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hands-on

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Hands-on: Food for All lets you buy restaurant meals that would otherwise be thrown away

What if there was an app that got you half-off food at some of the best restaurants in town, and all you had to do was place an order earlier in the day, and pick it up a bit later than usual? Well, there is, and it's called Food for All. Even better, the grub you grab was destined for the trash can, so you get to feel good about helping decrease food waste too. 

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Pixel 2 XL hands-on: Our first look at the second-generation Pixel

We already knew a great deal about the newest Google Pixels going into today's launch event, but we had our first chance to look at them in person today, and I'm going to give you my initial thoughts. I played with the smaller Pixel briefly, but it was the XL I spent most of my time with in the demo area this morning, so I'm going to be relaying my thoughts primarily on that device.

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Hands-on with Google Lens: Promising, but it's too early to judge

One of the more exciting announcements from Google I/O 2017 was Google Lens, an upcoming feature for Assistant. The general idea is that Assistant would look at your phone's camera feed, and try to pull context information from it. Imagine Google Goggles, but using the company's incredible machine learning prowess.

While we're still waiting for the feature to go live in Assistant, we noticed in a teardown that it was being added to Google Photos. So in addition to using a straight feed from your camera, you could use Lens with any picture you've already taken as well. XDA Developers discovered that the Google Lens intent was already live, and could be activated through the use of ADB or Tasker.

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Acer Chromebook 15 hands-on: One big Chromebook

Chromebooks are mostly clustered toward the bottom of the market, and that often means the materials are unimpressive, features are lacking, and the build quality is mediocre. Acer has announced an updated version of its 15-inch Chromebook at IFA 2017 and it's none of that. This device has been slimmed down compared to the last Acer CB15, it has better battery life (up to 12 hours), and it's gained an aluminum frame. You're still not going to get the best hardware out there, but this Chromebook could be just what some people want.

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Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on: Sony still doing Sony

Sony doesn't have much of a presence in the US, but it's still working hard to make appealing Android phones in other parts of the world. Case in point, the new Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact have been unveiled at IFA 2017. Despite looking and feeling a lot like other recent Sony handsets, there's something notable—they're launching with Android 8.0 Oreo, which is still just rolling out to Google devices. As for the rest of the phones, well, it's pretty much what you'd expect from Sony.

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Moto X4 hands-on: No relation

The Moto X was the beginning of the Google-fueled turnaround for the company, earning it plenty of fans and positive reviews. The Moto X refresh each year became something Android fans looked forward to, but the Google era didn't last long. Under Lenovo's leadership, the Moto X went away in favor of the Moto Z family of devices with their ecosystem of modular accessories. The last Moto X launched in 2015 as the "Moto X Pure," but now it's coming back. After months of leaks, the Moto X4 is official. It's not the same phone we remember, but it might be interesting in its own way.

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Samsung Gear Sport hands-on: A smaller, more durable Gear smartwatch

Samsung is still steering well clear of Android Wear at IFA 2017 with both of its new wearables. The larger of the two is the Samsung Gear Sport, a follow-up to last year's Gear S3. It's not intended to replace that watch, but it's a smaller and you might say more fun wearable with an assortment of band options and many of the features that have made Samsung's wearables notable. The most important thing here; the Gear Sport fits wonderfully, and that makes me happy.

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Allo for web hands-on: Works well enough, as long as you like Chrome

Google's newest messenger app, Allo, was released about a year ago. The app's momentum dropped shortly after release, but that hasn't stopped Google from continuing to improve it. At long last, Allo has gained a web client, but has it been worth the wait?

Setting it up

Unlike Hangouts and similar cloud-based messaging services, your phone acts as the intermediary between your computer and Allo. Anything you do (send/receive a message, start a new chat, etc) is actually performed by your phone, which sends the response back to your computer. As such, your phone will need a working internet connection for the Allo web client to work.

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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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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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