Reviews, Benchmarks, and First Impressions
Smartphones and Tablets
We are back, yet again, with our monthly series of the best Android games. Following five (in no particular order) are the ones we played and liked this month. Make sure not to miss any.

Best free Android games of May 2017

CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars

CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars is an action game that has nothing to do with the feline creatures. Rather, it lets one build a perfect battle bot which shall be used in fighting against other players, both one-on-one as well as world tournaments. It is not about the action per se since the fights are automatic and the winner is decided based on how capable the machine is. That said, one can still watch the battle action to see how their bots perform.

Daily Solitaire: Poker Saga

Daily Solitaire: Poker Saga is a card game produced as a result of fusing Solitare and Poker. It is a single player Poker game. One needs to select as many cards from the five presented during any turn. The chosen ones are then replaced with new cards. The result will then either be a valid poker combination or not. If it is, you get points. Simple as that. Each level ahs an objective to complete regarding types of combinations to make.

Fun Run 2 - Multiplayer Race

Fun Run 2 - Multiplayer Race is a multiplayer racing game wherein the player's avatar (an animal) races with others. There are various race tracks, each having unique obstacles and difficulty levels.

Really Bad Chess

Really Bad Chess is a modified version of the famous board game. The player plays against the bot in each level, but the pieces on either side are totally random. In the beginning, one usually starts with three or more queens, while the bot may not have even one of those. In future levels, the game becomes hard since the random pieces start favoring the AI. It is not that bad, really.

Wizard of Oz: Magic Match

Wizard of Oz: Magic Match is a matching puzzle game from the house of Zynga. It is similar to Candy Crush. The first few levels serve as a tutorial. Each new level tries to introduce a new kind of move, but if one attempts to make a move before being taught, it is not restricted! Also, up to level 4, the target is to achieve a particular score, but the game runs for the number of allotted moves irrespective of whether the target was achieved or not. This sounds like a bug, though I am not sure if that was intentional.

Did you come across any other exciting game? Let us know in the comments below.
At this year's I/O keynote, the company has announced three updates for Google Home, its voice-based virtual assistant for homes.

Google Home

Hands-free calling

With the help of Google Assistant, Home shall be able to call any number in the US and Canada. The best part is that Google will not charge any additional fee for the same. Hands-free calling supports multiple users as well, so Home will perform the personalized action depending on who is requesting for it.

Increased entertainment options

Google Home now supports HBO Now, CBS All Access, HGTV (Netflix is already added) and also Spotify's free service along with Soundcloud ad Deezer, hence increasing the number of available entertainment options. Bluetooth is supported as well.

Visual responses via Chromecast

Adding interfacing with other devices like smartphones and TV screens (via Chromecast), Google Home will now 'show' information instead of just speaking it out. For instance, when asked for driving directions, Assistant will route it to the smartphone. If connected via Chromecast, appointments and search results can be viewed on the big screen.

Google Lens and standalone Daydream VR headsets are also announced. Stay tuned for more announcements from the Google I/O event.
The Google Daydream mobile Virtual Reality platform is getting an interesting expansion. In this world of smartphone-based VR headsets, Google has announced at the I/O event that standalone VR headsets will be manufactured.

Google Daydream based VR headsets will now be standalone

What this effectively means is that the new headsets will not rely on any device whatsoever, be it a console, PC, or smartphone.

Even though there is not much information regarding how this is supposed to work, Google has hinted at the use of WorldSense to achieve the same. The technology will not require any external sensors. It will employ inside-out positional tracking instead.

As far as motion control is concerned, the sketches presented by the company at the keynote hints at a controller just like the one that ships with Daydream View.

HTC Vive branded standalone VR headsets are coming soon

Google has partnered with HTC and Lenovo to produce such devices. HTC's Vive branded standalone VR headset is expected to hit the markets sometime later this year. Exact release dates or pricing information is not revealed yet.

Google Lens and updates to Google Home are also announced. Stay tuned for more announcements from the Google I/O event.
Google I/O keynote for the year 2017 is underway, and the first new product coming out of their stable is Google Lens.

Google Lens

As the name suggests, the technology makes use of the device's camera. It is a combination of artificial intelligence, image recognition, machine learning, and the existing Google platform, coming together to understand the surroundings. One can just launch Lens, point the phone's camera at an object, and it will automatically provide more information about the same in real-time.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented a few use cases to explain the usage of Google Lens: find the type and background information about an unknown flower; locate a business, find its working hours, and read reviews just by pointing the Lens at a brick-and-mortar storefront; or automatically connect to a WiFi network by pointing the Lens to its credentials.

Google Lens will be incorporated with Google Photos and Google Assistant. In combination with the Assistant, the Lens can perform a variety of tasks including adding events to the calendar, buying tickets for the same, or translating stuff across languages.

Standalone Daydream VR headsets and updates to Google Home are also announced. Stay tuned for more announcements from the Google I/O event.
After creating much buzz over the last few days, HTC has finally lifted curtains from its squeezable smartphone, the HTC U11.


What's interesting is the Edge Sense technology that allows interacting with the device by squeezing it from the sides. One can perform actions like launching an app, clicking a snap, or opening virtual assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. The best part is that the Edge Sense can be easily used even with gloves on, something which is difficult with capacitive buttons.

HTC U11 comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2560x1440 pixels) display, with a pixel density of 534 pixels-per-inch and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

The device runs on HTC Sense based on Android 7.1 Nougat. It is 7.9 mm thick. The 3,000 mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3.0. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the Home button.

The primary camera is a f/1.7 12 MP UltraPixel lens with dual LED flash, autofocus, and Optical Image Stabilization. It has managed to break all records on the DxOMark test to claim the number one spot. The front houses a f/2.0 16 MP camera.

The smartphone runs on 2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset. It comes with an all-glass design. The rear covers are colorful and glossy. It is backed by 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage (expandable up to 2 TB via a microSD card).

The 3.5 mm headphone jack has made way for the USB Type-C slot. HTC U11 conforms to IP67 rating and thus, is waterproof (up to 1 meter for 30 minutes) and dustproof.

HTC U11 comes in black, blue, red, silver, and white color variants. It will be available next week onwards and is priced at €749 ($830 approx.).

HTC U11 specifications

Operating System: Android 7.1 (Nougat)
Processor: 2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Storage: 64 GB internal (expandable up to 2 TB)
Display: 5.5-inch Quad HD
Resolution (pixels): 2560x1440
Primary camera: 12 megapixel
Secondary camera: 16 megapixel
Battery: 3,000 mAh
Dimensions (WidthxHeightxDepth): 75.9x153.9x7.9 mm
Weight: 169 g
Price: €749 ($830 approx.).
Motorola has announced its latest affordable smartphone under the new C-series of devices, the Motorola Moto C Plus. A smaller variant, the Motorola Moto C, is also announced.

Motorola Moto C Plus

The smartphone boasts of a 4,000 mAh battery. It supports two SIMs and comes with a 5.0-inch HD display.

The rear camera on the Motorola Moto C Plus is a 8 MP lens with LED flash. The front camera is 2 MP and comes with a flash of its own. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat. It is 10 mm thick.

MediaTek MT6737 64-bit quad-core 1.3 GHz processor powers the device. It comes in two variants - 1 GB RAM and 2 GB RAM. It is backed by 16 GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 32 GB via microSD card.

Motorola Moto C Plus comes in black, cherry, gold, and white color variants. It will be available beginning this spring in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. The 1 GB variant is priced at €119 ($130 approx.). 2 GB model will be expensive.

Motorola Moto C Plus specifications

Operating System: Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Processor: 1.3 GHz MediaTek quad-core
Memory: 1/2 GB RAM
Storage: 16 GB internal (expandable up to 32 GB)
Display: 5.0-inch HD
Resolution (pixels): 1280x720
Primary camera: 8 megapixel
Secondary camera: 2 megapixel
Battery: 4,000 mAh
Dimensions (WidthxHeightxDepth): 72.3x144.0x10.0 mm
Weight: 162 g
Price: €119 ($130 approx.). for the 1 GB model