The Essential Phone now has a more palatable starting price.

The Essential Phone didn’t have an easy go of things in its first few weeks on the market. Lauded for its incredible industrial design, the phone’s software was barebones to a fault and its camera was criticized for its slow speed, poor low-light performance, and lack of features.

Now months later, Essential’s marketing department peep-quiet, the phone has received numerous updates, many of which have improved the overall software experience while adding much-needed camera usability. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than when we reviewed it in late August.

Starting today, though, it’s going to be easier to justify purchasing Essential’s first hardware product: it’s receiving a $200 price cut to $499 on the company’s website, and existing buyers will get a Friends & Family coupon worth the same amount towards a new Essential Phone or a 360-degree camera add-on. From the company’s blog:

At Essential, one of our driving principles is that premium craftsmanship and the latest technologies shouldn’t be for the few. We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us.

At $499, the phone is considerably more competitive against flagships like the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8. Given that the price drop is only for the unlocked version directly sold from the company’s website, it’s unlikely to cause too much of a stir, but the move is appreciated nonetheless. Sprint, the Essential Phone’s exclusive U.S. carrier, has dropped the price to around $350 when bought on a monthly finance plan, but still sells it for $699 outright. TELUS, Essential’s Canadian carrier partner, sells the phone for free alongside a $95/month plan, but hasn’t budged on the $1050 outright price, either. Relief is expected in the coming days, though.

With Android Oreo on the horizon, does the price drop to $499 make you more interested in the Essential Phone? Let us know in the comments below!

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This isn’t a great sign.

Consternation surrounding the display in the Google Pixel 2 XL is well known at this point, and to be honest most of it has been pretty overblown. But we have something new to talk about now: screen burn-in. It’s something people with OLED screens worry about (to varying degrees) and something people who prefer LCDs like to poke fun about. But one of our Pixel 2 XL review units, in use for about a week, is already seeing some pretty crazy levels of burn-in.

That’s some pretty wild OLED burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL after maybe 7 days of full-time use

— Alex Dobie (@alexdobie) October 22, 2017

Viewing a grey image on the screen, you get a clear look at where the navigation bar has started to settle in on the display. You also interestingly see the portions of pixels where the back, home, and recents buttons go — those don’t seem to be burned in themselves (displaying white instead of black), but the outlines clearly show where they are compared to the black portion that’s burned in. Or that may be some optical trickery and the buttons are burned in. We’re just not sure what we’re seeing here.

So as a quick refresher, what is burn-in?

Screen burn-in happens when a portion of the display has the same imagery long enough to cause a ghost image of it to hang around after you change the screen to display something else. It’s usually most noticeable in the notification shade or status bar (the clock is notorious for “burning in”) but it can also happen with navigation buttons or even home screen icons. It’s usually an issue with OLED panels and usually takes a good few months before it starts to show up.

When you change what’s on your screen, leftover images can stay behind. But they shouldn’t.

There’s also a phenomenon called image retention. Image retention, or ghosting, is a part of the screen staying barely visible even after you’ve moved away and have something new on the display. Like burn-in, this usually happens with buttons or icons, but anything on your display can leave a ghost image if it’s static and on long enough. Image retention is usually associated with LCD panels, and plenty of people with an LG G6 or LG V20 have noticed it happens even more often with Quantum Dot technology. Thankfully, image retention is temporary and will go away on its own after a short time.

At first glance, what we see looks more like screen burn-in than image retention. While burn-in is more often associated with OLED and image retention is associated with LCD, there is crossover and you could see either issue on any type of display. As more reports come in and more people have examples to share the problem can hopefully be pinpointed.

How to check your screen

It can be difficult to see screen burn because we usually have so much information on our screens. Here’s a quick test you can do to check your phone.

  • Open this article in a web browser on your phone.
  • Click and open each of these thumbnails and view the images full screen

  • Check the bottom of your screen where the navigation buttons normally appear and check the notifications areas (especially around the clock) for a faint “ghost” image of any screen elements that were left behind.

Screen burn, of either type, can be barely noticeable or it can be distinct and in your face. Using a black or red background is the best way to see it, but you still may need to look very closely.

What should you do?

This particular Pixel 2 XL, as we said, has only been in use for about a week — each day seeing about 3 hours of time with the screen on. We don’t want to jump to the conclusion that this is indicative of how all Pixel 2 XL’s will age, and we sure hope it that isn’t the case. After tweeting out the image earlier today we started to get a few replies indicating that others were seeing the same type of burn-in after similar periods, though.

If you’re seeing screen burn-in on a Pixel 2 XL (or any phone) after a week, or even just a month, of a regular use, you’re going to be entitled to a warranty replacement from the manufacturer. As we saw with the 2016 Pixels, of which some experienced burn-in and screen issues early on, people were being granted posthaste warranty replacements.

What you shouldn’t do is try any workarounds or apps from Google Play that promise to “fix” screen burn. Right now nobody even knows exactly what we’re seeing, only that it’s there. Hang tight and wait for more information before you make anything worse.

We’ve reached out to Google for a comment on the issue and will be updating this story as soon as we have any word back from the company.

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Action cameras are simply amazing. We’re able to capture the most intense and amazing things with great ease and in brilliant 4K thanks to portable and rugged action cameras from popular brands like GoPro. But so frequently those cameras are quite expensive. Maybe you’re interested in investing in one, but don’t want to break your monthly budget.

Whether you want to record some epic stunts, action sports, or just shoot some cool footage, the XtremePro 4K Ultra HD Action Cam is all you need. This rugged camera shoots in 4K and includes a bevy of mounting accessories so you can always get the shot you’re after.

Sporting a 12MP Sony sensor for still photography you’ll always get crystal clear images using the built-in WiFi connectivity and the companion app for your smartphone. Included is a waterproof casing that is rated for up to 98 feet deep, along with a wireless wrist remote that lets you take epic pictures from up to 33 feet away — drone photography, anyone?

With a 2-inch LCD screen and a 170-degree wide angle lens, you’re also able to view, shoot, and store your footage and photos on the camera itself with a MicroSD card (not included).

Typically this camera is sold by itself for $149.99, for a limited time only, you can get the camera and all these great mounting accessories for only $69.99. That’s 53% off the regular price! You simply won’t find deals like this on great action cams very often, and this is sure to sell out fast. Make sure you get your order in today! But wait! You can save an additional 15% when you use code SAVE15.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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Thanks to TENAA and @evleaks, we now know a lot more about the upcoming HTC U11. New photos of the phone popped up on TENAA’s website this week, showing off the front-back and sides of the phone. While the device … Read More

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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

Yes, but it’s a bit complicated.

Twitch streaming is now an integral part of modern gaming and as such any chance to stream new or unique content is going to be worthwhile for any streamer. There are a lot of fun, interesting apps and games available for Daydream that would be worth streaming and with a little leg work you should be able to get a great stream running.

Want to stream to Twitch? Here’s how to get started!

Read more at VRHeads!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

What do I need to know about Skyrim VR?

A surprise trailer for Skyrim VR was shown during the Sony presentation at E3 2017. Arriving on the heels of the Fallout 4 VR trailer, many fans were left with a bunch of questions regarding Bethesda’s move to take their beloved fantasy RPG into VR. To help spread the word, here’s everything we know so far.

Read more at VRHeads!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

No shirt, no shoes, no problem. But no arguing over displays!

Google’s big week is over. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are in the wild, and everyone has an opinion about them. Of course they (we) do because that’s what we always do. Samsung may sell the most phones but it seems like Google’s are the ones that generate the most talk.

Something about arguing over a phone you have no intentions of buying is fun until it stops being fun. It’s pretty much stopped being fun. The Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have an amazing display and if you’re spending your own money, you should decide how much that matters. Buy what you like and stop worrying about what you don’t and you’ll be a happier person.

Like these happy geese.

So no Pixel arguing here because this space is not for that. It’s for being chill and talking with other chill people about whatever (except Pixel 2 XL displays and politics). It’s a great place to discuss weekend plans or tell us how great your vacation was.

This is a super-exciting weekend for me, even though I’m work-busy for all of it. My desk is piled high with stuff I can’t talk about until next week and I’ll be messing with it so that I have something worth saying when I can. It’s one of those deals where you’re so busy you don’t know where to start, but you love every second of it, ya know?

So what are you up to? Tell us all something good!

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The device is codenamed “Quartz”, and it’ll support YouTube, Google Maps, web browsing, and much more.

With the Pixel 2′s unveiling on October 4, we also got to feast our eyes upon the Google Home Mini and Home Max The Mini and Max look like two solid entries in the Home series, and while they each target new demographics previously unreachable by the regular Google Home, there’s still something missing – none of them have a display.

Can you guess what’s missing?

Although Amazon’s Echo Show isn’t perfect, it’s built-in display does allow for certain functionality you just can’t get on a smart speaker without a screen. Android Police recently conducted a teardown of v7.14.15 of the Google app, and while doing so, they discovered references to a device codenamed “Quartz.” Quartz is expected to be a Google Home that features a display like the Echo Show, and thanks to the Google app teardown, we have an idea of certain features we can expect from the gadget.

First off, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to use Quartz to watch YouTube videos. This is a feature that was removed from the Echo Show in late September, and based on what we know so far, Google’s implementation of YouTube on Quartz will be better than what Amazon ever had (not like that’s much of a surprise).

When watching a YouTube video on Quartz, you’ll reportedly be able to see how many views and likes a video has, read through comments, and check who uploaded the clip. Additionally, you’ll have access to on-screen controls that can be used for pausing/resuming a video, skipping to the next one in a playlist, or going back to a previous video.

The Echo Show got us in the right direction, but Quartz already sounds infinitely better.

Along with well thought-out YouTube support, it’s also expected that Quartz will have a built-in web browser, access to Maps, a photo viewer, the ability to set timers, read recipes, and more. When you aren’t using the Quartz, a standby screen will showcase the current time, weather conditions, notifications, and suggested actions.

We don’t know when Quartz will be released or how much it’ll cost, but even so, just the thought of a Google Home with a screen has us excited.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

This is the OnePlus 5T you’re looking for.

In early October, a device render popped up for what was supposedly the OnePlus 5T. The render showed off a phone with a 6-inch 18:9 display with very minimal bezels, but it also looked a whole lot like another phone from Oppo. Since then, a new look at the 5T has surfaced, and it’s more of what we’d expect to see from OnePlus later this year.

The new render was uploaded by a user on Weibo, and while the phone looks similar to what we saw at the beginning of the month, there are a few big differences.

For starters, the “Never Settle” wallpaper that’s shown on the display is a lot more convincing than the lock screen on the other render that definitely didn’t belong to OxygenOS. The alert slider is no longer missing, the corners of the display aren’t so heavily rounded, and the render as a whole is much higher-res than what we saw last time around.

The top and bottom bezels don’t seem to have changed, with the ones on the sides being ever so slightly thicker (oh it could just be because this one doesn’t showcase curved edges like what we previously saw).

Old render (left), New render (right)

We also get a look at the back of the 5T, revealing the new position of the fingerprint scanner. The back does look exactly the same as the current OnePlus 5, but that’s sort of what we’re expecting considering the identical design between the OnePlus 3 and 3T.

Are these official images of the OnePlus 5T? We aren’t sure. Is this the final design for the phone? Possibly, but we can’t say for certain. What we can say, however, is that, between the two renders we’ve seen at this point, this is the one I’d bet my money on as to what the device will end up looking like.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Yo dog, I heard you like video games.

For a limited time, pick up two or more used games from this Amazon Warehouse sale and you’ll get 20% off.

There are almost 5,000 games to choose from, so no matter what console is your favorite, you should check this sale out.

Note that some of these games only have a handful in stock. Make sure you head to Amazon sooner rather than later for the best selection.

Your discount will be applied automatically during checkout.

Some notable offers with prices before discount:


  • What makes this deal worth considering? – Deals like these are a great way to pick up a previously-released game that you haven’t played yet. That’s not to say the selection is full of old games, either, because there is a surprising amount of recent releases included as well.
  • Things to know before you buy! – Amazon Warehouse products vary in condition, but all of them will work perfectly fine. Keep in mind that once an item is gone, it’s gone, so shop early for the best selection.

See at Amazon

More from Thirifter:

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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