Upgrade Amazon devices with Trade-in and Limited-Time Promotions thru 09/2019

image of send old amazon kindle for trade in and promotion

The advent of technology is impressive. As time goes by, electronic development and improvement are faster and faster. Manufacturers release an updated version of their products every year. A brand new electronics you buy today will be out of date in a couple of years. Let’s say you want to upgrade your electronics. What will you do with the old one? Many retailers like Bestbuy, Staples, Target, and Walmart offer a trade-in program that you can exchange your item with store credit. Amazon has a trade-in program, too. And, they have a promotion along with the trade-in program through September 27th, 2019.

Here are Amazon’s limited-time promotions

  • Trade-in an old Kindle for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current-generation of Kindle E-reader purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible tablet for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current-generation of Fire tablet purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible streaming media player for $0.99 Amazon gift card and 20% promotional discount towards Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible Echo device or Bluetooth speaker for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current generation of Echo device purchase.

Kindle E-reader Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon kindle trade in and save

Let’s see the detail of each promotion. First, the promotion of Kindle E-reader would give you the biggest promotional discount of all. The newest Kindle Oasis (10th gen w/free cellular connectivity) costs $349.99. A discount will be $87.50.

In order to get a discount, you have to trade any kindle device in. The amount of Amazon gift card you get with the trade-in varies by models and conditions. The lowest amount is $5, and even non-working devices are eligible. Even if you don’t own an old Kindle E-reader now, it may be worth buying a cheap used one for this trade-in and promotion. Even a broken one is OK as long as it’s not fake.

If you look for a used one, eBay will be the best place. Please note that any version of Kindle E-reader is eligible but not Fire tablets. Earlier versions of Fire tablets are called “Kindle Fire.” They are not E-readers but Tablets and not eligible for the Kindle promotion.

image of used amazon kindle for upgrade and save

Fire Tablet Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon fire tablet upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of Fire Tablet also gives you a 25% discount towards a current generation of Fire tablet purchase. The most expensive item you can apply the promotional discount is Fire HD 10″ 32GB ($149.99). You have to send your old tablet for the trade-in and promotion. A trade-in value varies by models and conditions. Even non-working tablets are eligible. It’s worth noting that eligible tablets for the promotion are not limited to Amazon Fire tablets. Many other brands like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, Lenovo, Asus, and more are also eligible. If you are interested in a new Fire tablet, you may want to check if there is an unused tablet in a drawer.

Fire TV Stick 4K / Cube Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon fire tv upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube gives you a 20% discount towards a purchase of either item. You have to trade a streaming media play in to get the promotional discount. Eligible items are not only Amazon Fire TV devices but also Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. Interestingly, you will get a flat trade-in value of $0.99 regardless of model and condition.

Echo device Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon echo device upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of new Echo devices gives you a 25% discount towards the purchase of a current generation of Echo device. Eligible items for trade-in and promotion are not only Echo devices but also Bluetooth speakers from other brands. If you plan to purchase a new Echo device and you have unused Bluetooth speaker, you should check if it’s eligible for the promotion. Even if you don’t have an old item to send for trade-in, it may be worth buying a used item from somewhere to get a promotional discount. You can easily find a used Echo Dot 2nd gen for a cheap price on eBay.

image of buy used for amazon trade in and save upgrade

Lastly, some things to note

  • Each promotion is limited to one per customer and account
  • You have 14 days to send out your item for a trade-in
  • The promotions are available through September 27th, 2019
  • The promotional discount will expire on November 30th, 2019

Visit the Amazon Trade-In page to see full details of the Trade-in program and promotion. If you already have a product in mind, go to the amazon listing page of that product, and click “Upgrade and save with Trade-in” on an upper right-hand corner to start.

image of amazon upgrade and save with trade-in

Amazon Trade-in Program to exchange your old electronics with Amazon gift card

Amazon Trade-In Program is that you can exchange your old electronics with an Amazon gift card. Various items are eligible. Most of them are electronics but there are many videos games, books, and more. You can check if your item is eligible for the trade-in by clicking this link, scrolling down, and click “+, Find more item.” A window with a search box will pop up. Enter the name of your item to see if it’s eligible.

image of amazon trade in program
image of see if your item is eligible for amazon trade in program

Although it’s described that your item will be exchanged with Amazon gift card, Amazon doesn’t send a physical gift card or digital claim code. Instead, they will add the amount to a gift card balance in your Amazon account. So, you can’t sell or give it to someone else.

An item you send for the trade-in has to match the exact version of the product in the search result. After you make sure it’s the right item, you need to describe the condition of your item. It’s not bothersome or complicated at all. Just choose yes or no on some questions such as “Does the device power on?” or “Are there any damage on the screen?” A number of questions vary by items.

When you answer the questions, a trade-in value display on the window. You also need to choose to accept or return, in case Amazon determine your item is in a lower condition than you described. For example, in the picture below, you think your tablet is worth $30 in trade-in value. If you click accept here, Amazon may give you only $5, which is the lowest possible payment for this item.

image offind how much is your item worth in amazon trade in program

After your confirmation, Amazon issue a free shipping label. You need to pack it up yourself. If you want to do it later, you can access the shipping label to print out anytime in Your Trade-in page. You have 7 or 14 days (depending on items) to send the item from the day of submission.

Once amazon received the item, it will take 2 business days to issue a gift card if the item is accepted and meet the condition criteria you described. Some items are eligible for Instant Payment. You can receive the payment at the time of submission. Of course, you will have to send the item with a timeline Amazon specifies. Otherwise, Amazon will cancel the trade-in and withdraw the payment from your account.

There is a possibility that Amazon rejects the item. The reason for rejection will be seen in Your Trade-In page on your account. The item will be returned to you for free of charge.

As mentioned above, there is also a possibility that the item is eligible for the trade-in but downgrade due to the lower condition than you described. In this case, you automatically received a lower payment or have the item returned for free, whichever you chose when you submitted the trade-in.

Don’t forget to deregister items like smartphones, tablet, and smart speakers. A new owner has to register the item to his or her own account. If it’s already registered to someone else’s account, both you and the new owner may experience some issues. Here are the links for apple, android, amazon for deregistering.

Reportedly, some people experienced an issue related to the item’s condition. For example, a smartphone was sent to amazon for trade-in. The item was fully functional. But, when Amazon received and inspected it, they said it had severe damages and didn’t even meet the lowest condition criteria. He or she assumed it damaged during shipping and asked them to return it. The item was back. He or she checked the item and found out it had no damage at all. It was the same condition as one when it was sent out.

The same kind of issue may happen to your item. It may be wise to choose “Return it for free” when you send the item with the high trade-in value. If you choose “Accept the price”, you may end up receiving the lowest possible price.

If you upgrade the Amazon device, you should check if there is an extra offer. You may find the limited time offer to upgrade your Amazon device with a discount. For example, you have a deal of 25% off when you buy a current version of Amazon Kindle when you trade-in your older device. If your target is an expensive item like this one, a discount will be great. Click here to see more details.

image of upgrage your amazon device and save with trade in program

Amazon Trade-in program is reliable and fast. There is no cost for shipping, returning or any kind of fee. Be aware that the payment will be directly added to your gift card in your Amazon account. So, you can’t transfer or give it to someone else. Don’t forget to deregister from your account if you sell electronics. When you upgrade your Amazon device, you may want to check an additional offer with trade-in to get a great discount.

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Amazon Smart Display comparison – Echo Spot vs. Echo Show 5

Echo Spot ($129.99) and Echo Show 5 ($89.99) are both Amazon Alexa-enabled smart display. They are often compared with each other because of their compact designs. They are small enough to fit on a nightstand, and they double as an alarm clock when you are not using the touchscreen. Two devices offer almost the same features. But Echo Show 5 has more features, and it’s better as a smart display because it has a larger screen. Besides, it’s less expensive. Here are more details about Amazon smart display comparison, Echo Spot vs. Echo Show 5.

Display

Echo Spot has a 2.5-inch circular touchscreen with 480 x 480 resolution, and Echo Show 5 has a 5.5-inch rectangular touchscreen with 960 x 480 resolution. The display of Echo Show 5 is the average size of smartphones. On the other hand, Echo Spot display is circular. Because of the shape, each side of images or videos has to be clipped or has to be shrunk to show the full corners.

image of small screen of echo spot

Camera

Echo Spot has a VGA (640 x 480), and Echo Show 5 has 1MP front-facing camera. As compared with recent smartphones, neither of them are great. But, because of the purpose, which is mainly used for video calls and drop-in, it doesn’t need superb quality. But, the Echo Show 5’s camera is nearly 3 times better than Echo Spot’s camera.

Both devices can disable a camera and microphone in the settings. However, Echo Spot users complain about a camera is alway facing to your bedroom, and it’s not comfortable despite the setting. Amazon responded to this complaint by adding a physical camera shutter on a new device (=Echo Show 5.) It’s plain and simple but it gives you a feel of more security and privacy.

image of amazon echo show 5 camera shutter

Speaker

Both devices have only one speaker. Echo Spot is 2W, and Echo Show 5 is 4W. The Echo Show 5’s speaker is twice as powerful as the Echo Spot’s speaker. Echo Show 5 has an advantage in the performance of music and video streaming.

Alarm Clock

A new device, Echo Show 5 has been added some features for an alarm clock which are not available with an old device, Echo Spot. When an alarm goes off, you can snooze by hitting on the top of the device. The shock sensor is built-in to detect you hit. Unlike traditional alarm clocks, there is no physical snooze button. I guess it will become the standard for “smart” alarm clock. The sunrise alarm is another feature. It makes a display lighten up gradually toward the alarm time. It will help you wake up smoothly.

Does Echo Spot have an advantage?

Before the conclusion, let’s think what’s better on Echo Spot than Echo Show 5. Echo Spot looks cute. Analog face clocks suit well in a circular display. If you don’t use much of music and video streaming, some people would prefer its overall design. However, the price doesn’t justify the disadvantages of Echo Spot. Echo Spot was released nearly two years earlier than Echo Show 5. But, its price hasn’t dropped yet. I can’t see why you should spend more to get the older and less powerful device.

image of amazon echo spot clock face

Conclusion

Obviously, Echo Show 5 is better than Echo Spot. It has a larger screen but it’s still compact to fit on a nightstand. It has a more powerful speaker and a better camera with a physical shutter to cover the lens for your privacy. Above all, it is $40 less expensive than Echo Spot. If you try to choose one between two devices, you should go with Echo Show 5. If you already own Echo Spot, it may be worth to upgrade to Echo Show 5 as well. Click to see the latest price of Echo Show 5 and Echo Spot.

image of amazon echo show 5 smart display
ProductEcho Show (2nd)Echo SpotEcho Show 5
Dimension9.7” x 6.9” x 4.2”4.1" x 3.6" x 3.8"5.8" x 3.4" x 2.9"
Weight62.2 oz14.8 oz14,5 oz
Screen Size10.1" (Rectangular)2.5" (Circular)
5.5" (Rectangular)
Resolution1280 x 800480 x 480960 x 480
Speaker Size2" (Dual)1.4" (Single)1.65" (Single)
Speaker Power10W2W4W
Camera5 MPVGA (640 x 480)1 MP
Physical Camera ShutterNNY
3.5mm Audio OutputNYY
Built-in Zigbee Smart Home HubYNN
Price$229.99*$129.99*$89.99*

*Click to see the latest price at Amazon.com

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Official YouTube app is back on Amazon Fire TV devices

The official YouTube app has returned on Fire TV streaming media players and Fire TV Edition smart TVs. Due to the battle between Amazon and Google, YouTube was not directly available on Fire TV devices. During the time of absence of the official YouTube app, there is a workaround to watch YouTube videos through the Silk or Firefox browser. The workaround was satisfactory. However, it’s better to use the official app than a web browser because you can use voice commands.

image of youtube is back on fire tv

Just watching YouTube videos doesn’t make much difference whether it’s on the official app or on the browser. But, on the official app, you can use various voice commands and searches.

Once you download and install the YouTube app, you can open the app by pressing down the voice button on the remote and saying, “Open YouTube.” After launching YouTube, you can look for videos by voice search. For examples, you can say “Play cats video” or “Find recipes for shrimp salad” without saying a word “YouTube.” You can also control videos such as pause, resume, skip, rewind, fast-forward with your voice.

Conversely, Amazon Prime Video is now available on Chromecast-enabled TVs. But, at the time of writing, I can’t find the “Cast” button on the Prime Video mobile app. I guess they will update the app and be able to available later.

In the meantime, there is also a workaround for Chromecast-enabled TV to play Prime Videos. It doesn’t work with a smartphone. You need a Chrome desktop browser. Open Chome and click 3-dot on the top right-hand corner. find “Cast” from the dropdown and click. A small popup window appears and shows available Chromecast devices. Choose one and click. Now, whatever you see on the desktop browser is shown on TV, too. Start the Prime Video on the browser, and you will see it playing on TV. Unlike Cast-compatible apps like YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, this workaround method is a mirroring. You have to keep the browser open and let it play. If you close, it will shut down on TV, too.

The battle between Amazon and Google

The battles started several years ago. In 2015, Amazon removed Apple TV and Google Chromecast from its online store due to incompatibility with Prime Video streaming service on these devices. In 2017, Amazon Echo Show was released, but soon after that, Google pulled YouTube from Echo Show because “implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience.” Then, Google-owned Nest Products disappeared from Amazon online store. Later, YouTube had returned on Echo Show for a short while, but Google pulled it again, not only from Echo Show but also from Fire TV devices. Since then, there had been no YouTube app on Echo Show or Fire TV devices. To watch YouTube videos, you had to open a web browser and go to YouTube.com.

image of youtube is back on fire tv

The image above was taken when I tried to open the workaround app, which is actually a bookmark on the Silk browser. Fire TV says it will be removed in the coming weeks. I hope the official YouTube app will stay forever. And I hope YouTube to return on Echo Show as well.

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Lenovo Smart Clock review -the alarm clock with Google Assistant

Lenovo Smart Clock ($79.99) is an alarm clock with a 4-inch touchscreen and Google Assitant. Although it has a display, it’s not a smart display such as Lenovo Smart Display, Google Nest Hub, or Amazon Echo Show. It can’t play videos or show maps. It has many features for an alarm clock, but not many features as a smart display.

image of lenovo smart clock

Design

Lenovo Smart Clock has a 4-inch touchscreen. There is no camera. The back case is covered by a light grey fabric. It looks like a small version of the Amazon Echo Show.

There are volume +/- buttons on the top, a charging port, a microphone on/off switch, and USB-A port on the back. You can charge your mobile device through the USB-A port. However, the output of the port is only 2.5W (5V/0.5A). So, don’t expect to charge your smartphone rapidly.

Overall, it’s a simple yet modern design. It’s small to fit anywhere like nightstand and side table.

Features

As an alarm clock, Lenovo Smart Clock has many features. You can choose a clock face from various designs, and each design can be customized with different colors. When an alarm goes off, hitting on the top is the same function as a snooze button. The buttons to snooze and dismiss will appear on the display so you can tap the snooze button instead of hitting on the top. Sunrise alarm feature makes the display lighten up gradually toward the alarm time. It will help you ease to wake up in the morning.

Google Assistant is built-in Lenovo Smart Clock. You can use it as a Google Home smart speaker. You can ask questions, play music, control smart home devices, set timers and alarms, and more.

You can play music from YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora. The speaker is not very good quality, but it would be adequate to play news, podcasts, or relaxing sounds and sleeping music. When you play music, the display has playback buttons. It can also show album arts but no lyrics.

You can check coming up today’s event that you have entered on Google Calendar on other devices. You can ask the weather or just tap the weather icon with a temperature on the home screen to let it show the detail on the display. The weather is the only thing you can see the details on it. When you ask direction, Google Assistant answers with an estimated time of arrival but no maps or step by step directions. No lyrics with music. When you ask questions, Google Assistant AI answers but it doesn’t show the words AI or you are saying.

There is no camera to make video calls. You can’t even see your picture on it. The only video you can watch is a live feed from Nest cameras added to the Google Home app of the same account.

Sound

Lenovo Smart Clock has a single 3W 33mm speaker. For comparison, Google Home Mini has 40mm, Amazon Echo Show 5 has 4W 42mm. There is no audio jack to use your external speaker. And, you can’t use the smart clock as a Bluetooth speaker, either. You can cast to Chromecast-enabled devices from the smart clock, but I don’t think it’s useful at all. If you want to use Chromecast-enabled devices, you can just start casting to them from the Google Home app on your smartphone. If you play music a lot, it’s not the right device.

Pros

  • Customizable clock faces
  • Tapping on the top to snooze
  • Sunrise alarm
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Good speaker for an alarm clock

Cons

  • No video features except for Nest camera’s live feed
  • No camera
  • Bad speaker for playing music
  • Expensive for an alarm clock

Conclusion

Simply put, Lenovo Smart Clock is an alarm clock with Google Assistant smart speaker. It has a nice and sophisticated look for an alarm clock. It does have nice features for an alarm clock. However, the 4-inch touchscreen display is a waste because of a lack of video features. If the price is less, I want this and put it on a nightstand. The price of $79.99 is too expensive for overall features. Click here to see the latest price.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 review – Alexa-enabled smart display

Amazon Echo Show 5 is an Alexa-enabled smart display. “5” of the name is after the size of a display. It has a 5.5-inch touchscreen. A physical shutter to cover the lens of the camera is simple yet effective. It fits in many places like a shelf, desk, side table, nightstand, and more. It’s like a digital alarm clock with fancy features. The price of $89.99 is very attractive.

image of amazon echo show 5

Price

First things first, the most attractive thing about a new addition of Amazon Echo device is the price. It is $89.99 which is less than half the price of the second generation of Echo Show ($229) or even less than Echo Spot ($129).

Design

The design of Echo Show 5 is the same as the 2nd Echo Show. It’s just smaller. It has a 5.5-inch touchscreen on the front that is around an average size of smartphones’ display. The back case is covered by the fabric. It’s available for two different colors: Charcoal and Sandstone.

image of amazon echo show 5 camera shutter

On the top, there are volume up, volume down, and microphone on/off buttons. A front face camera is on the top right corner. The camera can be closed by a physical shutter on the top. It’s simple but it’s effective to your mind by giving you more security of your privacy.

On the back, there is a charging port, 3.5mm audio output, and micro USB. The purpose of the micro USB port is unknown. Some say it’s for a wired network connection, but not confirmed.

Features

The features of Echo Show 5 is almost the same as the 2nd Echo Show. You can watch videos, play music with lyrics, video call, control smart home devices, view security camera, drop-in, etc. In addition to these features, it has the features as an alarm clock. You can choose from several fun clock face designs. When an alarm goes off, hitting on the top will be the same function as a snooze button. Ambient sunrise lighting feature makes it gradually light up prior to the set time that will help you wake up smoothly. however, somehow you can use this feature between 4 am to 9 am. it’s very strange.

image of amazon echo show 5 video feature

As compared with the 2nd Echo Show, what is missing is the built-in smart home hub which connects ZigBee lights and switches without a manufacturer’s hub. Of course, if you have a manufacturer’s hub or WiFi lighting or switch which originally don’t require a hub, you can control them with your voice via Echo Show 5.

Sound

Echo Show 5 has a single 1.65-inch 4W speaker, while the 2nd Echo Show has two 2-inch 10W speakers. The speaker is good enough for playing podcasts, radios, or chatting. But, it’s not room-filling. When you play the music, you may want to connect your external speakers via 3.5mm audio output.

Other smart displays to consider

Lenovo Smart Clock ($79.99) is 4-inch touchscreen smart display. It uses the Google Assistant. But it lacks a camera and internet browser. Google Nest Hub ($129.99) is another smart display with Gooogle Assistant. It has a 7.7-inch touchscreen. It has much better speakers with a lot of features. But it also lacks a camera, and it’s more expensive.

If you already invest in Amazon Alexa’s ecosystem, you probably want to choose one in Amazon’s Alexa devices. What about Echo Spot? Echo Spot has the same concept as Echo Show 5. It’s small and more like an alarm clock with smart home features. As long as you use Echo Spot as an alarm clock or video calls, it’s OK. But, for other things like watching videos, or viewing cooking recipes, Echo Spot’s display is too small. Besides, it’s more expensive than Echo Show 5.

Conclusion

If you are an Amazon Prime member or already familiar with Alexa, you may want to choose the 2nd Echo Show or Echo Show 5. Echo Show 5 is more like an alarm clock. It has alarm clock features like snoozing and sunrise lighting. Of course, you can do many other things like the 2nd Echo can do. It’s small to fit anywhere. If you don’t need a large display or room-filling speakers, Echo Show 5 would be a nice addition to anywhere in your home. Click here to see the latest price at Amazon.com.

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Samsung Gear VR won’t support new Galaxy Note 10

image of gear vr with controller 2017 version

Samsung announced that the new Galaxy Note 10 is not compatible with Gear VR headset. This news isn’t that surprising, though. Samsung continues to increase its devices screen sizes, Samsung had to release updated models or the adapters along with them. And, the popularity of untethered VR headset has shifted from smartphone-based to a standalone headset like Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.

Models of Gear VR

image of gear vr 2015 version

The first consumer edition (SM-R322) of Gear VR was released in 2015. It’s compatible with S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note 5, S7, and S7 edge. Since it has no adapter to switch between USB micro-B and USB-C, newer phones are not compatible with this model.

The next model (SM-R323) was released in 2016 at the same time as Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It has a lot of change and improvements from the previous model. And, this model and newer models have an adapter to switch between USB micro-B and USB-C so you can use not only Note 7 with USB-C but also older smartphones with USB micro-B such as S6 and S7. (Later in the same year, Note 7 was recalled and made incompatible for safety reasons.)

image of samsung gear vr adapter micro usb c
gear vr controller

An updated model (SM-R324) was released in April of 2017. It has small changes from the previous model. It has compatibility with a larger Galaxy S8. Samsung had released a dedicated Bluetooth controller between this and the previous model. The controller is paired with smartphones, not Gear VR. It doesn’t matter which model you have. This model and the next one come with the controller.

An updated model, probably the last one, SM-R325 was released in September of 2017. It has compatibility with a larger Galaxy Note 8. This model is also compatible with S10, S10+, S10e and older. Note 9 is compatible with Gear VR model number SM-R325NZVC*** only.

Problems of smartphone-based VR headset

As you can see, Galaxy phones are getting larger. Samsung has been released updated models as their new devices released. That’s probably one of the reasons why Samsung decided to shut off support for Gear VR on the coming new phone. The main reason, however, is an emergence of standalone VR headsets like Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.

Standalone VR headsets are self-contained. Every component for VR is packed inside, and each component is dedicated to its task for performing VR. Smartphone-based VR, however, uses a phone’s processor. The processor isn’t made for VR purpose only, but also for many others like maps, messaging, talk, and so on. As a result, overheating is an inevitable problem of smartphone-based VR headsets.

There is another problem. Playing VR with smartphones consumes a lot of battery power. Although the headset has great portability, you don’t want to use a lot of battery of your phone when you away from home.

Past and present of smartphone-based VR headset

Gear VR is good for experiencing VR, but it’s not a play for long hours or intense use for games. Several years ago, it was OK because a VR technology was in an infant stage as well as VR apps and games. But now, technology has been developed a lot. There are many apps and games that require long hours or large processing power. Newer phones may handle processing, but people don’t want to use their phone in the VR headset for hours.

Future of VR headset by Samsung

Samsung is seemingly focusing on other alternatives. HMD Odyssey is a PC-tethered VR headset by Samsung. Samsung may be going to develop Odyssey series of VR headset or add completely new ones. They are also working on AR (Augmented Reality) hardware and software, too.

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The best free apps and games for Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest features VR experience with six degrees of freedom without a need for a powerful gaming PC or game console. The cost $399 headset comes with controllers. That’s all you need to start playing VR. The more you enjoy, the more you purchase games. The cost of games may be going to add up quickly. Slow down a little bit, you may find free apps and games that you may be interested in. Here are the best free apps and games for Oculus Quest.

Rec Room

image of rec room oculus quest

Rec Room is a social VR platform. You can play games and hang out with friends from all over the world. You have a private dorm room to customize your avatar freely. There are many rooms for games, and you can also create your own rooms. The graphic is very basic and cartoonish. But many games are great games in general.

Bait!

image of bait oculus quest

Bait! is a fishing game. It’s been around for quite a while. It first started with the Gear VR version. I played it with Oculus Go, but playing with Oculus Quest is much better experience thanks to Touch Controllers. The actions like casting and reeling are more real. There are four different lakes in the game. There is an in-app purchase to add more place if you want. You can enjoy fishing in a peaceful and beautiful environment.

First Contact

image of first contact oculus quest

First Contact is a tutorial app for experiencing VR with 6DoF of Oculus Quest and familiarizing with Touch Controllers, just like First Steps. A virtual 3D printer creates various objects with which you can grab, bounce, shoot, throw, and more. It’s short, but it’s better to play for once.

Bigscreen Beta

image of bigscreen beta oculus quest

Bigscreen Beta is a social VR platform. While Rec Room is mostly for gaming with friends, Bigscreen is mostly for watching videos, chatting, or just hanging out with friends. There are many environments available to change such as a big apartment, big theater, campfire, balcony, bedroom, and more. There are many videos you can watch for free. Just talking with your friends in a nice environment is quite an experience.

Bogo

image of bogo oculus quest

Bogo is a short experience game with a virtual pet named Bogo. You can feed it, throw a stick to fetch, pet, or rub the body. There are some mini-games to play with Bogo. Touch Controllers work intuitively in this game, too. The game is very short. Don’t mistake Bogo with a type of growing character game. It ends quickly, but it’s free and definitely worth playing.

YouTube VR

image of youtube vr oculus quest

Probably, there is no explanation necessary. YouTube is one of the largest video-sharing websites. YouTube VR is a platform for 360-degree videos in addition to regular videos. It also started promoting 180-degree videos for easier productions. YouTube VR covers any genres like travel, sports, animal, music, dance, space, ocean, and more. You can spend hours after hours experiencing immersive videos on YouTube VR.

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How to cast Oculus Quest gameplay

PC-tethered like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR can easily share VR experience with people in the same room by showing a monitor or TV which is already connected to PC or game console. However, Oculus Quest is self-contained. It’s not connected to anything. How can you share your experience on Oculus Quest with your friends and family? The answer is to cast Oculus Quest gameplay to your phone or to a TV with Google Chromecast.

image of share your experience on oculus quest

Please note that your phone, Oculus Quest, and Chomecast (if cast to a TV) have to be connected to the same WiFi network. And, there are some apps or games that are not allowed for casting. If you try, it will show a message and stops casting itself.

How to cast to your TV

You need a Google Chromecast to cast to your TV. The compatible Chromecast variation is the 3rd gen or Ultra.

  • Open the Oculus mobile app
  • Tap the cast icon on the top
  • Select your Oculus Quest in the “Cast From” section
  • Select your Chromecast device in the “Cast To” section
  • Select “Video Quality” either “Standard” or “Low”
  • Tap “Start” on the bottom

How to cast to your phone

  • Open the Oculus mobile app
  • Tap the cast icon on the top
  • Select you Oculus Quest in the “Cast From” section
  • Select “This Phone” in “Cast To” section
  • Tap “Start” on the button

How to stop casting

  • Tap the screen on the phone, and the “Stop” button will appear on the bottom
  • Tap “Stop” to stop casting

or

  • Through the headset, open the menu bar by pressing the Oculus button (the flat button on the right controller)
  • Click “Sharing”
  • Click “Cast”, and select “Stop Casting” in the popup window

How to cast to a TV without Chromecast

For those who don’t have Chromecast, there is a workaround to cast to your TV without it. If you have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you can mirror the display with using Samsung Dex. First, you normally cast to your phone and connect the Dex device or cable to your TV. Similarly, iPhones can be connected to a TV with the Apple Lightning Digital AV adapter. If you have Apple TV, you can use the AirPlay feature to mirror the display wirelessly.

Please note that when you cast to your phone, the display’s quality is bad. It may be OK when you see a small screen of a smartphone. But when you mirror to your TV, you may not tolerate the quality. So, If you really want to see it on a big screen TV, I suggest buying Chromecast. Oculus Quest doesn’t support 4K. So, the display will be the same quality by using either the 3rd gen or Ultra. To choose one between the 3rd gen and Ultra, consider other factors, such as the resolution of your TV, other apps you use, and so on.

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Which Oculus Quest should you buy, 64GB or 128GB?

Oculus Quest is the first all-in-one VR headset with six-degree of freedom. Right out of the box, with a WiFi connection, you can start downloading games and enjoying them in no time. Oculus Quest has two versions: 64GB for $399 and 128GB for $499. Let’s compare these two headsets and find out which you should buy, 64GB or 128GB.

image of oculus quest

What is the difference?

64GB and 128GB are the sizes of storage on the headset. That’s the only difference between them. Both use the same processor, display, sound system, etc. In other words, double-sized storage costs $100. Is the extra storage of 64GB worth $100? Let’s see how much storage you may require for VR gaming.

How much storage do VR games require?

Surprisingly, many games don’t even require 1GB. And, a game requiring large storage is at most 3GB. So, you can store dozens of games at a time in a 64GB version of Oculus Quest. If the storage gets full, you can uninstall old games and install new ones. There haven’t been many titles in the Oculus Store yet in the first place. According to uploadvr.com, the entire library at the launch of Oculus Quest can be stored in a 64GB version. So for now, although it’s better to have a 128GB version, a 64GB version won’t have a problem.

List of the requiring storage sizes of some games

  • Beat Saber – 287MB
  • Superhot VR – 506MB
  • Racket: Nx – 229MB
  • Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition – 736MB
  • Gun VR – 871MB
  • Job Simulator – 913MB
  • Dance Central – 2.6GB
  • Vader Immortal: Episode I – 2.6GB
  • Moss – 2.6GB
  • Robo Recall: Unplugged – 2.9GB

If you have many media files…

If you want to put a lot of media files, a 128GB is better because the size of media files can be large. 360-degree video files are gigantic, and even regular video files of 2-hour movies are large, too.

I have a 32GB Oculus Go and enjoy watching 3D movies with it. I download movies from the internet, and it filled up the storage of Oculus Go quickly. I believe even 64GB or even 128GB can get filled soon IF you store ALL video files. But you don’t have to do that.

You can use your computer or external hard drive to keep your entire library of video files. When you want to watch, transfer them. Unlike apps and games, transferring media files doesn’t require the installation process. So, it doesn’t take much time. It is also much faster than downloading something from the internet.

Who should buy a 64GB Oculus Quest?

I use my Oculus Quest for games only. And, I have Oculus Go and use it for watching videos. For those who use Oculus Quest only for games, The storage of 64GB is sufficient. As I mentioned above, it can store dozens of games at a time. When you get a new one, just uninstall the old one. Besides, the Oculus store doesn’t have many titles yet in the first place.

Who should buy a 128GB Oculus Quest?

If you use Oculus Quest for gaming and also watching videos, you may want to get a 128GB version. 360-degree and movies files are huge. My 32GB Oculus Go can get filled quickly. Smaller storage of Oculus Quest is double, 64GB, however, say you have VR apps and games filled half of the storage and the other half is for media files. You may get frustrated with organizing the storage space frequently.

Conclusion

If you don’t care about the price, just get a 128GB of Oculus Quest. If you use the headset for not only games but also watching videos, get 128GB because media files are huge. If you use it as a dedicated VR gaming device, a 64GB would be enough for now. It’s been a few months since the launch of Oculus Quest. New titles are coming up. But there is no game requiring a large storage space, and there aren’t many titles in the Oculus Store in the first place.

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