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Reviews

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Google Pixel review update: Two weeks with the Google phone

It's been a little over two weeks since I received my Google Pixel (XL) review unit, so I thought I would provide an addendum to our review based on more time with the phone. I won't be covering every category I did in the review. But I will try to give you the broad strokes on areas where my thoughts haven't changed much, and some of the specifics where they have.

Look, feel, and form

I still think this phone looks a bit dull. Other members of the team disagree, though! And I think that really is the subjective nature of design coming into play here.

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Fossil Q Marshal and Q Wander review: The surest sign yet that Android Wear is on the ropes

Everyone was intrigued when Fossil announced it would make Android Wear devices. After all, it makes "real" watches, so maybe its smartwatches would be a cut above. The Q Founder was an okay smartwatch for its time. It was a little big, but it looked nice and had a fast Intel SoC. Now, Fossil is back with the Q Marshal and Q Wander. These smartwatches are some of the first to have the wearable-focused Snapdragon 2100 chip, but is that enough to make them a good purchase? Sadly, not really.

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Xiaomi Mi Box Review: the best deal around for Android TV... for what it's worth

There's a race to the bottom in the home entertainment world, created by the lower pricing for set-top boxes, the near ubiquity of built-in "smart" features for new televisions, and not least, Google's own low-priced efforts with the Chromecast. Compared to the rock-bottom pricing of gadgets like the Chromecast, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and the market-dominating Roku boxes, Android TV is in a pickle. Stand-alone ATV units start at around $100, which is more expensive than the Roku you might buy (or the apps that come free with your TV), and less expensive than the home game console you might already have.

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Yi 4K Action Cam review: GoPro should be worried

A few weeks ago I wrote a preview article introducing the Yi 4K action camera. The upstart Chinese company has boldly promised that their top of the line $249 action cam can outperform the GoPro Hero4 Black (the Hero5 Black had yet to be announced when I began testing) which sells for $100-150 more.

That's a pretty bold statement considering that GoPro is a name synonymous with action cams, so much so that many people call any action camera a GoPro. I've spent the last few weeks testing that claim, and you know what, the Yi 4K is not as good as a GoPro Hero4 Black.

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Google Pixel review: A very good phone by Google

Google's new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are a watershed moment for the company. They're Google's attempt to define itself as a hardware manufacturer worthy of comparison not just to Apple's iPhone, but the very products its Android operating system has allowed to flourish over the past eight years. Or, as the refrain goes: Google is finally going to compete with other smartphone manufacturers.

This narrative can get in the way of discussing the Pixel for what it is (a smartphone), so I'll try to avoid confusing what this phone means to Google as a company and what it means to you as a consumer.

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Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer's Edition review: Still the easiest activity tracker to use, but not by a large stride

If you've read my previous activity tracker reviews here on Android Police, you'd know that I'm still trying to find one that suits my needs, especially when it comes to swim tracking. I've had the Fitbit One and Blaze, Pebble, Amiigo, Misfit Shine and Flash, Garmin vivoactiv, not to count a few Android Wear watches. What I have come to rely on though is the One for everyday wear, the Blaze for exercise and sleep, and the vivoactiv for swims and hikes. It is definitely not an ideal system: I have to make sure all of these are charged when I need them and I keep on taking one off and putting another on as I go through my day.

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Blue Raspberry portable USB microphone review: Stellar audio on the go, for those who need it

If you're not in the market for a $200 USB microphone, this article's probably not for you - just a warning. If you are potentially in the market for such a thing, you may have heard about Blue's newest product, the Raspberry. You may also have held back because of its alleged iOS, PC, and OS X compatibility - no Android. Well, while Blue doesn't advertise that the Raspberry is Android-compatible for good reason, they did tell me that there's a very good chance it works with a lot of Android devices (those with USB OTG, that is) anyway. My finding is that this is an accurate assessment.

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Automatic Pro review: A simple and reliable - but limited - way to analyze your driving

Automatic is a company that makes small plastic dongles that plug into your vehicle's OBDII port to analyze your driving style and efficiency in the cloud through an app and web interface. We reviewed the original Automatic some time ago. Based on Bertel's experience, I found the original product a bit impractical for one reason: Bluetooth. I don't like Bluetooth. Bluetooth is unreliable, slow, buggy, and finicky in general. The idea of having to sync vehicle data from a dongle over a Bluetooth connection had zero appeal to me - I wanted something that was utterly seamless. And now, Automatic has done just that with the new Automatic Pro.

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Grace Digital CastDock X2 quick review: A weird little nook for your Chromecast Audio

As a kinda, sorta well-known technology journalist, I get a lot of pitches for hardware to review. More often than not, I just ignore these emails (sorry PR people) because I simply get too many of them. On occasion, someone pitches an interesting thing, and I'll take a closer look at it. Such was the case with the Grace Digital CastDock X2. I thought at first it was a Cast enabled speaker, and I bet that's what you thought just now too. Well, it's not. This is literally a dock for your Chromecast Audio, and that makes it just weird enough to warrant a quick hands-on here.

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Withings Body Cardio review: A gorgeous smart scale that worries about your cardiac health

My arsenal of smart health and activity trackers has been missing a body composition weight scale. The Fitbit Aria always looked appealing to me because I've been wearing a Fitbit for more than 3 years, but it's getting a little outdated. Several months ago, I was looking at the Polar Balance Scale, the Withings WS-50, the Garmin Index Smart Scale, and a few others. Eventually, I settled on the QardioBase because I already had a good experience with the QardioArm and liked the company's no-nonsense approach to design and health. However, I was unlucky enough to get the first generation, which turned out to be a complete failure from the get-go.

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