We would love for USB-C to be as ubiquitous as possible, and to avoid using USB-A and MicroUSB cables and ports, but the truth of the matter is that we're still in a transition phase where smartphones have adopted the standard, computers are moving in that direction, and accessories are still (generally) lagging behind. If you have multiple devices that can charge over USB-C, a hub that only provides one C port isn't ideal. But those with two ports or more are still a rarity.
Aukey had the PA-Y6, but it turned out to be not up to spec; ZeroLemon and Scoche have some options, but their low output makes them less ideal for charging laptops; and Anker just announced the 100W PowerPort Atom PD 4, but it's not yet available and should cost about $100 when it does come to market. Read More
There are plenty of reasons to pick up a microSD card, should your phone support one. It can be a lot cheaper to get a phone with less storage and plan to add more. Media maniacs and data hoarders can also make use of the super cheap extra space. But if you think SanDisk's new A1 and A2-rated microSD cards are going to provide anywhere near the experience of your phone's built-in storage, think again. Read More
Odds are you didn't buy your phone or laptop because of the charger that it came with. They're an incidental feature compared to the gadget itself — some reviews don't even mention them — but you definitely need one. If that dependency drives you to buy another USB Type-C PD-compliant wall-wart, Anker's new PowerPort Atom PD 1 is among the best 30W chargers you can get. It's tiny, powerful enough to drive some laptops, and pretty cheap at a mere $30. Read More
As well as offering simple light bulbs and accessories for your home, Philips has been pushing its Hue lights for entertainment purposes more and more. The Zigbee-toting Hue lights can now be used as accent lighting for music, film, and even gaming, which may seem gimmicky or cool, depending on your outlook. I would say it’s a bit of both, or at least that’s how I view the latest addition to the lineup, the Hue Play. Read More
The device we currently know as the "NVIDIA SHIELD" is not the first one to carry the name. That honor goes to the handheld device launched in 2013, later renamed SHIELD Portable. After that came the SHIELD Tablet, and finally the SHIELD Android TV in 2015. It was not the only way to get Android TV, but NVIDIA's box is the only one that had any staying power. Three years on, this device has gotten 20 updates across three major Android versions. I can't think of another Android device that offers so much value after more than three years of use. That's why we're taking another look at the SHIELD—it's changed quite a lot. Read More
We don't often discuss Xiaomi's software layer here on Android Police, but it isn't for lack of desire to. Most of our team lives in the US where Xiaomi doesn't officially operate and, even if we were to import units there, they wouldn't be compatible with most carriers' LTE bands. I'm based in Lebanon, and the first limitation applies here as well, but imported devices do work (we have LTE band 3), so I've been trying to get my hands on some of the companies' phones to test them out. Read More
We've reviewed a few Android-based portable projectors in the past, like Anker's Nebula Capsule and the AAXA P2-A. The Optoma UHL55 is something else entirely. It's still a projector, and it still runs Android, but it's closer to something you would find in a high-end home theater.
Forget about the 720p resolutions and low brightness of other portable projectors — the UHL55 is 4K with a brightness of 1,500 lumens. Read More
You could be forgiven for thinking Google was new to wireless charging if you haven't been obsessively following its products for years. The Nexus 4, 5, and 6 all had wireless charging capabilities, and Google even released its own wireless charging pad in 2013. After ignoring wireless charging for several years, the feature is back on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Google is also selling a wireless charger again: the Pixel Stand. Read More
Many of us hope for the eternal dream of convergence, that the day may come when a phone can serve double duty as a laptop via a bit of cheap, dumb hardware. Motorola had its mediocre Lapdock, and Canonical tried and failed to crowdfund the Ubuntu Edge. More recently, Samsung's DeX dock has built a small fanbase for its desktop-like experience. But in 2016, the Superbook hit Kickstarter, promising to turn smartphones into laptops for only $99. Over two years later, the Superbook technically delivers on the abstract concept, but it's an unpleasant and rough experience. Read More
As the name might suggest, Sphero's claim to fame is its sphere-shaped toy robots. These include the original Sphero, Sphero 2.0, Sphero Mini, BB-8, and BB-9E. The company has also been marketing some of its products towards education as STEM learning tools, particularly with the SPRK+.
Sphero's latest product is another educational robot - the Bolt. It's a minor upgrade from the existing SPRK+, with a configurable LED matrix display, infrared sensors for communicating with other robots, and "more than two hours of continuous play."
I think the Sphero Bolt is a well-designed product, but I'm not sure there's enough value to justify the $150 price tag, especially when it's only an iterative improvement over the company's existing robots. Read More