When looking at the overall landscape of smartphones in the US, most casual conversation is dominated by talk of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S—currently that means the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6. The thing is, though, that there are other great phones out there that deserve to be a part of the conversation. Last year, my favorite Android phone was the LG G3, and I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on the successor ever since LG announced it.
As most know, I’m one of the rare people who owns multiple smartphones. I didn’t need the LG G4, but I definitely wanted it. LG sent one over, and I’ve been enjoying the process of learning all the ins and outs of the superb camera. If you’re unfamiliar, LG did a great job differentiating the camera on the G4. It’s got fantastic performance in low light situations thanks to the f/1.8 aperture, and sports a manual mode with 15 settings and over 135 options for configuring the camera to capture just the right shot. Pair that with the laser autofocus that gets things looking great in an instant, and the ability to capture RAW images and you have a winner. Super cool.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 2 is a crazy large phablet-style smartphone, sporting a full 6-inch high definition 720p display. On the back you have an 8-megapixel camera with a bunch of built-in photo editing tools, along with a private mode, easy mode, and even a single-handed use mode.
We bring you the full rundown of the Samsung Galaxy Mega 2 Android smartphone from AT&T in this episode.
We bring you a look at the LG G Watch R Android Wear smartwatch in this episode. The LG G Watch R is the first smartwatch to sport a completely round P-OLED display. Other notable features include heart rate monitoring, turn-by-turn directions, voice control, and much more. You can pick up the LG G Watch R, which works with devices running Android 4.3 or greater, from AT&T and other retailers.
Now brighter, faster, and smarter than ever—choose from over 25 apps and launch a whole new world of mobile gameplay. Sphero, our next 2014 Holiday Gift Guide entry, turns your surroundings into a video game with augmented reality and an endless array of ways to play. Powered by induction charging and an internal smart robot, Sphero glows in millions of colors and is pet-proof, waterproof, and ready for any adventure. This is one of the gifts that can be seen as the height of coolness.
You can pick up the Orbotix Sphero 2.0 now from Amazon for $99.99.
Read More | Sphero 2.0
We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.
AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.
Motorola's long-awaited foray into the smartwatch arena is now official with the release of the Moto 360. The Android Wear device features a 1.65-inch circular display that's covered in Gorilla Glass, making it resistant to scratches and shattering. The watch is also water-resistant. Other features include all-day battery life, built-in pedometer, optical heart rate monitor, and a leather watch band (Motorola plans to release metal bands later this fall.) Users can charge the device wirelessly with the included charging cradle.
What do you do when you’re out, need to charge your smartphone, and don’t have a charge cable on you? You get desperate. This can be easily avoided with the ChargeKey, and it’s our Deal of the Day in the Gear Live Deals Shop. You can get the ChargeKey for $24.99, and you’ll have a charger for your iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone, and even tablet, right on your keychain at all times. The ChargeKey is a shortened, ruggedized version of your smartphone charge cable that fits on your keyring—now you always have a cable on you.
The folks behind the Isis Wallet recently announced that the company would rebrand and change its name due to the rise of the ISIS Middle Eastern terrorist group in the public eye. A great decision to be sure, the company announced today that the Isis Wallet will shortly be known as Softcard. An app update will be pushed to the various app stores where Isis Wallet is available within a few weeks, and Softcard will take its place. No word on any new features at this time, as the company is looking to swiftly get the name change in place to distance itself from the militant group of a similar moniker.
Read More | Softcard
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we've got 70% off VPN Unlimited Premium as our Deal of the Day. For the next 6 days, VPN Unlimited is offering 3 years of VPN access for just $19. That is 36 months of VPN access, for roughly 53 cents per month. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better price anywhere. It’s a full account, so any upgrades or new features added over the next 3 years, you’d get access to them as well.
For those curious what a VPN is, it is a Virtual Private Network. It allows you to connect to any website anytime you have Internet access. All data sent through VPN is encrypted, which means your information is hidden from hackers or identity thieves. The other benefit is you get to choose the country of origin for your data. For example, means that if you are in Canada putting up with the abysmal WWE Network issues up there, you can instead connect with a VPN, set your country as USA, and get the full experience. Or if you're a Netflix subscriber traveling abroad, you can still access the content.
Aside from accessing the VPN on your PC or Mac, VPN Unlimited also has apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and even Linux.
Head on over to the Gear Live Deals Shop to grab the 3-year VPN Unlimited offer for $19.
Here's how this is gonna go down: The grand prize winner will talk away with $150 in Google Play store credit. Second place gets $100. 15 other winners will each get $50 in credit. Ready to enter? Go get it: