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Google's Pixel survives durability tests, including a bend test, that last year's Nexus 6P succumbed to

Ah, the iPhone 6 Plus. Not only was it Apple's first phablet, but after many owners realized that their shiny, huge new iPhones were bending in their pockets, it also became the phone that truly introduced bend tests to the world.

YouTuber Zack from JerryRigEverything performs durability tests on almost every flagship smartphone that gets globally released, and when the world saw him do one (and then another) on a Nexus 6P, it was shocked at the Huawei-built device's seemingly twig-like snapping. Now, Zack has posted a video of himself testing the Google Pixel's durability, and its performance in this arena is definitely more impressive than last year's Google flagship's.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Send GIFs directly from the keyboard

Sometimes a few words just don't get across the depth and range of your emotions. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what's a GIF worth? I think it's either like a million words or negative words—whatever the case, you can send GIFs directly from the keyboard in Android 7.1.

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The 5 best things about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are great smartphones - there's no doubt. But what makes them so great, exactly? Well, here are five things that I think help make that case with conviction.

#1: The camera

This is my favorite smartphone camera, full stop. No other smartphone camera captures images as quickly and reliably as this one - because the Pixel's camera starts capturing images the moment you launch it, and continuously does so in order to all but eliminate any shutter lag. It really does make the camera's shutter button feel completely instant, no matter the light level or if the phone's been sitting idle in your pocket for an hour.

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Chrome 54 adds background media playback, colored tabs in tab switcher, and more [APK Download]

It's time for a new Chrome release, and as always, there is both new features for users and new abilities developers can use. Let's take a look at what's new.

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Facebook introduces Recommendations, a formal way to get suggestions from your friends

As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends card battle game comes to Android in pre-release form

Finally, Bethesda's storied Elder Scrolls series is available on Android! Sort of. If you were hoping to romp through Skyrim or one of the older open world RPGs that PC and console players love, well, keep hoping. The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a card battle game, like Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, or any of the hundreds of similar titles in the Play Store. At the moment it's in pre-release (beta), but it's listed as compatible with both phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and higher.

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LG announces the isai Beat, a smaller V20 with water resistance, for Japan

The V20's a nice phone, but its 5.7-inch screen, combined with the secondary display up top, can make it a bit unwieldy to hold for those of you with smaller hands. Well, LG's got a solution for you - the oddly-named isai Beat (LGV34), a phone with most of the V20's features, a 5.2-inch display, and water resistance. However, if you don't live in Japan, you might have a hard time getting your hands on one of these.

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Plants vs. Zombies Heroes brings multiplayer card battles to the casual franchise

Plants vs. Zombies started as a fairly simple lane-based tower defense game, much loved thanks to its tight gameplay and whimsical style. But like any casual game that gets a big following, it's now branching into other genres as well. The Garden Warfare spinoffs on consoles have done well as Team Fortress-style multiplayer shooters, and now PopCap is going after another multiplayer giant: Hearthstone. PvZ Heroes, now out of geo-limited beta, brings semi-random card decks into the eternal undead-rhododendron fight.

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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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Sony's intelligent personal assistant and bluetooth bud Xperia Ear is now up for pre-order in Europe

We've known about the Sony Xperia Ear since February when it was announced at MWC along with 3 other prototype projects. At the time, Sony said it was coming late in the summer, but the date was later postponed to November, and here we are. The Xperia Ear is now available for pre-order exclusively on the Xperia Store online in Europe. It'll cost GBP 179 in the UK and EUR 199 in France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries.

So what's the Xperia Ear? It's a Bluetooth headset, but it's not made for music as much as it's a personal assistant living inside your ear.

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