The Nokia 7.1 is a good deal in the US, but there are plenty of better deals globally

Nokia 7.1 holding back of phone

The Nokia 7.1 has been heralded by some as one of the best budget phones of the year, but it also has plenty of detractors who think it doesn’t offer the best value for money by a long shot.

Is it simply a case of American users lacking the choice of customers in India, the U.K. and other regions? After all, Xiaomi and Huawei are big-name budget phone manufacturers that don’t have a big presence in the U.S., and these companies often bring great value for money to the table.

There’s a little more to it than that though. Americans tend to skew towards contract purchases, rather than prepaid devices, said Jeff Fieldhack, research director at Counterpoint Research, in an email to Android Authority.

A unique market for mid-range phones

“By subscribers, 75 percent of U.S. wireless phone consumers are on postpaid contracts and 25 percent are on prepaid. Over the past few quarters, there has been some movement prepaid to postpaid,” said Fieldhack.

The research director noted there’s also a trend to buy unlocked phones and then put them on postpaid or prepaid contracts. However, he noted the sheer volume of prepaid users going to postpaid contracts outweighs this trend.

Editor’s Pick

Cellular networks often sweeten the deal by offering device subsidies on their contracts, so users can afford to buy that Galaxy Note 9 or iPhone XS, or whatever the most current big flagship is. Why buy that mid-range phone on contract when there are attractive deals for the best, right?

Adding more fuel to the fire is a statistic from the IDC (via New York Magazine), which found smartphones costing between $200 and $600 only accounted for 15 percent of sales in the U.S. in 2017. Meanwhile $600-plus devices accounted for 43 percent of sales, and the sub-$200 category accounted for 40 percent of sales.

In other words, the demand for phones like the Nokia 7.1 in the U.S. isn’t nearly as strong as in other parts of the world. As good a deal as it is in the States, here are six Nokia 7.1 alternatives available globally offering better value for money than the Nokia device.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1

The back of the Pocophone F1.

The Pocophone F1 was a winner in our Best of Android 2018 best value category, and for very good reason. The phone only costs $300 to $350, and brings some impressive specs.

Xiaomi slapped a Snapdragon 845 flagship chipset in the Pocophone F1, along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. This combination pretty much destroys the Nokia 7.1’s Snapdragon 636 chipset and 4GB of RAM pairing, although HMD added 64GB of expandable storage too.

Other notable specs include a notched 6-inch full HD+ LCD screen, a 4,000mAh battery, a 12MP and 5MP rear camera pairing, and a 20MP selfie snapper. The Nokia device has the edge over the Pocophone F1 (and several other devices on the list) thanks to HDR support, but it otherwise features a similar rear camera setup and a much smaller battery (3,060mAh).

Honor 8X

The front of the Honor 8X.

Available in Europe at a starting price of 249 euros, the Honor 8X should be similarly cheap when it launches in the U.S. And yes, you get more bang for your buck in theory too.

The Huawei sub-brand’s new device features the company’s new Kirin 710 chipset, which should be more powerful than the Snapdragon 636 seen in the Nokia 7.1. You’re also getting 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a notched full HD+ 6.5-inch LCD screen.

Read: 10 best Android keyboards for all kinds of typists

The Honor 8X stands above Nokia’s device thanks to its larger battery (3,750mAh), and a 16MP front-facing camera. You’ll also find a 20MP and 2MP main camera pairing, with the latter camera used for depth effects.

Honor’s new phone isn’t perfect though, as it still uses Micro-USB compared to the Nokia 7.1’s USB Type-C connector. However, the larger screen, bigger battery, and beefier chipset certainly makes it a tempting purchase.

Motorola Moto G6

motorola moto g6 review design cameras

The Moto G series has been a firm favorite in the U.S. ever since the original Moto G took the world by storm back in 2013.

The Moto G6 continues the trend of balancing price with performance, giving us a phone that ticks plenty of boxes for a mid-ranger in 2018. That means a dual-camera setup (12MP and 5MP), a notchless 5.7-inch full HD+ LCD screen, a fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C support. You should also expect an 8MP front-facing snapper and a 3,000mAh battery.

However, if you’re looking for a powerhouse device for Fortnite and PUBG, the Snapdragon 450 is a power-efficient chip, but definitely low end (a Snapdragon 625 Lite, if you will). You might want to spring for the Nokia 7.1 if gaming and general performance are important to you. Otherwise, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage rounds off this package.

Honor Play

The back of the Honor Play.

Another Honor phone makes the list, and it’s tough to argue with its inclusion when the device packs a flagship chip and a ~$300 price tag.

The Honor Play offers the Kirin 970 chipset, which should deliver a big performance boost over the Snapdragon 636. In fact, you should also expect games to run at a smoother pace thanks to the more capable GPU. Other prominent details include 4GB to 6GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a 3,750mAh battery.

Read: All you need to know about every 5G phone confirmed so far

You’ll also find a 16MP and 2MP rear camera combo here, with features like light painting, depth effects, and AI-based scene recognition. Switch to the front and you’ll find a 16MP selfie camera.

All in all, you get a more powerful phone for the price compared to the HMD device. As is the case with many phones on this list, you’ll want to check the supported network bands if you’re planning to import it.

Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2 app drawer

All the phones on the list sport a skinned take on Android, except this one. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is an Android One device, so if a clean take on Android is your main reason for wanting the Nokia 7.1, keep reading.

The Mi A2 offers stock Android, but it’s also got an upper mid-range Snapdragon 660 chipset, a 6-inch notchless full HD+ LCD screen, 4GB to 6GB of RAM, and 32GB to 128GB of storage. Meanwhile, photography duties are handled by a 12MP and 20MP rear-facing setup and a 20MP selfie shooter.

It’s not all perfect on the hardware front though, as it lacks microSD expansion and a headphone jack. This is particularly disappointing when the entry-level model offers 32GB of storage. Nevertheless, the 64GB model is available for under $250 anyway, and the 128GB model can be had for just under $300. So you still get a lot more phone for the price.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1.

Much like the Nokia 7.1, the Asus phone also features a Snapdragon 636 chipset, but starting at well below $250 (it’s roughly $150 in India), you’re certainly getting better value.

The Zenfone Max Pro M1 also features a 16MP and 5MP rear camera setup, an 8MP selfie snapper, 3GB to 6GB of RAM, and 32GB to 128GB of storage, but the best part is the battery life, offering a 5,000mAh battery that’s easily the biggest on the list.

The Asus phone has also since been succeeded by the brand-new Zenfone Max Pro M2. For a starting price of ~$180, Asus is tossing in a pretty powerful Snapdragon 660 chipset, and a 13MP front-facing snapper. Otherwise, you can expect the same large battery, and RAM and storage options.

We’re certainly not saying the Nokia 7.1 is a bad phone. It’s a pretty good deal for $350, but the “value for money” bar is very high outside of the U.S., as these devices show.

What do you think of our list of Nokia 7.1 alternatives? Are there any other mid-range phones that offer excellent value for money? Let us know in the comments section!

NEXT: Here are the 10 best Christmas tech gifts under $100

Price drop! Ventura wireless headphones now under $45

The Christmas sales start earlier every year, and we’re not complaining. We’ll continue to pick out the choice deals you might like, including the Ventura wireless headphones.

These $99 phones from Trndlabs are $49 at Tech Deals right now, but you can do even better than that with our promo code.

They won’t deliver in time for Christmas, but since you’re probably buying them for yourself anyway, who cares. You’ll need a long-lasting and stylish pair of headphones to get you through the long winter months ahead. At this price, the Ventura headphones are a solid choice.

What Tech Deals is saying:

The Ventura Wireless Headphones offer absolutely everything you want out of Bluetooth headphones. Boasting a high-end, leather black-on-black design, the adjustable band and chrome-like accents will complement any outfit. With 40mm drivers and a Bluetooth range of up to 10 meters, these headphones deliver sound and function at the top of their class.

Ventura wireless headphones at a glance:

  • Wear comfortably all day thanks to cushy, soft foam ear cups
  • Pair with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop and move wirelessly
  • Control the volume, change tracks, and accept or reject calls with the concealed controls
  • Listen for longer with 10 hours of nonstop playback time

To get the best value on the Ventura wireless headphones, follow the link to Tech Deals and stick the headphones in your basket. At the checkout use the coupon code MERRY15. The total price you’ll pay is just $41.65.

Remember, the promo code expires on Christmas day, so don’t hang about. Hit the button below to find the deal.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Brawl Stars makes $10 million in its first week, but is well behind launch of Clash Royale

Brawl Stars gem grab

Brawl Stars, the new multiplayer mobile arena action game from developer Supercell, finally launched globally last week for Android and iOS, over a year since it first soft-launched in Canada on iOS in June 2017. This week, a new report states that the game has generated over $10 million in revenue in its first seven days after the global launch.

The report comes from the research firm Sensor Tower. In a chat with VentureBeat, Sensor Tower co-founder Alex Malafeev stated that revenue numbers for Brawl Stars were excellent, and added that in the U.S., they were about 20 times more than a similar game, Arena of Valor, made in the U.S. during its first week. Brawl Stars made $3 million just in the U.S. alone, according to Sensor Tower, and the game has also done very well in Japan, with $1.6 million in revenue from that country in its first seven days. The report added that the game was number one for downloads on the Google Play Store in 20 countries, and was in the top 10 regarding revenues in 29 countries.

Editor’s Pick

While all those revenue and download numbers are good, the launch week for Brawl Stars was well behind that of Supercell’s last game, Clash Royale. That game generated $38 million in revenue when it launched globally back in March 2016, according to Sensor Tower. Clash Royale also had about 30 million downloads in its first week, while Brawl Stars had 15 million downloads.

However, Sensor Tower points out in its report that Clash Royale launched in China during its first global week, and made about a quarter of its first-week revenue from that country. Brawl Stars has yet to make its debut in China. In addition, Malafeev told VentureBeat that Clash Royale had an advantage in that it was a spin-off of another highly successful Supercell game, Clash of Clans, while Brawl Stars has no such link with earlier games from the developer.

Kids can code their own superpowers with littleBits $50 Marvel Avengers Kit

Join the Avengers and save the day… and some cash.

Amazon has the littleBits Marvel Avengers Hero Inventor Kit on sale for $49.99. This price drop marks the first time this item has ever dropped this low, as it normally sells for $150. Our last deal on the set saw it drop to $80. So far, the reviews are fantastic.

This kit is legitimately one of the coolest products I’ve ever seen. First, kids will build and customize an interactive electronic gauntlet. Then they’ll use a free app for iOS or Android to code their super powers. Seriously, where was this thing when I was a child?! I might have to buy one anyways.

The gauntlet itself has ten authentic Avengers sound effects, though you can also opt to record your own. There are over 18 activities for kids to build, play, and code. No grown-ups are necessary for the fun, either. The app features step-by-step video instructions and kid-friendly troubleshooting.

Aside from obviously being fun, this toy will also teach your kid valuable life skills. When you raise the next Bezos, Gates, or Cook, they’ll probably buy you a yacht or something. This kit could change your life. Or just make your kid smile.

See at Amazon

Pay what you want to master the Adobe Creative Cloud


It’s ‘pay what you want’ time folks, and this package is enormous. The Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle is 100 hours of training in the world’s leading design suite. You can access the lot for just a few bucks.

Whichever area of design you’d like to train in, it’s likely to be covered in this bundle. There’s instruction in Adobe Photoshop for your images, Illustrator for your graphics, Premiere Pro for video editing, and a whole lot more.

No design course in 2018 would be complete without some training in web design either, and this collection of learning kits is no exception. UI/UX and Web Design Using Adobe XD teaches you the art of making beautiful apps and websites. It’s worth $200 alone.

Here’s the full Adobe CC rundown:

While there’s almost $2,600 of training in total, you only have to beat the average price to get the lot. At the time of writing it was around the $13 mark, so it’s not exactly breaking the bank.

It may sound suspiciously cheap, but there are no elephant traps here. You’re buying not bidding, and the average price to beat is no secret either. Thousands of bundles have already been sold, which is how Tech Deals can afford to offer them at such a great price.

Even if you pay just $1, you still get Adobe After Effects: The Complete Motion Graphics Course. At $297 value it’s quite a steal. If you’re feeling generous and top the leaderboard you may even win the epic giveaway, whatever that is.

Hit the button below to find out more. The average price is creeping up, so the faster you move the less you’ll pay.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

The best tempered glass screen protectors for your Pixel 3 or 3 XL

A screen protector is one of the most important accessories you can buy for your phone, but the subtle curves along the edges of the screen on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL make it tricky to find the perfect fit. Google doesn’t have a recommended screen protector on the Google Store — which they usually include for most of their phones — and I think that speaks volumes. I’d recommend the film screen protectors from Skinomi for both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL since they’re easy to install, compatible with cases, and shouldn’t leave you frustrated with bubbles or dust.

Tempered glass For Pixel 3

Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protectors (3-pack)

This three-pack of tempered glass screen protectors for the smaller Pixel 3 is your best value. Because of the curved edges of the Pixel 3 display, it doesn’t quite go right to the edge, but you should get good protection for your phone.

$8 at Amazon

Tempered Glass for Pixel 3

amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector (3-pack)

amFilm also offers a three-pack of tempered glass screen protectors that are also designed to be slightly smaller than the full screen on your phone to ensure that there’s no bubbles or gaps along the edge. The user reviews are pretty solid and its always nice to have a couple spares on hand.

$10 at Amazon

Case-friendly film for Pixel 3

IQ Shield Case Friendly Film Screen Protector (2-pack)

If you don’t want to risk the halo effect that comes with a tempered glass screen protector, check out this two pack of case-friendly screen protectors from IQ Shield. This is a flexible film that’s designed to be easy to install and tough enough to protect your Pixel 3 from any scratches.

$8 at Amazon

Case-friendly film for Pixel 3

Skinomi TechSkin Case Friendly Screen Protector (2-pack)

Skinomi offers a wet-install film screen protector that’s really easy to install on your Pixel 3. You get all the supplies you need for a perfect installation the first time, and you get a second one to give to a friend or use if the first one ever peels off.

$8 at Amazon

Tempered Glass for Pixel 3 XL

Caseology Tempered Glass Screen Protector (2-pack)

The biggest strength of Caseology’s tempered glass screen protectors for the Pixel 3 XL is the handy installation guide that makes it dead simple to line up the screen protector perfectly on your phone. Just be aware that you might get that halo effect around the edges because the screen protector goes a bit over the curve.

$13 at Amazon

Tempered Glass for Pixel 3 XL

Mr Shield Tempered Glass Screen Protector (3-pack)

Tempered glass is probably not your best bet for protecting your Pixel 3 XL display, but you might get a good fit from this Mr Shield three-pack. Expect to maybe have to use all three to find the ideal fit, or just deal with the halo effect around the edge.

$5 at Amazon

Case-friendly film for Pixel 3 XL

IQ Shield Case Friendly Film Screen Protector (2-pack)

A film screen protector isn’t as good as tempered glass screen protectors in most situations, but it might be the better solution for the Pixel 3 XL. IQ Shield offers a two-pack of film screen protectors that includes everything you need for a bubble-free installation the first time.

$8 at Amazon

Case-friendly film for Pixel 3 XL

Skinomi TechSkin Case Friendly Film Screen Protector (2-pack)

Last but certain not least is the Skinomi film protector for the Pixel 3 XL. Skinomi products are really easy to use and they’re a trusted brand for screen protectors that you can rely on.

$8 at Amazon

Even if you have to settle for a film screen protector for your Pixel 3 or 3 XL, you’ll be happy that it’s there when you save yourself the heartache of scratching or cracking your phone’s screen. Be sure to leave a review on Amazon of your experience, too, since that always gives valuable feedback to other customers and the company itself. Your best value for the Pixel 3 XL is the Mr Shield three pack of tempered glass for just $5, but keep in mind that you might deal with frustrating fit issues.

5 most controversial Android apps and games from 2018!

This is the featured image for the most controversial Android apps from 2018 Shop Catalog

Android apps and games took huge leaps in 2018. We saw AAA game titles like Fortnite and PUBG hit Android. We also saw excellent new apps and services like Bouncer and YouTube Music. However, some apps and games simply didn’t have such good luck. There were a number of scandals and mistakes made in 2018. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal immediately comes to mind, but that was more Facebook the service rather than Facebook the app. Some apps were removed from Google Play for silly reasons (that actually happens a lot). In any case, some incidents simply stand above the rest. We are happy to report that Uber managed to not make this list for the first time in this list’s history. Congratulations to Uber! Here are the five most controversial Android apps and games from 2018!

The Cheetah Mobile Play Store page.

Ad fraud served two ways

Google Play had not one, but two big ad fraud problems in 2018. The first used bots to simulate real people. Here’s how it worked. A group of developers would purchase popular apps on Google Play from developers for Bitcoin. They would keep the app maintained and track user behavior. The developers would then create bots that emulated the human behavior they observed, except these bots also viewed ads along with doing the other stuff. The bots managed to avoid Google Play bot detection for a very long time.  Hit the link above to find the full list of all 129 apps that did it. The reason this probably didn’t hit harder was because it didn’t actually affect any end users. It was essentially a bunch of developers defrauding advertisers. Still, that’s not great and many of those apps were available in the Play Store at the time the report took place.

The second ad fraud case was by several Cheetah Mobile apps. This one is a little less creative. Several Cheetah Mobile apps, including Kika Keyboard and CM File Manager, would read the apps installed on a user’s phone. CM would then take credit for all the apps the user installed and collected the advertising money. Cheetah Mobile swears up and down that it did not do anything and the advertising SDKs were to blame. However, Cheetah Mobile has pulled some deceptive ad tactics before so we don’t necessarily trust them. Google is still investigating as of the writing of this article so we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Fortnite - most controversial android apps 2018

Fortnite bucks the trends for better or worse

The biggest Android game narrative of 2018 was PUBG Mobile versus Fortnite. PUBG Mobile’s launch was fairly typical. It came out in Google Play, people enjoy it, and everything went as normal. Then Fortnite came around. To start, the game is not available on the Google Play Store. Instead, it opted for a launch on Epic Games’ own website  along with Samsung’s app store. People lost their minds about it. The CEO called it a move to promote a free and open platform. It also stands as the biggest mobile game to do this. The installer had its share of problems, including a massive security issue early on. There was also that pesky problem of all the fake Fortnite APKs. The PUBG developers even sued Fortnite for stealing content, although that suit was eventually dropped.  Things have smoothed out for now, but goodness Fortnite’s mobile game had a rough first six months.

Google shuts down all the things

The Google app library had a surprisingly rough year. Let’s start with Hangouts and make our way around the circle. Google Hangouts is reportedly changing from a single chat service to a group chat service similar to Slack or Discord. That reporting prompted a surprisingly aggressive Twitter conversation with a Hangouts developer. This puts an end to one of the few consistently decent chat services that Google had and the closest it ever came to a true Android version of iMessage. Google then shocked everybody by announcing the end of Google Allo. Many of Allo’s features are headed to Android Messages for now, but Allo is now officially circling the drain. Finally, Google is shuttering Google+ in 2019 after not one, but two major data breaches. It all leaves Google in a bit of a hole after it announced no major new apps in 2018. They did re-brand a bunch of stuff for no apparent reason, though. It’s been a surprisingly rough year for Google.

The best walking dead games featured image

Telltale Games had an epic crash and burn

Telltale Games had some of the best point-and-click adventure games on mobile. They usually work with existing titles like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Borderlands, and others. Well, 2018 is probably its last year in existence. The company announced a massive layoff in mid-September that spared only 25 employees. The layoff also doubled as the announcement that the company was shuttering its doors. Telltale Games’ CEO Pete Hawley cited poor sales as the primary reason and that makes sense. The company simply didn’t generate as much buzz this year as they did in previous years. To make matters worse, the employees filed a class-action lawsuit against Telltale Games for unlawful termination, citing WARN laws. That lawsuit is in progress as of the writing of this article.

An image of an Amazon Echo Show on a night stand. Amazon

Google and Amazon are seriously still fighting

Amazon and Google have been competitors for a while. However, late 2017 saw things take a nasty turn for consumers when Google yanked YouTube from all Amazon Fire devices, starting with the Echo Show. This turned into a year long trench war that is only making things suck more for consumers who use both Amazon and Google products. Initially, Amazon promised to start selling Chromecasts again, which it only started doing again in early December 2018. That certainly didn’t help things. Both companies announced that talks were underway to restore YouTube to Amazon devices along with possibly some other stuff. While we definitely don’t mean to pry, we would love it if Amazon Prime Video received Chromecast support as well.

In any case, the companies broke off talks early into 2018 after Google intentionally made YouTube worse for Silk Browser, Amazon’s default browser. In March 2018, Amazon stopped selling Google’s Nest products. Of course, YouTube TV never made it to a Fire device either, so you can add that to the list too. This has gone on long enough and is now bordering on the absurd. We’re really hoping that Amazon selling the Chromecast helps bring an end to this ridiculous and long-winded problem sooner rather than later. Until the dust settles, we highly recommend just buying Roku or Nvidia Shield. Those devices don’t seem to be affected by this preposterous pissing match.

If we missed any controversial Android apps and games, tell us about them in the comments! Check out all of our Android app and game lists by clicking here!

UK Deals of the Week: Google Pixel 3 with free Home Mini, Samsung Galaxy Watch mega bundle

Google Pixel 3 XL sale deal

Welcome to your weekly round-up of the best U.K. deals of the week for Android phones, network plans, accessories, smart home tech, and a little of whatever else is on offer in the world of mobile!

Editor’s Pick

This week’s deals include a big saving on the Google Pixel 3 with a free Google Home Mini thrown in extra, a great deal on the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, a deliciously cheap Samsung Galaxy Watch/smart speaker/charging pad bundle, and much more.

Below are the most enticing deals we’ve seen this week hand-picked with a little help from the folks over at HotUKDeals – the U.K.’s biggest deal-sharing community.

Phone deals

Google Pixel 3 (SIM-Free, 64GB) w/ free Google Home Mini – £589 (was £739) @ John Lewis

Google Pixel 3 XL (SIM-Free, 64GB) w/ free Google Home Mini – £719 (was £869) @ John Lewis

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (SIM-free, 64GB) – £319 w/ minimum £10 top-up (was £399) @ GiffGaff

Honor 10 (SIM-free, 128GB) – £319 (was £399) @ Carphone Warehouse

Huawei P20 (SIM-free, 128G) – £392 (was £599) @ Amazon

Motorola Moto G6 Play (SIM-free, 32GB) – £119 w/ minimum £10 top-up (was £169) @ GiffGaff

The Samsung Galaxy Watch.

Tech deals

Samsung Galaxy Watch w/ Amazon Echo Dot & Duo Qi Wireless Charging Pad Bundle – £299 (was £419) @ Currys PC World

Samsung Galaxy Watch w/ Google Home Mini & Duo Qi Wireless Charging Pad Bundle – £299 (was £418) @ Currys PC World

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – £29 (was £49) @ Amazon

Audio Pro “Addon T3” Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Speaker – £121 (was £199) @ Amazon

More UK content:

Have you seen any amazing deals this week? Be sure to share your finds in the comments.

Ziistle is a more convenient wireless charger — save 30% today

Afternoon, deal fans. We hope by now that you’ve Christmas shopping is out of the way, and you can go back to fully focussing on you. If so, Ziistle is a Kickstarter success which might just make your life that little bit easier.

Flat wireless chargers don’t make sense. The whole idea is that you have to place your phone on something, so you might as well have it at a convenient angle. That way you can easily send messages, take a video call, or watch cat videos on YouTube.

Ultra thin, minimalist design, and portable.

The Ziistle foldable wireless charger offers that solution, and in an ingeniously simple way. The world’s smallest charging module is housed in a foldable holder as thin as a smartphone, offering a super portable charger and stand in one.

Ziistle quickly folds to offer three different angles. As well as flat, you can have your phone propped at 15 degrees for comfortable reading and message writing. There’s also a 60-degree angle for using your phone while working, or watching a movie in landscape mode.

Ziistle wireless charger

The 10W charge tops up your device quickly, and you won’t have to interrupt it while using the phone. The QI-standard ensures safety and durability.

If you’re thinking of improving your wireless charging experience, your timing couldn’t be better. Ziistle is $45 on its Kickstarter page, but right now it’s only $34.99 at Tech Deals. Even better, if you use the promo code MERRY15 at the checkout you can save a few more bucks. The price you’ll pay is just $31.25.

Hit the button below to find the deal, and don’t forget to apply the promo code. The offer expires on Friday.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Running Samsung Dex and EMUI on a 49-inch ultrawide monitor? Sure, why not

Samsung CJ89 Monitor Wide Angle Picture

Chrome OS and Android offer portable alternatives to your traditional Mac and Windows desktop environments and some big phone names have been working to improve the Android experience further. It’s been a while since we played around with some of the most well-known options, so we thought it was time we caught up. While not as fully featured as a traditional OS, Samsung Dex and Huawei EMUI offer functional desktop environments bringing mobile apps to big screens.

There are few bigger screens than the ultra-wide-screen 49-inch Samsung CJ89 monitor. The monitor supports display inputs over USB Type-C, making it an ideal testbed for running smartphone desktops. Before we dive into a bit more about the mobile-come-desktop experience, here’s an overview of the Samsung CJ89 monitor.

Meet the Samsung CJ89

At 49 inches, the Samsung CJ89 is a monster. It completely fills your peripheral vision, which is arguably a tad impractical. It’s basically impossible to take everything in at once. I’m used to a dual monitor setup, but the CJ89 really is something else. “Super ultra-wide screen,” as Samsung describes it, probably doesn’t go far enough. You can easily fit three or four windows side by side.

  Samsung J89 specs
Display Size 48.9-inches
Aspect Ratio 32:9
Screen Curvature & Viewing Angle 1800Rm, 178°(H) / 178°(V)
Resolution 3,840 x 1,080
or 2x 1,920 x 1,080
Response Time 5ms (gray-to-gray)
Refresh Rate 144Hz
Contrast Radio 3000:1 (Typical),
2400:1 (Min)
Brightness 300cd/m2 (Typical),
250cd/m2 (Min)
Ports 1x HDMI (v2.0)
1x Display Port (v1.2)
2x USB Type-C
3x USB Type-A
1x 3.5mm headphones

Quality wise, the display hits the right notes. It could probably do with a little more vertical resolution than just 1,080, but that would bump up the graphics requirements to power this beast. At 300 nits, it’s retina-scorchingly bright when cranked up up all the way in my dingy office. Meanwhile, the contrast and color balance are perfectly fine for my eye, though the display is more about its crazy width rather than groundbreaking specs. There’s no HDR support here, for example, and the 7W built-in speakers are no match for a dedicated external pair.

The monitor features a ton of ports on the back, though just one HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.2 for PC connections. The rest are USB ports to connect up peripherals, two of which are USB Type-C supporting high wattage Power Delivery to charge up phones and tablets. The USB Type-C ports also support display signals, meaning you can mirror your laptop, tablet, or phone’s display.

Samsung CJ89 Monitor Ports

I hope you like USB ports because the CJ89 has plenty of them, but only one HDMI and one DP.

Single monitor, dual inputs

One of the Samsung CJ89’s more unique features is its Picture-by-Picture mode. This takes inputs from two of the port inputs, which it can mix and match, and displays them simultaneously. Supported secondary inputs include another PC, a laptop, or a mobile device.

Furthermore, these secondary devices can connect using a range of inputs. The two USB Type-C ports on the back support Android screen cloning, EMUI Desktop, and Samsung Dex. They are also powered at up to 15W and 95W, so they can charge up your phone and power the Samsung Dex Station while running the display.

Picture-by-Picture mode allows you to run two devices on the display side by side

Samsung CJ89 Monitor DEX

The feature isn’t seamless when using a Dex Station. This slightly older Samsung product doesn’t support video over a USB Type-C connection, so you need to connect using the HDMI port on the back of the Dex Station to the monitor. There’s only one HDMI connector, so you’ll have to mess around with adaptors to keep your primary PC connected too.

This isn’t a problem with the latest Samsung devices. Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and  Galaxy Tab S4 support Dex over just a USB Type-C cable. These models remove the need for a dock altogether, matching Huawei’s EMUI Desktop. When connecting via USB-C, you can use your PC keyboard and monitor by flicking a simple switch.

Why use Android desktop environments?

The persistent question about Samsung’s Dex and Huawei’s EMUI is why? Why use a slightly sluggish, less comprehensive operating system for PC work when you probably have a perfectly functioning desktop or laptop at hand?

There’s something rather helpful about having the same apps you regularly use on your phone on your desktop side-by-side. Ensuring the morning’s emails are answered and properly synced, without having to rely on Outlook or various web tabs, is great. It’s also rather neat for apps with notifications, like Slack or WhatsApp, so your phone and PC app don’t duplicate the notifications. Having one app at your desk for each feature is less hectic and there’s plenty of room on this monitor for that type of multitasking.

Samsung CJ89 Monitor EMUI

Handling the work day’s usual phone notifications in a desktop environment is a pleasant change

That you can also use a single keyboard and mouse setup for both operating systems with this monitor makes this actually practical. That said, you have to fiddle with the Switch USB button to swap the peripherals over. It’s a necessary feature, but it prevents this from being a seamless experience. Especially as there’s a slight delay during the changeover, as it’s basically unplugging and plugging your keyboard back into Windows.

This side-by-side feature definitely won’t be a major selling point for many consumers. Those dipping their toes into Dex or EMUI might actually get some good use out of a dual monitor type setup like this though. Of course, if you’re simply planning to plug your computer into this monitor, you’ll avoid most of the pain points I’ve mentioned here.

Samsung CJ89 Super Wide Screen Monitor

Final thoughts

If you’re wanting to use a monitor like this as I have, the Samsung CJ89 is definitely built for modern devices that support monitors over USB Type-C. Laptop class power over USB Type-C also makes the monitor a power hub for your portable gadgets. However, the single HDMI input makes it difficult to use the multi-display mode with older devices. You can always use cable adapters, but I wouldn’t recommend it. While mobile desktop options have improved in recent years, they’re still no match for a dedicated desktop.

Editor’s Pick

As an ultra-wide-screen monitor, the Samsung CJ89 is pretty great. With a 32:9 aspect ratio, the 49-inch monitor has plenty of space for multiple applications. Once you get used to the monitor’s humongous size, it’s a multitaskers dream. The biggest drawback is its 7W speakers, which are passable for voice but frankly terrible for music and film sound effects.

At 899 pounds and 1,409 euros (around $1,140) this is an expensive monitor I personally can’t quite justify. At this price point, the monitor should offer HDR, a higher resolution, and support for FreeSync to make the most of its 144Hz refresh rate. Dex certainly works, but I’m not switching over to a mobile OS for work anytime soon. The idea is undeniably enticing though: as phone desktop modes improve, you could save so much money on a computer you could (maybe) justify spending at least some of it on a crazy ultra-wide monitor like this.