Earlier this month, Talk Android’s Justin Herrick reported on app developer Jack Thackar’s complete remake of his original SF Launcher, which you can view here. The new launcher, SF Launcher 2, features an amazing imitation of the Google Now app, but instead of notifications, you can customize your home-screen with apps and widgets inside of the notification cards.
This custom launcher doesn’t just stop there, though. Fully implementing Google’s new Material Design elements, colors and actions are present to satisfy your thirst for all things Lollipop.
Thanks to Justin’s tip on the new launcher, I decided to give it a test drive for a couple of weeks. Here are my thoughts on Thackar’s work.
It is hard to come by a laptop at a low price that does not sacrifice quality hardware. There are trade-offs to be made. Even laptops running Windows are not alone in this. When Google launched Chrome OS in 2011, the hardware was pretty bad. It was not until very recently that hardware manufacturers started to build respectable Chromebooks. In time for the holidays, Acer released the Chromebook 13. It combines a simple design with specifications that you would find in a high-end tablet, such as the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, which might make it the most powerful Chromebook ever.
Everything looks good on paper, so how does the Chromebook 13 perform in real life? Hit the break to get started.
Personalizing your Android device is something a lot of us do. After all, you’ve spend hundreds upon hundreds on these handsets, so why not give it some flare to your own liking that separates it from others? That’s where dbrand inc. comes in and provides your device with some awesome top-of-the line 3M textured vinyl’s. For review purposes I’ll be using the Nexus 4 as that’s the device I have the product installed on, although the company provides these vinyl skins on a slew of devices on their website.
First off, the quality of these vinyl’s are top-notch. According to dbrand, the vinyl’s that they use are generally reserved for architectural re-upholstering and auto body trim. Even better is the flat price of $9 per skin and you can actually request a customized skin for your liking. Just e-mail them what you have in mind and send them the images you want and they’ll be happy to work with you on what you want. Of course, customized skins often uses twice the material plus the added labor, so expect the price of that to double to about $18. With that being said, the two vinyl’s that I have from them feel and look great. As you can see with the pictures below, the cutouts are dead on with the camera and speakers. What’s even more surprising is how well the “nexus” letters were cut in precision to perfectly match it on my Nexus.
Texture wise, these aren’t just cheap “stickers” that have been slapped together. While the titanium seen above isn’t real titanium, it looks just as real and has great texture. Same goes with the black carbon fiber skin that is seen below, the texture is great and you can actually feel each line. I can’t say enough how great these look on your device. If you prefer a “cleaner” look and not have the “nexus” cut-out, then you can easily request that by e-mailing them.
I’ve also found that these skins are very easy to apply. With mildly steady hands I was able to apply these in no longer than 30 seconds. The best part is that you can re-apply these numerous times, this is especially great if you bought a couple colors and decide to swap the them out as you please.
Last but not least, what makes an already great company into an awesome one? Customer service of course! After various e-mail exchanges and reading customers feedback from various threads on XDA and Reddit, dbrand provides great and speedy customer service. By far one of the best I’ve seen. What’s great is that you can shoot them an e-mail if you have any questions, whether it’s a personal request on a customized skin that you have envisioned or a general question about their products. Regardless of the inquiry they are quick to respond. You can purchase these skins on the first link below, and you can also check out their Facebook page for more HD pictures of their products on numerous devices!
Needless to say, if you’re looking to customize your device then I would highly recommend dbrand inc!
Google’s Nexus 4 isn’t just any Android device; it’s the flagship Android device. It’s the only current smartphone that wields the premium Nexus name, and the only handset running Google’s latest iteration in Android, version 4.2 Jelly Bean part deux. Moreover, the Nexus 4 undoubtedly serves as the most highly anticipated smartphone of 2012, and quite possibly the most rumored. Partnering with LG, Google has attempted to perfect the performance and design of the rather mundane Galaxy Nexus released last year, but does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out.
Finding just the right case for my Nexus 7 has been a challenge. I’ve tried the effective and highly flexible, yet very bulky rooCASE, as well as the updated Ultra Slim rooCASE. Both of these serve their purposes well, with the Ultra Slim edging out the original due to its much slimmer profile.
But there is another class of case that I needed to check out. Currently, my phone is an HTC Evo 4G LTE and I’ve been using a Cruzerlite TPU case on that for a while and I love it. TPU stands for Thermoplastic Polyurethane, which is a class of plastic that has many great properties for an electronics case, including elasticity, transparency, oil resistance, and durability. My Evo has never felt so protected.
So when I saw that Cruzerlite was making a TPU case for the Nexus 7, I jumped on it. After spending a couple of weeks using the case, I decided to write up a review with my thoughts. Hit the break for all the details.
When I reviewed the original rooCASE for the Nexus 7, I commented that it was a nice case, but it was just way too thick. Well, it sounds like rooCASE heard me and now they’ve come out with the rooCASE Ultra Slim Vegan Leather Folio Case, which is a mere 17mm thick. They’ve also made some other improvements along the way, but not everything is peaches and cream.
Read on past the break to see how the new Ultra Slim rooCASE stacks up!
When I got my Nexus 7 from Google I/O, there were no cases available for it, so I started using an old Kindle Fire case that someone donated to me just to get by. The fit was not right, and the elastic corner straps got in the way of the screen at times. Needless to say, it was barely better than no case at all.
So I started checking Amazon and eBay for possible cases to protect my new toy when I came across this interesting case by rooCASE with a very long name: The rooCASE Multi-Angle (Black) Vegan Leather Folio Case Cover for Google Nexus 7 Tablet. Phew! That’s a mouthful!
What interested me the most was that it had a built-in magnetic flap closure that enabled the Nexus 7’s sleep/wake feature. Oh, and also, it only cost $10. Can’t beat that! So I ordered two, one for me and one for my wife (yes, I got her a Nexus 7 as well).
So how do we like it? Read on after the break!
It’s taken me a little while to be able to review the Nexus Q social media streamer from Google. Why? Because for some reason, the Q was totally incompatible with my home router, a D-Link DIR-655. Something about the router just would not let me see the Q on my network, leaving me unable to control the Q with my Nexus 7 tablet.
Not an auspicious start for Google’s fledgling Play Store content consumption device. But I was determined to get this thing working and went so far as to buy myself a new router, one of the Linksys variety, since all reports from users with Linksys routers were positive, plus I could use a new router anyway.
A hundred bucks later, I had the Nexus Q up and running with no problems at all and have been using it for the last several days. Is it worth the steep $299 retail price tag? Read on to find out.
The Nexus 7 tablet was the talk of Google I/O, and for good reason. For $199 you get a device with high-end specs that even today’s top tablets have a hard time competing with. With a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on board, and a 7-inch HD screen, it’s amazing Google and ASUS were able to manufacture this device for so little money. But specs are just specs… does the Nexus 7 live up to the hype? Hit the break for the full review.