Watch face roundup: Free faces for your Gear S2

It’s time once again for our bi-weekly watch face roundup!

This weekend we’ve got 5 awesome and free watch faces that are available for your Gear S2 smartwatch. While the options for watch faces are a bit more limited for the Gear S2 than for an Android Wear device, there still are some perfectly awesome faces out there.

If you’re looking for a new watch face that won’t cost a dime, be sure to check out these 5 watch faces.

Radiation Night

Radiation Night is the first watch face on our list of awesome faces that are free. It’s got a great design that gives you access to the time, the date, and your battery percentage. It does so in a way that is bright, and easy to read, without seeming overloaded by information. You also won’t find a digital display of the time, because this is a full on analog watch face.

In the very middle of the watch face is where you’ll find the date along with your current battery percentage. Designed in blues, with yellow for emphasis, it’s quite easy to read even at a glance. As mentioned above, this is an analog display with hands for hours, minutes and seconds. The minute and second hands are the easiest to read, as both are tipped in glowing yellow to help you focus on them.

The Radiation Night watch face is available for free.

CWF Aquarius

If you prefer a more classic look for your watch face, then you should definitely take a look at the CWF Aquarius. It’s got an elegant design and display that in reminiscent of the days when a wristwatch was the norm. You get access to the date, digital and analog displays of the time, and your battery percentage. It designed with multiple dials on the face that read off the data for you.

The lower half of the watch face has three dials. On the left is the month, on the bottom is your battery, and on the right is the hour in a 24 hour format. You’ll also find the day of the month on the lower right side of the face. The upper half of the face has the day of the week, and the time in a 12 hour format. Additionally you’ll find the numerals for the time around the edge of the watch, along with markings for seconds passing.

The CWF Aquarius watch face is available for free.

Weather Face

If you’re looking for the most minimalist watch face that you can find, that still gives you some basic information then look no further than the Weather Face. You won’t find gauges, or a lot of information here. Just the time, temperature, and weather conditions. It works really well though, and has some gorgeous backgrounds to show you the current weather.

The background is how you’ll see current weather conditions. It changes for a sunny afternoon, the evening, rainy conditions, and more. The temperature is displayed in Celsius on the lower half of the screen. The time, in a 24-hour format, is displayed fairly large right in the middle of your watch face. It works together very well, and adjusts quickly to changing conditions.

The Weather Face is available for free.

Nuclear Face

If you’re looking to display some information without being overloaded, and you’re a fan of the apocalypse, then it’s the Nuclear Face that you should check out. This is a fairly simple watch face that rocks a black and yellow radiation symbol as it’s background. You’ll get access to a pedometer, the time, the date, and a battery gauge.

The middle of this watch face is dominated by the time and date written out in white. Above the date is a gauge with a shoe, that works as a pedometer. It won’t tell you precisely how many steps you’ve taken, instead slowly filling the gauge as you travel. Underneath the date is another gauge, this one displays your battery percentage. Much like the pedometer it won’t display a precise percentage, instead giving you a rough idea of your remaining battery percentage.

The Nuclear Face is available for free.

Hobbes Digital Face

If you never got to spend time with Calvin and Hobbes, you might not understand why this watch face is kind of exciting. It’s a minimalist watch face that will probably bring back memories for fans of the comic strip. It is an seriously minimalist watch face though, and includes no information other than the time written out in a 12-hour format.

Most of the watch face is taken up by an illustration of Calvin and Hobbes wobbling across a log. At the bottom of the screen it’s where you’ll find the time, tucked underneath that log. It won’t tell you much, but it is a very quite, and simple watch face.

The Hobbes Digital Face is available for free.

Did we miss an awesome free watch face? Is there a watch face you’d like to see us talk about? Let us know about it in the comments.

Jen Karner #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet  

Google is no longer selling its $999 2015 Chromebook Pixel

Google has quietly removed the $999 model of the 2015 Chromebook Pixel from the Google Store site. The company is still selling the higher end $1,299 version of the ChromeOS notebook.

Google confirmed to VentureBeat that the $999 model won’t be made available for sale again. The notebook had an Intel Core i5 processor inside, along with 8GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a touchscreen. The $1,299 model, with an Intel Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage is still available.

Google removed the $999 version of the 2015 Chromebook Pixel from the Google Store the same week the HP Chromebook 13 was announced. It will be the first Chromebook with a 6th-generation Intel Core M processor, and will have a starting price of $499 when it goes on sale in May.

See at Google Store

John Callaham #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet  

AKG N60NC noise-canceling headphones review: Flip a switch and shut out the world

AKG keeps these headphones compact, while also bringing all of the features you want at a solid price.

If you travel, work in a busy office or just have trouble concentrating on tasks at home, chances are you’ve looked into noise-canceling headphones. The basic technology behind noise cancellation is pretty much commoditized at this point, but companies add their own flavor to it, with varying levels of effectiveness. Beyond that, these of course work as standard headphones, too, giving companies more ways to differentiate.

AKG is a well-known name in audio, but definitely doesn’t have the general brand awareness that a company like Bose does when it comes to noise-canceling headphones (just walk through any airport and you’ll see). AKG’s new N60NC on-ear noise-canceling headphones are out to take a slice of the market, bringing a few neat features to differentiate from other options — and to make you feel a bit better about dropping big money on a set of on-ear headphones.

AKG sent us a set to check out. Here’s how we’ve been enjoying them over the past few weeks.

Comfort, quality and features

Noise-canceling headphones are usually associated with being a bit big and bulky because of their need for extra electronics, but the N60NCs break the mold here. Rather than going with a large, over-ear design that takes up a lot of room in your bag, AKG went with a drastically more compact on-ear design.

This is a surprisingly compact design.

The headphones fold up to a compact size for stowage but even when expanded aren’t that large. The main construction is a hefty black plastic, accented by a nice metal frame and some soft touch plastic in other parts. The headband portion doesn’t have a ton of padding, but the headphones are light enough that you don’t feel pressure on your head in any case. As you’d expect, the headband is adjustable to fit your head just right.

The only real issue with the earcups is that by design they rest on your ears, and aren’t quite as comfortable as over-ear models that wrap around your ears and put less pressure on them. That said, I wore the N60NCs for dozens of flights, and even on nine-hour transatlantic flights without any real discomfort. The earcups swivel at two points to minimize pressure on your ears, and their padding is a very soft leather material with foam underneath.

The audio cable is just shy of 4 feet long, and is removable for those times when you just want to block noise, but not listen to music. It has a straight 3.5mm jack on the headphone end, an L-shape connector for the device’s end, and near the headphones is an in-line play/pause button and microphone. The cable is made of a nice tangle-free braided nylon material, and the connectors are a solid brushed metal.

The big downside of active noise cancelation is that it requires power, and that often means a small removable battery (usually a AAA cell). This is where the N60NCs differentiate themselves — they’re fully rechargeable with an internal 320 mAh battery, and they recharge over the 3.5mm headphone jack with a special cable. That means there’s no need to ever pop out a battery or carry a spare just in case they die, and because it charges over the 3.5mm headphone jack there isn’t any extra hardware or another plug on the headphones.

AKG quotes up to 30 hours of battery life from the internal battery, meaning you can easily take a trip and leave the charging cable at home. The cable is a 1-foot braided style, just like the audio cable, with a flat USB plug on one end and a standard headphone-like jack on the other, and you can charge it from any USB charging source.

Sound and noise cancellation

The noise cancellation is great — perhaps bette than Bose.

Despite their smaller size, the N60NCs do a really great job at canceling out all sorts of ambient noise. Just flip the switch on the back of the left earcup to enable the feature, and ambient noise all but disappears. This goes for just about everything, from low city noise up to the constant rumble of an airplane. What’s particularly impressive about the noise cancellation on the N60NCs is that it also works well for blocking out people talking, which noise-canceling headphones generally don’t deal with as well as constant noise.

When it comes to sound quality, the headphones aren’t particularly overwhelming, as is the case with most noise canceling headphones — a good chunk of the price you’re paying is for the noise cancellation, not the audio quality. Comparing them to my daily use on-ear headphones, the $90 Xiaomi Mi Headphones, I’d say the AKG headphones are about on-par in terms of quality, and that’s just fine with me (I’m definitely not an audiophile, in any case). They sound pretty good whether I have the noise canceling function turned on or not, though you can appreciate your music or podcast quite a bit more without the outside noise distracting you.

The bottom line

When it comes to buying some solid noise-canceling headphones, the simple choice is to skip out on shopping around and just go with Bose. But as is often the case, Bose is also the more expensive offering. AKG’s N60NCs retail for a cool $249, or $50 less than the well-known Bose QuietComfort 25s, and that’s likely to immediately grab some attention.

But here’s the thing: despite their lower price, AKG actually does a lot of things better than Bose, regardless of price. The on-ear design is dramatically more compact, folding down to fit into a smaller case and take up less room in your travel bag — all without sacrificing much in terms of comfort or sound. Comparing them head-to-head I can say that AKG’s noise cancelation is on par or even better than what Bose offers. Their battery life is also just as long, and the N60NCs are rechargeable over any USB plug, which is preferable for most people (myself included).

If you’re looking for a compact set of noise-canceling headphones, you definitely have to take a look beyond Bose — and the AKG N60NCs are one of the options you should check out while you’re shopping.

Where to buy

Do the AKG N60NCs sound like the right headphones for you? Well you’re in luck — they’re easy to buy from several sources. Hit the links below if you’re interested in picking up a pair for yourself.

See at Crutchfield See at Harman Audio See at Amazon

(Ed. note: At the time of writing, Amazon’s listing for the headphones is dramatically more expensive than other sources. That may change over time.)

Andrew Martonik #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet  

Marshmallow updates for the AT&T HTC One M8 and M9 get delayed

HTC M8 and HTC M9 owners on AT&T will have to wait a bit longer to get their promised software update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

HTC’s Mo Versi posted the news on the delay via his Twitter account:

HTC One M8 & M9 AT&T owners – there’s been a slight delay on M OS. We’re in lab but looking at approval within the next couple weeks.

— Mo Versi (@moversi) April 29, 2016

The Marshmallow updates for the HTC One M9 have already rolled out for Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile owners.

HTC One M9 Central

HTC One M9 Essentials

Beginner’s guide to the M9

Read our full review

HTC One M9 specs

HTC One series specs

Get the latest M9 News

Join the M9 discussion

Shop for accessories

AT&T HTC Sprint Verizon

John Callaham #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet  

Amazon’s Alexa devices can tell you what happened on your favorite Syfy TV show

Syfy is the first cable TV network to add support for Amazon’s family of devices that use the Alexa digital assistant such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot speakers and the Fire TV boxes.

Syfy’s website has the details on its support for Alexa:

Alexa has exhaustive knowledge of Syfy’s schedule as far out as 14 days in the future. Plan your schedule and never miss the next episode of your favorite Syfy shows. Alexa knows everything about the most recent episodes of current Syfy shows. If you need a quick refresher, just ask her what happened and Alexa will give you the lowdown. Alexa can see into the future! Alexa is prepared to give you a quick sneak peek on the next episode of your favorite Syfy shows, all you have to do is ask!

See at Amazon

John Callaham #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet