All posts in “Mobile”

Keep your phone flipping with the best Asus Zenfone 6 cases

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The smartphone market is more varied than it has ever been, with new and interesting types of phones popping up all over the place. The Asus Zenfone 6 sports one of those unique designs, with an almost completely bezel-less front and an extremely innovative rear camera that flips up and over to become a selfie camera. It’s powerful, impressive, and comes with a competitive price to challenge the market. If you’ve got one, you’ll want to keep it safe. Keep your phone flipping with the best Asus Zenfone 6 cases.

RhinoShield CrashGuard Bumper

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RhinoShield is best known for its screen protection, but that doesn’t mean you should discount its other offerings. While there’s not much to the CrashGuard bumper, it offers a lot of protection to make up for it. Snapping onto the outer edges of your phone, the CrashGuard offers drop protection of up to 11 feet (3.5 meters) thanks to RhinoShield’s ShockSpread technology. It’s thin too, adding next to no bulk to your phone. Of course, it’s just a bumper, so there’s no scratch protection for the back of your phone, but that also works to your advantage if you don’t want to hide your Zenfone 6 away. It’s only really proof against drops, but it’s very good at that.

Kugi Ultra Slim Clear Case

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For slim protection that doesn’t cost the world or impair your phone’s design, you can’t do much better than a clear case. This clear case from Kugi ticks all the right boxes, combining the shock-resistance of TPU with a completely clear design that allows your phone’s good looks to shine through. There’s a slightly raised edge to keep your phone from resting on surfaces, and while the slim TPU won’t be able to match larger cases, it should still do a great job of protecting your phone against minor bumps, drops, and scratches. It doesn’t interfere with the Zenfone 6’s flip-up camera, and it has a bargain price too.

Dretal Brushed Carbon Fiber-style Case

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Not all cases avoid making a statement, and if you want your choice of protection to advance a certain look, then the unique style of Dretal’s case is worth your time. It’s made from tough, black TPU that provides good protection against drops with reinforced corners, and great protection against scratches. It’s stylized to look like brushed metal with carbon fiber panels at either end, giving it a futuristic, sci-fi quality. There’s a raised edge for further protection for your screen and camera lenses, and there’s a complete cutout to allow your camera to flip out easily. It’s also not a bad price.

Anccer Slim Hard Case

best asus zenfone 6 cases anccer

If you’re looking for something a little harder than your standard TPU, then polycarbonate is for you. This hard material is thin and light, but also extremely strong, providing great scratch protection. Sound good? Then slap some on your Zenfone 6 with this case from Anccer. A gravel-style texture adds grip to your phone, while a raised bezel stops grit and dirt from marring your phone’s screen or camera lenses. There’s a cutout for the camera, and it comes in a variety of colors. However, the hard material won’t be the best for absorbing shocks, and it doesn’t fully cover the sides of your phone.

Bettop Shockproof Anti-Slip Case

best asus zenfone 6 cases bettop

Nothing says “style” quite like leather. No, this offering from Bettop doesn’t sport real leather — not at this price — but the textured PU does an excellent job of simulating a leather look and feel, adding grip for your fingers. The soft TPU the rest of the case is made from offers protection against drops and absorbs shocks from impacts. It’s also good against scratches, and the additional plate of PU leather offers even more protection. While it’s not going to fool people when they get close, this is still a good-looking case that provides ample protection — and at a low price too.

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It’s World Emoji Day! Here are the emojis coming to Android and iPhone this year

It’s World Emoji day, which can only mean one thing: The unveiling of a number of new emojis based on Unicode 12.0 that are coming to Android and iOS devices in the next year. In the spirit of the holiday, both Apple and Google have offered a sneak preview of the new emojis we can expect to see soon.

There are 59 brand-new emojis coming to iPhones and 65 coming to Android devices, and we’ve picked out some of the highlights from the list so you can see what’s upcoming for your device. This year, there’s been a drive toward inclusivity, with new emojis depicting those who are blind, deaf, or otherwise differently abled. But there are also more animals, foodstuffs, and one that’s sure to become a Monday morning favorite: A yawning face.

New inclusive emojis

Some of the more interesting additions are those that represent disabled users. In the new set of emojis, you’ll find a range of emojis representing people in wheelchairs (both manual and motorized), deaf and blind people, and emojis that represent prosthetic limbs. All of the emojis with human elements will feature a range of skin tone choices — as well as everyone’s favorite Simpsons-hued yellow default.

While the emojis represent the same ideal across both Android and iOS, there’s a clear difference in style between the two operating systems. As ever, Apple has adopted a style that’s more realistic than Google’s more cartoon-like designs.

There’s also been an update to various emojis that gives them a gender-neutral default. The new pack will include new emojis in a variety of roles, including superheroes, weightlifters, merpeople, and more — but all without strong features that tie them to a single gender. Many of these emojis will now default to this gender-free approach, as Google states a default gender on an emoji can reinforce harmful gender stereotypes. But don’t worry if you want to use a specifically gendered emoji — perhaps to match your own job — as you can choose a specific gender instead of the neutral default option.

Both Android and iOS will also come with a major update to the Holding Hands emoji that will allow users to select any combination of skin tone and genders to suit their particular pairing.

Food and animals

It wouldn’t be a new emoji pack without the inclusion of a number of cute new animals. This year sees the addition of the sloth, otter, and more. In this case, we have to say we’re quite partial to Google’s more playful designs for most of the pack, with particular emphasis on its uppity skunk and mischievous-looking flamingo. That said, Apple’s orangutan is quite a lot cuter than Google’s confused ape.

There are some mouth-watering new food emojis too, with staple ingredients like butter and garlic making their debut. Waffles and falafel are being included, along with a juice box, onion, and the oyster.

But of course, we know you’ve all been waiting for the big one — the one we’re all likely to use above all others, because, frankly, none of us get enough sleep. Behold: The Yawning Face emoji.

These emojis will be coming to Apple devices in the fall as a free update for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The Android pack will arrive with Android Q — though if you want to experience them right now, you can do so by accessing the Android Q beta. If you want to check out the full range, check out the full list of Unicode 12.0 emojis.

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Is the Apple Card any better than a regular credit card? We asked an expert

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While surprise unveilings are not uncommon for Apple, the announcement of a new credit card at its March event was unexpected. The Apple Card promises no fees, cash rewards, and Apple’s trademark commitment to privacy and security. It’s housed in the Apple Wallet app, so you can use it through your iPhone or Apple Watch anywhere that accepts Apple Pay. For places that don’t accept Apple Pay, there’s the titanium physical card with your name laser etched on it.

It sounds desirable and is certain to attract Apple fans, but is it worth getting for the average person?

Is the Apple Card worth it?

“This depends on how you spend and on what,” Dana Marineau, vice president and financial advocate at Credit Karma, told Digital Trends. “Since the card rewards you more when you use Apple Pay, the likely target consumer is iPhone users. It may make more sense for an avid Apple fan and user to use this card — those who buy a lot of Apple products or use its subscription services, such as Apple Music, etc.”

“It may make more sense for an avid Apple fan and user to use this card.”

That’s because you get 3% cash back on Apple purchases – something Apple calls Daily Cash. If you make purchases through Apple Pay, you also get 2% cash back. Use the physical card and you get 1% cash back. But these are common rewards for cash-back credit cards. So, what’s unique or innovative about the Apple Card?

“It seamlessly integrates with your iPhone, so you can start using it within minutes of being approved,” Marineau said. “And, it has a calculator that shows you how much interest you’re taking on by paying your balance over time, and it clearly lays out your spending in an easy-to-read dashboard, giving you an added level of transparency.”

There are other advantages, too. Marineau highlights the lack of an annual fee, late fees, international fees, or over-limit fees. You can redeem Apple’s Daily Cash at Apple Pay whenever you make a purchase, even the same day. You can also use it to pay down your credit card bill or share it with your family and friends.

The trend towards mobile payments is well underway, but there’s still a gap to bridge. Apple Pay is accepted at around 70% of retail locations in the U.S., which means there’s still a decent number of places you can’t use it. That’s why it comes with the physical card backup.

“If you happen to shop at a store which doesn’t accept Apple Pay, you’ll have to swipe with your physical card,” Marineau said.

Brand loyalty

Beyond the tie-in with Apple Pay, the Apple Card is fundamentally a typical credit card. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to create it, and you’ll need a long credit history to get the best interest rate – rates vary from 13.24% to 24.24% depending on your credit score. It looks like a mutually beneficial arrangement for Apple and its partners.

“Apple is trying to carve a new niche with the Apple Card.”

“It’s a way for banks to attract a different type of audience that they wouldn’t ordinarily get,” Sara Rathner, NerdWallet’s credit card expert, said. For Apple, “It looks like they’re really trying to nudge consumers into using Apple Wallet.”

It may not be easy to persuade people to switch, though. Only 11% of credit card customers switched in 2018 and a better rewards program was the number one reason, according to J.D. Power. The marketing research firm also told us that adoption of Apple Pay is low, with just 7% of cardholders reporting that they use it.

Company-branded cards have been around for a while, especially in the travel arena with hotel chains and airlines, and another tech giant, Amazon, is also offering a credit card. But Apple’s proposition is different.

“Apple is trying to carve a new niche with the Apple Card,” Marineau said. “Instead of trying to compete with other popular travel rewards cards, Apple is making a play for brand loyalty, hoping loyal Apple customers will join.”

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Michael Short/Getty Images

There’s certainly no shortage of loyal customers. Apple has sold more than 2.2 billion iPhones since it was introduced in 2007 and its amazing profit margin has made it the most valuable company in the world today. The Apple Card probably doesn’t need to be the best credit card around to attract customers.

“The card is trendy, but the rewards aren’t impressive,” Marineau said.

There are a lot of other options out there. The Citi Double Cash Card, for example, has no annual fee and pays 2% cash back on all spending. It also offers an introductory APR (annual percentage rate) of 0% on balance transfers for 18 months and then it’s 15.74% to 25.74%. Then there’s the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card which costs nothing for the first year and pays 3% cash back on all purchases, then costs $99 per year and gives you 2.5% cash back after that. It has a variable APR of 12.49% to 14.99%.

“The card is trendy, but the rewards aren’t impressive.”

Many other cards offer specific benefits that may suit you better, but taking full advantage requires a little planning. Frequent travelers can get 2 miles back on every purchase and a one-off bonus of 50,000 miles if they spend $3,000 within 3 months of getting a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You can also enjoy a whopping 5% cash back with the Chase Freedom card on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending, but the categories that earn cash back change each quarter.

The Apple brand and a flashy titanium card will attract a lot of people, and for hardcore Apple fans it might pay to sign up, but most people can probably find an alternative credit card that makes more financial sense.

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Google Maps has just become a whole lot more useful for bikesharing fans

More and more app-based bikesharing services are rolling into cities, but for riders that can mean more confusion as you search through multiple apps to find nearby stations and available bikes.

Aiming to smooth the way, Google Maps now tells you the location of bike stations and how many bikes are available in real-time. Even better, as you embark on your journey, you can also check ahead to confirm which nearby stations have an available space for parking your bike at the end of the trip. The new feature has been made possible by transit software company Ito World, which is now sharing its global bikeshare data with Google, among others.

Google Maps tested the real-time system in New York City last year and this week it arrives in 24 additional cities in 16 countries, namely Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich. More locations are on the way.

“Bikesharing is booming as this two-wheeled technology transforms how people get from A to B in cities around the planet,” Google Maps software engineer Andrew Hyatt wrote in a post introducing the new feature. “With an estimated 1,600 bikeshare systems and more than 18 million shared bikes in urban centers worldwide, bikesharing has gone mainstream.”

As Hyatt points out, bikesharing is a “convenient, affordable, fun, and hassle-free way to get around,” and in some busy urban centers can be faster than an Uber or Lyft ride.

Bikesharing services operated by the likes of Lime, Jump, and Motivate let you hire two-wheelers by the minute. Everything operates via the app, including unlocking the bikes and rental payments.

Some services are dockless, though issues with unused bikes blocking sidewalks mean that some cities only allow bikesharing services with docking stations, which is where Google Maps’ new feature comes in.

Google Maps has been rolling out a slew of updates in recent months. Just recently it added a feature that predicts how crowded your train or bus is likely to be, while another update offers foodies a new way to find a restaurant’s most popular dishes. It’s also been building out the app to make it even more useful for drivers, helping them to stay within speed limits and avoid speed traps.

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Best post-Prime Day deals 2019: 4K TV, wireless earbuds, and Walmart discounts

After two (and a half) days of the Prime Day train roaring by, Amazon’s massive annual summer shopping event has come to a screeching halt, but not without blitzing us with unbeatable deals on quality products — especially with retail giant’s own Echo devices. It all officially wrapped up on Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. PT, but if you missed out on discounted must-haves like 4K TVs, laptops, or Apple products, fear not. We’ve identified a bunch of Prime Day leftover deals with significant price cuts.

In fact, Walmart hasn’t skipped a beat. It’s with its competing Prime Day sale is still alive and thriving as it is scheduled to wrap up Wednesday evening — a deliberate tactic to outlast Amazon at its own game. Below, we’ve curated the best Prime Day-quality deals that are still live from Amazon and other retail sites. 

Best Deals After Prime Day 2019

What Made Prime Day 2019 Special

Prime Day 2019 was the fifth annual shopping event celebrating the e-commerce site’s anniversary. Since 2015 when it first launched, Prime Day has grown year-to-year — both in sales and promotions, but also in the length of the event. Last year’s Prime Day event lasted 36 hours. This year’s Prime Day was officially a 48-hour event, but if counting the early access deals on Amazon Echo devices that launched 12 hours before the official start time, the totality of Prime Day 2019 was actually 60 hours long.

Even before early access deals, Amazon threw its Prime members a concert celebration headlined by Taylor Swift. The show is available to stream on Prime Music or Prime Video, but you need to be a Prime member to access, of course.  

Also, in previous years, competing retailers scratched their heads as they wondered how they can capitalize on the Amazon-manufactured event. This year, however, retailers like Walmart, Target, and eBay, all took a serious crack at Amazon by launching their own promotions to coincide with Prime Day, and it appeared to pay off. Mass retailers that rack in over $1 billion in yearly revenue saw a 64% increase in online sales on Monday, the first of two days of Prime Day deals. 

What Were The Best Prime Day 2019 Deals

Though thousands of products across Amazon and other competing sites saw discounts, not all deals are created equal.  

As expected, a bunch of Amazon-owned devices were at their lowest prices ever. The all-new Echo 5 got its first significant discount dropping to just $50. The Echo Dot was on sale for only $22. The new Blink XT2 smart indoor/outdoor security cameras also saw their first-ever sizable price cuts — $90 off the 3 camera kit bundle. Arlo security camera sets also saw significant discounts.

Walmart and Amazon had a tit-for-tat battle with Instant Pots with both retail giants dropping the prices for a handful of models. All Google Home devices also got price cuts at Walmart.

A bunch of 4K smart TVs got huge discounts, but most of those were from Walmart, not Amazon.

All types of Apple products — from iPads to MacBooks to iPhones — got sizable price cuts at Amazon and multiple competing sites. In fact, eBay was running an “Up To 50% Off Apple Products” promotion. 

Other categories we saw notable deals: laptops (especially from Dell and HP), robot vacuums, headphones, and smartwatches. 

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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