Tech salaries in LA and Austin are catching up with Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is notorious for its stratospheric tech salaries and cost of living to match. But a new tech salary report released by jobs site Hired.com on Thursday indicates that companies in tech hubs elsewhere, such as Los Angeles and Austin, are quietly raising salaries to become more competitive.

According to Hired.com’s third-annual State of Salaries report, the average tech worker in Austin made $118,000 last year — up 7% year-over-year — while the average tech worker in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., earned $129,000 and  $116,000, respectively, in 2017 — 6% more than they did in 2016.

Tech salaries across different countries are rising, some faster than others, according to a new study.

Those salary increases outpaced the average increase for tech workers overall around the globe, which rose 5% last year to $135,000.

Tech salaries year-over-year change across several markets, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and New York City. Source: Hired.com

Average tech worker salaries across several markets, from San Francisco and Austin to Paris and London. Source: Hired.com

Technically, salary for tech workers’ in Los Angeles and Austin still pale in comparison to the average San Francisco Bay Area tech worker, who earned an impressive $142,000 last year.  But it’s worth noting that the Bay Area’s cost of living remains significantly higher. To wit, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco as of December 2017 was $3,372, according to apartment rental site RentJungle, far higher than a similar set-up in Austin ($1,229), as well as in Los Angeles  ($2,168).

To determine how other cities fare in a cost of living comparison, Hired.com asked the hypothetical question: how much would tech workers’ salaries be worth if other cities had the same cost of living as in San Francisco? Austin topped the list again for 2017 with an adjusted salary of $202,000. (Translation: Austin tech workers would have to get an $84,000 raise to maintain their current standard of living in San Francisco.) Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Seattle both tied for second place with adjusted salaries of $182,000.

Average tech salaries across different cities adjusted for comparison against cost of living in San Francisco. Source: Hired.com

Hired.com’s State of Salaries report was compiled based upon 420,000 interview requests and job offers that occurred in 2017 through its online marketplace from more than 10,000 participating companies and 69,000 job seekers. The company also collected survey responses from over 700 tech workers to factor in how salaries and cost of living influence decision making and levels of satisfaction. To adjust for cost of living in any given tech hub, Hired.com employed data from the site Numbeo, which factors in things like rent and real estate prices, cost for groceries, transportation, utilities, and local taxes.

Hired.com’s report also found that U.S. tech companies continue to pay more than employers in Toronto, London, and Paris, all of which reported far lower five-digit salaries for 2017 and lower salary increases for the year.

The UK also saw a 7% decline in hiring candidates from outside the UK. According to Hired.com, the decrease is a result of the broader UK economy, which now sits at the bottom of the G7 after being a top economic performer before Brexit.

So regardless of where tech workers live, work and play in the U.S. whether it be Austin or far costlier Silicon Valley, there’s something of a silver lining: their earned incomes — and likely quality of life — are much higher than many of their counterparts abroad.

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tronc starts its new digital strategy with a majority stake in product review site BestReviews


Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, announced today that it now owns a majority stake in BestReviews, which publishes in-depth reviews of consumer products. In another announcement today, Tronc said that it intends to use funds from the sale of its California News Group, which included the Los Angeles Times, to focus on a new digital growth strategy that includes investing in or acquiring more online companies like BestReviews.

BestReviews’ current owners will retain minority ownership and continue to manage operations. Tronc did not disclose the deal’s financial details.

Founded in 2014, BestReviews is similar to other review sites like the Wirecutter and Consumer Reports in that it buys products for reviews, instead of relying on company-provided samples, and publishes detailed articles with information about how items were tested and ranked. The site claims it now has more than five million monthly unique visitors.

In statement, Tronc chief executive officer Justin Dearborn said “BestReviews dedication to independent and high-quality content aligns with our ongoing mission to provide valuable information and experiences for our readers. We look forward to combining BestReviews deep product research and fully optimized commerce engine with Tronc’s digital properties, a combination which we believe will strengthen our e-commerce efforts.”

The Wirecutter was acquired by The New York Times in fall 2016 for a reported $30 million in cash. Like Tronc, which owns newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the Baltimore Sun, the New York Times wanted to expand its “service journalism” category.

Publishing in-depth product reviews not only attracts more online readers, but also creates a new revenue stream, since sites get a portion of sales made through e-commerce affiliate links. So far, the New York Times’ purchase of the Wirecutter has been worth it. In September 2017, about one year after the deal, the publisher said the Wirecutter’s sales had grown 50 percent thanks to new categories that expanded its scope beyond tech products.

Tronc is trying to recover from a difficult transitional period after investor Michael Ferro Jr., former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, took over as its majority shareholder and chairman two years ago amid controversy and clashes with other investors. Its challenges have included a much maligned name change, an AI strategy that was also widely ridiculed, layoffs at several of its publications, including the New York Daily News, and conflicts with journalists at The Los Angeles Times, which Tronc recently sold to healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Featured Image: BestReviews

Make your fortune with the best stock-trading apps for iOS and Android

Our time is valuable and the world moves fast, so you want to make sure you can quickly and easily check on your investments at a moment’s notice. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best stock-trading apps for both iOS and Android. As always with investing, be aware that your own capital is at risk, and you should never invest money you aren’t prepared to lose.

Trading 212 (free)

best stock trading apps trading212 app

Named the U.K.’s top stock-trading app in 2016, Trading 212 is a fantastic option even if you’re based in the U.S. It gives you access to trading a wide variety of markets, including the U.S., U.K. and German markets. Ten trades a month are completely free, making this a fantastic option for anyone who trades lightly and tends to hold their properties for dividends rather than making money through constant trading. After the 10 free trades in a month, you’ll pay 1.95 pounds (about $3) plus 0.05 percent per deal. You can also trade cryptocurrency, and there’s access to a live chat for support. A free lifetime practice account that follows the real market can help you learn the ropes if you don’t yet have the necessary funds.

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Android iOS

Plus500 (free)

best stock trading apps plus500 app

Plus500 holds the distinction of attracting more than 100,000 new European investors in 2016, making it one of the most popular apps out there. Plus500’s app is full of tools that help you survive in the cutthroat world of stock trading. It features no commissions, a Guaranteed Stop tool to ensure you don’t lose out, and negative balance protection, which means you can’t lose more than you have invested. You can transfer funds into your account by credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer, and you can trade cryptocurrecy and commodities, as well as the usual stocks.

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Android iOS Windows Phone

Robinhood (free)

best stock trading apps robinhood app

Hailed as the hot new stock-trading app, Robinhood boasts a slick interface and zero commissions. There’s no minimum amount, so you can start with whatever you want, and there’s no waiting period. Trade U.S. stocks, crytocurrency, and commodities, and learn how to trade as you go thanks to Robinhood’s personalized feedback and recommendations. For the moment, you’re stuck trading only through the app, but there is a web app on the way. Refer friends and you’ll both benefit with free stock from some of the world’s largest companies.

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Android iOS

Fidelity Investments (free)

best stock trading apps fidelity investments app

Founded in 1946, Fidelity Investments is one of the big boys of investments and stock trading, and the apps it offers reflect those years of experience Fidelity. The app allows you to trade stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, and more, while also offering more general fiscal management, with videos and news articles featuring financial advice that should help you to manage your money even better. It also provides you with market research so you can stay informed, and allows users to open new 401(k) or brokerage accounts. It’s something of an all-in-one app that will serve many investors well.

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Android iOS

Capital.com (free)

best stock trading apps capital

Get a more personal edge with Capital.com’s personalized A.I.-driven app, which provides you with all the news and guidance you need to ensure your investments mature and grow. Capital.com has access to a huge amount of investment areas, including more than 700 markets, cryptocurrencies, and commodities. You’ll also get real-time tracking of your investment, 24-hour withdrawals, and negative balance protection to make sure that you can’t lose more than you’ve put in. It might not have some of the bells and whistles that other apps on this list offer, but it’s a solid stock-trading app that works smoothly and seamlessly.

Buy one now from:

Android iOS

Looking to gather the funds needed to invest? Having some spare cash is always a good idea, and our favorite budgeting apps can help. If you’re interested in Bitcoin, check out our handy guide to get you started.

Editors’ Recommendations

Text away: 20 free texting games you can play with your friends

Smartphones are more powerful than ever, and that means gaming on phones has never been better. It wasn’t always possible to play graphically intensive games on a phone, however. In fact, believe it or not, there was a time SMS texting games were all the rage. For me, it was middle school, those puberty-pivotal two years of existence my mind refuses to forget, but for many that time is now. Whether it’s because of finances, availability, or stubbornness, many people have chosen to forgo the commonplace smartphone in favor of more traditional offerings from major retailers. Just because you possess a so-called “dumb phone,” though, doesn’t mean you can’t tap into social gaming on the go. Even primitive devices come equipped with text messaging. But what are the best texting games?

Here are our picks for the best texting games to relive your adolescent youth or simply enjoy the underwhelming simplicity of SMS messages. We can’t guarantee any of them will spur that incredible satisfaction that comes from playing “luminescent” for 102 points, but they’ll likely rack your brain nonetheless. If you decide you want to play something more graphically intensive, check out the best Android games or the best iPhone games for some great suggestions.

Make difficult choices and spill secrets

20 Questions

Twenty questions was a 19th-century, spoken parlor game well before the radio and television show hit American airwaves in the late ’40s. It’s a classic game of deductive reasoning and quick-hit creativity, requiring no more than two people and as little or as much time as the players set. The premise is simple: One person chooses an object or person while the other attempts to guess it in 20 questions or less. Once the subject is chosen, the opposite player sends a series of questions via text, ideally narrowing down the subject through the responding yes-or-no answers.

Example — Say you’ve chosen Morgan Freeman as your subject. The player opposite you may ask, “Are you an animal?” You would respond negatively and they would move on to another question, such as “Are you a human being?” Considering you’re Morgan Freeman, you would reply with “yes.” The game continues in a similar manner until the player guesses the correct answer or surpasses 20 questions, whichever comes first. Morgan Freeman is far too easy. Pick something harder.

Would You Rather

Would You Rather may not be a game built on the moral and ethical quandaries we’re forced to face on a day-to-day basis — at least I hope not — but it will certainly reveal the nature of your character. The basic premise is this: one person asks “would you rather…” followed by two differing hypothetical scenarios. The options can be as interrelated or as distant as you want them to be, but the two scenarios should carry equal weight if possible. Try to be creative in your questioning and avoid clarifying questions. Also, remember the best questions are the ones usually depicting two uncomfortable and equally-terrible scenarios.

Examples: The WYR possibilities are virtually endless, allowing users to make the game a simple or harrowing as they want it to be. We’ve presented a few potential conundrums below, but Redditors have taken the game to an entirely new level. Pssh, and I thought I was creative.

“Would you rather fight a hundred duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?” (Here’s the right answer.)

“Would you rather talk like Jar Jar Binks, or look like Jar Jar Binks?”

“Would you rather change gender every time you sneeze, or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?”

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever, sometimes known as 10 Fingers, is that borderline inappropriate game you drunkenly played in the hot tub once with your prospective boyfriend or girlfriend. It usually involves several players and drinking copious amounts of alcohol, but you can just as easily play it sober with two people via text. Begin by setting a specific number of lives, often represented by fingers when played in person, and any other additional rules you’d like to include. Afterward, the players take turns making statements of things they’ve never done before, hence the title of the game. The opposite player loses a point whenever a statement is made that contradicts his or her own experiences.

Though uncommon, some rules specify the person who loses a point must provide a detailed account of why he or she is doing so. According to one American college student quoted on Wikipedia, NHIE and similar games “reveal interesting things about the participants and help build friendships.” The attribution is questionable, but the game does often reveal deep-seated secrets about your friends that you may, or may not, want to know. Somehow I’ve found the game always manages to don an overly-sexual tone, but I’d advise you from taking gender-oriented cheap shots. A guy shouldn’t lose a point just because he’s kissed a girl — just saying.

Example: Assuming it’s your turn, you might say “Never have I ever been skinny dipping.” If the opposite person opposite you has gone skinny dipping, they would lose a point and then proceed in making a statement of his or her own. The game continues in a similar fashion until one player loses all of his or her points.

Name Game

The Name Game is rather tedious in the long run, but I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the biggest time-wasters of all time. Played in elementary school classrooms and road-tripping minivans across the United States, it’s a simple spelling game derived from words on a particular topic. Players choose a topic, such as famous actors and actresses, and then select which player will go first. Once chosen, the first player chooses and says a word. Following suit, the second player says a word that begins with the last letter of the opposite player’s previous word. The game can carry on indefinitely depending on player knowledge, so it’s often best to set a few ground rules prior to initiating the game. We suggest setting a specific time limit in which players can respond or narrowing the chosen topic to make the game difficult.

Example: Say your opponent and you have chosen the topic of famous actors who have been featured in superhero movies. You might begin by saying “Chris Pine” — an obvious nod to his role in Wonder Woman — while your opponent might follow with “Ned Beatty,” the character who played Otis in Richard Donner’s 1978 rendition of Superman. The game continues in the same vein until one of the players can no longer name a follow-up person or subject word.

Story Time

They often say two heads are better than one, and though I don’t always agree, collaborative writing can be one of the most intriguing and inventive forms of writing in existence. With Story Time, one person begins by texting the beginning word, phrase or sentence to his or her collaborative partner. Once done, the other player reciprocates with another word, phrase or sentence that directly builds off the narrative begun by the first player. Whether the resulting story is terrific or horrendous, a shotgun of a story or an epic, the back-and-forth prose eventually builds a potentially-cohesive plot line via a series of text messages. The flow and style are never as eloquent or seamless as they would be if crafted by a single writer, but the capacity for unforeseen twists and the shroud of mystery surrounding the next phrase or sentence is often compelling enough to keep it going. Feel free to add restrictions, such as a specified word count per text or other structural elements hindering people from spouting off the first thing that comes to mind. I mean, have you read any self-published ebooks recently? I think you catch my drift.

Example: Let’s take the classic fairy-tale route for example. You might send a text with one of the most cliche lines of literary lore,”Once upon a time.” Building on what you said, the other player might follow with “there lived a lonely typist who never spoke.” I admit it’s probably not the most exhilarating or enticing story introduction you’ve ever heard, but it’s a start. Afterward, you would respond with another phrase, then your partner, then you… and so on and so forth.

Take a trip

Start by writing “I am going to ____, and I am taking ___.” Both players have to say this sentence by filling the blanks with words starting with the letter a, and working their way through the alphabet all the way to the letter z.

Example: One player can say “I am going to Australia, and I am taking Asprin.” Then the next player has to think of words with the letter b and so on. The first player to get stumped loses the game.

I Spy

Start this game by sharing a picture with a group. Just like the classic “I Spy” game, you will give the other players a clue of what you see in the picture and the other players have to guess. You can phrase it any way you want to.

Example: You can say “I spy something that starts/ends with the letter B” or “I spy something made of wool.” If the other players can’t guess, the spy role passes to the next player. You can also choose to give them hints if the other players are stumped.

Honor 9 Lite hands-on review

Much has been written about how the flashiest smartphones have only become more expensive over the past months, a trend set to continue, unfortunately. The good news is the cheaper end of the spectrum has also changed over the same period of time. Low-cost phones haven’t become less expensive, they’ve simply improved. You get more for your money than ever before. A prime example of this is the new Honor 9 Lite. It costs just 200 British pounds (about $280), and there’s a strong case to be made for buying it over the slightly more expensive Honor 7X and other competitors in this price range.

Ticks all the boxes

For a phone to be desirable, almost regardless of the price, it needs to tick a few boxes. The Honor 9 Lite ticks the following: Design, screen, software, and camera. That’s a lot of ticks for any phone, let alone one at this price.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Honor, a Huawei sub-brand, said the Honor 9 is a premium phone because it’s made from metal, and the Honor 9 Lite is a mid-range phone because it’s made from glass. Pick the Honor 9 Lite up and you may disagree. It feels great in the hand — solid, lightweight, and cool to the touch. The glass does make it slippery though, and it was hard to grip it confidently in our brief time with the phone; you may want to nab a case.

Performance is where you notice the difference between this and a more expensive smartphone.

The glass rear panel is smooth, flat, and connects to a metal chassis. There’s real depth to the shine, enhanced by a special process used by Honor to create the different colors and a sparkling finish. There’s a fingerprint sensor top center, and a pair of camera lenses in the top left. The fingerprint sensor is fast, instantly waking up the phone from a black screen. There isn’t a face unlock feature, despite the presence of a dual-lens front camera. This separates it from the Honor 7X, which will receive a software update to introduce face unlock in the near future.

The Honor 9 Lite doesn’t look like its price. It looks like a slightly smaller iPhone 8 Plus. The screen is actually larger at 5.65-inches, but the thin bezels around it help make it compact. The bezel-less design makes the phone look modern, and the 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution is attractive and very bright. We did notice the screen didn’t represent photos we took very well, with images appearing dull and lower quality than the final results.

Four cameras

It’s the camera set up that makes the Honor 9 Lite stand out. It has the same dual-lens 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras on the front and the rear, with improved software for HDR shots, wide-aperture pictures, and the beauty mode.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

We took a handful of photos, and we’re pleased with the results. The Honor 9 Lite handles most situations adequately, but it does struggle when faced with varying lighting conditions, such as overcast skies. Just don’t expect a monochrome mode, or any Leica improvements on the camera — they’re reserved for more expensive Honor and Huawei phones. Selfies are excellent, and you can use a bokeh portrait mode effect, and the beauty mode isn’t overtly aggressive.

Latest software, sluggish performance

The Honor 9 Lite runs Android 8.0 Oreo with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 user interface, making it more up-to-date out of the box than the Honor 7X, matching the Honor View 10. Performance isn’t as fast or fluid as either of those two phones, despite the same Kirin 659 processor as the Honor 7X. There’s 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, compared to the 4GB and 64GB on the 7X. A MicroSD card slot does allow you to increase the amount of storage. The stuttering and sluggish performance we noticed on our phone may be fixed by a software update ahead of release, and we’ve reached out to Honor to confirm.

Honor 9 Lite Compared To

Performance is where you notice the difference between the Honor 9 Lite and a more expensive smartphone with a faster processor. A quick game of Reckless Racing 3 confirms this — the game is perfectly playable, but the frame rate suffers. If you’re an occasional gamer, this won’t bother you. It’s certainly not slow, but you do notice the pauses and slight slowdown. But to change all that, you’ll need to spend twice what the Honor 9 Lite costs, so compromises are to be expected.

We’ve only spent a few hours with the Honor 9 Lite, so we can’t judge battery life. But disappointingly, the phone has a MicroUSB charging port, not a USB Type-C.

Price and availability

The Honor 9 Lite will go on sale in the U.K. on February 6 through the HiHonor online store and a selection of other retailers including Amazon. There are no plans to release it in the U.S. yet, according to an Honor representative. We recommend the Honor 7X, which is available in the U.S. and the U.K., but we’re genuinely surprised  — and happy — we have the chance to try a phone that costs even less, but still appears to deliver the goods. We’ll be bringing a full review your way soon.

Bring out your inner Michelangelo with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

Although nothing can truly replace a traditional piece of paper or sheet of canvas, the iPad Pro comes incredibly close to bringing digital art up to the same level as analog art. The larger screen opens the iPad Pro to new levels of artistry and turns a fun sketching tool into a serious platform for creativity. Designed from the ground up with the promising Apple Pencil in mind, the iPad Pro is the ultimate digital canvas. Luckily, there are scores of drawing apps in the App Store, and many of them have already been optimized for the Pro’s enlarged screen and the Pencil’s fine-point tip. Below are 20 of the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro, so you can become the Michelangelo of the mobile world.

Just pick up an iPad Pro for the first time? To help you get started, we’ve rounded up the best games for the iPad Pro and the best keyboard cases for the iPad Pro.

MediBang Paint

best ipad pro drawing apps medibang app1

MediBang Paint is a very easy to use painting program that may remind you of Photoshop, in that it allows you to work with layers. It has a very good brush editor, and offers the ability to add styles to your layers. This program has so many tools that it feels more at home on the larger iPad Pros, but it is also compatible with the fourth-generation iPad and above, or iPad Mini 2 and above. If you like to draw comic books, this app gives you a lot of comic book fonts to get the professional look you want. You can save your projects locally or to the cloud.

Download now from:

iTunes

Artrage ($5)

artrage-ios

The main idea of Artrage is to make painting as real as possible on the iPad. You can mix paints with one another as though you were blending them on a real canvas. This app works with layers, and if you’re already familiar with Photoshop, you’ll feel right at home with the blend modes. Artrage also allows you to record your drawing for later viewing on the desktop. It not only supports the Apple Pencil, but also has support for Wacom, Adonit, and Pogo styli.

Download now from:

iTunes

SketchBook by Autodesk

sketchbook

Even if you’re not a professional artist, you’ve probably heard about Sketchbook by Autodesk. It is definitely one of the most popular apps for artists. The layout is everything when it comes to design programs, and Sketchbook’s toolbars are laid out in an easily accessible way — and you can even pin them to the screen. Great features include import/export from and to Photoshop, and the ability to zoom in as much as 2,500 percent to let you work on those fine details. It supports the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, along with some of the better styli available for other tablets.

Download now from:

iTunes

Graphic ($9)

graphic-ios

If you remember when the iPad Pro was announced, it was touted by Apple as being a replacement for your PC. Graphic is like having Adobe Illustrator on your iPad. This app used to be called iDraw, and because it is available for your Mac, you can go back and forth between your desktop and your iPad designing and drawing. It features different brushes and full support for the Apple Pencil but also is an app that lets you create vector-based technical drawings. If you’re into graphic design, you will be amazed how Graphic can push the capabilities of the iPad.

Download now from:

iTunes

Adobe Illustrator Draw

illustrator-ios

Similar to Graphic, Adobe Illustrator Draw allows you to create vector-based designs. This app, however, is a lot more simple, with a less intimidating UI. It’s geared toward someone who wants to quickly start working on ideas. The app lets you take your work on the go, and you can easily transition your latest project to Illustrator on your desktop or laptop when you’re back at the office.

Download now from:

iTunes

Inspire Pro ($8)

inspire

This app is one of the most intuitive ones when it comes to drawing and sketching. Taking advantage of the iPad’s multicore CPU and OpenGL, it can draw and render images quickly, which is one of the things you want when you’re drawing on a tablet to help it mimic real drawing. The app saves your favorite colors for quick access and fully supports the Apple Pencil.

Download now from:

iTunes

Assembly

best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

Making stickers, icons, and other graphics with Assembly is easy. You can create crisp and professional-looking work in no time at all with this app. There’s also a vast selection of shapes, symbols, and stickers for you to manipulate and layer. You can save your work as a high-resolution JPG or PNG, as well as in vector formats like SVG and PDF. The app is free, but if you want 21 themed shape packs, a text engine with 25 custom fonts, the ability to combine and intersect fonts, or even import vector images, you’ll have to pay for a Pro subscription that costs $3 per week, $5 per month, or $30 per year.

Download now from:

iTunes

Sketch Club ($3)

sketchclub-ios

Sketch Club has something unique, and that is a community of artists with whom you can share your art. You’ll also be able to comment on everyone’s work and get inspiration. The app even lets you create 64 layers in total, and you can create your art on canvases that are up to 4K in resolution. With a wide selection of brushes and vector tools, this is a full-fledged drawing app. It has full support for the Apple Pencil and the ability to record in 1080p.

Download now from:

iTunes

Brushes Redux

brushes-redux-ios

Brushes took the stage when the Apple iPad debuted back in 2010 and showed the world that an iPad could be a tool for artists. Since then, the app has grown to support the iPad Pro. Because this app is an iOS exclusive, it has been written specifically for iPad. It supports OpenGL and takes advantage of the 64-bit processing on the iPad. Not only is it very fast, but it has the typical iOS interface design language that iOS users are comfortable with, so finding your way through the very simple toolbar is a breeze. It has layers support, but unlike other more robust professional apps, you can only create up to 10 layers.

Download now from:

iTunes

Astropad ($30)

Astropad panels left

Astropad pairs your iPad Pro with a Mac and turns your tablet into a dedicated drawing slate. It’s meant for professional creatives who use applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The app is even optimized for the iPad Pro to showcase improved image quality, reduced latency, a custom pressure curve specifically designed for the Apple Pencil, and support for tilt with the stylus. The latest update offers advanced stroke tuning for removing stray points and providing strokes with the Pencil, which means you only see what you intend to draw. It’s the ultimate drawing app for professional illustrators, comic book artists, and anyone who’s ever wanted a Wacom tablet. It does cost $30, but that easily beats the price of professional drawing slates.

Download now from:

iTunes

Editors’ Recommendations

Google may be reattempting to enter the console market with a streaming service

Android “consoles” seem to come and go like the latest trend, but Google apparently wants to keep the dream alive by providing its own game-streaming platform and possibly a first-party console. The latest rumor pins down a project codenamed as “Yeti” targeting a subscription-based streaming service playable on Google’s Chromecast devices. That could mean Google plans to release a new version of Chromecast packing Bluetooth connectivity, and a compatible game controller. 

According to an unnamed source, Google developed Yeti for two years. The company originally had the service locked and loaded for a holiday 2017 launch, but reportedly decided to delay the project. So far there’s no indication of when — or if — the Yeti project will ever go retail. An updated Chromecast, however, is inevitable regardless of Yeti’s status. 

Unfortunately, there is no information about the rumored “console.” There is also no information about what Google plans to stream: Will the company simply offer Android games, or team up with Steam to provide a service that supports high-quality desktop-class games?

Possibly fueling Google’s Yeti project is Phil Harrison, who now serves as a vice president and general manager under the search giant’s roof. His previous experience includes three years on the Xbox team, as an advisory for Sony’s Gaikai streaming service, as a board member at Atari, and three other roles at Sony. Bringing Harrison on board at Google may be why the company chose to push back the launch of its Yeti project. He reports directly to Google’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Rick Osterloh. 

Currently, the most popular Android “console” on the market is Nvidia’s Shield TV. It’s an Android TV set-top box at heart, powered by the company’s Tegra-branded mobile processor. But it also focuses on gaming: Android-based games installed on the device, and PC games that you can stream through Nvidia’s GeForce Now service. This may be the market Google is addressing with its unannounced Yeti project. 

Nvidia is currently rolling out a beta of GeForce Now for Windows and MacOS-based PCs. The service creates a virtual desktop in the cloud powered by Nvidia’s GTX 1080 graphics cards.  You install your favorite Steam-based games in this virtual environment and then stream those games to low-end machines. 

Google could likely be backtracking to do something similar along with providing the service on the Chromecast or a micro-console. This could prove to be a great benefit for Chromebook owners who purchased a low-end device, but still want the benefits of playing high-quality desktop games. 

Google attempted to create an Android-based console in 2014 but scrapped its plans given the lackluster retail performance of the Ouya Android console. Ouya started out as a highly successful Kickstarter project that landed $8.59 million in funding but faced a retail roadblock because it didn’t support Google Play apps. Other clones came and went with very little success.

Sony already provides its Gaikai-backed PlayStation Now service that streams more than 600 PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games. Microsoft plans to enter the streaming market with an Xbox-branded service within the next several years. 

Editors’ Recommendations

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you run out of storage space on your phone or tablet, then you’ll want to find a way to get more. One of the simplest options is to insert a MicroSD card. Sadly, not all smartphones and tablets support MicroSD cards. If you have an iPhone or iPad, then you’re out of luck, but many Android devices do support them, as do some Windows Phone and BlackBerry handsets.

Check the full specs for your phone on the manufacturer’s website, or look for a MicroSD card slot in your phone. On newer phones, they’re generally part of the SIM tray.

What to consider when buying a MicroSD card

There are a handful of things to consider when you’re choosing a new MicroSD card for your phone. Obviously, the price and capacity are going to feature, but you also need to make sure that the type of card you buy is supported by your device and that it’s suitable for your needs.

SDHC and SDXC

SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity and SDXC stands for Secure Digital Extended Capacity. The only real difference is the range of data they can store. You’ll find that SDHC MicroSD cards range from 2GB to 32GB in size, while SDXC MicroSD cards can range from 32GB up to 2TB in size, though the biggest MicroSD card we’ve seen so far is 512GB.

Class and UHS ratings

The Class rating of a MicroSD card refers to its minimum transfer speed. UHS stands for Ultra High Speed. Here’s how the minimum speeds for different classes break down.

Class Minimum Speed
2 2 MB/s
4 4 MB/s
6 6 MB/s
8 8 MB/s
10 10 MB/s
UHS 1 10 MB/s
UHS 3 30 MB/s

Most MicroSD cards are a lot faster than the minimum speed. A Class 10 card may offer 95 MB/s, for example, and UHS cards can go up to 312 MB/s.

Application Performance Class

The SD Association launched a new standard last year, called App Performance Class, which is designed to highlight MicroSD cards that are suitable for use in smartphones and tablets. The A1 rating means that the card can manage random read input-output access per second (IOPS) of 1,500 and write IOPS of 500. This is ideal for quickly opening apps and processing tasks. These new A1 cards are worth looking out for if you intend to format your card as internal storage in an Android device, something Google calls “Adoptable Storage.”

How to choose a MicroSD card

You’re obviously going to want the highest speed, highest capacity MicroSD card you can get, for the lowest price. We would advise you to factor in the brand reputation and the reported performance and reliability. Check out the warranty terms, just in case something should go wrong. You also need to be careful where you buy. If you’re going to use Amazon or eBay then read some customer reviews and watch out for fake MicroSD cards, because they’re disappointingly common.

Best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

We’ve picked out five of the best MicroSD cards for smartphones here, but the right card for you will depend on your device and your needs. You may want to look beyond this list, but we advise you to stick to well-known brands like Samsung, Lexar, SanDisk, Toshiba, and Kingston. All prices are correct at the time of writing, but the MicroSD card market moves fast, so expect them to change.

SanDisk Extreme 32GB ($19)

SanDisk Extreme 32GB MicroSD Card

Here’s a speedy SDHC card that offers read speeds of up to 90 MB/s and write speeds of up to 60 MB/s. This is a durable card with a lifetime warranty, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. It will have no trouble with 1080p video and can even handle 4K, though you may want a larger capacity if that’s what you’re buying it for. It also comes with a handy SD adapter.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Samsung Evo+ 64GB ($28)

Samsung Evo+ 64GB MicroSD Card

This SDXC card is rated as Class 10 or UHS-1 and offers transfer speeds of up to 80 MB/s. It’s a durable and reliable MicroSD card with a lot of positive reviews. It’s fast and efficient for use in phones and tablets and won’t have any trouble recording 1080p video, but you should opt for another card if you shoot in 4K. Ultimately, it’s a great all-rounder for a reasonable price.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Lexar Professional 128GB ($100)

Lexar Professional 128GB MicroSD Card

If you want a fast MicroSD card with a decent capacity, then consider this option from Lexar. It’s an SDXC card with a UHS-II rating, offering read speeds up to 150 MB/s. The write speeds are a little disappointing at around 45 MB/s, but it can handle 4K video recording.  This is another card with a lot of good reviews and it comes with a handy USB card reader to plug into your PC or laptop.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 200GB ($74)

SanDisk Ultra 200GB MicroSD Card

You may prefer to opt for SanDisk’s new 256GB A1-rated MicroSD card, but be warned – it will cost you closer to $200. The card we’re recommending here has been out for a while and so the price has dropped significantly. It’s a Class 10 card that offers a whopping 200GB and it’s fast enough for 1080p video recording. Read speeds go up to 90 MB/s, but write speeds are a lot lower, so it’s not a card for recording 4K video. It comes with an SD adapter.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Editors’ Recommendations

Asus Zenfone 4 review

Asus may not be the best-known name in smartphones, but it has an extensive range of devices available in the U.S. and the U.K., at fairly reasonable prices. The brand name has a good following, largely due to its computers, but Asus has a quirky history with mobile products — releasing niche devices that often seem more experimental than anything else. Last year it unveiled the ZenFone AR smartphone utilizing Google’s soon-to-be-dead Tango augmented reality program; and even older devices like the Asus PadFone toyed with the idea of a smartphone combined with a tablet. As rumors about the ZenFone 5 heat up, we’re looking at the ZenFone 4, a phone that couples an unusual wide-angle camera with a slick design, and an affordable $400 price tag.

Starburst design

The ZenFone 4 packs relatively ordinary looks, but there’s one neat trick on the back. The Gorilla Glass 5 rear panel reflects light in a very precise way, causing a starburst-like pattern to erupt from the Asus logo. It’s no accident — it’s the same look seen on Asus laptops — and it looks really cool. Aside from the Asus logo and some small print at the bottom, the rear of the ZenFone 4 is uncluttered. Even the dual camera lenses are flush with the case. This is a by-product of the phone being thicker than many current big-name phones at 7.70mm.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The phone is very flat. There are no curves, outside of the rounded edges. It’s surprisingly not that slippery, but a transparent case inside the box is a welcome addition, offering peace of mind against drops that could crack the glass on the front or back. Putting it in the case does dull the starburst look a little, but it’s still visible with fewer fingerprints too.

It’s not ugly, but it’s not breaking any boundaries either.

An aluminum frame sits sandwiched between the two Gorilla Glass 5 panels, and there are two buttons on the right-hand side: A sleep/wake key, and a volume rocker. On the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a single speaker, alongside the USB Type-C charging port.

No-one is going to stop you in the street and ask what phone you’re holding. The ZenFone 4 is not ugly at all, but it’s not breaking any boundaries either.

Chunky bezels

The ZenFone 4 has bezels, or thick edges surrounding the screen. Compared to phones like the OnePlus 5T, the iPhone X, and the Samsung Galaxy S8, these bezels are enormous and make the phone look dated. It’s purely an aesthetic complaint — if anything, the fingerprint sensor below the screen is easier-to-grasp than the one on the Honor View 10, which squeezes its sensor into a slimmer bezel. The screen measures 5.5-inches, and it has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution.

Asus Zenfone 4 Review hand

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The screen doesn’t get very bright, despite Asus’ claim of 600 nits of brightness. Still, we didn’t struggle to see it in every day lighting situations. We did note the screen changes the way pictures look through the camera viewfinder. What we saw on the screen looks much worse than the final image, which may be software-related, rather than screen-related.

Average camera

There are two lenses on the back of the ZenFone 4, but Asus has opted to replicate what LG does with its dual cameras on the LG G6 and LG V30, with a 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture alongside a secondary 120-degree wide-angle, 8-megapixel lens. There’s 4-axis optical image stabilization (OIS), a 1.4 micron pixel size, dual-pixel PDAF, 4K video recording, RAW file support, and a pro manual mode. That’s a monster spec list, but how does the camera fare?

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It performs well in the right situations. While the specs suggest great hardware, there are some compromises. For example, OIS is only present on the main camera, not the wide-angle lens, which has a lower aperture and doesn’t perform as well in low light. The main camera also doesn’t capture the good pictures in challenging light either, leaving us feeling a little let down.

On more than one occasion the ZenFone 4’s camera surprised us

But the camera does occasionally surprise us. Walking around town and shooting a few test pictures resulted in a great shot over rooftops into a gradually setting sun. The HDR mode balanced shadows and light effectively, and the picture was considerably evocative. That said, the wide-angle shots we took struggled with overcast skies, and didn’t pop as much as we hoped.

Asus includes a comprehensive editing suite in its Gallery app, which can be used to alter images to your preference; but the interface is confusing and not as intuitive as Snapseed or other third-party editing apps. This is a point we’ll return to later, as it’s indicative of the ZenFone 4’s main issue. It’s the same problem with the ZenFone 4’s selfie camera. There are many beautification effects for the 8-megapixel camera, but the controls don’t encourage you to explore, due to small icons and imprecise sliders for adjustments. The selfies enhanced by the beauty mode usually end up washed out and unpleasant.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There is a portrait mode that detects faces and blurs out the background. but we found this worked with the front camera, not the rear.

Asus also includes a separate selfie app which has a live video mode linked with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. It merely jumps you into the app, rather than seamlessly starting a live-stream in the app.

There are much better camera phones out there at this price range. While we do like the wide-angle camera, we can’t quite stand the spotty performance and less-than-intuitive software.

Far from zen

The ZenFone 4 runs Android 7.1.1 with the September 2017 security patch, complete with Asus’ ZenUI over the top theme. While Huawei, LG, and Samsung are all moving towards a more stock Android appearance, Asus is not, and it’s all the worse for it. ZenUI is very different from Android on the Google Pixel 2, or almost any other Android phone we’ve used recently. Asus will say this makes it unique. We say it makes it annoying, and not very zen at all.

Asus ZenFone 4 Compared To

Examples? To dismiss notifications under the notification shade, the Clear button isn’t at the bottom of the list like one would logically assume, it’s right at the top of the screen and it’s easily missable. The included keyboard is one of Asus’ own construction, and its autocorrect feature has a frustrating tendency to pick the least likely word in the line-up. It’s slow to react, some buttons have terrible placement, and are often too small.

There is evidence of sluggishness throughout the standard software, from the camera app to the various pre-instated apps for selfies, call management, and a themes app. The software is not our favorite aspect of the ZenFone 4, although third-party apps — once open — zipped through the menus quickly. That suggests the phone itself doesn’t have performance issues, but ZenUI is just sluggish.

Solid performance

The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 processor with 4GB of RAM, but there are some versions out there with a Snapdragon 630, depending on the region you purchase the device. We ran some benchmark tests to see how it performed:

  • Geekbench 4: Multi Core: 4,128; Single Core: 870
  • AnTuTu 3D: 69,052
  • 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 835

These scores are very similar to the HTC U11 Life and the Moto X4, two phones that cost around the same as the ZenFone 4. We’ve mentioned the sluggish performance of ZenUI already, but this doesn’t extend to gaming, or movie watching. Playing simple games like Happy Hop and more graphically-intensive games like Reckless Racing 3, was pleasant and problem-free on the ZenFone 4.

One distinct advantage of the large bezels is having somewhere to hold the phone when playing games. Asus has its own game-monitoring app, which can be used to directly stream to YouTube or Twitch, plus silence notifications when you’re playing. Streaming YouTube and Netflix at 1080p was also faultless, whether on Wi-Fi or cellular.

Good battery life, great audio

The Asus ZenFone 4 is an awesome music device. Seriously. Purists will welcome the 3.5mm headphone jack, but it’s the presence of DTS Headphone:X technology that really sets it apart, along with Hi-Res audio file playback. We paired it with Tidal, and a pair of ordinary but decent AKG Y50 headphones. Asus’ own Audio Wizard app and the DTS Headphone:X personalization transformed the sound we heard.

The Asus ZenFone 4 is an awesome music device.

The app has a selection of profiles designed to match the headphones, and a series of soundstage and presets for different listening environments. The AKG Y50s were on the list, and the DTS profile pushed the bass to the max; when combined with the Wide soundstage setting, it sounded fantastic. When we didn’t want such pounding bass, it was simple to play with the settings and tailor it to the track. There are stereo speakers too, but no AptX HD for wireless playback.

Battery life has been good, with nearly two days average use from the 3,300mAh cell. The included fast charger took the battery from 10 percent to full in less than 90 minutes. Asus says a 36 minute charge will provide 50 percent capacity, which should see the phone last a day.

Price, availability, and warranty

In the U.S., Asus sells the ZenFone 4 through its own online store for $400, or $380 in a promotion running at the time of writing. In the U.K. it’s 450 British pounds through Amazon, or retailers including Carphone Warehouse. Asus puts a one-year warranty on its phones.

A word of warning for buyers in the U.S. There are international versions of the ZenFone 4 available through Amazon, and these may not have the required cellular bands to connect to 4G LTE networks. Make sure the device you’re purchasing is a U.S. device before paying out.

Our Take

Frustrating software made us lose our calm with the ZenFone 4, which is a shame when other aspects like the battery and audio performance are great for a phone at this price.

Are there any better alternatives?

Yes, there are. It’s a competitive field for Asus, with strong showings from HTC with the HTC U11 Life for $350, the $280 LG Q6, the $350 Moto X4, and the $200 Honor 7X for even less. The wide-angle camera definitely separates it from others though, and the audio is better than most phones. Spend a little more and it’s possible to get a considerably better phone. Most notably, the OnePlus 5T has a faster processor, more RAM, a better design, and a good camera for just $100 more.

In the U.K., the ZenFone 4 is expensive. It’s overshadowed by the Honor 9, the Honor View 10, and the OnePlus 5T, which are all available at around the same price, or even less. Crucially, the software experience on all these phones is superior to Asus’s ZenUI.

How long will it last?

The ZenFone 4 has a glass body and isn’t water resistant, so you’ll have to put it in a case and be wary of water, if you’re the clumsy type. The aging design looks old in early 2018, and will look even older in several months.

It runs an old version of Android now, and doesn’t have the latest security patch installed; but Asus promises an Android Oreo update is on its way to the phone right now. That’s good news, and ahead of some much larger phone manufacturers. Still, we have yet to see an update on our unit at the beginning of February 2018.

Should you buy it?

No. There are better phones available for the price, without the software pain points we experienced on the ZenFone 4. It’s a shame, because there are elements of the phone we like.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals this Valentine’s Day

While smartwatches aren’t as common as smartphones quite yet, they’re no longer enthusiast-only items either. The best smartwatches make your life easier by providing alerts right on your wrist so you don’t have to constantly find and pull out your phone. Many also provide a variety of fitness-tracking features and waterproof cases, while others double as music players, with support for popular services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and iHeartRadio.

Many analysts believe the smartwatch market will continue to grow as manufacturers add new features to their products and the technology becomes more affordable. So, if you’re ready to take the plunge into high-tech wearables that aren’t an Apple Watch and want to save some money, read on for the best smartwatch deals online right now.

The Best Deal

Fossil Q Explorist

smartwatch deals fossil Q explorist

With its stainless steel case and wrist band, it doesn’t get much more traditional than the new Fossil Q Explorist, which our review team dubbed “the perfect blend of style and substance” for Android users. Don’t let the classic appearance fool you, though — the Explorist’s heart is fully modern. Thanks to Bluetooth technology, you can instantly get notified of important texts, calls, social media messages, and emails, which are delivered right to the color touchscreen face.

It also has built-in activity tracking so you can monitor your everyday accomplishments — including steps, distance, calories burned, and other fitness metrics — when the watch is synced with your phone. The built-in mic lets you control the watch and connected devices using voice commands. The Fossil Q Wander smartwatch regularly goes for $275 but is currently marked down to $199 on Amazon, saving you $76.

$199 from Amazon

The Rest

Michael Kors Access Bradshaw

michael kors access smartwatch deals

Another stylish option with traditional wristwatch aesthetics is the Access Bradshaw from Michael Kors. This wearable offers a classic all-metal look, runs on Android Wear firmware, and has everything you want in a smartwatch — activity tracking, phone notifications, customizable watch faces, music playback, and more. It also offers convenient features like a built-in speaker for hands-free calling. The watch provides both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy syncing with your compatible Android and iOS devices.

A built-in mic lets you answer calls and issue voice commands. The metal housing and tough rubber band make this watch as eye-pleasing as it is durable, while a 1 ATM water-resistance rating protects the watch against water at depths of up to 10 meters. The striking gold-and-tortoise-colored Access Bradshaw is now available for $199 from Amazon, a discount of $176, or you can grab the blue steel version for the same price and save $151.

$199 from Amazon

VTech Kidizoom DX2

smartwatch deals vtech kidizoom DX2

If you know a young techie who would love his or her own smartwatch, then VTech’s Kidizoom DX2 is just the ticket. This wearable comes loaded with 55 digital and analog watch faces to teach kids how to tell time. There are also wrist-based built-in features like a pedometer, gyroscopic motion sensor for games, and two cameras for taking videos and photos. The included USB cable can be used to charge the watch, download new games and clock faces from the VTech Learning Lodge, and upload pics and video clips to your computer.

The Kidizoom DX2 boasts a metal and rubber housing that helps it stand up to daily “kid use” and the bumps and drops that come with that. It’s affordable, too: The VTech Kidizoom DX2 comes in at $46 from Amazon after a 24 percent discount of $14.

$46 from Amazon

Samsung Gear S2

smartwatch deals samsung gear s2

Our third deal is a treat from Samsung and a favorite of many smartwatch fans. The great-looking Gear S2 boasts a classic yet utilitarian build, thanks to its gunmetal gray steel case and thick rubber wrist strap. Tough Gorilla Glass protects the touchscreen face, and the case features military-grade protection from dust, moisture, and impacts.

The Gear S2 also has a rotating bezel you can use to scroll through apps, notifications, and more. Like other wearables, it wirelessly syncs with your phone, and the S2 also has a heart rate monitor, along with a variety of health-tracking functions. The Gear S2 is on sale on for $70 off, bringing it down to $179 from Walmart.

$179 from Walmart

Samsung Gear S3

smartwatch deals samsung gear s3

This smartwatch deal from Samsung discounts one of our favorite Android wearables: The beefy Gear S3. This watch comes in two flavors, the stylish Classic and the sporty Frontier. The aptly named Classic boasts a traditional wristwatch appearance with its gunmetal gray steel case and thick leather wrist strap, while the Frontier is purpose-built for active users with its black silicone band and reinforced black steel housing. Gorilla Glass SR+ protects the watch face on both models, and the cases feature military-grade protection from dust, moisture, and impacts.

The Gear S3 also has a rotating bezel you can use to scroll through apps, notifications, and more. Like other wearables, these watches wirelessly sync with your phone, and the S3 also has a heart rate monitor along with a variety of health-tracking functions. The Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier are each on sale on for $50 off, bringing them down to $300 apiece from B&H. For more information on this Samsung smartwatch, check out our hands-on review.

$299 from B&H

Lemfo LF19

smartwatch deals lemfo lf19

For a super-affordable, no-nonsense smartwatch, consider the best-selling Lemfo LF19. The rugged LF19 ditches any bells and whistles in favor of a low-cost, no-frills sports watch design that’s perfect for active users looking for something more than your standard digital watch (think G-Shock with smart connectivity).

This smartwatch is compatible with Android and iOS devices and can sync wirelessly with your phone to upload and track fitness metrics via the companion app. The case is waterproof at up to 50 meters and the luminous digital face is easy to read at a glance. You can also use the watch to remotely control your phone for taking pictures. The Lemfo LF19 is the cheapest smartwatch on our roundup, coming in at just $29 on Amazon after a 52 percent savings of $31.

$29 From Amazon

Pebble Time

smartwatch deals pebble time

If you want one of the most affordable full-featured smartwatches available today, then check out the popular Pebble Time Round. This Android- and iOS-compatible smartwatch has a built-in activity and sleep tracker and delivers phone notifications right to your wrist. Its 9.5mm chassis features a slim and ergonomic profile, marine-grade stainless steel bezel with PVD coating, a matte finish, and tactile buttons for easy, eyes-free control.

Its microphone is perfect for voice notes and quick replies, and the tough glass display is an always-on, full color epaper screen — no wrist-flicking required just to check the time. Although the company went under, Rebble will keep things going for the foreseeable future, so your Pebble is good to go in the years to come. The Pebble Time Round smartwatch normally retails for $150 but is currently on sale for $85 on Amazon, providing a 43 percent discount of $65.

$85 From Amazon

LG Watch Style

Smartwatch deals - LG Watch Style

It seems like every tech company is jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon. Although there are many no-name brands pumping out cheap ones, you cannot go wrong with an established brand like LG, which has its own budget-friendly Android wearable in the LG Watch Style. The Style comes loaded with Android Wear 2.0 software and offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Under the hood, the smartwatch runs on a 1.1 GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU and 512MB of RAM, and you also get an impressive 4GB of storage capacity for apps and other data. The LG Watch Style was released in 2017, making it one of the best budget options for users who want a current-gen smartwatch. You can grab one from Amazon for $187, saving you $63.

$187 from Amazon

Huawei Watch 2

smartwatch deals huawei watch 2

Get a durable smartwatch that you can adapt to your active lifestyle with the Huawei Watch 2, which comes in two varieties and was named the “best Android watch yet” in our hands-on review. The Watch 2 allows you to use all your favorite apps on the go for a truly seamless experience. With this smartwatch, Google Now becomes your personal assistant. The watch also helps you stay on top of your health game with built-in fitness-tracking features including an enhanced heart rate monitor and sensors to track running, walking, and more.

Thanks to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability, it’s compatible with most devices with iOS or Android operating systems. The Sport model is both dustproof and water-resistant. with an IP68 ingress protection rating, whereas the Stainless version offers a great classic look for casual wear. The Huawei Watch 2 Sport is currently on sale for $240 from Amazon, saving you $60, or you can grab the Huawei Watch Classic for $271 and save $99.

$240 From Amazon

Skagen Hagen Connected

smartwatch deals skagen hagen connected

Skagen is well-known in the world of wristwatches, with a reputation for its sleek minimalist designs and subtle European style. It’s no surprise that Skagen’s smartwatch offering, the Hagen Connected, looks so good. At a glance, the Hagen Connected, which features a standard battery-powered quartz movement, looks like any other analog watch. Looks can be deceiving, however. This hybrid wristwatch also boasts a suite of smart features like activity tracking, phone syncing, message notifications, music control playback, and compatibility with both Android and iOS devices.

With its classic looks and low profile, the Skagen Hagen Connected smartwatch is a top choice for style-conscious users who want smart functionality without sacrificing aesthetics. This sleek wearable can be yours for $131 on Amazon, giving you an $84 discount.

$131 from Amazon

Fossil Q Crewmaster Hybrid

smartwatch deals fossil hybrid crewmaster

For the perfect high-end blend of form and function, you can’t beat a good dive watch. The stylish Fossil Q Crewmaster Hybrid smartwatch boasts a durable rubber band, along with a water-resistant case (up to 30 meters), traditional 60-minute diving bezel, and customizable dials. You can also instantly get notified of important texts, calls, social media messages, and emails, thanks to Bluetooth technology. It has built-in activity tracking as well, so you can monitor your everyday accomplishments including steps, distance, and calories burned.

Other features include the ability to control tunes on your favorite music player, as well as a built-in microphone and speaker that allow you to perform a variety of tasks on the smartwatch using just your voice. The black-and-orange Fossil Q Crewmaster smartwatch regularly retails for $155 but is currently marked down to $108.50 on Amazon, saving you $46.50. You can check out our hands-on Crewmaster review for more details on this excellent Android wearable.

$108.50 from Amazon

Garmin Vívoactive HR

smartwatch deals - garmin vivoactive

For a more full-featured fitness smartwatch, check out one of our all-time favorites, the health-based Garmin Vivoactive HR. It displays steps, distance, calories, heart rate, and is an activity tracker, along with text, call, email, calendar and social media alerts. This easy-to-use smartwatch reminds you to keep active via a move bar and vibration alert. It even has an integrated barometric altimeter that tracks when you take the stairs and measures your workout intensity so you can monitor your progress against weekly goals.

For detailed calorie tracking, you can create an account at MyFitnessPal and link it to your Garmin Connect account, which allows you to compare calories consumed to total calories burned, as well as compete in challenges with others. The smartwatch has a battery life of up to five days, as well as a convenient, non-intrusive touchscreen design. Pick up one today on Amazon for $151 after a $99 discount.

$151 from Amazon

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

smartwatch deals samsung gear fit2 pro

Get the motivation you need to stay on top of your fitness goals with a Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro, which uses a wide range of tracking sensors to closely monitor your activity levels including steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep quality. It can even automatically identify different types of physical activities such as running, swimming, and cycling. The smartwatch is water-resistant and features a curved, full-color super AMOLED screen that displays real-time activity stats, along with texts and other alerts from your iOS or Android smartphone. This fitness tracker also features built-in GPS gives you accurate real-time stats as well.

The watch features the S Health app, which you can use to set goals, check leaderboards, challenge others to step competitions, and share workout results with just the touch of a button. The smartwatch also acts as a stand-alone music player, so you can store your favorite music on your Gear Fit2 or connect to your phone with Spotify to access millions of songs. Charging is easy with the included cradle. You can score the all-black Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro or the striking red-and-black Fit2 Pro for $149, saving you $51.

$149 from Amazon

Looking for more great deals on tech and electronics? Check out our tech deals or sign up for our deals newsletter for weekly updates.

Update: Added the Fossil Q Explorist, Samsung Gear S3, and Michael Kors Access Bradshaw smartwatch deals. Removed expired offers and updated prices.

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Editors’ Recommendations