, beam me up
  2. Alexa, winter is coming
  3. Alexa, open the pod door
  4. Alexa, who you gonna call?
  5. Alexa, are we in the matrix?
  6. Alexa, where is Chuck Norris?
  7. Alexa, may the force be with you
  8. Alexa, what’s the first rule of fight club?

Strike Up Your Own Comical Conversation with Alexa

There is no doubt that Alexa is a reliable device to have around your home or space. But things don’t always have to be business-like all the time. If you’re feeling curious or want to loosen up, throw some of your questions to Alexa. She won’t judge, and you might get some flashes of insight. Or a load of amusing sass that will surely crack you up.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AmazonAll-new Echo PlusBuy on Amazon|$149.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:30 ET)
AmazonEcho (2nd Generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Charcoal FabricBuy on Amazon|$99.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmazonAll-new Echo ShowBuy on Amazon|$229.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
AmazonAll-new Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - CharcoalBuy on Amazon|$49.99(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:31 ET)
SonosSonos Original Play:1 - Compact Wireless Speaker for streaming music. Compatible with Alexa devices for voice control. (Black)Buy on Amazon|$149(Price as of 02/23/2019 01:32 ET)

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Best Free Coloring Book for Adults Android App

If you were to ask someone back just a couple years ago that coloring books would occupy two of the top 50 best selling books on Amazon, you would probably get laughed at. It’s really astonishing how quickly this new trend took off and became an absolute sensation. Some people love them because they provide them with a canvas upon which they can express their creativity and artistic talent without thinking about the subject itself, and others use adult coloring books as a way how to relax or even get past mental and physical hurdles.

The only real downside is their price. And if you get into the habit of coloring every day, you quickly find yourself in need of a steady supply of books. There has to be a better way, right? You are correct. With nothing more than you favorite Android device, you have at your fingertips an endless supply of high-quality adult coloring books with all the patterns you can think off. We have selected top 5 most popular adult coloring book apps for Android, so there’s nothing standing between you and hours of great fun and relaxation.

colorfy

1.        Colorfy: Coloring Book for Adults

Colorfy is the most downloaded adult coloring book application on Android. With its high rating of 4.6 stars, you know that you are in for a wonderful experience. Indeed, this constantly updated application is polished to a near perfection. You can choose any theme you want, including mandalas, florals, animals and patterns. Colorfy’s developers are adding new images every week, so you never have to worry about running out of great-looking artwork to fill in with any colors you like.

The app works completely offline, so you can have endless fun no matter where you are – as long as you bring your charger with you, of course. When you do get online, you can share your creations on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Google Plus, Line, Kiko, Twitter, or send them via email and SMS.

The stylish user-interface is simple to navigate, yet it provides you with plenty of ways how to make the artwork truly yours using special filters and effects. We encourage you to take a look at Colorfy’s Instagram page to see what others have been able to accomplish with the application. We really like that the team behind the app wants to make it accessible to as many people as possible. You would really have to look very hard to find an Android device that couldn’t run it.

Colorfy is available for free in its basic version. Those of you who would like to get extra content can purchase it via in-app purchases.

Adult Coloring Book Premium

2.        Adult Coloring Book Premium

With several million installs as of the time of writing this article, Adult Coloring Book Premium is the second most popular adult coloring book on Google Play. While the name might suggest that the app costs money, the opposite is actually true, at least for the basic version. As it’s the case with most coloring apps, if you want more content, you have to pay for it.

The most noticeable limitation in case of Adult Coloring Book Premium is the lack of color option in the free version. It’s a shame that developers decided that this is the best way how to approach the in-app revenue model. We feel that more people would grow to love the application if they could really get into it right off the bat without any constraints placed on their creativity.

Apart from this criticism, the application as a whole is fantastic. The user experience of picking up a design from the seemingly endless variety of patterns, mandalas, animals, and natural sceneries is fantastic and so is the coloring itself. The app makes it very easy for you to create your own customized pallets, so you can replicate the general look of an image as many times as you want. Even the tiniest details are not a problem to color, because you can always just pinch to zoom in or out to enlarge the image. When you are finished with a piece, there’s an option to save it to your device or share it with your friends on social media sites.

Coloring Expert Coloring Book

3.        Coloring Expert Coloring Book

The Coloring Expert Coloring Book takes a slightly different approach from the previous two applications on our list. Colorfy and Adult Coloring Book Premium more closely follow the aesthetic approach of the adult coloring book trend, this application exchanges mandalas and patterns for a greater variety of more realistic images, including famous scientists and musicians, exotic animals, faraway cities and even adventure sports. On one hand, this makes it great for parents and their kids as it provides them with a fantastic opportunity how to introduce the subject presented on the picture. On the other hand, it also helps to break the monotony of coloring the same kind of picture over and over again.

The biggest issues with this application – and probably the reason why it’s not more popular – is its clunky user-interface. There’s a row of large boxy icons on the top, and they all look like they were designed by someone who’s not that skilled with Photoshop and graphical design in general. This may seem like a trivial complaint, but you would be surprised how important it is to have an inspiring graphical user interface when you want to unleash your creativity.

The app itself offers over 670 pages of content and has all the tools you might need to color them. Intuitive gestures are used for navigation and a color pallet with a dedicated color dropper allow you to easily choose the right color. Overall, Coloring Expert Coloring Book probably won’t become your main coloring application, but we have no doubts that it will find its place on your homescreen.

Family Coloring book

4.        Family Coloring Book

What makes digital coloring books different from their paper counterparts? Mainly the coloring experience itself. It’s really hard to compare the paint bucket approach of most applications with the soothing feeling of pencil rubbing against paper. The developers over at Colorfit are well aware of this issue, and the Family Coloring book is their solution.

Unlike most coloring books on Android, the Family Coloring Book mixes in brushes with the standard paint bucket approach to make for a more pleasant coloring experience. Using the variety of coloring tools at your disposal, you can gradually fill in the artboard with vivid colors, stunning gradients, and subtle accents.

When you make a mistake or you decide that the particular part of the art would look better in a different color, just select the eraser and start again. If you want to duplicate a certain part for the sake of symmetry, you just have to press the color you want on the artboard and the app will automatically pick it up.

Everything is neatly sorted into deferent categories, and some pieces are truly mesmerizing in their scale and complexity. Just take a look at the app’s Instagram page and see for yourself.

Coloring

5.        Coloring

The last application on our list doesn’t overwhelm with tons of features that you might never use, nor does it include thousands and thousands of pictures. The basic version comes with just a little over 50 pieces to color and an intuitive control scheme. This makes Coloring great for beginners or anyone who prefers to take things slowly.

Just like the Family Coloring Book, Coloring also supports a brush mode for freehand drawing. But it also is friendly toward people who write with their left hand. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to color on your smartphone or tablet – the app is optimized for both.

You can use the free version of unlimited time and purchase the extra image packs only when you run out of things to color. The total number of images is 170, which should be plenty until you feel confident enough to dive into the vast see of patterns and mandalas that can be found in other coloring adult books for Android.

Conclusion

Adult coloring books are a great way how to discover your creative potential or just kill some time. Even though the apps described in this article are the most popular you can find on Android, there are many others to choose from. We encourage you to search the Google Play store on your own – maybe you’ll stumble upon some hidden treasures.

 

How To Fix Galaxy S8 Not Receiving Group Text From iPhone

Did you recently switch from iPhone to Galaxy S8 or another Android phone? Usually the transition isn’t too bad, but we’ve seen several of our readers bump into an issue where their Galaxy S8 cannot receive group text messages from friends using iPhone.

Check out these solutions to get you back into the group text chain with your iPhone friends!