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Reviews

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Google Appears To Be Testing A New, Simpler Layout For Ratings In The Play Store

Google is constantly making changes to the Play Store layout, and these tweaks are often server-side. A new line here, a different dialog box there, and the experience changes. This time, Google appears to be testing a layout for reviews that takes away a dialog box when you leave a review. Instead, the review dialog is embedded in the page.

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Google Play Developer Console Provides New Tools For Understanding User Reviews

There are multiple reasons to leave a review in the Play Store. One is to convey to other users how good or bad an app is. Another is to communicate to the developer.

Google has recently changed up the dashboard that software creators see when they sign into the Developer Console. The new page shows how ratings have changed over the course of days, weeks, and months (pictured above). This overview makes it easy to see if the release of a new update has any effect on user impressions. Developers can also break down ratings by location, language, and other variables.

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Moto 360 Sport Quick Review: Good On Paper, Hard To Recommend In Practice

Motorola launched the second-generation Moto 360 last fall and fixed many of the issues with the original watch, but at the same time it teased the Moto 360 Sport. It took months for it to come out, and even then there was little promotion surrounding it. I don't think you can deny that it's a less elegant device than the standard Moto 360, which comes with the same $299 starting price, but there are a few distinct, sporty features that might tempt you.

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[Update: Official Changelog] Google Maps v9.20 Links Photos With Reviews, Adds Street Sign Callouts And An Option To Turn Off Voice Guidance During Calls, And Allows For Additions To Your Timeline [APK Download]

This week's updates are rolling out and Google Maps is among the first to bring something new to the screen. Version 9.20 doesn't seem to have any huge features, but there are some very notable improvements. A shortcut has been added to the Timeline to allow for quickly adding a place to your history, there's now a setting to control whether turn-by-turn instructions are given during voice calls, and Maps will now pair your reviews with any pictures you've submitted.

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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Review: Living Life In (Sort Of) 4K

Sony rushes from one flagship phone to the next, making only iterative changes most of the time. With the Z5 generation, there are three different variants of the phone—a standard Z5, the Z5 Compact, and our focus today, the Z5 Premium. What makes it premium? Well, it's the first phone with a 4K display. Does that really do you any good, though? Let's find out.

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Fossil Q Founder Review: Good Watch, Mediocre Smart Watch

Until now, all the Android Wear watches you could buy were made by technology firms moonlighting as watchmakers, but now there's the Fossil Q Founder. This is the first widely available Android Wear smart watch designed by a company that makes regular watches. In some ways it looks more like a real watch than any of the others, but there are also some design concessions that remind you Fossil is new to the whole wearables thing.

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Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Review: The Only Small Phone That Matters

I remember not that long ago thinking that a 4.7-inch phone screen was pretty large. How could they get bigger than that and still be usable? Surely this is the end of the road... and here we are a few years later and the Xperia Z5 Compact is considered diminutive at 4.6-inches. When I say this phone is small (and it is) I mean it's small compared to every other Android flagship.

Consumers have voted with their dollars and told OEMs they want big phones, leaving the Xperia Compact series as your last bastion of tiny flagship phones. When a device basically owns a niche, it doesn't have to be amazing, it just needs to be.

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Google Expands Local Guides Program With Point System And New Benefits

Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page.

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Wren V5US Review: A Truly Great Speaker With Bluetooth, AirPlay, And Play-Fi Support, But It Has A Really Steep Price

I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to review the V5PF (Play-Fi) Wireless Speaker from Wren. The sound quality was absolutely immaculate, and everything about the physical product more than justified its fairly high price tag. The one unfortunate dark spot in the nearly perfect experience came from software – an Android app built by DTS to run its proprietary Play-Fi protocol. It was ugly, amateurish, and unreliable. Two years have passed, and Wren has released the V5US, a new model that not only fixes some minor issues from previous products, but it also combines the features of its three existing variants to produce a single speaker with support for Play-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth.

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Nexus 5X Review: It's Better Than You Think

The Nexus 5 was a big hit; an unqualified success for Google. People loved that phone, and many of them are still using one. Now, there's finally a true successor to the Nexus 5 in the LG-built Nexus 5X. Hopes were understandably high for this phone, and the handful of missing features led some Nexus 5 owners to planning how they'd keep their 2013-era phones running for another year. Specs don't tell you the whole story, though. The Nexus 5X doesn't have the most RAM or highest resolution screen, but it still deserves your attention because it offers a wonderful experience for not a lot of money.

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