Home Depot is taking $50 off the Google Home Hub already?!?!

Usually we have to wait for a device to actually be released before we see discounts like these.

The Google Home Hub was announced just this last Tuesday at the Made By Google event, and while its $149 price tag was already quite attractive, Home Depot apparently didn’t think it was low enough. Or someone made a gross mistake, but either way, the Google Home Hub is $99 on the Home Depot website with free shipping and you should grab one before someone realizes their mistake.

$99 at Home Depot (Charcoal)

There’s a whole lot to like about Google’s first smart display: it’s got an attractive, petite design that comes in four colors, it’s got a 7-inch touchscreen display for displaying YouTube or Netflix videos or monitor your Nest security cameras, it’s got a speaker that can more than fill your bedroom or kitchen with music or cooking instructions, and it’s got the latest and greatest of Google Home features, including being the first Google Home device to have Home View, Google’s one-stop dashboard for controlling and managing the smart devices throughout your entire home.

Seeing the Google Home Hub down to $99 before it even hits store shelves is impressive — public release day for the Home Hub is October 22 — but you won’t find me complaining about anything except the fact that only the Chalk and Charcoal colors are offered by Home Depot, not the beautiful blue Aqua or pink Sand.

$99 at Home Depot (Chalk)
$99 at Home Depot (Charcoal)

Pop quiz: Can you name an app just by looking at its logo?

Vivo V11 review - apps

This quiz will reveal just how familiar you are with some of the most popular apps out there. Your job is to look at the app icon in each of the 10 images and figure out the name of the app. There are four choices available for each question, only one of which is correct.

Are you up for the challenge? Press the Start Quiz button to get started — and don’t forget to share your result on social media at the end.


This is the 12th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take the other 11 via the links below:

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

Best Kindle Deals for October 2018

We did the hard work for you.

Purchasing a dedicated Kindle has tons of benefits. Using complimentary Kindle reading apps is nice and all, but sometimes you just want a distraction-free adventure through Hogwarts or Westeros. On a Kindle device, you can get lost in a book without straining your eyes, getting bombarded by social media notifications, or draining your device’s battery life. They are designed from the ground up for one thing: reading. The fonts are better, the screen is bigger, and the overall experience is ideal. Luckily, Kindle deals are relatively common, and certified refurbished models and bundles are here to save the day when there isn’t a full-on sale.

Once you have your new device, be sure to check out Amazon’s frequent Kindle book deals. Prime members get access to over a thousand titles for free, plus one of a selection of First Reads each month. You can also subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, which gets you access to millions of titles for one low monthly price. There’s a free trial here.

Kindle

The base model gets you everything you need and that’s about it. There aren’t many bells or whistles, which makes this the most affordable e-reader in the lineup. The display does feature special offers on the lockscreen, which are tastefully designed and unobtrusive. You have the option to buy the device without the special offers for a bit more money. The touchscreen display is glare-free and feels like real paper, but note that this device doesn’t have a backlight, so reading in the dark will require some sort of additional illumination.

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon’s best-selling Kindle. It has a built-in adjustable light to help you read at night, and the glare-free screen is easy on your eyes, too. The battery lasts for weeks at a time, and the display is higher-resolution than the original Kindle. This model also features Bookerly, which is an Amazon-exclusive font that was designed specifically for reading on digital screens.

Kindle Oasis

The Kindle Oasis is the swankiest Kindle available. The device itself is gorgeous, available in Graphite or Champagne Gold. The 7-inch display has the highest resolution out of all of the Kindle models, and the device also features an IPX8 waterproof rating. You can pair headphones to your Kindle Oasis using Bluetooth to listen to Audible books, and the dedicated page turn buttons and adaptive front light means you’ll be comfortable for chapter after chapter. This also boasts twice the storage, and you can opt for a 32GB version for even more space. There are other nice details, too, like in-line footnotes and on-the-fly dictionary access.

Poco Launcher out of beta, try it out on your non-Pocophone now

  • The launcher included with the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is now available as a stable release.
  • You can download the Poco Launcher from the Google Play Store and use it on any compatible Android device.
  • The Poco Launcher is unexpectedly popular, with 500,000 installs even before it went stable.

The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 surprised us all by offering some notable flagship specs — including a Snapdragon 845 and a 4,000mAh battery — for the very reasonable starting price of about $300.

However, what’s even more surprising is how popular the launcher is on the device. It’s popular enough that a beta listing on the Google Play Store earned half-a-million downloads and some pretty decent reviews with them.

Today, the Poco Launcher is officially out of beta, and anyone can download and install it from the Google Play Store. Click the button at the bottom of this article to check it out.

Editor’s Pick

What makes the Poco Launcher so special? It’s likely because it is simple and elegant — two words you most likely wouldn’t use to describe Xiaomi’s usual skinning of Android through its love-it-or-hate-it MIUI. The Poco Launcher is very close to stock, and it’s zippy, minimalism approach will make stock Android fanboys very happy.

If you haven’t experimented with Android launchers yet, now would be a good time to try some out. They can totally change the user experience of using a smartphone.

Check out the Poco Launcher by clicking the button below.

Not jealous at all… Half of recent iPhones now use the latest version of iOS

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Apple iPhone XS Max-3

  • Over 50 percent of iPhones and iPads released in the last four years have updated to the latest version of iOS.
  • Apple first released iOS 12 only three weeks ago.
  • Google released Android Pie in August, yet not even 0.1 percent of Android devices use it.

Apple has revealed that 53 percent of iOS devices introduced since 2014 have already updated to the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Apple released iOS 12 on September 17, meaning it took just over three weeks for the number of devices upgraded to pass 50 percent.

Engadget noted that the company reached this landmark much faster than it did last year, when it took almost twice as long for 50 percent of iPhone users to update to the latest operating system.

In contrast, Google released Android Pie over two months ago, yet not even 0.1 percent of Android devices use Pie. Even Oreo, which Google released over a year ago, is only installed on 19.2 percent of devices. The most used version of Android is still 2017’s Nougat, which is found on 29.3 percent of devices.

Editor’s Pick

The discrepancies between the uptake rate of the latest operating systems won’t surprise anyone who follows Android, however. We all know that manufacturers face a number of barriers when it comes to updating their devices to the latest version of Android. This is something that Apple, with its yearly release cycle of two to three phones, simply doesn’t have to deal with.

What’s more, Apple’s latest figures relate only to four years of phones, while the Android numbers go back to Android Gingerbread, released in 2010. There have been thousands of Android phones released in the interval, compared to the dozen or so iPhones released since 2014.

Perhaps a better comparison when it comes to update speed would be between iPhones getting the latest version of iOS and Pixels getting the latest version of Android. If we did that, the numbers would likely be much closer, as Google releases updates for all Pixel devices at the same time.

Still, the speed at which iOS users are able to get these updates does make me a bit jealous. Especially when you consider that even four-year-old devices are able to upgrade. Four years worth of updates is something that most Android phone owners can only dream of.

Next up: Android version distribution: Still no sign of Pie in September figures

LG V40 ThinQ isn’t out yet, but it’s just received a second camera update

LG V40 ThinQ camera closeup

  • The LG V40 ThinQ has received a second camera-focused update this week.
  • The update brings better HDR performance, and improved auto-focus in Triple Shot mode.
  • LG’s previous update brought better low-light image quality, and improved white balance/brightness.

The LG V40 ThinQ is the second flagship to hit the market with a triple-camera setup, enabling wildly different perspectives. Photo quality was a little disappointing, as we found out in our LG V40 ThinQ review, but the Korean company seems committed to improving matters.

LG has delivered a second camera-focused update for the smartphone, Droid-Life reports, weighing in at 391MB. This new update improves HDR performance, delivers better sharpness and color in outdoor conditions, and improves the “black phenomenon of video recording.” Yeah, I don’t know what that means, either.

The update doesn’t stop there, as it also improves auto-focus when using the Triple Shot mode. This was an issue raised by several reviewers, so we’re glad to see LG paying attention to this feature.

Droid-Life

 

News of a new LG V40 update comes a few days after the company issued its first camera-focused update. The first update improved low-light image quality, low-light HDR snaps, and AI Camera quality. The OTA update also delivered improved auto-focus performance and better white balance/brightness in outdoor conditions.

Editor’s Pick

We’re glad to see LG deliver updates before the phone’s release, but hopefully the company keeps this commitment after the phone hits shelves. After all, a prompt serving of Android Pie is in order, as the device launched with Android 8.1.

You’re still getting a feature-packed phone anyway, including an 8MP standard and 5MP wide-angle front camera setup, wireless charging, IP68 water/dust resistance, a headphone jack, and quad-DAC hardware.

What do you make of the LG V40? Would you buy it over other flagships? Let us know in the comments!

The GW100 are Grado’s first wireless Bluetooth headphones ever

New is always exciting.

Update: Grado’s new GW100 headphones are now available through Grado’s official retailer and available for pre-order at B&H. Get them for $249.

Grado Labs is not a company like Anker or SkullCandy. They don’t make thousands of products for every sound and every ear. Instead, Grado makes a few select headphones… hand makes them, in fact, in Brooklyn, NY… and what they do make is usually top of the line. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the motto Grado has lived by since the 50s (you know, probably). That’s why it’s surprising to see Grado innovating with a new pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones called the GW100. Wireless headphones are the future, and even Grado can’t stay away.

The GW100 will still be made with Grado’s unique style, including the standard Grado audio drivers customized to this brand new housing and an open-air design. These will be open-back wireless headphones featuring Bluetooth 4.2 apt-X, a dynamic transducer, and 15 hours of battery life.

While Grado hasn’t announced a release date or a starting price yet, the GW100 product page links to Grado’s official online retailer, which suggests a price of $249. That’s a reasonable price compared to other Grado headphones like the $495 Reference Series or the $295 Prestige headphones.

See at Grado Labs

Xiaomi Black Shark global website now live, European launch incoming?

The Xiaomi Black Shark. Xiaomi Gaming

  • Xiaomi has quietly launched a global website for the Black Shark phone.
  • The website launch suggests that a wider release is on the cards.
  • MyDrivers reports that the gaming phone will come to Europe first.

The Xiaomi Black Shark is one of many gaming smartphones launched in 2018 thus far, offering the usual gaming trappings. That means a powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset, a button to enable performance mode, and an optional gamepad attachment.

It’s largely been restricted to China, but MyDrivers (h/t: Gizmochina) has spotted a Black Shark global website (global.blackshark.com). “Sharks approaching. Unleashing soon,” reads a tagline on the site.

The global website doesn’t provide much else, save for an email sign-up form and a few media quotes about the phone. Nevertheless, the device is expected to land in Europe first, MyDrivers said, citing company insiders.

Xiaomi Gaming

If confirmed, it would be the latest gaming phone to see a wider release, following in the footsteps of the Asus ROG Phone. The Xiaomi Black Shark doesn’t have the ROG Phone’s ultrasonic shoulder buttons or overclocked chipset, but it’s still a pretty handy gaming-focused device.

Editor’s Pick

The Black Shark offers the aforementioned Snapdragon 845 (with liquid cooling), 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 64GB to 128GB of storage, and a 6-inch full HD+ LCD screen. Other noteworthy details include a 4,000mAh battery, a 12MP+20MP telephoto combo on the back, a 20MP selfie snapper, and a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. You’ll need to use a 3.5mm to Type-C adapter or Bluetooth, however, as the phone lacks a headphone jack.

Global pricing is still up in the air, but the phone’s starting price in China was 2,999 yuan (~$433). This is more expensive than the similarly powerful Pocophone F1 (~$300), but you’re getting a different design, higher resolution cameras, and a button to activate gaming mode. It’s cheaper than most other Snapdragon 845 phones though, so you might want to keep an eye on this device…

Would you buy the Black Shark over other flagships? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Razer Phone 2 hands-on — A sharp upgrade

Nokia 7.1, 6.1 and 6.1 Plus to get stable Android 9.0 Pie update this month

Nokia is set to deliver the stable Pie update to three phones this month.

HMD Global delivered the stable Android 9.0 Pie update to the Nokia 7 Plus at the end of last month, and the company has detailed the update schedule for other devices in its portfolio.

The Nokia 7.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, and Nokia 6.1 are now in the beta labs program, and HMD says it will deliver the stable Pie build to all three devices before the end of October.

The Nokia 8 and Nokia 8 Sirocco will be picking up the stable Pie update in November. Committing to Android One for all of its devices gives HMD a leg up when it comes to updates, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here.

By the end of November, the company will have six devices running the stable version of Android 9.0 Pie. There’s no mention as to when the other devices in the HMD portfolio will get the update, but it shouldn’t be too long after the current set of devices are updated.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Specs comparison

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - speaker grills

Razer has just unveiled the Razer Phone 2 and — as expected — it is a real powerhouse. The specs on the first Razer Phone are still pretty impressive, however. Let’s take a look to see how the Razer Phone 2 improves upon the original so you can decide whether or not it is worth upgrading.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Design

As you can see from the pictures, the Razer Phone 2 has a very similar design to the Razer Phone. They both have a boxy chassis which clearly marks them out as Razer Phones.

The Razer Phone 2 has almost the exact same dimensions and display size as the original phone. The large bezels found on the original phone are also still present. While this means the Razer Phone 2 doesn’t have the sleekest design, it does keep the two huge front facing speakers that were housed in the bezels of the first phone.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - rear

The biggest design difference is that the Razer logo on the rear of the Razer Phone 2 illuminates. You can even change the color. The phone also changes color when you get a notification, though at the moment the color of the notification cannot be set by the phone owner.

This may not be the biggest design change but it could still be pretty useful to ensure you don’t miss notifications when your phone is placed face down on a surface. It will also likely be a well-received addition by people who are already fans of Razer and the Chroma LED effects built into its other products.

The Razer Phone 2’s LED lights are sure to appeal to existing fans of Razer products.

The other main design difference between the two phones is that the rear dual-camera setup has been moved from the top corner into the center of the phone.  This gives the Razer Phone 2 a slightly more symmetrical look and, according to Razer, improves the phone’s portrait mode.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Display and performance

When it comes to display and performance, there are some similarities between the two phones and also a few ways in which the Razer Phone 2 is better than the original.

Both phones have a 5.72-inch 120Hz LCD display with a 1440 x 2560 resolution. However, with a maximum of 645 nits, the display on the Razer Phone 2 is 50 percent brighter than the original phone. This is great news as one of our complaints about the first phone was that the screen was a little too dim.

Additionally, the newer phone uses Gorilla Glass 5 while the older phone uses Gorilla Glass 3.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - home screen

The biggest performance difference is that the Razer Phone 2 has a Snapdragon 845 processor, while the Razer Phone uses a Snapdragon 835. Having said that, this may not make the biggest difference in day-to-day use. While the Snapdragon 845 is the latest unit, the Snapdragon 835 is still a more than capable chipset that should be able to handle pretty much whatever you throw at it.

When the Razer Phone was first unveiled, it was one of the first devices to get 8GB RAM. The Razer Phone 2 also comes with 8GB RAM. While phones with 8GB RAM may not be quite as rare as when the first Razer phone was released, it is still far more than enough to power the phone.

The Razor Phone 2 is a powerhouse. It comes with 8GB RAM and the latest Snapdragon processor.

The RAM size may be the same but there is a difference in the type of RAM used. The Razer Phone uses LPDDR4 RAM while the Razer Phone 2 uses LPDDR4x RAM. The latter is more power efficient and could result in the phone having better battery life.

While the original Razer Phone came with 64GB storage, Razer has unveiled both 64GB and 128GB versions of the Razer Phone 2. Both phones have an SD card slot so you can add more storage if needed.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Camera

Like the Razer Phone, the Razer Phone 2 has a rear dual-camera setup with a 12MP wide-angle lens with f/1.75 aperture and a 12MP telephoto lens with f/2.6 aperture. On the front, both versions of the Razer Phone have an 8MP f/2.0 selfie shooter.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - FFC and speaker grill

On paper, it all sounds familiar but there are some differences. This time around the wide sensor has Optical Image Stabilization and the sensors are made by Sony. The position of the rear cameras has also changed which should help improve the phone’s portrait mode. Finally, Razer has made adjustments to the camera app’s UI which, it says, will make the app more intuitive.

Overall, Razer says that this means the newer phone has a much better camera than the older version.

Razer thinks the camera on the Razer Phone 2 is a big improvement on the first phone.

When the Razer Phone was first released, the camera was poorly received. If the camera on the Razer Phone 2 is much better — we’ll have to wait for our review to find out if it truly is — it would certainly help make the phone seem like a more attractive proposition to those who want a device with features that go beyond gaming.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Audio

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - speaker grills

The dual front-facing speakers on the Razer Phone were praised highly upon the phone’s release. In our review, we said they were louder than pretty much any other phone.

Fortunately, these speakers are set to make a return on the Razer Phone 2. Like the first Razer Phone, the Razer Phone 2 does not have a headphone jack, although it does come with a USB-C adapter with 24-bit DAC.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Battery

There is little to separate the battery found in the Razer Phone and the Razer Phone 2. Both are 4,000mAh and support Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 4 technology.

The only thing that might make a difference to battery life is the Razer Phone 2 has more efficient RAM and a newer Snapdragon processor. We’ll have to wait until we test out the newer phone’s battery to see how much of a difference it makes (if any) to regular use.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Extras

One huge extra is that the Razer Phone 2 is IP67 water resistant. This is quite impressive considering the huge speaker grills on the front of the phone. The original Razer Phone had no IP rating.

The Razer Phone 2 will ship with Android 8.1, the same version of Android that the Razer Phone currently uses. However, Razer says the Razer Phone 2 will soon get Android Pie. While the company has not yet said whether or not the original phone will also get a Pie upgrade, it would be pretty surprising if it doesn’t.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone: Price

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - logo

The Razer Phone 2 costs either $799 for the 64GB version or $899 for the 128GB version. This is a $100 increase on the price of the first Razer Phone upon its release.

As it is now a year old, you may be able to find the first phone for significantly less than this. While it is currently listed as sold out on the Razer website, the Razer Phone can still be found for a discounted price on Amazon.

  Razer Phone 2 Razer Phone
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
System Memory 8GB (LPDDR4X) 8 GB (LPDDR4)
Storage Internal: 64GB or 128GB
External: Micro SD slot (up to 2TB)
Internal: 64GB
External: Micro SD slot (up to 2TB)
Display 5.72-inch IGZO LCD
1440 x 2560
120Hz
16:9 aspect ratio
Wide Color Gamut
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
645 nits
5.72-inch IGZO LCD
1440 x 2560
120Hz
16:9 aspect ratio
120 Hz
Wide Color Gamut
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Rear Cameras 12MP wide-angle Sony sensor with f/1.75 aperture and OIS
12MP zoom sensor with autofocus f/2.6 aperture
Dual PDAF (Phase detection Autofocus)
Dual tone, dual LED flash
Video 160p@60fps
1080p@120fps
stereo sound recording
12 MP wide-angle sensor with f/1.75 aperture, PDAF
12 MP zoom sensor with f/2.6 aperture
PDAF
Dual tone, dual LED flash
Front Camera 8MP fixed focus sensor with f/2.0 aperture
Video 1080p@60fps
8 MP fixed focus sensor with f/2.0 aperture
Sound Stereo Front facing speakers
Dual Amplifiers/Dolby Atmos
Audio Adapter with 24-bit DAC
Stereo front-facing speakers
Dual amplifiers
Audio adapter with 24-bit DAC
Power 4000mAh battery
Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
4,000mAh battery
Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Dual-band (MIMO), Antennae 2×2
Bluetooth 5.0 minimum, A2DP, LE, LE Data Length
Extension
NFC
A-GPS
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
Logo Illuminated Non-ulluminated
Size 158.5 x 78.99 x 8.5 mm 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm
Android version Android 8.1 (upgraded soon) Android 8.1
Network GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
WCDMA: 1/2/3/4/5/8
FDD-LTE:
1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/26/28/29/30/32/66/71
TDD LTE: 38/39/40/41/48
TD-SCDMA: 34/39
LAA: 46
4×4 MIMO: 1/2/3/4/7/30/38/48/66
GSM: Quad-band GSM
UMTS: B1/2/3/4/5/8 LTE:B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
TDD LTE: B38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA: B34/39

So, which one should I choose?

If you already own the Razer Phone, then you may not find the changes Razer made to its latest model to be enough to warrant an upgrade.

Editor’s Pick

However, if you don’t own either phone, then the Razer Phone 2 is the better device. It has a newer processor, an upgraded camera, and a cool new lighting effect. The brighter screen will also be something that you will likely notice when using the phone.

Razer Phone 2 vs Razer Phone - USB Type-C port

The Razer Phone 2 has also kept a lot about what made the original such an enticing proposition, such as its 120hz display and its dual front-facing speakers.

The Razer Phone 2 is more expensive than the Razer Phone so if you can find a good deal on the original phone, then you will have to factor this into your decision. However, if you are just looking for the better phone, then the updated version is the way to go.

More Razer 2 coverage