Trending February 2024 # The Best Verizon Android Phones Right Now # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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Verizon Wireless is the largest mobile carrier in the US and one which has had a strong influence on Android’s growth thanks to its ‘Droid Does’ campaign. We still have fond memories of the Droid Does thing even when the Droid brand is no longer as strong as it was back in the day. Nevertheless, Droid device or not, Verizon offers you some of the best Android phones in each segment for purchase, and we are here to help break down its portfolio of Android phones to help you make that okay-I-am-buying-this decision easily.

As it has been the case every year, you have some of the best from Samsung, LG, and Google available on contract with Verizon, but these devices offer a variety of features and have their own ups and downs when it comes to design, features, updates, price, and overall experience. Also, OnePlus has finally jumped aboard the Verizon ship, which is a welcome move. So, let’s talk about which one is the most suitable for you.

Best Premium Smartphones ($650+)

In 2023, it’s quite natural to be overwhelmed by the number of smartphones we have on the market. Samsung, LG, Google, OnePlus — all have unveiled their 2023 flagships, and we are having a hard time picking the best of the lot.

The largest telecom company in the United States, Verizon, has an enviable stock of highest-end flagships. Sadly, you won’t be able to get your hands on the OnePlus 7/7T, here. So, if you’re determined to bring one of OnePlus’ flagships home, the best bet would be to get them unlocked and activate on Verizon, later.

Galaxy Note 10 Plus

After striking gold with the Galaxy S10 lineup in early 2023, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 in August, hoping to recapture the magic. For the first time ever, Samsung launched two variants of a Galaxy Note device — the regular Note 10 and the bigger Note 10 Plus. While both devices have their own set of perks, we can’t help but pick the all-powerful Note 10 Plus over its sibling.

The Note 10 Plus costs $150 more than the regular Note 10. But if you’re already prepared to walk the distance and invest around $1000 on a smartphone, we presume you’re in the market only for the best. The Note 10 Plus offers the best of Samsung in a ridiculously attractive package and demands to burn a hole in your pocket for it. From stunning photography to a super-crisp screen and more, if you crave the Note experience, don’t wait to dive in.

Reasons to consider Note 10 Plus

Superb 6.8-inch QHD+ AMOLED display

Quad rear-camera setup ensures top-notch photography

Beefy 4300 mAh battery

Improved S-Pen, now with Air Gestures

Google Pixel 4 XL

Like the Note 10 Plus, Pixel 4 XL is also the clear winner over its sibling. Google’s latest and greatest flagships, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL both tick the right boxes, but the more expensive Pixel 4 steals the cake quite comfortably.

Both siblings come with identical specs, but the bigger battery (2800 mAh vs 3700 mAh) and better screen (5.57-inch FHD+ vs 6.3-inch QHD+) puts 4 XL ahead of its less-expensive counterpart. They both come with the same internals, sensors, cameras, and software support. So, you’re covered in all departments except for the two mentioned above. It’s to be noted that the Pixel 4 XL will set you back $100 more than its smaller sibling. So, if you’re not too bothered about your phone lasting the whole day or having an even crispier display, feel free to opt for the regular Pixel 4.

Reasons to pick Pixel 4 XL

Gorgeous 90Hz, QHD+ AMOLED display

Supersmooth performance thanks to Snapdragon 855 chipset

Respectable 6 GB of RAM

Best-in-class dual camera

Android 10 out of the box; three more major Android OS updates guaranteed

Best Mid-Range Smartphones ($300-600)

Don’t have $1000 to spare on your new smartphone? Verizon respectable collection of mid-range devices makes sure you don’t need to. Sure the collection isn’t as extensive as the premium section of the market, but if you know your devices, you’re not like to be disappointed.

Google Pixel 3a XL

Yes, you lose wireless charging, Pixel 3’s top-tier processor, and a bit of screen real estate, but you still bag most of the features that made Pixel 3 great. The camera is just as powerful, you’ll get just as many software updates, the performance is really impressive, and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. The Pixel 3a XL costs $80 more than the Pixel 3a, but we think the bigger battery (3000 mAh vs 3700 mAh) and screen (5.6-inch vs 6-inch) more than makeup for it.

Reasons to consider Pixel 3a XL

Impressive performance thanks to Snapdragon 670 and 4 GB of RAM

Best-in-class camera performance

Three years of guaranteed OS updates

Impressive battery life

Samsung Galaxy A50

The South Korean OEM seems to have crafted the device for people who use their device for entertainment. A humongous AMOLED screen, big battery, versatile front and rear cameras, solid performance, and a sleek aesthetic package — Samsung has really gone all out with the A50.

Reasons to consider Samsung Galaxy A50

Best-in-segment 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED display

Exynos 9610 and 4 GB of RAM guarantees smooth performance

25MP front camera, ideal for Instagram snaps

Wide-angle lens on a budget

Best Budget Smartphones

Have under $300 to spare? Be sure to consider these two excellent budget offerings.

Moto G7 Power

Over the years, we’ve seen Motorola lose its foothold in the business. The company doesn’t have good enough devices to capture the upper end of the market, but they still have some good enough devices in the mid-range/upper mid-range section.

The Moto G7 Power is one of the company’s more budget-conscious offerings, specially designed for people who need prolonged battery life. As the name suggests, the humongous battery is the device’s USP, but that’s not all you get. It comes with a decent camera, a respectably snappy chipset, and a best-in-class screen.

Reasons to consider G7 Power

Huge 5000 mAh battery

Snapdragon 632 and 3 GB RAM deliver respectable performance

6.2-inch HD+ display great for entertainment

Samsung Galaxy A20

Samsung has been one of the biggest players when the premium segment of the market is considered. But the South Korean OEM has struggled quite a bit to get a foothold in the world of budget-conscious buyers, especially in the United States.

Reasons to consider Samsung Galaxy A20

Gorgeous 6.4-inch HD+ AMOLED display ensures seamless entertainment

13MP rear shooter for pretty decent camera performance

4000 mAh powerful battery to help you get through the day

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The Best Nothing Phone (1) Deals Right Now

Sporting the same semi-transparent design as the Nothing Ear (1) headphones launched the year before, the Phone (1) looks just as intriguing, sporting a semi-transparent back with unique LEDs.

Read on to find out how to get the Phone (1) at the best price – or read our review of the phone to find out what we think of it.

Where is the Phone (1) available?

The Nothing Phone (1) is officially available from across the UK, Europe, and Asia.


It’s not officially on sale in the US, but you can now buy it. That’s by joining the company’s new ‘Nothing OS 1.5 beta membership‘, a paid programme that nets you the phone at a discounted price, but with the stipulation that you’re officially beta testing its software, and that it may not work with every carrier.

More specifically, the company warns that 5G will only work on T-Mobile – and not with full coverage – with Verizon and AT&T both limited to 4G only. Verizon coverage in particular is warned to be “very limited.”

This beta programme only runs until 30 June 2023, so the phone may not be available after that point – or, if it goes well, perhaps that means the phone will get an official release in the States instead.

How much does the Nothing Phone (1) cost?

The Nothing Phone (1) comes in three versions:

8GB + 128GB: £399/€469/₹33,999

8GB + 256GB: £449/€499/₹36,999

12GB + 256GB: £499/€549/₹39,999

That’s a competitive price that puts the phone firmly in the territory of our mid-range phone ranking, up against rivals like the OnePlus Nord 2T and Samsung Galaxy A53 – though if you’re in India, note that the price has jumped by ₹1,000 since launch because of “fluctuating currency exchange rates & rising component costs.”

That may have partly been to make room for the cheaper Ear (Stick) buds though, which have since launched at around the same price the Ear (1) debuted at – we’re not expecting to see any similar cheaper phone arrive to supplant the Phone (1) any time soon.

In the US, the Nothing beta membership gets you the 8GB+128GB model in black for just $299 – approximately $100 cheaper than its equivalent price elsewhere. Of course, given the stipulation that it’s a beta test and your carrier support will be limited, that seems pretty fair.

Where can I buy the Nothing Phone (1) SIM-free?

Before launch, Nothing made a lot of fuss about having an invite-only pre-order system, with a waitlist and referral system in place. That’s now closed, but the good news is that you can now simply… buy a phone. It’s a radical reinvention of the purchasing system, we know.

The phone is available SIM-free direct from Nothing itself, from Amazon, or from Selfridges in the UK. You can also pick it up without a SIM from O2, both online and in-store.

It’s a similar story outside of the UK, with availability from Flipkart in India and a range of carriers and electronics stores – including Amazon – across Europe.

As mentioned above, in the US your only option for now is to buy the phone direct from Nothing through the beta membership.


The best Phone (1) contract deals in the UK

As mentioned above, the Phone (1) is a UK network exclusive for O2 in the UK, and they’re offering it both online and in-store.

Here are the best contracts from O2 at the time of writing, broken down by the versions of the phone. These are all 3-year contracts with unlimited minutes and texts, and perks including free roaming in select countries and extra subscriptions to streaming services, and all cost just £10 upfront.

8GB RAM + 128GB storage:

£28.81 per month for 2GB of data 

£31.81 per month for 5GB of data

£34.81 per month for 20GB of data 

£37.80 per month for 30GB of data 

£38.81 per month for 100GB of data

£41.80 per month for 150GB of data

£43.81 per month for unlimited data

8GB RAM + 256GB storage:

£30.20 per month for 2GB of data 

£33.20 per month for 5GB of data

£36.20 per month for 20GB of data 

£39.19 per month for 30GB of data 

£40.20 per month for 100GB of data

£43.19 per month for 150GB of data

£45.20 per month for unlimited data

12GB RAM + 256GB storage:

£31.59 per month for 2GB of data 

£34.59 per month for 5GB of data

£37.59 per month for 20GB of data 

£40.58 per month for 30GB of data 

£41.59 per month for 100GB of data

£44.58 per month for 150GB of data

£46.59 per month for unlimited data

The Best Windows Tablets You Can Buy Right Now

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Laptops and desktop PCs probably occupy most of your thoughts when considering Windows machines. However, there’s so much more to experience on the Microsoft platform. From responsive touchscreens to full-size apps, Windows can make a case to power your next tablet. Here are our picks for the best Windows tablets you can get right now.

The idea of a Windows-powered tablet probably isn’t too foreign to you. After all, plenty of people are familiar with the Microsoft Surface line. While the Surface devices are great and have appeared on this list a few times, there are more options to choose from. We’ve tried to cover all of the bases and give you the best options to pick from.

The best Windows tablets to buy

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is the best overall Windows tablet, packing in the perfect blend of performance and portability.

The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the best small Windows tablet, offering the Surface experience in a compact package at an affordable price.

The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 is the best gaming Windows tablet you can get, offering an RTX 3050 Ti GPU with support for an external GPU.

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is the Windows tablet with the largest display, and it’s also foldable. It has plenty of power too, but it’s also mighty pricey.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is the best business Windows tablet, featuring a 3:2 aspect ratio screen in a great detachable design.

The Chuwi UBook X is the best budget Windows tablet you can get, providing great value for money with sufficient hardware power and a full metal body.

Editor’s note: We’ll do our best to update this list of the best Windows tablets as new products launch.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13 (2024)

ASUS ROG Flow Z13 (2024)

Gaming tablet • Trusted ROG series • Many configurations

MSRP: $1,799.99

A powerful ROG gaming tablet

The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 is a high-resolution gaming tablet that runs Windows. Configure it with the best specs for your needs, including a 4K display, dedicated graphics card, Core i9 processor, and up to 16GB of RAM.

See price at Amazon



Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: The best Windows tablet for business users

Do you have to find the best Windows tablet to take to the office? You’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. It’s not explicitly made for office work, but we feel it’s the one with the best design for professionals. It’s made of aluminum, only measures 0.29 inches thick, and weighs 1.6lbs. The design is simple and elegant, yet very pleasing to the eye. The folio and stylus are also professional-looking.

The device happens to be pretty capable for most office work, too. It can be customized up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 chip, up to 16GB of RAM, and as much as 1TB of storage. The 13.3-inch touchscreen is also really nice, featuring a 2,880 x 1,920 resolution.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Solid portability • Good build

MSRP: $1,292.39

A capable 2-in-1 Windows tablet

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a capable Windows tablet with detachable keyboard cover. It’s available with several processors and storage configurations, but all offer a 13-inch 2880×1920 display and Windows 11.

See price at Amazon

See price at Dell



See price at Amazon




Chuwi UBook X

Chuwi UBook X

Flexible 2-in-1 design • Windows • Stylus and keyboard included

MSRP: $459.00

Well-built Windows tablet

A capable Windows tablet with built-in stand, detachable keyboard, and included stylus.

See price at Amazon



Frequently asked questions

Windows tablets are available in a variety of different specifications. As such, they have a wide range of prices. Most Windows tablets are available between the $400 to $1,500 mark.

Windows tablets and touchscreen Windows laptops will provide similar software experiences. However, touchscreen Windows laptops are more common and mostly come with the full power of a laptop. These can include dedicated GPU options. You can make your pick according to your usage preferences.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the latest Microsoft Surface. The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the latest one in the Go lineup.

Windows tablets can run all Windows apps. Windows tablets in S Mode can only run apps through the Microsoft Store. However, you can easily switch out of S Mode and install any Windows app. Some ARM-based tablets may not run the x86 Windows apps too well. But most run just fine with in-built emulation.

You can connect AirPods to Microsoft Surface, or any other Windows tablet. Although, do note that you will miss out on some exclusive functionality to Apple devices. However, they should work just fine otherwise.

The Best Iphone 13 Cases You Can Buy Right Now

If you’re going to get yourself an iPhone 13, any one of the upcoming models in the lineup, then you’ll probably want a case. If that describes you, then you’ll want to check out our list of some of the best options you can pick up right now.

The iPhone 13 might not be available just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be properly prepared for its arrival. So, we’ve put together a list of the best cases for the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max you can buy right now.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Best iPhone 13 cases Apple Silicone

Apple’s Silicone case has been around for a long while now. A regular staple for Apple’s accessory lineup. It offers plenty of body coverage for the back and sides, but it won’t cover the front. It offers raised edges for the display, though, and the back camera setup as well.

It has a silky, soft-touch finish that shouldn’t slip out of the hand with daily use. On the inside there’s a soft microfiber lining to help keep the phone safe from scratches. The silicone case offers built-in magnets to support Apple’s MagSafe feature, so you can leave the case on for wireless charging.

The Silicone Case is available for each of the new iPhone 13 models. It’s available in Marigold, Abyss Blue, (PRODUCT)RED, Chalk Pink, Blue Jay, Clover, Midnight, and Pink Pomelo.

Buy Apple Silicone case for iPhone 13 mini for $49.00

Buy Apple Silicone case for iPhone 13 for $49.00

Buy Apple Silicone case for iPhone 13 Pro for $49.00

Buy Apple Silicone case for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $49.00

Apple Leather

The Leather case for Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup is available now in array of colors. This case is made from specially tanned and finished leather, with a soft-to-the-touch exterior that will gain a natural patina over time. Inside, there’s a soft microfiber lining to protect the handset from scrapes.

The Leather case supports MagSafe, can be used for wireless charging while it’s equipped on the phone, and offers up plenty of protection without adding any bulk. Apple is quick to note that this is a leather case, so it will show creases and marks, along with the natural patina.

The Leather case is available now from Amazon in Dark Cherry, Golden Brown, Sequoia Green, Midnight, and Wisteria.

Buy Apple Leather case for iPhone 13 mini for $59.00

Buy Apple Leather case for iPhone 13 for $59.00

Buy Apple Leather case for iPhone 13 Pro for $59.00

Buy Leather Case for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $59.00

Spigen Rugged Armor

This Rugged Armor case from Spigen is all about the protection. It has a carbon fiber design with shock absorption built in. It’s an overall flexible TPU case with an interior spider web design to help protect against drops. The raised edges will protect the rear camera setup and the front display.

The Spigen brand champions the Air Cushion Technology to help protect the device from drops. It also has tactical buttons for easy use. The Rugged Armor case from Spigen is available for each of the iPhone 13 models.

Buy Spigen Rugged Armor for iPhone 13 mini for $14.99

Buy Spigen Rugged Armor for iPhone 13 for $14.99

Buy Spigen Rugged Armor for iPhone 13 Pro for $14.99

Buy Spigen Rugged Armor for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $14.99


The Nano Pop case from Caseology has a silicone feel, keeps things lightweight, but still offers up plenty of protection for your iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Caseology says this case will remain lint- and dust-free even after time spent in the pocket.

Each case features two-tone colors, raised edges for the display and rear camera setup. No mention of MagSafe support, though, so be aware of that. It does say the case supports wireless charging, though. It has an overall slim profile so it won’t add any bulk, and a snug fit with the phone. The case offers military-grade drop protection.

The Caseology Nano Pop case for the iPhone 13 lineup is available now from Amazon in Blueberry Navy, Avo Green, Black Sesame, Light Violet, and Peach Pink.

Buy Caseology Nano Pop for iPhone 13 mini for $15.99

Buy Caseology Nano Pop for iPhone 13 for $15.99

Buy Caseology Nano Pop for iPhone 13 Pro for $15.99

Buy Caseology Nano Pop for iPhone 13 Pro max for $15.99

Spigen Thin Fit

Another option from Spigen, this one’s all about thin protection. The case is a hybrid structure of PC and TPU, and features Spigen’s Air Cushion Technology to help protect against drops. Raised edges help protect the display, as well as the rear cameras.

It has a matte finished coating, it’s lightweight, and has tactile buttons. The polycarbonate body helps prevent scratching.

The Thin Fit case from Spigen is available now from Amazon in Apple Mint, Black, Navy Blue, Red, and Pink Sand.

Buy Spigen Thin Fit for iPhone 13 mini for $16.99

Buy Spigen Thin Fit for iPhone 13 for $16.99

Buy Spigen Thin Fit for iPhone 13 Pro for $16.99

Buy Spigen Thin Fit for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $16.99

Mujjo Leather

Over the years, Mujjo has made a name for itself for making some of the best cases out there for the iPhone lineup, thanks to their materials and craftsmanship. This slim leather case for the iPhone 13 lineup is no exception. It offers up raised bezels around the display and the rear camera setup, which should help keep the device protected for daily use.

The premium tanned leather is naturally aging, and it’s soft to the touch. The rich colors are enhanced with aniline oil, and the full-grain leather will naturally beak in and age with use. Meanwhile, inside the case there is a 1mm thin satin-like microfiber lining to help protect the phone while it’s in the case.

The leather case from Mujjo is compatible with MagSafe wireless charging and accessories as well. It’s available now from Amazon in tan, black, and Monaco blue.

Buy Mujjo leather case for iPhone 13 mini for $44.95

Buy Mujjo leather case for iPhone 13 for $49.95

Buy Mujjo leather case for iPhone 13 Pro for $44.95

Buy Mujjo leather case for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $49.95


This folio case from Nomad is made from natural Horween leather. It will develop a more rugged looking patina over time and after use. This is a folio case, which means it will actually help to prevent damage not only on the back, but also on the front when the case’s front flap is closed. There are also raised edges around the rear camera array to help protect them as well.

Inside, there are dedicated slots not only for up to three cards, but also a slot designated for cash as well. Nomad says the case is tested with up to 10 feet drop protection. The case supports MagSafe wireless charging as well. There are a pair of lanyard hookup points on the case for good measure.

Nomad does suggest getting a screen protector in an effort to prevent micro scratches when your case is closed and the cards may rub up against the display. So keep that in mind. This case is available now in Rustic Brown and black.

Buy Nomad Modern Leather Folio for iPhone 13 mini for $79.95

Buy Nomad Modern Leather Folio for iPhone 13 for $79.95

Buy Nomad Modern Leather Folio for iPhone 13 Pro for $79.95

Buy Nomad Modern Leather Folio for iPhone 13 Pro Max for $79.95

The Best Alternatives To Amazon For Buying Tech Right Now

While Amazon has traditionally been a one-stop shop for tech gear, its mid-April delays are making other retailers viable options for getting what you want with a shorter lead time. Online stores like Newegg and B&H are stepping up, alongside (gasp!) actual brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Office Depot.

Why you can’t find anything on Amazon

The watchword right now isn’t so much price as availability. According to retail analyst firm NPD, productivity hardware saw “historic” sales increases over the first two weeks of March, as more regions or entire states started issuing shelter-in-place orders. NPD vice president and technology analyst Stephen Baker noted that sales of computer monitors to consumers almost doubled during the first two weeks of March, versus a year ago. Mice, keyboards, and notebook PC sales increased by 10 percent.  Businesses are buying, too: Corporate notebook sales were up 30 percent in the last week of February, and then 50 percent for the first two weeks of March.

The buying spree has put a severe and unexpected crimp in the tech supply chain. Notebooks and monitors are still shipping from Amazon, though the company has said it’s prioritizing household goods. A survey of Amazon products PCWorld recently conducted showed a wide swath of tech products delayed until late April, and that’s still the case, generally. We are seeing more short-term availability of tech goods than before, though not on a par with Amazon’s typical performance. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

Right now, even products listed as available from Amazon Prime are typically a week or so out in terms of availability.

Newegg: A good place to start

Mark Hachman / IDG

Newegg caters more to the hardcore enthusiast than the work-from-home crowd, but there’s still deals to be had.

Like Amazon, Newegg is a storefront for many sellers, and that’s likely why Newegg’s inventory is broader and more available right now across a variety of categories than it is at other retailers. Newegg has built in quite a bit of wiggle room, though.

Unlike Amazon, Newegg doesn’t guarantee its shipping dates. It offers only a window within which “most customers” will likely receive their products. In the example below, for instance, Newegg merely says that “most customers” will receive their webcam shipment within 6 to 16 days.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Newegg seems to have good availability and reasonable prices, but this seems excessively wishy-washy, “Most” customers, in 6 to 16 days?

At least Newegg’s promising you can actually buy tough-to-find products like webcams, which is further than you’ll get sometimes on Amazon or via other retailers like Office Depot. Newegg’s Chow said his company was well-sourced to keep up with demand.

Best Buy: Curbside pickup means quick availability

Historically, the showcase for in-store technology has been Best Buy, and its physical locations continue to play a pivotal role. The company is offering either curbside pickup (instead of coming into the store) or deliveries to your home from local warehouses. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

Best Buy should probably highlight its shipping options more prominently right now, but it’s doing all right in terms of stocking the tech supplies you need.

In general, though, at press time Best Buy carried a number of USB-C hubs with immediate availability. Notebook PCs were plentiful, available either in-store or within three days if my nearby store was sold out. (Occasionally, laptops were available in another store about 10 miles away.) Best Buy listed numerous monitors, though shipping lead times were about a week. And if you need an HDMI cable—the sort of low-value necessity Amazon is forgoing right now—Best Buy seems to have plenty, such as this Insignia two-pack of six-foot Ultra HD HDMI cables for $40Remove non-product link, either in-store now or within a few days.

The big boxes: Target, Walmart

Don’t forget about Target and Walmart. Though the physical Target store’s electronics section is just a sliver of shelf area, the Target website’s Computers & Office page offers an easily navigated arrangement of popular tech products. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

Target’s own stock appears to be depleted of many items. But if it leans on Antonline, it seems bound to have it.

The estimated date of delivery isn’t among the information Target displays in its grid of products, unfortunately. Antonline handles quite a bit of Target’s fulfillment, however, and any Target listing with “antonline” as the partner seems to stand a good chance of being available. We found a surprisingly broad range of monitors available, such as a Dell UltraSharp 24-inch, 1920×1200-pixel LCD on sale for $189Remove non-product link, all scheduled to arrive within 7-10 days.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Walmart usually doesn’t clearly communicate when a product will ship in its product matrix. But it at least does note that you can swing by and pick it up in certain cases.

Fortunately, it usually is, where laptops and Chromebooks were concerned—though, oddly, some of its surprisingly good Motile laptops didn’t have a shipping date attached. The site offered a broad selection of available USB-C hubs, such as thisAnker 7-in-1 USB C Hub AdapterRemove non-product link, even though the category seemed scarce on Amazon. I found a decent monitor availability at my local store, too. Every external hard drive I checked was in stock and would ship within a week, if not sooner.

Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax: Don’t sleep on these giants

Although traditional office-supply retailers carry tech necessities, most enthusiasts shop elsewhere unless they need a printer or an office chair. Adjust that attitude. Just like a bodega or rural market may hold an undiscovered trove of toilet paper, these stores may conceal a cache of tech essentials.

Mark Hachman / IDG

This is a too-common experience at Office Depot/Office Max: A product is only available in store, and it’s out of stock. Why not just tell customers and save them the frustration?

In other examples, I found a few “in-store” pickups that would require a 20-minute drive to purchase, especially in laptops. The general inventory of home-office tech like external hard drives, mice, keyboards was abundant. Monitors, though, seemed to be non-existent, at least among the five options I chose. Printers and especially ink were in stock.

(Be aware that Office Max/Office Depot and Staples also sell paper and cleaning products, similar to the cleaning aisles in your grocery store. Yes, they sell toilet paper; my local stores were completely sold out, but maybe you’ll have better luck.)

Mark Hachman / IDG

Staples currently delivers for free, with no minimum charge. Unfortunately, there’s often a disclaimer that accompanies the standard “delivered FREE in 3-5 business days:” “Due to high demand, delivery may take longer than expected.” How long? Staples doesn’t tell you, at least not on the product page.

I saw decent availability of notebook PCs for delivery (in about 3-4 days) and in-store pickup. Monitors were somewhat difficult to find, though available. Staples offered one-day delivery of computer mice and keyboards, even an antimicrobial mouse-and-keyboard comboRemove non-product link I would have sworn would be out of stock. One-day delivery was typical for external hard drives. USB-C hubs seemed to require about a week for shipping, through they were available.

B&H: Crystal-clear inventory and shipping data 

We routinely feature consumer electronics retailer B&H in our daily deals, but the company (which is privately held and has one store in New York City, along with a bustling online store) probably doesn’t have the name recognition it deserves. It’s worth checking out, especially in these times of scarcity, as the company seems to have a good handle on its inventory and delivery data. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

After shopping elsewhere, you’ll appreciate B&H’s clear statements of when to expect your products, as well as the fairly ample inventory.

B&H’s virtual shelves have been picked over somewhat. While its site listed a bunch of “work laptops,” the low-cost “basic laptops” section featured a number of “out of stock” notifications. Several Chromebooks required a “special order” with 7-14 days to ship. At press time, a few low-cost monitors were available, though most were back-ordered and expected to arrive within a few weeks. There were plenty of USB-C hubs at low to moderate prices, like this EZQuest 8-port hub on sale for $60Remove non-product link.

Note that response time may slow during Shabbat (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), the weekly day of rest in the Jewish faith; and the entire business closes down for Passover, April 8-16 in 2023. Get in those orders now!

Shop around

Many of us have grown used to going to Amazon for pretty much everything. That popularity turned into a liability when eager shoppers cleaned out the inventory of highly desired tech items. It actually hasn’t been that hard to find most of these sought-after items via other sites and even physical stores—perhaps a lesson in growing too dependent upon any one source. Stay calm and shop around…and let us know if you find any TP, will you?

How To Install Android Oreo On Your Phone Right Now

Android 8.0 Oreo is here—and by “here,” we mean it’s rolling out only to Google-produced devices, phones that run the stock, unmodified version of Android. Essentially, only those who own Google Pixel phones, the recent Google Nexus phones, and a couple of tablets can access it easily.

Which is a pity, because Oreo offers goodies such as an improved notification system, picture-in-picture support for any app, and better battery life management. If you’re eager to install it on your own device and play around with the new operating system, you can take some shortcuts. However, your options will depend on the type of phone you own: This guide primarily applies to Pixel and Nexus users, but it does include a course of action for other phones.

Android 8.0 is on its way—for some devices. David Nield/Popular Science

Why can’t you access Oreo more easily? Unfortunately, new updates can take a long time to reach significant numbers of Android users. For example, at the time this was written, Android 7.0 Nougat, which launched last year has only been installed on around 13.5 percent of Android devices worldwide. Its predecessor, 6.0 Marshmallow, has reached 32 percent of Android users.

That’s because manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei, HTC, and others all add their own tweaks and extras to the stock operating system before making it available on their phones. Before updating to the latest version of Android, they want to put their own stamp on it. Incidentally, that’s one of the reasons why Google has unbundled so many of its apps and features from the Android operating system. You can update everything from Gmail to the Google Play Store independently of the Android operating system, so Google is able to push the latest versions of its apps out even if the OS lags behind.

Join the beta

Do you own a Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, or Nexus 6P smartphone? Your update could be right around the corner: Carrier testing is apparently already underway, so Oreo may have already arrived on your device; if not, the update should be available soon. Head to the Settings app and tap About Phone, then System Updates, to see if your Android Oreo update has arrived yet.

If the update isn’t available yet, and you want to speed up the process, you can do so by signing up for the Android Beta program run by Google. This will give you early access to new versions of the operating system before everyone else—although the version you test may be slightly buggy. Once you sign up for beta, the program will also give you the finished version of Oreo before everyone else.

The Android Beta program offers speedy updates. David Nield/Popular Science

On the smartphone you want to upgrade, head to the Android Beta program’s sign-up page. If you’re on a compatible device, then you can simply tap the Enroll device button. After a short delay, you should receive a prompt to download and install Android 8.0 Oreo on that phone. Then you can start enjoying all the features of the new operating system.

Before you leap, there’s a caveat to consider: As Google develops Oreo further, you’ll continue getting beta updates. While most beta versions that Google pushes out work just fine, they will be more prone to crashes and bugs than the stable final versions of the software.

If the bugs get to you, you can remove your phone from the beta program using the same page from which you enrolled. However, that does require you to completely wipe your device before re-installing the more stable version of Android. So you’ll have to safely back up all your important data before you un-enroll.

Perform a manual update

For Pixel and Nexus devices, you do have another option: a manual update. This involves downloading the full Android 8.0 Oreo code, which Google has published online (appearing publicly on the internet is what makes a new Android version “official”). Sadly, this code is optimized for certain devices (specifically Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P phones), so you can’t just slap it on a Samsung Galaxy S8 or an LG V30.

A manual update requires some technical know-how, because you need to use tools designed for app developers. And if you make a wrong move, you risk bricking your phone. What’s more, this type of update will completely wipe your device in the process, so again, you need to back up everything that you want to keep. In short, we only recommend this option if you’re comfortable tinkering around with your device, and you have a spare phone you can switch to should the worst happen. Otherwise, just wait for the automatic update.

Unlock your Android phone in order to install the Oreo factory images. David Nield/Popular Science

Once you’ve saved the factory-image files somewhere on your hard drive, your next step is to set up the developer tools. First, you need to unlock your device so you can install new software. Essentially, you’re disabling the setting that makes your phone wait for a verified update from your carrier. Next, download the SDK Platform Tools zip file, and extract it to a folder of your choice on your hard disk. You might want to create a new folder for this specific purpose.

You also need to get your phone ready for action. Head to About Phone in Settings, tap the Build number seven times, and you should see a dialog box confirming your phone is now ready for some developer tweaks. Go back to Settings, find the new Developer options menu, and make sure to enable both USB debugging and OEM unlocking.

Once your phone’s ready to go, connect it to your computer with its manufacturer-supplied USB cable. Then open a command line or terminal window in the folder you’ve extracted the Platform Tools folder to:

If you run into difficulties or get stuck, Google offers a more comprehensive guide to performing manual Android updates.

The PowerShell or command prompt window in Windows lets you flash your device. David Nield/Popular Science

Finally, once you’ve checked to make absolutely sure you’ve backed up your data, you’re ready to flash Oreo to your phone—in other words, to copy the new operating system over the previous version. Open a new command prompt window, as described above, in the folder where you extracted the Oreo files, or navigate to it in the existing window. Then type “flash-all” to get the software on board. The installation may take a few minutes, so be patient.

This might sound like a lot of time and effort to get Oreo, especially if your phone is in line for a normal upgrade in the next few days. However, you’ll come out the other end knowing a lot more about how Android works and how you can modify it. Modders use the same procedure to put custom Android operating systems, such as the popular LineageOS, on their devices. You can learn out more about flashing Android operating systems, or ROMs, in one of the many guides available online.

For other devices: Install the launcher

To be honest, if your smartphone isn’t a Nexus or a Pixel, then you can’t wave a magic wand and get Samsung, HTC, or any other manufacturer to release an update especially for your device. We’ve already mentioned the delays that happen when third-party manufacturers get involved in Android updates, and unfortunately, we can’t offer you any secret shortcut around those.

That said, you can make your phone look and work more like Oreo by installing an Oreo-style launcher, produced by Android developers. Launchers are programs that take over the whole look and feel of an Android device without touching the apps underneath.

Install the Rootless Pixel Launcher for that Oreo feel. David Nield/Popular Science

Before you download the launcher, head to the Security page in Settings and set the Unknown sources toggle switch to On. This lets you install apps from outside the Play Store. Next, visit the Rootless Pixel Launcher page on your phone and download the most recent APK file listed there. When you open it, the installer will run.

The next time you hit the Home button on your Android device, you’ll get the option to use the Launcher3 app as the default. If you agree, then your phone will behave as if it’s running Oreo. To go back to the default look for your phone, you can uninstall the app again. In Settings, go to Apps, find Launcher3, and then tap the Uninstall button. It’s not quite as good as having Android Oreo itself, but it might keep you going until version 8.0 arrives for your device.

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