30+ Best Android Games [October 2017]

Hundreds of great games arrive in the Play Store each month. Some are from big-name gaming studios, others are from small indie developers. It can be hard to keep up with them all. Here is our list of some of the best games to launch in the last month. Check it out and you may just find your new favorite game.

New Android Games

Adventurous Fins

Adventurous Fins is an endless runner style game. Collect the coins and set sail to new adventures with your favorite character. Beware the seagulls and fishes, they will try to stop you. Make the highest score in İstanbul waters to keep the world’s highest score in your hand.

Battle Golf Online

Battle Golf is a new kind of golf game. You can aim for the hole or the heads of your opponents. It’s real-time multiplayer madness with simple controls and tons of character items to unlock. Earn coins by winning matches and use them to unlock loads of cool hats.

Cat Bird

Help Cat Bird on his challenging platform adventure on an epic quest to get back home. Venture through unique worlds hovering across pits, traps, enemies, and saw blades. Beware of the mighty guardians that block your path.

Cat Quest

Leap into a grand adventure of dragons, magic, and cats in purr-suit of the evil Drakoth and your catnapped sister. Explore Felingard’s huge overworld map, risk life and limb delving into dungeons for epic loot, and lend a paw to a furry cast of characters in a flurry of side quests.


Clash.io is an addictive and fun IO game where you have to conquer territory, hit enemies and try to find the way to win the match. But be careful, other players will not let you do that.

Codex of Victory

Codex of Victory features an extensive story-driven, single-player campaign that tasks you with building and commanding a hi-tech army of drone vehicles, tanks and robots. The campaign offers an exciting mix of real-time base building, global strategic planning, and turn-based combat.


You are the overseer hired by El Corp., tasked with setting up and running a delirium mining base camp on Dimension LG7. As you wake from your landing, you discover that only a few of your crew remains, the rest are stranded in the wormhole’s chrono-distortion.

Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked

In Don’t Starve, Wilson finds himself stranded in a tropical archipelago. He must learn to survive all over again in this new environment filled with new biomes, seasons, and creatures. Don’t let the tropical breeze lull you into a false sense of security. The world might be different, but it is still equal parts unforgiving and uncompromising.

Great Mind of Tesla

Follow the story of Nikola Tesla, a true dreamer, a Serbian-American scientist, one of the most controversial characters of all time! Under-acknowledged in his own time, he was the author of over 300 inventions.


Karl2 is an arcade game that puts you in the role of a Samurai. The simple controls allow you to simply drag your finger to kill your enemies. You can get high scores as your strategy or challenge your friends with Google Play support. It’s easy and fun to play.

Night Run: The Dark Tower

Play as a soul-hunter climbing the mystical place known as “The Dark Tower”. Use runes that change the way the game is played. Charge up your ability by collecting souls. Stay alive by collecting “Health Souls”. Beware the obstacles “The Dark Tower” holds.


Are you ready to dive into the world of Run-A-Whale? So ride your whale in an endless adventure! Tap to dive and release to jump, avoid obstacles, collect coins and try to go as far as you can. Control your whale in 3 different styles: swim, slide and fly.

Sago Mini Pet Cafe

Help feed your friends as you learn about shapes, numbers and colors. This playful new app is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Pet Cafe includes three educational activities. Your little one will be begging for seconds and thirds… and fourths!

SkillTwins Football Game 2

Play as the world famous freestyle duo “SkillTwins” Josef & Jakob, become the best skilled in the entire world as you aim to reach 10 million fans and earn epic trophies. Use timing and creativity to manage challenging obstacles and skill out opponents.

Spirit of Justice

With a colorful cast of characters, including the return of fan-favorite Maya Fey, this full-length game is packed to the brim with all-new mysteries and unforgettable courtroom drama. Join Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice as they tackle cases at home and abroad.

The Guides Axiom

The Guides Axiom introduces a myriad of entirely new codes, puzzles and interactive ciphers to challenge your wit, stretch your imagination and test your ingenuity in unique and innovative ways. Simply stated, they’re not easy. Progressing will be difficult, but you have the appropriate tools at your disposal.

Through the Ages

This is your chance to make history: You begin with a small tribe. As you expand your farms and mines, you lay the groundwork for technological advancements, better governments, and grand wonders.

Toca Life: Office

Toca Life: Office looks a lot like a regular office — you can have everyday fun with laptops, printers and copy machines; have lunch in the cafe; and get cash from the bank. But in Toca Life, even simple office life can lead to an exciting adventure.

Wrecker’s Revenge – Gumball

Send Gumball Leaping from one floating island to the next as you rescue the citizens of Elmore and get them to safety. But be careful! Miss one jump and you’ll be lost in the Void forever. Rescue Darwin, Anais, Richard, Nicole, Banana Joe, Penny, Anton, Carrie, Masami, Bobert, and all of your favorite characters.

Weekly Game Roundups

Best of the Best

The Google Play Store has hundreds of thousands of great games to choose from. This list only scratches the surface. We’ve published numerous lists to highlight some of our favorites. Check out the lists below to explore even more!


Here’s everything we know about the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL so far

It’s crazy to think that almost a year has passed since the first Pixel and Pixel XL were announced at an event in California. However, we’re just a couple of weeks away, and it’s a good time to reflect on the past year while taking a look at the various rumors for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Today, we’re going to take a look at all of the different rumors, renders, leaks and more that have been shared regarding Google’s next flagship. So without further adieu, here’s everything we are expecting to see from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, along with some history.

Google reaches out for Pixel 2

The original Pixel was launched in October of 2016, but Google was wasting no time on beginning work on the Pixel 2 lineup. This is where the company reached out to everyone looking for feedback on the design of the current Pixel, so that things could be improved upon for the next iteration. Some of the more popular suggestions included removing the large bezels, including waterproofing, and improve the bottom-firing speaker.

Then, SVP of Hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh, confirmed what many of us already knew – Google was sticking with a premium design for the Pixel 2 lineup. This meant that not only would we continue to see a premium design, but that the Pixel 2 would also be priced competitively with other flagship devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy line and Apple’s iPhone.

What about a budget version?

Despite Osterloh claiming that Google was moving out of the budget market, a new rumor cropped up which suggested that Google was, indeed, working on a budget version of the Pixel 2. This budget option would be a bit different, as it would be joining the Android One lineup which has recently entered the US via the Moto X4.

This left many of us hoping for some type of revelation to bring some lower-priced options, or even bringing back the now-defunct Nexus lineup of devices. But it seems that those rumors have largely died down, especially with the Moto X4 coming to Project Fi.

Don’t get rid of my headphone jack!

The largest sticking point with users today other than battery life is the fact that various OEM’s are removing the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. Some make a good argument for it, while others (like Motorola) leave us wondering the real reason behind getting rid of it. But at the same time of the rumors surrounding the budget Pixel 2 coming to fruition, rumors began swirling around the headphone jack on the Pixel 2.

This move would upset/anger many potential owners, and Google even took shots at Apple by intentionally marketing the 3.5mm headphone jack as one of the “features” of the Pixel and Pixel XL. However, internal documents viewed by 9to5Google seemingly confirmed the lack of a headphone jack on the next generation. Those looking to hold onto a traditional method of listening to content were trying to chalk this up to just being an “early rumor.”

7 Things the Pixel 2 needs to be the best phone ever

The Plot Thickens

While many of us were wondering about a possible return of the Nexus line and losing our beloved headphone jack, some folks found mention of the Pixel 2 lineup thanks to device codenames in the Android Open Source Project code. The devices, named ‘Walleye’ and ‘Muskie’ had been spotted in the code, but then were mysteriously removed, likely due to the fact that these were the actual codenames for the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.

Google begins to ramp things up a bit

Shortly after ‘Walleye’ and ‘Muskie’ were removed from the AOSP code, another “leak” cropped up thanks to benchmark results from Geekbench. These results left us scratching our heads a bit though as the results were from the “Google Taimen” which had not been mentioned for some time despite some rumors that the “Pixel Taimen” would be a larger version of the Pixel XL 2, possibly even a throwback to a device the size of the Nexus 6.

Regardless, the results shared that the Taimen Pixel 2 was powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, along with 4GB of RAM, and running an early build of Android O. The results left a sour taste in our mouth as the OnePlus 5 results had been leaked, and the Pixel Taimen fell well short of the single-core and multi-core scores compared to OnePlus’ latest device.

What is happening?

After we began wondering just what Google was doing with its lineup for the Pixel 2, new reports began surfacing which suggested that Google would actually be getting rid of the 5.5-inch Pixel XL 2 in favor of the much larger Pixel 2 ‘Taimen’. Reasons for this move were unknown at the time, only leaving us to really wonder what Google was working on as we jumped into the Summer.

Then, some interesting pieces of information were found in the system files for the HTC U11 as two new unknown devices were mentioned. This practically confirmed that at least one of the new Pixel 2 devices would be made by HTC as the system files used the same naming system as the original Pixel lineup. But from there, rumors began arising around the possibility of LG providing one of the Pixel 2 devices.

The leaks begin springing

As things started to get interesting for the Pixel 2 lineup, the folks over at XDA Developers dropped the first bombshell, as it some of the specs were leaked, and a design change was in the works. As for the specs, the sources confirmed that both devices would feature the same spec sheet, similar to what Google did with the original Pixel lineup, with the only differences coming in the display size.

Those specs included the Snapdragon 835 SoC, while being coupled with 64GB of storage, along with the omission of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Another major difference would be that the larger Taimen device would feature a base storage amount of 128GB. The standard PIxel 2 would feature a 4.97-inch display with a Full HD resolution, while the Pixel 2 ‘Taimen’ was said to feature a 5.99-inch OLED display, with LG being tapped to provide the new display.

This leak also confirmed that Google wasn’t ready to jump into the dual-camera setup that has been made available on many 2017 flagships. Instead, the Pixel 2 lineup would only feature a single camera sensor coupled with a dual-LED flash.

Here’s our first glimpse

In traditional Android Police fashion, we were treated to a glimpse at what the Pixel 2 XL would be looking like with its all-new design. The image shows off a new bezel-less design which is a big move away from the chins that “graced” the Pixel and Pixel XL. As for the rear, the image showed a smaller glass window, which only encompasses the camera sensor and flash, while leaving the fingerprint scanner set in the center below the window.

The image also revealed the aluminum unibody build, which was not all that surprising. However, with this design change, it was practically confirmed that we would be getting a display with an aspect ratio of 2:1, moving Google out of the old days, and bringing the Pixel 2 XL in line with the best 2017 flagships.

Just squeeze the sides

When the HTC U11 was launched, one of the key features was a “squeezable frame” which allowed you to interact with different applications in a new manner. Rumors began surfacing which claimed that the Pixel 2 XL would include these some of these features, including the possibility for you to access Google Assistant just by squeezing your phone.

Then another rumor surfaced which suggested that the squeezable frame could be used with just about any supported application, provided that the software was compatible. What made this interesting was the fact that the squeezable frame idea was likely licensed by HTC, but LG was slated to be manufacturing the larger of the newest Pixels.

Stereo speakers coming to the Pixel 2?

Regardless of how much HTC is struggling, one part of the market that owners of devices love is the dual-stereo speakers which were made famous by HTC’s “BoomSound” technology. After a new series of CAD renders surfaced, these showed the Pixel 2 to feature a dual-stereo speaker setup, which would make content playback much more enjoyable.

These new renders also seemingly confirmed the dimensions of each device, with the Pixel 2 coming in at 145.3 x 69.3 x 7.8 mm (8.2 mm with the camera bump). The Pixel 2 XL would come in 157.6 x 76.3 x 7.9 mm (8.6 mm with camera bump), giving us a pretty idea of the true size difference between the standard Pixel 2 and the redesigned Pixel 2 XL. 

Another first look at the Pixel 2

Once those CAD renders hit the stratosphere, the images started to roll in, with Venture Beat’s Evan Blass jumping in on the fun. A new image was shared of the smaller Pixel 2, which confirmed a design very similar to the original Pixel, save for the camera placement and rear-window orientation. In these images, it was revealed that the big bezels would return on the smaller Pixel 2, but HTC and Google would be including dual front-firing speakers, while removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.

In these images, it was revealed that the big bezels would return on the smaller Pixel 2, but HTC and Google would be including dual front-firing speakers, which would be great for media consumption. Another image of the rear showed that the glass window had shrunk, only encasing the camera sensor and LED flash, while the fingerprint scanner would be placed just outside of the glass in the center. Additionally, the now-iconic “G” logo would make its return on the rear of the device.

More squeezes

Fast forward to the middle of August and an FCC filing cropped up confirming the existence of a squeezable frame on the HTC-made Pixel 2. Instead of relying on gestures to launch apps like some OEM’s, the frame will allow users to open or interact with applications of your choice.

The filing shared some screenshots, which includes “Active Edge on, squeeze for your Assistant” within the Language input & gestures settings panel. This confirmed the naming moniker that Google will be using, while also confirming that it will be used at the very least to activate Google Assistant. Unfortunately, there was no mention of whether the larger Pixel XL 2 would come with a similar feature.

Google begins teasing

If you remember late last year, Qualcomm surprised everyone and released an updated version of its processor with the Snapdragon 821. This incremental upgrade was said to offer enough performance to warrant an out-of-cycle launch, and the OnePlus 3T was the first device to grace the new chipset.

When Google launched its Pixel and Pixel XL, the company included this new processor versus using the Snapdragon 820. With the Pixel 2 lineup, there were rumors that Qualcomm was gearing up to launch a similar processor to the SD821, however, this would be an update to the Snapdragon 835 which has been featured in many of the 2017 flagship devices.

Unfortunately, it seems that Qualcomm doesn’t have any surprises in the works, meaning that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will feature the Snapdragon 835. This may make the phone dated once the 2018 flagships start to roll out in early 2018, but potential owners should have no worries about whether your stock Android experience will be affected by the SD835.

Spec leaks galore

Shortly after the reports confirmed that the Pixel 2 lineup would be powered by the Snapdragon 835, new images appeared courtesy of 9to5Google which showed off the Pixel 2. The first image showed a blurred lock screen, but confirmed the existence of an always-on-display, along with the fat bezels that are expected to “grace” the smaller Pixel 2.

The same image also gave us a look at the rear of one of the Pixel 2 devices, showing off the camera placement and fingerprint scanner, along with a previously unseen color. The second picture shows a camera sensor which is placed to the right of the LED flash and sensors included to improve performance.

Not only did 9to5Google share some images, but they also shared some specs for the device, confirming more of what we already knew. First and foremost, it seems that Google will be ditching the 32GB model of its upcoming devices, opting for only 64GB or 128GB options, which is a welcome addition.

It was also confirmed that the Pixel 2 lineup will come with IP68 dust and water resistance, which is an upgrade from the IP53 rating found on the 2016 Pixel lineup. Finally, it seems that the device’s will ship with Android 8.1 Oreo which will include Google Lens which was announced and shown off at Google I/O, but has not seen much daylight since then.

Only on Verizon

When this was rumored, there was a collective groan from Android enthusiasts. It seems all-but-certain that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will both be Verizon-exclusives once they are announced. The same rang true for the original Pixel lineup, leaving non-Verizon subscribers looking to Google to pick up a GSM-unlocked option.

On the bright side, Google will be offering the Pixel 2 through Project Fi so that you can get some financing in tow, versus paying the obscene $850 price tag. But, Verizon will be the only option for those looking to go through a traditional carrier for the latest and greatest from Google.

We have a date!

Over the last few weeks, we have been seeing more rumors suggesting a launch date of October 4th or 5th for Google’s Pixel 2 event. But then new billboards appeared out of thin air from Google with a slogan of “Ask more of your phone.” and a date of October 4th.

Shortly thereafter, Google let everyone know what was going on, while releasing a teaser video for its October 4th event. Now that the event is set, everything is just about ready to go, and we are just days away from seeing what Google has been working on.

READ MORE: 6 Problems the Pixel 2 promises to solve

One last hurrah

The last week or so have been rather exciting for those gearing up for the October 4th event, as we have seen a slew of leaks regarding what Google would be announcing. A rather larger leak gave us pricing for both the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, while also showing off the different color options which line up with previous leaks that we have seen.

As for pricing, it seems that the Pixel 2 will start at $649 for the 64GB model, while being made available in these colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. The Pixel 2 XL will start at $849 for the 64GB option, while the 128GB model will be priced as high as $949, which puts the device in the same conversation as the Galaxy Note 8 and upcoming iPhone X.

As for colors, we’ll have a Black & White model which will have an orange power button, and an all-black variant named “Just Black”. These images showed us something that we had not seen yet, as the camera sensor placement is a bit different for the Pixel 2 XL compared to its smaller brother. With the larger device, the camera sensor will be placed closer to the edge of the device, while the LED flash will be closer to the center of the device.

A few days after this leak, the folks over at Android Authority were able to obtain some final spec sheets for each device. These specs confirmed that both the Pixel 2 and larger 2 XL will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, along with either 64GB or 128GB of storage and dual stereo speakers. Additionally, the Pixel 2 XL will come with a QHD display with a screen-to-body ratio of between 80-85%.

The odd thing here is the mention of the dual-camera setup that was rumored, which doesn’t match up with any of the rumors or leaks that we have seen. It’s very unlikely that either Pixel 2 option would come equipped with dual-cameras, especially after seeing the devices press images leaked.

Our final thoughts

As expected, there have been a lot of rumors and leaks regarding what Google has been working on when it comes to its 2017 flagship lineup. Now that you’ve made it this far, let’s take a look at what we think will be coming on October 4th.

Pixel 2 Specs:

  • 4.97-inch FHD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB Storage
  • 5MP or 8MP Front Camera
  • Single 12MP Rear Camera with dual-LED flash
  • 2,700mAh Battery
  • USB Type-C
  • Extras: Dual-stereo speakers, Active Edge, fingerprint scanner, Always-on Display
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • IP68 Water Resistance

Pixel 2 XL Specs:

  • 6-inch QHD AMOLED Display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC
  • 4GB/6GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB Storage
  • 5MP or 8MP Front Camera
  • Single 12MP Rear Camera with dual-LED flash
  • 3,520mAh Battery
  • USB Type-C
  • Extras: Dual-stereo speakers, Active Edge, fingerprint scanner, Always-on Display
  • IP68 Water and Dust Resistance
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

So now that you have digested everything, feel free to let us know what you think about what’s to come from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and if you’ll be picking one up regardless of the lack of the 3.5mm headphone jack.


25+ Best Android Apps of the Month [October 2017]

A lot of apps are released in the span of one month. It can be near impossible to keep track of them all. In order to help you find only the best apps that have been released in the last month, we have assembled this list. Below you will find the best apps from the last month. Check it out and see what apps you missed!

New Android Apps

Blue Apron

You’ve no doubt heard of Blue Apron, the home meal kit delivery service. Up until now, they’ve only had an app on iOS, but finally, they released an Android app. The app includes all the step-by-step instructions you need to make delicious meals and allows you to track your subscription.

Can’t Talk (Beta)

We all have those times when you just can’t talk to anyone, but there are a million ways for people to reach you. Can’t Talk is an app that can auto-reply to a bunch of different apps, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and of course SMS and phone calls.


If you love all things Ellen, the Ellentube app is for you. Ellentube is basically Ellen’s own YouTube app. All of the clips from the Ellen show can be found inside the app. You can also submit your own photos and videos for challenges and get tickets to the show.


Operated by powerful artificial intelligence, Engkoo can precisely determine the accuracy of English pronunciation and score it by correct pronunciation, intonation, and pace. It provides helpful feedback to improve your spoken English.

Fenix 2

Fenix burst onto the Play Store back in 2014 and has been a fan favorite for quite some time. Development of the app has continued over the years, but it seems they were due for an all-new design and some new features. Some features include multiple accounts, customizable feeds, gorgeous UI, powerful mute system, and more.


Findit is sort of like Medium or Tumblr. Anyone can create a Findit site. Every Findit site can create posts and share to your social accounts, getting your content indexed. Creating Findit sites is easy and the results provide more visibility.

Hide Oreo Notification

Hide the annoying “running in the background” notification with this simple and small app. Just keep the app installed and this annoying notification will never appear again. Simple as that.

Hurricane Impact

We’re in the heart of hurricane season and there’s no better way to track them than with Hurricane Impact. Hurricane Impact features news and updates throughout the hurricane season that goes beyond traditional hurricane tracking.


Want to know that the new babysitter, your next driver, a new gardener, your dog walker/sitter or even your next date is actually who they claim to be? With Legitifi you can search by phone number, email or name. Search for the potentially dangerous against the National Sex Offender Registry.

Mixer Create

Mixer Create allows you to live stream gameplay and yourself directly from your mobile device, all in real time with Mixer’s FTL (Faster Than Light) protocol. Streamers and viewers can connect like never before, engaging together to create a whole new streaming experience.

Naptime X

Naptime X is a super doze mode enabler. Doze can take at least 2 hours to kick in. If you move around, even with the screen off, doze won’t kick in, so there are a lot of potential battery saving opportunities lost. Naptime allows you to use an aggressive mode that enables doze when the screen turns off.

Runtastic Balance Food Tracker

This is a new app from the folks at Runtastic. With a massive databank of localized foods, you can easily log all your meals and snacks. Nutritional values are automatically calculated, so you always know whether your consumed calories, carbs, fat and proteins are ideal for what’s recommended for achieving your goals.

Skimmer Scanner

Fuel Pump Skimmers can steal your Credit or Debit Card information without you ever suspecting. This app uses your phone’s Bluetooth radio to detect a common radio component in modern fuel pump skimmers (HC-05) and warn you if you’re about to get scammed.


SleepMapper is an app from Philips that aims to help you improve your sleep and awake times. The app works with Philips Somneo, which is a sleep and wake-up light. You can customize the color of your sunrise and use breathing exercises to fall asleep.

Tinycards Duolingo

Tinycards is a new memorization app from Duolingo. The great thing about Tinycards is it really makes learning into a game. Have fun unlocking new levels and keeping your memory strength bar full while you learn.


Zelle has partnered with leading banks and credit unions across the U.S. to bring you a fast, safe, easy way to send money to friends and family. Your money moves from bank account to bank account, with no holding accounts to cash out.

Weekly App Roundups

Best of the Best

The Google Play Store has hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. This list only scratches the surface. We’ve published numerous Best Android Apps lists for everything from dating to education. Check out the lists below to explore even more!


8 Reasons Amazon should select Baltimore for HQ2

Back in September we learned that Amazon was looking to build a secondary headquarters at a select city in the US. The company also stated that it would be investing $5 billion to build the facilities, while also being capable of employing at least 50,000 people.

So then, many began speculating on which cities would be the best fit for Amazon’s new headquarters, while Amazon also explained some of its “requirements” before considering a city. Let’s take a look at those really quick:

  • Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
  • A stable and business-friendly environment
  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

With these requirements, there are many different cities that are eligible to be considered, but today, we’re going to take a look at why Baltimore (my home) is the best candidate for Amazon’s newest headquarters.

1. 2.8 million

While the city itself is home to more than 600,000 people, the surrounding areas and suburbs are home to about 2.8 million people, according to The Baltimore Sun. This falls well within the reaches of Amazon’s requirements, and with Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, looking to build up the Port Covington area, an Amazon HQ would do well in the employment department.

That’s not including the fact that Baltimore provides for easy access to major Eastern US cities including Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. I know for a fact that there are plenty that travel via train to other jobs, and this would likely be an option for those looking to get some work with the biggest online retailer.

2. Low unemployment

Amazon also stated that the company wanted “a stable and business-friendly environment” and Baltimore has been the downtrend when it comes to unemployment. Between 2013 and today, the unemployment rate has decreased by almost 4%, while the Maryland unemployment rate as a whole has decreased more than 2%. This brings Maryland’s unemployment rate slightly below the national average at 3.9%.

Again, Kevin Plank’s plans for Port Covington are still in the works, but a partnership with Amazon would help lower that rate even further with the sheer amount of jobs that would be made available in the area. Additionally, the city of Baltimore has been working with various businesses on the tax rates, such as the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, which sees an annual property tax of just $1.

3. Education on the rise

Gilman Hall, Johns Hopkins University

Residents of the Baltimore metropolitan area pride themselves on being highly educated, and the city itself is home to one of the most prestigious schools around the world – Johns Hopkins University. According to the US Census Bureau, about one-third of city residents have at least a college degree, and that number rises to more than 40% if you look at Baltimore County.

If that wasn’t enough for you, almost 83% of Baltimore adults starting at age 25 have at least a high school degree, and that number rises to almost 90% for Maryland as whole. Considering the fact that Amazon wants its workers to be “highly educated”, these numbers are strong indicators of a city that definitely knows its stuff!

4. Time to “WOW”

M&T Bank Stadium, Home of the Baltimore Ravens

Another sticking point for Amazon in its search for a city is that the community must “think big and creatively”. Baltimore is no stranger to this type of demand, as the city helped to create Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is widely regarded as the most beautiful MLB ballpark in America. Additionally, the city has been extremely hands on with the development of Port Covington, as the approval for public financing has already been agreed upon.

Amazon moving into the city would provide not only an economic boost to the area, but would also gain the support of city officials and help to create a more unique experience in a city that is deeply entrenched in history and beauty. It’s likely that we’ll see Baltimore City officials team together to absolutely WOW Amazon with is proposal to bring HQ2 to the city.

5. BWI is just minutes away

Dulles International Airport

As you would expect, Amazon is looking for the HQ2 city to be nearby to an International airport as the company continues to work overseas and provide products around the world. Thankfully, Baltimore is just minutes away from Baltimore-Washington International, and is about an hour from the likes of Dulles International, as well as Reagan National Airport.

6. I-95 is just around the corner

While Kevin Plank works on creating an awesome experience at Port Covington, it’s important to note that I-95 is right around the corner (literally) and will help drive much traffic to that area. If Amazon were to join the ranks in the area, it would have all the access it would need, and that’s not taking into consideration the work that is being put into improving the area around Port Covington.

The State is currently in the midst of applying for a federal grant which would create a new I-95 interchange project, and Plank has recently invested funds into upgrading the popular water taxis to help folks get around the Inner Harbor and the city. These would serve to help with Amazon’s workforce, and provide plenty of means of transportation to and from the facilities.

7. Port Covington is home

We’ve mentioned Port Covington quite a few times in this piece, and it’s for good reason. Kevin Plank plans to spear head the initiative to improve Baltimore City as a whole, and this land expansion is just the first step. While the area will be home to apartments, shopping, hotels, and more, Plank also foresees an opportunity for Amazon to land squarely here and have everything it needs right off the bat.

This is huge when looking at other cities, as there are issues with making sure that Amazon has enough space that wouldn’t be too crowded to house its employees or the headquarters itself. Amazon has already stated its looking for a site “that is already prepped for development”, and it seems that City officials have confirmed that there aren’t many more steps left “to start moving dirt” at Port Covington.

8. Quality of Life is Excellent

If you’re not from the area, the first thing that likely pops into your head when you hear Baltimore has something to do with the crime rate, but that does not define the city. According to Atlas Obscura, Baltimore has been named America’s “Most Eccentric City”, while Baltimore is ranked as No. 2 in the list of best food cities by Zagat.

Those rankings are impacted by what the city has to offer in the form of history, along with the recent development that has transformed the city from not a friendly place, to one of the most exciting places to be. With the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens around the corner from the Harbor, and Fells Point just a hop, skip, and a jump away, the city itself provides an excellent experience, and one that I have enjoyed even more so in my adulthood.

Transformative Impact

Other cities may offer the funds or the population density, but none of those are like Baltimore. The City is rich with history, and everything you could possibly want to do is within walking distance of the Inner Harbor.

It’s also worth noting that Baltimore is already home to one of the larger Amazon distribution centers, and having its new headquarters nearby, would not only help the company, but the surrounding areas.

If Amazon were to select Baltimore as its destination for HQ2, it would already have the room to build and expand, while being capable of housing its employees. Additionally, Amazon could be part of something great as the city of Baltimore is poised to grow an exponential rate with the help of Kevin Plank, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.


Apple AirPods for Android Review

It’s been awhile since Apple’s AirPods first arrived at Apple Stores late last year. While they’re not exactly new, the highly coveted headphones have been pretty difficult to just walk into a store and grab until fairly recently when Apple finally cranked up production. A few weeks back, stock became readily available at Best Buy, Amazon and the like, so I figured I’d try my hand at Apple’s “true wireless” earbuds and see what the hype was about.

The funny thing is the hype surrounding the buds. If you were at all interesting in buying a pair, you’ve probably seen your share of reviews around the net. While more “professional” reviews tend to give AirPods a sort of average rating, consumer reviews tell a much different story.

AirPods not only have a nearly perfect 5-star review on both Best Buy and Amazon, but in my conversations with owners, most have had nothing but great things to say about them. The best part? Since they’re Bluetooth, they work on both iOS and Android. I’ve been using AirPods with my OnePlus 5 for the better part of 2 weeks now, and here are my thoughts so far.


At $160, AirPods don’t carry the unusually high markup you would normally expect from an Apple product. They’re surprisingly reasonable when you consider the competition. For example, Sony’s WF-1000X true wireless headphones are priced at almost $200, while the B&O PlayE8s are $300.

Painfully simple to set up

When you first take AirPods out of the box, they’re already nestled inside their charging case, fully charged and ready to go. All you have to do is take them out, and look for “AirPods” on your Android’s Bluetooth menu. Select them and they’ll pair right up, just like any other Bluetooth device. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

Incredibly convenient

This part’s obvious but having true wireless earbuds is incredibly convenient. No wires to get tangled or snagged on things, making them perfect when going out for a jog, listening in a plane (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got tangled up in my own headphone cords), or around the kiddies. The case itself is small enough that you can store them in a 5th pocket, coat, or purse where they’re easily accessible.

Feature rich

Unlike your traditional pair of dumb headphones, AirPods are actually pretty smart. They have a few neat tricks you definitely wont find on most wired headphones. Although most of the better features only work on a macOS or iOS device (thanks to the Apple’s integrated W1 chip), some things work on Android as well.

When paired up with your MacBook (or iOS device), AirPods pause the audio when you take one of the buds out of your ear and begins playing again when you place it back inside. Works great when someone is asking you a question so you don’t have to worry about fiddling around with your computer or phone to quickly turn off the audio.

Double tapping a bud will activate Siri or answer an incoming voice call. On Android, most of these features don’t work, but double tapping does allow you to pause/play the music — so at least there’s that.

AirPods also have a built in microphone that allows them to act as a headset for taking calls. Special noise cancelling “beamforming” microphones help ensure that callers can always hear you loud and clear by filtering out background noise.

Another interesting part about AirPods is that you can pair them with a handful of devices, more than the usual two you get with other Bluetooth headphones. Pretty handy if you have a family of devices you’d like to pair them up with.

Light weight means you can wear them all day

I don’t know what kind of engineering wizardry Apple conjured up for the AirPods, but the size and weight of the pods makes them extremely comfortable to keep in your ears for extended periods of time. You’d be hard pressed to find any competition with a similar size/weight as the AirPods which definitely helps with fatigue. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up but a few AirPod imitations have already begun popping on Amazon.

That’s not to say they’re perfect. Just like Apple’s stock EarPods that come bundled with the iPhone, it’s a one size fits all and lack of removable silicone tips could be a problem for those with smaller/larger ear holes.

Battery life is fantastic for something so small

Apple says their AirPods can last upwards of 5 hours at about 50% volume — which wipes the floor with most the competition — and the case itself provides around 4-5 additional charges for up to 24 hours of total listening time. This has to do with the ultra low-power W1 chip which, unfortunately, is only compatible with iOS and macOS devices.

That means when connected to an Android device, you’ll be using a standard Bluetooth connection which means slightly less play time. In my experience, I’ve hit 4+ hours while connected to my OnePlus 5 without exhausting the battery. It’s really hard to listen any longer than that without popping them back in the charging case so there’s a good chance you’ll never kill these before charging them up again.

The good news is that the tiny batteries in the AirPods charge extremely quick, with Apple saying that a 15-minute charge is enough for 3 hours of listening time. Can’t beat that with a stick.

Don’t listen to the haters: they actually sound great

Now, I’m no audiophile, so it’s easy to dismiss my critique when it comes to audio quality on the AirPods. I’ve seen more than a few reviews give AirPods a mediocre rating when it came to audio quality, and even come across those that claim they sound “like trash.” While I’m sure a lot of that has to do with the Bluetooth standard in general, I was actually surprised at how nice AirPods sounded when I finally tried them for myself.

I think for 99% of the folks out there, they’re going to sound better than whatever headphones came bundled with their smartphone so an upgrade is an upgrade. They’re altogether pretty crisp and there’s plenty of bass to produce a nice full sound. Not mind blowing, but certainly not terrible by any means. I think the overwhelmingly high ratings from actual users across the net attest to this.

They look kind of silly

Ask just about anyone who isn’t on board with AirPods one of the first things they’ll tell you how silly they’d feel wearing them. The design certainly isn’t for everyone and I think we all can agree they’re the most un-sexy piece of wearable tech since Google Glass. The difference? These were made by Apple.

If anyone but Apple released this design first, it would have immediately been scoffed and shunned by the world, drifting away into obscurity. But Apple has always had a way with consumers, much like a designer fashion brand which can sell something that looks silly under the guise of sex appeal.

When it comes to AirPods, they’re much like a Prius. You wont win any style points, but who cares when it’s something that’s just so damn functional.


And that just about wraps up my feelings on the Apple AirPods. As a self-proclaimed technology enthusiast, I have to admit — AirPods are extremely cool and a taste of the truly wireless future to come.

Yes, it’s only a matter of time before cheaper — possibly even better — knock-offs begin hitting the market. While you could always sit and wait, those who enjoy living on the bleeding edge of tech and have been eying these shouldn’t waste any more time — just buy them already.

Other than looking a little silly, I have no other real complaints with them and that’s saying a lot. Just cut the cords and enjoy the freedom of truly wireless earbuds. I can almost guarantee you wont be sorry.

Buy on Amazon


Essential missed its opportunity and its paying dearly for it

A new report from BayStreet Research (via Fierce Wireless) estimates that only 5,000 units of the Essential Phone have been sold since the device was launched last month. These are rather disappointing numbers from Andy Rubin’s latest venture and may leave the company looking to other vices to enter the mobile market.

However, these numbers aren’t all that surprising considering the history of the Essential Phone, and what has happened since the device was announced. Everything began way back in March when Rubin tweeted an image of a device with a bezel-less design, getting many Android Phanboys all excited to see the Godfather of Android back in action.

Then came more teasers, leading up to the Essential Phone’s announcement, where the company announced an all-new flagship device was on the horizon. The PH-1 features a 5.7-inch QHD display while being powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The device is also coupled with a dual-rear camera system that has been rather underwhelming, while Essential continues to release software updates to hopefully fix the lackluster performance.


In addition to the flagship specs, Rubin and the team at Essential opted to take another look at modularity, by introducing two magnetic pins, which are placed in the top-right hand corner of the device. This is where you can use add-on accessories such as the 360-degree camera which has just recently been launched, while the company plans to release more options in the future.

Now, when the PH-1 made its debut back on May 30th, the device was listed for $699, which wasn’t surprising considering its attempt to enter the flagship mix, but then something strange happened. Essential went dark. After an interview at the Code Conference where Rubin stated the PH-1 would launch within 30 days, there was almost no communication from Essential, let alone mention of a final release date.

Fast forward a few weeks, and an announcement was made that Essential would be partnering with Sprint to provide the PH-1 if you were looking for a carrier option. This move made some scratch their heads as Sprint is ranked #4 in the country out of the major carriers, and is currently in the middle of talks with T-Mobile for a possible merger. But the move was pretty impressive considering this was Essential’s first foray and getting a carrier onboard was definitely an achievement in its own right.

Then, after months of waiting and seeing other devices announced, including the LG V30 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Essential FINALLY began shipping devices out to those who pre-ordered it. In September, the PH-1 finally made it to storefronts, making it possible for you to walk in and grab one, without worrying about dealing with shipping constraints or issues from Essential.

So let’s take a look at the timeframe here. The device was teased in March, announced in May, then not released until September. That’s a span of 4 months with nothing in the hands of customers, including a rather long span of time when the company went completely dark, leaving everyone wondering what happened. In that span, we saw the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus take over, the Galaxy Note 8 launch, and the LG V30 get announced. Not good for a company looking to make a big splash.

But maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe Rubin and Essential weren’t necessarily aiming its sights on the mass market and were aiming its sights on the now-defunct Nexus community. But that couldn’t be the case as the PH-1 is priced just slightly below that of the Pixel XL. Who knows what Rubin and Essential are doing, but the company has some big work ahead if it plans to have sustainable future with the PH-1 and other projects.


Galaxy Note 8 Battery Life Review

For many folks, battery life is one of, if not the most important part when deciding whether or not to upgrade to a new smartphone. Every year, smartphone manufacturers promise improved battery life. This is almost always due to advancements in more efficient processors and optimized Android software, but it doesn’t always translate into actual real world use.

The Galaxy Note 8 comes equipped with a 3,300mAh battery. It’s a tad smaller than the Galaxy S8+’s 3,500mAh battery and a puzzling move, one that could negatively impact battery life, however small. It’s possible Samsung was trying to avoid last year’s issues with the Galaxy Note 7’s battery not having enough room inside its shell and decided to err on the side of caution.

Galaxy Note 8 Battery Life

By now we know that battery life is one of those things that will never be the same for any two people. Even when dealing with the exact same devices, there are too many variables at play. Whether it’s apps installed, cellular signal, or services running in the background, all I can do is compare the battery life I’ve been receiving with other similarly equipped devices.

I’ve been spending the better part of a week with the Galaxy Note 8, enough that I can accurately predict the kind of battery life I — and hopefully you — can expect from the phone. Here’s what I found…

Battery life was pretty on par with what you’d expect from the Galaxy S8+. I was consistently hitting 4+ hours of screen on time, sometimes just barely 5 hours before completely exhausting the battery. This roughly translates into “all-day” battery life, but if you’re shooting a lot of video or gaming on the phone, you’ll probably need to top off at some point in the day.

Interestingly enough, the Always On Display had somewhat of a big effect on standby battery life. This is in stark contrast to something like the LG G6 which has their own version of this feature, yet barely sips the phone’s battery. The good news is AOD doesn’t activate when inside your pocket or purse, but if sitting on your desk all day, you’ll definitely lose a few some percents over the course of the day but it’s nothing too terribly dramatic (about 1% every hour). Just turn it off if you aren’t getting much use out of it, especially if you’re not plugging in overnight.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Battery Performance

Galaxy Note 8 Charging Times

My biggest gripe with the Galaxy Note 8 is its charge times. Now, we’ve seen a lot of advancements in fast charging technology over the past few years. Motorola has their own 30W Turbo Charging technology, Google’s using the USB compliant Type C Power Delivery (3A) on their devices, OnePlus has Dash Charging, while Qualcomm has been touting Quick Charge 4.0 as the next big evolution of fast charging.

The Galaxy Note 8 on the other hand is still using the same old Adaptive Fast Charging tech that debuted all the way back on the Galaxy S6. It’s the equivalent of (and compatible with) Quick Charge 2.0. While it’s definitely faster than what you would get with the iPhone 7, it still doesn’t compare to competing technologies.

For instance, unlike Quick Charge 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, Adaptive Fast Charging doesn’t work while you’re actually using the device. That’s to say if the screen is on, a notification will tell you that your phone is “Fast Charging” but what it doesn’t tell you is that it technically doesn’t work until the screen goes off. It’s a pretty big caveat, one Samsung never mentions and you wont find on any other device from a competing manufacturer. That being said, if you want to take full advantage of Adaptive Fast Charging — don’t use the phone.

Read more: Galaxy Note 8 Battery: 0 to 100% in 6,420 Seconds

One high note is that the Galaxy Note 8 — like the S8 and S8+ before it — still includes wireless charging. The phone works with both WPC and PMA, takes the guesswork out of compatibility. With news that Apple is now adding wireless for the iPhone 8/X, we could see a resurgence of the technology as it goes mainstream inside of restaurants, coffee shops, automobiles, and the like. You may not use it all the time, but you’ll be happy when you can charge up wirelessly while drinking your PSL.

Battery life is a pretty damn important spec — arguably the biggest for some folks — and if you were worried about the Galaxy Note 8 not performing as well as other devices — don’t be. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Any Galaxy Note 8 owners out there care to chime in with their battery life results?


The iPhone 8 Plus supplants the Pixel as DxOMark’s best camera, but does it matter?

The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are officially available for purchase beginning today, and with the official release, DxOMark has published its camera reviews for the devices. The camera review found that the iPhone 8 Plus deserves a score of 94 out of 100, which supplanted Google’s Pixel and the HTC U11 as the best mobile camera available.

But, a few eyebrows have been raised in the last few weeks/months regarding the DxOMark findings. The first big question that was asked for the last year surrounded the iPhone 7 Plus which launched around this time last year. However, DxOMark never provided any reviews of the latest iPhone, even after newer devices were released.

When the Pixel was launched a month later, DxOMark was quick to rate that camera, and Google even made a point to mention the review during its Pixel announcement. At the time, the Pixel received a score of 89 out of 100, marking the highest score ever given for a smartphone.

Since then, the Pixel still ranked above the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, and other devices on the market, but the iPhone 7 Plus was still left off the list. Fast forward to the OnePlus 5. OnePlus announced it was working with DxOMark to improve the camera for its latest flagship. It garnered “only” an 87 which raised a few more eyebrows.

Earlier this month DxOMark released a statement claiming that it had updated its camera test protocol for mobile devices, and FINALLY included the iPhone 7 Plus in its rankings. After the protocol had been updated, the Pixel shared the top spot with the HTC U11, which had previously supplanted the Pixel for the top camera.

Now, what would be so important that DxOMark felt the need to revamp its review protocol while continuing to leave out one of the most popular smartphones of the year? According to the blog post from DxOMark, the new testing now includes the following:

  • A new zoom sub-score that is based on extensive testing at multiple focal lengths
  • A new bokeh sub-score based on lab and outdoor testing
  • Low-light testing down to 1 Lux
  • Motion-based test scenes for more accurate evaluation of camera performance and processing techniques in real-world situations

Outside of the jibber jabber of specific camera features, a big revamp was actually necessary to account for dual-camera performance on mobile devices. Plus, the team was still using the same review protocols for the past few years, while mobile cameras have been improving at an amazingly fast rate.

So all of that brings us to today, where the iPhone 8 Plus has been rated by DxOMark and has firmly taken over the “best camera” rated. The 8 Plus received a 94, while the standard iPhone 8 scored a 90 out 100, moving the Pixel and HTC U11 down to tied for 3rd place.

DxOMark claims that the 8 Plus is “best smartphone camera we’ve ever tested”, but does that really matter anymore? It honestly seems like these rankings are arbitrary at this point, and may even show that the company is playing favorites considering the late review of the iPhone 7 Plus as it would have replaced the Pixel last year.

iPhone 8 Plus DxOMark Review Scores

This isn’t to say that the iPhone 8 Plus isn’t actually the better camera, and doesn’t provide better results than the other options. However, the moves being made by DxOMark over the past few months have definitely raised some eyebrows and left me with some questions.

But at the end of the day, all that matters is whether you, the consumer, actually trust the reviews presented by DxOMark. So, here’s your chance to let us know; does it? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to let us know what you think about the DxOMark rankings and if these are something that you take into consideration when looking at a new smartphone.

I know I’ll be waiting to see how DxOMark ranks the Pixel 2, then that will really give me an idea as to where DxOMark stands.


Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Today’s the day. No, not iPhone 8 day (although it is), but Samsung Galaxy Note 8 day. The highly-anticipated device from Samsung is now available from all major US carriers, as well as the likes of Best Buy, Amazon, and Samsung itself.

Below, we have listed the various deals that are being offered for the Galaxy Note 8, as well as links to easily pick up on of these devices for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Go get one now!


AT&T is offering the Galaxy Note 8 for a retail price of $949.99 or for $31.67 per month for 30-months via its installment agreement and the device comes in either Midnight Black or Orchid Gray. However, there is one big way you can save some cash, and that’s by trading in a Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, S8 Active, or Galaxy Note 8. When trading your old(ish) Samsung Galaxy device in, you are eligible to save up to $300.

As for the goodies, Samsung is partnering with AT&T (and other carriers) to offer buyers of the Galaxy Note 8 a 128GB microSD card, Fast Charge Wireless Charger, or the new Samsung Gear 360. In order to qualify for this offer, you’ll need to register your Galaxy Note 8 with the Shop Samsung app once the device has arrived. From there, Samsung will take care of all of the rest.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from AT&T


For some reason, Sprint has been running the same promotion for the last few iterations of flagship devices, and the same rings true with the Galaxy Note 8. If you switch to Sprint or add a new line of service, you can get the Galaxy Note 8 for 50% off, if you sign up for Sprint’s Flex Lease program. This will bring the price down to $20 per month for 18 months. If you don’t want to opt for Sprint’s leasing program, you can purchase the device outright for $960.

Additionally, Sprint is offering the Galaxy Note 8 through its “Galaxy Forever” program, meaning that you can upgrade the Galaxy Note 8 to the next generation at any time after you have made 12 lease payments. As with AT&T, Samsung is also offering a free 128GB microSD card, Fast Charge Wireless Charger, or the new Gear 360 with every Galaxy Note 8 purchase.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from Sprint


No surprise here, but T-Mobile is offering the lowest outright price of the Galaxy Note 8, priced at just $930. If you want to opt for T-Mobile’s JUMP upgrade program, you’ll have to slap $210 on the Galaxy Note 8, then pay $30 monthly for 24 months. However, T-Mobile is currently running a promotion which will get you a free Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 Plus, or Galaxy S8, when purchasing the Galaxy Note 8, provided that you sign up for new lines of service.

As with other US carriers, Samsung is also offering a free 128GB microSD card, Fast Charge Wireless Charger, or the new Gear 360 with every Galaxy Note 8 purchase.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from T-Mobile


If you’re tied to Big Red or want to switch, Verizon is probably the least favorable option here. The Galaxy Note 8 is priced at $40 per month for 24 months, or you can pick up the device at a retail price of $960. There aren’t any special promotions taking place to save you a few bucks, so this is the least enticing option among the 4 major US carriers.


However, you will still be able to get the 128GB microSD card, Fast Charge Wireless Charger, or new Gear 360 with your Galaxy Note 8 purchase, courtesy of Samsung.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from Verizon

Best Buy

In case you weren’t aware, Best Buy can act as a liaison to your carrier of choice, other than those with T-Mobile. With that in mind, you can head to your local Best Buy today, and get the following prices for the Galaxy Note 8:

However, the fun doesn’t stop there as each carrier is offering a deal for customers, and they are as follows:

  • AT&T: Buy One Get One – If you’re a current DIRECTV subscriber, you can get a free Galaxy S8 with the purchase and activation of a Galaxy Note 8.
  • Verizon: Up to 50% off with select phone trade in
  • Sprint: 50% off the Galaxy Note 8 when activating a new line on the Sprint Flex Lease plan.
  • Unlocked: 24-month financing when you use the “My Best Buy” credit card

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from Best Buy


As one would expect, Samsung is offering quite a few different deals for the company’s latest flagship device. Unfortunately, Samsung does not offer any deals through carriers, so you will be purchasing the unlocked model. Full retail price of the device starts at $929.99, but you can get Samsung Financing and pay “only” $38.75 for 24 months with 0% APR.

If the $929.99 price is too steep, you are eligible to save up to $300 by trading in an “eligible” device. The devices eligible for trade in range from the Galaxy S5, LG G4, and Pixel, all the way up to the iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy S8 Plus. This is definitely a viable option, although you won’t see your savings at checkout, you will receive the credit from Samsung after the eligible device has been inspected.

Additionally, Samsung is throwing in 2 months of “Samsung Premium Care” which offers 24/7 support for your device, along with coverage for accidents, damage, and a replacement device if you need one. Once the 2 months of Premium Care has expired, you can continue this protection for $11.99, if you choose.

Finally, Samsung is throwing in the 128GB microSD card and Fast Wireless Charger, or a free Gear 360 camera of your choosing.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung


Last but not least, if you’re a loyal Amazon Prime subscriber and don’t want to deal any of the extra hassle of carriers or dealing with Samsung directly, Amazon is also offering the Galaxy Note 8. Pricing for the device starts at $929.99 and shipping is free for Prime members.

However, currently, the Note 8 listing states that the device “usually ships within 1 to 2 months”, so we aren’t exactly sure when you would receive your new device. But on the bright side, you will still be eligible for Samsung’s freebies, which include the 128GB microSD card, fast wireless charger, or Samsung Gear 360.

Buy the Galaxy Note 8 from Amazon

Recommended Reading


First 14 things every Moto Z2 Play owner should do

2017 has been the year of the bezel-less phones, but Motorola and Lenovo have opted to change its lineup in other ways. The Moto Z2 Play is one of these devices as it has been slimmed down quite a bit, but is still a viable option today. The Moto Z2 Play has been out for some time, but considering the fact that the device is still one of the more popular options, we’re going to take a look at some of the first things every owner should do.

Download Forums for Android – it will auto-detect your Moto Z2 Play and connect you with our official users Z2 Play Forum for help, tips, and tricks!

Transfer data

When starting up your new Moto Z2 Play for the first time, you’ll be presented with a screen that says “Welcome”. From here, there are two options to consider, the first of which is to copy your data from your previous device, while the second option gives you the ability to start with a clean slate.

If you want to transfer your data from your old phone to the new one, you’ll want to select “Copy your data”. After logging into your home Wi-Fi, you’ll be presented with another screen which will ask you where your data is currently housed. Here are the three options presented:

  • A backup from an Android phone
  • A backup from the cloud
  • An iPhone device

You’ll need to select the option that works best for you, but it’s important to recognize that if you choose to backup from an Android phone directly, this process takes place via NFC. If selected, you’ll need to ensure that the NFC capabilities of your old phone are turned on, and then follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your other device is on and unlocked
  2. Place the two devices back-to-back until you hear a tone, then set aside

Once you hear the tone, you’ll be prompted to log in with your Google account and the transfer will begin. Once completed, you’ll have to wait for a little while, depending upon how much information was stored on your old device, and then you’ll be ready to go!

Stay protected

It’s something nobody thinks about until it happens, but one of the worst things that could happen to you is losing your smartphone or having it stolen. In the event that your device does go missing, you need to know exactly how to recover your device or erase any personal information stored therein.

Android’s built-in feature — “Android Device Manager” — is the perfect way to track down a lost device, you just need to know where to find it.

  1. Go to google.com/android/devicemanager
  2. Select your phone from the drop-down menu.
  3. You’ll see the device on a map and a few options for finding it (ring), locking it (if it wasn’t locked already), or erasing all of its contents with a full factory reset.

Set up fingerprint scanner

One of the most important and convenient features you’ll find on modern day smartphones is the ability to secure and unlock your device using your fingerprints. With a fingerprint button located on the front chin of the device, registering your fingerprints is extremely easy on the Moto Z2 Play. You can either set up your fingerprints during the setup process, but if you skipped over that section for whatever reason, here’s how you can set it up from inside the Settings app:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to Security
  3. Tap on the Fingerprint option (confirm lock method if you already set one)
  4. Tap Add fingerprint
  5. Follow instructions to scan your prints
  6. Rinse and repeat

Take advantage of Google Photos

In the event your phone gets ever becomes lost or stolen, it’s important that you have all your photos and videos backed up safely online. Google provides everyone with unlimited high-quality backups (and 1080p videos) for absolutely free.

All you have to do is open the app and agree to the terms and you’ll be all set. You can further tweak your backup settings (for instance, to only backup while your device is connected to WiFi) by opening Google Photos > menu > Settings > Back up & syncThere you can fine tune and customize your backups:

  • Choose between High-quality photo/video backups (unlimited), or original quality (will use up your Google/Gmail/Drive storage)
  • Back up photos Over Cellular (unlimited data plan recommended) or only when connected to WiFi.
  • If you choose to back up photos over cellular, you can also choose whether to back up videos separately over cellular or WiFi.
  • Select Backup device folders to pick specific folders you want to also back up (your camera roll photos/videos are already backed up by default).

Once backed up to Google Photos, all your photos will be stored in the cloud and immediately accessible from all your devices, computers, or other web connected devices.

MicroSD Card

Unlike other offerings on the market, the Moto Z2 Play features a higher base storage, making it easier to store your favorite music, videos, and other content. However, if you’re looking to bring a bunch of your files over to your new Z2 Play from your old device, a microSD card is definitely the best way to do so.

Thankfully, Motorola has kept the microSD card slot, making for an easy way to expand your storage up to 2TB if you absolutely needed to. This would be helpful if you end up shooting videos in 4K on a regular basis. Here are some of our recommendations for a solid microSD card:

Disable and uninstall bloatware

This step won’t be necessary for everyone, but considering the fact that Verizon is selling this model directly, you’ll definitely see a few (more than a few) pre-installed apps. Luckily, there’s an easy way to get rid of these in some type of capacity, and here are the steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps
  2. Select an app from the list
  3. Tap the Disable or Uninstall button

This may not work for every application, as some applications are required for the device to function regularly. However, if you notice that something’s acting a bit wonky, simple tap the disabled application and select Enable.

Check out some of the best Moto Mods and Style Covers

Introduced last year along with the original Moto Z and Moto Z Force, Moto Mods offer an interesting take on modularity. Some of these Moto Mods make it possible to add a 360-degree camera, extend your battery, or be the life of the party with the JBL SoundBoost Moto Mod.

Best of all, any of the Moto Mods released last year, are compatible with the new Moto Z2 Play, so it’s just a matter of seeing what’s best for you. If you want to check out Motorola’s current offerings, you can simply hit the “Moto Mods” app icon and you’ll be taken to Motorola’s store to check everything out.

Here are some of our favorite options:

Moto Style Mods and Cases

Set up Do Not Disturb

There’s no reason your phone’s notifications should ever interrupt a good night’s sleep. While you can always manually set your phone to silent every night (providing you remember), you could also automate this entire process by setting up automatic Do Not Disturb schedules. This will mute your phone, but still allow some high priority notifications to come through (calls from specific contacts for instance). The best part? You’ll never again have to remember to mute your phone before bed. Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and select Sound
  3. Tap on Do not disturb (Make sure your ringtone volume is on)

From here, you can choose between always having it on every day, setting specific times and days you want DnD to activate (Automatic rules), and what notifications you would still like to come through (Priority only allows). For instance, you may want to only allow calls from your contacts, your favorite contacts, or repeat callers to come through in the event of an emergency.

Dev Options

The Moto Z2 Play feels pretty snappy out of the box, but things can definitely be turned up a notch. To speed things up and make the UI feel more snappy, you can increase the speed of the animations. But you’ll first need to activate the hidden Developer Options by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > About phone
  2. Select Software info
  3. Tap Build Number 7 times until you see “You are now a developer” message
  4. Go back to the main settings and you’ll see Developer Options

To speed up animations:

  1. Go to Settings > Developer options
  2. Scroll down select Window animation and choose .5x
  3. Select Transition animation and choose .5x
  4. Select Animator duration scale and choose .5x

Get acquainted with Moto features

A feature that has been present on Motorola devices since the birth of the original Moto X has been its Moto Active Display. This feature returns, and is better than ever in our early testing period. There are new things to check out and features to enable to get an experience that isn’t found anywhere else.

In order to get started, you’ll need to tap the Moto app icon on your home screen and you’ll be presented with three different sections:

Moto Actions

Moto Actions provides an array of different settings, including “One Button nav”. When enabled, this will allow you to navigate your device from the luxury of your home button. Additionally, when enabling this, you will be able to save a few precious pixels and get some more screen real-estate.

Moto Display

The Moto Display section provides the settings to your Active Display, while making it possible to quickly reply to messages from your lock screen, without ever unlocking the device. Also found in this section is “Night Display”, which will change the tone of your display to make things easier on your eyes after the sun goes down.

Moto Voice

The final section is Moto Voice and this allows you to control your phone while just using your voice. Simple voice commands such as “Show me the calendar” or “Show me Chrome” will make for an excellent hands-free experience. Best of all, none of these voice commands interfere with Google Assistant so you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Get rid of the on-screen nav buttons

This next one is a bit different as it’s for those who want to try using just the home button to navigate their new Moto Z2 Play. By default, Motorola has enabled the standard on-screen navigation bar, but there’s a way to disable this. By disabling the navigation bar, you will be able to use gestures on your home button to navigate throughout the device and get some extra screen real-estate. Here are the steps necessary to take advantage of this feature:

  1. Open the Moto app
  2. Tap Moto Actions
  3. Toggle One button nav
  4. Profit

Shrink screen

While devices like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are featuring larger displays in smaller form factors, the Moto Z2 Play keeps a traditional aspect ratio with its 5.5-inch display. Thankfully, Motorola has included a quick gesture that allows you to shrink the screen, making it much more accessible for one-handed usage.

  1. Open the Moto app
  2. Tap Swipe to shrink screen
  3. Toggle On

Once enabled, you will be able to swipe from the center of your screen to the bottom left or right corner to activate the one-handed mode. This way you can reach the status bar without needing to perform gymnastics with one hand. If you want to go back to the normal view, simply tap the black area surrounding your new home screen and everything will go back to normal.

Best apps & games

As awesome as the Moto Z2 Play is, it’s not much without some great apps and games. We’ve compiled tons of helpful guides for finding the best apps and games in the Play Store. Before you dive in and rummage around, you’ll want to check out these lists first.

Z2 Play Forums

These tips will get your feet wet, but this is only the beginning of what the Z2 Play can do. For even more content, we’ve got the Moto Z2 Play Forum aAndroidForums.com! All you have to do is download the Forums app and you’ll automatically be added to the correct forum. You’ll find more helpful tips and other users like you. It’s easy to ask for help and get answers. Here are a few threads to get you started: