Best tempered glass screen protectors for Google Pixel 2 XL

The Google Pixel 2 XL is a big, awesome phone with a huge 6-inch screen. That screen is great for watching movies, playing games, and browsing the web, but it won’t do you any good if it’s completely shattered. To make sure that doesn’t happen, pick up one of these tempered glass screen protectors to keep it safe for years to come.

A reliable choice

amFilm Screen Protector

amFilm was one of the first brands to create a tempered glass screen protector for the Pixel 2 XL, and all this time later, it’s still one of the best. The protector is guaranteed to be free of unsightly bubbles, is ultra-thin at just 0.3mm, and is extremely resistant against all kinds of scratches.

$12 at Amazon

Great value

Elebase Screen Protector

This screen protector from Elebase costs the same as amFilm’s option, but instead of coming with just one protector, includes a pack of two. Elebase designed the protector to be slightly smaller than the Pixel 2 XL’s screen to ensure compatibility with other accessories/cases and is still super thin at just 0.33m.

$12 at Amazon

Best there is

Whitestone Dome Glass

Without a doubt, Whitestone’s Dome Glass is the very best Pixel 2 XL screen protector you can buy. The installation process is a lot more involved than anything else on this list, but the quality of the protector is second to none. $60 is a lot of money for an accessory like this, but the Dome Glass will protect your Pixel 2 XL unlike anything else.

$60 at Amazon

Solid all around

SUPTMAX Screen Protector

Our next pick comes from SUPTMAX. This protector has a super high durability rating, a 99% transparency rating to make it look like nothing’s there, and is designed to be just a bit smaller than the Pixel 2 XL’s screen so it works just fine with any case you throw on the phone. What more could you ask for?

$10 at Amazon

Two for the price of one

Affix Screen Protector

Affix offers a pretty great value proposition by giving you a pack of two screen protectors for just $10. The 99.9% transparency means you won’t even be able to tell that there’s a protector on your phone, and the 0.3mm thickness helps contribute to that as well. Add that together with solid coverage against scratches of all kinds, and you’re all set.

$10 at Amazon

Extremely durable

Cavalrywolf Screen Protector

This is another two-pack of screen protectors you can get for $10, this time coming from Cavalrywolf. The 9H hardness rating means you’ve got serious protection against just about everything that comes your way, and with an oleophobic coating over the protector, fingerprints will be a thing of the past.

$10 at Amazon

If I had to choose just one protector off this list to use myself, it’d have to be the Whitestone Dome Glass. I know, I know — it’s a lot more expensive than any of the other items listed here, but trust me when I say it’s absolutely worth every single penny. No other protector comes close to what Whitestone’s achieved here, and if you can afford the $60 price of admission, it’s worth picking up ASAP.

Here’s how Prime members can score Grand Theft Auto V for free

This offer might not last, so don’t wait!

There’s an insane deal on Grand Theft Auto V at Amazon right now that’s almost too good to be true. Right now, you can pick up the game for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One at just $14.99. While that’s one of the best deals ever for this game already, the crazy part is that Twitch Prime members will receive a $14.99 promotional credit with their purchase. Effectively, that makes the game free. This deal is also available as an Xbox One Digital Download; the options above are both physical versions of the game. This is a one-day deal, so you’ll need to order today. With the risk of the items selling out early, you’ll want to place your order ASAP.

This offer is only valid with the game shipped and sold by Amazon, and you must be a Prime member who is signed up for Twitch Prime to receive the promo credit. If you’re not yet signed up for Twitch, we have a great article on how to become a Twitch Prime member. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member yet, you can start a free 30-day trial to get in on this deal.

Grand Theft Auto V may be a couple years old now, but it’s continually getting improved upon when it comes to GTA Online. A new arena battle mode was just added, though you’ll want to make sure you have an Xbox Live Gold membership to access those features.

See at Amazon

Someone got paid to come up with Oath replacement name ‘Verizon Media Group’

Verizon logo

Today, Verizon CEO K. Guru Gowrappan posted a press release about the official end of its media brand Oath and the start of its new brand: Verizon Media Group.

Some would probably say “Verizon Media Group” is a little too on-the-nose for a brand name, but hey: no one wants to work late at marketing meetings, so they probably just settled on the first name that popped up and called it a night.

Verizon Media Group will now be the umbrella brand for the various Verizon media properties, such as Yahoo, HuffPost, AOL, TechCrunch, and the recently overhauled Tumblr.

Editor’s Pick

The Oath brand began in 2017 and was the combination of two media properties Verizon had recently purchased: AOL and Yahoo. Verizon’s main ambition with Oath was to create new media which appealed to younger consumers, with a major focus on video content. However, Oath struggled to make much headway with several of its ambitious ideas falling flat, such as the go90 app which aimed to take on video streaming services like YouTube and Netflix.

Earlier this year, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong made some comments which made it pretty clear that go90 and Oath, in general, weren’t going to last. Armstrong left his position to be replaced by Gowrappan who very quickly announced the removal of all pornographic content on Tumblr and laid off about 10 percent of the Oath workforce.

Now, starting January 8, 2019, Oath will officially be done and Verizon Media Group will take its place.

For general consumers, this reorganization won’t mean much — HuffPost and TechCrunch will still publish their content, Yahoo will still offer news, stocks, and email, and AOL will do…whatever it is AOL does now. Other than Tumblr’s controversial makeover, it will be business as usual at Verizon Media Group.

NEXT: Verizon’s 5G aspirations lead to over 10,000 voluntary resignations

Honor 10 Lite hands-on: The budget selfie king?

Last month, we reviewed the Honor 10. The device was admirable for something that only costs 399 euros (~$453), bringing last year’s flagship Kirin 970 processor, plenty of RAM and storage, and a high resolution camera.

The phone brought quite a lot of value to the mid-range market, but Honor is looking to introduce an option for those on an even tighter budget.

We just got our hands on the Honor 10 Lite, and here are our first impressions.

Honor 10 lite rear

Related:

The Honor 10 Lite is definitely a flashy device. While it comes in standard black and silver colors that shimmer in Honor’s classic “Aurora” pattern, there’s also now a sky blue option which transitions from a light baby blue at the bottom to silver at the top. I think it looks quite good.

However, it’s proven to be a fingerprint magnet during the time I’ve had with it.

Honor 10 lite standing back

There is a fingerprint reader nested in the top third of the device with a 13MP and 2MP dual-camera setup sitting to the top left. These sensors have apertures of f/1.8 and f/2.4 respectively. The 13MP sensor is the primary camera while the second is primarily used for depth sensing.

The glass on the back feels fairly premium, but the aluminum sides feel a bit cheap. It’s also fairly light at 162 grams.

Honor 10 lite screen notch
Honor 10 lite chin

The Honor 10 Lite has a 6.21-inch 1080p LCD display with a small waterdrop-style notch design. This notch houses a 24MP selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture. It can recognize up to eight different selfie scenarios and react appropriately, adding things like color adjustments and skin smoothing. It also offers multiple different studio lighting modes.

The screen isn’t incredibly disappointing, but it does make it clear that this isn’t a flagship device. There is a noticeable difference in quality between this panel and the Honor 10. Even though the colors are quite deep and punchy, the display feels almost matte, and could definitely be sharper.

Honor 10 lite micro usb
Honor 10 lite headphone jack
Honor 10 lite bottom

The clear sign this is a budget device comes in the form of a MicroUSB port on the bottom of the phone. A single bottom-firing speaker and a headphone jack sit on either side of the port. The headphone jack seems to have become a budget feature, but I’m very glad to see it included nonetheless.

The other budget giveaway is the phone’s specs. The Honor 10 Lite is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 710 mobile chipset, 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This won’t come close to competing with Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 or even last year’s Kirin 970, though the octa-core processor should perform decently for everyday tasks. However, we’ll have to wait to review the device in full before we can make a final verdict. There is a microSD card slot in the device, which can expand the total storage capacity up to 512GB.

Honor 10 lite screen

The Honor 10 Lite runs on EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9 Pie. EMUI has quite a controversial user interface — most people either love it or hate it. The phone comes with standard Android soft keys and no app drawer, but users can toggle on gesture navigation and even enable the app drawer if they want.

We won’t have official European pricing for the device until it officially launches in the U.K., but the phone costs 799 dirham in the United Arab Emirates, about 192 euros or $217. That’s about half the cost of the Honor 10, so this could be a great option for fans of the company with a bit tighter budget.

What are your thoughts on the Honor 10 Lite? Is it the budget device you’ve been waiting for?

Let us know!

Facebook let Netflix, Spotify read your private messages

  • Facebook reportedly gave tech companies deep access to your user data.
  • The social network is said to have given Netflix and Spotify the ability to read your messages.
  • A Facebook executive insisted that these privileges were necessary for Spotify.

Facebook has endured a tumultuous 2018 in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, government hearings, and a host of other privacy-related matters. But the bad news isn’t over just yet, as it transpires the company may have given tech firms access to your most confidential information.

According to the New York Times, citing internal documents and interviews with former employees, the social network gave tech companies deep access to user data. One example cited by the outlet was Microsoft’s Bing search engine being able to see the names of all your Facebook friends without your consent.

But probably the most invasive move cited in the story was Facebook’s decision to let Spotify and Netflix read your private messages. The outlet reported that the two companies, along with the Royal Bank of Canada, also had the ability to write and delete users’ private messages.

Why would firms need these privileges?

Netflix and Spotify representatives told the New York Times that they didn’t know they had access to these abilities, while a Royal Bank of Canada spokesperson disputed the claim outright.

The New York Times noted Spotify lets users share music via Facebook Messenger — a feature that might require read/write access to a user’s messages. But it added that Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada no longer have features that might require this permission. Additionally, the New York Times noted that these privileges “appeared to go beyond what the companies needed to integrate Facebook into their systems.”

The publication also took Facebook to task for not directly telling users it was sharing user data with partners. “Many of the partners’ applications never even appeared in Facebook’s user application settings,” the Times noted.

Facebook director of developer platforms and programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis responded to the claims in a blog post. The executive confirmed that partners gained access to messages, but said that “people had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first to use a partner’s messaging feature.”

The executive used Spotify as an example: “After signing in to your Facebook account in Spotify’s desktop app, you could then send and receive messages without ever leaving the app. Our API provided partners with access to the person’s messages in order to power this type of feature.”

Editor’s Pick

Nevertheless, even if these permissions were indeed required in order to enable a partner’s functionality, it doesn’t explain why the likes of Netflix and Royal Bank of Canada still had these controls. After all, if you don’t have features that require these permissions, then you don’t need said permissions in the first place, right? It also doesn’t explain why many partner applications don’t appear in a Facebook user’s app settings menu, as the outlet claims.

A Facebook spokesperson told the New York Times it found no evidence of data abuse by its partners. But the spokesperson also acknowledged that they had failed to revoke access to certain privileges when companies no longer needed them.

To be fair, it’s not unheard of for an app to require permissions related to your messages. For example, third-party SMS apps need read/write/delete permissions in order to fulfill its duties. Some apps running on older versions of Android require the ability to read text messages in order to automatically fill one-time PINs. However, these permissions are usually clearly communicated to the user upon installation or when they’re required for the first time — and you can always visit your settings menu to revoke access.

NEXT: The most underrated smartphones of 2018

What to watch this week on ESPN+

All the things. You can watch all the things. (And this will tell you when they’re on.)

The sports giant that is ESPN continues its push into the 20th Century with ESPN+, which already has amassed more than a million subscribers. (And at $4.99 a month or $49 a year, that’s definitely starting to pay off for its owner, Disney.)

The question, then, is this: What the heck can you watch on ESPN+, and when can you watch it?

The answer is a whole lot of stuff. There’s original programming. There’s live sports. There’s news. There’s opinion. There’s new stuff all the time.

A cool thing about ESPN+ (and streaming services in general, actually) is that you get a free seven-day trial. So if you’re not 100 percent sure you’re going to want to stick with things, you can give it a whirl and then get out. Or just sign on for a month and take it from there. Your call.

Either way, you’re about to get a whole bunch more sports — available pretty much anywhere, on your phone or tablet or TV — for the cost of a cup of coffee. Not a bad deal at all.

Hop on down and take a look at what’s on this week.

Free ESPN+ trial

ESPN+ Free Trial!

Tuesday, December 18

  • More Than an Athlete Episode 5 Premiere (Planned)
  • 2 Carabao Cup Matches: Leicester City v Manchester City and Middlesbrough v Burton Albion
  • College Basketball: South Dakota @ Kansas and Benedictine @ Loyola
  • Italian Serie A: Bologna v AC Milan
  • New Zealand v Sri Lanka Cricket
  • NHL: Red Wings @ Flyers
  • Studio: ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show, In the Crease, The Boxing Beat, and Serie A Full Impact

Wednesday, December 19

  • 2 Carabao Cup Matches: Chelsea v Bournemouth and Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
  • College Basketball: Western Kentucky @ Belmont, North Carolina Central @ St Louis, and Grand Canyon @ Northern Iowa
  • Studio: ESPN FC, Ariel and the Bad Guy, I’ll Take That Bet, In the Crease, and Always Late with Katie Nolan

Thursday, December 20

  • NHL: Predators @ Flyers and Blues @ Canucks
  • Women’s College Basketball: Louisville @ Central Michigan
  • Studio: ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show, I’ll Take That Bet, Serie A Weekly Preview Show, and In the Crease

Friday, December 21

  • Detail: From the Mind of Peyton Manning (Planned)
  • NHL: Blackhawks @ Avalanche
  • Women’s College Basketball: Iowa @ Drake and Stanford @ Buffalo
  • 2 Guinness PRO14 Rugby Matches
  • Studio: ESPN FC, In the Crease, and I’ll Take That Bet

Saturday, December 22

  • Top Rank Boxing: Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton (Main Event)
  • College Basketball including Central Pennsylvania @ Davidson, Iona @ Yale, and George Washington @ Harvard
  • 9 Italian Serie A Matches including Napoli v SPAL
  • 2 Guinness PRO14 Rugby Matches
  • NHL: Blue Jackets @ Flyers and Lightning @ Oilers
  • 2 English Football League Matches + Dutch Eredivisie: PSV v AZ Alkamaar
  • Studio: ESPN FC and In the Crease

Sunday, December 23

  • NHL: Panthers @ Blackhawks
  • English Football League: Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End + Dutch Eredivisie: FC Utrecht v Ajax
  • Studio: ESPN FC, In the Crease, and Serie A Highlight Show

Monday, December 24

  • More Than an Athlete Episode 6 Premiere (Planned)
  • Studio: ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show, and In the Crease

Tuesday, December 25

  • New Zealand Cricket v Sri Lanka
  • Studio: ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show, In the Crease, The Boxing Beat, and Serie A Full Impact

Wednesday, December 26

  • 9 Italian Serie A Matches including Atalanta v Juventus, Frosinone v AC Milan, and AS Roma v Sassuolo
  • New Zealand Cricket v Sri Lanka
  • 2 English Football League Matches
  • Studio: ESPN FC, Ariel and the Bad Guy, and In the Crease

Thursday, December 27

  • New Zealand v Sri Lanka Cricket
  • NHL: Red Wings @ Penguins and Wild @ Blackhawks
  • Studio: ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show, In the Crease, Serie A Weekly Preview Show, and ALeague
    Weekly Highlight Show

Friday, December 28

  • New Zealand v Sri Lanka Cricket
  • NHL: Maple Leafs @ Blue Jackets
  • Guinness PRO14 Rugby
  • Studio: ESPN FC, In the Crease, and Ariel & and the Bad Guy

Saturday, December 29

  • College Basketball: Eastern Michigan @ Kansas and Buffalo @ Canisius
  • 9 Italian Serie A Matches including AC Milan v SPAL and Parma v AS Roma
  • NHL: Islanders @ Maple Leafs and Rangers @ Predators
  • New Zealand v Sri Lanka Cricket
  • Guinness PRO14 Rugby
  • Studio: ESPN FC and In the Crease, Ariel & the Bad Guy Live: UFC 232 Post Show

Sunday, December 30

  • Top Rank Boxing: Masayuki Ito v Evgeny Chuprakov
  • College Basketball: Appalachian State @ Saint Louis, Rider @ VCU, and UIC @ Northern Kentucky
  • NHL: Golden Knights @ Coyotes
  • Guinness PRO14 Rugby
  • Studio: ESPN FC, In the Crease, and Serie A Highlight Show

Monday, December 31

  • More Than an Athlete Episode 7 Premiere (Planned)
  • NHL: Penguins @ Wild and Rangers @ Blues
  • Studio: ESPN FC and The Fantasy Show

Learn French, Italian, and more with these $118 Rosetta Stone bonus packs

Time to plan a trip to Paris.

Amazon is offering up some great discounts on a selection of Rosetta Stone Bonus Packs. Each pack costs $118.30, and most of them usually sell for at least $200. No matter which language you go for, you’ll be getting one of the lowest prices in its history. We’ve only seen a better discount once, when these bonus packs included a $20 Amazon gift card, but that deal is long-gone. This one is your next-best option.

As of press time, your options include English, Italian, French, and German. Each pack gets you two years of Rosetta Stone access, which is usable across your desktop, mobile, and tablet. You’ll also receive a software download that gets you lifetime access to offline practicing capabilities. That means whether you need to brush up next year or 40 years from now, you’ll be able to access that software. Finally, you’ll also receive the Barron’s Grammar Guide for your chosen language, which helps teach you essential grammar tips, as well as the corresponding Barron’s Dictionary which will help you sort your gauche from your droite.

Being multilingual is literally never a bad thing. You’ll be able to travel with ease, and of course it can also expand your networking and friendship opportunities. It also makes a great party trick. Rosetta Stone has made a name for itself when it comes to learning new languages, and there’s a good reason for it. It uses “Dynamic Immersion” to help you grasp the new language, which means that you’ll not only hear the words, but see signs and symbols that represent it, and learn to read and write it as well. It helps you not only learn new words, but also phrases based on real-world content, which means you’ll actually be prepared for natural conversations.

Whether you’re looking for a great gift idea for the holidays, or have always wanted to learn a new language on your own, you won’t want to miss out on this discount.

See at Amazon

We have free MapleStory M gift codes worth $10 — get them while they last!

Popular MMORPG MapleStory M just received some new updates. To celebrate, MapleStory M developer Nexon gave us a bunch of free gift codes with $10 worth of in-game goodies. We’re giving them away to Android Authority readers while supplies last!

The new MapleStory M update brings a dragon master class, in-game events, mini-games, and more. Check out the game’s listing on the Google Play Store to learn all about it.

The free gift code contains the following items:

  • Auto Battle Tickets (30min)
  • Orange EXP tickets
  • VIP Teleport Rock

If you’d like to add these items to your MapleStory M account totally free of charge, follow the instructions below!

  1. Click here to download MapleStory M to your Android device.
  2. After you’ve installed the game, make sure you create an account so you can use the gift code.
  3. Once you’re all set up, fill out the simple form here with your name and email address.
  4. Wait for your code to arrive in the email address you added to the form.
  5. Login to MapleStory M and go to the “Options” menu.
  6. Tap “Enter Coupon” and type in your coupon code.
  7. Watch as the free items get automatically added to your account!

There are a very limited amount of codes, so act fast. We will update this article once we are out of codes, so if you’re reading this there are still codes available!

Click below to download MapleStory M and get started with the process:

15 best Android apps released in 2018!

The year 2018 has come and gone. However, it left us with a ton of excellent products to play with. We already did our best Android phones of the year. Now, it’s time to do the best Android apps from 2018 as well. It was a solid year for new apps. We saw a big push in new launchers, security apps, and browsers. There were also a couple of keyboards and even a new game console emulator. It’s always nice to have such a varied list. This year also features fewer Google apps than in prior years and that’s encouraging as well. The list is quite long, so let’s just get right into it. This was narrowed down from a total list of over 120 apps. Here are the best Android apps from the year 2018!


Cake Web Browser

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Cake Web Browser is one of the more solid browser options from 2018 and also in general. It has the basics like multiple search engine options, bookmarks, and stuff like that. This one also includes a pop-up blocker, an ad-blocker, an incognito mode for private browsing, gesture controls, and even some news and RSS features. The UI relies heavily on those gesture controls and gives the browser a fresh, new feel compared to the usual style. It’s a lot of fun and something a little different in the mobile space. That’s why we chose it for this list. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases as of right now.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Carrot Weather

Price: Free / $3.99 per year
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Carrot Weather is one of the few actually fun weather apps we’ve used. It works like most other weather apps. You get rain predictions (in certain regions), forecasts, current temperatures, and stuff like that. It even includes some witty commentary on the current weather conditions like WTF Weather and similar apps. However, this app also gives you up to 70 years of previous weather data. It also includes secret places like the Moon. The premium version of the app also includes widgets if you’re a fan of widgets. It had some early issues, but the app works quite well these days. There’s a monthly subscription price. However, at $4 per year, we really just recommend going with that.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Carrot Weather

Dolphin Emulator

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Dolphin Emulator technically isn’t new. However, it is back on the Play Store after a few years of abandonment. The developers promise more consistent updates and stability improvements this time around. That’s good news because it’s the only actually decent Nintendo Wii and Nintendo GameCube emulator on the Play Store. The Google Play reviews are extremely promising and it functioned just fine during our testing. Most people who have issues use low end devices, so we suspect their complaints are because of the specs rather than the emulator. Of course, we do not condone stealing games, but if you have some laying around, this is the emulator we would recommend.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Dolphin Emulator

Firefox Reality Browser

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Firefox Reality Browser is probably the biggest and best virtual reality browser launch of 2018. It introduces a real competitor to the space and we hope that encourages developers to improve their offerings more quickly. Firefox Reality Browser supports both 2D and 3D content along with a basic, but serviceable web browsing experience. You need the Google Daydream app to download this one. Otherwise, it should work as normal with your VR headset (namely, Google Daydream). It could use a few more basic features and some stability improvements, but VR as a platform is young so we’re just happy Mozilla jumped on board.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Forest

Price: Free / Up to $1.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Forest is a new style of productivity app. It encourages people to not check their phones constantly by killing plants whenever they do. They are digital plants, of course. The app works by planting a tree. Each time you turn your device screen on and leave Forest, the tree wilts and you must start again. There are a variety of trees to collect with more coming in future updates. There is a whitelist so you can do stuff like answer important phone calls or test messages. However, it’s a neat little app to get you off of your phone for a while. It’s almost like a widely available version of Google’s Digital Wellbeing, except with trees.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Forest


Grammarly Keyboard

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard is arguably the best new keyboard launch in 2018. It helps users type with better grammatical accuracy. It looks at what you type and suggests changes if something goes wrong. The app also delivers explanations about the changes and the rules of grammar. It omits some of the flashier features, like gesture typing, themes, and stuff like that. You do get a dark theme, though, and we expect some of the other features to appear eventually. It’s surprisingly smooth and the grammar lessons should help just about everybody. The app is also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard

Haven

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Haven is a niche security app that we really like. It installs on a user’s secondary device rather than their primary one. You then toss that second device in with your luggage, a hotel safe, or a similar situation. The secondary device alerts your primary device when it is moved, opened, picked up, or otherwise tampered with. This is mostly a tool for journalists, travelers, and people in places where stuff may be stolen. Thus, it’s obviously not for everybody. Still, it’s one of only a few apps that do things like this. It’s also open source, completely free, and has no advertising.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Haven

Heimdall Parental Control

Price: Free / $0.99 per month / $9.49 once
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Many new apps aren’t the most exciting releases ever. However, they are still excellent apps. Heimdall Parental Control fits that description. You install it on your child’s device and then on yours. From there, you can monitor your child’s usage, limit them on things like app use and phone calls, and even track their location and block websites. Some of those features require the premium version. You can get it for either $0.99 per month or a single $9.49 payment. We really appreciate having that option in an app market overly reliant on subscription-only business models. It’s easily among the top two or three best kid monitoring apps on Google Play.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Heimdall Parental Control

Hyperion Launcher

Price: Free / $2.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Hyperion Launcher immediately illicit memories of shooting robots and a horse made out of diamonds, but once you get beyond the Borderlands 2 references, it’s actually an excellent new launcher from 2018. It hits a lot of the positive elements for a modern smartphone browser. That includes a stock-ish Android experience, plenty of basic customization options, theming, and third party icon pack support. You also get Google Feed as a separate plugin, gesture controls, a font changer, and more. It’s nice to see a new launcher that could actually challenge the big dogs in the industry already with Nova, Apex, Lawnchair, Action, and ADW launchers. This really is that good and it’s also fairly inexpensive for the premium version.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Khan Academy Kids

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Khan Academy is one of the best educational apps for adults. Thus, it didn’t shock us at all when Khan Academy Kids came out and it was actually good. This one focuses on a lot of early education for kids, including problem solving, social and emotional development, and more basic stuff like math, reading, and language. It uses bright colors and cute characters to convey the information since kids enjoy cartoons. It all makes sense to us. This is arguably one of the few major learning apps for kids by a company that knows about learning stuff. It has the occasional bug because it’s still in beta. However, we have no doubt that this is one of the best in its category.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY


Navigation Gestures

Price: Free / $1.49
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Navigation Gestures is a neat new app from 2018. It gives any phone gesture control support even if it doesn’t naturally have it. You can set it to measure swipes from basically any direction along with single and double tapping as well as tap-and-hold gestures. Those who are knowledgeable in ADB or root can also completely hide the navigation bar. The system is simple enough for just about anybody with the exception of the ADB bit, but that is just one feature. There’s another app in this category from 2018, Fluid Navigation Gestures. It does about the same thing, and people seem to like it more. However, XDA’s version came first by several months. Frankly, you can go with either one. We’re not trying to sell you anything here.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Poco Launcher

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Poco Launcher is the official launcher app of the Pocophone. We’re a little shocked it made our list this year. However, Xiaomi made a surprisingly decent launcher app. It features customization options, third party icon pack support, and even some privacy and security settings. For instance, you can hide app icons from your app drawer if you want them kept a secret. It also has an app drawer and that’s interesting because Xiaomi phones usually don’t. In any case, it’s light, fast, and serviceable. It’s also entirely free. We wish Google launched its launcher apps like Xiaomi does.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Poco Launcher

ProtonVPN

Price: Free / $4-$24 per month
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
ProtonVPN is an easy pick for a top app of 2018. It simply checks all of the boxes that we would want in a VPN, something most VPN apps don’t do. That includes a strict no-logging policy, full encryption, a good list of servers, and it’s based in Switzerland. Swizterland, in case you didn’t know, has some fairly hardcore privacy protections. ProtonVPN also includes a completely free experience with no data caps. You don’t get full speed, but unlimited free use is extremely rare in the VPN space. You can unlock more servers and higher speeds with one of its three subscription plans. They start at $4/month and range up to $24/month. There really isn’t much wrong with it. It’s also friendly for those who don’t know much about VPNs.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
ProtonVPN

YouTube Music

Price: Free / $9.99 per month
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
YouTube Music the app technically isn’t new. However, YouTube Music, the service, definitely is. The app saw a major evolution this year into its own music streaming service. It includes both video and audio-only streaming content. You also get playlists, direct integration with normal YouTube, and a toggle to turn music videos into audio-only content. That alone makes it one of the most unique music streaming apps on the market. However, its lackluster audio quality, lack of obvious features (like Android Auto support, gapless playback, etc), and confusion with consumers between it and Google Play Music certainly isn’t helping its case. It has the potential to be one of the very best, but it still has a long way to go.
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YouTube Music

Bouncer: The best new app from 2018

Price: $0.99
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Bouncer is a new security app from Sam Reston, former developer of the popular Weather Timeline app. This is perhaps one of the best security apps we’ve seen in recent years. The app lets users temporarily grant permissions to applications. For instance, you can enable location in Facebook and Bouncer helps you remove that permission later so Facebook doesn’t have it all the time. Frankly, that should be a stock Android feature and we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if it became one someday. Bouncer itself requires no permissions and doesn’t require Internet access either. The app works as advertised, it’s super cheap at just $0.99, does not require ADB or root access, and it even won our best apps of the year fan poll. Yes, it is that good. In fact, this is one of those rare apps that everybody should at least try if they care at all about privacy and security.
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Bouncer: The best new app from 2018

Honorable mentions

There are always a ton of apps every year that are great but don’t always make lists like this. Here are a list of great apps from 2018 that probably should be on this list, but couldn’t be because 15 is kind of our limit here:


If we missed any great Android apps from 2018, tell us about them in the comments! Apps are a massive market and sometimes we just don’t see everything there is to see, plus your comments will help other readers find even more interesting apps! Of course, you can always click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists as well!

The gift of flight: Buy drones for Christmas

Drone Rush holiday drone deals 2018

We know many of you do not celebrate Christmas, but we can all take advantage of some great drone deals for the holidays. Whether you are shopping for yourself or for a loved one, here are some drones on sale this year.

Most of these drone deals will last the entire holiday season. Some are just new prices that will remain in place into the new year and beyond.

Following the great Black Friday deals from last month, more than a few top manufacturers have new drone deals on deck. DJI and UVify are leading the way in terms of savings, but sales go beyond the brands, look for general deals from most re-sellers.

DJI holiday deals

(Active until the end of January 1, 2019)

DJI holiday deals 2018

DJI is offering savings on many drones and most of its smaller hand-held camera systems. Some products have savings as much as 30 percent… not too bad!

DJI Drones on sale (Click button below to access)

  • DJI Mavic Air – $699 (save $100)
  • DJI Mavic Air Fly More combo – $899 (save $100)
  • DJI Mavic Pro Fly More combo – $1,199 (Save $100)
  • DJI Spark with controller – $349 (save $50)
  • DJI Spark Fly More combo – $459 (save $50)
  • Ryze Tech Tello – $79 (save $20)
  • Ryze Boost combo – $99 (save $50)
  • DJI Mavic Pro Platinum – $999 (save $100)
  • DJI Goggles RE – $499 (save $100)
  • DJI Goggles RE & backpack – $509 (save $100)
  • DJI Goggles RE racing combo – $639 (save $140)

DJI camera products on sale

  • DJI Osmo Mobile 2 – $119 (save $20)
  • DJI Ronin-S – $549 (save $200)

Don’t forget about that brand new DJI Osmo Pocket, a handheld camera system with superb stabilization in a mobile-sized camera. The Osmo Pocket is $349, and is exactly what some GoPro shoppers actually wanted in the first place.

UVify holiday deals

(Began December 7th, with a new deal each day for 12 days)

UVify holiday deals 2018

Our friends over at UVify have some more racing drones and combos on sale for you this holiday season. Drone racing enthusiasts are the real winners here. (Click button below to access)

  • Dec. 7th: UVify Draco combo – $899
  • Dec. 8th: UVify Draco HD combo – $1,199
  • Dec. 9th: UVify OOri – $389
  • Dec. 10th: UVify Warp9 frame kit – $199
  • Dec. 11th: Avegant Glyph HD headset – $399
  • Dec. 12th: Turnigy Evolution remote – $99
  • Dec. 13th: UVify OOri combo – $399
  • Dec. 14th: Fat Shark Dominator V3 – $299
  • Dec. 15th: Draco camera mount – $50
  • Dec. 16th: Connex ProSight digital receiver – $229
  • Dec. 17th: UVify Flysky controller
  • Dec. 18th: To be announced…

We are still big fans of the UVify OOri. It’s a tiny 50MPH-plus drone that can fly safely in doors. It’s perfect for the winter months when it’s not so hot outside.

Other great drone deals

Nothing specific to see here, folks, just a lump of drone deals we’ve found and think you can take advantage of this holiday season.

  • Eachine E58 (fun Mavic Pro knock-off) – $50 (save $30)
  • Anki Vector toy robot – $175 (save $75)
  • Potensic F181DH beginner’s drone – $80 (save $20)
  • Syma X22W mini camera drone – $41 (save $15)
  • Potensic U51 UFO drone – $16 (save $4)

Check back for more deals as we go!

Please hit the comments section below to share any great deals you stumble across. The holiday season has many savings to offer!

What’s next?

We’ve got all the best drones here, or check out our master Drone Rush drones list!

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