Your next Android app just got more affordable!

Is this deal for me?

Google Play has millions of great apps, some of which are free and others of which you have to pay to use. Buying apps can be expensive, so it’s best to do it when they are on sale, but not every app goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to save a little bit on all your app purchases?

Well, right now you can pick up a $50 Google Play Gift Card for $45 at Amazon. It’s extremely rare to find a discount on these gift cards at all, so when you do you’ll want to be sure to jump on it.

Whether you are looking to save a couple of bucks on your Google Play Music subscription, or have a slew of apps and icon packs that you want to buy, this discounted gift card can help. Buying this now is like giving yourself $5 for free to spend.

There is a limit of one card per customer, and they are only valid in the U.S. You will have to wait for the gift card to be mailed to you, but the shipping is free and you can have it in as little as two days.

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? – Google Play Gift Cards very rarely go on sale, so even being able to save $5 is a great deal.
  • Things to know before you buy! – There is a limit of 1 per customer, and you will have to wait for a physical gift card to ship to you. This will only work in the United States.

See at Amazon

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Your next phone will probably support a T-Mobile’s push for better coverage in the U.S.

A lot of T-Mobile customers were upset that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 didn’t support T-Mobile’s burgeoning low-band 600MHz network; many of those same people wondered why Apple’s iPhone 8 and upcoming iPhone X lack the same capabilities.

In fact, the LG V30 is the only phone to support T-Mobile’s new network, which pushes LTE signals further and penetrates walls better than even the widely-used 700MHz spectrum used by three of the big four carriers in the U.S. today.

That’s all about to change. Qualcomm is releasing a number of components to phone manufacturers as part of its RF Front-End portfolio that include support for Band 71, which comprises the 600MHz band. These parts, which include a Low-Band Power Amplifier Module, an Adaptive Aperture Tuner, along with Duplexer and Diversity Receive (DRX) Filter, work with the baseband inside any number of Snapdragon chips from the 200, 400, 600, and 800 series to support Band 71.

So how did LG get support for it so early? A Qualcomm rep I spoke to wouldn’t speculate, but said that it’s likely using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components to make it happen. Starting in early 2018, most phones released in the U.S. will support Band 71, since manufacturers are more inclined to add something when they don’t have to work too hard to achieve it.

While T-Mobile owns nearly half of the 600MHz spectrum in the U.S., Band 71 will also be used in the IoT and enterprise fields to enhance long-range LTE communications.

Earlier this year, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that two products, one by LG and another from Samsung, would support its 600MHz network by year’s end. That Samsung device has yet to materialize. Legere also said that the network would roll out to rural parts of the U.S. not currently served by its existing LTE network.




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You can never have too much storage.

Is this deal for me?

SanDisk is one of the most popular brands when it comes to storage accessories like microSD cards and flash drives, and today you can pick up a bunch of these at huge discounts. Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day includes tons of SanDisk options at pretty large discounts.

Whether you need a new memory card for your phone, tablet, or action camera, or want to be able to carry around more files and media with you on the go, you won’t want to miss out on these discounts. On several products, we are seeing new all-time lows, and others have dropped in price for the first time in quite a while.

MicroSD Cards

Flash Drives

Solid State Drives

There are a variety of other products and storage capacities available as well. Be sure to hit the link below to check out the entire sale. B&H Photo has price matched this sale.

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? – These one-day deals bring great prices on a variety of products. Many of these items are down to new lows and are at the lowest prices we’ve seen them in quite a while.
  • Things to know before you buy! – This is a daily deal. That means it is here today and gone tomorrow. Be sure to check out all the options, and stock up on the ones that you need.

See at Amazon

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There’s more to making a phone than Megahertz.

Everybody loves budget-friendly phones that are still pretty high-end devices. Motorola, ZTE, and other companies have delivered some great products at great prices, and for many, it’s crazy to spend almost $1,000 to buy the best from Google or Samsung. These “budget” phones can do everything they want them to do at considerable savings. But there’s one question a lot of folks have about the parts that make these phones go: why use “lesser” chipsets instead of just using last generation’s flagship chips?

We’ll take the Moto X4 and use it as an example here. It ships with a $399 price and a Snapdragon 630. Both of those are definitely on the budget side of the line. So why didn’t Moto keep the price, but use a Snapdragon 820 or 821 instead of the brand-new Snapdragon 630?

Because the Snapdragon 630 is better than the Snapdragon 821 in several key areas, and they are pretty important ones.

No, we’re not talking about performance in the way you might be thinking. The Snapdragon 821 with its Kyro cores and Adreno 530 GPU will run rings around the 630′s Cortex-A53 cores and Adreno 508 GPU when doing intensive things like gaming or VR. But there’s more to making a great chip for a great phone. A lot more.

Getting connected in 2017

This is the most important reason why a company like Motorola/Lenovo doesn’t want to use a Snapdragon chip designed in 2015 inside a phone sold at the end of 2017.

These are phones. Getting connected and staying connected is kind of important.

The Snapdragon 630 has Qualcomm’s X12 Modem, which is the same LTE package that was in the high-end 821. That means LTE speeds up to 600 Mbps, LTE Cat 12 (downlink)/13 (uplink), 3 x 20 MHz carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. This all translates into real-world LTE speeds in the 200-250 Mbps right now, and those will climb as carrier infrastructure is updated further. That’s a good thing.

Also new to the 600 platform is 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi. That means things like solid-concrete walls or copper plumbing pipes won’t interfere with your Wi-Fi signal as much and you’ll have a faster connection even further away. This means more than double the data throughput from the previous 600 series chipsets.

New chips can get new tech that didn’t exist last year.

In addition, the Snapdragon 630 supports wireless tech the Snapdragon 821 doesn’t. Things like Bluetooth 5 which means better support for the next-gen IoT (internet of things) as well as advances in current products. Or advanced RF front-end support through Qualcomm’s TruSignal adaptive antenna that now works with carrier aggregation, which translates into a better signal further from the cell tower.

There’s even a new location engine that supports the newest constellations (think satellite clusters) like QZSS and SBAS which will not only make finding your location faster and more accurate but also provide satellite-based augmentation that factors in things like clock drift and microwave signal ionospheric delay. Science!

The Snapdragon 630 makes for a better portable handheld wireless device than the Snapdragon 821 does.

But wait, there’s more!

The Snapdragon 630 is also a modern chipset when it comes to input and output. There is full support for Quick Charge 4.0, USB Type-C and USB 3.1. Faster data connection and the now-universal socket are awesome, and so is support for all of the latest fast-charging methods. Qualcomm’s All-Ways Aware sensor hub package means you’ll use a lot less power when getting data from things like the gyroscope because it can run independently from the main CPU cores. And hardware-based security for things like biometrics means your data will be more secure and its data-entry (the act of scanning your finger or face or iris) is faster and more accurate.

Last but not least are the camera capabilities. A good camera has become one of the most important features for many consumers, and the Snapdragon 630 offers support for the second-generation Spectra ISP (image signal processor) system. This supports the fancy computational photography we saw with the Google Pixel in 2016 as well as instant focus and zero shutter lag from the internal hardware.

Support is important, too. We depend on the company who made our phone for support, and it depends on the company who made the components.

The 630 also includes some of the standard performance-enhancing things we usually think of like a faster clock rate in the CPU cores and better 3D rendering from a new GPU when compared to the previous 600 series chipsets. The Snapdragon 630 is not only a better chip than last years 625 was, but it’s also a better chip than last year’s Snapdragon 821 was.

Remember, we just used the Moto X4 and its Snapdragon 630 as an example. These same types of upgrades are also present on all new chips compared to older models. Along with things like better battery life and longer OEM support, this is why companies making our phones use the latest and greatest even in their inexpensive models. And we should be glad that they do!

What about updates?

That’s another win in favor of the Snapdragon 630: Qualcomm supports its chips for a finite amount of time, which means that a budget chip from 2017 is likely to be updated for much longer than a more powerful chip from 2016.

Of course, it’s up to the phone manufacturer to actually follow through with those updates, but Qualcomm and other chip vendors like Broadcom are integral to this process, as they facilitate driver upgrades and other important improvements to prepare phones for a new Android platform update. It’s improving this cooperation that Google had in mind when it announced and implemented Project Treble alongside Android O earlier this year.

It’s the price, stupid!

Of course, there’s another factor that keeps budget phones with “budget” chips instead of last year’s flagships: price. Qualcomm licenses a bunch of technology to companies with its Snapdragon processors, and the 800-series is chock-full of features, sensors and optimizations. The cheaper chips in the Snapdragon 600- and 400-series don’t always share those same top-shelf features, so phone companies are more likely to choose them over last year’s flagship chips, which still likely carry a higher price tag.

Your thoughts

What do you think about all of this? Are you more inclined to buy a Galaxy S7 over a Moto X4? Let us know in the comments!




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Don’t panic at the lack of a headphone jack!

The Pixel 2 was revealed alongside the newest iteration of Google’s Daydream View headset, and while this phone is amazing for VR it is rather conspicuously missing something. That something is, of course, a headphone jack. This isn’t the first Daydream-ready phone with no headphone jack, but it is certainly the most popular.

Since wireless headphones don’t offer the best experience for VR due to issues with latency. While this isn’t ideal, it’s no reason to panic. We’ve got your options covered for getting the best audio experience.

Read more at VRHeads!




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