“It’s time for the Jedi… to end.”

We’re only a couple of months away from the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, and while we salivate and pick apart every moment in the latest trailer, now might be a good time to pick up some of the latest branded tech in the Star Wars universe.

Just like the launch of The Force Awakens, Disney has teamed up with tech and toy companies the world over for a unified launch of new things designed to celebrate this film.

This unified launch is called Force Friday II, and we’ve got the complete list of exciting new things for you to add to your collection.

Advanced Laser Battle Drones by Propel

Fly your favorite Star Wars vehicles in tiny drone form, and when you’ve got the hang of things there’s a special laser combat system where you can battle with friends and strangers alike. These little drones will set you back $179, but it’s hard to say that isn’t worth it!

See X-Wing Collectors Edition on Amazon

See Tie Advanced on Amazon

See Speeder Bike on Amazon

Jedi Challenges AR Game by Lenovo

Plug your phone into the headset, grab your Lightsaber, and prepare for a series of augmented reality games including Holochess and drone combat! For $199, what more could you ask for?

Pre-order at Best Buy

BB-9E and R2-D2 by Sphero

It’s BB-8′s evil twin alongside the classic R2-D2? This new character in the Star Wars universe leaves us asking a lot of questions, but also leaves us wanting to grab this new robot ball and race it with the existing lovable Sphero droid! Whether you’re in the First Order or all about resisting the darkness, for $179 you can have a Droid to suit your aesthetic.

See R2-D2 at Amazon

See BB-9E at Amazon

Build your own Droid with littleBits

Why limit yourself to play when you can create? The folks at littleBits have a unique take on R2-D2 as a kit you can assemble yourself. No word on whether there’s a snark chip you can add or remove, but if you want to do more than just build an R2 unit there’s a whole universe of DIY options available to you for $99!

See at Amazon

7,541 piece LEGO Millenmium Falcon

The biggest LEGO model ever sold is this new Millennium Falcon! It’s going to have minifigs for classic Star Wars scenes as well as characters from the new movies! This massive kit is impressively detailed and massive, so naturelly there’s an impressive price tag to go with it.

The initial run was only made available to LEGO VIP’s and was sold out almost instantly. LEGO says that the set will remain VIP-exclusive well into November, but it should be available to the public before The Last Jedi’s December 15 release date.

See at LEGO




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This surge protector can keep all your gear safe for a relatively low cost.

Is this deal for me?

This Anker 6-outlet 4-USB surge protector is down to $24.69 on Amazon. It normally sells around $30 and hasn’t had a direct price drop anywhere near this price since 2016.

This power strip has four USB ports in addition to the six outlets. It offers 380 Joule surge protection and shields plugged-in USB devices from short-circuits and surges as well using Anker’s “MultiProtect” technology. The PowerIQ tech built into the USB ports can identify the connected device and provide high-speed charging.

Anker provides an 18-month warranty on all products.

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? – This is a really low price for a power strip that includes USB ports, high-speed charging, and surge protection.
  • Things to know before you buy! – You can’t plug things into this strip without charging cables! Grab a 6-foot lightning cable or this two-pack of USB-C to USB-A cables and get your gear powered up.

See at Amazon




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Should you buy the LG V30 or the Pixel 2 XL? It’s a hard decision.

I was the last person to leave Google’s Pixel hardware event in Toronto this week, the cleaning staff already entering the converted movie studio to remove the painstakingly crafted demo spaces for Google Lens, augmented reality, and the Pixel 2 camera’s Portrait Mode. I just didn’t want to give the damn phones back, them feeling so good and comfortable and right in my paw.

And gave them back I did, but not before I snapped some photos of the Pixel 2 XL next to the LG V30. I’m saying this both to hedge against the poor quality of the photos themselves (Lightroom’s Clarity can’t fix what isn’t in focus) but to emphasize that, Samsung flagships aside, I think this is the most interesting comparison to come out of the entire event.

See, the LG V30 goes on sale pretty much now — it’s already available at Verizon and AT&T, and will be next week at T-Mobile and Sprint — despite being announced in August and seeded to reviewers shortly thereafter. LG has a knack of announcing its phones well before they actually go on sale, which means that despite a great product, they tend to lose the momentum of public discourse in the weeks following.

Anyway, what that means is that the October 5 release date of the V30 is only two weeks before the LG-made Pixel 2 XL, which is astonishing if you think about it.

So which should you buy? Honestly, that’s a difficult question to answer. But let’s try to get you closer to that truth.

What’s the same

Both the LG V30 and the Google Pixel 2 XL share a number of hardware similarities, and while they don’t look the same, they are built on similar bones.

Both of these OLED screens are outstanding, but the V30 fits it into a more compact frame.

LG brought its Plastic OLED technology to the V30 first, but it appears that the Pixel 2 XL has either the same panel, or one very similar — they’re both six inches at 2880×1440 pixel resolution, with the increasingly-common 18:9 / 2:1 aspect ratio. I like this compromise between width and height; unlike the Galaxy S8+ and Note 8, neither the V30 nor Pixel 2 XL feels top-heavy or onerous to use in one hand. That’s not to say they’re one hand-friendly the way the smaller 5-inch 16:9 Pixel 2 is, but they’re easier to maneuver without risking a drop.

The panels themselves are excellent. These are OLED displays with vivid colors, perfect blacks, and awesome calibration; both LG and Google boast of full DCI-P3 color gamut support.

Those screens, curved at each corner, fit into chassis only slightly larger, making them practically bezel-less. But LG does a better job on the V30, mainly because it eschews front-facing stereo speakers for a single bottom firing port. The Pixel 2 XL is slightly taller, and a bit wider, as a result, but to me it’s not a dealbreaker — I haven’t heard them just yet, but I love the idea of phone speakers with actual impact.

Both phones are powered by the same underlying hardware, too: Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, between 64GB and 128GB of storage (though only on the V30+, which is limited to Sprint and US Cellular), and a sizable battery — 3300mAh for the V30 and 3520mAh for the Pixel — along with IP67 water resistance. Thankfully, the rear fingerprint sensors are in the same (gratifying) place — though only the Pixel’s lets you swipe down to reveal the notification shade. Come on, LG!

On a high level, that’s where the similarities end. And that’s what makes this comparison so interesting.

What’s different

The LG V30 focuses on so many different things than the LG-made Pixel 2 XL, and that’s why I love Android. The V30 is a shiny slab of glass on the front and back, which supports wireless charging. The Pixel 2 XL is … not. It has a unibody metal chassis, but a portion of the back is covered in glass, which is both a design and signal benefit, since Google doesn’t have to break up the look with plastic antenna lines. The metal back is rendered slightly more tactile, and less slippery, thanks to a finish that can only be described as plasticky. When I first picked it up I had to be reassured the phone was indeed aluminum — it feels more like the Nexus 5X than the original Pixel XL.

Of course, the V30 has two cameras, one 16MP sensor with a wide-angle lens, and a 13MP sensor with an extra wide-angle lens. The two form the basis of one of the more interesting and fun camera experiences on the market, and as we’ve said before, no one does landscape photography better than LG. At the same time, many of LG’s new video modes are substantially more robust than anything you’ll find on a Samsung or even Sony device, and far surpasses that of Google’s simple camera app, which even lacks a dedicated manual mode.

At the same time, Google’s focus (pun intended) on a single camera, which is lower-resolution with larger individual pixels than the V30′s main sensor, allows for some incredible low-light shots. Google also boasts of a computational portrait mode, while its HDR+ capabilities bring out color and detail in situations that many other phones would fall flat.

We’ve spent a lot of time with pre-production versions of the V30′s hardware and came away impressed, but I’m fairly confident that, when put head to head with the Pixel 2 XL, it won’t square up in most situations. The Pixel also has Google Lens, which further reinforces the company’s lead in using the camera for contextual gain; point it at a sign and get information about the words, or its location. Point it at a dog and (hopefully) find out the breed (it’s a Great Dane). That’s all very cool, but it remains to be seen if people will actually use the feature.

If you care about audio quality at all, the V30 isn’t just better than the Pixel — it’s the best out there.

LG also puts a tremendous amount of effort into shoring up its audio game; not only does the V30 have a headphone jack, but its Quad DAC and powerful amplifier ensures that all headphones, even high-impedance ones, sound excellent. It’s also possible to tune the phone’s sound to suit one’s individual ear, with additional filters and settings that even 2016′s V20 lacked. This is as robust an audio-visual experience as you can get on any phone today — but it requires a tremendous amount of tweaking to get there.

The original Pixel was renound for its awful Bluetooth performance, so it’s a bit concerning that its successor lacks a headphone jack. Sure, there’s a dongle in the box, but it’s one sure to be quickly lost or discarded. At the same time, Google is patterning with companies like Libratone to deliver “Made for Google” Bluetooth accessories, which consist of easy pairing and (we assume) consistently good performance. It really would be nice if Google were to deliver a phone that didn’t experience base-level problems for once.

LG also delivers some very decent headphones in the box, whereas Google delivers… well, that dongle.

The Pixel 2 XL is sure to get more updates sooner, but LG’s software is a lot better than it used to be.

The last two differences are obvious, but worth pointing out. Google’s software is worlds ahead of LG’s in many respects; not only does the Pixel 2 XL ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, but its interface and general aesthetic feels substantially more mature; LG, which has made strides in recent years, ships the V30 with Android 7.1.2, and though many of the more hard edges have been softened, it’s still easy to find nits to pick. For example, LG still insists on shipping its own keyboard, which is terrible, and its default launcher lacks an app drawer and hits icons with an ugly stick.

At the same time, Android 7.1.2 is a known quantity, both mature and easy to understand, and LG benefits from this extended lead time; the V20 was one of the first devices to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat and experienced some awful bugs that took months to resolve. I’ve yet to experience a single show-stopping issue with the V30. The original Pixel on Oreo, on the other hand, has developed a cottage country of complaints since the update became available.

But updates are going to come to the Pixel must more quickly, and for longer, than the V30 can hope to see. For starters, Google updates the Pixels directly, and is promising three years of both security updates and, for the first time, platform updates. The V30 is being sold primarily through carrier channels, so it will have to go through approval processes that often take longer. We can hope that the V30 receives Oreo sooner than later, but it’s the next update, Android P, where that lead will lengthen on Google’s behalf.

Which should you buy?

The LG V30 costs between $800 and $840 at U.S. carriers, which works out to around $32 to $34 per month for 24 months. The V30+, which is available only at Sprint and US Cellular, runs closer to $920, or $38 per month. The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849, but can be had at Verizon or the Google Store for around $35 per month for the 64GB model and $39 for the 128GB version.

So the cost is a wash.

That leaves the features, and to my eyes the V30 has a more robust collection of experiences for the advanced user, especially when it comes to audio and photography. Not only does the Quad DAC provide better sound, but there’s a headphone jack with a powerful amplifier and plenty of adjustability. The dual camera setup is tons of fun, and the manual mode is just wonderful. The V30 has wireless charging, too, and the all-glass design keeps it lighter than the Pixel 2. The overall body is smaller, too, though you forgo front-facing speakers.

The Pixel 2 XL is a simple phone. It’s meant to be easy to understand and use, and accessible to any and all who buy it. It hides much of the complexity that Android is famous for. Its design is also sure to be divisive; it’s both whimsical and utilitarian, and while the larger Pixel doesn’t have the substantial bezels of its smaller counterpart, it probably won’t win any design awards.

See Pixel 2 XL at Verizon

So, yeah, I’m torn. They’re both great phones, and knowing me I’ll probably end up using the Pixel 2 XL more because it will get the latest updates sooner, but I doubt you’ll be upset by going with the V30. Just remember to wipe down the glass back every once in a while.

See LG V30 at T-Mobile




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Your phone shouldn’t be the only thing dressed up this Halloween!

Is this deal for me?

Today only, Amazon is offering 35% off a huge selection of Halloween costumes. There are almost 400 to choose from, for pets, kids, and grownups.

Chances are you already know where you’re going on Halloween. Do you have your costume yet? Don’t be the person that waits too long, rushes to the mall, and spends $50 on something that was popular two years ago. This highly-rated Men’s Plundering Pirate Costume is $31.99, which is a historic low price (plus it looks really cool). Or you could go the couples’ costume route and pick up a Classic Pink Princess (AKA Peach) costume for $27.99. Now you just need a Super Mario.

If you’re shopping for the little ones, you can choose from classic favorites and new licensed characters that your child is sure to love. For example, the pictured bestselling Rubie’s Toddler PAW Patrol Marshall Costume in size small is on sale for $10.30. Another favorite costume this year is Wonder Woman, and the Rubie’s Justice League Wonder Woman Tutu Dress is only $15.55. Popular sizes and styles are going fast, so shop quickly if you are interested.

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TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? – Sales on Halloween costumes are nothing new, but the trouble is that the longer you wait, the harder it may be to find the perfect outfit.
  • Things to know before you buy! – Don’t forget your accessories. A trick-or-treat bucket, a wig, some costume makeup….double-check that your costume includes everything, because they often come with the basics and it’s up to you to supply the rest.

See at Amazon

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BlackBerry Motion specs

9 October 2017

What’s inside the BlackBerry Motion?

There’s a new BlackBerry coming to town, the Motion, and while it’s not quite as noteworthy as the return-of-the-keyboard KEYone, it’s a nice mid-range handset with some interesting features.

With a 5.5-inch HD display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, 4000mAh battery and waterproofing, there’s a lot to like here.

Here’s the full spec sheet.

Category KEYone
Operating System Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch, 1920×1080
IPS LCD
403ppi
DragonTrail Glass
Nano-diamond anti-scratch coating
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Octa-core 2.00GHz
Adreno 506 GPU
RAM 4GB
Storage 32GB
Expandable microSD up to 2TB
Rear Camera 12MP (1.55 micron) f/2.0, PDAF
dual-tone LED flash
HDR, 4K, 30fps
Front Camera 8MP f/2.2
1.12-micron pixels
Selfie flash
1080p/30 video
Battery 4000mAh
non-removable
Charging Quick Charge 3.0
USB-C
Water resistance Yes, IP67
Security DTEK security suite
FIPS 140-2 Full Disk Encryption
Android For Work, Google Play for Work
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC
GPS, GLONASS
BBD100-1 LTE Home: B1/ 3/ 7/8/20/26/28/32/38/40/41
LTE Roaming: B2/4/5/12/13/17/19/39
BBD100-2 LTE Home: B2/4/5/7/12/13/17/29/30/66
LTE Roaming: B1/3/8//20/28/38/39/40/41
BBD100-6 LTE Home: B1/ 3/ 7/8/20/26/28/32/38/40/41
LTE Roaming: B2/4/5/12/13/17/19/39
Dual SIM capability
Dimensions 155.7 mm x 75.4 mm x 8.13 mm
Weight tbd




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

BlackBerry Mobile has a new phone and it looks a lot like the KEYone, but without its most important feature.

It’s been an open secret that TCL, the company behind the newly-revived BlackBerry handset brand, has been working on another device for a fall launch. Dubbed ‘Krypton’, the phone was expected to eschew a hardware keyboard for a traditional 16:9 touchscreen, emphasizing BlackBerry’s security prowess, stable software, and excellent battery life.

That phone is now official. The phone will come to market as the BlackBerry Motion, and it resembles the popular KEYone in many ways. The 5.5-inch Full HD LCD display is pretty standard for this price range — the phone will debut for the equivalent of around $450 — while inside the Snapdragon 625 SoC is paired with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 4000mAh battery, and IP67 water resistance. There’s also a 12MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a front fingerprint sensor. It launches with the same version of Android 7.1 that came with the KEYone.

The phone will only be available in select markets at first, and North America isn’t one of them. BB Mobile says that Middle Eastern markets like the UAE and Saudi Arabia will sell the phone shortly for the equivalent of $460 USD.

Interested? Check out CrackBerry for more coverage of the new device.

BlackBerry Motion specs




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |