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[Hands-On] Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 - An Affordable Lollipop Phone You Might Actually Want, In Two Sizes

If there's ever been a persistent comment on Android Police in the last couple of years, it's that powerful smartphones are just too damn big these days. The Nexus 6 is gigantic, and 5.2"+ is quickly becoming standard smartphone size. Finding a good, inexpensive phone that isn't too large isn't impossible, but it's probably not as easy as it should be.

So, that's where Alcatel comes in. Yes, Alcatel has a reputation for making some of the slowest, cheapest, and least likeable prepaid phone fare here in the US, but in China and around the world, Alcatel does offer a pretty large portfolio of handsets.

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Hands On With Synology's App Family And The DS 415+ NAS

These days, there are tons of way to store files. Locally, in the cloud, on the network...or any combination of those. Personally, I'm a cloud storage kind of guy - ever since Dropbox and Drive have been a thing, I've relied on them to keep everything in sync across all of my computers and mobile devices. Keeping my most-used files accessible whenever and wherever I want has changed the way I use my gear (for the better).

One area where I haven't had a lot of experience, however, is with network attached storage (NAS). Before the cloud, I loved the idea of being able to grab my data regardless of what device I was on, and I always wanted to build one up, but it's just something that never happened.

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QKSMS Is A Colorful And Modern Android Text Messaging Client That Pops [Hands-On]

Before the release of Android 4.4, stock Android came with a basic SMS app. It served as a simple way to exchange text messages the old-school way, without dealing with data connections or usernames. Then the functionality got merged into Hangouts, and while a new standard Messenger app is returning for 5.0, there are many people with devices that won't see that update for months—if ever.

That leaves plenty of room for a basic texting app, one without a fancy name or a distracting icon, and one that doesn't look out of place compared to Google's first-party offerings. After many months in development, QKSMS could be just the thing.

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First Impressions Of Google's Nexus 6: Really Big, Really Beautiful [Update]

The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review.

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The Form Factor

The Nexus 6, known until recently as Shamu, is a whale. It's really big. That should go without saying since the display is 5.9", but when you see it in person its size is truly striking.

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A Quick Hands-On Look At Inbox By Gmail

Today, Google officially announced Gmail Blue Inbox, a service we posted about just last night. Previously codenamed Bigtop, Inbox by Gmail is a full reimagining of how an email product should work, and how users should interact with their email.

It is really rare for a product to come out that actually reimagines something rather than just claiming it does, but Inbox is really a fresh take on... the inbox. Though the product is just in its first release (and doesn't handle all your email services as we thought it would - a feature that ended up in Gmail), it already looks promising.

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A Look At Google Drive's Material Design In Android 5.0 Lollipop

We've already seen about a half-dozen Google apps leaked in a Nexus 6 system dump, but we haven't taken a look at Google Drive yet. The app does have some material design in store though - as with the others - it's still in testing, so anything could change. That said, it's worth taking a look. Google Drive has implemented many of the new material design paradigms that make the app cleaner, leaner, and easier to use.

Let's start with the first-run. Google has majorly improved its treatment of imagery in material design, opting for a textured, colorful, graphical style that isn't as flat as its predecessor yet maintains the fun, airy feel that Google imagery is famous for.

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Acer Iconia Tab 8 Review: A Lot Of Tablet For Not A Lot Of Money

Three years ago (or thereabouts), if you would've asked me about Acer tablets, my response would likely have been something similar to DeAndre Jordan's face after this nasty dunk over Brandon Knight back in 2013. Or, to put it a little more bluntly, there probably wouldn't have been anything positive to say. At all.

The company has come a long way since then, and I feel like it has been offering especially good value for the money as of late, and the Iconia Tab 8 may be the crown jewel of its collection. The weakest link in most of its predecessors was the display, which Acer has (finally) corrected on this go.

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Hands On With The ASUS ZenWatch: The Best Square Android Wear Watch Yet

For its first foray into the nascent Android Wear platform, ASUS created the ZenWatch. It aims to be the more fashionable and appealing alternative to the other square watches from LG and Samsung, and I think it largely accomplishes that.

Whether you prefer a square smart watch to a round one is a matter of personal opinion, but there's little denying that ASUS has made probably the most compelling square smart watch of the current Android Wear generation.

The watch has a 1.63" display at 320x320 behind curved glass, a Snapdragon 400 processor at 1.2GHz, and 512MB of RAM. There's no ambient light sensor, but there is a heart rate sensor that "measures relaxation level," according to ASUS' promotional materials.

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[Update: Planned Release Date] Hands-On With LG's G Watch R: It's Better In Person (Really)

LG says it has been working on the G Watch R for two years. Whether this is true or not, the manufacturer now positions the original G Watch as a "reference device," which makes sense given their partnership with Google on the product and its speedy release after Google I/O. At any rate, the G Watch R is positioned as a product more in keeping with LG's design philosophy and the key elements the company (and more specifically its designers) believe make a good, compelling smart watch.

Unfortunately for our hands-on, we are not able to publish photos of the watch outside of demo mode, but what we can discuss is the hardware.

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Hands On With The G Watch, LG's Take On Android Wear Hardware

LG's G Watch is one of the first two devices to launch with Android Wear. The G Watch, along with Samsung's Gear Live, are expected to be available for pre-order from the Play Store today, so it's worth taking a quick look at how the two stack up. The Gear Live is still awaiting our hands-on treatment, but we've already spent a little time with the G Watch.

For those who aren't caught up, LG's first Android Wear entry is a 37.9x46.5x9.95mm smart watch with a 1.65" IPS display at 280x280. It's running a 1.2GHz processor and carries 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage, plus a nine-axis sensor that LG says is more accurate than those in other smart watch offerings.

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