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Reviews

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Sam Ruston's new app Hurry is a beautiful countdown timer for events

Fans of Android developer Sam Ruston's applications, such as myself, will be excited to hear that he has just released one more. The app, called Hurry, is a countdown timer that uses notifications and widgets to help you keep track of upcoming events. It is a simple concept but executed with the developer's usual insane attention to detail, especially in relation to material design and animations. 

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JLab Epic2 Bluetooth earbuds review: Rugged and long-lasting - just hope they fit in your ears

I've been on something of a hunt for a good set of Bluetooth earbuds lately. While my small collection of wired headphones has served me well at the gym, the airport, and on public transport, Bluetooth headphones offer a key advantage in their lack of a big, tangle-prone cable getting in the way of things. They also increasingly are more practical, as more and more smartphones seem to be phasing out the 3.5mm headphone jack (a move which I will continue to argue is dumb and bad).

The JLab Epic2 earbuds may not come from a brand you're familiar with, but these earbuds have received their fair share of critical praise in a space that is becoming increasingly crowded and competitive.

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Blue Satellite review: Blue's $400 attempt at wireless headphones sound fantastic, but are compromised

Sitting on my desk is currently the third pair of Satellite headphones Blue Microphone has shipped me since the company first sent them. In May. It's been a long time coming, and I'll let you know why, but our review is finally here, months later. Unfortunately, even with this third and final refined pair, I just can't recommend Blue's attempt at a premium wireless headphone. It's too compromised, too dated, and too expensive to justify.

To be clear, I've loved Blue's headphones to dates - the MoFis, Ellas, and Lolas all impressed me. In particular, Blue's efforts to integrate high-quality analog amplifiers directly into its headphones (aside from the fully-passive Lolas) have been of great interest to me, and I've generally been very satisfied with the results.

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Moto Z2 Force review: Focusing on the wrong things

Motorola kicked off the era of Moto Mods last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. The latter was only available on Verizon in the US, but this year the Z2 Force is coming to all US carriers. It's also the only flagship phone the company is releasing this summer—there's no regular Z phone at all. That makes the Z2 Force a critical phone for Motorola as it seeks to convince consumers and mobile carriers that Mods are a good idea.

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Hands-on with Adapticons: Making your own icons was never this easy or customizable

There was a time when I could spend hours setting up a new homescreen on my phone. Choosing a new wallpaper, finding the best icon placement and alignment, obsessing about icon pack zips and rars until I stumbled upon the perfect one for my setup, then adding and moving and removing widgets to fit with everything. Now, I just open Backdrops from time to time to get a new wallpaper and I keep the same homescreen setup without even bothering with icon packs. The reasons I've abandoned icon packs are many: learning curve to spot your icons under new designs, it's rare to find a pack that covers all my icons, and icon masks, just like Android O's new adaptive icons, are plain terrible.

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The Moto Z2 Force's 'unbreakable' screen may be a deal breaker

Motorola is set to launch the Moto Z2 Force in a few weeks on all major US carriers. Those carriers are doing their part to make the launch a success with various promos, but you ought to look upon these deals with skepticism. Our full Moto Z2 Force review will be ready in a few days, but I thought it would be prudent to expand on something I touched on in the hands-on: the ShatterShield display. I'm afraid this screen will be a deal breaker for many people. While it doesn't crack, there are plenty of other issues with it.

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Urbanears Stadion review: This is not how to do Bluetooth earphones

I think that I've made my opinion of Bluetooth audio accessories clear by now. However, in case you haven't heard it yet, here it is: I don't think highly of them. The convenience factor is often eclipsed by lackluster sound quality, battery life, or both. Until now, I never considered any of the pairs that I have used to be outright awful. Unfortunately, today is the day that I must amend that because Urbanear's Stadion represents the most disappointing pair of Bluetooth earbuds that I've ever had the misfortune of using.

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LG TONE Studio review: A novel combination of earbuds and speakers, but kind of a useless one

As far as headphones go, LG's TONE Bluetooth headsets look pretty strange. They don't really follow the standard in-ear or over-ear design, instead opting for a battery base that sits around your neck. However, they're still surprisingly popular; I see people wearing these a lot more often than I'd expect. LG's done something right here.

The new LG TONE Studio (HBS-W120) puts a spin on the TONE line by introducing a second method to listen: speakers. That's right - within this base are four speakers that aim to create a "personal sound experience" (LG's words, not mine). In theory, this sounds like an interesting idea - listen with the earbuds in quiet areas, and rock out with the speakers at home or while you're outside.

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Hands-on: Moto Z2 Force and 360 Camera Moto Mod

Motorola is now into its second generation of Mod-enabled phones with the release of the Moto Z2 Play a few weeks ago and now the Moto Z2 Force. As far as we know, there won't be a regular Z2 variant this year, so Moto seems to have split the difference between the last-gen Z and Z Force. The Z2 Force is a bit slimmer than its predecessor with a smaller battery, but it still has the shatter-proof POLED display.

We'll have a full review later, but let's see if this phone makes a good first impression. There's also that new 360 Camera Mod launching on the same day.

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Nest Cam IQ review: Impressive but expensive

Google-owned Nest gained notoriety for its smart thermostat, but Google's acquisition of Dropcam instantly catapulted Nest to the forefront of this product category. Nest has traditionally made very good cameras, and they come with a premium price tag to match. That's still the case with the new Nest Cam IQ, which packs a 4K image sensor, new software smarts, and a $300 price tag. You could get two cameras from another maker for that price, and I think most people probably will. However, the Nest Cam IQ is leading the pack when it comes to facial recognition and image quality. This might be the camera you've been waiting for in terms of features, but it also might be far too expensive as a long-term commitment.

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