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App Reviews

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Cielo Breez review: Smartening up your air conditioner, the easy way

Depending on where you live, most houses could be built with central heating and thermostats in mind or not. Even in houses that have a fully ducted system, getting a small expansion done like a bigger garage, an additional room, or a guest house could require you start looking at other options for heating and cooling. Ductless systems, whether they're split air conditioner units, window ACs, portable or floor standing units, or heat pumps, are the go-to solution then. But in a world that's more connected than ever, they present one main disadvantage compared to thermostats: they can't be easily retrofitted for automation and smartphone control.

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Hands-on with TV App Repo: Create a shortcut for any non-Leanback app on your Android TV

Google put in place a few restrictions when it comes to apps and games on Android TV. You either download the app through the Play Store on the TV itself or you browse through your computer and install remotely. And even in that case, there are plenty of apps that show themselves as compatible from the web Play Store but when installed are nowhere to be found in Android TV's Leanback Launcher. Usually, that means the app isn't fully optimized for Android TV, but it could still be properly functional (with remote and/or controller compatibility), except for the fact that you can't access it by default.

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Steam Link for Android hands-on: A nearly effortless game-streaming solution

A few days ago, Valve released the beta version of the Steam Link app for Android. This means that you can play your Steam library right on your phone, and it's pretty great. Though it's by no means a new concept – we've seen it before with Sony and Nvidia devices – it doesn't require either a PlayStation or a GeForce graphics card. All you need is a Steam library and your phone on the same network, plus a controller, and you're good to go.

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Hands-on with Google Tasks: Another beautiful but disjointed way to get things done with Google

Google just launched its rumored Tasks revamp alongside a new Gmail experience this morning. The new interface will show up inside Gmail, if you activate the latter's redesign, and also comes with a new Android (APK Mirror) and iOS app. In this post, we'll take a look at what Tasks can - and can't - do and see how well polished its experience is.

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Netatmo Welcome review: A near perfect no-hidden-fees indoor security camera with face recognition

Netatmo's approach to security cameras is refreshing. In a market that's filled with companies limiting what you can do with the hardware you bought just in order to get you to sign up for a monthly subscription, Netatmo asks only that you purchase its camera. Video storage is free thanks to MicroSD card support as well as optional Dropbox and FTP uploads. Face recognition is free and gets better with time as it learns. A web app is provided so you can monitor everything from your computer, not just your phone. And privacy is respected because nothing other than a backup screenshot is sent to the Netatmo Cloud.

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Microsoft's Photos Companion is a neat utility for transferring images from Android to your PC (Hands-on)

Microsoft Garage releases plenty of new projects with some being wacky and some more interesting with potential to grow into a real Microsoft app. The latter is the case of the new Photos Companion, an app that does what its name suggests: it's an Android (and iOS) app that lets you quickly transfer photos from your phone to the Photos app on a Windows 10 PC via WiFi. It works very well from my experience and might become my go-to way for sending screenshots to my computer.

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Hands-on with the new Gmail Go: A nearly identical experience for a smaller app size [APK Download]

It's Go time at Google for the past few weeks and today appears to be an even more special one. We've seen the YouTube Go app get updated with double tap to seek controls and now Gmail Go has made its way onto the Play Store. We were able to get our hands on the APK file so I tested it out on my Pixel 2 XL (it requires Android 8.1 and above, as Go devices are based on Android 8.1). The light version provides nearly the same experience as the regular Gmail app, but the APK size is much smaller: 9.51MB vs 20.66MB.

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Remindee uses Android's share button to easily create reminders

There definitely isn't a lack of applications for managing tasks and setting reminders. Apps such as Evernote, Google Keep, and Wunderlist all provide plenty of flexibility when it comes to creating, tagging, managing, and sharing reminders, but sometimes all those options can feel unnecessary and may get in the way when all you need to do is set a quick reminder. If you've been looking for something a little more lightweight, Remindee is a free app that might be worth checking out.

The app itself is very straightforward and can create a reminder from within any app using Android's 'Share' button.

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Belkin WeMo smart switches review: A good idea held back by connectivity and software issues

With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that's not even the meat of my issue with WeMo's switches. Their connectivity has been iffy at best, the app is laughably old, and integration with other smart home devices is hit and miss, mostly because of the aforementioned connectivity issues.

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Commander One review: A superior alternative to Android File Transfer on Mac

As a Mac user, I've felt like a pariah over the past years that I've also been using Android as my go-to mobile platform. Mac works fantastically with iOS, but Android doesn't have any powerful integration with any desktop environment. That's been the status-quo of things for as long as I remember. Android does work well enough with Windows when you're just trying to transfer some files though. But if you're on a Mac, simply plugging in the phone with a USB cable and choosing the MTP mode (File Transfer) wouldn't do the trick, you'd need a separate app called Android File Transfer (ATP) from Google to make it work.

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