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App Reviews

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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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LIFX, LIFX+, and LIFX Z review: An expensive but hub-free way to beautifully light your world

When my husband and I began designing our new apartment about a year ago, one of the first things I wanted to account for was smart lights. I love well-lit environments and the idea of having lights turn on and off automatically in the different rooms was appealing. I thought it'd be easy to find a smart lighting solution for the entire house, but my search eventually hit so many walls I'm surprised I didn't completely give up after the 10th week of frantic Googling and pointless research.

There were so many things to account for: 220V electricity in Lebanon, different size of wall switch and box compared to US, 908.4 MHz Z-Wave on my smart hub (US frequency), compatibility with SmartThings and Google Home, I didn't want an additional hub hanging off my router, and best of all: super frequent electricity cuts and blackouts.

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Nuki smart lock review: A simple to use, reliable, and very smart solution for European-style locks

For the past year or so, I've been looking at smart locks and wanting one yet not able to fully commit to anything. Living in Lebanon means our doors don't have the American-style deadbolts, but what is known as the Euro Style/Profile Double Cylinder - a lock that is quite prominent across France, Germany, the UK, and other countries. So August, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, and plenty of brands geared toward the US market were mostly out of the question unless I wanted to take a risk and get something that doesn't fit at all with my apartment's door.

That was until I stumbled on Nuki's smart lock, which is compatible with the Euro Profile Cylinder (and a couple of other lock models). At first, I was quite skeptic: I couldn't trust the security of my apartment's door to a brand I'd never heard about.

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Nanoleaf Aurora review: The coolest and most extravagant smart lights you can own

Some of you may have already heard about the Nanoleaf Aurora. These modular triangular light panels can be formed in any shape you like and are WiFi-enabled, allowing you to control them via your phone or Google Home and Alexa. But those of you who haven't will probably scroll down to see the high price tag and scoff in disbelief. $229.99 for a set of 9 light panels and a music module is a rather extravagant price to pay. But that's exactly what the Nanoleaf are: extravagant. They go a step beyond smart lights like Hue and LiFX and straight into "cool art deco" territory.

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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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Hands-on: Battery Charge Limit for rooted devices keeps your phone's battery healthy

Those of us here at Android Police have a lot of phones, and that's putting it lightly. It's not just because we like basking in the light of a dozen tiny differently calibrated displays (though that is one of the unofficial perks). We actually need different hardware and software configurations on hand to test and compare against. Between device compatibility for new apps, checking APK releases for differences, and test environments, our desks end up being monuments/graves to recent phone history. Obviously, those phones are no use to us if they aren't charged. But, keeping them continuously topped-up isn't very good for the batteries, either.

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