Android Police

Reviews

42

Anker Roav Bolt is like a (buggy) Google Home for your car

At the start of this year, Google announced it was working on Assistant devices for your car. The idea is to bring the same convenience of an always-listening smart speaker into your vehicle of choice, without requiring an expensive Android Auto head unit. The first product in this category is the Anker Roav Bolt, a small device that plugs into a car charging port.

I was very excited to try out the Roav Bolt, after years of dealing with annoying adapters and Bluetooth receivers in my Android Auto-less car. I've always had issues with my phone hearing voice commands while I'm driving, even when using a vent mount.

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32

The Soundcore Liberty Neo finally bring decent audio to cheap true wireless earbuds

Only two months have passed since we reviewed the Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds and now we’re taking a look at — or listen to — the Liberty Neo. Neither set is to be confused with the Liberty earbud range from another Anker sub-brand called Zolo. Why Soundcore needs two distinct but similarly priced models is the first question I pondered. The Liberty Neo (MSRP $60/£58) and Liberty Air (MSRP $80/£80) both feature graphene-coated drivers, Bluetooth 5, and IPX5 sweat resistance, but there are also a few key differences to justify the separate SKUs and price variance.

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105

The LG G8 is a good phone that can't escape some of the bad ideas behind it

Right now, the dominant trend in flagship smartphone design is one of refinement. Instead of aiming to sell shoppers on the appeal of tricks like modular hardware, or overloading a handset with gimmicky sensors, successful phones are instead trying to achieve the platonic ideal of basically existing as little more than one big screen. That's driven recent efforts like the proliferation of in-display fingerprint sensors, pop-out selfie cams, and the evolution of the notch to hole-punch designs. But you wouldn't know much of that, to look at the LG G8 ThinQ.

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38

Zendure's SuperTank may be ugly, but it's the best and most powerful Type-C battery you can buy

Batteries, by design, shouldn't be an exciting subject. When we're talking about the brick you connect to a thousand-dollar smartphone which holds tremendous quantities of literally explosive chemical power, "exciting" isn't usually a word you want to hear. So I won't call Zendure's new SuperTank battery exciting, even though it can spit a massive 100W of power over USB Type-C, with almost perfect device compatibility, exceptional performance, and all at a very reasonable price.

This is the best battery we've ever reviewed at Android Police — and if I'm being honest, that's a little bit exciting.

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9

Belkin's Boost Up wireless chargers make the Pixel Stand look like a good deal

Google was among the first companies to embrace wireless charging in the days of plastic flagship phones, but it ditched the feature when metal became trendy. Now that the Pixel 3 and 3XL are glass, wireless charging is in again. Google even unveiled its own fancy wireless charger alongside the 2018 Pixels. However, those phones only fast charge wirelessly with Google's custom technology. Google sought to cool tempers over the Pixel Stand's $80 price tag by pointing out that other companies would license its custom fast charging standard. Belkin was the first, and still only, company to do so.

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292

Quick, Rapid, Fast, and Power Delivery charging explained: What you need to know about charging your smartphone (2019 edition)

You've probably heard of quick charging, adaptive fast charging, rapid charging, USB power delivery charging, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0/3.0/4.0 before - or at least one or two of these things. What you may not know is that all but one of them are actually basically the same thing, based on the same licensed technology from Qualcomm known as Quick Charge. More recently, Qualcomm's technology has slowly been supplanted by the likes of USB Power Delivery, the standard for charging governed by the USB-IF, the body behind USB itself. Additionally, new proprietary standards from companies like Oppo, OnePlus, and Huawei have split off from both Qualcomm and the USB-IF, further increasing the amount of charging confusion out there in the market.

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4

Moshi's Avanti C hybrid 3.5mm/Type-C headphones are worth the steep asking price

For those of us that prefer wired headphones, or who merely can't tolerate the bugginess of Bluetooth on many Android phones, there aren't a lot of USB Type-C choices out there — especially if you don't want noise canceling. Moshi's new Avanti C checks the right boxes, though. There's no charging, no Bluetooth, and no ANC. What you do get is good audio, nice build quality, and dongle-free wired compatibility with 3.5mm and USB Type-C sources. Moshi thinks that's worth $200, and I agree.

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55

Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active is a great smartwatch, especially for $200

Samsung unveiled its latest mainstream smartwatch, the simply-named Galaxy Watch, late last year. It was a decent wearable, but fairly pricey at the time ($300), and it lacked MST support in Samsung Pay.

The newer health-focused Galaxy Watch Active was announced alongside the Galaxy S10, and it's definitely a more attractive wearable for most people. It's less expensive and physically smaller, while retaining excellent battery life.

The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now, but Samsung definitely cut a few corners — including dropping one of Tizen's best features.

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114

Popular email client Spark comes to Android, hoping to comfort forsaken Inbox users

By killing Inbox, Google is leaving many users without a comparable fallback solution, even though it's arguing Gmail has the same features as the defunct client. Readdle is using this as an opportunity to bring Spark, its popular email client, to Android with hopes it will fill the gap left by Inbox's demise.

I've been using Spark on my Mac for a while, and I'm very pleased with the way it combines advanced functionalities with an intuitive interface, and how it's designed to improve productivity. I've spent some time with its Android counterpart, and here's my take on what it brings, what it lacks, and whether you should consider it to replace Inbox — or your current email client.

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0

Cielo Breez Eco and Plus smarten up your air conditioner at a fair price

If you like smart home gadgets and live somewhere with a ducted thermostat installation, you're lucky. Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, and more great companies are vying for a spot on your wall and in your phone's app drawer. But if your house is equipped with a ductless system, like a split air conditioner, window AC, portable or floor standing unit, cassette type, or heat pump, the options are more limited and lesser known.

Over the past year, I've reviewed both the Cielo Breez and Sensibo Sky, two of the best solutions for transforming a regular AC into a connected one. Now Cielo has released two more models: Breez Plus ($109) and Breez Eco ($69).

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