Ironlights is so much fun that I didn’t want to leave VR to do other work

Ironlights is a blast to play on the Oculus Quest with what I hope will be a thriving multiplayer scene.

The Oculus Quest has a growing library of games with a wide range of genres. While there are already several fighting games on the Oculus Quest, Ironlights is unique. Rather than focusing on smashing and bashing, it slows things down and focuses on strategy and skill. It also toes the fine line between being easy to learn but difficult to master, which is what gives a game staying power.

In Ironlights, you fight in duels against AI or people online using one of five classes; knight, crusader, ninja, monk, and duelist. Each has a unique weapon set and requires a different playstyle. You can also customize your armor to fit your playstyle. I mained as a crusader with heavy armor for most of my testing, but due to being locked inside my house for a few weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to play with all the classes.

The creator of Ironlights, E McNeill, let me into the beta to test the game out a few weeks ago. McNeill also jumped into a multiplayer match with me to chat about the game (and defeat me with ease several times). I played the Oculus Quest version for this review. The game is also available on the Oculus Rift and SteamVR and supports cross-play for online multiplayer. Ironlights launches on all platforms on April 9, 2020.

Melee for me, melee for you


Bottom line: Ironlights is fun, versatile, and should only get better when more people are searching for matches online. Its unique mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master, giving the game staying power.


  • Unique fighting mechanics
  • Online multiplayer
  • Several classes for different fighting styles
  • Impressive graphics for the Oculus Quest


  • AI aren’t that challenging
  • Can be difficult to match your pace to slow motion at times

$20 on Oculus Quest
$20 on Oculus Rift
$20 on SteamVR

What I love about Ironlights

When I first saw the trailer for Ironlights, I was impressed by the thought put into it by the developers. It’s a melee dueling game, but it is built from the ground up with VR in mind. Instead of letting you flail your arms around quickly to get in a bunch of hits, Ironlights has each strike break your weapon. This means that you have to follow through with your swing or reset yourself to attack again. This makes strategic use of your weapon much more important and minimizes how much a person can win a duel just by shaking their hands back and forth. This turned out to be a brilliant decision and is one of the core elements that makes the game great. On both offense and defense, you have to plan your strikes and try to outwit your opponent. I had so much fun during my testing that it was a disappointment to have to take my headset off to work on other projects.

Ironlights has five different classes, each with different weapons and fighting styles. I love swinging a flail around as a crusader, but it doesn’t do so well against certain classes. While no game can be perfectly balanced, the makers of Ironlights do a good job leveling the playing field. During the beta process, McNeill made several changes based on feedback to balance out the game. When a class was overpowered, it got nerfed. When an element, such as long-range combat, worked too well, it was altered. The result is a game that lets you play as your favorite character without feeling like you’re marching to your death for playing favorites.

I had so much fun during my testing that it was a disappointment to have to take my headset off to work on other projects.

I spent my first weekend of isolation from the current health crisis playing Ironlights with most of my free time. I started off with the single-player mode to learn how to use each character and weapon set. Against the AI, I honed my skills on offense and defense, eventually working my way up to the highest league within the game. At the start, matches were about even, but as I learned the mechanics, the AI became too easy. I still enjoy the single-player mode and think it’s great for learning, but you can figure out the AI and win every match after some time.

While you can record Oculus Quest gameplay natively on your device, Ironlights has its own match save and replay system. It’s fairly advanced as well, allowing you to adjust the zoom, rotation, and other elements of the replay. It then uploads it and creates easily shareable links, such as the one embedded below. The game emails you the main view, which is easy to embed, the source video, which is large, and a mobile-friendly link for sharing online. The third-person view of the replay is better for spectating in my opinion. The makers of Ironlights are also working on a spectator app to watch matches with this view in real-time.

After cutting my teeth in single-player mode, I ventured into multiplayer duels. Because the beta was relatively small (a few hundred people, I believe), I set up all my matches privately. But when more people are online, you should be able to just find a match. Multiplayer mode is where this game shines. Toss out the predictable AI for some clever human players, and it’s a different level of dueling. When I went up against McNeill, I felt like I was hanging on for dear life at times. Humans don’t get tricked as easily when they’re defending, and they’re much more flexible on offense.

Several of my multiplayer matches were against people thousands of miles away, and I never felt lag that broke the game. Occasionally, I found it a bit harder to sync the pace of my swings to my weapons, but it’s hard to say if that’s caused by being so far away or trying to defend and defeat an opponent much better than any AI I faced.

I truly hope that this game picks up because multiplayer matches have their own personality. In the clip above, McNeill and I tossed away our shields for some saber-on-saber combat. You can also chuck your shield away if you think you’re much better than your opponent and want to make things challenging while throwing some shade.

I think Ironlights has Esports potential if it has enough players. With different classes, customizable armor, and short and long-range attacks, there’s enough variation to separate players.

What I dislike about Ironlights

There’s not much to dislike about Ironlights, at least in my opinion. It’s my favorite game on the Oculus Quest right now, and I’ve poured a lot of time into it, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. While multiplayer duels are fun and challenging, the AI in the game are easily fooled. For example, the crusader’s flail involved making a circular motion with your hand. The AI seem to track your hand instead of the ball at the end of the flail. As a result, you can get several repeated hits for serious damage. Even as you move up to higher leagues, the AI just get more durable and do more damage. They can still be fooled by the same tricks. It’s also pretty easy to defend against the AI.

I enjoyed the single-player mode, and I spent dozens of hours in it, but I think it’s hard to go back to after you switch to human combatants. The makers of Ironlights have a revamped campaign mode on their roadmap, which will be a welcome addition. For now, single-player mode is still a fun way to learn the game’s mechanics, figure out your favorite class, and get ready for higher competition.

The only other struggle I’ve had is that sometimes it feels like my controllers are moving at different speeds than my weapons. It’s important to note that this is actually part of gameplay. Since Ironlights slows down close-range combat, you can move too quickly and cause your weapon to lag behind. This punishes players for trying to move faster than intended. That’s not the exact issue I have though. I’ve found that the rate you can move seems to change slightly at times. So in one match, you might be able to swing your weapon at one rate, but then it feels like the maximum speed of your weapon is different in another match.

I don’t think this is a game-breaking issue though. There were few times when fighting people thousands of miles away that I felt I was a moment behind. Personally, I think that’s pretty reasonable, but it’s worth noting.

Should you buy Ironlights?

Ironlights is a must-buy on the Oculus Quest. It’s immersive, fun, and easy to spend time in. The single-player mode can be easy after you’ve played for a while but is a great testing ground to learn the game’s mechanics. The cross-platform multiplayer is where I think most people will spend time after an initial learning period.

The game has five classes with different fighting styles, strengths, and weaknesses. I had a blast trying to learn how to defend with the crusader’s mace and how to attack with the ninja’s dual blades. I love games that you can jump into right away but then spend hours and hours in to master. Ironlights fits the bill.

out of 5

The game’s developer seems anxious to add more, and the community surrounding it already seems solid. E McNeill opened the beta up for weeks to get feedback from everyday users, and it shows. The game is already more balanced than when the beta launched, and I can only see the game getting better over time and as more people are online to duel.

Strategic slashing


An immersive and unique melee title in VR.

Ironlights combines unique melee combat with different classes of warriors. It’s easy to learn but hard to master, making it replayable and challenging, though you’ll probably move mostly towards multiplayer over time.

$20 for Oculus Quest
$20 for Oculus Rift
$20 for SteamVR

Ironlights was reviewed on Oculus Quest using a copy provided by the publisher.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


These antivirus apps secure your Android from malware

We tested several antivirus apps on Android cellphones and tablets to learn which offer excellent malware protection without causing too much drag on your device. Bitdefender Mobile Security is the overall best. In fact, it’s my top pick for Windows and Mac antivirus, too. Bitdefender ranks high for malware protection, doesn’t use too many resources, and includes a few extra tools. It’s also an overall good value.

Best Overall: Bitdefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender seems to do just about everything you’d need. It stops malware attacks and has web protection that warns of dangerous websites before you visit them. This app uses power management to use little of your phone’s battery to avoid slowdown.

With this app, you can also remotely access your phone to wipe data, lock it down, or send a message to the device. You can also locate it with this feature, and connects it to your Android smartwatch to help remind you to grab your phone or locate it when left behind. This is a good way to track down your phone if it is ever lost or stolen while also securing personal information. Bitdefender Mobile Security also has a VPN and lets you send and receive 200MB of encrypted traffic each day. This isn’t a lot, but you can purchase more.

Bitdefender Mobile Security is, for the most part, easy to figure out how to use. The dashboard is overwhelming with tasks and information when you first open the app, but I was able to wipe away those functions I didn’t need. However, the VPN tool is permanently pinned to the dashboard.


  • Stops malware attacks
  • Minimal resource use
  • Phone locator
  • Connects with Android smartwatches
  • Has a VPN
  • Great value


  • Extra VPN encryptions cost more
  • Dashboard can be hard to parse at first

Best Overall

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Best cell phone protection

Bitdefender stops threats from infecting your mobile devices, includes a VPN and doesn’t cause slowdown.

Data Shield: Avast Mobile Security Ultimate

The basic version of the app is a free mobile security program that blocks both malware and spam messages. However, Avast’s Ultimate program includes a VPN to hide your online activity. It includes a password manager to keep track of login credentials, and a data shield to protect photos, contact information, and other sensitive files from being swiped.

Avast Mobile Security removes ads, locks apps down with a PIN code to secure sensitive information, and cleans junk off your phone so it runs faster and keeps weak spots closed so hackers can’t sneak in. It’s Wi-Fi Security places an added layer of protection over your phone and its sensitive data while you’re connected to public hotspots.

The dashboard is clean and it is easy to find the tools you need. However, Avast doesn’t make it easy to enable all of its features. For some tools, you are prompted with links and permission requests. For others, you need to find more details and enabling features under the Privacy section. Also, you may need to perform multiple, and different types of malware scans, before Avast finally finds all corrupted and malicious files on your phone.


  • Includes VPN
  • Password manager
  • Data shield
  • Basic version is free
  • Helps your phone run faster


  • Clunky interface
  • Scans might take multiple tries
  • Expensive

Data Shield

Avast Mobile Security Ultimate

Guards sensitive information

Avast not only stops malware but protects sensitive information from ransomware and hackers.

Text Filtering: Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus

This app blocks phishing schemes in both email and text messages. Kaspersky also locks down both your and your contacts’ information, so if someone steals your phone, no one will have access to this. This antivirus solution locks apps, filters calls, and texts, and blocks malware, including ransomware.

Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus includes several anti-theft tools, too, including a phone locator and locks to ensure no one can access sensitive information. Its App Lock feature locks down photos, messages and other apps with a secret code that needs to be entered before you, or anyone else, can access them.

While Kaspersky is easily one of my favorite antivirus programs, even for desktops, it has been accused of swiping sensitive information from federal employees and department devices and providing this information to the Russian government. While Kaspersky has vehemently denied these accusations, the U.S. government has ordered Kaspersky not to be used on its devices and recommend its employees do the same, even on their own, personal devices.


  • Phishing blockers
  • Remote phone lockdown
  • Ransomware protection
  • App lock protects your files
  • Great price


  • Not recommended for government employees

Text Filtering

Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus

Text and email protection

Kaspersky keeps an eye on email and text messages, including attachments, for dangerous links or files.

Anti-Theft: McAfee Mobile Security

One of McAfee Mobile Security’s key features is the Theft Cam tool, which snaps a pic of anyone trying to access your phone without permission. The app then sends the photo, along with your phone’s location, to you to help track down the thief. If someone tries to access your phone, McAfee will lock it down after three attempts to enter a password. The potential thief can’t uninstall the McAfee app if they do gain access, which makes the device less valuable if a thief wants to try and resell it.

Otherwise, this app helps in other ways. It monitors Wi-Fi connections for any possible hackers and locks down your apps from unauthorized users. This is especially helpful when connected to a public hotspot. McAfee has a VPN Proxy feature that encrypts your online activity with bank-grade encryption so you can’t be tracked.

I did notice a slight slowdown of my phone while testing McAfee. However, the bigger issue I had was the number of popup notifications I was given. Each time McAfee started a scan, finished a scan, opened or moved a file the app would give me a pop-up notice, even when I was physically in the app watching scans. This can be remedied by changing the app settings, but I’d rather have a more easy plug-and-play type of program.


  • Theft Cam feature
  • Monitors Wi-Fi connections
  • Phone locator
  • Inexpensive
  • VPN proxy feature


  • Too many system notifications
  • Some system slowdown


McAfee Mobile Security

Helps locate missing devices

McAfee snaps pictures of anyone who steals your phone, lets you remotely access and lock it down, and locates it.

Security Advisor: Norton Mobile Security & Antivirus

Norton’s app did cause a bit of lag on my phones during testing, but it does a great job stopping malware from downloading to devices. It also has tools that monitor your Wi-Fi connection to make sure hackers don’t get through. This app also has a system advisor that gives you tips on how to further protect your devices, like setting up a fingerprint lock.

As part of this program, you can tap into Norton’s VPN. This feature shields your location and device IP while online. It makes it hard for adware to track your online movements and create targeted ads. Because Norton now owns LifeLock, you have the option to add this tool to your antivirus subscription, but it does cost extra.

This app did cause a bit of lag on my phones during testing. It was so obvious that the phones had become slower and it was frustrating to wait for the program to stop so my cell phone could catch up.


  • Shields device IP and location
  • Stops targeted ads
  • Helps secure entire phone
  • System advisor gives you tips
  • Access to Norton VPN


  • Causes noticeable slowdown
  • LifeLock costs extra

Security Advisor

Norton Mobile Security & Antivirus

Scans your phone for vulnerabilities

Norton looks for any way your phone is vulnerable and helps you secure it against malware, snoops, and hackers.

Anti-Hacking: PSafe DFNDR Pro Security

This app scans for malicious downloads and programs running in the background that may slow down your phone, use up too much battery power, or cause your device to overheat. PSafe also includes fake news and spam blockers, and malicious link alerts in messaging programs, including WhatsApp.

DFNDR monitors your digital identity to keep it safe and alerts you if this information is ever leaked. It also locks down your phone against hackers that attempt to access through public Wi-Fi connections. If your phone is stolen, DFNDR sounds an alarm, snaps and sends a picture of the thief to you, gives you the location of your phone, and lets you remotely access your phone to further secure or wipe sensitive information from it.

PSafe’s antivirus mobile app is the messiest and most confusing to figure out on this list. There is so much on the dashboard that you need to scroll down several times before seeing them all. While there’s some cool information here, DFNDR adds statistics and other generic tidbits that don’t need to be front and center each time you open the app.


  • Blocks fake news
  • Stops malware files
  • Digital identity protection
  • Theft protection
  • Can find rogue background apps


  • Messy dashboard
  • Expensive


PSafe DFNDR Pro Security

Blocks fake news and fake links

DFNDR keeps hackers from accessing your phone by monitoring internet connections and blocking fake news, links, and websites.

QR Scanner: Sophos Intercept X for Mobile

Sophos has a neat QR scanner that checks links for malware before connecting you to scanned data. It filters text messages and quarantines those with malware URLs. This app lets you remotely access stolen phones to wipe data or reset passwords, send text commands to the thieves, and track where your phone is.

This isn’t the most intuitive app to use. It took me a few moments to figure out how to find the list of tools and features, enable the ones I wanted to use, and disable those I wished to skip. Also, some of the directions on how to use some of the tools aren’t the clearest.

Even though Sophos Intercept X is compatible with several devices, I don’t recommend Sophos for computer users because it is a difficult program to figure out, takes up a lot of resources, and isn’t very effective with overall protection. It also isn’t compatible with Chromebook at all. However, it is a great program for securing mobile devices, including Androids, and it isn’t nearly as resource-heavy as other programs are on your phone.


  • QR scanner
  • Remotely access lost or stolen devices
  • Protects against malicious apps
  • Not resource-heavy
  • Free to use


  • Not recommended for home computer use
  • Not intuitive to use

QR Scanner

Sophos Intercept X for Mobile

When you need a safe QR scanner

Using its QR scanner, Sophos gives you added protection against malicious links, websites, and files.

Parental Controls: Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus

Malware attacks, including ransomware, and phishing schemes, are stopped by Trend Micro’s mobile antivirus app. It’s designed to secure all your personal data so thieves or apps can’t swipe it. This app optimizes your phone by helping you identify apps that are using up too much of your data.

Trend Micro uses web recognition technology to ensure when you visit a webpage it is a legitimate one and not a phishing scheme or a redirect to a malicious page disguised as a real one. This app also includes parental controls so you can manage what your child is watching on their smartphones, shut down apps, filter web content, or even restrict access to the internet during times when they should be in bed or doing homework.

I did notice that using Trend Micro caused my battery life to diminish more quickly compared to other mobile antivirus apps. Other users have reported the same issue with their phones. It doesn’t appear to be a universal issue, but enough feedback about the problem justifies a mention.


  • Parental controls
  • Excellent malware protection
  • Web reputation technology
  • Can help optimize your phone


  • Guzzles resources
  • Expensive

Parental Controls

Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus

Lockdown apps, block websites

Parental controls let you choose the apps your child can use, websites they can visit and if they can access the internet at all.

Some final thoughts

Be careful when choosing a mobile security app for your Android because several apps, especially free ones, don’t actually stop virus infections, but rather gather up malware after they’ve made it to your device. Trojans and ransomware are being manufactured for mobile devices at an alarming rate, so malware blocking on top of virus scans are essential. Phishing filters are also needed since the most common malware are schemes that trick you into giving personal information, including credit card numbers, account passwords, and social security numbers.

Also, keep in mind that several antivirus apps offer a free version as the initial download with an in-app purchase for the ad-free version.

My top pick for Android antivirus is Bitdefender Mobile Security because of the quality of protection it gives you on top of being a good value. During my tests, Bitdefender did an excellent job of stopping both malware files trying to download to our phones and phishing schemes. It didn’t use up much of my devices’ resources, so I didn’t notice any lag, even during virus scans. I still opened and used apps, sent text messages, and chatted on my phones without interruption or delay.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Nicole Johnston writes for multiple Future Publishing brands, including Android Central, covering primarily internet security and privacy programs. She has over 13 years of research and writing experience in both the public and private sector, including seven years of testing and reviewing consumer products and five evaluating antivirus software, parental controls, VPNs and identity theft services. Nicole is mom to 10 kids.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


Where to buy hand sanitizer now

You want to know where to buy hand sanitizer and are having trouble finding it, huh? Well, supply is at an all-time low, and finding it can be quite difficult. People are buying up all the essentials, and hand sanitizer is one of the hardest things to find right now. It’s crucial in keeping your hands clean, so you’ll want to have some for sure.

As a result of this, not only is the supply really low, but the few that are in stock have seen prices rise from third-party sellers who are gobbling them up and reselling. Amazon has started cracking down on the price surge, but that isn’t helping with the supply issues. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the situation a pandemic, and health officials are warning that things will only get worse over the coming days before they get any better.

It is advised that you wash your hands regularly with antibaterial soap for a minimum of 20 seconds, but in addition, hand sanitizer is a great way to keep the germs off your hands while out and about. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol in it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has a list of recommended cleaning products that you should be using.

Where to buy hand sanitizer today

The Coronavirus is impacting just about every part of our daily life, from supplies and essentials to tech, and even the gaming industry right now. With supplies at an all-time low you are probably wondering where you can find some hand sanitizer for yourself. Instead of going from store to store looking, be sure to browse the constantly-updating list below.

You may also be looking for some other essentials, so be sure to check out where to buy toilet paper, face masks that are in-stock, and Lysol wipes, Clorox wipes.

Shop hand sanitizer at Target

Similar to Walmart, Target has a lot of stores across the U.S, making it easy to get your hands on some hand sanitizer the same day. Unfortunately, most of the stores look like supplies are pretty low, but we’d imagine they are receiving shipments and working to get them unloaded as quickly as possible. You can opt for in-store pickup or drive-up service where available, and thanks to its Shipt partnership Target can also offer same-day delivery in many areas, though there is a fee for the service.


Shop hand sanitizer at Target

Target offers free in-store pickup, drive-up services, and even same-day delivery via Shipt in select areas. It’s a great way to get your hands on some hand sanitizer quickly.

Home Depot carries more than just tools

When you think of Home Depot you probably think of tools, lumber, and outdoor supplies, but you may be pleasantly surprised to know that the retailer also carries hand sanitizer. Since it’s not the first place people will think to look, stock levels at your local stores may be higher than they are at places like Walmart, Target, and others.

Home Depot

Shop hand sanitizer at Home Depot

It won’t be long before everyone catches on and starts looking at Home Depot, so be sure to check the supply now and grab some for yourself.

Try Office Depot as well

You may not have thought to try something like Office Depot for hand, but similar to Home Depot, it’s a great resource that’s worth checking out. Online inventory is nonexistent right now, but your local store should still have some sanitizer available. As always, be sure to check back often as stock is replenished.

Office Depot / OfficeMax

Shop hand sanitizer at Office Depot

Not only is toilet paper in stock here right now, but some of the options are actually on sale. It’s pretty crazy given how in-demand this stuff is, so don’t miss out.

Consider your local CVS

As of right now, CVS has a lot of online availability for hand sanitizer. Orders ship for free if you buy $35 or more worth of items, with CarePass members getting free shipping on any eligible items. If there’s a CVS location near you, it’s also not a bad idea to pop in and see what your local store has to offer.


Shop hand sanitizer at CVS

CVS’s online inventory is currently plentiful, making this one of the easiest places to buy hand sanitizer from. If you prefer shopping in-store, your nearest CVS location should also have you covered.

We will continue to update this list as we see availability from other retailers. Be sure to bookmark the page so you can check here before heading to your local stores.

Shop hand sanitizer at Walmart

Walmart has a big advantage over Amazon here in that it has thousands of stores spread across the United States, which means no waiting for something to be shipped to you. Stock varies by store location, though you can often times order it online and pick it up in-store for free, which means you don’t have to look all over the place at the store for it, and it guarantees that the stock will be there for you. You can also have some of them shipped to the house, but inventory there is quite limited.


Shop hand sanitizer at Walmart

Shop online, pick up in-store. It’s easy with Walmart, and there appears to be a decent supply available right now so don’t miss out.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


Honor 30 Pro shown off in official renders ahead of April 15 launch

The phone is expected to be similar to the Huawei P40 Pro in a few areas.

What you need to know

  • Official press renders of the upcoming Honor 30 Pro have were shared on Weibo by the company’s President Zhao Ming today.
  • The renders confirm the presence of a quad-lens camera system on the back, featuring a 50MP Sony IMX700 primary sensor.
  • Honor 30 and 30 Pro are set to be officially unveiled in China on April 15.

Honor is set to unveil its next flagship smartphone, the Honor 30, at an event in China on April 15. Ahead of the phone’s formal debut next week, Honor President Zhao Ming today shared a few official renders of the upcoming phone on Weibo, showing off the phone’s impressive quad-lens camera system.

While the renders don’t reveal the device’s front, they do give us a clear look at the Honor 30 Pro from the back. Although not quite as large, the camera module on the back of the phone appears to be similar to Huawei’s P40 Pro. Just like the P40 Pro, the Honor 30 Pro is expected to feature a massive 1/1.28″ type 50MP primary sensor. It is also rumored to have full-pixel Octa PD autofocus and a periscope module, although no other details have surfaced so far.

Rumors suggest the phone will come with a 6.57-inch FHD+ AMOLED display and pack a 3,900mAh battery. Under the hood, the phone is likely to feature the same Kirin 990 5G chipset as the Huawei P40 Pro, paired with at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage.

Huawei P40 Pro

£900 at Huawei

Huawei’s new P40 Pro boasts fantastic hardware, a gorgeous design, and a camera system that redefines smartphone photography. Similar to the Mate 30 Pro, however, the P40 Pro does not come with Google apps or services.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


Make sure you have plenty of storage to go with your Chromebox

Chromeboxes aren’t laptops. Chances are you’re not tossing one into a backpack and setting it up at Starbucks; instead, it sits quietly behind a screen of some sort and is always ready. That means there is no reason to try and get by with 16 or 32GB of storage. Most models are easy to take apart and upgrade if you’re the DIY type, but adding more storage for your stuff is as easy as plugging in a cable.

Simple and cheap

Western Digital My Passport

Staff pick

WD My Passport is the best bargain external hard drive you can buy. It’s a spinning disk drive so you won’t be breaking any read speed records, but it’s perfect for storing photos or music or video. It’s available in 1TB–4TB options.

From $55 at Amazon From $55 at Best Buy

When you wanna go fast!

Samsung T5 SSD

If you need a big boost in storage for your Chromebox but need to have SSD speeds, the Samsung T5 drive is one of the best ways to make it happen. They use Samsung’s own V-NAND to bring read/write speeds of up to 540MB/s over a USB 3.1 connection, are future-proof with a USB-C port, and aren’t much bigger than a credit card. You can store and retrieve all of your stuff really fast if that’s what you need with capacity from 250GB–2TB.

From $110 at AmazonFrom $110 at Best Buy

Take everything with you

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

If media portability is a top concern then you’ll definitely want an SSD — but SanDisk takes things one step further by wrapping the drive in a heavy duty case that includes a loop to connect to a lanyard. It uses USB-C and USB 3.1 for fast read speeds, and capacity options start at 250GB and go all the way up to 2TB.

From $89 at AmazonFrom $100 at Best Buy

Bring your own

ORICO USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure

A drive enclosure lets you safely use almost any 3.5-inch drive as a USB 3.0 device that can plug right into your Chromebox. Just slide it open and drop any compatible inside, slide it shut and you’re ready to plug it in. You don’t need any tools and it only takes a few minutes.

$19 at AmazonFrom $11 at Newegg

Use with a drive enclosure

Samsung 860 EVO 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Again we’ll recommend Samsung’s SSD for being among the fastest and well-designed drives you can buy. Pricing varies depending on the amount of storage you want, but your best value would be the 500GB drive. Bought along with the AmazonBasics drive enclosure gives your Chromebox instant access to a sizable media collection for under $100.

From $70 at AmazonFrom $70 at Best Buy

Use with a drive enclosure

WD Blue 3D NAND SATA III 2.5-inch SSD

Just like with the external drives, WD manages to undercut Samsung’s prices by a fair margin while still offering a solid state drive with comparable read speeds. Choose from drive capacities from 250GB up to 2TB and slip it into a drive enclosure to add all the extra storage you need to your Chromebox.

From $110 at AmazonFrom $65 at Best Buy

Plug and play

Seagate Expansion Desktop HDD

The Seagate Expansion Desktop offers storage options starting at 4TB, and goes all the way up to 8TB. That should be more than enough storage, and all you will need is the included USB 3.0 cable and the 18W power adapter to get your storage solution up and running. Plus, you won’t have to worry about carrying this with you as it just sits on your desk.

From $89 at Amazon From $95 at Best Buy

Fast data transfer

CalDigit Tuff Nano External NVME SSD

This external NVMe SSD from CalDigit comes with USB 3.2 Gen 2 thanks to the USB Type-C connector. This provides speeds up to 10GB/s and is backward compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. Plus, with the IP67 certification, this portable hard drive can withstand water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes, along with dust and shock absorption.

$130 at Amazon$150 at B&H Photo

For ChromeOS

Seagate Mobile Drive

Seagate designed the Mobile Drive to be specifically used with Chromebooks and ChromeOS, which means it’s perfect for your Chromebox. You will get 1TB of additional storage, with transfer speeds up to 5 GB/s with the USB 3.0 cable. And it comes in either Aqua or White so you can get a color that will either stand out or blend in while matching your setup.

$50 at Best Buy$85 at Walmart

For your fast SSDs

Sabrent M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

If you already have an NVMe SSD but can’t fit it into your Chromebox, you can take advantage of an enclosure and still get the same experience. The Sabrent Enclosure is made from alunimum and provides a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port for even faster transfers, coming in at up to 10GB/s. The best part is that the Sabrent makes it easy to “hot-swap” and switch between SSD’s in the event that you need to upgrade to a larger one in the future.

$46 at Amazon$55 at B&H Photo

Faster storage

WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD

When it comes to NVMe SSD’s these are some of the fastest hard drives you can get your hands on. With the WD Black SN750, you’ll get storage options ranging from 250GB to 2TB and a five-year limited warranty. However, you’ll need to make sure that it will work with your Chromebox before installing it, or just grab an external enclosure.

From $63 at AmazonFrom $65 at Best Buy

Additional heat protection

Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD

Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD offers read and write up to 3,500MB/s and 3,300MB/s, while being backed by the company’s 5-year limited warranty. This SSD also offers additional protection against heat with the Dynamic Thermal Guard monitoring temperatures to ensure that it doesn’t get too warm. As with all hard drives, you will need to verify that it works with your specific Chromebox, or you can snag an NVMe enclosure and use it as an external drive.

From $80 at AmazonFrom $80 at Best Buy

Adding extra storage to a Chromebox is easy

Chromeboxes make great computers for plenty of people. In households where there are kids, they’re the perfect desktop computer for homework, and attached to your TV they bring the internet and everything that comes with it to your big screen.

Connecting an external drive to your Chromebox is easy thanks to Chrome OS supporting a wide range of file systems. Most drives will basically be plug and play which makes it easy and convenient for anyone to set up and use. Your best value comes from the WD My Passport which gets you 1TB of storage for just $55.

Another option is to use a drive enclosure that lets you dock an internal drive and use it to connect to your Chromebox via USB. For internal drives, we’ll recommend Samsung 860 SSD which is top-rated and also a good option if you’ve got a laptop or PC that could also use a storage upgrade.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


Everything you need to know about the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro!

A duo of flagship killers is on the way.

In just a handful of years, OnePlus has established itself as one of the most exciting players in the U.S. smartphone market. 2019’s OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T stand out as two of our favorite phones of the entire year, and for 2020, it looks like OnePlus is getting ready to wow us yet again.

There’s a lot of talk and buzz regarding the upcoming OnePlus 8, and based on what we know so far, it’s shaping up to be one heck of a phone. From a 120Hz display to wireless charging, there’s a lot in the pipeline.

Whether you’re interested in specs, design, or how much the OnePlus 8 will end up costing you, here’s everything you need to know!

Killer flagship

OnePlus 7T

$499 at OnePlus

Still one of the best deals around

Even with the new OnePlus 8 lineup looming on the horizon, the OnePlus 7T continues to be one heck of an Android phone. Between its 90Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855+ processor, and triple camera setup, the 7T delivers an insane amount of value at a price you just can’t argue with.

There will be two models — regular and Pro

Typically, OnePlus releases one phone at a time — one in the first half of the year and another in the second half. Last year, the company shook things up by releasing the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro at the same time. We’re expecting something similar this year, with the compay prepping a OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro.

The OnePlus 8 will be the baseline for the series, offering the flagship OnePlus experience while cutting a feature or two from the highest-end OnePlus 8 Pro to keep costs low.

There was previously talk of a OnePlus 8 Lite also joining the fray, but as rumors progressed, it turned out that the phone will be branded as something else entirely (more on that later).

Here’s what the phones look like

Now that we’ve talked about OnePlus’s release strategy for the OnePlus 8, let’s take a look at the designs we’re expecting for the phones — starting first with the regular OnePlus 8.

The fancy pop-up selfie camera from the OnePlus 7 Pro is gone, as is the waterdrop notch from the OnePlus 7T. Instead, the OnePlus 8 introduces a left-mounted hole punch cutout. It should be a lot better for long-term use and durability than the extra moving parts of the 7 Pro, but there’s no denying the cool factor of the 7 Pro’s pop-up mechanism.

OnePlus has kept bezels to a minimum, minus a tiny chin on the bottom. Around back, we’re met with three rear cameras and some downright gorgeous colors. In addition to the Interstellar Glow pictured above, we’ve also seen Onyx Black and Glacial Green.

As for the OnePlus 8 Pro. it looks virtually identical to the OnePlus 8. It has the same bezel-lite display, left-mounted hole-punch cutout, and triple-camera system. However, the 8 Pro does benefit from an additional time-of-flight sensor.

Speaking of the 8 Pro, January 20 is when a hands-on image of the phone leaked, revealing a design that lines up exactly with the render above.

Along with confirming the OnePlus 8 Pro’s design, the picture also reveals the various screen refresh rate settings that’ll be available on the phone. In addition to the 120Hz option we’ll talk more about below, the 8 Pro will also let you switch to 90Hz and 60Hz if you want to conserve battery life.

Continuing with hands-on photos, OnePlus brand ambassador Robert Downey Jr. was recently spotted holding the phone. The pictures were apparently taken while he was shooting a commercial for the OnePlus 8, and from what we can tell, the phone he’s holding certainly looks like the other renders and pictures we’ve seen.

Another hands-on image leaked on March 22, this time showing us the front and back of the OnePlus 8 Pro. The picture comes courtesy of PC-Tablet, and once again, it matches the previously leaked renders. We get a clear look at the phone’s rear camera module, large display, and punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera.

Going back to renders one last time, WinFuture provided us with this gorgeous render of the OnePlus 8 Pro in Ultramarine Blue.

This is the first time we’ve seen this particular colorway, and combined with the Interstellar Glow pictured above, it’s really exciting to see that OnePlus is planning to have some fun with the design of this year’s phones.

Flagship specs are expected

If there’s one thing that’s consistent with OnePlus phones, it’s that they’re equipped with top-of-the-line specs. This is something OnePlus has done year after year, and it’s something we’re expecting once again for the OnePlus 8 lineup.

On March 25, tipster Ishan Agarwal dropped a bombshell of a leak with full device specifications for the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. They are as follows:

Category OnePlus 8 OnePlus 8 Pro
Operating System Android 10
Android 10
Display 6.55-inch
Full HD+
90Hz refresh rate
Quad HD+
120Hz refresh rate
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM 8GB or 12GB
8GB or 12GB
Storage 128GB or 256GB
UFS 3.0
128GB or 256GB
UFS 3.0
Rear Camera 1 48MP wide 48MP wide
Rear Camera 2 16MP telephoto 48MP ultra-wide
Rear Camera 3 2MP (possibly ultra wide) 8MP telephoto
Rear Camera 4 5MP color data sensor
Battery 4,300 mAh 4,510 mAh
Charging 30W Warp Charge 30T 30W Warp Charge 30T
30W wireless fast charging
3W reverse wireless charging
Water Resistance IP68
Dimensions 160.2 x 72.9 x 8.1mm 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.8mm

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed some of these specs on March 31, saying that the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro will come equipped with the Snapdragon 865, LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.0 flash storage.

The jump to a 120Hz refresh rate for the OnePlus 8 Pro is quite exciting, and something else that Pete Lau has confirmed for the phone. On January 15, Lau took to Twitter to share a side-by-side comparison of a 60Hz display and the new OnePlus 120Hz Fluid Display — showing just how much smoother and more fluid the increased refresh rate is.

Another exciting tidbit is the addition of wireless charging for the OnePlus 8 Pro. Following endless rumors, the feature was confirmed on April 7 by OnePlus itself in the form of a press release. The new Warp Charge 30 Wireless system uses a proprietary wireless charger that’s able to refuel the OnePlus 8 Pro at 30W speeds — fast enough for a 50% recharge in about 30 minutes.

While you’ll certainly want to buy the new wireless charger in order to get the fastest wireless charging possible, you will still be able to charge the 8 Pro with any Qi charging stands/pads you already have. They obviously won’t be as snappy, but you also aren’t being forced to buy a new accessory just to charge the 8 Pro without wires.

It’s currently unclear how much OnePlus’s wireless charger will cost, but rumor has it that it’ll sell for about €70 in Europe ($76 here in the U.S.).

On March 10, Pete Lau further confirmed that the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro will both come equipped with 5G as a default feature. It’s unclear if the company will also offer 4G variants similar to what Samsung does with the S20 in some countries, so we’ll have to wait and see on that.

A quick word on the OnePlus Z

In the early days of OnePlus 8 leaks, we were originally expecting a total of three phones — the OnePlus 8, 8 Pro, and a OnePlus 8 Lite. Details on the Lite weren’t as readily available as the other two devices, and on March 28, Max Weinbach reported that the OnePlus 8 Lite we’d been talking about would actually be marketed and sold as the OnePlus Z.

When it comes to specs for the OnePlus Z, the rumor mill points to it having a 90Hz AMOLED display, two rear cameras with a time-of-flight sensor, and a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 processor. As the name of the OnePlus Z suggests, it’s anticipated to be a spiritual successor to the OnePlus X.

The OnePlus X was released in 2015 as an ultra-low cost Android handset, offering great specs and software for just $250. It never achieved the same level of success as its other OnePlus siblings, but with the 8 Pro likely hitting a new high price record for the company, now seems like the perfect time to bring back a legitimately affordable OnePlus device.

The OnePlus 8 series will be announced on April 14

For the past two years, OnePlus has announced its first phone releases in May. The OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro were unveiled on May 14, with the OnePlus 6 getting its big announcement on May 16.

Based on that and the detail in which the OnePlus 8 lineup has leaked so far, we’d anticipate another May announcement this year. However, OnePlus is jumping the gun a bit with plans to unveil the phones in April.

On March 30, OnePlus confirmed via Twitter that the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro will be announced on April 14. You’ll be able to watch the livestream from the comfort of your home, with things kicking off at 11:00 AM ET.

Get ready for expensive phones

Next, let’s talk about price. One of the main draws to OnePlus phones has traditionally been the insanely low prices, but year after year, OnePlus had had a tendency to increase the cost of its phones.

  • OnePlus 5 starting price — $479
  • OnePlus 6 starting price — $529
  • OnePlus 7 Pro starting price — $669

See what we mean?

On April 8, we got our first real price leak for the OnePlus 8 lineup. Thanks to product pages from a European retailer, it was discovered that the 8 and 8 Pro will have the following prices:

  • OnePlus 8 (8GB RAM and 128GB storage) — €719/729
  • OnePlus 8 (12GB RAM and 256GB storage) — €819/829
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (8GB RAM and 128GB storage) — €919/929
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (12GB RAM and 256GB storage) — €1009/1019

We don’t know for sure how all of this will convert to U.S. pricing, but with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau saying that the highest-end model will cost under $1000 in the country, we can likely expect slightly lower price tags when it comes time to buy the phones in the United States. Even so, these are set to be the most expensive OnePlus devices by a long shot.

The OnePlus 7T is still a great buy

We’re undeniably excited to learn more about the entire OnePlus 8 lineup, but that doesn’t mean the OnePlus 7T is irrelevant. In fact, if you’re shopping for a new Android phone right now, the 7T continues to be one of the best ones you can get.

The 7T has a fantastic 90Hz AMOLED display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+ processor, and a triple-rear camera system that works quite well. There’s also a healthy 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a reliable 3,800 mAh battery with OnePlus’s excellent 30W fast charging.

Sure, you could wait a bit longer to see how the OnePlus 8, 8 Lite, and 8 Pro turn out, but you can also pick up a 7T right now and rest assured it’ll be a reliable phone for years to come.

Killer flagship

OnePlus 7T

$499 at OnePlus

Still one of the best deals around

Even with the new OnePlus 8 lineup looming on the horizon, the OnePlus 7T continues to be one heck of an Android phone. Between its 90Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855+ processor, and triple camera setup, the 7T delivers an insane amount of value at a price you just can’t argue with.

from Android Central – Android Forums, News, Reviews, Help and Android Wallpapers


Instacart adds new options for grocery delivery during the pandemic

With millions of people staying at home to help spread the coronavirus and COVID-19, grocery delivery services like Instacart, Shipt, Amazon Fresh, Walmart Grocery, and Mercato are under heavy strain. After adding items to your shopping cart, you might find that delivery dates are a week or more away, if there are any options available […]

from Liliputing


New video PhaseOne ft. Koven – Lost (Oliverse Remix) by UKF Dubstep on YouTube

PhaseOne ft. Koven – Lost (Oliverse Remix)
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Taken from PhaseOne’s Transcendency Remixes LP, out now via Disciple.

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Metallica Honor Late Musician Hal Willner: ‘A Truly Inspirational Collaborator’

Composer, producer, songwriter worked with band on their 2011 Lou Reed collaboration, Lulu

from Rolling Stone


Anchorage, Alaska, voters reject on-site cannabis consumption

In a blow to marijuana retailers in Anchorage, Alaska, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure to permit cannabis consumption on store premises. According to unofficial election results, roughly 64.3% (28,409) of the voters on Tuesday rejected Proposition 11, which would have permitted “inhaling or smoking marijuana, in addition to eating marijuana edibles,” in cannabis stores. Only […]

Anchorage, Alaska, voters reject on-site cannabis consumption is a post from: Marijuana Business Daily: Financial, Legal & Cannabusiness news for cannabis entrepreneurs

from Marijuana Business Daily