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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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Francisco Franco's new app Gratus is a novel tool that reminds you to stop and appreciate life

Today the well-known developer Francisco Franco has released a new app: Gratus. It's a bit hard to describe, but it's meant to provide you with appreciation and motivation when you might be feeling a bit down. The name itself means "grateful" in Latin, and it's an apt summary of the intended effect. Think of it as a repository for all the things you enjoy. 

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V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless review: Improved in every way except price

Since my introduction to the brand a couple of years ago, V-Moda has quickly become one of my favorite audio companies. Solid sound and performance, paired with impeccable build quality and distinctive styling make the company's products easy to like and recommend. I thoroughly enjoyed the Crossfade wireless headphones when I reviewed them a year ago, and though I had a few small issues with the headphones, I was impressed overall.

When presented with the opportunity to review the newly released Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones I couldn't wait to try them out. In their press photos they looked an awful lot like their predecessor.

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Moto Z2 Play review: Not a bad phone, but still a step backward

Motorola began pushing its Moto Mod accessories last year with the Moto Z and Z Force. Those phones were underwhelming, but the Moto Z Play won some fans thanks to the incredible battery life, solid performance, and the lower price. It also worked with all the same Mods, if you were so inclined. Not even a year later, Motorola has kicked off the Z2 era with the Moto Z2 Play. It's available now on Verizon and (soon) unlocked from Moto, priced at $400.

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LG X Venture review: A very good mid-range phone that can take a beating

The budget phone space is incredibly competitive right now. The Moto G5 Plus is still king in this product category, but there are plenty of rivals like Nokia and Acatel selling great devices at inexpensive prices. LG has been making budget phones for a while now, but the X Venture is a bit different. The phone's priorities are durability and battery life, not specifications or performance.

After using the X Venture, I came away impressed. For $329, you get a decently-fast phone that can take a beating, all while lasting around two days on a single charge. It even has a few features you don't often see in phones around this price (at least in the US), like NFC support and a customizable 'QuickButton' that can open any app.

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[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

How little can you spend on a phone in 2017 and still have a good experience? Companies like Lenovo-owned Motorola and BLU are pushing the envelope when it comes to the budget segment in the US. But, even a dated flagship can outcompete almost everything in the current entry-level market, and right now you can pick up one of 2016's most overlooked examples, the Nextbit Robin, for around $130 from Amazon. We think that deserves a second look.

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