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Official Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus advertisement aired by Norwegian TV station ahead of the launch

A TV station in Norway mistakenly aired the official Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus advertisement, which highlights the new features the flagship will sport, according to Tek.no. TV 2 media manager Jan-Petter Dahl said that they were the ones who made the mistake and ran the ad too early. Was it, really? Whatever the case is, the ad revealed the things that make the Galaxy S10 one of the best smartphones this year. They are as follows:

  • Infinity display, which uses the company’s new innovation Infinity-O to accommodate front cameras without using the notch that Apple started last year.
  • Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanner. It doesn’t use the technology used by other smartphones today wherein your fingerprints are being photographed by a screen reader.
  • 5 cameras (2 in front, 3 at the back). In the case of the Galaxy S10, there will only be 4.
  • Reverse wireless charging, which allows you to share power with other devices capable of wireless charging.
  • Galaxy Buds. Apparently, if you pre-order the device after it’s launched, you will get a pair for free.

Mistake or not, the ad actually confirmed the rumors that have been floating around for so long.

 

source: Tek.no

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

Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ hands-on video surfaces online ahead of official launch

A hands-on video of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus found its way to Youtube ahead of the official February 20 Unpacked event. The clip appears to be just rip of a longer video showing Tech Radar’s Matt Swider doing the hands on. It could be a controlled leak by Samsung or somebody just found it online and had a chance to capture a part of it and share it on social media platforms.

The 2-minute clip confirms some rumors that have been circulating online for the past couple of weeks. The main model will have a 6.1-inch Super AMOLED display and 6.4 inches screen for the Galaxy S10 Plus with two front-facing cameras while the former only has one. Both will sport a triple-lens back camera that allows users to take ultra-wide photos.

While some phone makers started to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, Samsung seems to stick to the conventional way of channeling audio through headsets, which many would still find useful. But one thing the company got rid of is the fingerprint sensor at the back. Such feature is already integrated in the screen.

Another exciting feature with the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus is the reverse wireless charging. Basically, if you have one of these phones, you already have a “power bank” that would allow you to charge any other smartphones that support wireless charging. Samsung added this feature to give way to its new Galaxy Buds which will compete with Apple’s AirPods.

What do you guys think of these features?

 

Source: 9to5Google

Huawei P30 series confirmed | official announcement, quad-camera, specs, pricing, release date

The official Twitter account of Huawei has officially revealed the official launch of its P30 series. The date is set on March 26, 2019 and it is to be held in Paris. There had been rumors in the past few months about the company’s next flagship iteration but the tweet signifies the P series will live on. Check out this tweet and see you yourself what’s in store for you.

Before we proceed, we want to remind you that if you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page. When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Quad rear camera

While the previous Huawei P flagship, the P20, featured three cameras on the back, the P30 Pro will sport an even better quad-cam setup. There’s no confirmation yet if the P30 will feature the four-camera configuration though we think it will only get three. There will be a way to easily switch from a dual-cam setup to triple-cam setup according to case maker Olixar.

Zoom capability

The new P30 series may also be capable of zooming in as suggested by the latest video clip. This is very likely as the older Huawei P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro already have such capability.

SoC

Although there’s no official confirmation yet, the new Huawei P30 will most likely utilize the Kirin 980 chipset, just like the Mate’s SoC.

Other latest rumors:

  • Almost no bezel
  • A 3.5mm headphone port
  • A 1080 x 2340 screen

Price

The price of a brand new P30 will most likely be close to the original selling price of the Huawei P20, which was about US $790. Pricing will also be dictated by the specific model depending on storage capacity.

Release date

Huawei has a habit of releasing their devices in the early part of the year. As the video clip confirms, the P30 will probably become available a few weeks after the official announcement in Paris this March.

Let us know in the comments below what you think about the upcoming Huawei P30 series.

 


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New Yellow Galaxy S10e Confirmed by Poster

As expectations and excitement builds around the upcoming Galaxy S10, there are only a couple of things that are confirmed so far. One is the fact that the new S10 will feature an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor below the screen (though the S10e may not have this)  and the other is today’s topic: a yellow Galaxy S10e. Yes, the Galaxy S10e will sport a canary yellow color according to GSMarena.com. An anonymous tipster reportedly sent GSMarena a poster that will most likely be used for the upcoming unveiling event on February 20th, 2019.

Galaxy S10e specifications

For those who are a bit behind when it comes to Galaxy S10e spec sheet, here are the unofficial hardware data. Some of the information in this video will most likely be changed as official data from Samsung are released so be sure to check out our channel. For a full list of unofficial hardware specs, kindly visit GSMarena.com.

 


Engage with us

If you are one of the users who encounters a problem with your device, let us know. We offer solutions for Android-related problems for free so if you have an issue with your Android device, simply fill in the short questionnaire in this link and we will try to publish our answers in the next posts. We cannot guarantee a quick response so if your issue is time sensitive, please find another way to resolve your problem.

If you find this post helpful, please help us by spreading the word to your friends. TheDroidGuy has social network presence as well so you may want to interact with our community in our Facebook and Google+ pages.

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.

Best rugged Android tablets money can buy

Update: check out our 2017 edition of best rugged tablet list and our best rugged smartphone list

From luxury to commodity to absolute necessity, being able to connect to the web while on the go and carrying your work with you far and wide have taken new meanings in recent years, as conventional PCs lost steam and ultraportable alternatives rapidly gained traction.

Best Rugged Android Tablet

Tablet construction site

And whereas most smartphone and tablet owners nowadays still fall in the light to moderate user categories in regards to their productivity and range of tasks completed, there are those who take gadgets very seriously, depending on them not to entertain and amuse, but put bread on the table.

These power users are not the same so-called power users that Apple or Samsung usually address with fancy new iPhone, iPad or Galaxy launches. They are real-life, modern John McClanes, who rock Casio Commandos, Kyocera Torques or Cat B15s as “daily drivers”, not because they make them feel manlier, but because a bendable 6 Plus or GNote 4 couldn’t get a through a workday without cracking under pressure.

They’re not heroes, they just like things done a certain way. They work in tough outdoor conditions but never complain. Even in their spare time, they love hanging out in the wild, with nature’s strengths and shortcomings.

Panasonic Toughpad

They’re not afraid of a splash of water, dust, dirt, extreme temperatures, altitudes or things like radiation or vibration. Some can even take a bullet without blinking. Each and every one of them however need survival tools, and a good starting point are the rugged Android smartphones we recommended a while back.

Next step? A solid yet compact and portable, secure, smooth and powerful ruggedized Android tablet. Yes, we know, Windows has the upper hand for the most part in this grossly overlooked niche. But if you look hard enough, here are some of the best Google-powered options you’ll be able to find:

Fujitsu Stylistic M532 – available at $358 on Amazon

Just so we don’t scare you right off the bat, we’ve decided to start the countdown of the best rugged Android tabs with possibly the world’s cheapest. Obviously, the M532 is thus not the most robust ultraportable money can buy.

On the bright side, it’s fairly thin and light, at 8.6 mm and 560 grams respectively. And given the wasp waist and low price, the 10 incher is no featherweight, withstanding extreme conditions such as high altitude, shocks, vibrations and minimal or maximum temperatures, courtesy of MIL-STD-810G certification.

Fujitsu Stylistic M532

The Stylistic can also remain whole after being dropped a few times, though it’s best to protect it from violent contacts with hard surfaces. Above all, the M532 is a business-oriented slab, offering a host of security add-ons and data protection methods, and ergo being a better fit for an enterprise environment rather than a construction site or war zone.

Last but not least, the thing runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, packs quad-core power, 1 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1

Just so you know, the Android “Terminators” are arranged in no particular order, as they’re simply too different to rank. Clearly, pitting the Toughpad FZ-A1 against the Stylistic M532 would have been comparing apple to oranges.

Toughpad FZ-A1

That said, deciding between the two is pretty easy. Fujitsu’s option is better for enterprise, this thing “dares to go where no tablet has gone before”. Meaning you definitely want to put on a protection helmet while on duty as, say, a contractor, but this baby can handle any and all environments by itself.

Yes, it’s that tough. It even comes with an extended 3-year warranty to show you how durable it is. And Panasonic may not list bullet resistance as one of the slate’s features, but honestly, this is your safest best for a war comrade.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 back

It’s massive, at 2.1 pounds, it can handle repeated drops from dizziness-inducing heights, and it’s of course MIL-STD-810G certified. The carcass is encased in magnesium alloy, the corner guards are made of elastomer, and you get all kinds of hardware encryption methods, the highest degree of password security, root and anti-virus protection.

Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1 – available at $1,486 on Amazon

Does $1,500 feel a little too rich for your blood? We get where you’re coming from, and don’t blame you, but believe it or not, the JT-B1 is even stronger than the other Panasonic Toughpad. Aside from complying with all military standards for everything from extreme temperatures to rain and freeze, this compact little 7 incher sports a sealed “all-weather design”.

Toughpad JT-B1

And the raised bezel increases the LCD impact protection. Translation: you can drop the JT-B1 on its face over and over again, and it won’t crack. The craziest thing is the device’s weight, 1.2 pounds, although the 8-hour battery life is a close second.

Getac Z710 – $1,495

This is the last uber-expensive tab we’re going to list, we promise. And perhaps we’d never have recommended it in the first place, especially as it doesn’t come from a big-name manufacturer, but the Z710 breathes strength through its every pore. Maybe more than the Toughpad rivals.

What we like the most at Getac’s design approach is they knew from the get-go their target audience couldn’t care less about style and elegance. There are no aesthetical bells and whistles here, just a 7-inch tablet small enough to hold in one hand and “built to survive”.

Getac Z710

Six-foot drops, extreme temps, solar radiation, you name it. Oh, and the screen is perfectly readable in the most difficult lighting conditions, plus glove-friendly. A barcode scanner is inbuilt for obvious reasons, and 3G connectivity is not an option, it’s standard.

Guaranteed to last you at least three years of constant abuses, the Z710 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and packs 1 GB RAM, as well as 16 GB internal storage.

Xplore RangerX – $1,391

1,400 bucks is still a lot of money, but not only is the RangerX a little cheaper than our previous two recommendations, it’s also larger, at 10 inches, and thus more productive. Needless to stress this can also take a loooot of abuse, specifically repeated drops on every edge, corner, plus directly on its face, including on concrete from heights of up to 4 feet.

rangerx

Then you have all the extreme conditions that don’t affect the usability of the big guy in the least, which include -4° F to 140° F temperatures, blowing rain, 95% humidity, functional shock, 15,000 feet altitudes, fluid contamination and solar radiation.

As for security options and neat add-ons and features, Xplore Tech equipped this beast with Gigabit Ethernet, CAC and Smart Card Readers, a Kensington lock slot and optional Verizon 4G LTE among others. Just beware of the vague, fishy Amazon listing and maybe go over to Xplore directly for a quote depending on your exact needs.

Motorola ET1 – $1,246

Bet you didn’t know this thing still existed, huh? Well, it has amazingly survived Motorola’s rise and fall, its retreat from the tablet market and successive buyouts from Google and Lenovo. Of course, it’s no longer widely available, but Amazon sells it directly, and the price isn’t so bad… all things considered.

Keep in mind that Moto put Jelly Bean on the 7 incher a while back, so the software at least should be silky smooth. The hardware, not so much, as that dual-core TI OMAP 4 processor is horribly outdated. Not quite as indestructible as some of the above contenders, the ET1 remains a top choice for enterprise users, with its manageability, security and decent durability.

Motorola ET1

The spec sheet includes a bar code scanner, phenomenal 8 MP rear camera, 1 GB RAM and protection for 4-feet drops, thermal shock, humidity, etc., etc.

Before wrapping up, we’d like to remind you the Android universe is an extremely volatile one, so keep your eyes out for alternatives yet to come. Like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active. Not recommended for the most extreme wild conditions, the $700 KitKat-loaded 8 incher will nevertheless fight water and dust, plus remain operational after dropped from 4-feet high… in theory. It’s your call now, so choose wisely and stay safe.

Best Bluetooth headsets of 2019 (so far)

If you thought ranking the world’s best Android smartphones, tablets or wearable devices was difficult, considering ever-increasing competition, the sheer sizes of the three markets and diversity of consumer preferences and budgets, we’d like to see you try to compile a mobile accessories top picks’ list.

ProductBrandNamePrice
JabraJabra Stealth Bluetooth HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$86.9(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Legend Wireless Bluetooth HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$49.99(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
LGLG Electronics Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Wireless Stereo HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$59.95(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Wireless In-ear Headphones with MicrophoneBuy on Amazon|$54.98(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 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.

There are so many things to factor in when rounding up, for instance, the finest Bluetooth headsets that it comes as no surprise today’s top ten directory already looks very different from the September and April 2015 rosters.

Bluetooth headset

Thus, without a doubt, we’ll need to refresh the 2017 best Bluetooth headset collection at least once before the new year wraps up, but for now, let’s focus on the current cream of the crop, ordered from most recommended:

Plantronics Voyager Legend

Plantronics Voyager Legend

Cheaper than ever before, the “legendary” Bluetooth 4.0-enabled mono Plantronics Voyager Legend headset withstands rain, sweat and coffee spills, can separate your voice from 80 Db’s of background noise (which is a lot, trust us), and automatically answers calls if you just start wearing it all of a sudden.

At the same time, it redirects audio to your phone when it senses the user doesn’t want to activate hands-free endeavors, and understands two very straightforward spoken commands – answer or ignore. Pretty intuitive UI at such a low price.

JayBird X2 – starting at $129

JayBird X2

As the successor to the incomparable Bluebuds X, we always expected the X2 headphones to cost far more than most of their low-profile new rivals. There are a number of good reasons for that, including brand loyalty and product reliability, the latter of which is supported by Amazon’s four-star review average.

Then you have a minimalistic, timeless, unparalleled design, six different coats of paint, ranging from “alpha” to “storm” to “ice”, a lifetime sweat proof warranty, SignalPlus technology for skip-free music outdoors, 8-hour battery life, and Shift Premium Bluetooth audio quality. It’s perfect for professional and novice athletes, business users, audiophiles and travel enthusiasts.

Samsung Level U Pro – $90

Samsung Level U Pro

Don’t let the manufacturer’s name fool you into thinking this is a Galaxy-exclusive “appliance.” It can work fine with any type of Bluetooth-enabled Android handheld, and even iPhones. It’s good for wirelessly initiating and answering voice calls, but especially playing music, courtesy of Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA) features delivering a “true” 24bit digital audio experience on the tiniest imaginable earbuds.

Flexible and neck-adjustable, the Level U Pro can also handle its occasional splash, and technically lasts up to 9 full hours of talk or play time on a single charge.

Jabra Move – $86

Jabra Move

Before you even start, we know, we’re comparing apples and oranges, i.e. over-the-ear and in-ear headphones. But both classes of devices work towards the same end goal, the former typically edging out the latter in audio quality and the latter easily winning the portability battle.

Besides, we’re not telling you to choose the Jabra Move over the JayBird X2 or vice versa. We’re simply urging you to consider every possibility, including paying just 85 bucks or so for a pair of large yet lightweight stereo headphones that look extremely similar to your “premium”, overpriced Beats Studio.

Jabra Stealth – $80

Jabra Stealth

Why in the world would you ever go for a mono earbud when it costs the same or more than decent stereo mobile accessories? Well, because sometimes, it’s wise to keep an ear free and connected to the surrounding reality, and because the Jabra Stealth ensures “crystal clear sound at both ends of phone calls.”

This bad boy’s built-in mic is the best in the biz, and through tricks that may often feel like magic, it somehow manages to reduce background noise to the absolute minimum. Oh, oh, oh, and it’s got a dedicated physical button for remote activation and voice interaction with Google Now. Also, NFC for easy pairing, Multiuse for controlling the audio on two handhelds at once, and 6-hour autonomy in HD voice calls.

LG Tone Pro – $40 and up

LG Tone Pro

And we’re back to stereo headsets. To an industry classic, that is, which ergonomically bends around your neck for an ideal fit and stellar ergonomics, taking less than two hours to charge and then resisting up to 21 days in standby or a whopping 15 hours in talk time.

The design for this LG Tone Pro received awards, enhanced bass response, HD Voice, aptX compatibility, echo cancellation and noise reduction cover everything you need in both call and music modes, but unfortunately, the advanced age comes with a Bluetooth 3.0 speed tradeoff.

Photive BTH3 – $40

Photive BTH3

Here we have a cheap as chips over-the-ear wireless Bluetooth headset with built-in mic and 12 hour battery that doesn’t look very glamorous, but pulls off its duties honorably, generally satisfying almost 3,000 Amazon customers.

A four-star review average means the bang for buck factor is as delightful in reality as it looks on paper, though compared to some of our list’s headliners, the Photive BTH3 may not be so great for high-fidelity audio detail playback.

AYL V4.1 – $26

AYL V4.1

The AYL brand name probably doesn’t ring many bells, the design is by no means special, but at the end of the day, there has to be something special about this in-ear stereo headset, since Amazon currently lists it as its general best seller in Bluetooth cell phone headsets.

Granted, that doesn’t directly make it the best Bluetooth headset of 2016, not even to date, but it goes to show you don’t need to spend a full Benjamin to enjoy decent wireless smartphone audio controls, including on two devices simultaneously, with EDR APT-X decode technology, CVC 6.0 digital noise reduction, and 10 meters range.

SoundPeats QY7 – $20

SoundPeats

Bluetooth 4.1 capabilities? Check. Ergonomic, lightweight design? Double check. Lengthy endurance? Semi-check, at 5 hours in “premium quality talk/play time.” Partial liquid protection? You got it. Why only 20 clams then? No idea, but let’s keep it on the down low, before the little known manufacturers realize they could get more.  The SoundPeats QY7 is the true underdog of this list.

Mpow Wolverine – $20

Mpow Wolverine

You thought the Mpow Cheetah was flashy, eye-catching and, well, ear-catching with a decidedly cool name? Mpow Wolverine takes everything to the next level, clawing its way on our top ten list of today’s best Bluetooth headsets thanks to 4.1 compatibility (read easy pairing with all the new high-end Androids), “dynamic”, rich sound (they all say that, though), a unique, rectangular look, robust aluminum shell, Noise Cancellation 6.0, and 8-hour battery performance under heavy use.

We don’t remember ever seeing the X-Men listen to any tunes, but Hugh Jackman can sure sing and dance, so we wouldn’t be shocked to hear him endorse Mpow. For free, even, given the profit margins here are likely razor-thin already.

ProductBrandNamePrice
JabraJabra Stealth Bluetooth HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$86.9(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Legend Wireless Bluetooth HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$49.99(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
LGLG Electronics Tone Pro HBS-750 Bluetooth Wireless Stereo HeadsetBuy on Amazon|$59.95(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)
SamsungSamsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Wireless In-ear Headphones with MicrophoneBuy on Amazon|$54.98(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 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.

Top 10 Android-compatible wearables better than the Apple Watch

One can safely assume the decision to support iPhones on the Android Wear platform didn’t come easy for Google. Always an endorser of diversity and choice, the search giant would love it if its customers only had to pick between hardware products built by sanctioned brands.

Apple Watch vs Android Wear

But iPhones make the mobile world go round, and in order to stop the Apple Watch from rapidly rising to similar popularity levels, the Android architects made a major compromise, indirectly giving their blessing to the arch-rival’s main cash cow.

Cupertino likely accepted the “vote of confidence” without thinking twice, even if the Android Wear’s cross-platform support could soon prove a double-edged sword for Tim Cook & co. Will “iWatch” sales linger, while LG, Motorola, Asus, Huawei and Sony, plus Samsung, Pebble, Microsoft and Fitbit get to see their market share grow?

Android Wear devices

It’s possible, at least if we have a say in this, and you lose your flock instincts, going for the wearable device that objectively looks better, not the one the crowds are recommending. Namely, one of the ten following Android-compatible smartwatches and activity trackers superior to the Apple Watch:

LG Watch Urbane – $278 in silver; $299 pink gold

Until the 2015 Moto 360 and Huawei Watch become widely available stateside, this beaut remains the handsomest of its kind. It’s perfectly round, unlike the boxy, rectangular Apple Watch, breathes strength through every pore, yet also elegance and slimness, courtesy of a 10.9 mm profile, and 66.5 grams weight.

LG Watch Urbane

Water and dust resistant, the Watch Urbane may soon spawn a high-res sequel, though at 320 x 320 pixels, it’s already pretty sharp. And it lasts a while between charges, thanks to a 410 mAh battery.

Motorola Moto 360 (original) – starting at $147

Obviously eclipsed by its recently unveiled follow-up in style, autonomy and especially customization, the 2014 Moto 360 is cheap enough to stay in the limelight a few more months. Even in snazzy cognac leather, light metal and champagne gold metal versions, it sets you back around $150 a pop, which is peanuts compared to the “entry-level” $350 tag of the Apple Watch.

apple-watch-moto-360

Mind you, this is one of the first Android Wear pieces that will offer iPhone synchronization functions, although it should still work better pulling notifications from a Moto X Style or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

Motorola Moto 360 (second-gen)

Only up on pre-order from Lenovo’s daughter company, the polished men and women’s 360 starts at $300, which feels excessive. Next to the OG, that is, not the clearly inferior and still pricier Apple Watch.

Moto 360 2015

With a refined exterior, improved battery, a whole lot of size, case, bezel, band and face choice, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Android Wear single-handedly propelled to the mainstream by the “New” Moto 360.

Huawei Watch – $350 and up

Okay, so it’s not exactly affordable. It actually matches the “iWatch” in terms of retail costs, but with a big, fat fashion advantage. Oh, yes, the $350 flavor is a definite knockout, what with its circular body, robust stainless steel construction, and distinguished black suture leather strap.

Huawei Watch

What does the Apple Watch offer at $350? A fluoroelastomer (read good, old-fashioned, chintzy rubber) band, awkward squarish build, anodized aluminum (i.e. a material short of steel toughness), and let’s not even go into specifications like screen resolution, processing power, or non-iPhone-dependent productivity.

Asus ZenWatch – $150

We know you’re inclined to wait for the second-gen, but at $150, the original feels almost impossible to turn down. Fashionable in its own way, with a curved 2.5D display, fairly chunky bezels, and a rectangular build, the ZenWatch can do plenty of things sans relying on a phone’s brains.

Asus-ZenWatch-Apple-Watch

It counts steps, estimates calories burned, measures your heart rate, tracks your progress in different sporting activities, not to mention it’s water-protected, endowed with a microphone, stereo speakers, and 4GB internal storage space.

Pebble Time – $195

The newest plastic-made Pebble feels like one of our own, although it technically runs a proprietary operating system, backing both Android and iOS before multi-platform compatibility became the norm rather than the exception.

Pebble Time

The simplistic UI allows the Time to keep the lights on for up to seven days, with a fairly rudimentary 64-color e-paper display in tow. Rudimentary but always-on, and despite the lackluster design, you get Gorilla Glass protection, a curved, ergonomic profile, water endurance up to 30 meters, plus all the essential alerts and notifications brought to your wrist.

It’s definitely not for fashionistas, but people perennially on the move, looking to make their connected lives easier, will love it.

Samsung Gear S2

gear-s2-apple-watch

They say it’s going to cost $350 stateside in a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-limited configuration, or $400 with standalone 3G connectivity. Too rich for your blood? Too Tizen-y, maybe? Keep in mind it supports an entire slew of Android handhelds, not just Samsungs, it’s got a rotating bezel somewhat similar to Apple Watch’s “crown”, a vivid, circular display with minimal borders, and vows to run for at least two days on a single battery charge. It’s almost worth it, huh?

Samsung Gear S – $200 with AT&T contracts; $330 outright

Samsung Gear S

Let’s be honest, the oddly shaped Gear S is uglier, less functional, powerful and bulkier than its successor, only working in combination with a handful of Galaxy gadgets. On the plus side, it can run solo, it’s relatively inexpensive with carrier pacts, and the Super AMOLED panel still wipes the floor with the “Retina” on the Apple Watch, at 2 full inches and 480 x 360 pixels.

Microsoft Band – $138

We know exactly what you’re thinking. A primitive fitness band that trumps a progressive, extravagant smartwatch?! That’s crazy! Well, it is, and… it isn’t, as the primary use case for intelligent timepieces and activity trackers alike remains various fitness and health application.

Microsoft Band vs Apple Watch

So, if that’s what you’re looking for, why not purchase a contraption designed specifically for tracking your vitals, knowing when to push you, and how to convince you to live a better life. Plus, it’s got a screen, it can do messages and emails and notifications, and works smoothly with Androids, iPhones and Windows Phones for up to two days continuously. It’s pretty much the best of both worlds.

Fitbit Charge HR – $143

Fitbit Charge HR

If you’re willing to give up even more of your fancy wrist computer functions, and get a longer-lasting, simpler, super-reliable wireless activity tracking device, you can’t go wrong with a Fitbit. They’re the sales leaders of the market for a reason, unlike Apple, and the Charge HR deservedly rules supreme in Amazon fitness technology demand.

4.1 out of 5 stars based on 8,800+ customer reviews. Words are truly useless.

Top 7 Android smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards

Phones with QWERTY keyboards aren’t getting much love with the major manufacturers these days, but you can still find some high end phones with a physical keyboard.  In this June 2017 update, we’re recommending the Blackberry KEYone as the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market right now.  

ProductBrandNamePrice
BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.96(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)

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If you can’t stand using the touch keyboard phones that’s dominating the market, give the KEYone a shot.  It’s highly unlike you will find another smartphone with physical keyboard that will beat the Blackberry KEYone, since most manufacturers simply do not make these type of phones anymore.  You can find the specs here for this Android phone with QWERTY keyboard.

Blackberry Priv

BlackBerry, a company that was once renowned for their business-oriented smartphones with physical keyboards, has to fight for significance in a world dominated by virtual keyboard typing experience. Just like Clark Kent dressed in casual clothes, the BlackBerry Priv looks deceptively ordinary, perhaps with the exception of the curved display. But it takes just a quick slide to reveal Priv’s 4-row QWERTY keyboard hiding underneath the display.

The keyboard also features an integrated trackpad and several programmable keys for launching apps and changing the position on the screen. You can swipe up across the keyboard to access a full-sized virtual keyboard with special characters and symbols. Clever stuff, indeed.

Also hiding under the 5.4” display with 540 ppi is the powerful Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 chipset, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage space, and Adreno 418. With such high-end specifications, the Priv is a productivity beast with ample power to fuel any multitasking (or gaming—we won’t judge) frenzy.

While the Android operating system looks close to the pure Android experience that you get on Nexus devices, BlackBarry has made a lot of changes under the hood. Privacy and security have been given a special attention, for example, with the BlackBerry DETEK app, which can tell you how secure you are and what improvements you can make.
Pros

  • 4-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Beautiful curved display
  • Sharp, vivid camera
  • Good performance
  • Increased privacy

Cons

  • The smartphone is slightly top-heavy

Talk QWERTY to me
The age of the Q is over. There’s no point denying it, arguing it or sugarcoating it. Flagship physical QWERTY phones are long gone, and they’re not coming back. Sad? Damn straight, as we all remember how we used to be able to send like five texts a minute on a full-size keypad-boasting handheld.

Since phone manufacturers simply aren’t seeing too much demand for Android smartphone with keyboard, they just aren’t releasing too many new variants of these.  But if you really need that keyboard, a good work around is to get the latest and greatest smartphone you can find, and get a mini bluetooth keyboard that you can carry around with you and sync with your phone.  If that doesn’t work for you, then check out these smartphones with keyboard currently on the market.

Yes, they were bulky, clunky, even ugly, but they got the job done in a way no touchscreen-toting iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S will ever get close to. Whatever “highly intuitive” apps like Swiftkey or Swype evolve into.

It’s also odd though how each and every mobile player (save for BlackBerry, maybe) turned their backs on productivity-centric gadgets all of a sudden, especially when Samsung, LG and Sony are so vocal about the diversity of their product lineups. Cater to the needs of everyone, my arse. Where’s my Galaxy S5Q, my LG G2 Slider and my Xperia Z2 Chat?

QWERTY meme

Heck, right now, I’d probably settle for a Galaxy S3Q or LG Optimus G Slider. Any semblance of a decent, upper mid-range Android QWERTY phone would be nice. Instead, the seven best physical keyboard devices of March 2014 are these old geezers:

7. LG Mach

Still stuck on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the 15 month-old Mach basically makes the cut here because there are no half-decent alternatives. I mean, I wouldn’t touch this thing with a ten-foot pole nowadays.

Not only is it four software generations behind the times, it’s mostly unavailable stateside and restricted for use on Sprint and Boost Mobile. The latter sells it online for $180 with prepaid plans, whereas if you want Now Network’s version, you’ll need to reach out to some fairly obscure Amazon sellers and cough up $360 (!!!).

LG Mach

Yeah, right, like anyone would be so nuts as to drop that kind of money on a chunky little fellow tipping the scales at 168 grams and packing a 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res touchscreen, dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU, as well as meager 1,700 mAh battery.

6. Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere 2

Despite its retro (read fugly) design, and overall underwhelming hardware, the Verizon-exclusive Stratosphere 2 is clearly not the worst QWERTY option around. Up for grabs via Amazon and Best Buy free of charge in a contract-tied flavor, the slider is on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, weighing 14 grams less than the Mach.

Galaxy Stratosphere 2

The juicer is a tad beefier, at 1,800 mAh, but sadly, the Super AMOLED panel is equally as mediocre. The dual-core 1.2 GHz SoC too. Bottom line, the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere 2 is obviously not an ideal choice for productivity fanatics.

5. Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G

Though its two months older than the second-gen Stratosphere, the S Relay 4G is superior to its Verizon counterpart primarily in the aesthetics department. Less pronounced curves equals more elegance, not to mention the Relay is slightly slimmer while retaining the 1,800 mAh ticker.

Galaxy S Relay 4G

Hardware-wise, the T-Mo-restricted S Relay resembles the Stratosphere 2 greatly, but ups the processing power ante with a 1.5 GHz CPU. On-board software? Android 4.1 Jelly Bean starting April 2013. Price? $205 outright on Amazon.

4. Motorola Droid 4

One of the last remaining Mohicans of a lost era, the Droid 4 has aged rather gracefully, but it has aged nevertheless. Almost harder to score than the LG Mach, Moto’s once mighty slider is $220 with Verizon branding but no pacts via Amazon. Oh, and it’s pre-owned.

Worth the dough? Refurb products are always a gamble, two year-olds especially, yet the Droid still has a few things going for it. Like a decent 4-inch 960 x 540 pixels resolution touchscreen, 16 GB built-in storage, 8 MP rear-facing camera with image stabilization, 1 GB RAM, microSD support and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Motorola Droid 4

Downsides? For one thing, the dual-core TI OMAP 4430 is ancient and laggy. Also, the 1,785 mAh battery is pretty tiny, plus non-removable. Finally, have you ever carried around a brick in your trouser pocket? You will if you buy the Droid 4, as it weighs a staggering 179 grams.

3. LG Optimus F3Q

The youngest of the bunch, released but a few weeks ago on T-Mobile, the F3Q looks like a violent blast from the past design-wise, with a funky turquoise blue physical keyboard and an even swankier textured rear cover.

I personally think the blue-black color combo is a bit too much, but hey, kids may dig it, and in the long haul, it could help QWERTY phones become hip again. Available for $0 upfront and $312 full retail price, the device is hardly a powerhouse, with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 running the hardware show, aided by 1 GB RAM.

LG-Optimus-F3Q

The 4 GB on-board storage is cringe worthy, as is the 14 mm waist, yet software upgrades beyond 4.1 Jelly Bean could be on the horizon, and that should count for something. Also, it packs a gargantuan 2,460 mAh battery, capable of holding a single charge for up to 16 hours of talk time and 16 days (!!!) of standby time.

2. LG Enact

Yes, I realize the Enact and Optimus F3Q are in many ways virtually identical. From the design language to the CPU, RAM and battery life. Yet I like to think of Verizon’s Enact as F3Q’s classier brother. Sure, the Big Red fellow is chubby as hell (15.8 mm thickness, 170 grams weight), however it replaces the tacky blue keyboard with a black-and-silver one.

LG-Enact-Verizon

And the rear looks better too, in my humble opinion. Also on 4.1 Jelly Bean and likely to be upgraded before long, the Enact doubles down on storage, and costs a penny with contracts, as well as $400 without a service plan.

1. Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

Not sure whether we should laugh or cry seeing a mid-2012 phone top a 2014 list. But that’s how behind the market is for QWERTY aficionados. And mind you, the Photon Q was hardly a high-ender when it first saw daylight, back in July 2012.

Up for grabs for free with 24-month Sprint agreements, the big guy weighs in at a massive 170 grams, however it offers the most generous screen real estate of all seven QWERTY world champion title candidates: 4.3 inches.

Motorola-Photon-Q-4G-LTE

The resolution is decent, 960 x 540, there’s scratch-resistant glass on top of it, a dual-core 1.5 GHz chip beneath the hood, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB storage, 8 MP primary camera with LED flash, 4G LTE and microSD support. Compared with, say, the Galaxy S5, it’s a featherweight, but like I said, it’s all we got.

At least until the Motorola Droid 5 goes official, if it’s ever to go official. Any thoughts? Maybe some other contenders we unintentionally snubbed? Anyone else out there rooting for a QWERTY revival? Sound off below.

ProductBrandNamePrice
BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.96(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)

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Best refurbished Android smartphones available today

Not everyone can afford the newest, hottest, speediest gadgets on offer today. Especially when manufacturers put so much pressure on the everyday consumer to upgrade yearly, sometimes even more than once within 12 months.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MotorolaMotorola MOTO X 2nd GEN XT1096 16GB Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone - Black (Certified Refurbished)Check Price on Amazon
HuaweiHUAWEI Ascend Mate2 16GB Factory Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Android Smartphone w/ 13MP CameraCheck Price on Amazon
MotorolaMotorola Moto G (XT1028) - Android Smartphone - Verizon No-Contract (Certified Refurbished)Check Price on Amazon
SamsungSamsung Note 2 I317 16GB Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Smartphone w/ 8MP CameraCheck Price on Amazon
MotorolaMotorola Droid Turbo - 32GB Android SmartphoneCheck Price on Amazon

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Updated May 2017 – FYI info below may be outdated… table above was updated May 2017

verizon-refurbished-phone-box

We say it’s okay to own yesteryear’s Android flagships, and going refurbished is often a wise choice if you can’t or won’t spend north of $600, $700, even $800 on the “next big thing.” No, on-contract phones aren’t an option, and if you feel this inherent reluctance towards pre-owned gear, that’s because you don’t know their full story.

What does refurbished mean?

First of all, it doesn’t mean broken, damaged, defective or cosmetically impaired. A refurb product should show limited or no wear, and while it’s been in the hands of at least another proprietor before you, you can rest assured they didn’t meddle with its internals, dropped it, or harmed it in any significant way.

phone repair

If something like that did happen, it’s actually the best possible news, as the OEM then probably replaced components affected by the injuries. In a nutshell, we’re talking devices that look, feel and function “like-new” here, returned to the seller for one of a number of reasons, and professionally restored to fully working, mint condition.

Most retailers also offer warranties and advantageous return terms, so if you’re not getting what’s advertised, there’s nothing to lose, only to gain. One final note. Just because someone “tested” a phone, and decided to ask their money back, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with the gizmo. Maybe the buyer had unrealistic expectations. Maybe he ordered it by mistake, realized too late, and thought he’d play with it for a while anyway.

It’s possible the merchant and/or courier mishandled the refurbished item as well, which brings you a nice discount at minimal risks.

Best place to buy used phones

Amazon warehouse boxes

Lesson number one – don’t conduct business on eBay unless you absolutely have to, or the deals are too attractive, and you trust the seller. Brick and mortar stores will rarely seem a good idea, considering their limited inventory in such cases.

Ergo, the best places to buy used cell phones are generally online. And the best sites to buy used phones are chiefly Amazon and Best Buy. Currently, the official Best Buy refurbished phones roster merely includes ten Android models, the most compelling of which you’ll find a $265 HTC One M8 and $330 Samsung Galaxy S5 to be.

A $329 Samsung Galaxy Note 3, $249 Galaxy S4 and $90 Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD are other semi-appealing Best Buy used phones up for grabs at the time of this writing.

Best refurbished smartphones on Amazon

Moto X second gen

Ah, the Mecca of all things mobile, all things cheap, all things electronics. And of course, the home of the best refurbished cell phones stateside. Look for the portal’s “certified refurbished” section first and foremost, choose the “cell phones” category, and make sure you’re always covered by a standard 90-day warranty.

One of the best refurbished phones you should probably think about scoring this holiday season, for yourself or a loved one, is the $230 second-gen Motorola Moto X. The 5.2 incher works on Verizon, plus competing GSM carriers, and in brand new, untouched form, it costs 300 bucks.

Galaxy Note 4

What do you reckon a rehabilitated Sony Xperia Z3v with 32 GB internal storage space and unlocked GSM support is worth? If you guessed $340, you are correct, and the prize is, well, a $340 Full HD, water-resistant and Snapdragon 801-packing Z3v.

Don’t mind spending a little extra on one of the world’s best phablets, and the second best S Pen-capable product to this day? Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can be yours, in exchange for $430, in black or white, accompanied by your typical 3-month quality guarantee, with a beautiful 5.7-inch Quad HD display in tow, octa-core Exynos 5433 SoC, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, 3,220 mAh battery, 16 MP rear camera, Android 5.0 software goodies, fingerprint sensor, and faux leather backplate.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a certified refurbished no-contract Verizon Moto G is only $40, an LG Lucid 3 goes for $95, the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 costs $210, and an oldie but goldie Samsung Galaxy Note 2 still commands a pre-owned price of $250.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the Verizon unlocked Motorola Droid Turbo, at least in passing, with the 2014 battery powerhouse once sold for over $500 off-contract, and now available at just $310 in refurb condition, coated in snazzy blue, orange and purple, and ready to keep the lights on for two whole days between charges, despite sporting a super-sharp 5.2-inch 1,440p Super AMOLED panel.

Droid Turbo

Now that’s what we like to call a must-buy! Quite possibly the best refurbished phone money can buy before, during and after the Thanksgiving – Black Friday – Cyber Monday 2015 festivities.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MotorolaMotorola MOTO X 2nd GEN XT1096 16GB Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone - Black (Certified Refurbished)Check Price on Amazon
HuaweiHUAWEI Ascend Mate2 16GB Factory Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Android Smartphone w/ 13MP CameraCheck Price on Amazon
MotorolaMotorola Moto G (XT1028) - Android Smartphone - Verizon No-Contract (Certified Refurbished)Check Price on Amazon
SamsungSamsung Note 2 I317 16GB Unlocked GSM 4G LTE Quad-Core Smartphone w/ 8MP CameraCheck Price on Amazon
MotorolaMotorola Droid Turbo - 32GB Android SmartphoneCheck Price on Amazon

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Best mobile Bluetooth keyboard accessories for your Android tablet

Let’s be frank, we were all a little wary of tablet PCs when they first emerged as “laptop replacements.” Clearly, they had nothing on traditional computers in terms of power and productivity, merely standing out with compact form factors and, iPads notwithstanding, affordability.

Best Bluetooth Keyboard

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
LogitechLogitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch K811 Keyboard179.5
LogitechLogitech diNovo Edge Keyboard695.98
1byone1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price
OMOTONOMOTON? Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard13.99
EC TECHNOLOGYEC Technology Foldable Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price

Android keyboard

Only even the latter forte didn’t seem enough to make a stand against equally as cheap netbooks. Somehow, tabs took off nonetheless, bringing the demise of mini-notebooks and, for a few years, enjoying a swift popularity rise.

Now, the market is in a bit of a slump as conventional PCs show signs of resurgence, so it’s innovate or throw in the towel for OEMs like Samsung, LG, Asus, Lenovo, Amazon, Microsoft and even Apple. The struggling industry segment’s saving grace could well be keyboard accessories, given there’s virtually no way to further cut prices.

SONY DSC

With phablets on the upswing, tablets can keep matching wits with jumbo-sized smartphones… and lose, or narrow the productivity gap separating them of laptops and desktops… and hope for the best. Here are some of your top universal keyboard accessory choices available on Amazon, as well as a few notebook-transforming contraptions designed specifically for the most popular Android tabs out and about:

EC Technology backlit Bluetooth keyboard – $18.99

Our least expensive recommendation wirelessly connects to any Android tablet or even smartphone known to man, plus iPads (boo!) and Windows slates (no one cares). It’s not fancy, it doesn’t send a very premium vibe, and the keys only offer decent travel and responsiveness, with almost no spaces between them.

EC Technology backlit keyboard

Still, it pulls off the basics of a portable keyboard accessory, it’s 7-color backlit, impressively light (0.37 pounds) yet respectably sturdy, as well as long-lasting, courtesy of an 800 mAh built-in battery.

Hype Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless universal keyboard – $19.99

At just 0.23 inches thin, this baby is the textbook definition of convenience, it’s available in seven different coats of paint and it’s also a lot wider than the EC Technology product, coming really close to your standard 15-inch laptop keyboard.

Hype Ultra-Slim keyboard

Once again, the key quality isn’t ideal and you’ll need 2 AAA batteries to power on the Hype, which is both a disadvantage and a strong point. A strong point because you’ll not have to remember to juice the cell up every month or so.

Anker Ultra Compact Slim Profile Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard – $19.99

Back in the day up for grabs at a whopping 60 bucks, the Anker Ultra Compact is, well, tiny, taking up “two thirds the space of a traditional keyboard.” Again, both a forte and weakness, as cramped space limits functionality.

Anker keyboard

Meanwhile, the 18-month warranty is sure a nice touch, and the rechargeable 800 mAh lithium battery promises up to 6-month autonomy based on 2 hours of daily use. Not too shabby… for 20 clams.

AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard – $31.90

AmazonBasics keyboard

Big, clean, straightforward, quick and quiet, the all-black AmazonBasics peripheral works with all Android 3.0+ devices, not just Kindle Fires. The 30 foot range is impressive, and the glowing reviews praise the speedy connection, responsiveness, accuracy and convenience of the Bluetooth keyboard. Sounds like a must-buy, unless you can afford one of the following.

EC Technology Portable Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard Ultra-slim Mini – $36.99

It’s portable, it’s foldable, ergonomic and versatile, squeezing right into your trouser pocket if you need it to. Of course, it’s congested too, so professional typists should look elsewhere for their business travel requirements.

EC Technology foldable keyboard

What’s truly remarkable about the second EC Technology item on our list is the aircraft-grade aluminum construction, ensuring “superior rigidity” and stellar endurance despite the foldable design.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device K480 – $45.99

In the market for a handsome, vigorous “full-sized” keyboard you can easily pair with your desktop, smartphone and tablet? You can’t go wrong with Logitech’s Windows, Mac, Android and iOS-compatible K480.

Logitech K480

This thing lets you seamlessly switch between three simultaneously connected Bluetooth wireless gadgets, offers a “familiar” layout with all the shortcut keys you’ve grown accustomed to use, and doesn’t require a third-party stand to hold your tab at the perfect angle for typing and reading.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard – $62.99

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

It might feel weird to mate a Redmond concoction with an Android, but one look at this keyboard, and you’ll realize it’s the best in its class. It’s large but not bulky, ergonomic yet not flimsy, lasts up to six months on a single charge and provides a detachable multi-purpose cover/stand. It’s more than a peripheral, it’s a device-changing accessory.

Fire keyboard – $59.99

Fashioned for “seamless integration” with Amazon’s newest Fire HDX 8.9, it also supports the Fire HD 6 and 7 and “other Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets.” But that’s it. No full-scale Android compatibility here.

Fire keyboard

The ample touchpad, 4.8 mm wasp waist, various shortcut keys and 2-month “active use” battery are only some of this keyboard’s strong suits. If you really want to get the most of your Fire HDX 8.9 experience though, you’ll have to purchase the $70 leather origami case too.

Elegant, protective and stunningly versatile, the case and keyboard go together beautifully and transform your standard 8.9-inch tab in something that transcends mobile and desktop boundaries.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab Pro/Note Pro 12.2 – $74.36

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro keyboard case

Yes, it’s costly, even after a substantial discount, but it’s surely worth it if you want to convert one of Sammy’s “professional” 12 inchers into a bona fide hybrid laptop. Rated at 4.5 stars by 72 mostly satisfied customers, the keyboard doubles as a shielding case and works like a charm for flawless on-the-go typing.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – starting at $81

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 keyboard

Possibly the best ever Samsung tablet deserved a matching premium 2-in-1 accessory, and that’s exactly what it got. There’s no trackpad here, so you won’t fool anyone into believing you own an actual notebook. But the keys are exquisitely well-spaced, quick to react, decently robust and the battery lasts for ages.

Logitech Type-S for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – $76.40

Logitech Galaxy Tab S keyboard

Not content with Samsung’s proprietary Tab S 10.5 proposal for some reason? This 2-in-1 case/keyboard from Logitech used to cost $100, and for all the right reasons. It aims to guard your beautiful Super AMOLED gadget from accidental bumps, scratches and spills while offering “laptop-like typing” on a standard keyboard layout with Android shortcuts added in the equation. Tough call, huh?

Nexus 9 keyboard folio – $129.99

Hesitant to spend over a third of the top-notch Google tab’s price on a rudimentary “keyboard folio”? Well, that’s where you’re wrong. The multipurpose accessory is as versatile as these things come, not to mention stylish, light, slim and uber-productive in keyboard mode.

Nexus 9 keyboard

We know, we know, you’d have loved a touchpad, a little room between keys and, above all, a $30 or so price trim. But trust us when we tell you no universal keyboard will ever compliment the N9 as this does.

Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy (2019 update)

If you are looking for a rugged phone you can toss around in the mud and go to battle with in the trenches, then continue below for our top 7 best rugged smartphone available.  But if you don’t crawl around in the mud all day for a living, we would highly suggest the Cat S60 or the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active as the most rugged smartphone for everyday use.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$459.97(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 ET)

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Made by the same company that makes industrial heavy equipment, Caterpillar also has a phone division that makes rugged phones.  Their latest phone, the Cat S60, was released in June of 2016, so it has most of the modern technologies you would look for in a smartphone, and combine it with the rugged protection, this just might be the perfect and best rugged smartphone available today.  It comes with a 3GB RAM, huge 3800mAh battery, 13MP camera, IP68 certified for waterproofing, running Android 6.0.

Galaxy S7 Active should handle most of the daily mishaps you may entercounter.  It is built with shatter-resistant screen, rated the highest possible IP68 for water and dust protection, and comes with a huge 4,000 mAh battery to get you through the day.

You know how smartphone manufacturers always like to flaunt the way their latest, proudest, costliest “high-end products” cater to the needs of “power users” and so justify the outrageous price tags? Well, if you ask me, they got the definition of power user all wrong.

Bruce Willis phone

Bona fide power users don’t care how fast silly cat YouTube clips load on their handhelds. Or if they can smoothly run the newest Angry Birds installment. Instead, they want devices that could survive wars, actual wars, without flinching.

Quad HD displays? How about unbreakable glass with just enough pixels to check the football scores? “True” octa-core chips? Save it, and give us a gizmo we can bounce off 4 inches thick concrete walls. PureView 41 MP cameras? No thanks, but a battery capable of lasting more than a couple of days on a single charge would be nice when stranded on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere.

Bottom line, we want phones that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would use in “Terminator 5” and “Rambo: Last Stand”, not toys for Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner to express their feelings for Kristen Stewart in “Twilight”. Luckily, a few such rough, tough, rugged models are around, and we picked seven we think might make even Machete reconsider his stance on texting.

rugged phone

Before getting to it, we’d like to underline the “magnificent seven” was selected based on a number of criteria. Of course, the exact grade of toughness carried the most weight (sorry, Galaxy S5), but we also looked for hardware specifications from this century, relatively new software, quality-price ratio (not even Rambo’s budget is unlimited), decent design (you can’t walk around with a brick in your pocket), and finally reliable, more or less well-known mobile brands. Here we go:

7. Runbo X6

Not only does this ruggedized beast’s name have an awesome ring to it (Runbo, Rambo, get it?), but it’s also water protected for dunks of up to 30 minutes in 2 meters deep rivers, lakes, whatever. And reportedly, impossible to break unless, I don’t know, a sniper has it out for you. Plus, get this, it doubles as a walkie talkie with a 5 km range. Why would you ever need a walkie talkie? Beats me, but it sounds oh so kewl.

Runbo X5

Any downsides to the Runbo X6? You bet. For one thing, it comes from a no-name Chinese OEM. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (2011 called…), packs a modest dual-core 1 GHz chip, and the 4.3-inch screen is cringe worthy, with 800 x 480 pixels resolution. On top of it all, it’s a little on the expensive side of things, at $400 via Amazon.

6. CATERPILLAR CAT B15

You’re probably all familiar with IP58 and IP67 certifications since the Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 brought them to the mainstream, but the rugged CAT B15 adds MIL-STD-810G credentials in the mix. What does that mean exactly? Well, this bad boy ain’t just shielded against accidental water immersions, it can also take a beating, as well as handle solar radiation, thermal shock, humidity, vibration, you name it.

CAT B15

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it will take a bullet for you, but you can use it in the desert, at the North Pole, when it rains, you can punch it (though why would you?), drop it whenever wherever. Price? A measly $370. On-board software? Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Hardware specs? That’s its Achilles’ heel, as it sports a 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res panel, dual-core 1 GHz SoC and 512 MB RAM.

5. NEC Terrain

Yes, the design is a violent blast from the past. I mean, I was under the impression candybars were outlawed in certain parts of the world years ago. Jokes aside, the Terrain is sure ugly, but it has one very important thing going for it. It’s cheap. $79.99 outright through Amazon, or $100 with AT&T contracts.

NEC Terrain

It’s also dust tight, water proof, plus MIL-STD-810G certified, just like the B15. Bottom line, if you’re on an (extremely) tight budget, this is your guy. Just maybe don’t ask a lot of questions about screen resolution, pre-loaded software, or cameras.

4. Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro

Looky here, an MIL-STD-810G-approved rugged handheld from the world’s most popular mobile phone maker. And affordable too, at least with AT&T pacts: $20. Off-contract, it’s a preposterous $450, albeit you can find refurb or used units at less than half the price.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

Aside from resisting shocks, water and so on and so forth, the Rugby Pro offers 4G LTE connectivity (nice), a punchy dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 chip, and 1 GB RAM. Too bad it’s still on Ice Cream Sandwich.

3. Kyocera Hydro XTRM

This little survivor resembles the Galaxy Rugby Pro greatly, pretty much withstanding the same “pressures” with similar grace and supporting 4G LTE. But it’s so much cheaper, at $50 (yes, fifty bucks) free of contract restrictions via MetroPCS. Plus, it’s on Jelly Bean.

Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Drawbacks? Technically, it can endure shorter, more “casual” swims than some of its rivals, including the #2 on our rankings. It’s also extra prone to cracking if you drop it from higher than, say, your hip. The battery isn’t ideal either, and the 4 GB internal storage almost pitiful.

2. Kyocera Torque

Extreme is Torque’s middle name, yet another gadget that meets military standards for everything from dust to transport shock, high or low temperatures, solar radiation, etc., etc. Where the Torque truly impresses however is in battery life, packing a ginormous 2,500 mAh juicer whose autonomy is way beyond those of Android “flagship” devices. Think 20 hours in continuous talk time, and possibly up to a week in average use.

kyocera-torque

Available with Sprint contracts starting at a penny, the Kyocera Torque is no catwalk supermodel, weighing in at close to 170 grams and being way too curvy for my own personal taste. It’s also stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich. So close to perfection, Kyocera, so damn close.

1. Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE

Did anyone say perfection? Ahem, meet Verizon’s Commando. A striking, robust, muscular, hunky yet also stylish phone, the 4 incher is a near flawless blend of physical strength and high-performing Android-backed hardware.

Since Verizon eliminated the contracts, you would need to buy this phone outright, which is going for $499.99 currently on Amazon.  The LTE-enabled hunk is sheltered against 4-feet drops, 30-minutes 1 m depth water dunks, rain, heavy dust, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, ultra-low pressure, temperatures as high as 85° C and as low as -25°. Bottom line, it’s virtually indestructible.

GzOne-Commando-LTE

Oh, yes, and it features a snappy 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB built-in storage, 8 MP rear-facing camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, so it’s really the best of both worlds.

What say you, action movie aficionados/outdoorsy tech geeks? Is any of the above your ideal war comrade? Have any other suggestions? Would you have maybe ranked our top seven differently? Let your voices be heard.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$459.97(Price as of 02/20/2019 03:31 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.

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

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
SamsungSamsung Galaxy S8419.99

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

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
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
SonySony Xperia XA Ultra299.99
SamsungGalaxy J7 Dual Sim299.97
HTCDesire EYE 4G LTE GSM279.01
SamsungGalaxy J5 SM-J500 GSM189.99

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.