Eufy’s discounted mini smart plugs are perfect for beginners and experts

This is the smart plug to buy.

Eufy, a sub-brand of Anker, makes some great home accessories, and the company’s smart outlets are no exception. Mini smart plugs are some of the most popular options because they don’t take up much space and you can stack two of them on top of each other without any issue. For a limited time, you can pick up a two-pack of Eufy’s Mini Smart Plugs for $25.99 at Amazon, which is the lowest it’s ever sold for. That means you’ll be grabbing them at just $13 each in the process, which is a stellar deal considering a single smart plug sells for around $20 on average and has only dropped as low as $15 on its own. The two-pack regularly sells for $40 when not on sale.

You can control these plugs using the free Android or iOS app, or with your voice through Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa and a device like the Echo Dot. Smart plugs are great to have around to control lamps, small appliances, scent warmers, and so much more.

Ready to go all-in on some new smart home gear? Be sure to check out Eufy’s Lumos smart bulb for $21.96 and its ZOLO Halo Bluetooth speaker with Alexa built-in for $19.99.

See at Amazon

Eufy’s discounted mini smart plugs are perfect for beginners and experts

This is the smart plug to buy.

Eufy, a sub-brand of Anker, makes some great home accessories, and the company’s smart outlets are no exception. Mini smart plugs are some of the most popular options because they don’t take up much space and you can stack two of them on top of each other without any issue. For a limited time, you can pick up a two-pack of Eufy’s Mini Smart Plugs for $25.99 at Amazon, which is the lowest it’s ever sold for. That means you’ll be grabbing them at just $13 each in the process, which is a stellar deal considering a single smart plug sells for around $20 on average and has only dropped as low as $15 on its own. The two-pack regularly sells for $40 when not on sale.

You can control these plugs using the free Android or iOS app, or with your voice through Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa and a device like the Echo Dot. Smart plugs are great to have around to control lamps, small appliances, scent warmers, and so much more.

Ready to go all-in on some new smart home gear? Be sure to check out Eufy’s Lumos smart bulb for $21.96 and its ZOLO Halo Bluetooth speaker with Alexa built-in for $19.99.

See at Amazon

Android Q gestures might rely only on pill icon, no back button

The gesture navigation tools introduced with Android 9 Pie eliminated the need for the recent apps button. Now, the default gesture navigation configuration is down to two buttons: the home “pill” icon and the back button, which appears when needed.

However, according to some early Android Q code obtained by XDA Developers, the back button might not be around for the next iteration of Android.

Editor’s Pick

According to XDA’s research, the home button will act as the back button and the recent apps button all in one. Users will be able to slide the button to the left when they want to input a back action. The button slides slightly to the left and then snaps back, giving the user a kind of tactile feedback that the input was registered correctly.

Check it out here:

Additionally, a quick swipe of the pill icon to the right will swap you from the app you currently have open to the next-most-recent app on your list. Another swipe to the right will go to the app before that, and so on. If you perform this gesture while on the home screen (i.e., with no app in the foreground), the new recent apps screen will be shown, which will allow you to scroll through all your apps.

If this new navigation method is, in fact, what Android Q will eventually have, it will represent another major shift in how users navigate through Android. However, it could be that this is just early testing and the navigation system we saw in Android 9 Pie will end up in Android Q — it’s far too early to say this new method will be finalized.

What do you think? Do you use gestures in Android Pie? Do you think you could get used to the back button being gone? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: Android Q: The top features we know about so far

Monument Valley creators working on two games, unlike Monument Valley

The studio behind the runaway smash hit gaming franchise Monument Valley, UsTwo, has revealed that work is ongoing for two new games. Both of these games are unlike either Monument Valley or Monument Valley 2.

In a new YouTube video produced by Red Bull, the UsTwo team talk at length about Monument Valley, the company’s success, and how pressure is mounting for it to create new games which aren’t directly connected to Monument Valley. However, the team does not have much to explicitly say about the two new games it is working on.

Check out the video for yourself below:

Lea Schönfelder, who is the project leader of one of the new games, says her game is about “bringing mobile games to the next level in terms of narrative.” David Fernández Huerta, the lead of the other game, describes his game as “inspired by real-life experiences.” Neither of the two designers gave anything more concrete than that, and no artwork or gameplay demos are shown in the video.

Editor’s Pick

Whatever the two new games end up being, there’s no question that UsTwo has a huge task in front of it: create a new game that has the same degree of success as Monument Valley while not pigeonholing itself into one type of game or style.

Although the team makes no concrete declaration in the video, Dan Green, the head of the studio, does mention that we’ll know “next year” if the team was able to meet these lofty expectations.

Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 are both available from the Google Play Store with a retail price of $3.99 and $4.99 respectively:

Should you buy a discounted Moto G6 in 2019?

Best answer: Yes! The Moto G6 is one of those phones that really, truly delivers everything you need in a smartphone at a reasonable price. The debut of the Moto G7 series has discounted the price of the Moto G6 to $180, making it an excellent choice in 2019.

Amazon: Moto G6 ($180)

The Moto G6 is still a great phone in 2019

The Moto G6 comes with everything you’d expect in a phone: a Snapdragon 450, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 3000mAh battery, a 12MP rear camera, a fingerprint sensor, and a 5.7-inch 720p display. Let’s address the elephant in the room: is the Snapdragon 450 platform powerful enough to do what needs to get done? The answer is yes.

While it may seem like it’s a significant downgrade from the Moto G5 Plus’ Snapdragon 625, it’s basically the same chip. The only major difference is the speed of the individual cores — they run at 1.8GHz compared to the 2.0GHz on the SD625. In real-world use, the two chips are indistinguishable. But the Snapdragon 450 has all the same power efficiencies of modern Qualcomm chips.

The Moto G6 is a $200 phone that looks, feels, and performs like one double the price.

If you don’t know what all this means, don’t sweat it: just know that the Moto G6 is plenty fast enough for gaming, Instragramming, and everything else you need a phone to do.

The Moto G6 isn’t lacking when it comes to battery life either. The 3,000mAh battery is plenty big on its own, but combined with the Snapdragon 450 and Motorola’s power-efficient build of Android, you’re not going to need to worry about battery life.

That said, the phone does have a few downsides: First, the screen isn’t amazing, and it doesn’t get bright enough to easily use outdoors, so if you spend a lot of time in the sun, this probably isn’t the phone for you. Second, Motorola isn’t great about releasing software updates, so don’t expect to receive monthly, or even quarterly, security patches.

The Moto G6 is still running Oreo, and there’s no mention of when the Pie update will be available for the device.

There’s a 12MP main camera with an f/1.8 lens for depth of field, and there’s also a secondary rear sensor that provides depth information for features like portrait mode and color cut-out. The second sensor isn’t great, and neither are the portrait photos that come from it, but the primary one is good enough that it doesn’t matter.

Finally, the phone works on all major U.S. carriers, so once you buy it you don’t have to worry about whether it will work if you switch providers.

Our pick

Moto G6

$180 at Amazon

Everything you need, nothing you don’t

The Moto G6 continues to be a great choice in 2019, particularly now that it’s on sale for under $200. You get decent performance, all-day battery life, compatibility with all four major carriers, and one of the best cameras in this segment.

Top Kindle reads are available starting at just $2 today

Digital deals.

Amazon, through the end of the day, is offering a selection of top Kindle reads at a discount. Prices start at only $1.99 and there are three pages of items to choose from.

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle Reading app is free? You can download it and use it on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC devices. You don’t need a Kindle to take advantage of discounted eBooks. If you have any no-rush shipping digital credits, you can apply them to Kindle titles too.

As one example, Emily Carpenter’s novel Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is available for $1.99. It usually would cost you about $5 and has great customer reviews. An excerpt of Amazon’s description reads: Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.

Be sure to check out the entire sale before the deals expire tonight. For more Kindle goodness, check out these free Kindle books.

See at Amazon

Top Kindle reads are available starting at just $2 today

Digital deals.

Amazon, through the end of the day, is offering a selection of top Kindle reads at a discount. Prices start at only $1.99 and there are three pages of items to choose from.

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle Reading app is free? You can download it and use it on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC devices. You don’t need a Kindle to take advantage of discounted eBooks. If you have any no-rush shipping digital credits, you can apply them to Kindle titles too.

As one example, Emily Carpenter’s novel Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is available for $1.99. It usually would cost you about $5 and has great customer reviews. An excerpt of Amazon’s description reads: Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.

Be sure to check out the entire sale before the deals expire tonight. For more Kindle goodness, check out these free Kindle books.

See at Amazon

Best Alexa compatible devices for your home: Our top 10

An Amazon Echo Alexa device shot from above.

The perky voice of Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa can now be heard across millions of homes. The company’s Echo smart speaker range, and other Alexa-enabled gadgets, have expanded rapidly in just a few years, spawning countless fans.

While Alexa is useful alone — if you need urgent questions answered or want to place an Amazon order — there’s a whole world of opportunities if you pair it with a compatible device or two. 

We’ve rounded up the best Alexa-compatible devices on the market, including add-on products, and those that come with the digital assistant built-in. Here’s our top 10.

Best Alexa compatible devices (add-on)

1. Amazon Smart Plug

An Amazon Smart Plug Alexa device Amazon

The first place many people start with Alexa compatible devices is a smart plug. They’re inexpensive and give you instant control over your gadgets. Amazon’s smart plug is one of the best, because it’s affordable, guaranteed to work, and, well, just look at how cute it is!

You can tell Alexa to turn something on or off as you please, but the virtual assistant also supports routines allowing you to give your electronics a schedule. If you want your TV to power off while you’re asleep, Amazon’s Smart Plug can help. 

Buy Now: Amazon Smart Plug for $19.99

2. Philips Hue A19 Starter Kit (Hub + 2 bulbs)

The Philips A19 smart bulbs starter kit Alexa smart home product Amazon

The Philips Hue low-energy bulbs are the standard when it comes to smart lighting. These bulbs are easy to set up and can be controlled using Alexa or through a smartphone app. 

The Philips Hue bulbs support routines like the Amazon smart plug, while adjusting the brightness settings is just a matter of yelling: “Alexa, dim the bedroom lights” or something similar. 

We recommend the starter kit as your first purchase, which comes with two (or four) white bulbs and the hub for voice control. The colored bulbs are more expensive and may not suit all households, but you can add them later if you like — the hub supports up to 50 lightbulbs. 

It’s a great Alexa smart home product, but you check out our complete list of best smart light bulbs if these ones aren’t for you.

Buy Now: Philips Hue A19 white starter kit from $69.98

3. Fitbit Charge 3 

The Alexa-compatible Fitbit Charge 3

You might already own a Fitbit device, but did you know it was an Alexa compatible device? You can use the dedicated Alexa Fitbit skill to find out a whole bunch of information including your steps taken, hours slept, weight, and more. Just say, “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I slept yesterday,” or insert any other statistic you want to know more about.  

Editor’s Pick

We recommend the Fitbit Charge 3, the latest and greatest Fitbit sports band (read our full review at the previous link). For the full list of Alex/Fitbit queries, head here.

Buy Now: Fitbit Charge 3 from $128.95

4. Nest Thermostat E

The Nest Themostat E Alexa compatible thermostat. Best Buy

Nest introduced its Thermostat E back in August 2017 and it’s still the best smart thermostat out there. This slimmed-down version of the third generation Nest delivers all of the critical functions of its more expensive sibling, with few compromises.

Editor’s Pick

Like the standard Nest, the Nest E learns from your usage patterns to automatically raise or lower the temperature in your home based on your habits. Over time, you may find you don’t need to manually adjust the thermostat at all, though this is always possible with your voice thanks to Alexa.

The Nest E’s body isn’t quite as premium-looking. Its display doesn’t have quite as much information, and it isn’t compatible with quite as many HVAC systems as the third generation model. Otherwise, it’s very similar for around two thirds the price.

Control your temperature automatically, keep your home toasty, and live like a king with the Nest Thermostat E.

Buy Now: Nest Thermostat E at Best Buy for $169.99

5. Ring Video Doorbell 

The Alexa compatible Ring Doorbell Amazon

Ring’s smart doorbells pair with other Alexa devices to let you see or hear who’s outside your home. Stick one of these on your doorstep and they’ll alert your Alexa products when pressed or when they detect motion. 

The Ring doesn’t require any specific wires or extras to install, just the wires a regular doorbell needs. In that sense, it’s a product for everyone, but you’ll get most out of it if you have an Echo Spot or Echo Show so you can use its camera. 

The Ring Video Doorbell 1 comes with almost all of the features of the Ring 2 and saves you $60. If you’re okay trading 1080p video streaming for 720p, and giving up a couple of other minor features, it’s probably the better deal.

Buy Now: Ring Video Doorbell for $99

6. Blink Indoor Camera System

Blink smart security camera with Alexa support Amazon

If indoor security is more your thing, this solution from Blink is the best you’ll find. Blink’s battery-powered security camera has motion detection, can be controlled with your voice, and supports live streaming. This feed can be viewed with an Android or iOS smartphone, but as of just last month, Blink now works with video-enabled Alexa devices too.

It starts at $99.99 for one camera, but you can purchase up to five at once to save money on each one. Find out more at the button below.

Buy Now: Blink indoor security system from $99.99

7. Samsung SmartThings hub V3

Samsung's SmartThings hub version 3 Alexa smart home device. Amazon

Samsung’s SmartThings hub is the unifying product that brings a smart home together. It’s compatible with many major smart home device manufacturers — from Bose, to Honeywell, to Philips (yes, the bulbs on this list are compatible), and more — to help you monitor and control your household electronics.

If you’d instead prefer to keep your smart lights, locks, cameras and more, all under one brand — Samsung has you covered there too. You can buy SmartThings hub with all kinds of dedicated sensors to suit your smart home needs — find everything at the button below. 

Best Alexa devices (built-in)

8. Insignia 4K HDR Fire TVs

Insignia Fire TV with Alexa built-in Amazon

If you don’t want to buy an Echo, a growing number of products ship with Alexa built in. The Insignia Fire TV range is among them, coming in 43-inch, 50-inch, and 55-inch versions.

Editor’s Pick

These UHD TVs boast more than 8 million pixels, voice-control with an Alexa voice remote, and multiple inputs and outputs, including 3 HDMI ports (one with ARC) and USB (in case you want to power, say, a Google Chromecast). 

Best of all, they start at $249.99 for the 43-inch version. It’s a bargain. 

Buy Now: Insignia 4K Fire TV from $249.99

9. Acer Spin 5 laptop

The Acer Spin 5 laptop on Amazon with built-in Alexa support. Amazon

This convertible laptop is full of great features, like an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U, dedicated Nvidia GTX 1050, and a 15.6-inch Full-HD Multi-Touch Display. It’s capped off by dedicated Alexa integration, meaning you can control your smart home products, create lists, check your calendar, and more, all from your computer.

The Acer Spin 5 has four built-in microphones to help Alexa understand you — this isn’t a token smart assistant integration— and it looks impressive too, in its slimline, steel gray frame. 

You can find it here for a little less in a smaller, 13.3-inch version, if that’s more your thing. Otherwise, it’s currently $944 for the 15.6-inch model with all the trimmings.

Buy Now: Acer Spin 5 (15.6-inch) for $944.00

10. Sonos One

A Sonos One speaker on a table with Alexa built in. Sound Guys

There are many capable Alexa-supported speakers, but the Sonos One stands out for several reasons. It sounds great and the voice control is well-integrated. It shows premium quality throughout, despite its price. 

The Sonos One review from our sister site SoundGuys had many great things to say about it, but they were disappointed by the lack of Spotify and Apple Music support. Thankfully, it now supports Spotify, and Apple Music integration is apparently on the way

Buy Now: Sonos One for $198.95


That’s all folks! What’s your favorite Alexa smart home device or accessory? Let us know in the comments. 

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

These are the best Android phones for power users

A photo of a man using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, one of the best phones for power users.

Smartphones are incredibly useful tools no matter which way you look at them, packing plenty of features into a compact form factor. But what if you specifically need a device for productivity purposes? Or maybe you need a Swiss Army Knife that offers a feature for every eventuality?

There are plenty of Android phones for power users out there, so here are the devices you should be adding to your wishlist.


Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Experience Homescreen

Our 2018 Best of Android smartphone of the year is also one of the best Android phones for power users too, and there are plenty of reasons why.

The integrated S-Pen stylus enables some nifty functionality, such as controlling your presentations (if your phone is connected to an external screen) and jotting down notes. The former is a pretty handy use-case too, reducing the need to lug your laptop to work for that pitch meeting.

Editor’s Pick

The Galaxy Note 9 also offers a 4,000mAh battery that should give you plenty of juice for the day (with some to spare). It also marks the biggest battery in the Note range yet, while trouncing the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Core specs are cutting-edge too, offering a Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 512GB (!) of expandable storage, and a 6.4-inch 1440p OLED screen. Toss in IP68 water resistance, a headphone jack, and wireless charging, and you’ve got one of the best flagships of the year. Just make sure you look around for a good deal, because the device starts at $999.


Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro took an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach, cramming almost every imaginable feature into its frame (save for a 3.5mm port). The biggest highlights are the triple rear camera setup (ultra wide, normal, telephoto), reverse wireless charging, and an in-display fingerprint sensor, but it also packs a few more useful features.

The 4,200mAh battery is probably the largest you’ll find in a mainstream flagship phone today, giving you a day and a half to two days of usage. But it also packs the fastest charging you’ll see, period, going from zero to 70 percent in just 30 minutes. So if you over-slept or simply don’t have time to fully charge your phone, it’ll work particularly well.

The biggest downside is that the phone ordinarily starts at 1,049 euros (~$1,217), making it $200 more expensive than Samsung’s flagship phablet. The lack of a headphone jack is also disappointing, but it’s tough to argue that you aren’t getting one of the better phones for power users and productivity in general.


Google Pixel 3

Google’s latest phone doesn’t have the biggest battery, the most storage, or the most cameras, but it has one massive advantage over Huawei and Samsung’s phones. Yep, you’ll be getting stock Android as well as the latest and greatest updates.

Read: Here are the best smartphones running stock Android

Even if you don’t care for pure Android, it’s tough to argue with Google’s commitment to feature and security updates. The company generally commits to two years of feature updates, and three years of security patches. The latter should provide for some peace of mind if you need a (figuratively) bullet-proof phone in your line of work.

But the Pixel 3 series also stands out thanks to its camera experience, offering a 12MP single rear camera and a dual-camera pairing up front. The Mountain View company’s photography efforts also earned it a gong in our best of Android awards.


OnePlus 6T

OyxgenOS Android Skin

OnePlus had a stellar 2018, and this is in large part due to the excellent critical and commercial reception to the OnePlus 6T. The phone definitely makes a few compromises compared to the more expensive devices on the list, but it’s tough to argue against its inclusion nonetheless.

The OnePlus 6T offers a speedy Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, and 128GB to 256GB of storage. This puts it on similar footing to the OnePlus 6, but the brand has also tossed in an in-display fingerprint sensor and a 3,700mAh battery (compared to the older phone’s 3,300mAh pack). 

But one of the best things about the phone is its OxygenOS skin, offering a feature-filled yet lightweight take on Android. Toss in the company’s commitment to updates and the developer community, and you’ve got another phone worth adding to the list.


BlackBerry Key2

blackberry key2 held in hand

Was there ever any doubt that the BlackBerry Key2 would make the list? TCL’s 2018 device cracks a nod based purely on the fact that it has a QWERTY keypad — a rarity in this day and age. Sure, virtual keyboards are often faster for many people, but the ability to assign apps to specific keys is pretty smart.

The phone also has a dedicated shortcut key (be it for the camera shutter, Play Music or Google Assistant), LG-style system profiles that change your settings depending on location, and a 3,500mAh battery that keeps on chugging. In fact, reviewers Jimmy Westenberg and David Imel both said they averaged between five and seven hours of screen-on time, while Jimmy said he’d regularly end the day with 40 percent capacity remaining.

Now if you consider a power user to be someone who needs the fastest, the Blackberry Key2 obviously doesn’t hold its own as well in this department. The addition of a mid-weight Snapdragon 660 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB to 128GB of expandable storage makes for a big improvement over the KeyOne‘s budget specs. But it’s far from a performance beast. Still, if your definition of a power user is someone who lives on his or her phone and needs it to fuel their productivity, the Key2 is hard to beat. 


Do you know of any other great phones for power users? Give us your picks in the comments! 

This week in Android: MWC 2019 is coming

Samsung Galaxy S10 ceramic white leak MySmartPrice

MWC 2019 is fast approaching, and we’re expecting it to be a big show. Of course, we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S10 right before the event, and Xiaomi will unveil its Mi 9 on the same day, which we’re positive is not a terrible idea. Except it is. Once we get to MWC, we’ll see LG’s next flagship, complete with a loudspeaker screen. Plus we’ll see OnePlus’ 5G phone prototype.

Back on the home front, we have to wonder why we’re spending $1,000 on phones when we have some great $500 options. Meanwhile, OnePlus is making huge inroads in the United States — as is Google.

Here are your top stories for the week

1:00 – 5 reasons why you absolutely shouldn’t miss Mobile World Congress this year

From 5G to folding phones, OEMs will be bringing it all to MWC 2019. We can’t wait to see what’s coming.


20:35 – Why I hope AT&T loses the 5G E lawsuit

AT&T is full of $%!^.


29:55 – OnePlus 7: Here’s what it needs to take on the best

There are a few ways we think OnePlus could really up its game and stand toe-to-toe with the big boys…


OnePlus is now a top-five high-end smartphone maker in the US

…but maybe it doesn’t have to, because it seems to be doing pretty well where it is.


We’ll get our first look at a OnePlus 5G prototype at MWC 2019

Plus, OnePlus will have a new 5G phone to show off at MWC.


44:15 – Opinion: These are my 7 essential smartphone features

What makes or breaks a smartphone is pretty personal, so C. Scott Brown is laying out his must-haves. Vote for yours!


Meanwhile, here are some stories we couldn’t cover on the podcast

OnePlus 6T vs Honor View 20: Pushing back against the $1,000 smartphone

When you have two tough competitors at this price point, you have to wonder what all the four-digit price tags are for.


Google Pixel is fastest-growing US smartphone brand, but context is key

The Google Pixel 3 is a great phone and this sounds like great news, but how great is another question.


LG G8 ThinQ to pack OLED screen that can be used as an amplifier

It used to be a rumor, but now LG has confirmed that the LG G8’s screen will work as a loudspeaker. It might also have a bottom-firing speaker, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Google is getting more serious about making its own chips

Google has picked up over a dozen new microchip engineers of late. Are gChips Google’s new processors?


Who wants to win a Pocophone F1?

This week, we’re giving away a brand new Pocophone F1Enter this week’s Sunday giveaway for your chance to win!

Don’t miss these videos

That’s it, folks! We’ll have another giveaway and more top Android stories for you next week. To stay up to date on all things Android Authority in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters at the link below.

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