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App Reviews

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[Hands-On] Betternet Is A Free, Unlimited VPN Service That Doesn't Need An Email Address, Lets You Download Torrents, And Has Unobtrusive Ads

People who take online privacy seriously eventually get to the point where they want to experiment with a VPN. Usually this costs money, which puts some people off particularly because the process involves handing over an email address and credit card information. This means that even if you're better protected from prying eyes than you would be if you were VPN-less, the company that supplies the service may still be able to connect the dots.

That's what makes Betternet interesting. Unlike most other options, this service is entirely free to use. That has implications both for your privacy (though you still have to watch out for DNS leaks) and your wallet.

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AmpMe Turns Multiple Phones Into Speakers For Your Music: How It Works And How It Compares To SoundSeeder

The idea of using multiple phones as speakers to play the same music isn't new. It was popularized by Samsung's Group Cast way back in the Galaxy S3 days and has since gotten over that proprietary requirement thanks to third-party apps like SoundSeeder that made it possible to tune Android devices together, regardless of their brand. As a newcomer in the field, AmpMe has a lot to prove against tough and established competition. The app manages a few victories thanks to cross-platform compatibility, but loses in terms of services supported. For now, that's only SoundCloud, although the developers say more are coming.

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Hands-On With Pintasking: A Bubbly Approach To Task Switching And Management

One of Android's differentiating features has been the ability to multitask, especially by allowing apps to coexist on one screen or to show elements on top of each other. Although the concept of floating apps was prevalent for years on the platform, Facebook Messenger popularized the idea of less intrusive bubbles, which simply put round icons at the edges of your screen to allow quick access to your chats and contacts. Link Bubble further pushed the envelop on that approach, taking the bubbles and making them work for you in the background.

Pintasking is another step in the bubble's story on Android.

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Amiigo Review: An Activity And Gym Workout Tracker With Lots Of Potential And Even More Issues

I had my eyes on Amiigo the moment it was mentioned here on Android Police back in January 2013. The promised features seemed like everything I wanted in an all-day sleep and activity tracker, especially with its waterproof design and swimming capability. See, runners and cyclists have it easy: there are dozens if not hundreds of gadgets they have been able to use for the past years to track their workouts. But swimmers, well, let's just say the choice has always been limited and it was even more so in 2013 when you wanted a smart tracker that synced with Android.

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Microsoft Translator And Google Translate Compared: Is There A New Challenger In The House?

Microsoft's Translator isn't the first service to attempt to confront Google in the translation game, but it may be one of the first to pose a real challenge to Google Translate. Out of the gate, the app has an Android Wear component, a sorely missed feature in its competitor, and even though Translator does seem quite simplistic and limited, it has most of the basic features covered to warrant a more thorough comparison against Translate.

A different approach

While many of Microsoft's recent apps have adopted Material Design in their interface, Translator is more subtle about it. Both the welcome and the translation screens' blurry background and iconography are modern but not exactly Material.

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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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Dash Review: This Ride Has Gone Far In The Six Months Since Launch, But It Still Has A Bit Farther To Go

Dash is one in a slowly growing number of Android options that lets you track where your car is, where you've traveled, and how much gas you've burned up. To make things simple, it combines everything into a basic scoring mechanism - though this is only part of the app's appeal. Those of you with older cars can see why your check engine light came on without having to go to a mechanic, and the enthusiasts among you can turn to the app as an extension of your dashboard that provides more information than your vehicle manufacturer deemed necessary.

Not too long ago I took a look at Automatic, a $99 onboard diagnostics tool that plugs into your car and, working with a similar app, can help you save gas and better keep up with maintenance. Unsurprisingly, this drew immediate comparisons to Dash, considering it beat Automatic to the punch with more features and a drastically lower price tag (free, assuming you have Bluetooth-enabled OBD2 dongle lying around) earlier this year.

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MarkAsRead For Gmail Updated With The Ability To Mark Email As Read And Archive At The Same Time

The Gmail app doesn't provide the option to mark notifications as read, and it drives many users up the wall. MarkAsRead entered the Play Store less than a week ago and, as the name suggests, tackled this issue head on. Now an update is available that adds the ability to mark a message as read and archive it at the same time, just as the developer promised.

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[Hands-On] Nine Is A Clean And Attractive Email Client Aimed At Exchange Users And Very Few Others

Two days ago I took a look at CloudMagic's Android email client, and I have to admit, it's a well-designed piece of software. Its blazing fast searching is its claim to fame, but even without this functionality, it's an attractive, holo-friendly app with support for multiple accounts and a unified inbox. But - and for many, this is a big but - the app indexes your mail on CloudMagic's servers. Deal breaker? In that case, here's another email client that might just fit your needs, assuming you have an Exchange account, another service pushed by Microsoft, or a Google Apps account.

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