What are the best third-party watch bands for Samsung Gear S3?

The Samsung Gear S3 is one of our favorite smartwatches, and a great alternative to many of the Android Wear watches out there. The Gear S3 supports standard 22mm watch bands, making it really easy to upgrade with something new.

Here are a few of the best third-party watch bands to consider once you pick up your brand new Samsung Gear S3!

ArtStyle nylon strap

Keep things simple, fun, and functional with the ArtStyle watch band made from a sturdy nylon material and a durable metal buckle! The ArtStyle nylon strap is easily adjustable and is hypoallergenic, making it the perfect band to wear if you have sensitive skin. The material is also breathable and waterproof on top of being extremely comfortable to wear day-to-day.

On top of the ArtStyle’s practical design, the watch strap comes in a ton of different, bright colors, including red, blue/yellow, black, black/gray, navy blue, gray, khaki, orange, army green, black/blue, black/green/red, black/gray/blue, black/gray/orange, black/gray/green, black/red.

See at Amazon

Rerii leather band

There’s nothing more simple and stylish than a classic leather watch band, and Rerii nails it with their affordable 22mm leather band that the Samsung Gear S3! Made from a high quality and sturdy yet lightweight and soft leather, the Rerii watch band comes with an easy-to-buckle stainless steel clasp, making it the perfect day-to-day band. Unlike some other watch straps, the Rerii’s design is super simple and void of all logos, so it’s perfect for people who want a classic-looking smartwatch accessory.

The Rerii leather band also comes in a number of vibrant, eye-catching colors, like black, brown, coffee, black with white stitching, brown with white stitching, or coffee with white stitching.

See at Amazon

TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band

The Milanese look has been a staple with traditional watch designs for decades, so incorporating the TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band might be the perfect fit if that’s the particular style you’re after. This 22mm watch band is designed with a mesh, woven, stainless steel wire, and is adjustable for a variety of wrist sizes, so you never have to be uncomfortable while sporting your Samsung Gear S3.

To attach and detach your watch band, all you need to do is release a small spring bar, minimizing annoying tools. The TRUMiRR may not come in a ton of colors, but it does come in a shiny silver or a clean, classic black design.

See at Amazon

Barton silicone band

After garnishing its fair share of positive reviews online and coupled with an easy-release design, vibrant colors, comfortable feel, and much more, the Barton silicone band is a great option to check out while you’re customizing your Samsung Gear S3. The Barton silicone watch band is designed with a textured back, making the slipping and sliding of most smooth silicone bands a thing of the past. The silicone design also makes it a great tool for working out, as you can easily remove and wash it if it starts to look dirty or stink.

To change your watch band, simply turn the band over and flip the switch — no tools are required! You can pick your Barton band from a number of vibrant colors, including black, white, turquoise, forest green, brown, gray, burgundy, yellow, navy blue, orange, peach, dark gray, and baby blue.

See at Amazon

Ritche stainless steel watch band

The Ritche 22mm stainless steel watch band is an affordable, high quality strap that keeps your Samsung Gear S3 looking classic and clean without any clutter or useless accents of other watch bands. Unlike some other straps, the Ritche cannot be adjusted to fit individual wrists with a simple tightening system; rather, users will have to remove the links near the band’s clasps in order to make the stainless steel Samsung Gear S3 accessory smaller.

To remove the Ritche, you will have to use a small tool which comes with the band. The Ritche only comes in one color, silver, but if you’re looking for a watch with a similar style in a different color, then we suggest taking a peek at the Vetoo.

See at Amazon

Your pick?

Is there a third-party watch band that you think would be perfect for the Samsung Gear S3? Drop a link in the comments with a brief description of why you like it so that others can check it out as well!




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The lack of new whizbang user-facing features in O is a sign of Android’s maturity, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see big surprises for non-phone devices.

The big Android story of the week was Android O. Based on what we know about O so far, it would appear to be one of those Android releases, like KitKat or Marshmallow that tunes things up, adds under-the-hood enhancements and builds on already solid foundations.

There are important features for developers, like background app limits, which could significantly improve Android battery life. And new things for users, like native app badge support (finally!) and notification channels. But on the whole, normal Android owners could be forgiven for not really caring about O just yet. That’s understandable. Few phones will get the update this year, if the OS’s track record is any indicator.

Instead, Android O is what you’ll see for the first time next year on your Galaxy S9 or LG G7 or Huawei P11.

The fact that we’re not seeing any huge, sweeping user-facing changes since Nougat speaks to a couple of things. First, Android is a mature, stable OS, and Google isn’t tearing anything down and rebuilding it just for the sake of novelty. Despite ongoing issues moving the billion-plus ecosystem off older OS versions, Android is working pretty well. Even longstanding security weaknesses are starting to be addressed.

That’s not to say Android is going to stand still. O is still a very important release for developers, which is why they’re getting an early look at what’s coming. Eventually it’ll be time to shake things up — with a big new release more akin to the changes of ICS or Lollipop, but that time hasn’t yet arrived.

Read this excellent Jerrytorial to learn how Google might significantly change things up Android P and beyond, with the new Fuschia kernel.

The O Preview is important for developers, with more user-facing features likely to break cover at I/O.

It’s also worth pointing out that what we have in this very first developer preview isn’t anything close to a final, stable build. Dave Burke himself says in this blog post that new features are coming, and the likely venue for that is Google I/O this May.

Tablets are going to be a big piece of the puzzle. Google has struggled with tablets and convertibles, a category which fits between two current areas of strength — smartphones and Chromebooks. This is the weird, hard-to-define space that the rumored Andromeda OS, a new thing combining parts of Android and Chrome, may live. As the Pixel C heads towards unsupported status for new OS updates (in November 2017), Google essentially has to release a new tablet this year. It’s going to be very interesting to see what form that takes, and I suspect the parts of Android O that we haven’t yet seen could form a major part of that.

Aside from all that, the smartphone side of things will continue to tick along, in a year when phone hardware finally becomes interesting again. If recent Galaxy S8 leaks are any indicator, this next round of flagships will look and feel more futuristic than ever — an advance in smartphone design that comes along only once every few years.

So even if Android O isn’t the most exciting release ever for phones, there’s still plenty to look forward to.

Other odds and ends for a working Sunday:




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

What are the best Chrome extensions I should be using?

Update 24 March 2017: We’ve refreshed this list to ensure you’re kept up to the latest when it comes to the best Chrome extensions you should be using.

The amount of time most people spend browsing the internet continues to rise each year, and Google’s Chrome browser attempts to be the most comfortable and versatile browser out there. To aid in its quest, Google allows for developers to market small software extensions that modify and (in most cases) ameliorate your browsing experience. Here are 10 Chrome extensions you didn’t know about but should be using.

Dark Reader

Chrome’s natural white background can become tiresome after a few hours of viewing — Dark Reader has the answer. It changes blinding, bright pages into high-contrast, dark-themed pages that are easy on the eyes. You can adjust the filters and font settings and add certain webpages to an ignore list in the case of complete incompatibility.

See at Chrome Web Store

TL;DR

TL;DR is the answer to articles on the internet that are too long to read. Highlight article text, click the TL;DR button located next to your address bar, and read a well-constructed summary of the article. You can adjust the length of the summary depending on how much time you have or how involved you want to get. It does a good job of condensing the article without cutting out important bits of information.

See at Chrome Web Store

Keepa

Keepa gives you some pretty in-depth information about Amazon products and prices, and lets you set price-drop alerts to keep you in the know. Check price history charts for all iterations of a product (including different colors and sizes), and compare Amazon prices from all over the world. You can even import your Amazon wishlist and assign alerts for when specific items drop below a certain price. Go to Amazon and hover over any item while Keepa is running; a graph will pop up with extended information. Never get ripped off again!

See at Chrome Web Store

Web Timer

Web Timer is a double-edged sword. You’re getting data that helps you better manage your time, but said data can be depressing. You’ll find yourself asking questions, like, “Did I really spend four hours on Reddit yesterday?” You can add sites to a white-list so that time spent is not recorded, and you can change time measurement parameters from “Today”, to “Average”, to “Lifetime.” Take Web Timer for a spin — you won’t be disappointed (or you will, but only in yourself)!

See at Chrome Web Store

PanicButton

This app is ideal for the classic situation where you’re slacking off at work and your boss happens to walk by. Before you have a chance to yell “Lunch break,” he or she sees Facebook, Reddit, and whatever else you have open in Chrome. PanicButton provides you with a single button or single keyboard key (default F4) that scoops all open tabs into a hidden bookmarks folder that can be restored at a later time. You won’t always need PanicButton, but when you do need it you’ll be glad it’s installed.

See at Chrome Web Store

Ghostery

Want to block advertising companies from creating a profile around your browsing tendencies? Want to load webpages faster than ever before? Want to have more overall privacy on the internet? Ghostery lets you choose what trackers to block on a website-to-website basis. The first time you turn Ghostery on in Chrome, you’ll be amazed at how many trackers are watching your moves. Trackers stay blocked across webpages, so you’ll deal with increasingly less trackers the more you browse.

See at Chrome Web Store

Feedly Mini

This extension provides you with an easy way to see your RSS feeds now that Google got rid of Google Reader. If you have the Feedly app on your Android phone, you can add websites from your computer while you’re navigating the web. A small button sits at the bottom right side of your browser — click it and choose from several options including Facebook sharing and page tagging.

See at Chrome Web Store

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS essentially creates authentication between you and the web server hosting the specific webpage. This helps reduce the chance of someone hijacking the information sent between you and the web server. This extension creates HTTPS authentication wherever you go, and it is a must have if you’re worried about surveillance, censorship, or identification theft.

See at Chrome Web Store

The Great Suspender

Everyone who uses Chrome knows about the enormous footprint it leaves on your memory. If you’re an hour or two into an internet trail and have about fifty tabs open, you’ll be happy to have The Great Suspender in your corner. It will auto-suspend tabs after a set time, and you can manually suspend tabs whenever you want. You can also place certain tabs on a whitelist (say the tab playing your YouTube video), and tabs can be opened even after closing and re-opening Chrome.

See at Chrome Web Store

Extensity

You’re going to need an organizer for all the Chrome extensions you have working for you. Extensity collects all extensions and places them in one button beside your address bar; enable and disable extensions with one click and create profiles for separate preferences. Extensity keeps your browser toolbar uncluttered and gives you mastery over your browsing experience.

See at Chrome Web Store

Pushbullet

Receiving notifications from your Android phone right in Chrome is a great way to not miss an important text or call. Pushbullet also allows you to send SMS messages from your phone and send messages through apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik. When you receive and acknowledge a notification in Chrome, the notification will be dismissed from your phone — alerts will no longer pile up while you’re busy working away at your computer.

See at Chrome Web Store

LastPass

Having multiple, complex passwords is becoming ever more important, but keeping track of them all can be a pain. The LastPass extension brings everything you love about the password manager to Chrome — generate strong passwords, save all passwords, and even store credit card information for easy checkout. LastPass autofills password fields, so you’ll only have to remember one master password that unlocks your vault. This is a free extension, but a premium version can be unlocked that features full syncing across all devices.

See at Chrome Web Store

uBlock Origin

Choosing an extension that blocks ads doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. uBlock Origin is an open-source extension that aggressively blocks ads while using less memory than the other big ad-blocking services. If you want to go one step further, there are thousands of filters that can be applied to uBlock Origin, including tracking blockers and malware domain blockers.

See at Chrome Web Store

Honey

There are plenty of deals available when you shop online — the only problem is that they’re sometimes hard to find. Honey is a neat extension that finds coupon codes for you. When you’re at a checkout screen, just click the Honey button and the best coupon code available will be automatically applied. Honey will also show a list of coupon codes that recently worked with whatever site you’re currently on.

See at Chrome Web Store

Magic Actions for YouTube

Magic Actions is an extension designed for a better YouTube experience. Set all videos to start in HD, enable cinema mode for a darkened screen, hide those annoying video annotations, and block ads. For anyone who watches a lot of YouTube — who doesn’t? — this is an incredibly useful extension.

See at Chrome Web Store

OneTab

The amount of tabs that get opened in Chrome can be downright alarming, and sometimes closing a bunch of them just isn’t an option. OneTab lets you click a button and have all your open tabs merge into one mega-tab that presents itself as a list.

When you need to access one of the tabs, just click its name from the list. You can also restore all of them at once to get back to working on your project.

See at Chrome Web Store

Cite This For Me

Writing academic papers is a lot of work, especially when it comes time to properly cite your sources. Since so much information now comes from the internet, a Chrome extension was created to automatically cite websites in either APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago styles.

All you have to do is visit the page, click the Cite button, and copy the citation. There is also an online bibliography where you can add a bunch of citations and worry about sorting them out later.

See at Chrome Web Store

Lazarus

If you’ve ever been filling in a form online and something happens where you lose your work — a power outage or an internet error — you understand the crippling anger that occurs when you realize it’s gone forever.

Lazarus is here to save the day. It takes the words you type and saves them so that they can be restored with a simple click. Worried about privacy? Your keystrokes are saved on your device and are encrypted to protect from snooping.

See at Chrome Web Store

Taco

Working on the internet usually means you’re employing a ton of different services, like Trello, Gmail, RSS, and Evernote. With Taco, all of these services and more can be organized in Chrome’s New Tab page.

You can drag and drop tasks from a wide variety of services, letting you prioritize and hide content you’re not currently working. Grab this extension if you prefer having everything in one place.

See at Chrome Web Store

Darkness – Beautiful Dark Themes

Whereas some other dark-filter extensions for Chrome give you one option, Darkness has a few themes built around some of the most popular websites on the internet.

The free version comes with themes for Facebook and Google; pay $5 for the Pro version and get themes for Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Gmail, and more. If you want more than just a dark screen, you’ll love Darkness.

See at Chrome Web Store

StayFocused

For some people, especially students, staying on task to get everything on your to-do list done is easier said than done. When you have assignments due, or deadlines to hit, being able to focus on the task at hand is key.

StayFocused keeps you on track by not allowing you to visit certain websites for an allotted amount of time. You set up the sites that are blocked, decide when you can browse freely, and adjust what sites you are free to distract yourself with. There are plenty of settings to play with in order to limit the amount of distraction you deal with while trying to get work done on your laptop.

See at Chrome Web Store

Grammarly for Chrome

Being able to quickly and easily check the spelling and grammar of a document really can’t be overstated. Whether you want to be sure that you don’t embarrass yourself in an email to your Supervisor, or in an essay you write for English 121, have a spelling and grammar checker can be handy.

While Grammarly definitely isn’t perfect, and may miss some problems, overall it’s a great way to ensure your work and communications look polished before hitting that send button.

See at Chrome Web Store

Your favorite extension?

Hit the comments section and let us know what Chrome extensions you use most.




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

This week, Daniel, Jerry and Russell are joined by Eric Richardson, an Android developer at WillowTree, to talk about Android O.

Android O is still very early — we don’t even know its final name yet — but we do know that there are going to be a lot of important under-the-hood improvements that will make experiences better on phones, tablet and even Chromebooks!

Join us for a deep dive into everything we currently know about Android O!

Podcast MP3 URL: 
http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral329.mp3




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

It is impossible to go seven or more days without some messaging news from Google.

Google seems to understand that it needs to pare its messenger story down to a few apps that cover everyone’s needs (so it’s easier for people to ignore them all and use WhatsApp anyway). And, to some extent, that’s what is happening, but everything feels so chaotic and is changing before replacements are ready.

It just feels like Google has gone off the deep end.

Some people use the word confusing to describe Google’s strategy here, but no matter what words are used it all still feels rushed — something you would expect from amateurs instead of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. It just feels like Google has gone off the deep end.

I’m going to take responsibility for what every blogger or journalist has done wrong here because some of the confusion is our fault. It’s easy (and fun) to write about seemingly random changes and follow with a jab at Google for doing them. But if you break things down you can guess at Google’s strategy.

  • Hangouts is now a proper enterprise tool. Or at least it will be. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat sound like, together, a potential Slack replacement for every company that uses Google Docs. Seeing what it will (hopefully) be capable of, I imagine Mobile Nations is going to give it a spin because we are a Google Docs shop.
  • Google Talk is dead. It needed to die so the places it lives can be used for Hangouts Chat. Nobody uses the Google Talk app on their phone or tablet, and while having it tied to Gmail is great, having Hangouts Chat there is better for the people who live in Gmail all day. They are the people who will use Hangouts Chat to talk to their demanding boss from Toronto (Ed note: Damnit, Jerry). Or something.
  • Allo is Google’s app for people who don’t want to use SMS. And that is a lot of people. I had hoped Google would use Allo and Duo to provide an iMessage-like experience, but instead, it’s the Mountain View version of WhatsApp. It’s also a really good app, but nobody wants to use it because WhatsApp has a gazillion more users. Had Google worked things out and brought Allo to us before WhatsApp exploded, things may be different.

  • Duo is Google’s video calling app. It’s a really nice app with a fatal flaw: you can’t set up a group call. A lot of work went into making things easy and delivering the best video feed possible for every level of bandwidth, but Hangouts used to let 15 people get together and look at each other. We are not likely to forget that and will complain instead of using Duo, or at least complain while using it. I know I will. Especially when I use Hangouts Meet for work stuff and can’t use it for anything else unless I get a Google Apps account or am invited to a Hangout by someone with a Gapps account. WTF, Google?
  • Android Messages is one thing Google is doing right. Too bad it depends on your carrier to also do it right, and that will take forever and an act of God because your carrier wants your friends to switch to it rather than make its features available to users on another provider. I wish Google was working on some way for people using Android Messages to have a great IM experience with each other without using SMS to do it. But, technically, they have Allo for that.
  • Google Voice has been improved so it’s a nicer experience for when you want to send texts from your tablet or use the same number on more than one phone. Unless you use Project Fi. Then you’re screwed. Also, why is there no screw emoji? They have “ear of Maize” so it will have to do. 🌽
  • Supersonic exists to give us one more thing to wonder about and for Russell Holly to talk to himself and the Supersonic help chat bot.

Now for the big question: How the hell do you make all these changes without pissing everyone off and confusing the hell out of a person who just bought their first Android phone and wants a replacement for iMessage?

This stuff is hard, and the way Google is doing it makes it seem even harder.

You don’t. That means you probably should be changing everything all at once.

I won’t pretend that I would be a good businessman. I have a hard time deciding what side to get with my steak or what socks to wear. I imagine some really smart people in expensive suits sitting at a giant mahogany table using slides and big words to make these decisions, but then I see them in action and realize it could just as easily be a bunch of folks who tumbled out of a clown car. I have no idea what Google is thinking, and it’s kind of hard to assume they have a comprehensive plan.

Google I/O is coming. It would be a great time for someone to explain something. If they do, we’ll tell you all about it. And if they don’t we’ll keep scratching our heads and guessing at what they have planned.




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Everyone wants the biggest, best, brightest phone to show off in front of their friends (and enemies). Usually, that means the biggest price tag. Enter the Moto G5 Plus, a great smartphone under $300 that performs amazingly well (even if it doesn’t look all that great).

I’m Michael Fisher, AKA MrMobile, and I have sometimes found myself reviewing phones twice the price of this that I like half as much. This Moto G5 Plus review should put your mind at ease if you’re interested in saving money and having a great phone. Watch it and see exactly what I mean.

The Moto G5 Plus is THE phone for the affordability-minded consumer. Check out Android Central’s hands-on with the Moto G5 Plus and all of Android Central’s coverage of the Moto G5 and G5 Plus.

Stay social, my friends




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Best Drones Under $300

25 March 2017

You don’t need to break the bank to buy a fun, reliable drone.

Updated March 25: Added the Holy Stone Predator and updated copy regarding Canada’s new drone regulations.

If you’re looking to buy your first drone, whether for racing or just for the fun of it, searching for the top-rated drones might result in sticker shock. Sure, the DJI Inspire 1 looks AMAZING, but at nearly $3,000, it’s not worth the investment if you’re a novice hobbyist.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll want a drone that’s easy enough to fly to get a handle on everything but also tough enough to survive a crash caused by human error or technical malfunction. Fortunately, there are a number of great drone options out there for under $300. They may include cameras (of lesser-quality, of course) and first-person view (FPV) flying options, as well as bumpers to protect the blades and hardware while you’re still learning the basics. Then, once you’re confident in your skills as a drone pilot, you can decide whether to upgrade to a more expensive, professional drone.

Three of these drones fall below both the FAA requirements for registration which only costs $5 per aircraft and will save you from dealing with fines (or worse) if the authorities catch you flying an unregistered drone. The same three are also light enough to avoid falling under Canada’s new restrictive drone laws, so you’ll be able to fly them in your local park without setting yourself up to be fined.

Aukey Black Sparrow

The Aukey Black Sparrow offers a great value for anyone looking to take control of a full-sized drone for under $100. Some assembly is required out of the box, as you’ll need to install the landing gear and blade guards with the included screwdriver. You’ll also need to charge the built-in battery for a few hours before it’s ready to fly.

Once it is, you’ll get an average of 10 minutes of flight time. The included 2.4 Ghz controller all plastic, but capable with switches for calibrating the drone and switching to headless mode for easier controls. It allows for over 1000 ft of range, and the bright LEDs on the bottom also make night flying an option. You definitely need to take this drone out to a wide open field and fly it far away from buildings, people and powerlines. That’s sound advice for flying any drone, but especially for the Black Sparrow — due to its combined power and lightweight, you don’t want to lose control of it and cause damage or injury. The on-board 6-axis gyro helps to keep the drone stable in flight — a must-have feature for novice flyers — but can be difficult to control in windy conditions.

While the Black Sparrow doesn’t come with a camera, you’ll notice a video port and threads for mounting a camera attachment in the bottom. A camera accessory is not currently available, but is featured in the user manual as an optional upgrade.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 21.3″ x 21.3″ x 6″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Microdrone 3.0

The MicroDrone 3.0 raised over $3 million on IndieGoGo and, like the name suggests, is the smallest drone on this list, but don’t let its small size fool you. This is a fully-capable drone with a ton of features jam-packed into a small, minimalist package.

Included in the full set combo, now available from Amazon, you get the drone, a 2.4 GHz handset, propeller guards, four replacement blades, four blades for inverted flying, the Wi-Fi Camera module, a smartphone holder that attaches to the handset, as well as a VR headset that holds most smartphones for FPV flying. Basically, it’s everything you need to get started.

It’s a capable flyer with three control modes (slow, fast, and insane), as well as a toggle switch for stunt mode, which lets you perform impressive flips and rolls. The camera literally snaps on in a second thanks to proprietary magnets that also deliver power to the camera. Connect your phone to the camera’s Wi-Fi and control and record video through the Microdrone app.

Note that the folks behind the Microdrone are still working to fulfill their crowdfunding backers first, so you’ll probably end up having to wait some time before it arrives.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5.7″ x 5.7″ x 1.9″
  • Weight: .12 lbs (56 g) without camera, .16 lbs (71 g) with camera
  • Camera: Yes — removable, shoots 720 x 1080 HD at 30 FPS
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes (without camera)
  • FAA registration required?: No

Syma X8G

This is another great option for beginners. It flies well right out of the box with a gradual learning curve and a build that’s reportedly strong enough to survive multiple crashes into trees. It’s also the biggest drone on the list and comes with the best camera with the ability to swap in a GoPro.

You’ll get up to eight minutes of flight time on a full battery charge, but you’ll want to invest in multiple batteries because it takes up to 3 hours to charge the 2000mAh battery, which is by far the biggest drawback for this drone. Otherwise, given the build, size, and price, this is a fantastic option for a novice drone pilot or someone looking to get sweet aerial shots on the cheap.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 19.7″ x 19.7″ x 7.5″
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs
  • Camera: Yes — removable, 8 MP, 120p and 1080p video quality. Also compatible with GoPro cameras
  • Average flight time: 5-8 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Walkera Runner 250

If you’re interested in the emerging world of drone racing, this would be the drone to start with — but it’s not recommended for beginners. Made from lightweight carbon fiber, it’s built to take a licking and keep on ticking. It doesn’t look as pretty as the other drones on this list, but again, this one is built for speed over style and sure delivers on that front.

The Runner 250 is capable of going extremely fast — up to 24 miles per hour — while still offering good control with up to 1000 meters of range. Flying at those speeds, you’ll want to make sure the battery is well secured, as it’s been reported to come loose and cut power to the camera after major crashes. Everything comes assembled in the box, along with a tool set for making repairs as needed. Happy racing!

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 18.5″ x 11.3″ x 5.2″
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Camera: Yes (800TVL built-in)
  • Average flight time: 12-15 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

Parrot is a trusted name in drones, and the AR 2.0 is a fantastic entry point for someone interested in the hobby.

Unlike other drones on this list, this one is controlled strictly via a Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone; no handset is included. Simply download the Parrot control app to your phone and you’re able to control and record video in 720p. There’s also an optional Director Mode available for purchase within the app that allows you to set up cinematic shots if you fancy yourself an amateur filmmaker. There’s even a USB plug in the base of the drone so you can record video straight to a removable drive.

The built-in sensors and navigation system allow the AR 2.0 to maintain stability, even in winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour, so you shouldn’t lose control of your drone on a windy day. Even if you do, simply attach the foam blade protectors to help take the brunt of any crashes. Oh, and the Elite Edition means it comes styled in your choice of camo: jungle, desert, or snow.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 23″ x 23″ x 5″
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Camera: Yes — 720p HD video
  • Average flight time: 11 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: Yes

LaTrax Alias Quadcopter

This one is a fine option for beginners and experts alike. Built with a solid, molded composite frame, this thing is both rugged and extremely lightweight.

Including a 2.4 GHz handset for controls, this thing is built for speed and stunting. There’s no camera or options, so if that’s an important feature for you, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It does come with multiple flying modes, from easy mode that keeps the speed in check, to a full manual mode that puts you in full control of stabilization and everything.

While the LaTrax Alias lacks features found in other options on this list, the build design and price make this a great option for someone looking for something fast, cheap, and fun to fly.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 12″ x 1.6″
  • Weight: .22 lbs (100g)
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 10 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: No

Holy Stone Predator

If you’re brand-spanking new to drones and need a cheap drone to practice that avoids FAA registration or Canada’s new drone laws, the Holy Stone Predator is a great option. It comes with its own controller that simple enough for beginners to pick up and fly, and is capable of pulling off stunts and withstanding light winds for outdoor flights. But the real bonus here is the size. It’s small enough to allow for practice indoors if you’ve got the space. A fully-charged battery supplies six minutes of flight time; with replacement batteries really cheap and easy to swap in and out, this is a cheap drone with affordable accessories.

See at Amazon

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5.3″ x 1.6″ x 5.3″
  • Weight: 1.42 ounces (42g)
  • Camera: No
  • Average flight time: 6 minutes
  • FAA registration required?: No

What did we miss?

Are you a drone enthusiast? Got any experience with the drones we’ve listed here? Got a suggestion for one that we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know!




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Juniors and seniors enrolled in Howard University’s computer science program can study for three months at the newly dubbed “Howard West.”

Technology has always had a diversity issue. But rather than relegate to the way things appear to be, some technology companies are instead electing to invest in changing the status quo. Google has been particularly active in its initiatives. The company announced that it’s partnered with Howard University to launch a school branch on its Mountain View campus, dubbed “Howard West.”

Students who are chosen for the program will have a chance to learn from Google’s own engineers and technologists for three months. They’ll receive a stipend to help cover housing and other expenses they might incur living in the statistically pricey Silicon Valley. Students will also earn school credit towards their degree.

“Howard West is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more black software engineers from historically black colleges and universities,” writes Bonita Stewart, Google’s VP of global partnerships. She continues:

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to create a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one.

The program begins this summer. Google plans to eventually expand the program to other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country.




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The social network finally gives in to what the people really want.

The GIF is alive and well, folks, and it appears Facebook has finally caught on to its ubiquity. The social network is officially exploring its relationship with these animated images. It will soon begin testing the ability to add GIFs to comments in your feed.

In an email to TechCrunch, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the addition of animated GIFs:

Everyone loves a good GIF and we know that people want to be able to use them in comments. So we’re about to start testing the ability to add GIFs to comments and we’ll share more when we can, but for now we repeat that this is just a test.

Those of you with poor internet connections or slower computers, you don’t have to worry too much. Facebook won’t allow embedded GIFs in the main feel; they’ll be ostensibly limited to use as reactions to main posts. The company wants to avoid the images become distractive, or disruptive to the main news feed.

But at the same time, the ability to comment on posts with an animated GIF should have been implemented a while ago. Most mainstream messaging apps and services already support animated GIFs, and I bet you can’t go a few hours without someone dropping in an animated Imgur link. The GIF has no plans of leaving the internet anytime soon.




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Unread badges have always been a controversial piece of the home screen experience.

Some people can’t live or work without knowing how many hundreds of emails they are away from Inbox Zero. Some people just like having the badge to remind them of notifications and messages they may have ignored. Some people just can’t stand the look of ‘em. Whatever camp you may be in, there’s a new kind of unread badge to try in the latest Nova Launcher beta update: Dynamic Badges.

In the notification badges section of Nova Launcher, you can now choose between Dynamic Badges, which will give little icons based on the notification it’s pulling the badges from for each app, or old-fashioned Numeric Badges.

If you choose the Dynamic Badges, your options are blessedly simple: what corner do you want them in and what size would you prefer for them. It may take restarting Nova Launcher for the badges to start populating on your home screen, but once they begin populating, you’ll see little badges in the corners of your apps and folders when you have notifications.

If the dynamic notification is on an app in a folder, rather than showing that app’s dynamic notification in the folder icon, it’ll show a tiny version of the app’s icon instead. Dynamic badges are based on notifications, and pull images from the notifications, meaning you’ll see album art if you’re playing music or a person’s face if they pester you on Slack.

They’re early, but it’s going to be an interesting experiment. This is also the first time Nova Launcher has offered notification badges without making you download a plugin for it.

If you’re interested in trying Dynamic Notifications, you can opt into the Nova Launcher beta over on Google+.

The best Android launchers for theming




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |